Thiruvananthapuram: The seats were full and many more were standing as the session Navakeralathile Keezhalan chaired by K Sahadevan and P K Sajeev opened at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters 2019. PK Sajeev, who has been the voice of the Malayaraya community in the context of the Sabarimala issue spoke about how the acharangal or customs have always suppressed the lower castes or the underdogs, never the other way round. The lower castes have been sidelined invariably.
On the basis of claims that they don’t have a history or writing. And the times are such that anyone who voices a different opinion or rebels is threatened or killed, he said.
Environmentalist K Sahadevan elaborated on the hierarchy within the ‘keezhalans’ where the adivasi is the underdog among the underdogs. At the same time, the adivasis became underdogs the world over only 300-400 years back, he said. Until the industrial revolution caste was not applicable to the adivasi, and he did not come under any caste. They classified themselves into sub-sections on the basis of profession but there was no discrimination like in Hinduism.
The census taken by the Indian government was faulty when it came to indigenous tribes as well and even a massacre of a Rajastani tribal community has not been recorded in history like Jalianwala Bagh. A more recent example would be that of the Uranium mines found in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. No department will dare to take up the project because the super elite live there. At the same time in Jharkhand, adivasis were evacuated quickly, he pointed out.
In the context of the Sabarimala women entry, Sahadevan reminded the audience that when Sati was abolished, no less than 75000 women signed a petition against the ban.