Lok Issues

My Vote – ‘No Country For Poor Brahmins’

Lallu, 58, who lives off Gwalior-Bhind highway, in Madhya Pradesh, will vote for the Congress. For, the BJP sarkaar has no concern for poor Brahmins like him. “They have schemes for Dalits. If you are poor but not a low caste, help yourself,” says a bitter Lallu.

Life has been a series of struggle for me. I never had any formal education. On my own, working as a labour, I learned to make takhats (a rudimentary plank bed). I have also some land where I grow crop or vegetables. Farming on small holdings pays very little. The labour and cost of seeds and fertilisers is often bigger than the price fetched by our yield.

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Some years ago, there was fire in my house and I receive deep burns in my legs. One of my leg is no longer functional. Village head told me to get the hospital papers so that I qualify for the monthly state grant for the disabled. I felt relieved on my bed by his words but little did I know then how government offices function. I would drag on with the help of a stick, carrying my papers in the bag. It took me more than six months, countless visits to the district magistrate office to get a help of ₹120 a month. Isn’t that a joke?

I bought a saw machine to start a takhat-making unit here. But the labour saps me now. Two of my children, there are three of them, take up odd jobs now and then. The daughter helps me in the family. All of them have dropped out of schools. Who has the time to go there? Half the time, master saab is not there. I often have to borrow money feed my family. I just sit here most of the day, wait for clients, pray or curse. That is how the day is spent.

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I was told by the village head that if I were a chamaar (Dalit), in similar conditions, I would have government attention and grants. I wonder if it is a curse to be born a Brahmin now! A poor man is a poor man; he cannot be judged by the caste he was born into. People says BJP government is Hindu government, a Brahmin-dominated party. In the last 15 years of Shivraj sarkaar, I never get to see a single welfare work done for Hindus. For poor people like me, it has only got more difficult to survive.

My reasons to vote for the Congress in the last (Assembly) elections were not to support the party. I just wanted to throw out the BJP government. Same is the case in the coming election. After all these years of trials, I am a bitter man today. I do find solace in prayers sometime. But inside I know, there is no hope for me in this life.

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