Director Pa Ranjith who is known for speaking against caste violence, said at an event recently that all Dalits must come together to contest in the 2019 general elections.
He said, “When people who are elected by us cannot speak even a word for us, why should they become a leader or an MLA or MP? If your party removes you for talking about Dalits, then you should leave the party and stand as an individual candidate in the constituency. We will make you win.”
He encouraged Dalits to come together in support of any Dalit who decides to stand for elections, and said that the 7 members who occupy the reserved seats in the parliament, should all work together.
“We must come together, move towards creating a particular kind of constituency. Have you ever seen a politician talk about bringing people together? No, they just talk about their castes, fame, and leave.
No one should vote for candidates who don’t speak about violence against Dalits, he added. “We should not vote for those who speak for us only during the general elections. We should not vote for candidates who stand for a party and not for the people.”
Ranjith then spoke about Nandeesh and Swati’s caste killing that happened recently in Hosur. Nandeesh was a Dalit man, newly married to Swati, a dominant caste Vanniyar woman. Three months after they eloped and married, they were brutally murdered by Swati’s family, and their bodies were found floating near Shivanasamudra Falls in Karnataka’s Mandya district, about 150 km from Hosur.
Ranjith said, “No political party has spoken against Nandeesh’s murder, other than Dalit and Communist parties. Why didn’t this seem like murder to parties like DMK and AIADMK? When will they realise it was murder?”
He is deeply affected by caste system and its violence in society, Ranjith says, “People say I’m talking now because I’ve directed four films, but that is not true. I would have talked this much even if I had not made any film. This has been a problem right from my birth, and it will be till my death. I want to eradicate caste from its root because it is following me everywhere.”
Pa Ranjith’s film production house also runs Neelam Cultural Center that works towards making art political. They organise events and workshops, most often open to public.
To mark Ambedkar’s 62nd death anniversary, the center is organising Nandha Vilakku, an exhibition and workshop on sculpting, tomorrow from 10 am at CSI School, Santhome.