“Go beyond caste and religion when you’re thinking of getting married”: Cultural Activist Ganesh Devy

Professor made appeal to the youth to foster communal harmony.

Image result for Go beyond caste and religion when you're thinking of getting married: Cultural Activist Ganesh Devy
Image Courtesy: The Hindu

In what can only be termed as an ingenious appeal, Ganesh Devy – Thinker, Professor and Cultural Activist started a fast to call in the attention of the youth of Maharashtra to move beyond caste and religion while considering marriage.

The fast, which lasts for 8 days, starting on Gandhi Jayanti, rests on a very unique condition. In this period, Professor Devy, 69, will not consume any solid food until he gets a commitment of a 100 people every day to join him in his movement against communalism. He promises to eat only if the criteria of a 100 youth committing to the cause is fulfilled every day, else he only survives on water.

His appeal is for fostering secularism and for a modern India and he says, ““We cannot create modern India as long as intolerance and violence in the name of caste and religion does not end.”

He also plans to ask the consenting young people, who associate with this movement, to assemble in Nagpur in the last week of December for a two day sammelan called ‘The Mainstream India’. He is confident of at least 15,000 – 20,000 people attending the event

An email id (rsd@beyondcaste.com) and a Google form (https://forms.gle/U25bdt4uysMYMDoj7) which has been made available for the youth to register with the movement, has already garnered 900 responses from the young people of India in just 2 days of its commencement.

Who is Ganesh Devy and what does he stand for?

Ganesh Devy, as most know him, is a literary scholar, cultural activist and institution builder. He is best known for the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, and is popularly called the ‘man who discovered 750 languages’. He is also the creator of the Adivasi Academy.

Back in the 70s, he along with his wife, Surekha, would set out on his scooter every Saturday morning to a neighboring village in Baroda, where he resided earlier. He visited the villages to understand the people and spend time with them. This absence of an agenda and belief in equality among people—nullifying traditional hierarchies between the observer and observed, scholar and subject—won him not only the trust but also the faith of Adivasis.

Ganesh Devy decided to shift base from Vadodara to Dharwad after the murder of MM Kalburgi. Kalburgi’s death was the last straw for Devy who was deeply disturbed by the killings of NarendraDabholkar and GovindPansare.

He has since taken the lead in many agitations of writers and thinkers with focus on pluralism and the right to free expression. He says that these values are even more threatened today when the makings of a modern India are threatened by forces of communalism.

On asking why he took up such an innovative movement, he said that he wanted the youth of the country to fly out of their cage. The youth, he said, were being trapped in the cages of caste and religion which was fanned by hate by extremist groups. He said that neither did he nor his family members and even his children pay attention to caste while deciding their marriages. They simply got into the union as ‘human beings’.

What His Appeal Is and What It Is Not

Ganesh Devy says that his appeal is a step towards change. He knows that even in this grim atmosphere of hate, people are capable of change. He believes that people are capable of love and compassion.

His appeal is not a political stunt or a media event. His belief ‘love is the true religion’ is the only message he wants to give the youth. He has stood by this principle his entire life and wishes to take this plea of humanity to the young people of India.

His only wish is to see a country that has risen above the shackles of caste and religion to achieve its true potential.

We, at Sabrang India, stand with Professor Ganesh Devy in his noble movement. Do you?



Related Articles