Professor Sheoraj Singh Bechain, a senior staff of the Hindi Department at the Delhi University, was ready to become the new Head of Department on the 16th of September, four days after the previous one’s term came to an end. However, he received no confirmation in spite of meeting with authorities every day to unravel the cause of the delay with no vain. In the last seventy years, the Hindi Department has never seen a Dalit professor as its Head of Department.
There was a chance for change to come, for the progress that is chanted and thriven for, but even now in the year 2019, darkness continues to prevail for those, quite unfortunately side-lined based on caste. The previous HOD’s term was renewed till October till the solution of this issue could be found.
On the 7th of October, students, teachers and other staff from the Hindi Department of Delhi University took to the streets to protest against this injustice caused by an unreasonable delay in Singh’s appointment to office.
“I have had maximum support from students and teachers because they know that I have been doing all my work during the Head of Department’s absence and it was expected that I would become the HOD because of my seniority which is why they are coming out in my support,” he said.
They started the protest march from the Arts faculty to the office of the Vice-Chancellor demanding for Singh’s appointment. According to teachers and students of Delhi University, the former Head of Department’s vacancy required appointment for the new departmental head. Even though, the procedures were completed by the Vice-Chancellor, no announcement of communication were made to the department about this.
The teachers and students have sent a memorandum and letter to the Vice Chancellor’s office but no action has taken place. The incident comes as nothing of a surprise with respect to the extent of caste discrimination that continues and is rampant all around the nation. As progress becomes the ultimate goal, caste conflicts often become an unhindered and an unattended issue waiting for a resolution. Professor Sheoraj Singh Bechain was a deserving candidate due to his popularity in anti-caste and Dalit literature, ironically. He was also awarded by the Hindi Academy of Madhya Pradesh and the Delhi Government. Ironically according to the Delhi University authorities he has not done enough work experience, while recently he published a book called My Childhood on My Shoulders and even wrote a paper about the impact of B. R. Ambedkar’s journalism on the Dalit community, along with columns that get published regularly in newspapers. Therefore, the same old question does not fail to appear; would this discrimination and false accusations be pertinent if he belonged to a different or a higher caste? Ironic, how so many eminent people are left unheard, hypocritically by the same people who praise them. It is a shameful affair.