When Chandrabhan Prasad, a Dalit writer, hosted birthday celebrations for Thomas Macaulay on Oct 2006, it was perhaps at one level a rather ironic attentiongetting gimmick, but it also opened up certain important issues.
“English, the Dalit goddess, is a world power today”, claims Prasad. “For complete emancipation Dalit/ Adivasi parents ought to give English education – if necessary, working more hours, borrowing money, selling off jewellery, even mortgaging properties”, he emphasizes, and it is becoming a widely shared sentiment. Over a century ago, Savitribai Phule, wife of social revolutionary Jotirao Phule, had written the same thing, saying in a poem, “shudras and ati-shudras (Dalits) now have the right to education, and through English casteism can be destroyed and Brahmanical teaching can be hurled away”. Dalits still believe this. (Omvedt, 2006)