There has been so much of hue and cry on Madhuri Dixit singing a song containing reference of some community earlier treated as low caste. The song played back on her had the word ‘mochi’ with some comparison to comparatively a better caste. Mochis were known and in some parts of the country particularly in rural areas as the ones who stitch and prepare shoes as their traditional profession. While launching a massive movement against eradication of caste based treatment then prevailing in the society, Mahatma Gandhi advocated to stop using any words that denoted caste bias and he suggested that ‘harijan’ be used in place of ‘mochi’ or ‘chamaar’. Harijan means the one who belongs to God and this how Gandhi wanted to convey to the people that all human beings irrespective of caste or creed belonged to God, the almighty and any discrimination on that count is condemnable. I heard about a small business group who used to provide labour on contract for supplying water in offices for drinking purposes and also for sprinkling it on khus windows to cool the atmosphere in summer. Suppliers group was named ‘Bhishti wala’. Bhishtis infact were the people in earlier days who traditionally did this job as their family business. Even in the case of upper caste people like Pandeys amongst Brahmins were called ‘paani pandey’ indicative of their position as supplier of drinking water in public places particularly to the passengers in railways. Brahmins considered this as derogatory to their caste status but it continued till only sometime back. Profession oriented nomenclature are still obtaining at quite a good scale and such a practice is in vogue much for the reasons of business publicity. Jauharis are those who deal in business of jewellery, sonaars are those who do the business of gold and silver and like that the list is unending. Why then there should be so much of fuss if a shoe shiner was called a ‘mochi’?
Madhuri Dixit, still a leading lady in films and a heart throb of millions, is being pressurised to appear before certain forum to apologise for the socalled misconduct on her part. Those who do so are infact propagating more in the direction of reviving the caste based hatred which otherwise got more or less completely burried as a result of the movement launched for the purpose by great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi Baba Saheb Ambedkar and several others. There is no reason to work on reviving an evil that is otherwise at the fag end of it.