Ground Report | New Delhi: Dilip Kumar; Veteran film actor Dilip Kumar passed away on Wednesday at the age of 98. He was unwell for the past several days and was admitted to the hospital several times. His body will be buried at 5 pm at Juhu Cemetery in Santacruz, Mumbai.
Dilip Kumar upliftment of marginalized Muslims
Apart from being the tragedy king of the Hindi film industry Dilip Kumar aka Yusuf Khan has participated extensively in marginalized conflicts among the Muslim community, despite coming from an upper caste and having achieved an aristocratic status among the country’s elite.
Despite coming from an upper caste and having achieved an elite status among the country’s elite, he spent a considerable amount of his late working life participating with activists of the All India Muslim OBC Organization (AIMOBCO) for the rights of the Pasmandas in Maharashtra.
Dilip Kumar was informed about the Mandal commission report and its application on Pasmanda Muslims and said that around 85% of Muslims are Pasmanda and can benefit from the AIMOBCO movement. He shared a similar view and remarked that the remaining 15% do not even need the support of reservation, as they are traditionally quite well off.
He officially joined AIMOBCO in 1990 and is actively involved in organizational activities almost on daily basis. He participated in more than 100 public meetings across India. His celebrity status not only attracted large crowds but also shocked the political class to arouse the demands of the people.
In all the public meetings, Dilip insisted that reservation should not be seen as a religious issue, as in the case of Pasmanda, but as a social instrument for the upliftment of this socially and educationally backward community. It is necessary for someone who simply happens to be a Muslim.
He insisted that the Pasmandas have moved to the margins of the caste. Due to discriminatory classification in occupations, they are restricted in economic mobility and social development.
Dilip sahib often spoke about his meetings with Dr. Ambedkar and how his meetings opened him to the question of caste and caste discrimination. He used his stardom for the betterment of the people.
When today’s liberal film and media personalities brag about protesting against the Mandal Commission, this superstar was using his stardom to bring affirmative action for an equal and just society for the Pasmanda Muslims.
Coming from an upper-caste elite background and becoming an activist for Pasmanda rights must have been some journey. Whether it is the impact of his meetings with Baba Saheb, or the experience of feeling the plight of Dalits and Pasmandas, or his own experiences of displaced childhood, it is difficult to choose a time when he had really changed.
Nevertheless, after Hawke, we can say that he had forever transcended his own caste privileges. Dilip never sought fame nor used his activism as a PR exercise for his career, as is usually the case in Bollywood.
The fact that very few of the present generation know about his important role in the Pasmanda movement is the biggest proof: he never tried to appropriate the movement; And that he always led the leaders of the movement rather than himself. As Shabbir Ansari told me Dilip sahib now identifies himself as Baghban (gardener). He believed that since his father was a fruit-trader, it also made him a gardener.
Dilip Sahab will always be the gardener of the Pasmanda movement. A horticulturist, who takes care of the orchard and the fruits, enjoys others. I wish the actor a healthy and long life.