In a 25-minute interview to the Democratic Youth Federation of India, Jignesh Mevani, who is being called the face of the Dalit movement in Gujarat, spoke about how he became a part of the movement, the failure of the Gujarat model, and the anti-labour and anti-farmer policies of the BJP-led Government.
According to Mevani, who wanted to bring together the Dalit movement under the one agenda of refusing to clear cattle carcasses, the Gujarat model is a "total disaster".
He says, "In the history of protests in Gujarat, it has never been seen that a dominant caste like the patidars and the lower caste Dalits, both, in order to register their protests were almost pushed to the brink of suicide." He points out the large number of farmers and labourers who earn well below the minimum wage, the closure of the only hospital dealing with leprosy patients in Gujarat, and the state's continued failure to deal with farmer suicides.
Mevani mentions that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written a book in 2000 titled Karmyogi. In the book, he says, Modi declared that safai karamcharis get spiritual satisfaction from doing their work. Mevani's response: "We have now left the work of clearing dead carcasses, now you can do this work and get some spirituality."