Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who is from Uttar Pradesh, says the caste system is deeply embedded in the villages and even he has not been spared discrimination, despite his fame in the movies. Describing the Hathras incident as “very unfortunate”, the critically-acclaimed actor said in an interview that in villages, caste divides are a reality that is immune to campaigns or social media.
“In my own family, my grandmother was from a lower caste. Even today, they have not accepted us because of my grandmother,” Nawazuddin Siddiqui told NDTV.
His comments come at a time there is nationwide anger over a young Dalit woman’s death after she suffered horrific injuries from an assault by four upper caste men in her village in Hathras in UP. “What is wrong is wrong. Our artiste community is also speaking out against what happened in Hathras. It is very important to speak out. It is a very unfortunate incident.”
On Twitter, he said, people may say there is no caste discrimination. But if the same people travelled around, they would find a very different reality. He referred to his own village.
“The fact that I am famous doesn’t matter to them. It is deeply entrenched within them…it is in their veins. They consider it their pride. The Sheikh Siddiquis are the upper caste, and they will not have anything to do with those they consider beneath them. Even today it is there. It is very difficult,” said the 46-year-old, known for movies like “Manto” and “Gangs of Wasseypur”.
In his latest film “Serious Men”, out on Netflix, Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays a Dalit lying about his son being a science genius.