Questioning the approach of political leaderships, Tamil novelist and former IAS officer P Sivakami said on Saturday that governments often do not take sincere initiatives to address the concerns of the "excluded" sections of the society.
"I had served the Tamil Nadu government for a number of years and I do not think that the government really listens to people who have been excluded. I found they have been making policies on how to distribute freebies to people, instead of listening to their basic demands," the Dalit writer said.
Sivakami was participating in a session titled 'The Need to Listen: Dialogue versus Rhetoric', moderated by former Union Minister and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival here.
She said, "... you need IAS officers to distribute these (freebies). IAS officers merely execute orders of politicians and this is how they are treated. This situation is the same everywhere, irrespective of the government."
During her service, the former bureaucrat said, she had visited many villages and found that Dalit 'bastis' (slum clusters) were situated separately from main village and did not often have basic amenities.
"I have travelled to so many villages when I was in service. When I asked people what they want, self-respecting people would say that they want a place to live because they are hardworking and can earn other things. Unfortunately, the government has not heard this," she said.
Lawyer Pinky Anand, who was also the part of the discussion, said there should not be any categorisation or classification on the basis on religion or caste.