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Friday, April 16, 2010

Disturbing Trend in Civilization -3

I was trying to complete this series in the draft form long ago. Roshmi bombarded me with comments in 2nd part of the series and I became busy in reading history of Pakistan. While 3rd part of this trend comes to my notice during debate with my sister. There was talk about equality, merit and anti casteism without seeing the ground level discrimination's practised in the society. I recall only rough details of our conversation :

- She was clearly seeing the 'quota' as a toy given to each section of society who makes fuss about it. She was holding very strong points over implementation of the anti discriminatory laws and strict punishment to law breakers.

It is not about the implication of laws but raising of consciousness over these issue. Upper caste Hindus how much they shout will never take action against one of their own over dalit issues. It is that their conscience is not a public conscience but a caste conscience, imbued with values derived from caste.

- Quotacracy is indeed harming our Democratic model but this newly emerged middle class simply don't want to accept wrong doing of the past generations. She treat everyone without any caste and religion prejudice.

This is a nice ethical values emergence in our pro west oriented youths. But, simply you can't escape the right or wrong doings of the past. It is indeed endurance needed by the guys championing the merit case until everybody is bought to level field.

- The heavy argument against any reservation per se is that it compromises with the quality and merit. bring them at par with the privileged sections.

Those who enjoy subsidised public education catches the flight of private sector on first sight on high pay packages. Its right decision only. I am in support of it. But asking government to give them subsidized education and merit based job without reservation is wrong attitude. Such group never argues hard for the abolition of management quota in the private colleges despite of its non merit selection.
*-------------*
Don't take sides in this arguments. The aim of our argument is to understand and reach the root cause of caste based discrimination. What I observe today an emerging middle class, resistant to a democratization that might jeopardize the social and economic privileges they enjoy in an undemocratic system. Even to this day, upper and lower caste do not eat in the same plate or drink from the same glass. And blindly accepted as a matter-of-fact social norm by majority. A few youth with equality crusaders are indeed needed if they just maintain their view after coming out of their ivory towers. Have a brief Look on the India Untouched ---



It is not just become a matter a religion now. This whole society is more of Caste-obsessed in India. Check : Caste system in Sikhism , Caste system in Christianity & Caste system in Islam . While the readers interested in more academic dissection of the topic, go through the article of Namit Arora : The Blight of Hindustan.

The story of Dalit oppression is not just about the occasional horrific incidents of lynching, rape and mass murder, but also about the everyday slights, the subtle and not-so-subtle process by which human beings were systematically reduced to an under-class, a sub-species that did not merit full human consideration. This prejudice cannot get reversed by a stroke of the pen, or the success of a single generation- it runs deep and howls wild. When someone like Shashi Tharoor gets himself weighed in money, we shrug it off as a quaint electoral practice. When Mayawati does so, we are offended. But then, she does not tweet. [SOURCE]

15 comments:

  1. This whole caste based politics is very complicated... and therez a lot of smoke and mirrors. Maybe I'll do a post sometime in the future and then we can discuss.

    You know Ambedkar was assisted and the entire expenses for his education abroad was borne by Maharaj Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III. You hardly find a mention of that... anywhere.

    I have sometimes wondered whether he was built up as a counterpoint to Jinnah... who was a converted muslim (from the so-called lower caste hindu faith). Jinnah is actually an anglicization of the name of his father: Jhinabhai Poonja.

    ReplyDelete
  2. When it comes to caste and other forms of social discrimination... it takes two to tango. There are vested interests on all sides... who benefit from it. There are people and groups whose power flows from this kind of discrimination(s). Hence they would not like it to end.

    I have witnessed a lot of instances. Many members of the peasant caste (who fall under the so-called 'shudra' category) are its worst proponents. Even folks within the dalit community.

    See how the 'Lingayats' came about. The 12th century saint Basavanna... tried to spread brotherhood and do away with social discrimination. Hence, he went to the colonies/huts/places where these oppressed people stayed... and gave them the 'nama'. The 'tika'... of holy ash... on their forehead.

    Since he had to travel to a lot of places, he could not visit each house/family. Instead he asked those who had already received the 'tika'... to in turn distribute/continue the good work.

    Those folks did not do as asked. Instead... they proclaimed themselves as 'lingayats' with Basavanna as their guide. They started worshipping the Shiv Ling.

    They now claim to belong to the highest caste... higher than the 'brahmins'. You should see how they treat the 'dalits' now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Let me narrate a few instances. When I was studying... I had this classmate who stayed near my place. So, we traveled together. One day... while coming back from college... we passed by her house. There were some beautiful flowers in her garden. I expressed my desire to see them more closely.

    She looked at me with a shocked expression on her face... and asked if I wanted to come to her house. I said yes... and if there was any rule which prevented me from doing so. Still in shock, she said... they were dalits and I was a Kshatriya. And no Kshatriya went to the houses of dalits.

    Never in my life have I felt so embarrassed.

    I just told her... we were friends, and if she were to say the same things again... we would cease to remain friends. That was that. We are still friends.

    Now for the other instance. There was this lingayat girl staying in the room next to mine... @ the Univ hostel. She was studying Comp Sc. (M.C.A)

    One of my classmates was her roomie. We were discussing some accountancy problems [accountancy was always my bugbear ;)] before I stepped out for some other work.

    When I returned some half an hour later... this lingayat girl was doing some puja. As soon as I entered, she created a ruckus... that by stepping into the room, I as a non-lingayat and therefore, 'inferior' to her (since I was a Kshatriya)... had desecrated her prayers/puja.

    After overcoming my initial shock... I gave her a piece of my mind... after which she never dared to speak like that again.

    All this in the IT/BT city... the 'Silicon Valley of India'... Bangalore aka namma Bengaluru.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is the Upanishadic story of a boy who went to a guru to learn the Hindu scriptures. His guru asked him what his caste was. Consulting his mother, who was actually a prostitute and didn't really know what her caste by birth was, the boy returned to the guru and responded that he was all castes. He worshipped the Gods, thus fulfilling the duties that are ordinarily a Brahmin's, he earned his keep like a Vaishya, took care of cleaning the house, like a Shudra, and protected his family's interest like a Kshatriya. The guru was pleased and ...
    To make a complicated stuff simple ( which is how I want my life to be) I can say Yayaver that in modern world we are all like the above boy "all caste in one". So a brahimm joins a force and in metros every one cleans their own toilet a dalit can be roaring businessman and a kshatriya an excellent scholar !! This has been happening for quite a some time in India and inspite of understanding, knowing and accepting that caste system is a blot on our hinduism and Indians are one of the most racist in the whole world , I feel that to simplify things it is not history we should get too much attached to but to the future . I firmly believe that in due course of time societies find their own solutions , See finally poor Tharoor had to resign but Mayawati is still riding high on her elephants Isn't it?
    My Motto - Make things simple not complicated. Enjoy!!
    By the way points given by you are all valid.
    My project sparsh keeps bringing me to your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry the above answer is by Anubhava! I am a novice at this sorry!

    ReplyDelete
  6. There is the Upanishadic story of a boy who went to a guru to learn the Hindu scriptures. His guru asked him what his caste was. Consulting his mother, who was actually a prostitute and didn't really know what her caste by birth was, the boy returned to the guru and responded that he was all castes. He worshipped the Gods, thus fulfilling the duties that are ordinarily a Brahmin's, he earned his keep like a Vaishya, took care of cleaning the house, like a Shudra, and protected his family's interest like a Kshatriya. The guru was pleased and ...
    To make a complicated stuff simple ( which is how I want my life to be) I can say Yayaver that in modern world we are all like the above boy "all caste in one". So a brahimm joins a force and in metros every one cleans their own toilet a dalit can be roaring businessman and a kshatriya an excellent scholar !! This has been happening for quite a some time in India and inspite of understanding, knowing and accepting that caste system is a blot on our hinduism and Indians are one of the most racist in the whole world , I feel that to simplify things it is not history we should get too much attached to but to the future . I firmly believe that in due course of time societies find their own solutions , See finally poor Tharoor had to resign but Mayawati is still riding high on her elephants Isn't it?
    My Motto - Make things simple not complicated. Enjoy!!
    By the way points given by you are all valid.
    My project sparsh keeps bringing me to your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Despite all the modernisation even today there is discrimination - it's deeply ingrained. Roshmi's examples, in comments above, show how deep it is.

    A maid of mine had refused to drink from a cup used by another maid, because she said she was from a caste lower than hers. She also told me she herself was from a low caste.
    She was uneducated so maybe it was expected?

    A friend's father (a philanthropist) asked her if she was open to getting married to a guy out of caste, and she, who has studied in Convents and (later) performed her father's last rites, refused to marry a non-Brahman. She is proud to be a Brahman. I don't think any Dalit can say that :(

    After seeing the video I feel caste based reservation is essential. I can't see how, reservation based on economic criteria, (often suggested as a better alternative) is going to help.

    A non-dalit might think twice before getting a false SC-ST certificate, but it's easy to imagine fake economic criteria certificates being used.

    All those who are against reservations in professional colleges and jobs, have been suggesting reservations at basic level. I wonder if they would welcome a reservation for Dalit children in the 25% seats in all public and state run schools? (Part of Kapil Sibal's reforms)

    An even if applied, is such a reservation enough to put all the children at an equal level? It would help, but it would take time - because first generation learners would be competing with those who come from strong educated backgrounds.

    The damage that made it so deep rooted took generations ... So we might need many generations of support, inclusion and reservations to undo the damage.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Roshmi Madam, The caste based politics is just born out of the social order. Democracy gives level field to the dalits as it is based on the numbers rather than possession of resources. No one wants to give the authority. ... thats the sad part of it. You are correct about vested interest on all sides... The hiearchail ladder of caste will make one supress their bottom holders with more zeal than their above ones are biasing one..

    I was not aware about history and discrimination done by 'Lingayats'. Indeed Hinduism is very good in dividing and discriminating people on the name of religion and beliefs. And there is the backing of whole philosophy for the sake of arguments. All these experiences you told are very less gentle form of practices. Yet these small day to day biasing makes this monster big. And that discrimination done by educated class makes the blood boil...


    Regarding Jinnah, he was neither a devout Muslim nor an anglican guy. People like Imran Khan come in this cateogary as they had studied in western universities and can judge a problem with rational thinking. Now with the time, they revert back to Islam and defend it rigourous viewpoints. But, the usual person living in south asia has been discouraged for rational reasoning and had to blindly believe in his scriptures. So, Jinnah and Imran are alien to their culture as their upbringing was not based here. Instead of attacking inability to question own logic and education, they give a way for extremist Muslims as their followers. It is far better to be confused than to have the certainty of the Talib...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anubhava, the story gives insight about the persons who respect talent more than background of the person. As, counter to this story we have Eklavya story also in Mahabharat. There is a gross denial at general level about caste discrimination by higher castes but it prevails everywhere. Yes, we are one of the racist country. And things can't be simple... people in India are proud to take their old baggage of traditions with them. As Roshmi madam narrated about caste feelings in educated class is not disappearing with education. And so is ours struggle against must go on...Please tell me about your Project Sparsh.Anything, i can help for

    ReplyDelete
  10. Indianhomemaker , welcome here in this deiscussion.Thanks for your input. Getting a false SC-ST certificate is common practice and cause of problem in Chattisgarh and orissa region. Check here for the [ Link ]. You had correctly assessed the whole scenario at : A non-dalit might think twice before getting a false SC-ST certificate, but it's easy to imagine fake economic criteria certificates being used.

    Education is the field that can provide empowerment to all despite of weak backgrounds because it respects merits even in reservation cateogary. So strong damage done of thousand years will not go in lifespan of one generation. Miles to go before making our country follow the model of Liberty, equality, fraternity....

    ReplyDelete
  11. Roshmi,

    i think it 'd do some good if u read the collections of amberdkar's writings and speeches. one volume contains several letters of him to the king's successor for an extension to pay off the dues. (i think because he was legally obliged to work for his benefactor or pay off the expenses incurred). so although it was commendable gesture and was very important for ambedkar, it wasn't in fact "borne" by the Maharaj.

    and this help is mentioned in every single book on ambedkar i have read, cause otherwise the story doesnt hold up. his paying off part is not.

    when u say he was built up, which i think is very naive or rather casteist, i think u should re-read the trajectory of his politics, and the people who facilitated or stood in opposition. in fact, if u don't read his works chronologically, u 'll always be baffled by his stand. so are everyone else.

    ReplyDelete
  12. i don't think u handled to (ur sister's) quota is harming democracy argument very well. i strongly recommend something like "Inclusion and democracy" by irish mariam young. if u can't get it lemme know.

    read pbm's artile, and whoa, i gotta blog on it, a comment here isn't fair to him. thanks for the link.

    ReplyDelete
  13. apocryphal, i also think that i got bit defensive in dealing with sister's arguments. I was telling her ground realities but she was not accepting that such things like caste even affect our thinking. How do you deal with the person who has never faced gender discrimination or observed caste practices and living in an ivory tower. She doesn't consider caste in making her decisions.. that was ok for me. And thanks for telling me about the inclusion and democracy;

    ReplyDelete
  14. i wont mind getting an sc-st certificate.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @ak, yupe I know your thought process !

    ReplyDelete

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