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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Caste and Education

Caste is so complex matter that it is constantly changing and adjusting to new circumstances. This poses a great challenge for all of us because it is deeply embedded in the mind of India and caste attitudes are not fading away even after so much education. Today, Indian society still retains part of the age old caste system and that Dalits still face social stigma even in urban circles. The manners and food habits of those from the lower section of the social ladder are still laughed at by the so-called upper class who are unwilling to let them enter their world unless it is for their benefit.

1- 26th January is approaching near, still a question arises in my mind. Why eminent persons like Dr. Ambedkar, Sardar Patel and Ram Manohar Lohia are reduced and viewed as caste representative leaders in political circles ? 'Blowin' in the Hind' is an article exploring about Dr. Ambedkar on the eve of the Great Indian Republic day.

2- A special report from the 2nd day of Jaipur Literature Festival :

The session on Dalit literature, titled, Outcaste: The Search for Public Conscience was the most provocative of the festival so far, with the panel of Dalit writers, Kancha Illaiah, OP Valmiki and P Sivakami making a passionate case for why the caste system will not go unless Hinduism goes.

“The reason most Hindus don't get worked up enough about atrocities against Dalits is that their conscience is not a public conscience but a caste conscience, imbued with values derived from caste,” said P Sivakami, the Tamil novelist.

Kancha Illaiah, author of Why I am Not A Hindu, turned up the heat further, by stating, “Hinduism is spiritual fascism.”

3- I love my Alma mater very much. But, often it comes in negative light unconsciously.
Now , Banaras Hindu University has picked K.P. Singh as director of its engineering wing. He is accused by the Uttar Pradesh government in a 2007 state medical examination scam , which is set to become India’s newest IIT. As this archival news item show:

Bahujan Samaj Party Government on Thursday recommended the dismissal of the Vice Chancellor of Vir Bahadur Singh Poorvanchal University, Jaunpur, K.P. Singh. The examinations were conducted by Poorvanchal University and Prof. Singh was the Chairman of UPCPMT, 2007.

The Government’s decision to sack Prof. Singh was based on the findings of the nine-member high-power committee. The panel was constituted by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati, on June 15 following large-scale violence by students in the aftermath of the results announced on June 14.

Few days ago, The Telegraph breaks out the news that caste is given priority over merit in the picking of the director of IT-BHU.

BHU vice-chancellor D.P. Singh insisted that all norms had been followed in the selection. He told The Telegraph: “The executive council has picked K.P. Singh on my recommendation because he presents us with the best balance between seniority and time left before retirement. I don’t pick people on the basis of their caste.”

Traditionally, BHU picks the senior-most available faculty member to head its institutes. Critics of K.P. Singh’s selection say civil engineer and dean Virendra Singh, senior-most after outgoing IT-BHU director Upadhyay, was ignored.

K.P. Singh and D.P. Singh are both Thakurs, as are six of the 10 BHU executive council members, the critics said. Upadhyay, who has a year before retirement, is a Brahmin.

Still, I have doubt on Mayawati's honest stance of sacking K. P. Singh in 2007 due to her sheer corruption prone nature and dictator style governance. Charu Sudan Kasturi has covered this story in an honest way. But, we are at the peak moment of conversion of ITBHU to IIT. I don't know the truth but caste, corruption and education are intermingled with each other to deepest fathom in our Indian society.

Footnotes: Subhas Chandra Bose, only leader hailed as 'Netaji' (no other leader was called with respect by this title in our Indian history) born today on 23rd Jan; was a leader in the Indian independence movement. Its sad but ours has great history of forgotten heroes...


  1. Its So sad to read all this
    Casteism is followed in public offices, its not a new thing

  2. Mayank, we share the same sadness by reading these events. The point I raised here is same. Offcourse, its not new thing, but why it is not fading away with time and education...



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