Why don't I support ban on caste discrimination?




Why don’t I support ban on caste discrimination? For the same reasons as I don’t support the ban on sex determination. In the words of Einstein¬†“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

That is the short answer. The rest of the post is the elaboration.

Discrimination is a social problem. Fixing a social problem with legal restrictions only creates problems. Without uniform enforcement, it cannot help with the more vicious manifestations – the real concern. It is the left-brain right brain thing. Or the reason why quitting smoking is so difficult and logic loses to feeling or why drug control is an eternal battle. It is how human beings function.

My suspicion is that we as a society didn’t want any change, and didn’t have the guts to refuse to change. So we put in systems that wouldn’t work. Some of the worst discriminatory crimes have been committed with government support. Be them the Sikh riots or the Gujarat carnage. Does that sound like we wanted discrimination to go away? Those differences exist. Solidly.

Expecting them to go away is folly, and actually a bad idea. We are diverse people. Our diversity is part of our individuality, our identity. The trouble is not in belonging to a caste, but in hurtful actions being excused by it. Like a rape is excused through clothes. It is an excuse. There are hideous crimes committed irrespective of caste too. It is a mindset that accepts violence as a response. You can’t ban it. There is a need to challenge it, suggest more functional ways of being and invite people to revise their understanding. Refusing to engage, or thinking “some people will never change” is futile. It is the only way. Energy is better spent thinking “okay, this didn’t work, what will?”

Painting caste as evil has created confusion and blanket rejection of culture for many people and an arrogant rejection of the rules by others. No matter what society you have, it will have a structure. There will be powerful people and less powerful people. Calling structures evil is missing the woods for the trees. Removing them leaves a vacuum that is further exploited to create new opportunistic structures that are not necessarily kinder than older ones, nor are they thought out with the effort of ages.

We live in hundreds of hierarchies – all co-existing simultaneously. A child has less authority than parents, a worker is less powerful than an industrialist, etc. Hierarchies are a functional fact of life. It isn’t something that dropped from an alien planet. Somewhere down the line, ideas of equality were imposed on these structures when it comes to caste. Equality is a myth. There is no equality. The most we can hope for is getting rid of dysfunctions and offering equal attention or “public facilities”. A large part of the demonization of the caste system was that our colonizers didn’t understand it. The Brits had a problem with caste hierarchies (of course, they would otherwise be outcastes in the land they ruled ūüėõ – just saying), but they had their own hierarchies. You only need to read the mind numbing protocols – what were they, if not tokens to hierarchy? A lot of perceived rigidity is (I think) the Brit opinion, because they came from a society where the protocols were extremely rigid on the smallest matters to big things. I also sometimes think that their own frustration in their system added to their criticisms of ours – we see reality through a filter of our own experiences, they did too.

In having a goal to wipe out caste, we put before ourselves a safely impossible task. I say safely, because if something is impossible, then you don’t have to do it, no? Quite safe to claim it then and later throw out a “I tried my best”.

On the other hand, the ban damages its own cause. Like you won’t listen to anyone telling you not to love someone, you won’t listen to anyone telling you not to hate someone. You may pretend good behaviour, but you don’t like them. Others may attack the object of hate – and it can be more a retaliation at the expectation/imposition that you don’t hate them, than anything they did. It will definitely amplify ill will. Witness the caste atrocities happening now, search for them in history. From barring access to wells and considering touch impure, we have gone to outright killing.¬†In a time when burning women on their husband’s pyres was routine, where are the mass killings of lower castes? We have developed those by forcing “equality” and negating individuality. So everyone is in everyone’s space. Our law has not functioned as intended. As our other laws attempting social change through regimentation fail. And the superiority-inferiority thing continues anyway. How is this an improvement?

A real life joke, but worth reflecting on.

A dalit acquaintance is rich. He always hires Brahmin cooks to be assured of the best quality.

The heart can find a new love/hate, it cannot understand rules. The brain learns, but in a battle with the heart, it is rare for the brain to win or create change beyond the attention span. Emotions are fundamental to our existence. We can’t do a damn thing without a feeling or need being associated with it. We can do many things without thinking. There is no way thinking can outpower emotions. Yeah, all ye, who say “I go by the brain”, you’re lying – you go by your emotion – fear – of the vulnerability of being known to be ruled by emotion. Not lying actually, you are not aware.

Laws, thus will not work to change social thought. It will only help people put things under the carpet so that they can’t be addressed easily. Laws can present deterrence, but not if there are so many laws that they no longer feel threatening. And we have a vast number of impotent laws.

The other way the ban harms the cause is by removing expectations and responsibility from the people. If there is a law in place, people have something to point to. It is not their problem. “Oh! we fixed that. We have a law. The police will manage the rest. It is their problem now. Interfering will only complicate matters. I will sit and watch.” In the process, we lose something that has actually proven effective at social change – the capacity of a group to self-evolve. Throughout the history of caste, there have been those who challenged it. From Buddha and Mahavira to Meera bai, Dnyaneshwar, Kabir, Guru Nanak, Swami Vivekananda, Ramananda, Jyotirao Phule, Mannathu Padmanabham…. many, many people. They did it by introducing new thought into the society. By inspiring. By role modeling the desired values. The same way that women’s reform happened, with education, sati, child marriage, widow remarriage…. read your history text books. They didn’t need laws to change society. They did it through influencing minds and it worked

So what can be done? One thing is clear, the ban can’t be removed. While creating it was a bad idea, removing it will be an altogether different intervention that will imply carte blanche on discrimination. Bad, bad idea. Now that it is here, we must work with it in place. For now at least, till people are ready to be cohesive without. However, there are other things we can do.

India is currently fractured. A law is separate from a social message is separate from activism is separate from government subsidies/support, is different from media influence…. our thought processes are silos even if they address the exact same problem. We need to move out of this. If there is a law banning caste discrimination (for example, because of our article subject), it is useful for public service messages to address issues of caste, with well crafted messages with assistance from social scientists. Data from the ground could be used to guide government subsidies in moving away from a discrimination we are trying to abolish – for example, replacing reservations based on circumstances of birth with support to empower achievement based on need for support identified in more practical ways. No reason why a poor Brahmin shouldn’t get free books a rich Dalit might. This is discrimination too! Social scientists spend a lot of thought in such things, they should be engaged in all facets of influencing people to enable cohesive, empowering and life affirming growth of thought, rather than regimentation.

The other part of this aid is that it shouldn’t be about different standards of merit. Not just because it dilutes the “intellectual standards” of professional ability or deprives more deserving candidates (I think that’s bullshit), but because it undermines the dignity of those helped among peers. It becomes an embarrassing mark of “state favoritism for the undeserving” which is totally false. A student scoring 89% marks can’t really be called stupid just because others scored 92. But that is an immediate association – that they didn’t deserve something and were given it while depriving more deserving people. This is not going to win friends and influence people. Worse, because many may even have got admissions without the prop, but have to suffer the indignity to their reputation anyway because they fit the criteria.

No one listens to the surname of a Dalit doctor and asks him if he got admissions on merit or reservation – he’s a villain both ways. If he got it on merit, he’s not a good enough doctor, and if he got it on reservation, he occupied a seat meant for “regular people” rather than using the quota. This is actually a confused kind of discrimination with no traditional outlet. It has nothing to do with the poor doctor, and everything to do with the speaker who needs excuses to say what he now can’t say directly “I don’t like Dalits”. If he were free to say that, it would be easy to discuss and invite change, but now it is wrapped in a lot of pseudo-logic which though selective is factual and can’t be disputed, so getting to the reason for the need to use that logic is tough.

Instead, there ought to be social outreach to provide support for achievement for those who need it, and the need needs better identifiers than circumstances of birth. This may mean books, tutions, or it could even mean good clothes to wear for an interview. But it shouldn’t be something that makes achievement easier and marks them forever as “people who got it easy” – which is also false. It is not easy to get difficult admissions just because a few numbers are lower. More than that, we can then assist everyone who needs it without needing special records and quotas. Regardless of caste, race, whatever.

Also, these changes need to be gradual and purposeful. For example a shift from reservations to enabling merit in open admissions could be done by first providing support and withdrawing reservations as the cut-off percentages start becoming similar. We aren’t trying to abandon people here.

We need to work to change minds. Without that, no law will ever do anything. Like sex-determination is the method used to act upon the desire for a female child, so is this. And like sex determination, the problem is not in the method, but the desire to apply it. Block one method, and the inherent adaptability of the human being will ensure that we will never

We need to move away from the legal thinking to social thinking. What is it that bothers a Brahmin about a Dalit today? How is it dysfunctional? How can we change the thinking around the dysfunctional areas? How can we raise awareness about discrimination itself – how favoring one over the other can be dysfunctional? We need thought leaders and reformers, not police unless there is crime. There needs to be much done on a routine basis – support and empowerment structures created – without waiting for crime so that action may be taken.

Today, we have resources people like Jyotiba Phule never did. We have thinkers coming out of the woodwork. The internet has transformed the concept of thought leaders. We have the means to throw thoughts out into the remotest regions of the country. Remember “With DTH we now have the capacity to reach every household in the country”, etc. We have the ability to create powerful narratives that practically take zero effort to deliver once created – films, for example. So why are we still not touching the thinking, and abdicating all responsibility to some obscure law? The battlefield for this particular war is in minds, not police stations.

I think, the real question is what makes us hang on to our prejudices so tenaciously? Why do we not make EFFECTIVE efforts? Failed doesn’t cut it over decades. It only means no serious effort was made.

Can we forget about banning discrimination, and simply focus on integrating all our drifting folks?

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About the Author

Vidyut
Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

40 Comments on "Why don't I support ban on caste discrimination?"

  1. Hello,
    may be it is too late to comment, but I do feel that one thinking on these lines should see Professor Richard Wolff’s lectures available online on class analysis. Liked your post ūüôā

  2. Hello,
    may be it is too late to comment, but I do feel that one thinking on these lines should see Professor Richard Wolff’s lectures available online on class analysis. Liked your post ūüôā

  3. A very well written and more importantly well thought post.
    First of all, Caste System in Ancient India was introduced to channelize the people and organize the working structure of Culture. No man was less important or more important, back then. A goldsmith was as important as iron smith. 

    A hierarchy was then introduced. Brahmin (meaning “Learned”) was at the top brass, to manage things well. Just like a MBA Grad is deemed as Manager in the company and Engineers work below in hierarchy. That doesn’t mean the Manager is too important or Engineer is less important. But it’s just that the Manager has higher level understanding of things and he can manage it well.

    But later on, the structure got disarrayed and intensity diluted. People started to use it to their advantage and here we are to the climax of its misuse. Politicians are using the caste structure to divide the nation for their own gain and people are getting fooled by it. Neither can we blame people for getting fooled because it’s small amount of money they need to survive and if this lets them earn it, they are ready to go for it.

    Dr. Ambedkar has mentioned that the Caste System should stop functioning the way he has written it, once the underprivileged people get to the equal level. But alas, politicians made it their point that those people never come up the at par level.

    But a law is necessary somewhere. Not just the law but it’s impartial implementation is necessary. But if we keep that implementation in hands of Govt, then we already know the results. So we need a Social Campaign, just like what Mahatma Phule started, just like Raja Ram Mohan Roy stopped the Sati Pratha, to stop the Caste¬†Discrimination¬†in our country. We ourselves need to come to an understanding that Caste System was meant for something else and is now wandering somewhere else.

    I know a person, a very close friend of mine in school days, who comes in lower caste and could get admission in elite Engineering college by scoring only 50-55% but he went on to score 300/300 in PCM (Physics, Chemistry, Maths – a group score needed to get admission in Engineering college) and got an admission in elite Engineering College in General Category. He didn’t need to avail the benefit of Caste because he was the most deserving one. As Dr. Ambedkar mentioned, he brought himself up to the “at par” level with intellectual people.

    In short, we need a social movement and WE, the people, need to start it and see to it that it ends up being successful.

  4. A very well written and more importantly well thought post.
    First of all, Caste System in Ancient India was introduced to channelize the people and organize the working structure of Culture. No man was less important or more important, back then. A goldsmith was as important as iron smith. 

    A hierarchy was then introduced. Brahmin (meaning “Learned”) was at the top brass, to manage things well. Just like a MBA Grad is deemed as Manager in the company and Engineers work below in hierarchy. That doesn’t mean the Manager is too important or Engineer is less important. But it’s just that the Manager has higher level understanding of things and he can manage it well.

    But later on, the structure got disarrayed and intensity diluted. People started to use it to their advantage and here we are to the climax of its misuse. Politicians are using the caste structure to divide the nation for their own gain and people are getting fooled by it. Neither can we blame people for getting fooled because it’s small amount of money they need to survive and if this lets them earn it, they are ready to go for it.

    Dr. Ambedkar has mentioned that the Caste System should stop functioning the way he has written it, once the underprivileged people get to the equal level. But alas, politicians made it their point that those people never come up the at par level.

    But a law is necessary somewhere. Not just the law but it’s impartial implementation is necessary. But if we keep that implementation in hands of Govt, then we already know the results. So we need a Social Campaign, just like what Mahatma Phule started, just like Raja Ram Mohan Roy stopped the Sati Pratha, to stop the Caste¬†Discrimination¬†in our country. We ourselves need to come to an understanding that Caste System was meant for something else and is now wandering somewhere else.

    I know a person, a very close friend of mine in school days, who comes in lower caste and could get admission in elite Engineering college by scoring only 50-55% but he went on to score 300/300 in PCM (Physics, Chemistry, Maths – a group score needed to get admission in Engineering college) and got an admission in elite Engineering College in General Category. He didn’t need to avail the benefit of Caste because he was the most deserving one. As Dr. Ambedkar mentioned, he brought himself up to the “at par” level with intellectual people.

    In short, we need a social movement and WE, the people, need to start it and see to it that it ends up being successful.

  5. LAW is “last available weapon”.Discrimination can be reduced by transforming the mindset of people.With the internet getting accessible to more and more people,it can play an important role.

  6. LAW is “last available weapon”.Discrimination can be reduced by transforming the mindset of people.With the internet getting accessible to more and more people,it can play an important role.

  7.    its because of reservations we stay as a single country.what are the agitations for telengana,gorkhaland,merger of naga districts of manipur with nagaland,kukiland etc.bhutan and nepal survive and have their own doctors,engrs,foreign secretaries,lawyers from themselves.if the nonquota group feels that quota is depriving them its time to partition the country according to castes.
       why should a tamilian dalit or chattisgarh tribal be a part of  india if mishras and sharmas will be the IAS/IPS,architects,judges etc and they continue with their great glorious jobs of pig rearing and scavenging.why should uttarpradesh get 80 seats and kerala 20 seats when kerala outscores uttar pradesh on all accounts of life index.democracy is the rule of numbers and days of monarchy are over where a few blue blooded and their rajgurus ruled the roost
      

    • Ganapaty, you have very good arguments but your fault is generalization. Being a politician & doctor require diff skill sets. I dont say “upper” jatis have all skills req to become doctors but to downgrade requirements is dangerous and unjust to “lower” jatis themselves.

      Disparity in statewise political representation (lok/rajya sabha) is terrible. Every state big or small shud have equal number of seats. Similarly, every Jati must be politically & equally represented.

      It is not wise to say doctors shud be proportionately represented. How will you do that w/o force fitting? Will you give 3% seats for brahmanical jatis even if 1% are not fit to be doctors?

      • ¬†i was just quoting an example to make people understand reservation.i am too for equal weightage for all states in atleast one of the houses.reservation based on domicile status is the highest and is close to 100%.imagine a situation where keralites are getting all the seats,jobs in uttarkhand or bihar. how will the locals react.the same with castes too.when the divisions disappear we can replace caste as a criteria with other parameters.
           they are not made doctors or lawyers in a day. its just the entry into the colleges.they have to get the same marks to clear the exams and become one.if they are not fit to become soldiers or doctors they will fail but the state has a responsibility to get them into the college.
          indian army has proportional representation for evry district. is it fair or having just sikhs and jats since they are tall and run faster(criteria for selection). the physical standards are relaxed for gorkhas ,hill troops like kumaonis, garhwalis and they are far ahead in performances than the wellbuilt troops from other regions.the domination of one group will lead to arrogance and dictatorship.

    • I have thought about your comments, and am hoping to make a responsible answer. I know you feel strongly about the matter, and I wish to make it clear that if anything I say hurts you, I apologize. This post and the years of thought and observation behind it were with the purpose of ensuring dignity and integration. However, I am human, and it is not necessary that I am always right.

      I think that you are confusing two issues here. Caste and region. Regional concerns are geographical and handled by local governments. Ensuring admissions as per region shouldn’t be a very difficult thing. And it is a right of the people living there. When we speak of centralized admissions, I concede that there may be variations in candidates which are not exactly proportional to their percentage of the population.

      The question here is if it is necessary to go by divisive numbers at the cost of integration. Again, you seem to be assuming an inferiority. There is a sense of disadvantage in your words, where people with lesser opportunity may suffer.

      My vision was that they are not abandoned. To quote from the post directly, “Also, these changes need to be gradual and purposeful. For example a shift from reservations to enabling merit in open admissions could be done by first providing support and withdrawing reservations as the cut-off percentages start becoming similar. We aren‚Äôt trying to abandon people here.” In other words, the reservations are not taken away abruptly, but evaluated on a continuous basis till the support shows effect and their¬†absence¬†doesn’t create unfair disadvantages.

      A sense of victimization is usually well deserved. It is abandonment and uncaring exploitation that causes it. I don’t think a well thought out social change will disintegrate the country, particularly if it is not forced, but eased into as its value becomes visible.

      If it is a matter of regional professionals, admissions by region still make sense, because they have a logical function of providing for the region’s functioning. States aren’t something we are trying to get rid of, like caste discrimination. It is less harmful to reserve by region, if we must – an opinion.

      If possible, I would appreciate it if you would read the post again, and remind yourself that it is caste being discussed, and comment if the ideas still seem harmful to you?

      If it is a bad idea, it is a bad idea. We can get some more people familiar with these circumstances like you and figure out something that can work better. Nothing is impossible if we are looking to make things work. I think a goal of dignity and integration is worthwhile.

      • Caste and region. Regional concerns are geographical and handled by
        local governments. Ensuring admissions as per region shouldn’t be a very
        difficult thing. And it is a right of the people living there.vidyut

          where is the confusion here.caste will become the deciding factor for separate states/separatist tendencies when representation is denied.whats the difference between a manipuri/gujarathi getting into engg college with 70% in his state in comparison with a keralite not getting a seat with 90% and caste based reservation and the myth of depriving someone.
           there is very little discrimination against a dalit collector/SP from the general public.there may be discrimination against him by his colleagues when they are meagre in number and are pitted against a numerical majority but when their number increases the discrimination starts disappearing
          there are no cardiologists or neurologists for entire districts in may parts of the country and the visiting consultants have appointments in 100s irrespective of their surname.A qualified naga doctor speaking their language is anyday preferred more in nagaland when he is in competition with a gujarathi or bihari practising there.
           there is ban(law to punish) on personal abuse and caste discrimination is nothing but abuse.i am surprised that you dont support outlawing abuse.its similar to domestic violence act.do u oppose punishments againsts domestic violence too
            where is the question of inferiority or superiority when demanding your rightful share

  8.    its because of reservations we stay as a single country.what are the agitations for telengana,gorkhaland,merger of naga districts of manipur with nagaland,kukiland etc.bhutan and nepal survive and have their own doctors,engrs,foreign secretaries,lawyers from themselves.if the nonquota group feels that quota is depriving them its time to partition the country according to castes.
       why should a tamilian dalit or chattisgarh tribal be a part of  india if mishras and sharmas will be the IAS/IPS,architects,judges etc and they continue with their great glorious jobs of pig rearing and scavenging.why should uttarpradesh get 80 seats and kerala 20 seats when kerala outscores uttar pradesh on all accounts of life index.democracy is the rule of numbers and days of monarchy are over where a few blue blooded and their rajgurus ruled the roost
      

    • Ganapaty, you have very good arguments but your fault is generalization. Being a politician & doctor require diff skill sets. I dont say “upper” jatis have all skills req to become doctors but to downgrade requirements is dangerous and unjust to “lower” jatis themselves.

      Disparity in statewise political representation (lok/rajya sabha) is terrible. Every state big or small shud have equal number of seats. Similarly, every Jati must be politically & equally represented.

      It is not wise to say doctors shud be proportionately represented. How will you do that w/o force fitting? Will you give 3% seats for brahmanical jatis even if 1% are not fit to be doctors?

      • ¬†i was just quoting an example to make people understand reservation.i am too for equal weightage for all states in atleast one of the houses.reservation based on domicile status is the highest and is close to 100%.imagine a situation where keralites are getting all the seats,jobs in uttarkhand or bihar. how will the locals react.the same with castes too.when the divisions disappear we can replace caste as a criteria with other parameters.
           they are not made doctors or lawyers in a day. its just the entry into the colleges.they have to get the same marks to clear the exams and become one.if they are not fit to become soldiers or doctors they will fail but the state has a responsibility to get them into the college.
          indian army has proportional representation for evry district. is it fair or having just sikhs and jats since they are tall and run faster(criteria for selection). the physical standards are relaxed for gorkhas ,hill troops like kumaonis, garhwalis and they are far ahead in performances than the wellbuilt troops from other regions.the domination of one group will lead to arrogance and dictatorship.

    • I have thought about your comments, and am hoping to make a responsible answer. I know you feel strongly about the matter, and I wish to make it clear that if anything I say hurts you, I apologize. This post and the years of thought and observation behind it were with the purpose of ensuring dignity and integration. However, I am human, and it is not necessary that I am always right.

      I think that you are confusing two issues here. Caste and region. Regional concerns are geographical and handled by local governments. Ensuring admissions as per region shouldn’t be a very difficult thing. And it is a right of the people living there. When we speak of centralized admissions, I concede that there may be variations in candidates which are not exactly proportional to their percentage of the population.

      The question here is if it is necessary to go by divisive numbers at the cost of integration. Again, you seem to be assuming an inferiority. There is a sense of disadvantage in your words, where people with lesser opportunity may suffer.

      My vision was that they are not abandoned. To quote from the post directly, “Also, these changes need to be gradual and purposeful. For example a shift from reservations to enabling merit in open admissions could be done by first providing support and withdrawing reservations as the cut-off percentages start becoming similar. We aren‚Äôt trying to abandon people here.” In other words, the reservations are not taken away abruptly, but evaluated on a continuous basis till the support shows effect and their¬†absence¬†doesn’t create unfair disadvantages.

      A sense of victimization is usually well deserved. It is abandonment and uncaring exploitation that causes it. I don’t think a well thought out social change will disintegrate the country, particularly if it is not forced, but eased into as its value becomes visible.

      If it is a matter of regional professionals, admissions by region still make sense, because they have a logical function of providing for the region’s functioning. States aren’t something we are trying to get rid of, like caste discrimination. It is less harmful to reserve by region, if we must – an opinion.

      If possible, I would appreciate it if you would read the post again, and remind yourself that it is caste being discussed, and comment if the ideas still seem harmful to you?

      If it is a bad idea, it is a bad idea. We can get some more people familiar with these circumstances like you and figure out something that can work better. Nothing is impossible if we are looking to make things work. I think a goal of dignity and integration is worthwhile.

      • Caste and region. Regional concerns are geographical and handled by
        local governments. Ensuring admissions as per region shouldn’t be a very
        difficult thing. And it is a right of the people living there.vidyut

          where is the confusion here.caste will become the deciding factor for separate states/separatist tendencies when representation is denied.whats the difference between a manipuri/gujarathi getting into engg college with 70% in his state in comparison with a keralite not getting a seat with 90% and caste based reservation and the myth of depriving someone.
           there is very little discrimination against a dalit collector/SP from the general public.there may be discrimination against him by his colleagues when they are meagre in number and are pitted against a numerical majority but when their number increases the discrimination starts disappearing
          there are no cardiologists or neurologists for entire districts in may parts of the country and the visiting consultants have appointments in 100s irrespective of their surname.A qualified naga doctor speaking their language is anyday preferred more in nagaland when he is in competition with a gujarathi or bihari practising there.
           there is ban(law to punish) on personal abuse and caste discrimination is nothing but abuse.i am surprised that you dont support outlawing abuse.its similar to domestic violence act.do u oppose punishments againsts domestic violence too
            where is the question of inferiority or superiority when demanding your rightful share

  9. Good thoughts, too idealistic, too Utopian, you need laws and structures, to get things done, you can’t forever expect people’s good sense prevail. I mean if all people were so health conscious, law abiding and tolerant, we would not be needing doctors, lawyers and cops in the first place. We have decided to be a democracy good or bad, and we need institutions and laws in the place, else we can just junk everything¬† make it “Might is Right” kind of scenario.¬†

    When Abraham Lincoln, abolished Slavery, many in the South protested against it saying,that its an attack on our way of life, the same outcry was raised, when the US Govt¬† bought in the civil rights Bill in the 60’s, “attack on our way of life”,” this is how we were”. Had Lincoln and the latter US Govt not forced the issues, to date segregation and slavery would still have been¬† existing in the US.

    “We need to work to change minds. Without that, no law will ever do
    anything. Like sex-determination is the method used to act upon the
    desire for a female child, so is this.”

    Very utopian, very impractical, again.  What if tomorrow people say Rapists should not be punished  but should be made to change their minds?  Or  those indulging in Corruption should not be prosecuted but there has to be a change in mindset. 

    I agree  that Reservations should be made based on Economic basis not Caste, but that it another topic altogether.

    “From barring access to wells and considering touch impure, we have gone to outright killing. ”
     
    Err, killing those from lower castes  was not something new, it existed from quite a long  time, just that its coming out more in  the open.

  10. Good thoughts, too idealistic, too Utopian, you need laws and structures, to get things done, you can’t forever expect people’s good sense prevail. I mean if all people were so health conscious, law abiding and tolerant, we would not be needing doctors, lawyers and cops in the first place. We have decided to be a democracy good or bad, and we need institutions and laws in the place, else we can just junk everything¬† make it “Might is Right” kind of scenario.¬†

    When Abraham Lincoln, abolished Slavery, many in the South protested against it saying,that its an attack on our way of life, the same outcry was raised, when the US Govt¬† bought in the civil rights Bill in the 60’s, “attack on our way of life”,” this is how we were”. Had Lincoln and the latter US Govt not forced the issues, to date segregation and slavery would still have been¬† existing in the US.

    “We need to work to change minds. Without that, no law will ever do
    anything. Like sex-determination is the method used to act upon the
    desire for a female child, so is this.”

    Very utopian, very impractical, again.  What if tomorrow people say Rapists should not be punished  but should be made to change their minds?  Or  those indulging in Corruption should not be prosecuted but there has to be a change in mindset. 

    I agree  that Reservations should be made based on Economic basis not Caste, but that it another topic altogether.

    “From barring access to wells and considering touch impure, we have gone to outright killing. ”
     
    Err, killing those from lower castes  was not something new, it existed from quite a long  time, just that its coming out more in  the open.

  11. Hi Vidyut,

    A very well constructed article. We need to remove all the cliche & idioms that floating around freely.

    I know there are individuals who come on TV channels & rant about wrongs having been done over 1000’s years. To those you cant avenge what happened then.

    In the present we must concentrate of integration rather than segregation that is actually happen on the ground on account of Laws & reservations being piled on to somehow atone for wrongs done by people whom we have not even seen.

    Instead of implanting guilt with one section of the society on account of caste system, we should focus on providing quality education from primary level. An enlightened & empowered citizen will not look for crutches to walk.

    Moment she/he can hold their own. That is the proudest moment for any nation.

    Sincerely
    Anil Kohli

    • ¬† democracy is representation and the democratically elected people have an obligation to work for equality and upliftment of all.in india if there are 543 MPs,80 will be from UP,39 from TN,42 FROM west bengal,5¬† from uttarkhand are decided on numbers.the same with engineers,doctors,lawyers,judges,architects where the democratically elected representatives will strive to represent the percentage of the masses.
        reservation is a shortcut to providing that. why do women need reservation in parliament.do they lack merit in comparison with men.its because of the stranglehold of the males in the party system its impossible for women to come up on their own to get their legitimate share without the help of reservation.its the same with caste when it comes to jobs and education.the percentage of OBCs,SC/ST coming in the general category is increasing in states like tamilnadu where reservation is in vogue since several decades than the states which have started reservations in the recent past.what does it prove
        democracy will collapse if the ratio of leaders/members remain in favour of upper castes in all fields as it existed with monarchy.
        the question of guilt is too overplayed and has little to do with reservation.the nagas or  mizos have their kings and kingdoms and are part of the reservation groups.
        why should they stay as part of india if they are not given a legitimate share in governance.the same with any group.

      • If the premise is to work for equality then there is no place for special status by way of reservations. If the premise is Upliftment then there is tacit acceptance that there are socially invaild individual in this country and inorder to bring them on par we must now reduce¬†others so that parity is obtained.

        I do not understand why would anyone object to equal opportunity from day one where quality education is made availble to all Indians (Have not used word caste on purpose). Would this not lead to integration? would this not lead to instilling self confidence in those who we say are deprived?

        Socialism or socalist policies have been the bane of this country. Merit must be made the basis. Education has to be free upto secondary level that is what will ensure all go to school.A very serious review is required of how we wish to promote and support equality in this country laws are not what will ensure this.

        It is willing participation and that can only happen thru education. 63years reservations have not delivered the desired results. What was a temporary measure has become a permanent feature to be exploited by the privileged of the underprivileged section of society.

        You may have your views on this dont dismiss what others are saying look beyond and comapre with imperical data and not rhetoric. Solution come from data available and not from notion of wrongs heaped for 5000years now need to correct those by punishing those who have played no part since none of us were around then.

        Sincerely
        Anil Kohli

        • can u please explain what do u mean by merit.
                   there is a lot of difference between a child of literate parents and illiterate parents irrespective of studying in the same school. there is a lot of difference between the child coming by walk/bus to the school in comparison with the child coming by van/car
            there will be an significant difference between a child of a barber/washerman and a doctor/priest/architect irrespective of studying in the same school as their out of school work/learning vary grossly
            there will be a hell of difference between a child studying from an orphanage to the child living with parents.
            considering marks alone as merit is the worst insult for the word merit.a college having children from all strata of the society and making them learn the basics thoroughly to reach the minimum reqd standards for passing is anyday better than an institute selecting students above 99%only and making them graduates who had scored 100/100.
            upliftment is required for all cutting across caste lines as you see in the government schemes from NREGA  to the thousands given to middle class as gas subsidies and crores to businessmen as free land/tax holidays to uplift their standards to the standards of developed countries.
            the govt giving land at dead cheap rates to infosys or tata nano or apollo is also an upliftment scheme.
            reservation is neither a poor upliftment or poverty alleviation programme.the trouble is with the courts which struck down reservation for upper castes in 1993 judgement.no dalit/ obc will have objections to a brahmin or rajput demanding 10 or 20% for them on the basis of population
            malaria and tuberculosis eradication programmes too are designed for 10 years and are extended due to the noneradication.the same with caste.the number of vacant seats in the seats reserved for the SC/ST is more than half 60 years after independence due to the hatred and callous attitude of the authorities who belong to a different caste grouping. obc reservation in education has started just 3 years back (jobs since 1993)and u present the entire postindependent period as period of reservation.
            if all the nonquotawallahs decide to marry the quotawallahs in this generation caste based reservation will die its natural death. who prevents them from doing that

          • The vehemence & the aggression in your comments is extremely disturbing.

            You are pickingup bits and piece as per convenience and building an argument which is premised with¬†“My Way” merit to you may mean marks, is indeed unfortunate.

            You want to stand everything on its head is your choice, wish this was a unidimensional world, and the earth was flat then may be you would have succeeded in “My Way”

            I have spoken to many auto and taxi drivers who work very hard but are focused that their children get educated and not enter the same profession most of them have succeeded in doing precisely that.

            It was not a cake walk for most us or for our children we invested in educating our children without complianing and before that our parents did the same. Education is the only way to eradicate the inequalities to whatever extent possible, Utopian it would be to think that we would achieve total equality in this country or world.

            Request look at the issue holistically and not thru we have been wronged so must now be compensated. It is not about one state in India it is about the entire country.

            Wish you will read this and your own comments repeatedly may be you will see merit in these and there are no marks being given for this.

            Sincerely
            Anil Kohli

  12. Hi Vidyut,

    A very well constructed article. We need to remove all the cliche & idioms that floating around freely.

    I know there are individuals who come on TV channels & rant about wrongs having been done over 1000’s years. To those you cant avenge what happened then.

    In the present we must concentrate of integration rather than segregation that is actually happen on the ground on account of Laws & reservations being piled on to somehow atone for wrongs done by people whom we have not even seen.

    Instead of implanting guilt with one section of the society on account of caste system, we should focus on providing quality education from primary level. An enlightened & empowered citizen will not look for crutches to walk.

    Moment she/he can hold their own. That is the proudest moment for any nation.

    Sincerely
    Anil Kohli

    • ¬† democracy is representation and the democratically elected people have an obligation to work for equality and upliftment of all.in india if there are 543 MPs,80 will be from UP,39 from TN,42 FROM west bengal,5¬† from uttarkhand are decided on numbers.the same with engineers,doctors,lawyers,judges,architects where the democratically elected representatives will strive to represent the percentage of the masses.
        reservation is a shortcut to providing that. why do women need reservation in parliament.do they lack merit in comparison with men.its because of the stranglehold of the males in the party system its impossible for women to come up on their own to get their legitimate share without the help of reservation.its the same with caste when it comes to jobs and education.the percentage of OBCs,SC/ST coming in the general category is increasing in states like tamilnadu where reservation is in vogue since several decades than the states which have started reservations in the recent past.what does it prove
        democracy will collapse if the ratio of leaders/members remain in favour of upper castes in all fields as it existed with monarchy.
        the question of guilt is too overplayed and has little to do with reservation.the nagas or  mizos have their kings and kingdoms and are part of the reservation groups.
        why should they stay as part of india if they are not given a legitimate share in governance.the same with any group.

      • If the premise is to work for equality then there is no place for special status by way of reservations. If the premise is Upliftment then there is tacit acceptance that there are socially invaild individual in this country and inorder to bring them on par we must now reduce¬†others so that parity is obtained.

        I do not understand why would anyone object to equal opportunity from day one where quality education is made availble to all Indians (Have not used word caste on purpose). Would this not lead to integration? would this not lead to instilling self confidence in those who we say are deprived?

        Socialism or socalist policies have been the bane of this country. Merit must be made the basis. Education has to be free upto secondary level that is what will ensure all go to school.A very serious review is required of how we wish to promote and support equality in this country laws are not what will ensure this.

        It is willing participation and that can only happen thru education. 63years reservations have not delivered the desired results. What was a temporary measure has become a permanent feature to be exploited by the privileged of the underprivileged section of society.

        You may have your views on this dont dismiss what others are saying look beyond and comapre with imperical data and not rhetoric. Solution come from data available and not from notion of wrongs heaped for 5000years now need to correct those by punishing those who have played no part since none of us were around then.

        Sincerely
        Anil Kohli

        • can u please explain what do u mean by merit.
                   there is a lot of difference between a child of literate parents and illiterate parents irrespective of studying in the same school. there is a lot of difference between the child coming by walk/bus to the school in comparison with the child coming by van/car
            there will be an significant difference between a child of a barber/washerman and a doctor/priest/architect irrespective of studying in the same school as their out of school work/learning vary grossly
            there will be a hell of difference between a child studying from an orphanage to the child living with parents.
            considering marks alone as merit is the worst insult for the word merit.a college having children from all strata of the society and making them learn the basics thoroughly to reach the minimum reqd standards for passing is anyday better than an institute selecting students above 99%only and making them graduates who had scored 100/100.
            upliftment is required for all cutting across caste lines as you see in the government schemes from NREGA  to the thousands given to middle class as gas subsidies and crores to businessmen as free land/tax holidays to uplift their standards to the standards of developed countries.
            the govt giving land at dead cheap rates to infosys or tata nano or apollo is also an upliftment scheme.
            reservation is neither a poor upliftment or poverty alleviation programme.the trouble is with the courts which struck down reservation for upper castes in 1993 judgement.no dalit/ obc will have objections to a brahmin or rajput demanding 10 or 20% for them on the basis of population
            malaria and tuberculosis eradication programmes too are designed for 10 years and are extended due to the noneradication.the same with caste.the number of vacant seats in the seats reserved for the SC/ST is more than half 60 years after independence due to the hatred and callous attitude of the authorities who belong to a different caste grouping. obc reservation in education has started just 3 years back (jobs since 1993)and u present the entire postindependent period as period of reservation.
            if all the nonquotawallahs decide to marry the quotawallahs in this generation caste based reservation will die its natural death. who prevents them from doing that

          • The vehemence & the aggression in your comments is extremely disturbing.

            You are pickingup bits and piece as per convenience and building an argument which is premised with¬†“My Way” merit to you may mean marks, is indeed unfortunate.

            You want to stand everything on its head is your choice, wish this was a unidimensional world, and the earth was flat then may be you would have succeeded in “My Way”

            I have spoken to many auto and taxi drivers who work very hard but are focused that their children get educated and not enter the same profession most of them have succeeded in doing precisely that.

            It was not a cake walk for most us or for our children we invested in educating our children without complianing and before that our parents did the same. Education is the only way to eradicate the inequalities to whatever extent possible, Utopian it would be to think that we would achieve total equality in this country or world.

            Request look at the issue holistically and not thru we have been wronged so must now be compensated. It is not about one state in India it is about the entire country.

            Wish you will read this and your own comments repeatedly may be you will see merit in these and there are no marks being given for this.

            Sincerely
            Anil Kohli

  13. I’ll share my perspective.

    Jati and Varna are conceptually not the same.

    Jatis are endogamous groups that were historically centered on occupations. These groups evolved their some shared and some unique traditions, customs, norms, mores etc. As occupations became more diversified and people started to migrate and get other jobs, occupation as a marker of Jati withered and what remained was its endogamous nature coupled with customs and traditions. This is what we see today.

    Varna is entirely different. It is based on guna or character trait. The ancient “varnavyavastha” was a common sense based social and political requirement which was perfected by an highly evolved people or tribes, most likely in the Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization. When these evolved people started interacting and spreading themselves in the mainland of Hindusthan, they came in contact with other tribes and the process of incorporating these others into a great society was via Jati. It is now plain to see why Jatis were endogamous with diverse traditions since it promised cultural and ethnic autonomy within Hindu society. Of course to and fro exchanges occurred as a matter of natural course.

    In short, this is the reason why Jati will evolve but not die. We should also keep Jati separate from Varna or else we will lose the essence and use of Varna Рthe begetter of social flexibility. 
    Jatis have never been hierarchy driven. They have been dependencies upon on another. This is why each Jati was proud of its identity. What we call hierarchy is actually conceit due to notions of pollution/purity and access to power.

    Whilst discussing the dalit problem, we should keep in¬† mind that traditionally, untouchables have been antyajas or the last in social order or “out-castes” or not within the Jati tradition. We often rile against Jati by citing the untouchable problem and then feel lost when we see people still clinging to their Jatis. We wonder why? We think our people are barbarians and without conscience. How can they speak of Jati in the face such oppression?! We wonder. The reason is they are two different realities.

    Though not having addressed all aspects of your post, I will stop here. Let me know if there are questions.

  14. I’ll share my perspective.

    Jati and Varna are conceptually not the same.

    Jatis are endogamous groups that were historically centered on occupations. These groups evolved their some shared and some unique traditions, customs, norms, mores etc. As occupations became more diversified and people started to migrate and get other jobs, occupation as a marker of Jati withered and what remained was its endogamous nature coupled with customs and traditions. This is what we see today.

    Varna is entirely different. It is based on guna or character trait. The ancient “varnavyavastha” was a common sense based social and political requirement which was perfected by an highly evolved people or tribes, most likely in the Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization. When these evolved people started interacting and spreading themselves in the mainland of Hindusthan, they came in contact with other tribes and the process of incorporating these others into a great society was via Jati. It is now plain to see why Jatis were endogamous with diverse traditions since it promised cultural and ethnic autonomy within Hindu society. Of course to and fro exchanges occurred as a matter of natural course.

    In short, this is the reason why Jati will evolve but not die. We should also keep Jati separate from Varna or else we will lose the essence and use of Varna Рthe begetter of social flexibility. 
    Jatis have never been hierarchy driven. They have been dependencies upon on another. This is why each Jati was proud of its identity. What we call hierarchy is actually conceit due to notions of pollution/purity and access to power.

    Whilst discussing the dalit problem, we should keep in¬† mind that traditionally, untouchables have been antyajas or the last in social order or “out-castes” or not within the Jati tradition. We often rile against Jati by citing the untouchable problem and then feel lost when we see people still clinging to their Jatis. We wonder why? We think our people are barbarians and without conscience. How can they speak of Jati in the face such oppression?! We wonder. The reason is they are two different realities.

    Though not having addressed all aspects of your post, I will stop here. Let me know if there are questions.

  15. sorry vidyut mam.i must tell you that the para¬† “The other part of this aid is that it shouldn‚Äôt replace merit.” is really shocking to hear from you…….i must tell resv in education has been the most worst thing that happened in this country …….as a matter of fact even in higher educations,nowdays the caste has become a imp thing to get good clg admission,the latest one is what happened in DU ……where some students kept fake certificates and joined clgs……i am totally against caste discrimination,by following this we want prove that all are equal but what happens to more deserving candidates……here is a small story

    a student writes exam for admission in state exam for mca and mba,he gets a rank of 5ooo,and then what happens …he goes for counseling.he does not get a seat but when he is coming back ,he sees another friend of him who is a dalit who got 1,00,000 rank and he gets a seat in university …..
    so you say this brahmin boy is unlucky or dalit man is tooo intelligent……

     

    • You are right. That wasn’t what I meant at all. Somehow, in my sleep hazed state, I probably started the sentence one way and changed my mind. In case there is any doubt, I am saying that aid should not mean making results/goals/admissions easier – like the rest of the article says. Thank you for bringing it up. Correcting now.

  16. sorry vidyut mam.i must tell you that the para¬† “The other part of this aid is that it shouldn‚Äôt replace merit.” is really shocking to hear from you…….i must tell resv in education has been the most worst thing that happened in this country …….as a matter of fact even in higher educations,nowdays the caste has become a imp thing to get good clg admission,the latest one is what happened in DU ……where some students kept fake certificates and joined clgs……i am totally against caste discrimination,by following this we want prove that all are equal but what happens to more deserving candidates……here is a small story

    a student writes exam for admission in state exam for mca and mba,he gets a rank of 5ooo,and then what happens …he goes for counseling.he does not get a seat but when he is coming back ,he sees another friend of him who is a dalit who got 1,00,000 rank and he gets a seat in university …..
    so you say this brahmin boy is unlucky or dalit man is tooo intelligent……

     

    • You are right. That wasn’t what I meant at all. Somehow, in my sleep hazed state, I probably started the sentence one way and changed my mind. In case there is any doubt, I am saying that aid should not mean making results/goals/admissions easier – like the rest of the article says. Thank you for bringing it up. Correcting now.

  17. Shrikrishna Warkhedi | July 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Reply

    Ur thoughts are so similar to mine! ūüôā

  18. Shrikrishna Warkhedi | July 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Reply

    Ur thoughts are so similar to mine! ūüôā

  19. Caste in the past was something like education today; for division of labour. A “Brahmin” was not born but an acquired trait like an Engineer, Doctor or Geologist today. Thats the reason there was the thread¬†ceremony¬†“Dwij” after his education, for being reborn as the Brahmin, and¬†until¬†then he was not considered elite. However things got modified for simplicity and started getting “inherited”.

  20. Caste in the past was something like education today; for division of labour. A “Brahmin” was not born but an acquired trait like an Engineer, Doctor or Geologist today. Thats the reason there was the thread¬†ceremony¬†“Dwij” after his education, for being reborn as the Brahmin, and¬†until¬†then he was not considered elite. However things got modified for simplicity and started getting “inherited”.

  21. A hierarchy is necessary to ensure order in society. What MUST be inbuilt in the hierarchy is the provision for the meritorious to migrate / progress within the hierarcy. This prevents anarchy. The reverse is also true. Privileges of class cannot merely be provided by being born. At least a minimalist work / meritocratic level has to be reached. A wonderful read. You have an awesome style and a pragmatic view. All the best.
    Regards

    ajay

  22. A hierarchy is necessary to ensure order in society. What MUST be inbuilt in the hierarchy is the provision for the meritorious to migrate / progress within the hierarcy. This prevents anarchy. The reverse is also true. Privileges of class cannot merely be provided by being born. At least a minimalist work / meritocratic level has to be reached. A wonderful read. You have an awesome style and a pragmatic view. All the best.
    Regards

    ajay

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