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It is a shame!
Even in the present decade, while the rest of the world is progressing rapidly, an average Indian’s life is shrouded by social restrictions & dictated by Caste & creed or Racist discriminations. Every Indian is recognised primarily by his position as per the social stratification in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups termed as jātis or castes. Acute emphasis on the ‘caste’ of an Indian citizen still weighs down heavily, slowing the individual’s and in turn the nation’s march for progress on all fronts – social, economic and political.
Life in India, designed as per the social bias leaves an Indian lagging far behind in the global rat race!
The government of modern India made the country a democratic, socialist and secular nation. According to the policy therein, discriminating against a person based on his caste or considering him as untouchable is legally forbidden. However along with this law the government allows positive discrimination of the depressed classes of India. For over half a century now, the reservation based on caste system has been in place. And yet there has been negligible improvement in the living conditions of those, for whom it was mooted.
Today, right from the time of registration of a birth until death, you have to declare your caste details. On the one hand you are exhorted to remember you are an Indian first but on the other you are also not allowed to forget which Indian caste you belong to! There can’t be a greater self defeating exercise if there ever was one. This constant reminder of your caste corrodes your individuality and fuels the stereotypes and different caste biases.
We have become such a quota based society that it has become of prime importance to revisit the issue before our society is condemned to fragmentation based on caste quotas at every level.
Once a quota is set for a particular section of the society it becomes inevitable to grant similar quotas for other sections too. We have thus arrived at a stage where a deserving student not belonging to any of the quota strata in India, finds it easier to gain admission abroad in better Universities for higher studies than continuing to pursue his ambitions in his own motherland.
We have reached a state where merit takes a backseat and your totem flies high.
Even routine events like the census do not escape the clutches of caste controversies.
Indians hoped that the census this year would not acknowledge and include caste differences that could then be used by the wily politicians for acquiring more quotas everywhere. It has been very evident for ages now that for these politicians a caste based census is very essential to maintain their hold over their quotas/vote banks. Indians are still waiting for the day when caste differences will not be utilised in perpetuating the quota fragmentation of our society. Unfortunately there is no political will to free our society from the strangulating grasp of the quota system. Politicians continue to succeed in achieving their ends at the cost of the very people they represent.
Using caste & creed divisions the self styled ‘leaders’ of the different castes and sub castes will make hay while the people, that is we Indians, fight against each other into oblivion.
The rise of the regional satraps is evidence of this. There is no true national party today that will work towards the betterment of the nation. The need of the hour is true national leadership and the only way to find one is by defeating all regional/racist aspirants and their ambitions.
The only path to this ideal is a quota free education system to ensure that during the formative years of the child he/she is not subjected to caste/regional biases and social equity becomes the norm not a victim.
Social equity cannot be arrived at by division of the society based on such lines.
Even in times of crisis where life was at stake, caste based discriminations were rampant. When Tsunami hit India on 26 December 2004, the suffering Dalits popularly recognised as the untouchables were most affected. Caste-based discrimination took a toll of lot many lives from their clan for provisions of relief supplies and other assistance didn’t reach them on time. In Maharashtra massive evictions from tribal lands were undertaken, depriving the tribal communities of their basic rights. The reason for their eviction was a detestable reason that their presence polluted the shrine atmosphere of the upper castes in the locality. Despite caste being a violation of international human rights standards and domestic law prohibiting caste-based discrimination it continues to exercise a debilitating influence on the lives of millions in India daily.
Caste system is a powerful tool for social segregation. It runs deep in the minds of Indians and has implications in everyday life. It weakens the human urge to excel and liberate since there is little chance of rising above one's status at birth. If caste and creed discrimination are not abolished on a war footing we will be taking two steps backward for every step forward...
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