Does the title sound like a romantic story? Yes, you are correct. But, unfortunately, it’s a tragic love story between the majority of us and a two-thousand-year-old system.
In my last article, “I am a casteist and Are you?”, I expressed my opinion on why this system exists in the first place. Here, I would like to describe how it’s prevailing among us. Also, I am confident that we are more casteist than our previous generations. We intensify it by leveraging technology, social media, and practicing discrimination in modern ways. By doing so, We seek pride in a system that is intangible, worthless, and dangerous at the same time.
The Caste system is something that affects most of us. It affects us on different levels of intensity, and it’s an issue we all deal with but deliberately ignore its existence. But, once you start introducing yourself, it comes into play -your name, place, street, etc. It follows you directly or indirectly everywhere, from your home to your workplace to worship your marriage to your death. It plays a role in your school admission, finding a house for rent, finding a job, getting you a hospital bed for COVID or not, etc.
Look at our social media handle names — XXX Iyer, YYY Mudaliyar, ZZZ Yadav, etc. Why are we trying to put our caste pride on the social network? Is it to show we belong to a so-called superior class?
Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook with a mission statement of “bring the world closer together.” . But here, casteist people make the world away by ignoring/accepting/discriminating against specific segments of people. Thanks to Periyar, Anna, Justice party for the revolutions in Tamilnadu several decades back to ignoring the caste from our names that have a certain extent of the impact, but not entirely.
It’s very worrying to see so many caste groups on social media attacking other castes and cultivating a hatred environment. To exactly describe its potency, there are thousands of caste-based WhatsApp groups and Facebook groups, which some of us might’ve already been part of it by now. However, I am alerting you that these groups are created only for microtargeting and consolidation with a political agenda.
Recently, I had a WhatsApp conversation with a friend after a long time about his relationship.
Me : how are you man? how’s things around? How’s she?
Friend : yeah. We broke up after 5 years of relationship.
Me : oh shit. why?
Friend : She says that she don’t want to marry someone from other caste. And she got an alliance from her caste and also that family worth more than 90+ crores of assets. So she broke up with me.
I am not generalizing any gender from the above chat snippet, but from our context, they both knew their castes before they started dating. So then, why would they end their relationship by reasoning the same caste?
India’s Pandemic of Honor Killing and Rape:
Whether you have cleared all the toughest examinations in the country or are illiterate, the psychological approach to this issue is the same. An Example, Honor killings, India’s unreported deadly pandemic due to caste pride. Human Rights Watch defines honor killings as “acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members who are perceived to have brought dishonor upon the family by being romantically involved with or choosing to marry men outside their caste, class, or religion.”
The crimes of rape and honor killing are notoriously underreported in India. But the sad truth is parliament has kept the law against honor killings on hold in parliament, as there’s not enough data to be proved. But Rajasthan is the first state to pass its law against honor killings as a non-bailable offense. According to our constitution, no human has the right to take up other human life or their own, then how can we ignore honor killings’ existence because statistics are low.
Every day we see and read about at least one incident of rape happening in India. It’s very frustrating to encounter these crimes still happening. More than that, It’s bothersome and depressing to see a girl getting raped because of her caste. On 14th September 2020, a 19-year-old innocent Dalit girl was raped by upper-caste men in Hathras, UP.
According to the latest National Crime Record Bureau’s (NCRB) report, crimes against Dalits have risen by 37% in the last decade. In 2019, On average, ten daily cases (11% of the total ) of rape of Dalit women were reported in the country.
Another cruel incident has happened in Tamilnadu, where an upper caste married man beheaded a 13-year-old Dalit girl as she allegedly spurned his sexual proposal. It is a clear example of both sexual and caste crime.
Casteistic Patriarchy and Egotistic Mindset:
In the recent past in Chennai, Sexual misconduct by a male teacher of PSBB school with female students through abusive text and email messages, inappropriate dress code during online classes, and texting pornographic website links had been reported and condemned on social media. However, the school management hasn’t taken any steps against the accused, despite receiving multiple complaints in the last five years. Above all this, He is also part of the sexual harassment committee of the school.
One of the school’s trustees and a brahmin, claims that the state’s action against the accused is Anti-Hindu and Anti-Brahmin act. But why did they involve caste here?
An alumna about the misconduct in PSBB also stated that she was bullied “too dark to be a brahmin” during her school days. It is also believed that the school enrolls the majority of brahmins, and shockingly late Former CM Karunanidhi confessed in 2007 that he was rejected for a seat in the school for his grandson in the early ‘90s.
Former Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy threatened to dissolve the government if he found it against brahmin as he equated it to anti-semitism. For example, he once commented on late LTTE leader Prabhakaran as an “International Pariah.” . Pariah is a name to denote a Scheduled Caste, where they were classified based on occupation using a musical instrument called Parai.
How can a person says that he will dissolve a government voted by more than 2.3 crore people? What level of aggression is it?
Being a Brahmin is not an issue, but being Brahmanical is. In schools, Students were asked to sit on the floor if they brought an egg to the school. There are lots of schools still named after a caste. So to build Secular Nation, we need Secularistic Education away from all these divisive activities of specific caste or religions.
Caste Discrimination and influence on the workplace :
Some of us criticize the reservation system and demand reservation based on economic rather than social equality. I think Reservation is Egg- chicken problem, a vast topic to discuss, which I will do in another article. In our context, Though Reservation helps socially disadvantaged classes to come to the positions, we have lots of cases in the workplace where they face discrimination in their growth.
This is one among many incidents showing caste’s effect on the work culture. Unfortunately, it’s also prevalent in the private sector, where some people get jobs through caste identity. Throughout our history, when there were classes, there existed the class struggles; all these class struggles ended up in Revolution.
Then what’s the way forward?
The Change that rewires our thoughts.
The Change that questions our blind beliefs.
The Change that makes us to accept our ignorance and mistakes.
The Change that creates true equality by destroying all divisive parameters.
The Change that removes cages out of freedom fighters.
The Change is developmental rather than segmental.
The Change that creates discussions.
The Change that is revolutionary.
The Change that is………
You, Me, and Us.
I am not dreaming about a utopian society but just wishing the rise of a normal humanitarian culture.
P.S: This article was in my drafts for a year, but it will still be relevant.