Save India, Drop Caste Identity

Anything for ending the menace of the divisive caste system that has kept India in Stone Age thrills me. Unfortunately, in India the governments under different political parties have been the main culprit in perpetuating the caste system. It helps in protecting its vote banks and helping some vested interests. And who does bother about India?

As expected, while the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva looks set to recognize caste-based discrimination as a human rights violation, India disgustingly readies to oppose. Interestingly, Nepal, a small and also almost economically insignificant on global map has emerged as the first country from South Asia- to declare support for the draft principles and guidelines published by UNHRC four months ago for ”effective elimination of discrimination based on work and descent” – the UN terminology for caste inequities. This is against the ground reality, as the region has untouchability traditionally practiced for ages.

However, Manmohan Singh who once compared untouchability to apartheid in South Africa remains insensitive, dumb, and inactive. He is too busy with his nuclear dreams and his image-building for posterity. He can’t even discuss the issue with his cabinet members because of its possible political backlash.

Even Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, who vows to bring in the international institutes and reputed foreign universities in India, also says, “Reservation laws as applicable to Indian institutes will be applicable to the foreign institutes. There will be no discrimination.” I wish the foreign universities boycott India on this issue. The mentality of even the new educated generation is clear from the story of separate food for separate caste in a canteen of a medical college. It’s clear that Sibal is afraid of the party’s backlash/

What can one expect when the politicians are hell-bent to divide the country based on caste? Even law minister suggests the 2011 census incorporate caste for the first time since it was last done in 1931as the data available data does not accurately reflect the true proportion of OBCs.

And how can India excel if IITs are instructed by the apex court against scrapping a weeding process they practice to expel weak students mid-course. Ultimately, it would mean that students, once admitted, would not be dismissed. IITs cannot “throw out” SC/ST students on the basis of poor performance.
I recall Ashis Nandy, Political psychologist making a statement, “How is what Jinnah demanded for the Muslims different from what everybody wants nowadays-like separate representation for Yadavs or Dalits?” The Hindu caste system is a blot and a curse on India.

Even Amartya Sen had said in Patna once, ‘the caste system just destabilizes the society and nothing will be more pertinent than to fight and conquer the caste system’. He was delivering a lecture on `Bihar: Past, present and future’

And in his new book, Sen comes back on the subject: “I think that caste policy has been driven by ‘neeti’: certain reservation of this kind and reservation of that kind and so on. We need a more ‘nyaya’-based perspective in dealing with caste distinctions in India. The focus does relate to a deficiency in Indian political thinking on this matter, mainly over concentration on neeti compared to nyaya.”

I and many don’t mind if the government and other agencies do anything in its capacity to bring those in reserved categories and wishing to get into the institutes for excellence at par with other students with best but free coaching facilities as Anand Kumar does in Patna or more to crack examinations to enter civil services and other government jobs. But don’t dilute anything further. Let there be reservation in promotion or passing the examination or for getting in to master courses or Ph.Ds. However, any reported cases of partiality against them must be dealt with severely and promptly in fast court.

Let the caste as identity end and the younger generation discard it against all odds.

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