Caste madness in the “Land of Kings”

gujjarRecently(*) the Indian state of Rajasthan, supposedly the “Land of Kings”, was host to one of the worst bouts of “caste riots” that India has seen in recent years, leaving at least 9 dead and many more injured. Eventually the Indian armed forces had to be brought in to quell the situation.

What is particularly bizarre about this incident is that the particular caste who led the rioting, the Gujjars (a formerly powerful tribe after whom Gujarat is named) are actually fighting to downgrade their official social status, in order to gain access to government jobs and university places that are reserved for the supposedly lowest castes. So now people are fighting for the right to be called low caste!

In the West, the normal stereotype of Hindus and India perpetuated through the media and colonial history books is that caste struggle involves high-caste Hindus (the evil Brahmins) trying to brutally lord over the suppress those lower down. In fact, modern caste politics is hugely different compared with what popular perception would lead one to believe. The struggle is waged between different groups purely for the pursuit of electoral power and possession of valuable state resources, by manipulating an out of control monster called “Caste Reservations”.

Post-Independence India set about trying to correct the historical injustices committed against certain sections of the population (the “Dalits”) by creating rigorous positive discrimination, known as “Reservations”. This allowed certain castes (called Scheduled Castes and Tribes) to be guaranteed a certain level of representation in government jobs and education.

The idea was that Reservations would be a short term arrangement to help certain marginalized sections of society into the mainstream. The system was supposed to be dropped after 20 years or so. But now, almost 60 years on and counting, reservations have been extended hugely, and so have the categories of people eligible. Even “middle castes” and “high castes” are trying to get a slice of the pie by trying to reclassify themselves! Political parties use promises of extending reservations to woo prospective caste vote banks. Some states are also introducing reservations for Muslims.

The ridiculous thing is that the system makes no provision for the actual economic situation of individuals and their families in dishing out these reserved jobs and university places. For example, a “Yadav” (the same group to which Shri Krishna belonged) have managed to have themselves classified as “Other Backward Castes” in some parts of India. Many Yadav’s are millionaires, but despite that they would still be eligible for reservations benefits, whereas a poverty stricken family from a so-called “forward caste” (and millions such families exist in India) would not!

The whole thing is ridiculous and needs to be scrapped in favour of a system which looks at the circumstances of individuals rather than entire castes. If anything, the current system is serving to perpetuate rather than erode hostility and inequality between castes, as the Gujjar-led riots is Rajastan so aptly demonstrate.

(*) This article was originally written July 2007, but the problem & principles described are still current. Several more riots have occurred since the article was written.

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Comments

  1. Whenever someone’s ask you about your caste then your answer should be to them is:
    I am a Brahmin in knowledge
    I am kshatriya in valor
    I am vaishya in business
    I m shudra in service
    In the end I am just sanatam dharmi hindu and nothing else..Then say you proud to be a hindu..

  2. Hindu (body) four community: brahmin (head) kshatriya (arm) vaishya (belly) shudra (feet) All these four community called as hindu. We all are parts of one body. Without each part our body is not complete. If we lost one part of our body then we become handicap. The human body is the entire structure of a human being. Human Body is considered so loving that God even wants to have it. Spiritual Yogis have found that after going through the 84 millions species this souls get the most dignified human body. So it is the last step to explore the God or to get the view of almighty father god. We know that the soul never dies it takes birth again and again just like as we take new clothes to wear the soul as it takes new body and it is an infinite process. But the body what we get in next birth depend on our karma that thas been cited in Gita by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. We all here to perform our duties. Our action makes our destiny and nothing else. The result is in the hand of supreme power. Karma is the seed of plant and if the seed is genuine it must be fruitful.

  3. Many a time, man has taken birth in high caste and low caste; but this does not make him great or lowHaving been born in high caste man thinks himself to be great and being born in low caste thinks himself to be low and pitiable; both of these states of mind are wrong because many times man has been born in high and low castes. Hence, one should not be proud of having been born in high caste and not feel low if born in low caste family.
    Greatness has nothing to do with high caste. Man becomes great because of his noble work, exemplary character and becomes loathsome because of his immorality and evil conduct. Thus, it is his conduct only that decides his greatness or lowliness. Who does not know that high family born Ravana, Kansa, Duryodhana and others are censurable; whereas Metarya muni, Harikeshi muni and others, though born in low family, are venerable.
    Then, what is the importance of high or low caste?

  4. All stupid people living in India that’s why this country cant be develop anymore as the other countries are well developed. Bcoz indian people live in caste-ism and egoist by nature especially who belong to upper class which is created by themselves not created by God.God only created human being..He didnt put any human in high and low category..This cheap things only created by some bastard itself who live in India..and they be proud by called themselves hindu..I am also hindu but i wanna spit on that every person who proudly said they are hindu but their thinking is so narrow minded..now its depend on human what they want to become Devil or Angel..Nobody is lower and higher by caste or religion..they become high and low by their behavior..Reservation should be stop itself when you all leave this stupid casteism..Say no caste and no community..All are hindu who live in hindustaan understood idiot people..

  5. We always talk about religion and castesim but in reality there is no any caste and religion. We all are same our blood are same.then why we believe in discrimination. God never created any caste they made simple human being..caste and community only created by stupid people who are mentally sick and had fear in their heart bcoz if they will not choose higher place for themselves then other people going to defeat them and going to put them down..bocz they don’t have believe on themselves and their own work..they have doubt own their capability..they always think negative we cnt do hard work if other person give their best then they must be achieve something better than them..by creating high and low community and even not asked to any people wh are coward they put themselves to higher community…bcoz they are coward and they to protect themselves..

  6. Hindu religion devided into four community..but again I m saying to all stupid people who living in india..caste and community only created by mentally sick people and who follow them they have something problem in their mind.four community name are Brahmin, kshatriya,vaishya,shurda. And its surprising we all India dnt know the exactly meaning of these four words..let me explain to you..brahmin means not that who born in high class..koi janam se uncha or nicha nhi hota hai.brahmin mean jo god ko janta hai usko apne samne dekha ho jisse brahma ka pata ho or apne acche karam se jana jaye na ki apni jaat se..agr Brahmin hone pr insaan ke karam gandhe hai toh who insaan ashudh mana jata hai who pavitr aatma nhi hoti hai…Kshatriya ka matlb hota hai weh yodha jo mantvta ki raksha hetu apne angg angg ko katva de..samksh praniyon ki raksha ke liye apni jaan kurbaan kr de or apne karam pr ghamand na dikhaye..Vaishya who hote hai jo apne kaam mein emaan dikhaye koi chori chakari na kre..apne kaam ko galat tareeqe se na kre..emaan ki kamai ko khaye haraam ki kamai ko haath na lagaye..Shudra ka matlb hota hai shudh or pavitr aatma….jis bande ke ander koi moh, maya, krodh or ahnkaar tak nhi hai jiska aacharn shudh ho or karam shudh ho wohi sacha shudra hai..jo apne karam par purn vishwaas rake…jiske karam ache nhi man mein ahnkaar hai who shudra nhi mana ja sakta hai..agr tum log shudra ko pero ka sathaan dete ko toh or unhe neecha mante ho toh kanjke pujna bandh kr do unke peron (feet) ko dohna unki puja krna bandh kr do..kisi devi devta ke mandir ja kr natmastak na ho or apne mata pita ke peron ko choo ke ashiwadh lena bandh kr do..

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