Let Us Not Forget The Problems Created By Caste Divisions

BY Praful Sakya

Date:- 19th February 2008



Mr. Sam Pitroda’s views, as expressed in his lecture at the MEDC’s seminar at Mumbai, are convincing enough on how we Indians have been messing everything up in the name of religion, caste, caste-politics, corruption, nepotism and sycophancy.


However, I am convinced that we don’t require any expert analysis - if we continue with our present-day caste-based politics, then anyone can predict that one day soon it will be apparent that China (at whose hands we had once been badly humiliated in war, 1962) would have struck another blow that leaves India far, far behind on the scale of economic and social development.


The problem with India has always been the lack of a proper leadership. The country, which is so diverse in her make-up and so religiously obsessed, seems unable to produce quality, visionary leadership that could lead her as one entity.


Even our local Panchayat elections are fought on the equations of caste. Every one talks about Caste but no one has a real concern for the actual improvement in the life standard of an average Indian or the poor, the underprivileged, the Adivasis, the Nomadic Tribes, the Schedule Castes etc. The state of their plight under the British Raj, pre-1947, continues and remains the same even after Swaraj. In fact most of these people do not know what Swaraj means - their life has not substantially improved even under the leadership of their own people.


If we juxtapose caste discrimination against racial discrimination against Afro-Americans in the “western” world, we see that there has been a substantial improvement, on almost every front, for Afro-Americans in the USA and elsewhere, who had been discriminated against on racial grounds. If we take a look at the international scenario, then the people who had been discriminated against on racial grounds have now made their mark on innumerable fronts - cultural, social, political, economical, sports, etc. They have a sizeable and noticeable enough presence in all these fields of public activities. They are celebrated as social icons – e.g. Eddie Murphy and Halle Berry – and as artists, performers, singers and sports persons in glorious abundance. Special efforts had been made, especially in the field of sports, to train them to realize their talent at international levels.


But In India you find an absolutely opposite picture - the lower section of Indian society has been lethally and purposefully kept out of all these fields of public activity. The matter of fact is that some group or community tries to conspire and deprive the poor and underprivileged section of India, since ages, from their basic rights; forget about their representation in the above-mentioned fields.


I would like to give you one example - the missionaries carve out well spoken, well- mannered and civilized men out of a rustic tribesman, and make them competent enough to fight their own battle to prove their abilities. But the people of the RSS Group take the stand and propagate that these tribesmen should live in their natural habitat and thereby preserve their age-old tradition and leave everything else to them, because they know how to test the fruits of modernity. That the tribesmen should just wrap a small piece of cloth around the waist and live the life of aboriginals.


To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a Religion and a certain kind of ideologue. That’s why it is not uncommon for an upper-caste person to blandly say, publicly, “Yes we are intelligent people. No one can compete with us.” But it is not a question of competence and intelligent, it is all about the availability of resources and facilities required for one’s mental, psychological and intellectual development. If you are depriving them from all this how can they compete with you. There cannot be any competition between someone from a Municipal school and some one from Convent or a public school. But then the true “RSS man” insists there is no escape from it, you have to compete.


If the so-called elite and Intellectuals of this country do not act and ensure that each individual of this country should get the best education and the basic amenities required to live life till, this country cannot make progress. No matter how these people may claim that the GDP rate is increasing - has it reduced beggars on the street or unemployment? They boastfully say that change is in the air, but what’s the use if the common man can’t feel it, or if you have clipped their nose.


We all feel proud when a person like Sam Pitroda very arrogantly declares that he is an “arrogant man” because he knows too much and can afford to be arrogant before powerful white men. Yes, in truth, India has so many unidentified Sam Pitrodas. What they need is an opportunity. If an Indian prime minister were to follow the movie Lagan as a development model, then this country can certainly make never- seen-before progress. The film spells how a leader should be; how he should have vision; how he should identify the true potential of individuals and channelize this in the right direction; how the individual can emerge as a winner; how different energies merge into one, for one common goal; and collectively ignite the people to achieve it.


But the irony is that our leaders are igniting the mind of the poor Indian, illiterate Indians, the rustic Indian for the wrong purposes. They all are busy in disseminating the wrong message, to achieve their selfish purpose. As Sam Pitroda says, “ we don’t think like a country of over a billion people.” Such a huge market - give everyone purchasing power; then only can common men start feeling that change is in the air. Do not disseminate the wrong Dharma into the minds of the simple people of this country. Instead, combine their energies to build a strong and new India.


In the context of the contemporary intellectual milieu, while reading the text of Mr. Sam Pitroda’s lecture, I could not but juxtapose some of my personal observations alongside Mr. Sam Pitroda’s views, because I believe that these issues must also be kept in mind:


Every Religion breeds new problems and in country like India where you have caste and sub-caste creates havoc in heaven.


v     The followers of an Amma, Sadhu and self-proclaimed guru, of any Hindu sect, is directly proportional to the affiliation of that person with a leading political party, and vice versa.


v     Left to the caste system, things tend to go from bad to worse.


v     The Hindu religious system is essential for the survival of the very few; it gives them chance to exploit others.


v     The first myth of any Hindu religious guru and Hindu hardliner is that they work for an absolute eradication of the caste-system.


v     The primary function of the Pujari is to make things difficult for God and impossible for the follower, at the time of Puja, so that he can enjoy an advantage over both!


v     A complex religious ritual-system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system to make people fool.


v     How do you identity a true RSS man? A true RSS man is one who ardently supports all Hindu mythological magic and the efficacy of all Hindu Gods as true and believable; but with equal vigor he opposes any idea, claim or even thought that such mythological magic can exist in any other than the Hindu religion, and therefore derides it with ‘an irrefutable logic’.


I am disturbed by all the problem areas that have been haunting Indian people since the time of pre-independence. How the poor and the rich, the elite and the rustic, urban and rural India have been living with two identities.


One that destiny has bestowed upon him and he has baptized it ‘Indian’, some sort of unwanted burden; and the second which he has inherited from his forefathers – manifest when he proudly claims the caste and religion he belongs to. The solution to the problems created by Caste divisions is possible only if we adopt the policies thanks to which no one feels that he has been alienated from the process of his betterment.


Information Technology can be a great equalizer, as so many people have proclaimed. But the big doubt is how truly this power of Information Technology filters down to the lower levels of Indian society? Otherwise, we are in the process of creating yet another discriminating factor in the already existing system of inequality.


Why I say this is because if you consider the cost of IT training, it is really out of the reach of the average Indian. Forget about poor! To bring about social change, what we need today are receptive minds among the socially and economically privileged, who accept the new social changes and show that their readiness is accompanied by a willingness to accept the upliftment of the lower section and less privileged section of India. Only this would bring about the social equality.


Moreover, our leaders should refrain themselves form rabble rousing - that is the biggest hurdle in ushering in social changes. Indian society is so fragile and people are so divided amongst themselves, that anyone can make them dance around the little finger - as was done in the past by many intruders. Now this has almost become a ritual habit for our political leaders!


I do not have any pride for what my forefathers have done to the present state of India. They have messed everything up: their inactivity at the time when the need of the hour was for some concrete action, their fear of the rich and their blind beliefs. If you mention the time of past glory that we find in the epics, I personally carry a big doubt - that the glorious past had been fabricated by some people just to show how great we were and they are still using it as a plausible facade of Indian society. But the fact of the matter is that it has resulted into the present pathetic condition of Indian society and has since lost all its glory.


A few days back I was told by someone that our Vedas and old Sanskrit books have records of how to develop missiles and fire weapons. My question is: Where are the formulas? Why can’t we decipher those formulas if these are in the books?



Jai Buddha! Jai Bhim! Jai Bharat !