Caste: Progress and Regress

For those who slept through history, some happy memories of Progress: seeing our grandmas enjoy a ripe old age, from radio to TV, color TV, STD booths, then Internet and mobiles. Now Aadhar.

Gadgets came along with grain surpluses, milk and eggs; goodies like Metro, Autobahn, IIM, IIT, AIMMS, low cost airlines, etc. Now Made in China has replaced made in India, which only assembles.

Our educated masses of young people have caste certificates, speak broken English, have no job skills. Lakhs of science students know all about some branch of science, but nothing of the humanities through which to glimpse at humanity.

Bas degree hai, mere paas naukri kyon nahi hai? Usko kyon diya? Mujhe kyon nahi? Boom, boom, boom .. unemployment figures zoom. Is rioting and stone throwing as easy and profitable as selling pakoras?

Earlier educated classes, even collegians talked and debated, exchanged notes in a civilized fashion, not with plunged daggers and lynching. We celebrated all festivals, ours and others too.

That was the bedrock of democracy we grew up with; not as it stares us in the face now, and nor the Oligarchy of Time Immemorial when only landed people of certain castes were allowed to vote.

Manusmruti was Ancient death knell of democracy, gender, any other justice. How many have actually read the whole? It not only lists different types of marriages, sons, but also rules for divorce!!!

So divorce is also an Ancient Tradition of ours?

Consider: the Vedas spoke of 4 : Brahmin, Kshtriya Vaisha, Sudra. Even early travellers in ancient times like Huan Tsang mentioned 4; ditto Alburni , with not more than 40 mixed castes, related by blood.

Cut to the British: they counted 2378 main castes, 43 races, numerous subcastes, and a 1891 list of 1156 subcastes of Chamars alone!! Divide and Rule!

Aadhaar was perhaps conceived as a counterpart of the Social Security number that citizens of the US and some other countries have. Has anyone examined those models, how they were implemented and how they operate? Like Nazis with deadlines? Why are those without Aadhar cards denied rations from PDS shops? When someone dies…. who will acknowledge the shame of starvation to TV channels? And mysteriously slit open sacks of dal and rice find their way into a back room.

Who is fooling whom here?


More by :  Kusum Choppra

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