Sunday, October 12, 2008

This Casteist state of India...

I feel nauseated.

This morning, I read this about the state of affairs vis a vis the super-resilient caste system in our country. It's like a stubborn stain on pure white fabric, that refuses to go away!
For years, reformers have been trying to fight this evil, there have been breakaways from Hinduism because of this evil, this evil continues to rage. I've only recently chanced upon a theory that explains why.

Despite the efforts of reformers like Gandhiji & many others, there has long-existed a lobby of religious conservatives that has been opposed to reform. Opposed to reform for two reasons primarily: 1) Because of what is called a "comfort zone" or "inertia" sometimes. 2) Because moving away from the caste system would leave them without the power that upper castes have traditionally enjoyed.

As I have pointed out before, these religious conservatives are referred to as the right-wing. Now think of a right-wing ruled state in India. Gujarat pops foremost to mind because of their rejoicing over the "Gujarat experiment".
And what is happening in Gujarat? Let's not talk of 2002 for a moment. Let's talk about today's news.
Is this what reformers have been fighting for hundreds of years?
I'd like to ask my rightist detractors on the Mutiny, is this what progress & reform is?
Is this what the founding fathers of the Nation imagined for India?

To me, this is what comes from voting religious conservatives into power.
This is what comes from creating what Sagarone calls the Hindu Republic of Gujarat!

Wake up people! Please!

Please elect those people & parties that stand for Reform & Progressive Thought, not for those who want to hang on to established rituals even if they are evil!
Be an Iconoclast!


  1. Absolutely disgusting. Providing this sort of information on a child's report card is tantamount to inviting and perpetuating caste based discrimination. Why doesn't any NGO take this issue up and sue the government? This is an affront to basic human dignity and a violation of the human rights of the children.

  2. Linking this post to mine on casteism in India :)

  3. //Because moving away from the caste system would leave them without the power that upper castes have traditionally enjoyed.// This is the crux of the matter.

  4. Caste is tool being used by all our politicians to remain in business. Had Biharis been better educated would the likes of Laloo have ruled for 15 years, as they did, primarily on the strength of the Yadavs? So, these guys don't want education to ignorance and discrimination lies their strength.
    But, wait. Mayawati is goig to single-handedly change all that forever.

    Gujarat is not the right example at all to support the argument of caste based discrimination. UP and Bihar are. Modi is from a Most backward caste. The dynamics in his state are quite different from the simplistic ones thrown about by some of us who want to view India through only the Western prism even when it does not apply.

  5. Sagarone,



    Please do. Glad you agree! :-)


    Mayawati could you know. If she's trying, maybe we should all support her.

    If you feel that Gujarat is not the right example of casteism, maybe you should talk to the Indian Express who broke the story.
    I've lived in Rajasthan for many years, in districts close to the Gujarat border. I know how casteist Rajasthan is. Next you will tell me that Rajasthan is not the right example? Again, speak to the newspapers there, that reported caste incident after caste incident. Do I need to bring up MP also? Caste killings?

    modi being from a backward caste means nothing. The bjp put up Kalam as Prez. That doesn't mean that the bjp is not a pro-hindutva, basically communal party.
    The conservatives want the caste system to be preserved. modi stayed within his religion, his caste & subscribed to the conservative, regressive hindutva agenda, and is reaping the rewards of pleasing his masters now.
    And just in case you missed it, UP & Bihar have had low caste CM's for longer than Gujarat. Both the Yadavs & Mayawati. What is the point you are trying to make???

    The Western Prism is a good one to view India through. A fresh perspective than the centuries old way of looking at ourselves through rose-tinted glasses.

  6. Iconoclast, I never knew till today that Yadavs were low caste. Castes are in all states of India. UP and Bihar have been politically 'engineered' on caste more than most others.

    You are welcome to look at India through the Western prism. The British did that too. And had to leave in a hurry because they never understood what it really was about. That is why disconnected PUL keep getting surprised by events that always seem to be always surprising and overtaking us. NRI Gandhi was no fool!

    I think most of us don't know that giving caste details is a British legacy...they used this divide like they did many others to perpetuate their rule.

  7. Vinod_Sharma,

    Sorry, my mistake. I forgot that Lord Krishna was a Yadav himself! I guess I confused their support base with their own so-called caste! The point I was trying to make should still stand true with Mayawati.

    The Brits had to leave the USA in a hurry too. Is that because they were viewing their own migrant population there through the Western prism? I don't think so.
    The Brits had to leave India because India didn't want to live under unjust subjugation anymore.


    NRI Gandhi was no fool?

    So why don't we get rid of the legacy instead of trying to get rid of Western dress & Valentine's Day?
    What good is going to come out of blaming the evils of our society on the Brits? The social evil of caste existed before the Brits got here.
    In fact we should thank the Brits for outlawing customs like Sati.

  8. Correction: for PUL read PLU(people like us.

    Brits 'left' the US only politically. They are otherwise very much there...only the Red Indians have left...for the abode above!

    A few fringe elements will always be there in every society...there are neo-nazis still in the don't stretch that fact to absurd lengths. Look at how popular Valentines Day and Western dresses have become.

    Such discussions are healthy. Does not matter if we differ.

  9. Here are some more links for you that will be helpful:



    3. (esp. political argument)

    Also, check your own biases that you bring to the argument, as well as the facts you present.

    Good luck.

  10. 1con, time for you to go to Ahmedabad and do a dharna in front of the schools till they stop this practice. :D

    Better yet, follow Gandhiji's tactic and go on a fast-until-death till this issue is resolved. No point in talking about how great Gandhiji was if one doesn't emulate his methods, right? ;)

    Lots of thotha chanas around busy baaje ghana, but only a few are 1conoclasts who not only speak, but also act - walk their talk.

    Here you go - check the trains and make a reservation to Ahmedabad. :) :)


  11. Hi ,

    I was reading ur blog posts and found some of them to be very good.. u write well.. Why don't you popularize it more.. ur posts on ur blog ‘Opinionated’ took my particular attention as some of them are interesting topics of mine too;

    BTW I help out some ex-IIMA guys who with another batch mate run where you can post links to your most loved blog-posts. Rambhai was the chaiwala at IIMA and it is a site where users can themselves share links to blog posts etc and other can find and vote on them. The best make it to the homepage!

    This way you can reach out to rambhai readers some of whom could become your ardent fans.. who knows.. :)


  12. 1con,

    really disgusting news.

    But... castesim is really, really an all-India thing and my Gujju friends tell me Guj does better on this front than other states mentioned above by Vinod S. I wouldnt know, havent lived in any of them.

    I dont know if there is any history there but you're coming out real unnecessarily combative in the above thread ( did I need to mention X, Y etc.)

    we can keep bashing away at modi even with a wider scope for problems that are, uh, wider in scope.


  13. Sati

    Origin: Never mentioned in any Hindu scriptures. So how and when did it originate? Here's a small account:

    Whenever there was a war between two kingdoms, it would never resulted in touching loser party's women's respect. With islamic invasion, there came a new practice, enslaving losing party's women and using them as keeps. To avoid this bad treatment, the brave rajput and later on all hindu women would choose death with their husband. They with their very feminine bravery defied whole armies of Islamic marauders with all of their evil means and intentions. This phenomenon was called ‘johar’, meaning giving themselves to fire in order to be saved from disgrace.

    Britishers found this system and even used this to propagate christianity.

    Want to thank Brits or want to thank Islamic invaders?

    Caste system:
    It was Varna system and not caste system. Brits exploited the original Varna system to divide people.

  14. 1con,

    Some questions to consider before jumping to conclusions:
    1. Was this policy in place before Modi came to power?
    2. Was this policy in place when Congress was ruling in Gujarat?
    3. Is this policy present in all government-run schools in Gujarat, or only a few? What percentage?
    4. Are Modi and his administration directly responsible for this policy in schools?


  15. Vinod_Sharma...

    Is that so? I have been to the US & met Red Indians there. Are you suggesting that mine was a momentary trip to heaven to meet them?

    The US has people of Brit, German, French, Italian, Irish, Black & Asian descent. In fact in International politics, the UK follows the US, not the other way around; the Iraq war being a case in point. I don't know where you get your ideas from...!

    I agree that the discussions are healthy & that there is no obligation to agree.

    kaafir (Anonymous)...

    Nothing you offer is ever helpful. Aren't you tired of being proved wrong? Please go thru all the posts that you left comments at & slowly absorb how often you've been wrong.

    As for following Gandhiji, maybe I will. Today I admire him, write about his beliefs, tomorrow I may emulate him. What is it that you stand for exactly...? Anything? Anyone?




    This question was raised here as well. Here is my answer to it. You may find that it clarifies some things:


    Really? What did Madri do when Pandu died in the Mahabharata?
    You're utterly useless for intelligent, factual debate...!

    kaffir (Anonymous)...

    See response to jai above.

  16. Iconoclast, it is better to read history so that one does not frivolous statements. Most Red Indians were slaughtered by the white invaders/colonisers who came primarily from Great Britain initially. That is why the main language of the US remains English, like it is of Australia and New Zealand, and of Canada where French is the second of two oficial languages. The few Red Indians who remain are now non entities in their own land. Blacks were brought by the whites under unspeakably horrible conditions as slaves and the discrimination continued for a long time.

  17. Vinod_Sharma,

    Again, are you suggesting that what I read in school wasn't History?

    Allow me to quote from Wiki here:

    This link puts their population at 2,786,652.
    It also talks about the many reasons that caused the death of the natives.
    It also rubbishes your claims of them being non-entities in their own land. Please see this link for details:

    Maybe you should be doing some reading up to avoid making frivolous statements, instead of asking me to.

    No one is disputing the Europeans destroyed the native culture in almost every land they set foot on. But that is the nature of all men engaged in conquest. The conquerer was always driven by greed & a desire for total domination... cultural, architectural, control of the very mind.

    I'm sure you'll be able to find & quote to me, instances of the same in the history of our beloved Motherland.

  18. What is it that you stand for exactly...? Anything? Anyone?

    Maybe you need to check your assumptions - why should anyone stand for anything exactly? I simply point out inconsistencies in the attitudes of people like you who are nothing but thotha chana, which baaje ghana.

  19. 1con, the culture, language and way of living of Native Americans in the US has been destroyed, and most of them are resigned to living on reservations. The rate of depression and alcoholism is much higher among Native Americans than among general US population. I'm sure that the changes their culture was *forced* to go through has something to do with it. So, Vinod is correct, and the fact that you talked to them while on your US trip doesn't undermine his point. You're just being an apologist for the Brits, just as you're an apologist for Congress.

  20. kaffir/Anon...

    You know what they say... "He who doesn't stand for anything, will fall for anything!"

    Maybe that is what is true in your case.

    Good luck chasing inconsistencies in other's arguments. You're doing them a great service!
    If you'd take a stand, you'd be doing humanity or country or whatever, great service. Unless you take a right-wing stand. Then it's disservice to humanity, country, religion, everything!

    Also, if you've noticed, I've provided links to back up my arguments. You haven't. Please provide me links.
    As for depression at the loss of one's culture... is that what is bothering the Bajrang Dal when they break up shops on Valentine's day? Among other things...

    I'm not apologizing for the Brits. You need a comprehension course badly! One that's run by a CBSE/ICSE school!
    I've stated unequivocally in my comment above that they were responsible for a lot of destruction wherever they went. Did you miss it? Do you want it restated in your native tongue?

    Comprehension boss...!

    And as for the Congress, let's not argue. It's a discussion that's fairly endless. I've said that they're not without their faults. I also maintain that they're our only hope as of now. Until you can come up with a truly secular, truly moderate, truly nationalist option. None of the current lot seem to match up today. That's my only stand.

    Comprehension kaffir... Comprehension...!!!


  21. kaffir...

    Let me point out another flaw in your argument.

    Pick a people in India. One that has the highest crime rate for example. Does the crime rate indicate that grevious injustice was meted out to them at some point? Were changes forced upon their culture...?

    What about the depression & farmer suicides in Maharashtra? What happened there? I thought there were "certain elements" championing their cause.

    I guess I just pointed out an "inconsistency" in your argument. thotha chana maybe...? :-)

  22. I got my information about the Native Americans from the link you provided.

    "Pick a people in India. One that has the highest crime rate for example. Does the crime rate indicate that grevious injustice was meted out to them at some point? Were changes forced upon their culture...?"

    You *seriously* need to read up on *logic* and how to construct arguments - spend some time on those links I mentioned in an earlier comment.


  23. -kaffir...

    Why is that kaffir? Because you don't have an answer?

    You spoke of the problems (depression & alcoholism) that one people (Native Americans) were facing & were trying to attribute that to forced cultural change. Without proof I may add.
    I urged you to pick a people that also faced problems (like a high crime rate), and asked you whether it was possible to attribute some inflicted upon cause to that problem?

    If your premise is accurate, it should be echoed similarly elsewhere, shouldn't it?
    If anything, it was I who was challenging your fallacious argument, not the other way around...! :-)

    And haven't I told you before that I don't consider anything you offer helpful at all...? So you have a problem with logic AND memory?

  24. It's your assumption, not mine, that all groups who have higher rates of alcoholism should have experienced forced cultural change which caused their alcoholism. There can be more than one reason for a higher rate of alcoholism, and what's true of Native Americans may or may not be true of other groups. I never claimed that.

    If I'd stated that "all groups that have higher rates of alcoholism, do so because of destruction of their culture" you would have been correct in calling me out. But that's not what I stated, and it's your assumption, not mine.

    To repeat from my previous comment, read the link on Native Americans *you* cited in an earlier comment, and you will find the proof that links alcoholism of Native Americans to how they have been treated.

    Learn to distinguish between correlation and causation.

    And certain causal/correlational relationships that apply to certain groups because of *unique* factors associated with them, may not be copy-and-pasted to all groups. Again, that was your assumption, not mine.

  25. "If P, then Q" does not mean "If Q, then P."

    Also, "If P, then Q" wrt Native Americans, does not mean "If P, then Q" for all groups.

    Those are your errors of logic.

    And that's why you need to read up on logic, otherwise you'll keep making such mistakes in arguments. Samjhe kuch?

  26. And haven't I told you before that I don't consider anything you offer helpful at all...?

    What can I say, I'm an optimist. I believe that people have the capability to change from being close-minded to being open-minded when presented with facts and logic. :)

    Besides, you are not the only one reading the posts and comments here. ;)
    Thodi thinking expand karo, samajh aane lagega.

  27. -kaffir...

    OK. Back after a couple of deep breaths.

    Listen. All I am arguing is the claim (yours or Wiki's, I don't care whose), that pressures on them to undergo cultural change have caused those problems.
    Your exact words were "I'm sure that the changes their culture was *forced* to go through has something to do with it."
    This is what I'm disputing. What makes you so sure?
    Even Wiki doesn't provide a link to back that claim up. They present one link after alcoholism (57). If you click on it, it will take you to the main article which doesn't mention any of the things you seem sure about.
    Can I now say that since your basic premise doesn't hold true, your claim that the natives suffered on account of it can be dismissed.

    Upon your insistence, I put my supersized ego aside & did look up logic (& was led to other things from there) on Wiki.

    I present an example that I think applies to what we are arguing here:

    Based on the above, can I now say that your logic fails WRT the Native American problem?

    I'm glad you're an optimist. It's the only way to be.
    Which is why you're presuming that other readers of this blog are going to endorse your argument.
    I doubt it, but you're welcome to your optimism.
    You must also realize that when I put my neck out on the web, I'm aware that I will attract agreement, disagreement, derision & adulation in equal measure.
    It's good. It helps one mature.
    Just as I'm not necessarily right always, my detractors too are equally wrong (I'm tired of using the word right to describe them!).
    The way I see it, the stance I take on peace, equality, Internationalism etc. etc. etc., anyone who opposes me on those fronts is bound to be wrong.

    I'll wait for your response to decide who needs to expand his or her thinking.

  28. 1. Were Native Americans forced to change the way they lived by the whites? An unequivocal yes. Plenty of research, and if you are contesting this claim, then you need to do your research.

    2. Is this cultural and environmental change a factor in increased rates of alcoholism? Yes.

    Here are some links:

    Do a search for "alcoholism and Native Americans."

    Another example: there are similar higher rates of alcoholism among Aborigines in Australia. And guess what? Their way of life and their culture was also disrupted and destroyed by the British settlers.

    So, my statement: "I'm sure that the changes their culture was *forced* to go through has something to do with it." is correct.

  29. The way I see it, the stance I take on peace, equality, Internationalism etc. etc. etc., anyone who opposes me on those fronts is bound to be wrong.

    Perhaps you could write separate posts on these three vague terms on which you stand: peace, equality and Internationalism; what exactly do they mean, and how do they manifest themselves in your life.

    As I see it, you're not at peace - you're constantly railing. That's not peace and that's not going to promote peace. One himself has to be peaceful to promote peace.

  30. Which is why you're presuming that other readers of this blog are going to endorse your argument.

    No, I don't care for endorsement as I'm not running for any public office. But it matters that those reading your posts and comments are exposed to different viewpoints and learn to think for themselves.

  31. Anonymous/kaffir...

    You may want to look at the example on the link again. Or maybe I've misunderstood you. Let's try it again.

    Putting your argument into the example provided we get:

    1. Natives were forced to change.
    2. Forced cultural & environmental change leads to alcoholism.
    3. Therefore, the Natives became alcoholics because of the change.

    Now let's look at what the example says:

    "The second assumption is less clear as to its meaning. Since the assertion has no quantifiers of any kind, it could mean any one of the following:

    . All food is delicious. Or in our case All forced cultural or environmental change leads to alcoholism.
    . One particular type of food is delicious. One type of... you get the drift.
    . Most food is delicious.
    . To me, all food is delicious.
    . Some food is delicious.

    In all but the first interpretation, the above syllogism would then fail to have validated its second premise. The person may try to assume that his interlocutor believes that all food is delicious; if the interlocutor grants this then the argument is valid. In this case, the interlocutor is essentially conceding the point to that person. However, the interlocutor is more likely to believe that some food is disgusting, and in this case the person is not much better off than he was before he formulated the argument, since he now has to prove the assertion that cake is a unique type of universally delicious food, which is a disguised form of the original thesis. From the point of view of the interlocutor, the person commits the logical fallacy of begging the question."

    Do you still want to argue whose argument is flawed logically?

    You've given me good ideas for future posts. I shall consider.
    At peace is being very different from shouting for peace.
    I know the saying about War for Peace is like F***ing for Virginity.
    However, have you heard of Greenpeace? Or of UNPKF?
    Anyway, I'm not indulging in war.
    I'm standing in between 2 kids who're going at each other & hollering at them. Ever seen that bring about peace?

    I thank you for the degree of faith you've shown in my writing & this blog. I have immense faith in my readers' ability to think for themselves. That is why their endorsement means so much to me.
    Your view would matter too, but I'm unconvinced that you're thinking entirely for yourself. I think (& I could be wrong) that there are vestiges (hopefully) of some right-wing influence.
    The day that is gone, I think you'll find that we agree more.

  32. Your 2. (forced change leads to alcoholism) is not something I claim - that's your assumption. Read my earlier comments.

    My statement was that this forced change in the case of Native Americans was a (one) factor in the increased rate of alcoholism. And I provided links to back it up.

    So your analogy of "all food is delicious" is where you slipped.

    As for this:
    "I think (& I could be wrong) that there are vestiges (hopefully) of some right-wing influence.
    The day that is gone, I think you'll find that we agree more."

    I'm not responsible for demons in your head - sorry, you'll have to deal with them yourself. :)
    Besides, I wasn't aware that logic had anything to do with which political spectrum one agrees with.

  33. Also look up "correlation" and "link" which is not the same as "causation."

  34. Anonymous (-kaffir)...


    I sense a defensive, backfoot stance.

    I haven't slipped anywhere. You wanted to go the Wiki-Logic defined way. We went that way. I dug up an example that proved that your argument is flawed, but you're currently not man enough to accept that fact.

    That's OK. I take heart from another fact that you brought up... the other readers of this blog. I'm certain they will be able to spot the fallacy in your argument, even if you don't want to admit it.

    Logic doesn't have anything to do with politics; but if you let your leanings interfere with your objectivity & logic, then we have a problem. That is what I was referring to.

    Whenever you get the logic in both the points, let me know. You have all the links for reference. The ones I presented & the ones you so kindly presented. :-)


Apologies but Moderation is a necessary evil, what with spam, bots, flamers & trolls abounding.
The publishing of any comment that is abusive or way off-topic remains at the discretion of the administrator.
Thank you for commenting.