Paradox of equality

hands.jpgHistory of Indian civilization goes down deep in the annals of history. And as with every other civilization, ours also had its own social order. While every ancient civilization can boast of a diligently planned organization of their respective societies, we Indians cannot do so; maybe because of our innate inclination to do things in excess. We are all aware that ancient India classified people on the basis of theVarna system. We also know that this system was divided into four classes – Brahmin the knowledge seeker, Vaishya the businessman, Kshatriya the warrior and Shudra the worker. But in the gradual course of time, the Brahmins were eventually being treated as the supreme class of people while Shudras were considered the lowly and filthy ones. Also, there was introduced a staunch rigidity in this classification, entailing centuries of bias against the so-called ‘Untouchable Community’. Further, in the Freedom Struggle period, we saw a renaissance, where under the meticulous leadership of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the Dalit community came to the forefront and clinched their piece of cake from the bastion of the stinking Hindu Samaj.

In the past sixty years; we Indians, through rampant activism, have managed to thwart the racial apartheid in our society to a substantial extent. However, as I said earlier, we Indians have an ignominious problem of going over the top while doing things. When we discriminated, we left no stone unturned to derogate the lower classes. Now, when we are supposedly ‘equalizing’, our politicians are making a gross abuse of this situation to achieve their own political ends. All the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Castes (OBC) of our nation now carry their caste certificate as a badge of honour. The reason being class quotas. All so-called lower class members get an easy entry at all levels of competition solely because they are from the lower classes. In the garb of redistributing justice, the politicians themselves are segregating the people. It must be noted that some of them are in a sound economic state and still they worm through with ease while the normal “higher caste” person, irrespective of his/her financial state, has to struggle enormously to reach that position. Why is this happening? Despite having more merit and talent, why are the other people suffering? In many cases, these lower class people are not even interested in taking advantage of these perks. Nevertheless, a General Category person is at the losing end due to the ridiculous reservations. To give actual assistance, economic help should be provided at all levels. But to make their vote banks flourish, politicians will resort to other methods which actually inspire more discrimination. Sometime back, a Bollywood movie Aaja Nachle was at the receiving end of the impotence of politics. The activists of the Bahujan party called for the scrapping of the movie, only due to two ‘offensive’ lines in a song. The offence of the ephemeral words, made the whole issue look like a mega political sham.

Punjab and Uttar Pradesh called for a nationwide ban on the movie; it must be noted that both the states have a Dalit stronghold. The Centre was requested to deliberate upon this grave problem. In the end, the flames were doused when the producers offered their subservient apologies. What was all this done for? Publicity, of course. Along with it, this was meant also as a message to all the higher caste people; don’t mess around with them. Honourable Dr. Ambedkar’s birth anniversary happened recently and Dalits all over the country congregated at Mumbai to celebrate this occasion. I carry no other grouse except that they caused an inconvenience to others in the whole process. I have myself seen these Bahujan party members and lower class people literally attack Mumbai bound trains. They captured the pre-reserved berths and threw away the luggage when faced with resistance. If someone is kind enough, you will be given perhaps two of your four reserved seats. During this entire process, one cannot even think of protesting because they are backed by the colossal crowd of their brothers. Therefore, all that one can do is sit in a corner and travel in extreme discomfort in a seat even after having paid for it. All this exploitation is able to happen because they belong to lower castes having the government to support them. I do not wish to say that they do not deserve justice. My only concern about this issue is that someone should not catch your arm when you are giving a finger. All the comforts and luxuries should be demanded but not at the cost of causing inconvenience to others. I have no issues regarding their rights. I have issues only against what others lose out. Let there be positive reforms in the whole system and let us actually witness what we all envisage – creation of a prejudice free society where everyone can take benefit of the resources and opportunities, without any form of exploitation. Umang Jaketia