For all I have learnt and seen in the world till now, there are more deaths that happen due to difference between caste, gender or religion than by natural impending disasters. People have killed others over the protection or supremacy of one’s religion over another; they have brutalised people and humiliated them for belonging to a caste that is beneath all; the right to life has been snatched for not possessing the desirable gender.
As we evolved with time, our last names have become our identity. Sadly, there is nothing in existence that echoes with the concept of individualism. We all have our caste tags and that’s how we all are perceived and judged in our day-to-day activities.
Our castes resonates with our community, and with the adhered community comes stereotypes that find takers all over the world. If you are a Punjabi, you are assumed to be boisterous, loud and drunk; if you are a Bengali, you are perceived to be intellectual and a leftist; if you are a Jatt, you are assumed to be violent and ill-spoken. Such are the stereotypes and there many more of it.
Today, India is on the move to emerge as a global power; on the other hand, its’ citizens are still rotting and crying foul over the injustice inflicted due to castes. Amidst all this chaos about caste, creed, vote banks, terrorism and much other worldly ridicule, isn’t it time for us to retrospect and take pragmatic steps towards building a casteless society?
Even today, caste-system has not become obsolete despite all the weaknesses developed into the system and all the attacks on it from time to time. It has survived and passed the test of time, and after every assault it has never shied away from emerging with greater force and tenacity. It is hard to stand and prevail as an individual, when carrying the load of a caste and the occasional perks enjoyed by it, if any in existence.
We are still killing, humiliating and differentiating others, not on the basis of their individuality, but on the basis of the caste they represent and are born to be a part of. Should we blame karma for such a division that is based on birth and never on merit?
Government policies aim at reducing caste-induced inequality by reservation, quota for backward classes, but paradoxically also have created an incentive to keep this stratification alive. The Indian government officially recognizes historically discriminated communities of India such as the Untouchables under the designation of Scheduled Castes, and certain economically backward castes as Other Backward Castes, and thus, keeps alive the stigma and inequalities in existence.
In a bid to protect castes, haven’t we stranded and divided them more?
It would undoubtedly be a brave decision to enroll oneself as ‘casteless’, considering the opposition and criticism these people have to face from their families, and only an intellectually cultured mind can do that. So be it a Dalit or an upper caste person, who elevates himself as ‘casteless’, because he is educated, will definitely not need any kind of reservation and he falls into the general category. Not wanting any quotas, not wanting any preference, just being able to sacrifice perks for a better world.
For all we know,
Caste restricts opportunity. Restricted opportunity constricts ability. Constricted ability further restricts opportunity. Where caste prevails, opportunity and ability are restricted to ever-narrowing circles of the people.