Caste against citizens

Our democracy is determined to show the world that whatever others can do, we can do worse. If in this process, individual initiatives are killed, standards lowered, and professional ethics compromised, there is no cause for worry. We can still sink a lot lower.

We want to be a world power, but our politicians will not let that happen. Sadly, a number of intellectuals are on their side digging holes for all of us to jump into. Instead of thinking citizenship, our democratically elected leaders are thinking caste and family. Instead of admonishing them, many of our intellectuals see merit in all of this as they supposedly reflect popular opinion.

 Among other things, the ‘people’s’ opinion fetish works best when it is geared towards yesterday. We were people once upon a time in the distant past, but today we are citizens. This aspect is not reflected in our politics. The bulk of our elected leaders, the three Yadavs included, would happily slide down deep black holes to represent the people. Ask them to look ahead and deliver to citizens and they would lose their way.

As citizens we do not need caste but we need development, growth, employment and clean air. We need to think as one so that the basis of our existence is rooted in common factors and not in divisive ones. But when we think as people, none of this is our concern. Instead we are overwhelmed by the need to dominate other people. So in a democracy of people, there is always caste against caste, language against language, religion against religion. As citizenship is blind to these considerations, our politicians consider it a handicap.

Censuses have always reflected the needs of citizens so that policy can be adequately framed to aid the public. The census is a document in service of the future and not to serve past prejudices or sectional interests. If the census today is pressured to include caste numbers then the game is clear. Caste will henceforth be the basis of social policy and not citizenship. The idea of the public is junked and the notion of caste, kin, clan and religion will rule the day.

When several intellectuals supported OBC reservations and, indeed, reservations of all kinds in perpetuity, they should have known which side they were cheering for. The politics of caste can perhaps be justified as people’s voices amplified, but it certainly muffles the call of citizenship.

Once caste numbers are published there will be endless quarrels over whether or not the facts were correctly gathered, the numbers properly added and so on. Brotherhoods will soon emerge, canvassing memberships to certain castes with tempting offers of quick jobs, early promotions and happy marriages. To make all of this work, the traditional system will have to be properly tanked up with bad blood with enough in reserve to spill out on to the streets.

As is plainly visible already, caste politicians are not done yet with reservations. They are now claiming new territory by asking for control over marriage, not just through informal control, which was always the case, but through the law. If they have their way again, marriage through choice will become another victim of yesterday, and once again, citizens will be trampled in the name of the people.

We want to be a world power, but our politicians will not let that happen. Sadly, a number of intellectuals are on their side digging holes for all of us to jump into. Instead of thinking citizenship, our democratically elected leaders are thinking caste and family. Instead of admonishing them, many of our intellectuals see merit in all of this as they supposedly reflect popular opinion.

Among other things, the ‘people’s’ opinion fetish works best when it is geared towards yesterday. We were people once upon a time in the distant past, but today we are citizens. This aspect is not reflected in our politics. The bulk of our elected leaders, the three Yadavs included, would happily slide down deep black holes to represent the people. Ask them to look ahead and deliver to citizens and they would lose their way.

As citizens we do not need caste but we need development, growth, employment and clean air. We need to think as one so that the basis of our existence is rooted in common factors and not in divisive ones. But when we think as people, none of this is our concern. Instead we are overwhelmed by the need to dominate other people. So in a democracy of people, there is always caste against caste, language against language, religion against religion. As citizenship is blind to these considerations, our politicians consider it a handicap.

Censuses have always reflected the needs of citizens so that policy can be adequately framed to aid the public. The census is a document in service of the future and not to serve past prejudices or sectional interests. If the census today is pressured to include caste numbers then the game is clear. Caste will henceforth be the basis of social policy and not citizenship. The idea of the public is junked and the notion of caste, kin, clan and religion will rule the day.

When several intellectuals supported OBC reservations and, indeed, reservations of all kinds in perpetuity, they should have known which side they were cheering for. The politics of caste can perhaps be justified as people’s voices amplified, but it certainly muffles the call of citizenship.

Once caste numbers are published there will be endless quarrels over whether or not the facts were correctly gathered, the numbers properly added and so on. Brotherhoods will soon emerge, canvassing memberships to certain castes with tempting offers of quick jobs, early promotions and happy marriages. To make all of this work, the traditional system will have to be properly tanked up with bad blood with enough in reserve to spill out on to the streets.

As is plainly visible already, caste politicians are not done yet with reservations. They are now claiming new territory by asking for control over marriage, not just through informal control, which was always the case, but through the law. If they have their way again, marriage through choice will become another victim of yesterday, and once again, citizens will be trampled in the name of the people.

The caste census and demands to control caste marriages by law represent double octane backwardness, though it is expressed in a democratic garb. This is not the first time such traditional demands have been made in the name of representing people, but it was called fascism then. That the Left, the centrists and the conservatives in Indian politics lack the nerve to stand up to casteism of this kind only tells us how citizens have been forgotten in the quest for votes.

 If this is what democracy is all about, then why did we fight for Independence? The British would gladly have consented to ruling over a people who are internally divisive. They would have happily put in place pre-fabricated walls within which we could have squabbled forever, setting up caste against caste, clan against clan and sect over sect. When we made our Constitution it was supposed to help democracy, and we were once proud of it. Obviously, at some point we were either not paying attention, or we were downright citizen-abusive, that we let caste and other sectional values rule our politics.

Imagine an India in the 21st Century where tourists come in supersonic jets to see brides being burnt, lovers hacked to death, jobs handed out on caste grounds and officials elected on their bigotry appeal. They would marvel at the Indian ‘people’ who can continue sitting on their haunches, completely oblivious of nano science, clean air, informatics, and rocket science. Here are a people who are not just ignorant, but proud of being that way. That would be our USP in this century and in the centuries to come.

Trust India to aim for the lowest and getting it bang on.

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Author: sanyaldk

I am a student, and I like to explore. after graduating as an engineer, I chose to learn about the non technical stuff about life because I felt curious about them. Unlike the engineering, these fields of social life were more complicated and difficult to have any consensus or even logic. yet, I saw life somehow always flourishing! My attempt is to understand these complex social issues in life and present them in simple terms, and this blog is an humble attempt in that direction. currently I am preparing for the Civil services i.e. Indian administrative service which involves study of all aspects related with India, its society and its governance.

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