Post Rohith Vemula’s suicidal demise the question again came to fore whether the caste system in our society can be done away with. The references such as ‘deep rooted caste system’ have always been used to blame the ancient caste system and upper caste people. Politicians naturally will do politics for their vested interest but the so called caste crusaders too use such occasions to express anger against this social evil. Even one such crusader commented that caste system and democracy can’t run hand in hand.
Some people say that expecting a caste-less society in Indian set up is a wishful thinking. The crusaders will jump the gun on such people citing that these upper caste people never want the caste system to go and the oppressed caste people should up in arm to teach these people a lesson.
However I was also very hopeful some years back that one day this caste system will definitely go. The reason of my belief was simple that Vedic system doesn’t endorse such system. In fact caste was an invention of British. Vedas in fact talks of a ‘Varna System’ that was based on one’s service to the nation. The Varna was never based on birth rather very mobile considering how one contributes to society irrespective of his/her birth. Somehow this process was corroded and birth based Varna was implemented for vested interest of influenced social elites.
But then many such corrupt traditions were eliminated gradually and one should be always hopeful that this caste system should also be eliminated one day. But when I thought deeply on those sane people saying that expecting such miracle is a fantasy, I found they are really true to their words and really the caste-less society in India is just a castle in the sky.
The crusaders by this time must have painted me a Bramhinical advocator supporting the caste system. But be patient, I want eagerly for a caste-less society but unfortunately the reasons that I am putting below are so deep rooted in present day system, I find no reason to believe that casteless society is possible. To start with I can say confidently that so called upper caste people are not the reason for deep rooting caste system at the present day. I am just putting two important reasons for my belief why caste-less society is a wishful thinking.
The Vote Bank Politics
Democracy is always an effective tool to empower downtrodden because it gives every citizen to be represented through their representatives to fight against any discrimination meted out to them. Now days there are scores of political parties that claim to be true representative of the down trodden. In fact in today’s polity no political party dare to say that it is anti lower caste. Unfortunately these political parties are never interested for a caste-less society rather they seek this caste system to remain firmly so that their vote bank remains intact. Instead of putting efforts to end such social evil, they further divide the castes in to various groups such back ward, most backward and extreme backward. There also further division - politicians who further divide castes as - Paswans, Chamars, Dhobis, Nishads, Kewats etc. British introduced “divide and rule” policy to rule India. These politicians further divided people in various lines. A casteless society will unite people and the politicians can’t fool people through vote bank politics. The fear of perform or perish forces these politicians to continue dividing people. Thus it’s impossible to break their hegemony on dividing people and hence I believe the caste-less society is daydream.
Duplicity of Lower caste crusaders
The caste crusaders claim that they are strong advocate of a caste-less society. But if you say whether caste based reservation should also be done away with, they will vociferously say a big NO, citing thousands years of tortures to one caste people by upper caste people. Point is if there would be caste based reservation how there would be a caste-less society? Question will automatically come how the oppressed people match up to affluent people. The answer too is there that reservation should be done on the basis of economic criteria only thus ending the caste system rather ensuring a class system purely on economic criteria. Class is always mobile contrary to immobile caste. But then the crusader will scream that this is a way to give reservation facility to poor upper caste people. Now there are number of question which they can’t answer. For example if there will be no caste system where is the question of upper caste? Does poverty has any caste? Even if a so called poor upper caste got the facility what’s wrong in it? Isn’t he a citizen? Or he should punish for some wrongs his fore fathers done? Is revenge a method in democracy? If you put caste system for facilities what’s wrong if a poor upper caste man devoid of any facility from the democracy resort to glorify his caste at least.
Point is simple to make ours a caste-less society we all have to come aboard and formulate such systems so as everyone will be happy to be a part of the system. But I am afraid the vested interest of politicians and duality of crusaders will never allow a caste-less society to prevail and hence I realize that such a system is definitely a wishful thinking, flight of the imagination only and can never be a reality.