How does it feel to be a Dalit in India ? Quoras Answer.
“ In fact,being a Dalit in India, is not a problem at all, as long as one accepts the slot allotted to the Dalits in the prevailing social system.
This means a Dalit has to willing accept the following with out any kind of resistance.
1)He should allow the upper caste Hindus(UCH) to freely trample on him without any reason.
2) He should allow them to spit, insult or do anything extremely atrocious to him.
3) He should not aspire to raise in his life.
4) He should not dress well or wear slippers.
5) He should not talk back when asked to do something.
6) He should stand with a position of respect in front of them.
7) In case he does any creditable thing, he should not claim it.
8) Many more such expectations.
What happens if a Dalit chooses to revolt?
1) He is suppressed with all possible power/might at the command of the UCH
2) He is side lined and trapped in some misconduct or disciplinary proceedings etc.
3) If the Dalit is smart and intelligent,its all the more trouble for him. All people join together and launch a whisper propaganda against the Dalit.
4) Every body joins together to make his life a hell of a misery.
5) If in a incognito contest a Dalit scores high marks it is reduced the moment the identity is known.
I secured 142 general rank in a tough All India Exam competing with 78000 candidates in 1976,the moment they checked my papers,I was put under SC/ST category !
I topped as no 1 in collection of a particular business and the incentive foreign tour due for the achievement was given to a totally unconnected UCH !Even my own staff were shocked as my Brahmin Boss decided on this !I often got admitted for ‘heart aches’ whenever ‘injustice’was unbearable. This only one example !
I joined as Level 1 direct officer and should have reached Level 12 in the normal course ,which is like MD, for my merit and performance.But with the Dalit tag ,I could not cross Level 4 ,at my retirement.
Now I publish my works in US easily than in India. US recognises me because its a nation of merit.
Often I tell my daughters “If your Dad was born in US ,I am sure he would have been a Bill Gates or like ”
This speaks about how ‘merit’ in India fares in 21st century.When India suppresses its ‘merit’ ,how can it compete with the world?That is why India(Rank55) lags behind even small countries like South Korea(Rank 5) in Olympics 2012 Medals tally.We demand ‘level playing field’ with other countries, while denying the same to our own nationals!
- ‘Socialising’ is ‘Antithesis’ in CasteSystem!
‘ Society’ means” the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community”.
If you apply the ingredients of this concept, I am not quite sure whether a caste- based- society would ever qualify to be called as a ‘society’at all. In the Caste System, the vertical hierarchy of the castes makes it more akin to a bossing military structure than a fellowshipping society. More over a period of time, lot of myth,superstitions, proverbs, adages about each caste have been created intently and floated, to ensure against free interaction among the castes.A particular caste is ridiculed for being stingy,another for being foolish,another for being crafty etc. This makes free interaction,fellowship,helping each other,working for common good etc as practically impossible.A kind of ‘hatred ‘between the castes is fuelled by constant back-biting.
I would like to share an incident to illustrate how this CS works against helpful socializing.When I was in Chennai during the 70’s I used to visit one of my close relatives staying around 20 kms away.I travel all the way in my car along with my family during the week-ends just for a social call. On two such occasions, it so happened that the head of the house, one old uncle of around 80 years old,fell sick.We were happy that we were there at the right time to help him reach the hospital for treatment. This happened two times.We felt happy that we were able to help during two occasions,but the wife of the old uncle did not feel so! She felt that every time we made a visit, the old man fell sick!What a perverted thinking !
What a world of difference between this perception and our perception of the same incident ! So she started indicating so to some others ,not to us ,that we were sort of ‘bad omen ‘bringing sickness every time we visit! How hurting to hear such remarks !Who will go visit them if they categorize people helping them like this? We also felt bad and stopped visiting.The winner is the indomitable Caste Spirit ultimately.
Now the question is, why are they not able to identify someone who is genuinely helping them? You cannot but blame the CS only,for this perverted thought.
- ‘Common Good’or ‘Leadership’ Has No Space here!
Since CS arranges groups of people into castes and the castes are vertically arranged there is no space for any common good.What is good for one caste is always considered as bad for another caste.This is the reason why people oppose any benefit given to any other castes.For example,if the government gives 3% reservation for physically challenged,there won’t be any noise among the communities.But if the Government gives reservation for any particular community or group of communities,there will be lot of noise and vociferous protests all around!
Every caste wants to ensure that their position in the hierarchy remains intact.This means the lower caste needs to remain ‘lower only ‘and even if they try to move up a little high,there will be lot of resistance all around.Each caste is more concerned and bothered about other castes remaining as they are and its own members moving up in the ladder.
So there is no space for common good.This is the reason why the common roads are dirty,traffic is chaotic and any common facility is not taken care of.For example,I will throw all waste on the roads because it is not my caste duty to keep the roads clean! My job is to ‘dirty ‘ it and their job is to clean it !”Let them come and clean” is the general attitude.
Once in my friend’s marriage party held in southern Tamil Nadu,there was no low-caste person available to clean the dining tables .Dinner was served on plantain-leaves and as per prevailing tradition guests are not supposed to remove it.My friend did not know what to do as the leaves were piling up.At that point of time one hungry beggar came and asked for food.My friend thought that he can use him to clean the tables and give him food and some money,in addition.But the beggar promptly refused ,saying “I am a ——–caste man,I won’t do such work !’ My friend quipped ,” But,you are begging for food ! Is that ok for your ——caste ?” He would not reply but have the food full! Yes,CS permits any caste to beg rather than do work of the lower caste ! So however best we try,CS prevails over our intentions and make us comply with our caste mindset.
CS cannot produce any common leader for all as any leader can only represent the interests of his caste.This is the reason why India has no national leader of the stature of Abraham Lincoln who was willing to sacrifice his life for abolition of slavery.
- Caste System Determines All Sensitivities/Priorities !
It is quite interesting to note that the CS holds sway over all the ‘sensitivities’of Indians. So, it is very common to observe that the average Indian is not’ sensitive’ to what all civilized citizens of other nations are ‘sensitive’ to.Let us see the list of ‘insensitive’ and ‘sensitive’ aspects of an average Indian.
Not Sensitive To
For example chaotic traffic does not disturb any Indian.Climbing into the crowded trains,hanging on train roofs, disorganized religious festivals like Kumbh Mela ,chaotic admission procedure in schools, colleges etc. nothing disturbs him All government procedures for obtaining approvals.are terribly chaotic but an average Indian takes it well in his stride..
An average Indian is not disturbed by dirt, filth, gutter water sewage seeping over the streets,pissing in the streets,shitting on railway tracks etc.But he would expect you to remove your foot-wear when you enter his shop for shopping !
An average Indian is not disturbed by jumping of queues and given an opportunity he would also jump the queue happily.The reason is Caste Dharma assigns different rights to different castes.As such queue violation is a permitted value in the system.
- An average Indian is not sensitive to work commitment or perfection.
He will claim that’ work is worship’ and all that but when it comes to practice he will never care.Recently a electrician in Tamil Nadu working on a power transformer was electrocuted to death for a “minor mistake”. That ‘minor mistake’ was ‘working without wearing hand gloves’on a high-voltage transformer! No newspaper ever talks about such a major negligence but disposes off it as his fate’.Mind you,he is not an exception;he is the rule.
Caste System is against any kind of work ethics, as perfection does not matter at all ,in a CS environment .The job of each caste is assured from their birth and they need not prove their eligibility or skill to do it.Accordingly a Brahmin who is suffering from even contagious disease is not ineligible to serve as priest in a temple, on account of the disease.Compare this with the Biblical instructions on levitical priest hood which prescribes the following norms for priest-hood:
1)Num8.24 commands, “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.” God regulated the priestly office and limited the age of priests to 25 to 50 years. Anyone younger or older was not eligible to serve.
2) God held the priests to the most stringent standards of behavior and ritual purity (Leviticus 21). Abihu and Nadab were sons of Aaron and two of the first priests. They disobeyed God, however, and were instantly struck down (Leviticus 10:1–2). Later, the sons of the high priest Eli “treated the offering of the Lord with contempt” and were also judged (1 Samuel 2:12–17).
Since work ethics is not considered important,an average Indian worker is never punctual,not sincere in work,often misleading the customer,having tendency to do certain things stealthily without the customer’s consent and not feeling bad if caught red-handed.
An average Indian worker does not feel proud about his work or his skills.He is more concerned about making money somehow. A biscuit manufacturing unit in Tamilnadu had surplus capacity which was leased to a foreign biscuit company for manufacturing their products.But on one condition that the workers shall wear hand gloves without fail, for reasons of hygiene.The staff union agreed to the condition.However random inspections carried out subsequently, proved that the workers stealthily removed their gloves during the work, whenever the Supervisors were not seen around! Whatever best the management did to prevent this practice failed because of the workers’ mindset.Why do they do like that ?Who controls their mindset? You should have known it by this time !
But Sensitive To:
The average Indian,however is highly sensitive to the following.
- Any type of help done to the poor or needy.
Nobody wants any kind of help to be done to the poor labour category like porters, auto drivers, beggars etc. In Bangalore Cantonment railway station the maximum porterage charges payable to porters is fixed at Rs 70/- . I am not aware of any maximum charges on even brokerage fixed for real estate deals. But in case of a porter demanding Rs 10 extra an average Indian fights tooth and nail to avoid giving it. He posts complaints in social media for that Rs 10 /-extra !
An average Indian is not willing to give Rs 10/-per month,for door collection of garbage but will happily give Rs 5000/- for a 10 day summer camp for kids ! To strengthen this attitude of not helping the ‘poor’ ,lot of superstitions have been floated over the years.One is that ‘poor hate help from the rich.They hate extending their hand for help’ This is to prevent poor from asking for help.There is another ,for preventing the rich from helping.”If you help the poor,you will soon become like them !”
- The most sensitive area is that of ‘caste’.
An average Indian can not tolerate any thing except any kind of benefit ,reservation or advantage that is given to a caste other than his caste.He employs all his arsenal to fight against such a move tooth and nail.More than the desire for benefits for his caste,the feeling that the other caste should not get anything rules.
He is also against any sort of dilution of the caste system through inter-caste marriages. He will go to any extent to defend his caste.’Any extent’ means and includes’ killing of own daughter,son or sister who gets into a intercaste relationship’.This he considers as a’ honour killing ‘to save the caste system!
Sensitivities Determine Priorities!
Our pattern of ‘sensitivities’ determine our priorities.For example, suppose in my family the youngest brother is starving every day and I have lots of money.If I am sensitive to his suffering ,the first priority for me will be to provide him food.If I am not sensitive to his suffering,I can go for a lavish BMW car with the money I have.Does this explain why India is going for Space Research when 300 mnof its people are below poverty line ?.
- Is‘ Hatred’ ,a part of Caste System ?
Since the caste system is a vertical arrangement of various castes,every caste feels superior to the castes which are placed below them and inferior to the castes which are placed above them . So none of the castes except the highest that is ,Brahmins feel adequate and full. The lowest in the ladder, that is the Dalits feels the most crushed and rejected by every body .They are made to feel that they are zero in the system.
One common thread that seems to run through the entire CasteSystem is the utter contempt for the lower castes and high respect for the higher castes In practice,however this translates into a vein of ‘hatred ‘running through entire line of hierarchy. Due to this feeling of hatred the Hindus are not sensitive to the suffering of the other castes ,though they are part of their own religion. Sometimes,they may become be sensitive even to the suffering of people in different countries. The Government of India ,once raised funds for Nelson Mandela to fight against Apartheid in Africa, while 300 million Indians are still suffering under the curse of untouchabllity right on is own soil!
This inbuilt ‘hatred’ in CS works against creating the feeling of ‘one nation’.
- CS Sure Breeds Inferiority Complex
At the cost of repetition,let me tell that the caste system is a vertical arrangement of various castes. Every caste feels superior to the castes which are placed below them and inferior to the castes which are placed above them . So none of the castes except the highest that is ,Brahmins feel adequate and full. The lowest in the ladder, that is the Dalits feels the most crushed and rejected by every body .They are made to feel that they are zero in the system.
Overall,every caste suffer from a strong feeling of ‘inferiority complex’s an essential part of CS mindset. Compare this position with the poor in Africa. Even the darkest Africans or Afro-Americans always feel proud about themselves.
- CS and Communication
CS affects effective ‘communication’ as such, as each caste perceives any issue or problems with its own eyes. In other words what is a problem for one caste need not a problem for another caste. Some times what is bad for one caste may even be a source of joy for another caste.This prevents level communication between two different castes. CS prevents free communication due to clash of interests .This is the reason for the foreigners’ feeling that Indians do not mean what they speak!
- CS and Suffering Of Others/Helping Unknown People
The treatment of each caste in a CS depends on the position they occupy in the hierarchy .As per the position the degree of respect or contempt for the caste concerned is decided .The higher the caste the higher the respect and the lower the caste higher is the contempt .Accordingly a low caste person is treated lower than even animals.While the animals are permitted to pass through the streets or the higher caste ,the lower caste Dalits are not permitted to pass through the same streets,as a consequence of this ,any kind of suffering undergone by the Dalits are simply not visible to the eyes of the upper caste. As this attitude gets embedded in the Hindu mind set ,they simply ignore victims of accidents or those who are in a SOS situation.
The person affected does not mind about this indifference of others who is suffering ,as he is conditioned not to expect any help from anyone.This is the main reason why bleeding accident victims in India are not helped by anyone passing by.They may give different reasons for their apathy,as they themselves may not be aware of these real reasons.
- How does CS impact Depression/Anger /Anxiety ?
Caste system nurtures negative feelings like ‘depression anger ,anxiety,etc’ in every one.The’ lower castes’ always live under a feeling of ‘threat’ despite having intelligence,etc .The higher castes who are the rulers never recognize the merit of the lower classes.As a consequence, these people suffer from constant anger,anxiety ,nervousness and related health problemsl.They are not sure of their future or even the next moment.
- CS and Cheating
Since CS does not accept ground realities which clash with the Caste Dharma,it has either to put it down through lies or through cheating.Many of the religious literature carry stories of vile cheating, tricks etc employed to save the CS from destruction.Hence cheating becomes an accepted and essential part of maintaining the Caste Dharma.
- CS and Personal Grooming
CS does not attach any importance to presentation,personality,looks etc which are required for executive jobs in other cultures.A Brahmin is considerd as belonging to a high caste even if he is half clad without any upper garment or in whatever look he wants.Similarly a person belonging to a low caste is considered as low even if he is smartly dressed in a coat and suit and well groomed.Consequently personal grooming in a caste society does not matter at all. all.Even public leaders are casually dressed and their personal looks are hardly given attention to.The only well dressed Indian political leader happens to be a Dalit,Dr.B.R.Ambedkar,always dressed right.
Even ,a famous cine-actor,known for his ‘style’, appears in public meetings dressed in surprisingly inappropriate attire.In fact earlier before the advent of globalization in India,many Indians would not have had regular haircuts.More over certain communities believe in having tied up hair than a smart haircut as a part of their caste requirement.So when compared to even the poorest African countries,Indians do not attach any importance to looks and personal grooming.Married women moreover are not expected to ‘make-up’ for fear of attracting other men.
- CS and Helping Unknown People/Humanity
We have already seen how CS is totally insensitive to the suffering of the people of lower castes of the same religion.When the upper caste are so insensitive to the suffering of their own people,how will they react to the suffering of unknown people or the humanity.Their mindset is built against helping people.This is a reason why so much food is wasted in India when millions of people go hungry everyday.
Let Us Join Hands And Kill This Monster!
Before I conclude,let me admit that I have not covered the impact of CasteSystem on some more areas like hypocrisy,lust etc ,for want of space. Having known about the ill effects of Caste System over the mindset and attitudes of every Indian,I feel ,I need not emphasize the need to destroy the evil monster in the interests of the nation.The first step towards that can be taken by the Government of India and the State Governments.They can create a new category of casteless people in India called “Free Category(FEC)” and encourage people belonging to any caste to renounce their caste and be called the” Free Category“ category.
Government can consider reserving 20% of all the Government/public sector/private sector vacancies to this newly created category.The reservation percentage may be reviewed later and increased if necessary.This reservation can be in addition to the stipulated maximum percentage of 50% for reservations.Apart from this Government can also encourage inter -caste marriages whose offs prings can be categorized under “Free Category” category.All educational institutions should make available this option of declaration as “”Free Category” while admitting students.
Media should be barred from highlighting caste based activities and news.Caste references should be dropped in films,serials and talks and people encouraged to drop their caste surnames with incentives.
As building up this rigid caste system took around 3000 years,breaking it down may also make take sometime.Neverthless the first step needs to be taken so that the country moves forward to become a super power in reality.After all Caste System is nothing but celebration of division and hatred and not unity and growth !
By Sundar A.S