India and Casteism


I am an average engineering student who belongs to a normal middle class family, and I think like majority of us I got my first taste of reservation, when I began looking for a college. It did bother me how some students got admitted in the college with a much less cut off and easily got the seats - we the people of ‘general category’ were struggling for.

I know a lot of people think how discrimination has ended and how people of lower castes are no more looked down upon, ‘atleast in cities’. I have lived in a city, for most part of my life and from early on I was taught all kinds of things in the house. Our neighbours - of a caste considered lower than ours – were sometimes looked down upon. It always confused me how some people were referred to as by a profession they were not even remotely associated with like naai (barber) or dhobi (washerman). Although I was never stopped from hanging out with them, but there was always some kind of disdain attached to them in my mind.

And this situation became all the more worse, when I grew up and started noticing things on my own. Marriages were only considered with brides and grooms of ‘equal’ caste, and in case, even if one does manage to find love, it became imperative for that love to be of the same caste. It wouldn’t matter even if the person was earning a six figure salary, if he or she was of a ‘lower caste’. And I know for a fact, that this is the case with the majority of the people in our country.

And right now, I am just talking about the urban-educated population of the country; I haven’t even begun to discuss about the casteist practices of rural India – the 70% India we have little clue about. I don’t see the status of the dalit community being any soon considered equal to that of the Brahmins. There is categorisation in every religion in India on the basis of caste and creed. And I don’t forsee this giant hierarchy of castes going anywhere in the near future.

The primary basis of reservation was to remove caste based discrimination. So if we still haven’t removed discrimination, how can we remove reservation?

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