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March 01, 2007

The End of Upper Caste Propaganda in Global Forums

On February 23, 2007, the Indian government delegation appearing before the UN treaty body the CERD (International Convention of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) testified that in India there are no more Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Sudras and Dalits! It is unbelievable that the Government spokesperson for this viewpoint was the Jawaharlal Nehru University Professor Deepankar Gupta. The CERD body was not amused by this blatant denial of the operation of the caste system and the kind of unconvincing answers given by the Indian delegation to the pertinent and straight forward questions raised by the CERD experts on the issue of Dalits discrimination. India is a signatory to this International Convention.

Over a week ago, the States of Uttarkhand and Punjab held their State elections. Pollsters were openly describing the impact of the Upper Caste vote bank, the Dalit vote, the Jat Vote and the Backward Caste vote.

Hello Mr. Deepankar Gupta! Which India and New Delhi are you living in that you can deny that the caste system exists? Is it the city of the ‘Hindustan Times’ newspaper which weekly carries pages of matrimonial columns where the marriage advertisements are sub-divided along caste lines? Or do you also deny that these advertisements occur week after week? Perhaps we should deny that even a paper like the ‘Hindustan Times’ exists before the CERD committee. Alas, how far we Indians have fallen as we deny our soul-destroying social disorder.

The Indian Government and the economic bosses of India need to know that just as the phenomenon of ‘the world is flat’ has benefited India enormously in terms of jobs, economy and global presence, the same ‘flat world’ now fully reveals what was hidden about India for thousands of years – the social disorder of the caste system.

Fifty years after India’s Independence, the atrocities against Dalits have increased and not decreased. There are over 100,000 registered cases annually of violence against the Dalits today! The lack of a social conscience among the power brokers of Indian society stands exposed in the flat world.

We are only fooling ourselves by not addressing our social disorder. The flat world does not believe that the caste system is abolished. They now know that caste dominates Indian politics more than ever in our history. Caste polarization is a political and social reality. As the Dalit delegates to the UN conference at Durban announced, caste is worse than racism. The Prime Minister has compared the Dalit problem to apartheid in South Africa. So it is a moot point to enter into a philosophical discourse on whether casteism and racism are the same. The Dalits who are violated daily do not live in the lecturers’ hall of the universities. They live outside in the slums, the towns, the villages, in the bastis. They are found among the child laborers and the girls trafficked in the sex trade all across India.

The same disorder of caste ideology which devalues women and the girl child is causing havoc with our social balance. On December 12, 2006, UNICEF finally declared that we Indians kill off 2.5 million unborn female babies each year. This is nothing but the genocide of Indian women and there will be terrible consequences in the years to come as the ratio of men and women falls rapidly in many parts of the country.

This is the time to banish the caste system out of our social structure, minds, lives and society, and not the time to bluff the world in Global Forums. Time has run out for the caste system and its blatant devaluation and dehumanization of human beings.

Posted by klajja at March 1, 2007 12:16 AM

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This is good. Yet, why do friendly human rights groups and others often say "the Indian constitution banned the caste system"? Obviously, it only address untouchability and not the caste system, but there must be something that has been publicized which leads sympathetic people -- not only gov't officials rightly accused above -- to pass along the lie?!?

Btw, for anyone confused, Uttarkhand is the old name for the current state of Uttaranchal. Interesting that the political party which holds an upper caste ideology (the BJP) won a majority in the legislature of both this state and Punjab a few weeks ago. Would love some thoughts on how that happened as well.

Posted by: Anonymous India at March 2, 2007 03:56 PM

Intercaste marraiges should be made compulsory.This is the only way to put an end to the caste system.

Posted by: Kariya at April 19, 2007 09:56 PM

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