Comments on: Caste and Race: Two sides of the same coin? Perspectives on South Asian politics Thu, 02 Jun 2016 08:03:22 +0000 hourly 1 By: shilpacslc Tue, 25 Aug 2009 12:38:46 +0000 Mark:

I agree some of your points. Regarding your points I have some questions,


(1)What is “Hinduism”? Does Hinduism exist in India?

(2)According to you- ‘Caste is a Colonial Construction’, then what do you want to call groups/communities in the precolonial India?

By: Azad Fri, 05 Jun 2009 13:06:59 +0000 At last, the backward classes have flexed their political muscle and that resulted in Yadavs, mayavatis, nitishs, and narendra modis becoming chief ministers. Meera Kumari becomes the Speaker and Prathiba becomes President (the list is very long believe me).Next, the other day, I heard over the TV the Principal running the vedic school in temple of Tirupathi, Andhra, spelling out the policy of admissions. Applicants aspiring to train to become Purohit, pujari etc. can be from any background, and, caste isn’t a barrier. In other words one can apply for an admission to the Vedic school just the way one can seek admission to a B.A course in any state run college. Can you believe it? Its true nevertheless.
On the other hand the SC (scheduled caste) communities in Andhra are demanding sub classification on the lines of BCs (backward classes). Madigas complain that Malas are taking away all the reserved places under SC class. (malas are somewhat smarter than madigas, I subsume).Malas are opposing such division and they want status quo to continue i.e. leave entire SC clumped as a single group. Clearly, things have changed as we all can see back in India. I was told, as early as in 1972, the Dalits who went to medical schools enjoyed free boarding and schooling. Social justice is firmly in place my fellow Indians. Poverty raises passions and result in anger and envy. Overall betterment of indian economy will bring in changes more rapidly and peacefully.
I propose compulsory presence of (part of) police force from backward communities at village level; also, all mandals must have backward community representations (I think its already the case). Some rural areas in North need special focus. Yap, Long way to go, as we all can see.
Finally, you can have the international community involved if you firmly believe (as your reply to Rajeev makes it amply clear) in it for a quick fix. I will be surprised if outsiders ever can come up with anything better. ( Part 2 of 2)

By: Dara Fri, 05 Jun 2009 07:33:28 +0000 Rajeev,

First of all my apologies for having misspelt your name in my previous comment.

Where we fail and the principle reason for most of our problems is lack of will in implementing, even the most basic of laws. As you point out it is a major disadvantage we face.

The need for those who have benefited from the policy of reservations and quotas to move on, as you point out, is pertinent. The defining of the creamy layer is, in my opinion, another act of selfishness by those who have gained from the system but are not willing to share. The criteria have been raised to such an extent that it enables those who have already gained, to continue to milk the system at the cost of those who actually need support.

Best to continue seeing the brighter side, for now. A lot of people have benefited and that is good news anyway. We could do better, but then that is applicable in all fields.


By: Aman Fri, 05 Jun 2009 05:13:55 +0000 I have been reading all the comments posted here (including the links). One of the suggestions is organising society on the basis of caste, the understanding being that a people from a particular caste are good at one type of job.
I personally don’t agree with this, this is like condemnign the son of a labrour to a labourers job.
In my opinion, it will be better that people understand that the varna system was not designed on the basis of heredity.
For example: in Brahmins, you will find Chaturvedis, Trivedis, Dwivedis, essentially this means people who have mastered the four vedas, three vedas and two vedas respectively. Now just because the father has finished 4 vedas does not automatically mean that the son has also done the same.
Going by this logic in todays world professors/teachers, priests, scientists, etc are Brahmins, the mitlitary, police and administrative people are Kshatriyas, the Bankers,accountats,businessmen and other people involved in services are Vaishyas and labourers as Shudras.
I know this will create classes rather than castes but this distribution is essential for the normal working of a society. You need labourers for doing manual work, you need bankers, police, professors, etc.
As the Swaminomics article said there is a lot of feeling of belonging to one particular community, there is also equal enimity between different communities. As long as they exist on the lines of birth, this enmity will exist and so will the discrimination. The dominant caste, whether in number or power(position/wealth) will keep on discriminiating between its own people and others.
If we go back to the basics (for which the present age gurus and leaders of Hindusim will have to take the charge) then we will be able to conquer this menace.
Ofcourse affirmative action helps but having it on caste lines as in the present day further divides the society accentuatingf the problem rather than solving it. Moreover, it generally helps the people whose earlier generations have already benefitted from it.
Affirmative action on the basis of social class rather than social caste should be implemented. That will go a long way in bringing people together.

By: Azad Thu, 04 Jun 2009 15:13:05 +0000 Dara writes
need to be helped monetarily to possess modern tools relevant to their trade……….
. As per your plan, we will have to force the Mittals to give up steel industry and let the suburban families make the steel/iron tools working from their ‘modern’ furnaces (installed by govt.). Force the mumbai textiles to shutdown and then provide ‘modern equipment’ to the weavers in small towns so that the cloth they make will be used to satisfy our domestic needs and even be exported? Provide cobblers enough tools and facilities that they will compete with Reebok and Nike? World has changed -Modernization and industrialization encouraged research and that in turn had fatally impacted family owned businesses globally. Dara apparently you lack clarity on the issue and worse, your suggested remedial measures sound that you are clueless
Nirmal paintings from Andhra, Poompuhar wood carvings from Tamil Nadu and sandalwood carvings from karnataka are a couple examples that come to my mind here. These successful businesses are largely family owned with a heavy governmental presence. Sure these ‘cottage’ industries proudly reflect the left overs of age old indian artistic skills catering to the needs of art lovers. In spite of millions of indian homes proudly displaying these works of art, the profits are moderate with all the generous government subsidies extended to them. These are the businesses the administration should uplift in all fairness.
Part 1 . cont see part 2

By: rajeev Thu, 04 Jun 2009 04:14:52 +0000 Dara:

There is no problem for discussion at any platform. I do not think There are ideas sitting for someone to implement. Ideas emerging from any plateform–national or international–face the same problem, that is how to implement them. It is mainly the vote bank that keeps the problem from getting solved. I wish the UN was powerful enough to enforce the nations to move and that would take away any excuse of internal fear of the politicican that any bold moves might lose them votes.

Also, the point of caste based reservation is to help those who lagged. But why not the politicians of all parties arrive at the consensus on certain critical national issues. To repeat my earlier comments,one is to stop reservation for let us say a Dalit who is an IAS officer now. Continuing to provide reservations for the kids of such parents is ridiculous. It never allows them to come out of a stereotypical mindset.

Your point on using the “skill force” for their and India’s benifits is good one. One gets to see some of the skills at the handicraft MAILAS.

By: Charles Michael Byrd Wed, 03 Jun 2009 15:44:36 +0000 I devoted one part of my book “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness” (Backintyme Publishing) to a discussion of “Caste System vs. Varnashrama Dharma.” The perverted nature of India’s caste system notwithstanding, a study of Vedic Dharma is, I believe, essential to going beyond the oppressive race-consciousness that we find in the supposedly progressive West. Go to:


By: Atish Wed, 03 Jun 2009 09:04:24 +0000 No Caste in islam

There is no caste in Islam. Anyone can lead prayers and anyone can perform marriage. death. There is no priestly class.

Shias and Sunnis are sects, who differ based on political rather than religious view point and are not castes.

The Islamic Shariah make sit very clear that a person cannot be discriminated by race, color, sect, or wealth.

Caste system is native and inherent to Hinduism and a fact of life in India. From birth, naming a child, marriage, to death, life is driven by one’s caste. Period.

By: Murugan Wed, 03 Jun 2009 04:40:58 +0000 Caste is a real problem in India. It has been systamatically making lower caste people to lose thier confident and making them to feel that they are not equal to others. There may be few exceptions to this.

I have one point to hightlight here which has not been addressed. Indian democracy doesn’t have a way to fix caste system. Democratically elected Inidan leaders can only increase more grants, quota and other facilities to any caste or sect but they never able to reduce. This is because of vote bank politics.

By: rajeev Wed, 03 Jun 2009 00:08:58 +0000 Dara

Many good points you have raised including in the post to Azad and also the article cited by Vipul.
These all are good ideas. “Skilled work force” is the positive side among many often mentioned negatives of the caster system.

There is no dearth of ideas about what to do in this direction. But they are of academic value and the biggest limitation is implementation of the ideas. That will be true for all ideas/suggestions emerging from discussion at any level (including international). Why that is not happening and how to achieve that practically is important. One good thing is we are not going backwards (IMHO).

Also, reservations is good, but as I mentioned earlier, it is important to phase out reservation to those Dalits who have achieved the objective of reservations. That in many cases is one generation time if a Dalit becomes an IAS officer. Not doing this is hurting tremendously.

Conversions are happening exploiting “untouchability” and glorifying all the negatives. To me conversions (to christianity etc) and retaining Dalits status for job benifits is doing no good and is keeping the problem alive.

If this discussion gets to a bigger stage, I wish they take care of all this.