M V Nadkarni’s recent article “Is Caste System Intrinsic to Hinduism?: Demolishing a Myth”, (EPW, November 8, 2003) comes as a follow-up to his earlier article “Ethics and Relevance of Conversions: A Critical Assessment of Religious and Social Dimensions in a Gandhian Perspective”(Januay 18). Both articles show the fundamental stamp of Hindutva ideology, primary of which is shoddy methodology, selective quotation (for example, his references to my work are to a 10-year old book and selectively at that), and illogic.
The illogic in the ‘Caste System’ article begins with a basic, unexamined premise: that there is some entity called ‘Hinduism’, a religion which has lasted 4,000 years and which comprehends ‘classical’ as well as ‘medieval’ and ‘modern’ forms. This is the most historically unjustified premise, since the term ‘Hindu’ to refer to a religious belief was never used until the establishment of Muslim regimes (and then only in some parts of India; for instance, Tukaram – who Nadkarni takes as one of the ‘Hindu’ bhakti
sants, never in all his 4,700 abhangs used this word) and it never came into generalised use throughout India until the 19th century. This has been documented by numerous scholars and I will not cite them here. The illogic is that Nadkarni assumes, and documents, changes in the caste as a socio-historical structure (which I think is correct) but does not question the supposedly unchanging character of an essential ‘Hinduism’. (Incidentally, Nadkarni is silent on whether Buddhism, Jainism and the shramanic traditions should be considered as part of ‘Hinduism’).
Other mistakes pale before this basic point, but I will take up a few issues.
The University Grants Commission annually allots only 11 per cent of the total money it gets under the SC and ST sub plans on scholarships and fellowships, which directly benefits the students of these marginalised communities.
As per a reply given by UGC to a RTI query, it spent only Rs 107.86 crore for scholarships and fellowships out of the Rs 1047.33 crore in the SC sub-plan in 2012-13 and Rs 35.56 crore of the allotted Rs 507.20 crore of the Tribal sub-plan.
In the preceding year it spent Rs 87.86 crore of Rs 814.50 crore on scholarships and fellowships in the SC sub-plan and Rs 33.53 crore out of Rs 400.61 crore in the Tribal-sub plan.
A major chunk of the total money, around 60 per cent, was spent on building “capital assets” which are not specifically beneficial for SC or ST students, like construction of hostels or buying computers.
For this reason the UGC has come under fire from Dalit rights organizations.
Mr Paul Divakar, general secretary of National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, which filed the RTI said, “This is not an issue which pertains just to the UGC. Ineffective spending and diversion of funds meant for SC and ST development exists in many well known institutions like the IITs, IIMs and ICSSR. This is just another form of discrimination. We have complained about the UGC problem to the minister of HRD, Ms Smriti Irani and head of other government bodies, but to no avail. We are planning to approach the courts now.”
When contacted, former UGC chairman Mr Sukhdeo Thorat said, “The allocation of money should be increased for fellowships because it helps the students directly and will result in more Dalit scholars pursuing research. What is the point of allocating money meant under the sub-plans if students do not benefit from it directly?”
Source – Deccan Chronicle
For those who say there is no caste discrimination in private job market.
Book “Blocked by Caste: Economic Discrimination and Social Exclusion in Modern India” published in 2010 reports an experiment –
Thorat and Attewell ran an experiment to test caste discrimination in the urban labour market. For one year, researchers collected advertisements from leading English language newspapers for jobs in the private sector that required a university degree but no specialised skills. The researchers then submitted three false applications for each job. The applicants, all male, had the same or similar education qualification and experience. One of them had a recognisable upper caste Hindu name, another a Muslim name and the third a distinctly Dalit name. The expected outcome was a call for interview or further screening.
An analysis of the outcomes, using regression methods, showed that, although there were an equal number of false applicants from three social groups, for every 10 upper caste Hindu applicants selected for interview, only six Dalits and three Muslims were chosen. Thus, in modern private enterprises (including IT), applicants with a typical Muslim or Dalit name had a lower chance of success than those with the same qualification and an upper caste Hindu name.
For more detail read book named – BLOCKED BY CASTE, ECONOMIC DISCRIMINATION IN MODERN INDIA: Edited by Sukhadeo Thorat, Katherine S. Newman; Oxford University Press
Here is what Dr. Ambedkar noted almost a century ago, nothing has changed since then.
A much needed website (www.castediscrimination.com) has been launched by Dalits to record and highlight caste discrimination at educational institutions with the tagline of
Exposing Brahminism One Post at Time
One doesn’t need to stay silent now on the discrimination one is facing at the educational spaces. This website is one of its kind where one can report the caste discrimination. The website is another step toward raising voice against injustice and establishing equality in the society. Website’s aim and motto is –
…is an attempt to get real-time data of present and past instances of structural caste discrimination in higher education. Our hope is to track data that the Indian government has been lax in collecting but also to change the narrative from pathologizing Dalit Bahujan students to understanding how caste apartheid operates on our campuses.
One can report the caste discrimination by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by simply filling the form on the website. The website was launched yesterday and many people have started reporting the caste discrimination happening at the colleges.
Every new website, photo, article or anything that challenges the Brahminical hegemony is important for us and should be spread as much as possible. Please share this website with others so that no other Rohith faces discrimination in the hands of casteist people.
Don’t be silent and report the caste discrimination!
Here are a few more screen-shots of the website.
Last week, I asked on Twitter that are you Non-casteist or Anti-casteism? (Non-Casteist = Don’t discriminate Anti-Casteism = Want whole caste system end)
I was overwhelmed by the response. 939 people voted with 30% saying they are non-castiest and rest 70% saying they want whole caste system to end. This result can be biased as most of my Twitter followers are from Dalit community so they want whole caste system to end. Maybe, same was represented in the poll results.
Now, the question is is being non-casteist just enough? 30% non-casteist, do they feel comfortable with discrimination happening to others? Following are the usual responses that I hear from most of the upper castes –
I don’t discriminate.
I won’t discriminate.
I never discriminated.
I am not casteist.
I can’t discriminate.
… and the list goes on and on.
Why even after 2000 years this caste based discrimination is there? Maybe because people in power tend to turn blind eye on caste discrimination. Because they are non-casteist (maybe) not anti-casteist.
Even if you are non-casteist, Dalits are still being discriminated, Dalits are still being raped, killed etc. It is not enough that you are non-casteist. You turning blind eye (being non-casteist) to caste discrimination is not going to change anything in society, Dalits will still be killed, discriminated. Most of Indians don’t get angry seeing caste discrimination; it has become a part of people’s lives in India and till we won’t get angry seeing caste discrimination, there won’t be any change in the society. Get angry and fight against caste based discrimination.
If we want any change, we need to stop being non-casteist to anti-casteism.
What you guys think? Let me know in the comments.