Casteism in Indian Politics

Posted: April 10, 2014 in NaBloPoMo
Tags: , , , , , ,

Within almost one month, the people of the biggest democratic country in the world will nominate a party and obviously a Prime Minister to work for the next five years. As the oldest party of India, The National Congress will be defending their candidature for the post of Prime Minister and the second largest party, BJP will challenge them. Both parties have issued their manifestos and now they are on a face to face fire. Campaigning through print media, visual media and obviously physical presence through meetings and all are going on regularly to convince the people of India about what they have done and what they will do if chosen by the public for one of the lucky members to sit in the 790 member capacity parliament. Actually the Parliament, known as Sansad Bhawan was structurally designed by two British Architect Edwin Lutyens & Herbert Baker in the year 1912 and took complete two years to finalize it in the year 1913. While arranging for the fund and all other related issues, the world saw its first globally spread war, i.e. World War I on dated 28th July 1914 and it continued till 11th November, 1918. After the World War I, the construction started in the year 1921 and was ready for inauguration on January 18, 1927. From then onwards, there are two bodies in the parliament, The Upper Body and the Lower Body. The Upper Section is known as Rajyasabha and the Lower Council is known as Loksabha. There are 545 members in Loksabha and 245 members in Rajyasabha. Rajyasabha members, i.e. Upper House members are selected by legislative bodies of states and that selection is for six years. Members in Loksabha must be aged twenty five or more and must be an Indian Citizen and are selected through the process of Election and being a highly diversified country in any terms, may it be in terms of Caste or Religion or anything, India faces a hugely challenged situation to organize a proper election throughout the country and select members suitable to represent the territorial constituencies in states.

People from different country, who have never faced Casteism a challenge, a threat to the country says, ”Casteism goes against the spirit of democracy” and it is true also but being a citizen of India, I have a little idea of how it works and how it is important consider it as one of the most important factor while campaigning before election. I am not in a position or may be not the right candidate to say it is good or bad, but it is fact that, without keeping in mind about Casteism, only 6% people vote in India.

Lets get in to a detailed analysis of Casteism in India. Actually Caste or Jati classifications are based on some old age long theories of Varna. Varna was created to distinguish the different categories of people on their work basis. Like, those who were self-proclaimed closer to god, those who were knowledgeable and those who were influential, came under the category of Brahmin and those who were just the second in terms of influence but first in importance criteria came under the varna of Kshatriya. They were the ruling party in terms of power but anywhere in the world, power is supported by monetary fund, so there was another group of people who used to control the money by transacting among all the people, popularly known as businessman. Businessmen were termed as Vaishya. In terms of importance, they were the third leveled person. The politics of any provinces was controlled by the first two Varna people and the mediator position was properly held by the Vaishya people. Then all other left out people were considered as ‘good for nothing except hard work’, i.e. Shudra. They were majority in number but least important in terms of rules, regulations and power. All the physically hard working people came under this category. Let’s get in to a little bore deep in this social status. Actually, those who had brain and good management skills took the position of Brahmin and made good effort to keep hold the control of power. The immediate next to them, who had brain and aimed to live a luxurious life, took initiative to hold the second important position of the society. Now both the top grades of people were rich in grey matter decided to keep calm in between them and work for each other in any crisis. The Vaishya people, a mediator between all the societies and also with some good quality of brain to earn money with head high, decided to concentrate of trading only and supporting the two upper castes. It was safe for them too as helping those two upper castes ensured their safety and security too. Who doesn’t like to have fixed customer of any means? The fourth and most neglected people remained neglected by all and as they were not ‘decision making’ people, so country even didn’t consider them for anything important except keeping them busy with all the hard works which needs physical involvements. As they were least important, so their lives or existence was easily compromised for anything.

In the modern era of civilization, people soon came to know about the details of these Casteism and as India was struggling a lot in every ways after the ‘so called’ independence, so opportunist and intelligent people, who don’t even belong from any upper caste, took the baton in their own hands. It was a real crisis period where muscle power was more important than the country’s integrity. All small scale leaders thought of making their existence more prominent in higher level and this competition brought another massacre in the society. People got distributed in different ways. Those who lived in Haryana, started demanding their own existence, i.e. the existence for Jats and then slowly Bihari, Bangali, Tamil and Telegu people. Slowly the division became clear to people. it’s not only about caste any more, it’s about language, the boundary walls between territories too.Image

Another important issue happened twice in India, i.e. after Independence, Pakistan was created for Muslim people and so whoever was the Hindu in that country was banished and sometime killed too. Almost the same thing happened in Border States like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Rajasthan too but here Hindu people killed Muslims. So, very soon, a religiously sensible country like India got internally divided in to three castes, i.e. Hindu, Muslim & all others. In the year 1971, when another country named Bangladesh was formed from Pakistan, then also there was a big riot in between Hindu & Muslim. Everyone forgot about their five hundred years old friendship in the human civilization but started killing each other and putting the blame on others. So, the newest equation of Casteism become linguistically religious people oriented. Like may be two people speak same language and may be from same area also, but religious is different, can’t be friend to each other. Sometime the Casteism came in the disguise of Religion, sometime language and sometime on the basis of muscle power. After the end of the era of Late Indira Gandhi, for the first time in India in the year 1977 after declaring President’s rule in the country, people elected Janata Party candidate Late Morarji Desai and within two and half years of tenure, he was replaced by another PM, Charan Singh. Apparently, it was as simple as going for an Election and choosing a Prime Minister but this small incident rooted a deep problem for the country at large. After the ending of Indira Gandhi era, people started believing that Indian National Congress was not the only reason for having Independence but they are a lot sufferer due to their wrong decisions. One more thing people understood was that, there was no proper leader in the country. That leadership crisis gave birth of a lot leader. Those who were working as support for political leaders thought of wearing the same white cotton dress like their own leaders. Very soon the post of Political Leaders (read Brahmin of old days) were acquired by local goondas. Another equation developed here. Those local goondas were of some definite caste,  or used to come from definite background like some were representatives of milkmen, some were of reporter of a good selling daily. It means people from different communities also started joining or taking part in politics, thus a second line of command developed with a strong background of Casteism depending on their profession, religion and language. The moment they got elected by their followers, the image of Indian politics got totally changed. People started believing on local leaders that depending on the country leader at large. Every small group of people or a leader with some followers started declaring their own parties. Maintaining the border line fixed, country got divided on the basis of Religion, Profession, locality, and language and so on.

As per the latest trend, mostly Hindu voter’s support Hindu and all others support Congress. Then in a country like India, where Hindu is the majority, there how come Congress was winning time and again? It is because they were smart enough to understand these understandings of people and thus concentrated more on the local politics than that of in National Level. They relied on communal politics in micro level than that of BJP in macro level but overall the aim remained same for Indians, common people.Image

Then the reservation system or quota system came and whatever may be the positive outcome of this, but actually it differentiated a population in to two categories, i.e. till date opportunists, now on opportunists. The reservation for deserving candidates from minor castes soon became mandatory to keep specific number of seats for them. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar took this initiative to bring those untouchables in to the mainstream of life, but soon it became an issue and though his noble mission was successful but left India with another invisible partition. That’s why Dr. G.S. Ghuye once wrote in 1932 that we do not possess a real general definition of caste. It appears to me that any attempt at definition is bound to fail because of the complexity of the phenomenon. On the other hand, much literature on the subject is marred by lack of precision about the use of the term.”




  1. Anonymous says:

    Awesome written!


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