Monday, July 16, 2012

Caste Differences..Are we eliminating? Or promoting?

Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra –there were the four main caste subdivisions that existed in Vedic times. A division primarily based on the occupation of these men – The priests, the rulers, the businessmen and the labourers or the cleaners doing the menial jobs.


This got divided and sub divided into further sects and today we have innumerable divisions in our society termed ‘CASTE’. With time, the practices related to this classification started taking ugly forms in alarming proportions fuelled by man’s yearning for superiority.

Various reforms were brought about by some leaders and today’s India has a lot more equality to boast about than a few centuries ago.

Yet it’s a fact that there still exist insane practices followed in our nation in the name of caste, predominantly in the rural sections.


Dalits not being allowed to enjoy certain priveleges. Dalits not allowed entry in some places. Dalit people being harassed. Dalits being punished when they ventured into the avenues ‘prohibitted’ for them.

Absolutely Shameful. Many a time I have read of incidents where the ruling Panchayat engages in such atrocious actions

Whatever happened to the ‘equality irrespective of caste, creed, religion’ taught across schools to the children?

These incidents scream at us with vehemence that despite all the economic and social development we have undergone, we still have a very long way to go.

In some parts of India, especially in cities and some towns we seem to have done away with this social evil to a great extent. Atleast people mind their own businesses and live together in harmony. Intercaste marriages are becoming more common. I am positive and confident that with the passage of time the rest of the country will follow suit.

Unfortunately these differences are further magnified instead of getting eliminated by the respected governing Netas of our country. The fanatism for their caste held by various groups is exploited and directed towards achieveing political gains.

Electoral parties get formed everyday for a specific ethnic group or caste.

A ploy used by every other politician to gain votes is that he would fight for the interests of a specific group. SO what about the rest?

If one is interested only in the upliftment of a specific caste, then politics or the assembly is a wrong place to be.

Is any of this directed at doing away with the difference?

In fact in the name of upliftment of the downtrodden castes, I have come across speeches throwing insults at certain other castes in the community for no reason at all.

I was born in a Brahmin family, classified as 'Forward/Upper Caste'. This is not explicitly stated or declared but when it comes to getting a seat in an educational institute, or a job in the public sector , we would be put into the Open Category.

Today when students clear their Boards, in addition to their marks, their parentage i.e. the CASTE they belong to would decide their fate.

 Every student who passes out of school would need to get a ‘Caste Classification’ certificate in addition to his Board Exam marksheet.

30% - BC (Backward Caste), 30% MBC (Most Backward Caste) 35% OC(Open Category) and 5% SC/ST

These percentages may be inaccurate but this is to give an idea.As the name declares OC is for all irrespective of their caste. For the rest there is a quota. The BC,MBC and SC/ST students can get a seat in the Open Category when the seats in their quotas get occupied. But the reverse does not happen.
Today a student in the OC category needs 99% to get a specific seat. For the same seat it would suffice if a student in BC secures 95% and an MBC student would need only 92%. So a student aspiring for a particular institute needs to set his target depending upon the caste he belongs to. Also there is a very good chance that he gets enrolled in a lower rank institute compared to his classmates even though he scored more than them.  Where is fairness here?


Most of the people belonging to castes classified as BC or MBC today are socially well developed and are in respectable vocations some of them lawyers,doctors etc . I mean to say that these competing students are similar in terms of the socio-economic background of their families.
So Why this difference?

This discrimination in a way promotes the exodus of a lot of good talent towards greener pastures outside the country where the competition they face does not have anything to do with their caste.


I am speaking out LOUD here because I know the impact.


Every other day we have one community or the other with a demonstration raising flags demanding a quota for their wards.


If it has to be fair, do away with all these differences. Let the allotment be purely on the basis of merit.


There are specific communities like the tribal folks in some forests etc which need to be uplifted. It may be impossible for these people to compete on par with the rest. There could be a panel of selected members from the society who can allot seats for these students.

For the rest I do not see a reason why there should be a difference based on caste.

 I truly believe that irrespective of caste and creed all men and women need to be treated as humans first and all oppression in the name of caste should be wiped out from the face of the nation. At the same time let us stop glorifying the differences in the name of elimination.

Let there be EQUALITY in the true sense of the word irrespective of caste creed and religion.

Then my India will shine.


Bikramjit Mann's post based on Stayamev Jayate triggered me to write this one.



64 comments:

  1. Brilliantly put. There is absolutely no justification for caste based reservation. Jaish, you must read my post on caste here

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    1. Yes Ash there seems to be no justification at all . Read your post :)

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  2. Very valid observations. The two core reasons for our troubles are reservations and dynastic politics. If these can be approached in professional and rational manner, a lot of the inequities in our system can be addressed.

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    1. Hi Suborup

      A rational approach by the ruling class can solve almost all the problems in our country . But that's one thing that seems to be totally missing !

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  3. Mmm! What was started in a bid to equalize has only served to stratify and freeze the caste system firmly in place...with the active help of the polity.

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    1. Yes Suresh , it was started in a bid to equalize but to me it's a very irrational and baseless system which is now firmly freezing the differences as you mentioned .

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  4. The age old discussion, which fizzles out into just that...a discussion. Vote bank politics rules this particular one. love your take on it, hope you manage to stir up enough people to feel the same way!

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    1. Hi Shreya

      Yes a really age old discussion and u r absolutely right . It's ruled by the vote bank . Crazy !

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  5. Good post! Well, it is definitely getting better in cities, but caste discrimination is far from over. And, about reservations, don't ask. They don't have guts to revise the creamy layer because they don't want to lose their vote bank. I faced the same problem when I had to struggle to get an open seat during my MBA days despite having a really high rank. Can you believe that only 45 out of 120 seats were for the open category in those days!

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    1. Thanks for the comment Rachna . That's exactly my point . Why should students with high rank suffer for no fault of theirs ?

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  6. Totally totally understand this post and OI do share the same feelings..

    I would not want reservation to be there is another thing that I think is bringing about the divides and if abolished will help a bit.

    Although while abolishing the govt needs to do a lot of other things like provide free education to those who cant afford , make them capable to sit in the exams..

    Selection shud be on meri basis irrespective of where a person is or what his/her caste is ..

    Moreover One family using the caste CARD should not be allowed to use it again.. as the card is used from one generation to another ..

    Equality is a long long longggggggggg way to go yet In our beautiful country , lets hope we reach there sometime ...

    and Thank you so much for mentioning me :)

    Open letter to all Indians -Bikram's

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    1. Pleasure is mine Bikram :)
      Education is free in govt schools but many of the state run schools have a dearth of capable teachers and infrastructure ! That's another topic of concern .Yes equality is something very distant for now :(

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  7. You've voiced out an important issue here.... I know of my friends who have got fake caste certificates so that they could get their admission into post graduate courses much easily! And they told me its quite easy to get that too!

    What had started out as something good years before has turned sour! Well written!

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    1. Thanks for the comments Danny . Getting fake certificates is an easy thing today I suppose. So it promotes crimes like fraud as well !

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  8. I am brahmin by birth. And when my brother couldn't get admission because of quota system, he was shattered. He packed his bags and came to US for studies. He feels here those who deserve get the rewards. Till quota system is there, we can never shun away this division.

    Very well written!!!

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    1. This is exactly what I was trying to point out. While there are a few who travel outside the country in pursuit of better living styles, a few are just pushed out due to such unfair divisions. Thanks for stepping in Saru.

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  9. Well - one can only write about it. In the current political set up caste can only play an increasing role. Most of the evils in our system are design faults - People don't recognize and keep blaming individuals. But constitution is holy bible. One dare not touch it.

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    1. Agreed TF. Design Faults are lauded and used as a base for extended senseless arguments. People would throw a hue and cry that one is being disrespectful of the great leaders who framed it.

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  10. It is quite an apathy that the true talent has to suffer at the hands of a social disparity. But as you pointed out, the economic parities should have been considered for making the reservations or atleast increasing the total number of seats so that the GM would not suffer. Either ways it is pretty hard being a GM and being a victim I do find a lot to relate to here.

    But I guess that's the way things are here where the caste is more of a political classification than a social one!

    Nice write up Jaish :)

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    1. Hi and Welcome to my blog.

      Yeah you are right. Caste is indeed a political classification and I really dont know what we can do about it. There are no ears for those speaking sense today!

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  11. Jaishree this was wonderful writing of the truth which is always bitter!The way our country is being run we will be in medieval age before slipping into stone age once again:( A blot, that while the world marches two steps ahead we take two steps back!

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    1. True Rahul. And we are so good at raising voices and slogans for the irrational things and trying to project that its absolutely noble!

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  13. I have known people who take full advantage of the reservations in getting admissions to premier educational institutions and getting jobs/promotions and then changing their names to hide the fact that they are from these favoured scheduled castes!

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    1. One does not need to change anything right Deepak? One can just retain ones identity, and there needs to be a just system!

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  14. While I totally agree what you say I also feel that people who actually take undue advantage of this caste system should give it a thought. I know so many people who avail the Fee waivers based on caste when they can afford it anyway. I feel that while people crib about caste systems, oppressions etc they never fail to enjoy it when it does good to them. I hope its time we banish the caste system and try to do some good for the underprivileged and poor.

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    1. Thats exactly the point I am trying to drive here. Thanks for stepping in :)

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  15. Very informative article. Caste system is one of the core issues in India.

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    1. True, A core issue which is always handled at a superficial level!Thanks for reading and for the comments Sabyasachi :)

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  16. when the great Vedic philosopher Manu started this caste system , he did for the greater good.So that society can distinguish each other on the basis of their caste(profession) : Brahmins meant to teach , preach , the Kshtriya for warfare , The vaishyas : businessmen , and shudra : the artisan, potter , this was meant for bringing a kind of uniformity in the services of the vedic people and nothing to do with the social strata distinction .But after the golden vedic period the covetous Kings and Priest gave it a new vile dimension and interpreted the vedic caste system on religious line and started a perilous caste system that have plagued the indian society of thousands of years .
    Sad fact but true.. well written post Jaish :)

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    1. Thanks for the comments Saikat . That was an interesting piece of info about Manu . Yes , it's plaguing the system in our country !

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  17. Good blog and good thinking.

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  18. Jaish i have read your name at many places but reading your post for the first time...no doubt reservations only accentuate caste system.

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    1. You had commented on my post 'Two Minutes' Indu :) thanks for reading and for the comments :)

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  19. Well written Jaish. This is another bane of our country which has created enormous divides.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Jas . Very true. A bane that is affecting a lot of things !

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  20. Caste system, the more we want to eradicate it, the deeper we are getting into it. Coming to reservations, I agree with you 100%. I have felt the same way. There are thousands of students in the forward caste who can't afford for the fees and unable to pursue their dream field of education. If they have reservations on basis of financial income of the parents than the castes, it would be lot better. But again, in a country like India, it's impossible to implement..

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. True FIF . We can have some reservation based on financial status but as you rightly said its not easy to implement . When I entered college some scholarships were offered for those with poor financial status . Many students I know whose parents were successful businessmen obtained affidavits claiming a fake amount as their annual income to avail this !

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  21. I had all but forgotten about castes till VP Singh unleashed the Mandal report on us. After that there was no looking back. Every politician worth his salt tries to find out some caste equation and demand some policy. There is no meritocracy. For how long can people suffer here? Many of my friends moved to US.

    Now the Government is not content with reservations in Govt. jobs and it wants reservations in private entities as well. There can't be a bigger curse than these reservations in India.

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    1. Private entities ? The only things functioning based on pure talent are those .

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  22. Nice post. True observations. Good effort

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  23. I lost my chance to enter a good b-school just because of reservations. Same happened in my UG too. When will the god-damn people stop making caste discrimination is definitely not a top question for me! Coz I know that's never gonna change - not atleast in this century, i guess! Particularly with the politicians who have their own caste based party! Glad to see inter-caste marriages souring high in cities and metros..can see people changing their perpsectives towards caste / sub-caste / sub-sub-castes!

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    1. Hi vaish

      There would be so many like you who had to give up seats in many good institutes due to this ludicrous system . Thanks for stepping in :)

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  24. don't have much knowledge on this subject. as far as i know classification was initially done based on the activities which people started to inherit later. however, as you have rightly pointed out, things are changing in cities and some towns, probably things are getting back to where it started from. now people enjoy certain privileges based on their abilities to afford them, in other words, based on their profession or activities. right or wrong, that's another issue.

    coming to quota system, it's really sad that because of this quota system we get professionals who are incompetent. and you are absolutely right, when they come from a similar background, why would they need this support for their socia-economic development? those, who you said live in forests and perhaps need some upliftment fall under a category but don't get any assistance. and with the kind of people we have in administration (and in general around us), it would be really difficult completely do away with the differences. so Dalits will be subjected to unfair treatments for many more years.

    ps - i belong to OBC category but never got any benefit :D

    pps - couldn't read it yesterday coz i am facing a lot of problems with my blog settings. trying to fix things.

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    1. and that was the longest comment i have ever posted.

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    2. Hi debajyoti

      That is indeed a really long comment . Thanks :)
      You are correct . Things cannot be changed just like that and is going to take God knows how many years . Let's just hope for the best !

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  25. Caste based politics thrives on this.

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    1. Agreed, Rajesh.Thanks for the comments.

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  26. Jayashree, You said it so well...I am glad you raised your voice against this reservation system !! One actually feels cheated end of the day. But,...this has been a never ending debate,... the other side also has different stories to tell. What is most distressing is that after 60+ yrs of independence, what we have eventually is a society, which is more or less the same...have we progressed really? Beats me!

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    1. Hi Panchali

      Thanks for the comments. We would have progressed a lot more in 60 years if not for these systems!

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  27. ..reservations or anything else based on castes is an encouragement to caste system itself which we so desperately want to get rid of! ..but politics in India my dear ma'am, is the route cause of all evils, which is here to stay for at least one more century..so sad!

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    1. Hi Amitji

      One thing about Indians is that they attach a lot of passion to many things and caste is one of those. People tend to get emotional and excited about it and this nature is exploited to the best extent possible by the political force.

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  28. I was finally able to read this post today. Some really nice observations, Jayashree, most we know but tend to ignore because we don't want any troubles by speaking against such things. I totally agree with you Caste based discrimination should be abolished, this is the main factor why we are still a developing country.

    PS: I too belong to a Brahmin community too and my best friend of 20 years is an SC but we have never in 20 years talked about caste or religion or such things, our friendship is beyond all these things. :)

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    1. Thats good to know Akshay about you and your friend :)

      God knows when or how this entire non-sense is going to get abolished. Its deep rooted in our society!

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  29. Cast system should be cast aside :)

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  30. You've touched on all points.
    It's one of those instances where something's done so as to be 'fair' to certain sections of society but ultimately it ends up being totally 'unfair' to the rest. The system really is out of control and nobody wants to revise it.

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    1. True Nambiar. Everyone knows its out of control. I dont know why no one is revising.

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  31. We are talking about the difference in 99 and 92 percent - where both BC and OC candidates might get into "Engineering" colleges, as the trend goes, but into colleges with different wellknown-quotients (or) academic ranks.

    We still have workers who come to Chennai (or any Metro) from Bihar/Gokharland/some place in North to work in IT industries for a menial 7 thousand housekeeping job. Slog all day. Try and clean tables to urinals. So that he/she can save 3 to 4 thousand (after food and lodging expenses) and send back home.

    We have a a larger picture, and its ugly. Lets hope SOMETHING bridges the gap between the richie-richs and the Sudras.

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  32. hmhm..... I think that- caste has become a part of our lives. Lets say- the politicians decide to give up the caste based quota system, do you think that people will simply accept it. And caste and poverty are two different issues. The problem arises when they aren't treated so. I know poor people who are OCs. I know filthy rich people who are SCs. I am with you in one thing. The entire quota system is humbug.

    @ nambiar-

    Nambiar -- tell me, will you kill a goose that lays a golden egg. I think that all the politicians see caste quotas like that. Majority of the people in rural areas still vote for their caste. Also, even if they don't want the vote, they do not intent to get the wrath of the people by being the one to iniate the change.

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