Monday, May 14, 2007

rajeev on on the mayawati victory and the persistence of caste

may 14th, 2007


Pradeep said...

Since there is a lot of stress on caste, hope people see beyond it, and development will take front seat, Hope the "Maya" will work wonders in UP.

drisyadrisya said...

Good and timely one, Rajeev.

san said...

Rajeev, I'll say that talent isn't all inherited, and that not all children are as gifted as their parents. That part about not all humans being born equal, also applies within a caste. There are plenty of Brahmins who aren't intellectual, plenty of Kshatriya who aren't muscular, plenty of Shudras who aren't talentless.

Casteism has the same problem as any feudal system. It allows those without ability to masquerade as if they had it, purely based on family name, while others who have talent are denied opportunity, again purely based on family name.

A dynamic economy requires the validation that comes from competition. You can't forego competition by relying on ethnic nomenclature and mere rumour. If the intelligent prefer to hang around with the intelligent, and the athletic with the athletic, then fine, but to transform that into ethnicity and hereditary feudalism is only a recipe for exclusion, disillusion, and ultimately revolution.

That's why India has been invaded and conquered so many times. Because most people weren't going to stand up and die to defend a system that said they were born inferior without even giving them a chance.

Anti-competitive, inbred hereditary monopolies like caste just aren't credible. Nobody benefits from inbreeding.

Arvind said...


You must be kidding. Who else stood up and opposed the onslaught of the muslims or christists? The only ones who did that were te Hindus. Everyone else succumbed to the attack by Christists, Muslims, or Communists, and embraced these faiths.

Read what Rajeev wrote -- caste is good but casteism is bad. Why do you assume that caste by itself is bad? Isn't it because that is what you've heard over and over again since your childhood?

Ghost Writer said...

Because most people weren't going to stand up and die to defend a system that said they were born inferior
Actually, as demonstrated by Dr. Misra and then built upon by Sita Ram Goel - caste-ossification was a consequence and not a cause for Hindu defeat. Reader arvind is quite right in pointing out that the so called "Backward Castes" were actually at the fore-front of the fight. If you look at the rate of conversion to Islam as a proportion of caste population; you will find that the Dalits were the least converted, hence the most likely to retain their Hindu identity (Prof KS Lal has a study on this which I will try to dig up). Because they resisted so hard it implies they were not discriminated against.

The basic fear that urbanised Indians have of caste is
1- Linear view of time
2- Constitutional individualism
They think India was founded and began life in 1947, where the idea of the individual as the principal for organising society is supreme. Problem is India did not start in 1947 and the ancients had figured out their own social order - which persists till today. This was based on community and not the individual and I must say was probably better.

It is what I call the "Matrimonial vs. Editorial" problem. If you pick up any newspaper in India (IE, TOI, HT, Hindu) the editorial always rants against caste; but the matrimonial pages have adverts where the caste is always mentioned. Anyone wonder why this is so? The same people read both sections of the newspaper!!!

Caste was more free market than you think. Entire castes changed occupations, cultural affiliations etc.