Random flow of thoughts: casteism #MondayMusings

I like the holidays.

I do not like the holidays.

Contradictory? Yes.

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I am not sure about you but I am a sum total of contradictions.

Week-long half-term school holidays have begun.

I like half-term holidays after every 6 weeks of school for the break it gives from waking up at 5.30 am (I aim to wake-up at this time), leisurely breakfast with no rush and no school runs which are not actually running but walking to school for drop and pick-up. I sincerely enjoy visiting the parks, roaming around the city on foot with Dhruv and clicking photos during this school break. I love that Dhruv and I can have our read-aloud time together.

Now you might say it is all good with our holidays so what is there that is not to be liked.

I dislike the holidays for what it does to my mind by making the thought-binding agent ineffective. The husband taking off time from the office to stay at home during this half-term break is making me anxious already for we are opposites in many cases. If I am for routine and discipline, he is for total disruption. There can be a whole separate post on the case of opposites that we are which will be for some other day.

Today is for random scribbling of disjointed passing thoughts totally unrelated to each other. Let me see how many I manage to write down.

Oh gosh! Now it goes blank. Before I sat down with the laptop, they were bombarding my head out and now that I sit down to give them exposure, embarrassed they have made the vanishing act hiding in the closets. Okay, let me move away and have some ice cream.

After the ice cream and looking out of the window act, here I go –

Reading Dr. Roshan’s blog post on the caste discrimination and abuse causing a doctor to commit suicide, I felt disheartened. Discrimination on the basis of caste and hierarchy in a particular caste has been the reality since ages. Education is supposed to blur out the caste differences in society but is it the case? Clearly no.

My personal story –

It was the time when I was doing my post graduation studies. My parents’ message was they could permit love marriage provided the boy was from the same caste as ours. The caste was as important as educating their daughter. To their luck, they got spared as I gave the go-ahead for arrange marriage in which caste is again an important parameter. After marriage, the same caste became a case of subtle bullying in the name of the caste hierarchy where people from the in-laws’ family consistently made it known that they came from a higher sub-caste than I. It strengthened their connections with the lead actors of their favourite TV serials if they were from the same caste (and sub-caste) as theirs. Irrelevant! Illogical! Helpful!

Over the years, the caste mattered less and lesser to me thanks to all the above people in my life and their outlooks. What is the point of being educated was my question? It is easier for me for not being conscious of my caste because my surname speaks for it without my realisation and I am not subjected to discrimination based on it. However, I am sure this wouldn’t have been the case if I came from a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe. My limited experience with people tells me though each one looks out for the caste in the surname yet the one who is vocal enough to point it out in the very first interaction is the one with the most narrow mind.

Thus, that was just one intense thought.

What are your thoughts about casteism?

Linking this post with #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne Rodrigues

#Monday Musings

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21 comments

  1. I loved that this was a free writing. Sometimes on topics like these, a well thought post is not as open as what you got here.
    I’m a Kayastha. But Papa never wanted Our last name to become our identities. So all my life, until I got married I did not have a last name. Passport, PAN, 10th or 12th certificate had no last name. My brother too was also Siddhartha. No last name.
    I added Thakur as my online travel tickets were getting expensive but my brother happily pays more. So to your point, I never believed in any caste system and was brought up that way. Luckily I married another caste and there too things were open. But I can imagine the pain of being told that one is lower caste. It’s hard and I have seen i enough in Azamgarh to stay away from that.

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    1. Parul, your father’s progressive thinking for not letting your last names becoming your identities deserves appreciation. Also more so since he did it more than 30 years ago. One thing I did not grasp is how can not having a last name increase the online travel tickets? How was it an impediment?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So in all online forms or tickets, one needs to enter a last name. When I started booking my flight to NY which was my first travel outside India, it did not go through. So we went to the airline and I had to pay more than the online price to get a travel ticket without a last name. It was after that travel and for convenience that I added VT’s last name. Since I never had a last name, I’m much comfortable with Thakur as that’s the one I have ever used. Not the Srivastava who I’m 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Caste based discrimination is a social evil that should have been done away ages ago, and yet it feels like it will still take a long time to remove it from social consciousness. 😦

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    1. Along with caste, religion is also a huge discriminatory factor. I really liked Parul’s father’s stand of not using a surname so no one can judge or guess your caste. And I didn’t know not having a surname made travel more expensive! I wonder why that is. But coming back to your question, Anamika, I have never given a thought to anyone’s caste or religion before. To me what matters most is the integrity of a person and how we match on our wavelengths. That people still think about “us” and “them”, however, is very evident if we just open our eyes and look around at the country today. It’s one thing to mouth empty words, it’s another to back that with action where it counts. Until people don’t stop distinguishing on the basis of religion and caste, nothing is going to change no matter how educated we get, and that’s the sad reality.

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  3. Caste discriminations are cruel. I am so sorry you had to go through all that rubbish. People find a hundred ways to prove they are superior to you and then to bully you for it.
    We might have started out as a caste-sensitive family but our generation made sure we outgrew it with a lot of my cousins marrying not just out of caste but also religion (though I have to admit that was quite a scandal). Personally, I don’t understand the whole caste thing and I think I should be grateful to my parents for this ignorance.

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    1. Bullying happens and in all walks of life. How I feel about it is when we say we do not understand the whole caste system, this statement comes from a privileged position in the caste hierarchy and also we haven’t faced ostracization based upon our caste. Kudos to your cousins who have messed up the caste and the religion set-up making it a level field from here on for their next generation.

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  4. I am a Kayastha by birth as it’s apparent from my maiden surname but married a Punjabi-Marathi who is a Rajput. Luckily, in my immediate family, there was no problem at all. Like Tulika said, in my generation we have completely done away with any connotation. Hopefully one day it will spread across everywhere. The problem is definitely much worse in smaller cities and villages. And it’s not one way only. My dad told me that in his village most upper caste Hindus are discriminated and hassled by those belonging to the lower caste who are predominant in administration and law and order. Hence this is a very complicated issue.

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  5. Did you know that in Goa despite our conversion to Catholicism, caste still rules? My father was quite proud of our Brahmin roots! And so happy when both my brother and I married within the caste -my brother’s was an arranged marriage, and I made my own arrangements ( I had dated a Mallu too!)! The strange thing is that my grandfather was open and welcomed a Sindhi grand daughter-in-law with equal respect and love.

    In the past, I’ve not really seen caste as an issue, but now living in Telangana, I see it playing out so often that it makes me sick.

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    1. I am aware of the caste still playing a role in converted Christians in Kerala. The converting people carried on their caste into the new religion and thus the plight of the lower caste remained the same. They could neither draw water from upper-class Hindus’ wells before conversion nor after that since the whole village converted. This is only one form of discrimination.
      I understand the underlying thought process behind marrying outside one’s caste among even the self-proclaimed progressive thinking parents and it is – “What will relatives say? What will society say?”

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  6. Remember that dialogue from the film, ‘Swades’? One of the oldies of the village brags about castes being the most important parameters because, “Jo kabhi nahi jaati, usey jaati kehtey hain!”

    Yaar, what’s the point of all the education and all the gyaan that we receive if we are going to hold on to that thing called ‘caste’ ? It’s hampering the growth of a society–something everyone is aware of but not willing to change for fear of being ostracised.
    I am only hoping that the future generations wake up to the fact that caste and religion do not matter. What truly matters is what kind of human being you are. Even God must be shaking his head in disgust at our stupidity!

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    1. That particular dialogue is the favourite at home. Your mentioning it in your comment cemented our bond some more 🙂 Caste and religion are going nowhere out of the window in the future when the national elections are ferociously fought over them. Can we ourselves bring some change with the next generation we are tending to?

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  7. Coming from a different culture, I don’t understand the intricacies of your Indian caste system, but I think elitism or class distinctions are deplorable. We are all human beings, are we not? One of the things I admire about India is that so many people are university-educated. Seems like a paradox!

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  8. My mom used to say that it was okay to have a love marriage if we were to marry from the same religion and caste. So I wanted to marry someone outside of our religion or caste. I used to tell that I will marry from SC/ST. My mom was always worried about this. Unfortunately, my husband is the same caste as mine. I don’t believe that belonging to an upper caste will are you superior. And I don’t support the reservations based on caste either. Treating people based on their caste is really upsetting. It’s time we do away this nonsense.

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    1. You were quite a rebel contrary to your public appearance and disposition, Vinitha 😀
      How we think is way different from how things really are. Caste-based reservations vs Economic status based reservations – the debate carries on without giving a fair result.

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  9. I was in first year college when a senior had asked me what my caste was. Uptil then I had no idea about what caste where even present in Assam. My dad was very surprised when I asked him because at home we never spoke about it. These days I am glad one can’t tell caste from surname. Else the bias would have been even more prevalent. I was very disappointed by the incident that Roshan shared. When the educated does that, where will the rest go.

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