Saturday, 22 October 2016

FB Discussions - Castes

As an urban dweller 30 years ago, disconnected from roots, I rejected caste. Many years in a village showed my that jatis are part of the mosaic of this land. A community with certain skills and traditions is a jati, and the skills and the norms and the customs are preserved and celebrated therein.

The Malas (SC) mock at the Naidus (Shudras - landed community), and vice versa. That is my village. The issue is the landlessness of the Malas more than anything else.

I think we need to in some real way step out into the real India, and then we understand many many dimensions. And each space may have its own realities and colours also and would need responses in that reality.
 
Vijayvithal Jahagirdar How does ambedkars annihilation of caste, fit into this model?
 
Aparna Krishnan Shashi Enarth - "Leaves me wondering what exactly prompted you to write what you write. The one today on caste structures frankly was appalling. I always thought that no one needs to be an apologist for the inhuman caste system, and the very idea that you can accord even a modicum of justification was heart breaking. What exactly are you trying to convey here, Aparna? Clearly your idea is to not champion for it, but even the mere act of alluding to a positive side cannot possibly take away even a whiff off the repulsive consequences of oppression and indignities that dalits have suffered and I am certain continues to suffer even in the village you write so fondly about. I didnt want to post this on you public page, but I will be OK if you respond publicly. I must confess, some of your lines have left me numb."
 
Aparna KrishnanFor one things jatis can never be wished away - though modernity, with all loss of all traditional skills and knowlege, will definitely reduce its relevence all all move towards an homogenising ladder where the english-speaking, and read-writing community will be the uppermost.  Still, in my village were the Malas to attain the land ownership of the Naidus, i doubt if they would feel any the less. They would not. I agree there could be different flavours in different places.
 
1. I think there are two (and probably more) truths.  The realities are different from place to place. I speak from the place I know very closely. 
 
2. Ambedkar for many reasons took on a western understanding and stance on many issues. Partly due to his own social situation as a Mahar of course  There I think certain essentials get lost, and did for him. For me Dharampal's writings reflect my village realities like a mirror. 

Sunny Narang What about this new jati called "academic intellectuals" and "activists " with new icons , just like Basvanna and the Lingayats who in 12th century proclaimed One Universal People ! Humans have always created their own sects , using anything, ethnicity , occupation , religion. And next will be differences of power . 

Sunny Narang And as about rules of marrying within the same jati , majority of communities in every mixed country aka USA marry within their own race . And as all of us know, marriage is about families not just two individuals , so families will prefer some similarities of cultures. Even corporate mergers lead to many failures . Who is anyone to define who marries whom, the activists are in no higher moral position than the so-called jatis themselves . 

Sunny Narang And I personally see nothing wrong in people following their own rules just like any club , as long as they have no inherent power that is not negotiable. 

Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula Castes are one thing, caste system is another thing. Tamilnadu is the pioneer of social justice and here the socioeconomic development of SCs are better than the FCs of UP/Bihar/Jharkhand. yet, 97% of all marriages are within the caste.

How do we exp
lain that?

Castes weren't broken down by the Dravidian movement but the perverted caste system was. People need to understand the difference. Reservation, Land Ceiling/ Redistribution, Nationalization of Banks all contributed to this. Basically the hoarding of knowledge, land and capital by the top 3 varnams as per the Varnashramam system.

People who comment on the caste system do so within the comforts of the class system that is rampant in the cities. I see no difference between gated communities/exclusive housing societies/areas in the cities and the Agraharams of the villages. Same can be said about the cheris/colonies of the villages and slums of the cities.

How Dalits were persecuted in some of the villages is similar to how they are persecuted in the slums of the cities. Our bleeding heart liberals get pained by Syria, but will not flinch when Eelam or even mass displacement of 2 lac slumdwellers to Kannagi Nagar happened.

The whole Western development model is pushed by people of the top two Varnams almost exclusively. They have their brand of supporters in the landed communities too.

Neither can we wish away caste nor class. In the villages, atleast the poor of a community can interact with the rich of the same community, does that happen in the cities?
Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula As much as I value the traditional knowledge systems and traditions of my caste, I support the same for all castes. If there is a need for change, let it be organic. Again, I say all this from the comfort of being from a dominant landed community that had a good run for close to 800 years all over the South. 

Aparna Krishnan The Malas in my village also would not give up the identity or customs of their caste. They want clear land, resources and equity, of course. But they are certianly not ashamed of their caste. 

Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula "The Malas (Harijans) mock at the Naidus (Shudras - landed community)"

haha, we used to do the same!


Somehow we all want to be identified as Kshatriyas, that's the glamour of the caste system. 

Aparna Krishnan Why do you say that ? The Malas are not seeming to want to be Naidus or anything else. 

Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula I meant the Naidus, who are Shudras according to the Varnasharamam, so are almost all communities south of the Vindhyas, but they want to be identified as Kshatriya!

We as kids used to mock that. 

Raghunandan Tr My problem arises when one piece of the mosaic derides the other, and wants the mosaic to be its very own. I like colour, not monochromes. 

Aparna Krishnan Raghunandan Tr, exactly - and that we need to address in every and any way. But to outlaw the jatis as Marx would like to is neither possible, nor imho desirable. In its own organic way and through a myriad questionings it changes.
 
Raghunandan Tr No, nothing should be outlawed, in my opinion. But we must have a culture where we can discuss everything, without resorting to violence and abuse at the slightest provocation. Unfortunately, our political leaders are not showing the way in that respect.
 
Raghunandan Tr Discrimination is partly practiced and partly perceived. And that is the real problem. It is very difficult to distinguish sometimes, between wilful and inadvertent insensitivity and similarly, between real and feigned taking of offence.
 
Aparna Krishnan The debates between Gandhi and Tagore where they differed completely on some issues like the burning of Manchester cloth, and yet maintained the highest levels of rigour and courtsy in debate ... and now when both actions and reactions are utterly superficial and also self centred !
 

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