We Are Proud Hindus!

The Times of India carried a story today that we are reproducing here in full. It is the story of a Rajput-owned dog who became outcaste because it was fed a chapati by a dalit woman.  Not only was the dog turned ‘out’  to live in the dalit basti, worse, the woman Sunita was fined Rs 15, 000/-  by the panchayat for the crime. But hold on, there is more: when Sunita and her brother went to lodge a complaint at the police station, the police officer asked her why she fed the dog? So, this is not really a matter of one mad, ‘illiterate’ individual (as if literates are by definition better): This incident reveals an entire structure of thought and belief that extends through from the panchayat to the police itself (which despite the Supreme Court’s directive has not yet filed an FIR). Here is the full report:

BHOPAL: A dog’s life couldn’t get worse. A mongrel brought up in an upper caste home in Morena was kicked out after the Rajput family members discovered that their Sheru had eaten a roti from a dalit woman and was now an “untouchable”. Next, Sheru was tied to a pole in the village’s dalit locality. His controversial case is now pending with the district collector, the state police and the Scheduled Caste Atrocities police station in Morena district of north MP.

The black cur, of no particular pedigree, was accustomed to the creature comforts in the home of its influential Rajput owners in Manikpur village in Morena. Its master, identified by the police as Rampal Singh, is a rich farmer with local political connections.

A week ago Sunita Jatav, a dalit woman, was serving lunch to her farm labourer husband. “There was a ‘roti’ left over from lunch. I saw the dog roaming and fed it the last bread,” Sunita said. “But when Rampal Singh saw me feeding the dog and he grew furious. He yelled: ‘Cobbler woman, how dare you feed my dog with your roti?’ He rebuked me publicly. I kept quiet thinking the matter would end there. But it got worse,” she said.

On Monday, Rampal ex-communicated the dog. A village panchayat was called, which decided that Sheru would now have to live with Sunita and her family because it had become an untouchable. Sunita Jatav was fined Rs 15,000.

An outraged Sunita and her brother Nahar Singh Jatav rushed to Sumawali police station. They were directed to take the matter to the SC/ST Atrocities police station in Kalyan. “When we went there, the officer asked us why we fed the dog,” recalls Nahar. “So we went to the DSP in the SC/ST Atrocities department and submitted a memorandum to him, as also to the district collector. But no one has registered our FIR so far.

DSP SC/ST Atrocities (Morena), Baldev Singh, recalls, “We got a complaint in which it has been alleged that a dog was declared untouchable and a dalit family fined for feeding it. We are investigating the allegation,” said the officer.

Since the idea of  ‘Hindu tolerance’ has become something of an uninterrogated ideological wisdom now and underwrites the daily insidious violence of Hindu society, it is necessary to underline that this so-called tolerance is predicated upon a deep intolerance within. A fairly large section of articulate, modern Hindus have come to believe that ‘we Hindus’ are modern, while ‘they’ [Muslims e.g.] are ‘backward’, ‘irrational’; we look forward while they are all potential Talibanis and so on. Apart from the utterly ahistorical and false nature of such claims, there is of course, always, a relentless degree of homogenization of the ‘Muslim’ that takes place in making such a claim. Can we suggest, like many commentators on Kafila have often done, that every Hindu, notwithstanding his/her modernity or secularity, is at the core, a casteist?

A companion idea of ‘Hindu tolerance’, also one that is pitted against religions like Christianity and Islam, is that unlike them, Hinduism is not a proselytizing religion. This too is an aspect, apparently, of Hinduism’s ‘tolerance’, as it reveals an attitude of ‘live and let live’. And we know that the idea of conversion is at the heart of the daily attacks on Christians in different parts of the country and it has become a staple of the ‘secular-modern’ Hindu argument that all conversions are based on fraud or force. Hence the justification of violence: they are taking advantage of our tolerance!

These are large questions and call for sustained reflection and thought. We certainly do not mean to dismiss everything associated with Hinduism – its art, its philosophical traditions etc. There is much that is valuable there. Meanwhile, we can only quote from Ambedkar’s riposte to Lala Hardayal, the Arya Samaji nationalist. Hardayal’s political testament was published in the Pratap of Lahore. In that he had advocated Hindu Raj and the ‘shuddhi [reconversion] of the Moslems’ right upto and including in Afghanistan. Ambedkar’s response was vitriolic: If Hindu religion is not a missionary religion like Islam or Christianity, he argued, it was not because of any inherent greatness but because caste is incompatible with  conversion.To be able to convert a stranger to its religion, it is not enough for a community to offer its creed. It must be in a position to admit the convert to its social life and to absorb and assimilate him among the kindred“, he argued. Devastating as this critique was, it remains, till date, by far the most potent attack on the facetious idea of Hindu tolerance.

52 thoughts on “We Are Proud Hindus!”

  1. The urgent need for this country is a cultural revolution. Hinduism is a baleful religion, and this Rajput was only following its dictates. All thinking Hindus should follow the example of Dr.Ambedkar and convert en masse to Buddhism.

    1. Hindus converting to buddhism may not be the answer. as a counter-example all one has to do is look at the buddhist sinhalese nationalism and the genocide of the Lanka Tamils – buddhists can be as violent and irrational as any other religionists.

  2. That was a brilliant social comment on the several MYTHS on Hinduism. Yes, we need, redefine our thought on “tolerance” myth.

  3. For a change , TOI has come up with a blinding eye

    opener for our smug ,saffron urban middle class.

    And timely too for a change.

  4. As with almost anything in our lives, Hinduism is what you make of it. I have to agree that caste-ism is ingrained in the Hindu part of the Indian society and as you mentioned, education is not exactly a guaranteed cure for it.

    The most important thing one can do is raise their voice in protest when such discrimination happens. For example, if one’s own family member or a friend does engage in any discriminatory practice, put an end to it. You can’t change the entire society as a whole, one full swoop because a law has been enacted, but it can be changed at one mind at a time.

  5. The incident depicts a disgusting shape of things.The culprits–RampalSingh, the Village panchayat which imposed the fine, the Police officials who evaded filing a FIR should be severly punished.
    But this is not a solution. It may be a deterrent to some of such perpetrators.
    The final solution to do away with Casteism is Industrialisation. People of different castes working together fora long time gradually rise above such caste distinctions.Their families too live in common lacalities.It has a salient and lasting effect.Caste feelings flourish under feudal societies.We must do away with feudal social system completely if we desire change for the better. Govt.’s policies only can accomplish it.

    No religion is a panacia for this disease.

  6. One of the biggest curse on Society is Casteism.
    Nothing can justify such brutal practices.
    And i also agree that “tolerance” of Hindus is a MYTH. Period.

    But the free-wheeling nature of Hinduism is one of its biggest strengths of hinduism as it allows REFORM within hinduism. Raja Ram Mohan Roy , Vivekananda , Vidyasagar , Ramakrishna made numerous attempts at reform. But sadly , such reformers are not found these days…..

    Also , i wonder if tolerance and religion can go hand in hand….

  7. There is absolutely no doubt that caste system is an anachronistic blot on Hinduism and needs to be fade away. With economic growth and changes away from ancestral professions, the caste system is gradually become less and less meaningful. It is already happening in the cities.

    One big reason the caste system survives is the group-politics instead of issue based politics. As I read recently, people vote their caste, not cast their votes. And the Indian political, especially those who have been ruling India for most of her independence, thrive on this caste/religion/language based calculus which reinforces these divisions. The changes in Bihar over the past few years are giving me some hope that people will start looking beyond caste when it comes to voting, and the grip of caste politics will diminish.

    However, I find your defense of the proselytizing in India a bit short-sighted. The issue is not primarily of religion, but Indian values versus foreign values. If people are unhappy with the caste system, why not encourage them to chose Buddhism or Jainism or Sikhism instead of luring them by foreign ideologists bearing gifts? None of these religions have the divisions based on caste, but they fully imbibe Indian values.

    But before you drown in your self-loathing tears, here are some pointers:
    -> Though Islam professes equality of men, there is no shortage of people claiming blue blood (Syed, Ashraf etc.). Talk to any Pakistani leader, and one common thread you will find is their effort to claim lineage from the Prophet Md. or one of his chiefs. A signature on one message board read along the lines of chudda syed banne chala; there was a strong sense of pride associated with that statement. The Mukhtaran Mai case rose from the same caste based prejudice.

    -> There are established mechanisms in India to address such issues of discrimination. Even in the case you highlight, there are special police stations dedicated to addressing such incidents, and an active press which helps ensure that such incidents do not get buried.

    However, the leap you take of denigrating an entire culture is more an illustration of your skewed thinking than reality. If I look at my peers (professionals around 40 years old) who form the Indian middle class, an overwhelming majority have married outside their caste, and a few even outside their religion, without compromising on their Hinduness or tolerance.

    1. Vikram,
      The game is no more in your hands – or anybody’s. And I am very very delighted for that. Far from “imbibing Indian values”, increasingly more and more Dalits are reassessing the colonial experience in positive terms and as my friend Chandrabhan Prasad puts it, “the British came too late and left too early”! They care a damn about your so-called Indian values – permeated with casteist nonsense. I am nobody – nor are you – to tell them which religion to choose. Even their choice of Buddhism is not because it is ‘Indian’ but because of its anti-caste edge.

      As for my “self-loathing tears”, Hinduism might be your self-identification but I have long deserted the religion I was born into, (following a noble tradition inaugurated by the Buddha!) Thus it is not “my” self that I hate at all when I attack caste Hinduism. I value, as I said, the art and philosophy that has emerged from the broad universe in which Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Tantrism etc emerged (and make no mistake, that heritage is not ‘Hindu’ alone) but I certainly loathe this brahminism masquerading as so-called Indian values.

      You are completely mistaken to think that caste discrimination exists only in the villages – in fact that is the big myth propagated by upper caste/ brahminical sections that dominate the cultural-political life of contemporary India. Look at our media institutions, the corporate world and even state-run academic institutions, and you can see that Dalits (and even OBCs) have been and continue to be excluded. Even in a premier institution like JNU democratic sections are fighting an on-going attempt by the brahminical lobby to reverse reservations for OBCs. So much for your ‘economic growth’ and growth of cities as a panacea…

      And finally, if the response to criticism of ‘Hinduism’ is that “Muslims are also bad”, then what can I say? I do not hold any brief for any religion. That is your problem entirely. My problem is the struggle against injustice – wherever it is!

    2. @Aditya,

      The injustice done to Sunita and Sheru, which forms the premise of your analysis, is indeed reprehensible and I hope that justice is done here swiftly. The main argument of your analysis (one borrowed from Dr. Ambedkar) is potent indeed and thank you for sharing it.
      The rest of your analysis would have been equally interesting had it been a little more balanced. I could never have guessed that you were attempting “struggle against injustice”, which if true would have been extremely praiseworthy and noble, if you hadn’t mentioned it yourself in your comment above. Unfortunately, the case or reasoning around the main argument hinted at your being as bigoted and biased as “every Hindu”, and your comment above confirmed it. What could have been an interesting case around a strong argument was wasted in your haste to write a tirade against a particular religion.
      When you write – “…there is of course, always, a relentless degree of homogenization of the ‘Muslim’ that takes place in making such a claim…” – you forget that you are attempting the same thing here by homogenizing the Hindus.
      Can I suggest that when you imply “that every Hindu, notwithstanding his/her modernity or secularity, is at the core, a casteist”, you are being absolutely clueless and also insulting a lot of Hindus who actively advocate the rights of all marginalized people in India including dalits are actively trying to rid the society of the scourge of caste system. Can I go even further and claim that you are a casteist yourself because of your loathing and stereotyping of “upper caste/ brahminical sections”?
      Had you been balanced and serious about the caste problem in India, you would have considered Vikram’s point that caste problem to a certain extent exist within Indian Muslims as well, in its proper context and not as “Muslims are also bad”. I contend that caste problem exist within Indian Christians as well (look at dalitchristians(dot)com, and the discrimination they face in church) and thus this problem needs to be looked at from a social perspective rather than a jaundiced vision of Hindu-bashing.
      I feel extremely sorry that while this article could have supported the main argument with logical reasons and evidence, it ended up largely being a diatribe.
      Coming back to the main point – Caste System is a scourge and needs to be eliminated. I don’t believe there is a magic wand that can accomplish this in a day but I see progress being made around me and I am hopeful, while doing as much as I can to contribute.
      About conversions – its completely an individual’s choice to select his or her religion and no one else has any right to either protest it or celebrate it (like the author does).

    3. Well said Mr.Nigam. We will choose any religion we wish – Buddhism, Islam, Christianity … anything is better than this malevolent faith that will treat a new born child an ‘untouchable’. And Hindus call themselves tolerant! Do they know the meaning of this word?

  8. Yes there are so many myths surrounding Hinduism; Ambedkar’s observation hits the bull’s-eye!

  9. Aditya:

    Some food for thought:

    (1) If Hinduism, was so intolerant, how come three major religions (Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism) grew out of the same lands, and thrived? How come people like the Parsis, found refuge in India, and were able to thrive and grow, without abandoning their own religious roots? Do you see no tolerance and the willingness to accept different ideas there?

    (2) Why do Brahmins and their actions whether good or bad, real or hypothetical, have to become the ONLY representative of Hinduism? Do the 2% represent everything about Hinduism, or is it just your parochial thinking where the other 98% do not matter?

    On one hand you value the art, philosophy which came from the Indian universe; on the other hand your feel it is Brahminism masquerading as Indian values. Which is what?

    (3) I might have been very fortunate, but I have yet to to experience this “brahimincal tyranny” every Hindu-hater keeps on talking about. I also do fail to understand what kind of powers these 2% Brahmins have which allows them to practice their magic and continue their domination. FWIW, I am nominally Hindu (non-Brahmin) while my mother comes from a Sikh background.

    (4) My strong personal opinion is that reservation in institutions of higher learnings is an ABSOLUTE bogus mechanism designed to serve the interest of the creamy layer. If the politicians, and this includes those from the traditionally disadvantage sections truly cared, the focus would have been SOLELY on PRIMARY & MIDDLE SCHOOL education. You can not expect to grow strong trees from weak saplings.

    Institutions which traditionally were free political interference recognized that. At the IITs where I studied, students from the reservation quota, were given a special assessment, followed by preparatory classes so that they could fill in the gap in their academic preparation (6-12 months) and then compete as EQUALS with others. An overwhelming majority of them graduated with decent grades and on time with the rest of the class; something which would not have been possible without the preparatory courses which IITs themselves ran after the selection through the JEE.

    After competing an undergraduate and a graduate degree there is no reason why a person who came through the reservation category needs that crutch to compete.

    What is needed is a nationwide effort to improve access and quality of education for children under fourteen; something which was enshrined in the Indian constitution but very few politicians are interested in fulfilling. After all the political parties survive on the people voting their caste.

    (5) I gave you the example of Islam to point out that even those societies which claim to respect equality of all men, have social divisions which are not that different than the caste system. Heck even in the US, people form cliques and networks based on some basis: from the college you attended to the denomination of the church you go to. And in spite of the being the land of opportunity, statistics show that there is very little upward economic mobility through the generations; an overwhelming majority of people typically die in the same economic strata they started in.

    (6) Your comment about how the colonial experience ended too early clearly illustrate the self-loathing I alluded to. What exactly did the Britishers do alleviate the sufferings of the Dalits? How were the British efforts to end untouchability superior to Mahatma Gandhi’s?

    (7) Access to education and employment is going to be the primary way of ending the clutch of caste based discrimination. Caste boundaries blur as economic mobility increase; I have seen those changes happen in my generation. Of course a system which has survived for centuries is not going to die overnight; but it is withering.

    (8) I wish you best in your struggle against injustice; you are fighting for a good cause. While you continue your fight, spare a moment and acknowledge the fact you live in a society where no one is after your blood for apostasy; where you have the freedom to openly criticize the majority without fear of retribution.

    That freedom, which you perhaps take for granted, is what to me represent one strong aspect of Indian values. And these values would not have been there if Hindu ethos were so bad as you make them out to be. Hinduism certainly needs more than a scalpel; but it does not need the guillotine you seem to be so eager to condemn it to.

    1. Here is something the British did – in fact the Macaulay much hated by ‘upper’ castes: insist that ALL children go to school. When the brahmins protested, Macaulay appealed to them to relent and to at least allow Dalit children to study during the evenings. When the brahmins did not agree and accused Macaulay of interfering in their religion, which indeed he was, for their protests were surely and solidly founded on their scriptures, Macaulay gave up and started separate schools for Dalit children. These schools, called panchama schools (or in TN, Adi-dravidar schools) exist till today. They are not surprisingly far worse than the usual government schools.

    2. Its a mystery of Indian history how Buddhism disappeared from India. There are some many mentions of Buddhists in history but no people now claim to be descendants of those ancient Buddhists. One can imagine from the texts of the time, during the reign of Ashoka what is now Bihar would have had a significant Buddhist population. In UP, MP, Bengal, Orissa, Kashmir, Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh again there must have been a significant Buddhist population as mentioned in many texts and the presence of Buddhist ruins. So where did all those people go? They cant have converted to Hinduism because of the-fitting-converts-into-the-caste-system issue as argued by Ambedkar. Ambedkar had the opinion that the untouchables were actually those Buddhists but im not entirely convinced, because untouchables are mentioned in ancient texts even before Buddha. Another theory is that many of them would have converted to Islam – converting to Islam not being complicated by the caste issue. So many of the Muslims in India maybe the Buddhists of ancient/ medieval times. Another theory could be that the most religious of the Buddhists, the monks and nuns, in a sense died out because of assuming celibasy.
      Still i cant get the idea of genocide out of my mind – the Indian version of which is the “riot”. The imperative for the Buddhists to convert to untouchables or muslims or to buy themselves caste-status may have been the instance and pressure of genocide thru periodic riots.
      these are just a series of theories not facts – im just trying understand what may have happened.

      But the point is the reality may be much more complex than we would like to imagine – and getting egoistic about things which happened hundreds or thousands of years earlier seems an extreme form of nostalgia.

      The kind of issues the world is having to deal with at present have to be the true test of relevance – viz. how will Hindu society deal with environmental degradation and climate change? how will it deal with human rights, democracy and constitutional governments? On many such issues i see religious thought completely out of synch with any sensible humane approach.

  10. Dr Ambedkar had said Hinduism is not a religion but a disease nothing else.where ever hindus go their cste travel with them.I met one of Philipino girl who was married to on maharastrian and having bakery business ,she told me that I am married to Indian and you know my husband is high caste.we have to annhilate the hinduism from the earth if you want India as a strong country.If British would have not come to India we would have been drinking cow urine at source for all type of cancer or drinking munarka which was propagated by on of hindu Prime minister of India.we should thanks Mugull and Britisher at least they made monky to Homo sapieans.

  11. Dear Aditya

    I am commenting out of curiosity; but, at the same time, i am also a bit doubtful about my observation. It could turn out to be entirely baseless as i rarely value my observations when their entire rationale is based on linguistic analysis given my obvious limitations. And here i invite your and other readers’ comments to find out if i am indeed true/false.

    First, i would like to bring to your kind notice a sentence of yours from the post concerned.

    A)”Not only was the dog turned ‘out’ to live in the dalit basti, worse, the woman Sunita was fined Rs 15, 000/- by the panchayat for the crime.”

    Now, i would want you to analyse it in the light of your statement you made in response to Vikram’s comment.

    B)”but I have long deserted the religion I was born into.”

    Is there any ‘casteist’ bias – however unintended and unconscious – in statement A that betrays your assertion B, however honest?

    My watchwords in statement A are “Not only” and “worse”: From your use of “worse” in this sentence i make out that you are saying that it was “bad” for the dog for being turned ‘out’ of a “Rajput” house and for having “to live in the dalit basti.” By inference, it makes me think – pardon my overinterpretation, if it is one – that you believe “the dalit basti” to be a place not fit even for a dog!

    If this analysis is indeed true, then i must say that however convinced you may be about your assertion no. B, somewhere down there in your unconscious/subconscious, whichever applicable, there still exists a Hindu casteist bais in a residual form. If i am right, it makes me marvel at the sheer ruthlessness of the grip of our hard-to-erase religious and casteist beliefs that we inherit; the way they unintentionally find their way out through Freudian slips.

    Now, as i said before, i may be wrong in this observation. And if that be so, dear Aditya, i beg your pardon for ‘straying’ away ‘into’ the Rajput house.

    Nevertheless, i appreciate your bringing the issue to the Kafila platform

    Sincerely yours

    Pheeta Ram

    1. Dear Pheeta Ram,
      I must say your comment is spot on – except that you confuse the act of the Rajput/s with my statements and my position. Is there a way of describing what the Rajput did or think he was doing? In his understanding – and in that of the panchayat which seemingly ratified it – the two acts have the same import. ‘Not only’ refers only to this conjunction in the two acts – that of turning into outcaste the ‘once upper caste’ (?) dog and fining Sunita for feeding it. This was to my mind a sarcastic way of saying that now this untouchability that has dogged upper caste conduct with fellow human beings has now been extended to nonhumans as well. If you understood it otherwise, my apologies.

  12. @ mojo,
    You might do well to be a little less haste in and ready to jump to conclusions. Please go through the post carefully before you comment. You say:

    Can I suggest that when you imply “that every Hindu, notwithstanding his/her modernity or secularity, is at the core, a casteist”, you are being absolutely clueless and also insulting a lot of Hindus who actively advocate the rights of all marginalized people in India including dalits are actively trying to rid the society of the scourge of caste system. Can I go even further and claim that you are a casteist yourself because of your loathing and stereotyping of “upper caste/ brahminical sections”?

    And what have I said? I end my first para, with this question:”Can we suggest, like many commentators on Kafila have often done, that every Hindu, notwithstanding his/her modernity or secularity, is at the core, a casteist?”

    I also raise other questions about tolerance in the second prara and then observe: “These are large questions and call for sustained reflection and thought. We certainly do not mean to dismiss everything associated with Hinduism – its art, its philosophical traditions etc. There is much that is valuable there.”

    In other words, my point precisely is that these are questions on which we must suspend judgement and think hard – I know that that is not quite the forte of people whose sentiments are hurt every now and then and who go around searching for things that will hurt their sentiments. But for other readers, I think it is necessary to point this out.

    And for both you and Vikram, let me say once again that the game is out of your hands – it has long been. This balanced and friendly criticism of caste is complete nonsense. And these platitdues about ‘caste must end’ (but we will not do anything to end it) are pure humbug. Gandhi was the only Hindu leader of some stature to have seriously tried to fight untouchability (not caste though). His turned out to be a colossal failure because all his followers mouthed such platitudes and were not prepared to concede one inch of space. Gandhi’s failure was a failure of a wrong-headed strategy that prioritized ‘Hindu sentiment’ over Dalit emancipation. Now Dalits and other lower castes have taken their destiny into their own hands, they realize they have to displace the upper castes and desert the Hindu fold. And I fully agree with them. They are not asking for your alms.

    Vikram’s rant on reservations in educational institutions further makes clear that there is no other option than to displace uppers castes from their stranglehold over institutions. So, if an upper caste hater I be, I am pleased to be recognized as such.

  13. Aditya:

    There is an article in the HT about the old India letting down new India regarding the CWG. The views you express above are a classic example of the old India.

    You dismissed my views on the failure of reservation system as a “rant”, without addressing *ANY* of the issues I raised; especially those regarding guaranteed access to education to all.

    Through the three generations of free India, the percentage of seats reserved has gone up. However if you are to be believed, it has not worked. Conversion by itself is no panacea; if it was the converted people would not be demanding a new category of reservation for themselves.

    You can approach the problem the old failed way; or you can try something new. Bharti Foundation is an example of how the new system can work; it was not originally targeted towards the socially under-priviledged but towards the economically backward. However the overlap is so strong that it has a big majority of children coming from the under-priviledged class.

    Caste system and the discrimination associated with it will NOT end until we move from a group based society to a MERIT driven society. And that transition will not happen as long we continue to waste our resources on the creamy layer ignoring the masses underneath, and the vast potential for economic and social emancipation they represent.

    Do remember that in most Institutions in context, power does not come from the position, but in the ability of the leader to wield it. And a leader who comes in with an asterisk attached to his or her name, will rarely be able to earn the respect to wield power effectively. There are three generations of failure to attest to that.

  14. Vikram,
    You would have noticed that I did not even want to enter into a debate to you and referred to your rant merely in response to another comment that raised allied issues.

    Why I do not want to enter into a debate with the likes of you or the Youth for Equality types of arguments is simple: they represent to me the most rotten attempt by the privileged to defend their privilege in the name of some ostensibly ‘ethical’ or political arguments. Every single argument that you make (if I can call them arguments) have been rehearsed by the real ‘Old India’ (namely Caste Privilege masquerading as secular defense of Merit) and its history goes back at least sixty years (say the Constituent Assembly).

    We have been through all those arguments for the last many decades and are now no more where you are. I have personally dealt with all these arguments that you believe are the arguments of the ‘new India’ and many others have written about them. They are really really old. Moth-eaten. So, I really have neither the patience nor the desire to go on repeating those arguments ad nauseam. You might want to do a little homework and go to say, the Institute of Dalit Studies or the Centre for Women’s Development Studies and look at the data and other documentation available with them before you start making pompous statements about ‘New India’. The real New India demands an abrogation of all caste privileges and privileges that accrue to people like you (and me) by virtue of birth. You can call it merit but really it stinks of wealth, privilege, corruption and social capital (social connections, kinship networks, buying off seats in higher education and so on).

    And finally, you know what: when 15 percent of the population controls 90 percent of the jobs, that is the real creamy layer. I often ask my upper caste students, will they be prepared to give up their open general category seats in education and jobs for their poorer upper caste brothers and sisters? Do they not realize then, that they are really the creamy layer? By what ethical right do they raise the question of the creamy layer only when it comes to dalits and OBCs? Thankfully, many of them still have some self-reflexivity left and I am always impressed when they stop in their tracks to think about it.

    Finally, if reservations have not worked (though you have just put words in my mouth and would do better to read the post before attributing positions to me), it is simply because they have not been implemented. They have been systematically subverted wherever entrenched upper castes have managed to do so.

  15. Aditya Nigam, you protest too loudly and too much. You make out casteism as the only problem that needs to be addressed. I’m 54, live in small town India, belong to a village which is still just 15 kilometers away from my home and run a high tech industry working at the edges of current technology.

    Considering the paucity of skilled manpower in my industry, I began, over a decade ago, training young people from nearby villages to work deep into the technology that I purvey. About twelve years into the business, a few of my technicians asked me for some of my time one evening. What ensued was a revelation that all of us already could have guessed and most of us knew intimately.

    For the very first time, in twelve years, I learned from this group of technicians that they were Scheduled Caste folks. They told me that the worst of the SC politics is the fact that the creamy layer of the SC won’t allow untouchability, and all that goes with it, to go away! That bureaucrats and politicians from their ‘community’ would be bereft of all support if what they espouse doesn’t exist any longer! I asked them what brought this about and why they took time to speak with me about it. Their response brought a lump to my throat…

    What followed, after their fervent thanks to me for having brought them out of a futureless existence, were harrowing tales of the exploitation of their condition by the very messiahs of backwardness… How, in a village composed almost entirely of Scheduled Caste people, in a state ruled over by a messiah of the backward classes, they could not get voter id cards unless they complied with the ‘requirements’ of a political class. How, 63 years into an independent democracy they still had no roads, no sanitation and no schools and still lived in unimaginable squalor. It’s really as if they and their condition had to be carefully and conscientiously preserved to satisfy a crazy monster’s need for them! And that monster is backward politics. As Sardar Patel was to say about Gandhi, soon after Independence – “It costs us a great deal to keep him in poverty”, netas of backward politics have cost the backwards a great deal!

    Mr. Nigam, you apparently live a good life – the articulation and command over the English language that you display, points to a privileged upbringing. But for all your articulation, I suspect, you drive the worst form of exploitation of the poor. You’re a metaphor for all that my technicians have not been able to get despite voting for privileged representatives like you! They were impressed by your articulate speech. They were impressed with your fraudulent treatises and impassioned speeches against the Brahminical order and the code of Manu. But what have you given in return for political power and pelf that you usurped from them?

    Mouthing grand theories and sociological terminology is no recompense for the fraud the upper crust members among the backwards have wrought upon their vote banks. And now with pelf in hand, you seek to browbeat them into submission a la the Reds in West Bengal, over the last 4 decades.

    Before you mouth the next shovelful of fancy verbiage, Mr. Nigam, please, please get out of the urban spaces you live in and wander into the hinterland. You’ll be unpleasantly surprised with the way your passionate ‘revolution’ is going…

    Sincerely,
    Rajiv

    1. I do think caste and untouchability are the main problems that face this society, and that everything that ails it – the inequality, the violence, the poverty, the filth – is a consequence of this. I can marshal arguments from history and sociology and religion in support, and I am willing to debate this publicly with you. For all the superficial articulation and command over the English language that you display, your letter proves that you are incapable of elementary thought and humanity.

  16. त्यागीजी,बुरा न माने! तो एक बात कहूं: ज़रा ग़ौर से पढ़ा करें। आप लोगों को बयान देने की बहुत जल्दी रहती है। मैँ कहीं नहीं कहा की जाति ही हमारे मुल्क में ‘एकमात्र’ सामस्या है। ये आप के उर्वर दिमाग़ की उपज है’। मैँ कोई राजनैतिक नेता भी नहीं। सीधा सादा शोधकर्त्ता हूँ। अपने अल्फाज़ उन लोगों के लिए बचा के रखें जिन पर वो लागू होते हैं।
    It is really interesting that the only time ‘a lump came into your throat’ at the situation of the Dalit labourers was when they talked about how they were duped by their leaders! Never before, even with all the horrendous tales of untouchability, did you ever get a lump in your throat? And, are you, in the village where you stay as a Brahmin, really not complicit in this practice?
    There is a particular style of rhetorical speech-making that you seem to have perfected. I will prefer not to get into responding to all that hot air.

  17. Nigam sahib, aap shodkarta honge par aapki shodh bahut kamzor aur vested interests mein doobi hai!

    I called you a metaphor for all that is vile and vicious about your brand of revolutionary affirmative action. Marxism ki bhi, aap hi ki shodh ki tarah, fraudulent premises theen.

    Aap koi nayi baat nahin samjha rahe hain Nigam sahib. Hazaaron saalon se aap jaise unginat philosophers aaye hain. ShoshaN ki hawaa se aap apni philosophy ko chamkaate hain. Aur airconditioned drawing rooms mein baithkar, laakhon ko gumrah karte hain. Witness the thousands of tribals still dying in the fires lit by a handful of philosophers like you.

    Like the Marxists whom you despise, you sit in air-conditioned drawing rooms while you commit the unrelenting fraud on the people your philosophy preys upon. I know you are not the predators I talk about – you are worse – you represent the intellectual elite that works out a fraudulent philosophy which provides the predators with the tools of exploitation. Very akin to the ‘superiority of Aryans’ that caused the Holocaust!

    Aap yadi shodh karta hain then please bring some truth into your research. Without examining all aspects of an issue, you are no researcher, just a propagandist – Goebbels was not a researcher, he was a philosopher of the worst kind.

    And lump in my throat aaya tha. Par aap ki bataayi hui wajahon se nahin. Woh kanTh mein goli isliye aayi thi kyunki woh mere bachhe thay. But that is not an emotion predators can understand.

    Sincerely,
    Rajiv

    1. Everything that you says simply proves what I said about caste Hindus and their deeply intolerant ways. I rest my case:)

  18. Nigam Sahib, there is less untouchability in India today than the chip on your shoulder. There is a long road still ahead of us to conquer this vile practice. But yours is not he way. You tar whole masses of society with a coloured brush. Young people today, fortunately, are not yet infected with the militant air you spew.

    My two earlier responses were an attempt to puncture your silly air of intellectual superciliousness. You have nothing new to offer, Sir. But what you do offer is a dangerous air of ‘revolutionary’ change. Change is happening inspite of you, I assure you. And you do not have to take revenge for all the years since Manu – he espoused something as silly as you do. When we talk of billions, change cannot happen faster than it is happening. But don’t set fire, please. There is enough hate without us adding more.

    Sincerely,
    Rajiv

  19. @Aditya Nigam – Oh yes, you did mention about me living in that village as a Brahmin, complicit in the social order that exists there.

    I live in an urban environment, have had a privileged upbringing, have served in the Armed Forces of India, am egalitarian, secular and an atheist… just thought I’d give you a frame of reference.

    Sincerely,
    Rajiv

  20. “A fairly large section of articulate, modern Hindus have come to believe that ‘we Hindus’ are modern, while ‘they’ [Muslims e.g.] are ‘backward’, ‘irrational’; we look forward while they are all potential Talibanis and so on. Apart from the utterly ahistorical and false nature of such claims, there is of course, always, a relentless degree of homogenization of the ‘Muslim’ that takes place in making such a claim. ”

    A fairly large number of articulate ‘secular’ thinkers have come to believe that we ‘progressives’ are ‘modern’ while they [Hindus only] are ‘backward’ ‘casteist’; we look forward while they are potential sanghis and so on. Apart from the utterly bigoted and un-secular nature of such claims there is always a relentless demonisation of the ‘Hindu’ and the ‘Brahmin’ that takes place in making such a claim an a singling out of one among competing religious partisanships. A short stay in other societies is prescribed as treatment.

  21. Clearly this Aditya Nigam is a moron. The rest of you waste your time on this bigot. His justification for being a bigot is that it is a response to the hypocrisy around him – just like the Hindu right was created as a ‘response’ to Nehruvian secularism.

    ‘I often ask my upper caste students, will they be prepared to give up their open general category seats in education and jobs for their poorer upper caste brothers and sisters?’

    One wonders what the hell he is talking about here? Ask anybody to give up something they already have for anybody else, and the answer would usually be a ‘no’. And note that Aditya’s language IS the language of Old India. The language of Shortage. Why should anybody have to give up their seat for anybody? The only reason is because there is a scarcity of schools. But they don’t want to address that – let us destroy the institutions we do have rather than build new ones – because building new ones is hard work.

  22. Rajiv

    Bravo. You are walking the talk.

    If I can distill the essence of Aditya’s arguments it is this: Reservations have failed because they have not been implemented properly. He will continue the fight till they are implemented properly; whatever that definition of proper is.

    This argument reminds me of the country next door on the West founded as a homeland for Muslims of the sub-continent. That is a country controlled by a handful of feudal families which along with the Army manage most of its wealth. And whenever the question comes up on why that state is such a mess, the answer that is offered is: “We are not Islamic enough”! And I am talking about the uneducated masses, but educated folks.

    Aditya’s arguments are a mirror of that. We know that the reservation as a system has failed to live up to its potential. However, instead of trying out something different he wants to try the same old but harder.

    The irony is that he has clearly articulated why the system has failed. I fully agree with him that I/him and others who are posting here represent the creamy layer. We are able to compete better because we had access to education which the under-priviledged do not. He too recognizes the problem, that is why he calls us the creamy layer.

    However he refuses to see, that the problem will continue until we increase the thickness of the creamy layer to include more under-priviledged; until it is completely homogenized with the rest milk. Let everyone get access to the education and opportunity which the creamy layer gets, and things will change must faster.

    He some how feels that taking some one from the thin creamy layer of the under-priviledged and anointing him/her as the head of some institution will solve the problem. Perhaps that is the difference between new India and old India. One believes in actually doing something meaningful; the other is happy with symbolic victories.

    The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act is perhaps the first official recognition of this issue, and I am hopeful that something will come out it. It is efforts by the average Indians like you or the industrialists like Tatas or the Bharti Foundation which will help the situation really improve in a meaningful way. Hope your breed grows and prosper.

    BTW, Rajiv, power corrupts, and it corrupts everywhere. I am not surprised that the workers you helped train and employ also do not have a great opinion of their leaders. My wife’s best friend, an OBC (she was the topper of her batch), is married to an IPS (top 10 ranker); they met in Mussoori in the civil services academy. The IPS guy has interacted with Mayawati over the past two decades; he used to be one of her favorites in the beginning. He has personally seen her change with time; unfortunately not for the better.

  23. And for both you and Vikram, let me say once again that the game is out of your hands – it has long been.

    You have said this twice, so I’ll ask: which game is this and who are the players? If it is a game by the upper castes (read “brahmins”) to keep down the “lower” castes through the use of political power, then it is not clear when they (brahmins, that is) had sufficient political power to play such a game.

    I will not bore you with the history of the subcontinent and I am sure you know it much better than I can ever hope to know. But whatever else, “brahmin kingdoms” were a rarity even in “Hindu” India. That is not to assert that brahmins were powerless; of course not and no one in her/his sense would try to assert that. But it does mean that whatever power was possessed by brahmins as a group was indirect and dependent on other groups in society. And, at least in South India, political power involved mostly groups that we now term OBCs.

    Now, if you want to assert that the last 63 years has been an endeavour by the upper castes to use political power to hold back the lower castes, then I would assert that the “upper castes” (if they every worked collectively, as you assert) have played the “game” pretty incompetently.

    Anyway, even in “Hindu” India, I am not sure that political power was used to sustain the caste system. (I may be mistaken and would appreciate being set right.) I do not claim to understand the system but I do think it is a complex one and capable of change. Again, I will not say more because I am sure you know much more about caste than me. I will simply observe that if it were not this way, it would have been destroyed long ago and caste as an institution would have gone the way of many dead civilizations. That such a patently unequal system has lasted so long and survived so many challenges is puzzling.

    I have no doubt at all that the “upper castes” in general and “brahmins” in particular have utilized the inequity of the existing system to their own advantage. I do not doubt either that much of the objections to the reservation policy among the upper castes is simply a fear that their own access to jobs may be under threat. But this does not imply that these groups are “villains.” (Yes, I know you didn’t say that but it seems implied, and rather strongly at that.)

    But understandable as it is — the need to find villains “responsible” for the existing inequity — I am not sure it advances efforts to end the caste system. At its worst, it promises to reduce justice to a “group” concept. Perhaps you even believe that in our society, justice should be a group concept. I disagree, but, of course, you are entitled to call them as you see them.

    Finally, you say:

    I often ask my upper caste students, will they be prepared to give up their open general category seats in education and jobs for their poorer upper caste brothers and sisters? … I am always impressed when they stop in their tracks to think about it.

    I would be even more impressed if they called your bluff. Suppose one of them says, yes, I would be prepared to give my seat to a poorer upper caste student. Then what? Does that invalidate the reservation policy? (Perhaps your students are not so smart? Just joking.)

  24. 165 million dalits require seprate electorate and seprate settlement away from barbaric people,if kafila realy want to help poor dalits then Please give them scientific education so they can fight this war with sons and daughers of Rama.dalits have to built the dalt holocaust camber with history so they can pay back to these barbaric hindus with intrest.if Mr Gandhi would have not robed the dalits seprate electorate rights then no body would have dare to kill or rape the dalits.shame on these hindus and their hindu led government in India where dog become untouchable ,these shows how hindus are born ,I think credit goes to there mother who are mothering these b*****ds who are making dog untouchable what a shame.

    1. Presumably you think “scientific education” consists of the sort of uncivilised tripe that you are propagating, which is no diffferent to the sort of abomination that still goes on in the name of caste (largely) in rural India…

  25. Suresh,
    I really think there is no common assumption between us. I had said this once on an earlier occasion but retracted thinking that we were having a debate. I wonder whether there is any point my trying to answer you but I will try once more. Otherwise, clearly you and I (and many others who have commented here) live on different planets. That is precisely why I said what you have italicized (that the game has changed).

    I had thought the meaning of that statement was obvious but since it is clearly not, let me spell it out: The question of Dalit emancipation is the game I am referring to – and that is out of everybody’s hands. Gandhi tried, wrong-headedly, without wanting to disturb the power of the upper castes and failed. Then there were a slew of what were condescendingly called ‘harijan’ leaders in the Congress. They failed too. There were also the supposedly radical left groups and parties – whom Ambedkar sarcastically called ‘a bunch of brahmin boys – and they too failed. The reality is that they never tried. They fed people with the platitudes about scientific education, secularism and modernity but clearly no one was prepared to let go off their power and their positions over which they had no other right except that a large section of the population had been kept out of all education and knowledge for centuries, if not millennia. Where was the chance that they would ever catch up with these ‘meritorious’ (by birth) bunch of upper caste boys and girls?
    The game has now changed, precisely in that now nobody is going to ask you for alms. They are not asking you whether you will yield your place to them. My question to my (upper-caste) students was clearly a challenge to “think outside the box”, and they understood it as such. Perhaps some of you who have taken it so literally need to sit in classrooms with militant Dalit voices challenging your smug commonsense. In the battle field of politics, the die has been cast. “They” are out to snatch the privilege that accrues by birth and caste, and snatch it they will. Prevent it if you (and the others commenting here), can.
    My best wishes, and I do not intend to carry on this conversation any more.

    1. I would like to end this sad ‘debate’ by telling the Tyagis, the Vikrams the Ajits and the Sureshes that this country faces external threats on every front, the Taliban and the rest of them are almost at the gates. To resist this threat, internal solidarity is essential. Why should Dalits and Tribals – one out of four Indians – fight for Hindustan? Or the ‘backwards’ and the ‘most backwards’? Toynbee observes repeatedly that throughout history, civilizations have collapsed because of internal strife, the external blow when it came was only the coup de grace. This has also been the story here, and this is the lesson Dr.Ambedkar wanted every one of us to learn from the battle of Koregaon.

    2. Aditya,

      I could pen a response but under the circumstances it would be fruitless, as you say. Fair enough. Thanks for bearing with me. Best wishes to you.

  26. Kumarpushp:

    If you study the history of the partition, you would realize that the concept of a separate electorate was one of the key Muslim League demands which lead to the partition. The Congress leaders had that time had a vision which did NOT want to split the country on the basis of caste, religion etc. With the partition of the country they obviously failed; however at least in independent India they were not willing let go of their vision.

    I agree with you completely that political empowerment of the dalits is absolutely essential and vital. To some extent it has happened. However, political empowerment as exemplified by a few leaders without the economic and social emancipation of the masses would eventually result in a situation, where a new set of exploiters take the place of the old. Given the scale of the problem, true success will come from a bottom-up manner.

    Old India was growing at an economic rate barely able to preserve the economic status of the growing population. The new India is growing at a much faster pace; the pie is actually expanding. This is a paradigm shift from the past, where everyone was fighting for the same scraps.

    When the pie expands it creates opportunity for it to pull up a lot of people with it. What is needed now is a mechanism that allows the under-priviledged to be in a position to grab a growing share of the expanding pie. Education and opportunity at the grass-root level is a corner-stone for that; that should be the focus.

    If you are politically aware, then lobby for guaranteed primary school access at every village; and make sure that the schools work, do not discriminate, and meals are provided. At the district level, arrange for multiple centers of education excellence at the middle and high school levels, which makes sure that the opportunity to learn is not denied to any one. Economic empowerment will follow, which also lead to greater political empowerment. Remember the pie is expanding; the game is changing.

    1. Dear Vikram, Seprate electorate is the only wepon to stop the atrocities on dalits in India.It is working in Pakistan for hindus .In Pakistan at least all political party had agreed to give seprate electorate for hindus where they are winning from there own votes but back in India so called vibrant democracy ,dalit MLAs and MPs are winning by hindu votes because dalit votes are being divided among dalit candidates.top hindu boses are very clver and fill with dirt in their brain . I would like to give example where muslims are in majority they had reseved the seats.If there would have been seprate elctoratefor dalits mean, dalits would have been sent there own true representive and not any hindus bumm lickers.Dalits require scientific based education in english stating from primary level but hindu led government at centre donot want to happen in India because they would not get free slaves on county side. for dalits, pie is not expanding it is going away from them.

  27. Just quickly to several commentators who believe that NOW “the pie is expanding”, that the “old story” was of shortages etc. There never were shortages, and never was the pie not big enough. The entire enormous pie was simply being hogged by the creamy layer of “upper” castes whose class position, as Satish Deshpande has shown by analysing hard NSS data, quite happily co-incided with their caste position by and large. (See his Contemporary India). In other words, both the poverty-stricken Brahmin and the rich Dalit are rare exceptions – in proportional terms, that is.
    And the story continues today. No shortage of resources here in India; none today, and none previous to the neo-liberal reforms. The question has always been that of distribution, and that question is flaming hot now.
    Vikram advises Kumarpushp to to “lobby for guaranteed primary school access at every village; and make sure that the schools work, do not discriminate, and meals are provided. At the district level, arrange for multiple centers of education excellence at the middle and high school levels, which makes sure that the opportunity to learn is not denied to any one.”
    And what should “they” do until then? Until that “heaven of freedom” is reached, learn to make do with the crumbs that fall off our table while we fatten on that expanding pie?

  28. For those who thinks that Taliban at the gate and dalits should join with hindu boys to defeat the taliban first then they will rescue the dalits from holocaust.same things was told by Mr Gandhi and their clans that lets India get librated fron british what happened ,only skin color has changed from gora bau to kala babu become the ruler of India and dalits did not get freedom from their hindu master,this was the reason Dr Ambedkar wanted the seprate electorate rights for India.Dalits were treated badly even their Rama periods so you can imagine what they will do their offsprings but in 21 st century dalits are not ready to buy this arguments in name of country.India is not a country but nation within the nation where dalits are living in no man land,they require urgent land ,education and Health and place to save their abrus in India.can dalits get these thing in india without foreign help ,I would say no.Dalits can get freedom only when another Aurang jeb will born in India who will librate the 165 million dalits from clutches of hindus.

    1. Dalits have been victims of oppression in India without any doubt.
      But the solution that you suggest is equally wrong.

      Dalit Emancipation can happen only by massive amount of ACTIVISM by left.
      Strengthening of Indian Left is the best solution to our caste problems.
      Equality and brotherhood ONLY LEFT can provide.
      No one else.

  29. My response to Nevidata was moderated out (wonder why?). But let me try once more.

    “There never were shortages, and never was the pie not big enough. ”

    Could you just list the growth rate of the Indian economy for the past six decades?

    In his latest post, Aditya has articulated how after a decade or two of independence the nature of Indian politics changed. Part of the reason was the politics of scarcity. Things are changing now and that requires a new paradigm.

    I agree with you that the redistribution of wealth and resources should happen. What I fail to see any articulation of how that should happen?

    KumarPushp:
    Here is some food for thought. In Pakistan, the land where Aurangzeb is worshipped as a great Moghul, there has been little or no land reform. There are numerous articles on that; spend some time studying them.

    And while there is a lot of pretense of egalitarianism in the Muslim world, the reality is not that rosy. The Sheikh Issa case is an example; he never suffered any retribution in spite of a global hue and cry about his actions.

    While I wish you best in your fight against injustice, be careful about what you wish for. The grass always looks greener on the other side.

    1. Dear Vikram,Grass always green if you pore little water, as for as Auranjeb is concerned he had librated millions of dalits from oppression from hindus.you go and see in Pakistan ,there is no slums ,every muslims at least gets bread twice a day.every muslims at least give jakat to there poor brothers not like hindus where you count your mony three days in ganesha temple and distribute among them self.Trupti temple is making 40 million pounds by selling people hairs to british company.I met thousands of muslims and hindusfrom Pakistan, I wil ladvised you, have a chat with hindus .even Jamaite Islami of Pakistan had agreed to give hindus a seprate electorate rights in Pakistan.if left is the only solution means ,left is ruling in west Bengal and look the condtion of dalits in West bengal.Bhadra lok become worst log.Kerala is the example how dalits parties are treated in Kerala, even they are not allowed to wear the shirts with Dr Ambedkar logo.Left parties are dalits eater tigers in sheep skin.for your kind information ,Aurangjeb was the great king and very nawaji who had librated millions of dalits and dalits are awaiting another aurangjeb to be born in India.I think you must read proper Biography of Auranjeb not any hindu version.

  30. Sigh. It was moderated out, “Varkim”, by me, “Nivedita”, because some of us at kafila feel (not all, and there is fierce on-going internal debate on this; currently the author or specific person addressed takes the call), that kafila should not be hijacked by mainstream voices that already dominate all possible visible spaces, who feel it is their duty and birthright to come into this alternative space and “correct our line” – not once, but again and again till they have the last word.

    So, the idea that “growth rate” is some objective indicator of economic well-being, that it represents an actual solid pie, and that the expansion of the growth rate means increase in concrete things is certainly commonsense in mainstream economics, especially neo-liberal economics. Now, either you are one of those who propagate this understanding, or you are one of the young people who came into adulthood in the 90’s when there was no other voice anywhere to be heard. On the assumption that you are the latter, let me draw your attention to the fact that there are equally strong heterodox voices within the discipline of economics (of which marxist voices are only one strand), which point out 2 simple things

    a) “growth rate” is the growth of Gross Domestic Product, the calculation of which excludes large numbers of factors such as non-market activities; and conversely, positively includes anything that increases economic activity, regardless of whether they are overall beneficial to social welfare or not. So, for instance, war, natural disasters and disease, which lead to increased spending, show up as “growth”.

    So GDP/growth rate is certainly an accurate barometer of the business climate, that is it shows whether investments will be profitable, but it is totally misleading as far as the welfare of people (other than businessmen) in a society is concerned.

    So the shooting up of India’s growth rate in the 90’s has been widely revealed to be largely in the service sector, which does not yield anything to be “distributed”. Conversely, its “low” growth rate earlier tells us only that business did not find India profitable. And profits for business does not translate into welfare for people, it does so only in the trickle-down theory of growth. And nothing trickles down, or too little too late, as history has shown.

    b) The point I made about distribution – GDP per capita, which divides the GDP by the country’s population, provides a rough estimate of each person’s “share” of the market economy. However, “per capita” remains the same whether it goes to a few people or is actually shared equally. Per capita GDP is a mythical mathematical figure which does not reflect reality at all.

    When I said that there was always enough to go around, I was referring to simple paradoxes like food rotting in government godowns while people starve. Or India having “food surplus” in some years which makes it sound like everyone has eaten their fill when in fact it only means that there are not enough people who can afford to buy food.

    If you’re interested in reading anything that might shake your common-sense, do try Satish Deshpande’s book which I mentioned earlier (bet you didn’t even try to locate it before dashing off this comment), and take a look at this excellent article which I often recommend to students, available on-line:
    THE GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT AND ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL INDICATORS by Blayne Haggart

  31. Really, Ron? You still think so? Well, the Dalits don’t. So the leaders will have to go without followers, it seems…

    1. Dear Aditya
      Thanks for your reply.

      Few points:

      1) Firstly , i believe every international and local problem can be solved by strengthening the left. Starting from Kashmir , palestine , Hindu right-wing fascism ,islamic fundamentalism , caste problems. Everyone of them.

      2)Brahmin exploitation of dalits and other lower caste is mainly because of power which brahmins/upper castes enjoy. Had the caste system been reverse with brahmins being the lower caste , i am sure they too would
      have been exploited ruthlessly . Problem here is Power. We need to fight against this “Power” that a certain section of society enjoys over others. Which again only left can provide.Replacing the current power structure in society with another power structure is not the solution.
      Other examples in this regard are the exploitation and massive injustices against Shias in Sunni majority countries and vice-versa.

      3)Kumarpushp talked about Auganzeb rule. He needs to be reminded about a certain Jogendra Nath Mandal , a dalit politician and Pakistan’s first law minister. What happened to him in Pakistan is well know. He hoped for a great egalitarian , secular society but had to return to India as a broken man. His
      resignation letter to Pak PM is available online. He should read that.

      4)In this blog post , you wrote about Sunita Jatav. A very sad case of caste discrimination and massive social oppression.
      But i can say with FULL confidence that such an event will NOT happen in West Bengal. No where in bengal such an event is possible. Why is that so?? Communist rule ( no matter how imperfect they are) and a historical tradition of activism by people like Raja Rammohan Roy , Vivekananda , Tagore etc.
      Also no communal riots in bengal . Why?

      Of course Caste still exist in Bengal , but the intensity is much much less as compared to other parts of the country.

      5)Noam Chomsky has repeatedly said that US has become a much more civilised country (at least within its border) thanks to years of massive activism by mostly liberals and left. Although racism still exists but black man is almost an equal of the white man in US society. Again its because of activism.

      Hence i firmly believe strengthening the left and Activism by ordinary thinking Indians is the solution.

    2. This is the most shameful self-congratulatory bit of verbiage I have read in quite a while! West Bengal is one of the most casteist states, everything has been swallowed whole by the badralok, if not the batacharjees, the banerjees and the mukherjees , the basus the dattas and their ilk. Have these people not heard of Marichjapi?
      The only state where untouchability has decreased substantially, though not completely, is Kerala, and because of education. Not communist rule but in spite of it. Bengal is completley backward, in education, in health, in equality and any kind of egalitarian ethos.

  32. Though I do not quite often agree with Aditya, after reading Rajiv Tyagi I really feel the need for Leftists of all hues – Stalinists, Anarhcists ,Trotskyites, Maoists, Fabians and what have you to unite against such egregious personalities and all they stand for . A glorious example of Right-Wing attitudes – refusal to argue or even listen to arguments – harping the same line again and again. These individuals descend to depths of personal attacks displaying on the way thinly veiled cateist and upper class prejudices.
    The patronizing and condescending attitude also comes out succintly. In his perception, he has done a major favor to Dalits by offering them a few jobs earning for him a “Mai-baap” status.

    Upal

  33. Mr Ron,Mr Jogendra nath mandal was personally invitd by great leader Mr Jinha to write the constitution of Pakistan but our beloved Mr Jinha died before Pakistan gets a real constitution and a new state was with war with India and malvis took over the state of Pakistan and Mr Mandal returned back to India.as for as Aurang jeb is concernereal ,he was the real friends of poor dalits and under his rule millions of dalits librated from hindu oppresson and they embraced the great religion Islam.Muslims never observed untochability that is the reASON DALITS OPTED FOR GREAT RELIGION ISLAM in big way and got librated.Dalits fought hindus and when defeated embraced Buddhism and fought them again after becoming Muslims,for your kind information ,bengali muslims are mostly dalit converts ,even your beloved Swami Viveka nand said Islam was a great blessing and librated the oppressed,you said untouchablity is not that extent in west bengal ,I would request you that Please read THE MENACE OF HINDU FASCISM BY DR W.C DEB AND YOU WILL COME TO KNOW ABOUT REAL FACE OF WEST BENGAL LEADERSHIPS.INDIA PARTITION WAS CREATED BY LAL,BAL,PAL AND HINDU TERRORIST SARVARKAR.MR SARVARKAR CALL TO HINDUISE POLITICS AND MILITARISE HINDUISM. i THINK YOU MUST READ HISTORY PROPER WAY .

  34. Mr Ron, Can you explain me what is problems with seprate elctorate rights for dalits and tribals in india when it is working for hindus in Pakistan means it will work in India also.I think if Indian leaderships want to stop atrocities on dalits and tribal in India then they must give them seprate electorate rights to dalits and tribals.if tribals will get seprate elctorate rights means nexal problems will solve in one stroke because those are holding the guns to over throw the hindu led government in india and in county side they will become the part of Indian growth ,other wise there would not be any peace on the land of 36 crores dieties .I think it is good opportunity for your left wing to attract the tribals and dalits to give them seprate elctorate rights dear Ron.

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