Guest post by MOHAN RAO
“And yet there must be deliverance for we are all otherwise convicted at birth.”
I want to thank Srivats and Anveshi for inviting to be part of a discussion about the book, Caste as Merit, by Ajantha Subramaniam.* I am not a scholar on these issues and I must confess this scares me sometimes, for I wonder if we can discuss these issues at all? Some friends actually advised me not to take part in this discussion, because I was, ineluctably, going to be labelled as Brahmin, talking about a book written by a Brahmin in the US! In my own estimation though, I remain a nastika, a non-believer, out of Brahminical bounds.
I would like to begin by showing a lithograph – and a story.
Continue reading Invention of Merit and the ‘Millstone of Caste’: Mohan Rao
Not that we needed any evidence of the prevalence of caste in India – even amongst the elites who like to pretend caste doesn’t exists when it comes to the reservation debate. The Times of India reports from Mumbai:
In India, it’s well known that couples shopping for sperm demand both looks and brains. What isn’t so well known, despite being fairly commonplace, is a more outrageous request: caste-based sperm. Three years ago, Dr Saurav Kumar, a Patna gynaecologist, created a furore when he told a newspaper that childless couples insisted on knowing the caste of sperm donors. But while one may be tempted to assume that caste biases are entrenched only in states likeBihar, the city’s infertility experts insist otherwise.
Dilip Patil, founding president of Trivector, an infertility solutions firm, says there is a definite preference for Brahim donors in Mumbai. “Even among Muslims, couples want to know whether the donor is Sunni or Shiite,” he says. “However, going by Indian Council of Medical Researchguidelines, we reveal only the religion of the donor, not the caste.” [Link]
Over at the excellent India Site, Rahul Pandita asks a thought-provoking question:
As a Brahmin, does it make me less sensitive to the plight of the poor or the marginalised? Why is it such a big deal that I can wear my Janeu, recite my Hanuman Chalisa, and yet go to Bant Singh’s house in Bhurj Jabbar, thirstily gulp down a few glasses of water, and tell his story? Where is the contradiction? [‘A Brahmin Heart’]
And the ever-sharp Kufr has the best answers there can be to that question:
when rahul pandita says he’s a brahmin, he’s making a claim on a lot of indian history. when bant singh rebels against his present, he is also rejecting pandita’s history, his claim on privilege. if pandita doesn’t see that, he shouldn’t have undertaken the trip to bant singh’s home. [why bant singh can’t go to rahul pandita]