Low caste in India wants to be lower

This is how AP summed up the recent Gujjar unrest:

For a week, angry throngs from one of India's lower castes blocked roads with burning barricades, stoned police and clashed with rival castes to make a single, simple point: They want to be even lower.

Does this happen anywhere else in the world? We are one of the world's oldest civilizations. In spite of our head start, we blew it. And the situation is only getting worse.

Comments

Vivek said…
India as a political/cultural entity did not exist before 1947. What head start are you talking about?

It's not an easy task keeping so much of diversity together, yet we have somehow held on for 60 odd years. That in itself is an achievement.
saurabh said…
Caste, today is not big an issue as what it was few decades back, at least not politically. i think we have improved. wonder how many contemporaries of our fore-fathers would had contemplated inter-caste marriage but just look at the scenario now.
Deepanjan said…
To say that India as a political/cultural entity did not exist before 1947 is tantamount to saying that people relied on anaerobic respiration before someone could discover Oxygen!

While I commend the Indian Union for having stayed together for so long, I would credit the British for having us super-glued in the first place. I believe our "achievement" in staying together plays second fiddle to British Imperialism.

While some manifestations of people cutting across caste-divides (love conquers all!)have come to the fore (thanks to the media), they do so solely because they are exceptions...not rules. Caste and class divides run deep in our society and the fissures are only widening because of our divisive polity.
Vivek said…
From Wikipedia, "India became a modern nation-state in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by widespread use of nonviolent resistance as a means of social protest" .... I stand by my statement regardless of what it "tantamounts" to for you.

"I would credit the British for having us super-glued in the first place" .... oh really, have you heard of the event called Partition?

And as for "I believe our "achievement" in staying together plays second fiddle to British Imperialism", after the British left, we are the only country in South Asia that has not only held together, but added territory .... remember J&K/Goa/Sikkim? Now compare that to what happened to Pakistan; the de facto broken up Sri Lanka & the upheavals in Bangladesh & Nepal .... & view that in light of the far lesser amount of diversity they have to manage. Give credit where it's due, Deep.
saurabh said…
hey rob, thanks for quoting from wiki... i had upadated that line that you have mentioned above :)
good yaar, ppl r quoting ME... i have arrived...
Deepanjan said…
Partition was an aftermath of independence. We can't blame the British for it. They had done well to keep us together during their reign. The animosity between India and Pakistan remains intense to this day. It only serves the accentuate British acumen. If only we could learn a few things from them.

If remaining unified comes at the cost of robbing people of their right to equality, I would happily vote for disintegration. Nationality is nothing more than an entity to facilitate governance for the betterment of people. I don't thing reservation achieves this in any way.

And for once let us stop comparing ourselves with our destitute neighbors. If comparison is needed, I'm sure we can find beter benchmarks. But of course, we'd pale in comparison to the competition then...and that would hurt or chauvinism. It's sad that when we dare to compare, we deliberately choose lesser players.

I wonder why Sam hasn't dug in. Maybe he's given up on me as being fundamentally flawed and incorrigible. Maybe he has missed the comments.
Vivek said…
I was comparing ourselves with our neighbours in the South Asian context. We all got independence at the same time & we all were under the British .... so the 'cohesiveness' argument should've been equally applicable for them as it is for us.

I agree that we should compare ourselves with worthy benchmarks.

Also agree with you on the reservation issue.

And Sam, yeah, I thought about him too .... he's very out-of-the-loop these days.
Deepanjan said…
The South Asian context was apt...but only when we localize ourselves. It's high time we came out of our burrows and realized we lie at the near-bottom of the pit.

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