Saturday, March 26, 2011

Misc update (Caste)

3 Quarks Daily has an entry from March 2010, Joothan: A Dalit's Life, which reviews a book, Joothan - "... a memoir of growing up ‘untouchable’ starting in the 1950s outside a typical village in Uttar Pradesh. Told as a series of piercing vignettes, Joothan is also a remarkable record of a rare Indian journey, one that took a boy from extremely wretched socioeconomic conditions to prominence as an author and social critic..." Read it and weep at the injustice of caste...

Another entry, The Blight of Hindustan, speaks to the origins, anatomy, and persistence of caste. While noting caste-ism's strong roots in society, it ends on a more hopeful note: "... The Indian constitution outlawed caste discrimination sixty years ago, and affirmative action has had a salutary impact in recent decades. However, in this deeply conservative country, passing legislation is one thing, enforcing the laws and changing minds is quite another. Caste still has a tenacious hold on too many Indians who, in the words of the Marathi poet Govindaraj, ‘bow their heads to the kicks from above and who simultaneously give a kick below, never thinking to resist the one or refrain from the other.’ Discrimination in housing, marriage, and employment is commonplace. Especially outside the major cities, caste-based oppression is still rife, ranging from psychological abuse to bonded labor to rapes and murders that frequently go unpunished. The trends however look promising. In recent decades, those on the lowest rungs of the social pyramid have been politicized and have made their presence felt in the Indian democracy, even commanding high political offices..." It is to be devoutly hoped that this evil continues to loose its power until totally eradicated...

Some previous blog entries related to caste:
Misc update (caste) - Jan 20th, 2011
Education emancipates? - Jun 26th, 2010
Misc update (caste) - Aug 29, 2009
Updates - #3 - Aug 25th, 2008
Frame of Reference - June 27th 2008
Caste - May 26th 2008