Latasinha's Weblog

Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Westernization of society in India

Traditional living had been an anchor, keeping our boat in safe harbor, Now that the anchor had gone and the boat is at the mercy of wild waves on a stormy ocean.                                                                                    Vijay Lakshmi Pundit     

Introduction – Since 1990, the influence and mannerism of advanced Western nations on Indian people especially the youth is continuously increasing. It could be because of fascination for its industrial, technological, economic advancement, or because law and order prevails there. Whatever might be the reason, western culture has greatly impacted the way of dressing, celebrating more enthusiasm the western festivals like Valentine day or Halloween etc, music, food habits, language etc. It has impacted the life style of Indians both in positive and negative ways.

Beginning of the process of Westernization – The process of westernization of Indian society of India started with the coming of the East India company in India. From time immemorial, for the stratification of Indian society the principle of Varna, Dharma and Karma has been followed, which is a unique way of stratifying the society. But under British rule, the Imperial government had divided the society in a new way. Instead of four Varnas , (Brahmins, Khhatriyas, Vaishyas and shudras) embracing each one within itself numerous castes, sub-castes, sub-sub castes. Caste system covers the entire social fabric of India. It has greatly influenced the thinking of people and their culture all-over India. Common men feel good and loved, when they live up to the norms set up by their elders, and anxious and guilty, when they transgress them.

British Census Commissioner Risley had divided the Indian society into Forward castes, Backward Castes and Untouchables (Scheduled castes), Minorities and tribal society (Scheduled Tribes) etc. Such a division has led to the entry of Casteism in political arena.

About Varna/Caste system – As Don Martindale comments, “Caste was the system of social life, in which Hinduism was expressed. …… Hinduism was the ideological and emotional buttress of caste…. Caste and Hinduism succeeded in doing in India, what no state, no conqueror and no economy was able to do – the establishment of a single unified system of society throughout the whole of India (accommodating numerous semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places), a system of society, which was able to comprise a greater range of local differences in a single system than any society has previously accomplished.”

Through caste system, India has simultaneously accommodated “it to an almost endlessly varied system of semi-autonomous community and at the same time, it brings considerable unity, harmony and condition of peace.” It “succeeded in wielding an enormously varied plurality of semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places and adopting themselves to many different conditions into a single system of society…” (Don Martindale, India since 1947, p 39)

Assimilation of different migrating social groups at different points of time – Indian society took thousands of years to grow.  It came into existence, after assimilating numerous desiring racial and other social groups, be it immigrants, locals, tribal or professional, into its main-steam. It has been done cordially through caste-system at different points of time. The beauty of the system is that the main society as a whole remained stable, while offering a place to new groups within the main-stream.

Caste as a mechanism for the merger – ‘Caste system’ has provided unique mechanism for the merger of numerous discrete tribes/social groups and associations arising for political, sectarian or other reasons. As more indigenous and foreign social groups desired to merge into its fold, Varna system gave way to caste system, which assigned each new group a separate caste identity. Numerous castes and sub-castes emerged within each Varna. There always remained only four Varnas. All new social groups, known as castes and sub-castes, were fitted under the four Varnas.

The social-structure based on Varna/caste system has survived the vicissitudes of time, saved itself by erosion from within and assault from outside only because of the adaptability. The beauty of the system is that it remained stable, while giving place to numerous incoming social groups from different lands under its umbrella.

Its absorptive nature has internalized alien influences. Once changed, the system never returned to its original form. It has taken different shades and meaning with the changing times and places. Its character during Indus Valley Civilization was altogether different from what exists today. It is still in a transient phase. Its shade is different in the context of village, locality, region or religion.

Ideological attack on Hinduism and its caste system – However, thinkers from Western nations and some groups of politicians criticized vehement the values, system and culture of India. Not only the aliens, but a few groups of politicians, intellectuals, activists or reformers from other faiths within India have opposed the systems and practices prevalent in India. They are the persons, who are educated in English medium private or missionary schools and are deeply influenced by the Western thinking and their way of living.

Especially the British rulers, thinkers and philosophers have intentionally highlighted the weaknesses and suppressed the strong points of Indian social structure. In the past, British Imperial rulers and missionaries criticized bitterly Varna/caste-system, on which the social structure of India is based. Ward alleged “Not only is the caste contrary to every principle of justice and polity, it is repugnant to every feeling of benevolence. The social circle is almost invariably, composed of persons of the same caste, to the careful exclusion of others. It aims one class of men against another; it gives rise to greatest degree of pride and apathy. It forms a sufficient excuse for not doing an act of benevolence towards another, that he is not of the same caste, Ney, a man dying with thirst will not accept a cooling drop of water from the hands or the cup of a person of a lower caste.”\

Why so mush criticism? – Usually, suspicions or misunderstandings about any system arise, when the fundamentals and knowledge about the system or ground realities of the place are not clear. Half cooked information, half a truth, partial or incomplete knowledge with a purpose to let down somebody is harmful for the whole society. Many a times, such opinions turn out to be a great lie.

Reality is deeper than what is seen on the surface – Reality is much deeper than what is seen on the surface. One should not form an opinion or take a decision without analysing rationally the whole scenario. Many misunderstandings about caste-system would not sustain itself, once there is even a moderate understanding about its origin and true nature of its beliefs, systems and values and a little knowledge about the ground realities of 21st century of India. One should form an opinion or take a decision after analysing rationally the whole scenario.

Confusion between Caste and Class – There are some basic differences in the perception of the people from West and East. For stratification of society, the system of ‘Class’ has been adopted in the West. While in India the stratification of society has been done on the basis of ‘Caste’. Western world is mystified to a great extent by the amazing pluralities and unique social structure of India based on caste. Because –

  • Basis of stratification – Stratification of a society becomes necessary for organizing human and social behaviour in tune with the objectives of a society. While in Western world, usually anthropologists, historians and sociologists identify ‘class’, as universal basis of stratification within a society. Indian society has been stratified socially on the basis of Varna/caste-system.
  • Practiced exclusively in India – Stratification on the caste/Varna system has been conceptualized, originated and practiced exclusively in India. It has given a distinguished identity to Indian society.
  • Translation of Varna/caste in English – In English, the word caste has been used only for different social groups. Westerners have failed to accept it as a principle of classification of society. Secondly, the confusion is actually, because two different words ‘Jaati’ and ‘Varna’ are mixed in the term caste. “Jaati” is decided by “birth” and “Varna” by Karma/deeds. Castes have its ethnic roots as denoted by Jati (extended family), and a ritualistic and symbolic significance in its Varna aspect.
  • Power and social status associated with wealth – In materialistic Western societies, wealth has always been associated with power, authority and social status. In India, its Caste system has separated wealth from status, power from authority, pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts. The greatness of a state is judged on the basis of the degree of righteousness and justice, with which a social group lives or administration governs lives of the people, and not on the basis of the size of a state or its treasury. Similarly, in the society, status of a person or a caste is ranked on the basis of knowledge, discipline and moral standards, and not on the basis of material success, or control of power.
  • Stress on duties rather than rights – Whereas, Western cultures have grown around the idea of `rights‘, forming the natural foundation of human relationship, caste system evolves around the concept of “duty, tolerance and sacrifice”. Emphasis on duty usually makes a person or a group humble and tolerant. Its value-system helps people to adjust themselves, without much difficulty, to most drastic changes. India has achieved its freedom in a peaceful manner under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Common men, here, are filled with a sense of duty.
  • No conversion – Unlike Christianity or Islam, Hinduism has made new groups its integral part without any conversion and brought them under one umbrella without annihilating their own faith.
  • Truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression – Truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression have always been the part of Indian ethos. Indians have till now accepted oppression and exploitation without much protest. Indian way of life and tolerance of its people has prevented the masses to exercise coercion so far.
  • History of “NO BLOODY REVOLTION” – While in the past, intolerance of people led to bloody revolutions elsewhere in the world, India kept on adapting itself to changing times. Whereas in the past, other nations had passed through many bloody revolutions like in ancient Greece, Rome or other European countries, and made people to work under the threat of a whip, tolerance in India had prevented people from doing that.  It is continuously  Internalizing the changes and has kept on adapting itself to changing times. India has entered the modern era without any cultural break.

Therefore, It is difficult for the western world to understand the role of caste – past or present – in Indian society. Complete localization and unfamiliarity makes it difficult to understand caste as a system in its totality and to know the nuances, the nature, role (both in the past as well as in present) and value of caste as a system.

Start of the process of aping the Western way of life

It was 17th century, when many Dutch, Portuguese, French, British and Spanish companies came to India in search of market. Weakening of Islamic power, internal fights among various group leaders and communal unrest gave East India Company success not only in ousting other European companies from India, but also in establishing its rule in India and monopolizing its trade. Once firmly established, the authority was transferred from the Company to the Crown, through the Act of 1858.

Since beginning missionaries and British officials, philosophers and writers started propagating theories of racial superiority of white races and thereby, justified their domination over dark races of the globe.  Historians like Mill, Wilson, Ward vehemently denounced the culture, character and social structure of the native people. They launched an ideological attack on Indian social structure and its values and systems.

The process of Westernization of Indian society began with the frantic efforts of missionaries to convert as many Indians as possible into Christianity. Coming of East India Company in India first to trade and later on to increase its political power in India gave a boost to their efforts. East India Company successfully established ‘British Imperial Rule’ in India by 1958. Efforts to Anglicize the Indian society got momentum with the introduction of modern education,

Modern education’ – In 1834, Lord Macauley laid successfully the foundation of modern education in India. It was based on colonized British Grammar School type education.

 Regenerating effects of modern education – Introduction of modern education was welcomed by all, missionaries as well as Humanitarians, intellectuals and nationalist leaders. The atmosphere was completely ready for launching the modern education in India.

  • A good recipe to convert individuals into Christianity – Missionaries considered modern education a good recipe to brainwash Indians and to attract Indians towards Christianity. Introduction of Modern education system had made their job easy.
  • National leaders and reformists considered modern education “the key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thought of the modern West.” Spread of the Principles of Democracy across the nation led the people to resist imperialism, exploitation and tyranny of British rule.
  • The elite and intellectual sections of society hoped that modern education would give the people the key to open the treasures of scientific discoveries. Through Western literature and philosophy people would understand the democratic, liberal and humanitarian thoughts of the modern ‘West’.
  • Social reformers hoped that modern education would make people aware of the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society, remedy the social, political and economic ills of the country and improve the life of common men by enabling them to conquer ignorance, hunger, poverty and disease.
  • As hoped modern education, eighteenth century onwards, led to social awakening, gave impetus to social progress and brought many reforms. It had influenced substantially the working style and thinking of the people.
  • National leaders welcomed rationality and good features of Modern English education

Some of the positive effects of modern education on Indian society were as following –

  • Opened up the doors of the knowledge – Some of the positive effects on Indian society was that modern education has opened up the doors of the knowledge for Indians also – the knowledge which was flourished in Europe after Renaissance movement during Middle Ages. It had widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia.
  • Education for all” – During second half of the nineteenth century, British government in India started the policy of ‘education to all the sections of Indian society, irrespective of caste or creed’. Still, very few amongst the general public could avail the advantages of formal modern education. Education remained confined within a small section of society.
  • Highlighted evil practices – Modern education had highlighted the evil practices and weaknesses developed into the system during Muslim rule in India. Like rigidity and harshness of many social customs and practices prevalent at that time for the weaker sections of the society i.e. un-touch-ability and inhuman treatment to women, Sati, Polygamy, child marriage etc. etc. prevalent at that time.
  • Attracted attention of social reformers – Modern education had attracted the attention of intellectuals and social reformers towards real issues evils caused by ignorance, irrationality of mumbo-jumbo of rituals and superstitions created by some selfish people to entangle the ignorant and poor masses. The Reformers suggested remedies for social, political and economic ills of the country. They took upon themselves the responsibility to build a modern, open, plural, culturally rich, prosperous and powerful India out of a fragmented, poverty stricken, superstitious, weak, indifferent, backward and inward looking society.
  • Realization of the worth of liberty and freedom – The new education system equipped national leaders with intellectuals tools with which they fought the oppressive British Raj. Indians realized the worth of liberty and freedom. They got exposure to the philosophies of thinkers like Locke, Mill, Roussseau, Voltaire, Spencer and Burke etc. They understood the reasons and impact of English, French, American revolutions.

Degenerating effect of modern education – There were certain degenerating effects of modern education on Indian society. Indian leaders, intellectuals and reformists could feel that the real aim of introducing the modern education was that the real intention of British rulers was to educate Indians in such a way that they “should through western education get Anglicized in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainments”.

The traditional Indian system of education had withered away for the lack of official support. Its gradual disappearance had disassociated Indian people from their culture, classical roots, knowledge and traditional way of living. Along with it faded Indian values, philosophies and traditions. Some of the adverse effects of modern education system on Indian society were as following –

• Modern education, A good recipe to brainwash and convert masses into Christianity – Missionaries had opened many educational institutions, schools and colleges, with the support of the British government all-over India. Missionaries considered modern education a good recipe to brainwash Indians and to attract Indians towards Christianity. Modern education system had made their job easy. They educated people, preached them and instilled in their minds so much complex about the primitiveness of Indian society, its social structure and its values and systems that they started feeling their own social practices as indefensible.
• Many Educated Indians regarded native practices as “discriminatory,” “iniquitous,” “exploitative,” “oppressive” “barbarous,” “uncivilized” and “highly stratified”. They held Indian social-structure, based on caste system, responsible for all evil social practices, feudalistic attitude, backward thinking, belief in dogmas and superstitions sustained by a unique set of rituals, and whimsical concept of purity and pollution. 
Disassociated Indian people from classical roots – Modern education has also disassociated many Indian people from their traditional way of learning, classical roots and knowledge. With it faded Indian values, philosophies, systems and traditions. It made them to loose their faith in social values and systems.
Rise to unhealthy competition – Modernization of the pattern of education and occupations (making knowledge of English as basic qualification for white collared jobs especially in government) increased role of formal education and training for employment. Limited opportunities in modern education and government jobs became the bone of contention between different sections of the society. Tough competition between different sections of society to get hold on modern occupations, led to inter-caste and intra caste rivalries, social tensions and group conflicts among Indians.
•Start of Brahmin vs Non-Brahmin movement – The monopoly of Brahmins in these areas cautioned the British and generated anger amongst the non-Brahmin communities and Muslims. In the Southern states, there emerged two rival groups – Brahmins and Non-Brahmins and in the North – Hindu and Muslims.

Before Independence, the British rulers in India succeeded instilling venom against Hinduism and caste system based on it.

Instilled venom against caste system and Hinduism – The leaders of the downtrodden like Mahatma Phule, Ambedkar or Gopal Ganesh taught the lower castes to get united. They instilled deeply in the minds of millions of unlettered Hindus, venom against native social structure, traditional values and systems. They held that Hinduism and its Caste system was responsible for treating a majority of people as lesser human beings; engaging them in forced labour, unsavory jobs imposing many restrictions on them; preventing them from joining the mainstream of the society; and the subjugation of lower castes with the help of religion. They vehemently criticized its hierarchical structure, and regarded untouchability as an inevitable concomitant of caste system.

Dr. Ambedkar made it abundantly clear that, it was through political power that untouchables were to find their solution, not through acceptance by Hindus. Eradication of caste system became the major plank of ‘backward’ castes and ‘untouchable’ castes. He and his supporters advocated for the creation of a casteless society.

However, substituting caste-ridden Indian society with a caste-less society is no solution for empowering weaker sections of society. So far the supporters of “caste-less society” have not been able to suggest a better alternative scheme. So far, they have not thought of new support systems and norms needed to substitute caste-system.

Common men, too, are not willing to experiment new systems. They are reluctant to replace or abandon caste-system – an institution of proven value on trial and error basis. They are not sure about the effectiveness of proposed new systems to be created by the proponents of caste-less society. People understandably wish to make improvements in the tried and tested old system by removing deformities developed into it with time. Therefore, elimination of caste still remains a distant dream.

People must remember that Institutions do not die as long as they continue to meet the important needs of the society. And they do not last for centuries without developing great resourcefulness and power of adaptation. (Parekh Bhiku, Wisdom of Caste System P-6, TOI April 3rd, 1991). People rely on the institution of caste for moral and emotional support during normal times, as well as during crisis. That is why an ordinary person is reluctant to abandon the institution of caste, which has proven its value. It still meets important needs of its members more than other institutions.

Dr. Ambedkar had accepted this reality. He said, While it is true that law in British India does not recognize the four Varnas of Hindu, one must be careful not to misunderstand what this means. To put it precisely:

  • It does not mean that the observance of Varna System is a crime;
  • It does not mean that Varna system has disappeared;
  • It does not mean that the Varna system is not given effect to in cases, where the observance of its rules is necessary to acquiring civil right;
  • It only means the general legal sanction behind the Varna system has been withdrawn.

The seeds of “divide and rule” sown by British in India blossomed in full after Independence. Electoral politics, game of numerical strength and Reservation policy initiated by British government shown way to political leaders of Independent India to divide the nation.

Post Independent era – Instead of cementing the society after independence, low level of politics has been played. It has fragmented the society into several pieces. The nation is now divided into numerous political camps – pro-Hindu camp advocating for casteless society, anti-Hindu camp, secular camp and caste camps into forward, backward and Dalit camps. There are regional camps too, playing up federal card to woo the electorate.

Creation of casteless society – In modern India, many new channels have come up to take care of the interest of different sections of the society, like commerce, trade unions, Bar Councils, NGK’s, political organizations and so on, but so far, none is proved to be as effective, strong and stable as the institution of caste is. These channels have been formed usually to promote one or two specific objectives of their group. They operate only on the surface. They have been proved too weak to solve the day today problems of the whole. They are vulnerable to external influences. Even religious institutions touch only the spiritual content of an individual and do not take care of the diverse needs, instincts and aspirations of all the people.

Independent rules and regulations for each caste takes care to keep the way of life of each and every caste intact. Also, it is easier to keep an order within a caste. Institution of caste sustains decentralized mechanism to control the behavior of a caste.

Castes becoming socially liberal but politically strong – After the Independence, spread of education, process of modernization, industrialization, attempts of reformers and growing awareness of the masses have made caste less restrictive and rigid. The system allows its members a greater degree of freedom in all walks of life. Castes no longer enjoy legal or religious sanctions. Expulsion from castes means little, while, earlier it meant complete social ostracism. Actually the post Independence era witnessed the castes becoming socially liberal and politically stronger and rigid.

Caste as an effective and quickest channel for political mobilization – At present, caste is the most effective and quickest channel for communication and political mobilization. It is the most effective and reliable source to create vote-banks. Therefore, politicians give encouragement to sectional interests. They arouse expectations of different castes by making false promises in regard to their claim to power.

Electoral politics giving lease to caste – It was in 1957, when MS Srinivas, in his Presidential address for the Anthropology session at Indian Science Congress, Calcutta, pointed out the caste had been given a new lease of life by electoral politics. In sixties and seventies, the caste had taken a firm root in the local and provincial politics. And from 1990 onwards, at national level, casteism entered into national politics.

For electoral purposes, the politicians combined some castes into a group alienating others. Instead of Varna, a new terminology emerged giving rise to casteism in politics, like Forward, backward, SC, ST, minority etc. and then their combination like KHAM (Khastriya, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslims), PHAM (Patel, Harijan, Adivasi and MuslimsPatel, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslims) AJGAR (Ahirs, Jats, Gujjars, and Rajput combine), D4 ( Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti) etc for grabbing the power.

The politicians built the impression that because of the numerical strength of intermediate and lower castes plus Muslims, their support would make a strong electoral base for them. Therefore, they started balancing the power by wooing and combining different castes and communities. The Mandal wave of 90’s has aggravated the casteism in politics to a great extent.

Advantage of Numerical strength of caste – Up to the emergency in 1975, the majority of Dalit groups, all over the country, were subordinate part of the greater alliance with the parties dominated by upper castes, whether it is Congress of 1950s and 1960s dominated by forward castes or the Janata of 1977 or Lok Dal of 1989 having numerically dominant OBCs. 

In 1977, for the first time, a section of Dalits left the congress to join new alliance.  However, Janta Party was soon broken up, because of personality clashes and the changing ground realities, with intermediate castes replacing the upper castes as owners of land in rural areas. Dissatisfied with both these conditions, Dalit leaders of 1990s attempted to establish their independent identity. They were in no mood to play a second fiddle.

Playing Dalit card – The growing consciousness of Dalits made them very sure of their friends and foes.  Dalit leaders, once again, after so many years, identified Brahmins and Caste Hindus as their enemy and intermediate castes as their friends.

Earlier, the leaders of untouchables had some regard for the cultural tradition of India.  They did not reject Vedic literature or the foundations of Hinduism out rightly.  Dr. Ambedkar accepted that all parts of Manusmiriti were not condemnable. Gopal Baba Walangkar had said that Vedas did not support untouchability.  Kisan Fagoi, another Mahar leader of pre-Ambedkar era had joined Prarthna Samaj.

BSP has made significant inroads in UP, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.  BSP has borrowed all their phraseology from Dalit Panthers.  Most of their utterances are arrogant, revengeful and opportunistic.  The new phase of Dalit assertion is most prominent in the most populous state of UP. The Dalit leaders took the destiny of UP in their hand in 1994-95, first in alliance with SP and later on with BJP. Again, in 1997, it came to power in alliance with BJP. 

Dalit leaders are vehemently against cultural traditions of India, which according to them, are based on inequality and exploitation. Now instead of demanding a share in power structure, equity or social justice, Dalit political groups want to reverse the power equation and to transform the society by capturing political power.   Their aim is to get hold over the posts of PM-CM (Political Power) through electoral politics and control over administrative authority – the bureaucracy – through Reservations.

Unity of backward castes and Dalits, only an illusion – Kanshi Ram initiated a formula of DS4, meaning Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangarsh Samiti, taking into its fold untouchables, STs, Muslims and OBCs.  The unity of backward castes and Dalits is only an illusion. Neither the term Schedule caste nor OBC nor Dalit make them a homogeneous class. The only common factor among these constituents is their animosity and rivalry with forward Hindu castes.  Otherwise, untouchables have never had cordial relation with others, especially the OBCs.

OBCs – Neither OBCs treat SCs as their equal, nor can they abandon exploitation of SCs. Intermediate castes (OBCs), which are over conscious of their caste superiority and domination in agricultural, political and economic areas, replaced the Brahmin domination.  In real life situations, there is continuing conflict among the intermediate castes and Dalits, but to counter upper caste’s political and economic domination, Dalits and intermediate castes have joined hands with each other.

OBCs know that Dalit parties now control a large vote bank. It also seeks Dalit support to protect their benefit of Reservation. In the past and even at present, some of the worst atrocities have been committed on Dalits by the numerically and politically dominant OBCs. However, their alliance increased their political strength and strengthened their position in electoral politics.  The beneficiaries of Reservation Policy give full support to BSP.  BSP started pursuing power with militancy since 1990.

Backward castes in the role of King-makers – Till the year 2014, Dalit and backward party leaders knew well of their growing influence and their crucial position in highly competitive and unstable political atmosphere. They assumed the role of king-makers. They knew that their support can make the fortunes of the three major national political formation – Congress, BJP and National Front. All the three are competing to have a pre or post poll alliance with Dalit leaders.

Backward class movement, which started in the provinces of the South, in late 19th century, against virtual monopolization of government jobs by Brahmins, and which gained momentum in the early 20th century, remained confined to provincial level till 1990.

After independence their economic position improved due to following measures –

1. Zamindari Abolition Act of 1950s and other land reforms, which made the tenant and share croppers land owning cultivators.       

2. Green revolution of 1960s – The package of subsidies, provided to them to increase agricultural productivity, brought about green revolution and prosperity to farmers.

However, OBC’s movement gained momentum, when in 1990, under the Prime Ministership of VP Singh, decided to implement Mandal’s recommendation on Reservations. The decision was criticized vehemently by many people as an act of opportunism and self-aggrandizement. It was considered by many as illogical, unnecessary, arbitrary and ret rogatory. The reaction against the decision forced VP Singh to resign. but the damage was done.

Post Mandal era witnessed caste emerging as the single most important factor in politics.  It has plunged the whole, nation in casteist politics. Uncertain of their future, the politicians bank heavily on the arithmetic of electoral politics for their political survival.

Public disgusted of valueless caste politics – The electorate has shown, again and again, its disgust against valueless caste-politics.  The electoral verdict, in the past, has shown that the public is more concerned about other issues. In 1967, the rising prices created an anti-Congress wave, that wiped it out from almost all the provinces from Punjab to West Bengal. In 1971, the support to Mrs. Gandhi was on Remove poverty call. The year 1977 saw the downfall of Mrs. Gandhi due to excesses during emergency. In 1984, the sympathy wave gave victory to Rajiv Gandhi. In 1989, it was the call to end corruption. In 1991, the people showed their disgust against caste politics. Every time it was an anti-establishment verdict except for 1984. But the politicians remain unmindful of it.

During its rule in UP, Dalit intolerance toward Brahmin officers was quite evident from the way, the Government did the transfers, postings and promotions of the officers and the way Harijan Act, passed by Rajiv Gandhi’s Government, known as Protection against atrocities on SC and ST Act.1989, was used. At present, in the State caste rivalries are at its peak. There is always a fear of upper caste or intermediate caste backlash.

Despite of all their efforts, backward classes could not dislodge the upper castes. When the youth of forward caste found the political atmosphere stifled, through their attitude to work hard, learning tradition, intelligence, confidence and will power, they moved on to other areas like private sector, business, trade and commerce. Liberalization and globalization has opened up new opportunities to prosper. In foreign lands, they feel that their worth is recognized and they are well paid for their hard work. They have never looked back and always tried to survive with dignity and honour. They usually do not desire to come in direct confrontation either with intermediate castes or Dalits.

In the past also, when Brahmins were deprived of their traditional occupation due to the difficult financial position of their patrons dethroned by British, they took initiative to go for modern education. In due course of time, they monopolized the Government jobs and modern occupations. Again, anti-Brahmin movement of South, leading to quota in educational institutions and Government jobs, compelled Brahmins to retreat and to migrate to other parts of the country or foreign lands, where movement for Reservation and anti-Brahmin wave were not so strong.

At present, youth of forward castes do not expect any fair deal in matter of education and employment from state authorities. Therefore, they have withdrawn. Dalits and OBCs are not satisfied even after having growing influence in ballot-box politics and attaining powerful positions  in the government through Reservation Policy of the Government..

The historical development point out that caste-system worked well, till the society was simple and gave importance to traditional moral values. However, the development of last two centuries has led to the entry of castes in politics and emergence of valueless politics. Casteism in matter of governance has complicated the situation. 

Today the forward castes feel that they are being treated as second rate citizens in their own country by the State. At present, forward castes are scattered. Other categories are united and well organised.  The advantage of numerical strength is always there with the backward castes.  Therefore, the politicians can not ignore the backward groups.

Groupism and casteism in politics is slowly drifting the nation towards disintegration and disaster.  What have been put at stake are not the past, but the future of the country.  Today the nation demands more than the yesteryears that the differences of caste, religion, class, region, sex and language be subsumed under a wider imperative i.e. sustainable development of the nation in real sense.  India can advance only if all the Indians act as one, feel as one, and develop respect for each other.  If differences or diversities continue to act as defining factors, India can never progress.

It was in 2014, that people could felt that era of coalition government has taken a back seat. After a long time under the leadership of Narendra Modi NDA came into power at centre and formed a strong government. Once again these National leaders and reformers are trying to revive their own rich ancient culture and prevent the masses from being swayed away by the glamour and materialism of alien culture. Social Reformers advised people to remain firmly rooted to the Indian Culture.

Earlier Swami Vivekanand and many other reformers gave a call to “Return to Vedas”. He said, “Each nation like each individual has a theme in this life, which is its centre, the principle note, around which every other note comes to form the harmony. If any nation attempts to throw off its national vitality the direction which has become its own through the transmission of centuries the nation dies.”

%d bloggers like this: