Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Indian Constitution

This article is not about Elliot Ness TV series of cracking down on bootleggers in Chicago of the 30’s.  It is about millions living in India and ranked the lowest in the caste system; they are called the “Untouchables”.  India wants to be fair to its thousand of minorities in religion, caste, community, and tribe in the government’s administrative positions and public services; it is currently trying to carry out a general census; among the thorny questions are selecting  the most pertinent castes and communities an individual believes he is part of. 

There are problems in this census: First, if an individual feels proud of his caste and agrees to be classified then he is a t a loss how to define his caste; for example, should he classify his social status according to his religious sect, his community, his historical class system, or his working class jobs assigned to every caste?  Second, if an individual disagrees with including caste information then the censor will choose for him and thus rob him from any fair opportunity to education, health facilities, public openings, and private enterprises biases.  Private enterprises don’t need an applicant to mention his caste since they have their idiosyncracies and rely totally on their pre-dispositions toward religious, or districts, or community, or color, or gender preferences to discriminate unabashedly: India do not enjoy anti-discrimination laws in the private sector. Even the USA and the Western European States cannot apply effectively anti-discrimination laws on peoples behaviors.

Fact is, designated “educated” censors, going house to house collecting data, feel very uncomfortable broaching the questions on castes.  My intuition is that censors will answer the question relying on their “common sense” of the most probable caste of the individual.  Consequently, even if the Indian government has the political will to be fair with all its citizens (Equality is said Samaata in Hindu) the odds are that the census will be hugely biased since illiteracy is pre-dominant in India among the lowest castes based on the political and social caste structure.

India believes that it has over 3,000 castes and distinct communities classified under “Other backward classes” (OBC) and representing over 50% of the entire population.  It is believed that only 27% of these OBC are represented in the public services.

There are many Indians quick to put the entire blame on the British colonial power for this caste structure or subdivision in order to efficiently selecting the most appropriate Indians in the army and administrative jobs.  I beg to differ.  Caste system is as old as antiquity in India and has been refined and structured by the Buddhist religion and Brahmans.  Fact is, the Ottoman Empire borrowed the Indian caste system and applied it in the 16th century to all his extended conquered lands. 

The Ottoman Empire was expanding militarily into Europe and economic and cultural embargo and boycott between the Ottoman Empire and the Western European nations settled in for over two centuries.  Thus, the Ottoman Empire turned toward Persia and India for whatever it lacked in administration knowhow, economy, and culture.  The caste system in Lebanon is consequent to the Ottoman administration for over four centuries.  The British made used of the existing de-facto structure to legislate it and fine tune it according to its interests.

Most religious sects in India do not discriminate among castes within their religion but many try to convert to other more favored religions in order to get out of their caste.  This strategy does not work:  It is how you are perceived through many centuries of traditions and customs that effectively discriminate among people.

The Indian Constitution guaranties equality among its citizens but the effective application is far too slow and lacking political will.  Gandhi worked relentlessly to eliminate the Untouchable notion in India and he was relatively successful in his life time to making the Indian culture getting more aware of this horrendous injustice.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2020
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