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Old December 24th, 2017, 01:44 PM   #301

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I generally agree with Rajeev's post and some aspects of Kandal's post. The caste system isn't an integral part of Hinduism and economic progress combined with a mix top-bottom or bottom-top approaches in social engineering will ultimately suffice to weaken and eliminate it. Feudal divisions in the Western world no longer exist and there's no reason to suspect, on similar grounds, that caste will continue to remain a major force in Indian society.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 03:17 AM   #302

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Gandhi's Views on Caste System & Untouchability-1:

Gandhi's views on Caste System evolved over the years. He was a man who understood India's ground-realty best of all. Taking a look ate his views - and changes in them over the years - can give us good insight on how we can win this battle against caste.

Very early in his political career Gandhi began condemning practice of Untouchability. This was radical a belief for his time and shows us that even though Gandhi was conservative/religious his ideas could be quite radical, and challenged the status-quo. From at least 1915 onward he was clear that Untouchabilty is wrong practice and must be discarded. Here are his words:

"I think we are committing a great sin in treating a whole class of people as untouchables and it is owing to the existence of this class that we have still some revolting practices among us. Not to eat in company with a particular person and not to touch him are two very different things. No one is an untouchable now. If we don't mind contact with a Christian or a Muslim, why should we mind it with one belonging to our own religion? No defence of untouchability is possible now, either from the point of view of justice or that of practical common sense." [1]

Regards

Rajeev

[1] Caste System and Untouchability : Extracts from Gandhi Letters: FROM Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 06:07 AM   #303

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Experiencing Caste in last 60 Days:

One primary concern I tried raising in Opening post is now being illustrated on national stage:

"Due to these reasons caste identities are becoming stronger and perhaps permanent as well." The reasons are [i] high effectiveness of the Indian Govt's Affirmative Action program leading to demands of several castes for being classed as disadvantaged / Dalit to get benefits, and [ii] Political parties wooing caste-based vote banks to win elections.

Gujarat Sate Elections (Nov/Dec 2017):

In Gujarat, one leader of Patidar caste had been demanding reservations in its favor for last 2 years, got unprecedented crowd support, setting big media waves. The ruling BJP Govt did not agree. Dramatically, in Nov 2017, a week before the elections, Indian National Congress (INC) promised reservations for Patidar caste if elected and the Patidar leader threw his weight with INC.

Further, the INC managed to entice the most prominent Dalit caste leader in to its fold. Muslim vote-bank is in any case willing captive of INC.

In short, this prestigious state election (in Narendra Modi's home state) was fought based on caste-and-religious alignments.

Maharashtra (1st to 3rd Jan 2018):

Attempt to consolidate Dalit vote-bank continues with full eagerness. One act in this volley has been to get Dalits to celebrate - yes "celebrate" - the victory of colonial British East India Company over Indian Marathas. The cause of celebration is that the a small force of ~700 Indian sepoys - who belonged to a Dalit caste (Mahar) - and were in army of British EIC defeated the far larger army of Indian Marathas who were lead by Brahmin Peshwas. This happened on 1st Jan 1818 thus celebration happens on every New Year Day.

History has been twisted and used to boost the pride of Dalits – because victory was due to better military technology & training by the British. But twisting history is a favorite pastime across the world and is not the point.

The point is: Celebration was opposed by others, caused violence, in which one person died. Things spiraled, there have been agitations in last two days which put normal life out of gear in the ‘maximum city’: Mumbai.

Issues:

Given such powerful socio-political forces, is there a possibility at all that Caste can be eradicated any time in near future?

Is diluting the Affirmative Action Program a possible solution?

Are there any experiences from other democratic societies or cultures which have gone thru major changes in socio-economic classes?

My original premise remains (=Caste must be annihilated), even though in national elections in 2019 these very forces will play out on an even larger canvass - the largest democratic canvass in the world.

Regards

Rajeev
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 06:12 AM   #304
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EternalWay View Post
Hello Rajeev,

Thank you for this post! It is great to hear about some of the efforts to ameliorate caste problems in India.

Just to be clear, when Dr. Pathak said "Gandhi said there will survive either the caste system or Hinduism", it sounds as if he's implying that Hinduism can survive without the caste system. Is this correct? I'm wondering because in the post by Kandal you cited, Kandal makes the claim that caste cannot be eliminated without eliminating Hinduism. These two statements are logically different and I wanted to make sure I understood Dr. Pathak's statement (as cited by you).
agreed, this is very positive news, thanks for updating the thread rajeev
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Old January 13th, 2018, 01:24 AM   #305
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The ghosts of Adichanallur: Artefacts that suggest an ancient Tamil civilisation of great sophistication - The Hindu

Interesting
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Old January 13th, 2018, 08:14 PM   #306

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Sorry, Maratha. News paper article. Does not carry much definite information.
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Old January 28th, 2018, 10:57 AM   #307

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Had occasion to speak to a minister of a state government (cant name here). He is a career politician, obviously has a caste vote-bank.

Mentioned to him about role caste vote-banks played in last Gujarat elections and asked him about future of caste in India. Here is his simple answer:

[i] caste exists only in rural areas where peoples of different castes still live is distinct parts of the village

[ii] caste is immaterial in urban areas - it plays no role (i.e either for residence or for voting behaviour)

[iii] As standards of living rise and as urbanization progresses, caste will lose its relevance & influence in India.

That is from a career politicians, at least 30 years in that business.

Last edited by Rajeev; January 28th, 2018 at 11:48 AM.
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Old January 28th, 2018, 04:31 PM   #308

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IMHO, caste and religion are still important in cities, though its influence has waned (both in residence and in voting behavior). I won't go and live in a Muslim majority area. But since your acquaintance is a politician, he will say what is pleasant to listen (priyam vada - speak sweet), otherwise he would not be a politician. 'Satyam vada' (speak truth) may be important for very few politician.

Last edited by Aupmanyav; January 28th, 2018 at 04:34 PM.
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Old January 29th, 2018, 06:01 AM   #309
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Originally Posted by Aupmanyav View Post
IMHO, caste and religion are still important in cities, though its influence has waned (both in residence and in voting behavior). I won't go and live in a Muslim majority area. But since your acquaintance is a politician, he will say what is pleasant to listen (priyam vada - speak sweet), otherwise he would not be a politician. 'Satyam vada' (speak truth) may be important for very few politician.
Muslim is not a caste.
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Old January 29th, 2018, 06:51 AM   #310

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Sure, Muslim is not caste. I was saying that both caste and religion are important in Indian politics.
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