Friday, June 17, 2005

Two Tumbler System

Ever since the panchayat election process had begun in Tamil Nadu about 5-6 years ago (it may been a while back too), i have been reading and noticing more information and articles regarding the practise and the prevalence of the caste system in Tamil Nadu. I am not naive or blind, that i assumed it never existed, but since living in the US and otherwise only living in Madras (now called Chennai), you typically are not accustomed to these issues. It is difficult to spot a person of a different caste, atleast according to me, and for that matter a person of different religion. If you hide the name, then an Indian can be identified and associated to a specific geography, religion or sect only if that person wore some form traditional attire. The name is the surest give away and 90% of people carry their caste, sect or class with their name. For people sitting on the top of the class/caste totem pole, it is form of prestige and for people on the bottom it is a form of banding or grouping together.

Anyway the recent article in The Hindu throws up this issue into limelight again. Off and on, there has been these issues of excommunication, disenfranchisement, and also more importantly access to employment and means of livelihood. Dalits as they call themselves are supposedly a protected fraternity of people. This segment of the society has been favoured to get jobs in the Government, admissions to schools and colleges and also have rights to limited parliamentary, assembly and local panchayats seats. Inspite of all this, this fraternity of people, in India is still chased, raped, illtreated, murdered and shunned for society daily. And it is a shame on the educated sect that this practise continues to this date. The educated seem to care more about the equality of status of all people and are more concerned about the preferential treatment being handed out to these people. Argument for and against reservations of jobs and college admissions has resulted in lost lives across the country.

How can you stand up and say, 'the Dalits are being treated equal and dont deserve any special treatment', when even today, if nothing at all, they have to drink out of a special tumbler (glass) that is kept aside for them ?

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