The castes of mind
Can we fight the ugly practice of caste discrimination by merely legal measures? Or do we need to take some sort of a contemplative – transformative journey within?
India is a land where a considerable population suffered caste discrimination and exploitation under a treacherous social system that based itself on violence, deprivation and inhuman brutality. Caste has also been one of those social institutions that has been most strongly criticized and resisted against by social reformers, liberative thinkers and common people alike. In our times the policy of protective discrimination and constitutional acceptance of the idea of non-discrimination reestablished India’s urge to strive for an egalitarian social order. Indeed, the idea of reservation has enabled many individuals from deprived/marginalized communities to come forward and establish themselves in the mainstream world of education and occupation. However, it is ironic that despite legal/legislative measures against the caste system and an increasing social awareness, the problem of caste has not been resolved. It seems that with increasing cases of caste brutalities, dalit deaths, honor killings, political mobilization based on caste allegiance and other practices of manifest and latent violence the issue is only reasserting itself even more strongly. It is the right moment to ask ourselves whether we can fight the ugly practice of caste discrimination by merely legal measures; or is there more to the fight against caste that we shall be responsible for? The idea that we invite our readers to think and ponder upon is whether caste is as much inside as it is in the external world of socio-political reality. Or to put it in other words, can caste be ended only by measures and policies being implemented in the external world, or are we take some sort of a contemplative transformative journey within, to fight against our inner tendencies of discrimination, violence, hierarchy and injustice?. We also want our readers to stretch their imagination and ask, if caste is based upon hierarchy is not
the modern culture of ruthless competition, ambitious careers and the entire political economy centered around hierarchy too? Amidst these realities, how can our struggle against caste remain only a superficial one, in the process of fighting against caste should we also not fight our deeper human instincts that make us competitive, aggressive, self-centered and mindlessly narcissistic? We insist that while legal/institutional measures play a tremendously significant role, yet we cannot rely on these alone for doing away with caste. We insist that the origins of caste lie in us, when we differentiate between people, create boundaries of distance and difference, see people as mere categories and fail to relate to people as human souls – we are essentially strengthening caste when we do all of this and thus there is a need for eradicating caste from our minds. When we begin to see people as people in their essential human unity and relate to them freely, we fight caste and all associated forms of violence at a subtle level. When caste is fought both within and without, a liberative experience called humanity is possible.
– Editorial Team
This article is published in The New Leam, March Issue( Vol.2 No.10) and available in print version.
To buy contact us or write at email@example.com
Or visit FlipKart.com