My Views

Cast(e) The Vote

Posted in Caste, Insight, Polity, Society by dullar on December 7, 2006

Is caste system real reason behind the agitation of dalits which rocked the nation from villages to parliament recently. It is not probably. The social and ritual basis of caste has become too old and sure to die a slow death, if not now, but surely in near future. In the social sphere, it is an issue, which has become very obscure and economic modernisation and process of globalization has kind of engulfed it. But in the political sphere the issue is much younger and has really become monster headed hydra with its tentackle spread all across the country. If there is common basis for the political parties and a common ideology for them, it is issue over caste and their percieved self interest under the garb of people’s conviction and interests. If Ambedkar’s presence is more felt than Gandhi and his ideas still guide the people’s actions and thinking intoday’s India then it is only because politics of this country is guided by votes and which, primarily on caste based manouvering. Reservation issue is another hot bed of caste based politics. Every repurcussion, good or bad emanates from these very basic facts. Media has a very obvious role in educating and awaring people about the whole damn issue but they too only builds fancy headlines out of all this just to make crispy stories and ready money.
It is not very long since we were basking in the romantic fancy of Gandhigiri, of Gandhi’s resurgence in 21st century, and now we have just swinged to the oppiste pole of Ambedkar and dalit politics, thanx to media driven propaganda. The very own idea that Ambedkar and Gandhi lies at opposite poles as far as idea of caste system is concerned is of limited literary value. But the truth that makes sense to realise is that both stood against untouchability, and for equality and social justice. And had either of Gandhi or Ambedkar been living today, it woudn’t have mattered to them as whose legacy is still driving the nation but all that they would have worried and mourned over was the caste based divisions in the society. Our political parties have made most when people have nothing but to loose. As sociologist Max Weber have said about ‘power’ as a zero sum game, the positives of slfish political parties is nothing but negatives of people of country. Former rules latter get ruled, former divides, latter falls apart.

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