My Views

Apartheid vs Untouchability

Posted in Politicians Speak, Society by dullar on March 30, 2007

One of blog mentions about the statement that our PM gave about the similarities between apartheid and untouchability. Before expressing my views about the credibilty of that statement i would like to go back to dictionary and find the meanings of the two words.
Apartheid:
1(American Heritage Dictionary)
a·part·heidn.
An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.
The condition of being separated from others; segregation.
2(WordNet)
apartheid: a social policy or racial segregation involving political and economic and legal discrimination against people who are not Whites; the former official policy in South Africa
3(American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition)
apartheid
The racist policy (see racism of South Africa) that long denied blacks and other nonwhites civic, social, and economic equality with whites. It was dismantled during the 1990s.
Untouchability:
1(American Heritage Dictionary)
un·touch·a·ble
adj.
Not to be touched.
Out of reach; unobtainable.
Being beyond the reach of criticism, impeachment, or attack.
Loathsome or unpleasant to the touch.
2
UntouchableA member of the class that is excluded from and considered unclean and defiling by the four Hindu castes.

The above meanings clearly shows the basic difference between the two words and the context involved. Apartheid was a political and state-backed policy of discrimination of non-whites in South Africa whereas untouchability is a social reality which has no backing whatsoever from state. Infact state has made enough laws ans provided a number of provisions inthe constitution of India where the concept and practice of untouchability is not only punishable under the law of land but also seriously denounced. Undenying th fact that it as a social practice is still pravelent in many parts of country in varied degree of severity but there is a clear fall in the same over the years. It is very clear that state do not discriminate among its citizens on the basis of caste and do not propagate it in any manner.
By comparing the two Mr PM has not only brought disgrace to constitution of India but also clearly showed how wrong his analysis. By accepting it as a major threat to the unity of Indian social fabric on an international platform he has done no justice to the cause of people to this country. He has on tarnished the image of country and proved himself as a soft PM and India as a soft state who though accepts the harsh realities of social discrimination but has done a little for that cause and is gaining hollow sympathies on the basis of false rhetoric.
Secondly as one of national news channel has published a story on its news website, what right have an international organisation got to openely challenge the image of a country challenging its policies and directing for the same. We have taken it has somebody has given us a good lecture. Though social discrimination has existed and is also present today in Indian social life but we have and are doing enough for its cause. Constitution of India and successive governments have been instrumental in improving the condition of dalits in this country. They have equal political, economic and social rights in all walks and spheres of life. Its the people of India who has to be blamed for decreasing the efficiency of the steps taken by the state. If somebody says that police as an institution of state has kept dalits devoid of their rights then we should notblame state for this. Who after-all policemen are? Are not they people of same society in which others are seeing the dalits with a distorted mentality. But the fact remains that these people are wearing khakhi wardi in case of police.
Today there is need of the seeing the rules of law same for both state and society. We rather than taking the directive of international organisations should act on ourselves to discipline our age old vedic social mentality. We should not look at outside laws of humanity and human rights, when our constitution and other legislations have tried to make us dignified humans already. We should uncover the sympathetic faces of few politicians, who are making political mileage out of their public statements and tarnishing the social harmony.

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