Saturday, December 1, 2007

Democrazy Now!!

“The caste into which one is born remains for life.”
- Supreme Court of India. (on the Caste confusion of a (formerly) SC student)

In a country trying to battle casteism, for what seems like eons, the Supreme Court sure has landed a lethal upper cut to the spirit of equality. That being said, I don’t hold them directly responsible for their statements. The situation has gotten thus far, much thanks to our “secular” Congress led, UPA government. If we recognize castes (which isn’t very much different from the caste system of times gone by) then the same rules must be applicable as they have been before. Namely, your being born into the caste of your parents, however inferior or superior; Hence, no fault on the part of the SC.

What is even more disheartening and disappointing, is, that the way things are today, a person with no claim to a “caste status” prefers the labels society is willing to attach. I don’t mean to label the girl, as the need for SC status on her part may be due to impressed circumstance. But then again, I make no assumptions that her reasons are justifiable and understandable. She could just be one of those people ready to exploit the flaws and weaknesses of the system. Either way, this fact is unknowable to me at this time. So with benefit of the doubt, it can be assumed, that a system so warped in its need for strategic disempowerment is capable of forcing the tilt to extremes, and provide more avenues for misuse than for the intended upliftment of the masses.

In other caste news, Tea growing “adivasis” of the Assam region have given an “ultimatum” to the powers that be, to enlist them in the ST lists. I could be persuaded to believing that the tea industry has been doing pretty badly over the past decade or so, and that this has caused the economic bereavement of the tea tribes. But rather than request industry based economic impetus, the far easier route of SC/ST/MBC enlistment seemed far more viable. This might be a simplistic view of the tea tribe problem and I will accept that criticism.

Needless to say, all this is just part of the puzzle I like to call, the Fa├žade of Democracy. From strategic disempowerment, to restrictions in freedom of speech, to a willful sidelining of the people’s interests, “the free world”, today, is a lot more willing to show its true colors. In the true spirit of freedom of speech, Taslima Nasreen would not be forced to delete parts of her book (not to mention that the Speaker and Centre have applauded her for this, rather than control the miscreants), nor would songs have to be re-written as they hurt the sensibilities of certain groups, or musicians sidelined for voicing their opinion in the “free world”.
On a completely unrelated note, for those that haven't read it, this article about the Malawian resurgence from famine to surplus is a must-read.