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 Façade 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.


Destination Infinity said...

Nice quotes you have left on the right side of your blog. I feel that the caste system, whenever it was devised, was done to solve most of the life's problems (then). Probably people wanted to have a secure life with the advantages and job security (atleast definition) that his caste provides. Ofcourse, he may have been just born into the caste, just like we were born into our nation, born with certain colour, born with certain genes that may even determine our character etc. There are certain un-written rules we cant change. Just by replacing the majority faith with Science from Religion doesnt solve all the problems, esp the new ones that the replacement has broght about. People want to take advantage of the Govt policies bcos they are more and more unclear about the new responsibilities they are currently facing. Science brings about change, but doesnt define how to adapt to new changes. Religion did both.

The Depressed Doormat said...

Thanks for stopping by DI and I'm glad you enjoyed the quotes.

I am a bit unsure what you are trying to convey though. The post was about the caste system and not about religion, so I am unsure why it was brought up. Though you may have read my mind, since there is a post on religion on the cards.

Destination Infinity said...

Thats right. I forgot to add this sentence in the middle. Just like we are born into a caste, we are born into a certain religion.

But then, in one of the rarest instances, I have been able to comment on the existing post as well as upcoming post!

The Depressed Doormat said...

Thanks for the clarification. I am still unsure about your stand on this issue. But here are some things that I just don't agree with.

a) Job security had nothing to do with the caste system millennia ago. I could explain it, but that will be another post!!

b) Caste systems and Religion are not "un written rules". Religion changes every so often, to the whims of those that practice it.

c) Science is the only thing that brings about change. If it were up to religion, we would be in a cave eating raw rabbit meat (not that the idea has never crossed my mind :D ). As for religion defining how we should adapt to change, I don't doubt my intelligence and I am more than satisfied with my ability to adapt to these changes. I don't need some propagandist, control mechanism for that.

But that is just my opinion.

Destination Infinity said...

What I was trying to convey was, Religion and its practices have a more balanced approach to the way of living life than what Science does. The very concept of religion had caught up with the society because people before a long time wanted an organized way of living. Perhaps they had seen the dis-advantages of unorganized living. Most of the so-called superstitious customs were developed with good reason and they were very very practical in acheiving their intended results (Whether they were good or bad is beyond my comprehension).Moreoften than not, religion was also very much interlinked with the economies of the kingdom. Religion also seeks to explain the un-explainable events and happenings, which are inevitable in everyones life. That it merely seeks to explain and not actually deduce the logic, sequence, patterns, systhesis etc, which are the attributes of modern science and makes the common man atleast believe in some all-pervasive God, even if he has lost all belief on himself, which gives him strengh to hold on even when the earth under him is being torn into pieces. What I mean to imply is that not all happenings can be explained by Science and Science cannot solve all the problems of life. Neither does religion, I accept.

Secondly, Science attempts to solve all the problems of the world by applying human intelligence. There are two questions here: Can Science, even in its most advanced form, solve all problems and make life simple? This question, I wanted to ask because, most of the human probmems (according to me) have been created not by systems like Science or Religion, but by certain inherent qualities in human nature (Like greed, selfishness, happiness etc). So whatever advanced form a system (like sceince or religion) can take, the inherent qualities in human nature can use it to achieve good deeds as well as evil deeds (Like the gun in the hands of terrorists vs cops). The second question is, whether Science in itself, is creating more problems, which never existed before?

The Depressed Doormat said...

I would appreciate if you clarified your basis for claiming religion is more balanced. If anything religion today is totally imbalanced. And arguing about how religion was relevant 5000 years back does not hold any water in present times. As for organized living, humans have been living in organized systems long before religion was ever thought up.

As for your point about superstition, none of it is applicable in today’s times. I can understand people not cutting their nails after dark some 3000 years back, but today, with light and electricity, it no longer has any relevance. Religion was never interlinked with economics. I would love for you to enlighten me if I am mistaken.

Religion and god fail where science does not fail. Science does a better job of explaining how we got here, how this world was created, though there are mysteries that the human mind still cannot comprehend. That is not a failure of science but a limitation of human capacity. Religion cannot even attempt to address these shortcomings of science (just in case you were planning on telling me how religion and god have all the answers).

You claim science cannot explain everything. The point is religion and god fail miserably at explaining even what they claim to explain. If you like the theological explanation via Adam and eve or its eastern counterparts, or such similar fiction, go ahead. But I would suggest you stop wasting your time trying to convince me of the same.

Science is a tool. You claim science does bad. It does not. I do not want to debate on this point because it has been done to death. School kids are already aware of these facts, so I do not wish to waste my adult life reliving those debates.

I feel you have not really understood the atheist stand and it would be futile to argue over this anymore, since I have the advantage of many atheists already having more than satisfactorily, and on numerous occasions having answered these questions. And these are by far the simpler questions that theists can pose.

Destination Infinity said...

If I seem to make strong points that would suggest I was a theist, maybe I must make a confession : In trying to convince you, I was trying to convince myself. The points that I might have made, seemingly with conviction, were actually made so that I could come to a better understanding of the differing point of view.

I am also a normal citizen of this country, who is paralysed by the religious beliefs and its mal-administration by the innumerable number of people. Even I am not able to understand why so many crimes are perpetuated in the name of religion. And why so many religions practices are still in vogue, as you rightly mentioned, after being highly in-compatible to this time and date.

But unlike the aethists, I dont blindly blame the religion. And unlike theists, I dont blindly accept Science. (Not blindly able to accept things (like religion) is an aethist quality, I believe)

I am questioning Science because, questioning is the basis of all scientific inventions. So, I might be considered an Aethist (or a pro-scientific) person in that regard.

I dont know what you have felt, but I have immensely gained through this interaction of views. I hope you would also consider it as an oppurtunity to exchange ideas and views, so that both of us would gain in the process.

I dont care about who was right and who was wrong.

Destination Infinity.

The Depressed Doormat said...

I doubt atheists blame religion. I think most of the blame is for organized religion. And secondary, is its non-relevance in modern times. But that is another post.

As for science and questioning, science provides answers for the right questions. So with that view, I think your attempt to gain insight was not fruitful, to the point that the questions were either futile, or already answered.

I hope that makes sense.