Sharp Contrast

Indian express on a Dalit MP

Thirumavalavan is unlike the average Tamil politician.Even while addressing the lowest strata of society, this bachelor is always in black trousers with his shirt neatly tucked in.Besides his acerbic speeches, he writes extensively on caste issues and Lankan conflict. He maintains a blog that has links to his speeches hosted on YouTube. He has also acted in two movies, one incidentally as a Lankan militant.

It is called “subtle racism casteism of lowered expectations”.

Times of India on a Brahmin MP

The 36-year-old AICC secretary, who has also studied law, sailed through. “People told me to specify my community, Brahmin and all. But I never went on that approach. I advocated equal access to resources and maintained complete transparency. I think that worked,” says Meenakshi, who is part of Rahul’s core team.

Well, you know sweetie, just drop your caste name slyly enough on the front-page of a national newspaper and you wouldn’t have to  ‘specify’ it ever again. Besides, when did Brahmins ever have to specify their caste (isn’t it always all too apparent)? For them, always merit, transparency and all those self-righteous stuff works !!  Surprisingly, for others the same stuff don’t!!!

u pdate: some offending texts from original post are deleted.

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11 thoughts on “Sharp Contrast

  1. i have this very interesting conversation with my students in every batch – on reservations.

    “but maam” say my wide eyed students ” they have had reservation for 60 years ”
    “yes kiddos’ say i “but you have had it for 5000 years ”

    go figure !!

  2. they don’t have a choice – i din it in. and since i teach in a girl’s college – i tell them that they too are victims of the caste system – and they should stop preening about their caste – and realise how it screwed them for the last 5000 years .
    if i get through to e out of 60 students every year – i have done my job 🙂

  3. the best time to catch them is before their programming becomes dogma. alternative perspectives are a good idea.

    giving a book review of ‘annihilation of caste’ or ‘manusmriti’ or getting them to watch ‘raam ke naam’ or watching a documentary on how ‘veiled’ women achieve – goes a long way in breaking stereotypes.

    i believe that both ‘manusmriti’ and ‘anihllation of caste’ should be compulsory reading. the former will move them away from Hindutva, and the latter will open their eyes to what manusmriti meant.

    the sad part is that kids in college – i teach media – believe that caste is dead.
    one of the things that i din into their heads is that the reason why there is so much virulence against muslims in the North is that they were ‘lower caste’ converts.

    the problem is that the system behaves as though it is gone. it isn’t. and i don’t see it gone in my life time 😦

  4. the reason for these posts – which are quite divergent from your original posts – is that the media is not sensitized to caste. it is because you have upper caste/class covering caste isssues. as someone put it very inelegantly the other day – if they aren’t upper caste – they are lower caste.
    the idiots don’t realise that each main caste is a pyramid. and Dalits & tribals were never accepted by Hindu orthodoxy as ‘Hindu’s (what ever that means).

    its a bit like asking a business correspondent to cover labour relations 😦

    • the reason for these posts ….

      I did notice that your response didnt exactly address the post. But that’s where I would have gone, had I written a bit longer post. For instance, MP Sharad Joshi said, “Once these people get the job through reservation, they start behaving like elites. The policy of reservation is definitely wrong.” http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/shourie-reservation-policy-is-assault-on-constitution/225909/ . Do you see what exactly Sharad Joshi, Gopu Mohan etc. want? And to the MP from MP, I would have written, it was Dalits/OBCs who always had had to specify/identify ourselves, for our strange surnames to reservation…

      the best time to catch them is before their programming becomes dogma. alternative perspectives are a good idea.

      I believe, Religion and Reservation, these are central to caste sensitisation. Religion, because it turns your belief and morality upside down. Reservation, because it asks you recognize whats rightful of others and thereby damages your own interest. Otherwise “caste is bad” is same as “Caste is gone”, hollow and comforting moralism. Thats why ‘reservation’ and ‘annihilation of caste’ are good starting points.

      “If you are not upper-cast, you lower caste” – caste-hindu pov
      “If you are not dalit, you are upper-caste” – non-dalit pov

  5. The problem of Reservations exists because of Government control in education. The right thing is to allow free market enterprise in education. Why ration education especially higher education. For example in the whole of India there are only a few seats in MDs for doctors. Why should that be that way – allow foreign and private institutions to open shop. Engineering, technical and management studies have benefitted through this approach. In software, even NIIT graduates are more valued than government engineering college grads. Now time for de-regulation in medicine. Goverment should only be for creating minimal regulations. This will help everyone of whatever caste, non caste or religion.
    I welcome the move of the UPA governement to open up to foreign universties. Way to go.

    • I dont appose forgein and private universities in Indian soil. They should be welcome. But I dont think without Govt. control anything will change for my concern group – the dalits and other marginalized. In fact, without strict govt. regulations social exclusion of marginalised groups will rise in free-market like educational set-up.

  6. i am a year late in seeing this post. i just want to say that while writing the profile, there was no racism/casteism intended, let alone it being subtle. which probably means i am quite retarded as you pointed out.. plz do mail if anything..

    • will do that. in fact, I had written to various newspapers including IE on news what i thought could be better presented. apparently they dont bother. I appreciate ur stopping by to clarify, glad to know that it wasn’t intentional.

      I apologise for the harsh word, but i thought it was because he was dalit, that his blogs, viral videos and even ‘neatly tucked in shirt’ needed to be mentioned. There are several young (and old) MPs who have personal websites, blogs and i am sure, their electorates are not that tech-savvy yet. may be it wasn’t intentional but i am not sure, if there was a urban/caste-hindu MP in this place, she/he would have talked about the same way. notwithstanding that, thank you about writing something about the dalit MP. they dont get noticed.

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