Raising South Asian Voices

Cynthia Dettman:  Author

The Complexities of Caste Movements in the Caste Hierarchy

Typically, one hears about caste groups seeking approval from the government to be considered lower caste so they can get access to the affirmative action system for low-caste groups.  But here’s an example of a caste group that wants to be de-elevated because they feel there is a stigma attached to their current status as ‘Scheduled Castes”, meaning very low caste.  They would rather be in a higher category and lose some of those benefits.

The quirks of this old, oppressive hierarchical system continue to amaze outside observers as groups use their caste identity for various purposes.  The main manipulative use of caste is by politicians, who manage to garner “vote banks” from  entire caste groups.

For Westerners, these categories are amazing and hard to understand.  For many Indians, caste remains part of the air, especially for Brahmins and other high-caste groups who benefit from the system.  Yes, the Constitution outlawed caste.  But how can this be outlawed in a country that has maintained this system for generations, and that maintains that higherarchy to benefit those who have power?

Interesting article! 

 

 

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