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The banyan tree

Monday, February 18, 2013

India's eternal curse

What is the need of the hour?
Indian urban class is going through difficult and a hopeful situation. You could say a kind of “urban renaissance” is going on right now on every Indian cities & towns. The urban culture, which is same everywhere on this globe, because of its global societal structure, which is mainly, based on consumerism, with the introduction of globalization and internationalization, urban economies booms like no other. Since it is consumer-centric, it is investment friendly and this reflects in every aspects of urban culture like infrastructure, healthcare etc.

Now these are all outwardly, objective, materialistic features of a society. But when it comes to the mentality of people here in India, they are still closed and shutoff from the new developing and scientific ideas. They are still in the hangover of the age old Vedic cultural and societal value system which is obsolete in the present century. Most of the Indians are not even ready to make a slight reassessment of their current belief system at the least. And because of this India’s development is going to halt at the very beginning itself.

Even though we say urban-middle class, it is not that simple, and nothing is simple in India. ‘Urban’ mentality is just the same as the ‘rural’ and the only difference is it has a modern outfit. But deep inside we are still those old Indian traditional people who believes in ‘Varnashrama Dharma’ [caste system]. That’s the reason why there is lots of exploitation of the poor [which would be mostly from lower castes].  An outsider might think of the attitude of an upper caste person towards a lower caste a little odd and weird. But to a traditional Indian eye it is not an aberration or denials of right, according to them lower castes are doomed to eternity. It is the upper caste’s divine right to rule over lower castes. And the core idea or you could say the engine of this caste system is one revolutionary idea which makes this caste system immovable and indestructible. The idea is you are born with it and die with it, there is no other option, if you disown one caste then you will automatically downgrade to the next level of caste. In addition, the Indian traditional wisdom denies them freedom to think and act on their own, by pointing to the infallibility of “Vedas” and “Smritis”. If you are born into a lower caste then in your previous lives you must have been done something horribly wrong that is why “God” made you born like this. And this belief is so deep routed and hardly imprinted in every India that even deprived castes don’t dare to revolt, as it would be against the will of God.
Now with our entire caste problem, if we take a slice of our almighty middle class [economically], we will find that middle class is divided into different strata of caste. And we know different castes have different priorities and status in the society. Most of the middle class would be upper class personalities, because their upper caste status provides them with an easy access to education and other rights which is common to all the fellow countrymen
Now another problem with this middle class is their view towards reservations and quotas given to some lower castes and untouchables. Since the majority share of rights given to all the citizens, does not seem to be enough t accommodate these middle class needs and numbers. More and more from middle class is being educated, but still the number of participation from lower strata is still negligible.  Instead of thinking it as a service and is our duty to work for the uplift of our poor and those who were denied of their rights, we are acting selfish. We still need to learn how to make sacrifices for our country and our fellow citizens. We are parroting when we say we love our country, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.