Mani Duraisamy, An inquisitive Quoran, trying to learn more
Caste persists in India, because its an inherent part of Indian society and culture. Whatever its faults might be, inequality is a part of Nature. Its foolish to go ag inst that force of Nature. Its tempting to assume that with the growth of science and atheism - caste sy em and identities should disappear.
But in realities- humans always form groups. Group ism is a trait which sets humans apart from other lesser animals. Any human being would want to look for a similar of his ilk. It would help him be in his comfort zone. It would help to have someone who matches your frequency, has your lifestyle and shares the same sympathies as yours. Caste is one of the attributes that helps in maintaining this bond.
There are three angles to this-Economic angle, po itical angle and cultural angle, which expns why caste sy em still persists in India
Today this is not of much relevance, but if one were to observe Indian history (and even the civilizations like Rome and Egypt), they see that a certain level of social stratification is indeed necessary to maintain order. In a predominantly agrarian society like India, a lot of manual labor is inevitable. We need a lot of people to do the labor work- tilling the lands, disposing of waste, transporting the produce. Each activity would be the specialty of one group of people.
For the purpose of being unbiased, I am going to ignore the Indian context here, and show a pyramid of the Japanese sy em
You can see that there is only one emperor and shogun , but a lot of peasants and merchants. Thats because the job of a peasant is such that they require a lot of manual effort and lesser qualifications and lesser pay. Now apply the same logic to the Indian caste pyramid and you might understand how it made (ne the past tense) economic sense for the caste sy em to have persisted for centuries.
Po itical Angle:
Next comes the po itical angle. This is pretty much relevant in today’s India. Democratic Indian po itical structure and our Constitution makes sure that each and every group irrespective of caste, creed , language, region and gender gets their voice heard. Article 15 and 16 states that the State shall not discriminate ag inst any caste and will also provide reservations to the socially disadvantaged.
Caste becomes important here- because po iticians representing a caste can de ratically get ed by his caste/ community and work for their betterment. In a de acy , people listen to their vers. Be it upper-caste or Dalits, po iticians are a reflection of the social structure of our society. If caste-based po itics est, its because that inequality is natural and someone is needed to represent their problems in the corridors of power.
I now come to the cultural angle. India might be a secular country on paper, but we are a highly re gious one in reality. Caste has become an ID card of our culture. Discrimination is bad, but caste is not. The caste-based rituals may or may not make sense, but people dont want their way of life to die with them or get lost in the sands of time. Caste sy em plays an important binding role here.
Caste based symbols and practices are a remainder of our culture. Its a way of reminding ourselves that our culture is much older and the good things in it needs to be preserved. Caste adds to the diversity of Indian culture. It adds to the variety and sets unique groups apart.
In summary- Caste sy em persists because humans almost always classify themselves according to some trait. They look for commonalities. Japan dest yed its caste sy em thanks to its Meiji reformation. In India, no such reformation ests and is sy ematically opposed by corrupt rulers.
Dinesh B, why to try when destiny is predetermined
I grew up mostly in tier II or tier I cities and belong to Open category.
During my first job 2011/12, I met love of my life X.Sharma, she is a Brahman from Rajasthan state. We had wonderful time together and were looking forward to get married and convince parents.
As usual her family objected. Only objection was me being a non-brahman and south Indian. Her family got her engaged to someone from their community two weeks back so my 5 year relationship comes to an end because of my birth (caste & location). Still going through depression and using quora a source to vent out my frustration.
Future: This is the biggest irony, I am 27 now and when my family wants to get me married they will also look for a girl from our community so I will also become pawn in this caste sy em. As long as this happens caste sy em will persist.
PS: In India being an upper caste wont be sufficient you have to belong to their particular sub caste again to get married. So good luck changing anything in our country.
The only reason I am not mention my caste is not to propagate it.
Sasi Kanth, Curious about our Universe, Philosophy and Mathematics
Being an Indian, am ashamed to tell that several Indians still follow the caste sy em very blindly. We might not notice it on a day to day basis but the caste feeling comes out in open when it comes marriages.
Parents ag inst Inter-caste Marriages:
Situation is changing in the cities but the rural areas didn't. We do hear of "Honour Killings" when a family member kills the person who got married to someone from a different caste. Its disgusting but true!!
Even if the parents are favorable for inter-caste marriage, the relatives come into picture and put severe pressure on them. Parents are ready to get their girl married to some one unknown guy from the same caste rather than the guy she likes.
Caste based po itics:
Po iticians even today play the caste card in order to gain ves. Nominating a guy from the majority caste in his constituency is very common in India. Even several people in rural areas ve to a candidate purely based on the caste.
Reservations based on Caste:
Reservation sy em is another problem where a certain percentage go nment jobs or university seats have been reserved for a particular caste. Jobs/Education has to be earned with merit and not because of caste.
I hope to see a change in my life time !!