Every now and then we hear people say: Caste is our Greatest Curse. It stalled India’s progress and divided us as a Nation.
Over time I have seen that this is a WRONG assumption. In fact, caste offers benefits which we often choose to overlook. In fact, it is these castes which helped us progress as a democracy and kept us united.
India is a Nation of rich ethnic, regional and religious diversity. This diversity cannot be put together in one pan India identity. Caste gives unique identity or sub-identity to each member of India’s rich diversity. We as people and as groups must not always aspire to look identical. We must be comfortable in being different from each other. If castes go away, then rich ethnic, regional and religious diversity also ends.
That is why Caste seems to be an integral part of India. It is not going away any time soon.
In fact, if we look at it closely then Caste also increases our bargaining power as voters. It really does.
So next time someone tells you: Caste is our Greatest Curse and root cause of our all problems as a Nation, then politely tell him/her to shut up. Tell him that caste helps us celebrate our diversity and also helps us in making our Governments more accountable towards us. Read this.
To conclude, there will always be some people among us who will not follow caste rules in strict sense. They have their motivations. Such motivations are not necessarily bad. In fact, there are certain progeny related biological benefits of going inter-caste or inter-religion as well. Hence they must always be welcomed. It may also be possible that with more cosmopolitan outlook, more people start crossing caste thresholds. There are surely some social aspects of caste which can be argued from social discrimination point of view.
But that doesn’t mean we need to blame caste for every problem we as a Nation are facing. Especially when the blame is : Caste stalled India’s progress and divided us as a Nation. Neither of the blames seems to be True.