Partial Liberalism: Why Infosys CEO Had To Specify That He’s A ‘Kshatriya’ Warrior

Posted by Abhishek Raj in Politics, Society, Staff Picks
February 16, 2017

The dominance of caste in Indian society and the related mentality has continually wreaked havoc on our society and its most vulnerable inhabitants. The division is so deep that no one has the courage to pick up the broken pieces and join them.

Living in the past and dreaming about the future has become an art, mastered by Indians.

India of 2017 is made to believe that those who studied in convent schools or lived in cities have escaped the quicksand of caste. But the recent incidence in which Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys, commented saying, “I am kshatriya warrior. I am here to stay and fight”, has put a question mark on the same.

Although the context was a tussle in top management of the tech company, the emotions behind this statement would have sufficed even if he had refrained from using the word “kshatriya”. In an Indian context, the term also means a varna (social order), basically a collection of castes.

Sikka’s comment brings to our cognizance a dark corner of Indian mindset. Although we have learnt so much in every aspect of life, but somewhere in our minds devil of caste still remains.

Talking about devils, I recently encountered one more incidence around the same subject. One fine evening, my friend and I were visiting a common acquaintance.

After chatting for a bit, my friend realised that both of them hailed from the same place and were from same caste. Soon, they were on the topic of the marriage of my friend’s sister and he started to enquire about the possibility of finding a groom from the same caste.

After nearly a decade of being educated in schools and college, you would expect ‘caste’ to be the last thing to concern my friends. But is it so? No, because he wasn’t committing any error. Actually, he was doing exactly what society has demanded out of him.

Partial liberalism

And he is amongst the many who believe and act in the same hypocritical manner.

We make friends from different castes, but a pious ritual like marriage doesn’t allow this diversification. We write essays about eradication of castes, but somewhere in remote villages (and even in our homes) we practice the caste system.

We think of a strong leader, but vote only according to our caste.

We want to be a superpower, but we live in a superficial era.

This denotes “partial liberalism”, a ‘situation-based’ opening up of thoughts and mindsets.

If it suits us we say yes, if it doesn’t we say no. As convenient as it gets.

And for several decades, this convenience has been used by people (read politicians & those in power) for their personal gains. This political and social exploitation has made us economically and culturally weak.

It’s high time we collect our thoughts and think in the right direction.

We as a nation and society should introspect about whether the path we have taken is leading us in a direction we intended to be or it’s just getting more chaotic.

The historical strings which pull us back should be cut to size because history comprises of different elements, some of which should be cherished proudly and some should be corrected accordingly.

And if we don’t deal with this now, we will always remain backward socially, culturally, politically and economically.

So on the path towards a prosperous India, caste system should find no space to run.