The Caste System: What Is It Worth?

Today, in India we struggle to fight so many injustices, one major among them being the caste system. Now before I proceed, I would like to state upfront that this post is not about ‘reservations ‘, which I’m aware is one of the most popular words in the media nowadays.

I took this decision to respect the country’s peaceful future. Something that I would request all of you to consider if you really wish for equality and fraternity in your country. Because we have already seen what reservation has given us except what I believe, are the infamous ‘Bharat Bandhs’ by one or the other regional political party.

Well! Before I begin, I’d like to mention that one of my besties falls in the Scheduled Caste category, while another falls in the General category.

Would you like to know when and how I came to know this? Oh no! Not when I asked my friends, because I didn’t. All thanks to our system. It was during the registration for board examinations at the 10th standard that we were asked to bring our ‘Caste Certificates’.

Why does our society still drag along with it the taboos of the caste system?

Certificates! Something that until then I knew was awarded to us by our Principal in school during the annual prize distribution days. Something we would be eager to ‘earn’ by our mind-numbing toil the entire year round. We would get it framed and hang it in our bedrooms. Nope! Rather in our drawing rooms where guests would be seated!

But that was the day when I came to know that certificates were ‘awarded’ by our government too, not for our achievements but for our ______( Do feel free to fill it if you can!).

So, now perhaps you can tell me who actually sowed the seeds of the caste system in me and my fellow mates? Surely we were unaware, completely unaware in fact. I would not have asked the caste of my friends for sure.

Whenever a new family shifts in the complex where I live, I see and hear people asking each others’ caste while introducing themselves, as if it was only way to define them. For them, caste is above everything else, above all the hardwork a person has put in to build up oneself and one’s career.

Why does our society still drag along with it the taboos of the caste system? What is it worth? Whenever there is a meeting in the complex, everybody gathers, I don’t know what their names are. I know many of you out there reading this might raise the question, “Then won’t there be a confusion if just the first names existed and not the last names (which are significant to one’s caste) ?”

Of course! You are right about that. My appeal is simple, “Stop giving undue importance to someone’s caste.”

Stop politicising caste. One need not be a Jat to be bold, a Baniya to be a businessman, a Mali to grow plants! One needs to only have merit. That is all that matters, that is all there is!

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