Writing on this topic in contemporary times allows me to doubt if I am living in a country that is called secular, where there is no discrimination and favouritism based on caste, religion, gender or sex. It allows me to doubt if India is a democracy, even after 74 years of being declared a democracy or are we just blindfolded to feel that we are a part of democracy.
As far as I know, a country can’t be called a democracy until everyone feels that they are the same as the other people living in their surroundings; they are equal, and they also possess the same rights as others do.
In my lifespan, I have seen numerous incidents, especially in rural areas, that are backed by casteism. People hesitate to reveal that they are Dalits because they fear that people will no longer talk to them as their prejudicial mindset will not allow them to do so. I have seen people from lower castes sitting on the floor whenever they visit the house of an upper-caste person. And all these things happening in society shape the mind of children from both lower and upper castes.
That is why students from lower caste rarely tell their full name to anyone as they don’t want to be a victim of aversion and ignorance. To eliminate the prejudices from the minds of those so-called upper caste students as well as to make students from lower castes feel comfortable and equal, teachers must play the role of reformers.
As this society is the root for all these evils existing in the heads, they(teachers) will first have to reform the society that comprises the parents of these students.
They must reshape the opinions of their parents so that what they teach them in schools can be reiterated in their homes. They need to regularly teach them the fraternity that they should maintain with each other. They must tell them that any caste can not be lower because how can a caste that has given us a great scholar and politician like B.R Ambedkar be lower?
But they are bound to remain aware to do all these things in a general way as schools can’t be turned into caste-orientated institutions meant to teach them how to be a non-casteist, as it can make lower-caste students feel that they are deprived. Instead of bridging the gap, it can enhance it further. Such controlled measures can also be taken to promote equality on the basis of gender and religion. Those like-minded ones present in the temple of reformation must move ahead to reform the roots that lead to the development of all prejudices and stereotypes in the society.