Saturday, June 20, 2009

Secularism and Casteism

I have been meaning to write this post since quite a long time. And by long time, I mean the time before the fateful general elections were held, time before we witness one of the most dominating majority in the Lok Sabha in the recent years. It was the time when all the parties and alliances were battling it out for each and every Lok Sabha seat. It was the time when the allegations and counter allegations were at their zenith. BJP accusing Congress of 5 years of weak and inefficient administration. And the Congress calling BJP a non secular party.

Secularism. Its the word that has dominated the Indian politics since the time Lal Krishna Advani decided to embark that Rath Yatra. The word which was echoed again and again when Babri Masjid was demolished and when communal riots broke out in Bombay. The word which has reverberated in the corridors of Indian politics since the country saw Godhra burning. All over the place, there were hues and cries to form a secular government at centre. Alliances were made and broken because some parties were more secular than other.

So what does secularism means ? Wikipedia says that secularism is the assertion that governmental practices or institutions should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs. I alternatively think that it means people should not be discriminated against or favoured on the basis of religion. All religions are equal. But in the recent years, a new variable has emerged which has made it necessary to revise this definition. And this variable is caste.

Caste is the new religion. And if not, it is definitely as important as religion the reason being it is the main divide among the people. You are no more a Hindu. You are now a Dalit or a Yadav or a Jat or a Gujjar or a Meena or a Patel or a Reddy or a Naidu. And it was really appalling to see how a politician like Mayawti can call herself secular or how a party like Congress can tag itself as a secular party after having divided the country through reservation. How is Congress more secular than BJP. Its not that I endorse Barbri Masjid demolition or the Gujrat riots. I mean that religion is no more the parameter for calling a party secular.

Casteism is the modern day equivalent of non secularism. It was the casteism which saw Gujjar taking on Meenas in Rajasthan. Names are no more the identities. Surnames are. You listen a surname and the first thing that comes into your mind is caste. Casteism was inherent to the Indian society for centuries. But it remained at a sub conscious level. But the political parties have brought it into our consciousness. Rulers of our country might not have realized the repercussions of playing that reservations card. But as a student I have realized it again and again. I realized it when I saw students taking on students on reservation. And I realize it every time when I hear the words "reserved category". Why are these people so adamant at diving us ? What is the cost that our country is paying for this imbecility ? What our country really needs is a government which is truly secular.


†J said...

That is a Power Post !!
A superb knock indeed.

A Neophyte said...

I think that you are watching too much of cricket these days :)

Vatsheel said...

Every party supports reservation so calling a party casteist just because of that seems a tad unfair to me. Caste equations dominate elections in every state. And Congress has suffered most due to Casteism. Remember the debacle of Congress in UP and Bihar at the hands of casteist parties like JD, SP and BSP. Also, BJP is not very clean on this issue. Their alliance with JD(U) was blatantly casteist alliance to counter another of same ilk. I believe the parties which are least casteist are national parties like the Congress,the BJP and left parties.