Whom do you ask this question?
Yesterday, some of us were having a discussion on sexual harassment and I wanted to know how it is in the Indian industry? The question that I put across was to five other engineers, all male. Nobody had a clue whether it happens or not. All we could come up with were some noted examples which everyone knew. Unanimously we agreed that being male, how would we know? We should be asking a woman if we wanted to know the real answer.
Even if we did ask them, how many Indian women would actually come out and say they have been sexually discriminated? In a society which targets women since their birth, they grow up protecting themselves from various assaults of men, and in the process learn to ignore certain subtle and small attempts and thereby accept it to various degrees.
Moreover, coming out in the open to disclose such details is a taboo in itself. There could be thousands of such cases and we would never know anything about them. (If one were to go by the number of reported cases, it is easy to conclude, by miracle, that
This brings me to the current topic- If I wanted to know whether there is a caste-based-discrimination in
In my region of Telangana, there’s a phrase Nee Baanchenu which is often used by rural or lower caste person when addressing a rich or upper caste person. Nee Baanchenu is Telangana Telugu equivalent of Nee Banisanu of Andhra Telugu, which literally translates to ‘I am your slave’. They include this in each of their sentences. Though there would be many out there who would caution me not to take such things literally, I do not think they can be brushed off so easily. To understand discrimination, one has to understand and acknowledge the importance of such literal usage and their history, because they are a consequence of something more innate to our society and has come into existence reflecting the ground realities of our times. We need to understand why and how terms like Nigger have become a denigrating aspersion in US or how Chamar has now become an insult in
Most of the rural low caste people accept all kinds of discrimination explaining it away as their fate. When people do not know what is discrimination, and have no clue what is self-respect, a question posed to them is of no use. It does not produce any results. Then how do you know if such a caste-based-discrimination exists?
One could spend time with them in rural
If the media was little more inclusive and was comfortable airing the views of some of these lower caste people, they will hear more such stories. I have one sample here. It is from NDTV, reported by Harsha Kumari Singh, dated
Dalits continue facing social bias
“…In a break from tradition Bansi Lal Meghwal, a Dalit bridegroom in Amarpura village dared to ride a horse to his wedding but was fo
“In 1999… from University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS)… the Scheduled Caste students were confined to two floors and not assigned rooms elsewhere…In the dining hall, they were fo
I could go on adding many such examples but I don’t think it will serve the purpose. Those who want to deny discrimination will continue to do so in spite of the overwhelming evidence; or they come up with excuses to explain it away (saying that it was just division of labor and nothing to do discrimination). Watching
This blog is only directed to those genuine upper caste Hindus who seriously ask themselves- ‘Does caste-based-discrimination exist in
What I want to say to them is this: Stop asking those people who have not experienced it. The
Why do I think diversity is important to all of us even if it means paying a small price?
I get these nasty jokes in my e-mail inbox ridiculing SC/ST/OBC reservations. When I look at the chain of addresses to see where it has been ci
Being oblivious to sensitivities of other communities and their travails is as bad as committing discrimination itself. Why do I think so? Because by being ignorant of the sensitivities we continue to perpetuate certain notions that indirectly condones caste-based-discrimination. Continued ignorance and apathy desensitizes us and we tend to devolve ourselves of our basic duties when it is warranted. This desensitization is one of the main reasons why so many ordinary Germans tolerated and allowed oppression, subjugation and extermination of so many Jews during 1933-45.
Would that guy who sent that e-mail at that top IT company would have been so callous (or careless) if he knew that there were at least 30% lower caste employees in his campus? I believe he would have been more cautious (I am hoping that he sent it out of ignorance rather than arrogance). Would media (like CNN-IBN) be reporting highly biased reports supporting anti-reservations protests completely sidelining and deliberately ignoring pro-reservation protests if they knew that their own staff had at least 30% of SC/ST/OBC?
Siddharth Varadarajan continues:
“The insensitive and casteist forms of protest some of them adopted – the ‘symbolic’ sweeping of the streets, the shining of shoes, the singing of songs warning OBCs and others to ‘remember their place’ (‘apni aukat mein rahio’) – were put on air without comment by the channels.”
“When B.N. Uniyal surveyed the scene in 1996, he found not a single Dalit accredited journalist in
“… journalism that has little or no space for the majority of citizens is bound to end up missing out on the complexity of the society it seeks to cover…”
Diversity, by including SC/ST/OBC/Muslim in the media, would bring in certain degree of tolerance towards ‘other kind’ of people and teach them to respect the sensitivities of these groups. Next time, when they want to air a completely biased report, they may be a bit cautious and make sure they are covering all sides. Diversity, by promoting a good % of SC/ST/OBC in IT companies, would make that guy who sent out that mail think whether it was the right thing to do. That little caution is worth paying a small price.