Birth based work: Slavery imposed by faith


Madhab Ruidas

madhab ruidasFaith plays a vital role in Indian society, It is so deep rooted and dominant that the sense of a class society has been violated, in almost every regional or non-regional sphere of the unorganised working sector.

The unorganised worker's world is divided into various parts, due to their birth based, caste led occupation. They are bound to their faith and they act accordingly throughout their lives. In the 21st century people still practise their birth based occupations -- some willingly, others have been forced to take up those jobs due to their needs.

* A day labourer works to build a Temple, and when it's built, he can't enter it for prayers. Why?

The reason isn't that he's a worker and poor, but because of his caste.

 * A community which plays drums during Durga Puja, makes the Pandal premises impure by their presence. Why such cruelty?

Again, the reason is not they are poor workers but because of their caste.

* The servant who is very faithful to his master but faces restrictions on his natural behaviour. The forces restricting him may not be monetary all the time, they have faith related roots, obviously.

Here too, the reason behind them is not his/her class, but caste.

Manual Scavengers, Fishermen, Shoe Makers, Potters etc., and hundreds of others are already there as examples. They are witnesses of such faith led domination, hoping for minimum dignity along with basic rights.

Faith among poor daily wage workers made them unable to discuss their rights as workers beyond their caste occupation, which in turn isolates them into mere caste groups.

This upbringing dominated by religious injunctions is so entrenched that even if the workers try to overcome their economic problems, it doesn't weaken it hold. A few try to change their socio-economic conditions and even if that change is not huge compared with privileged caste workers, they think it is like breaking the chain of caste occupation. But the factor of caste goes along with him and the harassment, discrimination also follow violating his rights as a worker often. 

Looking at all these birth determined factors, when we introspect and try to find out the causes behind the problem, the truth of all round caste dominance stares at us. The lens of caste is strong among the privileged castes who see and treat every worker as a caste employee. 

That faith based discrimination also determines differences in payments, leaves and other employer obligations.

The problem of workers' unity pervades the workers' union too, which is also divided not because of differences in work but along caste lines. Leading decisions are taken by the privilege caste workers even if they all work on the same project or hold the same position.

It should also be pointed out that the sense of purity influences the unorganised workers even when they work. They are the biggest victims of unscientific man-made sense of purity, and they are forced to make their small, caste-based workers' unions.


The unorganised workers in India face many problems. Lack of awareness regarding their rights doubles their problems. The fighting spirit for their basic rights and dignity doesn't motivate them due to division along caste lines.

The desire to maintain the religious order through caste occupational work  among the working class is visible through open eyes. They have surrendered their livelihood to satisfy God's order; they are huge in numbers. It would be wrong if someone said that it is their choice. Because most them are unaware of this imposed faith based caste work structure. They are unaware of their rights, which they are entitled to get as they've given their live to serve the people. The workers are the lone pillar who have built this beautiful world. Rights of adequate payments, minimum wages, paid leave, incentives, pensions along with dignity are the obligations of the State. But there is hardly any resistance in India regarding these issues.



Madhab Ruidas is an Ambedkarite. He graduated in Political Philosophy from KNU (West Bengal) in 2019. Now he's studying BALLB (2nd year) at University of Calcutta.


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