Caste System and Mechanization of Human Feelings

Hemangi Kadlak

hemangi kadlak

Caste is not only the mechanism that runs Indian society, but it also turns human feelings mechanical. We have been becoming less human and more machines as we watch, hear about atrocities on other human beings but there is no alert system to prevent or punish the culprits. Rapes are seen as daily happenings. The brutalities of the rapes are so heinous that sometimes wooden or metal objects which are inserted into the vagina of women, or into assholes of men will break but not the culprits. (Purposely mentioned the private parts of the victims to emphasize the reality of the crime. While doing these heinous crimes, the culprits do not hesitate. Therefore, across castes, countries--people should know what is happing in modern India).

And yet, we are happy in our world, celebrating each day with the news of atrocities on women, children and lower caste people. Unless we don’t hear such news we don’t feel that we are citizens of India. In India it is a right and duty of the upper castes to torture, humiliate lower caste people, women. We feel proud to call ourselves Indian with the presence of caste in our life. The caste system was constructed in such a way that it has made humans to hate other humans. Superiority, discrimination, atrocities, humiliation--are a part of this country and ironically, we are citizens of the country.

Here people take pride to call themselves Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya; even Shudras also take pride to make the untouchables inferior. It is high time for Shudras to realise that they are also the victims of the caste system and controlled by upper castes. Rapes, killings, human brutality, discrimination and exploitation are signs of upper castes trying to claim that they are superior to the untouchables. Here I would like to share one recent incidence, during my travel by express train in a 3 AC compartment. While I was coming from Baroda to Mumbai, I got introduced to one family coming from Rajasthan. The mother was traveling with her two children. I got a seat near theirs.

The mother started talking to me, asked about me. I gave her satisfactory answers. After that, she started showing more interest in talking to me. She offered some Rajasthani sweet which I took a little, by saying I don’t like sweets much, thank you. In this process, our talk continued. Her little son around 9-10 years old also got involved in our talk. While talking, all of sudden, without any context, he almost shouted “I am Brahmin”. After hearing this for a few seconds I got mum, stopped talking and started keenly observing the boy. The whole body language of that boy started making me feel that I am observing a grown-up young boy. His talk, behavior, eating style, his way of interacting with others started making me feel his whole actions were coming from his caste arrogance that “he is a Brahmin”.

The atrocities, brutalities that are happening on the lower castes, that is ex-untouchables (Constitutional word SC), stem from the same arrogance that the boy was carrying: that “he is Brahmin”. Hence almost all upper castes carry and show their caste arrogance, feeling superior and show the lower castes (ex-untouchables) that they are lower than them, from the perspective of caste. Caste arrogance is the major reason for the brutalities carried out on the lower castes. It has been the history of India to maintain the culture of silence, tolerance for such heinous brutality.



Hemangi Kadlak works as Assistant Professor at Amity University, Mumbai. She is the founder member of InfinIdea Foundation and an active member of the Phule-Ambedkarite movement.

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