More Comments on the Caste System

The material for this article has been sourced for most part on the book on the Mahabharata by Gurcharan Das – The Difficulty of being Good. I have taken such points as struck me as relevant to our day to day lives and will discuss them here.

The first point I would like to make is the fact that all of us like to feel important. We want to be cared for, flattered and deferred to. Relating to this Gurcharan Das offers in his book two pieces of sage advice:

You’ll waste a lot less time worrying about what others think of you if only you realized how seldom they do.

To be happy one must not be too concerned with the opinion of others. One should pursue one’s goals single-mindedly, with a quite confidence, without thinking of others.

The second sentence above was from the philosopher Albert Camus.

A second point is that, “Duryodhana’s liberal attitude to social classes is in the eyes of the epic poets, a marker of his essential corruption and one of the principal motivations given for the necessity of his demise.  His attitude is representative of the breakdown of social order and customary behaviour that occurs when class divisions are not properly maintained.

(See Footnote 86, Chapter 6 of The Difficulty of being Good)

The above sentences state categorically that not respecting class distinctions may lead to a breakdown of social order. A number of people (especially from the higher castes) would agree that that is what has happened in India today.

Now the third point I would like to make is relating to reservations in educational institutions and jobs in the government. It is obvious to everybody that the reasons why we cannot do away with them now or anytime in the future is because of vote bank politics and so it has become a tool to demand a share of patronage. Gurcharan Das (in the above book) recommends an end to reservations and wants educational scholarships for economically backward children paid by the state beginning in kindergarten.

The objections to reservation are that it is inefficient, it is unfair and it damages self-esteem. I have myself experienced the inefficiency as far as essential government services are concerned. Sometime in early 2001 I was the victim of a crime (a dacoity) and was forced to sign away a large part of my assets which consisted of equity shares traded on the stock exchange. After I registered a complaint with the police, they took some action but did not arrest the main accused. I then hired a private detective (whose services were very expensive) and he was able to get the main accused arrested. But following that the police did not file a charge sheet which was required in order for the case to be heard in court.

It seems obvious to me now (although I did not realise it at the time) that the investigating officer had accepted bribes from the main accused in order to shield him. I had to approach the ACB of the state police in order to get the charge sheet filed.

This however was not the end of my troubles. I had to face obstacles when the case came up for hearing in court as well. By that time I was exhausted after years of running after the authorities trying to get them to prosecute the case. So I compromised with the accused for a fraction of the amount that he had stolen from me.

Now this is a case of inefficiency as far as delivery of essential services in concerned. This is the price paid by me for merit and integrity not being the only criteria which matter in making the selection to important posts in the police and judiciary.

I’ll end here. Please explore this site for more articles on Self Help, Politics and Spirituality. If you would like to contact me the link is below. Thanks for reading.

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