End Caste Discrimination

MICHAEL VAZ, Merces

A couple of days ago, it was headlines in the print and electronic media that Kanishak Kataria, a Dalit and a graduate from IIT-Bombay, topped the UPSC examination. What an achievement for the individual and the community at large! It should be a reminder to the Indian society, which is so much submerged in the caste system, all the time categorising people as of high caste and low caste, to shed this notion and learn to respect everyone on the paradigm of equality. The young man has shown to the younger generation that what matters for success in life is hard work. He has attributed his success to being regular in his studies, working for 8-10 hours a day initially and then increasing it to even 14-15 hours a couple of months prior to the exam.  It is worth recalling the success story of another Dalit Tina Dabi, a 2015 UPSC topper, who is hailed as the first person from the Dalit community to top the list. In her own words she recollects how when the results were announced, wishes began pouring in but the people being suspicious of her surname were inquisitive of her caste and then she was reckoned as a Dalit topper. She rues that it would take a long time for people in our country to shed the casteist viewpoint. These two anecdotes should make us hang down our heads in shame for degrading the people on the basis of their caste. In the olden days the high-class people had restricted the other communities to all sorts of low and demeaning tasks implying that they cannot rise above their confined stature. The Constitution of India has abolished all such beliefs and has elevated everyone on equal platform conferring the same rights and privileges so much so that Dalits have held positions of President and Chief Justice of our country. The need of the hour is to eliminate the caste system and bring in equality in letter and spirit. I firmly believe that the caste system prevails primarily through the blessings of politicians for their personal gains by sustaining the reservation system at all levels based on caste, tribe and class and then strengthening their vote banks.