If we meet someone for the first time and we end up asking, ‘What’s your name’, it’s a sensible question to ask. But what follows next, is a recipe for disaster and that’s exactly how our society is built. What we hear is what we percieve.
Apocalypse is not a situation for the future, it is a venom that lies deep within our present. What kind of a society believes in exploitation, violence and superstitions that lurk beneath roots and a semblance of darkness? Well, a society is built by people. People are made by birth or reproduction. Birth is not a choice, but the way of life is. And, our life is influcnced by plethora of factors – we are surrounded by some, some are imposed, some seep through education and a lot creeps in through the veins of dispute, culture, lineage and religion. Religion is meant to bring people together amidst differences, diversity and turbulence. Yet, what it has done over the centuries is just the opposite – hatred and scant respect for the human clan.
Caste and the caste system have always been 2 different dimensions to a clumsy concept. Caste was classified by humans and caste system was glorified for political reasons. The Gita or Bible does not talk about any such vehement classification or discrimination of human beings based on caste, creed, race or any mention of a reason for dominance that demeans a status of an individual in a prescribed society. The epic scholar and sage, Thiruvalluvar was an epitome of human resilience and his ‘Thirukurral’ is a magnificent tribute to a clan that should have existed without prejudices, exploitation and tyranny. It is an ode to our culture and a devastating reminder to a bunch of shameless ideologies that has done nothing but to bring ignominy and doom to a world that is still reeling from the events that shook the world in the last 120 years.
It is diffcult today to imagine this world without few iconic and dreadful chapters that displaced the dynamics of human existence forever – The Holocaust, The Cuban Revolution, Vietnam War, Partition of India and Pakistan, The Civil War in Sri Lanka… the list is endless and painful. The question is, do we have a world which is better placed today or was all this sacrifice in vain, for nothing? The answer is equally difficult and debatable. Or can I say, to anticipate or retaliate against such mercurial episodes is a task that beholds audacity and uncertainty in the same space.
The vanity of the situation is more precariously placed when we need our Constitution to define and explicitly state that discrimination of human beings of any kind is unacceptable. Worse, even such disclaimers are not good enough, the disdain and the ruthless killings continue. Yet, we still talk about education, civilization and development.
The caste system is alive because we want it to stay. Caste is a tool, like religion. They are not just symbolic to our existence and way of life, they supplement our tragedies amicably. Apparently, by the poeple who we trust.