ASethi

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What do young Indians think of the Indian Caste system ? In the UK, it unfornately thrives and we have intelligent med students (I'm sure other students as well) who still follow this malignant practice.

Early on in India, most Brahmins (priests) kept the ancient religious & philosphical knowlege of the Vedas and Upshinads to themselves. Divisions in society (caste) where produced, intially to run an organized and efficient society. The Brahin caste realized that enforcing such divisions by associating divisions with divinity, they could keep their job. Religious rites and ceromonies would always belong to an elite and kept in the family, assuring status and wealth.However such strict divisions have hindered India's progress. The constant invasions-from the Mughals to the British can be partlly attributed to the lack of unity in society caused by such divisions.

Even in the present day, an Indian person will look at a surname and be able to tell whether he/she is a high caste or low caste. Generally, high caste believe that they are the most educated and uphold moral virtues. But as Henry Thoreau says in Walden- The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode.
High caste or Low caste-people should be judged on their actions. A high caste person steals, so does a low caste person. A brahim family prays and so
does a low caste family prays. We are the same- but its is what we do (our actions) that define us.

What does everyone think? Any staunch supporters of caste system, please give evidence of how it has helped India and if it has ever been a useful social system.

A Sethi
 

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ASethi said:
What do young Indians think of the Indian Caste system ? In the UK, it unfornately thrives and we have intelligent med students (I'm sure other students as well) who still follow this malignant practice.

Early on in India, most Brahmins (priests) kept the ancient religious & philosphical knowlege of the Vedas and Upshinads to themselves. Divisions in society (caste) where produced, intially to run an organized and efficient society. The Brahin caste realized that enforcing such divisions by associating divisions with divinity, they could keep their job. Religious rites and ceromonies would always belong to an elite and kept in the family, assuring status and wealth.However such strict divisions have hindered India's progress. The constant invasions-from the Mughals to the British can be partlly attributed to the lack of unity in society caused by such divisions.

Even in the present day, an Indian person will look at a surname and be able to tell whether he/she is a high caste or low caste. Generally, high caste believe that they are the most educated and uphold moral virtues. But as Henry Thoreau says in Walden- The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode.
High caste or Low caste-people should be judged on their actions. A high caste person steals, so does a low caste person. A brahim family prays and so
does a low caste family prays. We are the same- but its is what we do (our actions) that define us.

What does everyone think? Any staunch supporters of caste system, please give evidence of how it has helped India and if it has ever been a useful social system.

A Sethi
Hi there,
Hmmnnn..well I do not support caste system at all.But there is a problem with Indian Constitution.To abolish caste system ;they should have omitted the word....not given terms like..SC/BC/Harijans.....
Well...my parents do believe in upper and lower caste....not that they discriminate...they told me get married to any guy of ur choice from any part of India but not from a lower caste.SO I dunno what to say.......My parents are very highly qualified people and have such circle of people but all of them believe in caste system.....
 
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meetlife said:
Hi there,

Well...my parents do believe in upper and lower caste....not that they discriminate...they told me get married to any guy of ur choice from any part of India but not from a lower caste.SO I dunno what to say.......My parents are very highly qualified people and have such circle of people but all of them believe in caste system.....
Hello meetlife. Just a thought, if you met an Indian guy who was a professional (for example a doctor in medicine) but his great grandfather was from a lower caste therefore making him (the Doctor w/ MBBS,PhD) a lower caste person- would you still be able to marry him?

What is the difference between a hospital doctor from a lower caste and a hospital doctor from a high caste family?
 

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ASethi, don't mean to hijack your thread but where are you in UK? I am in UK right now.
 
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IllinoisStudent said:
ASethi, don't mean to hijack your thread but where are you in UK? I am in UK right now.
...I'm studying med at the university of London.
 

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A thread on caste, and Sunny hasn't posted in it yet??!?!? :D Just wait till I get through some school work, before I add my two cents.
 
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I have rarely come across caste issues while in India. I am very modern , I believe in entrepreneurship/capitalism while India is still socialist.

My point being there is a minority of people of like me who don't care much.

It will take a lot of time before things change.
India's economy needs to get stronger.

Tomorrow will be better than today :thumbup:
 

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ASethi said:
Hello meetlife. Just a thought, if you met an Indian guy who was a professional (for example a doctor in medicine) but his great grandfather was from a lower caste therefore making him (the Doctor w/ MBBS,PhD) a lower caste person- would you still be able to marry him?

What is the difference between a hospital doctor from a lower caste and a hospital doctor from a high caste family?
Well...yes....if I click...and like the guy......but that will be against my parents wishes......
 

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meetlife said:
Well...my parents do believe in upper and lower caste....not that they discriminate...they told me get married to any guy of ur choice from any part of India but not from a lower caste.SO I dunno what to say.......My parents are very highly qualified people and have such circle of people but all of them believe in caste system.....
This is weird for me living in the US my entire life amongst indian people who haven't talked to me much about the cast system or anything. Why is it not talked about to non-indians much or is it just me who has not inquired about it enough? I thought it was a dead idea.

It seems obvious to me that if you lived in the US, you would have the tendancy to not believe in any cast system or any other racial\ethnic discrimination just because it is not encouraged here (at least not by the Constitution).

Still, I cannot believe that medical students, who study the science of the human body and see that we are all very different and alike in too many different ways to draw clear ethnic/racial lines, could believe in a caste system. Can someone explain this to me? Does anyone else feel that this is scary to think that "highly-qualified people" still firmly believe in a cast system?
 
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For many I hope, that live in the US, UK, Europe ie not India, they will not be under the influence of the caste system. However, many Indian immigrants to US, UK etc where from high caste family's because they were educated and had finicial resources. So the parents then pass on to their children this malignant social, quasi-religious concept. Many people from high caste brahmin family's purport that the caste system is needed to keep society in order,along religious lines and prevent its disintegration. This logic is flawed-the law of the country keeps the society in order-not rigid divisions of society's members according to their job.

In the UK, being of a brahmin family brings instaneous status above the other Indian immigrants. With a name like Trivedi, Sharma-the list goes on, status is automatic whether or not the induvidual follows the high caste prescribed "codes of conduct". It is not talked about frequently, but the topic commonly arises in marriage and other such human interactions. In India, they still will discriminate on the basis of caste for employment etc. And because it is not talked about, debated, discussed reasons for and against, a malignant influence on Indians world wide pervades.

There is one Q that keeps getting ignored, remains unanswered: what is the difference between a hospital doctor from a high caste (Brahmin) family and a hospital doctor from a low caste family? I would appreciate anyone (especially a high caste(Brahmin) person) that can answer that question.
 

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ASethi said:
For many I hope, that live in the US, UK, Europe ie not India, they will not be under the influence of the caste system. However, many Indian immigrants to US, UK etc where from high caste family's because they were educated and had finicial resources. So the parents then pass on to their children this malignant social, quasi-religious concept. Many people from high caste brahmin family's purport that the caste system is needed to keep society in order,along religious lines and prevent its disintegration. This logic is flawed-the law of the country keeps the society in order-not rigid divisions of society's members according to their job.

As you can see from meetlife's response, though she is free to choose, a person from any caste; a person from a low caste family is not accepted.

There is one Q that keeps getting ignored, remains unanswered: what is the difference between a hospital doctor from a high caste (Brahmin) family and a hospital doctor from a low caste family? I would appreciate anyone (especially a high caste(Brahmin) person) that can answer that question.
My parents don't care about the caste system but there are many people here in america that still do believe in it. A really good friend of mine is gujarati and she said that not only does she have to marry a gujarati guy but she has to marry some one from the same caste as her. If she doesn't then her parents will disown her. She said that they have these yearly conventions for people just in her caste and other gujaratis are not allowed to come. Because of this she has started believeing in this system. It is deep rooted in a lot of minds and even though it has no justification there are many highly educated individuals all over teh world who still believe in this stuff. It is really sad.
 

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DoctorMalki said:
My parents don't care about the caste system but there are many people here in america that still do believe in it. A really good friend of mine is gujarati and she said that not only does she have to marry a gujarati guy but she has to marry some one from the same caste as her. If she doesn't then her parents will disown her. She said that they have these yearly conventions for people just in her caste and other gujaratis are not allowed to come. Because of this she has started believeing in this system. It is deep rooted in a lot of minds and even though it has no justification there are many highly educated individuals all over teh world who still believe in this stuff. It is really sad.
99%of Indians believe in this.
 

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I bet >99% of Indian's believe in caste system, if you include all the Indian's in India. Among those living in rural areas the system is esp. strong. Among the educated, the system is only really an issue with regards to marriage. I mean, come on guys, this is true even here in the US. Some parents push this more than others. I find a lot of people don't believe in it, but won't go against their parents' wishes. The parents themselves often don't really believe in it, but think it would bring shame and embarassment of the whole family if their child married outside of caste. I am not saying intercaste marriages (or inter-race as is more commone here) don't happen. I am the product of one. And parents are becoming more and more liberal about the idea. But back in India ... oh, it's a whole other story.
 
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I agree w/ Dr Mallik in the fact that it is extremly sad that in the 21st Century we as Indians,or as people have an extreme prejudice towards our own brothers and sisters. We should always respect our parents and elders but this does not mean to follow blindly. When an young Indian gets married, I presume he/she is an adult and capable of making decisions on their own. As an adult with an education,should we continue to perpetuate a malignant, outdated and irrelevant social custom. If our parents should dare say people of African descent are inferior academically, should we blindly agree- I really hope not. People are people-each of us has the potential to do good and also to do bad things. It is nonsensical to say that a person is inferior even before he/she is born-is this the kind of place we want to live in?

When financially secure, educated Brahmin (high caste) families tell their children that they can marry anyone except people from a lower caste, they are sending a wrong message. Just because an injustice has exsisted for centuries doesn't make it right. When we divide society like this, we are only building the walls higher between ourselves.

I hear people talk of shame and embarassement brought to the family if an "inter caste" marriage is suggested. I can think a more shameful thing-the story of a low caste graduate of physics in Bombay (after attaining the highest marks at a university exam) returning home to tell his mother. In a rush back to the village to tell his mother on gaining a medal in his exams, he passes the high caste (Brahmin) street. Consequently he was seen, and humilated in front of his mother, just because he (being low caste) walked in front of their houses. So I ask the question again-what is more embarrassing ? Do we remember why the Nazis carried out the most evil acts of the last century against the Jewish people? One reason was beacause they thought they were Aryans-a superior race of people and that the Jews were inferior. This diseased thinking led to millions of Jews being killed in the most horrific of ways. Now search on google, and you can find stories of High caste (Brahmin) people violently assaulting or even killing low caste people over minor things. How much has India progressed?

Someone on this thread said, tommorow will be a better day. I'm not so sure, unless people speak up for the people whose voices are weak, whose voices are ignored and whose voices are silenced. My surname is Sethi- what does that make me? Low caste or High caste, virtous or immoral, good or bad. The only way you can know, is to get to know me, observe how I behave in front of friends, in front of people who aren't my friends, talk to me.

So if your parents or other family members( aunti ji's etc) express their wishes on same caste marriage ask them to explain what the difference is between a high caste doctor and a low caste doctor. And then you will see the caste system is not a divine system, but a system of arrogance and status. And if you go along with their wishes,you are equally responsible when a young child, adult or elderly person is denied promotion for employment, humilated,injured or killed just because of caste.

It is up to us to eradicate prejudice and discrimination. A chance in life to make a difference that in the long term will benefit millions.
 

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Unfortunately, a very large number of Indians living in the states also believe in this system. For some reasons, we Indians are obsessed with the concepts of superiority and inferiority. I hope we eventually realize that in order to attain success as a nation and a people, we cannot afford to judge each other by some nominal classification system.
 
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Its good that we recognize the problem-but as a generation how do we solve something like this? We don't have a star like Bono of U2 w/ his status (who is championing Anti-Poverty Campaign) to get behind an Anti-Caste movement.
In the UK university where I am studying, the student Hindu society (which I am not a member) fail to speak about such issues. As apparently educated and reasonably financially secure in the West (US, Europe) NRI's shouldn't sit idly and condone or passively encourage the caste system. It is plainly wrong. Inter caste marriages should be a norm and stigma/discrimanation attached to lower castes removed.
- As health care students we should take an interest in big social issues such as this. The reason is that social inequality leads to inequalities in health care and health education.
 

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ASethi said:
There is one Q that keeps getting ignored, remains unanswered: what is the difference between a hospital doctor from a high caste (Brahmin) family and a hospital doctor from a low caste family? I would appreciate anyone (especially a high caste(Brahmin) person) that can answer that question.
Hi ASethi,

In order to answer your question, I have to tell little bit about my self. My views about the caste system were exactly like your's when i was 16. My friends were from different castes and different religions (I actually avoided making friendships with my own caste people because I thought they were arrogant (they were domminant in that area)). Then I had to move to a different location for my bachelors, where other caste is domminant. Then I saw these people trying to dominate us. Then I realized the strengh of caste. It gives you social strength. For people living in US and UK, caste might look like a bad bug in the Indian society, but for a person living in India(particularly rural India), it is a necessary evil.

To answer your question, yes, they are different. I am not saying brahmin is higher and the other guy is lower, they are DIFFERENT. The way they lead their lives is different, they have their own customs and traditions they would like to follow which may not make sense to other person. That is the reason why parents tend to marry off their kids in the same caste or atleast close enough caste. Since same caste people will have same traditions and customes, it is easy for the bride or groom to mix with the family and understand the in-laws family.

Finally! If I was given the oppurtunity to create the Indian society from scratch, I would never include anything like caste, but since it is already there and deeply embeded in the society, I wouldn't fight it (ofcourse I will fight it in extreme cases like the guy you mentioned who got a degree in physics). I lived in India for 23 years, honestly! I have never seen a case of extreme discrimination in my circle.

BTW these are my views.
 
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Thank you Ravi, for an interesting insight. A high caste (Brahmin) family and a different caste family are different, but essientially they are the same-they go out to work, earn money, go to the cinema, get married etc. But maybe the differences on oulook in life & attitudes is an ingrained one from society which has had a caste system for centuries.
I am sure in rural areas caste system is strong and in particular visible where in certain places streets are divided by subcastes. I cannot know the small details of the caste system in India or its day-to-day practicalities since I have live in England.
I appreciate that where are all different and to say that everyone is equal is a fallacy. But everyone should have an equal opportunity. It is very clear in the UK, that many high caste (brahmin) families look down/regard lower caste families as inferior. The reasons are not valid, they are just based on the person's surname and a percieved difference. What is the difference between a good high caste father and a good low caste father? -None, both father's are equally good. The qualities of a person have nothing to do with caste.
If a section of the community (low caste) are continually supressed and ignored-this leads to educational and financial restrictions. Without education, and a financial security their social outlook WILL be different to a high caste family. Remember a poor brahmin family can still have some status in a place whereas a poor lower caste family cannot. So, the differences are perpetuated by the high caste people and then they complain that the lower caste people are immoral, lack spirituality, ambition etc.
Wait, give our brothers and sisters the support, advice, freedom and intergrate them properly,lets not supress them or stigmatize them, and within time they will be as just as distinguished as the others.

It saddens me, that though the problem is recognised, malignant attitudes prevail and you mentioned if we could start Indian society from scratch. Obviously we can't. But we can slowly change attitudes of prejudice and discrimination. Caste does not equal Hindu religion, it never has. When I talk of fighting it, I mean through reasoned debate posing questions such as I have done before, using logic to untangle old prejudices. We must fight it,just because a bad system has exsisted for years doesnt mean it's right. Caste system, widow burning, dowry etc are things of the past that need to be abolished in the 21st Century.
 

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ASethi said:
Thank you Ravi, for an interesting insight. A high caste (Brahmin) family and a different caste family are different, but essientially they are the same-they go out to work, earn money, go to the cinema, get married etc. But maybe the differences on oulook in life & attitudes is an ingrained one from society which has had a caste system for centuries.
I am sure in rural areas caste system is strong and in particular visible where in certain places streets are divided by subcastes. I cannot know the small details of the caste system in India or its day-to-day practicalities since I have live in England.
I appreciate that where are all different and to say that everyone is equal is a fallacy. But everyone should have an equal opportunity. It is very clear in the UK, that many high caste (brahmin) families look down/regard lower caste families as inferior. The reasons are not valid, they are just based on the person's surname and a percieved difference. What is the difference between a good high caste father and a good low caste father? -None, both father's are equally good. The qualities of a person have nothing to do with caste.
If a section of the community (low caste) are continually supressed and ignored-this leads to educational and financial restrictions. Without education, and a financial security their social outlook WILL be different to a high caste family. Remember a poor brahmin family can still have some status in a place whereas a poor lower caste family cannot. So, the differences are perpetuated by the high caste people and then they complain that the lower caste people are immoral, lack spirituality, ambition etc.
Wait, give our brothers and sisters the support, advice, freedom and intergrate them properly,lets not supress them or stigmatize them, and within time they will be as just as distinguished as the others.

It saddens me, that though the problem is recognised, malignant attitudes prevail and you mentioned if we could start Indian society from scratch. Obviously we can't. But we can slowly change attitudes of prejudice and discrimination. Caste does not equal Hindu religion, it never has. When I talk of fighting it, I mean through reasoned debate posing questions such as I have done before, using logic to untangle old prejudices. We must fight it,just because a bad system has exsisted for years doesnt mean it's right. Caste system, widow burning, dowry etc are things of the past that need to be abolished in the 21st Century.

You know, you shouldn't keep using this high caste/low caste paradigm. This discrimination really goes both ways. If you are a barhmin and want to marry someone of a lower caste, will the brahmin family disagree, probably yes. But the same is true for the lower caste family. They wouldn't want their child to marry into another caste, regardless of higher or lower. In a way it is crazy. It's the ultimate clique. You are born into it and you can't get out of it. And for the sake of image, you must maintain it. I am not sure this was ever relavent, but it certainly is not necessary in a modern society. As it changes in the cities of India, where money means more than caste, it is interesting that in certain immigrant communities, they have developed this hightened sense of Indian traditions. They practice forms if Indian culture that are not even done in India any more.
 

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ASethi said:
Thank you Ravi, for an interesting insight. A high caste (Brahmin) family and a different caste family are different, but essientially they are the same-they go out to work, earn money, go to the cinema, get married etc. But maybe the differences on oulook in life & attitudes is an ingrained one from society which has had a caste system for centuries.
I am sure in rural areas caste system is strong and in particular visible where in certain places streets are divided by subcastes. I cannot know the small details of the caste system in India or its day-to-day practicalities since I have live in England.
I appreciate that where are all different and to say that everyone is equal is a fallacy. But everyone should have an equal opportunity. It is very clear in the UK, that many high caste (brahmin) families look down/regard lower caste families as inferior. The reasons are not valid, they are just based on the person's surname and a percieved difference. What is the difference between a good high caste father and a good low caste father? -None, both father's are equally good. The qualities of a person have nothing to do with caste.
If a section of the community (low caste) are continually supressed and ignored-this leads to educational and financial restrictions. Without education, and a financial security their social outlook WILL be different to a high caste family. Remember a poor brahmin family can still have some status in a place whereas a poor lower caste family cannot. So, the differences are perpetuated by the high caste people and then they complain that the lower caste people are immoral, lack spirituality, ambition etc.
Wait, give our brothers and sisters the support, advice, freedom and intergrate them properly,lets not supress them or stigmatize them, and within time they will be as just as distinguished as the others.

It saddens me, that though the problem is recognised, malignant attitudes prevail and you mentioned if we could start Indian society from scratch. Obviously we can't. But we can slowly change attitudes of prejudice and discrimination. Caste does not equal Hindu religion, it never has. When I talk of fighting it, I mean through reasoned debate posing questions such as I have done before, using logic to untangle old prejudices. We must fight it,just because a bad system has exsisted for years doesnt mean it's right. Caste system, widow burning, dowry etc are things of the past that need to be abolished in the 21st Century.
Well,my parents do not discriminate as such.....but marriage is a big issue.But there are certain hard facts u can not ignore.My mom works with punjab govt. ..she has been a lecturer for 25 years now...a double postgraduate....she was to be promoted as a Principal of the college....but was not??why??because the principal is schedule caste with 15 years of experience and just a post graduate.My dad is a senior executive with Punjab Govt......26 years of experience...very highly qualified ...but was not promoted as CEO ...cos CEO is a SC.....much less qualified and much less experienced .... u work for something and a less deserving person gets it...it leads to resentment.
 
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meetlife said:
Well,my parents do not discriminate as such.....but marriage is a big issue.But there are certain hard facts u can not ignore.My mom works with punjab govt. ..she has been a lecturer for 25 years now...a double postgraduate....she was to be promoted as a Principal of the college....but was not??why??because the principal is schedule caste with 15 years of experience and just a post graduate.My dad is a senior executive with Punjab Govt......26 years of experience...very highly qualified ...but was not promoted as CEO ...cos CEO is a SC.....much less qualified and much less experienced .... u work for something and a less deserving person gets it...it leads to resentment.
Ideally, the most able and qualified should get the post. To be honest I don't know how India works since I am from the UK. In the UK black people and other ethnic minorities may get passed up on promotions to white people-it does happen.
But I maybe wrong, but sometimes its a good thing that people who have been disadvantged get a chance to fill positions which have been kept from them. Though having a quota system will obviously lead to resentment.
Before, you would never seen a SC in a top position rarely.
 

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Well,from my point of view......i m sure nearly everyone on this thread will disagree but i do believe in the cast system.....now now before you start yelling at me,just try n listen to me at first......
Cast system is wrong if it comes between friends,or classmates or in a professional relationship,or buisness or as a doctor But i dont think its wrong if it comes up if you r looking from the marriage point of view especially in the case of arranged marriage...just imagine how difficult it is for a girl to adjust herself in a new household....it is twice as difficult if she has to adjust in a house with a different caste/religion....esp if there is no love involved....which is the case in all ARRANGED marriages........
And I guess as it is this way in India>>>>>people do believe in cast system.......u cant help it wether u like it or not....so why FIGHT ????
 
S

S_R

Hey y'all

This is an interesting discussion...

Well, to be honest with you, I half agree with the caste system, half disagree.

First off, I've been brought up with these thoughts - even though I've grown up in TORONTO, these thoughts still remain within my family. Not so much by my parents (they're flexible), but my grandparents, great grandparents, relatives in India etc. have all had arranged marriages and have all married WITHIN our own "caste" (& everyone's marriages have worked out ofcourse).

When it comes to friendships, classmates, professors, your own doctor! etc. etc. I don't think this "caste" business should get in the way, but when it comes to my marriage I beleive that I would prefer to marry someone within my own "caste". Like parasite said, it's very difficult for a woman, even in this day and age to marry - that too you are marrying INTO the husband's family - and adjust! So personally I feel that if I were to have an arranged marriage, and marry into my own "caste" I wouldn't have to adjust all that much (& ofcourse he wouldn't have to adjust all that much to me), because there wouldn't be too many problems/differences with our thoughts, beliefs, prayers, language and even food (the list can keep going)....

Even more specific, you can be a Brahmin/any other caste, but depending WHERE in India you're from - South OR North, makes a huge difference! Once again, what you eat, whom you pray to, language etc. differences are there.

Remember that this (marriage) is the only reason as to why I don't mind this caste system (for myself ofcourse), but in other cases such as employing someone for a job just because he/she is a higher caste than another person, or treating someone like dirt because they are lower "caste" ppl (I can keep going), I totally find disgusting and I don't agree to it.

I may have mixed minds, but then again I am an IBCRCD - Indian Born Canadian Raised Confused Desi!!!

Regards -


parasiteatwork said:
Well,from my point of view......i m sure nearly everyone on this thread will disagree but i do believe in the cast system.....now now before you start yelling at me,just try n listen to me at first......
Cast system is wrong if it comes between friends,or classmates or in a professional relationship,or buisness or as a doctor But i dont think its wrong if it comes up if you r looking from the marriage point of view especially in the case of arranged marriage...just imagine how difficult it is for a girl to adjust herself in a new household....it is twice as difficult if she has to adjust in a house with a different caste/religion....esp if there is no love involved....which is the case in all ARRANGED marriages........
And I guess as it is this way in India>>>>>people do believe in cast system.......u cant help it wether u like it or not....so why FIGHT ????
 

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I haven't read the thread, but all I know is that, I wouldn't marry someone who believes and distinguishes people on the basis of caste and even religion. I think such a thinking is a pre requisite to limiting your love and so this concept does not meet the way I define love.

I am a punjabi myself, I don't know what's my caste, my parents were never too observant about it or never bothered to inculcate thoughts that would distinguish us from other individuals either to develop a superiority or an inferiority complex.

I would marry any caste, any religion (mostly a sikh or a hindu) as far as the man meets the image of my dream man.

Plus, I am multilingual and I can speak punjabi, hindi, marathi and gujurati, so there, that solves my problem incase I thought I wanted to marry someone who doesnt speak punjabi. sad though I can't speak the south indian languages, I wish I could, oh and also bengali (it just sounds so sweet).
 
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If more Indian people thought/acted like Priyanka, things in Indian society as well as for NRI's would be much better. Her curiousness for other languages/cultures makes her "educated"-I use this term in the broadest sense.
Actually, if more people had this sense, many difficulties worldwide could be reduced.


During med school I have a few friends from many different places-Iran, Iran, Greece, Singapore etc. There was one British-Iraqi girl in my year who refused to use a pen that had the word "Jewish" on it. However,my Iranian friend smiled and just used the pen saying that it was nonsensical to not use a pen just because it had the cross of David on it. He went on to tell me how Muslims from early childhood are told that Jews are money hungry and that their purpose is to steal from Muslims etc. He regarded these views as dangerous. However, most muslim people I know have a knee-jerk reaction towards Jews that is bordering on vicious. Where did these British born Muslims get their prejudice from? From their parents, grandparents etc.

So the point I am trying to get across is that sometimes for the right reasons, it is acceptable to go against parents, grandparents who indoctrinate prejudiced views against other Indian people or other races. When I say go against, I mean in a calm, and intellectual manner, but being firm about your beliefs.

parasiteatwork says "And I guess as it is this way in India>>>>>people do believe in cast system.......u cant help it wether u like it or not....so why FIGHT ????"

We can "help it". We must "help it". You can't just stand by and let injustices happen because it is wrong whatever religion/moral code you practise. If you do passively stand by, you are collaborating with the cancerous whole caste system.

In regard to marriage,marrying someone in your own caste just because someone is your own caste is clearly a wrong idea. Marrying someone because you know them well,get along, are in love and respect/admire their qualities is a more sensible approach.
 
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S_R

ASethi said:
In regard to marriage,marrying someone in your own caste just because someone is your own caste is clearly a wrong idea. Marrying someone because you know them well,get along, are in love and respect/admire their qualities is a more sensible approach.
Quick note, I agree with everything you said previously.

But do not be quick to assume that those who sort of support the caste system are closed minded to others in the world! :laugh: I wouldn't have chosen to study in Poland out of all places, if I had not felt that I wouldn't be able to accept the country, culture, language etc. Also, if I had chosen to remain head strong about being ONLY with my "Brahmin" counterparts, I wouldn't have friends from all over the world as I do now! I am out to meet new people and try different things for sure!

According to this issue on marriage, it's not that we are simply marrying someone/anyone for that matter just because we are of the same caste. I am sorry if my previous post made it sound that way...that is certainly one of the things I would personally look at when I am ready to marry. Ofcourse the individual, who he is, his personality etc. is certainly an important thing.

Obviously when one gets married - within your own "caste" you would get along well etc. etc. because you have similarities between the both of you.

If there are not many similarities one would obviously have to give up a lot and accept the other person. It would be nice if BOTH parties (wife and husband) give and take equal amounts, but it's easier said than done. Usually women are the ones that give up a lot. Truth or not?

Regards -
 
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Hey S_R. Thanks for the reply. Again, people are shedding more light onto this matter which is always a good thing.

For example, lets say a female Indian med student meets an Indian med student called Sachin Something? He is intelligent, she both get along really well, they share the same interests and there are clear sparks and genuine affection between them. Lets imagine that she has been friends with him for a couple of years in med school and now the both them have passed finals. During her time w/ him, she has had no idea of his caste. Both of them then decide that they both like each other and the may want to get married someday. She then discovers that her friend is of a completly different caste than her own. Is she still going to marry him? Is he still the person she have began to care for?

Just a quick note not related to this thread,S_R have you seen the great Polish director's Kieslowski's Three Colours Trilogy. One of my favorite films is Three Colors: Red and I have seen most of Kieslowski's Dekalog.
 

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ASethi said:
We can "help it". We must "help it". You can't just stand by and let injustices happen because it is wrong whatever religion/moral code you practise. If you do passively stand by, you are collaborating with the cancerous whole caste system.

In regard to marriage,marrying someone in your own caste just because someone is your own caste is clearly a wrong idea. Marrying someone because you know them well,get along, are in love and respect/admire their qualities is a more sensible approach.
Hi ASethi,

Every thing you said is quite true and it really looks good in writing, but can you impliment this? You are basically encouraging love marriages. Can you go and preach an Indian villager to encourage love marriages? It is next to impossible. The reason why I keep comming back to rural India is, 75% of our population live in rural areas, if you want to change the people, this is the place you should start. Problem is bigger than you and me. It took thousands of years to build our society, if you want to undo this, expect atleast couple of centuries.

I hate to say what I said ( I know it sounds like I am discouraging you :( ) , but reality is not always sweet. And another thing I want to tell you is..... may be in UK brahmins are "superior", but in India most dominant caste in that area is the "superior" caste. It is not true that Brahmins are always "superior". As a universal rule, money and power talk. Caste with political power rules the society and also people with money.
 
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Ravi, found reading your reply very insightful. Yes, it is all well and good writing thism but how would one try and change things (I'll come back to that one, at the end of this posting).
In regard to love marriages, I think that is a difficult question to answer. I am not really in favor of a marriage between two people who only know a little about each other-this can happen in arranged and in so called "love" marriages.
In regard to love, the Nobel Prize Winner in English Literature, Wislawa Szymborska (Poland) offers a unique and honest insight

"True Love"

by Wislawa Szymborska

True love. Is it normal
is it serious, is it practical?
What does the world get from two people
who exist in a world of their own?...

...True love. Is it really necessary?
Tact and common sense tell us to pass over it in silence,
like a scandal in Life's highest circles.
Perfectly good children are born without its help.
It couldn't populate the planet in a million years,
it comes along so rarely.

(Extremly shortened version)

I tend to agree with her. Love marriages can turn out good/bad, the same as arranged marriages. However w/ arranged marriages esp. in rural areas, one family will try and get an advantage by marrying another family in the same caste-this advantage is nearly always monetary or to do with accumulation property. At least with marriages that are diverse, new ideas/attitudes and concepts can be drawn in and everyone benefits.

I really can't comment on how to solve ingrained caste attitudes in rural India-I don't have the knowledge. I think it would be very difficult to convince a rural village father about to marry his daughter off to a same caste man. There are obvious economic adv. to marrying in the same caste-for one the dowry won't be less than if the daughter married someone below. As people who have the privelge, and it is a privelge to have a broad education we know clearly the Caste System is wrong on many levels. To discourage this practice in rural India, the poor economic reality of such places has to be greatly improved (a v. complex task) and education has to be promoted.
In the UK, we have a good health drive esp. w/rising rates of obesity in the lower socioeconomic groups (ie low income families). It is very hard to persuade a working class mother to stop feeding her children unhealthy "ready made" packaged meals and start cooking with fresh ingredients-she simply has no time working in a low paid job and the cost of vegetables are expensive to her. So she chooses the only option availiable-which later on costs the National Health Service dearly-rising Heart disease, Cancer Incidence rates etc. So what can be done? - An intelligent answer is needed.


In regard to NRI's esp. ones who have the privelge to a uni education-they should know better and should dispel these caste prejudices and challenge anyone who suggests same caste marriage. Getting married, job application etc doesn't depend on what your father or mother was, it depends on the qualities of that person. So what if one caste ties a string on their wrist while another doesn't-does that make one worker better than the other?Of course not. And if one caste thinks differently than the other-so teach the other caste how to do things properly if that is the case-knowlege (good and bady) and practices can be learnt.
These people who favor caste make these trivial rituals and practices seem important and define themselves by it-these rituals confirm their morality with God.

I agree with you, whatever group which has money and power exert influence whatever caste they are. But that doesn't solve anything. Indian society is still based on these differences. At least in society based on money inequality one can move up the ladder so to speak. However w/ societal system based on caste no one does move up the ladder do they. The higher caste looks down and sneers, while the lower caste people struggle. And it is not based on education or money,but just on what their forefathers did as employment. What kind of a country has a group of people called Untouchables?
 

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Casteism which we have inherited from our history is still active and alive around us. There's no doubt about it. The recurring caste carnages and the ongoing caste politics are a constant reminder that casteism is very much alive.

In the electoral strategies of political parties we hear of caste politics, caste equations in voting patterns, caste-based reserved constituencies, caste based job reservations (that have existed since independence and have been further articulated by the Mandal Commission). Even some of the job applications/ school applications still asks for 'Caste'.

You would think that with education and western influence you'd see an decline in this practice but with time its just becoming more radical and stringent.

Henna
 
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Thankyou for that information, Henna. Since I live in the UK, the day-today political realities of castiesm are not known in detail-though I do hear anecdotes from people. Your comments are sadly true-even though many have Western education and uprbringing(to a certain extent), these entrenched prejudices remain. Since we live outside India, and are exposed to a "Western" culture, why don't people take the best parts of Indian thinking and the best parts of Western thinking? That's what I try to live up to.
 

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Dear ASSethi,
This topic is interesting, intriguing and unfortunate at the same time. Yes, caste system in India is extremely prevalent but so is racism in most other parts of the world. I abhor casteism just as as much as I despise and detest racism. I will try to address some of the issues you are raising here in no particular order.

First off re. marriage: Like many other posters have said, it's not always discrimination when parents try to find spouses for their children from the same caste. It is also an issue of compatibility. For example if I was raised in a middle class family, my parents would want to find me a spouse from another family that has a similar lifestyle, enjoys similar comforts, has a similar diet etc. If not, adjusting becomes extremely difficult or so the parents think.
This is very similar to a southern baptist woman or man wanting to get married to a southern baptist. How many Caucasians do you come across that are married to non-whites or vice-versa? I chose to get married only to an Indian and also an Indian like me who was raised in India but emigrated to the USA. I did this because after dating many people I found I was more compatible with someone from a similar background as I. That doesn't make me racist, I call it pragmatism, especially if I wanted marital bliss.

Secondly, like Ravi said, it's not the Brahmins versus the rest of the world. Yes, Brahmins persecuted the lower castes centuries ago, which is abominable, but now the roles have reversed. Brahmins, right now, are probably the only caste with neither money nor clout. Their only way to the top of the ladder is education and even then they lose out to SC/BC because of the reservation system or some other caste because of lack of money and muscle. I totally agree with the need for upliftment of the downtrodden, but, it has to be done within reason or else this vicious cycle will continue.

To this effect I will give you an example: there is a premier institute in India for molecular biology, I volunteered there for 3 months. There was a post-doc who was desperately looking for a "real job". There was a vacancy for the position of an assitant professor at this institute and I asked her to apply. She said she was denied the position because she was not from one of the lower castes (SC/BC) and that they were only recruiting someone from these castes to meet the mandate. The recruitment for upper castes at that level had not taken place for 6 years then. Is this fair, hell no! Who's being persecuted, the upper caste! The point I'm trying to make here is that it goes both ways and something has to be done about it.
Another example from within my own family to show that it goes both ways is that, my sibling got married to someone who speaks a different language and is from a different caste and both families had a fit.

I know people will say change is not possible and I will be asked for a solution. My solution, at least as far as fairness in education and job search, is: reservation should be given only to one generation of the downtrodden; secondly introduce merit scholarships and financial hardship scholarships, so students/people from all castes have an equal oppotunity to progress in life.
These are my two cents.
Cheers
 
S

S_R

ASethi said:
Hey S_R. Thanks for the reply. Again, people are shedding more light onto this matter which is always a good thing.

For example, lets say a female Indian med student meets an Indian med student called Sachin Something? He is intelligent, she both get along really well, they share the same interests and there are clear sparks and genuine affection between them. Lets imagine that she has been friends with him for a couple of years in med school and now the both them have passed finals. During her time w/ him, she has had no idea of his caste. Both of them then decide that they both like each other and the may want to get married someday. She then discovers that her friend is of a completly different caste than her own. Is she still going to marry him? Is he still the person she have began to care for?

Just a quick note not related to this thread,S_R have you seen the great Polish director's Kieslowski's Three Colours Trilogy. One of my favorite films is Three Colors: Red and I have seen most of Kieslowski's Dekalog.
This female Indian med student, meets and falls in love with male Indian med student - Sachin something.....etc etc. even if he's of a different caste but they both truly love one another and accept one another for who they are, then sure, why don't they get married? I don't see what's wrong in that! But :rolleyes: that is THEIR life, not MY life.

As for caste & marriage, well I have certain views when it comes to relationships, marriage and matters of the heart, but that my dear is a WHOLE different topic all together. Not sure whether to start on that... :D

My point being, this whole caste situation in India & abroad won't die down anytime soon as other posters have mentioned. I agree that sometimes this whole caste system hatred-against-others thing goes a little too far. Examples being, employing only "certain" people because of their caste, only wanting a doctor from your OWN caste because you think that doctor is somehow "better" than any other doctor, being admitted into such & such schools due to your particular caste over another person - whether it be of the lower or higher...could keep going on and on...it's sad that this exists. This "unfair-ness" might disappear but it ain't happening anytime soon!

I have not seen the film "Three Colours Trilogy", but I would love to see it! Is it in Polish? What's the storyline please? If I cannot watch it here, wondering once I go back to Toronto would it be available at Blockbuster or Rogers? ;)

Let me know!

Thanks..

Regards -
 
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Thanks travelbug for the posting.It was good to hear examples of how this problem is complex and can go both ways.

S_R,I too think that the cancerous caste system won't be eradicated overnight, but as people become more educated it will happen slowly. But this generation (me included) need to make sure we don't continue these outdated practices/attitudes.W/ regard to marriage, pragmatism is important as well. Since incompatibilty long term will lead to the possible breakdown/tension within the marriage.

Three Colours Trilogy is loosely based on the colors of the French Flag: Blue, White & Red. The blue, white, and red French flag was developed during the French Revolution. The three colors represent the Republic's three ideals: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity(Brotherhood). The films explores these issues in how it affects induvidual relationships. I have seen Blue, but Red is my favorite.

Three Colors:Red is Kiewslowski's final film before his death after CABG (cornary heart bypass surgery) in the mid 90's. The film is in French w/ English subtitles. I am not going to spoil the plot, because it is that type of film and it is v. hard explaining what happens-ie it is a seemingly simple story. It is a film that is the most standalone in the trilogy. Three Colors should be availiable in the World Cinema Section or it can be ordered from Amazon.com. But I think you wont have a problem getting it, just ask around, its an international film from one of the world's best directors.

Dekalog-Is loosley based on the Ten Commandments. It is in Polish w/English Subtitles.

Best wishes,
 
P

Premedtomed

I think another important factor in solving the problem created by casteism is to hear what it is like from someone belonging to the lower caste. These people unfortunately have no voice in Indian affairs, even though they help some of them win elections.
Also, crime by these poor souls cannot be discounted. How can you solve problems by inciting violence? (Maoists in Nepal)

poverty is the root cause. As society as a whole gets richer, people will be more accepting of diversity - this is a fact and it applies to every place in the world.

Caste System was originally supposed to divide the society in different classes for the smooth functioning of civilization. There was no stigma attached to lower castes. Mobility was present. As things decayed, the lower caste became victim of greediness of upper caste people.
 

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Casteism will not go away. Those who have converted from being Hindus into Christians (ie. in Southern India) still retain their caste titles, and PROUDLY display it on their doors. They use this "power" within their communities, even though Christianity does not follow a caste system.
 

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sunny123 said:
Casteism will not go away. Those who have converted from being Hindus into Christians (ie. in Southern India) still retain their caste titles, and PROUDLY display it on their doors. They use this "power" within their communities, even though Christianity does not follow a caste system.
really???i didnt know about that.....(
Anyways, I m a christian and becoz there is no caste system in christianity i dont believe in it but as far as religion is concerned...i agree with it completely,i mean only as far as marrying someone is concerned....I THINK IT IS USELESS TO CONSIDER CAST/RELIGION between friends or buisness or school etc etc... :) :)
 
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Premedtomed, thanks for the posting. I agree that if India adopts a capitalism(which I think it has wholeheartedly) then diversity increases. In a business sense, you do not won't to trade w/ one market, you want to increase profit as much as possible. However, I think maybe some education about destructive caste system attitudes are should be conducted, as I fear that the rich may get richer and the poor, poorer.
sunny123 illustrates the fact that caste system is not based on religious values it is a societal thing w/ a religious dimension added conviently to make it look legitamate and "right". But I strongly disagree w/ Sunny when he says casteism won't go away. I think prejudice based on colour and different ethnic differences is very hard to dispel (though completly irrational) : we are just more comfortable w/ people from the same "tribe"-but this can be unlearnt. However to base prejudices on what someone's great great great grandfather did is absurd.
 

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parasiteatwork said:
really???i didnt know about that.....(
Anyways, I m a christian and becoz there is no caste system in christianity i dont believe in it but as far as religion is concerned...i agree with it completely,i mean only as far as marrying someone is concerned....I THINK IT IS USELESS TO CONSIDER CAST/RELIGION between friends or buisness or school etc etc... :) :)
Yeah, there was this girl in my Post-Colonial Lit Class who was from Kerela, and she was a Christian whose family converted a few generations back. She showed us the pictures of her house, and mentioned that they still display their Brahmin last name. This all came about when we were reading Arundhuti Roy's "God of Small Things".

Anyways ASethi, what I should have said was that casteism won't be going away anytime soon. And to completely abolish this form of segregation only starts with our generation and those yet to come. Parents are still bent on getting their kids married to other people in the same caste. Unless you stand up to them and tell them upfront that it is very unlikely you would marry someone of the same caste (let's not forget about the gotra as well, as there are subcastes as well), and that your parents are open minded, then you can begin to change somehting. I have told my parents this, and they are ok with it. And even if they weren't, I'd tell them "tough luck". Also ASethi, don't think that persecution has stopped "centuries ago, with the Brahmins" as you mentioned previously. Persecution still exists today, and even here in North America. People become segregated according to their own castes at some cultural clubs. People talk differently with you, or use a certain tone when they speak with you. as the point has been reiterated in this thread, chnage will not come so suddenly.
 
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Suny-Thanks for sharing. You are correct in your thinking-it is up to us. When marriage ideas come along, one simply has to say they will marry a decent, kind, thoughtful person whom they get along with, and are well matched. And if parents/auntji's say marrying out of cast will bring shame to the family name-so what ? The concept is flawed. But as you say, it will not be an overnight process. But talking about it is the 1st step.
 

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One notion we should introduce to our family members is the concept of Mueller's Ratchet (where inbreeding leads to the accumulation of deleterious alleles). People in small villages should not start marrying off poeple in their own family (I've heard of people marrying their cousins) if they can't find a suitable match (ie. perfect caste). The survival of the human race depends on individuals spreading out and reproducing with someone is from a different population. Caste should not be the limiting factor. Hybrids are the way of the future :laugh: .
 
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sunny123 said:
Caste should not be the limiting factor. Hybrids are the way of the future
That's always been the way forward. I recently saw a documentary on the BBC. A Pakastani lady working for the Asian Network division of the BBC wanted explain the adv. of first cousins marrying each other. I was completly against this and felt very bad seeing the child(girl) of a 1st cousin marriage who had this rare and horrific blistering skin condition. This was due to both parents carrying the recessive gene. I think first cousin marriages should be banned outright- I can't think of any arguement for them. The lady talked about compatability and that the groom/bridegroom can readily fit in the family, customs, practices are the same...caste is the same.
Medicine speaks the facts-first cousin marriages are more likely to produce offspring that are abnormal. It is unjust that parents subject that to their children knowingly.
 

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why don't you take your own advice Syelesh?...And go do something else...you obviously have better stuff to do than hang around in a forum which you obvioulsy don't think is worth it?? reading people's opinions that you obviously don't respect? going through discussions ...like this one....even though you obviously think the topic should not be dealt with?? and just tolerated...
If these people want to use their brain cells...and engage in a healthy...ocassionally intellingent discussion...then why is it any of your business??? :rolleyes:
 

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hopeful05 said:
why don't you take your own advice Syelesh?...And go do something else...you obviously have better stuff to do than hang around in a forum which you obvioulsy don't think is worth it?? reading people's opinions that you obviously don't respect? going through discussions ...like this one....even though you obviously think the topic should not be dealt with?? and just tolerated...
If these people want to use their brain cells...and engage in a healthy...ocassionally intellingent discussion...then why is it any of your business??? :rolleyes:
ooooooooohoh...hey tina,
do u actually get this angry........ :scared:
 

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ASethi said:
That's always been the way forward. I recently saw a documentary on the BBC. A Pakastani lady working for the Asian Network division of the BBC wanted explain the adv. of first cousins marrying each other. I was completly against this and felt very bad seeing the child(girl) of a 1st cousin marriage who had this rare and horrific blistering skin condition. This was due to both parents carrying the recessive gene. I think first cousin marriages should be banned outright- I can't think of any arguement for them. The lady talked about compatability and that the groom/bridegroom can readily fit in the family, customs, practices are the same...caste is the same.
Medicine speaks the facts-first cousin marriages are more likely to produce offspring that are abnormal. It is unjust that parents subject that to their children knowingly.
Is marrying first cousins more prominent in Pakistan? I don't know the stats on first cousins marrying in S.Asia, nor whether it is more prominent in certain religious groups, or if it is a cultural thing.

And meet, Tina wasn't being angry, she was being polite ;) , as she always is.
 

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Come on you guys.... atleast my language wasn't inapp.....I was just voicing my true thoughts...what did I say wrong abt this guy anyways...My opinion wasn't unfounded but based on his posts.....
The post I replied to by sylesh...he conveniently removed it...deleted it...so now i look like the fool here ...i gues.... :laugh:

And yes meetlife...do get angry sometimes....but that usually passes over in a couple of minutes!!
You know how some people never get angry and then one day they have a blast....well I don't hide my true feelings...let it out..in a civilized manner ;) ...in the long run it actually helps you to be a happier person...coz' I don't brood over stuff then...it's done...it's dealt with..it's gone...try it :thumbup:
 

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hopeful05 said:
Come on you guys.... atleast my language wasn't inapp.....I was just voicing my true thoughts...what did I say wrong abt this guy anyways...My opinion wasn't unfounded but based on his posts.....
The post I replied to by sylesh...he conveniently removed it...deleted it...so now i look like the fool here ...i gues.... :laugh:

And yes meetlife...do get angry sometimes....but that usually passes over in a couple of minutes!!
You know how some people never get angry and then one day they have a blast....well I don't hide my true feelings...let it out..in a civilized manner ;) ...in the long run it actually helps you to be a happier person...coz' I don't brood over stuff then...it's done...it's dealt with..it's gone...try it :thumbup:
hey tina.......never mind......its good to know more about you ..... :love: :love: