Trend of repackaging casteism growing

I donot know what but this piece of article from the Hindu as always (might be since It Had P sainath speaking) captured my imagination. Just read it it is touching and it may not be a point on which most of us agree and homogenity is something thats undesireable in somethings. Otherwise we tend to stagnate.

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Trend of repackaging casteism growing

Special Correspondent

Dalits, Adivasis far behind rest of the population in terms of every social indicator: Sainath

CHENNAI: The political and social ideas that B.R. Ambedkar stood and fought for remain extremely relevant today. This was the message emphasised at the Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Lectures held at the University of Madras on Thursday to mark the political leader’s 51st death anniversary.

In the past few years, there had been a growing trend of “repackaging” casteism and caste stereotypes and projecting it as an equality or “meritocracy” issue, said P. Sainath, Ramon Magsaysay award winner and Rural Affairs Editor, The Hindu.

“The idea of reverse discrimination is growing and is severely rooted in the media,” he said .

Racist comment

Casteist sentiments and stereotypes were still widely prevalent. “One of the most obnoxious things I’ve seen on television during the recent medicos’ protest was these rich kids taking brooms and sweeping the floor,” Mr. Sainath said.

“They are saying you are forcing us, the flower of India’s youth, to do the work that is meant to be that of the menial classes… This is an extremely racist and casteist comment, but this obnoxious statement was projected with great glee by every channel.”

Dalits and Adivasis constituted a “huge” section of the 836 million people in India living on less than Rs. 20 a day and were “far behind” the rest of the population in terms of every social indicator, be it health, hunger or neo-natal deaths.

“Yet, despite all this, this repackaging reduces the issue of Dalits only to reservation,” Mr. Sainath said.

“In the media, any debate on Dalit rights is about reservation, and not about water, health, sanitation or land rights. In the minds of the media audience, we have created a stereotype that Dalit is equal to reservation, which is taken out of the context of all these other deprivations.”

S. Ramachandran, Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras, saluted Dr. Ambedkar’s fight against the caste system and untouchability.

“He mobilised Dalits across the country and emerged as the undisputed champion of the oppressed classes,” he said.

State’s role

G. Nancharaiah, former Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar University, Lucknow, said Dr. Ambedkar believed that the State had a vital role to play in bringing about social changes, and this remained exceedingly relevant today.

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