A Response to Kangana’s letter - Manav Bhatia

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

A recent tweet by Bollywood actress, Kangana Ranault has sparked an online conversation about caste problems and lack of representation in India. The actress in her tweet, explained that caste for no more a problem in India as “modern” Indians, even in smaller towns, rejected it. Further, she mentions that reservations is merely a political tool and it prevents India from progressing unlike the West which does not have the system of reservations. This Article is a reply to the misconceptions disseminated.

When Article 17 of the Indian Constitution was deliberately drafted to counter the heinous problem of caste discrimination in India. The article abolishes “Untouchability” and further under Article 16(4) of the same document, the state has been given the authority to create a provision for the sections/classes of persons who are not adequately represented in services under the state. Legal jargon is not necessary for us to be cognizant of this social issue that is deeply penetrated in our Indian Society. We need not specialize in the subject of minorities to recognize their under-representation. A merely closer look into your immediate common spaces is sufficient. Bhim Rao Ambedkar chaired the Drafting Committee of the Constitution in 1947. 33 years later, Late Justice A Vardarajan was elevated as the first Dalit as a judge in the apex court. It is a relevant question why it took 33 years for the oppressed classes to send in a representative. Caste oppression in India is rooted in the religious manuscripts and thus is deeply penetrated in religious India’s social fabric. The many provisions and clauses and various other attempts by the state only go so far to create opportunity in matters and services of the state however fail to counter discrimination the society plates down for the oppressed classes in their attempts to avail said opportunities. This discrimination comes in the form of social exclusion and slurs in schools and continues all the way to implicit discrimination under the veil of discretion in the workplace.

Ludicrous statements such as the likes of what the actor said has exposed this country to the void of knowledge that is possessed by the privileged know it all. The statement exemplifies the ignorance to over look the inequalities embedded so deep into the society that codified laws such as Art 17 and Art 15 of the Indian constitution have failed in achieving what she claims to be non existent.

Such as justice Gavai was Supreme Court’s only Dalit judge who was appointed in 2019 after a decade. Looking into the data recorded till 2019 no Dalit judge in all of 24 high courts of the judiciary in India. Hence, what representation do they base their facts on? What equality to they harp about This is where representation is lacking and if not granted then the situation is only going to deter. First Dalit sarpanch was shot dead allegedly by upper caste members in Bansgaon village. If caste were really dead would that be the case? Another example is so atrocious that spread of COVID-19 failed to bring a halt to casteist atrocities against Dalits and tribals in Tamil Nadu. Study conducted by them showed between March 25 and early July. 82 incidents of caste discriminations from rape to killings have taken place. If the judiciary. If the law making segment of India would not take cognisance of this, then who will?. Who will protect the populous residing within the territorial bounds of this country but are being treated as a different clan altogether?

Yes caste exists!

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