In Desperate Need Of A Social Reform


To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. And as long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.

Above quote by Nelson Mandela forces us to think if we are really free and if our sense of satisfaction only relates to acknowledgement of superiority of one caste over the other. It’s true that India gained Independence in 1947 but it’s equally true that the chains of gross inequality have continued to entrap us. Did freedom only mean independence from the outsiders and a continuance of the dominance of upper caste over the lower castes and other minority communities? It would then be untrue to say India got independence in 1947 but rather only the majoritarian or the dominant communities of our society got that independence. The others continue to live in constant alienation with threats of either being forced to leave the country or live following the standards of Hindutva.

For non-Hindu communities and lower castes within the Hindu communities, Hindutva is an achievement of a goal set by the majoritarian community by coercing, threatening and even killing the others on mere suspicion of violating the unlawful guidelines set by the majoritarians. This has led to coining of the term “Saffron Terror” which, as per Wikipedia, is a neologism used to describe acts of violence motivated by Hindu nationalism perpetrated by members, or alleged members, of Hindu nationalist organizations close to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Abhinav Bharat. The term comes from the symbolic use made of the saffron color by the Hindu nationalist organisations. This is evident in a number of cases such as 2002 Gujrat riots, 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, 2007 Ajmer Dargah attack, 2008 Malegaon blasts, Mecca Masjid bombing and many others related to the oppression of Dalits.

These incidents have often suggested that India is in grave need of a social reform and a just society which grants the fulfillment of equal rights to everyone. A social reform takes the precedence over a political reform. This is mostly misunderstood with political reform taking the precedence or even complete suppressing the need for a social reform. A government which does not treat all its citizens equally cannot bring about a social reform. Under such a government, favoritism will prevail and the fault lines of caste and gender discrimination will only continue to grow prompting an even stronger need for a social reform.

This is the time when the government will suppress every opposition and dissent making a social reform seem more difficult. But the citizens have to stand their ground and make every effort in a non-violent way to push for their demands and work towards a single goal of achieving equality among everyone in this society. There is a need to create forums, group discussions at institution / housing society levels to look for ways of achieving this goal. We need social reform desperately and political reform will follow. So, it not just about voting for a party and wait for the progress to happen but it is the duty of each individual to work in groups and achieve collective progress leading to a progressive society. It would then be easier to question a government for not doing its duties rather than sitting idle and just keep questioning. It’s the people and not the government that would bring about a social reform or at least people need to start and show the way to the government. If the governments could or even considered it as their duty of bringing about a social reform, we would have been living in a different world altogether.

Anmol Sharma is an IT professional.


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