It is said that the India is a cradle of civilization that has been following the ‘SANATANA’ Dharma that teaches the principles of Equality and Brotherhood. Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam- ‘The Entire Earth is my Family” has been the celebrated Sanskrit verse that most of the Indians have been taught in the school. “Saare Jaha se Acha, Hindostan Hamara” has been proudly echoed in the hearts of most of the Indians, however, there is something seriously wrong with the narratives used to praise the great India.
If somebody ask me to define what India is, I would define India not as a nation but an amalgamation of hundreds of nationalities, ethnicities, castes and creeds. There cannot be a single India. There cannot be a single nation and therefore there cannot be a single view to understand the dynamism of this ancient country. India was never a nation and therefore lacked the understanding of being the nation. India has historically been a geographical region characterized by the battle of races. Many European races have disappeared in the mysterious world of Pax-Indica. Muslim invasion in the medieval era changed the cultural fabric of India however; they too disappeared in the ocean. However, nationalities which lost their ethnic character and became one in India got infected with a deadly disease. That was a price that they had to pay, and that historical price was their gradual assimilation in the ‘CASTE SYSTEM’ of India. There is a major difference in caste system and class system. Class system is characterized by the classification of people on the basis of trade that they have been involved in for their livelihood however; the caste system is a classification of people on the basis of the caste in which they are born. Dr Ambedkar identified Caste system as a ‘Building without staircase’- a person who is born on a given floor is destine to die there- there is no upward mobility- there is no downword mobility. Caste system established a cultural slavery which became a major characteristic of Indian society. The brutal caste system that divided society for eternity reached to its epitome when the concept of ‘PURITY’ was introduced which manifested as the greatest ever practice of ‘UNTOUCHABILITY’.
The notions of honor, purity and caste are found to be interwoven in India. This country which boasts itself as a nation of liberals and weapon wielded Gods and Goddesses has been prospered on the graves of millions murdered in the name of caste and religion. Dr. Ambedkar’s historical revolt against the system brought constitutional justice to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. However, the discrimination is still rampant. Inter-caste marriages are still taboo. The recent incident of the barbaric murder of Kevin Joseph-a Dalit Christian boy who got married to malankara (higher caste) Christian girl teaches us that the demon of Caste is still on the killing spree. Even the change of religion could not free people from the slavery and cruelty of the system.
In India one major issue that parallelly exists is an issue of Racial Discrimination. Our people from the Northeastern States are discriminated on the basis of their ethnicity. Northeast Tribals have tragically been facing ‘Double Discrimination’- first in the name of Race and thereafter the Tribe; which is nothing but a result of their forceful marriage with a Union of India. There are narratives floated in the intellectual market about ‘Integration of Nagas’ and other Tribes in the culture of India. What nonsense is this ! People have right to choose their political and cultural destiny. The integration is possible when both the parties to the arrangement are parallel to each other in strength, population and also in an equal position to culturally influence each other. What cultural integration mainlanders are talking about who branded the Nagas as Dog-Meat eaters? Major question arises as to what good does this cultural integration do to the Nagas and other Northeast tribes? Will they be freed from the chains of discrimination that they have been bonded to? Will people stop calling them Chinky? Chinese? Bahadur? Will people stop lusting behind their girls and ladies?
Let us, without any prejudice, please accept the fact that India need to seriously work on the ground realities of its society. Economic prosperity is not an answer to the systematic deprivation of honor and self-respect. The Bedroom intellectuals, Secular Sentimentalists, Sarkari Babus, Political Masters, Mi Lords of the Apex Court, Jhola Gang of Red Corridor and Phule-Shahu-Ambedkarites need to acknowledge the reality of social discrimination which is setting the democratic fabric of the nation on fire.
The tribals and dalits are killed in the name of honour. Women are raped to teach lessons to the erstwhile mute communities that now has started raising their voice for their share in the nation’s prosperity and political power. The reservation system has been systematically phasing out. Back-logs in schools, colleges and government departments are not properly filled up. Education system- the backbone of nation has been transferred in the hands of private entities with lesser governmental intervention. Northeast States are still backward. Nagaland still has the higher HIV prevalence rate in India, also the school-college drop rate has been tragically increasing parallel to the rate of Drugs addiction and Alcoholism. On the front of religion, communal forces are burning mid-night oil to make strategies to light communal clashes and riots. Muslims are made insecure in their own nation. Common Hindus are still battling with their daily bread and butter. Converted Buddhists, Muslims and Christians Dalits are still facing the wrath of Caste Discrimination even after conversion from Hindu faith to the other. Farmers are committing suicides. Army Jawans are voicing up ‘injustice’ meted out to them in Defence Forces on social media. Rich are getting richer, poor the poorer. This is the nation where woman are compelled to sell their ‘IZZAT’ to earn bread and butter. How can we call this nation a nation of people? I am raising this question because the Constitution of my nation has given this right to me. As a Freeman of Free Nation I am entitled to have a privilege to raise questions and demand solutions in the interest of the well-being of the citizens of my country and the future of my motherland.
The Development and Progress of the nation cannot be measured by using NNP, GDP and other quantitative indicators. The poor, outcaste and women of the nation are the real architects and indicators of its prosperity. Give wings to them, let them fly, let India become a people’s nation once and for all.
Aniruddha Vithal Babar, B.com, D.H.R.L., LLM (International Law and Human Rights), M.A. (Political Science with specialization in International Relations and Conflict Studies), Former Advocate; Bombay High Court and independent researcher with interdisciplinary temperament. He has respectable hold on political and Socio-legal philosophy and thought with research interests include International law, Tribal Jurisprudence (with special emphasis on the development of Naga Jurisprudence), Applied Politics, Idea of justice, Peace & Conflict Studies, Northeast Studies, Subaltern Studies and Human Rights. Presently he is pursuing his PhD in the interdisciplinary fields of Law, Governance and Conflict Management at SSLG, JAIPUR NATIONAL UNIVERSITY. He may be contacted at [email protected])