‘Caste’ education in higher education

payal tadvi1

‘That the caste system must be abolished if the Hindu society is to be reconstructed on the basis of equality, goes without saying. Untouchability has its roots in the caste system. They cannot expect the Brahmins to rise in revolt against the caste system. Also we cannot rely upon the non- Brahmins and ask them to fight our battle’
B. R. Ambedkar

Discrimination on caste and communal lines seems to be spreading to many parts of the country. A dalit youth was thrashed and was beaten up for sitting on a chair and eating in front of upper caste community in district of Tehri ( Uttarakhand) and succumbed to the injuries days later. (Uttarakhand: Dalit man dies after upper caste men beat him for sitting and eating in front of them, updated May 06, 2019, scroll.in). With great difficulty,the family registered a case against the accused upper caste people. Even in higher education institutions, this disease of caste differentiation is taking the lives of lower caste students. The institutional murder of Rohit Vemula is still waiting for justice and, meanwhile, many dalits and muslims are still facing harassment from colleagues as well as professors and college administration. One such latest case is the incident in BYL Nair hospital ( Mumbai) where a dalit woman Payal Tadvi, a second year doctor from Obstetrics and Gynecology committed suicide due to casteist remarks by senior doctors. (Mumbai:Dalit Doctor Commits Suicide After Casteist Slurs By Seniors, 27, May 2019, outlookindia.com). She used to express the torture meted out by three seniors whenever she spoke to her mother. The authorities did nothing to the complaint against them. Her brother Ritesh Tadvi says that the fact that they hail from a tribal community in Jalgaon district was the reason for her ragging. (Payal Tadvi Suicide: Family alleges hospital authorities took no cognizance of their ragging complaint, Varun Singh, May 27, 2019, dnaindia.com). Seniors threatened her on various occasions and said that they won’t let her perform deliveries as she was a candidate selected under quota or reservation.

‘ Caste’ education

Such gory incidents are becoming common in illiterate as well as educated persons. The less educated are resorting to crude form of torture while ‘ so -called’ educated are trying to down morale by mental torture. This is a dangerous trend. Upper caste is ruling higher education system.

Therefore, ‘caste ‘ history and necessity of reservation system should be taught to all the students right from pre-primary schools and curriculum should include chapters on ‘ annihilation of caste’. The authorities must take strict action on those who harass dalits and minorites immediately on receiving any indication from the victim.

Orientation classes must be undertaken specially for upper caste students regarding behaviour towards marginalised sections. As many dalits and backward sections are coming forward for higher studies, a healthy atmosphere is necessary for their studies and upper castes should provide atmosphere of peace.

Present rulers may not assist in reducing the animosity. Hence, activists and marginalised sections, dalits, muslims, etc should form a united front and agitate for inclusion of the history of caste, exploitation of dalits and backward classes, communal harmony, etc in every stage of education – humanities, arts, sciences, medical or engineering. History of caste struggles must be a part of any course so that such incidents may be reduced and many deaths may be averted.

Sheshu Babu is a political commentator


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