It is the caste, silly

Why we Indians are so different,

Why we still follow tradition,

In looking for a spouse

Why is horoscope-matching so important,

It is our culture, you say

But it is the caste, silly

 

Why is love-marriage still taboo

Why is honour-killing still practiced

When all over the world no marriage gets ‘arranged’

It is our tradition, you say

But it is the caste, silly

 

Why we spend hours cleaning our pooja rooms

But are unwilling to spend minutes to segregate our waste

Why we do not clean our toilets, dirty vessels, and floors

If we are such a developed nation

Why our sewers do not have mechanized cleaners

But there is someone else to do this job, you say

Yes, it is the caste, silly

 

When you fell sick

I employed a nurse to cook and take care

Instead, you cooked for her!!

She is a little girl, you said

‘How much can she do?’

But, I understand now, it is caste

You could not have possibly eaten food cooked by her

Yes, I see now

We live in two Indias

One developing, progressive, filled with opportunities for the ‘meritorious’

The other underdeveloped, repressive, where there is no escape from the misery

Yes, I see now

 

Srividya Kartik is a doctor in New Delhi. Reading B.R. Ambedkar’s ‘Annihilation of caste’ has been an eye-opener for her. She can be reached at [email protected]


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