India, my country, is the eternal abode of castes and discriminations. Here, in one instant, you can see people boasting about the floral, faunal and cultural diversity of their country, while in the next instant, you can see people being discriminated against and exploited because of their caste, creed, religion, color or region of origin.
Caste is an incurable disease that our country is suffering from. Before reservations came into being it was never a topic of discussion for so-called scholars of our country. But as soon as reservations helped the marginalized and exploited sections of the society make their way towards a better future, it (caste or rather caste based reservations) has become hot topic of discussion at every charged table. Suddenly every proud Indian understood how bad casteism is for the development of the country and how getting rid of caste based reservations is the only solution to maintain meritocracy and the scholarship in every public and private institution.
They (so-called upper castes) say that they never thought of the caste of their friends while they were in school but if you give them a title (read surname) they will tell you which caste it belongs to.
Let me come straight to the point that I want to make. I want to tell you that you are casteist from the core of your heart. You don’t need to show the benevolence that you have for us or should I say you can pull of your mask that you have been wearing for so long. I am sorry it took me so long to show you your real face.
You must be wondering why I have titled this piece as ‘The caste density of my beard’. Well, there is a small story behind it, here you go.
I was discussing the so-called social problems of our country with one of my friends. And as I am a staunch ‘casteist’, I had to tell him that caste is one of the main problems that need to be solved first because it makes more than seventy percent of our population vulnerable to exploitation and discrimination. He was unable to digest whatever I said.
In a scholarly manner he said caste based reservations are the sole reason why we still have caste in our country. I told my dear friend how caste came into existence, how caste is meant to maintain blood purity and nothing else, how reservations have helped so many people to claim their human rights. But being a real proud Indian he could not digest the facts that I was shoving in his face. So I asked him directly: “Which caste do you think I belong to?”
He laughed, I repeated the question. He smilingly says, brother, given the sharpness of your physical features (facial features: a perfect sharp nose, perfect lips, and most importantly a full dense beard; damn! I am so flattered!), you must be from an upper caste. I had to make him sad saying that I am not from an upper caste. And I told him people like you are not going to change your minds even if caste based reservations were not there. You will never stop being casteist and racist. Because it is so Indian to declare a dark, thin, short boy or girl an ugly lower caste person or tribal.
Sympathizing with all the so-called upper caste individuals who face discrimination among their own castes because of their color, physique and not so dense beards, I have tried to ensure my beard remains dense.
And mind you, it is just a condolence that it is a non-upper caste and pure Ambedkarite beard.
Jai Bhim! Jai Bharat!
Arvind Boudhh is a graduate from IIT Bombay, currently working with an analytics firm based out of Mumbai. He is an egalitarian.
Cartoons by Unnamati Syama Sundar.