Post Mortem

Caste on the wheels: progressive or regressive

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/6/2019 12:10:13 PM IST

 Caste continues as the base structure that cuts across almost all segments of the Indian society. Caste according to some is the most heinous schema that determines where individuals and communities should fit and accordingly their occupation is fixed. But, for many, who fall within the cusp of: top, middle and bottom rungs view that caste is such a unifying social fabric that regulates the Indian society so well and thus places everyone who should what and for those who are born in higher brackets enjoys power, prestige, status and authority. Caste basically regulates the Indian society and many continue to subscribe to their caste, because it gives them identity, pride and a label. For centuries caste has been reigning over the Indian social, religious, political and cultural spaces and is undoubtedly going stronger and stronger. 

Those who enjoy being born as Brahmins, Kshatriyas and, Vaishyas are very proud and wish that caste should continue including some from Shudras, since they also occupy the same social space along with the other dominant castes. Those who are born outside the system of caste the so-called ‘Untouchables”, the Dalits and other civilized people think that caste is such as diabolical and regressive social category and by all means ought to be annihilated. Caste compartmentalized the Indians and has given each Indian a tag. Even in the second decade of the 21st Century, caste continues to dominate the Indian psyche and thus prevails in covert and overt ways. Those who thought and in their analysis stated that caste would wane as the society develops and progresses seemed to have failed, because caste is getting entrenched in almost all facets of the society and going stronger. 

We should obviously be proud of our country. We laud our achievements in various fields and carried out significant breakthroughs in science and technology. We speak high of our culture and civilizational values. But, many people take pride in ‘boldly’ displaying their caste on wind screen or number plates of their cars and motor cycles. It is gaining momentum and growing rapidly in Uttar Pradesh, the State where caste has always been potent to electoral politics as well as others. Caste like Yadav, Jat, Gurjar, Brahmin, Pantdit, Khatriya, Lodhi, Maurya, and others appear competing with each other and asserting their dominance or family status or political status by putting their caste or sub-caste name tage on their SUVS, cars, motor cycles and other vehicles. Even in the Southern states some put their caste tags on their vehicles. In recent times, this sort of assertion is gaining ground.

Acknowledging the growing caste fanaticism, V K Singh, the additional transport commissioner, enforcement said, “This is true that many people nowadays drive vehicles with their caste names written on the body, window screen or registration number places.” However, he added that “Doing this is not permissible under the Motor Vehicles Act and action against such vehicles is taken from time to time.” Similarly those castes that align with the political parties when they form the government take pride of writing their caste names boldly. Nowadays in Uttar Pradesh, castes such as Kshatriya, Thakur or Rajput and other variants are the new entrants in Uttar Pradesh. By boldly displaying their caste tags they send a clear message that ‘Do not dare to touch us or mess with us”. These things send clear message that our government is ruling and we are in majority—clearly implying ‘watch out’. 

Displaying the caste names opening on the wheels and taking pride of to which caste one is born is such regressive and backward and certainly not progressive or forward looking. Caste is such a horrendous social system which needs to be annihilated and challenged. 

Majority may take pride of it, but this social evil stunts the progress and civility of the nation. We, as Indians cannot say that we are progressing or developing keeping the system of caste intact. 

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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