I again take this opportunity to emphasise: Please understand that caste is a reality in India. No body denies it. The problem lies not in the phenomenon of Caste or jati, but rather in the phenomenon of CASTEISM and the systemic discrimination it has caused for dozens of generations. While there are sections who pinpoint the colonial period for the hardening of the contures of casteism, and they may well be right - it is my personal, considered opinion that it was also during colonial times that those disadvantaged by casteism began to have other options than adopting the traditional occupation of the father...as Dharampal's work The Beautiful Tree shows...training was given, but was there occupational mobility in the esisting system?
Also, the pioneering and rather unprecedented social criticism by Jothiba Phule was another indication of how just opening a window through literacy - and also learning English, in Phule's case - makes a profound impression on the prospects of those hitherto denied opportunity! (Braj Ranjan Mani, Debrahmanising History, Manohar, 2006)
Not a moment is lost to climb out of the strait-jacket...also witness how areas under the colonial powers including parts of Maharashtra and the Muysore kingdom, as well as the Madras presidency has seen a more diversity in upward occupational and social mobility by those whom casteist attitutdes tried to keep down...see Christophe Jaffrelot's "The rise of the lower castes in North Indian politics" (Permanent Black, 2004)
So it is not caste, but Castesim! Discrimination! that is the issue here.
Cynthia Stephen Independent Researcher and writer Bangalore, India
Replying to this email will send an e-mail to 9000+ members of Jharkhand Forum.