One Brave Step
Why is it like that? We say everything has changed and still we reply in reflex action when we are questioned about that!
Many unanswered questions! “One brave step!”
What was changed? What was discussed in first few lines? Nothing was mentioned clearly over there and that made you all to think about various things.
But what is the serious issue that we are facing these days? It is “Caste” issue. This issue is not seen directly now a days. But it is hidden issue that we can find if we notice keenly. People are not ready to talk about it openly, but secretly follow that without mentioning.
To understand this, let me take the examples from my own life. I might not mention place name or person name, but the incidents are true.
From childhood, I have been brought up in a society where I haven’t seen any discrimination due to the caste. The school where I have been educated belongs to a brahmin community. Even most of the teachers of that school will be from brahmin community. At that age I was not even aware of the caste. Then as I grew up, I started to see an column in my diary asking for caste.
In my history text book I have read about caste discrimination. That was the only place where I can read about caste issue. That too in very few chapters to introduce the issue to us.
As I grew up, once my grandmother asked me a question- “what is the caste of your friend X?”. I was really surprised by that question because as friends we never asked any one about their caste and it didn’t matter to us. After this situation only I came to know about my own caste clearly.
I completed my school education and started my graduation. I used to say ‘ I don’t believe in caste or religion’. I never bothered about any of my friends caste. Then one day came when myself and my friend(X) were discussing about a famous singer who got national award in very early age. I was really surprised by her argument. She mentioned that 'That singer is from scheduled Caste and they will never become one among us. They are will never change their character’.
Then came my Post Graduation days where we have an equal space for each individual. We never care about anyone’s caste. There we had space to discuss about the caste issue in all dimensions. We didn’t encounter even one who has that stereotypic views on caste divisions and discrimination. That made me to think, people have changed, atleast my generation. People are willing to change that old mindset and abolish the discrimination that is prevailing in the society.
But there was one question I was asked frequently when I stepped out of my PG college. “What is your caste?”. What do you think my answer was? As a person who doesn’t believe caste, I should have replied 'I don’t believe in it’s or something else. But what did I do? I said my caste clearly. Why did I do that?
Then I got an opportunity to visit one of the small village for a festival. That’s the place where I saw the discrimination in real.
I have been to that place twice and I have seen the same kind of rituals followed by the people. I can console myself saying that the younger generation mindset is different and we can’t change the older generation. But in that place, even the younger generation is being brought up with the same belief. Will that situation ever change in that village?
Then I have met people because of my profession. When they talk about the ill-treatments they have been facing all these years due to their caste, The intensity while they explain about the incidents, the pain and grief in their eyes, etc. will never be understood by the listener. This listener will never try to understand that. Instead they will try to justify and counter their argument. Until this continues, the discrimination, suffering, pain, revolution, the false supporters, everything will continue.
I don’t want to win the argument against you. I don’t wish to hear the argument which frames the under previlaged people as cunning and bad. I just want to know why are you not looking them as equal as you? I just want to know why are you not willing to treat them as equal as you? Why are you concerned about the reservation they get? Why is that bothering you?
Everyone you see now a days will be talking about abolishing the caste, creating an equal society, etc. But how many of them are really ready to leave their caste and religious identity behind and come forward? But how many of them are really ready to leave their 'Surnames' behind and come forward?
I have taken that one step by leaving that so called 'Caste’. I have explained my brother and left that caste behind me. I don’t know how much I can maintain this, but until my last breath I will try to stand by this decision. I am trying to condition my conditioned mind by saying that I don’t belong to any caste. It will take time for my mind to take my this decision.
Most of our minds are conditioned by our families, society, media, etc. about this serious issue. We say, we need equal society and still we mention I am from this community. If we are not ready to change our own mind, then how are we going to change the society?