Very often friends ask me, why do You still have the caste system in India.
People who are from the lower castes are given benefits by the government of India, in the form of subsidized ration, access to the best schools, and assured jobs at government institutions all over the country. My friends were like ‘Yay, its a good that the government of India is doing something to bring them up to the top echelon of the society’
But when i said that people from the lower castes prove that they belong to a specific caste on the basis of their birth certificate, they were confused. “But wait wait, aren’t You trying to get the caste system phased out of the society? Why do You still have it in documents like birth certificate? That doesn’t make any sense!!!’’
Imagine millions of people getting privileges because of their caste. One day You decide to phase out the reservation system. Do You think it is that easy? it’s not. I will tell You why.
Getting admission to prestigious universities in India is a sure shot method to land a great job in a company(i am talking about the top 200 varsities all over India). If You finish MBA or Medicine from a top level university, You can be assured that Your professional life is most likely all set out to be a success. People from lower castes who get admission to Indian universities go out to become doctors and engineers(about 50 percent of the seats are reserved for people from backward castes) A practicing doctor in India can make seriously good money. Most doctors in India I know are super rich and own at least three or four cars. Do You think people will agree to bar the reservation system? Not that fast dear.
And those who doesn’t get into Indian universities have to pay a humongous amount of money to study medicine and engineering privately.
If You are from the lower caste, government reserves certain percentage of job positions to people from lower castes(every year govt. conducts job tenders). It is very hard to fire some one from public service. Job at a government institution means a job for life. Not a single person would want to give up jobs based on the reservations system. In fact they would do anything to keep the reservation system ongoing and happening. It would be hard to explain to some one that other people are laughing at us Indians, because are still so pumped up about the caste system in India.
People from the lower castes can get rice and other amenities like cooking gas for up to 50 percent less than the actual cost. When people from the upper castes pay the full price, people who belong to the lower caste can get goods much cheaper. Will any sane person want to give up that right? Don’t think so.
I would like to mention one anecdote. I love anecdotes.
One year ago i was watching a debate on television in Kerala. The topic was about the reservation system and whether it is time to abolish it. One of the members of the panel was a person from the lower caste. I could immediately see it in his name and face(Jay You Indian racist!). He was a high ranking government official. All through the discussion he was completely against abolishing the caste based reservation system. When people from the higher castes tried to explain that they feel omitted from the all facets of the Indian society, the official was super pissed. He was shouting and not giving any chance for others to speak. It was very interesting to watch. I wanted to know what people from higher castes think about the reservation system(they are also normal hard working people. I will try to make an additional post from their perspective).
To summarize, people from lower castes does not have any problem with their caste being mentioned in the birth certificate. I don’t think caste system will disappear from our society any time soon. There are too much economical and political aspects to this situation. Politicians misuse the caste system to gain political advantage(to win elections by promising free jobs and food for the poor), and people from lower castes love this system because they have too many economical benefits to say no to it. Can we blame them for making use of this system? We cant.