T.V. Rao
Chairman, TVRLS

India is a divided society. It is divided on many counts. It is getting divided all the time. The divisiveness comes from identities that were originally evolved to make transactions easy and that are supposed to promote healthy living in the society through mutual support, team work, security and balanced life. The caste and religious distinctions are some of the basic distinctions that have existed from ages.

Indian caste system is supposed to be occupation based. It is supposed to make living healthy by identifying people by what they do and differentiating them for societal purposes to have a balanced living. Over a period of time they have acquired status distinctions, economic distinctions, social distinctions and many other forms of distinctions. They have transcended their original purpose and have grown to become big monsters. These monsters besides protecting some of those who belong to the in-group indirectly harm those that belong to the out-group. Some times the out-group is ill defined and when the out-group becomes “the rest of the society” and those that are interested in protecting the in-group do not care for the rest of the society, national disintegrating takes place. On the positive side India survived such distinctions for thousands of years. However it could have done wonders if only it had transcended the distinctions and used it for nation building. This paper explores the various sources of divisiveness in the country. The paper focuses on caste as a factor that creates divisiveness and identifies the damage it may be doing to the society.  It postulates the future potential harm this can do. The paper also suggests some interventions to combat the caste based dis-integrative distinctions. The paper suggests some thought provoking methods for combating the same. These include: education, desensitization, new symbols, introduction of the new systems of caste, shifting from caste based to poverty based reservations etc. For example any one who teaches is a Brahmin (all school teachers are Brahmins), any one washing clothes are making tools that wash clothes are dhobis (All those who make washing machines), and any one who makes shoes are madigas (examples All shoe company workers- Nike, Bata, Adidas etc.). This process may desensitize people from caste. The paper also argues for search for and creating new and temporary types of distinctions and integrating identities than divisive identities.

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