Your editorial “Caste System is a social evil” (April 22) raises hopes for the elimination of caste discrimination. If we give the social fabric and practices of rural India, it is not easy to eradicate this social evil. The caste system is so multifaceted that it is difficult to draw generalisations on it. The social engineering of caste discrimination is very deep and profound. The caste system is thriving and will continue to thrive unless proactive steps are taken to break the barriers among the castes. Positive discrimination is a step in the right direction. Untouchability and caste prejudices exist even in cities although they are practised in a subtle manner. Although technology has, to a large extent, whittled down caste considerations, the caste system is alive in society. More and more castes are clamouring to be declared backward with the sole intention of grabbing the benefits of reservation. Caste system will not end unless prejudices are removed from the system and people’s minds. The caste system will end if the backwardness attached to certain castes is removed through greater opportunities, resulting in greater social intermingling. One cannot expect a change in people’s mindset to occur in one or two decades. There is a reference to caste discrimination as early as the Buddha’s time. The ills of the caste system were deeply rooted in Indian society much earlier.
Vinod C. Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)