The following piece attempts to examine the roots of Hindutva ideology in India as well as the caste-class mobilisation on which it grows. In doing so, it will also look at the role of apolitical-centrist folks in fuelling fascism.

Fascism, as Time magazine describes it, is “a movement that promotes the idea of a forcibly monolithic, regimented nation under the control of an autocratic ruler.” Its origins can be traced to Europe in the early twentieth century, with Germany seeing one of the worst faces of that movement. However, after World War II, in 1945, fascism began to lose ground before resurfacing in the form of neo-fascism. However, fascism, unlike in the West, rose to prominence in India in the 1990s. Since then, fascism in India has grown to its worst, steadily choking the world’s greatest democracy to death.

In his paper titled ‘Neoliberalism and Fascism’, Prabhat Patnaik writes, “They (fascists leaders) invariably invoke acute hatred against some hapless minority groups, treating them as the ‘enemy within’ in a narrative of aggressive hyper nationalism, and attribute all the existing social ills of the ‘nation’ to the presence of such groups.” He goes on to explain in his research how these movements’ fundamental characteristics go beyond mere prejudice. It highlights the movement’s adherence to irrational viewpoints, desire for societal domination, and readiness to use violence openly—even in positions of governmental authority—in order to accomplish its goals. He describes the totalitarian tendencies of fascist governments as they attempt to dominate the social, political, and economic facets of society. This eventually leads to a highly controlled society in which the government has a significant influence over every element of an individual’s personal life.

Hindutva, also known as Hindu nationalism, is a fascist movement in India that advocates Hindu supremacy and the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra. This movement began in India in 1925, amid the fascist surge in the West, but received little attention from the public until the 1990s due to the dominance of a left-centrist political party in government. However, after the 1990s, the movement began to expand quickly, with the ‘Babri Masjid’ as the centre of the politicisation. The movement gained political traction with the formation of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980, which was backed by the Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

Dr Muhammad Gumnāmi for The Muslim 500 notes, “From the 1990s onwards, the slow poisoning of Hindu minds against Indian Muslims was carried out by the RSS and BJP. However, their progress to a majority with complete control did not occur immediately. The BJP passed through a stage where they had to form a coalition government under the ‘moderate’ Vajpayee, who was also an RSS member. The Vajpayee coalition government ran between 1998 and 2004, and while it was BJP-led, it did not have the majority to lay the foundations of a Hindu Hitlerian state.”

In a country where caste is severely established, Hindu unity was a challenging feat. At the same time, in the 1990s, the then-V.P. Singh’s government implemented the Mandal Commission, which granted 27% reservation to the OBCs. This policy was a political manoeuvre intended to harm the BJP’s electoral base by creating inter-caste divides. While most political parties stayed mute on the commission since any favour may result in them losing a specific caste vote, the RSS officially called on the BJP to reject the Mandal Commission. But the party used a different strategy to mobilise people and secure voter support. A month later, L.K. Advani, the then-BJP President, began the ‘Rath Yatra’ to promote the agenda of a temple under the Babri Masjid and deflect attention away from the Mandal Commission. From the start, the Yatra provoked sectarian tensions between Hindus and Muslims.

On 6 December, 1992, members of Hindutva organisations razed the centuries-old mosque, sparking one of the bloodiest communal clashes in the country. While the Hindu-Muslim gap was gradually deepening following the demolition, a train accident made it worse. In 2002, a train coming from Ayodhya caught fire, killing 58 Hindu pilgrims. This prompted violent riots in Gujarat, killing over 1,000 individuals, the majority of whom were Muslims. Many international organisations criticised the BJP administration, stating evidence that the violence had been planned and designed in advance. The inability of the state to control violence, acts of silencing journalists and critics, and banning documentaries make further cause for concern and question. From then until now, the BJP has been successful in uniting Hindus on the basis of hatred against Muslims.

A PhD candidate from the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra writes, “In India, fascism is reinventing itself. It has crept through Hindu nationalism—Hindutva—and now poses a serious threat to Indian democracy.” For the BJP, mobilising UC Hindus was an easy task. A fairly easy equation: Hindu Raj means Hindu domination, which means upper caste dominance. Along with that equation came the Mandal Commission, which eventually helped them acquire UC voter support due to open criticism from the RSS, the parent wing. In a poll analysis by Lokniti-CSDS, they reported that as many as 89% of Brahmins, 87% of Rajputs, and 83% of Baniyas voted for the BJP in the 2022 elections. The percentage was 66 for OBCs and 41 for SCs.

While the existence of the UC voter base is self-explanatory, the question arises: how did the BJP succeed in mobilising the lower caste? Their first card featured Narendra Modi. Modi has been quite aggressive about his caste identity since the beginning. The Press Trust of India reported, “Addressing a press conference at the JD(U) headquarters here, the party’s MLC and chief spokesperson, Neeraj Kumar, pointed out that Modi has been accused of getting his caste, ‘Modh Ghanchi’, included in the OBC list in 2002, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. ‘Modi sought to deny the allegation by claiming it was done way back in 1994, when the Congress ruled Gujarat as well as the Centre’, added the JD(U) leader. Kumar showed a sheet of paper claiming it was the Gazette of India of that year, mentioning the casts that were included among Other Backward Classes (OBC).” A few other political groups also questioned his caste status, but the BJP successfully defended it by labelling the claims “casteist”.

Now the question remains: even after an increase in crime rates against Dalits since 2013, why are Dalits voting for the BJP? The answer lies in the class development of this caste. In the book ‘Maya Modi Azad: Dalit Politics in the Time of Hindutva,’ scholars Sudha Pai and Sajjan Kumar find out the reason behind this shift. The book explains how class upliftment is one of the reasons behind the shift in political support. Vikas Patnaik notes in his review of the book for The Hindu, “Indeed, this is one of the finest insights of the book. One sign of self-confidence is always fragmentation, as an individual or a sub-group agency begins to question the need for a larger ‘authentic’ self. Just as a Brahmin can be a supporter of the BJP, the Congress, or even a socialist, it goes without saying that a confident Dalit middle class will also articulate itself in fragments. In other words, the electoral debacle of the BSP also reflects the success of the BSP in providing ‘aatma-samman’ (self-respect) to Dalits who grew up seeing Kanshi Ram and Mayawati as their natural leaders.”

Another reason is the hierarchy within castes. An excerpt from Pai and Kumar’s book argues, “It is also because the objective has been two-fold: to obtain the electoral support required in a key state like UP and include them within the saffron fold in order to build a Hindu Rashtra. Feeling neglected within the BSP vis-à-vis the dominant Jatavs, the smaller Dalit sub-castes have been attracted to the BJP and thus rendered vulnerable to its mobilizational strategies.”

The BJP’s silence on the Mandal Commission, the addition of EWS reservation, RSS’ criticism of the Mandal Commission, weakening opposition, intra-caste dominance, and Modi’s identity were all enough to mobilise the communities and bring them under the banner of “Hindu,” with a common slogan, “Not a ‘Brahmin’, Not a ‘Kshatriya’, Not a ‘Vaishya’, Not a ‘Shudra’: We are Hindus.”

While the underprivileged lack access to proper education and information about issues, they vote with the hope that this can probably uplift their financial status, while the rich ensure that they stay ignorant and vote with hatred. As economist Prabhat Patnaik states, “Fascism has been thriving on weakening the working class across the world,” and indeed the present construction workers deal between India and Israel exemplifies that. In India, the BJP government’s control over media and internet platforms aids in mobilising the middle and upper classes. According to a recent World Economic Forum survey, India is the most vulnerable to misinformation and disinformation in the world, posing the greatest threat to the 2024 elections. The reason a lie becomes a fact in India is because the privileged either benefit from it or turn a blind eye to it.

Fascism thrives on the politicisation of religion, and misinformation to blur the distinction between political and religious events aids in the cultivation of an apolitical voter base that ignores socio-political issues. Such a voter base indirectly aids in mobilising the working class. A recent illustration of this is the violence that erupted in the country following the Ram Temple’s inauguration. While this voting base had the resources and access to education, they chose to remain in their bubble of privilege, thereby supporting the authoritarian regime and creating a religious gap in their personal relationships.

Furthermore, an analysis of how apolitical-centrist individuals unknowingly support fascism emphasises the importance of a nuanced understanding of political apathy and the potential consequences of being untouched by ideological shifts. The development of fascism highlights the importance of ideological neutrality in deciding a country’s political direction.

So, while we sit in our bubble of privilege, continue to preach hatred, directly or indirectly, and refuse to question the hatred, the regime will continue to divide everyone, incite riots, and fan the flame of hatred towards our doors.

Read also: “I am a Brahmin” The Casteism of Baba Ramdev and Shankaracharya

Featured Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Dhruv Bhati
[email protected]

Recently, two videos of prominent Hindu religious personalities have gone viral for their casteist purports. When the masses are quick to debunk the existence and gravity of caste in the present age, the videos provide a reality check on the deep-entrenchment of the caste question in the Indian society.

“I am an Agnihotri Brahmin. They said Baba ji, you are OBC. OBC aisi taisi karayein. I have read 4 vedas I am Chaturvedi Brahmin.” After this viral video, Yoga guru and Patanjali founder Baba Ramdev has been under fire for his casteist remarks against the OBC community. A Patanjali Boycott movement also trended following this incident. In a follow up video, a reporter sneakily tried to save his face by asking the question, “You said Owaisi ki aisi ki taisi… OBC ki aisi ki taisi,” to which Ramdev immediately jumped on the opportunity to reply Owaisi! (Asaduddin Owaisi) He’s not right in the head. He and his ancestors have been anti-national. I did not say anything about OBC people.”

Another video of Shankaracharya Swami Avnimukteshwaranand’s comments on the inauguration of the Ram Mandir has gone viral, where he says “After the purification of the Ram Mandir, if the construction workers (shudras, dalits) enter again, the temple will become polluted (ashuddh).” In a second video, Shankaracharya has reiterated his Brahmin caste repeatedly “Only a Brahmin can be a Sanyasi. If I am not Brahmin, then what is the point?  I will quit if my Brahmin Caste is not proven. The Hindu Samaj will bash me for lying.”

What do we infer from these comments of two prominent figures that have significant influence in the Hindu community? Perhaps, that the idea of Hindu unity against other forces that has been steadily gaining popularity is merely a façade. Despite attempts to unite the Hindus in a singular unified fabric by dodging the ‘caste’ bullet in all dialogues, these comments are quick to slip the mask and open our eyes to the reality. That caste is still relevant, perhaps more relevant than ever due to its clever manipulation in the political scenario is a hard pill to swallow by both people from the upper-castes and the oppressed castes who are being denied affirmative action, yet mobilised for their identity.

The need to reiterate your upper caste hierarchal social standing is a reminder that no matter how much dismissal there has been regarding the importance of caste in present times, caste is never going away. It may hide under the guise of positive strides and increased representation in the political sphere, but the oppressive character of the system shows up through the crevices. It takes the form of casual casteist remarks, dropping casteist slurs in conversations, targeting quota students, calling an end to the reservation system, and other forms of institutional casteism. The irony that the craftsmen of the extravagant Temple are being dismissed as ‘pollutants’, then subtly being denied access to their art through the comments of a revered upper-caste custodian of the Hindu religion, speaks volumes. While the unexpected remark directed at Owaisi may appear absurd, it is essential to delve into the implications of Baba Ramdev’s comments. Baba Ramdev, who is known for his extensive ties with right-wing political groups and enjoys substantial support within that sphere, made a concerted effort to distance himself from the OBC label. In doing so, he took a swipe at the community while emphasising his ‘Brahmin’ identity. This sequence of events speaks volumes about the larger meaning which he stands for.

Targeted crimes and discrimination against the oppressed castes is still prevalent and rampant.  Despite this, in current times there has been an erasure of the systematic oppression instigated by the caste system. While columnists like Tavleen Singh, an Upper Caste woman, cries for reservation to be scrapped and writes that reservation “Should not be available to those who belong to the OBC (Other Backward Caste) category. They do not need it. Anyone who knows rural India slightly knows that these ‘backward’ castes are not backward at all. In the Hindi heartland, they sit at the top. The Prime Minister himself admits proudly to being OBC,” what she fails to see is that reservation has never been a poverty alleviation programme, it has been about representation and equality of opportunities and must continue as long as subjugation on caste persists. Aditi Narayani Paswan’s article is an apt response to Tavleen and many more such privileged people who continue to minimise the forces of caste in present times, “We must realise how caste is embedded in our lives and how deeply entrenched it is in our consciousness. We must seek answers to why all the ragpickers and sanitation workers invariably belong to one caste and why the judiciary belongs to descendants of a few castes or families before we start to question reservation — the only line of defence for the marginalised sections of our society. It is because of reservation that we find Dalits, STs and OBCs’ names on the houses along Lutyens.”

Or as an extension to Aditi’s idea, how Baba Ramdev and Shankaracharya are both insistent on asserting their Brahminical identity, and let their casteism unveil in the celebration of a united Hindu identity.


Read also: Hamare Ghar mai toh yeh sab Nahi Hota

Featured Image Source: The Quint

Sarah Nautiyal

[email protected]

The most recent season of Made in Heaven, a show about two wedding planners, Tara and Karan, who work under the name Made in Heaven, provided plenty of points to ponder. Each episode of the show focuses on a couple and the unique problems they or their family face during their wedding preparations. Tara and Karan, together with their team, deal with these hurdles while going about their everyday lives and dealing with their personal issues.

(This piece may contain Spoilers)

Made in Heaven depicts the sparkly fairy tale world of weddings while also demonstrating the irony of its title ‘Made in Heaven’, because most of these marriages aren’t as beautiful and perfect as they appear on the surface. As well as bringing the harsh reality that our lives, too, aren’t flawless as they appear on the exterior. Perhaps, this is what I like the most about this show.

The show’s setting, Delhi, also plays a significant role in bringing the truth of the city to light through realistic characters. I was impressed by how accurately the city is portrayed, the representation of its multiple sides conveyed through various characters, their hidden biases and desires. It also shows the city’s difficult nature and how people cope with these challenges. One could easily observe the struggles that people face in such a diverse city. There are those that conceal their real intentions and build relationships for their own gain, while others are caught between what is morally correct and what they desire, and the rest of them want to move on from their past and lead regular lives. The series focuses on the process of organising a dream wedding for the couple while also balancing several societal standards. It reveals what lies beneath such lavish weddings. The most unsettling part is that the societal themes the series focuses on are very much relevant in today’s environment and are not merely imaginary.

The show mirrors society and conveys how the entire process of a wedding ceremony brings these hidden concerns back to the surface. On one hand, while one gains education, power, and money in public, when it comes to their private affairs, the desire to be perfect and thus adhere to conventional values creeps in. It demonstrates how people can be aware of right and wrong yet still make decisions that are unfair to them. It’s worth noticing how characters throughout the show will occasionally submit to the adverse circumstances in order to save their family’s pride or to protect themselves from any further judgement.

As in the instance of a bride in one of the episodes played by Mrunal Thakur, who is a successful model in the industry but is abused by her partner. Even when the wedding planners and her own family find this and urge her to reconsider her decision. She is once again manipulated by her partner and thus maintains the popular belief people carry – love and care will change our partner’s actions, forgetting that respect is the foundation of a relationship and nothing else is capable of transforming someone who doesn’t want to make changes in the first place.

In another episode, it is shown how discussions over skin tone persist even among wealthy,  elite families. When the bride takes a beauty treatment to appear ‘fair’ for her wedding owing to pressure from her own mother and in-laws, it demonstrates how modernity and education can still fail to change old narratives. Acceptance of the reality that looking fair has no connection to being beautiful is still missing. And it makes one wonder if one should wait for society to modify their beauty standards and accept everyone equally, or whether one should begin the process of acceptance with themselves. Are parents correct when they try to  change their child to protect their reputation, or instead they should shield their child from unjustified treatment? These are someof the questions to think about.

The episode featuring Radhika Apte as the lead, Pallavi, and directed by Neeraj Ghaywan is most powerful and artistically structured. Her performance and the episode’s theme received considerable recognition on social media. Pallavi is a successful lawyer who acknowledges her Dalit identity and advocates for the elimination of caste biases. Even though she is highly accomplished and brave, when it comes to her marriage, it is interestingly highlighted in the episode that her personal accomplishments are the reason for this respect and acceptance. This is in contrast to the reluctance of her in-laws to openly embrace her Dalit identity. Pallavi’s firm stance—even to the point of confronting her fiancé and her own brother—shows that acceptance is not only necessary to gain equal respect but it also emphasises the difficulties and sufferings that the community faces as a result of long-standing caste-based discriminations.

The dialogue delivery was impeccable, every emotion was highly moving and it all ends in a beautiful Buddhist wedding, representing Dalit plight and a path to acceptance and equality. This episode was notable because mainstream films and television shows have rarely addressed such topics with such delicate balance, and the concept of a Buddhist wedding is novel.

This is my top choice episode because it subtly invites viewers to ponder how issues such as caste play an important role in a person’s journey, subjecting them to different treatment, and how when a person rises above their circumstances, they don’t necessarily detach themselves from the situations that shaped them. They want it all to be remembered and accepted just like any other aspect of  themselves.

Even though caste is still a dividing line in today’s world, many people continue to be reluctant to disclose their last name or caste for fear of social discrimination; as a result, accepting oneself becomes the first step towards equality. Pallavi’s identity as a Dalit, her choice to keep her original surname, and the fact that she opted for a Buddhist wedding are all examples of how her character serves as a reminder to society that, despite her material success, her caste plays a significant role in her story as well as the experience of her ancestors who suffered, so it cannot be ignored or disregarded. Her caste does not bring her humiliation; rather, it brings her pride.

The portrayal of the LGBTQ community and their relationships was another distinctive feature of the show. The protagonist Karan plays a gay character,  It’s interesting to see that Karan doesn’t submit to his family’s demands to marry a girl; on several occasions, he asserts his identity and wishes, reflecting a sense of confidence and acceptance in himself. Even though the decision could damage his relationship with his mother, he takes the risk. Another character, Meher, who has undergone gender-affirmation, is also shown to be struggling to find love and acceptance.

While I agree that the second season was too overwhelming and attempted to address a variety of societal problems without delving too deeply into any of them, it appears that the second season, despite its pressing subjects, couldn’t stir up the emotions that the first season did. Despite the representation, this season did not adequately explore the aspects of intimacy between the characters. Things seemed superficial and they lack a deeper, more solid connection, leaving viewers with a sense that their favourite character’s story is incomplete.

Tara and Karan are not the characters who make the ideal decision. They make mistakes and argue, the consequences of which can be seen in both their professional and personal lives. Tara herself is in a challenging spot while building a life of wealth, luxury, and power, she still struggles to find the happiness she desires. Throughout both seasons, viewers will see how her decisions and past mistakes affect everyone around her. By the end of the second season, despite the fact that I enjoyed Tara’s character in the first, I was unable to identify to her choices since there has been a lack of  personal development in her character and no acknowledgment of her previous mistakes. Even while Tara and Karan stay close, their ability to communicate with each other and solve problems is never fully explored in the season. Instead, the two main leads continue to plan separate weddings without any proper conversation to fix the issues between them . When it comes to displaying how things are truly planned and implemented in these weddings, there was a lack of detail.  So even though I appreciate the extent to which ideas were covered throughout the season, I was disappointed in how story of central characters was handled.

However, there are new characters in this season that have impressed me, such as Mona Singh and Vijay Raaz as the Jauharis, who are the most wholesome and relatable. The side plot in which they deal with their young son and his friends in a matter of molesting a girl is presented honestly and organically by everyone involved. The culmination of it, which involves the disclosure of a personal secret about Mona Singh’s character, addresses the problem appropriately.

The season finale was warm and wonderful, concluding with the usual poetic commentary by Kabir, the in-house videographer. It goes on with the theme that everyone is flawed and that before we can continue looking for our soul mates, we must first accept ourselves. Perhaps this is what I like about the show: the relationships we form can be just as imperfect as we are. They require effort and change, and nothing, neither our worries, hurt, or pleasure, is permeant. The taste of Heaven isn’t necessarily discovered in large celebrations like marriage, but in fleeting moments of joy and freedom, in moments of embracing and loving yourself despite your flaws.

Read Also: https://dubeat.com/2022/03/02/big-fat-indian-weddings-are-we-thinking-rationally/

Featured Image Credits : Free Press Journal

Priya Agrawal


On Zero Discrimination Day, we must look at how caste based discriminations sustain in the most horrifying form of manual scavenging. 

Earlier this month, industrialist Ratan Tata shared a heart-wrenching video titled “Mera Baba Desh Chalata Hai (my father runs the country)”. The video, which has garnered millions of views and empathies, showcases a young boy reciting a poem at his school and laying bare a vile truth of Indian society – manual scavenging, and the parlous life of sanitation workers. It was released to announce Tata Trust’s new initiative ‘Mission Garima’, for the upliftment of sanitation workers and also gave the message of easing their lives through segregating waste into dry waste and wet waste. 

It is not the first time that the concerns regarding manual scavenging have been raised. Realizing manual scavenging as a direct threat to human dignity, government schemes and programmes and civil society initiatives like ‘Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan’ have been working to end manual scavenging. Legislative efforts such as the Protection of Civil Rights Act (1955) prohibits forcing anyone to practice manual scavenging and; Manual Scavengers Act (2013) seeks to reinforce this ban by prohibiting manual scavenging in all forms and ensures the rehabilitation of manual scavengers. 

But the ‘stink’ of manual scavenging lingers on, with caste, untouchability and stigma further intensifying its stench. 

Historically, caste was the basis for social and economic organization and is hereditary in nature. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar termed “Caste as a notion and a state of mind” and thus discriminations based on the caste system were shunned and every Indian citizen was guaranteed liberty and equality. Yet after years of India being a republic, there is some Gangabai, Kailash, Rekha or Vineet*, who are still suffering the pangs of being a Dalit and are obliged to undertake the ‘polluted’ work of manual scavenging – the worst surviving symbol of untouchability.

In India, between 2017 and late 2018, one sanitation worker died every five days, making manual scavenging one of the most hazardous jobs, along with being unlawful and inhuman. In 2014, the Supreme Court of India estimated that there are 9.6 million dry latrines that are still being cleaned manually by people belonging to the Scheduled Castes. The figure excludes cleaning of septic tanks and open defecation from roads and other areas. Poverty, low wages, limited access to education and land resources, social exclusion and poor health due to direct contact with obnoxious fumes and harmful bacteria, perpetuate their already impoverished situation. Some manual scavengers believe their treatment to be sanctioned by Gods and think of manually cleaning toilets as their ‘jagir (estate)’ or something they are entitled to. This kind of assumption of subjugation and exploit is unnerving and not at all acceptable in a democratic setup. Even when some manual scavengers succeed in escaping this atrocity despite threats and backlash, they still experience the sharp scrutiny of people around them who view them as ‘filthy’. The panchayats, local schools and criminal justice system act as biased entities and play a role in further deepening these divides.

Gandhi since 1901 had talked about the indignified nature of manual scavenging that shames us as humans, who allow it to happen. Much stride has been made since then but still it goes on in many parts of the country, especially in states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Without sanitation workers, the proper functioning of entire cities can be hampered. Thus, concerted efforts need to be made to guarantee the respect and appreciation our sanitation workers deserve. Vigorous state intervention, in the form of offering rehabilitation and alternative livelihoods, mechanizations, stringent laws and their effective implementation, funding for safety gear and other necessities is required. All these should be supplemented with a transformation of attitudes towards the sanitation workers through awareness programmes in which private bodies like the Tata Group, NGOs etc. can play a part. The element of caste based discrimination that is deeply entrenched into the concept of sanitation and related work must be disjointed from them. Individuals must also segregate their waste, as one should be responsible for one’s waste themselves. 

Dr. Ambedkar quoted, “Indifferentism is the worst kind of disease that can affect people.” We, as humans cannot be indifferent about such a potent issue that affects millions of people and endangers the individuality and dignity of a citizen. Manual scavenging is a dirty truth of our society which feeds on a person’s worth and right to live. Many dangers threaten the existence of our nation, but it is only when we come together as equal and unified, do we stand a chance to maintain the sanctity of our benevolent motherland.

*- Names used do not connote any person living or dead. 

Image Credits: Shaikh Azizur Rahman for The Guardian 


Ipshika Ghosh

[email protected]


Read on to know how this indoctrinated system of privilege makes us blind towards the condition of those who come under the reserved categories. 

On entering your University of Delhi (DU) college, you will find people who belong to the reserved categories. Before you pass a quick, seemingly harmless judgement, here are several things you must consider.

  • Equality vs Equity:

Reservation and equality are talked about simultaneously. While reservation is not synonymous to equality, it becomes imperative to know that the reserved and the unreserved categories do not have the same pedestal to start from. High-handed statements about reservation having been there for seven decades, and that there is no discrimination in the ‘India of today’ will instantly evaporate on reading a newspaper, with headlines screaming of caste-based discrimination and violence. 

We must also understand that caste-based and economic discrimination are not very different from each other. In a society where we have certain jobs like manual scavenging, cleaning toilets, etc. ascribed to a particular section of society, we must not take education away from them because it is the only tool that they have to dream of an upward social mobility. 

  • They get it easier:

People who have access to convents and DPSs, with world-class education, and people who don’t even have funds for a decent basic education, write the same board exams, and are marked irrespective of their social background. For that student to score above 75%, with the limited amount of resources is, if anything, more difficult than their privileged counterparts. 

22.5 per cent of the total numbers of seats is reserved in DU for candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (15 per cent for Scheduled Caste and 7.5 per cent for Scheduled Tribes, interchangeable, if necessary), as per DU’s website. And although the numbers vary in different surveys, the amount of SC and ST inhabitants in the country is over 25%. Therefore, to say that every reservation candidate will get into DU is a rather poorly researched argument. 

  • It is time reservations should end: 

“Discrimination is already illegal in India. In fact, so is murder. Yet court after court is acquitting self-confessed brutal mass murderers of Dalits,” Vidyut, Founder of the website Aam Janta, writes. People feel reservations are divisive, and they are. But they are the effect, and not the cause. People should take it upon themselves to end discrimination, and the need of reservation will end, thereof. 

  • The fault in our systems: 

 “If the general category students think they are losing out of seats then their fight should be for more colleges and universities,” says Niharika Dabral, an outgoing student of the Varsity. Rather than ending caste-based reservations, management quotas that reek of nepotism and networking is the real fault that exists in our system. 

For a central educational institution like DU, it becomes a moral responsibility to make sure it has seats reserved for the underprivileged to safeguard their rights because they do not have the kind of money to pay the tuition for privately-funded institutions, let alone give donations to get admitted – as is not uncommon. 

All being said, reservation isn’t the medicine that the society is meant to ingest to cure it of caste-based discrimination. Rather, it is a protective measure that is here to stay till the psychological cleansing has been done, and people recognise each other for what they are – humans. 

Feature Image Credits: Aam Janta

Maumil Mehraj

[email protected] 

Known as one of the largest student elections in the country, but the question remains; are they representative of all the students who cast their vote, or is it just a game of political dominance with a handful of players participating each time?

Beginning from a sociological point of view, it is imperative to state that the caste system forms the foundation of Hinduism. Its ubiquity can be guaranteed from the simple fact that its absence from any of the aspects of life will lead to the collapse of the religion as a whole. In recent years, it has successfully made its way into student politics.
Be it the power of a temple in the state of Uttar Pradesh, or the presence of students belonging to aspiring minority communities in bulk in the University of Delhi (DU); caste as an entity has struck at every rung of the political system.

With the nearing Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) election day , parties are leaving no stone unturned to establish their presence in every DU student’s life by featuring life size posters boasting of the names of the contesting candidates . However, if observed carefully, one can conclude (like I have), that almost all the candidates belong to either the same community or different communities within the same region; predominantly the Jats, the Gujjars and the Yadavs. Hence, caste becomes an overarching term bringing region into its fold as well; in this case, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

This practice becomes evident through the composition of major student wings such as the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and the NSUI (National Students’ Union of India) of the ‘INC (ndian National Congress) . When I consider the range of DUSU elections all over the country, I do not find any candidate from down South, the East, or the North-East. The northern region remains centripetal not just for the monetary and muscle factors, but also for the empathy factor that works in the undercurrent.

Taking into account the statistics of elections conducted in the last couple of years, it has been observed that the candidates elected for the post of president have belonged to either of the communities. For example, Amit Tanwar, the outgoing President from ABVP belongs to the Jat community. There were others such as Arun Hooda and Ajay Chhikara from NSUI, and Mohit Nagar from ABVP.

Apart from the ABVP and NSUI, who usually grab the ballots’ limelight; minor parties such as INSO (Indian National Students Organization) and CYSS (Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti), the student wing of the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) too invest in candidates from these communities so as to gain impetus. AISA (All India Students Association), the student wing of CPI (ML) (the Communist Party of India’-(Marxist Leninst) ) mostly banks on female candidates for its premier posts.

With another round of elections coming up this year, while nothing can be ascertained until the declaration of results, some things form the norm! But, for more, we will have to wait for the big day!

Feature Image Credits: Indian Express

Shrija Ganguly
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“The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of stardust. In every field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.”


This is what Rohith Vemula, PhD scholar in Hyderabad Central University wrote in his last letter after which he took his own life. His fault was that he was Dalit, a Dalit who dared to stand up for himself. Systematically, culturally, economically and socially oppressed since his birth which he refers to as his ‘fatal accident’

Education has been denied to Dalits from as long as time permits us to remember. India’s recovery from colonialism paralleled Dalits, adivasis and backward castes reclaiming their human dignity and social prestige. Decades later, the Brahmin-Savarna forces still plunder and pillage their dignity outrightly and with pride.

When Smriti Irani says the incident is not a matter of lower caste vs upper caste she remarkably forgets to what extent basic human rights are refused to lower caste people, especially Dalits. If it’s not driving a scholar to suicide then it’s banning Dalit unions, beating a lower caste student for going to school, to the point where Dalits are not even allowed entry in religious places, a grim reminder that we have not taken a step towards progress.


Why do we continue to vilify and degrade lower caste people whilst believing without moral apprehension that they do not even deserve reservation? Who is to say that caste has been a historical, now removed concept? It is ahistorical, demeaning and a blatant lie to say that caste does not matter anymore, even in the most liberal areas in the country.

If caste does not matter then why is manual scavenging still practiced along the lengths and breadths of the country, overwhelmingly by Dalits? Does it matter when a former Prime Minister is exposed as accomplice in Dalit massacres? Does it matter when nearly all marriages in the country are within the caste? If caste does not matter, then why are we all aware from a young age, what caste and creed we belong to?

From a skewed, near-sighted urban lens, of course caste matters. It matters when a Dalit student scores a few marks lesser than you, and gets into a good institution. However, no one bats an eyelid when Dalit students die asking for their rights. Very obvious and visible oppression is overlooked, seen disguised as victim complexes, “pseudo-secular” wreckage and what not.

How much has India failed its religious and caste minorities? Inspite of the depressing history of caste oppression, our curriculum barely touches upon caste. We are taught the Varna system in past tense, as if the whole country is not still practicing and perpetuating it by choice. We are taught how Ambedkar made our constitution, and how untouchability was made a criminal offence. When were we taught that Ambedkar called for annihilation of caste, and not uniting castes which organizations like RSS wholeheartedly believe in? The same RSS that Rohith refused to align with.


“May be I was wrong, all the while, in understanding world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.”


Rest in power, Rohith.


Kartikeya Bhatotia

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