BrownCast Podcast episode 20: Conversation with a middle-class Dalit

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In this episode, I had a conversation with a middle-class Dalit who lives in Gujarat. For me, Dalits are people who are reported on, written on, people who I hear about spoken of (usually sympathetically). But I wanted to talk to a Dalit who was a university educated middle-class person, to zero in on the essential aspect of being SC in India today. At least urban India.

One interesting observation is that his own experience in India is filled with slights, but not day to day oppression. It doesn’t seem the lot of Dalits in urban India is anything like that of black Americans during Jim Crow. He seemed to assume that America had solved much of its race problem and that that’s what Dalits should aspire to. Curiously, Americans at this point, at least on the Left, perceive our racial problems as dire.

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85 Replies to “BrownCast Podcast episode 20: Conversation with a middle-class Dalit”

  1. Great episode. Minor comment regarding Indian prime ministers.

    The first non-Brahmin PM was Lal Bahadur Shastri.

    Some OBC prime ministers from the past are Chowdhary Charan Singh (Jat) and HD Deve Gowda (Vokkaliga).

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  2. Sorry old school , podcasts (whats that) is not my thing.

    Anyways I think a characteristic of Sri Lankan jungle bunnys like my mother have head hair to their eyebrows (and she is part European). Obviously no brains /Intellect according to theories of forehead size.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/rKXpuGQDHsFVMUtB6

    Anyway this thought process was (while getting drunk, and still) listening to Gulab. Then recalled someone commenting there are many like her on the streets. To me Gulabo is an extremely attractive woman.
    https://youtu.be/eLEAikGNUwU

    http://sbarrkum.blogspot.com/2011/01/latcho-drom-banjaras-indian-rajasthan.html

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  3. Great! I actually am a bit surprised as how less agitated he was. Perhaps its just me but i expected someone who would be a bit more angry/restless with current state of affairs. Perhaps his middle class urban upbringing has sort of shielded that experience, or perhaps India has done a better job than i had expected (at least for Urban dalits).

    I dont think anything can be really compared to Jim Crow era. It isnt that bad.

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    1. Thank you. Although I am angry and agitated with the current state of affairs, my optimism comes from my father’s life example and several others.

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  4. On the whole “Curiously, Americans at this point, at least on the Left, perceive our racial problems as dire.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/opinion/democrat-electorate-left-turn.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion

    “Among white liberals, according to Pew survey data collected in 2017, 79.2 percent agreed that “racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days.”

    “Among blacks, 59.9 percent identified discrimination as the main deterrent to upward mobility for African-Americans,…
    in other words, blacks are more conservative than white liberals on this issue.”

    😂😂😂

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  5. Dalits insisting that Mahusasura was one of them and an Aryan Devi “Durga” killed him and thats why upper caste Aryans worship her is one of the stupidest narratives I have come across. Nothing in history or Indian culture supports this narrative. This was invented and popularized in the last 100 years when Aryan racial theories started being used by anyone with a grudge against Hinduism.

    These people (Leftist and Dalit intellectuals) normally have a lot to say about uneducated Hindutva-vadis making stupid and illogical claims but they seem to have a lot of cuckoos on their side as well.

    Race relations in India have become completely tribal now. Systematic racism against Dalits is rare in urban areas. India is urbanizing very rapidly and completely rural areas are shrinking fast even in UP and Bihar. Dalits have political power and seem to be better organized than Brahmins and other upper castes. OBCs with their numbers also have brute political power.

    Somehow I did not fully understand the anti-BJP bias of this person. He was intellectualizing it by using the typical leftist jargon but I feel it could be just because his family typically does not vote for BJP. Or it may be his particular Dalit community has no representation in BJP and hence are aligned to some different political party.

    I say this not to take away agency from this person but because there are many Dalits who would insist that the Hindu right wing actually wants to bring dalits into the mainstream of Hindu society. They just have a different approach towards it.

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    1. “Dalits insisting that Mahusasura was one of them and an Aryan Devi “Durga” killed him ”

      I have a feeling that he started with that story and mid sentence perhaps remembered that Razib is a bengali (and he stopped midway) 😛

      ” Or it may be his particular Dalit community has no representation in BJP and hence are aligned to some different political party.”

      I would say its true of large parts of India as well, nowadays you can literally know how a person leans politically by knowing his /her caste and geographic background (North vs South/East). BJP has almost no representation from this areas/castes and its but obvious that they are angry/restless irrespective of its work.

      ” many Dalits who would insist that the Hindu right wing actually wants to bring dalits into the mainstream of Hindu society. They just have a different approach towards it.'”

      I think we need not swing the other way and say BJP is some sort of a benefactor for dalits. It has its own reasons to get them along just like the left does. But for now the BJP-dalit thing is a non starter and they have focused right now on Upper caste+OBC correctly .

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    2. Hi, Janamejaya, I am the person in the podcast Sanedo. My being anti-BJP came about only in 2016. My family has BJP supporters, my grandfather is stuanch BJP, one of my cousins is also. My grandmother is a swing voter. Alot of people in my community voted for BJP in 2014 because of anti-incumbency.
      Una Violence was the turning which turned me into anti-BJP. Then it was Bhima-Koregaon and lastly how Modi ruled for 12 yrs in Gujarat but never tried to help manual scavengers, and instead try to justify it. So, being anti-BJP isnt because my community has no representation in BJP or none in my family are BJP voters. Its the party’s attitude towards Dalits as a whole.

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    3. Hi, Janamejaya. I am the person in the podacst. My anti-BJP stance only came to be after 2016. Also, my grandfather is a staunch BJP man, my grandmother is a swing voter while one of my cousins is a Modi fan. So, my anti-BJPness doesn’t come from having no representation in party or my family being non-BJP voters. A lot in my community supported Modi in 2014.
      Things changed after Una violence, then it was Bhima-Koregaon and finally realising that in his 12 year stint as CM, Modi never tried to remove manual scavenging. Also, I disagree; if Hindu RW wants to truly bring Dalits into mainstream, one way would be making manual scavenging illegal and dismantling caste rather than ignoring it.

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      1. I’ll never get the “remove manual scavenging” arguement: somebody has to clean the shit, and given how poor India is why would anyone expect it to go away. Manual scavenging is illegal by the way.

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        1. Can someone define “manual scavenging”? If I am understanding the term correctly, then isn’t the solution increasing the marginal product of labor for poor people (increasing competence, capacity, merit, physical health, mental health, intelligence)?

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    1. BTW,
      All these episodes you are doing with Indians of different political hues and backgrounds are really great. Thanks for creating these podcasts.

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    2. Yeah man, understand. Helped a lot deepen my understanding, which is actually a shame considering we are from the same country. Just by virtue of him being hopeful gives me hope as well. Hope he is correct (that caste becomes irrelevant in next 40-50 years) , but the cynical me thinks it will take much longer than that.

      His S-Africa example was striking. Never thought of the situation that way. Even though there are certain differences there but i think we should give him that much.

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  6. Hello Janamejaya,

    I don’t know much about the history of this particular Mahishasura-venerating tradition but on the first glance it seems to me too that it may not be a very deep-rooted thing. Could you point to any scholarly source that addresses this topic in more depth?

    (To my superficial-knowledge eyes, it seems like the traditional Mahishasura-Durga conflict narrative with Durga on the good side may be very old and may date back to the early Dravidian-Indo-Aryan conflicts in the Indus (considering for the purpose of this post that the pre-Vedic Indus civilisation was some type of Dravidian-speaking) or even a fully Indus-Dravidian narrative adopted by Indo-Aryans as time passed (if it can be considered that the Dravidian-speakers of the Indus deemed the Buffalo a bad/inauspicious animal and inferior to the Goddess) and probably not much related to the later upper caste-lower caste conflicts at all.)

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    1. Mahishasura and Durga are not homo sapiens.

      Mahishasura was a great devotee of God, almost completely self realized and actualized. When Durga killed him his liberation completed and he became God. For this reason many Hindus pray to Mahishasura (and Ravana too for that matter) and ask for his blessings. This is a very ancient tradition.

      It has in my opinion almost nothing to do with Adivasi or Davida.

      Maybe later I can look up Mahishasura’s genealogy from Brahma (his Jati lineage).

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      1. In the current chaturyuga Mahishasura’s father is Rambha and mother a buffalo. Rambha is the son of Danu and Kashyapa.

        Danu is born as daughter of Daksha in this period but is a great force in the universe from previous manvantaras (and maybe days of Brahma).

        Danu also has no clear gender, switching back and forth. She has a prominent place in the Vedas and in the Indo-European religions from Ireland to Serbia to Greece to Iran to Burma. Some say the Danube river is a reference to her. [Any thoughts Milan?]

        Many may have prayed to Danu for a long time. She is part of the Vedic Indo-European patheon.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danu

        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

        Why would someone consider Mahishasura a homo sapien? Why would anyone be surprised that some worship Mahishasura? He was a great bhakta of God and one of the most perfected beings of all time.

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      2. Yes AnAn, of course Mahishasura and the Devi would never probably have been considered humans. They are all conceptual entities, that much I can sense too with my very superficial knowledge. But the particular historical evolution of the association of certain qualities to the Asura and also the Devi in this particular episode might have had to do with physical origins in the minds of human beings (with divine guidance). That’s what I was talking about. Of course none of that matters from a religious perspective. Being killed by the Devi is, as you point out, the best thing that can happen to a being, religiously speaking.

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        1. Hi Santhosh, random Q which needs your expertise . What are the main words for ‘give’ in Telugu? Are they derived from Sanskrit/Prakrit words? I am working on the Indus script and looking for PDr words for this term related to a certain symbol. Thanks again.

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          1. Hello Karan,

            The major/the-only verb stem in usage for ‘to give’ in Spoken Telugu is iccu. The Proto-Dravidian root associated has been reconstructed as *cI- (Dravidian Etymological Dictionary entry number 2598) (please see note at the end). As far as I can see from the above entry, this is not the major etymon that is used for ‘to give’ in Tamil, Kannada and other South-Dravidian-I languages but it is the major one to indicate that sense in most languages of the South-Dravidian-II group including Telugu and also Central Dravidian.

            I can see that at least two other verbs were used for ‘to give’ in Old Telugu (along with other meanings like ‘to gift’, ‘to present’, ‘to put’, etc.): osagu (DEDR entry 984), the root associated being *oy- probably and iDu (DEDR entry 442) from *iT-. The first one probably carried a meaning like ‘to carry’ primarily in PDr stage looking at the cognates in other languages and the second one has a representation of both ‘to put’ and ‘to give’ in many languages though ‘to put’ seems to be the dominant sense. Both osagu and iDu do not continue into Modern Telugu usage though and no Telugu speaker without exposure to some kind of Old Telugu can understand these.

            You could also try exhaustively searching the DEDR to see how the various subgroups and individual languages convey the meaning of ‘to give’. Also, it is important to always think in terms of Proto-Dravidian or other older stages and not individual languages when it comes to exercises like working with Indus script, etc.

            Then about the Sanskrit/Prakrit-based loans, surprisingly it appears only a few have been borrowed in this case. And it appears to me that none of these are in usage in spoken language. Anyway, dattamu cEyu or dattaM cEyu is probably the major one of the category.

            (Note: The loss of the root-initial voiceless palatal stop/affricate c in some etymons can be thought to have originated in the South-Dravidian-I group after it became distinct from others and this sound change also successfully spilled over into the South-Dravidian-II ancestor of Telugu at the time. The inputs for the correct reconstruction having the initial c consonant majorly come from non-Telugu South-Dravidian-II, Central Dravidian and North Dravidian languages which have not undergone this change (it appears that at least the South-Dravidian-II languages are undergoing this change currently as we speak but that is not necessary to get into right now).)

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          2. Thanks Santosh!

            Greatly appreciated. I’m trying to decipher the terminal jar symbol which Mahadevan has previously given as -anru/-an (masculine suffix).

            I am no longer convinced it is -an after reading this paper:

            http://www.academia.edu/8691466/The_Indus_Valley_Script_A_New_Interpretation

            The jar symbol follows not only deity names (proto-siva) and place symbols (crossroads), but also what are likely to be measurements (weights or other form of valuation).

            The fish symbol (miin) and it’s variants possibly represent a form of the sumerian ‘mina’:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mina_(unit)

            There are some texts with a sequence of fish symbols followed by the jar.

            [Measurements – Male suffix] does not make any sense.

            The most popular word for jar in ancient Indian languages is KuDa, which is likely a PDr word (possibly derived from KuDi for drink).

            Maybe the jar symbol represents -kku the attested dative suffix in PDr?

            The other theory I had was it could represent ‘give’, as in kuDu/KoDu attested in South Dravidian (but as you mention this is not attested in the other Dravidian subfamilies.)

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    2. Hi Santosh,
      IMO, unlike the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, which I believe do refer to actual historical events and are rich with geographical and societal details, the tale of devi Durga and her battle with Mahisasura is completely mythological with perhaps no basis in fact. Goddess worship is common in all pagan religions with Goddesses and their attributes transmuting over centuries and acquiring new myths.

      The name Mahisasura and the class of demons ‘Asuras’ may have come from old Indo-Aryan myths about Devas and Asuras and the heavenly battles between them. This Deva-Asura dynamic was at play for the Indo-Aryans before they seem to have settled in India proper and certain small tribes in Central India going about calling themselves Asuras and worshiping Mahisasura is just ridiculous and infact mischievous. It seems some people on the left are not really interested in Dalit upliftment and the general well-being of the society. They actually want civil war.

      Vedic Asuras do not actually refer to any people in the subcontinent. However in the Mahabharata, its quite evident that a class of people called the ‘Nagas’ existed in Northern India and were distinct from the Aryans (though rapidly assimilating into them) and there are stories of conflict as well as cooperation between Arya tribes and Nagas.

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      1. Janamejaya, the scriptures describe a vast number of being categories that are not human. Nagas are “NOT HUMAN.” Some humans pray to Nagas or have some “Naga” ancestry and in time some of them came to be called Nagas. But the Nagas themselves are not human.

        Iravan was the son of the Naga Ulupi and Arjuna (who himself is the son of Indra and the human Kunti). Iravan was a celestial being of some kind with many powers. Iravan is worshiped in many temples. I don’t think Iravan can be described as human. Iravan brought a Naga army (also not humans) to fight the Kauravas.

        Almost all the scriptures describe interactions between non humans.

        The Ramayana and Mahabharata are unusual in that many of the interlocutors and beings in the stories are human. Perhaps this partly accounts for why people are so drawn to them. But even these epics have many non human characters.

        The Puranas (and the Ramayana and Mahabharata) describe mystical experiences beyond gross surface level thoughts. Perhaps neuroscientists will unlock more about these mystical experiences are. And what these various categories of beings are.

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      2. Yes Janamejaya, that is probably not historical in the sense of some good lady killing a bad guy belonging to a buffalo totem clan or something. But the historical background of the people who conceived this concept in India originally may have been in the Indus civilisation as it was there that buffalo was first domesticated and the people there would have interacted with that particular animal very highly on a daily basis. That’s what I had in mind when I said all that I said in the paragraph within brackets.

        The philology of Asuras I don’t know but I once read that the famous Dasyu/Dasa word might have carried both the meanings of ‘Iranic’ and ‘people encountered by the first Indo-Aryans in India’ depending on the time and place. Similar thing may have been the case with Asura too; words change their meanings all the time.

        And I too know some superficial stuff about the Nagas lol (like the Karkotaka guy); they were probably us Telugu-Kui (South-Dravidian-II or an extinct sister branch) people only in the very ancient times (we were quite villainous back then, it appears haha). I have a strong hunch that this might be but can never convince anybody to their satisfaction lol.

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  7. Very nice podcast. I sincerely request you to try if possible to continue to chat with all kinds of people like you have done with the Hindutva person, the Charvaka person, the globalist edgelord person and the middle-class SC person (all these interviews have been very wonderful and are very close to my heart).

    Then, the guest seems to deem south India as some kind of a utopia when it comes to casteism. I think this view is probably not correct.

    And the most important thing I learned with the help of this episode is that upper-caste people tend to get several benefits in life due to caste connections. I did not realise this at all in my life before because of what else but my low intelligence and blunt mind. I am extremely grateful to Brown Pundits for making it possible for me to realise this.

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    1. I think I never said South India was a utopia, just that it was better than rest of India, regarding caste. There is still caste based violence and discrimination in South and I have no intention of ignoring it or minimalizing it. But compare South to North India, it is much better. Maybe I could be wrong, but Dalit friends in South say otherwise.

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      1. Hello Sanedo,

        It was an excellent episode. Thank you very much again for providing me with the opportunity to listen to it.

        And yes I agree you did not say about south India what I wrote – it’s just that I tend to use exaggeration (atishayOkti) quite a bit in my writing a lot of the times; and the line between appropriateness and inappropriateness for me becomes quite difficult to discern sometimes lol. I apologise sincerely regarding that.

        In my personal case, I am not realistically aware of the goings-on in north India at all and also large parts of south India so I take as reasonable your friends’ assessment that it might be better there. The major problem I have personally witnessed in my rather sheltered life (both physically and intellectually) regarding this issue so far have had to do with opposition to inter-caste marriages (of any kind; not necessarily involving Dalit people) and parents estranging children who decide to have inter-caste love marriages. Another one that I came to know of, through internet, is about the various anti-Dalit violence incidents that happened till as recently as the 1980s in AP. I don’t know much about other specific problems really because I don’t tend to keep myself very well-informed about things in general.

        Anyway, I wish you all the very best for your life (you please wish me that too if possible!) (and as usual I hope as I do every waking moment of my life that the world gets better and the human condition gets better as time passes).

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  8. A lot of what seems like caste privilege doesn’t work as simply as the person in this podcast makes it out to be.

    eg. Brahmins unlike trading castes traditionally aren’t wealthy but have a culture to emphasizing learning. In Brahmin households children are pushed to excel in academics and through both sticks and carrots a great premium is put at doing well in school. While Brahmins will just have similar IQ distribution as the rest of the population this culture makes Brahmins over-represented in academic or govt bureaucratic positions where you have to take academic exams to qualify.

    This may be called caste privilege but to a poor Brahmin who has had to work their ass off to get such a position it certainly doesn’t seem so.

    Looking at examples of trading castes who are over-represented at running businesses in India, we might very well say that its their caste networks which make them successful. However we forget the biggest thing working in their favor is the caste culture which gives them the ability to take risks and work very hard at making those businesses successful. As with many Brahmins who fail academically, there are many people of trading castes who fail in their businesses. But trading castes as a whole still dominate the business community.

    I feel caste privilege is mostly soft. eg. A brahmin will never feel any shame for being called out as a brahmin. But this does not mean a brahmin will be free of any ‘racial’ jibes or taunts. He may still be snidely referred to as a ‘Bihari’ in Punjab or as a ‘Kalu’ if he has dark skin.

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    1. Very bad arguments and ignorant assumptions.
      Anyone who thinks caste-privilege is soft or not that important is either an ignorant or naive. Caste definitely plays a role to this day in India.
      A dalit family faces a lot of discrimination. Many of my dalit friends are far more knowledgeable on caste, how it is related to surname, how interviewers talk to them and more understanding of the importance of education, and knowledge on Constitution is impeccable. For a Dalit in India, there is nothing more important than a Govt job.

      I don’t know if you have noticed or not, but every year vacancies are decreasing, fewer and fewer govt jobs. Same goes for private sector. Official Govt NSSO data says unemployment at a 45-yr high, CMIE data is worse.
      Also, I dont know if you understand reservation but it is not like 80% for Dalits. It is representative of their population. So, out of 60 jobs, maybe 6-9 jobs will be for Dalits. There are millions of Dalits and several subcastes in Dalits. As jobs decrease and population increases, there is more competition. A dalit works just as hard, knowing full well that Govt jobs are the places where he/she will not be discriminated in hiring.
      And its just not Brahmins who have hardworking culture, its all of the castes in India. The places where UC are not over-represented are Students, bureaucracy; both those have reservation. Non-reserved places like Judiciary and Higher education is still dominated by UC.

      Annual per capita mean income, Jatavs are not doing better than other important Dalit jatis of UP: They earn only Rs 6,135 a year in 2011-12, against Rs 6,643 for the Pasis and Rs 9,077 for the Dhobis. APCMI of Jatavs had increased by 125 per cent between 2004-05 and 2011-12, whereas that of the Pasis has jumped by 162 per cent and that of the Dhobis by 198 per cent. That’s how poor they were, that’s how big a jump it was.
      Despite this increase, Dalits, with an average mean income of Rs 6,847 in 2011-12, continued to lag far behind all the other caste groups, including Brahmins (Rs 15,497) and Yadavs (Rs 12,271).

      Mahars were more affluent than Mangs and Chambhars in 2011-12: Their APCMI was Rs 27,177 (and even Rs 31,241 in the case of the Buddhists) when it had reached only Rs 25,274 in the case of the Chambhars and Rs 23,070 in the case of the Mangs. But this gap is not so large, whereas Mahars continued to lag behind Brahmins (Rs 44,638) and Marathas (Rs 37,255). Percentage of salaried people among these three jatis was rather homogenous, ranging from 22 per cent (Chambhars) to 28 per cent (Mahars). In contrast, more than 54 per cent of Brahmins were part of the salariat.

      Last GPSC(Gujarat Civil Services) exam had a higher merit for SC than UC, it was 128 for SC and 120 for General. So, that argument that hard-working culture in prevalent only in Brahmins/UC is incredibly moronic and quite frankly insulting and most importantly, couldn’t be far from the truth.
      This whole comment reeks of nothing more than a humble brag at the expense of facts.

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  9. I really hope that people talking about caste privilege do not think that a Brahmin may get hired at Google, India just because there may be other Brahmins interviewing him for the role.

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    1. I dont think anyone’s thinking that but more along the lines of having a network of people to call upon. This is kore important in India than in the US

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  10. Bro no one is saying that but now you are clearly bullshitting. Are there poor brahmins? Yes. In percentage and pure numbers there are still far more dalits and OBCs who are poorer than there are UCs poor (yes and including brahmins). Thats just a fact. OK. Go and check how many Brahmins and dalits are there in India’s top 100 richest person.

    It has absolutely to do with the caste system and the education/ job opportunities which they hadn’t had for 100s of years. Has there been improvement in the last 70 years? Yes. Should there be a rational debate to talk about affirmative action? Yes. But that cannot happens with these memes of poor Brahmins thrown around.

    *Rant over*

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    1. I feel your rant is mis-guided.
      Sujata Gidla, who was laid off from a New York bank during the 2008 financial crisis, once claimed that she couldn’t get a software engg. job in Manhatten, New York because she lacked the caste networks upper caste software engineers have.

      Thats where I am coming from. I feel such blatant mis-information from middle/upper middle class dalits should be countered.

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      1. Hello Janamejaya, it seems to me too that these phenomena may be very attenuated in the US. There the Indian or even the broader Subcontinent association may be the most significant thing speaking in terms of ethnicity- and nationality-based networking when it comes to jobs, etc. But not to say that what Sujatha Gidla says is totally impossible – such things might very well be happening too (some Telugu people (people sharing mother tongue with Ms. Gidla and who she might have interacted with significantly both in India and outside) can be extremely casteist).

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      2. Can completely see how Sujata Gidla’s point about US caste networks is true. Have been part of cringeworthy conversations when a prospect is being considered, and somebody lowers his voice and suggests the person didn’t come across as v. bright and likely came up via reservations. These networks are so embedded but barely perceptible, unless you are looking out for them (yep!).

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        1. Parallel Universe, this likely is not caste or race related. There is a sense that many who get into educational institutions on the basis of race/ethnic based affirmative action might not be as good as those who got in on the basis of merit.

          What is the solution to this?

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          1. The problem is with the presumption of incompetence that exists in many such situations. Not defending a truly incompetent person, whether via AA or not.

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        2. You are wrong. This never happens for 2 reasons
          1) Upper caste Indians though numerous are not all powerful in the USA. If they systematically discriminate against Dalits, other people will come to know and those upper caste Indians would be fired. US companies are very particular about not being ethnically biased.

          2) Every pvt company wants good people since it affects their bottomline. A star coder will never be rejected no matter what caste. Not only in US but in India as well

          What you are describing seems like snide comments people might make after someone hasn’t performed well in their interviews. If Sujata Gidla really wanted to be a software engineer she could be a software engg in the USA or even in India. But she wanted to be a subway conductor and write a book on the Dalit experience so thats what she did. While promoting the book, she said many half-truths and outright strange stuff which is unfortunately never challenged because people do not want to be perceived as anti-Dalit

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          1. 1/ There are islands of professions in the US where Indians / desis have huge numbers and some discretionary authority. And I am not even talking IT! I agree there may not be systemic caste discrimination but there definitely is implicit bias (unloved word here, I know).

            2/ Agree, this is true. If the person was a star performer, the conversation would likely not happen.

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  11. I have one last pretty controversial and politically incorrect comment to make on this. This is a very traditional criticism of the Dalits from the upper caste pov and I hope we can discuss this here.

    If one is a middle/upper middle class dalit in urban India, life couldn’t be easier. You study in a good private school because you have the money, reservations make sure that even if you are averagely intelligent and average hard working you can get into highly competitive and exclusive universities like the IITs or AIIMS.
    Then you have reservation in govt. jobs making sure that you get a well-paying secure job for life.

    I have seen this pan out for a few of my Dalit classmates. Sadly however, a large chunk of Dalits once they get into IITs or AIIMS just drop out within a year or two. Nearly 90% of them. While they may say its due to caste privilege, it does appear that a lot of them are unwilling to apply themselves in order to get the passing grades.

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    1. My experience of Dalits who dropout is that they are mostly the first-gen upwardly mobile folks, i.e. the first generation of someone in the family getting reservations for a professional course. They probably do not have adequate external resources: role models, finances, family / community support, etc to pull through when the going gets tough. Most second-gen folks getting reservations do not have this issue and their dropout rates are very similar to non-Dalits, for obvious reasons. Anecdotal, but several.

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  12. Wonderful to get this perspective. Would love hear from an Indian Muslim or Pakistani Ahmedi. Would also be interested in hearing from someone from north eastern India who looks racially non-desi.

    On a side note Gujarat has the highest intercaste marriage rate in India at 11%. Though anecdotally I suspect most of this is forward castes to forward castes (brahmins, bania parsis, jains, rajputs and patels), since they tend to be very subdivided into sub castes.

    Source: https://www.thehindu.com/data/just-5-per-cent-of-indian-marriages-are-intercaste/article6591502.ece

    1+
  13. Great episode. A couple quick thoughts/observations:

    1) It’s heartening to hear how urbanization and economic development seem to have a real, positive impact on lessening caste frictions and, in fact, mitigating the importance of caste identities altogether. There are of course the network benefits, but those exist in every society and the importance of those networks can be diminished through the creation of more economic opportunity. That so many of the intellectual elite in India and in the diaspora (who avowedly claim to be anti-caste) are also so anti-capitalist would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

    2) Names are super important. As someone who grew up in America, I can usually recognize _where_ in India someone is from based on their name, but I have no sense of the jati affiliations of a particular surname. Here I can’t help but think that a giant opportunity was missed at independence. For Nehru, Hindu society was more of a symbol than a living, breathing entity. He observed and wrote about it, but he never really felt like he was a part of it. If he had, perhaps he would’ve had the foresight and courage to implement widespread social reforms. One of the central motivations for the adoption of the “Singh” surname among the Sikhs was of course the desire to supersede the caste differences that plagued Punjabi society. India as a whole would have benefited from a similar movement.

    0
    1. Vishal, how can you take people’s Jati ancestry away from them?

      Jati is not Varna.

      Social reform would be making Varna based on merit, capacity and competence. There is strong support from this from many parts of the Vedas, Gita, and the entire scriptural corpus.

      It could be presented as the de-Abrahamization of eastern culture.

      0
      1. The point is that, as the guest notes, caste is “in the air” in India. If the objective is to diminish the importance of caste identity (as I think it should be), then you have to work to remove signs of it in the public sphere. Names are one of the most obvious manifestations of caste affiliation. I agree with you regarding merit and generally believe that reservations should be granted along economic lines. It is naive to believe that in a poor country with few job opportunities in the private sector, that caste-based reservations would not act to accentuate pre-existing caste frictions.

        0
        1. Vishal, many individuals (and entire Jatis) have switched Varnas in the Vedas, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Smritis and other scriptures. Varna switching is suppose to be based on merit, capacity and competence.

          Many of the most respected and ancient Dharmic orders across India are willing to give people sacred threads who don’t have them. People can switch Varnas now too.

          What is wrong with Varna switching?

          The global post modernist movement opposes merit, capacity and competence on principle. And therefore opposes Varna and Varna switching.

          Some say that the English did not understand Jati and Varna and confused them. After the English arrived Varna switching became harder.

          0
    2. “One of the central motivations for the adoption of the “Singh” surname among the Sikhs was of course the desire to supersede the caste differences that plagued Punjabi society.”

      lol. Nearly all Sikhs have their caste surname at the end. eg Sukhwinder Singh Siddhu or Gopal Singh Bhangu.

      But I agree with your first point. Only modern capitalism is corrosive enough to destroy caste.

      2+
      1. Janamajaye, modern capitalism and globalization appears to be increasing Varna all over the world.

        Varna can partly be seen as:
        —specialization of labor
        —merit, competence, capacity
        —class

        0
      2. @Janamejaya

        Yes I know that many Singhs have retained their caste surnames, but there are many Sikhs who oppose this in principle as it is in contravention of of the spirit of Sikhi.

        1+
    3. “That so many of the intellectual elite in India and in the diaspora (who avowedly claim to be anti-caste) are also so anti-capitalist would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.”

      Haha. This is spot-on. Lot of intellectuals complain about unfair representation of certain groups in media. Few actually go ahead and do something about it.

      I personally wish more Dalits take up entrepreneurship than rely on these parasitic ‘activists’.

      “For Nehru, Hindu society was more of a symbol than a living, breathing entity. He observed and wrote about it, but he never really felt like he was a part of it. If he had, perhaps he would’ve had the foresight and courage to implement widespread social reforms.”

      Do you think it should be the government’s job to bring social reform?
      I think such big centralised projects might have huge unintended consequences. Look at Hindi imposition as an example.

      “One of the central motivations for the adoption of the “Singh” surname among the Sikhs was of course the desire to supersede the caste differences that plagued Punjabi society.”

      A lot of Biharis do not carry caste surnames. Instead, they have generic second names like ‘Prakash’ or ‘Ranjan’. This practice started with a reformist zeal in the 1950’s. Hasn’t made Bihar any less casteist as a society.

      2+
  14. Tha Mahishashura as king, Durga killing the king etc. is a myth making project termed alternate-history {basically seen as project to end hegemony of Brahmanized, Manuvaadi Hindus Via Dalit literature that creates new myths to carve out a space for ‘Dalits’ outside of Hinduism.} within subaltern post-colonial studies.

    If he literally believed these things then he is just an anti-mirror image of the Hindutva people who believe Mythologies to be true history.

    For an e.g. of ‘contested history’ check this paper –
    https://www.academia.edu/17241604/Untouchables_and_Contested_History

    https://www.google.co.in/search?client=opera&q=Durga+prostitute+Mahishasur&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

    http://roundtableindia.co.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5931:the-myth-in-mythology&catid=129&Itemid=195

    https://www.forwardpress.in/2011/10/who-are-the-bahujans-really-worshipping/

    This is what is happening as people are getting vertically divided in India along caste and religious lines. I know that civil war will ensue within my life time & i am just waiting to see the demise of Indian democracy.

    1+
    1. Hi, Deep, I definitely do not believe in mythology. And I am very agnostic in my religious outlook. The comment was made when I was trying to explain diversity of Hinduism.

      1+
      1. Point is myth making is a survival mechanism & when myths are used to paint Us Vs them narrative then they ultimately end in disasters.

        For e.g. –
        I would urge you to get & study the book “Civility of Indifference”.

        Also watch this clip –
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kgL6tlhre8

        Then listen to the commentary very carefully from 13 min 10 sec mark.

        0
  15. Great podcast! For a 21 year old, “Sanedo” is thoughtful and brilliant. Very few 21-year olds of any caste or background can be as articulate.

    Would have been interesting if Razib had explored further that very insightful comment he made: that one can be thoughtful and RW / conservative in the US, but its a completely different thing to be RW in India (he used more colorful language).

    Being RW in India today is like being southern Democrat in the era when black lynchings were commonplace. One has to minimize such horrible things to defend the RW apparatus and survive the cognitive dissonance. Like how your guest Amey did the other day, with “India is a big country” (?!!) India is a place where literally 1000s have been been lynched or otherwise killed in “riots” just in the 21st century, often with state apparatus looking on.

    This is very different from holding non-mainstream /non-PC opinions on efficacy of AA and welfare, validity of micro-aggressions or number of genders, etc. Have wondered if its the racist, soft bigotry of low expectations from brown people that makes conservative Western observers overlook this part of Indian RW 😀

    2+
  16. [please keep the personal attacks down in the future comments or i won’t let them through. i deleted your insult but the rest of the comment seemed interesting -Razib]. Don’t ever pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Caste networking is just a polite way of saying caste nepotism i.e. group strategy to concentrate power and resources among kin at the expense of less self dealing out groups. I have personally seen a situation in which a department was two thirds Indian but fully half of them did absolutely nothing while the rest worked attrition level hours to make up the slack. This was because of a majority of the immediate middle management came from similar jati and geographic backgrounds and thus they were never fired. A third of the entirely dependent workforce, drawing solid middle class salaries I might add, while being a net drag we’re also a source of office political power and patronage for the Indian managers involved, so they stayed.

    The remaining and gradually shrinking one third of the non Indian work force which was primarily white and East Asian we’re very quickly cognizant of what was going on. Don’t insult other people’s intelligence in claiming it’s all Dalit resentment and incompetence when even non Desi’s have seen first hand the crap lose lose prisoners dilemma games that casteist Indian play to get ahead.

    2+
  17. Nice podcast. Like Santosh way above, I was somewhat surprised when the guest said that things are generally better for Dalits in the South. As with racism in the wider world, caste discrimination is a form of culture with multiple facets that varies across place.

    In the context of higher education for instance, the worst stories I’ve heard seem to emanate from the South. I knew a doctoral student at a prestigious UK university who told me that her professors at IIT Madras would systematically grade her down so that she (a Dalit) wouldn’t get higher grades than the Brahmin boys (as she described them). The same place recently shut down an Ambedkar-Periyar study group after fairly transparent complaints from upper caste students. Also, on a recent trip there I found out that certain canteens on campus keep separate plates and cutlery for veg and non-veg eaters. They don’t do this at any other government funded institution I’ve been to in India. And in case any commenters feel the urge to mansplain why that’s OK (it’s not) — please realize the optics of this at a centrally funded institution of higher learning.

    2+
    1. SP, what is wrong with vegetarians and nonvegetarians getting separate plates and cultery? This has nothing to do with caste, race and ethnicity.

      Janamejaya, many caucasians, non Deshi Asians, Christians, SC, ST and OBC are vegetarian too.

      What is “purity”?
      Why is “purity” stupid?

      2+
    2. Hello SP, I was majorly having in mind things like anti-Dalit violence in instances of intercaste love marriages, etc. in many south Indian villages, towns, cities and such places. Among your examples, the first one comes under this category which I too deem very serious. The second one sounds very funny (and I am wont to “mansplain” for some while regarding this issue and I hell-yeah will do it but in the final paragraph enclosed within brackets.) and perhaps not very serious (but it seems like it is still very bad considering the possibly high costs compared to benefits and net losses to the government because of the whole elaborate affair.)

      And as Janamejaya says, there should also be some kind of more systematic ways in assessing the perceptions and grievances of various students of various backgrounds in colleges, workplaces and other places. Like taking big surveys or something. I tend to believe truth may not be very extreme in many cases because human beings are generally very imperfect, though it can be as extreme as your friend lying outright or the professor really being such an unbelievably purely unadulterated obnoxious casteist person, in some cases too. All the above I say because I am also kinda biased towards the view (like a few others probably) that the casteism problem in the domain of academia may not be very high, at least it may be lower than in the domain of marriage that I mainly have in mind. For all I know there might be statistical studies for things like these already existing which I will nevertheless never pursue because I am extremely lazy.

      (Now the mansplaining session on the whole paLLeM-related aMTu (‘food-plate-related-impurity’) issue; should not there be some kind of freedom for Brahmins and any other vegetarians with metaphorical purity concerns, if they wish so, to choose whatever plates they want to eat from, in colleges? While the government itself painstakingly providing vegetarians with separate veggie steel plates (which is what I am sure gives them that extra taLataLa and milamila (‘shine’)) seems such a not-so-right thing to do, I am not sure about the alternative of vegetarians being allowed to get their own plates to messes too – are there any concerns of anti-vegetarian discrimination of some kind that come into play with regards to this possibility? How are things like this handled typically in most places?)

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    3. And oh yeah, I totally ignored the shutting down of that Ambedkar-Periyar group thing. It is certainly bad too and not warranted. People should in general be allowed to do whatever they want to do if they are not causing any harm to anybody else. If the issue escalates to any difficulty like the removal of the sedition law and such topics, then me and my sophomoric musings will become simply useless because I am obviously very incompetent to address that.

      0
  18. “I knew a doctoral student at a prestigious UK university who told me that her professors at IIT Madras would systematically grade her down so that she (a Dalit) wouldn’t get higher grades than the Brahmin boys (as she described them).”

    This hypothetical Dalit woman is almost certainly lying and misrepresenting the actual facts. IITs are prestigious technical institutions where the only thing which makes you a star is your skills. No IIT professor would grade Dalit woman students differently.

    When people from any background come up with these discrimination stories I wish there was some attempt at ascertaining the correct facts. Sadly if its a black person or a dalit person telling these stories they are taken completely at face value.

    Also political organizations of goons like Ambedkar Periyar study circle have no place in IITs. At IIT-Bombay the authorities would not even let something like that start leave alone shutting it down once its become notorious for causing caste trouble.

    And lastly Brahmin notions of purity are stupid but they do not have wider societal sanctions any more. Why should anyone bother if certain Brahmins do not want to eat in the same plates which are used to serve non-veg food? It does not mean Brahmins and upper castes are colluding to keep dalits down.

    PS. “mansplain” lol. If you do not want to hear what men have to say just take the next rocket out to outer space, will you?

    6+
    1. Janamejaya — mansplaining can be done by men to other men too, you know. But to elaborate on that further would be mansplaining myself 😉

      “This hypothetical Dalit woman is almost certainly lying and misrepresenting the actual facts. IITs are prestigious technical institutions where the only thing which makes you a star is your skills. No IIT professor would grade Dalit woman students differently. ”

      You have clearly never taught at a University or ever been a part of grading students (yes, even in the sciences). Although I have no way of independently verifying her story, I can only take it on face value. There have been studies that show personal biases do enter grading even in STEM fields in Europe, so it seems plausible to me that it persists after adding another dimension to the problem. To flip it around, you seem to be implying that it is impossible for anyone to have had such an experience. Based on what?

      Regarding the Ambedkar-Periyar study group issue — you linked to a IIT Madras student newspaper and a Quora article (seriously?) I already mentioned it was closed down based on fairly transparent and dubious complaints by upper caste students, and that’s all you linked to. Free speech man! You should be proud of coming from a country where such voices are heard on campus

      https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-on-iitm-a-mistake-is-rectified/article7295302.ece

      “And lastly Brahmin notions of purity are stupid but they do not have wider societal sanctions any more. Why should anyone bother if certain Brahmins do not want to eat in the same plates which are used to serve non-veg food? It does not mean Brahmins and upper castes are colluding to keep dalits down.”

      @AnAn as well — we live in an era with detergent. Once you wash plates, there’s no need to keep separate cutlery for veg/ non-veg unless. If you’re obsessed with some form of ritual purity (like Kosher observant Jews), you’re welcome to do whatever you please at home, but don’t expect this to be the case at a government funded institute. Both of you know what it means to force people to eat off of different plates. Your comment suggests you either have trouble seeing things from outside your perspective, or are very naive.

      2+
    2. “Sadly if its a black person or a dalit person telling these stories they are taken completely at face value.”

      True.

      I will only believe those incredible black police shooting stories if there was video evidence!
      There is?

      Same goes for those fantastical Dalit lynching memes.
      Hmmm.

      0
  19. BTW, You know who is most finicky about Brahminical rules of purity? Its Brahmin women. So the whole Dalit Studies theory about how Brahmin men have conditioned Brahmin women to be oppressed by them and in turn join them in the oppression of Dalits, is just nonsense.

    0
  20. “The remaining and gradually shrinking one third of the non Indian work force which was primarily white and East Asian we’re very quickly cognizant of what was going on. Don’t insult other people’s intelligence in claiming it’s all Dalit resentment and incompetence when even non Desi’s have seen first hand the crap lose lose prisoners dilemma games that casteist Indian play to get ahead.”

    Are you alleging that this happens outside of India (in say Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Europe, North America, Australia, Thailand etc.)?

    Can you elaborate?

    Is this happening along cultural lines (Andhras preferring Andhras) or other lines?

    I have seen hints of this along pan Deshi, social community, ethnic lines. Never along caste lines. I have also seen these types of patronage networks among Han Chinese, Koreans, Jews, Persians etc. But again these are mostly meritocratic highly competent organizations. Seriously these are not big deals.

    In general India has large pockets of low competence, capacity and merit. These pockets are shrinking. Patronage networks are shrinking as competence, capacity and merit increase.

    The global solution from my perspective appears to be surging competence, capacity, merit; and ignoring the rest. The rest gradually takes care of itself.

    This leaves large global disparate outcomes. The solution to this is to soften the human heart.

    Is there any other possible path?

    0
    1. I don’t know how you are responding to my comment when it wasn’t approved.

      Yes the incident I was referring to happened in the US at Bank of America. I was told by one of non involved Indians (not party to their Jati) that the people involved we’re Telegu speaking Reddy’s.

      Unlike Indians Chinese, Koreans, and White gentiles don’t have several thousand years of especially restrictive enodgamous mating to reinforce in group loyalty. Nor did their societies adapt to a equilibrium where if you didn’t play the caste game, your reproductive viability gets driven down to zero. Everyone favors in groups, the difference is in degree not kind. It just so happens that Indians are socially and biologically primed to carry it out to a degree in that it is self destructive to group welfare.

      In general India has small pockets of high competence, capacity, merit that is undermined by a massive tragedy of the commons caused by behavior adopted for caste welfare/warfare because of endogamy. This is solvable, but it is not the work of years or decades but generations. This is also principally an Indian problem and I don’t see why it requires others to accept it, let alone a global solution. The behavior seems to end rapidly once jati endogamy disappears by the second and particularly third generation, as has happened to Singapores native Tamils. This is however a hard sell to my own ethnic group who has to put up with outgroup predation and hope the numbers don’t get so bad that they tip everyone else in society to a new defect defect equilibria.

      0
      1. Hello Duke of Qin. Can we know your ethnicity to put your observations in context. I think this is relevant question because I will be interested in knowing why you felt the way you felt. (Referring to the office politics and cronyism incident you wrote about).

        1+
  21. The comment section is the reason why caste will not end in next 40-50 years (unlike what the Podcast guy says). For a moment i felt this is quora and not BP.

    1+
    1. Saurav, what does “caste” mean?

      Do you mean Jati?

      Do you mean Varna?

      Can you clarify what you support?
      Can you clarify what you oppose?

      0
  22. “A dalit family faces a lot of discrimination. Many of my dalit friends are far more knowledgeable on caste, how it is related to surname, how interviewers talk to them and more understanding of the importance of education, and knowledge on Constitution is impeccable. For a Dalit in India, there is nothing more important than a Govt job.”

    Thanks for being on the podcast.

    In my opinion part of India’s problem is that too many want government jobs. Not enough want to be entrepreneurs. This is mostly true across the socio ethnic economic spectrum.

    Isn’t the solution more entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation, competence, capacity and merit?

    Your thoughts?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Does going to an elite university and being articulate open up new social networking avenues to someone? [Including through the alumni network?] Aren’t these networks far more valuable than other social networks for most careers and businesses?

    Would you say that going to elite universities and being very professionally successful mostly negates Jati?

    Why do you choose to identify as Dalit (assuming you choose to identify as Dalit) versus SC, ST, and OBC?

    Would you consider anyone from any faith heritage other than Hindu/Buddhist/Jain/Sikh to be avarna or outcast or untouchable? If not, can you elaborate?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If you don’t mind a personal question . . . how do you view spirituality?

    Many of the most respected and ancient orders of astika Sanathana Dharma (including Shankaracharya, Maadvacharya, Ramanuja, Achintya-Bheda-Abheda, Kashmiri Shaivite, 18 Sidha Siddhanta, Nath Sampradaya, major temples . . . and many more) initiate people into the sacred thread who are SCs, STs, OBCs or foreign.

    Getting a sacred thread is voluntary of course. Only some SCs, STs, OBCs choose to get them. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon?

    While their own spiritual communities might accept SCs, STs and OBCs who carry sacred threads, how does the general society view this?

    Some say that part of the challenge with giving SCs, STs and OBCs sacred threads after 1951 is concern that they might lose access to affirmative action. What are your thoughts?

    Many very spiritual people choose not to wear sacred threads. Including all Sanyasis. And many avadhutas, sadhus and mystics. Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs as well.

    What are your thoughts on OBCs, SCs and STs choosing this path?

    0
  23. “Yes the incident I was referring to happened in the US at Bank of America. I was told by one of non involved Indians (not party to their Jati) that the people involved we’re Telegu speaking Reddy’s.”

    Is appears to be an Andhra ethnic networking thing. Why do you think caste is involved? Varna is not a simple thing. Reddy’s come in many Varnas. Another demonstration that Jati and Varna are ambiguously, partially related in a constantly changing way.

    Many Reddy’s are very spiritual. Many are very smart. Many are admirable, inspirational and likable. Who doesn’t have a Reddy best friend?

    Andhras have Andhra communities around the world. And they are powerful.

    There can be Andhra vs. Tamil wars in many organizations. Its hilarious to watch. It is so entertaining to watch, that it is hard to take it seriously. I don’t think it really matters that much. Mostly good natured fun.

    And yes, non Deshis are in on it.

    “Unlike Indians Chinese, Koreans, and White gentiles don’t have several thousand years of especially restrictive enodgamous mating to reinforce in group loyalty.”

    That is the funny thing. Many Tamilians and Andhras marry each other. 🙂 And then get made fun of because of their non traditional mother tongue accents.

    “Nor did their societies adapt to a equilibrium where if you didn’t play the caste game, your reproductive viability gets driven down to zero.”

    Umm. If someone is physically attractive (and yeah it matters for males too), very educated and rich . . . they have far more high quality candidates who want to marry them than they can handle. See it all the time. Sure you must too. Jati and Varna . . . who cares?

    “Everyone favors in groups, the difference is in degree not kind. It just so happens that Indians are socially and biologically primed to carry it out to a degree in that it is self destructive to group welfare.”

    Isn’t the solution to surge merit, capacity, competence, physical health, mental health, intelligence? Do you think very expensive medical procedures to enhance physical attractiveness needs to be added to the list?

    “In general India has small pockets of high competence, capacity, merit that is undermined by a massive tragedy of the commons”

    Agreed. A growing problem in OECD countries too.

    “caused by behavior adopted for caste welfare/warfare because of endogamy.”
    Why does who people choose to marry matter that much? Don’t merit, capacity, competence, physical health, mental health, intelligence matter much more?

    “This is solvable, but it is not the work of years or decades but generations.”
    I am more optimistic. ;–|

    “This is also principally an Indian problem and I don’t see why it requires others to accept it, let alone a global solution.”
    Do you really think that? Don’t people around the world choose spouses based on merit, capacity, competence, intelligence, mental health, physical health and physical attractiveness? This is super old stuff.

    “The behavior seems to end rapidly once jati endogamy disappears by the second and particularly third generation, as has happened to Singapores native Tamils.”

    Can you elaborate? Do you have concerns about people keeping track of their family trees, ancestry and Jati?

    “This is however a hard sell to my own ethnic group who has to put up with outgroup predation and hope the numbers don’t get so bad that they tip everyone else in society to a new defect defect equilibria.”

    Don’t follow.

    2+
  24. SP:
    “we live in an era with detergent. Once you wash plates, there’s no need to keep separate cutlery for veg/ non-veg unless. If you’re obsessed with some form of ritual purity (like Kosher observant Jews), you’re welcome to do whatever you please at home, but don’t expect this to be the case at a government funded institute. Both of you know what it means to force people to eat off of different plates. Your comment suggests you either have trouble seeing things from outside your perspective, or are very naive.”

    I don’t understand what you mean by “forced.” All vegetarian dishes are being served on the same plates to everyone who wants vegetarian dishes. No one is being discriminated against.

    Similarly anyone who wants non vegetarian dishes is getting served on the same plates. Again no discrimination.

    People choose what plates they get served with depending on what dishes they wish to eat.

    This isn’t sectarian. Many OBCs, STs, SCs, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Christians, Jews and Muslims don’t mind this. The objections are coming from post modernist marxists.

    Note that orthodox muslims can only eat Halal food. Since not all meat is Halal, a safe way for a muslim to ensure that they are eating Halal is to eat vegetarian. The same is true for Jews who want to eat kosher.

    3+
  25. “Point is myth making is a survival mechanism & when myths are used to paint Us Vs them narrative then they ultimately end in disasters.”

    Myths are a reference to meditative mystical experiences. Or what some now call subjective consciousness experiences.

    0
    1. I like to connect Science & Social science but don’t like to bring all the extra baggage of terms like meditative mystical experiences or subjective consciousness experiences.

      I am interested in understanding ‘Sanedeo’s views’ & from what sources he formed those views instead of peddling him down with my own perspective.

      0
  26. Parallel Universe
    “I will only believe those incredible black police shooting stories if there was video evidence!
    There is?”

    Please provide statistical nationwide evidence that this happens in a significant way.

    The economist Roland Fryer has researched this. He has not found evidence that blacks are killed by police in America more than other ethnic groups (other than Asians) adjusted for crime and location.

    Several detailed econometric studies found that blacks were less likely to be subject to police violence than caucasians and latinos adjusted for circumstances.

    I guess you could argue that police in America engage in excessive violence against civilians in general.

    However given America’s astronomically high murder, violent assault, violent robbery and rape rate (especially related to low crime Asian countries such as India), I think America’s main focus needs to be lowering crime.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Asians in America commit crimes, are incarcerated, and subjected to police violence at a fraction the caucasian rate and are a special case.

    There have been posts on Brown Pundits about this and how America would dramatically improve if caucasians engaged in crime at Asian rates.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Most alleged human rights abuses in India are made up by post modernist cultural marxists who don’t understand math, statistics, econometrics, or Indian culture.

    0
  27. “He seemed to assume that America had solved much of its race problem and that that’s what Dalits should aspire to. Curiously, Americans at this point, at least on the Left, perceive our racial problems as dire.”

    I know exactly where this is coming from. In India’s school textbooks America’s racial conflict is presented as a solved problem. It almost read like a Bollywood script. First the Blacks were slaves. Then a good guy Lincoln fought a war to liberate them. Then hundred years later another good guy Martin Luther King (inspired by our Gandhi of course) led a movement to give them equal rights, and then they all lived happily ever after. Even I believed in this fairy tale ending. It was only after I moved to US that I realized how burning hot, up and front, pressing and urgent the racial question in America is.

    Ironically enough, race relations under the first Black president of American have only worsened.

    1+
    1. But he (and you) are right in a way.

      There is no minimization or exceptionalization of black mob lynchings (or black lynchings for that matter), unlike in India. If there ever was a race-based crime (eg. Charleston church shooting), there is only universal condemnation from every shade of the political spectrum.

      There is no defense of white supremacy, even camouflaged well. There is well-intentioned policing of anti-minority language and most transgressions will lead at least to an apology, if not excommunication from politics- not election as chief executive of the country’s largest state.

      There sure are complex and historical social-economic factors and police-legal issues still to be resolved, but if one is being honest, that would be a good problem to have for us in India.

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  28. My focus will be on misconceptions about marriage – the hindus still follow the gotra system in arranged marriages. Personally I’ve seen in many cases that dalit males have a bit of complaint that they do not have access girls from comparatively well off jatis. That argument doesn’t hold good because there is no reason for people born to non-dalit castes, or their parents to think that they will marry a dalit. Its natural that they will look for horoscope matching and similar families. That is not something to hold against the “privileged” group.

    Traditional hindu parents, because they primarily follow the gotra system, will continue on that route. Doesn’t mean its a intentional sleight to dalits. The place where I come from, Odisha which again is a melting pot for many many jatis, most of the lower middle class to poor communities follow the gotra system.

    Jati and Varna will always be a part of Indian culture. I don’t see any reason why dalits hold that against other classes. In the modern economic world, its actually hard to figure out who’s a dalit and capitalism and quotas have helped them move upward.

    The only thing that has to improve the economic status of lower level jatis, but traditional systems, whosoever believes in them and practices it should be left alone.

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  29. Modi hating dalits??? BJP promotes casteism??? Worrying about India’s unity?? RSS being a paramilitary force?? Two things come through – lack of knowledge (maybe lack of exposure to proper sources/lack of rigour and effort) and 2.) lack of knowledge on indic belief systems.

    I mean any level headed individuals, should they even put in time and effort to expand these, if not commented on already? Edit – I believe some of them have been covered in the comments.

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