Equality and Inclusion: Progress and development of Scheduled Castes and Tribes in Independent India

via Courtesy: Dr S Kalyanaraman published on August 18, 2011

Rakesh Bahadur, Kamlesh Kapur, Ram Sidhaye and Dallas Boyd of the Equality and Inclusion team has brought out the Report.

Excerpts from the Foreword:

The Report cites pigeon-holing Indian society into castes is a colonial creation: “We pigeon holed everyone by caste and if we could not find a true caste for them, labelled them with the name of hereditary occupation. We deplore the caste system and its effect on social and economic problems, but we are largely responsible for the system we deplore. ML Middleton, ICS, Superintendent of the Government of India, in the Census 1911 Report for Punjab and Delhi (Vol. 15, Part I, p. 343).” ((p.xiii)

The Report goes on to conclude that “the progress of SC/ST is made possible because of Government of India policies, Constitutional Guarantees, and social acceptance of an atmosphere of equality. This tremendous progress can happen only in healthy and non-discriminatory conditions. Government policies and actions alone could not have achieved so much in 50 years; it was social acceptance by the majority that made the enactment of so many laws, policies of reservation and their implementation…This report is not about Caste or Caste system. The main thesis of this report is that for progress of any social group, there must be positive and conducive environment. This approach will showcase the tremendous progress India has made with the affirmative action, laws and programs for Scheduled Castes and Tribes. This report makes the following four points: *GOI (Govt. of India) Ministries and other Entities are not consistent in their postulations with the data on hand and they tend to make sweeping affirmations without supporting evience and there are also inter-departmental contradictions. *International reports also are poorly based on ground realities. *Labels like Human rights violations are glibly assigned even to ordinary crimes. *Published and time-analyzed data show that great progress has been made by SC/ST under affirmative Constitutional provisions and governmental policies and programs.” (p.6, p. 10)

In conclusion, the Report states: “Caste in India is a complex issue that is the source of a profound misperception of Indian society. According to the popular, if misinformed view, caste is an immutable social designation that advantages certain groups while victimizing others. The misunderstanding arises from the conflation of caste and Varna, two classification systems with highly dissimilar roots and functions. The ‘caste system’ classifies the community, its several thousand subdivisions represent family name (Jaati), geography and variety of other factors. Varna, by contrast, classifies the function of the individual on the basis of skills, occupation, education, and societal role. While caste is fixed, like a family name, Varna is more fluid. One can transition between Varnas depending on educational or vocational choices.”

The Report is an effective counter to mischievous, motivated views of organizations engaged in evangelical missions and which now try to pursue the myth of ‘human rights violations’ falsely portraying Hindu society as cast in caste.

It should be clear from the Report that the Hindu society which has withstood the onslaughts of barabaric attacks of middle ages and colonial exploitation until the early twentieth century, is effectively engaged in the protection of that eternal ethic, dharma –which is the heritage that the global community should protect and promote to bring about reinforcement of human responsibilities for a just order.

Report on Equality and Inclusion Progress and development of Scheduled Castes andTribes in Independent India (2011)

Equality and Inclusion: Progress and development of Scheduled Castes& Tribes in Independent India

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