Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is Wealth a Cure for Caste Bias?

Basically, yes. Although this NY Times article definitely includes counterpoints and caveats, the gist of it is that as India pulls its poor out of poverty and into a broader middle class, the tragic biases in its millennia-old caste system are evaporating. There is debate on whether the primary cause is economic liberalization or something else, but the fact remains that it is happening:

The survey, financed by the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania, finds that Dalits are far less likely to be engaged in their traditional caste occupations — for instance, the skinning of animals, considered ritually unclean — than they used to be and more likely to enjoy social perks once denied them. In rural Azamgarh District, for instance, nearly all Dalit households said their bridegrooms now rode in cars to their weddings, compared with 27 percent in 1990. In the past, Dalits would not have been allowed to ride even horses to meet their brides; that was considered an upper-caste privilege.

Mr. Prasad credits the changes to a booming economy. “It has pulled them out of the acute poverty they were in and the day-to-day humiliation of working for a landlord,” he said.

To prove his point, Mr. Prasad recently brought journalists here to his home district. In one village, Gaddopur, his theory was borne out in the tale of a gaunt, reticent man named Mahesh Kumar, who went to work in a factory 300 miles away so his family would no longer have to live as serfs, tending the animals of the upper caste.

When he was a child, Dalits like him had to address their upper-caste landlords as “babu-saab,” close to “master.” Now it is acceptable to call them “uncle” or “brother,” just as people would members of their own castes.

Click here for the full article, by Somini Sengupta.


wish011 said...
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Unknown said...

I think it's arresting, because it bare a very academic-focussed attitude. Preserving the honestness of the academic system seems to be a antecedence, although commonly exclude recompensed ads for such a service seems a fragile response. When the enterprise is known by your friends who were captivated with the results of the fraternization, about the cure for caste bias. But don't foreget always to use plagiarism check run them through this plagiarism detection system for absolute checking and make sure that your material is authentic.