Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Midnight Post

Landlord in Kota: What is your caste?
S: We are untouchables. Should we vacate the room? (S btw is a Brahmin)
X: No it is fine. But you should know your history.
Me: We have been alive for only 15 years there is no history. In another 20 years you will hear of us.

Me: Could I get a room please?
X in Gujarat: What is your caste?
Me: Isn’t this a government property? I have no clue what my caste is.
X: Don’t you have a father, a history? I am a poor Brahmin, I know what my lineage that is what makes me what I am. No having a caste is like not having a past; a culture. Are you a bastard?
Me: Who cares who my father is? He is not my identity, what I do makes me who I am. If you are a Brahmin, why are you working here or god did not consider you fit enough to allow you to pray to him? Please fuck off.
If the literate and supposedly aware among us refuse to reform old customs and change, we have a grim future ahead. People are easily made literate but imparting education is a different ball game. Literacy can be measured education is more subtle. It manifests itself in our application of sciences (if we use innovation as a measure here, we suck) in political and social debates, it manifests in how we interact as a nation, in how we think. Literacy is no use, education is. But that is not the point of this post.

We trace most of the problems in India to lack of education and rightly so. But for education to serve its purpose, it has to invoke thought. Science for all the good it has brought us does not do anything to develop a civil and harmonious society. It will be through a proper and unbiased study of history that we can create one. How many adult Indians can place Kanishka, Harshavardhan, raja raja, Chandragupta Maurya, Chandragupta Gupta and others who have shaped out history and culture on a timeline? I recently had a chance to look at what children in Maharashtra are taught in the name of history; Shivaji shivaji and more of him…is it any wonder that MNS has no difficulty finding goons and mislead the youth?

The history of the world is the history of ideas. But, in time it becomes a history of conflict as seen by the victors. History is deliberately erased, contributions to culture forgotten and only battles celebrated. History should not be written by the men of war but by men of peace. We make our story the story of violence of conquers whereas what affects us are the contributions to science and culture. Machiavelli is derided as a jackal while Krishna is revered as god. History should be read in context and it is context which we as a nation lack. We refuse to see the background or think beyond our limited memory.

Prof Siva Kumar once said in class, if you were a babu in the government in 1950 and you looked around; you had 10 servants working on minimum wages, a sprawling bungalow, a car and other “perks” then you look at your peers in the first world countries and they cannot even imagine having help at home. What do you do? Keep the masses poor and illiterate to ensure your lifestyle lasts. When you want the people to fight for a “hindu” nation, “hindutvise” the history books. Is it any wonder that we face problems of communal violence? If people don’t realize that it was the interaction of cultures; of Indian with Aryans, with Kushans from Central Asia with Muslims from Samarkand with the Portuguese who got knowledge and British who gave us law and Bombay, enriched and made our society what it is we have failed to educate ourselves.

I should sleep...gnite.


  1. What of the remaining population? Regardless of what children are taught in schools, their parents and relatives end up having a huge influence on them. Their thought process and their conceptions of right and wrong is incurable.

  2. surroundings do influence our conceptions, you are right. I have met enough good people to not believe that they are incurable or any worse than us...guess its a matter of how we think

  3. I dont mean everyone obviously. I dont even claim that I am completely unbiased. But, a majority of people do place a huge emphasis on caste. That thought process does seem to be incurable.