To the brahmins/savarnas/kshatriyas/upper castes/forward castes/dominant castes
Let's talk guys.
You all might have observed that I haven't been polite to you at all. You are right. And I promise you that I'll not be polite in future as well. But for this one time, I'll make an exception.
What's the problem guys? Why are you so aggresive when someone talks about your caste privilege? Why is it so hard for you to accept and acknowledge it? Do you think once you do that your privileged will be snatched away? Or are you living in that make believe world of self victimisation?
Why are you always pointing finger at the bahujan community for invoking caste everywhere? Do you really think it isn't? You might think that way because of you being caste blind. You don't know about it because nobody made you aware about it. Because you always enjoyed that privilege.
There is a film called Hidden Figures. It's about the black women scientists at NASA. NASA once had separate buildings for whites and blacks. One of the black women scientists gets appointed in an important project because of her sheer brilliance. The problem is that the project is in the white building. Everytime she has to use the washroom she has to walk all the way to the black building to relieve herself. That eats up a lot of her time during work hours. Her boss, a white, colour blind man, one day admonishes her for this. She then breaks out and tells him that the white building does not have a washroom for blacks. The boss then goes and breaks all the label plates on the washrooms which mention colour.
Why did I tell you this? Because the boss isn't a bad man. He isn't a racist. But since he enjoys his white privilege, he isn't even aware of what problems the oppressed goes through.
Do you think only he is responsible for his ignorance? Yes and No.
Yes, because as a grown ass man it's his duty to peel some layers of the society to know the truth. No because the whole culture hides the truth away from him.
Do you think that it's just a coincidence that you have heard so much about Vivekananda and so little about Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitri Bai Phule. That you have heard so much about Mirabai and have heard absolutely nothing about Janabai. That you have heard so much about Gandhi and just a very little about Babasaheb Ambedkar. That you heard that Shivaji was a hindu king when in fact he was a bahujan king and brahmins had refused to perform his coronation ceremony.
No, it's by design. The writers of the narrative which you are living in have all glorified only the savarnas. The bahujan truth is uncomfortable for them. And therefore you are also saved from the discomfort.
Let me be honest here. I was also a caste blind person. Never discriminated but never acknowledged my privilege as well. Babasaheb was simply a writer of the Constitution for me. Last year around the same time, I somehow stumbled upon Annihilation of Caste. And it hit me like a strong hard blow. It made me so uncomfortable, it made me squirm. And mind you I am not even one of those typical conservative baman. But I could physically feel the slap of it. I kept reading it and I have been feeling so liberated since then that I can't even tell you.
That liberation also came with its share of arrogance. Suddenly that saviour complex seeped in and I was trying to be all heroic about it everywhere. Thanks to Article 15, where I saw that Saviour complex from a distance and realised the cringe it invokes. And, I stopped.
I am part of a few bahujan groups on facebook and I simply am there as a fly on the wall. I just read and absorb all of it. I laugh the hardest at the most so called offensive jokes on bamans.
You have to listen to them, guys. The reservation debate is so last season. You need to move on from it. You need to see beyond it. We are dominating every single sphere of this culture. Poetry, filmmaking, painting, music, media, politics, doctors, lawyers, engineers, CAs everything. Just look at the list of the Bharat Ratna awardees.
Don't believe the genetic superiority theory. It's bullshit. There is no such thing. If at birth, your child gets replaced with a bahujan child, then that child will automatically get that privilege and will get the success.
How many prominent bahujan voices are out there? You can literally count them on your fingers. The media does little to highlight them. Even our savarna liberal darling Ravish Kumar. How many times have his panelists been bahujans? I remember the last time he had bahujan panelists. It was during the Payal Tadvi case. Do you see the problem here. Bahujan panelists are called upon only to discuss bahujan issues. And also those which somehow gets exploded and are impossible to ignore. How many times have you seen Bahujans on a media panel simply discussing the economic policies?
The question we all have in our minds is about reservation right? That it should be economic based. Reservation is about representation. We all are seeing the migrant labourer crisis. Not one among those belong to the dominant castes. The 16 labourers who died under the train were all Gond Aadivasis. I don't even know their names. Because the media didn't care to tell me.
The manual scavengers are all Bahujans. Reservation will help his child to represent him someday. And the day he represents his father will be the day he'll be able to raise the the issue of this inhumanity. Will your kid ever raise his/her voice for them?
You might also ask but why do they choose to do it? The answer isn't complicated. It's because of survival. You have the choice of various courses and jobs, they don't.
There is no such thing as reverse casteism. Because if someone makes a joke on your caste, it doesn't even make a small dent in your mountain of privilege. Reverse casteism is nothing but your self created victimisation.
I got triggered to write this because in one of the bahujan groups a bahujan boy was threatened by a baman girl because he questioned the baman hegemony. She could threaten him because her father is some investigation officer.
You see how vulnerable the oppressed voices are. You and I enjoy the same privilege as a Pravesh Varma or a Kapil Mishra or a Manoj Tiwari or a Sangeet Som enjoy. The privilege enabled Pragya Thakur enter the fucking Parliament.
The bahujan kid is vulnerable because Anand Teltumbde is in jail. Because Gautam Navlakha is in jail. Because 80% of the prisoners are Bahujans.
So it's our duty to use our privilege correctly. We must stop the smug and arrogant display of our castes. You have the freedom of posting a janeu clad pic but you should know the symbolism behind it and why you shouldn't do it. Cultivate some empathy.
Don't go about being all cool in a Bahujan group. Doesn't help really. What you must do is challenge the hegemony around yourself. Have that uncomfortable conversation in your family everyday. Reject the rituals which cement the dominance. Reject the arrange marriage because it protects the casteism like nothing else.
Let the bahujans be. Don't try to be a Saviour and don't try to accuse them for the government's incompetence. If your child hasn't gotten a seat it's because of lack of seats. Stop blaming reservation.
Your rebellion or reform means nothing if you are vocal outside and are silent at home. That makes you a hypocrite because you want the world to know you as a cool woke person but you still don't want to challenge the hegemony at home. The cushion is too comfortable isn't it?
Modify your environment. Relieve it of its inherent casteism. And stop getting offended when someone says bamans are beggars. Because you are.
We all are lucky to have Babasaheb's literature with us. It's all available on the website of Ministry of External Affairs. Just Google it and download the pdf files. Also, read it.
Yours politely (for the first and the last time)
PS. Some film recommendations :
Pariyerum Perumal (directed by Mari Selvaraj)
Fandry and Sairat (Nagraj Manjule)
Masaan (Neeraj Ghaywan)
Kaala (Pa. Ranjith)
Asuran and Visaranai (Vetri Maaran)
-Special Credits to Anant Iyer