When talking about the caste system and saying that it is an outdated, crazy way to separate people and suppress those who are categorized as ‘lower’, you of course also hear the question how you could finish it. What would be a way?
I wrote in an earlier blog entry that politicians actually take advantage of the caste system. This is why the government and politicians actually have no interest in finishing it. They take advantage of the votes, knowing that people of their caste would rather vote for them than for a candidate of another caste. And this is something that happens for higher castes and lower castes in the same way. This is why they keep the caste system intact. So the very first thing that I believe would be necessary would be for politicians and the government to change their attitude. They should no longer support the caste system but work against it. I had a few ideas in which way.
1. Law against Organizations based on Castes
First of all there should be a law forbidding any organization that is based on caste. Yes, there are plenty of such organizations in every small town, everywhere. They are registered with the name of a caste and have only members of their caste. Their goals can vary but one thing is for sure: they will do anything in the interest of their caste. This kind of organizations should be banned. Registered or unregistered, it should not be allowed to form an organization based on a caste.
2. No Castes in Matrimonial Ads in Newspapers
Something else that should not be allowed is the way how the matrimonial section of newspapers looks like. I once wrote a diary entry about how the ads are categorized by caste. People search directly for ‘a Brahman Girl’. The government has the power to make a law that would change the complete structure. People would just be able to look for a partner with certain characteristics, not of a certain caste.
3. Encouragement of Intercaste Marriages
This would simultaneously be the first step to my next point in the action plan. Intercaste marriages should be encouraged by the state. If you protest now saying that this is a private matter, the government cannot do anything about it, I have to tell you that you are not completely right. The government encourages people not to have a lot of children, too. They run campaigns in which men receive money if they get a vasectomy, if they get sterilized. So why would you not encourage people to look for a partner outside their caste by offering money or maybe giving the possibility for a loan to the new couple once they got married and want to build a house?
4. Appointing lower Caste People as Priests in Temples
Of course there is another point that I always mention when discrimination of lower caste people is discussed: They are currently not allowed to even enter the temples where people of other castes go. The government has full influence on the temples and the authority to appoint lower caste people as priests. I would like to see untouchable priests giving prasad, the holy offering of Gods, to Brahman people. Why not? Why are lower caste people not allowed to enter a temple?
5. Changing last Names
At the moment it is still possible to recognize the caste of a person by their last name. Although this is slowly changing, I believe it would be good if the government gave people a one-time-possibility to change their last names to anything they like. After that there would be no way to tell whether they were higher or lower caste.
I realize that this is not all that one has to do. The main problem and task is the work on people’s mentality. They have to change their thinking. Many people who support the caste system will not agree with my writing here and will say that these points are not practical. But if there is a wish to change and to start, it can be done. It will definitely be effective.
I would love to read your ideas in the comments!