Capitalist inroad changes the caste equations in India

The local Vaisyas (a Hindu name for producers of wealth) who were land-owners in the villages of India were in charge of the Sudhras who remained agricultural workers.  Traditionally the Vaisyas took care of the Sudhras in good times and bad.  This was the case from time immemorial.
As capitalism began to make inroads into India the relationship were changing.  The British who ruled the country for 200 years before independence brought in the laws on landownership by which the title of the land were transferable.  This changed the relationship in villages.  Usury played greater part by which the lands were alienated due to non-payment of interest that was exhorbitant.  After independence the government enacted laws that gave greater share of the produce to the agricultural workers and lesser share to the land owner.  This enabled the agricultural workers tied to the land rather than being thrown out by the land owner.  The landowners realized that absentee-landlordism does not pay and as such they decided to take greater charge so the peasant does not take advantage as a share-cropper but remains as an agri-worker.  Those landowners who could not take active role sold the land and moved out.  Secondly land ceiling Act came into effect by which a limit is put on the land-holding of individuals so that usurers will not alienate the land.   This gave the land-owner the ability to hold on to his land in lean times though the pressure from the usurer remained constant.  Then the agro-technology got into the act and required lesser number of agricultural workers.  Also the cities were booming and there were greater economic opportunities both for business and educated people.  This resulted in three streams of people thronging into the cities.  One was by some of  the landowners selling off their land and move to the cities to start businesses.  The second by the dispossessed land-owners coming into the cities to work for the businesses and the government.  Third by the surplus workers moving into the cities to find employment in homes and factories.

These changes upset the old relations between the rural Vaisyas and Sudhras.  The sudhras were now reduced to wage earners and they had to fend for themselves in lean times when there was no work, as the Vaisyas can neither afford to take care of the sudhras in changed times nor were held responsible by any convention any more.  This has also unleashed many social problems challenging the old way of life.  The secular govt that was the root cause in unraveling these changes had also allowed a right to the non-hindu religions of Islam and Christianity to convert the people to their religions.  They called the sudhras as Dalits (a word that is not Indian at all) meaning (that is now sought to be represented as) ‘oppressed people’.

These Dalits have become a political force that are now used by politicians by appealing to the many faciful so called oppressions they were subjected to in the past because a thing can look terrible if you ignore the time!  Also apart from portraying the Brahmins who are the smallest section and who have become increasingly irrelevant in the present social fabric as the villain, there has to be a bait to make them follow and that issue is the reservation in education and employment.

In the capitalist system a person is yet another tool and for the capitalist this person being animate is no matter in his pursuit for profit.  The Dalit is asked to ignore this social phenomena instead he is directed to vent his anger against a ghost of a Brahmin or a non-sudhra Hindu.

The latest incident has happened in Ramanathapuram, South India.

Two killed in police firing in caste-sensitive south TN

RAMANATHAPURAM: Two persons were killed in police firing in Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram district in caste-sensitive south Tamil Nadu while several others including senior police officials were injured in stone pelting incidents that lead to the firing on Sunday afternoon.

One more person is feared to be killed in the incident. In Madurai too police opened fire to disperse a crowd of protestors demanding the release of John Pandian, founder of Tamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, who was detained on the way to Paramakudi to participate in the 54th memorial day observation of Immanuel Sekaran, a dalit leader.

The detention of John Pandian sparked an immediate agitation by dalits who thronged Paramakudi for the memorial and turned violent moments later. The dalits, who staged a protest, soon started pelting stones on the police injuring Ramanathapuram DIG Sandeep Mittal and deputy commissioner of police K A Senthilvelan prompting the police to open fire. Two men among the agitators died on the spot.

As the news of the firing and the death spread more dalits started converging at the spot fuelling further unrest. Police had cordoned off the entire district and stopped vehicles at the entry points of the district to prevent escalation of violence. About 5,000 such vehicles that brought dalits from across the state are lined up outside the district.

Police said that many police vehicles were damaged and set on fire by a mob. “We are not even able to go near the memorial, the epicentre of the violent incidents now,” said a police official. The firing occurred around 1 pm at a distance of about one km from the memorial of Immanuel Sekaran. The bodies of the victims are now with the agitators, police said, adding that no women were injured in the firing.

In Madurai, two persons were injured in a police firing at Chintamani area. The firings have sparked tension in the entire southern Tamil Nadu and heavy posse of police have been posted at sensitive spots.


One thought on “Capitalist inroad changes the caste equations in India

  1. Pingback: Capitalist inroads changes the caste equations in India « Tamilbrahmins

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