The Supreme Court of India finally strikes a massive blow to one of the oldest and outdated forms of social stratification practiced in India – CASTE. Perhaps, this is the best news of the day for me!
Sipping my early morning coffee, I came across an article highlighting the details of a judgement passed by a three judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India – Dipak Mishra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud. The judgement clearly states that the consent of family or community or clan is NOT necessary once two adult individuals decide and agree to enter into a wedlock. From now on, any form of assembly or social pressure to prevent two consenting adult individuals from marrying is “illegal”. This serves as a befitting reply to the nefarious and inhuman levels of discrimination – based on caste, creed, community and religion, practised widely in different parts of the country. (Read more at : http://www.livelaw.in/right-choose-life-partner-fundamental-right-consent-family-community-clan-not-necessary-marriage-two-adults-sc-read-judgment/)
This part of the globe is constantly looked up to by the rest of the world, for morals, religious beliefs, value systems and what not – India, being the favourite destination in the hunt for morals.
In a bid to boast these values, we still hold on to an age-old concept of casteism in independent India. This has somehow brought in multiple questions in my mind – Is our society educated enough? Is the education effective enough to get rid of the society’s ignorance? Can we boast of being a country which believes in “equality in diversity”? Are human beings humane enough? and many more such questions….
I’ve had countless observations, which somehow makes me ponder – whether I actually belong to a civilised society (as modern India is projected to be) or I’m just another scapegoat, amidst millions, ready to succumb to the false caste-ridden biased pressure in some or the other step of my life.
Welcome to the hypocrisy of the much acclaimed Indian society!!!
Even in the 21st century, we witness instances of people discriminating between prospective brides, on the basis of their colour. Adult individuals are deprived of companionship, if they belong to different castes/religions, even if they have their right to choose their own path and consummate their relationship.
Who are these torch-bearers of society who decide what’s right/wrong, what’s ethical/unethical, what’s allowed/not allowed? Such is the menace of this mask called ‘Society’, that people whose conscience even speaks loud and clear against this bias, either choose to remain mute spectators of this sad state of affairs or vehemently oppose to any such alliance, because of their nagging fear of facing boycott from our very own ‘society’.Let alone marital alliances, we still have people around us, who have inhibitions of even having a glass of water from someone’s house, who is typecast as a ‘lower caste holder’. And these same people can hire servants to cater to their lavish needs (without even questioning about their ‘caste rank’). This is how hypocritical we are gradually becoming, amidst illusions of being the most progressive and fast-developing country in the world.
And yes, if ‘education’ is the word harking on your minds and you strongly believe that this ignorance can be fought with grass-root level education, then let me clarify – all the examples cited above are about real-life civilised, literate people. We keep reading about nuances of casteism/religion in the form of murders, rapes, physical violence, molestation, mass social boycott and many more (effectively termed as heinous crimes, by the law of the country) in rural areas. If not more, even our elite urban areas are not lagging too far behind in participating in this virtual societal circus. All in the name of something called CASTE. Finally, it all comes down to the attitude of people, proudly calling themselves Indians.
The biggest irony is that people here believe in preaching equality, but not practising it.
My message for all – Please keep your mind open and be flexible enough to judge both sides of the same coin. ‘Rigidity’ suits dead bodies, NOT living human beings. We breathe the same air and stand under the same sky. Let not these invisible lines/borders separate us. Let’s LIVE together.
Legalising a rule against such discrimination, in the Indian Constitution, is a major step towards freedom, in its literal sense. It’s time we join hands to resurrect our diminishing glory. The Supreme Court has taken the first step towards a path of unbiased progress of the nation. Someday, we’ll definitely win over this ghostly-dogma called “casteism”!