Race and Caste both are problems in India. Race and Caste both are wrong and for that matter discrimination or bias of any kind is wrong. Racism is as we all know is discrimination based on people belonging to a particular geographical location, color, physical features etc but caste is the social stratification of people and is determined by birth.
A young Nigerian was lynched by a mob in New Delhi recently. India is a racial country as brought out by some global studies. It is important to introspect without giving unruly justification when such incidences occur. And the Foreign Minister of India is blatantly saying that the murder was not on the racial ground. Racial ground or not. Many Africans or people of African origin face discrimination in India. India is a color conscious society and often the fairer color is favorable than the dark skin.
The caste system which originated from the Varna system had color codes and the dark was often equated with low and hence with the lower castes. Though the races in India are intermixed to some extent, some studies of genes and gene pools are beginning to show that the Indians stopped intermarriages over 1500 years ago. However we will not dwell on scientific findings, important though they are, but on the political and sociological side of the race in India.
Indians despise the dark color. People of color often traveling to India are discriminated.
An African American professor traveling in India left behind writing on how he was discriminated in India. Indians have been similarly classified as the blacks in the eastern countries and they are also looked down as the inferior races. In South Africa, the Indians always tried to prove to the White masters that they are superior to the native Africans.
Even Gandhi used to proclaim the superiority of the Indians over the native Africans. The African American leaders were lured into a trap of colonialism and racism as the similar problem. Danial Immerwahr showed how the caste and race was the similar problem, but the race and caste were not brought together and the African American movement for racial justice was misled by India’s upper castes elites. But the caste system was in the focus of some of the leading African American leaders.
The modern India should be part of the racial justice movement which means that they should be up against homegrown system of discrimination based on the caste. Therefore the response to the lynching of Nigerian youth should be all out attack on racial discrimination instead of hiding it. It is time to kill the monster of discrimination in any form. India is busy in selling Yoga all over the world. It is important for the soft diplomacy. It will give India soft power, but the quest for a discrimination free society will give India more soft power.
India the Most Racist Country
India is the most racist country in the world. According to the data from the World Value Survey, which measured the social attitudes of people in different countries, as reported by the Washington Post, India and Jordan tops the list of most racist countries with 40% + of individuals surveyed would not want a person of another race as a neighbor. Almost same was the data for the caste discrimination practices published a few years ago where around 35% agreed that they practiced caste discrimination. We believe numbers would be much higher in reality.
So simply put between Race and Caste, Caste is more oppressive and pervasive than Race.
While there is hope and the possibility that racism can end with the mixing and mingling of different people in a multicultural world, but caste, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to fade away.
Caste is codified in the religious texts and is getting more and more institutionalized in both private and public spaces. There are attempts to keep caste alive by creating spaces which are restricted only to a privileged few so-called upper castes and have always been that way.
Author – Mangesh Dhaiwale and Velivada Team