Punjabi Ambedkarite’s Experience of Caste and Love in Sikkim


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Randomly so many thoughts and incidents come to mind but from where to start and what to start and how to start. Our society gives so much to think about, so much to rejoice about to everyone but so much to depress about to depressed classes mainly.

It’s very simple for any Indian who would like to know about these depressed classes. By this way or that way all belongs to lower castes and I believe nobody knows about caste except ‘we the Indians’. All get united on casteism which failed our forefathers, failing us and if not stopped will surely fail our coming generations. This is the unity in diversity of India, go anywhere and one will find this everywhere.

People belongs to so called upper castes seems to be good to all those who don’t know about castes. They cried for freedom, they revolt against unequal treatment of themselves against their oppressors and they preach ‘vasudhev kutumbkam’ means the whole world is one family. This simply means they preach freedom, equality and fraternity which is required for a peaceful world. But, in actual they are having double standards because they oppose this with their blood and sweat when it comes to casteism.

It’s so inherited in their mindset, culture and society that they don’t even want to think or discuss it. They want to preach it but don’t want any discussions on it. In India, one has to face this at one stage or another.

I born in Punjab and working in Sikkim. States mentioned are just to show the unity in diversity of India. Both states cover almost the full width of India from west to east and Punjab is Sikh populated state whereas Buddhism having nice holds in Sikkim. Religions mentioned intentionally because both of these religions preach equality and reject the brahamanism. The priesthood is not hereditary in both the religions.

Casteism exists in both of these states because of Hindu population living there. Sikh people failed to grasp their Gurus’ teachings however teachings of Sikhism are modern and so good to make us a better human being. But Majhabi Sikhs exist because there is a gap in theory and practice of followers of Sikhism.

Hindu population living in Sikkim follows casteism in the same way as the rest of Hindu population in India. The only difference is physical assault and social boycott are absent in Sikkim, I never heard any such type of incident in Sikkim. Love marriages are very common and socially acceptable in Sikkim and because they are allowed to love so on many occasions it is found that lovers belong to different castes. Sometimes they got married but almost on all those occasions, upper caste family break their relations with their son/daughter. But they don’t kill or assault physically anyone as we see in the rest of India.

Many communities follow Buddhism in Sikkim and nobody has any problem in intercaste marriage because they don’t have any caste. Inter-community and inter religion marriages happen but they prefer to get married in their community only. And the reason for this is culture and language difference. Yes, Sikkim is the smallest state in India but there are many communities having their own cultures and languages with Nepali as a common language.

One day I planned to go to Gangtok and my friend asked me to accompany him as he is having his home in Gangtok only. Because of customary beliefs, he told me that he can’t go to his home on Saturday, so we went to his wife’s home. Everybody in that home was so happy to see me there because I was not one of them and who was having different face cut, different language, different culture, different food habits. It was such joy full moment for me when I found myself in such a condition.

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The second time when I went to Gangtok with my friend, because of a certain reason we had to go to that home again. And this time everyone was acquaintance so we felt more comfortable and enjoyed the moment.

One day, my friend asked me to meet his wife’s younger sister. It was half surprise for me because he used to tease me occasionally but I never thought he would talk to me about this so directly. I agreed to meet her and during meeting, I found that she has already very positive views for me. She told me that she heard many times about me from her family and have no confusion about me.

I said I am an Ambdekarite who follows Babasaheb’s teachings and she asked why I said this thing and how does it matter.

We started talking nicely, fell in love and ready to become each other’s life, partner. The time when both the families got ready for this relationship, it happens like every time happens and they asked me about my caste through their daughter. I confirmed him in which caste I born and from which part of their god I born. She was crying because now she knew the seriousness of this poison in her life and I was angry because of the reason that the people who always praised me for my goodness were now looking for caste and caste only. All goodness of a person just vanished within no time.

I was angry because it was them who choose me for their daughter without knowing about my caste. My friend who started all this is Buddhist by religion and felt helpless in this situation because he didn’t know that these things exists. His concept was so simple that if two people want to spend their lives together, how does it matter to which caste or culture or religion or language or nationality they belong. And in our case both families were also happy before enquiring about caste.

I simply asked her what she wants and the crystal clear reply was to come with me leaving everything behind without any remorse. But she requested that it will be good if everybody come together with us. I asked her that I will never pray those gods who don’t treat me equal to others and I will continue to follow Buddhism and Babasaheb’s teachings. There will be no compromise on this and if she would like to leave me at any point of time because of this reason, I will not stop her. She said in a simple sentence that she will follow my faith. Because of her love for me I decided to make her my life partner.

Considering her request me and my family decided that to convey their family that we are Buddhist and not Hindu. No further questions raised by anyone and we got married socially like a normal Indian marriage with band, baja and baraat.

Now, we all are Buddhist and following our faith with respect and with freedom, equality and fraternity. We are free from casteism, we can also become monks (priests). Everybody treats us equal to them, we can pray in monasteries with everyone. We can marry and have relations in society like evryone.

We the depressed classes failed to understand from the birth of Buddhism that Buddhism is the only religion who can give us freedom, equality and fraternity.

Author – Mukesh Kumar

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    HITESH SHAKYA

    Not only Vivekananda.but many so called social reformers in India were also following caste system as a boon of God.

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