Basis for caste discrimination


I am writing to congratulate you on carrying the excellent and in-depth article `The Indian State perpetuates caste discrimination and oppression' carried in the September 1-15, 2016 issue of MEL which carries the by-line `Emancipation of Dalits from caste oppression can come only through the class struggle of the proletariat to end all forms of exploitation and discrimination'.

This article comes against the grim background of increasing attacks on Dalit people across the length and breadth of the country under various pretexts, by goon squads of ruling circles. Not the least egregious amongst these has been the attack in the town of Una in Gujarat by self-proclaimed `Gorakshaks' on Dalit people who work in the hide and leather industry. The attacks are particularly significant because the police stood by and did nothing to protect the victims, which is probably true in almost all such cases anyway. In other words, the caste oppression of Dalits today is part and parcel of the vicious exploitation that goes on in India, where all spheres of the economy are increasingly being dominated by big capitalists headed by monopoly houses.

The article points out in no uncertain terms that `Far from protecting dalits from caste discrimination and oppression, this (existing) State actually perpetuates caste-based discrimination and oppression.' In the theoretical sphere, the article states that there are only two possible paths in front of dalits, which are those of revolutionary class struggle versus that of accommodation in the existing system.

Keeping in mind that the struggle against the caste system has a thousand year old history and that there was a reversal during British times, it may be recognized that the 1857 brought together people of all backgrounds in a united struggle to overthrow British rule. This was followed by the consolidation of the `divide and rule' policy and communalisation of the polity, including policies of reservation. The Indian bourgeoisie further entrenched all the reactionary features of Indian society and was not even able to carry out a democratic renewal of Indian society. Their state today is founded on the Constitution, one of whose architects was a Dalit, which has led to the myth that this state can safeguard Dalits. Thus, the Indian state today defends capitalists and feudal remnants and it is no surprise that the condition of Dalits has become worse, who now suffer both class as well as caste oppression, the latter because of the fact that they are amongst the most poor and have nothing to sell except their labour. The degradation of Dalits is a daily occurrence in the country and the present State can do nothing to alleviate this situation.

Thus, the important theoretical contribution of this article, in my estimation, is the pointing out of the fact that '...solution to the problem can come through a united and democratic struggle by all exploited and oppressed people, led by the proletariat, to put an end to the rule of the capitalist class and replace it with workers' and peasants' rule'. I commend you on carrying this article.


Anjali Deo, Nasik


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Oct 1-15 2016    Letters to Editor    2016   

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