The rise of a ‘sarcastic’ caste system is turning India into a caste-ridden country where the rich and the powerful can prosper without worrying about the well-being of the majority, writes Akshay Kumar.
In India, it is the privileged who are the most worried about the poor, according to a recent poll by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
As a result, the elite are increasingly reluctant to challenge caste, especially when it comes to the poor.
The most worrying thing about this trend is that it is taking place despite India’s economic progress and the rise of democracy, says Prof. Santosh Prakash, one of the co-authors of the report.
He says the new caste system has resulted in a social hierarchy where the poor are second-class citizens, a situation that is very dangerous for India’s democracy.
The caste system that is emerging in India is based on an outdated and discriminatory belief in social caste and caste privilege.
A number of Indian states have introduced laws to penalize social discrimination against the poor and other vulnerable groups.
“There is no doubt that caste is an important and pervasive issue that is causing concern in India.
This is a problem that we need to solve,” Prakashi told Al Jazeera.
Prakashi’s report on caste and inequality is a culmination of his work as a PhD student at Harvard T in 2008.
His work focused on the role of caste and wealth in shaping caste hierarchies in India and his findings are widely considered to be a major contribution to the country’s caste system.
He also published the report The Dalit Class: A Case Study in Indian Politics and Society in 2016.
Despite these achievements, Prakasa believes the caste system in India still needs to be addressed and he hopes the new legislation introduced in Rajasthan will help solve the problems faced by the poor in the country.
But there is a lot of work left to be done.
India’s political parties have long been accused of being hostile to the Dalit and the poor but, Prahlad Bhatt, an independent researcher and author of a recent book on caste in India, says that has not been the case in the last 20 years.
Bhatt says India’s political leaders are largely apathetic about caste and the problems it has caused.
“The Dalit are still marginalised in India,” Bhatt told Aljazeera.
“They are seen as poor and are excluded from politics, from the political arena and even from the private sector.
Even though India has moved away from caste system, there is still a lot that can be done to address the problems that Dalits face.”
Bhatt is calling for the enactment of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA), which has been stalled for years.
This law would help address the inequalities in the caste and social structure of India.
According to the RDA, caste, gender, age, ethnicity and religious beliefs are among the categories of discrimination against Dalits.
To date, the legislation has been introduced in nine states in India but, it remains stalled in the Rajasthani state of Rajasamandha.
Many Dalit groups and activists are also calling for a law that would protect the Dalits against discrimination based on caste.
Some groups, including the Dalitas, argue that the RTA would allow them to have their voices heard and their voices be heard in the political process.
Other activists say the Rta needs to focus on caste as the main issue and not caste inequality.
However, Praja Dhar, a senior member of the Dalita community, has reservations about the Rda.
‘It will create caste problems’Dhar, who is also a member of a group called Dalit Solidarity, is also calling on the government to adopt the Rt.
Hon. Nirmala Sitharaman’s anti-racism law, which was passed in the Lok Sabha in 2016, and take it forward to ensure the rights of Dalits are not violated.
She says the law is a good first step but she doubts the government will take the necessary steps to ensure Dalits’ rights are protected.
Dhar is not alone in her concerns.
Lashik Goyal, a Dalit activist and a former BJP leader, told Alja-Nehru Naidu that the law would also lead to discrimination against women.
Goyal, who heads the Daliti Solidarity group, said that women in India have a difficult time finding employment.
“Women have not been able to take up any jobs in the past because of the caste systems,” Goyal told Aljeet Singh on Al Jazeera’s News Hour.
Women have to work in the fields, do domestic work, and so they have to deal with social pressures to stay at home.
If you are a woman and you have to go to the