Hello Nandu, Stephen, Marianne and Everyone else on this thread,
I am intrigued by Nandu’s comment, “caste system is endemic to India. It’s not an aberration; it’s what defines society. ” I agree. Indian society, its traditions, its folktales, its rituals, its rankings and gradings all point to a hard-core caste system. Nehru tried desperately to rid the Indian society from this endemic lore, but he could not. What would (Nehru) say, were he to look at the conditions of the Dalits now? And, as you and Nandu suggest, Stephen, ” the caste system is not confined to any one religion, but is how society is organized.” Yes, the entire legal, political, socio-economic model is organized to keep Dalits, as the lowest of the lowest in the rankings of the Indian caste system.
I had written a paper on the Daalits, and their treatment by the law enforcement, by the media, by the Indian Parliament. If you don’t mind, I’ll post excerpts here.