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Debate material: Caste based reservation
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Lije Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation

(17-06-2010 12:59 AM)Lije Wrote:  That was the case for me and some of my friends when we were in school. We used to gripe on how hard we had to work to get into a good college compared to people who can get reserved seats. The only reason that I was a casteist back then was because of the reservation system. I did not know about jati dharma or the other arguments given by hindu apologists.

I have to admit, that was a logical fallacy - argument from personal experience.

After a bit of research in the time since my last post in this thread, I am reconsidering my position on caste based reservations. Elsewhere Sid had said that reservations are a bad solution, but are also the only solution available right now and I agree with that.
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donatello Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation

In western countries, where affirmative action is widely implemented, the situation is different from India. No one is making so much noise about such utter nonsense as "merit"-based reservation, equality of opportunity, etc. The reason for this, IMO is that there is plenty of opportunity there. People from any kind of background have the chance to become top researchers or experts in their area. The only thing that could stop them is some form of discrimination (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc).

In India, the situation is quite different because of the lack of opportunity. Not anyone can become a mathematician, a scientist, engineer or doctor just because (s)he wants to (even if we ignore social discrimination). The highly underdeveloped high-school education system equips people with so little, that it is routine for middle-class people to want to get a college education. In first-world or second-world countries, young people make a conscious choice to go to college based on their interest. It is not so "routine".

If the education system was well developed, say like China, I am quite sure there would be little fuss over implementing the reservation system - it would just happen routinely, and people will just go about their business. Our government seems to have finally begun addressing this, with the compulsory education law, now backed with lots of money in this year's budget. At this rate of growth in the education sector, the reservation "problem" will go away into obscurity in a few decades. Of course, reservation itself will still be implemented, but there won't be so much fierce opposition to it.

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Swati Offline
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Post: #15
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation


Elsewhere Sid had said that reservations are a bad solution, but are also the only solution available right now and I agree with that.

[/quote]

Agree.


(30-08-2010 09:34 PM)donatello Wrote:  In western countries, where affirmative action is widely implemented, the situation is different from India. No one is making so much noise about such utter nonsense as "merit"-based reservation, equality of opportunity, etc. The reason for this, IMO is that there is plenty of opportunity there. People from any kind of background have the chance to become top researchers or experts in their area. The only thing that could stop them is some form of discrimination (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc).

In India, the situation is quite different because of the lack of opportunity. Not anyone can become a mathematician, a scientist, engineer or doctor just because (s)he wants to (even if we ignore social discrimination). The highly underdeveloped high-school education system equips people with so little, that it is routine for middle-class people to want to get a college education. In first-world or second-world countries, young people make a conscious choice to go to college based on their interest. It is not so "routine".

If the education system was well developed, say like China, I am quite sure there would be little fuss over implementing the reservation system - it would just happen routinely, and people will just go about their business. Our government seems to have finally begun addressing this, with the compulsory education law, now backed with lots of money in this year's budget. At this rate of growth in the education sector, the reservation "problem" will go away into obscurity in a few decades. Of course, reservation itself will still be implemented, but there won't be so much fierce opposition to it.

The reasons for opposition are well known, but what I found disturbing in last year's protests by students in Patna and New Delhi was the blatant racism.
I am also against the unhealthy pressure put on children by parents to excel academically and pursue a particular course/career whether they have an aptitude for it or not.
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madhav Offline
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Post: #16
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation

(15-06-2010 11:00 AM)donatello Wrote:  This could be an interesting topic of debate among freethinkers. Please share your views.

Are you for caste based reservation?
Yes.

Quote:It is after all a place where government meets religion.
Not really. In India, caste has a complicated relationship with religion. It cannot be said that caste is totally because of religion though all the Hindu scriptures uphold the vedic dharmashrama system. To see why, consider the fact that according to historical scholars, caste was originally based on racial purity: the upper three castes were the "Aryans" and the rest were un-Aryan. Of course, Brahmanism has given new meanings to Aryan (that it means "nobility" etc), but all evidence points to the conclusion that the Aryans and the non-Aryans were different tribes and eventually the Aryan tribe got the upper hand over the others and established the caste system to exercise their power. All the rest of the Brahmanic religion was created around this tribal basis to legitimize the supremacy of the Aryans. Thus, from historical evidence, we may conclude that caste is as much race-based as it is religion-based. In short, religion was used to justify the race-based discrimination in the form of the caste system.

So, the reason why I support the reservation system is because I believe that reservations will help in partially ameliorating the terrible oppression that the lower castes and Dalits face today due to ancient historical reasons. Of course, I don't think that reservations alone will eradicate all the problems of our society, and better economic and political systems will need to evolve to solve them.

Quote:If religion and government should be kept separate, is caste based reservation justified? Why?
See above.
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TTCUSM Offline
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Post: #17
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation

(06-09-2010 08:27 AM)madhav Wrote:  Not really. In India, caste has a complicated relationship with religion. It cannot be said that caste is totally because of religion though all the Hindu scriptures uphold the vedic dharmashrama system. To see why, consider the fact that according to historical scholars, caste was originally based on racial purity: the upper three castes were the "Aryans" and the rest were un-Aryan. Of course, Brahmanism has given new meanings to Aryan (that it means "nobility" etc), but all evidence points to the conclusion that the Aryans and the non-Aryans were different tribes and eventually the Aryan tribe got the upper hand over the others and established the caste system to exercise their power. All the rest of the Brahmanic religion was created around this tribal basis to legitimize the supremacy of the Aryans. Thus, from historical evidence, we may conclude that caste is as much race-based as it is religion-based. In short, religion was used to justify the race-based discrimination in the form of the caste system.

Ah yes, the good old Aryan Invasion Theory.
In June 2008, Science Magazine released a series of articles titled Unmasking the Indus about the Indus Valley Civilization. One of the articles was titled "Boring No More: A Trade-Savvy Indus Emerges." The following quote comes from page 1279 of the journal:

Quote:In Dholavira’s central citadel is an enormous structure—which Bisht dubs “the castle”—with walls that are an astounding 18.5 meters wide at their base. Next to it is an enclosed area Bisht calls “the bailey” that may have housed an elite. “This shows that Harappan [Indus] society was highly structured,” says Bisht. “There was a hierarchy.” Nearby is a huge mud-brick platform adorned with rare pinkand-white clay decoration and what Bisht believes was a multipurpose stadium ground stretching nearly the length of three football fields and including terraces to seat thousands of people. No structures of similar size are found at other Indus cities. And though the acropolis of an Indus city is usually walled, Dholavira’s acropolis, middle town, lower town, and a series of water tanks are surrounded by an enormous wall measuring nearly 800 meters on one side and more than 600 meters on the other.
The finds at Dholavira are part of a growing body of data that lay to rest the idea of an egalitarian or a totalitarian society. For example, although most Indus graves are modest, at Kalibangan in India the remains of an elderly man lie in a mud-brick chamber beside 70 pottery vessels. At Harappa, another elderly man shares his tomb with 340 steatite beads plus three beads of gold, one of onyx, one of banded jasper, and one of turquoise. Another high-status Harappan went to rest in an elegant coffin made of elm and cedar from the distant Himalayas and rosewood from central India.
Urban house sizes also vary much more dramatically than early excavators thought, says Wright, who works on the Harappa team. Then, as now, location was a matter of status: She notes that whereas some larger dwellings have private wells and are next to covered drains, more modest houses face open drains and cesspools.

Apparently, hierarchies have been around long before any supposed "Aryan Invasion".
(This post was last modified: 06-09-2010 11:04 PM by TTCUSM.)
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Lije Offline
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Post: #18
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation

To add to TTCUSM's post, Aryan Invasion is no longer the accepted model. Evidence points to a migration.
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madhav Offline
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Post: #19
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation

(06-09-2010 11:00 PM)TTCUSM Wrote:  Ah yes, the good old Aryan Invasion Theory.
Nowhere did I mention the AIT. Glad you could skip over the rest of my points by bringing up this strawman.
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #20
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation

(06-09-2010 11:25 PM)Lije Wrote:  To add to TTCUSM's post, Aryan Invasion is no longer the accepted model. Evidence points to a migration.

In fact, the evidence currently points to multiple waves of migrations. I've been meaning to do a meta study on this, using the data from various genetic marker analyses and linguistic studies that have come out over the past decade. I am capable of doing this, given my background in genetics and evolutionary biology, but time is the biggest constraint. I wish someone would fund me GoodMorning

Without doing such an analysis, I can only present some generalities. We must stop thinking in such black/white terms about our genetic and cultural history. The caste system (and our genetic distribution) is undoubtedly a product of multiple factors, and these factors were both internal and influenced from the outside, at various points in the history of people on the Indian subcontinent. There are certain markers that clearly demonstrate a race-based origin for the caste system. Yet there is also sufficient genetic homogeneity across castes (especially the ones that are closer to each other geographically and in class-stratification) to demonstrate that the process of integration of the wave of migrations from the North, after the initial populating of the subcontinent by a first wave of migrations (which was also probably spread over tens of thousands of years), was very messy. In any case, most of the second wave had occurred long before the modern caste system was in place. There is always class-stratification, especially in primitive societies, and the caste system was not invented out of thin air. In India it was simply the result of the institutionalization of universal human tendencies.

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
(This post was last modified: 07-09-2010 12:27 AM by Ajita Kamal.)
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Lije Offline
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Post: #21
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation

Quote:In fact, the evidence currently points to multiple waves of migrations. I've been meaning to do a meta study on this, using the data from various genetic marker analyses and linguistic studies that have come out over the past decade. I am capable of doing this, given my background in genetics and evolutionary biology, but time is the biggest constraint. I wish someone would fund me GoodMorning

Do you follow the Gene Expression blog? I've seen some posts on aryan migration. Sometimes he also writes about caste. Of course, most of what Razib writes floats away smoothly above my head.
(This post was last modified: 07-09-2010 12:00 AM by Lije.)
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #22
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation

(06-09-2010 11:33 PM)madhav Wrote:  
(06-09-2010 11:00 PM)TTCUSM Wrote:  Ah yes, the good old Aryan Invasion Theory.
Nowhere did I mention the AIT. Glad you could skip over the rest of my points by bringing up this strawman.

I agree. TTCUSM is certainly avoiding the main arguments and seeking a straw man. Madhav has been quite clear on a number of key points that are being ignored. For example, it is undoubtedly true that religion today serves as justification for the perpetuation of the caste system. As I stated above, it is the institutionalization of class-based stratification that is the problem. Religion provides this backing.

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #23
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation

(07-09-2010 12:00 AM)Lije Wrote:  Do you follow the Gene Expression blog? I've seen some posts on aryan migration. Sometimes he also writes about caste. Of course, most of what Razib writes floats away smoothly above my head.

No, I don't follow this particular blog, but I think I must. I haven't had much time to read blogs in general lately. Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out.

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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TTCUSM Offline
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Post: #24
RE: Debate material: Caste based reservation

(06-09-2010 11:33 PM)madhav Wrote:  
(06-09-2010 11:00 PM)TTCUSM Wrote:  Ah yes, the good old Aryan Invasion Theory.
Nowhere did I mention the AIT. Glad you could skip over the rest of my points by bringing up this strawman.

Just to clarify: I was NOT attacking the AIT.

I was attacking the idea that the caste system was the result of an Aryan/non-Aryan divide. To prove my point, I presented evidence for social hierarchies that existed before the arrival of Aryans.

Anyway, I do agree with the fact that religion has played a role in institutionalizing social stratification.
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