"...opportunities are better within the caste system than outside it."
Folks, what are your opinions about the perspective put forward in this article in 'The Daily' (News Corp's iPad-only magazine)?


Context, Maya is a garbage collector/cleaner who's been going to the writer's house since 1977. She plans to quit doing her job, now that her son is reasonably well off as a government employee and network-marketer...

Quote:But the choice (to retire) may not be hers much longer.

Upon retirement, she had planned to either pass her “business” to her children or sell it to another dalit for about $1,000. But about six months ago, municipal authorities started dispatching vans, Western-style, to collect trash from neighborhoods, the one service that protected Maya from obsolescence in an age of sophisticated home-cleaning gadgetry.

Maya and her fellow dalits held demonstrations outside the municipal commissioner’s office to stop the vans. They finally arrived at a compromise that lets Maya and her pals collect trash from individual homes and hand it to the vans for disposal. But Maya realizes that this arrangement won’t last. “I got branded as polluted and became unfit for other jobs, for what?” she wept. “To build a business that has now turned to dust?”
Her son, however, is pleased. He believes that this will finally force his siblings to develop skills for more respectable work instead of joining their mother. But Maya shakes her head.

And she might be right. Post-liberalization, the most dogged and determined dalits are able to escape their caste-assigned destiny and get rich. But for the vast majority, as Maya says, opportunities are better within the caste system than outside it.

This is a line of argument that seems to be common to staunch casteists and this apparently progressive author: under the current socio-economic and political system, lower caste people are better off within their own castes. [/quote]
It is amazing how people rationalize an oppressive system. For them it all comes down to 'merit', something which I would call an Indianized version of contra-causal free will. Caste aplogists have setup this illusion where anyone can jump Varnas if they have the will to change their gunas. Anyone who fails to do so has bad gunas and it is justified that they stay where they are.
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Though this story is tragic, I fail to see how the title "...opportunities are better within the caste system than outside it" is justified. Maya's son getting a govt. job, shows that opportunities are definitely good outside caste system for dalits and they can live with dignity and sufficient money. Maya might be making some money, but what about dignity and freedom? Are they not as (if not more) important as money.

Take the example of slavery. The day when slavery is abolished and became illegal, almost all the slaves would have lost the source of food. Whites don't have to feed the black slaves anymore. This doesn't mean that the practice of slavery should be continued. Government (society) would/should provide a mechanism of supporting the the slaves until they found a means of sustaining themselves independently. In the case of caste system, Independant India provided and continues to provide sufficient mechanisms (reservation for eg.) to come out of caste system and have decent and dignified life.

The argument presented in this article is similar to the argument that ...Slavery is not bad or should not be abolished because blacks will have no where to go if whites don't feed them.

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