An email and a Facebook post set me thinking about this. A friend of mine sent me an article from the Quint where some Darvidian outfit is planning to make a pig wear the “poonal” or sacred thread today to protest against Brahminism. Here’s the link to the article – TN outfit to Make Pigs Wear Sacred Thread to Protest Brahminism.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Getting a pig to wear the sacred thread is really no insult to Brahmins or any Hindu sect – remember Maha Vishnu’s Varaha avatar? When God can be born as a pig and remain a God, how can a sacred thread wearing pig be an insult? All of Earth is sacred as far as Hinduism is concerned. What worries me is not that the old dead argument about Brahmins cornering all the goodies and the lower castes get nothing is being raked up, but essentially a new caste order is being formed. So now the SC/ST and other supposedly lower castes get all the goodies while the erstwhile upper castes struggle to find a seat for their kids in good colleges, unable to cross the “reservation” barrier.
Just to let the TPDK outfit know, the reservation in educational institutions for the lower castes is 69% in TamilNadu, a whopping 19% more than the Mandal commission India average of 50%. There are several “brahmin” children who don’t get seats in prestigious institutions inspite of scoring really good marks, just because they are from allegedly upper castes ! While historically, its a fact that the caste system was bastardized to suit certain sections of the society and push down certain other sections – the original caste system was just a way to divide the society on the basis of the profession/occupation a person chose to pursue. The knowledge workers were Brahmins and a specific diet was prescribed that helped develop their mental abilities and a temperament that suited pursuit of knowledge. The Kshatriyas were warriors and again a specific diet was prescribed to help them build themselves physically. The Vaishyas were business folk and the Shudras were the service providers – farmers, carpenters, plumbers etc. In no way was there a hierarchy nor was any caste upper or lower. Then our discriminatory DNA surfaced and soon these became hierarchical and castes were basis birth and the Pandora’s box opened a world of strife for centuries. Yes, the Brahmins were at the forefront of making themselves the higher caste and the Brahmin men ensured they were supreme and womenfolk were barred from being a “purohit” or to do vedic rites. The vedas dont discriminate and its great to see the trend reversing with women working as “purohits” (loosely translated as priests).
But whats happening today is a form of reverse casteism – and again the discriminatory DNA helps. Whether the so called upper castes discriminate or the so called lower castes discriminate – discrimination is unacceptable!
Racism – the Western world’s equivalent of the caste system. The white superiority and the black slavery … and all that has happened in the name of racism and is still happening. This article which came as a post on FB speaks of Black racism in South Africa – Time for peace-loving South Africans to quell rising Black tide. Now this is a form of reverse racism where the Blacks would like to be the superior race and suppress the Whites. Again, its discrimination and unacceptable.
While some scientists are trying hard to find the DNA strand that makes one obese and help isolate that – maybe they should be spending more time finding the DNA strand that makes the human race discriminatory! Obesity can still go away with proper diet and exercise in 99% of the cases. The Discriminatory DNA we seem to carry cannot go away with any external intervention :(. The minute a human being feels he or she has some power, they become discriminatory. When the dowry laws were changed to give the advantage to women – some women used the power of that law to wrongly accuse men they married and many innocent men and their families have squandered away their entire life in some prison cell. Unacceptable. Just as dowry deaths were unacceptable, this too is unacceptable in a civilised society. Just as black people being used as slaves was unacceptable, hacking white people just because they are white is also unacceptable. Just as believing in one God is acceptable, believing in several Gods must also be acceptable.
Discrimination is in our DNA and science would do us a big favour if they can find a way to inhibit this behaviour… Utopian thought? Well it was Utopian to imagine that one day we will touch a glass screen to type and talk to people thousands of miles away without a wire.
3 thoughts on “Discrimination in our DNA”
Bindu, Well, I figure people who feel it necessary to look down on others must be pretty insecure. That translates into a lot of insecure people. We all have roles to play. When you strive to become the best you can be, you have no competition and no need to look down (or up) on anyone. Good article.
Thanks Katharine. Yes, if one strives to be the best one can be, there is no competition, but right from school, to college to work – competition is introduced in every which way. 🙁
Agreed. It takes awareness to recognize that it’s a reality but not necessarily a healthy one.