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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Seattle Outlaws Caste Discrimination

Merely banning deeply ingrained cultural practices, such as caste discrimination, through legislation, often falls short in eradicating them effectively.

Recently, the city of Seattle in USA. banned caste discrimination.

This appeared silly to me. So I put up this satirical post on my fb page :

” Seattle, a city in USA, has banned caste discrimination

I think it is an excellent idea, and should be emulated in India.

Our Parliament should follow suit by by enacting laws banning poverty, hunger, unemployment, disease, price rise, caste, communalism, corruption. etc

After all, making laws will end these evils ”.

From the comments on the post I realised most readers did not even understand that it was satirical.

One reader of my post commented :

” Caste discrimination, hunger, poverty and unemployment are social problems which can’t be removed by enacting laws but by implementing the laws impartially. We do have stringent laws against caste discrimination but without implementation ”.

To which I replied :

” But what if those who are required to implement the law are themselves casteist ?

The bigger question, however, is whether such socio-economic evilss can be abolished by making laws against them ? I submit that they cannot, and it is silly and puerile to think they can.

Supposing a law is made abolishing poverty and unemployment. Will that abolish them ? No, such a law will remain on paper only, and unimplementable. Jobs are created and poverty abolished when the economy is rapidly expanding, that is, by rapid industrialisation, but the Indian economy is presently stagnant, or even in recession.

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Similarly, caste and caste discrimination cannot be abolished by merely making a law against them. They can only be destroyed by a mighty united people”s revolution which destroys the present semi-feudal society in India and replaces it with a new modern society led by modern minded patriotic leaders..

In the Indian Constitution it is written that India is a secular country. However, the ground reality is very different. In fact India is a very communal country, in which most Hindus are communal, as are most Muslims. So, the Constitution is just a piece of paper, whose provisions may have nothing to do with ground realities.

Similarly, Articles 14 to 18 of the Indian Constitution proclaim equality in India. But the caste system, which has been coming down from centuries, ( as well as the huge divide between a handful of big businessmen and the rest of India ) makes a mockery of these provisions. Even today for a dalit boy to fall in love with or marrying a non dalit girl is often inviting a death sentence ( ‘honour killing’ ).

I submit that great evils cannot be destroyed by merely making laws against them, but by historical social upheavals of the people.

 

Markandey Katju is an Indian jurist and former Supreme Court judge of India who served as chairman for the Press Council of India.