Friday, September 07, 2012

The Black Indians in the West

I read with interest Thenmozhi Soundararajan’s piece on “The Black Indians” (Dalits in the US) at Outlook.

Yes, the past should be remembered, but there is no reason for one to celebrate their history of misery imposed by others.  The caste system had its "merits", in antiquity.  The caste system made a society functional by designating specific professions to groups of people.  In societies where day to day survival was the ultimate goal, social mobility made little difference, and the majority of people acquiesced to class distinctions decided by those who chose the best for themselves.  But times have changed.  Human conscious has evolved to a point where social justice matters, civil liberties matter, the freedom to choose a profession matters.  This conscious in itself precludes the existence of a caste system that would lock people in their places through generations.  When social structures in a place are too rigid to change in response to the changing times, people indicate their disapproval of them by moving out.  Immigration to a new land is a way to start anew, to completely reject the old social structures that one was forced to accept.  To escape to a new place but still gloat over the old miserable life is nothing but masochism.

[Photo, courtesy of]