Monday, September 17, 2007

Caste System: Is Kerala still a madhouse?

The latest post on Maddy's Ramblings is a thought provoking article Vivekanada's Lunatic Kerala, which prompted me to write this post. About 100 years back Dr. Palpu, an Ezhava (considered to be low caste) brought to the notice of Swami Vivekananda the severity of the caste system in Kerala and the travails the lower classes had to endure because of it. Vivekananda visited Kerala to study the situation and reacted to what he saw. He felt that he had wandered into a lunatic asylum.

Presented below is an image of the caste system that existed, all over India, at that time. I couldn’t get the comments on it translated, but, really, words are not required. The picture tells the story. The author, Deyvid Aleksandr Raffo Setti calls it ‘Structure of the Indian society by castes’. I would have liked to give the caption ‘Indian Social System: Head to foot and below'.

A century has passed since Swami Vivekananda’s visit. Is Kerala still a madhouse? Difficult question to answer. The labels ST/SC (Scheduled Tribe/Scheduled Caste) and OBC (Other Backward Classes) are now worn like medals. None of them would like to be upgraded to the ‘higher caste’ grouping because of the advantage of reservations, other benefits and the bargaining power the present status gives them.

At the same time, one reads reports about cases being filed for addressing a person from the lower class by caste name; it is considered an insult. And, social integration is still far away. The upper castes tolerate the ST/SC and OBC only because there is no alternative.

Has the present system of reservation for the ST/SC, OBC group been truly beneficial in uplifting the downtrodden? That is another story.

Ends.

The images can be enlarged by clicking on them.
Picture of Swami Vivekananda is by Reji Navasree (rejinavasree@yahoo.com) on thermocol, a technique he has developed himself. See A village artist. The image of caste system is from Wikimedia Commons. It is Public Domain.

Also see: History of conversions to Christianity in Kerala – an overview

The Caste Wall Story



5 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Social class pyrimad structure has influenced Christendom in Kerala.

Quasi Caste Knanaya adheres tenent of 'endogamy' within fold.

Dalits converted to Christendom deemed inferior by social class basis norm. Contradicts scripture, "2There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28"

Quasi Caste ?Mapilla Christians? Extract "The rulers gave the Syrian Christians various rights and privileges written on copper plates. In Kollavarsham 149 (AD1051) the Chera King Vallabhan Kotha had given a Chepped to the Chengannur Church conferring the title Mappila to all the Syrian Chrstians. The Syrian churches existing at that time were known as Mother Churches. After this Chepped was given, members of those churches were given the title ‘Mappila’ or children of Mother Churches and they suffixed Mappila with their names as a title of honour" Ibid.

Ancient sea ferrying fisherman of Malabar for generations in family have dived waters for pearls. The 'Latin Christians' desendants ancestors porchagese colonization centuries ago; converted under imperial crown.

Anonymous said...

CAN YOU PLEASE REMOVE MY COMMENT POSTED AS OF SEPTEMBER 13. ITS ON "CASTE SYSTEM: IS KERALA STILL A MADHOUSE." IM THE ONE POSTED THAT. I CANNOT FIND AN EMAIL ADDRESS NOWHERE ON YOUR BLOG FOR ME TO CONTACT YOU. PLEASE REMOVE MY POST. DELETE IT. ERASE MY ENTRY. THANK YOU.

"REPENT FOR THE KIGNDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND. CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD. THROUGH JESUS CHRIST IS SALVATION. INVITE HIM INTO YOUR HEART."

Abraham Tharakan said...

anonymous, my email is abrahamtharakan1@gmail.com It should be available on my profile.

I am sure you will kindly understand that I have to verify the authenticity of request before removing a comment unless of course I feel that a comment should be removed/modified.

Lunatickerala said...

Kerala is still a big lunatic asylum as declared by Swami Vivekananda, with barefooted mallus running half naked in lungis showing balls, spitting in public and peeing on walls. Stone age tribals still living in coconut jungles and die falling into pot holes. Their demon king Mahabali comes during onam to see fellow satans.