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Discrimination in India - Daily Life

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by archana.kc, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. archana.kc

    archana.kc Gold IL'ite

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    Have any of you been discriminated socially due to a caste or creed that you belong to? I have had friends who do not want to share which caste they belong to in the future. I have also seen people who still would not talk to folks from other castes. Where are we, today in our long race for establishing unity in diversity?

    Most of us had education from institutions where religion and caste where not considered primary to academics. We had friends in almost all sects, but as we grew up - somewhere a split happened. Where did it happen? How do you deal with it?

    The discussion need not be only religious. It would be enlightening to discuss on social discriminations more than the religious ones. Meat eaters feel discriminated when called non-veg, as it seems to define veg as a standard. Do share what you can.

    TIA
     
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  2. Jyothisri

    Jyothisri Bronze IL'ite

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    Interesting discussion, Archana.kc.

    From my experience, discrimination in India is present at every step and stage of life. As a young girl, the first question I was asked by people approaching me usually was - What caste are you? This question came even before the usually expected 'What's your name?' It was especially concerning because these questions came from young 15-year-old minds in the school that I had newly joined, known to be one of the top-notch schools in a fairly large town that has become a small city today. This was 14 years back. I hope things have changed now.

    You say religion and caste are not considered primary to academics, I understand your point, but I have experienced that the usually innocent child learns about differences in religion and caste only because of the classification of ranks that are based not only on merit, but also on religion and caste. That is when it really hits hard that that elusive seat in the college of his/her choice depends not solely on his/her merit, but also on his/her status at birth. I have had school/college mates discussing 'caste certificates' along with their exam results.

    We further have discrimination based on language. I can say I have travelled quite a bit all over India and so I can speak some major languages well. Apart from finding myself in the middle of North Indian-South Indian hostility most of the time, I have always observed that the locals of a certain region will not be respectful to a newcomer unless this newcomer speaks the local language. There is nothing wrong in encouraging someone to learn the local language, but to not show respect for this reason is discrimination. It's a pity most people do not recognize this, but prefer to cover it with a veil of 'patriotism'.

    There is gender discrimination everywhere around us in India. Women are mostly looked upon as objects and not as living, thinking, intelligent beings. We have just become so used to it that it does not seem wrong anymore. Having said this, I must confess that I have felt thankful for the 'Ladies only' queues at railway stations and 'Ladies special' buses and railway coaches. However, I think the better option would be to educate our men to treat all women with equal respect. A country's progress depends only on how safe it's women are, and women in India are nowhere close to being safe.

    We bask in the glory of culture while our women fast all day for 'a good husband' and celebrate mostly male-centric festivals. Ever heard of a young Indian man encouraged to fast for 'a good wife'? I do not even want to go into the standard Hindu marriage practises and their consequences. Why do elders bless the woman of the household with children and the man with long life?

    We see discrimination based on colour everyday. Dark-skinned women are made to feel inferior and it has been so ingrained in the psyche of women today that it has become socially acceptable for a dark-skinned woman to strive for 'fair' skin (not just a smooth complexion, but a fair skin colour - there is a difference).

    To me, it is discrimination when we cannot sit down on the floor and share a meal with our maids and watchmen, when we do not let our children play with the watchman's or the North Indian/South Indian/Christian/Muslim/Hindu neighbour's children because they are 'different'. It is discrimination when we do not allow differently-abled children in regular schools. It is discrimination when we vote for a particular politician because he/she is of our caste/gender/family. It is discrimination when children feel obliged to 'adjust' and listen to older people only because they are 'elders' and not out of intellectual agreement.

    We need to stop telling our children not to 'cry like girls' or to 'wear bangles and sit at home' whenever they do something wrong. Small things, that we have become so used to that they have become the norm.

    Maybe I'm too liberal-minded, or was born in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe I'm just plain loony, but that's me and that's how I feel.
     
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  3. bhuvnidhi

    bhuvnidhi IL Hall of Fame

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    Hey Arch,

    Thanks for initiating such a nice discussion.You have touched a very sensitive topic.

    The first time I came to know about caste and religion was when one of my neighbours asked me and my friends which caste we belong to.This was when I was 6.I said I am a Hindu though I was not sure where I belonged to.Then she asked me to go and find out from our parents about our caste.All of us ran to our parents to know our caste.:biglaugh.But to think of it now, OMG!How mean she would have been to ask small children about caste.

    There are lot more discriminations in the society.The culture,traditions,language,states and as jyothi said man-woman etc..etc.I think all these can be eradicated only when we bring up our children in a proper way.
     
  4. aruna_077

    aruna_077 Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Archana,

    The word discrimination reminds me firstly of those against a female.

    The Indian society in particular cannot digest the fact when Girls go for higher studies.

    More so when a girl pursues higher education after her marriage.(Society expects girls to increase the population and not their qualification after marriage :crazy)

    Courtesy: Personal Experience.

    The second thing that comes to my mind is Discrimination based on caste. As long as I did my schooling in North India, I never ever heard about FC, BC. After joining a school in Chennai, the first day my class teacher asked if am FC or BC. I had no answer and my classmates told the teacher that am an FC since they knew am an Iyer.
     
  5. goodfreind

    goodfreind Senior IL'ite

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    Hi Aruna

    I agree 100% ..You see to get 33% in our lokh sabha how the fight is going on.
    India was toolate in #1 in the world becise of this reason.check how china is doing.

    Any way descrimination is sin in US.

    Honestly It is easy to talk this that ..but no one cant do nothing ecept talking as usual.
    So this is waste of time

    I have my experince in my whole life also with other freinds infact i helped all thise people
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  6. aruna_077

    aruna_077 Senior IL'ite

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    goodfriend,

    Absolutely!
    2010 - Women get 33% right.

    When will it become 50%??

    Female foeticide...another issue.

    INDIANS - Grow up!!

    And INDIAN WOMEN - Wake up!!
     
  7. BeeAmma

    BeeAmma Silver IL'ite

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    Do not agree with you. Coz I know a lot of middle class girls that get professional degrees and pursue a career. Are you from an ultra-orthodox family?
     
  8. aruna_077

    aruna_077 Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Beeamma,

    What I mean here is the society's point of view. I know of many girls who shine in their lives even belonging to an impoverish or very orthodox families.

    My parents, ILs and DH are very supportive. But there are people in India or the Indian society in general who will be quite surprised to see girls pursuing education post-marriage.

    No questions until people get to know that you are married.

    Once they know, they pose questions like - Why did you opt for higher education after marriage?
    Does your husband and ILs approve of your education?
    .............and so on.

    Am sure many ladies who have succeeded in their careers and at the same time had a family must have faced these questions!
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  9. BeeAmma

    BeeAmma Silver IL'ite

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    Archana,
    Going to cite local data points since they are higher up in my memory store :).

    I think most everyday americans are quite friendly.
    Occasionally however you come across a nut that would be kinda parochial and racist. We have a couple of neighbours that keep trying to get us to go to their church (they know we are hindus). Kinda irksome.

    Anti-mexican sentiment is quite high in the states that border mexico. The local sheriff is notorious nationwide for his anti-mexican racial profiling.
    I have an Indian friend married to a white dude. She feels really odd when she has to go to the dudes hometown for christmas etc..
    Have a white friend who mentioned that she was expected to quit work after her child was born because that was how things were in her church. Of course she defied them :).

    Discrimination occurs all over the world. That is why you have civil rights movement, feminist movements world-wide.
    Last year a black Harvard professor was arrested when he tried force opening his front door.
    Harvard Scholar Henry Louis Gates Arrested - washingtonpost.com

    Another incident from today morning:
    http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2010/03/councilman_michael_johnsons_ph.php
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  10. BeeAmma

    BeeAmma Silver IL'ite

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    You are stating that your parents, DH or ILs have not discriminated against you because of your gender.

    You are also stating that you know of girls from poor and orthodox Indian families that shine.

    Essentially you are saying that, just because you are a girl someone will question about approvals received before pursuing higher education/career --in casual conversations? Hey those are innocuous and irksome and can be brushed aside.

    Going to give you an example of concrete discrimination by gender--girls are not allowed to study some subjects due to their gender.
    ----------------------
    In Saudi Arabia, it is still restricted for women to take some subjects such as engineering, journalism, and architecture. The first group of women graduated from law program in 2008. Women are still not able to practice law, but the government has indicated that they are able to work in courts to assist female clients.
     

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