Tuesday, 24 July 2012

My letter to "The Hindu" on caste segregated habitats:

My letter to "The Hindu" on caste segregated habitats is given below and can also be read by clicking on the following link: 


This refers to the article “Agraharam — time virtually stands still here” (April 29). “Agraharams” are exclusive dwellings of Brahmins where caste segregation and untouchability are practised. We cannot have a sense of nostalgia or respect for such segregated habitats if we want to foster social equality and fraternity.
The caste system is a vertically graded system in which one caste professes superiority over another. That is why thinkers like Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Periyar wanted the annihilation of all castes. Even non-Brahmin caste Hindus segregate themselves from Dalit habitats. This does not excuse the bigotry of those who segregate themselves in caste-based dwellings — Brahmins (who are at the summit of the caste system) or any other Hindu caste.
It is a shame that despite the passage of almost seven decades of independence, Dalits are forced to live in segregated and insanitary ghettos in every village and town. In their case, there is no self-segregation as in the case of Agraharams. Segregation is forced on them by the rest of the Hindu society due to the evil of untouchability. There is no place for caste-based segregation in a civilised and egalitarian society.
Iniyan Elango,

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