In childhood I enjoyed my life a lot to my fullest. I spend a lot of time with my mother’s maternal cousins. During summer vacations I used to go out of station to stay for about 1-2 months mostly. My cousins are very simple, kind hearten and loving. That is why they used to take my every mischief as innocence. And I used to enjoy playing games and pranks with them. There is a great pleasure in being together, playing together and eating together. And I feel very lucky that I enjoyed my childhood all the fun that I can have. Also I troubled a few of them with my pranks, some were OK but some were so exaggerating that a shot tempered would slap me on the spot. But my cousins are very understanding, they all handle me with care and love. I would like to take advantage of this online platform to thank them for making my childhood so memorable.
After my KG as usual I went to my cousins for the vacations. All of them were already there. I was an innocent child I hardly knew any manners but still I don’t ever used to think of any consequences. One fine day all were playing carom. As I was the youngest among them I always used to struggle for a chance. But still there was a great pleasure in fighting for one strike also. The architecture of the house was such that there was an entrance and and immediate hall with the washing area and the kitchen following the hall. There was also a back gate to enter directly to the washing room and the kitchen. It was almost 3 pm and we had finished with our lunch and there was a layer of used dishes and other dirty utensils kept for cleaning along with 2 buckets of soaked clothes for washing. In those days and even today we have servants or in Marathi we called Bai, a maid who used to came to clean the utensils and washing clothes. And it was the time of the arrival and the doorbell rang. My female peeped through the window and said it’s the kamalabai(as her name was kamala). Aunt asked her to come from the back doors and so she did.
Kamalabai was a thin women with black skin, in saree and a big bindii on her forehead ( big red dot) and OK to wear clothes that were hardly washed along with a polythene bag that contained some day old remaining foodstuffs that she get from the houses she served daily. With her normal attire she gave a long smile to aunt and sat down to clean the dishes and utensils. I was nothing special to give any attention as it was a normal scene for me as I was familiar with the family. But what was waiting for me to notice and shake my consciousness from up to down was the next scene which was hardly ever noticed by me. But that day I saw it, very attentively, noticed something, felt something and something impacted very deeply.
Kamalabai was doing her work very carefully. After a while aunty whispered from the kitchen “kamala!!” And the maid responded,“…ha kaku…” ( aunty in marathi). “Chah zala, bhanda kadhu thev”(the tea is ready, get ur cup ready) said aunty. Kamala washed her hands went to a dark corner in the washing room and took out an old aluminum glass which was blackish and unshaped. She washed it with water and kept it on the step of the kitchen. Aunt came and poured the hot tea in the glass. Aunt was so conscious about pouring the tea as if it could be a sin if she touched the glass. Then kamala slowly came took the glass sat on the outer steps of the back door and started drinking the tea. After finishing she washed the glass again and kept in the dark corner. After washing clothes she used to regularly inform aunt while leaving and aunt used to make her wait and gave her some day before food stuffs. She used to quietly accept them in her bags and take her to home. And at-home she had all that she collected from her work to eat and feed her family.
That day I had no words to express my sympathy. But the scene used to be the same everyday. Even I never dared to ask them anything about it as I was not too young to question them on such issues. But as days passed I remembered one day I heard my mother’s conversation with the aunt about kamalabai. As mother was very close to the family she was very know to the neighbors and the people who visited my aunt’s home. Mother knew kamalabai personally. She uses praise kamalabai about her effortless work and hard work. Once when mother said with to aunt,“Kamalabai is so hard-working and sincere towards ur family. You should give her a good saree on Diwali.” My mother is very generous and kind hearten towards such people. “Yes, u r right I have some old sarees that don’t wear anymore, I should give her one of them.” After that she told that kamalabai belongs to a lower caste and they avoid her touch in the house very strictly. Even she is not feed in the same vessels in which they ate. She had a separate glass for tea. Even for drinking water she is not allowed to touch the regular pot. Her glass is filled by pouring the liquid from a distance. Mom and aunt had a casual conversation on the topic but they never ever though what it could it be impacting on me as a child.
I was hearing and understanding everything very quietly. I was feeling lower and lower deep inside. Its my basic nature that when I feel deep about something I get focused from inside. It was surprising for me because I never did this with anyone else and this was very much unexpected. During those vacations that incident left a water mark on my perception.
After that when ever I thought of that incident I used to get very sensitive about those people. Once I thought deeply about that incident in detail and found many unexpected questions. Is kamalabai an animal or even worse than an animal?Why my aunt behaved like this with her? Why was she treated with cruel care? What makes a difference between her and me, the skin? the age? Or the caste? If skin is the answer then what’s her fault if she is born back and me as white.? Caste!!! What is caste? Who divided people on caste? Even if divided what makes us to make difference on the basis of caste? Does caste has overtakes humanity? Y r the people such? Why is this such insane in the society? Whose fault it is?
After a bouncers of unanswerable questions one word struct ed my heart like an arrow. It was the CASTE. Caste the first word from which the discrimination started in the house.
When I turned the pages of history of the caste I found that caste was designated on the bases of their professions. People came together divided the work in the society and that work defined their cast. Like the oil extractors were called teli, the Potter’s were called kumbhi, the warriors as Kshatriyas and those who worked as servants for others were termed as lower caste. But it was a good step taken by the people to resolve that time problem. Bust as the days passed the professions of the people changed, interchanged but the sticker of caste remained the same. Today is a condition when the people don’t follow their caste profession but showoff their feelings about their caste. I don’t criticize them but the thing is where is the real humanity which is the base of every caste and religion. If u still practice discrimination and say that u r proud of Ur caste, then it’s a fake expression.
There is very beautiful chain of character personality development.
As we think, so as we speak.
As we speak, so as we act.
As we act, so is our character.
So it concludes to a point that all the problem lies within the thinking.
If there is no discrimination within the thoughts there is no discrimination in the actions and so is the character. I don’t blame anyone. But if it’s not stopped here then it would carry-on further creating differences and differences, and what lacks is the mere Difference!
Today if we observe there is no caste as higher and no as lower. But there are the following three types of people in every caste. They are poor people, middle class people and the higher class people. And one of the elements that burn the caste system is the reservations. Reservation was essential at time of independence because there were a class of people who were never given the right to education for around 2000 years. Their number of generations did slavery and just slavery of the ruling caste people, as they say. So it was very necessary to bring all kinds of people in the main stream. For which Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar introduced the reservation of the dalit community in India under the Constitution. It was a very strong step. But today it’s not the same condition after 70 years of independence. As I mentioned above every community consists of the 3 types of people. There is a sense of discrimination with the people that they have been deprived of the position or opportunity they deserve on the basis of their ability just because of the reservation system.
Let’s take a frequent example of college admissions. When we see the cutoff list of any reputed college we found that the difference between the open candidate and that of the SC,ST has a huge difference. There is a necessity to develop the sense of equality so that the students should get the benefit only on the basis of their intelligence. Yes!! there is a need to change the base of reservations.
Here when I speak about the three categories then i actually mean this,
- Higher class consists of those people belonging to business background, holding higher positions and earning more than an average living.
- Middle class consists of all those people who has just crossed their poverty line, got educated and earn enough for their living. These are typical middle class families.
- Theses consists of people who are still uneducated, don’t have a secure job and still dependent on upper classes for their job.
What should be the new base of reservations?
As we can see that the main challenge before us is to unite the people of different caste in the society so that the present caste system should break and there could be only 3 types of people, namely the higher class, middle class and the lower class.
- The day comes when a middle class kumbhi sits with a middle class minority for admission that day we can say that the caste system is broken totally.
- The day a businessman from the Sikhs and the dalits share a stage will mark the day for breaking the bondages of cruel caste system.
- Similarly when the poor Brahmin child’s and the poor Muslim child will study in the same school will mark the decline of castism.
These three classes will contain the people of all the present day caste, creed, religions. From the above the people will be able to distinguish and there will be a clear understanding about the economic status of the people. This will further help the government to checkout plans and policies to uplift the respective class. The aim for the higher class will be to increase trade and business. The middle class aim will be to make the more independent. Similarly lower class aim will be to first suffice their initial needs then to become well educated and self dependent. In this way we can uplift the people of our nation equally.
This is what my idea about reservations are. If any of the highly authorized person reads mi article I kindly request him to please share it so that the highest authority can read it and think on it once.
I know it’s a very small step but if we want some change in the present then this step is very important. I did my part as a responsible citizen. I request each and everyone to please come forward and speak on the sensitive topics so that there comes a change in us, in the people,in the society and in the Nation.
My Nation belongs to all!!!