Who am I? And Why I am, are two distinctive phrases. Both have resembling contextual meaning.
Who am I and Why am I are self introspecting, one hovering around ‘self’ as a focal point and other finding very existence, respectively. ‘Who’, is a conscious decision elected and selected by an individual surrounded by expressions like I, Me and Myself and no one else. ‘Why’, a turning question is an assertive term judged by ‘status’, measured on socio-economic conditions. The pertinent point and moot question here is whether society, in particular, and economic conditions, in general, determines who I am. Whether a person has a right to elect and decide the society in which to live? If ‘Yes’, then whether a person being a social animal bound to accept social behaviours. “Acceptance” is not mandatory upon a person. However, one is not precluded from practicing those behaviours, but has a right to elect and select of his own choice.
Let us step in on introduction or coining of “Class System”, by pondering over origin and historical aspects of human development and consecutive progress since ancient ages.
Ramayana, its origin, owes unimpeachable reverence to Valmiki, the first ever author of the book. After, Valmiki wrote this sacred book, the subsequent writers authored books on the same subject, after a gap of many decades. Can anyone nail exactly on what went through or what were the cosmological changes during these decades. The number of people living then was a few hundreds. Out of these, majority were living in or moving in forests hunting fruits, roots, raw food, as a means of livelihood. Amongst them a fractional percentage was literate.
Now, let us understand who was Valmiki? Valmiki was a hunter by profession. What made Valmiki to depart from hunting? The answer was and is Valmiki’s own intuition, self- introspection on his own personal identity, acts, deeds, how society will appraise in the years to come and whether to be known as a ‘Hunter’ or an ordinary man with extraordinary human values? This intuition and self-introspection gave him a new impetus enabling to transform in totality. Valmiki’s own decision changed his mindset which brought irreversible changes.
Now, can you raise a question on Valmiki’s Class? No, because there was no ‘Class System’ then. Can you judge his knowledge, wisdom, simplicity and honesty based on his profession as a ‘Hunter’? No; absolutely not. One needs to give deep thought on his ability to change i.e. change from within without which, nothing was possible to accomplish. With this change, Valmiki was able to bring in far reaching changes in the society, in particular, and environmental changes, at large; an act more beneficial to human being forever.
KEY 1: TO CHANGE FROM WHAT ONE IS TO WHAT ONE WOULD BE, NEEDS OWN EFFORTS AND ‘WILL POWER’. JUST DO IT WITH PURITY OF THOUGHT AND PURITY OF MIND.
Introduction of Class System was a systematic work done with uppity motivated at in achieving and synergizing systemic unseen changes in a way that lasts forever, the practice which over the years shall operate as a permanent feature and shall also operate as generally accepted practices by the society. The framers of Class System were so clever that they purposely avoided making reference or drawing a fine line about the caste, its near expressions to prevent ire or antagonism encased within the Class System.
How many of us now know or aware of this ‘Class System’? With the advent of education, learning of multi languages including foreign languages, the scientific & technological developments, the Class System has taken a back seat. Discrimination does exist even today but no one practices openly. Discrimination can’t be slapped at one’s own whims and fancies.
The sacred job of brahman class was to move around and perform various functions such as worship (poojavidhi), uttering Vedas, etc. The brahman class knew that to convince illiterate is not only a gigantic task but time consuming. Hence, has adopted an intellectual method popularly known as ‘spiritual method’ which was followed without any vent. Such holy duty performed by brahman class is similar to educating people. Interestingly, the brahman sects are from different castes in different regions who have adopted different approaches for chanting, performing pooja, and other rituals.
Besides this, there was a unique method in educating people on happenings. Some brahman class commonly called as Saruvawaru in some geographical area used to move from one place to another predicting on various aspects like rain, drought, weather conditions, diseases and also telling measures, precautions, preventive methods. There was one more class commonly known as Heluvawaru, Badve, Maalgan (ancestry tellers i.e. genealogy) in some geographical area whose pious duty was to tell the history of a particular family right from names of forefathers, origin, profession, brothers, sisters, etc. These were not abstract information but were chronologically recorded in a notebook called ‘Jantri’. The accuracy of information provided by this class sometimes surpasses historians. Interestingly, these Saruvawaru and Heluvawaru/ Badve were performing such generous work without anticipation of anything and offers made were politely returned back in spite of periodical visit to each and every village. One’s own ancestral history can easily be traced through them.
In Class System, there was ethically binding understanding or arrangement on a particular class on some do’s and don’ts. Sudras/ Untouchables were not allowed to keep close proximity with Suvarnas and enter temples. It is imperative and important to know and understand why such uncodified rigid methods were in practice in those days. Dalit is an abstract and collective noun. Dalit is not a caste but it is a class. Sudras, Dalit, Untouchables need not necessarily be categorized as lower class. Untouchability is a perceived concept. This was followed and practiced years together without airing any contra vent.
A careful study of this system reveals that a ball is set in motion qualifying this understanding and arrangement as a practice. A possibility which can’t be ruled out that Sudras, Untouchables who were deprived off with reasonable and respectable work and work compensation in those days were unable to lead good living in terms of healthy life and hygiene. Any practice which is not barred by reasonable limitation is an absurdity or lawlessness. Sudras, Untouchables were not allowed to sit or share dais with brahman class and upper class. It is left open to the readers to decide whether such practice falls under reasonable restriction. In broader sense, untouchable, is he who is unhealthy and unhygienic. In those days curative medicines were not easily available and whatever medicines/ therapy were available was not abundant to meet wide ranging needs. Hence, it might be quite possible that then society have adopted this preventive method of untouchability. Have these Sudras/ untouchables been offered work and better work compensation then, it could have facilitated them in narrowing this gap and unbridling them from the clutches of unholy practices.
KEY 2: WHEN HUMAN’S BEING IS BLESSED WITH SAME NATURAL PRINCIPLES WHY ONE CLASS WAS ADOPTING HOLY PRACTICE AND LOWER CLASS UNHOLY PRACTICE?
Status is a unique social certification qualifying one to mingle with and enjoy equation by sharing various platforms in the society. To be precise, status is predeterminer in assessing and judging ones stature. Though, status and stature appear to be independent of each other, stature is co-dependent on status, an essential component.
The British Era followed footsteps of Rajrishi Sahu Maharaj and others in carrying out public policies framed for betterment and welfare. The British system introduced codification while granting such ranks which was generally recognized as a status. Stature is a person’s social standing earned by virtue of selfless and ceaseless dedicated work done for betterment of larger public.
The evolution of mankind and subsequent development can be summarized from gradual developments through different ages or periods. The oppressed and vulnerable class (Sudras, Untouchables) too have made significant improvements bit by bit sailing through thick and thin in different ages or periods and are now somewhat enjoying status in the society.
Barring few like Rajrishi Sahu Maharaj, King Sayajirao Gaekwad, Mahatma Phule, Dr Ambedkar, etc. none have earned deep respect and unmatched stature. The respectable Architects who fought for basic education have ceaselessly and relentlessly strived in making education freely accessible to all. Their immense contributions can’t be scripted in sculpture or expressed in words or text. When these distinguished Architects vowed for basic education, in those days, there were no means or methods to approach large gathering. Print media was at minuscule with limited jurisdiction. Purchasing power was fragile. Text books and stationery required for schooling too were not easily and abundantly available. There was no electronic media. All these odds were boldly faced by these August Leaders and removed all such obstacles by finding alternative routes to propagate education while quietly ignoring natural & nature’s adversities and callous nature of human being. The Architects have sacrificed their life in terms of ‘Tan-Man-Dhan’ i.e. physically, mentally and economically. The painstaking efforts put in by these Architects led them to ‘Earn Respect’ from the have’s and especially from the have not’s.
In pre-independence era, getting education was a dream for middle and lower classes because whatever educational institutes were available were run by upper classes. Sharing of knowledge was not freely practiced though it was well documented. Hence, very few were educated in those days. Post independence era brought gradual and steady improvements by introducing generally accepted progressive policies. This is evident from the fact that Educational Institutions and Systems were run under the direct supervision of Government and doors were open to all classes. The Govt. as a Protector of Public Interest brought seeming changes.
With enormous size of population and gradual increase in strength of students, it was difficult for the Govt. to establish, run and administer additional Educational Institutions whether be it Primary, Secondary and higher education featuring scientific, technical, non-technical and professional courses. Since year 2K onwards parents started realizing that higher education alone will survive in the long run. To accomplish set goals in educating their children, parents started taking up loans or selling part of their properties. This is a wise decision on investing. The amount spent on educating children is not wasted but invested. As a result of this positive move; these students after completing their degrees started earning handsomely along with fringe benefits.
KEY 3: ‘EDUCATION’, A KEY IN DECIDING STATUS AND STATURE IS AN AXIS, AROUND WHICH EVERYTHING ROTATES.
In primitive age, majority of people were living in jungles, hunting for raw food. A man who noticed source of fire in those days did not keep this fact secretly to his own self. Instead he disclosed this surprise to all by revealing how it happened. This is what sharing of knowledge is. As a result of this, in subsequent days, people started eating boiled and roasted foods
During era of Kingdom, ruled by various Kings, there were many people doing their jobs with dedication and devotion viz. blacksmith, goldsmith, potter, traders, artists, singers, dancers, musicians, soldiers, security, brahmans (priests) and so on. Amongst the professionals, people who were working in close proximity with the King were known to all and King too trusts on them because they were educated. The importance enjoyed by them owes its credit to Education.
Similarly, during British period, the system was working more or less in similar way with educated working in close proximity which made them to enjoy respectable life. However, there was a marked basic difference during British period. People were emancipated from clutches of orthodox Class System and craving freedom from ravings saga. People became aware of fundamental rights, right to life, while respecting sagacious. Equality was practiced and enforced too though equity is hardly seen practicing even today.
Post independence, the Constitution of India was bequeathed paving way in liberal thinking and eschewing ill and uncivilized practices. During first four decades of independence, literates were occupying key positions in Govt. and in politics. It is needless to say, 20% people rule over 80% and this principle is true. This system of ruling ruled over for a pretty long time in our country has ruined the democratic system. The well woven democratic fabric was either torn, stretched, have needle holes or stitched with patches, to fulfill expectations of few vested people by employing unholy practices.
As more and more people become educated, the turnaround started in holding prime positions by other class minimizing chances for established classes. Besides this, reservation too has helped to a great extent in changing democratic values and creating a platform for equality.
Industrialization and liberalization of industrial policies have created immense multi professional job opportunities thrown open to a large section of people. One remarkable change which can be noticed here is that those educated classes who were vying for Govt. top positions during British period started keying in on prime positions in industry.
Every set of reforms in the form of rules, procedures has merits and demerits. The reform which effectively touches 70% population is said to be the best. 1-30% flaws, deficiencies are inbuilt and bound to happen. A medicine is effective if it has curative ingredient of at least 70%. Rest percentage is its side effect. Medicine will never be effective unless it has ingredients of side effects. Therefore, system loopholes, deficiencies, demerits and criticisms, to an acceptable standard, are congruent ingredients and need no concentration.
KEY 4: SOCIO-POLITICAL CHANGE OWES ITS INHERITENCE TO EQUALITY, A ROOT, DEEPLY EMBEDED IN EDUCATION. DO YOU PERCEIVE THIS CHANGE?
Beggars are not of a particular caste but it is a class. A person begging on the streets or moving from one door to another with a bowl in hand is generally called as a beggar. It is one form of begging. The begging has various forms, if one observes minutely. Mostly, it is due to compelling situations one fall in line with beggar class and more recently it is opted for various reasons.
A fairly large section of people opine that some sort of work is meant to be carried out by a particular class. This is a label engraved on the forehead of persons falling in that class, which shall have to be removed by those people on whom it is engraved. This is possible only when, one changes his profession. Change in profession requires common sense; though education, knowledge, understanding, all together shapes a man to remove the label.
Now, look at the present day activities. Why considerable people were covered under reserved class and also share platforms with upper caste? Has the Class System changed? No, certainly not. Various classes of people are now categorized under different reservations. Now, these people’s standard of living has changed with liberal approach of reservation system. Hence, the change in scenario is noticeable.
The fundamental question here is has reservation helped the have not’s? (i) YES, to the extent of getting job and earning fixed monthly salary. (ii) ABSOLUTELY NO, as it has killed their TOTAL CREATIVITY and put limitation on forward thinking and efforts in achieving the thing which is not possible. Their identity of reserved class co-exists and co-terminate as it requires mandatory approval from Government. By opting reservation, an individual is risking himself on creating own identity. This identity itself is creating a deep divide to live in with all sections of society and earn unsolicited respect like others. Therefore, this system is viewed as a self-proclaimed social confinement.
KEY 5: EDUCATION KEEPS ON ROLLING, CHANGING SOCIAL SPECTRUM AND STRATUM OF AN INDIVIDUAL IRRESPECTIVE OF CLASS.
Social Reformers and educational supporters have put in decades of struggle to ensure that education and its benefits reach lowest of lower classes. Convergence is a collective effort put in by noble men who have outreached millions of people in spite of linguistic barriers through unstinted, ceaseless and painstaking efforts while thrashing out or keeping aside individual goals and differences. Language is a means and not an end. Why and how great leaders have earned respect from the whole of the countrymen in contrast to selected geographical leaders is a syllabus, which requires years and year’s thorough study. The best example and benchmark is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maha Raja.
The concerted, combined and unified efforts of Great Leaders gave a birth to a document i.e. Constitution of India, the provisions of which are binding on all. Constitution of India, the Mother of all, is the most sacred document; and it is the first such well woven written document wherefrom convergence has started reaping positive outputs. Each and everything is derived from the Constitution of India, and all other tributaries are developed to have beneficial effect for human being forever. The Constitution of India is not a golden mine which gives benefits, to all, on its own. It is gold in mine. To get gold, one has to toil, put strenuous efforts, then only a piece of gold can be traced. Whether to pull a piece of gold from Constitution of India either for collective benefit of human being or for individual benefit and how to extract is all left at the discretion of an individual.
Our National Leaders have always exercised their right to ensure that the benefits should reach whole of mankind. That is why the country has apt educational institutions, social organizations, govt. machineries, research wings, scientific and technical centers, women, child welfare organizations, etc. to match its population.
Now, look at the political convergence during the current decade 2004-15. The outcome and outlook of the country as a whole has drastically changed. No one would have thought about such upheavals in the political system. During the first three decades of post independence, entry into politics was very easy for upper class and higher echelons as they were elected without putting much effort, without spending sizeable sum from their own pockets and even not personally approaching to the voters. What are the compelling factors in changing the socio-political scenario? The most formidable and fundamental change one can see is equation of equality. It is left to the discretion and views of readers to find out and justify themselves whether this equality has face value or market value?
The dramatic turnaround in the socio-political change has given berth especially for the people from vulnerable classes in holding prime positions; the positions hitherto were earmarked for higher class, wealthy class and intellectual class.
KEY 6: EDUCATION PRECEDES EQUALITY. EQUALITY, A NATURAL HUMAN RIGHT ENABLES TO EARN RESPECT.
Post independence period, few leaders like Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, etc. have natural power in influencing mass. The country’s inability to have such a Leader in place is really a setback to our own system of democracy. The time has come to think prospectively on why a democratic country like India is unable to have such Leaders in place. Is it because current leaders have become self-centered? Or is it because the people have become more knowledgeable? Conversely, is it because the people themselves have become self- centered thereby getting substantial benefits by opting to elect unfit men to lead the country?
The vulnerable class who are now sharing platforms with upper caste, enjoying status in society was given a feel of equality. However, surprisingly these classes and especially their so called leaders did not and are not able to maintain the status continually for a pretty long time. Why these people lose status in society is a big question mark? Is it because these people’s own actions and deeds are solely responsible? Yes, to a considerable extent. Think and juxtapose the facts. To maintain status one has to be complacent and practice generally accepted common human behaviours and attitudes. These people and their leaders have to practice politeness, simplicity, honesty, commitments, follow social and cultural ethics of high values. One of the basic burning problems is ‘ego’. The moment one start earning reasonable sum, sizeable people get inclined towards bad habits which starts vitiating self image in addition to spoiling image of the class to which they belong.
The people who were tagged with stamp of being from certain class will have to practice simple ways of living by inculcating or taking clues or learning lessons from great iconic leaders like Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Phule, Swami Vivekanand, Rajrishi Sahu Maharaj, etc. A will, will find a way and there is absolutely no iota of doubt. Even if someone takes a glimpse at or study minutely about yesteryears eminent industrialists like JRD Tata, Bajaj, Birla, etc., it is highly unimaginable and unbelievable too that these industrialists have worked more than 20 hours a day. That is why they were able to establish, develop, run and control exceptionally giant companies over so many decades giving employment to millions. Present generation is enjoying taste of fruits, the seeds of which were sown by their forefathers. It is not a child’s play to run an industry. Even a small family with just four members living therein would find it difficult to run the family without hum and live satisfactorily.
Similarly, take examples from veteran politicians among them are S/Shri A B Vajpayee, L K Advani, Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Sharad Yadav, Nitish Kumar and so on. We cannot just forget the greatest ever contributions made by Sheikh Abdullah, Sri Krishna Singh, Smt. Indira Gandhi, S Nijlingappa, Yashwantrao Chavan, N T Ramrao, M G Ramachandran, V P Singh, Jyoti Basu, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Madhu Dandwate, George Fernandes, etc. whose relentless efforts for more than 20 hours a day for the cause of social welfare, public awareness, co-operative movement coupled with co-operative development had ensured that a country remained as a cohesive unit apart from reaching a point where sustainable economic and human developments concurrently flow in the same stream giving invaluable returns. Earnest request, take time and do study, these leaders’ ability and capability, skill, risk assessment & handling methods, public administration and more particularly risk taking. One or two negative images of these leaders be set aside as those are at some point of time necessarily needed even though the public does not like or accept since it is part of politics and let the politics remain as politics.
KEY 7: EDUCATION DIFFERENTIATES BETWEEN LEADERS AND READERS. LEADERS STRUGGLE FOR CONSTRUCTIVE DEVELOPMENT OF A NATION AND OTHER ENGAGE IN DRAWING INFERENCES AND LIVE IN ISOLATION, RESPECTIVELY.
During Kingdom System whether the Kingdom is ruled by Moghuls, Portuguese or Hindu, there was total uniformity in usage of uniform civil code, even if the matter pertains to close relatives of a King’s family or a member of hierarchy. Equal employment opportunities were given to all sections of society. During those days, giving employment was not only a crucial and critical factor but was also an uphill task in finding matching work assignment. That is why in those days, construction of temple, masjid, church, palaces, forts, boundary walls, were carried out on a large scale. This system ensured engaging people in some work, besides providing a platform in showcasing creativity, to earn their living and most importantly security of people and their family. The employment was based on individual skill and not based on Varna/ Class. Gradually a new system of working class came into being identifying certain skill sets in particular job e.g. black smith, gold smith, artisan, painter, musicians, singers, dancers, designers, carpenters, painters, writers, sculptures and so on, who were categorized as professionals. These professionals hail from all classes/ religions. This system of giving employment continued even during British Rule and exists till this day. Our Kings who ruled Kingdom were really Greatest Sovereigns and one should salute them. Their noble way kept various sections of people happy, complacent and united particularly when the country was ruled by different Kings having independent sovereign powers in different areas in spite of the fact that the sovereign power was restricted to their own area of Kingdom. The Constitution of India scripted by great men has incorporated these principles in broader perspective.
The higher earnings made deep inroads in leading healthy life and status. Can you guess the earning power of a highly qualified? The sum earned is exorbitant apart from occupying prime position. An average intellectual man earning yearly 25-30 lakhs along with fringe benefits is equivalent to a rich farmer who is holding 50 acres of irrigated land or 200 acres of dry land. The misery, agony and struggle of a Farmer are beyond the stretch of imagination especially intellectual and urban class. The recent trend in agricultural community is a dangerous sign to our country. Judging and treating farmers as men meant for nothing by urban, wealthy and intellectual classes is highly condemnable and objectionable too. Remember, Farmers work on AIR (Agriculture Irrigated on Rain). Today’s so called advanced technology and development is not able to find substitute to AIR. Since, AIR costs nothing, people generally does not value it. The time will come when people will recognize real value of AIR when insufficiency or inferior quality is felt.
The intellectuals were and are future of the country. The national development and progress is in the hands of these intellectuals. History reveals that there exists a Class System. It is needless to say that the Class System will remain in force in future too but in an unusual form. Intellectuals will be above all (like brahman and upper class, in ancient days), among the classes, followed by others like traders, businessmen, salary earners, wage earners, etc. Less educated and illiterate will be at the bottom, doing or engaging in sundry work. However, every class has its own values and characters but treatment of each other will find its own place with operating principle as give and take (self respect).
The present is ALWAYS comparable with past and not with the future. In the present era, intellectuals have started planting highest key positions in industrial and business houses like Chairman, Managing Director or as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and some have established, promoted, their own business houses. This has been possible because the industrial and business houses are headed by persons who are either intellectually not at par with business scenario or might be acting as a driving force.
KEY 8: EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION BOTH HAVE ITS INDEPENDENT UNIQUENESS AND ITS INTEGRATED FLOW ENRICH AND REINFORCE IN ACHIEVING EXCELLENCY.
Educational institution and quality education are two divergent ends measured by certain parameters. A management with sound finance can own land at par with industry and construct building thereon, to attract large number of students, fetch fees, donations. This will meet requirements and aspirations of management on one hand and parents on the other hand. Eventually, when education reaches its nadir, the students prefer to take admission in such an educational institute where quality education is taught irrespective of institute’s size. It is certain, at some point; fees are bound to become rational wherefrom quality education start rising in the east.
KEY 9: IS EDUCATION MEANT TO GET CERTIFICATE? DOES THIS POLICY SURVIVE FOR EVER? DOES IT SERVE INCLUSIVE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT?
The expressions narrated hereinabove are abstractly covered to reinforce readers’ views. The article is left open to readers to judge themselves so as to get attuned with changing environment, circumstances and situations by adopting ‘generally accepted common practices’.
From ancient period through British Raj and after independence, India has seen many faces. Every man has his own strength, inner voice which owes its existence to his way of thinking and living. This inner strength makes him to lead from the front. No one should say that somebody is his Guru and guided him. This is absolutely wrong. The man who leads from the front has to sail through thick and thin, at all times alone, with his own vision and mission putting strenuous and ingenious efforts. This requires utter sacrifice of own self life apart from family life and social life.
Blamers/ Critics are those who have nothing with them and hence blame others by using character assassination as a tool. This has never worked and those who challenge this, study the life history of such people?
Truth has only one face and it gives great peace of mind to the Practitioner and is never ever dependent on external things. Mouth indicates Quality and Stomach indicates Quantity and these two organs work congruently and cohesively to keep human being Happy all the time. Forced imbalance is what, you know better?
India’s coexistence is benchmark to the developing and developed nations. India has always solved problems whether be it colonial, linguistic, religious, social, political or apolitical with active participation of all Leaders. Leader need not necessarily be confined to a person who is heading party/ group but it covers an individual too, whether literate or not.
Socio-political union embedded with irreversible traditions kept India immaculate. The raison d’être is devotion made by selfless leaders!!! This saga will continue.