If you were directed to end India's caste system how would you do it?If you were directed to end India's caste system how would you do it?

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vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I suppose I would begin by making a thorough study of the efforts that have already led to some diminishment in the power of the caste system over, say, the past 50 years. I would try to discover what strategies had already been successful, what strategies had backfired, and what the best suggestions were for future progress. My instinct suggests that one way to diminish the power of the caste system is to provide economic opportunities to people in the lower castes.

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justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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This would be difficult, very difficult. You could have laws against discrimination; they actually do exist. But what about the societal changes. The caste of a person plays a very important role as far as marriages in India are concerned. And it isn't lower caste or upper caste that matters here, its primarily about marrying in the same caste.

As far as reservation for the backward castes goes, this was something started a long time back and the objective was to help empower members of the lower castes so that they would then help improve the life of all the other members of the caste. Unfortunately, it hasn't happened. And I do not think it ever will.

The state in India with the highest population is being ruled by a female leader from the one of the lowest castes. But instead of using this as an opportunity to uplift others of her caste, educate them, create opportunities, etc. her only objective has been to stay in power and for that it is essential not to improve the conditions of the members of her caste; else she wouldn't get her votes. She has to maintain the disparity and extend it further if possible, something she is doing in a brilliant manner.

The caste system in India stems more from the corruption here, the utter disregard of the law and basically a pathetic political system. Unless that can be changed, the caste system is here to stay.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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One of the difficulties to overcome would be the social inequalities that result in a mentality of subservience. One could argue that the failure of the American Reconstruction was at least in part due to a post-Lincoln acceptance of this mentality and an encouragement of it. This mentality is also an inhibitor to equality in post-apartheid South Africa. An ingrained mentality such as this will be harder to eliminate than inequalities in eduction. The remedy for this problem began to be operative in the US post-Civil War South when, according to historian Page Smith (Trial by Fire), for at least ten years freed slaves successfully built businesses, served in legislative bodies, prospered with their own farms and livestock, and widely pursued education. While education may form the foundation for eradicating a mentality of subservience, achievement and the permission to achieve form the cornerstone and first building blocks. This is a paramount long-term factor that separated the experience of freed slaves living in the North from those in the South: achievement and permission to achieve.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I find the response in #6 highly interesting. I remember reading a book by Mark Tully, called No Full Stops in India, where he actually argues along similar lines for the preservation of the caste society, saying that it is so deeply ingrained into the Indian psyche that it must be accepted as a fact and worked with rather than opposed. Any attempts to change it I think would be met by failure, or at least would be initially, and it would take at least several generations for any meaningful change to be enacted.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I am unable to imagine India without the caste system. It is not because I agree with it, because I am far from even accepting it.  It is because the caste system is a key element of their idiosyncrasy whether it is fair or not.

I know this is a sort of really ridiculous statement; even as I write it I cannot believe that I actually feel this way, but I wonder what would happen if this system was eliminated: How would the "untouchables" feel now that they would be treated as normal individuals? How would they adapt to that change? How long would it take them to develop a different self-concept? Would they lose their identity? I wish this were easier to explain, but my main key is: A person, such as an untouchable, is told from birth that they are not welcome in society. As a group, the untouchables undoubtedly still form a bond and develop a self-identity that gives them a sense of importance regardless of what society feels: Being untouchables is what defines them as a unique group. So, how would they react to their own identity when it is taken away? How long would it take them to reintegrate themselves into society?

Other than that question (and I am saying that the caste system is a good system), I would never agree with any society which dejects their own based on some idiotic belief, no matter how sacred it is. It is cruel and it should be illegal. Period.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Similar to ending racial segregation in the United States, it seems you would have to start with overturning or repealing all laws that allow caste system discrimination to take place (although, to tell you the truth, I don't have any idea how many of those laws remain on the books now).

But since this is a centuries-old tradition and custom, it will take generations for its acceptance to subside, just as it has in the US with our racial issues.  It would help if the government of India appointed people from the lower castes into government agencies, as well as made a serious effort to offer scholarships and other educational and employment opportunities to those that have been denied them in the past.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would decline the assignment or at least stipulate that my bosses had to understand that no results would be forthcoming during my lifetime.

I would try to start by creating more economic and educational opportunities for the lower castes.  I would hope that this would make them economically important to the society as a whole.  I would hope that this would lead to them being more accepted by the upper castes.

However, I would have no illusions that there would be quick results.  Long-standing social systems cannot simply be eradicated by government order.  We would have to create conditions in which the lower castes would gradually come to be seen as equal and important by the upper castes.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that a more democratic society is the answer. In America we still have classes, but it is possible to move from one to the other. People need to be able to have the opportunity to move to another class. Over time, prejudice against them will reduce. It will take a very long time though. Even if they look just like everyone else, a person from a lower caste still has the discrimination to contend with if others know which caste he belonged to. So it will take time.
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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This will be fun.  If I were to end the caste system in India, I would attack the caste system on legal and social grounds.  Legally, I would simply pass local and national laws that banned the caste system.  I would move to eradicate caste language from all public settings and initiatives.  I would also campaign on a political platform whereby my political party would simply stand for the abolition of all castes.  Whereas others might have hinted at this through language, I would actually use the weight of my office or the weight of my status to actually do it.  For example, I would make sure that temples could not ban worship from people of different castes.  I would instruct all civil service officers or police officers and local municipal officials to take note of all temples that make worshippers of lower castes stand outside and demand that temple management change their policies.  I would eliminate the quota system at universities and public institutions that allots for different castes and open it to the most qualified individuals.  I would make sure that all applications for schooling or for professional positions do not have any question relating to caste.  In continuing this attack from the social point of view, I would make sure that there are classes in secondary schools that talk about the different forms of discrimination in India and around the world and use that as a platform to teach children about how the caste system is no longer a part of the Indian lexicon.  I would increase my outreach into the villages and talk to the Panchayats and ensure their cooperation on abolishing the caste systems.  My administration would have enough resources and legitimate outreach to ensure that this is being followed consistently and thorughly.  Finally, I would enlist the help of the Bollywood and other regional film industries to film Public Service Announcements and increase presence in getting the word out about how the caste system must come to an end in order for India to be competitive in the digital age.

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akhnakhn | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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as per by opinion i feels that let the people practice their religion but within their home or workshipplaces no where else

And strict laws and their implementation be done against people who are dividing people onthe basis of caste or creed. Against the fundamentalist forces. Spreading of religious prraching or thought to be done in their home or workshipplaces and some one found to make comunity on religious basis to be dealth strictly. Caste to be kept in home but overall they will be one just an another citizen. by any mean religion should not come in picture which dilute the unity of the country or its growth or diluting the equality status of other citizen or on the basis of caste or creed, reservation or any government facility be provided. strict action to be taken against defaulters. more over to achieve this govt should remove the amir garib ka difference and creat a society where all have one status.

and secondly remove the politics half the aim is achieved the find another way to run democratic govt.

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