Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Caste No Bar

Right from filling out the forms for a birth certificate, education at various levels, domicile, nationality, marriage certificate to the death certificate - we all have been filling the column that asks us to mention our caste. The caste system has been a stronghold of our social system, which defines the various traditions, rituals and lifestyles in our country. This is even nurtured as a key political concern, especially in the rural areas, which attracts vote-banks.

There have been many cases where parts of public staged protests against the reservation policies based on castes in the fields of education and the job market, which was considered positive discrimination. The caste system has always been a 'talking point' for everyone at various points in their personal, professional and social lives.

This is now not limited to only this! Until now we have grown with the fact that the caste system is politicised time and again, but it will now be economically driven as well. Thanks to BSNL that it will soon be banking on this very caste-ism and converting it in to a 'talking point', literally! It plans to launch the special OBC scheme that will 'enable' those belonging to this caste to have a free 'OBC to OBC' talktime, special SIM cards, and other facilities. The rat race among the mobile giants is not new to us. Number of schemes like group chatting, family plans, this plan and that plan have been hammered upon us by posing emotional drama through all possible marketing gimmicks.

And now, BSNL seems to strive and move ahead of all by striking a chord with one of the most sensitive issues' of our country, literally enterprising the 'Caste No Bar' campaign when it comes to making business out of it! We have long enough accepted the need to raise the social and economic status of those belonging to the lower castes, to help them desire and deserve things in life that others have not had to struggle as much as them due to the negative impacts of the caste system that prevailed.

Yet, the case in point here is that, is it judicious or progressive to society that the system itself will now be used as a means for monetary gains? Will this not harm the very people belonging to such castes and hinder their growth graph? Is it not like offering them a handicap in the name of their caste? Won't this give rise to various debates from other castes or religions? Doesn't this smell like the birth of yet another negative discrimination?

For common people like us, 'Caste No Bar' in its literal terms means that we see caste as no bar in anything related to education or job or lifestyle. These are too trivial issues to even think of, for us. But this very 'Caste No Bar' term for politics or business means - caste is no bar to fulfill our selfish desires. For the janta living in the 21st century, such organisations seem to be implanting such schemes and policies as slow poison in society which is so dying to break free from such nonsense!

Or do we have more to come in the name of caste and in the name of business? Does BSNL's 'Connecting India' theme seem to be Dis-connecting India somewhere?

The link above talks about the OBC scheme.