Caste consciousness in society is greater today than in 1950s: Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor on caste consciousness: There is greater consciousness of caste in Indian society today compared to the decade after independence, Congress MP and author Shashi Tharoor said in Mumbai on Saturday (November 12).
Speaking during a discussion on “The lost legacy of Ambedkar” at the Tata Literature Festival, he said now every caste is conscious of its identity, and this "identity label has become a marker for political mobilization."
Tharoor's book "Ambedkar: A Life”, a biography of Dr BR Ambedkar, was launched during the program.
“Ambedkar wanted to completely destroy the caste system and he will probably be horrified to realize that, if anything, the caste system is more and more entrenched in the political parties,” he said.
To a question from the audience, Tharoor, the third-term MP from Thiruvananthapuram, noted that the political parties which are against discrimination or untouchability nonetheless seek votes in the name of caste. The caste system is "far from annihilated", he added.
Both Ambedkar and Jawaharlal Nehru wanted the caste system to disappear from India and the latter thought that with modernisation it will disappear, Tharoor said. Ambedkar fought for "annihilation of caste" because he felt that as long as the consciousness of caste system existed, oppression would also exist, he said. Caste is very much a feature of matrimonial pages, he pointed out.
Going forward, "all we can hope is that caste becomes a benign label of identity like an old school tie," the Congress leader added.
(With PTI inputs)
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