Capitalism versus caste: Dalit Entrepreneurs

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Capitalism versus caste: A new order based on the market can sweep away centuries of caste discrimination


    CHANDRA BHAN PRASAD & Milind Kamble


    "Ho to tum Dilli se saheb, per soch badi chhoti hai" (You might be from Delhi, but you are narrow-minded), jeers Prashant Patil. Aged 28, Prashant is upset about being asked what makes a Patil woman work on dalit farmland. "Caste ka chashma utar kar dunia dekho" (See the world without the blinkers of caste), he counsels.

    In district Sangli of Maharashtra, a new kind of social narrative is at work. It is this village in Sangli where legendary dalit industrialist Ashok Khade was born. Ashok's mother was a farm worker and father, a cobbler — both illiterate. Once it had rained for three days in a row, and Ashok's father couldn`t open the shoe repair shop that he ran under the open sky. The next day was Ashok's board examination.

    "Mother controlled her tears, but i sobbed," recalls Ashok. He went to write his maths exam on an empty stomach. "I remember the day because i scored 100 out of 100." Despite such aptitude for maths sprouting within him, poverty pushed young Ashok out of the classroom.

    Once out of school, Ashok migrated to Mumbai and joined Mazagaon Dock in 1975. He excelled in his job, including a year-long stint in Germany — but his entrepreneurial skills would not be denied. He quit his job to launch DAS Offshore Engineers Pvt Ltd in 1992. With 4,500 workers today, including 152 engineering graduates, Ashok is the largest dalit employer.

    Driven by a passion to give back to society, Ashok returned to his village to transform it. "Wanted to farm on DAS Offshore lines," recalls Ashok. By DAS Offshore lines, Ashok meant corporate farming on 80 acres of farmland that he had acquired. "Corporate farming can turn soil into gold," he reasons. Completely mechanised, Ashok`s farms produce mangoes, grapes, bananas and turmeric in virtually an assembly line manner. "We have the highest yield per acre in the area," says manager P Shendge.

    "Isn`t it betraying your caste honour that you work on dalit farmland?" Meenakshi`s res-ponse is cool but prompt: "Kar-khana ki kya jati" (What caste does work have). She is a Patil; her mother-in-law lived in purdah for most of her life.

    Aged 89, G B Joshi did his SSC in 1952 but didn`t take up a job. Revered by fellow villagers and with an encyclopedic knowledge of local society, Joshi praises Ashok for renovating the village temple. "In childhood, i prayed standing outside the temple," recalls Ashok in turn.

    Joshi opens up after some probing. "Ab bhautikvaad ka bol-bala hai. Tulsi ki jagah TV ne le li hai" (Now materialism holds sway. Television has replaced the Tulsi). To the traditional part of India, the Tulsi is a deity that is worshipped. But materialism is changing all that. The new social mood demands that Meenakshi install a dish antenna on her rooftop.

    Thirty-five kilometres east of Sangli, dalit entrepreneur Devanand Londhe is authoring a new social contract in his village. Born into a hut, Londhe couldn`t afford shoes when he joined the government polytechnic at Kolhapur in 1987. Seniors would rag him for not following the dress code.

    Aged 43, and a multi-millionaire, Londhe`s Payod Industries set up in 2008 produces three lakh pairs of high quality cotton gloves a month. "That`s for export," says Londhe. The Mumbai plant produces another six lakh gloves a month for the domestic market. Of the 150 workers that Londhe employs in his village, over 100 are women from the upper castes.

    "Paisa ab jati se bada ho gaya hai" (Money matters more than caste now), argues Anita Paigonda. A Jain, Anita praises Londhe for being a good paymaster. "People think i have become a doctor," explains Alka. A Patil, she points to the white cotton coat she is wearing.

    "Has caste begun to end in this village?" Answers vary. "Jati to hai par jativaad kam ho gaya hai" (Caste exists but casteism is on the decline), reasons A G Pawar. A retired schoolteacher, Pawar manages the library that Londhe has set up.

    Twenty-five kilometres west of Sangli town, Anand D Daware runs a bottled water plant. Raised on Mumbai streets, and now a multi-millionaire, Daware returned to his village to set up the plant. "Production cost is much cheaper here," he explains.

    "I was given water from a distance," Daware recalls about his childhood. "Now he gives everyone water," Milee Poojari cracks a joke. Herself a Brahmin, Poojari manages the plant. "Caste cannot be bigger than career," insists Sangram D Bhosle who is a microbiologist at the plant.

    The Centre for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania, is engaged in profiling dalit entrepreneurs nationally. The researchers have identified 17 dalit entrepreneurs in Sangli district alone who are big enough to employ even upper castes.

    Sangli`s lessons for the rest of India? Corporate farming boosts yield and neutralises the caste order. Mechanisation of farming creates caste-neutral jobs that dismantle occupational hierarchy — the backbone of the caste order. The assembly line can be the greatest social equaliser. Bhautikvaad or materialism triggers consumerism — not just in towns but in the countryside as well. Consumerism boosts industrialisation that produces classes to replace caste. With material markers overwhelming social markers, dalits can shop for rank in society the way dalit industrialists in Sangli have shown.

    Chandra Bhan Prasad writes on dalit issues. Milind Kamble is chairman, Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

    Capitalism versus caste: A new order based on the market can sweep away centuries of caste discrimination - The Times of India

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    This is an article written by two DALIT activists and who are doing well themselves.

    This article contains the success stories of totally deprived Dalits, who have made their niche as millionaires and are employing many caste Hindus And the best part is that they have done so on their own steam and not getting alms from the Govt in the form of reservations in every aspect of their breathing life!

    . In fact. one is making bottled water that is being used by many Indians, high caste, or different religions! Imagine that at one time, Dalits were not allowed to drink from the same source!

    This is a reminder to all those who wail, rant and rave about not getting a lions share of the govt goodies gratis, by the way of reservations in every aspect of life, that if you have the merit, and ambition one cannot keep a good man down!
     
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  3. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    Thanks for posting this article. Good that these people have done well in spite of the system that keeps beating them down.
    But let us not forget to look at their number is as a percentage of the Dalit population in Maharashtra. Not denying there will be some more who are doing equally well. However, if you consider the entire Dalit population, their percentage will be minuscule.

    Affirmative action is a tool that helps bring up the whole or a majority of a community to the same level as other groups. These one-off success stories cannot be cited in an attempt to establish that proactive state intervention is not required. It would be like saying that as Dr Ambedkar, K. R. Narayanan etc did well though they were Dalits, why do Dalits need state action to improve their lot!
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The point is simple.

    You cannot keep a good man down!

    But a pandhandler will acquire a panhandler attitude.

    Look at KR Nrayanan's daughter who is clinging onto the Ambassadorship in Switzerland

    A senior member of the Indian Foreign Service, Chitra Narayanan, former President, the late KR Narayanan’s daughter, was unmindful of the protocol when very often she joined dinner and other high-level meetings her father held as part of his duties as the Head of State.

    In fact, once Narayanan had caused embarrassment to the Indian Government when while on an official visit to the UK as President he insisted on staying a couple of days longer than the hosts were ready to put him up for since he wanted to spend some more time with his daughter who happened to be in London. He did extend his stay in London, leaving the Indian High Commission to pick up the tab.

    Now, it is his daughter who is overstaying her welcome as India’s ambassador to Switzerland. She retired in June and ought to have vacated her office and official home immediately. In fact, Rajesh Prasad, Deputy High Commissioner in London, was named her successor in June itself. He attended several farewell parties. Even a senior official of the Swiss mission in London called on him to extend a warm welcome on behalf of his Government.

    But such is the influence of Narayanan on the Indian Government that in spite of serving four years in her current assignment – normal term of an ambassador is three years — she refuses to demit the Ambassador’s office, pleading illness as a reason for over-staying. In the normal course, she should have returned home to lead a retired life in June itself. The upshot is that both Prasad and the diplomatic community in London which organised farewell functions for him feel embarrassed by Narayanan’s refusal to demit office. The failure of the Indian Government to enforce its orders is equally puzzling.

    Dilli Diary by DE Nizamuddin | Niti Central

    Used to privileges not gained my merit, she has a problem to disavow them!

    Can a maneater be changed if given the taste of human flesh even once?

    To me, this giving away sops without merit appears to be a devious game to keep them down and not let them emerge in society with due honour and equality that many of them are capable of with their own talent and ambition.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  5. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    You are presenting the case as if she is the only one who has not gained the job on her own merit! And the way you present it, it sounds like she is violating procedures because she is born to a particular strata of society.
    Come off it.. we have any number of people doing this kind of thing.. look around in Delhi itself and you will see how many of the progeny of bureaucrats and politicians overstay their welcome. Or do you mean to say if a caste Hindu's progeny does such a thing it is only an infraction and if a low-caste person's progeny does it, it is because of origin?
    That sly attitude of attributing anything negative in a person to the origin is the root of casteism and is not exactly becoming of the nobility expected of a so-called high born.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Take the life of K.R. Narayanan suggests an answer to the puzzle. He was born at the very bottom, into the group of “out-castes” once called “untouchable” and now known as dalits. Yet he rose to the top, serving as the country's president from 1997 to 2002

    Note how he got this job.

    He returned to India in 1948, armed with a letter of introduction from Laski to Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister of India since its independence the previous year. Nehru found him a job in the diplomatic service.

    He was doubtless proud of what his status (President) implied for others of his caste, but disappointed that he would always be identified as “India's first dalit president”.

    K.R. Narayanan | The Economist

    KR was instrumental to get KGB as the CJI on a Dalit cry!


    (Yet) K G Balakrishnan’s father was one Mr Lookose who changed his name as Gopinathan to usurp the benefits of SC-ST Hindus....

    A Memorandum was submitted by Kerala SC-ST Federation in 2006 to Indian President and copy of it were given to Prime Minister and CBI Director with full evidences that K G Balakrishnan is a Crypto christian who grabbed the benefits of genuine SC-ST Hindus.

    K G Balakrishnan was made High Court judge with special recruitment by former president K R Narayanan
    Another “Dalit” turns out to be a Christian | Indian Realist

    And it is said the KRN himself is a crypto!

    Best of all worlds!
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Nothing sly. Quite open and frank.

    Do you suggest that is par for the course that one retires and still hangs on depriving the one posted in and cooling his heels in Delhi, hoping that one day she will quit.

    Which service rules permits you to continue when you have superannuated?

    And who is the 'high born'?

    The root cause of 'cateism' is celebrating caste in dubious ways such as reservations in perpetuity or only taken up the cause of the Muslims as the 'minority'.

    While the Gujarat riots are communal, don't you find it sly and cunning to conveniently forget that the Sikh riots are also communal and that the Sikhs too are a minoirty?

    How come the lapse of conscience there? How come the Congress drumbeats that they are secular.

    What about the 100 communal riots under the SP rule in UP? Again convenient lapse of memory to not go to town on such communal divide not being given its due importance? What makes SP claim that while the are against the FDI, but they will not support a communal force to vote against the bill and thus going against their own policy?

    So, one thing one must get clear about is that the polarisation of Indian society is a political handle to keep Indians cringing in the medieval days!

    Casteism is a celebrated tool of all political parties and so is religion.

    It is the engine that drives Indian politics and befools the Indian society.

    It is time we abolish these differences from our governance, before these difference being continuously celebrated abolishes us!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  8. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    Are you attributing the favouritism to his caste background?
    As if it is unheard of among people of other castes!
     
  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It is you brought up the issue

    You demean the achievements of the Dalits to stand on their own without Govt crutches.

    I celebrate the hard toil up hill of these Dalits who have made good on their own steam.

    Reservations have gone on for 60 yrs and if the Dalits have not been able to get their due, the question is when will they get their due?

    If a child is always carried or moved about in a pram and never allowed to touch the floor, can that child ever learn to walk?

    Favouritism and Nepotism is rife in Indian society. Why so?

    It helps those who have a vested interests and who have the powers of giving largess. It serves their purpose.

    What was the Licencing Raj all about? Progress for India? Hardly. If it were not there, we would not have had an Ambani!

    By your logic, then the so called non martial races would be justified in their demand for Regiments of their Community as the so called martial races have!

    No sir, we require governance and not chaos. Not pandering to populism for votes!

    I agree that there must be Justice to all and Appeasement to none!

    I think it is a devious and diabolical machination to keep a group of people dole forever and continuously highlighting and celebrating and encouraging the singularly separatism that divides our society!

    Let me give you an example of 'engineering', if you will, bringing equality and achievement without handouts.

    I am from a Scheduled Caste Regiment.

    My children and my troops children have gone to Kendriya Vidyalaya (no caste reservation coming into play).

    They have done well and many of my jawans children are holding middle level ranks (they are young) and rising in the Army, on their own steam. No reservations, and no casteism!

    If they can do it on equal terms, why not others?

    It is for the Govt to create the atmosphere of level playing field and not keep them down by making them yearn for alms and sop as their sole salvation.

    The Chinese proverb is very apt:

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    One has to generate the environment where a man gains his self respect and thus gains confidence in him/herself.

    A person, who has achieved something because of a loophole, will always carry it on his conscience, and he will always feel uncomfortable. The same way as someone who gets a gallantry award not totally based on his valour but on the 'clever' write up to enhance the unit's combat history. Such a man can never look into the eyes of the people!

    Rahul Gandhi lacks confidence because he is propped up. Sachin Pilot, even though he is a politician's son who is dead, does not have any hesitation to stand his ground. He has come up on his own steam without the protective hand of his father! And interestingly Rahul claims he is a Brahmin while Sachin is an Ahir, IIRC.

    Yet, Rahul will be projected as the future PM, but never Sachin!

    A different type of reservation, if you will!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  10. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    People of all castes violate rules in India. If there is violation, there are procedures laid down to rectify it. It is clear that some colleague of the lady is suggesting there is no action against her because of her connections. That is fine.
    You are suggesting that she acted in such a way because of her origin as a Dalit. That is what I objected to it.
    Or will you not be equally enraged if the infraction was committed by an upper caste Hindu?

    What usually happens is if there is a wrongdoing by a person of a lower caste, the tendency of the society is to attribute it to his birth which exactly is what you are doing here.
    If a person of the upper caste commits a wrong it is treated as an infraction, attributable to individual's foible.

    Casteism was there before the system of reservations was introduced. Reservation is a response to casteism, not the cause of it.
    For me both are communal incidents and incidents were the state abdicated their responsibility and in a way abetted the violence by misfeasance or malfeasance.
    What has all this to do with a former President's daughter clinging on to her post? The only connection seems to be that she is a Dalit.

    Casteism was there before independence. So, the objection is not to casteism, but lower castes benefiting from the so-called casteism. Noble thoughts!!
     
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    No.

    I am suggesting that she has got away with murder being a President's daughter, and none can do a fig about her not moving out even having retired. He daddy is dead, so what prevents the Govt from doing as per rules? Prima facie, it appears that you cannot touch a crypto Dalit with a bargepole.

    Look at KGB, the ex CJI. who has been proved to be the Czar of corruption and yet none can touch him. He continues to be the Chairman of NHRC!

    But you can chuck out PJ Thomas, who is not a Dalit, but a minority! But then, in this country, Sikhs and Christians are not minorities and it is only the Muslims!

    You bet it that I will be equally inflamed if someone else, irrespective of religion and caste. was guilty of nepotism and corruption.

    Having been in a SC Regt and having had a religion that is beyond caste, I have no caste issues. I have lived in an environment in my family and in my profession where caste and religion was a totally bogus issue and never came in the way. I have also seen that in such an environment the so called 'deprived' classes have flourished and done themselves proud.

    Hence, I am convinced that vested interests keep the caste and religion issues alive to keep people in psychological bondage and 'inferior'. It is a travesty to humanity!
    .



    No.

    It has nothing to do with caste. It is do with equality and not allow the bleeding heart, drawing room champagne guzzling diamond glittering chatterati class.weep crocodile tears and keep the SC? ST/ religious minorities forever be beholden to the system by giving them alms, sops etc to 'keep them in their place' and not forgetting 'their station in life'.


    Reservation was indeed a good thing. But then not in perpetuity!

    You may claim that injustice has been done for thousands of years.

    So, if it means a 1000s years of reservations, then say it openly!

    But also note the change social matrix over the years.

    So, how many years?.

    You be the arbiter!


    So, don't blame anyone.

    All political parties are at fault!

    Therefore, the so called 'secular' and 'communal' is merely a political charade that has been brainwashed into the public's mind!

    You obfuscate with my contention of polarisation of Indian society is a political handle to keep Indians cringing in the medieval days! with the disgraceful conduct violating service norms of the daughter of the ex President!


    No, no one is wanting to deprive anyone, be the person a Dalit or an impoverished high caste.

    All one is saying, that more than six decade has passed, let us know uplift the poor, irrespective of caste or religion.

    Let us care for INDIANS.
     
  12. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    The achievements of the Dalit entrepreneurs are indeed great and I salute them.
    But I do not think that can be a reason to deny reservation to thousands who are still in the dumps.
    Regarding Narayanan's case, you accept favouritism is a fact of life in India. If so, I do not see any point in your citing that incident here.
    Give me a break, sir. The martial, non-martial categorisation was a British bullshit that they adopted to make it easier for them to recruit to the army.
    In fact it amounts to some kind of reservation, which benefits them. And you have no objection to it.

    Reservation is not the only kind of appeasement that our society suffers from. To highlight it as the highest form of injustice is fallacious. There are others like regional, language based.
    Ideally there should not be appeasements.

     
  13. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    I would treat them as cases of two individuals. Not as appeasement of a whole community as they are not representatives of Dalits and action against them will have not effect on vote banks also. In any case most Dalits in Kerala vote with the Marxists.

    Correct me if I am wrong, children of class one officers in government service are not eligible for reservation, I believe. I am all for introducing an income ceiling for the reservation so that among the underprivileged, the deserving benefit.
    I also agree with you. It cannot be in perpetuity.
    But you should realise reservation was not of much help for several decades after independence when the lower castes were not in a position to benefit from that kind of arrangement, because of lack of education/awareness and lack of government infrastructure to deliver it to them.
    How many North Indian villages had schools even if some people of the lower castes wanted to educate their children? And how many zamindars would have allowed the children to study in the kind of feudal system that existed in those times. For several decades practically what was promised by reservation was not accessible to them.
    You can compare it with the situation in a south Indian state like Kerala where because of education and breakdown of zamindari from land reforms the lower castes had higher level of awareness. There they have benefited and it is no accident that Narayanan and KGB are from Kerala. There are many more who have benefited and, because of which, have become ineligible for reservation.

    I am not bothered about individuals. I was talking about the system. And overtime we need to move towards economics based reservation. That would be the just way... but it will take time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  14. SLASH

    SLASH Senior Member Senior Member

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    Reservations are against democracy and equality. Are there any statistics to show how many people have benefited from reservation. Has there been any study whether these reservations are fulfilling its purpose.
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    That is because you are not aware of the background and official lobbying by KRN.

    The Army is a part of India.

    If it can happen in the Army, why can it not happen in the country?
     

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