India is a caste-less, classless country, as per the harangue featuring speakers of all hues that people at large are hearing on many occasions from public platforms. Nothing can be farther from truth given the current goings on across the country in general and Karnataka in particular while the State is heading for the poll to its Legislative Assembly. The often made comment by those who are knowledgeable about elections for various legislative bodies in the land that money power and muscle power facilitate victory of candidates at the hustings seems to have ignored the factor of caste of candidates as another power to first get nomination as the candidate from the given political party and then to garner votes in winning numbers. The vote-seekers are ungrudgingly jumping into the caste cauldron to emerge unscathed for securing a place in the cabinet and get into the bracket of the country’s high net worth individuals without sweat and toil.
Given the formula of choosing candidates as contestants in the elections based on the numerical strength of particular castes and religions in the populations of various constituencies, common sense dictates the outlook of people to increase their progeny and then claim for preferential treatment in the electoral process. Nothing can hurt the advisory to keep population expansion in check than this formula.
Contrary to the scholarly definition of religion, as derived from the two Latin words ‘re’ and ‘ligare’ which means ‘to reconnect’, people across the world in general and India in particular have made a mockery of its meaning by their openly demonstrated behaviours of remaining disconnected. Indians are only more disconnected by their caste affiliations for which it is customary to throw the blame on the British rule of the country on count of the divide-and-rule policy. Human beings are said to have inhabited the earth for about 2,00,000 years while scholars have opined that there was no caste-based identity of human beings even as late as the Vedic period of about 5,000 years.
While trying to pinpoint the exact dateline for castes to have emerged in the land can at best be an academic exercise, the harm it has done to people and the gain it has brought to India’s (and more so Karnataka’s) politicians can never be over-stated. The caste cauldron lures the vote-seekers like the moth to the flame. Further, the nation’s electorate in particular and the people in general seem to be unfazed while the politicos are pulling wool over their eyes.