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Even after more than 70 years of independence, we have not been able to ensure equality for all. Why is there still the divide and will we ever go beyond it?
Recently, the movie Article 15 was made available on Netflix for anyone to watch. It, probably, is one of the first mainstream Bollywood movies raising questions about the gender and caste injustice. The movie does it in such a manner that it leaves politicians, the police force and the general public exposed.
Article 15 pointed out the hypocrisy that is a part of our daily life. And has kept a large proportion of the population completely at the mercy of the “upper castes.”
Watching the movie made me very uncomfortable. It raised many questions for which I got no satisfactory answers.
Why is it that almost 70% of our population (Scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes) is heavily under-represented in all spheres of our society? This stands true despite the governments for the past 70 years have prided themselves for undertaking affirmative actions for their upliftment.
Why is it that they are still have not been able to find the relevant space in the private sector? At the same time, they are completely missing from the entertainment industry which is completely dominated by the so-called upper-castes.
Why is it that many of them are still working in occupations that should have been banned a long time ago? They are being forced to clean our gutters and pick our waste in the most inhuman ways, why?
Did the political parties (who were supposed to protect the interests of the backward classes) use them to consolidate their political power and fill their own coffers?
Why is it that we still make fun of their names, traditions, beliefs, lifestyles and where they come from? Untouchability is still a part of the society, why? Why can’t these people still drink from well used by the so-called upper-castes?
We still hear instances of grooms beaten to death for sitting on horses when anyone from the “upper-caste” can easily do so. Why are these people beaten up/lynched for going to places of worship that are also frequented by the upper-castes?
As for cremations, why is that some of them are still not cremated in the same place as the upper-castes? Why is there a discrimination even after death?
And finally, why is it that a film made on the injustices suffered by these people, has no one from these communities?
It is up to us to do one of the two things:
Find answers to some of the questions raised above.
Or pretend like everything is alright with the caste system in our country.
A version of this was first published here.
Picture credits: YouTube
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