breaking up india

[notes from a forthcoming book: part 1 of a series of exercises involving breaking up india into parts to understand it better]

 if a lower caste labourer from, say, rural telangana/andhra, unable to cope with dominant caste reddies or kammas or rajus or velamas migrates to rural maharashtra, he'll face the same, more or less, kind of oppression at the hands of the marathas there. if he moves further north to haryana, he'll have to face the jats..if he goes east to bihar, he'll meet the bhumihars, rajputs, brahmins etc..

you would think all of these dominant castes were born from the same womb. they might behave in a similar fashion, but we know they all speak different languages, have different cultures, eat different food and enjoy different kinds of entertainment. and they also look different, even if they all seem to be of different shades of brown. and if you check even more closely, you'll find that they don't even pray to the same gods, if you ignore the common brahmanic gods (like avatars of vishnu, shiva, durga, ganpati etc) that most of them have taken up over the last one century. their faiths are distinctively local, and different from each other even if they're all labeled together as brahminism/hinduism.

none of them would inter-marry, and would probably go to violent lengths to stop any such alliances from happening if any couples overcome the limits of geographic, linguistic/cultural boundaries and come together. and inter-caste marriages even within the same linguistic geographies are rare.

you'd also notice that they might have dislike and contempt for each other, might plot against each other for political positions, economic interests at local, regional or central level. but they all behave in a similar fashion, more or less, towards people lower down the caste hierarchy.

how and why did all these dominant castes, which are so different from each other, come together and become one 'nation'? and paradoxically, why did the oppressed castes, the dalit bahujans, acquiesce to this formulation that they are also a part of the same 'nation', along with the oppressor castes?         
Add to Technorati Favorites