Are you an Upper Caste Hindu? If yes, the presumption is you are a casteist and a male chauvinist who should live like a second class citizen in India. Your personal achievements and national contributions even after facing discriminatory reservation is not a display of your merit but the undue benefits which your successors might have reaped several centuries back.
If you fall under this category and reside in any corner of India, the fact remains that you are actually the most politically isolated and disadvantaged community which has no voice of its own. On the name of social justice you will face discrimination because you are a Hindu, hatred because you are Upper Caste and suspicion in urban India because you are a male. Though you are not responsible, it was just an accident of birth.
India became politically in 1947 and legally sovereign in 1950 when it adopted its Constitution. There were certain groups in India then which were in a state of backwardness and had to be uplifted. These groups were the Minorities, the Dalits and women. Thus, the Constitution makers envisaged equal opportunity for these groups; some of the provisions were incorporated in the Constitution itself while others were left to the Parliament according to future needs.
The Constitutional mandate thus was to bring the weaker sections on an equal platform but the subsequent political discourse and law making has been such that social vengeance and gender biased laws have replaced equality of opportunity.
Therefore, the laws have become overly feminist, the political discourse and subsequent legislation is aimed at polarizing Dalits instead of their welfare. The idea of protection of the Minority Communities too has been replaced by minority appeasement. We take a look at significant political events and certain laws which have made the upper caste Hindu Male, a second class citizen in India.
Gender Bias instead of Gender Justice:
No one can deny that women in India have traditionally faced great discrimination cutting across all religious communities. Thus, laws protecting women are actually needed but the Indian laws, in general and Hindu Personal laws, in particular are completely biased in the favour of women making them a weapon of misuse instead of protection.
Section 304B of the IPC, thus, states that the husband and his relatives shall be presumed to be liable in case the wife dies within seven years of marriage under unnatural circumstances. This is in complete contrast of the Criminal Law principle that the accused is presumed innocent, unless proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The law thus has potential of being misused against innocents. The society cannot and should not try to achieve gender justice by treating innocent and guilty alike. Section 20 of The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act grants the right of being maintained to a Hindu Son as long as he remains minor, i.e. does not attain the age of 18 years whereas a Hindu daughter is entitled to be maintained until she gets married. This is completely illogical in the urban Indian background where a female can maintain herself given today’s social scenario. Instead of having such a blanket law, a classification should be made and in case a daughter is capable of maintaining herself while she is unmarried, should be denied the privilege of being maintained by her parents.
The undue discrimination with a Hindu Male thus becomes two fold, on one hand he is placed in an unduly inferior position compared to his female counterparts and at the same time, his Muslim counterpart lives in Stone Age laws where the women are still denied of all basic rights. Overly feminist rights thus are more or less a phenomenon restricted to the Hindu Society.
Both the judiciary and the legislature have systematically failed the Upper Caste Hindu as far as the system of Reservation is concerned. While BR Ambedkar along with other members of the Constituent Assemble envisaged equality of opportunity for the weaker sections, reservation politics is now limited to the welfare of a creamy layer among the disadvantaged society. It is no longer an egalitarian policy but a policy of reserve discrimination against the Upper Caste Hindu s for certain crimes which the ancestors of a particular Upper Caste Hindu Male, which they may or may not have committed. The unscientific basis of the reservation laws without effective income bars have made sure that welfare of the Dalits will never be taken care of but a section among the disadvantaged communities will emerge as undue gainers and will continue to exploit the social demographics.
The political discourse too is no longer restricted to the idea of equality and dignity but the passions of the Dalits and minorities are being heated and they are made to assert reservation as a tool of social vengeance, which it was never meant to be.
This is the most heated political debate of our times. Constitution though is clear about this aspect and places a positive obligation upon the State to ensure protection of cows. Those politicians who have still imposed beef bans in their own states have somehow confused us and have created an interesting illusion that apart from Brahmins, beef is the staple diet of majority of Indians. While the Supreme Court clearly stated in its 2005 judgment where validity of Beef Bans was upheld that not more than 1.5% of Indians consume Beef and that the benefits of imposing a beef ban by far exceed its costs.
Deaths have taken place over cow politics not only in the recent but also distant past. Whether a death due to cow politics deserves political sympathy and media coverage or not, ironically depends on the religion of the victim. The deaths of Prashanth Pujary and Akhlaq and their political reactions prove this point one does not need to dwell any further.
Every Dalit is not poor and every Brahmin is not rich. Similarly, every Muslim is not a victim of a riot, while a Kashmiri Pandit maybe. The ground reality is that at least in urban India the caste of the youth and his/her sex is nothing but mere determinants for determining the official benefits which one is entitled to or not without any reasonable justification.
The idea that such discriminatory laws and political discourse is in consonance with the Constitution of India is the biggest fallacy. The Constitution makers as aforesaid wanted to bring all communities on an equal platform, it never envisioned a second class status for the Upper Caste Hindu Males.
The Constitutional goal that we often forget is Fraternity. Looking at the existing political and legal discourse, it appears improbable that if all the communities are somehow brought on an absolutely equal platform even with a faulty reservation policy, even then the stark divisions will perpetuate. We are no longer heading towards Social Justice, we are stuck in vote bank politics and the so called Upper Caste Hindu Male is the permanent victim.