Sunday, March 03, 2013

Public dalits in Indian private sector

There is reservation for dalits in Indian government and public sectors, yet the number of dalits in top positions in government and public sector is tiny. A glass ceiling prevents dalits from rising to these top positions in the sector where there is special protection. The situation in the private sector is worse, where unless dalits hide their dalit-ness, the risk of discrimination is high. In multiple legal judgements, courts seek to take a legal view ignoring the dalit discrimination aspect of the case. This national strategy of  pushing dalit identity underground in social life and related legal judgements is designed to  prevent emergence of related jurisprudence, which (rather than laws on paper) will improve representation of dalits in public and private sectors. It reflects how scared non-dalit India is of dalits like Ambedkar who can stand up to them in every way.

Essentially if you are dalit and want to be employed, you have to be content with khalasi class jobs, unless you "fit" in. By this "fit" in, I allude the mysterious way in which conscious/unconscious stooges of non-dalits are placed into positions which matter. Dalits confortable with their dalit identity seeking to relate to non-dalits without hiding their dalit identity somehow do not rise to the top. Most of the debates on TV and elsewhere choose either these stooges to represent views of dalits in matters of importance, or they doctor the process (like in the Greatest Indian competition) to generate specific outcomes. Modern India is yet to come to terms with dalits, who are building themselves in similar ways as Ambedkar built himself into a stellar Indian.

The taboo on caste is a mechanism to sustain the process of exclusion of dalits in the Indian public sphere. As the ability of dalits to weild the tools of science and speak for themselves rises, more and more creative means are being invented to sustain the exclusion. For example, what is the national justification for a national HRD strategy which does not invest in their education and employment of dalits into the outsourcing sector, thereby increasing the ability of India  to provide cheaper services than other outsourcing destinations? If non-dalits participants have become too costly to provide current services at the cost point required by western customers, why not bring dalit participants who will be willing to work at the required cost points? Why can't our national policies be aligned to make this happen?

The reason this cannot happen, is that non-dalit India does not want to lose its stranglehold on the destinies of dalit India. If more and more dalits break out of the dependency on non-dalits, non-dalits will not be able to dominate dalits the way they have. So they are indulging in this dog-in-the-manger type of behaviour.
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Pain, Hunger and Powerlessness
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