My daughter’s exams are fast approaching (poor she:() and I am helping her with her studies (poor me:( :(). So that makes both of us unhappy souls these days.
Today we were doing a chapter in her social studies subject and discussing the great social reformer of 18th century, Raja Ram Mohan Roy. She came up with a complicated question (when doesn't she!), “Mom, what is caste system?”
I tried to explain “Hmmm. Caste system is an old system wherein society is divided on the basis of work people do. Like people who taught or wrote scriptures, were doctors, scientists and priests were called Brahmins, soldiers who ruled and defended the kingdom were called Kshtriyas. People who were sold and bought commodities, owned shops were Vaishyas and people who were farmers, carpenters, masons, shoemakers or doing any manual job were Shurdras.” I thought that was it, but...
“Why Raja Ram Mohan Roy was against it?” She asked wide-eyed.
“Because it created differences among people. They started looking down upon others who were from different caste. For centuries, it has caused much hatred and violence in our society.” I tried to explain as briefly as I could, not to give away too much that paints a very dismal picture but at the same time is truth in crux. This new trend of explaining kids everything really gets on my nerves. Whoever advocated it was not a mother for sure!
“Mom, who are we?”
“But we are not soldiers, neither do we rule.”
Now this was difficult one. I scratched my head and said,”See, now-a-days we do not follow caste as per the job we do. It is just that we are born in certain caste and use a certain surname.”
My daughter look at me, agape,” When we are not doing what we are supposed to do, what is left of caste? Why do people fight over it? People are crazy I tell you.”