This particular TV commercial fills me with disgust. A mother of the prospective groom is worried that her son might pick a girl from different community and that is when she hears from matrimonial website specialized in providing you a perfect match in respective community. Her son gets married in his community with help of this website and his mother breathes complete relief and relaxes on her rolling chair. But no matter how shameful I think of this ad, a matrimonial agency is thriving and making business on this sentiment. Political parties get vote on this issue and so we know for sure that caste problem has well adapted to the modern society, well disguised in a contemporary fashion that we don’t even try to get rid of it for sake of new times. Since it influences our today’s politics and commerce so much, India cannot free itself easily from this dark spell .
Casteism also has a prominent place in our popular epics. On one hand, we praise Ram for eating berries offered by Shabri which she has very innocently nibbled to check on their quality and sweetness. Isn’t this story special because Ram was not supposed to have berries from Shabri? Only when I saw Mani Ratnams Raavan that I thought of the ideal epic Ramayan with one more different angle(already abandoning Sita questions the ideal behavior of Ram). Could it be that Asuras were oppressed rebellion tribes, the naxalites of old times? Raavan by birth is a Brahmin but even after learning lot of Brahmin literature, in practice he is a Asur and prefers lifestyle of Asuras. And so fight between Suras and Asuras is fight of two castes? Why did Ram feel so offended with Shurpankhas marriage proposal? It sounded a funny story in childhood days that a female with ogre like body is harassing Ram for marriage and he sends a letter with her to Lakshman instructing him to punish her by chopping off her nose and ears. Today, it sounds cruel. The almighty Ram tricks her by promising an alliance with Lakshman instead of him and sends a cryptic message to his brother with an order that is very inhuman in nature. Shurpankha doesn’t even get our sympathy because she is a born asura while Sita’s heartache is grieved by people for centuries.
In Mahabharata, Draupadi refuses Karna an entry in her Swayamvar reminding him that he is sutputra and she would never marry a sutputra even if he is currently a king. Draupadi finally ends up getting her true charming prince or princes as her husbands who don’t think twice before betting her on the game of dice. But by the time of Mahabharta I feel society has bettered, we are at least allowed to feel sorry for Karna. Karna’s integrity, his superiority in archery over Arjun and his giving nature are justly highlighted. The discrimination by society and unfair treatment isn’t downplayed. But there is a glitch, the writer attaches a secret to Karnas birth story, bestows the character with royal blood as his true identity or otherwise the then society wouldn’t have digested so many qualities in a sutputra.
Art always reflects society and reveals things about the times of people even if it is in its best manipulated form. Just like a mirror which gives away the thickness of the paint on face if not the wrinkles behind it. That this above advertisement isn’t criticized enough or banned tells that things in our country won’t change very soon.
Satyamev Jayate has given a hope that any problem or injustice in society cannot continue to prevail if proper awareness is formed on the subject. We are good people; in our sluggishness we just don’t mind casteism and that silly ad. But like old times today no one can justify the wrong doings that blatantly not if we choose to be wide awake.