Circulation of families

Circulation of families

However, the Hindu or Indian social character is based on the founding fathers of Varna system. It appeared to be basically designed for and by the...

However, the Hindu or Indian social character is based on the founding fathers of Varna system. It appeared to be basically designed for and by the saptarishis (seven sages) for a small settler's group That family as an institution is one of the strongest foundations of Indian society is re-emerging in some of our contemporary socio-economic and political organisations. Though we may lament the disregard of the younger generation to family norms and values due to their exposure to Western ways of thinking, it is still surviving in other forms. For instance, most of the marriage advertisements and the innovative business practices introduced by the media clearly show that most of our young people oblige family stance on caste. Even those that wear their ultra-modern attitude on their sleeves verify the sub-caste before dating a colleague in IT hubs. The media is full of allegations and counter allegations of political families opposing one another in public and being united in private. The definition of Hindu Undivided Family adopted by the Income Tax Department for purposes of property, income, etc., is related to coparceners to fix up the legal share is a complicated description. The common understanding of family as a group of parents and children living together can be taken as a working definition since the notion keeps on changing with the culture, era and other considerations. It was alleged recently that individuals attending on a dominant leader do come under the idea of family for political patronage. However, the Hindu or Indian social character is based on the founding fathers of Varna system. It appeared to be basically designed for and by the saptarishis (seven sages) for a small settler's group. The Indian family is somehow linked to the traditions of saptarishis. Even if the dominant shudras became rulers, they were later linked to the saptarishis through gotra, a bygone purported practice of dvija clan(s). It is also mentioned by the law-givers that it shall keep on changing in different yugas. Therefore, the original seven rishis; Vasista, Bhardwaja, Jamadagni, Gautama, Atri, Viswamitra and Agatsya are the routes of family trees which everyone, including the Hindu Dalits and shudras, are supposed to follow in their rituals. One can find one's own gotra on the net, thanks to the Hindu social net. The PR exercise done by Western experts for Modi brought out a pioneering clue that the British Crown had its roots in Gujarat to give a fillip to his stature as a PM candidate. In fact, the West is now looking for its roots in India due to the enormous hard work done by our IT professionals as leisure-time activity under the guidance of some shrewd elders. Is it a new consciousness? No, it began during the East India Company rule when William Jones declared looking at the Bengal Bhadralok at the Asiatic Society lecture (1786) that they are all his long-lost kin and blood relations in terms of language, colour and other parameters. Therefore, there has always been a family link between the West and the East. Strangely, it is the Native Indians, forced to keep on changing their faith and masters, who lost their roots and history. Even now some intellectuals are trying to build their links with the West through language and religion and the emerging Dalit capitalists are embracing the West, if not converted to their faith already under the same scheme. This is a very interesting dimension of 21st century global capitalism. Thus, family bond and its preservation is one of the pious duties of every Indian, irrespective of his faith due to the traditions of the country where one belongs. As members of a traditional society, Indians value the family. It is also not difficult to maintain it, unlike the West where family is an aggregate, irrespective of social class (either Malinowiski or Morgan- Engels). Indian family is a basic unit for caste solidarity with ritual sanction and family antiquity in terms of Gotra. However, there are only a few (about 5-10 per cent of the population) who are offered this facility. Therefore, it never created problems and we could find people lavishly sporting family names/titles after their proper names to indicate their ancestry (only for illustration and not with any ill will, Fernandes, Christ Reddy, Mastan Choudary, etc). Some of them have emerged as big players with business empires, perhaps capitalising on this advantage. Family name as a status symbol has not been widely used by certain Dalit castes, particularly in the recent phenomenon of Pydi, Jangam, Mala, Madiga, etc., upsurge, while everyone has started copying Sarma, Varma, Sastry, etc., for its advantages. In North India, one can notice even in institutions like JNU, Vikram Harijan, Ravi Kuswah, Prem Jhatav, and Ram Julaha (mostly ascribed to signify the caste and not chosen). There seems to be no respite for those who converted to other faiths in search of a different identity; caste titles haunt them. In fact, a new dimension of social dynamics is evolving, particularly among the caste-based reserved communities, mainly among the Scheduled Castes. As the number of places reserved in the public sector (including education, employment, etc.,) is limited to the proportion of the caste in the total population, it is restricted only to a few amongst them. Thus, one can find that out of 1.7 crore jobs in the public sphere, it is limited to just 27.2 lakhs (at 16 per cent) for SCs. Out of a population of 20 crores of Scheduled Tribes, it is a small fraction of 0.013 (1.36%). It is not even unguent cream. Naturally there is intense competition among the relevant eligibles and, in terms of numbers, it is under great stress allowing some distortions to take place. A cursory look at the history of the so-called affirmative action after Independence clearly shows that there is a trend of accretion of the benefits by a few. Given the present scheme of selection, it is alleged that they are appropriated by a few families. This is not a typical phenomenon of reservations alone as the Indian ethos, irrespective of the caste, is family-based. This trend among upper castes has not created tensions since the number is small and open-ended with opportunities in a growing private sector. But, the restricted number set a rat race among the Dalits and seems to have been cornered by a few families among the reserved castes. Now no political party is interested in their affairs and they are conceptually excluded due to some of their petulant behaviour. But, the bulk of the Dalits in rural and urban bastis is untouched and is happy with the 'Antyodaya Anna Yojana', MGNREGA, etc., that keep them alive with no further demands. Now a group of activists with the support of "paid intellectuals" are setting out a proposal that by creating about a hundred billionaire families among the Dalits in a capitalist system based on patronage, the trepidations could be resolved. Is it true?
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