In reality, childhood is vulnerable. It might seem good moments of nostalgia hitting us in present but if we go in depth, it’s nothing but the unbothered selves. As an adult, I feel the most miserable part about a human mind is that it does not understand the conventions. And before that, few of us are still unaware of the power to question. Question all the vitals we have been taught and the assumptions of them to be true.
It was a morning of one summer day. Making tea and Poha for the family was the basic ethics of a holiday and there she came, her hair was tied back as a bun with a wheat skin and floral saree. She always had ghungroos tied around her feet and a few dull shaded bangles hanging from her wrist, eyes were sharp and the smile was forceful. Her name was Ansuiya, our helping lady. Mother offered her tea in a glass. That glass was worned out wholly and it was dusted to an extent that even the hardest of scotch brite hits couldn’t remove the unpleasant texture. She accepted and sat down towards the edge of the stairs while I sipped from the comfort of a sofa.
Varna originally comes from “colour” but later our scriptures distinguished it as caste based system for the society. It is mentioned in Rig Veda; Brahmans are the mouth of the being named as Purush. Even today, after the constant struggles of Baba Rao Ambedkar and many other significant reformers, people of India believe in the supremacy and efficiency of this varna system. It’s ironic to state facts that show the brutality and traumatizing situations that Shudras or Dalits have gone through over times and it’s saddening to hear that even in situations like pandemic (Covid-19) people refer social distancing as an excuse to bring in untouchability back to function. The basic crux of every problem that India has been facing and will continue to do so is because of lack of acceptance.
The perspective of freedom towards every individual is the fundamental weakness which the Varna system brings to picture. But there is another point that many people don’t really include in the hypothesis of judging Varna, it’s about privilege. Every human ever born on this planet has showcased the world through individual mindset, they think the world works as they understand its working. We are here mentioning the key point of privilege. You are privileged to be able to think towards a certain side. You are privileged that you are born in a family that society considers well off and you have been given all the sources of education and knowledge. When we talk about Dalits, we intervene in their spaces and think that they were inhumanly treated and not given the respect of a normal human being. We think this because we are privileged; our brains only function to the aspect that the disrespect towards an individual as the biggest sin. We are unaware of how inhumanity has treated people of lower caste to not just on esteem levels but also on basic needs of food, education, quality, quantity, water, air, resources and even presence. It’s beyond imagination for us as citizens to understand the depth of discrimination without witnessing it but at least we can learn to be aware of that.
Ansuiya, despite several efforts, still sits on the stairs drinking tea from the same glass and I accompany her. It’s unrepairable, we can’t undo the damage done, the only thing which is needed for us to be learned enough and just not educated. Also, the purpose of education is to master you being humble.