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culture series...

varied views on how to improve the condition of the scheduled castes

(also see
* more discussions on reservation
* reservations in medicine for BC's etc)

About 15 % of the total Indian population belongs to the so called scheduled castes, who are traditionally at the bottom of the hierarchy. They live for the most part in rural areas are are mostly agricultural workers. A small section does the menial jobs, and the messy and unhygenic jobs like disposing of carcasses, tanning hides, sanitation, collection of garbage, etc. The scheduled castes usually live in a section some distance away from the main parts of the villages. Usually these are insanitary, crowded, and poorly built since they dont have the resources. In some states and districts the population of these communities is much higher than the Indian average. They face dual discrimination: they are poor, like many other communities, and further face social discrimination. The origins are lost in antiquity, but it appears they were originally food gathering and hunting tribes who came rather late into the orbit of the agricultural society. Once most of the forests had been converted to farmland in early times, the erstwhile forest dwellers could only make a living by becoming agricultural workers and menial workers. Basically they are the precursors of the "rural proletariat".

Very,very few own any appreciable amounts of land: the little bits they may own are nothing more than some insurance for bad times.

We did a BROAD SURVEY to start off: everyone agreed the conditions were bad. Various VIEWS which are aired regularly on how to improve their condition are summarised below, edited for space.
Many had COMMENTS and OPINIONS on the other suggestions, too. We're going to get more opinions.

If you wish to add your views, opinions, comment, suggestions you're welcome to send by email. Indicate if you want to be un named. Non serious views will be deleted.


they need land
no, they need wages
they need to learn new skills
they should get away from the backward villages
the government should do more
the government pampers them
they need to convert to (..various religions..)
they have to stop drinking, that is the first step
intercaste marriages will solve the problem
they need strong political organisation
waste--they have to be economically independent first
upper castes need to change their mentality
the sc's need to work hard
voluntary non governmental agencies are the key
all ngo's are humbug, government programs are the only genuine one

reactions and opinions on the views

1. "They are 'landless peasants' and need land".

(this is a maoist/sarvodaya-gandhian oriented view, popular among many people).
"They have an attachment to their soil. They know farming. So they need to get their hands on land they own. Land redistribution / land reform will give them some land they can own and improve their conditions of life. Ownership of land confers prestige in rural areas. They need this psychological boost.
Reactions and general comments on this view---

* this will foster rural capitalism and development from below and expand the market. It is about information and choice.
(--a well educated urban marketing professional)

* this will pave the way for new democratic maoist revolution
(---typical maoist thinking. Note that 'new democracy revolution' is a jargon loaded term which actually means a complicated theory and not the layman's meaning)

* this will give them some savings to improve their condition

* 'Land distribution' is a ridiculous imaginary view of the small property owner who thinks his particular situation is the universal situation. (---a marxist)

*Right! I have to agree. When middle level farmers themselves are getting ruined and committing suicide where these poor labourers will get inputs like genuine fertilisers and pesticides for today's farming? Better they shift to new work rather than getting small plots of useless barren land (--Businessman agreeing (!!) with marxist above )

* The demise of agriculture is exaggerated. Stories of ruined farmers and suicides are no doubt sensational but the proportion is tiny. Most middle and small farmers are quite prudent and don't take crazy risks. Farming is quite paying. If close to a city, it is VERY profitable. Don't believe the scare stories. I hail from a traditional farming family. (--UM Rao, rural finance)

* using the surplus they can start other small busineses like dairy farming, vegetable farming, village shops, etc

* I even tried out silkworms. Finally leased out my 1.5 hectare land to neighbour and shifted permanently to the city
(---Mr. K Pentayya, an SC farmer from Medak district, now a successful junk pedlar in Hyderabad)

* this so called land distribution is just a racket to tie them to the soil, to ensure cheap labour remains available in rural areas.
(---urban educated Ambedkarite SC)

* the smarter SC's will buy out the others and slowly become middle-income landholders
(---bank officer)

* how much land will each get in practical terms? And where will they get the money for inputs in today's agriculture?
(--Mr.A M Reddy)

* Practically speaking they will sell or lease their land as soon as possible (----a contractor)

* within ten years things will go back to square one
(----daughter of an ex-landlord)

* the drunkard men cannot be trusted. The redistributed land should be ONLY in the name of the women, who are seen to do a better job.
(---NGO activist)

2. "They are agricultural proletariat. "

They live on wages. They are NOT interested in owning land. They have NOTHING in common with landowners, even small farmers. They just want regular wages. They need strong trade unions to bargain for better wages. The discrimination is just a method to drive down wages. They have absolutely NO attachment to their village or the culture where they are treated worse than dirt, anyway. They are interested to get away from the villages as soon as they get an opportunity, to go to the cities, hopefully learn some skill and get a good job --preferably in a large industry.

* this view shows you dont want them to own land and always keep them suppressed (----a social worker)

*(new) Actually what I am seeing is many so called forward community persons are selling their land educating their children well and eventually moving off to cities. They shift to small service business or open a shop. Or one son stays to continue the farming on remaining land. I know several such cases. All of them have taken this route. The boys lived in hostel, studied engineering, shifted to Hyderabad, shared an apartment, further did IT courses, landed a job in a small IT company and after some experience, went off to USA. Remember they have in fact even worked on their farms. Now, they are global. Some have returned: but none are interested in farming. They may buy land but only for real estate investment. If so called forward castes are losing interest in owning land (farming land) there must be a very good reason. Better SC's also take up education rather than buying small farms.

* if they are only interested in coolie rate (daily wages) why we dont see rural trade unions?

*NEW--If agricultural workers are genuinely organised, first thing daily wages will go up.... This will affect small farmers and old style Thug landlords. Not 'progressive' farmers. Seeing the population numbers, all political parties in India have the small farmer as their support base , the famous vote bank. Including the leftist parties. They do not really wish to increase wages in agriculture because they represent the employers of the labourers. Including the so called leftist parties. So instead of income increase, facilities, hours of work, they give importance to land ownership, free power, subsidised fertilisers...all which sidetracks the issue of wages.

NEW * According to this idea which we have heard many time, you want corporates to directly enter agriculture sector. Huge agricultural farms and processing industries with lakhs of workers. It seems very logical but how can you trust imperialists and their local agents whose track record is known to all. In fact this is World Bank prescription exactly. They might increase wage rates slightly but if demand for agricultural wages is raised they will introduce mechanisation leading to further job losses. Or simply use the police.

* Actually Reliance and other Indian companies are getting into corporate farming. It is unlikely they will invest directly in the lands and do the farming by themselves. Rather they will have a standard partnership according to norms with individual farmers. The corporate will take care of credit and inputs and obviously marketing. The corporates will need the farmers more than farmers need them. Also, they will deal with efficient farmers having minimum 5 to 10 acres. I think this partnership will be good. It is the middle level and big farmers who will benefit. Rest will benefit only indirectly with more days of employment and infrastructure improvement.

*Doesn't matter it is much better than starving during dry season or becoming subject of prize winning routine victim story. (a journalist)

*New crops need new toolkit and large number of trained labour specific for the crop. Forget the publicity. We need hard discussion. No farmer will take a risk for such venture unless he sees results for two seasons at least. Training of the workforce is more important. Also to retain them. I think it is an excellent idea. Things can't get worse than it is now, but there is the question of genetically modified seeds and shift to organic farming. We have seen falling results of BT Cotton in second year. (A BSc.Agriculture graduate who thinks dryland agriculture is doomed.)

* the "caste" itself is a trade union (--Univ .student)

* so far, this good wages situation is developed only in irrigated coastal andhra (--- vijaywada chowdhary, probably CPM)

* they will not work if they are given more money. (----traditional businessman)

* Actually, we hardly spend anything, save quite a lot and entrust to the merchant in our village for good interest (----earth-digger clan headman)

* The 2 hectares of land I have I will not sell now. Now in good rain year we can grow paddy. It is only like side business, nothing comes to hand. (ed--i.e. very little cash profit) But the factory where I have duty may close suddenly any moment. I'm seeing whether marketing will make ends meet. I mean door to door selling of items. If not possible we will have to go back to my village for some time. We are ready to face anything. We have seen worse times.
---kurnool district marginal farmer first generation to live in city

* Well, a new irrigation canal passes near our four acres so now can again take up farming. But now I have lived for seventeen years in the city. I am a skilled wire-drawer. But they always kept me as temporary so I chucked it up. Now I make popcorn in bulk. Doing quite well money wise, but I don't get the respect I used to as a skilled technical industrial person. Public respect skill, not wealth. That is the only regret. My children go to english medium school. I am not interested in farming or village life. ---kurnool district small farmer now living in hyderabad city

3." They need to learn skills."

They are unskilled, without the funds to learn new skills. That is why they are rural labourers. They would be happy to learn new skills which will make it possible to earn more than they make now, which is pitifully small. ( They have to take loans merely to survive--to buy food when they dont have work on the fields. This is usual during the dry season, but gets worse when the rains fail.)

* the govt is having many programs to impart training in useful skills.

*(comment on above) The number of polytechnics is simply not enough. There should be ten of them in each district Hq. Just like engg and medical education. Never mind few years the stanaards will be not good. They can be trained by in house programs by industry.

*Industry in India will soon take off--but where will they get the thousands of trained workers needed? They can be sourced only from the pool of semi rural workers--the so called SC and OBC. Like those who are the plumbers and electricians in smaller towns all over India who make better wages than in farming, even if they own land. They may not be "qualified" but they are willing to learn and do the jobs. Educated city people.. like forward comunity persons...are mostly unfit for industrial work. In any case their numbers are very low. Very soon I think government will face lack of candidates for reserved jobs.
(ed:- he clarified what he means --that even for affirmative action type reserved posts, the target persons will NOT be interested to apply for the jobs because they will be easily selected elsewhere in better ones)

Update: this state of affairs is actually seen in Hyderabad and Bangalore-- many students completing intermediate , join call centre BPO's , avoiding govt jobs. Good immediate salary but other problems arise. more discussion on this later)

* The well built sc's and all others should seriously explore sports as an avenue. Already the jharkhandis (ed.---i.e. tribals) are making a name in hockey. Very soon they will make big name in football also.

* SC's and other weaker sections from rural background should systematically take up teaching profession. The government is going to recruit teachers in a big way. Even those don't get government teacher jobs will be in demand. Especially english and computers. Unfortunately I have passed age limit otherwise I would try for it. (---Rural based Sales promoter for a franchise of a large finance firm.)

4. "They want to avoid life in villages."

They wish to escape from the mindless oppression and discrimination they face in rural areas. They want to live in cities and preferably work in large companies and industries. There at least discrimination is less and besides they are better organised.

* they will end up in filthy slums and get odd jobs only.

*(new) The state governments have realised this migration is on, and will soon take up large scale housing for eligible persons like this

* More likely they will divert government lands to businessmen for a cut

(note: further discusion on this migration, housing, special economic zones etc to be on a separate page. send your coments! )

* this "escape" is cowardice. Cities are no doubt better, but better to fight the oppression where it is.(--religious type person)

* NEW-- I am a postgraduate, in a senior position after many years of hard work. Please understand, I have achieved something now, here in the city. Even today, back in the village I am just a bright ex-untouchable farmboy son of a ex-bonded farm labourer with 2 acres. Leaving the village and forgetting about the land was the best thing I did. But I am very proud I actually worked for years as coolie for daily wages. (--A senior manager )

* Those days (i.e. of oppression) are long gone. We are united now. We will not be used as vote bank anymore. We will stay in the rural areas only. We will not run away. (-- man who oscillates between BJP and BSP and Congress)

* this movement to towns is impractical. Compare the rural sc population and compare the population of cities. Even if they en masse go to cities, where is the industry to absorb them? (---businessman)

*(new) As usual exactly the reverse also takes place. I don't like the so called city lifestyle which I am forced to adopt. Some of people I know commute for more than three hours daily. This is madness. What is the use of higher salary when expenditure is also higher. The mechanical city existence is a waste of your entire life. Only children's education is better in towns. Gradually good institutes are coming up in rural areas also. Now TV and internet are available even in small places. I never wanted to come to the city, but son in law passed away...grandchildren need a guiding hand now. I agree cities may be better for SC's of villages. Not for all people. (--N.R.)

* Why only to the cities in their regions or states. The SC's should really think of migrating to europe western countries like Italy where there is heavy shortage of labour. This is not new. Punjabis have been doing this many years now entire villages have prospered by one person helping another regardless of any caste communal feeling. If the labour can go to gulf and come up they can easily go to Italy (of course via legal means advised). Language is not a problem. English also is a foreign one.( ---Mr. H.Naidu who's got an electronics servicing job in Netherlands )

*Irate reaction to above from Tamil SC :--"excellent idea please take all your 5% upper castes god bless to anywhere and please leave us alone."

5. "The government should help them."

They look up to the government ( the state) to assist them in various ways. Apart from the various rural employment schemes some individuals can make use of the government schemes to better oneself, like education and preferential government employment, so that a small number of their communities can " come up". These educated folk will catalyse further social change among the rest.

* yes, the special programs and reservations have been of great importance to bring up the community. These should continue for some more years, but there is a move to slowly remove them because the rulers have reaped the benefits. The Dalits should guard against this.

* they are becoming very lazy because of these free schemes. (---army officer)

*yes sir, we know how well they bring up their own people. (---unemployed sc youth)

* sorry, I have seen that as soon as they are educated they want to escape their identity and never go back to the village or their own people. (--- businessman)

* this (comment above) is not true. they do help their people in whatever way they can. Dont overgeneralise from a few cases. (--sc govt officer)

* the political parties are interested in vote-bank games for their popularity...even survival. So they are actually not bothering about elementary education and literacy. Only some reservations for the families of a few rich sc's to create a creamy layer obedient doormen.(---Madhya Pradesh thakur)

* Reservations are a mixed blessing. No doubt some Sc's have benefited and are able to rise from the bad conditions. But I fear it has diabolical results, destroys self confidence, in the same age old manner. Whatever accomplishments a SC/ BC individual makes in his career, if he has availed of the reservations he is doomed. Not just other's nasty comments--- his inner voice also keeps telling him he is not really up to the mark, he is an impostor wearing disguise. EVEN IF HE IS IN FACT VERY COMPETENT. This is the worst most deadly effect and lasts a lifetime. Compare the outlook of people from SC's -- BC's--FC's --anybody who have NOT utilised reservations anytime---- they are like fearless lions. There are many such gems like Kalam and Pitroda. We need to seriously think about this undesirable effect also. (--Mr. D.A., Sr. officer in public sector unit)

*Worst thing is, the not adequately trained SC's who get into higher education . They find it is too difficult. Those who have tried but failed are completely and totally destroyed and they internally confirm they are "inferior". But those who have used successfully, and come up, also eventually hate themselves and the entire system and try to justify saying others have used this in the past too. Exactly. This 'reservation' used by the haughty upper castes was the cause of downfall of India not once, several times in the past also. Even mighty mughals fell to dust because of their narrowminded reservation policy.

*(response to above): To some extent this is true and needs discussion. Even Dr Ambedkar was against making permanent principle for this very reason. But reservations does not need to be govt only. Take the example of students. So many castes have their "caste hostels" and caste-scholarships. Then religious sect scholarships are there, including christian and muslim. If a charitable organisation helps needy students would you call it reservation? If a christian mission subsidises education in its own run schools and colleges of its poor students would it be "reservation"? Why people send children to fundamentalist madrasas? Only because they cant afford good schools and there are no "secular" government schools in their areas. At least they will become literate. What is the line between government and private ? Yes, one individual may feel wretched all his adult life because of reservation. Let him face the price boldly. But also, maybe his grandchildren will not need to utilise these avenues.

* I am an SC from far-off region but only few people know. I have done post graduation from prestigious institute of technology. My employers dont look at anything except they want results in work. I have discharged my duties satisfactorily and recently got promotion, doing better than Forward caste colleagues. Now should you point to my reservation in education or my work quality? My forward caste friends from home never cared about these things. I sincerely admire the brains of some FC's and know how much hard work it takes in my profession. Nothing has been easy for me. In college, I needed to work like horse or buffalo to understand the concepts , while some others (even some SC') just attend class and perfectly remember everything three months later. My children and family will never take any reservation unless there is no option left.(---engineer )
*update: he has since given up a public sector job and joined a multinational in the USA. He will share his experiences soon.

* (response to above) : Excellent! Shabash ! Welcome to merit category. But the point we are not seeing while applauding, is that this person also has run away abroad.

* I also know of one scheduled caste mechanical engineer who now runs a successful car garage in USA. Of his family only one person has taken job based on quota. Rest are working in private corporates..all multinationals. They are strictly hindu, almost fundamentalists. They don't hide their origins. I cannot understand them.

6." The scheduled castes need to convert and escape a religion which excludes them socially."

* to christianity,they can avail of the benefits including education.

*(reply to above)...and exchange brown masters for white ones

*(reply to above)No, mostly Dalits are not treated well there also but it is subtle.

* to islam to get dignity and equality from muslims. Broader avenues also open up, like working in the gulf and so on.

* Muslims in India are previously SC's and BC's and a few Forwards

*(reply to above) Not in my area, they were elite upper caste and sikhs and nobility also

* In districts we are considered FC's though we are poor(--a muslim tourist taxi driver)

* our people were jain-hindu merchants originally (--gujarati muslim)

*--why ALL Sc's did not convert to Islam? what was the problem?

*--better they and everybody else become atheist and socially aware

* to buddhism--- combined with attention to education and awareness.

* Sikhism has halped them well.

* Certainly it is better but in some areas they are advised to form their own gurdwaras citing space and management problems. We know what the problem is.

*They should not only take up temple entry but take over the actual temples as well. They should become the pujaris (priest in charge of rituals). This will transform the society.

* read Dr Ambedkar's opinions. He had hard things to say on "religion", all religions.

* this temple entry anyway is waste of time and designed to divert the attention. There are many ancient temples with SC priests and from other communities not just brahmins. There are many churches and buddhist temples too. How has this helped?

* they want votes, yes? First settle the matter sincerely inside the parties and religions, then only give advice.(--- ambedkarite PG student)

*We need to modify all religions...times are changing so fast, old ones dont reflect ground reality. (--self styled gandhian socialist)

* The $@#$%# have stolen our rivers, our forests, our land. Not only this, the $@#$%# have stolen OUR religion and history, our gods our music --- in fact our entire culture. They have completely messed it up with their stupid modifications. And now they have the guts to say, you please stay outside. Do you know who wrote original raamayan ? Maybe we should not be so humble.

7." The scheduled castes must give up drinking and other social evils"

*else they will never rise out of their miserable existence. (--GS, member of a large voluntary agency)

* Whatever they save they blow it up on liquor drinking and feasting, "panduga" (festival celebraton), lavish weddings and nowadays , "dowries" for daughters and trip to Tirupati. Do you know they even hire horses for the baraat (bridegroom welcome). They often take advance ( loans) and even bond their families to pay off the loans for ten years. Is there anything to show for the money spent? Nothing!! They will not spend a paisa for clothing or educating their children. Even the women drink ! What you know? you know only to blame us! What bonded labour ? Arre Baba, the city is 80 km away only. They can catch a bus anytime and run away. Why they dont go? These city educated do gooders are all fools, they dont know anything. (----annoyed and aggrieved rural moneylender who has shifted to other business)

*(reaction to moneylender) Seems only some persons are allowed to have wedding celebrations, aha? Anyway it is not a daily matter. It is tradition for all jaaths (--communities) to have get-together feasts during weddings and funerals. Even THIS you object to...At least allow us to have celebrations once in a life.

*(reaction to moneylender)...Well, some persons among us ... we have been drinking for generations. It is part of our daily life. We are simple industrial people. As you know we take up difficult type of work. It is easier after a packet (=plastic sachet of cheap liquor). Of course it is not a good thing especially for the families. But whatever may be our faults they are nothing compared to those of the murderous monsters. --Ramaswami

*..(reaction to moneylender) Self help groups of rural women also give loans. We have found that many women request such loans for paying school fees and buying school uniforms/books when school season begins. Loans are also used for buying essential commodities during lean times, minor house improvements, etc. Bulk of the loans are for their petty businesses. You see other women in the group have to guarantee the repayment, so they are careful not to entertain doubtful applicants. Apart from theory , actually they admit as members only women they know very well for some years.
(---employee, MBA, of large voluntary agency involved in extending very small loans to groups of rural women)

*( Reaction to above) What our earnest young microfinance friend doesn't tell us the members of the self help groups STILL take loans from finance companies if not marvadis?

*(New) Microfinance with some inputs for livelihood is very good to improve the condition of very poor people. Please note it does not address the destitute or very poor : only a section of the poor who are "bankable". Banks don't entertain them simply because it is too costly to process and track very small loans in rural areas. (---VM)

* You are right but some NGO's are trying to target the extreme poor also, this includes not only "very poor" but beggars, handicapped people, very old persons vagera. But it is more of a grant, not loan, which govts have been doing for many years now.

*self help groups are very useful to get some income. Running tea stall, vegetable selling and so on. Even this small economic independence is not liked by politicians and "chit fund" outfits. They are not able to compete so they are trying to swallow the groups. Generally Scheduled caste and muslim borrowers take small loans and they are all right. It is excellent for scheduled caste people. They are VERY proud of repaying loans regularly with their hard work, instead of asking for alms or "exgratia". (--MFI executive)

8. "Intercaste marriages"

*--- will go a long way in rubbing out the caste system which is responsible for their problems

*--have you done so? Let us make a start with malas and madigas first.

*--This is seen in cities only. Not at all in rural areas, where the discrimination is highest. In fact in UP Haryana the couples will be killed by both families.

* Mister, first of all why do you all seem to think SC's educated young men want to urgently leave their community anyway? Our girls are not good enough for them? NO! We will come up. We will plant our flag AS SC's ONLY and nothing else!

NEW * Children of SC mother are not given SC caste status , this is a case of gender discrimination. If the government amends rules suitably you will soon see sudden increase of SC-girls marrying non-SC men. I think SC girls have generally poor opinion of SC boys. (--S.V.)

(--reply) Actually fact is majority of eligible girls have poor opinion of all boys. Of all communities.

9."The scheduled castes need to combine POLITICALLY

to get things done. Everything else is cosmetic"

* whatever they have achieved is merely due to this.

* the leaders may have origin but are very far away from their people

* the leaders are hired chamchas ( stooges)

* be realistic. Who will listen to a SC, even if he is brilliant? (--- Dalit activist advocating complicated caste -combinations)

* ( reply to above) Doctors are considered angel and next to god by every cured patient regardless of the doctor's caste.

*(new) Doctors should enquire about every patient whether he is backward or forward caste.
(ed.--is this a leg-pull ? a comment on doctors? a comment on reservations? or jeering at the whole thing? anyway reservation debate is on separate page.)

* the activist is correct. When he has passed by reservation it means he is not really educated, forget brilliant.

* I fully agree, only a forward step it should be considered in most cases. But, are you prepared to listen to open category passed dalit? I doubt, because of well known prejudice.

*(new) Regarding prejudice due to name...just change the name to a posh forward caste surname. Half the prejudice will disappear, even if nobody is fooled. Then show your genuine capacity (merit).

10. " The scheduled castes are poor. Once their ECONOMIC

condition is better they will have a degree of independence to figure out further ways. Without economic independence everything else is a sham, including so called political organisation."

* but how can THEY alone improve their economic situation? They are only 15 % part of society, no?

* Good idea, but in practice , easy to keep them quiet with charity handouts, that is all this means.

*Yes, they have to realise this. Unless they combine unitedly with ALL weaker sections of society, nothing will change. Not going only by caste status. This caste status must be destroyed. Otherwise same old story. --Uttar Pradesh SC weakly defending a "broadening" of alliance of his favourite party.

11. "SOCIAL thinking has to change especially among the upper castes. "

* unless there is a change in mindset nothing will happen. ---gandhi / vinoba bhave follower

* so you should appeal to their innate good human spirit? What a joke it is? Reform the murderers!! --sardarji

*(new) See, most of the people responding are like me, educated upper caste persons, and as such they don't really practice the system. Urban people. Most of them don't give importance to these matters unless political games are played, when they get angry. But the point is, as even Ambedkar realised, the vast majority of scheduled castes firmly believe in the caste system. Even most of the SC's who are educated or converted. What they think is, otherwise why so many people say they are inferior. It is very difficult to shake this mindset. Very distressing I have witnessed heated arguments between SC's when they shout very shocking words like achoot (untouchable) so and so to put down each other. Now with incentive of reservation they will never give up the caste mentality. In fact lower level community-caste are trying to be proclaimed scheduled castes.

* younger generation is good hearted and doesnt care for the old system. ---school teacher

*--- how long they will remain young. every generation we are hearing this same slogan.

*---"I have worked for many years in the Gulf. Let me tell you the Arabs are not much better than us, bit more generous only. But the westerners are noble. Man to man, they always encourage, it is part of their upbringing.We have negative mentality and never allow anyone to come up. It is not due to lack of jobs or money or pains or fierce competition. It is our mentality. I am sorry to say this. Where we should encourage, we discourage. It is our mentality. We will never improve. That is why India pakistan is like this. Definitely social thinking has to change. (--Guru Iyengar)

(reaction) Hah! loyal chamcha (--flunkey) of goras shows his true colours. But why you are publishing this? What is the relevance here ? By any chance you also are a chamcha ?

---heh! well , all opinions should get a chance, right? Not just those you agree with.(ed.)

"12. Much effort is needed by the SC's. "

It is not going to be easy. They should take full advantage of the government reservations.(--BJP activist)

* they should guard against some influential members of their OWN caste treating them like vote bank and wishing to keep them down.

* Education is the only key. Rest are additions only.

* There is another much more dangerous process at work. The educated SC's and others, even middle castes become closer to upper castes --even in way of thinking. All the educated have comon interests. The educated are all forming one gang and no wavelength with uneducated. Even of their own religion, even relatives. If you are educated, even if you are financially weak, how your face looks is not very important. Only way out is to raise the standard of education for all. But how to do this?

* Hundred percent correct, effort is needed. But effort towards what? Merely amassing money is not enough-- real education is required, not just degree certificates. People bow in front but laugh behind rich man's back. Nobody laughs at professor's back. --sardarji

13. "Non governmental bodies and voluntary agencies are the key to improve the conditions of the scheduled castes. Not governmental programmes."

* Why should foreigners /business houses/ upper castes / religious groups waste their time and money on us without ulterior motive. Villagers always get cheated by city dwellers.

* maybe they feel guilty. let us make full use of their skills.

* is not the job of private agencies to replace government. Otherwise might as well keep the british and forget freedom movement and all the sacrifices.

*brother is very correct. Thousands of ordinary people have given their lives for our freedom. Anyone who says freedom came from ahimsa or non violent resistant civil disobedience is a total fool or something worse. Their sacrifice should not go in vain. Maybe, they were fooled by the leaders and netas after independence, but not to this extent we are being fooled. But unless people open their eyes fully freedommovement might go waste. ---very old retired subedar (sergeant)

* Next you will say why the government should collect taxes and that the expenditure is mostly on unproductive departmental spending and salaries. Yes we know what Rajiv Gandhi said. But something is better than nothing. Be glad we are somewhat better than africa.

*Wha,wha. Are you living in some clouds? No law/contract/business deal is of any value unless it can be ENFORCED. Who can enforce the law? Your village association? Your amateur drama or sports club? An NGO or voluntary association? As it is law is soft enforced or not enforced. And you are advocating mob rule actually. God help you!

14. "Only Governmental programmes are genuine."

however corrupt and leaky they may be, govt. put through by political pressure by political parties representing LARGER numbers of people, are the only genuine programmes. Rest are humbug.

*Please remember the importance of this: GOVERNMENT PROGRAMMES are made by POLITICAL PARTY forming government

* But great deal of the government programmes ARE implemented through NGO's anyway.

* are too captivated it seems by Government programs... then you will have to wait for an few hundred years more. Govt. programs basically are for benefit of govt. only.

* there should be a mix of public and private programmes.(--businessman)

* You journalists are always critical and doubting. Don't think the government is not interested in development. Government is not just senior secretaries and ministers. Things developed over centuries cant change in one day. There are certainly a few difficulties. On paper the schemes and plans are really excellent. The problem is in the implementation ......right from the top, begun by the airconditioned officers. (--A police inspector)

*(--to above) All big talk. Try to implement and see what happens to him, he will be posted in loopline or fixed in false case court chakkar or posted to danger areas. The policy and pograms is only for show to keep voters satisfied, maybe some portion is meant for implementation. Full implementation is simply not possible it is like cutting own legs, they are not mad. (---aspiring young politician)

* Govts. have no money whatever little is there 70% is swallowed.---Ravinder

* "Good, but why always have discussion only about scheduled castes. There are so many people not scheduled caste but just as poor. So many rich SC's are there also. Please have discussions on economically poor regardless of so called caste. (--Murali, Job work Tailor.)

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