The lower caste Hindus are the at the lowest rung of the social ladder which originated more than 5000 years back with the Laws of Manu. Lower castes are also referred to as "untouchables" and even now are denied in villages entry to temples and common sources of water. Starting from the days of the Raj right through to the present time, many acts have been passed to improve the social status of the lower castes.

The issue at the moment is a Supreme Court ruling that stated that no arrest could be made under the Untouchable Act, as passed by parliament until the case was investigated by the police.

The SC has clarified that this was passed to stop harassment of people who were arrested just to settle a score. The Times of India has reported that this innocuous ruling was used by vested interests to fan political agitation, which soon went out of control. The crowds resorted to violence and burning of government property and buses and the police had to intervene. In many places, curfew has been imposed. Eight people have been killed

Lower castes

The lower castes also referred to as Dalits were instigated by the opponents of the ruling party( the BJP) to start an agitation. Senior police officers have brought out that the agitation was well orchestrated and liquor and booze were made available to incite the crowds.

The Dalits are an important vote bank and all parties vie for it. It has not been pinpointed as to who were the instigators of this violence but the fact remains that caste contradictions are the bane of India and its Achilles heel. A system in vogue for 5000 years cannot be changed overnight and this fact has to be realized by all.

Caste divisions

The sad part is that Caste divisions are recognized in the Constitution of India and the government also perpetrates Caste divisions with caste-based job opportunities over meritocracy being followed. Despite this, the condition of the Dalits at the lowest end of the social scale has not changed much and now it just needs a match to light a fire.


Another mystery is that the agitation is confined only to the Hindi speaking North Indian states and generally, South India, which has extreme caste divisions has not been affected. The agitation is needless as the government asked for a stay on the SC order an immediate hearing to revisit its order. The SC declined in both cases. This is rightly so, as if the demand of the Dalits is accepted, it would mean that anybody can start agitation, burn public property, kill a few people and the government will have to change the law. India is passing through a testing period and a statesman is needed at the helm. Modi does not appear to be that man.