Caste: November 17th

Nanowrimo word count 2291 running total 26,215

The caste system seems to have been begun in India by invaders from South Europe and South Asia around 1500BC. It meant that families passed their work skills down through the generations.
To help eradicate the system, the government of India has collected records and divided the population into ‘Forward’ castes, (29% of the population who are on average ahead of other Indians in education, political representation and being employed by the government) and ‘Other Backward Castes’. These percentages are scrutinised and changed as India makes progress. People in the OBC category are given quotas in education, jobs and politics.
Which is why the brahmin employee of the Water Board who came to fit a meter in my mother’s new house, told me in 2017 that all the doctors are now low-caste and his children (high-caste) have no jobs. ‘The tables have been turned,’ he said. He didn’t like the government.
The doctor who rents a shop from me in my village is from a low-caste family. People in the area around my house have no problem with that. At one time they might have expected him to be cleaning the open drains. His daughter is a steward on Indigo Airlines. When I return and ask after his children, he always says, ‘Aunty, with your help we are all doing well.’ His son is studying medicine. I haven’t raised his rent for ten years. £9.00 a month.
My family is ‘carpenters and iron-workers (tarkhan and lohar)’ so, we are considered a backward caste. Other castes that I came across in 1964/65 were nai (barbers and go-betweens for marriages), jheer (houseworkers), sheembay (tailors), chooray (street and toilet cleaners), chamaar (took away dead cows – leather. They are a little above the street cleaners who are the lowest), ghamaar (potters), marrassi (wedding singers) and brahmin and rorhay (higher castes, Sanskrit readers, govt workers, shopkeepers).


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