‘Recently a Dalit paramilitary soldier was refused the right to a funeral manifesting discrimination against 305 million scheduled castes and scheduled tribles.’

A practice carried on from over 2,000 years, the Indian caste system discriminates amongst their own citizens despite article 15 of the Indian constitution, clearly stating the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, caste, gender or any other bias. In a country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, many regulations have come across to improve the standard of living for the backward classes but to no avail. Take a walk down memory lane and you will realise that discrimination exists in every area of life, from those innocent school days where the class was divided into groups of nerds, popular jocks, teachers’ pets and the class clowns, to the time you are applying for your dream job.

Our scheduled castes and tribes have been provided with many facilities to make sure they can rise and come in par with the upper castes, but does it really help them? The reservation system gives them educational leeway to even special preference at a job interview but the same additional benefits are the cause for violence against them. When a 49% quota is reserved for them, it creates anger and dissatisfaction amongst the ones who have the merit for it but do not belong to the backward class and this eventually will lead to increased violence.

This year was kicked off with a rocky start when a Dalit committed suicide for being poorly treated by the University of Hyderabad and their occupants, or the 18 that died in the Haryana Jat community protest along with numerous injured. Violence towards the backward class and their own reciprocation towards injustice and the hunger for more rights and benefits is a vicious cycle which needs to be broken in order to save India from destruction. A country is only as strong as its citizens and their unity, on the other hand, discrimination will only lead to more bloodshed and unrest. Which one would you choose?

As unrealistic as it sounds to remove discrimination from India, all of us can take small steps towards the betterment of India, discrimination will only get as far as you let it, so stop discriminating within your own and give way to the ripple effect! Under article 19, we have the right to freedom of speech and expression and we can actually make an impact if we wish to, so use the law to treat your friends equally despite their social background and raise your voice for the less fortunate, as when your country benefits, so will you!