What Capitalism Is Doing To India

A great article in the New York Times, see here.

A couple of snippets:

Mr. Prasad was born into the Pasi community, once considered untouchable on the ancient Hindu caste order. Today, a chain-smoking, irrepressible didact, he is the rare outcaste columnist in the English language press and a professional provocateur. His latest crusade is to argue that India’s economic liberalization is about to do the unthinkable: destroy the caste system. The last 17 years of new capitalism have already allowed his people, or Dalits, as they call themselves, to “escape hunger and humiliation,” he says, if not residual prejudice.

There are about 200 million Dalits, or members of the Scheduled Castes, as they are known officially, in India. They remain socially scorned in city and country, and they are over-represented among India’s uneducated, malnourished and poor.

The survey, financed by the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania, finds that Dalits are far less likely to be engaged in their traditional caste occupations — for instance, the skinning of animals, considered ritually unclean — than they used to be and more likely to enjoy social perks once denied them. In rural Azamgarh District, for instance, nearly all Dalit households said their bridegrooms now rode in cars to their weddings, compared with 27 percent in 1990. In the past, Dalits would not have been allowed to ride even horses to meet their brides; that was considered an upper-caste privilege.

Mr. Prasad credits the changes to a booming economy. “It has pulled them out of the acute poverty they were in and the day-to-day humiliation of working for a landlord,” he said.

The full article can be found here.

2 Responses to “What Capitalism Is Doing To India”


  • It’s always interesting to see Indian caste system being talked about in global media. In my opinion the new generation doesn’t care about other’s caste but that’s not true for the last generation (head of most of the families are from that generation).

    I would be surprised to see the system getting booted in next 50 years (capitalism or not). The reason is reservation system and caste politics. Today, groups are fighting to be classified as scheduled tribe or backward caste so that they can avail reservation in education and jobs. They won’t let the system die :(

  • Hi, If you want to know what Capitalism is doing in America then follow this article. Its written with American Perspective but still it echoes the call of the world.

    A Fusion of Capitalism and Socialism Could Solve America’s Misery

    http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=385041&rel_no=1

Leave a Reply