Thursday, October 20, 2005

Discussion on NPR about Untouchables

There was a good program on NPR about the Caste System in India. The guest was Narendra Jadhav, born in a sub class, who is the chief economist of the RBI. I learnt through this program that Dr. Ambedkar played a bigger role in the movement to eradicate the class system than Mahatma Gandhi did. The Q&A session was very interesting; the major controversy being about the reservation in colleges. Some people from the Brahmin class argued that the reservation was unfair.

One point raised against the reservation seems to be that privileged people from the lower castes exploit the system to gain admission. A question was brought up asking Jadhav if his daughter took advantage of the reservation. He said that she didn't and he himself didn't do so himself after his education. It is true that many people from SC/ST with equal opportunities as others from different classes do get through due to the reservation, but it cannot be removed just yet. As one caller suggested, the solution is to probably base the system on both social and economic class.

Friday, October 07, 2005

India's LadyBoys

I recently wached a documentary called India’s LadyBoys about hijras in India. The documentary concentrated on the story of two people - one who was born androgynous and another who chose to become one by getting crastrated. One of the most surprising parts of the documentary was the description of a festival that celebrates hijras. It seemed akin to the LGBT pride celebration in San Francisco. It is held in Koovagam, Tamil Nadu and according to the documentary the people of the Koovagam embrace the celebration and very open minded to the hijras who go to participate.

Watching the documentary provided insightful views into the lives of hijras -- their lives, concerns, and interaction with others.

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