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Re: Basic Issues in the Staines Killing: Justice Wadhwa's




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Postings not related to the writing of the Manifesto or policy chapters
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Dear Professor Roy

I am astonished to read in your mail a theory of a foreign conspiracy: I
have
found a preoccupation with foreign conspiracies whenever we Indians
discuss any
sort of problem in India.

If "foreign conspiracies" such as that of the USA in trying to undermine
even
such a blatantly tyrannical ruler as Saddam Hussein have been so
spectacularly
unsuccessful for so long, we may safely assume that any foreign
conspiracies
which may exist in India are the least of our problems.

Our biggest problem is how to remove caste-consciousness in our
country.  This
is not simply a problem of awareness, it is a problem of concrete
physical and
sociological and customary arrangements.  For example, the location of
the
living quarters of different castes in Indian villages, the "right" of
the upper
caste to "enjoy" lower caste women on the first night of their marriage,
the
"right" of the upper caste to ensure (even by killing people) that lower
caste
people turn their moustaches only downwards, the "right" of a man to
ensure that
his wife only walks ten paces behind him, and so on.

Those who opted out of caste in the old days did so by relocating to
another
physical location (British colonies such as Calcutta and Bombay and
Madras and
New Delhi, which were run on the basis of money-efficiency and were
therefore
caste-free as well as religion-neutral; Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist,
Christian and
Jain "compounds" or enclaves, where people outside the caste-bounded
traditional
villages could live according to their own view of the world).

Today, we have cities which may be considered to be more or less
caste-free in
the physical sense, and towns which may be somewhere between the
caste-freedom
of cities and caste-boundedness of villages.

Anyone who "interferes" in the stridently exploitative unjust caste
structure of
a village by talking or acting against caste creates tensions.  And
anyone who
does so risks his or her life.

Beyond asking who was to blame and whether or not particular parties
were
involved in killing Staines and his children, we should first recognise
Staines
and his family as heroes who worked sacrificially (when they could have
lived in
comfort in their own country) and at the risk of their lives to change
the most
fundamental issue in Indian society.

It is the same risk that is taken by communist agitators in many parts
of India.

Communists and Christians, Sikhs and Muslims, Jains and Buddhists - all
have an
honourable history of working to change the caste system which has been
the main
impediment of progress for our country for some centuries.

Though each of these movements has of course undertaken that task for
very
different motivations.

Personally, I leave motivations to be judged by God; I focus on the
actual
actions of people.  On that basis, to my mind, the actions of Staines
and his
family deserve to be honoured.

The Staines represent to me all those people who are actually risking
their
lives, doing things, to change India.

We are talking, from the safety and comfort of our respective
situations, about
policies.

Both actions and policies are important in changing India.

Let the truth indeed come out.  But in the meanwhile, let us not be
appalled at
the Bajrang Dal, let us be appalled at the caste system and at all those
who
would justify it, and at the system which justifies it.


Professor Prabhu Guptara
Director, Executive and Organisational Development
Wolfsberg Executive Development Centre
(a subsidiary of UBS AG)
CH-8272 Ermatingen
Switzerland
Tel: +41.71.663.5605
Fax: +41.71.663.5594
e-mail: prabhu.guptara@ubs.com
INTERNET: http://www.wolfsberg.com





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