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PUBLIC: Staines, "foreign conspiracies" & our real problems




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Postings not related to the writing of the Manifesto or policy chapters
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In India one often finds theories of 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 and caste-based

arrangements 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, in the location of the living quarters of different castes in
Indian
villages, in the "right" of the upper caste to "enjoy" lower caste women
on the
first night of their marriage, in the "right" of the upper caste to
ensure (even
by killing people) that lower caste people turn their moustaches only
downwards,
in the "right" of a man to ensure that his wife only walks ten paces
behind him,
in the "right" of upper castes to ensure that lower caste people do not
enter or
even cast their shadow on temples, 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 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 as
well as
reform-minded Hindus - 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 it may have been an important source of progress
at one
time).

Each of these movements (Sikh, Jain, etc.) has of course undertaken the
task
of caste-elimination on the basis of 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 complete truth indeed come out regarding the Staines killings.
But in
the meanwhile, let us NOT be appalled at the Bajrang Dal alone, let us
RATHER be
appalled at the caste system and at all those who would justify it, and
at the
whole philosophical and social system which justifies it and benefits
from 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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