Children in UP Manipulated in to Discriminating Against a Dalit

Who hearts the News tab? I totally do and since I had a few moments, I managed to do what I always intend but never get around to– I checked which story was currently “most interesting” as measured by the “top in 24 hr” link. Eleven of us thought the following tip, which was submitted by Condekedar a few days ago, was important:

Indian children boycott school lunches cooked by ‘Untouchable’

Condekedar wrote this rather attention-getting summary…

A sad reminder of the continued existence of caste-discrimination. This story is even worse, because it’s children who are showing their bigotry, not just prejudiced older people.

Via The Independent:

By her own admission, the lunches cooked by Phool Kumari Rawat may not always be the tastiest food the pupils at her school have ever eaten. And with more than 300 students to cook for, getting the proportions right can be a struggle.
But the children of Bibipur Primary and Junior High School near Lucknow have not launched a boycott of Mrs Rawat’s food because of its taste, but because Mrs Rawat is a Dalit, a so-called Untouchable. As a result, they say, the food is unclean.

A whole new generation, India’s best generation yet with regards to opportunity, learning the worst about others. Condekedar is right; it is extra-disheartening to read about such sentiments from little kids.

Such incidents are not uncommon in India, where caste remains a debilitating and divisive phenomenon, especially for those 75 per cent of people who live in rural communities. But the boycott at Bibipur is especially noteworthy because it is taking place in Uttar Pradesh (UP), the state which this year elected a Dalit woman, Mayawati Kumari, as its chief minister. Campaigners say that despite Mayawati’s poll victory, Dalits still suffer widespread discrimination.

First, they did right by the woman:

When the boycott of the meals began last week, local officials stood by Mrs Rawat, a widow with three children, and tried to persuade the students that there was nothing unhygienic about her food. Officials who inspected her cooking said there were no problems and one even ate the lunch – vegetables and rice – in front of the students to persuade them to end their boycott.

…but they didn’t stay strong:

But The Indian Express newspaper reports that with the children not backing down from the boycott, the authorities are now poised to sack Mrs Rawat.

Two issues are being conflated; the quality of the lunches and the hands which cook them. If it were merely about the former, I don’t think anyone would fault the kids. The revolt might even be framed as a cute rebellion by pigtailed and cow-licked children, standing up for their right to yumminess. But…

Tellingly, children who live in Mrs Rawat’s neighbourhood are still eating the lunches, while those involved in the boycott have reportedly made little effort to hide their reason for refusing to eat. “I will not eat anything cooked by that lady. I have heard my family members say that she is from some low caste. So I bring my own lunch box,” said one pupil, Shivani Singh Chauhan.

So much for Mayawati ushering in a new era?

However, Ram Kumar, of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, said: “There are no equal rights in UP. We have a Dalit chief minister but more than 80 per cent of the bureaucracy are members of the upper caste. There are many villages in UP that are totally dominated by caste and there is not any chance of social equality.”

Oh, the poignant resignation in these words:

Mrs Rawat, who earns the equivalent of just 75p a day, said: “I am a widow with three kids. Earlier, I worked as a labourer. If they remove me from here I will accept it as my fate and will again work as a labourer.”

They removed her.

Fast forward a few days…it looks like she’s not quite ready to accept her fate, just yet:

Phool Kumari Rawat, the Dalit woman at the centre of the mid-day meal controversy in Bibipur Primary and Junior High School, came to Lucknow today and sat on a dharna in front of the Vidhan Sabha.[IndianExpress]

I’ll admit that I had no idea what that meant. For those of you who are also not acquainted with “dharna”:

A fast conducted at the door of an offender, especially a debtor, in India as a means of obtaining compliance with a demand for justice, such as payment of a debt.[Bartleby, but not the scrivener]

And for commenter Amitabh :) and those who love language like he does, from the same non-scrivener link:

ETYMOLOGY: Hindi dharn, from Prakrit dharaa, from Sanskrit dharaam, act of supporting, stay.

Good for her. Go on with your bad self, lady. What a righteous way to protest how she was forced out. Seems necessary, too, considering that predictably, “officials” are refuting her cries of discrimination by saying that she was let go because the village committee which had appointed her was abolished out of concerns regarding corruption, i.e. she’s an indirect victim of something else which has nothing to do with her caste.

In Lucknow, Phool Kumari herself had yet another story to tell. “Controversy began the day I started cooking at the school. When I went there to serve food on December 11, principal V D Dixit told me that his students would not eat meals cooked by a Dalit woman,” said Phool Kumari.
She added: “The children would come to me each day and tell me that I cooked unhygienically, even though all outsiders — officials and members of social organisations — didn’t find anything wrong with the meal.”.[IndianExpress]

Way to keep the best interest of the children in mind there, Dixit.

There were further developments out of Lucknow, today:

The state SC/ST commission has accepted a petition filed by Ambedkar Mahasabha — a social organisation working for the rights of Dalits. The education and administration officials have been called for the first hearing on Thursday and explain the reason behind her removal.

Well, look what pathetic activities some investigating uncovered:

The Mahasabha has alleged that Phool Kumari was removed under pressure from higher castes. It has also asked the commission to punish the concerned officers under ST/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. “Our members visited the school and the village and talked to cross section of people. It was found that the teachers belonging to higher castes have instigated the children to oppose Phool Kumari. We have asked that education officers be punished too,” said Bina Maurya, national general secretary of the Mahasabha.
SR Darapuri, vice-president of the district wing of Mahasabha said: “In our petition, we have made it clear that dismissal of cook is not only illegal but if it goes unnoticed, it will encourage untouchability in other schools.”[IndianExpress]

Here’s hoping Phool Kumari and her quondam students get what they each deserve; respect for her, and for them, guidance from progressive adults who are not ass hats.

93 thoughts on “Children in UP Manipulated in to Discriminating Against a Dalit

  1. some events can change the world in retrospect—this could be one of them. ironically, the ones who can lead the charge are the powerful local thugs there, the vhp.

    if the vhp types do not step in for rawat against discrimination, it blows a big hole into their claim they do not discriminate among castes—of course, they are probably for it in any case, so nothing big will happen. but if they do, it probably strikes a bigger blow against discrimination than any of us can do. it is a weird world we live in.

  2. Anna, I must admit to being left without adequate words before the scale of this prejudice. Yes, the children must be educated with a different set of values but how to begin when the teachers themselves perpetuate the bigotry? I suppose teachers must be called to account before some kind of a state board that reviews such complaints, an impartial body made up of professionals in other fields, that can recommend censure if the case warrants.

    all the best

    Indran

    http://indranamirthanayagam.blogspot.com

  3. this is upsetting, and i wish i was surprised, but i’m not. the venom injected into each indian generation is akin to the anti-immigrant, anti-multicultural fervor instilled in the youth in “amerika.” i’m just proud and happy for that small percentage in each generation that is able to break away.

    on another note, i think i’d like to donate to the national campaign for dalit human rights, or a similar, worthy organization. good way to start out 2008. if anyone knows of one, please post.

  4. this is indeed appalling, but correct if i am wrong,posts on this blog that relate to India always seem to highlight the injustices, never the good that is in India –India is a mix of many things, good and bad, but this blog seems to highlight only the very worst that happens in India…

  5. As sbkt says, the officials have replaced her with another woman of the same caste to isolate the reason for the complaint. Rather good show of scientific hypothesis testing, that.

    Phool Kumari Rawat’s options are rather limited – even if she is reinstated, there’s no sensible way that the kids could be made to not bring their own lunch from home. If enough students don’t eat the school lunches, the school would have a good reason to lay her off on the basis of redundancy, and that reason (excuse?) would be bulletproof.

    Some more stuff that could indicate systemic bias: apparently some SC/ST students were not awarded the scholarship money they earned, but the article inconveniently does not specify whether any non-SC/ST students got their scholarships or whether it affected all students.

  6. 4 · tarta said

    this is indeed appalling, but correct if i am wrong,posts on this blog that relate to India always seem to highlight the injustices, never the good that is in India –India is a mix of many things, good and bad, but this blog seems to highlight only the very worst that happens in India…

    i’d respectfully disagree with you, as i’m sure would many others who frequent the mutiny. i honestly feel that there’s a healthy balance between snark and seriousness. moreover, even the positives (ie. booming economy, tech centers, etc.) should be examined and discussed to dissect their full impact. not always the glossy pluses…

  7. but correct if i am wrong,posts on this blog that relate to India always seem to highlight the injustices, never the good that is in India

    Always?

    You are wrong. And if you think you are not, it would have been thoughtful of you to include specific links to the posts you are hinting at, in your original comment. That’s a rather nasty charge you are aiming our way, one I think we don’t deserve.

    Also, I would respectfully request that you reexamine the introduction to this post; our news tab records votes which all are able to cast, and this is the most popular/voted-on story in the last 24 hours. I think I was the only SM blogger who voted, which means ten of our regular, committed readers thought this story was significant. Not all of them are ABDs, some are DBDs…do you think they want to highlight what’s bad about their motherland? Or is this a story which deserves to be discussed?

  8. U were searching for a news item like this weren’t you? Nothing like a good India bashing to welcome the new year eh?

  9. U were searching for a news item like this weren’t you? Nothing like a good India bashing to welcome the new year eh?

    I dont think ANNA was doing that because if she was she would have posted this: Hindu extremists ransacked and burned eight rural churches in eastern India, marring Christmas celebrations in a corner of the country with a history of violence against Christians, officials said Wednesday. Of course, the treatment of minorities in India is not a problem.

  10. I really appreciate bringing this issue to light, and I’m a DBD. Casteism still exists in its most virulent form in many states back in India, though not all (for example interestingly in the commie states of Bengal and Kerala where caste issues crops up almost only during arranged marriage). Only way to eradicate this caste-based mindset is to educate future generations and provide better education to all (starting with primary then to higher, not other way round).

  11. U were searching for a news item like this weren’t you? Nothing like a good India bashing to welcome the new year eh?

    How is reporting significant news “bashing”? If such incidences are ignored, in the name of being “pc” or “cultural relativity”, then how will any injustice in this world ever be eradicated?

    Casteism still exists in its most virulent form in many states back in India, though not all (for example interestingly in the commie states of Bengal and Kerala where caste issues crops up almost only during arranged marriage).

    Bengali brahmins of a religious nature are still some of the most orthodox people on the planet when it comes to this sort of thing.

  12. Lol! You guys think you’d eradicate caste discrimination in India by cribbing about it here in sepia mutiny. I don’t know which dbds ur talking about, but most like me would be pretty irritated by this continuous peppering about issues we are more than aware of.

    This is not a significant news item. Incidents like these happen so often that most go unreported as mundane. This story is a little more juicy as it is children who display the bigotry. Trust sepia mutiny to cash on.

    I have visited this site enough to understand the amount of condescension that goes on here about India.

    Caste bias is real in India, and for your information it occurs both ways. Institutional bias (reservations, political elections etc) as well as social prejudice (like this example). You’d have to treat both with equal detest else one set of people will end up feeling short changed.

  13. Pagal aadmi, how is posting about ‘Hindu’ ‘extremists’ india bashing? Are you conflating India with Hindu? That story and the media spin on it is also ‘interesting’ to say the least.

  14. Trust sepia mutiny to cash on…I have visited this site enough to understand the amount of condescension that goes on here about India.

    Then why visit? If it’s difficult for you to resist commenting, I can help.

  15. 14 · spidy said

    Are you conflating India with Hindu?

    I think its fair to conflate India and Hindu is certain circumstances. Vast majority of Hindus are Indians and the vast majority of Indians are Hindus. I think all Hindus would be offended at insults against India simply because India is the source of Hinduism. India is the land Ram, Krishna, etc walked upon and even governed.

    Similarly someone who is hateful of Hindus would probably hate India as well since so much of India is a product of immersed in Hinduism.

    Fo example, when someone makes offensive remarks about the Ganges I am offended as an Indian and as a Hindu.

  16. The parts of India that have the least amount of abuses against Dalits are areas where there is competition for labor. Forget about change in areas where agricultural labor is the only game in town.

    While I would like to see the dominant ethos of India remain Dharmic (i.e. Hindu/Jain/Buddhist), the VHP types need to realize this is what drives people to convert (i.e. and not their bogus claims of coercion)

  17. U were searching for a news item like this weren’t you? Nothing like a good India bashing to welcome the new year eh?

    And I suppose writing about the New York slave-masters was America bashing.

    If SM wants to “bash” people who perpetuate the caste system in India, I’m all for it. If they want to “bash” people who perpetuate racism in America, I’m all for it.

  18. Lol! You guys think you’d eradicate caste discrimination in India by cribbing about it here in sepia mutiny. I don’t know which dbds ur talking about, but most like me would be pretty irritated by this continuous peppering about issues we are more than aware of.

    Son, this way you have to start hating the Indian media outlets and even BBC, the carry stories like this all the time, hell, we over at UD do the same (and thankfully we do not ged shoo’d).

    This is not a significant news item. Incidents like these happen so often that most go unreported as mundane. This story is a little more juicy as it is children who display the bigotry. Trust sepia mutiny to cash on.

    Although I agree that it looks mundane, the aspect that caught my eye is the fact that we are talking about kids, kids who are supposed to be pure and unbiased. That changes everything.

  19. Thanks for posting this! We need reminders continuously of this garbage that continues to go on in India. And I do think that change can happen if more and more people blog/talk about it. SM is great for it’s varied issues – the good and bad it takes up – and that even though change is slow, and maybe to some dbds or abds this casteism happens all the time and is not significant….but it obviously is and thank goodness Sm continues to bring news like this to the forefront.

  20. Caste bias is real in India, and for your information it occurs both ways. Institutional bias (reservations, political elections etc) as well as social prejudice (like this example).

    Right, not getting into a university is the same as having your hut torched and the women in your family assaulted. Which is as you implied “mundane” not newsworthy.

    I agree in principle that reservation may not work or that it is abused by many historically privilged castes who lobby for “backward status”, but comparing your lot in life with that of a Dalit is reprehensible

  21. I’m not sure where people get the impression that kids are supposed to be little angels from. I know lots of kids, I work with kids, I was a kid not too long ago. Children are really little devils.

  22. Kids are not “pure”. Most children are very nasty and selfish and are incredibly mean towards each other. They also act as mirrors, reflecting back what is around them. These kids were taught to hate dalits by their parents.

  23. JGandhi, I think it is dangerous to conflate India with Hindu, when literally all the Sikhs and Jains, and the bulk of the Buddhists and the second largest collection of Muslims in the world call India their homeland. And after all the constitution has done to keep India a secular country. This sort of feeling though, I must admit I suspect, is prevalent amongst a lot of people. It naturally places a burden of special treatment that must be accorded to certain groups to make them ‘feel at home’, and when such thinking pervades our polity, we are treading on dangerous grounds.

  24. Lol! You guys think you’d eradicate caste discrimination in India by cribbing about it here in sepia mutiny. I don’t know which dbds ur talking about, but most like me would be pretty irritated by this continuous peppering about issues we are more than aware of. This is not a significant news item. Incidents like these happen so often that most go unreported as mundane. This story is a little more juicy as it is children who display the bigotry. Trust sepia mutiny to cash on.

    So we’re supposed to just throw our hands up and stop paying attention, since, according to you, there’s nothing that we can do here? Gee, excellent way of improving a society, I must say.

    Making people aware that a problem exists or that discrimination exists is the first step in eradicating that discrimination. Should Phool Kumari Rawat be swept under the rug along with all the other victims of crimes and discrimination? Certainly not. Each and every one of them is entitled to have their story told, and spread to as many people as possible, so that it might either reach the ears of someone with the power to change their circumstances, or impel people to get that power, so that they can bring about change.

  25. And I do think that change can happen if more and more people blog/talk about it.

    OK, I agree that issues like this need to be brought to the forefront. But we no longer live in the age of the salt march, the million man march, the anti-apartheid movement, etc. What can we really do to effect change? A Facebook petition?

  26. I’m not sure where people get the impression that kids are supposed to be little angels from. I know lots of kids, I work with kids, I was a kid not too long ago. Children are really little devils.
    Kids are not “pure”. Most children are very nasty and selfish and are incredibly mean towards each other.

    Why does every post on Sepia have to turn into kid bashing?

  27. Kids are not “pure”. Most children are very nasty and selfish and are incredibly mean towards each other. They also act as mirrors, reflecting back what is around them. These kids were taught to hate dalits by their parents.

    Who were in turn taught by their parents whose behavior was reinforced by the pandits at the temple. I want to see a Hindu revival let’s start by tossing out notions of ritual purity.

  28. I think the dalits ought to start a mass movement in which they take on brahmin surnames. That ought to screw up the caste system a little bit.

  29. I think the dalits ought to start a mass movement in which they take on brahmin surnames. That ought to screw up the caste system a little bit.

    Actually, students in IIT Kanpur tried something slightly different to the same end.

    nala, I think posts and discussions on these topics could educate some people. For me, personally, it illuminates the variety of reactions to such issues that exist both among Indians in India and the diaspora – and I get to see an entire spectrum of responses that I could never hope to get from discussions with my mostly like-minded non-online friends. And that helps to modulate my own thoughts and actions on these issues.

  30. The only problem with changing your name, or removing traces of your past identity, is that you aren’t causing the establishment to accept you, even with your differences. Giving everyone the same identity won’t help society learn to accept different groups. Look at Turkey. Ataturk tried to completely redefine Turkish society by completely secularizing it, and advocating the superiority of the secular, Turkish identity. Did it work as well as he thought it would? No. There are plenty of conflicts today over Muslim vs. secular, Kurds vs. Turks, etc. Homogenizing a society isn’t likely to solve problems of discrimination.

  31. I don’t mean to trivialize what those students were doing. It’s an excellent idea, that just might work. I just don’t think that it will solve the greater problem of discrimination, in the long run.

  32. 33 · BlackCat said

    Ataturk tried to completely redefine Turkish society by completely secularizing it, and advocating the superiority of the secular, Turkish identity. Did it work as well as he thought it would?

    I think it worked pretty damn well. Just compare Turkey to other Muslims countries, the difference is remarkable.

  33. the truth is –that all of us readers here will wax eloquently about these injustices from the comfort of our well appointed homes; feel righteous indignation that we will never dream of inflicting such indignity; feel that we are doing our bit to effect change by writing a few lines on a blog —and tomorrow this will be forgotten; and it will be on to commenting about the next topic–and this dalit woman will continue to lead her dalit life, forgotten completely by all of us within the span of a few days. i don’t say this to criticize the readers here, just to say that this is simply what will happen.

  34. I think it worked pretty damn well. Just compare Turkey to other Muslims countries, the difference is remarkable.

    There wasn’t the same level of institutionalized secularism, at least, not compared to Kemalist policies. Possibly in pre-Revolution Iran, but even then, it wasn’t even close, and large numbers of people didn’t subscribe to it.

    If you look at the news now, Turkey’s been having plenty of problems with the issue of secularism, what with the PM and all, and with Kurdish rebels.

    I don’t think completely subsuming your original identity to a national identity or a more expansive one can work as a policy. For a few groups of people who are really dedicated to it, sure, but what about the nation as a whole?

  35. Changing your surname is a noble idea (I have friends who refuse to carry a surname, all power to them), but I do believe that Indian society and polity is so stratified at all levels that at times it may be essential to belong to a group. At least it may ensure you some benefit that your group has been lobbying for. Why else would Christian and Muslim Dalit converts cling on to their Dalit status, or the Adivasis of Assam agitate for the ST status?

    Expecting society to abdicate prejudice without removing the incentives to belong to a caste or religious group may not produce desired outcomes. If the state treats all its citizens equally, then I believe prejudice could be overcome with education.

  36. I think the dalits ought to start a mass movement in which they take on brahmin surnames. That ought to screw up the caste system a little bit.

    Dalits in Maharashtra have been doing it for years. They usually pick the most chitpavan sounding names.

  37. feel that we are doing our bit to effect change by writing a few lines on a blog

    I do feel like I’m contributing something, by “writing a few lines”. I know plenty of people who were born and raised here, who will probably never live in India and will visit it only a few times in their lifetime, who subtly engage in caste-related bullshit (and I’m not talking about TamBrahm girls bonding over their PTSD from menstruation-related matters, which is quite understandable).

    Some of these people will read this post and think, “that’s lame”, because it’s so extreme and obvious, what the school officials are putting this woman through. One person out of that group might one day have an epiphany about how it’s not cool to diss non-Jats, because it’s part of this same discrimination continuum. IF by some miracle this post helps bring about that epiphany, it was more than worth my time and energy.

    It’s really easy to sit back and sneer, and then tap-tap-tap on a keyboard about how people aren’t “doing” anything. That just “talking” about something is pointless. I don’t think raising awareness about an issue is pointless. AT all. I’ve learned that after almost four years here. Try and remember that posts affect different people in different ways, and that the vast majority of people here lurk and never comment. The loudest voices don’t tell the entire story.

  38. ANNA, thanks for thinking of me!

    As for this post, I’m very glad we’re discussing it. The mindless patriotism of people like tarta or spidey (are they different people?) and their utter unwillingness to look at India with an open, objective mind, is sad to say the least. To tarta and spidey let me say this, that India gets way too much positive, undeserved, overblown hype as it is…’India Shining’ and all that…posts like this help ALL OF US to come back down to Earth and realise that there are a LOT of problems (social, economic, educational, political, etc) in that country. By no means has SM been anti-India or overly critical of India…go and look through the archives, all the posts and all the comments are there.

    Where is the compassion? A woman for no fault of her own is boycotted, and about to lose her meagre livelihood, and you guys focus on so-called India bashing, and call this all ‘mundane’. You guys are part of the problem.

    I was reading India Today this week, the cover is about the head of the Communist Party (Prakash Karat)…and how he has blocked economic reforms as well as the nuclear deal…I think he (and his supporters) are India’s public enemy #1. But the casteists are right there behind them.

    One good thing about this story…at least it’s getting noticed, getting media and political attention, getting an outraged response…whereas maybe 10 years ago it wouldn’t have caused a ripple…that itself could be a sign of a changing India, and hope for the future.

  39. Reading the story over… I’m actually a little surprised that government schools (this is a government school, right?) are providing lunch in the first place. Back in my day we didn’t get any of that even in private school.

  40. Oh, so I am India’s public enemy No 2. Lol! You can insinuate what you like, but I ain’t no casteist. I ain’t no blind man either. I can see hypocrisy and patronization in all its forms.

  41. amitabh, your comments just unfortunately show how little you know of india. i never did state that india doesnt have problems —india has always had problems; there has been some progress in India over the last few years and there is finally something new here —people who live here take pride in being indian, take pride in our free media and take pride in the fact that finally our voices can change things. i am an indian who lives in india; i live here and work here every day, i face prejudices every day; still i hope for better things and go on each day. to those of you who dont face things here on a daily basis, you will not understand that yes, we indians know all that is wrong, but we choose to be patriotic every day and each in our own small way, try to make oru lives better. you sitting in the US, smugly critising me, arent really the person to lecture me on indian life and society.

  42. we indians know all that is wrong, but we choose to be patriotic every day

    That makes it sound like trying to improve your society and being patriotic are mutually exclusive. Surely trying to better your surroundings or improve conditions for your countrymen is one of the most patriotic actions a person can undertake.

  43. tarta and spidey, you guys decided to focus on the highlighting of the problem rather than the problem itself…how does that help anything or even further the discussion? You didn’t offer any insights on the topic at hand, or any food for thought, you just protested the anti-India slant that you perceive. Oh well yes, you did let us know that this topic is mundane and unworthy of consideration. Thanks for that!

    You people living in India have a valid perspective on things happening in India, and certainly know a lot more about day to day life there and surviving in that country than I do. And I don’t think I’m smugly criticising you. But you’ve deflected this conversation away from the main point…which is what this dalit woman is going through for no reason, other than the horrible prejudices of the local people in that part of India. I wasn’t calling you casteist…but wouldn’t you agree that part of the reason for the economic misery and grinding poverty in India and especially the Hindi belt is the rampant casteism? I’m not saying so-called upper caste people should marry dalits or party with them or anything if they don’t want…but how about some basic humane treatment? Why the cruelty? And why does it bug you if this is talked about?

  44. 44 · Amitabh said

    You can change your name all you want…in India, people will always know who you are.

    That is the idea. It’s an act of defiance and elaborate prank rolled into one. They are just trying to knock down the marquee value of these highfaluting names and having a good laugh while they’re at it.

  45. tarta… here are some questions for you. Have you ever volunteered for the poorer people or some special cause in India in some NGO ? Have you contributed to some charities any significant amount of money ? Really, truthfully, have you ? Just living in India does not do enough to proclaim that you are making any positive change while the other aren’t. There are a lot of Indians living abroad, who save money while struggling to end meets (e.g. grad students), but still send money home to India AND donate to charities or volunteer for special cause. There are people I know who are brought up here but volunteer for years in India to work with the underprivileged. And how many Indians residing in India (and who are wealthy) donate ANY time for charity ? I am really genuinely curious.

    I am just sick of TOI and other media only highlighting ‘India shining’ issues, and not covering other issues. I am genuinely proud that so many good things are happening in India but I want even better things to happen, so why not discuss where we can, and then do something about it.

  46. I wasn’t calling you casteist…but wouldn’t you agree that part of the reason for the economic misery and grinding poverty in India and especially the Hindi belt is the rampant casteism?

    In the current context, as louiecypher said, it’s probably the other way around, poverty (still in agricultural mode)–>continuation of casteism. Though the thing that always strikes me about casteism is how inefficient it is in an economic sense. Indians need to get their priorities straight, we are the O[M]Gs (original money-grubbers) after all.

  47. Reading the story over… I’m actually a little surprised that government schools (this is a government school, right?) are providing lunch in the first place. Back in my day we didn’t get any of that even in private school.

    The midday meal scheme was introduced as an incentive for poor parents to send their kids to school, instead of having them till the fields or whatever.