I'm A Strong Independent Woman But My Caste Has Been My Biggest Enemy Ever Since I Heard That Word

Anonymous Anonymous in Culture Shock on 9 July, 2017

I am an M. Tech. qualified engineer with good academic record, I work in a very reputed company and my father is a VIP. I have been brought up with the best family values.

I am a simple, down to earth girl, and I get categorized under Scheduled Cast. The last statement has more or less shaped up my life.

I would like to share a few incidences of humiliations and disrespect from my life. 

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Incident 1:

I was around 8 when my school teacher asked me if I belonged to SC or ST. I had no idea about the caste system then, so I asked her what that was. She told me to ask my mother. When I came back home, I was filled with curiosity to know about this new thing I had heard at school, so I came shouting from the gate “Mummy, am I SC or ST?” My mother immediately pulled me inside and scolded me, “How can you shout that way? The landlady was just a few meters away, I hope she didn’t hear you.”

I asked her what it was, and she explained to me some things about caste, and told me that if you are of a lower caste, people treat you with disrespect.

I couldn’t understand much, but all I got was that I will be treated like trash someday because of this thing called 'SC'.
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Incident 2:

I was eligible for scholarship for securing good grades in my community. The first time I got the money, I danced with joy, I was very happy. I proudly collected it from my class teacher and came back to my seat. I heard the giggling noise from behind. I turned around to see a group of students laughing at me. I felt humiliated. I remembered my mother’s words. I will be treated like trash. I got scared. Soon after the class, everyone started laughing at me.

Someone said “I was wondering, how can she be eligible for scholarship?” and someone replied, “She belongs to SC.” and started laughing at me. People actually started avoiding me, and we were just kids. I was broken.

I told my dad about it, and he said that even he was humiliated for arguing with a guy of upper caste when he was a kid, and he asked me to ignore these things.

Incident 3:

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I was in college. There was a group discussion event going on. I enrolled my name. Finally, the round began. Topic was “Reservation system & benefits to SC/ST communities”. I thought of this group discussion to be a chance to talk about the discrimination I had been facing since childhood. I was the only person debating for the motion, and everyone else was against me. It was a group of 10 people and I had to make my stand.

I started by talking about myths people had about reservation. I would like to tell people reading this that I never took any benefits given from the society, since my dad had enough money to look after us. I am proud about it. My family didn’t take any benefits because they felt it was for people who were struggling out there for being born in this community. All of a sudden, the group discussion took a personal turn.

One of the guys asked me with disrespect “You speak so much, you are definitely from that community, aren’t you?” and the whole session turned nasty. Everyone started making personal comments on me, and I was offended.

One of the professors asked us to stop the discussion seeing me humiliated. Soon after the GD, I broke was in tears and ran away from the hall. I cried uncontrollably. My professor followed and tried to cheer me up with positive words. No doubt I secured second place in the GD but the wounds of that day are still fresh.

Incident 4:

I fell in love with a guy from upper caste. He didn’t know about my caste. He proposed to me in final year with the intentions of getting married. Once, he asked me what community I belonged to, and then he left me, because I belonged to a lower caste. He treated me worse than a girl can ever be treated. Many guy friends proposed to me for marriage, but as soon as I mentioned what community I belonged to, they just left.

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But one guy out of all made efforts to talk to his parents, but unfortunately all I got in return was humiliation and insults for being his friend. I had only one relationship in my life but my caste ruined it.

In spite of being a bold and independent girl with family values, people rejected me for my caste. 
Author's Note:

Everyone out there, stop treating us like trash, we are all humans, just like you. We are educated, we have family values, and we feel bad when you talk to us with disrespect just because we belong to this community. Caste system kills us every day. You talk about reservations, but there are people who don’t take any benefits like us. Treat us with respect. I have been humiliated at my school, college, neighborhood and at work place. Stop this for god’s sake. We live in 2017 but it is shameful to say we go through this even now. Discrimination makes me regret being alive sometimes, but I know I am strong enough to handle crap by insensible people.

Editor's Note:

Super power by 2020, is it possible if we continue humiliating certain people because they were born in certain communities? Share this story, and take a pledge, once and for all, to forget that any barriers exist within us. Caste based discrimination needs to end today, and if it doesn't, it will be the end of us as a nation.