Casteism Inflicted Vocabulary

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India has a long history of casteism. The discrimination and prejudice on the basis of caste is immense and inhuman. The so-called low castes are looked down upon and are often attributed to negative characteristics. It is also reflected in the kind of jobs society expects them to take up. This job-distinction has led to a more serious problem, which we are about to look at. Apparently, it is the rigidity of society to not treat individuals belonging to particular castes equally as others.

From Our Daily Lives

The negative pre-conceived notions against the supposed lower castes are pertinent in a number of ways. Aghast, our vocabulary witnesses rippling effects of the same. Knowingly or unknowingly, we, at times, end up using casteist slurs. When thought of, this practice is purely derogatory and callous. This represents our inability to free ourselves from the demeaning shackles of society.

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However, before fighting against it, we must first realize its presence around us. It is common to hear words such as ‘bhangi’, ‘chuhra’, ‘chamaar’, to deem inferiority upon someone. The reference is to the ‘Bhangi’ caste which has been traditionally restricted to menial jobs. ‘Chamaar’ or ‘Chambhar’, is the community whose job, traditionally, was tanning and leather-crafting.

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In the so-called progressive world, a word like ‘chandaal’, is often used to indicate a person’s cruelty. However, it traces back to the community ‘Chandalam’ or ‘Chandala’. Traditionally, this community was primarily assigned to dispose of corpses. Another common word is ‘bhand‘. However, ‘Bhand’ or ‘Bahands’ are a traditional folk community.

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Time and again, the Supreme Court Of India has declared using some of these slurs as a punishable offense. But we all are well aware it doesn’t tend to eradicate the problem.

 

Multiple other slurs are used to portray denomination. It is problematic because it infuses caste-based discrimination. Moreover, it has become so common in our language that we have failed to gauge the complication. While our Constitution speaks of equality, we are still caught up with the ideas of favoritism towards some social divisions and hatred against the others. It conflicts with the basic ideas of humanity and mutual respect. It is time we need to challenge casteism and bring about a change.

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