What is our (OBC's) Status?
Around the midpoint of 21st century, on November 26, 1949 India became “Republic” by accepting the Constitution. Now 57 years later, what is the status of OBCs, their social prestige & lifestyle and how is their cultural life?
With the acceptance of Constitution, the Manusmriti, a codebook of Brahmin Dharma became null and void in the legal framework of Republic of India. However, it remained operational informally, by retaining the hierarchy of extreme inequality. Though the political, social and educational rights of the OBCs were legally recognized, in reality OBCs were and are deprived from political power, social prestige and education.
The process of industrialization, which started in 18th century, destroyed the traditional businesses of OBCs. In the new industrial system, OBCs became bankrupt and lost their age-old vocations, the only means of livelihood. In the process, these originally creative, hardworking entrepreneurs got converted in to mere labors or workers. III / IV class workers, menial labors in unorganized sectors, jobless or part time workers is the OBCs’ status today. This may be a unique example in the history of mankind where such a huge population, in size and proportion, amazingly skilled in their respective vocations and related entrepreneurship, totally reduced jobless and pauperized.
OBCs could not become owners or entrepreneurs in their traditional vocations or professions in the contemporary economy. They were reduced to mere workers with upper castes snatching the ownerships or entrepreneurships. Oilmen (Teli), Salt Producers (Agri), Carpenters (Sutar), Weavers (Koshti), Fishermen (Koli) do not own the Oil, Salt, Furniture, Textile and Fisheries business enterprises respectively. Despite traditional knowledge and expertise of the respective areas of business, OBCs are reduced to daily laborers.
Industrialization having no concern for socially unprivileged section of the society resulted in to wiping out several businesses based on the traditional vocations and proficiencies, pauperizing respective castes ruthlessly. Potters (Kumbhar), Artisans producing Bangles and Non-precious Metal Ornaments (Kasar), Basket Weavers (Burud), Stoneware Artisan (Patharwat) are some of the castes devastated by so called modern industrialization. Majority of OBCs are semi-nomadic, as their vocations demanded them to wander from place to place. Therefore, their social structure was already relatively weak. These pauperized castes were either reduced to landless laborers migrating from one place to another or menial unskilled labor forced to migrate to the urban slums. Consequently, their social structure was destabilized, caste members spread out on the vast areas forcing them to loose their community and cultural life and hence the identity. Traditional institute of Caste Council (Jat Panchayat) became defunct creating serious obstacles for resolving normal family and social issues.
The societal profile of OBCs is therefore an extremely loose conglomeration of innumerable castes, most of which are internally destroyed. Consequently, they are neither socially nor politically organized. Therefore, despite having common social and educational problems, they are unable to assert for their rights. Rather they are totally unaware of their constitutional rights related to reservations.