- Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar’s spilled pain – Caste system persists in India even in the 21st century
- Kumar said that even today there are two types of Hindus, one who can go to the temple and the other who cannot.
- Kumar said that today the roads are shining but when will our brain shine, when will the mindset change
- Meira Kumar told that her father struggled with the caste system but did not leave Hinduism
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said on Friday that the caste system continues even in 21st century India. He said that there are two types of Hindus in the country – one who can go to the temple and the other who cannot. Kumar, who hails from the Dalit community and a former diplomat, said at an event here that many people had asked her father Babu Jagjivan Ram to “quit Hinduism” as he faced discrimination due to caste.
The former Lok Sabha speaker said that her father had bluntly said that he would not give up his religion and fight against the caste system. Kumar said that his father used to ask if ‘change of religion changes one’s caste’. Kumar said this in a program organized at Rajendra Bhawan.
Before him, Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh threw light on his new book ‘The Light of Asia: The Poem that Defined Buddha’. The book ‘Light of Asia’ was written by Sir Edwin Arnold which was first published in 1879. In this book the life of Buddha was presented in the form of a poem.
Ramesh said that his book is based on that poem and is in a way a biography of a person who saw the Buddha’s ‘side of humanity’ and not his ‘divine side’. “As far as the management of the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya in Bihar is concerned, my book also talks about a compromise between the Hindu-Buddhist conflict,” he said. One of the reasons I wrote this book was that I wanted to understand the resolution of the conflict between the two religions in the context of Ayodhya.
Ramesh said that many Ambedkarite Buddhists, who are not religious leaders but activists, have been saying that if 100 percent control can be given to Hindus in the Ramjanmabhoomi case, then why can’t the Buddhists be given 100 percent control of Lord Buddha’s Karmabhoomi.
Kumar thanked Ramesh for writing the book and said that the book had helped to “open a closed door” of the social order in which “people were suffocating inside”. “We live in the 21st century, we have gleaming roads, but many people who walk on them are still affected by the caste system. When will our brain shine? When will we give up our caste based mentality… I tell you there are two types of Hindus, one who can go to the temple, the other like me who cannot.
Kumar said, “The priest has often asked me about my gotra and I have told him that I have been brought up where caste is not considered. We have to understand that our culture is pluralistic. We all have learned the best things in our lives from different religions and that is our legacy.
The former Speaker of the Lok Sabha said that we all should follow the path of modernity and become global citizens.