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04/24/2013

About casts and inequalities in India - Illustration

 To continue on the subject of untouchability and castes, I am often asked the question whether it still exists and is still visible. And I answer that either it doesn’t really prevails in my world (personal and professional), either it is too subtle for me – at the same time I don’t really dig because I find it a pretty abominable system – this being a personal point of view. 

However, below is something I witnessed last week.

I was having lunch with an Indian guy, fluent in English, a shrewd sales guy and a manager in an MNC. He is about 35 years old, 1.60m, 90 kilos, the type of guys who impose. Rather silent, he commands respect by his looks more than by what he says (since when he opens up it is often to say stupid things). 

A nice guy but completely devoid of humility (to put it simply, when I told him maybe he could work on his humility he had never heard the word…).

So I was at the restaurant (local joint) with Mister Me-Me-Me and he had just ordered a coke. The waiter brought the can and stood on the side.

My Indian fellow showed him to come closer and with a smile full of empathy asked him whether he was tired. I was amazed: it doesn’t look like him at all to worry about other people’s (whoever) health. Maybe it was an example that only stupid people never change??

The waiter answered he was okay. So my associate pointed at the can and said "so??'' The poor guy had not opened the can for him...

The whole point of this story is that due to the cast system in India there is a real rigor in the task division. There is a guy to wash clothes, one to iron, one to put in the cupboard etc.

End

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