Can 'Castelessness' Fix Caste?

 

 

 

 

Why are the privileged upper castes enabled to think of themselves as "casteless", while the disprivileged lower castes are forced to intensify their caste identities?

Sociologist Satish Deshpande, in his article: “Caste and Castelessness: Towards a Biography of the ‘General Category’,” discusses how the upper caste identity can be completely overwritten by modern professional identities of choice, while the lower caste identity is so indelibly engraved that it overwrites all other identities and renders them illegible, along with the choices that they may represent.

He argues that this asymmetrical division has truncated the effective meaning of caste to lower caste, thus leaving the upper castes free to monopolise the "general category" by posing as casteless citizens.

 

Illustration: Chaitanya Mandugula

 

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