Modern untouchability and my unanswered questions

Writing with a doubt whether I have an eligibility to write this and also a fear that I get maximum opposition for this.

For the last few years, after I started to apply logical thinking !!?!!?!! in everything happening around me, few acts of people whom I meet quite often started to bother me. Quoting few among the many incidents before I start asking the questions that are logical (at least) to me.

A family that is well known to me is always known for their usage of quality products.  Right from a small pin they always stick to the usage of branded items and never mind spending.  But I was shocked to see a bag full of “use and throw” plastic cool drink ang mineral water bottles which are not hygienic for reuse. With a great curiosity i questioned about that and their answer just put me into a terrible shock. They said it is for giving water to servants and their gardener.

Another incident which shot my pressure up was the manner in which a lady who is well known to me fed her maid who came for cleaning her house. She just gave rotis and dhal to her in a plastic cover used for packing non food items.

Questions after questions came running inside my mind from the age of 13 when I came across such incidents again and again. Same questions came when I was forced not to touch and lift a street worker’s kid filled with dirt who was crying in the road. Reason is still not known to me?!

In the last 2 years alone I came across several such incidents.  All these people committing such acts do not belong to a particular community alone  but are from different sects. Being a person known to them I absolutely adore many good qualities in them. But equally I was puzzled with such behaviour which is in total contrast with their character and ideology.

Having interacted with these people the reasons which many putforth are 1. Aacharam/madi/ ancestral practice and 2. Those people are not clean and have untidy habits.

Now here are my questions.

If the first reason is true then where is the source for the same?? This question was not properly addressed by any of those who practice. When the archakar of srirangam temple threw a stone to hit thiruppanazhwar on this forehead, Sriranganathar’s forehead was bleeding inside the Srirangam temple. Didnt this try to mean that an insult caused by a man to other by virtue of a birthbased difference,  is an insult to god himself?If such discrimination is a part of bhakthi, then why did the Archakar who illtreated Thiruppanazhwar based on his caste was made to carry the same person in his shoulders and enter the temple?   What is the sanctity of such acts when the supreme god whom we pray himself did not warrant such acts?

If we take Sri Ramanujar, his only motto was to spread the divinity of Sriman Narayana’s name to everyone irrespective of a person’s birth based classification.

When we claim to worship them and seek their blessings,  what is the point in acting in a manner derogatory to what they taught??

Each and everyone one may not be Thirupanazhvar. But we should admit the fact that they are also living beings created like us. Why don’t they deserve a respect? We need not carry them in shoulders. But we can still give them a comfort that they are no lesser than us.

For those who opt for the 2nd reason called hygiene,( I have even heard stupid complaints that those people will not take proper bath etc etc. ) here are my questions.. If we are so particular about health and cleanliness why don’t people like us deserve a clean treatment from us? In this busy world aren’t we eating or staying on hotels? How far can u ensure complete cleanliness in such places? Assuming if such cleanliness pertains only to objects then what will happen if kids at our home misplace silver utensils in garbage? Don’t we wash and use them again? They may not be served food in a silver plate but why at least not a plantain leaf or a separate glass plate?

These are just few questions that I asked. Though I don’t get a concrete answer the scoldings that I always get as a response is assured!

My point is not to go against what our ancestors did. Even I understand the significance and value of following madi/acharam/hygiene or whatever it may be called. But without inheriting the underlying principle of humanity, following these practises at the whims and fancies of an individual is something not logical.

I do admit that i have compulsions to “watch” such practises quietly. But I sincerely feel that I will not pass this to my next generation unless I find some logical background for these.

At the age of 25 I am not qualified to teach the elders from whom I am supposed to learn. I am in the learning process and will learn more from them. But sometimes my mind feels that I should not take the lessons that I have learnt to the next generation which I feel do not have a logical base.

Praying elders to guide me appropriately if I am wrong.


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8 Responses to Modern untouchability and my unanswered questions

  1. சௌமியன் says:

    Good point, though. It seems to me that it is a total failure of our values based education. What we have school doing now is only literacy programme. Mug up the guide and vomit in the answer paper.

    • savitha says:

      True. Schools to be blamed on one hand. But on the other pur elders who merely teach the practises without teaching the spiritual and logical base behind it.

  2. ranjani says:

    I totally agree with you. All these have provoked me many a times. The irony is that people need someone to do their household work – they are ready to wear clothes washed by someone else, cook food with vessels washed by someone and live in a place cleaned and maintained by someone but deny that someone their rights to a clean and healthy living… people who do such work cannot be called servants.. it’s their job.. it’s their profession.. we must all learn to respect them for that and not take advantage of it.. I am sorry abt the lengthy comment but couldn’t help.

  3. Ramesh says:

    excellent observations no where in hindu mythology untouchability is preached. a cobbler’s daughter became brahma rishi pathni and no brahmin marriage is conducted w/o showing her(Arundathi) atleast symbolically. a grand son of a fisherman only compiled vedas. Even there is a story of one widow lady asking Ramanuja which should refrain from your path the body or the inner soul?. lord shiva shows adtwaitham to Shri Adi Shankara in Kasi in the disguise of a pulaiyan( one who sells meat and other such products). it is pity that the good things of our religion is not properly propagated and these things are rooted in these period of muslim and british rule as they wanted to divide us and not keep us united for their well being. Please do not allow these things to continue and fight for the right of all.

  4. Kaushik Sv says:

    Every community will have some morons like that. My cousin faced discrimination just for being an iyer. They let him join their sports team only after he started using words like “Otha/Ommala”. The best thing to do when such inhuman things happen is to fight “on the spot” with oppressor (be it upper or lower class person) and then they won’t dare to do it again.

  5. men/women are selfish animals. they do what is convenient to them .generally people dont use their 6 th sense. on the other side there is some thing really connected to jean theory. because people tent to be unhygienic how ever educated they are. i am seeing this ugly thing for the lat 54 years of my stay here.- people spitting where ever whenever possible. there is no caste or creed difference. it is uniform. people of all strata of society from car , bus or train spray. so here only i feel whether to believe in jean theory. so diff category of people behave in a particular fashion as trained by their family/caste practice

  6. neelagandan says:

    I totally agree with u.

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