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Ahmedabad upper caste full of contempt towards not just Dalits but also OBCs


By Rajiv Shah 
Who doesn't know that casteism is all-pervasive in India. However, when one talks of casteism, often things boil down to the intensity of untouchability, officially abolished after India became a republic, found in not just in rural areas but also in towns and cities.I found it existing when I settled down in Ahmedabad, living in a two bedroom apartment in a supposedly posh area. The person who would come to pick up trash daily at our doorstep would be given food leftover in the evening. While we wouldn't have any leftover, the next door neighbour would give it in such a way that she or he doesn't come in direct contact (touch) of the person, who would belong to the Valmiki community, "lowest" in the Hindu social ladder.
That was in mid-1990s. We are now living in the third decade of the 21st century. It's a middle class society where I live in Ahmedabad. I often hear phrases like "these scheduled castes" from persons belonging to upper castes to declare how Dalits refuse to live clean when they see footwear lying in the corridors outside the doorsteps of the flats where Dalits live.
Of course, they are not so much contemptuous towards Banias or Brahmins, many of whom also keep footwear outside the doorsteps, in the corridor. They are at least not identified with their caste. Be that as it may, I have found, casteism takes various forms in Ahmedabad societies where mainly upper caste people live.
Thus, a person very close to me told me how the society chairman angrily protested against the move to sell the flat to an individual with Mali surname. "We were told not to sell to a Mali, who belongs to the other backward class (OBC). We were warned, if the society flat was sold to Mali, the flat wouldn't be transferred in his name. Only Brahmins and Banias are allowed", the person close to me told me.
Yet, the person told me, the flat was sold to Mali, despite resistance. A rich person, Mali was finally accepted, as he was apparently identified as a good person, an "exception" among OBCs! Apparently, the society chairman found out that a transfer fee of Rs 30,000 wouldn't be received if the transfer is "not allowed" -- and the Mali fellow didn't care two hoots.

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