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Understanding why some events are kept alive in our collective consciousness and others interred

By PRANAY SHARMA (Published October 17, 2011 in Outlook India)


As people across the world sniffled at the poignant ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, beamed live from Ground Zero in New York, few would have remembered the significance this date holds for the people of Chile. It was on September 11, 1973, that the democratically elected government of Salvadore Allende was dislodged through a coup, organised, ironically, at the behest of the CIA, an incident more or less effaced from the ‘globalised memory’. Few, too, would have muttered a silent prayer for the thousands who have perished in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, countries turned into veritable killing fields because of the war on terror that the Americans unleashed as retribution for the terror attacks.

Truly, power is about determining what people remember and what they forget. It’s a striking asymmetry.

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The Racist Caste System: Aryanism, Caste and Power Relations in India

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Introduction

Most people, in India and globally, are surprised today to hear of the presence of a racial problem in India. While most are aware of the caste discriminations so widely and shamelessly practiced in the country, it is seen as a problem completely independent of racial problems such as that in the United States between blacks and whites or those of the Apartheid. I hope to show that the caste system in India was transformed into a racist ideology with the arrival of British in the country, thus exacerbating the social inequalities caused by it, not only amongst Hindus, but also Muslims and Christians in the nation. I will focus primarily on the Aryan Invasion Theory, which effectively split Hindus into two factions, and left out the non-Hindus altogether. This theory has helped build a supremacist mentality, which exists to date. I will link this to the functioning of the Hindu caste system in ancient India, during the Mughal period, and in contemporary times.

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