The White Tiger; Caste System
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The White Tiger; Caste System
I will provide background information about the White Tiger by Aravind Adiga and the caste system in India.
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Untouchable @ National Geographic Magazine

Untouchable @ National Geographic Magazine | The White Tiger; Caste System | Scoop.it
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The National Geographic highlights the discrimination against people who are achuta, or untouchable. Unfortunately, they are shunned, insulted and banned from places of higher caste. Since the main character of the White Tiger belongs to a lower caste, he is separated from Indians of higher classes, but he did not experience the same severity as an untouchable. It's difficult to argue against caste discrimination since it is intertwined with religion. Nevertheless, some Indians question whether caste is being taken to an extreme. 

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GIC | Article

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“According to a government report, 70 percent of India's population belongs to lower castes.” The Constitution of India banned discrimination based on the caste hierarchy. Nonetheless, the system is still deep-rooted in Indian society." Higher education can be the entree to success for people of the lower castes. 

In India, the quality of education is considered very high on the international scale. The United States funded support to train elites in science-related fields. Today the graduates get access to good jobs, and sometimes free loans. Unfortunately, wealthy families usually have an advantage because they can afford better educational tools e.g. private tutors.

The Indian government has tried to grant admissions to positions and government positions for lower caste people. Some students- especially student attending medical school- have begun to protest the preferential policy for the lower caste. They say that it is reverse discrimination.

Pippal believes that people who claim to be from a higher caste often look down on lower castes, regardless if they are poor themselves. The Dalits need to work twice as hard than the higher-caste people in order to thrive in Indian society and overcome job discrimination. He believes that preferential policies should be permitted.

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Lists That Contain The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Lists That Contain The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga | The White Tiger; Caste System | Scoop.it
Goodreads members voted The White Tiger into the following lists: Booker Prize Winners, Best Books of the Decade: 2000s, Best Books of 2008, Best Indian ...
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According to Goodreads, readers that enjoyed the White Tiger also gravitated to Memoirs of a Geisha and other cultural novels of the decade. The book is listed under several categories, such as book prize winners, best book of the decade, best Indian book, best south Asian fiction, and most importantly, best page-turners with redeeming social value. The White Tiger is an eye-opening cultural read.

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India Untouched - Stories of a People Apart | Watch Documentaries Online | Promote Documentary Film

India Untouched - Stories of a People Apart | Watch Documentaries Online | Promote Documentary Film | The White Tiger; Caste System | Scoop.it
Documentary on �India Untouched - Stories of a People Apart� is perhaps the most comprehensive look at Untouchability ever undertaken on film. Director Stalin...
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According to the director, the documentary's main focus is to reveal the severity of untouchability in some parts of India. It also explains how the caste system and the Hindu religion are intertwined. This documentary shows a variety of viewpoints, both for and against the caste system. However, it's evident that the makers of the film are against caste discrimination. Some people have never witnessed "untouchability" while others are exposed to a deep-rooted caste system on a daily basis. Most likely, the director highlighted the most extreme cases of untouchability in India. 

 

In the White Tiger, the main character discusses how some Indians live in the Light while others live in Darkness. This issue is associated with wealth division and the caste system. Just like in the documentary, there are several viewpoints involving the separation between the castes. According to Balram, there were a lot more castes before British rule of India. But after the British left, all that was left were Indians with Big Bellies and Indians with Small Bellies. 

 

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India Map, Map of India

India Map, Map of India | The White Tiger; Caste System | Scoop.it
Maps of India is the largest resource of maps on India. This site provides all types of India map-Outline maps, Physical maps, Political maps, Reference maps and India news maps-along with a large number of utility tools and informative write-ups.
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India is a country located in the South Asia. The Indian Peninsula is bordered by India Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east. India shares its land border with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east.

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ACDA - Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance

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There are very few advocacy groups involving the caste system. Some people believe that the situation is too difficult to make a difference. Therefore, the United Nations had to take control. I found one online organization against caste discrimination from the United Kingdom. It's fighting against caste not just overseas, but in their own areas as well. 

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GIC | Article

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Dalits are the untouchable underclass in India. They are treated as outcasts and consist of more than 160 million people. Their leader campaigns for an end to discrimination against the Dalits. This issue has been put on the agenda of the United Nations' international conference on racism and discrimination.

According to the interview with Mr. Macwan, Dalits are "deprived of land of ownership, required to drink and eat from separate utensils, barred from wells and temples, forced into bonded labor and made to clean latrines with their bare hands and carry human waste away from the home of caste Hindus." They are also vulnerable to violence of the upper class Hindus and the police. If the Dalits try to convert to other religions to escape the Hindu caste system, then they will face more discrimination as a result of Hindu nationalism.

Conversely, India has tried to offer more opportunities to the Dalits, such as the India's president K.R. Narayanan who was born an untouchable. India also has laws forbidding discrimination and has introduced affirmative action to bring Dalits into politics and universities. Nevertheless, most of them still face heavy discrimination.

Mr. Macwan describes discrimination under the caste system as an institutionalized system. For example, The Brahmins are the highest caste. Despite that they are only 3.5 percent of the population, they hold 78 percent of judicial positions and half of parliamentary seats. He argues that caste is not just a domestic issue, but a universal concern.

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Caste system - New World Encyclopedia

Caste system - New World Encyclopedia | The White Tiger; Caste System | Scoop.it
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This encyclopedia explains caste systems around the world, such as in Nepal, Pakistani, Sri Lanka, Japan, Korea, Yemen, some regions of Africa, and Latin America. Some are deep rooted in society while others have disappered several years ago. It can be concluded that caste is an international human rights issue that needs to be addressed. 

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Aravind Adiga's 'The White Tiger': the story of a name « Keep Calm ...

Aravind Adiga's 'The White Tiger': the story of a name « Keep Calm ... | The White Tiger; Caste System | Scoop.it
One of the most entertaining and enlightening sources of information was Aravind Adiga's novel, The White Tiger. While it's true that it is a work ... Balram's family name is Halwai, meaning 'sweet maker' in the caste system.
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Over the progression of seven nights, Balram Halwai tells us the comical story of how he became a success. He begins as a poor boy in the rural village of Laxamngargh and aspires to become an entrepreneur in the city. Despite his success as a driver, Balram realizes that is still servant in the "Darkness" with innumerable disadvantages. In the city of Delhi, Balram becomes exposed to the wide-ranging corruption of Indian society. He grasps the separation between the rich and the poor, and desires to become affluent. Pinky, one of Balram’s masters decides to drive the car drunk and assumes that she hit a child. The family agrees to frame Balram for the hit and run. After Pinky and his other master Ashok split-up their marriage, infuriated Balram kills Ashok and flees to Banglanore with his nephew. Balram rationalizes his actions at the end of the novel by stating that his freedom was worth the slaying, and transforms into a very successful business entrepreneur. 

 

Balram believes that "humans should live like humans, and animals should live like animals." When he visits the zoo, he sees a tiger pacing back and forth inside a cage and passes out. He feels that he has been treated like an animal for the majority of his life. The main character addresses the human rights issues that all humans should be treated fairly, and be able to move freely as they please. At the end of the novel, he finally feels like he is being treated like a human when he becomes an entrepreneur.

 

I believe the White Tiger is an entralling black comedy. It's an eye-opening cultural experience that addresses some pressing human rights issues. Despite the amount of comedy sprinkled throughout the novel, the exposes some serious corruption. A lot of subjects like wealth divide, pollution, disease, globalization, education, and family traditions can be traced back to religion, or particularly the caste system. Overall, it teaches that decency can still be found in a world of corruption and a person can achieve anything if he doesn't allow anything to stop him. 

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GIC | Article

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For several thousand years, the caste system has been a prevalent institution in Indian society. Castes are referred to as jatis. The meaning of caste is hereditary groups of people by social class. Traditionally, caste determines one’s rights, responsibilities, occupation, social status, and religious rituals. One principle is that people shouldn’t marry or socialize with other castes to an extent. There are thousands of castes in the country today. 

 

Generally, the caste system is connected with the Hindu religion, though some scholars reject that it initiated from Hindu scriptures. The four categories or varnas (literally “color”) include the Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shrudas. “Brahmans were the priests and teachers who served the functions of learning, teaching, and performing sacrifices. Kshatriyas were the warriors, skilled in the martial arts and educated to be leaders, whose task was to protect the people and fight their enemies. Vaisyas were the merchant class. Shudras were the laborers not entitled to an education, who generally served as servants to the other three classes.” 

 

Brahmans are at the top of the hierarchy. The ranking was based on ritual purity. Ritual purity was partly a trait of birth and certain lifestyle habits. There was a fifth category of Indian society, which was considered either the lowest of the varnas or outside the varna structure entirely. This was the “untouchables” or Dalits. Dalits were typically associated with activities such as removing feces or dead animals, and their “untouchability” stemmed from a cultural notion of pollution. They were denied basic civil rights and were often subjected to tragedies. 

 

This article fully describes the caste system in a religious and historical manner. The White Tiger subtly describes how the caste system affects the main character. Throughout the novel, caste influences his way of life and it becomes the obstacle that he to overcome in order to become successful. According to the main character, the caste that one is born into affects the past, present, and future of most Hindus. The United Nations considers the caste system as a human rights issue.

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