Fafda Files: Classism vs Racism

Classism vs Racism - Seniors Today

Anthropologists have confirmed that the natural evolution of living species is in a continuum, writes Minoo Shah

Ashley Montagu 1 in his infinite wisdom while reading stories of his ancestor Romeo proclaimed that race was a social construct. Since all the Capulets2 were dead by this time, no one threatened him with their swordsmanship or forced him to partake of bitter substances that would end his oratory skills or his affinity towards science. Meanwhile, heralding the Neolithic age, the hunters and gatherers leaning towards herbivore tendencies, thought a change in hierarchy was due. Parshuram Pandit3 self-appointed himself the head honcho and proceeded to name the well-dressed ones with headgear as the Kshatriyas, the ones in Safari Suits as Vaishyas and the worker bees as Shudras. He hastily added the rest to his fold because he was getting the evil eye from his better half, for not having taken out the garbage. And, that Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the Class System was born.


On the other hand, due to lack of communication with Pandit (as their communication devices had developed a bug) the confused emigres in the West set up a debate platform in order to compartmentalise the bourgeois and the proletariats. Blumenbach4 screamed that race should be based on human morphology (I wonder if he and his kin had evolved from the slithering reptile species), and Morton5 wanted to measure people’s skulls to ordain them a race. Eventually, after many a debate with Livingstone6, Galton7, and Linnaeus8, it was agreed that the haves and the have nots be colour-coded. This decision was met with back-thumping to toasts of madeira while white smoke flew from the chimney alerting the peasants that the powers had spoken as one. Thus, was born a racial ideology which through the centuries has increasingly become a vote garnering tool.

People let us debate on what can be eradicated better – Classism or Racism. My answer is – Classism! Proof positive is that a Shudra rickshaw driver’s daughter has become a Scientist, a Vaishya businessman is ruling financial territories, a Kshatriya has become an entertainer and a Teacher sweeps floor to set an example in character building. Since for eons India has been criticised for its Class system – here is scientific fodder for the brain – anthropologists have confirmed that the natural evolution of living species is in a continuum. Compared to that, it has been unequivocally determined that Racism is the true failure of civilisation.

But, before you start doing garba, bhangra, the laavni dance or start cavorting Bollywood style, I request that you ask your help to sit down with you at the dinner table, partake of a hot cup of masala chai with your chowkidar, get your son married to that sanitary worker’s daughter who aced the IIT entrance exam and above all teach your “baap lakh chhappan hajaar” brats that you will ‘ekach kana khaltoon hiskoon deen’, if they act like they have hung the moon!

In all seriousness (the only time I will be), to dwell in our own cesspool of middle-class superiority proves our ignorance so the only answer is to let go of divisive archaic ideologies. As the circle of life continues, the foregone conclusion is that the interplanetary green beady eyed intellectual inhabitants who will soon rule our mother ship, will judge you based on your capabilities. While you clench your teeth, jaws dropped and heave as if having a cardiac arrest for my words have hit your middle-class vulnerability – I say Carpe Diem, it is not too late.

End Notes

1. Ashley Montagu – Montagu, Ashley a scientist who argued that race was devised by society and possibly a distant kinsman of Romeo Montagu (of the Romeo and Juliet fame)
2. Capulets – Surname of above-mentioned Juliet
3. Parshuram Pandit – Pandit, Parshuram a fictitious name meant to add spice
4. Blumenbach – Blumenbach, Johann created the racial classification system based on human morphology
5. Morton – Morton Samuel, G collected skulls to racially profile humans based on brain capacity
6. Livingstone – Livingstone, Frank was struck out when he said there were ‘no races, only clines’ – for misspelling clans
7. Galton – Galton, Francis advocated policies for racial breeding much like the Nazis
8. Linnaeus – Linnaeus, Carolus created the classification system based on his mental map

Disclaimer: No four-legged animals were physically harmed during the writing of this article; mental harm to fragile egos may have been caused to bipeds.

About Minoo Shah

Minoo Shah, a resident of Texas, USA since 1976,  is a former journalist and has served on many community boards. She is currently studying towards her Ph D in the liberal arts and humanities. She writes on SeniorsToday.in every Saturday. Her views here are personal, and the Editors and Publisher of Seniors Today do not necessarily endorse her views.

View all posts by Minoo Shah

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