Sunday, May 05, 2013

Identities - IV

The other day, I was talking to my Chinese colleague in Shanghai. The topic went to the caste system. I sort of felt they had some kind of idealized notions about it. They were guessing the castes of some of the Indians higher in hierarchy in the company.

That set me thinking the way we view other societies. I suppose people in India growing up reading Jane Austen would have a very idealized and romantic notion about the  English classes.

I guess the danger of reading with a neutral angle is we lose focus how these societies could actually suppress a big chunk of population. A woman idealizing chivalrous patriarchal society, A Dravidian idealizing the class English society or a southern Chinese idealizing the caste Indian society are some of the dangers of uncritical reading of history.

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