BJP has been appropriating all national heroes India has. Since the agenda has moved from being simply pro-hindu to being pro-hindu + progressive, this kind of symbolic appropriation is nothing unexpected. Hindu upper castes feel in control, they love the spin BJP gives to traditional vitriolic. Right wing think-tank is continuously at work to create progressive sounding rhetoric that changes little on ground, except polarizing the masses further. There is one key problem that BJP would love to address, but haven’t dared so far. Reservations.
Taking away reservations will not bridge the gap between lower castes and upper castes. It will only fuel the anger against ‘savarnas’ or upper castes for taking away priviledge that the community had got accustomed to. Also, it would be unfair for really underpriviledged communities, many of whom are even now marginalized. In many ways, this is a catch 22 situation with seemingly no answer. If you don’t give reservations, underdeveloped communities suffer, if you do, then the bias against lower castes strenghthens. Handing out reservations to economically underdeveloped is often pitched as a way out, but in a corrupt country like ours, how difficult it is to falsify economic state? Many of our politicians do not even have a crore in their bank accounts after all!
The only way out I see is offering reservations to progeny of inter-caste, and inter-religion couples. This could make a marriage in lower caste desirable for many upper castes if it means consolidation of wealth. Sure many fourth or fifth generation ‘lower-castes’, who are under-privileged would benefit, as they would be closest to what upper caste hindus find attractive. Yet, a state sanctioned benefit for breaking down caste barriers could have long term positive repercussions in annihilation of caste from India.
The question is, who will bell the cat?