The Afrikaner right leaning government of South Africa during the apartheid era was disallowed from participating at global fora, was slapped for human rights discrimination for violating civil rights of people in the country, discrimination that was based on their racial and ethnic segregation.
Amnesty International, Human rights watch, US government, countries in the EU, across South America, and even India had slapped sanctions against the apartheid government and maintained that till Mandela was freed, his freedom marking the dawn of a new nation, the new South Africa that we now call the rainbow nation.
I cannot but help make comparisons between what has transpired in South Africa and what is seen in my motherland today.
Lets compare and analyse
Apartheid vs the caste system in India
Apartheid is segregation of people of different races from one another based on their racial features, color of their skin AND using religious text as a pretext to implement this abomination.
The caste system in India derives its sanctity from the religious texts and teachings, segregates people based on the kind of trade they ply or the work they do ( which is often passed on from generation to generation, with no hope to move up, since they do not have the required skills or the education to move up!!) and creates a pecking order where the “higher” castes , take it upon themselves to exploit the ” lower castes”.
The AFRIKANER versus the INDIAN POLITICAL CLASS and their political legitimacy
The white racist Afrikaner believed that without his “superior” intelligence ( because he was white skinned!!) the country would fall into disarray, which gave him the GOD GIVEN right to strictly segregate the country on racial lines, without which there would be chaos!!
The political class in India believe that without them, the voting, illiterate, un educated masses would fall by the way side, and they are therefore GOD’s GIFT to poor, illiterates, who are the vast majority, who vote for them, based on caste lines ( poor wretches, cannot understand that giving in to the appeal of caste based voting , is endorsing their poor plight, and endless continuity of the caste system which exploits them….they will never have the necessary intelligence to comprehend what they ultimately give in to, based purely on HOPE of better governance).
The Indian political class thus segregates the people based on caste lines ( as opposed to racial lines…its just the same really)
Human right violations in Apartheid South Africa and in the reality of India
The Apartheid government of South Africa was ostracized for their brutal repression of the civil rights, for economic segregation based on racial lines, for not giving access to basic amenities to people of color.
- Education- The apartheid government of South Africa deliberately ensured that education was not made available to people of color, especially the blacks , so that they could justify their apartheid policy, and tell the world that EVEN if governance was to be given to blacks, the blacks were unfit to rule since they were not educated- therefore implying, that their subjugation was the only way forward. The policies ( or lack of it ) of the Indian political class over the last 65 years have mirrored the apathy of the apartheid government and can only be analysed as a deliberate attempt to keep large masses of voting population uneducated, illiterate, and therefore globally unaware…and therefore unable to think logically, think for themselves and take decisions ( vote) based on self realization and self determination. Hence its been very easy for the political class to exploit the illiteracy of the voting class and to remain in power despite no performance over the last 65 years.
- Economic segregation- The apartheid government in South Africa ensured economic segregation of the nation by implementing education segregation, and creating a poorly skilled pool of labor class that subsided on below average minimum wage. By ensuring failure in educating its masses over the last 65 years, the Indian government has ensured that large swathes of the population are unfit for skilled jobs, and therefore for moving up the economic ladder. The disparity in wages between educated , highly skilled professionals and unskilled ( uneducated, illiterate) labor force in India is so glaring that it stumps you, not to mention that there exists a huge gap between the wage of a woman and man in the country!
- Civil rights- During the apartheid regime , the South African government let lose a reign of terror in Soweto where students were protesting their lack of access to decent education- the government would have none of that, and let lose their dogs, gun slinging white police officers and mowed down the protesters- how different is the recent spate of protests across India that have galvanized a sleeping nation? How different is the recent crackdown on the protesters?
Pathetic and non existent implementation of education across India, leading to huge economic disparity in the country, leading to the masses asking for their civil rights as citizens ( to be educated, to be emancipated) is a vicious cycle- where the Government, lead by the RULING ( NOT LEADING) political class, shows total disdain for accountability, passes the buck at the drop of a hat ( my bureaucrats dont work , my clerks dont work, I did my job by signing off on the document prepared by some one etc etc) and passes off non performance as achievements against global benchmarks, ONLY a total revamp of the political class will ensure sustenance of a truly democratic nation.
EDUCATION is just one element that I have taken to construct a case to make the required comparisons between the apartheid regime in South Africa and what has been happening , right under our noses for the past 65 years, in the garb of “democracy”.
If South Africa could be slapped with punitive sanctions by the league of nations for over 40 years, till they came to their senses and truly became a democracy, then what stops the nations of the world to impose sanctions against India, which is de facto, RULED ( and not LED) by a corrupt, malicious, self serving political class ( much like the white , supremacist, racist Afrikaner)!
Food for though for my friends in civil society in the US, EU and elsewhere!!