Perhaps the caste system in India is not such a bad idea after all. Having been there and experienced the enormous amount of people E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E I cannot help but feel that the slow shift into a liberal society will cause more hardship than healing.
Within the caste system you die in the social strata in which you are born and this is accepted by those who suffer the fate of being of low birth. To us, social-liberal Western-European spoiled brats, this seems like part or cause of the problem “They just sit their accepting their fates and do nothing!!! Why don’t they get of their asses and improve themselves?”. Well, they are about to..
But here is the catch: there are entirely too many of them. No way can the Indian economy, now or in the future, support that many people in a comfortable lifestyle. This country has poverty on a different scale. One of the biggest and booming cities also has the biggest slum in the world and recently suffered waves of violent malaria-outbreaks.
The upside of a capitalistic, post-industrialised society is self-reliance and self-development (lots of self-involvement), catch-phrased in the American Dream “from newspaper-boy to millionaire”. The down side is that it is not true that you can become whatever you want as long as you work hard enough. Where and of whom we are born, our physical fitness, our IQ/EQ/SQ and sheer bloody luck determines for a large part where we end up in life, and that is just within our own society. Now imagine all these impact blows over a segregated society that does not possess enough wealth to provide food for everyone. Never mind a decent standard of living or becoming actually wealthy; you would have a better shot at winning the lottery.
Sadly in this change from caste to capitalism I see a lot of frustration in store for those who will no longer accept their fate and find happiness where they can but instead they will come to blame themselves (or be blamed by others) for their failure to receive their fair share of the Good Life Pie. Currently India has as many hands as Shiva in as many societal and religious forms and all of them are moving towards a more material ‘developed’ state of being.
I am afraid this cannot but create a huge amount of unhappiness (followed by an incline in criminal behaviour) because it is a societal framework making promises to every Indian it cannot fulfil.
India has a lot to struggle through….