Posted by Sanika Dhakephalkar and Sudhamshu Mitra
When one sees the networks (friends, family, colleagues, lecturers etc) that one has, builds, and accesses, and then tries to understand the kind of caste relationships created in these networks, one can start understanding how caste works in our lives. We take for granted the fact of having built friends and networks in colleges and in the places we work at, in the parties we go to, or the apps we use to date. But have we ever wondered why most of these networks are filled with dominant castes?
Many times, we assume someone’s merit just because they look like us, speak like us, and have read things that we have read. We use our networks to enable many things for our family, friends and acquaintances. We gain jobs and get accepted in interviews because of our ways of thinking and being. But underlying all this, caste continues to operate. Our caste and the castes of the ones around us define the ways in which we are continuing to benefit ourselves and each other through these networks.
These networks are formed and sustained which in itself become accessible to only those who are privileged and have had the opportunity to get educated in the specific kind of schools, read specific books, practiced a specific culture of following a particular kind of media and arts, speak in a specific manner, worked in specific work environments, and understood ways of navigating these spaces. Caste and the networks we form and sustain are inseparable and need to be looked at together.
Is there any relation between the networks of friends, family, colleagues, relationships that we have and our caste backgrounds?
What kind of networks do we get access to because of our caste and privilege?
Do these networks result in privilege to be accumulated and shared amongst only certain castes? Are these networks that we form and sustain to be taken for granted and considered as normal?
Sanika is an artist, translator, and educator. Sudhamshu is a Project Manager and a cat parent. You can find him on Instagram. With inputs from Sumeet Samos.