Several creamy layers and quotas later, casteism continues to penetrate even among the most educated crowds in the country. The reservations that were introduced to accommodate the marginalised communities and provide them with opportunities, started being used as a segregatory factor that enabled discriminatory practices.
Caste has been placed as a questionable practice that has often placed even the most qualified candidates' futures on the line. In terms of educational institutions, both professors and students are likely to be targeted by casteist remarks, as reported many times in the past.
In the most recently reported case, a Dalit lecturer from a public University based in Varanasi was dismissed from his job for a post that he had made in regard to the Navratri festivities. Talking about the University's approach toward his freedom of speech, the professor claimed that he was being "targeted" because of his caste.
Talks In Regard To Women Empowerment Took An Unexpected Turn
Mithlesh Kumar Gautam was serving his tenure as a guest lecturer at the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith when he was sacked in regard to a post he made. He received information on his dismissal by September 29, to which he responded that the varsity was pressured by the casteist administration and Hindu outfits to take action against him.
The post which led to the outrage read, "For women, it is better to read the Constitution of India and the Hindu Code Bill instead of fasting for nine days during Navratri." Adding on to it, the post said, "Their lives will be free from fear and slavery. Jai Bheem".
After his advice against women fasting during Navratri, several members from the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, issued complaints.
With the growing agitations seen among the student outfits, the University released a removal order claiming that the professor's comments might impact the university's environment. The registrar Sunita Pandey said that there was wide-scale unrest seen among the students against Gautam, which could hinder the functioning of the university.
Further, keeping in view the oncoming examination and admission process, the professor was discharged from his post and has been "banned from entering the university premises."
Meanwhile, the university's chief proctor, Amita Singh, stated that the move came in view of the many complaints against Gautam that were made in the past as well.
A Dalit Professor Within A Casteist Structure
Gautam, who taught students the subject of the Indian Constitution, accused the many Hindu outfits of being against employing Dalit teachers at the university. Supporting his statement, he added that many other Dalit professors were also targeted similarly in the past.
Alleging that he was not even given a chance to explain his stand, he stated that he was facing action because of the pressure applied by the casteist outfits and administration. Well aware of the comments thrown his way, he said that people have been tagging officials on social media to take criminal action against him.
विद्यापीठ में जो कुछ हो रहा है बीते दिनों से वह बहुत ही दुखद है।
हमारे अध्यापक प्राचार्य लोग की तर्क के नाम पर बस एक...Posted by Åyush Singh Kushwaha on Friday, 30 September 2022
Mithilesh Gautam, a guest lecturer at Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith in Varanasi, has been dismissed by the University &...Posted by Rajendra Bhaduri on Friday, 30 September 2022
The people who complained against him wanted to thrash him up but could not as he was not at the varsity, according to a report by Scroll that quoted him.
Gautam continued to defend his views and said that he has only advised women to read more and empower themselves through their understanding of the texts. "I was only talking about women empowerment. If they read these texts, they will become more aware," he said.
Casteism Has Been Reported Within The Premier Universities To Anganwadis
Earlier in 2021, an assistant professor from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras' resignation post went viral as it openly spoke of the existing casteist structure. Professor Vipin P. Veetil's resignation email alleged the premier educational institution of their caste-based discrimination. As per a report by The Hindu, he pointed out multiple such instances and said that he would be pursuing appropriate action to address them.
About two days prior to the professor's accusations, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) had raised questions about IIT-Madras's hiring practices. They had found that the university was not hiring enough candidates to fill the vacancies of the scheduled caste, tribes and other backward communities for the teaching positions.
Last month there were reports of a Sanskrit teacher facing discrimination from his colleagues, who were mostly Kshatriyas. As a person coming from a scheduled caste background, the teacher was asked to "not try to become equal with them".
The case that was reported from a school in Uttar Pradesh saw the teacher approach the police authorities with the complaint but saw no action being taken. According to a report by Zee News, the teacher continued to be mentally and physically harassed on a regular basis.
With such reported scenarios, many teachers and professors have been able to voice out the systemic injustice they go through, and Gautam's accusation sheds further light on such allegations.
Also Read: Hunger, Thirst & Curse Of Being 'Untouchable': What Made Ambedkar The Man Of His Principles