My Camera & My Chai – Looking Back Baby…


Over the last days in India, the papers have been rocked with the news of the Jat agitations. The Jats are an upward, dominant caste in the state of Haryana, in North India.

You see, they wanted to be classified as backward, so that they could start to receive all sorts of privileges reserved for the backward castes. And, the agitation took an ugly turn, with them burning public property and private. Finally, the government blinked – or winked.

And then, while we were all reeling in shock, a friend made a rather caustic remark – India is the only place that he knows of, where people fight to be called backward.


You see, he is correct. Now, look at the problem that he faces. He walks forward, while looking back. Dammit, he says, is forward better, or backward?

The forces are opposing, the road goes round and round, and the fires keep burning.


Does he roll back, or does he roll forward? The question goes round and round inside his head.

What happens after one hundred years? When all of India is deemed to be backward, where does the fight then go?

Do the backward classes then fight again? Sorry, backward castes…

Now, one caste will say… No. I am not just backward, but I am Really Backward. All of you are only backward.

And then, someone else will say that they belong to the Absolutely Backward Castes. Hah! Beat that if you can!


Meanwhile, you see, some idiots keep improving our technology. We have new cars. Brand new cars. We have helicopters. We have all sorts of stuff.

Yet, we fight to remain backward.

Why must our thinking progress, when we can have new machines to use? Tell me. Seriously.

Why must you ask me not to be backward? Be reasonable now. If I can remain mentally and emotionally backward, then why should I progress?

Answer that question, and I shall think about it?

Else, let me fight to be backward…..



      1. The life of a parent eh! I know the feeling! We are on tenterhooks waiting to find out where my son goes to secondary school, on Tuesday and he also has big tests coming up in May! Plus we are trying to organise a surprise holiday with my brother and his family and my parents, to celebrate my Pops 70th birthday in May… but my brother is injured and we haven’t got far with the surprise… life eh!

  1. I can understand your point of view on the issue even though I’m not familiar with it, is a specific internal affairs stuff which doesn’t shows up in our newspapers 🙂 Your thoughts make sense and have logic in it and you illustrating them perfectly with your drawing skills of which I’m most impressed! I have a question, might be a dum one, so sorry but I have no clue, what kinda privileges are we looking at?

    1. Privileges like quota for jobs, places in universities… I have been on interview panels, and there was a girl who did not impress. However, since she had applied through the backward tribe category, she got admission. Mind you, she was from the upper middle class, income wise

  2. Perhaps someone should pull a Catch-22 on them, if you’re educated enough to know you’re backward, you can’t be backward.

    The Romans had Janus and now the Indians have the Jats.

  3. It doesn’t sound all that different from the problems we have in the UK – no matter how the class system changes, its still there, and as soon as someone says its in the past, it gets re-invented, romanticised, and re-born!

    Thank goodness I’m above all that! 🙂

  4. We are going through a lot of economic and social changes. This is happening universally. It’s like a mini “de-industrial revolution”. The inequities and the enormous strain on social serves leaves a lot people in desperate straits. What we do need is someone with real innovative vision for the future. Rather than all of us racing to the bottom with the backward glance we need to encourage research and development and with the express purpose of benefiting our local democracies. We have to get off this roller coaster idea that we can only survive with continued growth and consumption fuelled by unfettered trade deals.

    1. True. But, will that ever happen? History does not encourage us. If you look at the history of the Brits in india, it is not a great one. While they left us with some marvellous institutions, they impoverished India, and created a real divide between Hindus and Muslims. Old suspicions tend to leave their poison lingering for a long time.
      Politicians love these situations

      1. I think it helps to encourage our children in that direction. If we get them to pass it on to the next generation it becomes an on going process.

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