Caste from the lens of the caste privileged: A Brahmin’s journey

Nov 05, 2020, 12:30 PM
“You are told from very early on that as a Brahmin man you are ‘the best of the best’, and so everyone else is basically subordinate to you. You are told that you are part of this special group of people and this is exactly how the world is supposed to be, wherein you are at the top of hierarchy which they say is primarily driven by the fact that you have good karma from your previous lives and that is why you were born a Brahmin," says Shambhu on how caste supremacy was imbued in him from an early age.

In the third episode of Firtpost’s podcast 'Caste in the USA', Thenmozhi Soundararajan speaks to Shambhu, a Brahmin in the diaspora about his experience of growing up in a household that reiterated caste hierarchy at every level of his upbringing. This didn’t stop once he left his home. He saw these hierarchies maintained in the diaspora, in every country he has lived in. 

Shambhu says it was only much later in his 20s that he began to question caste and where he factored in it. Up until then, he was oblivious to the ‘thread bound privileges’ offered to him as he was taught this is how caste works.

While mainstream conversations on caste only crop up during times of caste atrocities which get ‘noticed’, the attempt to understand caste supremacy from the lens of privileged castes and what goes on in their homes is often left unexamined. Exploring these experiences are crucial to understanding and unlearning caste supremacy and that is what this episode attempts to do.