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ನೂರೆಂಟು ಸುಳ್ಳು (nUreMTu suLLu)

You may not be a "Dhrutharashtra", but we want to be the Sanjaya for you!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Caste-ing Aspersions

A few weeks back we read an article in The Outlook. You can read it here. (Requires Registration).

The sub-head of the article asks the following question:
Promoted to RBI dy governor, then demoted. Is his caste the issue?
What is it about? It is about Dr.R.B.Barman an executive director of RBI who was first elevated to the post of deputy governor of RBI and later "demoted" back to his original designation.

Why?
As per the report itself, one or more of the following could be the reasons:
One view is that he was not adept at "political manoeuvering, lobbying and promoting himself"—at least until he was publicly humiliated—and this led to his being sidelined. Another contention is that he was ignored because there was no precedent for a statistician to rise to the position of deputy governor. A third charitable one is that the RBI made a genuine mistake. Finally, sources close to Barman claim that he was a victim of RBI's inner politics.

In retrospect, it appears that Reddy elevated Barman "in his personal capacity" without following the proper appointment procedure.

So, where's the "caste" here, you ask?! Good question. We wish we knew the answer.

As per the report, Dr.Barman belongs to a "scheduled caste" and some nameless "sources contend that one of the reasons why he was sidelined may be because of his scheduled caste background".

Yes. That's it. "may be"!

That's all is needed for the good editors at The Outlook to see the caste as "the issue". It does not matter that Dr.Barman's own letter to the governor of RBI (as quoted in the Outlook report itself) does not make any such allegation. It also does not matter in the whole sequence of events as reported by the Outlook itself, there is nothing to indicate that the caste played any role.

So, who were the people who discriminated against Dr.Barman because of his caste, you ask? Again a good question. Did the nameless "sources" name anyone? We don't know. The Outlook certainly does not name anyone.

Yes, we agree that Dr.Barman seems to have been treated shabbily. But, was that because of his caste? Doesn't the Outlook need to establish a few more relevant facts before casting aspersions?

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