Casteism is not only prevalent but institutionalised in India's higher education institutes. This is more evident in technical fields like medicine and engineering. But, the practice is wilfully ignored, found a study.
The authors focused on various ways casteism is practised and normalised. They took the aftermath of the tragic suicides of Payal Tadvi and Rohit Vemula into account and referred to them as institutional murders.
The study that casteism exists in the direct form of abusive casteist slurs, gestures, comments and physical exclusion as well as indirect ill-informed opposition to policies of reservation. The systemic discrimination inflicts psychological harm on victims, reported The Wire.
The recent study titled 'The Steady Drumbeat of Institutional Casteism' by the Forum Against Oppression of Women, Forum for Medical Ethics Society, Medico Friend Circle and the Peoples' Union of Civil Liberties, Maharashtra concluded that higher education institutions rarely acknowledge discrimination based on caste. Both subtle and overt forms of the regressive practice are "willfully" ignored.
Authors also pointed out that the rate of inter-caste marriages in India in 2011 was 5.82%. There has been no upward trend in the past 40 years.
The study highlighted the culture of victim-blaming and apathy towards the victims. It noted how victims are called "mentally weak" after their deaths. Findings suggest that victims are accused of being 'obsessed with caste identities' or being 'over-sensitive' or 'paranoid'.
The study noted that the discrimination against students who get admission according to the policy of reservation does not stop even after they prove their merit. It also emphasized the failure of the implementation and non-compliance of various UGC regulations.
Faculty in medical colleges were also reported to have been subjecting students to unfair practices. Candidates are also ignored for academic and employment prospects on the basis of their caste.