Power and Politics: Caste Conventions and Clout in Madhya Pradesh

Caste remains a uniting factor though the moneyed and influential also tend to flock together.

In Madhya Pradesh, caste-assertions is a relatively new trend. People belonging to particular castes and sub-castes are holding conventions on a daily basis. Sometimes they are show of strengths and also serve as political and social platforms.

It's age-old practice that once you have money or influence, you aspire for fame. When these things get inter-connected, it brings more power. The positive aspects are the cultural events during these sammelans. The weddings of unmarried youngsters are planned at these programmes.

The latest is the 'International Kalar Mahasammelan' that was held in Bhopal on February 21 though the use of 'international' may raise eyebrows. The poster shows prominent politicians of national-level and state other than local social workers and other personalities.

One may recognise Dilip Suryavanshi, a City-based builder along with other dignitaries' photos. MLAs Pradeep Jaiswal, Dileep Jaiswal, liquor contractor Dileep Shivhare and corporator Pankaj Chaukse are among those whose names adorned the hoardings.

The best part of such events it the 'parichay sammelans'. The meritorious students are honoured also. There are many other benefits but there is another aspect. Aren't caste events encouraging exclusivity and in turn fragmentising society!

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