A letter to herself

Dearest Niks,

It’s been days I have been missing the real you and some days ago, I decided to search for you. With apprehension, I tried reaching for you every night but my vigilant self noticed the silence between us. I tried hard to talk to you but you always seemed to be so lost, it’s been a month now, so lost in a world of nothingness. I tried to convince myself that I will bring you back to where you once belonged but I have been unsuccessful still. Do you know how many times I went over the script, searching for the right words to utter, seeking understanding, seeking proof of love, seeking a solution to bring back that cheerful girl I used to know?

I kept on telling to Preet that I will bring back that little girl that desperately needed some kind of attention, some kind of affection, someone to listen to her. I kept on telling her so many times, that now, the determination of bringing you back has submerged into my very being, into my heart and soul. I need you and I know you need me too Niks. I long and ache for you. Yesterday night, I sat in a corner watching you from afar because I couldn’t reach you and you wouldn’t let me be next to you at that very moment. All you wanted I know, was a hug, a motherly hug, or a friendly hug.

I am living for that moment where I would find you, and you would wrap your hands around my body and hold me tight and tell me, “I love you.” Yes, I am living for that moment and despite all of the bad things that I have experienced in my life, and despite how harshly I have been beaten down and despite how I had lost hope for everything else, I still believed in you. I believed in you, Niks.  As a young woman, a daughter, a grand-daughter, a past lover, we have both sensed the binding connection to a loved one, mourning, feelings of loss. Once someone belonged with us.  Once we woke up knowing that someone was there for us.  Once we were a being filled with hopes and promises.  Once we shared dreams and made plans. Life happens, people fall out of love, into the arms of others. Lives change, tears fall, and hearts break. There is much I see now, that I could not see then, a wisdom one can only acquire through the passage of time and the unrelenting pain of deep heart aches.  I ask only that you find compassion, that we find compassion. I ask for acceptance within your circle.

In my head, you are no monster. You are beautiful. You are pure. I pitied you;  I felt so sorry for all of the pains that must be inside of you, to make you act in the ways that you are doing. Oh how I built you up so very high. If you would have just given me a chance, a moment of your time, you would have been in awe of the young woman I made you out to be. And you would have loved HER. You are so very beautiful to me, Niks. Time has come that you stop yearning for that gregariousness and be with me (with yourself).

I do not blame you for abandoning me. I do not blame you for forgetting about me. I do not blame you for disappearing all of a sudden. I do not blame you for me crying myself to sleep every single night since a month. I do not blame you for me deciding that, after that break up, I was going to be forever unlovable. I do not blame you for choosing sleeping pills every night, over human beings. I do not blame you for not having that sincere one man in life even though this heart has been broken twice. I do not blame you for anything, Niks.

But right now, as I type this Niks, I am going to blame you. I blame you for closing that door. I blame you for knowing that you are dying inside. I blame you for being fragile and yearning for someone to just listen to you. I wonder when you’ll realize that I am here to listen to you. It is a daily battle for me to believe that it is not my fault. You do not lack anything; that merry little girl is good enough and she deserves someone to love her. But that do not mean that you have to yearn for someone to listen to you even if you know that Mom and Dad are busy in their world, the brothers are busy, the true friends do not exist yet. So, keep yourself busy too and accept me within you and be my best friend.

There is still time so that “we” change “our” story’s ending.  There is still time that we revisit our last conversation, begin a new chapter, accepting that, happiness comes from within. Niketa believes in you Niks. I hope you let go of the things that do not matter any more because you do not need the extra weight holding you down.



Misinterpretation of the caste system in Mauritius

According to socio-historical theory, the caste system began in India. The “Varna Dharma”, that is the division of labour in society, consisted of four ‘Varnas’ or major groups namely the “Brāhman”, the “Kshatriya”, the “Vaishya” and the “Shūdra”. From an organic analogy, the “Brāhman” was like the brain in the body, as its representatives were responsible for spiritual and intellectual matters. Political administration and defense were entrusted to the “Kshatriya”, who was seen as the arms of the body. As for the “Vaishya”, he was like the thighs and so he had to supply food to the nation and administer its economic welfare. At last, the “Shūdra” for his part did menial work for he was considered the feet of the body. Thus, this classification was effected on the worth of the individual and not according to his birth. However, over the years, people have misinterpreted the “Varna Dharma”. In fact, each ‘Varna’ consists of different ‘jatis’ or castes. According to the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, excluding tribes, there are around 896 castes groups in India, like for example in Bihar, there were the ‘Dusadh’, ‘Chamar’, ‘Turi’ and ‘Pasi’, amongst others.

In this ever changing world, the reality of Mauritius has become complex. This is because the Hindus in our country have wrongly interpreted the “Varna Dharma”. The irony is that they don’t even have full knowledge of the different ‘jatis’ or castes and they have even failed to understand that the “Varna Dharma” was a division of labour according to the different aptitudes, capacities or qualities of people. People had a sort of achieved status. Nevertheless, the ‘varna of Brāhmans’ commonly identified with the priests and learned class, is the “Maraze” in Mauritius. The ‘varna of Kshatriyas’ associated with rulers and warriors including property owners, are the “Baboojee” in Mauritius. Besides, the ‘varna of Vaishyas’ associated with businessmen, farmers and traders are the “Vaish” in Mauritius and are also in Majority on the island. At last, the ‘varna of Shūdras’, that is the servile labourers, are the “Rajput” (or “Dusadh”) and the “Ravived” (or “Chamar”) in Mauritius.

The way the castes are arranged in Mauritius is preposterous. Hindus have failed to realize that we live in an open society where social mobility is present. Education is the most important factor explaining this social mobility, that is, through the acquisition of knowledge and skills, people are getting jobs with attractive salaries and which carry high statuses. Even a child of ‘low caste’ can move up the social ladder. I feel that many Hindus blindly follow what they have been taught about their caste. Nowadays, the many so-proud “Maraze” work as labourers when they should according to their ‘Varna’, be priests or teachers. Surprisingly, a lot of the “Shūdras” have moved up the social ladder becoming ministers, lawyers and so on. One most humorous thing to take heed is that in Mauritius, one of the “Shūdras” castes is called “Rajput”, while in India, “Rajput” refers to one of the highest castes that of the bravest soldiers and Kings of Rajasthan in Northern India. Another ironical thing I have noticed is that people who have lost their Indian values, for example, people who choose not to study Hindi at school, and prefer European shows to Indian ones, are the very same people who definitely do not understand the caste system and boast unnecessarily too much about their castes.

Here, in Mauritius, it is the politicians who exploit the caste system for their own benefit. As long as people will depend on current politics, the caste system is bound to stay. The different organizations like the “Vaish Mukti Sangh”, the “Gahlot Rajput Maha Sabha”, the Arya Ravived Pracharini Sabha”, amongst others, according to Dr. Hollup (1996)“these caste populations have emerged as important interest groups bargaining for their share of state resources (particularly government jobs) which are distributed through political patronage.” The politicians know well how to divide people to get the maximum advantage, especially in rural constituencies where very often we find the canvas of one “Vaish”, one “Rajput” and one “Ravived” as candidates. It is disappointing to note that people fail to realize that they are being taken advantage of, for other people’s benefits. I feel that the notion of caste has become an object of frequent abuse at vested hands like for example in the case of politicians whose aims are to obtain more votes during elections.

On a concluding note therefore, the reality of Mauritius is getting more complex. It is to be noted that for some people, the caste system is historical, symbolic and for many, philosophical. For some, it is something to be proud of. For others, it means putting down other people. It is high time to get rid of this caste system. Even India has legally abolished its caste system, yet we the diluted Hindus are still holding on to it.

“There is only one caste, the caste of humanity”.

Therefore, I feel that we have to stop being radical. It is really time that we take responsibility for our own actions and biases because caste and societal divisions are the testimony of Mauritian hypocrisy.