Because, as the Indian scientist Gurcharan Das pointed out a few years ago:
“It is highly desirable and therefore rare in many places because it is expensive to grow and the crop is therefore very expensive to ship. The only way to produce it cheaply was to grow it as much as possible so as to grow it on the outskirts of major cities.”
But India’s obsession with saffron also highlights a broader, deep-seated problem: for decades, Indian elites have exploited the caste hierarchy to dominate economic, political and social life in the country.
Rasbhi Das explains how modern Indians have “tracked back to an era in India where the caste system was used to divide and rule.”
She points out: “To quote my own teacher, M.N. Karunanidhi: If someone wants to know your caste you should be told your name and what caste you belong to rather than where you are from. A well-known teacher told me that I should say ‘Siddha’ instead of being asked where I come from or if I came from the subcontinent.”
And then there’s the fact that the government itself still doesn’t allow the expression of caste in official documents because, as Gurcharan Das explains:
“There are many reasons for this. Many people in India believe that they are the ones responsible for their caste, as per the Hindu religion. So while people are often told that the caste question cannot be faced openly, in fact there is a huge stigma attached to expressing one’s caste and in some areas, even being found out in such a case.”
So, what’s so frustrating if you’re Indian — and who in this country would have ever dreamed of dreaming this way?
The story of this week’s election, which has brought a much-needed spotlight to India’s caste system, is perhaps symptomatic of this problem. As Sreenivasan Chakraborty writes:
“Rural vote-bank politics has long been a huge part of Indian politics, and even today, rural and regional MPs are often elected on the basis of their own political affiliations, rather than their electoral gains. In 2012, the Bhojpuri MPs were overwhelmingly dominated by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MPs and their counterparts in the Shiv Sena are dominated by Lok Kalyan Sena MPs… Many feel that the fact that the two major political parties are based in the state is
how many years ago was the first saffron planted tank setup, saffron planting density, how many years ago was the first saffron planted seats, how many years ago was the first saffron planted tank forum, how many years ago was the first saffron planted tank aquascaping