Having grown up in a middle class, open category family in a town, I had always been jealous/non-approving of the reservations made for ST/SC people by the government. Till high school, I had hardly come across any fellow student who was in a reserved category and needy and poor at the same time. However, yesterday, while reading the case studies of scheduled tribes in India, their origin, the subsequent Aryan invasion, dominance of British etc., I had a change in my thought. I got to know that the scheduled tribes were the original inhabitants of the Indian region, or apparently so. The so- called open category people came through various immigrations and invasions, pushed the aboriginals towards ignorance, slavery and down in the hierarchy of society. When I thought about it, I imagined a multi-storey building with a puny, ignorant, naïve owner living on one floor and renting the other floors. When there’s a renter who has been living for a really long time and he’s a bully, having stopped paying the rent too, living like the owner and treating the original owner as a servant, the neighbors actually believe him to be the owner. I believe the same happened to these aboriginals too. With subsequent and continuous invasion and settlements, we occupied the major lands and resources and called ourselves the native.


~~ Surabhi Gupta