A protest in the northern Indian state of Haryana has evolved into violence, which has led to the deaths of 19 people and injuries of around 200. A caste known as the Jats, listed as an upper caste, is leading the unrest to demand inclusion in caste quotas for jobs and education opportunities that have been given to lower castes since 1991.
Much of Delhi’s water supply has been cut off by the Jats, which has intensified the situation and authorities have deployed thousands of army and paramilitary troops to quell the violence.
The conflicts within India’s castes are generally not as serious as is shown by the latest incident. Caste is not the basis for the current division of different classes. Indian society does not exclude economic and political advancement of lower castes.
But the differences between the starting line and the competition environment afterward of different castes still exist. Externally, people tend to believe caste is partly to blame for the wealth gap in India.
Although many believe the traditional caste system raised the Indian lower class’s toleration of injustice or even their numbness toward injustice, more and more people think the wealth gap will eventually become a tumor that India cannot overcome.
India has been developing fast, while it has a relatively weak system to curb injustice.
But in any society, the public’s will to pursue justice will be roused under certain circumstances.
China, though ahead of India in economic development, also faces huge pressure to fix social unfairness. India is regarded as having a much worse wealth gap problem. It is perhaps incorrect to think that religion can help prevent the issue from exploding before solving it.
India has more difficulties than China in distributing resources. India’s democratic system allows each group to seek maximum interests while people’s understanding of justice is often polarizing. The latest caste-triggered clash is rooted in Indian society. The problem will reemerge in the future in various forms of disruption.
However, it does not necessarily mean that India’s modernization will be severely stymied by the wealth gap. While astonished by repeated bloody riots in India, Chinese observers are also surprised by Indian society’s ability to resist turmoil. If similar unrest happened in China, it would be earth-shattering.
Through India, we can learn what the consequences of weak governance are. However, it also helps us understand the adaptability of society. There is general stability amid quite a chaotic situation in India. It defies a simple label.
China and India have some similar national conditions and they can be each other’s development reference. In recent decades, China has been far ahead of India in development, but India offers us thoughts for its society’s adaptability, which China must build along with its problem-solving ability.