Most Indians Searched For Hima Das' Caste After She Became India's First Gold Medallist on Track
Did you say the caste system is dead in India?
Hima Das of India, celebrates her victory in women's 400 meter race at the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland. (Image: AP)
The 18-year-old from a nondescript village in Assam became the first Indian woman world champion in athletics. It's quite a big deal. Naturally, she has become a huge pride for the nation.
Indians have celebrated Das' victory vigorously, pouring their appreciation on social media. And, they are curious to know more about Das.
But there's something wrong with their curiosity. While celebrating the athlete's victory, most of the country are wondering--'What is Hima Das’ caste?'
The Google search on Hima Das, particularly her caste, saw a massive spike after she her triumph over the gold.
Google Trends showed how caste was the most searched “related topic” pertaining to Das, with the search highest from Assam, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, at the time of writing. Additionally, one just had to type Hima to get the immediate search result as “Hima Das caste”.
This isn't the first time that our countries obsessive preoccupation with cast- based identities have been at the forefront. Earlier, when badminton champion PV Sindhu won silver at the Rio Olympics, the Google search about her caste went up, especially from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana region.
This keen interest in Hima Das' caste has shown exactly what is wrong with us.
— Reddit India (@redditindia) July 15, 2018
Well done India. Search for Hima Das on Google and one of the first suggestions are "Hima Das caste". Clearly that's the most important question about someone who has created history for India. #HimaDas pic.twitter.com/IXClhgk0FT — swaraj barooah (@swarajpb) July 15, 2018
#HimaDas’s journey from rice fields of Assam to becoming a world champion fighting all adversities, Patriarchy, Poverty with determination serves as an inspiration. Yet, we never forget ‘CASTE’. #HimaDas’s caste is the most frequently searched thing about her on google. Shame. pic.twitter.com/dHH0pcnOAt
— Swati Singh (@swatisingh1995) July 14, 2018
How people searching for 'Hima Das Caste' on Google is everything that's wrong with our society. Fans were rejoicing and internet was going crazy with everybody showering praises. But guess what many people were searching for the most? Her life story? No! sadly It was her caste! pic.twitter.com/quXeCUF6RY — Nandan Pratim Sharma Bordoloi 🇮🇳 (@NANDANPRATIM) July 15, 2018
today feels like I'm in a time-machine and sent to the future. The google search for Hima Das is a lot LESS surprising than people expressing surprise/ shock for that act. .we still live in India, 2018 no? or is it post-caste already?
— Gaurav Somwanshi (@Gauravsomwanshi) July 15, 2018
#HimaDas’s journey from rice fields of Assam to becoming a world champion fighting all adversities, Patriarchy, Poverty with determination serves as an inspiration. Yet, we never forget ‘CASTE’. #HimaDas’s caste is the most frequently searched thing about her on google. Shame. pic.twitter.com/dHH0pcnOAt — Swati Singh (@swatisingh1995) July 14, 2018
While we supposedly thrust ourselves into an era of great development and progress, such realities reveal the rotting state of an India, a country that continues to be deeply entrenched in archaic notions of caste and identity.
It seems we can't even celebrate a victory without knowing the person's caste.
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