This profile was prepared when S. Anand was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Anand believes that India is plagued by a pervasive conscious and unconscious racism which thwarts democracy, development, and social justice. His view is not simply that caste can lead to abuse, or that oppressed caste people are “disadvantaged,” but that the very existence of caste harms society. It constantly interferes with the modern notion of individual worth and merit, imposing the belief that some people are, by birth and lineage, entitled to privilege and success in life, while others are born to be servile. Anand, of course, is not the first or the only Indian to diagnose caste as a social ill and devote himself to curing it. But he has chosen a fresh approach: The media industry. Anand is working to not only to insert caste issues into popular and institutional media, but also to make sure that dalits and adivasis are represented within the industry itself. By making caste visible in the popular media and the world of publishing, and by supporting dalits and adivasis within the industry as well-informed and well-trained editors and journalists, Anand believes Indians can change the way they think about caste conflicts and issues on a daily basis.