21/08/2016 2:08 PM IST | Updated 22/08/2016 9:09 AM IST

P.V. Sindhu's Caste Is More Important To Some Indians Than Her Silver Medal

People have been searching the badminton champion's caste on Google.

Marcelo del Pozo / Reuters
P.V. Sindhu reacts during match against Carolina Marin of Spain. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo

Millions of Indians are curious about their newest sporting star, P.V. Sindhu, who has done the country proud by winning a silver medal in badminton at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Expectedly, she is one of the most widely searched person on the Internet. But what are users actually asking Google about her?

Vivek Nagarajan, a Facebook user, recently uploaded a screenshot that shows search terms for Sindhu on Google, one of which included a question about her caste.

Following this post, the News Minute ran a check with Google statistics. People have been interested in Sindhu's caste over the last week or so, since her historic win in Rio. The users didn't spare Sindhu's coach Pullela Gopichand either, with 'pullela gopichand caste' closely following on the heels of the previous inquiry. A Times of India report pointed out that most of these searches were made from Vijaywada (Andhra Pradesh), Secundarabad (Telangana), Vishakapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Hyderabad (Telangana).

The obvious conclusion from these findings is that many Indians still worry about caste and consider it relevant in this day and age. As The Indian Express pointed out, a Twitter handle, meant to help with blood groups for patients put this tweet out recently: "#Hyderabad ONLY Kamma Caste Donors, O+ ve blood needed at Max Cure Hospital. 3 yr old CHILD. Pls call 8063266677. Aug 19. Via ShekarNews". The handle apparently apologised later, which does not take away from the fact that considerations of caste in India easily trumps matters of life and death.

In the meantime, a campaign on social media is already on to claim Sindhu as Telangana's own and make her the brand ambassador of the state over tennis star Sania Mirza.

Clearly, the glory of an Olympics medal is not quite enough to illuminate the darkness of ignorance.

Clarification: An earlier version of this story said P.V. Sindhu's caste was one of the most popular searches on Google. It has emerged that while people did run the search, it was not the most widely searched phrase. We regret the error, though the premise of the story still remains correct.

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