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The present-day caste system in India is a inflexible birth-centric association in step with Plato’s courses. Nevertheless, the Varnas weren’t hereditary. Untouchability and birth-based discrimination have been unknown to the ancients throughout the Varnashrama days. Nobody was excessive and nobody low, to cite the Rig Veda.

Shankara Digvijaya by Madhavacharya proclaimed:

Janmanaa Jaayate Shudrah Sanskaraat Dwija Ucchate Vedapaathi Bhavet Viprah Brahma janaati Brahmanah

‘By delivery all are Shudras. By actions males change into Dwija— twice born. By studying the Vedas, one turns into Vipra and turns into Brahman by gaining the data of God.’ For Adi Shankara, not delivery, however data turned the idea for social association.

From Vyasa, Valmiki and Vishva Karma to present-day saints, one finds numerous eminent rishis who have been Shudras by Varna. Even Megasthenes, the good Greek historian, wrote that there have been 4 castes amongst Hindus and a Hindu of any caste might change into a Sophist (Brahmin). Transmigration was not an exception as in Plato’s courses, however a particular chance in Hindu Varna order.

Caste hierarchy and privileges primarily based on caste had no sanction in Hinduism. They’re the results of the distortions that crept into the Hindu body-politic throughout the medieval interval. Hinduism has witnessed a steady stream of social reformers who strove to uproot this malice like Narayana Guru, Swami Vivekananda, Jyotiba Phule, Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar.

‘Wherever you go, there can be caste. However that doesn’t imply that there needs to be these privileges. They need to be knocked on the pinnacle. The obligation of the Advaita is to destroy all privilege. The times of unique privileges and unique claims are gone, gone eternally from the soil of Bharat,’ exclaimed Swami Vivekananda.

Additionally learn: Higher caste networks of political events are resisting caste census. However not for lengthy

Curiously, the caste system is not the unique appendage of Hinduism. Nearly all religions in India have these castes in the present day, and they’re by the system of caste-based privileges resulting in conflicts inside. Dalit Christians is a phrase often used to consult with those that transformed to Christianity from the so-called low-caste Hindus. These Dalit Christians complain that they endure a number of disabilities and extreme discrimination inside the Christian church institution in India. There have been situations when it led even to violence and separation of parishes on caste strains as within the South Indian metropolis of Pondicherry in March 2008.

Deen Dayal Upadhyay’s views on Varnashrama sounded supportive of the idea. Nevertheless, he didn’t agree that the anomalies and evils which have crept into the system needed to be eradicated. ‘Many anomalies might have crept into the Varna Vyavastha in the present day. All of them should be eradicated. Nevertheless, so far as its core thought is worried, it can’t be understood from a Western prism. The West has held unhealthy competitors and battle as the idea of the social construction. Hinduism doesn’t see battle, discrimination and competitors amongst totally different organs of the society; as an alternative, it sees complementarity. Those that discover discrimination in Varna Vyavastha overlook the reality. Varna is just not a discriminatory establishment, however an organised construction. It’s a grave mistake to search for excessive and low or superior and inferior in it,’ he had mentioned.

The very fact stays that the Varna Vyavastha of historic instances, wherein transmigration amongst castes was additionally a chance, not exists. Its place has been taken over by a system that’s primarily based on delivery. ‘Janmanaa Jaatihi’—caste by delivery—is the current order. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna had mentioned:

catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah

‘In line with the three modes of fabric nature and the work ascribed to them, the 4 Varnas of human society have been created by Me.’

However the present-day caste relies neither on Guna (materials nature) nor on Karma (work). A so-called cobbler by caste generally is a professor in a college in the present day, and a so-called Brahmin might be working a shoe retailer. But, caste id stays the identical, as it’s acquired by delivery. The unhappy actuality about present-day India is that the Varnashrama system has ceased to exist, and the caste system has outlived its utility.

Additionally learn: The Gita is common and nonetheless endorses caste inequality. However story of Ekalavya stands out

Any society that lives on for millennia will purchase sure malevolent traits. One such evil attribute that has crept into the physique politic of the Indic society is the sin of untouchability. Its origins are but suspect. It doesn’t have any form of scriptural sanction. Numerous social reformers have fought towards this social evil. ‘Who decreased the Bhângis and the Pariahs to their current degraded situation? Heartlessness in our behaviour and on the similar time preaching fantastic Advaitism—is it not including insult to harm?’ thundered Swami Vivekananda angrily. Ambedkar’s combat for dignity of life for the so-called untouchables is well-known. Gandhi spent his complete life educating folks towards this evil apply. He not simply preached however confirmed the way in which by residing it.

A very essential reform on this regard happened when distinguished saints and sages of India joined collectively beneath the auspices of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad at Udipi in Karnataka in 1969 and unequivocally declared that nobody was inferior or superior by advantage of his delivery in a specific caste. It was a turning level within the historical past of up to date Hinduism when a lot of distinguished spiritual and religious leaders of India got here collectively to decry untouchability and caste discrimination by declaring—‘Hindavah Sodarah sarve’, that means all Hindus are siblings; and ‘Na Hinduh Patito Bhavet’, that’s, no Hindu shall be thought of inferior’.

Balasaheb Deoras, the third Sarsanghachalak of the RSS, delivered a sequence of lectures known as the Vasant Vyakhyan Mala at Pune in Maharashtra in 1973. In a major assertion in regards to the caste system, he mentioned: ‘No matter be the origin, all of us take into account untouchability as a horrible folly. It should be thrown out lock, inventory and barrel,’ he insisted. His assertion, ‘If untouchability is just not a criminal offense, nothing on this world is a criminal offense,’ continues to encourage tens of millions of social activists in India of their work for social concord It additionally brings us to the larger query of the best way to cope with the caste system. It has its protagonists who proceed to argue that the caste system is a healthful organisation of society. Swami Vivekananda had a practical suggestion: ‘The one option to convey in regards to the levelling of castes is to applicable the tradition, the schooling which is the energy of the upper castes.’ However that was greater than a century in the past. Expertise exhibits in any other case. In any case, as Deen Dayal himself argued, if it’s a system, it needs to be liable to alter. Fashionable British poet Lord Alfred Tennyson had mentioned, ‘The outdated order changeth yielding place to new, and God fulfils in some ways, lest one good customized ought to corrupt the world.’ Varnashrama may need been good in a specific interval. But it surely has outlived its utility. And the caste system has in the present day change into the single-most deadly problem to social concord and cohesion.

There have been efforts to interrupt the caste system as late as within the twentieth century. Ambedkar wrote about annihilation of caste. Socialists have experimented with teams of caste-less residents. They even began our bodies like Jaati Paati Todak Mandal—Society of Breakers of Caste Obstacles. However tragically, in a couple of years’ time, the Jaati Paati Todak Mandal turned a caste.

Caste is a system of social organisation. Society can’t dwell in a disorganised method. There can’t be systemic vacuum both. Therefore the necessity of the hour is to ‘change’ the caste with one thing else, relatively than making an attempt to ‘take away’ it. Golwalkar had prompt that commerce {and professional} ‘guilds’ might change castes. In a means, that’s taking place in Indian society, slowly however regularly.





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This excerpt from Ram Madhav’s ‘The Hindutva Paradigm: Integral Humanism and the Quest for a Non-Western Worldview’ has been revealed with permission from Westland Publications.