Caste in India – Narrative .


Caste, in India, is the most abused and misunderstood of all social ills. The corruption of the upper castes, notably the Brahmins, is largely responsible for the “original” corruption of mind taking root in India. The massive and rampant oppression of the lower castes lead progressively, over the centuries, to the mass conversions that form today’s Muslim and Christian religious communities in the Indian sub-continent. Strangely, even after conversion, there remain remnants of discrimination amongst communities other than Hindu. For instance, amongst the Sikhs, Jat Sikhs still discriminate against the Mazahbi (converts from the lower castes) Sikhs, who are often forced to have their own Gurudwaras, and are looked down upon, and that’s 400 years after Guru Nanak Dev ji wiped out caste from the Sikh chronicle!  

Caste and religion are often used most intensely in the political-vote election planning by every political party of every hue in India. The Rising India Party takes the view that by bringing into focus the ancient truths and origin of caste and its true original ancient practice in society; the entire story, the public perception and how caste impacts in practice will undergo dramatic and rapid change in the country.

The only reason this has not been done thus far by anyone is, as always, ignorance and vested interest. The Rising India Party places the following story for the Indian Public to digest, consider and cause public debate such that the perceptions and practice of these practices can be changed in a positive, socially enhancing directions.

The story of Caste begins and is rooted in the Sage Manu, who also gifted, the now much reviled, denied and negated by many, the Manusmruti. As per Wikipedia the Manusmruti, also known as Manava-Dharmasastra is the most important and earliest metrical work of the Dharmasastra (Laws) textual tradition of Hinduism; a discourse given by Manu, the progenitor of mankind to a group of seers, or rishis, who beseech him to tell them the "law of all the social classes". Manu became the standard point of reference for all future Dharmasastras (Laws) that followed it.

Manusmruti comprises a dialogue that takes place between Manu’s disciple, Bhrigu, and an audience of his own students. The story begins with Manu himself detailing the creation of the world and the society within it, structured around four social classes. The Dharmasastras are Laws that were conceived and laid down by Manu from within the frame of the “Nature of Nature”, in deep states of mediation tapping into the eternal Brahma consciousness, and keen observation.

What everyone has conveniently forgotten or ignored is that the Sage Manu laid out the four castes; Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras as the four-broad class or categories of the human mind, and not of, or by birth. In other words, a person is not born a Brahmin, or Kshatriya or Vaisya or Sudra, but is so classified or categorized by the innate and natural quality of his mind displayed in action of living.

He saw that the human race could be broadly classified according to the quality of mind each individual displayed. Caste was never laid out as a birthright or something that happened by birth.

He observed that one class of mind was one which, by natural inclination, was totally immersed in the existential questions of life and creation; who am I, why am I here, what is all this creation phenomenon, why is creation happening, how is it happening and so on, what are the laws of nature, or Dharma and so on; in other words, a mind immersed in Brahman, Brahman-me-leen. Such a mind was named a Brahmin. Such a mind was not interested in the physical world or its pleasures or where his livelihood would come from, it was immersed only on existential inquiry, on Brahman. Quality of mind, not birthright.

He then observed a class of mind that was deeply interested in existential questions but consequent from the enquiry got immersed in the concern and fall out of such inquiry which led to the search and realization of the truth, and the impulse to protect and defend it. Truth being defined as “that which is”, this led to defining Dharma. Such a mind got interested in the implementation of the laws of Dharma and such a mind leaned towards defending dharma, or the warrior for defending the laws of dharma. Such a mind was classified as the Kshatriya mind. Such minds naturally fell to governance and the ruling classes as well as fighters or warriors, the defenders of Truth or Dharma.

The third category of mind he observed and defined as one that was neither interested in the existential questions nor in exerting to fight for Dharma or Truth. Rather these minds were interested in living life by accumulating wealth through trading or business, or finance and all the activities that go towards making life happen. Such minds fell into the trading or business class or occupied classes and were called or designated as Vaisyas.

The fourth class of mind that the Sage Manu observed displayed qualities that were focused solely on sensory gratification, to the exclusion of all else and immersed on the dark side of life; indulging in all their desires of the flesh, scavenging off humans; stealing, robbing, raping, wanton killing came naturally to such minds; these were called Shudras.  Remember, these caste types were referred to by the broad mind-types.

It is to be remembered that it was and is possible for a child to be born into a Brahmin family whose mind falls into the class of a Kshatriyas or a Vyasa or a Shudra; by definition as per Manu’s laws, such a child would be known as a Kshatriyas or a Vyasa or Shudra as the case maybe. Birth had no role in the “caste” of the person, quality of mind did!

By this definition, today’s India has more Vyasa and Shudra minds amongst the ruling classes than Kshatriyas, who are fearless warriors of Dharma or Truth, and Brahmins, who are virtually non-existent. The most prevalent qualities of mind amongst Indian ruling classes, the so-called Brahmins castes, who form a large part of our bureaucracy are actually, by Manu’s Laws, Vyasa or Shudras; politicians are mostly falling within these Vyasa-Shudra qualities too, much to the cumulative misfortune of our great nation.

The caste system is explained very well by Sushama Londhe in her well researched and deep-look book Surya’s Tapestry from which extracts from the internet are quoted here: The Caste System or varna-ashrama has been one of the most misrepresented, misinformed, misunderstood, misused and the most maligned aspects of Hinduism. If one wants to understand the truth, the original purpose behind the caste system, one must go to antiquity to study the evolution of the caste system. 

Caste System, which is said to be the mainstay of the Hindu social order, has no sanction in the Vedas. The ancient culture of India was based upon a system of social diversification according to SPIRITUAL development, not by birth, but by his karma. This system became hereditary and over the course of many centuries degenerated as a result of exploitation by some priests, and other socio-economic elements of society.

However, as Alain Danielou, son of French aristocracy, author of numerous books on philosophy, religion, history and arts of India, says: "Caste system has enabled Hindu civilization to survive all invasions and to develop without revolutions or important changes, throughout more than four millennia, with a continuity that is unique in history. Caste system may appear rigid to our eyes because for more than a thousand years Hindu society withdrew itself from successive domination by Muslims and Europeans. Yet, the greatest poets and the most venerated saints such as Sura Dasa, Kabir, Tukaram, Thiruvalluvar and Ram Dasa; came from the humblest class of society."  In the words of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, " In spite of the divisions, there is an inner cohesion among the Hindu society from the Himalayas to the Cape Comorin."

Caste system has been exploited against the Hindus, for the last two centuries by the British, Christian Missionaries, Secular historians, Communists, Muslims, Pre-and Post-Independence Indian politicians and Journalists for their own ends. One way to discredit any system is to highlight its excesses, and this only adds to the sense of inferiority that many Indians feel about their own culture.

Caste system is often portrayed as the ultimate horror, in the media, yet social inequities continue to persist in theoretically Egalitarian Western Societies. The Caste system is judged offensive by the Western norms, yet racial groups have been isolated, crowded into reserves like the American Indians or Australian Aborigines, where they can only atrophy and disappear. 

This chapter is not a justification of the abuse of caste system, rather it is a collection of interesting information. Caste system has enabled Hindu civilization to survive all invasions and made Indian society stronger. Caste system served a purpose, performed certain functions, and met the needs appropriate to the times in history. India's caste norms may once have had a rationale; but the norms are outlived today. Caste system is not stagnant and is undergoing changes under the impact of modernization. Caste system should undergo reforms in the social arena so that unjustified discrimination and abuse is eliminated. The caste system was never a tenet of the Hindu faith.  "The universe is the outpouring of the majesty of God, the auspicious one, radiant love. Every face you see belongs to Him. He is present in everyone without exception." says the Yajur Veda. "The Lord (The Divine) is enshrined in the hearts of all." says the Isha Upanishad which are a pure, lofty, heady distillation of spiritual wisdom which come to us from the very dawn of time tell us: "Reality (God) is our real Self, so that each of us is one with the power that created and sustains the universe."  In Sanskrit, Tat tvam asi, “You are That.” Thus, where is the question of “caste” based suppression or injustice? And why do the so-called custodians of Hinduism break the unbreakable laws of our civilization?? They need to be removed!

The Rising India Party takes the view that the caste narrative has to change to fall in line with the original precept as laid down and that it be assigned as per the quality of the mind rather than one of birth. Perhaps that will encourage those of so called “higher” castes to change their thinking and behavior and India will start to find its “caste” and national balance. Ideas and thoughts from the Public are solicited to energize this change. The Rising India Party aims to bring into public debate this narrative for public consideration and comment.

CASTE POLICY:                   

The Rising India Party proposes to embed the Caste Policy within the Policy On Religions And Extremist Preaching and to inject fresh energy into bringing the Caste conversation back to its real frame; a quality of mind, not birth, and to change the frame where the people assess or judge others. The Rising India Party proposes the following for the public of India to consider and debate with the view to arriving at a workable Policy that would find wide-spread acceptance:

  1. All education records would be on the basis of First Name and in the Last or Sir Name field would be a number comprising full date of birth followed by the city or town or suburb as required
  2. This would be to immediately and front-up prevent and value judgment based on last name or Sir name which essentially reflects the “caste” nomenclature.
  3. People would continue to use their Last or Sir names but at their own will and pleasure.
  4. Job applicants would only file for jobs on the basis of the new Neutral system proposed above.
  5. Government job applications too would be based around the new system.TO BE ADDED

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