Disclaimer: This article is intended for peers/light-reading only. Biggies(or anybody) who find this irrational and disrespecting, are not advised to read along. I am not responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any inspirational or eye-opening remark.
Before going through this article, please note that I am NOT THE RELIGIOUS KINDA PERSON
. I am fairly different, from exploring scientific explanations to questioning every damn belief on this planet. I do what I like and mind it, it has nothing to do with those "You would be punished by the lord
" and "You don’t know about the reality, son
" type stereotype statements. And don't call me an Atheist, rather let me be an Agnostic, an Humanist. This (blogging) is the best option to pour my shit out.Today I will speak of the greatest ill of our society- Religion and it's bane- The Caste System. And for (your) god's sake please don't heat up in the middle of it all. For taking a safe side, I am not posting anything about Islam & Christianity this time. Before enlightening on Hinduism, let me tell you that I am a Hindu and an upper-caste Brahman(that my parents say). I know I don't deserve to be a Brahman now. But hear me out first.
Hinduism is a universal religion, with primary emphasis on brotherhood and tolerance. It views the world as one family. Man is divine in nature and realization of that supreme truth is primary aim of all human activity. Satisfied? Now it's my turn.
Perhaps there is no nation in this world that is openly or shamelessly as racial as India. To be born in an upper caste is a matter of pride whether you deserve it or not. The country's democracy is not true democracy, but castocracy, where people vote and leaders are elected on caste lines. Many Hindu scholars also think the caste system is derived from the scriptures, ignoring the fact that they were convenient interpolations by bigoted scholars to justify an immoral act by using the name of god. Personal hygiene, family status and financial status are of considerable importance in this society but does that mean the society recognize inequalities among men based on birth and family lineage and proclaim it as will of god?
Let us know about the caste system first. Hindu caste system recognized four distinct classes among people based on the above criteria and enforced it through rigid codes of conduct specific to each class and written in the dharmashastras (law books) in the vedic period.
- Brahmins- They are the priestly class, entitled to study the vedas, perform rites and rituals for every other citizen and obliged to observe the sacraments.
- Kshatriyas- They are the warrior class, who are commanded to protect the people, bestow gifts to the Brahmins, offer sacrifices to gods and ancestors, study the vedas, and dispense justice.
- Vaishyas- These are the merchant and the peasant classes, who tend the cattle, offer sacrifices, study the vedas, lend money and cultivate the land.
- Shudras- They are the labour class, whose only duty is to serve the other three classes. They were not allowed to observe most vedic rituals or to participate in marriage in higher castes.
Justification of the caste system then:
- Theory of Karma: It favors the argument that people of lower castes have to blame themselves because of their bad karma in their past lives. Scriptures from the bhagwad gita support this.
- Theory of Gunas: All the subjects contain triple gunas of prakriti, called sattva, rajas amd tamas. Sattva is characterized by purity and manifests in men in form of knowledge, intelligence, faith, sincerity, devotion, in other words, it's a quality of brahmans. Rajas is characterized by materialism and egoism, pride, desire for wealth and power, lust, ambition, in other words, it's a quality of the kshatriyas and vaisyas. Tamas is characterized by lethargy, ignorance, demonical resolve, uncleanliness, negativity, in other words, the shudras.
- Religious Laws: There was justification of the caste system in religious books- the Manusmriti, the Puranas, the Upanishads, and the Bhagwad Gita. The law books not only justified rigid caste system but prescribed severe punishments in case of violation.
- Justification by Vedas: The Purusha Sukta verses dealing with the creation of castes is reproduced below-
When they divided the Purusha how many portions did they make?
What do they call his mouth, his arms? What do they call his thighs, his feet?
The Brahman was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rajanya made,
His thigh became Vaisya, of his feet the Shudra was produced.
"... a woman is never fit for independence." (Manusmriti 9.3)
Lets speak about the status of women now. Historically speaking, whether it was in ancient India or in the medieval India, the status of women in the subcontinent was never good. A present day women would feel outraged, if she goes through the contents of the Manusmriti, which is particularly harsh against the women and treats them with disdain and suspicion. In ancient times, when a Hindu died, his wife had to commit sati on his funeral pyre; else retire into a life of social damnation, religious contemplation and perennial solitude. The male chauvinism has been carried forward in the blood since the ancient times. Even today a woman is not allowed to earn more than his husband.
Untouchability is another ill that cropped out of casteism in this religion. The lowest version of Shudras were called Chandalas. In ancient times they were not allowed to enter a village or a city in day time. Even their shadow was considered impure and their very sight as a bad omen. They had to live on the fringes of the society, unknown and uncared for, following some esoteric religion of their own and working as hunters, butchers, and cleaners of human waste.
As a result of the Caste System, there was no freedom of choice for anyone. Initiative and enterprise was suppressed and the progress of the country was severely hampered. People could not marry out of their caste or even eat with people belonging to lower-castes as social mixing was severely restricted. People remained confined to their own castes and were not exposed to different ideas and ways of thought. Thus, their thinking also became narrow and limited. This also led to separatism. People only thought of the welfare of their own castes and not that of the society as a whole. These caste prejudices still plague our society and even become influential factors at the time of elections. Politicians encourage and exploit these attitudes for their own gains. Discrimination against lower-castes is widely prevalent and has kept a large percentage of our population backward. In this way, the development of our country has been hampered.
Not that I let Islam and Christianity off the hook. I already think that Islam is backwards, barbaric and reactionary. Christianity also follows the lead. But many Muslim and present Christian societies are quite stable and even prosperous. There is little crime or social disorder. Things work, in an odd way.
It’s really up for grabs which religion is worse. All of them are reactionary, backwards, sexist and barbaric. Hinduism tosses in feudal system to make it a complete monte. Islam is expansionist and treats minorities very poorly, but Hinduism doesn’t treat minorities well either. Prejudice against Muslims in India is profound. There are routine pogroms and mass murders committed against Indian Christians. Sikhs were treated to a near genocide a couple of decades ago. Hindu tolerance leaves much to be desired. The dirty use of politics has been prevalent from time immemorial.
At the end of the day, I just feel that there is something terribly wrong with Hinduism as much as other religions in general and with their whole society.
And as long as that’s going on, I am going to continue writing about it.
Note: All these facts have been put up with a lot of research. It's not any personal feud. You are welcome to put up your counter-points.