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Casteism in India and Sub Continent


The Legacy of Rishis / Munis

Dr. Baldev Singh

316 R Glad way, 

Collegeville, PA 19426, USA

Introduction

Throughout human history the conquerors have justified their actions by invoking divine sanctions and declaring themselves morally, intellectually, socially and racially superior to their victims.  The slave master with whip in hand standing under the shade of an umbrella used to holler at the slaves toiling under blazing hot sun, “ O you lazy bums! You so and so¾when will you learn to work hard?”  The Muslims regarded the killing and coercing of kafirs (infidels, non-Muslims) to bring them into the fold of Islam as the Will of Allah. The Christians carried out genocide of native populations, enslaved them, colonized them and inflicted untold atrocities on them on the pretext of “saving the soul of heathens” and “civilizing the savages” turning the meaning of civilized “upside down”. The “soul saver”¾missionary with a Bible in hand used walk behind the Christian soldier with a gun in hand.

Since 1947 Hindu intellectuals have started rewriting Indian history. They blame the British and Muslim rulers for the ills and the division of the Indian society. They are right, as rulers use the policy of “divide and rule” to exploit their subjects and keep them under their grip. However, they forget that their ancestors, the so-called Aryans were also invaders / conquerors who destroyed the Indus Valley Civilization of the native Indians known as Dravidians.  They also turn a blind eye to the atrocious Varna Ashrama Dharma / Caste System when they project India before the conquest by Muslims as a land of peace and harmony and milk and honey¾utopia¾Ram Raj.  Moreover, they regard their ancient seers / sages (Rishis / Munis) as paragon of virtues¾the fountainhead of civilization.  Nothing could be further from truth than these absurd claims.

It should be pointed out that India’s next door neighbor, Nepal, which is far worse than India in every respect, has been ruled continuously by Hindu kings since antiquity. So the problems of modern India can not be simply blamed on past Muslim and Christian rulers. 


Discussion

Varna Ashrama Dharma / Caste System

The ethics of the modern Hindu elite reflect the teachings of the two most renowned Hindu thinkers, Manu and Kautilya (Chanakya), who were the founders of the policy of “divide and rule” and were responsible for shaping the destiny of Hindu society.
Permanent human inequality by birth is the summum bonum of Brahmanical ideology.  The Brahmans proclaimed that Prajapati (God) created the caste-system and the Sudra as a slave of the other castes. Moreover, Prajapati was the God of Aryans only, from whom the Sudras were excluded. It was also claimed that gods do not associate with every man, but only with an Arya, a Brahman, or a Kashtriya, or a Vaisya, who can make religious sacrifices to gods. Nor one should talk with everyone, as God does not talk to everybody but only to an Arya.  The order and rank of castes is eternal as the course of stars and the difference between the animal species and human race. Thus the Sudra was excluded from the domain of religion and barred from any religious activity. 

Manu claimed that Brahma (God) enacted the code of the caste system, and taught it to him and he taught it to Bhrigu and the later would repeat it to the sages.  It was Manu who codified Varna Ashrama Dharma / Caste System dividing the Indian people into four castes and myriad of sub-castes.  It is based on the avowed principle that “men are for ever unequal”. Caste-system is the most rigid social mechanism devised by human ingenuity to entrench human inequality and hierarchy. It raised  “caste status” above “economic status” and “political status”. It compartmentalized the economy according to its own social patterns, and prevented the economic forces from attaining to their unhindered growth and stature. The caste system also made political power subservient to political patronage. In fact, the preservation of the caste or sub-castes became the over-riding motive / consideration of the Brahmanical order. 

This system was designed to serve the interests of a small minority of people, the Brahmans, at the expense of the vast majority belonging to other castes, the bulk of whom belonged to the Sudra caste. Lower still were the Antyaja (untouchables / outcastes), whose mere shadow could pollute the upper castes. The entire conquered / enslaved population of Advasis (aboriginal tribes) called Dravidians was forced into Sudra and untouchable / outcaste ranks. Never in the history of mankind such an “evil and cruel system” was conceived by intelligent but devious men for the exploitation of man by man.  It took away the human dignity of vast majority of the Indians and subjected them to untold injustices and atrocities.  The untouchables / outcastes were treated worse than animals for thousands of years and this is continuing in villages across India even today. 


Brahman was the kingpin of the caste system in more than one way. He was the ideologue as well as the focal point around which the system revolved. Brahman caste was like a wheel within a wheel¾ the axis of the caste-system. It was this caste which set the guidelines of the system, and determined the direction of its course. It is the Brahmans who have profited most from the system and are mainly responsible for its maintenance and furtherance.

Sacerdotal functions were made the sole monopoly of the Brahman caste. Manu declared that Brahman alone was to teach the Vedas and a Kshatriya was never to usurp a Brahman’s functions. It was not merely an empty declaration; it became fixed rule in the caste order.   Kshatriya rulers who defied the supremacy of the Brahmans were dislodged and replaced by others like the Huns (Rajputs) who replaced the old Kshatriyas. According to one legend, Parsurama, a Brahman destroyed all the Kshatriyas and installed another royal caste in their place. So the Kshatriyas were made and unmade according to the will of the Brahman. Manu has described the names of Kshatriya races, who by their omission of holy rites and disrespect for the Brahmans gradually sunk among men of the lowest of the four castes.

The Vis (the later day Vaisyas) of the Vedas were not limited to a caste, but included everyone in the Aryan population which was not distinguished by sacerdotal functions or aristocratic rank. They formed a bulk of the free men of the Aryan nation. The caste system gradually reduced them to a derogatory social position, very near the borderline of the Sudras. According to Aitareya Brahmana Vaisya is to be lived on by another and to be oppressed at will. Bhagvadgita puts women, Sudra and Vaisya in the same category of people to whom eligibility to absolution through Bhakti (devotion) is conceded by the Lord. One explanation given for downgrading the peasants, who constituted the bulk of Vaisyas, is that ploughing involved the killing of worms and insects.  If this is correct, it only serves to show how little consideration the Brahmans had for the bulk of the people of their own Aryan stock, since they could be penalized for ever on such flimsy grounds.  

The cunning Brahman invoked divine sanctions to perpetuate this system for eternity. Sacred Hindu scriptures proclaim that the caste division has divine sanction. Manu declared that the soul of one who neglected his caste-duties might pass into demon. The Bhagvadita preaches that according to the classification of actions and qualities of people, God creates the four castes.   According to a passage in Mahabharta: as cisterns for cattle, as streamlets in a field, the Smriti (code of caste system) is the eternal law of duty, and is never found to fail. The Dharma-Sutras enjoined that a King has to rely on the Vedas and Dhrma Sastras for carrying out his duties.  To combat Buddhism strict adherence to Dharma (caste system) and obedience to Brahmans is constantly insisted upon in Mahabharta. According to Bhgvadgita if anybody wants to quit the works and duties of his caste and adopt those of another caste, even if it would bring a certain honor to him, it is a sin, because it is a transgression of the rule.  

 Next came the doctrine of Karma to desensitize people’s sense of justice and compassion against atrocities committed on the masses to enforce the caste system.  According to this divine law, one reaps the fruit in this life for the deeds performed in the previous life.  So, if a person is subjected to injustice and cruelty in this life, it is the due to one’s own actions in previous life, not due to the perpetrators of cruelty and injustice.  By observing the caste rules strictly and serving the superior castes faithfully one can earn the reward for the next life. The Karma theory is a cruel and unconscionable joke on the Sudra and untouchable ¾ as only faithful commitment to the duties of his caste would earn him a reward in next life! 

Under the caste system some sections of the Indian population were regarded as almost bestial rather than human. The whole conquered Sudra race (Dravidians) was equated with burial ground. Aitareya Brahmana describes Sudra as “Yatha-Kama-Vadhya” (fit to be beaten with impunity) and “Dvijatisusrusha” (menial service was his prescribed lot). One text puts the murder of a Sudra on the same level as the killing of a crow, an owl or a dog. A Sudra could be killed at will. The excessive contempt, humiliation and degradation of the Sudra reached its climax in the permanent institutions of untouchability and unapproachableness. 8  The Sudra was prohibited from amassing wealth as it would subject his superiors to him. Sudra was also barred from the realm of religion and prohibited from making religious sacrifices open to other castes.8 The exploitation of the masses reduced them to the level of dumb driven cattle.

On the other hand any kind of harm or disrespect to the Brahman is unpardonable sin and any type of crime by the Brahman is forgivable.

According to Manu Smriti all the wealth and resources in the world belongs to the Brahmans because they are created from the mouth of Brahma (God). So it should not be construed that a Brahman is using someone else’s goods when he accepts charity from others or takes goods from others to give to someone else.

If a king discovers a hidden treasure, he should give half to the Brahman.

A Brahman may be an idiot or an erudite, he is god (devta).

The king should not punish a Brahman for committing theft because it is the king’s negligence, which made the Brahman so poor that he is forced to steel.
According to Brihat Prasar Sanhita if a Brahman wants to be a cultivator, he can have as much land as he wants without paying any kind of tax because every thing belongs to the Brahmans.

A Brahman remains sin free even after violating the teachings of Vedas as fire destroys combustible matter to ashes or woman remains blemish free after enjoying sex with her lover.

Al-Biruni, the celebrated mathematician and astronomer came to India in the wake of the invading forces of Mahmud of Ghazni in the 11th century AD, and he spent several years studying the Indian people and their literature. He is regarded as one of the foremost Indologist.  He recorded the following information about caste system.

The highest caste of Brahmans was created from the head of Brahman (God). The next caste of Kshatriyas was created from the shoulders and hands of Brahman. The next two castes, Vaisya and Sudra were created from the thighs and feet of Brahman, respectively. After the Sudra follow the people called Antyaja (untouchable), who render various kinds of services, who are not reckoned amongst any caste, but only members of certain craft or profession. .

He observed that Hindus believe that people are unequal in every respect, whereas Muslims consider all men as equal, except in piety. This is the greatest obstacle, which prevents any approach or understanding between Hindus and Muslims.  

Hindus totally differ from Muslims in Religion, as Muslims believe in nothing in which Hindus believe, and vice versa. On the whole, there is very little disputing about theological topics among themselves, at the utmost they fight with words, but they will never stake their soul or body or their property to defend their religion. On the contrary, all their fanaticism is directed against those who do not belong to them¾against all foreigners. They call them mleccha, i. e. impure, and forbid having any connection with them, be it intermarriage or any other kind of relationship, or by sitting, eating, and drinking with them, because thereby they think they would be polluted. They consider as impure any thing which touches the fire and water of a foreigner, and no household exist without these two elements. 

The Brahmans teach the Veda to the Kshatriyas. The latter learn it, but are not allowed to teach it, not even to a Brahman. The Vaisya and Sudra are not allowed to hear it, much less to pronounce and recite it. If such a thing can be proved against one of them, the Brahman drags him before the magistrate, and he is punished by having his tongue cut of. 

 Maitrayani Samhita identifies women with evil. The Satapatha-Brahmana declares woman, Sudra, dog and crow as falsehood. A woman is never fit for independence. Manu made the subjection of woman to man almost servile in character. He laid down the law that husband had absolute rights over the wife to the extent of inflicting corporal punishment and of discarding her immediately if she said any thing disagreeable to him. A wife was to worship her husband as a god, even though he might be destitute of virtue or is seeking pleasure elsewhere, or is devoid of good qualities. Thus the woman is reduced, at least spiritually, to the status of Sudra and this is clearly reflected even in Bhagvadgita.  

The system of Sati (one who burns herself alive on her husband’s funeral pyre) is not recommended by Dharmsastra, or by earlier Smritis, but the practice is very old one. It is recorded in the Mahabharta and by Greek writers. Later it received religious sanction, as it is recommend in Vaikhanasa Grihya-Sutra and later Smritis like those of Sankha, Angiras, Dakhsha and Vyasa. This diabolical practice did not excite in the Indian society the same degree disapprobation and disgust as it did among its Greek witnesses. Moreover, this custom was surrounded by a kind of halo and served to raise or maintain the index of social status, as it was more common in the ruling and warrior castes. Among the upper castes, it was considered an outright sin for a girl to reach puberty without being married, and this custom was indicative of social superiority.   Manu prescribes that a man of thirty shall marry a maiden of twelve, or a man of twenty-four a girl of eight. Yajnavalyka insists that girls should be married before the age of puberty. Man could marry a woman from his caste and from castes lower than his caste, but not from a caste higher than his caste. Thus a Brahman could marry a woman from any caste. 

The heinous crime of infanticide is not peculiarly Indian in its inception, but here again female infanticide was indirectly encouraged by the attitude of Brahmanism toward woman.   The birth of a daughter is deplored and regarded as a source of misery. The abnormal climate of status-consciousness created by the caste system further aggravated this evil. Whereas in other countries generally infanticide was often the result of poverty, in India female-infanticide was practiced precisely by the upper castes like Rajputs. 

Hindu Dharma

In the ever-changing scene of the shifting importance of deities, creeds, racial antipathies and other considerations, there was one factor, which was persistent and constant. It was the concept of Hindu Dharma. This concept was synonymous, or very closely interwoven with the social order of Brahmanism¾Varna Ashrama Dharma / caste system. Like the banks of a river it determined the limits within which the current of Indian social life must flow and direction in which it must move. So long as the current remained confined within the prescribed social limits, all varieties and sorts of dogmas, ideas, faiths, creeds, customs and practices were tolerated and allowed to be the a part of Hindu Dharma. But any threat to the framework of the social order was frowned upon or combated against, depending upon the seriousness of the threat posed. When a Hindu ignored the duties of the caste of his birth, he destroyed his dharma. It was only through caste that one belonged to the Hindu community, without caste identity one was a pariah.

One of the most outstanding features of Buddhism is its compassion and tolerance. Lord Buddha himself showed respect to Brahmans and Asoka the great advocated respect for them in his edicts. Then, why were the Buddhists, of all the creeds of Indian origin, singled out for special punitive treatment, and purged out of the Indian body politic in a manner the human system eliminates a foreign element?

This hostility could not be because Buddhists were atheists, as other atheistic creeds like the Sankhya were left untouched. Moreover, Buddhism and Jainism are far less divergent than the multitude of widely different paths of Hindu Dharma.

The Buddhists were singled out for destruction because they did not recognize the authority of Vedas and other Hindu scriptures, and they undermined the supremacy of the Brahmans by rejecting the caste system¾unpardonable sin in the eyes of Brahmans.

To cover their heinous crimes against the Buddhists and to hoodwink the Indian people and historians, the Brahmans came with a clever idea. After the eradication of Buddhism from the soil of its birth, the Brahmans proclaimed Lord Buddha as an Avatar, reincarnation of Vishnu.

On the other hand from a purely theological point of view, Jainism was no less heretic than Budhism, but the Jains suffered far less persecution than the Buddhists. It was so because, if the necessity arose, Jainsim was willing to admit a god of popular Hinduism to their galaxy of gods. Besides, it was also not opposed to the theory of caste. It was thus very much less hostile and more accommodating to Brahmans.

Al-Biruni wrote that he did not find any Buddhist literature or met any Buddhist during his stay in India.18
Al-Biruni’s observation is not surprising as by the time of Fa-Hein’s visit to India in the 5th century AD, Kapilvastu had become a jungle and Gaya had been laid waste and desolate. Saivite Brahman king Sasank of Bengal carried out acts of vandalism against the Buddhists, destroyed the footprints of Lord Buddha at Patliputra, burnt the Bodhi tree under which he had meditated, and devastated numerous monasteries and scattered their monks.

The rise of Adi Shankaracharya in the late 8th-early 9th century saw the intensification of Brahman-Buddhist conflict. He traveled widely converting Buddhist centers into Brahmanical centers of learning, maths, at Badrinath in the north, Sringeri and Kanchipuram in the south, Puri in the east and Dwarka in the west. The impact of his militant campaign against Buddhism was all pervasive, as Buddhism almost disappeared from India. Over the next couple of centuries, aptly termed Dark Age, it flickered in different regions before it finally became extinct. 

Even modern Hindus “Avatars” like Gandhi and Vivekananda were diehard advocates and defenders of the caste system. 

I believe in Varna Ashrama (caste system) which is the law of life. The law of Varna (color or caste) is nothing but the law of conservation of energy. Why should my son not be a scavenger if I am one?
Mahatma Gandhi, Harijan, 3-6-1947.

He, Sudra may not be called a Brahman, though he (Sudra) may have all the qualities of a Brahman in this birth. And it is a good thing for him (Sudra) not to arrogate a Varna (caste) to which he is not born. It is a sign of true humility.
Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, 11-24-1927. 

 There is something in caste, so far as it means blood: such a thing as heredity there is, certainly.  Now try to [understand]—why do you not mix blood with the Negroes, and the American Indians? Nature will not allow you. Nature does not allow you to mix your blood with them. There is unconscious working that saves the race. That was the Aryan’s caste. … The Hindus believe—that is a peculiar belief, I think; and I do not know, I have nothing to say to the contrary, I have not found anything to the contrary—they believe there was only one civilized race: the Aryan. Until he gives the blood, no other race can be civilized.

Strict observance of caste rules and regulations was made the essence of Hindu religion and transgressors were severely punished.  To protect Brahmans and their defenders the Kshatriyas from the rage of inhumanely treated masses; it was declared sinful to wear arms and keep arms by people other than the Kshatriyas.  Even blacksmiths and carpenters, the so-called progeny of the mythical “supper engineer,” Vishava Karma, who made the weapons, were not allowed to use the weapons.  They were not allowed even to fit the plowshare with an iron tip because it could injure the bullock, offspring of the holy cow. After 1947, a large number of Sikh farmers were settled in Haryana and Uttar Pardesh. Their Hindu neighbors were surprised that Sikh farmers were using European style iron plows or iron-tipped plowshares Thus the clever Brahman disarmed the entire Hindu population other than the Kshatriyas. The agriculturist tribes - Jats, Gujjars, Sainis, Yadavs, Ahirs, Patels, Kurmis, Kamas, Reddys and many others were allowed to keep only wooden clubs (luth, lathi, soti, dang), which they used very effectively to split each other’s heads, and beat their animals, wives, children and Dalits.

The Bitter Fruit of Caste System

The caste system not only destroyed the vitality and creativity of the people but also the glue of love and compassion for fellow human beings, which is essential for a healthy society. In due course of time India was like giant dead tree whose roots had been eaten by termites and was waiting to be toppled by a wind gust or in Indian parlance like a sick Brahma bull ready to be devoured by wild dogs and vultures. 

In 710 AD, a young Muslim commander, Mohammad Bin Qassem led an expedition to Sindh. After defeating the Indian forces, he marched deep into the Northwest territory meeting very little resistance, because the populace was disarmed due to the imposition of strict caste regulations, which allowed only Kshatriyas (Rajputs and Khatris) to wear arms.  He plundered towns and temples, and murdered people by the thousands and went home taking away thousands of Indian men and women as slaves.  The news of his victory spread like a wild fire in the Muslim world.  Muslim daredevils from Afghanistan and central Asia made their own forays into India. Small bands of Afghans and Turks carved out small and large principalities for themselves all over India, and finally the Mughals established their own empire in India. 

There was essentially very little resistance to Muslim invaders. They marched into India at will. Mahmud Gazhnavi attacked India seventeen times. Neither Ramyana nor Mahabharta nor the bloodthirsty reincarnation of Shakti¾Durga, Kali and Chandi inspire the so-called warriors¾Kshatriyas (Rajputs and Khatris) to take up arm in defense of the motherland.

Al-Biruni says that no Muslim conqueror passed beyond the frontier of Kabul and the river Sindh until the days of the Turks, when they seized power in Ghazna under the Samani dynasty, and the supreme power fell to the lot of Nasiraddaula Sabuktagin. This prince chose the holy war as his calling, and therefore, called himself Al-ghazi (i.e. warring on the road of Allah). In the interest of his successors he constructed, in order to weaken the Indian frontier, those roads on which afterwards his son Yaminaddaula Mahmud marched into India during a period of thirty years and more. God be merciful to both father and son! Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed there wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people. Their scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims. 

In the history of the fateful forty-five years (1295-1345) traced by us so far, the one distressfully disappointing feature has been the absence, in Maharastra, of the will to resist the invaders. The people of Maharastra were conquered, oppressed and humiliated, but they meekly submitted like dumb driven cattle.28, 29

What is painful is that, sometimes, a handful of foreigners overran vast tracts of the land without countering any sizable resistance. Shihab-ud-din Gauri won the second battle of Tarain (near Delhi) in 1192, and within fourteen years his Genral, Bakhtiyar Khilji had reached the bank of Brahmputra. Nadiya was occupied with an advance party of no more than eighteen horsemen and this opened the way for the establishment of Muslim rule in Bengal.28, 30   

During the onslaught of Muslims, the Khatris and Rajputs, who used to practice their martial art on the defenseless down trodden lower castes, were nowhere to be found to defend the motherland and its people.  The entrepreneurial Khatris offered their services to their conquerors, whom they called malesh (uncivilized, impure, unclean) in private.  

Earlier pagan invaders from the Northwest like Greeks, Huns (Rajputs), Sakas ( Jats) and Gujjars were easily accommodated in the web of Brahmanism, but Muslim invaders came with monotheistic belief. They were idol breakers, not idol worshipers, so the Brahmans came up with a different strategy to deal with them.

The Brahmans who lost their position as raj mantri (minister of state), raj guru (religious advisor to the king) and raj prohit (family priest of the king) after the defeat of Rajput rulers devised a clever strategy to get back not only into the Mughal court but also in the Mughal palace. They advised the Rajput rulers to give their daughters in marriage to Emperor Akbar. It was (is) an anathema even for an ordinary Rajput to marry his daughter to a non-Rajput Hindu what to speak of a royal Rajput marrying his daughter to a Muslim, whom he considered as malesh. But this case was different as this matrimonial alliance was blessed and sanctified by the Brahman.  The Rajput rulers led by the Ambar family accepted this proposal without blinking an eye. This opened the door for Brahmans, Rajputs, and other Hindus in Akbar’s administration.  Many of them held prominent positions, Birbal and Todar Mal were among the “jewels” of Akbar’s court and Raja Man Singh was a very distinguished commander in the army. In gratitude, Akbar cancelled the Jazia (tax on non-Muslims) imposed by the earlier Muslim rulers. The Rajputs played a major role in the expansion and consolidation of Mughal Empire. The Brahmans coined a new mantra “Eeshvro va Dilishvro va, (The emperor of Delhi is as great as God).”

Akbar’s Rajput in-laws made it sure that there was no royal Rajput left who would taunt them, “You have sent to your daughter to the haram of a malesh.” The only Rajput sovereign, who refused to kowtow to Akbar, was Maharana Partap. All the Rajput vassals joined Akbar in defeating this valiant man.

The invasion from the Northwest continued until the Khalsa forces put an end to it. The British who came to India as traders replaced the Mughal Empire. The British work force was never more than 200,000 at any time during their rule over India. It was the Indian elite who supported the British occupation, and ran the lower level administration. The British left India in 1947 after partitioning it into Hindu and Muslim states. The later further split into Pakistan and Bangladesh. The three countries are a living hell for minorities and downtrodden.  This is the legacy of Mahan Rishi Manu.

Thousands of years before the Italian writer and statesman Machiavelli, Kautliya (Chankya) was teaching his “kutil niti” (perverse policy) to the Indian rulers that morality has no place in the affairs of the government. Since 1947 the Indian rulers have been following this policy and this policy is reflected in the thinking of the modern Hindu elite.

Moreover, this policy is reflected in the sermons of Lord Krishna in Bhagvadgita¾ perverse morality ¾morality turned upside down where good becomes evil and the evil becomes good. Lord Krishna urges the reluctant Pandvas, who not only gambled away their kingdom but also their only wife, to declare war on their cousins, the Kaurvas. When the Pandvas start loosing the war, Lord Krishna urges them to use all means: deception and lies to win the war by breaking all the rules, which both sides agreed to observe before the start of the war. The Pandvas win the war through treachery. 

The hard working and law abiding Kaurvas, who fought fair battles up to the end, are called evil. The high stake gamblers, who sold their only wife to pay their debt, and who won the war through treachery, are called righteous.

For Lord Krishna, victory is every thing. He teaches that¾ treachery and foul means to achieve victory¾is moral¾and he is regarded as reincarnation of God.

Dropti is considered a virtuous woman, an idol for young girls to emulate. Her obvious virtue is that she complied with her mother-in-law’s wishes to be a wife to five brothers to keep peace in the family! What kind of a role model is Dropti for any young girl? She accepted to be treated like cattle and was disposed of like cattle to pay the debt! 

Bhagavadgita is a document, which is specifically designed to transform a vulnerable person into a killer. In fact that is exactly what Krishna is doing to Arjuna in Bhagavadgita. Bhagavadgita is a part of Mahabharata (which is a war document) and as such never existed as a separate text until 1785 when it was translated into English under the title Bhagavadgita. 

Krishna’s sermons are considered the essence of Hinduism. Mahatma Gandhi, the so-called apostle of peace considered Bhagavadgita as his most favorite scripture in spite of the fact that the battle of Mahanbharata was fought between kith and kin, and more people were slaughtered in the battle of Mahanbharat than any other battle according to the story. So Gandhi’s pacifism runs parallel to Lord Krishna’s moral teachings. No wonder, the renowned Indologist, Al-Biruni remarked, “The Hindu mind is incomprehensible to non-Hindus.”

Gurbakhash Singh Kala Afghana has carried out a detailed analysis of the life of Lord Rama (Ram Chandar, son of King Dasrath) described by Goswami Tulsi Das in Ram Chrit Manas Granth.31 Though Lord Rama is regarded as reincarnation of God but he takes advice and directions from Brahmans and Rishis. He does what the Brahman and Rishis ask him to do. Brahmans regard him as Maryada Parshotam (upholder and defender of Hindu Dharma / caste system) and his reign (Ram Raj) is regarded as an ideal form of government. Ram Chandar’s life is not morally inspiring as it is mainly based on myths, superstition, deception and lies. For instance, the story of Lord Rama versus King Ravana is an example of “perverse morality”. Lord Rama’s younger brother Laxman was a bal-jati (born celibate, suffering from congenital sexual dysfunction). It is said that Ravana’s younger sister was charmed by Laxmana’s looks, so she flirted with him casting her amorous glances at him. Feeling insecure and inadequate about his masculinity, he treated her in a cowardly and shameful manner¾ he chopped off her nose.  In revenge Ravana kidnapped Sita, Rama’s wife. Being an honorable man Ravana did not cast even an evil glance at Sita.

Lord Rama and Laxmana who treated Ravana’s sister in a cowardly and shameful manner are considered as righteous and great warriors whereas Ravana who treated a captive woman honorably is called evil!

Sita suffered for the despicable actions of Laxmana. Back in Ajudhiya, one day Lord Rama overheard the taunt of washerman to his wife: “I wont take you back like Lord Rama took Sita back.” Stung by this taunt when Rama came home, he asked his wife, Sita to prove her chastity through Agni Priksha (throwing oneself into the fire, chaste woman is not harmed by the fire). This is how Lord Rama, the protector of Hindu Dharma treated his innocent and faithful wife, who suffered so much for the misdeeds of his impotent brother! Lord Rama’s cruelty is beyond human comprehension, he sent his innocent pregnant wife into exile.

Al-Biruni has described how the Sudras, who constituted vast majority of the population were treated under the traditions established during Ram Raj (reign of Lord Rama).

The Sudra is like a servant to the Brahman, taking care of his affairs and serving him, If, though being poor in the extreme, he still desires not to be without a yajnopavita (sacred thread), he girds himself only with the linen one.  Every action which is considered as the privilege of a Brahman, such as saying prayers, the recitation of Vedas, and offering sacrifices to the fire, is forbidden to him, to such a degree that when, e.g. a Sudra or Vaisya is proved to have recited the Veda, he is accused by the Brahman before the ruler, and the later will order his tongue to be cut off. However, the meditation on God, works of piety, and alms giving are not forbidden for him.

Every man who takes to some occupation which is not allowed to him by his caste as, e. g. a Brahman to trade, a Sudra to agriculture, commits a sin or crime, which they consider only a little less than crime of theft.

Al-Biruni then recounts one of the traditions of the Hindus, that in the days of King Rama human life was very long and well defined, so that a child never died before its father. Once, however, a son of a Brahman predeceased his father. The father brought him to the King’s palace, bewailing that there is something rotten in the country. Then Rama began to inquire into the cause of this, and finally they pointed out to him a Candala  (untouchable) who took the greatest pain in performing worship and self-torment. The King rode to him and found him on the banks of Ganges, hanging on something with his head downwards. The King bent his bow, shot at him and pierced his bowels. Then he spoke: “I kill thee on account of a good action, which thou are not allowed to do.” When the king returned to the palace, he found Brahman’s son alive.

The treatment meted out to Sudras by Lord Rama raises serious questions about Rishi Valmiki? According to the legend, Valmiki, the author of Ramayna was a Koli, a member of one of the most despised aboriginal tribes on the Bombay coast.33 When Sudars were not allowed even to pray, how did Valmiki learn to read and write? Moreover, why Valmiki would admire and worship an Aryan king who was so cruel to his people?  It was the Aryan invaders who enslaved the aboriginal tribes by making them Sudras and untouchables. I think making Valmiki, an Advasi (aboriginal) as the author Ramayna is a clever ploy by the Brahman to hoodwink the Advasis (aboriginal tribes) into believing that Lord Rama was loved and venerated by them. The story about the offer of tasted sweet berries by Bhilni to Lord Rama was concocted to convey the same message. I urge Dalit scholars to analyze the contents of the so-called Valmiki Ramayna to set the record straight¾who was Valmiki?

Casteism in India
http://justicefordalits.blogspot.in/



Natural calamity: Dalits suffer double

19Aug07

The severe floods in India, Bangladesh and Nepal make Dalits victims twice.  As it has proved in similar situations when natural disasters hit caste affected countries, their caste status puts Dalits at a disadvantage in the distribution of relief and rehabilitation measures due to “discrimination by default”, most recently documented in connection with the post-tsunami recovery interventions.

An immidiate Rapid Survey in the Indian state of Bihar conducted by an 11-member team representing various Dalit organisations has shown that Dalits are disproportionately affected by the floods. Dalit communities live separately from the main villages, usually in low-lying areas more prone to flooding. Moreover, houses are of poorer quality made of mud which are easily destroyed by rains and floods. The survey team found that despite the fact that the Dalit population is harder hit by the disaster in terms of loss of life and property, they are not reached by the relief measures provided by the Government and NGOs.

The findings of the team have been addressed to the Governor of Bihar in a letter, which includes a situation report and recommendations of measures to be taken to deal with discrimination. Among the suggestions is a call to for the state relief and rehabilitation structures to set up Dalit Watch Centres in order to ensure equity and inclusion in the humanitarian aid to those affected by the floods.
Source: IDSN


Dalit houses, property systematically destroyed

R. Ilangovan   2012-11-09



ALL GONE: A resident of Naikkankottai in Dharmapuri looks anguished over the loss of his belongings. Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan
Even as Dalit colonies in a village in Dharmapuri district, which witnessed a caste flare-up on Wednesday evening, limped back to normality, the victims have alleged that ‘systematic destruction’ of their properties and livelihood resources has taken place.

The Dalit settlements of Natham, Kondampatti and Annanagar in Naikkankottai bore the brunt of mob fury following the suicide of a caste Hindu over the elopement of his college-going daughter with a Dalit youth.

An official estimate, though preliminary as claimed by Collector R. Lilly, has put the number of damaged households at 268. The three colonies in total have 500 houses, a strong concentration of Dalits in one single block in the district.

Almost all the able-bodied youth from these colonies are working in Bangalore as construction workers, godown boys and collectors of used paper market for recycling. Their hard-earned money serves as solid investments in their native village. Some have become landholders. They grow maize, turmeric and tapioca in rain-fed conditions.

“For the past one decade, I have been working in a godown in Bangalore where they pay me Rs. 200 a day. I leave my wife and children back at the village. Our small but hard-earned savings of all these years have gone up in smoke in one single night of riot,” laments Muniappa of Anna Nagar.

Those who have suffered extensive damage claim that the mob, armed with deadly weapons and petrol bombs indulged in four-hour looting. “We were chased out before they began their act. Almirahs were broken and valuables such as gold jewellery and cash stolen before the houses were either set on fire or damaged,” said Rajalingam in Natham colony who runs a lucrative business in used paper market in Bangalore. 


Caste systems



Caste systems are any ranked, hereditary, endogamous occupational groups that constitute traditional societies in certain regions of the world, particularly among Hindus in India. There, caste is rooted in antiquity and specifies the rules and restrictions governing social intercourse and activity for each group based on their occupation and social status. The different castes practiced mutual exclusion in many social activities, including eating, as well as marriage. In addition to the major castes, there also existed another group, the "outcastes," who were relegated to the worst occupations if any employment at all. Ranked below the castes, they were treated as sub-human—"unseeable" and "untouchable."


Definition
While the Indian caste system is the most well-known, other cultures have had similar structures. While most are no longer in force, one common attribute, and one that persists despite official rulings against it, is the existence of an "outcaste" group. Those classified in this way, whether they be Dalit in India, Burakumin inJapan, or Baekjeong in Korea, have suffered discrimination throughout their history. While the caste system in general is no longer considered acceptable as it denies people many opportunities now considered human rights based on their lineage, it is those that suffer the greatest loss of rights and opportunity, the outcastes, for whom the caste system remains most strongly a reality.
Caste is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "an endogamous and hereditary social group limited to persons of the same rank, occupation, and economic position." The word caste is derived from the Romance word casta (seen in Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian), which (in addition to representing the same concept as English caste) can mean "lineage" or "race." It comes from Romancecasto, which can mean "pure" or "chaste." Casto in Latin means "chaste," which is derived from castus, meaning "pure, cut off, separated."
As a religious concept relating to Hinduism, the Oxford English Dictionaryrecognizes caste as "each of the hereditary classes of Hindu society, distinguished by relative degrees of ritual purity and of social status" and as "any exclusive social class". Anthropologists use the term more generally, to refer to a social group that is endogamous and occupationally specialized. Such groups are common in societies with a low degree of social mobility. In its broadest sense, examples of caste-based societies include colonial Latin America under Spanish and Portuguese rule, Japan, Korea, some parts of Africa, as well as across the Indian subcontinent.
Many of these cultures show only the remnants of a caste system that divided the population into what might today be regarded as different social classes, based on lineage and on the role they performed in society. What remains, however, and is common to many cultures is the "outcaste," the people considered below the level of common humanity of all the others, "untouchable." They and their descendants, the dalit in India, the burakumin in Japan, the baekjeong in Korea, all have faced discrimination, and some continue to do so today.

Castes in India

Main article: Caste system in India
The traditional hereditary system of social stratification of India, in which all social classes exist in thousands of endogamous groups is termed as Jāti. The jāti system, usually with politically and economically derived hierarchies, has been followed across the Indian subcontinent with regional variations across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Different religious denominations have traditionally followed different kinds of jāti stratification. While the prevalence of the jāti system has reduced significantly over the course of the twentieth century, remote and rural areas of the subcontinent continue to adhere to the system of jātisegregation.
"Caste," on the other hand is a theoretical construct of the Brahmin scholars to describe and categorize (Varna) the complex social arrangement of which they were themselves a part. In the absence of any other better word, Varna was translated as "Caste" by the Europeans, with its connotations of racial purity. Contrary to popular belief, historically there was a great deal of mobility and intermingling within Indian castes, other than Brahmins, largely based on economic or political status of the concerned group.
The Brahmins were enjoined by their scriptures and texts (including the Manusmriti) to live in poverty and to shun possessions and temporal power, and instead devote themselves to study the teachings of scriptures, pure conduct and spiritual growth. They subsisted mainly on alms from the rest society.
Caste became an important element of Indian politics after the British used the entirely theoretical construct of Varna (literally meaning "color") as the basis of classifying the Indian population, especially the Hindus, in the Population Censuses of late nineteenth century. This became more specific in the 1901 Census, because the Indian population did not understand what was meant by "Caste" and gave their occupation, religion and education as their "Caste." In the 1901 Census, the people were asked to classify themselves, or were classified by enumerators, as members of the specific castes of Brahmin, Khshatriya, Vaishya, or Shudra. This was ostensibly done to simplify an otherwise difficult to categorize society, with subtle hierarchies, for the purposes of better statistical manipulation.
Outside the caste system (literally "outcastes") is the fifth and lowest class called the Dalit or "Untouchables," seen as untouchable because of the job functions they performed. Some of the untouchables were so polluted that they were called "unseeables" and therefore were supposed to keep out of sight, being able to do their jobs only at night.
Thus, a purely theoretical construct of "Varna" or "Caste" now became a living entity and became embedded in the minds of intellectuals and common people alike as an "ancient" system of social segregation.

Hindu caste system

The Indian caste system, prevalent also among local Muslims and Christians, exhibits some differences from those of other countries. Elsewhere, the separation between one group and the other is usually along racial lines. Within India, that is not so. Nor is there any discernable dichotomy (white/black or high/low) because the caste system forms a continuum that defies such ready definition. Lower-caste people live in conditions of great poverty and social disadvantage, though efforts by the Indian government to emancipate the lower castes with affirmative action have achieved some success in recent years.
The concept of 'upper' and 'lower' caste is simply a matter of social standing and assimilation. Some castes do not allow other caste members (whom they consider to be "lower") to touch them, and in such case would wash themselves or their possessions. In some parts of India, there was the practice of defining the physical distance one should keep from persons of another caste. As a result of this, children who attended a school where children of lower castes were present had to bathe before returning home. In some parts of the world, as well as in India, such discrimination still exists, though it is punishable by law and unconstitutional in India. The Indian constitution was drafted by Ambedkar, himself of low-caste origins, who is regarded as an emancipator of the Dalits.

Mythical origin of castes

In the Puranas, it is said that the creator of the universe Lord Brahma created some humans from his mouth—they became reciters of the Veda and became the Brahmins. Then he created other humans from his arms, they became the Kshatriyas, bearers of arms, the warrior and ruling class. Brahma then created some from his abdomen, who became the Vaishyas or merchants. Finally, Brahma created humans from his feet. They served the other castes even as the feet serve the man; they came to become the Sudras (manual laborers and artisans). Thus, the whole universe is held to be one organic entity, the body of the almighty.

Jāti

Major castes were subdivided into hundreds of sub-castes or Jātis. Each jāti typically has an association with a traditional jobfunction in Hindu society, although religious beliefs or linguistic groupings define some jātis. A person's surname typically reflects a jāti association: asari meaning carpenter, thattar meaning goldsmith, muusaari coppersmith, karuvar ironsmith, ambattarclothes-washer, parayar cobbler.
In any given location in India five-hundred or more jātis may co-exist, although the exact composition could differ from district to district. Endogamous marriages (including polyandry) and other associations within caste were strongly enforced. Since most marriages were arranged, based on the existing networks of kinship and caste, it was very unusual to marry someone of different status. People were born into their jāti, and that defined their occupation and lifestyle.

Modern developments

With rapid urbanization and education of India's largely rural, agrarian population, the significance of caste has diminished, except in government mediated interventions in the form of quotas and reservations in education, jobs, and promotions for the socially "lower," but numerous and thus politically important, castes.
The caste system and its attendant practices have been outlawed and declared punishable offenses, but these laws are difficult to implement. There are occasional violations of human rights of Dalits (outcasts - also called untouchables) by the higher castes, including forcing Dalits into their traditional professions. Dalits in rural areas have often been victimized by other castes. The government of India provides freeships, scholarships, reservations for government jobs and of university seats in programs of higher education for people hailing from Scheduled castes, Scheduled tribes, and Other Backward Castes. Upper caste Hindus and several secular elements counter-argue that unmeritorious Dalits are exploiting this constitutionally obligatory discrimination to their unfair advantage and meritorious candidates are being sidelined.

Caste system among Indian Muslims

There is also several caste systems among some Muslims in India. They are broadly divided into two castes, Ashraf and Ajlaf, oroonchi zaat (high caste) and niichi zaat (low caste). The Muslim Caste system in India was analyzed by Ambedkar, who had a very dim view of the rampant discrimination against the Ajlaf castes by the Ashraf caste, who base their superiority on lineage.In addition to the Ashraf and Ajlaf castes exists the Arzal (under-caste) or the Dalit. They are Muslims who are regarded by the Ashraf and the Ajlaf as ritually impure and are relegated to professions regarded as "menial" such as scavenging and the carrying of night soil. They are not allowed to enter the Mosque, and their dead are buried apart from the public Muslim cemetery.
In addition, Muslims in Bengal organize their society according to social strata called "Quoms," where division of labor is granted by birth, rather than by economic status. Professions perceived as "lowly" are provided to people of certain ostracized Quoms; higher Quoms get professions perceived as superior. The Quoms are rigidly segregated with little or no intermarriage or cohabitation.

Caste system among Indian Christians

Converts to Christianity have retained the old caste practices. In particular, Dalit Christians are regarded as an undercaste by upper caste Christian clergy and nuns and are discriminated against in society.

Caste systems similar to India

Balinese caste system

The Balinese caste system resembles the Indian system with a four-fold division of society. Shudras make up approximately 97 percent of the society.

Nepalese caste system

The Nepalese caste system, like the Indian caste system, is highly complex and continues the traditional system of social stratification of Nepal. The caste system defines social classes by a number of hierarchical endogamous groups often termed asJāti. This custom is found in both the Hindu and Buddhist communities of Nepal.
In ancient times, Muslims attacked Aryans in India causing them to move east into Nepal. Over the years they slowly moved west to east. Thus, the Aryans came in contact with native tribes (most of Mongolian descent) of modern Nepal. There were 36 tribes at that time, classified as 36 Varnas. Aryans treated the people of the 36 Varnas as Baishyas of their society.

Pakistani caste system

The same caste system practiced by Indian Muslims is practiced in Pakistan, with divisions into tribes such as the Pushtun, Pathan, as well as divisions by religious denomination such as Ahmadiyya, Mojahir, and so forth. Pogroms against Ahmadiyya Muslims and Mojahir Muslims in Pakistan have occurred. Gang-rapes of lower caste women such as Mukhtaran Mai by upper caste men have also occurred in Pakistan. The ethnic Balochi in Pakistan are often discriminated against by the Punjabi and Sindhi people in Pakistan, leading to an armed separatist insurgency in Balochistan formerly led by the late Nawab Akbar Bugti.
Educated Pakistani women from the lower castes are often persecuted by the higher castes for attempting to break the shackles of the restrictive system (that traditionally denied education to the lower castes, particularly the women). An example is the case of Ghazala Shaheen, a low caste Muslim woman in Pakistan who, in addition to getting a higher education, had an uncle who eloped with a woman of a high caste family. She was accosted and gang-raped by the upper-caste family. The chances of any legal action are low due to the Pakistani government's inability to repeal the Huddood ordinance. 
The social stratification among Muslims in the "Swat" area of North Pakistan has been compared to the caste system in India. The society is rigidly divided into subgroups where each Quom is assigned a profession. Different Quoms are not permitted to intermarry or live in the same community. These Muslims practice a ritual-based system of social stratification. The Quoms who deal with human emissions are ranked the lowest.

Sri Lankan caste system

The Sri Lankan system resembles the South Indian Jāti system with numerous Jāti divisions without a Varna system superimposition. Furthermore, the Sri Lankan Tamils see themselves as superior to Tamils of Indian background.

Castes in Japan

Burakumin (buraku community or hamlet + min people), or hisabetsu buraku "discriminated communities/discriminated hamlets") are a Japanese social minority group. The burakumin are one of the main minority groups in Japan, along with the Ainu of Hokkaido and residents of Korean and Chinese descent.
Japan has historically subscribed to a feudal caste system. While modern law has officially abolished the caste hierarchy, there are reports of discrimination against the Burakumin undercastes, historically referred to by the insulting term Eta. Studies comparing the caste systems in India and Japan have been performed, with similar discriminations against the Burakumin as the Dalits, with the Burakumin regarded as "ostracized".
As early as 1922, leaders of the hisabetsu buraku organized a movement, the "Levelers Association of Japan" (Suiheisha), to advance their rights. The Declaration of the Suiheisha encouraged the Burakumin to unite in resistance to discrimination, and sought to frame a positive identity for the victims of discrimination, insisting that the time had come to be "proud of being eta." The Levelers Association remained active until the late 1930s.
After World War II, the National Committee for Burakumin Liberation was founded, changing its name to the Buraku Liberation League (Buraku Kaihou Doumei) in the 1950s. The league, with the support of the socialist and communist parties, pressured the government into making important concessions in the late 1960s and 1970s. One concession was the passing of the Special Measures Law for Assimilation Projects, which provided financial aid for the discriminated communities.
Even into the early 1990s, however, discussion of the 'liberation' of these discriminated communities, or even their existence, was taboo in public discussion. In the 1960s, the Sayama incident, which involved a murder conviction of a member of the discriminated communities based on circumstantial evidence, focused public attention on the problems of the group. In the 1980s, some educators and local governments, particularly in areas with relatively large hisabetsu buraku populations, began special education programs, which they hoped would encourage greater educational and economic success for young members of the group and decrease the discrimination they faced.

Yemeni caste system

In Yemen there exists a caste-like system that keeps Al-Akhdam social group as the perennial manual workers for the society through practices that mirror untouchability. Al-Akhdam (literally "servants"; Khadem being plural) is the lowest rung in the Yemeni caste system and by far the poorest.
The Khadem are not members of the three tribes (Bedouin, Berber, and Rif) that comprise mainstream Arab society. They are believed to be of Ethiopian ancestry. Some sociologists theorize that the Khadem are descendants of Ethiopian soldiers who had occupied Yemen in the fifth century but were driven out in the sixth century. According to this theory the al-Akhdham are descended from the soldiers who stayed behind and were forced into menial labor as a punitive measure.
The Khadem live in small shanty towns and are marginalized and shunned by mainstream society in Yemen. The Khadem slums exist mostly in big cities, including the capital, Sana’a. Their segregated communities have poor housing conditions. As a result of their low position in society, very few children in the Khadem community are enrolled in school and often have little choice but to beg for money and intoxicate themselves with crushed glass.. A traditional Arabic saying in the region goes: “Clean your plate if it is touched by a dog, but break it if it’s touched by a Khadem. Though conditions have improved somewhat, the Khadem are still stereotyped by mainstream Yemenese society, considering them lowly, dirty, ill-mannered and immoral

African caste system

Countries in Africa that have societies with caste systems within their borders include Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Algeria, Nigeria, Chad, Ethiopia and Somalia.
The Osu caste system practiced by the Igbo in Nigeria  and southern Cameroon is derived from indigenous religious beliefs that discriminate against the "Osus" people as "owned by deities" and outcastes.
Caste systems in Somalia mandate non-Arab descended "outcastes" such as Midgan-Madhiban, Yibir, Tumal and other groups deemed to be impure and are ostracized from society. Similarly, the Mande societies in Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana have caste systems that divide society by occupation and ethnic ties. The Mande caste system regards the "Jonow" slave castes as inferior. Similarly, the Wolof caste system in Senegal is divided into three main groups, the Geer (freeborn/nobles), jaam (slaves and slave descendants) and the outcasted neeno (people of caste).
Other caste systems in Africa include the Borana-speaking caste system of North East Kenya with the Watta as the lowest caste. The highest class is Borana Gutu (Pure), followed by Gabra, then Sakuye, with wealth and prestige being measured in cattle and livestock. To understand the nature of "Ubuhake" caste in Rwanda and Burundi, one must know the structure of society in pre-Colonial Rwanda, where caste was largely an economic division between landed gentry living a sedentary lifestyle, and less-wealthy who did not own land. The "Hutu" were largely a service-based class (the underclass) in Rwanda who later, as the majority population, committed genocide against the "Tutsi" overlords in the now infamous

Castes in Latin America

The word "Caste" is Portuguese in origin, from the word Casta. Many Latin American countries have caste systems based on classification by race and inter-ethnic marriages. The caste system was imposed during colonial rule by the Spanish. Under Spanish rule, a detailed caste system was instituted in Mexico at one time, classifying individuals according to the race of each parent. For example, Mestizo had a Spanish father and Indian mother, Castizo had a Spanish father and Mestizo mother,Espomolo a Spanish mother and Castizo father, Mulatto a Spanish father and black African mother, and so forth.

Many Latin American countries in the present time have rendered the system officially illegal through legislation, but that does not mean societal prejudices and economic exploitation are not present. Even though overt racial oppression is no longer permissible by law, people may still hold personal opinions about members of other races based upon preconceived notions.

‘Untouchability’ wall

DC | S Irshad Ahmed | 11th Dec 2012

Under the THAI scheme, this year four cremation sheds were constructed in a row by officials of Am­m­p­ettai union at Ko­nur vil­la­ge in Nell­ithoppu panch­ayat at a cost of Rs 7 lakh.
Yie­lding to pressure from caste Hindus, the officials ha­ve raised a 4-foot high wa­ll between the cremation sheds, segregating the residents in terms of caste. The cremation shed now has two separate entra­nc­es, one for the caste Hi­n­d­us and the other for dalits.

Worse, the officials have shown caste discrimination by laying a cement road to the cremation sheds for caste Hindus while the cremation sheds for dalits have only a mud approach road.

Terming the act of Amm­ap­ettai union officials highly outrageous, K. Abi­m­annan, district president of Tamil Nadu Unto­uch­ability Era­di­cation Fr­ont, urged the state govern­ment to take measures to immediately de­molish the “untouchability wall”.

Abimannan also dema­nded that action be taken aga­inst the officials res­po­nsible for the disgraceful act and asked that a common path be laid to the cremation sheds.

S. Sriram, block development officer of Amm­ap­ettai union, however, said the wall was raised with the consent of dalits of the area. He, however, had no answer when asked how government officials could raise a wall segregating people in terms of caste and that too under a gover­nment scheme. He also said that a cement road co­u­ld not be laid to the crema­ti­on sheds for dalits bec­ause of a financial crunch.


Tahsildar Natarajan of Papanasam taluk office also said that the wall was raised with the consent of dalits of the area. He, however, said that a cement road would soon be laid to the cremation sheds for dalits.


Dalit teacher denied housing, HC steps in

TNN Dec 15, 2012, 05.31AM IST
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court has taken suo motu cognizance of the scourge of untouchability because of which a female teacher from the dalit community was denied residence in Kutch. The local residents' prejudice and the government's apathy forced her to quit her job.

Jetal Rushi from Bharuch was appointed as Vidhya Sahayak in Gelda village near Bhuj. But since she belonged to the Valmiki community, villagers in and around Gelda refused to give her accommodation. The girl made a representation to the state government and requested that she be transferred to another place.

Since the government did not respond, Jetal resigned and went back to Bharuch. Perturbed by the girl's agony, her grandfather wrote a letter to the high court narrating how the girl was forced to give up her job. He complained that the girl was posted in a village where she could not secure help from any government office because none existed there. A bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala filed a public interest litigation on its own on perusal of the letter. Advocate Hemang Shah, who is part of this proceeding, said that the Article 17 of the Constitution provides for the eradication of the practice of untouchability and denying residence to a member of the Valmiki community - which is in the profession of scavenging - was nothing but violation of the constitutional provision.

Shah said that in 2008, a PIL was filed on the problems faced by the Valmiki community - people do not allow them to live in their vicinity.

The state government then took a stand that it would give priority to the community in providing housing facilities and a resolution too was passed. The lawyer claimed that the denial of a house to Jetal was not only non-compliance of the HC order, but also contempt of court.

The high court has sought explanation from home secretary, director of primary education and the secretary of social justice and empowerment department asking them to file answers by December 27.


“People who oppose caste-census are less in numbers, but are powerful and they run this country”

An interview with Dilip Mandal Dilip Mandal, a senior journalist and writer, is currently associated with Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi.
He has been consistently writing on some of the most important socio-economic issues before our country, in newspapers and on internet. He has recently edited a book ‘Caste Census: Parliament, Society and Media’ (in Hindi). Here he is interacting with Insight members – Gurinder Singh Azad, Anup Vimal, Noopur and Anoop Kumar – on the issue of caste census. This interview is also being published in Hindi here. What is the need for holding caste-based census? Why this demand for counting people on the basis of their castes? There are many reasons for holding caste-based census in our country. Even if we discount these reasons, then also the need remains as there are many caste-based government policies. Caste has been cited for more than 25 times in our Constitution. The makers of our Constitution were aware that caste is not something that could be annihilated by mere Constitution and therefore they provided for caste-based specific policies to make some dent on caste-based hegemony of all those who have been deriving benefit from the age old caste system. The caste-based census is nothing new. Till now some castes are counted and many are not. 

The government has been counting scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in every census. But there is another community for which we have policies; we have OBC commission, OBC component plan, OBC Finance Commission. We have number of policies, even that of building hostels for OBC students but we don’t have their numbers. So, suppose, while implementing these government policies, the central government wants to allot some funds to different states, for example to Karnataka and Bihar. The fund allotted is not decided on the total population of OBCs in the state because nobody has the clue about its population. It is decided on the basis of the total population of the state. In such case, Bihar will be allotted much more fund due to its higher total population even if the number of OBC population is more in Karnataka than in Bihar. There are many such anomalies which need to be rectified provided we have specific data. So not having data is not an option for proper implementation of government policies. Many government agencies, from time to time, have clearly stated that we must have data on OBC population. Planning Commission has said this, Social Justice Ministry has stated about the need. Even Department of Personnel and Training has mentioned clearly that it needs such data to frame policies for carrying recruitment in different states. Supreme Court has mentioned this in its three judgments on the unavailability of such data. In fact in its latest judgment on 69 % reservations in Tamilnadu and Karnataka, the court has clearly stated the need of data, countable data. So we need authentic countable data to frame our policies. Even during the implementation of 

Mandal Commission Report and on 27 % OBC reservations, same questions were raised. Many anti-reservationists opposed its implementation citing the lack of specific data on the OBC population in the country. But now the same set of people is opposing the caste census. Yes, if we don’t have specific data then these questions are bound to be raised and therefore we need caste-census so that we have authentic data. It is interesting how the same people who opposed OBC reservations pointing towards the lack of data are the ones who are opposing caste-census now. Another thing in regards with OBC reservation is that during its implementation, the Indian government had decided that it would review the policy after every 10 years to see if there is any community that has been empowered and needs to be taken off the OBC list or some new communities to be added which are less empowered. How we will do such review if we don’t have any data on their total population, the number of graduates, how many of them have pucca houses etc? Unless and until you collect and correlate such data, how you will be able to figure out which community has got empowered and there is no need for any affirmative action for that community? So for all the policies for the development process of this country, for affirmative action, the caste based census is a must. The last caste-census was held in 1931 and after that the caste was stopped from being counted except in the case of SCs by even the British-India government. This is not true. It is a myth that British government stopped caste census and this is being propagated to sabotage our demand. Actually it was the Nehru government that stopped caste census from 1951 onwards, not the earlier colonial government. In 1941 census, the then British government had included caste like earlier censuses and collected the data but due to Second World War, the government refused to grant money for its tabulation and hence the data never came out. All the sociologists of this country know this fact but they will never come out with this as this will expose the brahminical ruling class of this country. That is indeed an eye-opener. So post-independence the demand for caste-census is a new one or there is a history behind this? The demand for caste census is nothing new. Right from the time of Kaka Kalekar Commission (1955) to Mandal Commission (1979), there has been persistent demand on this. Mandal Commission had clearly written that without contemporary data it is very difficult to frame policies as every time it had to refer to the data of 1931 census which might have gone through lot of changes in due course of time. So the demand is not at all new. Even if you see the questions raised in parliament, you will find that every year, whether that is census year or not, our representatives have asked this question again and again on whether the government is going to collect data on caste or not. Even before 2001 census, this demand was raised and in fact during the prime minister ship of Mr Devegowda a cabinet note was circulated on government agreeing for caste-based census. Many people now say that his government was toppled for precisely this reason as he was triggering caste-based census as this would have generated lot of debates which would unsettle the ruling elite class of this country. And when Advani becomes the Home Minister, he clearly states on this cabinet note that we are not going to have caste-based census. Why certain people oppose holding of caste-based census when it is very clear that we need such census for proper governance? What are their arguments? 

There are two faces of the opposition against caste-based census. One that is being articulated, being said on various public platforms and other which is left unsaid but is the real threat which motivates these people to oppose caste based census. Even if we analyse what they are arguing leaving behind their real intentions, you will see that none of their arguments holds merit. They claim that due to caste-based census, the casteism will increase; the caste which is a sociological identity will get perpetuated and institutionalized because the government will now ask everyone their castes. Secondly they claim that without doing caste-census, the government can get the required data through tools like NSSO and frame its policies. Then they come with a very absurd argument that with caste-census, the country will break. Such are the logic that are being forwarded against the demand and these are being articulated by big people, media, and intellectuals including those who are considered great sociologists of the country. Another argument that is being floated against the caste-census is that people will try to provide inflated figures for their respective castes and will try to provide wrong information so as to make a claim for government’s caste-based affirmative policies. Now if we analyse all these arguments, we can very easily see that none of these hold water but are just red herring against caste-based census. Take the last argument of people deliberately providing wrong information, suppose if I tell to census people that I am SC and by telling so will I automatically get SC caste certificate? Does a brahmin will get an OBC certificate if he merely claims to be from yadav caste in census? The people are conveniently forgetting that according to Census Act, 1948, no one can reveal any individual’s data in census. It is a punishable crime. You can get communities’ data, state wise data, country wise data from the census but any individual’s data cannot be revealed. So whatever I tell to census people will in no way going to help me as person, anywhere. Then people are claiming ‘country in danger’ and country will break if such happens. 

This is a very weird argument. If we look at our history, the country got divided only once and that too on the basis of religion. But on every 10 years, a census enumerator comes to your house and asks for your religion. Then you have no problem! More than 7-8 thousand people died in the past on the issue of language in this country. Our memories are still fresh with Khalistan movement, Tamil-Kannada riots, Tamil-Hindi riots and there is much more that has happened in the name of languages but still there is a column for language in the census. People are also talking about how a particular caste can inflate their numbers in the census. Does this argument make any sense? Now, this logic too is quite weird in itself. What would one do so as to inflate the number in the census?! It’s not possible for any particular caste to do so. For example, if kurmi decides to inflate their number in the census, what method could possibly he follow. If there are three people belonging to his caste in the village, will he be able to increase the number to six or would he be able to convince other people from his village to enumerate themselves as kurmi? It’s definitely not possible in any way and people who know census and Indian sociology know it very well that this is impossible. People have been propagating such illogical arguments just for the sake of hiding their real intentions of opposing caste census. What about the alternatives like NSSO, which some are claiming, can provide the required data? Yes, this argument is being put very strongly. But I really fail to understand how with a sample size of just few thousand people (as is done in NSSO), you can make policies for such a diverse country like ours with a one billion plus population and also for that you are ready to spend huge money but are not willing to add just one more column with ongoing census process. Also if you are willing to generate such data through NSSO, then what is your problem against generating the same through caste census which will be much more comprehensive and authentic? Moreover the census process has the legal sanctity whereas if you undertake anything based on the NSSO data, it can be challenged in the courts. The data generated through census has much legal validity and cannot be compared with the NSSO data by any means. There is one more argument that is pitched forward that why do we need to collect data of all the castes, only OBC enumeration will do? Let us just count all the OBCs. Yes, some ‘liberal’ sociologists have come out with this argument too. This is again an old trick to make caste problem appear to be only that for OBCs and SCs and rest are presumed to be ‘caste blind’ and have nothing to do with caste problem. They very conveniently create a space for themselves and ask us, “Where is caste? Everything is in proper place. I don’t know about my caste or I will not tell about my caste.” These are the people who, essentially, belong to the upper hierarchy of caste system and have reached wherever they are because of the advantages that their caste background has provided them. But such is not the case with everyone. Caste is a big disadvantage for majority of the population but for the people from higher caste hierarchy, caste has never been a problem. Whereas if you see, the same set of people will put matrimonial ads based on their castes, develop social relations, recruit people, and move around with people from same caste background. Caste operates at all levels of their personal and professional lives then why this hypocrisy? You say that people opposing the caste census are not coming forward with their real intentions or what they see as real threats. Why are these people so scared about the caste census? What are the real threats to them? Their real fear stems from the fact that if such caste data are generated and are correlated with socio, economic and educational indicators then a true picture in this country of each caste will emerge. Then we will be able to get some very curious data and might be able to find out, for example, that even after 60 years of independence, there is one caste that is just 2-3 % of the total population but is occupying more than 50 % of the seats in media, bureaucracy and judiciary. We might get such data. There is every possibility. It might also happen that we come across a community that is 12-15 % of the population but does not have even access to 1 % of total country’s resources. All such data can trigger for a demand of proper diversity in every field, equal access to resources and resentment against the monopoly of few castes that are garnering all the resources. This is where their real fears are coming from. Castes that are small in number but holding huge chunk of the country’s resources are scared as this census will raise many debates. It will not just affect the public sector but the private sector as well. The repercussions will also be seen in the academia too as the domination of particular kind in the academics will also then be questioned. A caste-census is a direct threat to their monopoly over country’s resources and I am sure that the ruling caste elites of this country will never allow caste-census to happen if we are not able to create a very strong mass-based movement demanding caste-census. They are very well aware that the caste census will take us towards the new phase of Indian polity and economy and is going to have much bigger impact than Mandal – I or II. Another argument is that the OBC will become too powerful, too politicised and well organised once they come to know about their large numbers through caste-census. This argument is being propagated by those who claim to be pro-Dalit and argue that the oppression of Dalits will increase as the post caste-census OBCs will wield too much political power. Given the history of caste atrocities perpetuated by dominant OBC castes on Dalits, what you have to say on this? One thing is clear that for these people OBC means only either jat or reddys or kurmis but they conveniently forget that the majority of OBC constitutes castes that are socially, politically and economically marginalised like that of weavers, barbers, blacksmith etc. Also see, everyone calls Western UP as Jat land but I feel that once the caste-census happen, we will come out with the data that the largest community in this area is jatav (a Dalit sub-caste). This is my belief as I have covered this area during my reporting on elections. All such myths will get shattered with caste-census. Jats are powerful in this area not because of their numerical strength and the caste census is in no way going to add on its power. They are powerful because they control everything there. Democracy is all about numbers and caste-census can open new vistas and their monopoly over resources, then, can more easily be challenged. Regarding OBCs voting as a bloc, if such was the case then VP Singh would never have lost the election. OBC is a very large collection of varied castes and if we see their political manifestation one can find many internal contradictions. Take an example of Bihar, look at yadav and mallah (boatmen). Do you think that given their respective places in rural economy, they will go together? Those who feel threatened about OBC domination after the caste census must be told that such threat is there even without the census. No one needs the census to tell that OBC is the biggest voting bloc. All the OBCs are already aware of this fact. The figure of 51 % and OBCs being in majority is there since 1931 census and the current percentage will not vary much from 1931. So the caste census is not going to bring some new fact that is going to change the voting patterns of OBCs overnight. OBC as one voting bloc can never work in India. This is too diverse a bloc. Many of our political and social commentators are also saying that our caste-enumerators are not informed people and they will not be able to classify people according to their castes and will lead to lot of confusion. This is anyways not the job of caste enumerators. His/her work is just to ask people about their castes and write it down in the form. After that only people can be put into different categories according to the SC/ST/OBC lists provided by state and central government. About enumerators not being informed enough, one must know before arguing such thing that the enumerator is most often the teacher of that area and is definitely much more informed about castes in that area than India’s best sociologists. Then there is another argument forwarded by many about what will be the caste of children from intercaste marriages? In last census, more than 7 lakh people told that they did not believe in any religion. They were enumerated separately. So, such options can be included for those who say that they don’t have any caste. They can be counted separately. Even for children born out of inter-caste marriages, there is a clear cut legal provision that the child will carry father’s caste. Let there be choice of inter-caste column too. America comes out with data on inter-racial marriages taking place there, every year. For example, 17.8 % of the total marriages in USA were inter-racial in 2008-09. They do not stop with this data only. They go further within inter-racial marriages and have exact data on how many such marriages have been between Blacks and Hispanics, Hispanics and Asians and all such combination. Earlier in USA, they used to have columns like black, white or mixed, now they have gone a step further. They ask for the racial identities of the parents of mixed race people. Such data is freely made available on the internet and is collected every year. However in India, such data on intercaste marriages is impossible to get. We don’t even know whether it is Bengal or Kerala or any other state which leads in intercaste marriages and hence we might never be able to capture the factors that are responsible for more inter-caste marriages there. Such marriages are necessary for the annihilation of caste but we have no clue about this phenomenon as we are not yet ready to generate the required data. But there is one fear that is plaguing our minds also regarding caste-census. The census enumerators are basically primary school teachers and other government officials, who go to each household to fill up the census forms but majority of them, especially in states like UP and Bihar, belong to either brahmin or other ‘upper’ caste groups. There is a strong feeling that these enumerators avoid going to Dalit and Muslim’s colonies and fill up their forms from their homes/offices and hence giving deflated data on population of both these groups. In case of caste-based census, this threat increases manifold given its high political overtones. Yes, this threat has always been there. Such things do happen in census and are often done very deliberately with a purpose. Take the example of Scheduled Tribes that are almost 100 million in this country. These do not belong to any caste-hierarchy of Hinduism. Tribals have their own gods, rituals, social systems, culture and traditions and they don’t even marry according to Hinduism but have been clubbed within Hinduism through census only so that the number of Hindus increases in this country. Similarly there is a long debate on whether Dalits, being outcaste or out of Hindu castes hierarchy, are part of Hinduism or not. Throughout Dalit movement’s history, people have strongly contested against Dalits being Hindus. So there have always been efforts to show higher numbers of Hindus in this country and in the context of counting OBC population also, there are chances of deliberate mistakes. So, I agree that there are such threats given the caste biases of enumerators, still let us go ahead with our demand on caste-census. The Census Act has strong legal provisions against supplying wrong information and there are provisions for scrutiny and cross check. And if such needs arise we must demand that and challenge the data. The government has yet to formulate how they are going to do caste census after that only we can see how this threat can be minimised. There has been lot of churning among the Indian intelligentsia but not much is coming out officially from the Indian government side. How has the Indian government manifested itself in this whole debate of caste census? Government has tried every trick and has given every excuse not to have the caste-census. When this question was raised in the parliament and when even the Planning Commission specifically asked for caste-based data, then government made Registrar General of India to come out with a statement that this is not possible. He said there are too many OBCs, how would we count! Then many in government said that this will result in institutionalisation of caste. They also came up with an excuse that now it is very late to add caste column for 2011 census. Suddenly government changed the track and said, ‘let us only count OBCs’ in this census. Then it said that no, we will do it with UID, in the biometric phase during the collection of finger prints etc that is supposed to complete in 15-20 years. Now the government has come up with something much more hideous. It wants to delink the counting of caste from the census and wants to hold it separately. The government is ready to spent 2000 crores for this but is not agreeing to add just one more column for caste in the census form. So you see how our system works in conspiracies and is trying hard to deny any chance of holding caste census and if that is not possible then they want this to get delinked with census. Till now the Indian government has no intention to hold it. It is just trying to waste as much time as possible so that in the end, it can very easily say that such is not possible in 2011, due to lack of preparation or time constraints. The parliament, which is the largest democratic body of the country, every political party has agreed to caste-census then also the Indian govt formed a Group of Ministers (GOM) to ask for the views of political groups. They wasted two months on this. When all the political parties again reiterated the need of caste census before GOM, the government came out with a proposal to do that together with UID and went back to all the political groups again to take their views on the methodology to be involved! When pressurised, now the government has come up with counting caste in a separate process which is utter waste of resources and nothing but an eyewash. Why you are opposing the recent government proposal of delinking caste-counting from census and doing it separately? Why you are calling it an eyewash? Recently government has come out with a cabinet note. Three things are to be noted from this. First, that the caste census will be done separate from the census, second that a separate legal framework will be formulated for this and third that an expert committee will be appointed in order to analyze and tabulate the data. My main contention is if castes are counted through census by including just one more column, then together with castes’ numbers we will also get their socio-economic status after correlating with different socio-economic indicators that are included in every census. And that is what exactly the kind of data we require for better governance of this country, equitable distribution of resources and for the correct picture of Indian society to emerge. But the Indian government and the ruling class of this country don’t want such data to come in public knowledge so they are going to spend 2000 crore for just asking castes of people in a separate process. You will just get the numbers devoid of any socio-economic mapping of castes. So you will know the numbers of yadavs, balmikis, thakurs but not how they fare socio-economically in this country and their relative accesses to national resources. I feel this 2000 crore are not for revealing facts but government is spending to hide the facts. However let me tell you something, even these numbers are not going to come easily for us. The government is talking about formation of an expert committee that will undertake a study on each caste, case by case and decide which caste to go in which groupings and then only to come out with data. Why do we need this expert committee now when we already have central and state lists of SC, ST and OBC? This committee has been approved by the Indian cabinet now. The data collected on caste from February till September next year will be then given to this expert committee to decide on the placing of these castes in different groups. Now this is a great potential situation for disaster. Just imagine how many court cases would be filed, how many agitations will surface and there is bound to be total chaos. People would say, we are from this caste, why we are not been included in OBC? Gujjars would say, put us in ST. There will be similar situation in almost every state and believe me in such situation, forget about any data for at least next ten years. Compare this scenario with a situation when caste counts happen together with census where you not only get the caste numbers but also the socio-economic status of each caste. Once such data is available, the government can undertake any number of groupings and regroupings of castes. That is much more scientific way to go about than appointing an expert committee to do so with no authentic socio-economic data. The census process is constitutional, is a serious affair, and has the capability to organize 25 lakh enumerators in just one notice. This would be difficult if the caste counting is done separately. Then another question arises whether government is going to spend 2000 crore and more every ten year to conduct the caste count separately? Actually the government doesn’t want socio-economic data of each caste to be generated and therefore trying everything that can derail this, create controversies and consume time. And the worst part is they are going to spend crores of your, mine and our money for doing so. Given such scenario, do you see any chance of caste-census happening in near future? The people who oppose caste-census are very less in number, but they are very powerful and they run this country. They will not let this happen so easily unless there is a strong demand that comes from within the society. Our people have to understand that if this country belongs to them, then they have equal rights towards all the resources of the country. For the all round growth of the country just few castes cannot be allowed to keep on monopolising the country’s resources. What you do with the data is a secondary issue but if you see sociologically, not having the data is not an option. Take the case of voter list, which is a tool to further the democratic process but from the same list one can clearly deduce other’s identity and misuse it in communal riots. This has happened in recent past. But does it means that you will never come out with authentic voter list? Can democracy function then? Not having data on its population is not a healthy sign for any modern democratic country. Every major democratic country be it South Africa or any European country, every kind of data is collected there. Countries are collecting data on micro level but here in our country, people are so afraid of data. They are afraid because they know that if such data comes, you will become aware of the truth of this country and raise uncomfortable questions. Knowing all the debates that are going on caste census and on other issues of social justice, we feel that we have to tread a very long path. Unfortunately, in last 20 years, we witness a severe backlash from the upper caste dominated institutions like academia and media on such issues that are supposed to be liberal and progressive. Yes I agree. No matter what opinions we have for the politicians of this country but the truth is, in our country, Politics and Parliament remain the only democratic process and institution. The elites in our country claim to be apolitical and hate politics. They never lose any opportunity to strongly assert that ‘politics is bad’ and ‘politicians are evil’ just because the strongest voice for the empowerment of marginalized communities comes via politics only in this country. Just look at Indian media and compare with our political system and the way it deals with the issue of social justice. According to a recent survey of all the newspapers, channels and magazines, one can clearly find out that our media is essentially an ‘upper’ caste Hindu male media. I have collected 15 editorials from the major Indian newspapers and one can clearly see how they have a consensus among themselves to not let the caste-census happen. So we come across a scenario where in the Parliament there is a consensus in favour of caste census but Indian media being run and controlled by ‘upper’ caste Hindus totally oppose it. ‘Upper’ caste scholars and intellectuals should become little liberal and sensitive. They should learn from the American society that has manifested itself very democratically on the issue of racial discrimination by electing Obama as their President. He could never win without the support of whites there. But here in India one can clearly see that the people who are against caste based reservations, they are the ones against the caste census too and at the same time support women reservation but without sub-quota for women from backward communities! So it’s very unfortunate to not have liberal voices from the ‘upper’ castes. Our aim is to build a better society with equality and no where we are asking for hating ‘upper’ castes. We are just claiming for our rights of having an equal share. They must understand that due to monopoly of resources in the hands of few castes, our country is not developing. We are ranked 134 in Human Development Index, below even to many Sub-Saharan countries. If our country could develop in the hands of a few people, it would have developed long back. This should be an issue of concern for all those who claim to be patriotic. Look at the condition of common wealth games. We are not able to even organize this properly in one city whereas South Africa within 2 decades of ending apartheid organized FIFA World Cup, the largest event on earth, hoisted in 9 cities. Cleary, this country isn’t safe in the hands of the people who claim to be ‘meritorious’. [You can write to Dilip Mandal at dilipcmandal@gmail.com. Anup Vimal and Noopur are doing their MSW (IInd Year) from TISS, Mumbai.]




Is Caste only a Hindu Problem? (part 1)



It has been noticed that Hinduism being the oldest of the practicing faith in the world, it is targeted by the latterly emerged diverse faiths for right and wrong reasons with mostly vested interests; caste is one such factor. The interest lies in evangelism to build a number game. Christianity has the highest numbers in its fold (about two billions inclusive of all factions) while Muslims (Islam) are now next in number game to the tune of about 1.2 to 1.5 Billions (inclusive of all).Hinduism perhaps oldest as it is; with the growth of the various communities globally, slowly faced two distinct problems: One the older it got, the more rotted and rusted it became with the passage of time. Second it faced a distinct competition from the different and diverse ideologies, especially the Abrahamic groups that affected it tremendously and adversely, in fact unexpectedly. Apart from the multiple basic differences of belief and faith, Hinduism starkly differed vastly on points of conversions and tolerance towards other faiths. Thus it never indulged in fracas with other societies on the ground of faith in comparison to the Abrahamic faiths. Both the Christians and Muslims, by contrast, have a gory record on this count with grim history of various crusades, massacres, genocides and ethnic cleansing. Unfortunately as we boast ourselves of the twenty first century of its dramatic soaring scientific and civilisational developments, nothing has changed on this basic human instinct. If anything, it has only become worst. The sordid stories of the various conflicts and surging wars in the present day Islamic world are a grim reminder of our basic conflicting human nature. Twenty first century is tinged with the deadliest history of gory wars.
Hinduism on the other hand had appreciated it long ago through their Srutis and Smritis; thus developed the methods to tackle this negative aspect of human behaviour through the various techniques of Yoga, Meditation (Sadhana) and its allied philosophies. Some of the scientific developments of today were well known to the older Rishis of yore e.g. Vimanas or aeroplanes of today. They had boats to travel on water though they may not have been as elaborate as on today.
Hinduism being the oldest culture, religion or belief; it is blamed for such deficient practices especially when befitting reply was also considered undesirable on civil and religious grounds. Those who are conversant with the various Hindu scriptural teachings will appreciate the gravity of my statement. Mahatma Gandhi evolved his technique of non violent resistance based on the similar ideology. Fortuitously, the well known Muslim leader viz Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan aka Frontier (Sarhadi) Gandhi was a devout Muslim, his close association with Mahatma Gandhi turned him also into a devout believer in non violent ideology of Gandhi and he later on formed his famous Red Shirt (Shurkh Posh) army – is well known for its vow of non-violence. He was a devout Muslim but believed in secular ideology. His son Abdul Wali Khan inPakistantoday also believes in secularism despitePakistanbeing a diehard Islamic Republic. With such a background of Indian leadership like Mahatma Gandhi, any conceptualisation of caste or discrimination on any ground is hard to believe that there has not been any attempt to redress or eradicate the social evil of caste. Gandhi had directly confronted the issue of caste menace in various ways especially by addressing the untouchable class as “Harijans” (Godly people). The ex President of India and a great philosopher, educationist and an enlightened visionary and freedom fighter – Dr S. Radhakrishnan had also tried to trace the development and origin of the caste sub-division starting from its ancient Vedic texts and other scriptures only to highlight its demerits towards the development of the entire societal groups  irrespective of the status. A glimpse from his various literary collections is obviously and elegantly comprehensible. More details can be perused in my 11 Chapter series: Caste or Class Systems versusIndiain Global Perspective.
 Caste in Dynasty of Ismail (pbuh) 
Muslims are no exception despite the claims of secularism and egalitarianism in their society. Islam originated about fourteen centuries ago in what is known today asSaudi Arabia- a desertlandofBedouinsand the illiterate tribal warring communities with no existent civilisation, which majority of the people in that bed are still like that only. InSaudi Arabia, there is an idiom, “From Camel to Cadillac” to summarise the life style of the local people.  There are hardly any facilities for infrastructure in the society for developing the modern education, scientific background, health services, electric supply, potable water supply, and etc.
Unfortunately there is a direct clash of the ideology with the development of these mechanisms. Female education is forbidden and the physical examination of a female patient even for non gynecological problems by a male doctor is not permitted. With this sectarian background, let us examine some of the issues that pertain to certain caste based issues in the Islamic societies. I have deliberately used ‘Islamic societies’ here because that group is now most inharmonious society even in this short spell of fourteen centuries.
We all know about the two major groups – Sunnis (80%) and Shias (20%) for practical purposes. We are also aware of the hatred of Sunnis for the Shias in the entire Islamic world. It is reflected in the gross violence unleashed against the Shias especially inPakistan,Iraq,Bahrain, and other parts of Islamic countries.
There are lesser well known subgroups also in them. As one looks through on this topic, it is amazing to find the number of castes and subcastes in the Muslim society. On perusal of the literature for it, one finds a bewildering number of multitudes of divisions. Some have openly conceded while others have either apologetically rejected or accepted half heartedly. I quote some excerpts from the various authors in the literature.
Quote: “In some parts ofSouth Asia, the Muslims are divided as Ashrafs and Ajlafs. Ashrafs claim a superior status derived from their foreign ancestry. The non-Ashrafs are assumed to be converts from Hinduism, and are therefore drawn from the indigenous population. They, in turn, are divided into a number of occupational castes.
Sections of the ulema (scholars of Islamic jurisprudence) provide religious legitimacy to caste with the help of the concept of kafa’a. A classical example of scholarly declaration of the Muslim caste system is theFatawa-i Jahandari, written by the fourteenth century Turkish scholar, Ziauddin Barani, a member of the court of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, of the Tughlaq dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. Barani was known for his intensely casteist views, and regarded the Ashraf Muslims as racially superior to the Ajlaf Muslims. He divided the Muslims into grades and sub-grades. In his scheme, all high positions and privileges were to be a monopoly of the high born Turks, not the Indian Muslims. Even in his interpretation of the Koranic verse “Indeed, the pious amongst you are most honored by Allah”, he considered piety to be associated with noble birth. Barani was specific in his recommendation that the “sons of Mohamed” [i.e. Ashrafs] “be given a higher social status than the low-born [i.e. Ajlaf]His most significant contribution in the fatwa was his analysis of the castes with respect to Islam. His assertion was that castes would be mandated through state laws or “Zawabi” and would carry precedence over Sharia law whenever they were in conflict. In theFatwa-i-Jahandari (advice XXI), he wrote about the “qualities of the high-born” as being “virtuous” and the “low-born” being the “custodian of vices”. Every act which is “contaminated with meanness and based on ignominity, comes elegantly [from the Ajlaf]“. Barani had a clear disdain for the Ajlaf and strongly recommended that they be denied education, lest they usurp the Ashraf masters. He sought appropriate religious sanction to that effect. Barani also developed an elaborate system of promotion and demotion of Imperial officers (“Wazirs”) that was primarily on the basis of their caste.
In addition to the Ashraf/Ajlaf divide, there is also the Arzal caste among Muslims, who were regarded by anti-Caste activists like as the equivalent of untouchables. The term “Arzal” stands for “degraded” and the Arzal castes are further subdivided into Bhanar, Halalkhor, Hijra, Kasbi, Lalbegi, Maugta, Mehtar etcThe Arzal group was recorded in the 1901 census in India and are also called Muslims “with whom no other Muhammadan would associate, and who are forbidden to enter the mosque or to use the public burial ground”. They are relegated to “menial” professions such as scavenging and carrying night soil.
Some South Asian Muslims have been known to stratify their society according to Quoms. These Muslims practise a ritual-based system of social stratification. The Quoms who deal with human emissions are ranked the lowest. Studies of Bengali Muslims in India indicate that the concepts of purity and impurity exist among them and are applicable in inter-group relationships, as the notions of hygiene and cleanliness in a person are related to the person’s social position and not to his/her economic status. Muslim Rajput is another caste distinction among Indian Muslims.
Some of the backward or lower-caste Muslim caste includes Ansari, Kunjra, Dhobi and Halalkhor. The upper caste Muslim caste includes SyedSheikhPathanMirzaKalal and Mallik. Genetic data has also supported this stratification.
The report commissioned by the government of India and released in 2006, documents the continued stratification in Muslim society.”
Religious, historical and socio-cultural factors have helped define the bounds of endogamous groups for Muslims in South Asia(where altogether 260 million untouchable people are said to live. Indiais not alone in it – Author). There is a preference for endogamous marriages based on the clan-oriented nature of the society, which values and actively seeks similarities in social group identity based on several factors, including religious, sectarian, ethnic, and tribal/clan affiliation. Religious affiliation is itself multi-layered and includes religious considerations other than being Muslim, such as sectarian identity (e.g. Shia or Sunni, etc.) and religious orientation within the sect (Isnashari, Ismaili, Ahmedi, etc.). Both ethnic affiliation (e.g. Sindhi, Baloch, Punjabi, etc.) and membership of specific biraderis or Jat/quoms or Jatis are additional integral components of social identity (slightly modified). Unquote. (More at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_system_among_South_Asian_Muslims)
From the above statement, it becomes amply clear that in Muslim societies there are deeper factors responsible for the caste divisions other than their proximity or conversions of Hindus as exemplified by the Turkish scholar, Ziauddin Barani on the Indian Muslims. Ziauddin Barani is well known for his mean casteist ideas in Muslims. Then there are more divisions in oonchi Jat (jati) referred to as ‘Jajmans’ andneechi Jat referred as ‘Kamins’.
It is known that on contact with a low-caste Muslim, a higher Jat Muslim had to purify himself by taking a small bath in absence of other purificatory rites. In Bihar and UP states ofIndia, well known for its casteist culture inIndia, cases have been reported in which the higher caste Muslims have opposed the burials of lower caste Muslims in the same graveyard. I hope to draw the attention of the journalist friends fromBihar to take note of this menace in the contemporary Muslim society. This menace of caste extends its tentacles way beyond the Hindu community.
It begs a question, if Muslims could be polluted in a short span of fourteen centuries only; one has to consider a vibrant Hindu culture living since millennia, “How vulnerable could it be to such impurities more so when its land was also vitiated by the presence of alien people with divergent views and faiths carried in the sceptre and barrels to impose upon”?
Thus the argument of egalitarianism and equality in Islam is not tenable. Hence conversion has no meaning and blaming Hinduism is also opportunistic only. In the preceding Wikipedia link, it further states:
“An illustrious figure in Indian politics and the chief architect of the Indian ConstitutionHe was extremely critical of the Muslim Caste System and their practices, quoting that “Within these groups there are castes with social precedence of exactly the same nature as one finds among the Hindus but worse in numerous ways”. He was critical of how the Ashrafs regarded the Ajlaf and Arzal as “worthless” and the fact that Muslims tried to sugarcoat the sectarian divisions by using euphemisms like “brotherhood” to describe them. He was also critical of the precept of literalism of scripture among Indian Muslims that led them to keep the Muslim Caste system rigid and discriminatory. He decried against the approval of Shariah to Muslim casteism. It was based on superiority of foreign elements in society which would ultimately lead to downfall of local Dalits. This tragedy would be much more harsher than Hindus who are ethnically related to and supportive. This Arabian supremacy in Indian Muslims accounted for its equal disapproval by high and low caste Hindus during 1300 years of Islamic presence in India. He condemned the Indian Muslim Community of being unable to reform like Muslims in other countries like Turkey did during the early decades of the twentieth century.
Pakistani-American sociologist Ayesha Jalal writes, in her book, “Democracy and Authoritarianism inSouth Asia“, that “Despite its egalitarian principles, Islam in South Asia historically has been unable to avoid the impact of class and caste inequalities. As for Hinduism, the hierarchical principles of the Brahmanical social order have always been contested from within Hindu society, suggesting that equality has been and continues to be both valued and practiced in Hinduism.”
It is also noticed that some people born and brought up inIndiahave absorbed some ideas in the local Hindu society superficially and mushroomed their stories to suit their agendas. Even if a problem exists, its interpretation can be extremely modulated by the way it is put. As the old English saying goes, “It doesn’t matter what you say but the way you say it”.
Aharon Daniel, a Jew, was born in Mumbai, Indiaand resides in Israel. As an Indian born who studied there in school, he had some knowledge about India. Quoting him, “Religiously anyone who does not belong to the four Varnas is an outcast and untouchable. It means, all foreigners and non-Hindus are all supposed to be untouchables.” This is the opening line of his article. His statement casts the die for others who want to find their paradigm in as they hope to apply. Such statements could not be accepted as casual or innocuous especially when the person is well acquainted with the Hindu society and their culture to some extent. Further Mumbai is the single most metropolitan city in India which has maintained its cosmopolitan character despite its odd hiccoughs from time to time.
Even Daniel expresses his views on the Indian Muslims in these words: Among the Muslims of India there has developed a two-tier hierarchy. “The upper class, called Sharif Jat, includes Muslims who belonged to the higher levels in caste hierarchy and also Muslims who arrived to India from foreign countries. The lower class, called Ajlaf Jat, includes Muslim converts from lower castes. As in the world, the upper classes do not have close social relations with lower classes, the same way the Sharif Jat do not normally have close social relations with Ajlaf Jat.”
Masood Alam Falahi wrote in his research paper presented in Columbia University, New York for “Caste and Contemporary India” conference on 17th Oct. 2009 Published on the Pasmanda Muslim Forum here
Prior to independence ofIndia, it was common that low caste Muslims were not allowed to cook good foods and even not allowed to choose good names for their children.
Presently there are three major categories among Indian Muslims, (1) Asharaf (2) Ajlaf (3) Arzal. Among these categories there are many sub-castes and in every category there are low castes and upper castes like Hindu caste system.
* Some 25 years ago there was a sufi “Shah Masood” (pupil of famous sufi Shaikh Abdul Qadir Raipuria) in a village Behat of districtSaharanpur. He never allowed low caste Muslims to make Pakka (with cement and brick) house in his village.
* In “Atki”, “Hind Paddi” villages of districtRanchiin Jharkhand, the Arzal Muslims used to eat in a separate line in marriage ceremony. The same condition is in Barabanki of U.P state. One of my casteist teachers narrated the same story of hisvillageofAzamgarhdistrict, UP.
* Dr. Azmat Siddiqi from Centre for Women Studies of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, told in her speech that in her village “phoolpur” of Allahabad, U.P, ashraf don’t eat food from sweeper / halalkhor community. She was against casteism and once she ate with them. Her cousins boycotted her as she ate with Halalkhor community.
* Professor Imtiaz Ahmad told me the following incident in a meeting, even he writes it in one of his articles:
“We had a Lalbegi woman come to clean the toilets in our house. She was on the best of terms with my mother and would sit for hours together gossiping with my mother. Whenever my mother would offer her pan, she would wrap her hand with her dupatta to receive it. My mother used to drop the pan in her hand, making sure that her hand did not touch the Lalbegi woman’s hand. On occasions of marriage the family would come and sit in a corner and wait until all guests had eaten and left. It would then be given food in vessels they brought with them. They did not eat the food there, but instead took it with them to be eaten at home. On sacrificial eid the family was not given any portion of the meat. It was given the intestines which were kept aside for them. It is possible that some of these forms of discrimination have changed, but there is no evidence to show that they have disappeared.
Some evidence exists to show that there is discrimination against these Muslim castes in the religious spheres. I found during fieldwork in eastern Uttar Pradesh that members of these castes did not go to the mosque for prayers and if they went they had to stand in the back rows. It has been mentioned by many observers that such groups often have their own mosques. N. Jamal Ansari notes that ‘in certain areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar there are separate mosques and burial grounds’ for these castes (Paper presented at the seminar on Dalit Muslims organized by Deshkal Society,New Delhi, 2004). Establishment of own mosque would call for a level of prosperity for the groups as a whole. Whether they have attained such levels of prosperity is something on which very little information exists.”
* Once I visited Nakhas Mohallah (street) of Lucknowon 30th of September 2009. This is a Muslim area. I saw a small mosque with a small madrasa, written on the mosque “Masjid-e-Rayeen” (Mosque of vegetable sellers). In front of this mosque there is an Imam barah of Imam Baqir, belongs to Shait sect of Muslim. This small masques shows that there is discrimination against the vegetable seller caste, so they made the separate mosque.
Dr. Ghauth Ansari writes same cases of caste based discrimination in U.P. He also adds that even ‘low’ caste Muslims are not allowed to pray in the mosque some time. They pray outside the mosque.
* The former editor of “Qawmi Morcha” Daily (National Front, Urdu News Paper) (Banaras) Mr. Tajuddin Ash’ar Ram Nagri wrote a letter to me after reading my book. He wrote that before independence ofIndia, Muslim sweepers were not allowed to enter into the mosque inBanaras, U.P.
* In “Desna” village of Nalanda, low castes are not allowed to sit in the first row of the mosque. Even low caste like Ansari and kalal castes do not allow Pamariya caste to sit in the first row while offering Namaz in the “Pandara”village ofLohar Dagga district.
* In “Ouchwa” thevillage ofGorakhpur, Upper castes wash the mosque in case somebody from low caste Muslim enters into the mosque.
* The famous news paper “Tehelka”New Delhi reports in its issue dated 18 Nov.2006 AD:
“In Bihar, the Bakkho sub-caste- formally a nomadic tribe- is held by other Muslims to be untouchables despite Islam categorically forbidding any such division… when someone in an upper caste family dies; we go to his house to condole, like we would go to any other Muslim home. But when someone from our caste dies, the upper castes people never come for the same.”
* In Rampur BariyavillageofChamparanDistrict ofBihar, a low caste groom was insulted and beaten up by upper caste Muslims because he was sitting on horse. In the same village upper caste Muslims broke the mosque built by low caste Muslims. They also burnt their houses.
* In my village there is only one graveyard and every caste has specific place for burial purpose. I don’t know the exact reason. But there are various reports that upper castes Muslims don’t allow low caste Muslims to bury dead bodies in the common graveyard for community. This is the reason low caste Muslims have separate graveyards.
* In “Mohabbat Pur” villageof VaishaliDistrict in Bihar, Jugal Khalifa died. His dead body was not allowed by Shaikh caste to be buried in the common graveyard as he was a Nat (dancer and impersonator – Author), a low caste Muslim. Police took action and arrested many of upper caste members then only his dead body got buried.
* This is not enough, even in some places the low caste Muslims are not considered as Muslims by upper caste people. I have seen in my district Sitamarhi, Bihar, Shaikh castes consider them only as Muslim and others as non Muslims. They use the term “we Muslims” for themselves and for others ‘low castes’ and used to call them with bad names like Julaha, Dhuniya, Kujda, Kasai, Nai etc.
* In some places Upper caste Muslims are taking “badhuwa Mazdoori” (work without pay) by low caste Muslims. Sometimes they have abused their women. They are destroying their houses etc.
The preceding expressions by a budding Muslim scholar himself should make one realise that the menace of caste exists grotesquely in Muslim society; though the blame is labeled against the Hindus, offering their apologias for various Abrahamic religions.
Dr. Radhasyam Brahmachari also observes about this: “The people who blame Hinduism, admire both Christianity and Islam and say that these religions, particularly Islam, is far more humane and socialistic as they do not have any discriminatory and oppressive institution like casteism, and where the rich and the poor pray alike, standing side by side, in a mosque. But the renowned historian Tara Chand, in his History of Freedom Movement in Indiawrites, “All census reports (of India) before 1931 used to give a long list of Muslim castes and there is no doubt whatsoever that in the 18th century, the Muslim inhabitants in India followed the pattern that of the Hindu society. … This was un-Islamic but an awakening against it was impossible at that time” (Vol-1, p-100). As a consequence, the Muslim society of India is also divided into innumerable caste, and even today, there exist more than 20 Muslim castes in a village alone in Uttar Pradesh alone.”
Radhasyam further adds, “Tara Chand also writes that the Sayeds were at the zenith of the Muslim caste hierarchy. Aurangzeb had strong sympathy for the Sayeds and he believed that they should be respected and honoured by every Muslim and they must not be hurt either physically or mentally. In a nut shell, the position of these Sayeds was as it were for the Brahmins in the Hindu society. Almost all these Sayeds were foreigners from West Asian Muslim countries. When a higher caste Hindu converted to Islam, they were called Sahikhs and used to claim a higher position in the Muslim society. But the lower caste Hindus who, after conversion called Razils, were treated as lower caste Muslims. These Razils were considered no better than kafirs by the Sayeds or by other higher caste Muslims and entering into a matrimonial relationship with these Razils was unthinkable.
In addition to that, Muslims object to Quadiani and Ahmediya Muslims being called Muslims at all and refuse to allow the burial of a Quadiani in their graveyards. Conflicts between Shia and Sunni, Hanafi and non-Hanafi are a regular feature in Muslim society. In many countries, including India and Pakistan, Shia villages are sacked, looted and razed to the ground by the Sunnis. It is also important to note that Shia-Sunni disputes in India and elsewhere are more frequent and more prolific than Hindu-Muslims riots. In Muslim society, as pointed out above, Syeds, Moghals, Pathans, Shaikhs and the Muslims of foreign origin are considered superior to converted Indian Muslims. These Higher caste Muslims do not enter into any social and matrimonial relations with low caste Muslims like Kalus, Jolas, Nikaris etc.” More at:http://www.faithfreedom.org/one/caste-system-in-muslim-society-of-india-part-i/
Professor Yoginder Singh Sikand, Head, Centre for Studies on Indian Muslims, Hamdard University, New Delhi critically analyses in his long essay “Caste in Indian Muslim Society” states without mincing words: “He (Barani) goes on to elaborate a theory of the innate inferiority of the ajlaf, the superiority of the ashrafand the divine right of the Sultan to rule, based on a distorted interpretation of Islam. Thus, he writes that the ‘merits’ and ‘demerits’ of all people have been ‘apportioned at the beginning of time and allotted to their souls’. Hence, people’s acts are not of their own volition, but, rather, an expression and result of ‘Divine commandments’. God Himself, Barani claims, has decided that the ajlaf be confined to ‘inferior’ occupations, for He is said to have made them ‘low born, bazaar people, base, mean, worthless, plebeian, shameless and of dirty birth’. God has given them ‘base’ qualities, such as ‘immodesty, wrongfulness, injustice, cruelty, non-recognition of rights, shamelessness, impudence, blood-shedding, rascality, jugglery and Godlessness’ that are suitable only for such professions. Furthermore, these base qualities are inherited from father to son, and so the ajlaf must not attempt to take up professions reserved by God for the ashraf even if they are qualified to do so, for this would be a grave violation of the Divine Will. Likewise, Barani claims, God has bestowed the ashraf with noble virtues by birth itself, and these are transmitted hereditarily. Hence, they alone have the right and responsibility of taking up ‘noble’ occupations, such as ruling, teaching and preaching the faith.[5]”
Professor Sikand goes on, “Nu’mani quotes extensively from Barani’s Fatawa-i -Jahandari to show how discriminatory attitudes towards low-caste converts were widely shared by medieval Muslim elites. He also comments on the absence of any effective opposition to such views. In fact, he goes so far as to claim that, ‘From Barani’s time till 1947 the notion of Muslim society being divided into ashraf and ajlaf, high and low, was continuously present’. He refers to some twentieth century Indian ‘ulama of his own Deobandi school as opposing caste-based inequality among the Indian Muslims but laments that ‘this sickness has not as yet been fully eliminated’. He admits that although the caste system is less severe among the Muslims than it is among the Hindus, in that untouchability is absent among the former, with caste playing a determining role only in marriage among Muslims. Yet, he pleads for Muslims to combat notions of caste based superiority and inferiority, for only then, he argues, can efforts to spread Islam among ‘low’ caste Hindus be effective. For this purpose, he says, a radical revisioning of the concept of kafa’a is urgently required.[11]”
He continues, “Nu’mani sees this restrictive provision as making life for converts to Islam even more difficult and, therefore, making conversion to Islam a difficult choice for non-Muslims. By making this distinction between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Muslims, he says, ‘rather than welcoming our new guests we are insulting them’.[28] Accordingly, he fervently appeals to his fellow ‘ulama
to relax or abandon this rule, which in any case he sees as having no sanction in Islam. He reminds them that because they insisted on this un-Islamic provision, a large group of Hindus of the Tyagi caste in northern India who were ready to convert to Islam finally decided not to because the Muslim Tyagis refused to intermarry with them on the grounds that ‘old’ Muslims could not establish marital relations with converts. Likewise, Nu’mani writes, it was because of the discriminatory and anti-Qur’anic rules that the ‘ulama have devised on kafa’a that Dr. Ambedkar, the leader of the ‘low’ caste Dalits, declined to convert to Islam, choosing Buddhism instead.[29]”  Full details can be perused at:
 Published in “Asianists’ ASIA” Edited by T.Wignesan in Paris, France. See:http://stateless.freehosting.net/Caste%20in%20Indian%20Muslim%20Society.htm
Caste And Caste-Based Discrimination Among Indian Muslims – Part 1
By Masood Alam Falahi
Translator’s Note: Very little has been written on the existence of caste and caste-based discrimination among the Indian Muslims. ‘Upper’ caste Muslims, who, although a very small minority among the Indian Muslims, generally deny the existence of caste and caste-based discrimination in the larger Muslim community by arguing that these have no sanction in Islam. However, although these do not have legitimacy in the Quran, their reality cannot be denied. Nor too can the legitimacy that these have sought to be given by numerous supposedly leading Indian Islamic scholars be ignored.
In 2007, Masood Alam Falahi, a graduate of a madrasa and then a 27 year-old M.Phil. student at Delhi University, wrote a voluminous, almost 600-page, Urdu book titled Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman (sic. ‘Casteism Among Muslims in India’). Weaving together insights from fieldwork and key writings by influential Indian Muslim scholars, including Muslim clerics on the subject of caste, the book is a pioneering study of caste-based discrimination among the Indian Muslims and of the continued domination of ‘high’ caste Muslims that parallels, in remarkable ways, the Hindu case.
Realising the importance of this pioneering book, I have begun translating key portions of it, which I plan to send out as articles once every few days. Once the translation is complete I hope to publish it as a book.
This instalment is a translation of the first thirty pages of the book titled ‘Why I Have Written This Book’. — Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com
02 November, 2010
NewAgeIslam.com
[Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com]
Is Caste Only a Hindu Problem? (Part 2)




Prophet Abraham some few millennia ago, had a son with Sarah viz Isaac who later gave rise to two religions – Judaism and Christianity. First the Judaism took its roots via Hebrewism and the well known Prophet Moses among the Jews laid down the Ten Commandments. The Holy Scripture is called the Old Bible or Hebrew Bible or Torah propounded at sometime about 1400 BC. It had a much fractured history of ups and downs; in and out of the then Canaan province, the Israel of today. Later on Jesus Christ took birth in the Jewish community from the womb of Virgin Marry by Divine Providence about two millennia ago. His life and message through the well known teachings in the New Testament or Bible is followed by the two Billion people globally. For reasons not exactly known and by the dint of fate, Jews did not flourish as much as the Christians. Hence the history of Judaism is also limited as compared to the Islam and Christianity. In this issue I wish to deliberate on the caste systems prevalent in both these Abrahamic sects to the best of my epistemology and with no malice.
Section A
Caste in Jewish people:
It is sadly interesting to know that the word “Jew” itself has become blasphemous due to the adverse historical perspectives. It is preferred to say, “Jewish or Jewish person”. If I have erred in my endeavour, I remain to be forgiven. It is not my intention to hurt the sentiments of anyone deliberately and by indulging in needless argumentative heresy.
Jonah Goldberg has addressed it, “…Anyway, he called and said, “Hey, Jonah, isn’t it sort of bad to call someone ‘a Jew.’” After a brief moment to digest the question, I knew exactly what he was talking about.
It is bad to call someone a Jew, sort of.
The newspapers and nightly news shows keep using the word “Jew” where normally you would expect them to say “Jewish” or “Jewish person.” Senator Lieberman is as often as not referred to as “a Jew” in print, television and radio.” 
Thus to call someone ‘Jew’ is as pejorative as the ‘Caste slur’ in present scenario.
In his article on ‘The Non Hindus in Caste System’, in India, Aharon Daniel, a Mumbai born Jewish now living in Israel, delineated his views on the Jewish caste system in the succeeding excerpt. “In the Konkan coast there is Jewish community called Bene Israel. Some claim that these Jews are from the ‘Lost Tribes’. These Jews who arrived in India after their ship-wrecked near the Konkan coast claim that they and the Kokanastha Brahmans are descendants of the survivals from the same ship. And in their version, it was not an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who converted the Kokanastha Brahmans but a local Brahman. Anyway these Jews do not have gray-green eyes like the Kokanastha Brahmans.
Different religion followers got different status in different parts of India. The Jews of west India called Bene Israel, had a different status from Jews of south India, Cochini Jews. The Bene Israels professed oil pressing and they had a status equal to a Hindu Jat called Somwar Teli, which also professed oil pressing and were part of Sudra Varna. Some orthodox Hindus treated anyone who wasn’t one of them as untouchable and therefore treated the Jews also as untouchables. But even though the Jews in west India had low status there were among them some who were landlords, businessmen and high rank officers in local armies.
Comparing to the Bene Israels, the Jews in south India had higher status. The Jews in Kerala were the business community of Kerala. They even ruled a small principality. They had aristocratic rights, such as use of elephants and sedans. They even had servants whose job was to announce their coming to the streets so that the low castes could move away from their way.
The relations between the Jewish communities of India are sometimes explained as affected by the Indian caste system but these relations can also be explained according to Jewish religious laws. There were three main Jewish communities in India; the Baghdadis, the Bene Israels and Cochinis. The Baghdadi Jews were much strict about religious laws than the Bene Israel Jews. The Baghdadis did not mingle with Bene Israel Jews. The Baghdadis did not allow marriages between their children and the children of Bene Israel. They did not eat food prepared by Bene Israel and they refused to count the Bene Israel as part of the Minyan (the ten necessary to start a Jewish prayer). Many explain these relations as an influence of the Indian caste system on the Jewish communities. According to this explanation, the Baghdadi Jews referred to themselves as higher caste than the Bene Israel Jews and therefore did not mingle with them. But these relations between the Jewish communities can also be explained according to the Jewish Halacha laws. The Baghdadi Jews who were much strict about Jewish laws and diet did not mingle with the Bene Israels because the Bene Israels were secular Jews and they perceived in Bene Israel Jews as impure Jews.”
However the Jewish community never got concentrated in a place as their nation and after nineteenth century CE, they became capsized by the Anti-Semitic fervour and were largely persecuted resulting in the massive holocaust by Hitler in WW II. It resulted in their present settlement in Israel in 1948. Thus it limits their caste history also.
The Jewish community in fact became a caste in itself in the midst of the Arab land to find a foothold for them. This led to a Zionist movement in the Arab land finally to the establishment of Israel. 
The total population of Jews world over is estimated at around 15 Millions which make it about 0.24% of the world population. In such a nominally minor population also, who are said to be declining over all; there is a caste division as indicated above. The fact is that due to their threat to survival, one would rather expect cohesion in their residual population of whatever denomination.  Hence even this caste division in Jews becomes quite significant in such trying times.
Section B
 Caste in Christianity:
Christians form the largest community in the world and still growing in their evangelic efforts. Christians have used both violent and peaceful means depending on the opportunity at hand. The Christian Missionaries have organised themselves under the patronage of their single most patriarch as head priest called Pope based at the Vatican in Rome. He supposedly controls the larger Catholic sect of the Christians to the extent of about more than 80% while the Protestants constitutes about 20% whose head is the British monarch and guided by the Archbishop of Canterbury in London. There are vast number of subdivisions in both Catholics and Protestants also,.
In India Christianity is said to have first arrived with Saint Thomas in Kerala with a controversial history. He is said to have been helped by the then Travancore Kingdom to settle and they helped him in building about half a dozen churches both in Kerala and erstwhile Madras states. The present Christian history has been marred with controversial accounts, both in India and globally. A retired IAS officer – V. Sundaram wrote a four part article in 2008 under the caption, Fraudulent myth of the tomb of St Thomas – I”. 
This is the first part .
Ishwar Sharan has resolutely written in his inimical style all these four posts on his website in the column, “St. Thomas in India: An IAS officer revisits a 400-year-old history hoax – “Baritone” V. Sundaram”. Sharan has added some extra graphics and links to supplement his column. 
Some Christians also oppose the proposed labeling of “Christian Scheduled castes” because they feel their identity may be assimilated. Pastor Salim Sharif of the Church of North India notes “We are becoming another class and caste.” ”
Incidence:
“Caste discrimination is strongest among Christians in South India and weaker among urban Protestant congregations in North India. This is due to the fact that in South India, whole castes converted en masseto the religion, leaving members of different castes to compete in ways parallel to Hindus of the Indian caste system.
There are separate seats, separate communion cups, burial grounds, and churches for members of the lower castes, especially in the Roman Catholic Church. Catholic churches in India are largely controlled by upper caste Priests and nuns. Presently in India, more than 70 per cent of Catholics are Dalits, but the higher caste Catholics (less than 30% by estimates) control 90 per cent of the Catholic churches administrative jobs. Out of the 156 catholic bishops, only 6 are from lower castes.
There are a large number of various caste groups in Kerala, Goa, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh in the Christians enumerated in the website of Wikipedia given below.

Criticism

Many Dalit Catholics have spoken out against discrimination against them by members of the Catholic Church. A famous Dalit activist with a nom-de-plume of Bama Faustina has written books that are critical of the discrimination by the nuns and priests in Churches in South India. Pope John Paul II also criticized the caste discrimination in the Roman Catholic Church in India when addressing the bishops of Madras,Mylapore, Madurai, Cuddalore, and Pondicherry in late 2003. He went on to say: “It is the Church’s obligation to work unceasingly to change hearts, helping all people to see every human being as a child of God, a brother or sister of Christ, and therefore a member of our own family”.”
This deposition shows, “How the Church lied to convert the local Hindu lower class people.”
“With the advent of the Christian missionaries in India under the patronage from the British rule in the eighteenth century, a new chapter of proselytisation began. The missionaries were able to use this weakness in Hinduism to convert those who were worst hit by the caste cancer prejudice.
These missionaries concentrated their “charity” work mainly in the tribal areas. They told the tribals that they were not Hindus, that their indigenous culture and religion was different from Hinduism. They taught them that Christianity, an alien religion was their own; that Jesus Christ who was born and lived in the Middle-East was also a ‘dalit’ like them and that Christianity was a religion without the caste bias and offered them socio-economic equality. In their desire to lead a life of respect, thousands of tribals got converted to Christianity assuming that they had found an answer to the wretched caste system in Hinduism.
Little did they know that conversion to Christianity would not redeem them from social discrimination and untouchability, because though Jesus never advocated the caste system, Christianity in India was not free from the caste bias? Christian outfits which criticized Hinduism for its caste system, practised discrimination based on casteism in their Churches. In spite of the fact that around 75 to 80% of the Christians are ‘dalits’ who got converted to Christianity to lose their caste or ‘outcaste’ tag, Dalit Christians within the Church were discriminated against and were denied powers within the ecclesiastical structure.”
Logically, the term ‘Dalit Christians’ is self-contradictory. How can a person be a ‘Dalit’ when he is a Christian; for Christianity (supposedly – Author) does not recognise the caste system which is an evil prevalent only in the Hindu society (supposedly – Author)?
K.K Pudur village in Maduranthugam Taluk, Chegalpattu District, 60 kilometers from Madras, has a Catholic population of 2500. Of these, 1500 are Dalit Catholics. The rest of the catholic population belong to the Reddy and the Naidu upper caste. For the past 200 years, these upper caste Christians have oppressed the Dalit Christians by not giving them their due place in the Church and in the graveyard. On 7 May 1994, there was a violent clash between the two classes of Catholics at K.K. Pudur as they were preparing for the celebration of the patron feast of their patron Saint Joseph. The case was filed with the police and eighty-four people from both factions were jailed and the church stayed closed for six months.
Rev. John Duraisamy, an editor of Sarvaviyabi, a Tamil Weekly from the archdiocese of Pondicherry-Cuddalore published two cartoons consecutively on 4 & 11th July 1999. These cartoons were an insult to the 240 million dalits or the untouchables of India. The Archbishop of Pondicherry who belonged to the same caste as the editor, was silent on the matter.
Archbishop George Zur, Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to India said while inaugurating the CBCI (Catholic Bishops Conference of India) in 1991:
“Though Catholics of the lower caste and tribes form 60 per cent of Church membership they have no place in decision-making. Scheduled caste converts are treated as lower caste not only by high caste Hindus but by high caste Christians too. In rural areas they cannot own or rent houses, however well-placed they may be. Separate places are marked out for them in the parish churches and burial grounds. Inter-caste marriages are frowned upon and caste tags are still appended to the Christian names of high caste people. Casteism is rampant among the clergy and the religious. Though Dalit Christians make 65 per cent’ of the 10 million Christians in the South, less than 4 per cent of the parishes are entrusted to Dalit priests. There are no Dalits among 13 Catholic Bishops of Tamilnadu or among the Vicars-general and rectors of seminaries and directors of social assistance centres.”
In a column published on 20 June 2007, Times of India stated, “”Would the Christians admit that they practise caste system and that Dalits (among them) face social discrimination requiring reservation to uplift their cause? This is not all that easy,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said granting eight weeks to the Centre to report back to court.”
It further continued, “Christians claim to be a casteless society. Dalit Christian activists, who have agitated for Dalit status for long, recently got a shot in arm when the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission endorsed their case.
Appearing for them, senior counsel Shanti Bhushan cited the Mishra Commission’s report as he argued that the SC category be expanded to include Dalits who have now embraced Christianity and Islam.
He argued for the scrapping of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, restricting reservation benefits to Dalits only among Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs.
“It is clear from the commission’s report that a mere change in religion did not bring about a change in their social status,” Shanti Bushan argued. He was supported by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the All India United Christian Movement for Equal Rights.
Jethmalani said the Congress government had brought in a Bill in 1996 with the objective of giving Dalits equal rights irrespective of the religion they profess. “It is only politics that has deprived the Dalit Christians their legitimate due,” he added.
How the lies are propagated by the Vatican agents:
In a news column by Catholic News Agency from Rome, Italy, it is interesting to read the clip.
Sep 2, 2008 / 04:40 pm (CNA).- In an interview with Vatican Radio, the Archbishop of Ranchi in India,Cardinal Telesforo Placidus Toppo, said that the Catholic Church’s defense of the sacredness of the human person and its opposition to the caste system are what is fueling the violence against Christian minorities in India.
“In the caste system, equality doesn’t exist. That is why the Church’s commitment to overcome the caste system is not accepted. For us the person is sacred,” Cardinal Toppo said.
… “There are socio-economic-political factors at play, factors that are at the root of these incidents, of the burning of Christian-owned properties. Another factor is the law against conversions. We have clarified that we do not convert people by force,” the cardinal said.
In response to these aggressions, he continued, the response of the Church “is that of Jesus, Christians have not responded to the aggressions. I think we will be given help by the central government and by the State,” the cardinal noted, praising the many “good initiatives. And here let me underscore: equality among all is a threat for the fundamentalists.” 
Anyone reading this entire column can make out the blatant white lie being uttered and the crocodile tears shed through an Indian mouth piece to appear as a profound legitimate truth coming out from a person on the spot. They still claim to be the Apostles of peace and truth!
I logged in Google for “Caste System in Christianity” and got 16, 000, 000 results in 0.16 seconds. One can easily gauge the enormity of the problem. I assert but sadly, in such a vested environment where the high and mighty are hell bent on perpetuating the malaise of divisive political and religious agendas covertly where spoken words do not match the ground realities of actions performed, the larger common masses are left with very little choice to help themselves. A common person is too weak to confront these monstrous designs of the politico-religious powerful institutions. Politics and religions are both equally guilty of this nefarious act and the staged drama. My contention is further fortified by the following excerpt from a leading British news media.
Nick Cohen in his column in the Guardian.uk, “The secret scandal of Britain’s caste system” observes, “British Asians, secularists and Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians have been trying for years to persuade the government to tackle caste discrimination. They have had no success because the treatment of untouchables is one of the great unmentionables of British politics. They are certainly the victims of a form of religious prejudice – the sanction for the oppression of lower castes in a pre-ordained hierarchy comes from Hindu creation myths. Yet caste prejudice does not fit easily into established views of how discrimination works, because caste divisions exist among Sikhs, Muslims and Christians whose families came from the sub-continent, as well as Hindus.”
Cohen further adds, “The casual observer of British politics might have thought that a voluble quangocrat, who is always willing to fill empty airtime with heart rending cries for greater equality, would have denounced caste prejudice with unembarrassed vigour. For once, however, Phillips is silent. A search of the Equality and Human Rights Commission records shows that it ignores caste discrimination in Britain.”
One can go on endlessly, and fruitlessly to deal on this topic of universal social malady wherein directly or indirectly, every existent society is involved with a continued hidden interest. It is being used more as rhetoric and sloganeering to exploit one section than explicitly eliminate it by demoralising. Caste appears like the system of flesh trade, which is denounced by everybody but nobody is prepared to eliminate it. They all like to immerse in it in the darkness of their daytime and enjoy it in the light of night time. Dr. O. P. Sudrania





Is Caste only a Hindu Problem? (Part 3)




Dr. O. P. Sudrania
In this monogram, I would venture to dwell on this caste malaise prevalent in the Sikhs, both in India as well as abroad. It is noteworthy that the origin of the Sikhism started with their Gurus from Nanak Saheb to the tenth Guru Gobind Singhji aka Gobind Rai.
Prof. Baldev Singh ‘Panthi’ has expressed it fairly well in his long researched essay in these words, “The issue of caste in Sikhism is quite complex, always inviting a diversity of impassioned opinions. One thing we can be certain about is that Guru Gobind Singh had abolished all caste inequality with the inception of Khalsa on 13 April, 1699 and with the institution of Khanday-Ki-Pahul or the Baptism of Sword. Faithful Sikhs do not practice caste discrimination but this is not to say that all Sikhs necessarily act in accordance to their faith. Consequently, the caste does exist in Sikhism, though in a diluted form than found in the rest of Indian society.
But at the outset one thing can be confidently stated which is that there is no clearly defined caste hierarchy in Sikh society, leave alone a vertically ordered one. Any layperson or author giving a clearly ordered Sikh caste hierarchy is himself mistaken or is purposefully misleading others.”
This statement is self contradicted by Baldev Singh himself in his same article. We shall refer to it later. As regards misleading is concerned, it is the same concern that has prompted me.
It is prudent to highlight the beginnings of Sikhs which is very relevant to this subject of much maligned curse of caste. There is an obvious overlap in the description but the astute readers will persevere to see the semblance in it with our topic of “Caste in Sikhism” dealt with later on.
Guru Nanakji (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539) was the founder of the lineage or religion of Sikhism; was born in Hindu Khatri family of Bedi clan and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. He preached equality of all humans including the women and irrespective of any societal discrimination.
When in the Middle East, the West and the rest of Asia – slavery, varna/class and race discrimination was rife and respect between the different classes and caste was at low ebb, Guru Nanak preached against discrimination and prejudices due to race, caste, status, etc. More at:http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Guru_Nanak
The tenth Guru was Gobind Singhji aka Gobind Rai who ultimately laid the foundation of “Khalsa Panth (the Granth and the Panth)” and had also declared that the Holy Book called “Guru Granth Sahib” will be their final Guru and guide from now on, i.e. after his departure; there will be no more human Guru. This is their ‘Panth’ i.e. the ‘path’ to follow.
The meaning of Khalsa translates to “Sovereign/Free”. Another interpretation is that of being ‘Pure’. The meaning of Khalsa translates to “Sovereign/Free”. Another interpretation is that of being ‘Pure’. A Sikh who has been initiated into the Khalsa is titled Singh (males) and Kaur (females) and commonly referred to as Amritdhari.
Sikhs believe that no matter what race, sex, or religion one is, all are equal in God’s eyes. Men and women are equal and share the same rights, and women can lead in prayers.
The traditions and philosophy of Sikhi were established by ten specific gurus from 1469 to 1708. Each guru added to and reinforced the message taught by the previous, resulting in the creation of the Sikh religion.
It is noteworthy that Guru Nanak was born in the era when the most cruel and barbaric Mughal invader Baaber aka Baabur was repeatedly inflicting his tyrannical atrocities to expand his empire in Indian subcontinent from present day Uzbekistan. Baabur also had a great passion to kill people, cut heads of people and create pillars out of cut head. He claimed to have created several such pillars in his autobiography.
Sikhism and beginnings of Caste curse:
During those days in Asia as well as in Europe the local kings and rulers used to fight among themselves for most of the times on one or the other pretexts. This was also the case in the life time of the evolution of so called Sikhism in just less than a century and a half of the lives of their ten Gurus.
Prof. Baldev Singh ‘Panthi’ has written a long document elaborating extensively on the castes in Sikh society. Here are some extracts from his essay.
“…the Sixth Guru and his successors found that most of the Rajputs of their time were only interested in petty fights and intrigues and had all but abdicated their responsibilities as Kshatriyas. While they toadied up to the Mughal rulers to protect their petty fiefs, they not only did not defend the rank and file of the Hindu society but were often themselves engaged in the oppression of lower caste Hindus.
Having failed to get the desired response from Rajput rulers after prolonged diplomacy and persuasion, the tenth Guru finally decided to institute a new Order in which each initiated Sikh could play the role of all the four castes. As a Shudra, a Sikh is to believe in the dignity of labour. As a Vaishya, Sikh is meant to engage in commerce with honesty and work for the prosperity of the society. As Kshatriya, the Sikh is meant to carry weapons and not shy away from a just fight. And finally, as a Brahman the same Sikh – who has simultaneously all varnas in his being – is to recite Sri Guru Granth Sahib and also play priestly role whenever needed.
… Fighting for both one’s life and faith was the greatest need in era of Gurus. Therefore, the Kshatriya part of Sikh’s identity got more highlighted in Sikh society but it does not mean that the Shudra, Vaishya and Brahmin aspects of his personality were to be devalued. Dignity of labour is the cornerstone of Sikh faith and maryada (prestige or honour). Each Sikh is to take pride in doing service or seva.”
It is this very assertion by Baldev Singh that is self contradictory to his earlier boastings above as regards the caste issue. At the same time it also proves my contention that Sikhs were forced to bifurcate out from their Hindu community to protect them from the atrocities by invading Islamic plunderers and nomadic barbarians. It is certainly disappointing to see that the same class of people who once acted as protectors of Hindus have become disaffected and turned their back against the parent society.
All of the Sikh Gurus were born in Khatri caste. Guru Nanak’s father Mehta Kalu was also a shopkeeper and he tried his best to make his son follow his caste profession of shopkeeping.
Baldev Singh further extends his apologia, “The reasons for such petty arguments about each others’ relative social status are unfortunate and are to be seen in the backdrop of colonial era, when the trading castes like Khatri and Baniya were perceived to be usurers and exploiters of the misery of indebted farmers from these landowning and agricultural castes. British policies also played some role in fostering already existing schisms among the Indian castes.
For some reason British army recruiters considered all of these mercantile castes unfit for military service. Khatri Sikhs were sometimes recruited when they happened to have taken up farming and sometimes because of their knowledge of Pashto, which came in handy to British to deal with the unruly Pathans… While Bhatias mostly did not even find a mention in recruitment manuals of Royal Indian Army, the Aroras were contemptuously dismissed with comments… by the likes of Barstow : “The Arora, whether Sikh or Hindu, is generally unsuited for military service, and men of this class should never be enlisted except under special circumstances.””
Professors Niranjhan Singh and Baldev Singh ‘Panthi’ have both done extensive research on this sensitive issue of castes in Sikhs as well as they also mention its ramifications in other religious communities e.g. Muslims and Christians. However the work done by Baldev Singh appears more extensive Vis a Vis Niranjhan Singh. Both have given their detailed accounts in their separate works independently. Both of them have first segregated the various major castes in Sikhs; then enlisted the various subcastes in alphabetical order.
It is bewildering that in Sikhism, which is now claimed to be a religion, in such a short span of time of mere three centuries, the caste in Sikhs is far more deep rooted than Hindus. Baldev Singh has tried to extend various excuses, apologias and causes for this caste practice in Sikhs; hideously incriminating the British Raj politics also. It certainly was a major factor indeed.
Baldev Singh and Niranjhan Singh have painstakingly tried to enumerate the groups and subgroups in Sikhs, which will be briefly elaborated on herewith.
Various castes and subcastes in Sikhs:
Basically Sikh castes have been grouped under nine major heads altogether with thousands of further subgroups. Anyone interested in detailed bifurcation is requested to ctrl+click on the hyperlinked names which directs to their respective webs with extensive names of various castes and subcastes. As originally enunciated by Guru Nanakji, it should have been a casteless society. By the time of Guru Gobind Singhji, only in a span of one hundred and forty years, it became imperative for the last Guru Gobind Singhji to accept and perpetuate the four Varna systems as enunciated in ancient Hindu tradition which got corrupted over the time.
Baldev Singh mentions of a debate on castes in Sikhs and states, “There has been a vibrant debate within the Sikh Panth on the issue of the caste since late 19th century. Generally, this debate has been shaped by two broad lines of argument.” (1) Castes Exist But All Castes Are Equal. (2) Caste Should Not Exist At All.
Who would disagree on it?
This is clearly a helpless cry towards an indirect debilitating apologia while accepting the caste malaise and suggesting remedies simultaneously. But the remedies have been tried by the Hindus also over centuries, if not millennia; nay there have been painstaking hard societal battles fought by many Hindu socio-political and religious reformist leaders with sincere intention to eradicate it without any fruitful results.
The causes have been both intrinsic as well as extrinsic from the vested interests of the few powerful institutions or individuals or groups whose benefits were/are linked in its perpetual maintenance. The interests may have been either direct fiscally linked or predatory conversions indirectly or for continuing the clandestine rule by divide et impera.
Thus the very existence of caste and its multipronged bewildering subdivisions in small Sikh and Jewish communities could be a very good module to study, first the existence of castes; next to evolve the effective means to eradicate it.
Caste and subcaste groups in Sikhs:
I have been able to access two leading Sikh scholars on this issue; I shall try to briefly touch on their descriptions separately. Both are going to overlap each other slightly.
Professor Niranjhan Singh: Anyone wishing to peruse details of his descriptions is requested to peruse the hyperlinked name. He states the various castes under the following heads.
1. Brahmin surnames: Under two alphabets B and R – 2castes
2. Kshatriya surnames: Under alphabets A, B, C, K, M, S – 21 castes
3. Jatt surnames: Under A, B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, – 949 castes
4. Ramgharia surnames: Under B, C, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, S, V – 42 castes
5. Chimba, Darsi, Taank-Kshatryia and Halvyi surnames: Under B, D, G, J, N, T, V – 9 castes
6. Chamaar, Lohaar and Churrah surnames: Under B, D, G, K, R, S – 20 castes. This section also has one separate group with ‘M/L i. e. Moonlighters’ who are counted as higher class in this otherwise low caste group.
It totals to 1043 (One thousand and forty three) names of castes.
Niranjhan Singh thinks that Gobind Singhji abolished the castes in Sikh communities and it restarted from the period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the Sikh Missls (from the Persian word “misl” meaning “similar” or “alike” generally refers to the twelve sovereign states in the Sikh Confederacy). However his statement is at variance with the view held by Professor Baldev Singh ‘Panthi’.
Baldev Singh feels that the four castes/Varnas were started by Guru Gobind Singhji. He thinks that caste was banned by Guru Nanak Devji from the very inception. But for certain reasons beyond his control, Guru Gobind Singh himself created this system in Sikhs during his life time like the four Varnas in Hindus as explained earlier.
Professor Baldev Singh ‘Panthi’ states in the introductory section of his essay under the section of “Major Sikh Castes and Subcastes” e.g. Arora, Khatri, Ramgarhia, Jat, Saini, Kamboh, Mahton, Chhimba, Mohyal, Chamar, etc. Each caste has its sphere of influence and specialization (same as in Hindus – Author). The order of castes… has been randomly mentioned one before the other.
Commercial Castes: Arora, Khatri and Bhatia Sikhs
Aroras and Khatris      
In the cities, Khatri and Arora dominate the sphere of business activities. Khatri and Aroras are essentially identical caste and are primarily a caste of traders, shopkeepers and accountants. Sometimes people belonging to these castes are called “Bhapa Sikhs”.
Bhatias
Another minor Sikh commercial caste is that of Bhatias. Bhatias claim origin from Bhati Rajputs who had taken to shopkeeping.
Zamindar and Agriculturist Castes
Following Sikh castes are essentially agricultural and landowning castes: Jat, Kamboh, Mahton and Saini. In the estimation of British, only these Sikh castes were temperamentally and physically suited for active military service and warfare like the hardy Scottish Highlanders back home who also made excellent soldiers. The glorious Sikh Regiment, the most decorated regiment of the Indian Army, consisted of these castes primarily, although Labanas and Kalals were also sometimes recruited.
Artisan Castes
Ramgarhia is also a prominent Sikh caste. According to McLeod, the present day Ramgarhias are a caste formed by merging of Nais (barbers), Raj (blacksmiths) and Tarkhans (carpenters). They are primarily expert carpenters and blacksmiths.
Brahman Sikhs
Brahman, the highest caste among Hindus, does not have the same rank in Punjab, especially among Sikhs. In rural areas most of them are ordinary farmers and generally not as prosperous as Jats, Mahtonsand Sainis etc. They also used to work as cooks in villages… In urban area they also do shopkeeping.
Nomadic and Wandering Castes
Another caste within Sikhs worth mentioning is that of Saansis. It is not a Sikh caste with significant numbers but they have produced one of the greatest Sikh personalities, i.e. Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This is a caste of vagabonds and gypsies. They claim origin from Bhati Rajputs and were enlisted as a criminal tribe by the British.
Labana is another Sikh caste. They were considered to be akin to Banjaras or gypsies but a considerable number of them are also settled in agricultureLabanas engaged in agriculture are also called Labana Jats.
Service Castes
Among the Dalit caste groups are prominent ones – Chamars and Chooras. Both communities are calledMazhabi Sikhs. The word Chamar is derived from Charmakar or leather tanner. They used to be expert shoe-makers. Some poor men and women of this caste also work as laborers in the farms…
Discrimination against them as stated before unfortunately still exists in Sikh society. For this reason,Mazhbi Sikh brethren are extended reservation as scheduled caste. Mazhbi Sikhs have in the past made sterling contribution to Sikhism both as mystics and soldiers. Bhagat Ravidas belonged to Chamar caste but is accorded highest respect in Sikhism with his poetry being included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In recent times Sardar Buta Singh is a well-known Mazhbi Sikh politician.
Baldev Singh makes a detailed dissection and the above extract does show the real menace on account of castes in the Sikh community. Here is a brief list the Castes he further dwelt upon in his next section in Sikh Caste Names.
1. Bhatia Sikh subcastes: A, B, C, D, G, J, K, R, S, W – 18 castes
2. Jat Sikh subcastes: A, B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y – 995 castes. This group is largest of all, perhaps due to their agriculture profession.
3. Mahton Sikh subcastes: A, B, C, D, G, H, J, K, L, M, P, S, T, W – 48 castes
4. Kalal or Ahluwalia subcastes: A, B, C, D, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, Y – 67 castes
5. Kamboh Sikh subcastes: A, B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, S, T – 104 castes
6. Khatri Sikh subcastes: A, B, C, D, G, H, J, K, L. M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U, V, W – 144 castes
7. Arora Sikh subcastes: A, B, C, D, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, V, W – 310 castes
8. Ramgarhia Sikh subcastes: A, B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, V, W – 454 castes
9. Saini Sikh subcastes: A, B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, S, T, U, V – 193 castes
All these numbers adds to a staggering figure of 2643 (Two thousand six hundred forty three). This is no mean figure. Thus this menace of caste curse is as bad in the contemporary Sikhs as it is in any other society. It should be noted that Baldev Singh spells ‘Ramgarhia’ while Niranjhan Singh has spelt it ‘Ramgharia’ and both are same except for the individual variant in its spelling. Perhaps my own inclination would be for Baldev Singh’s spelling.
It is pointed out that Sikhism is only a toddler in religious history. Jews are only a few millions in number and are fighting for their establishment in Israel; yet both have, more or less, been stung by the hornet of castes. One only needs to stretch their imagination to think of an order vibrantly flourishing since times immemorial, for countless millennia despite being persecuted from time to time by rapacious savage profligates of barren deserts and beyond..






Castes in Buddhism – Is Caste Only a Hindu Problem (Part 4)


By OP Sudrania 

“Hans Wolfgang Schumann has statistically proven that almost all of Buddha’s disciples were high caste people and that the brahmanas comprised the majority of the sangha.” Edmund Weber
I have split this monogram in three sections for ease of readers mostly to avoid monotony of a long continuous read in one stretch. Section three has distinctly dealt with the various schools and their innumerable subsects with potential influence of their long term divisive propensities.
Section A:
This monograph is a part of the series intended to explore the existence of castes in various religions apart from Hindus. It is this aspect that is dealt within the Buddhists’ communities.
(Edmund Weber: Buddhism: An Atheistic and Anti-Caste Religion?)
“The historian has to safeguard the strangeness of the past. Therefore, religio-historical research has to scrutinise the reconstruction of the real history of religions by religious ideologies of the present. Very often religious ideologies fall back to the past in order to get an alleged legitimacy for their actual ambitions; however, for that purpose they have to model or falsify the past according to their present ideological needs.
One of the outstanding examples of such an ideologisation of history of religion is the modern view of Buddhism. Developed by the Western colonialist Indology this ideology portrayed and still is portraying Buddhism as a rationalist-atheistic, anti-brahmanical, anti-caste and egalitarian religion – in contrast to Hinduism which is caricatured as idolatrous, casteistic and brahmanised. The aim of such an ideological interpretation is to demonstrate the alleged Western modernity of Buddhism and the alleged obscurantism of Hinduism. The target of that ideological aggression was the Hinduism. In order to exploit the wealth of India the Western colonialists needed the weakening of the Hindu self-consciousness; therefore they favoured an Indology which produced an not existing Indian Buddhism (2) as an alleged modern alternative to the alleged primitive religion of the ‘Hindoos’. Playing the Buddhism against the ‘Hindoos’ the colonialist attempt to defame the vast majority of the Indian people was very successful. Even Indian religious intellectuals and leaders (i.e. the secularists or the Neo-Buddhists1) are sharing and supporting that colonialist view still today.
We want to dispute these asserted positions by empirico-historical reasons. First we will discuss the early Buddhism, than Ashoka’s reform program of the dharma and at last the historiographical dilemmata of scholars sharing the colonialist ideology of Buddhism.” He thus continues:
“Buddha tells about the earlier Buddhas in the so called Mahapadana Suttanta – Great Sermon on the Legends.21 He refers to their membership of (high) caste as the first characteristic of their full enlightenment. According to this report the Buddhas belonged all to the high castes, to the kshatriyas and brahmanas. Buddha says proudly about himself “And now I, the venerable and fully enlightened one, was born a warrior and have come from the caste of warriors, o monks.”22
However, to Siddharta and the monks that listened to him, not only the varna, the hierarchical class but also the jati, the clan respectively the family were of substantial importance. For example, he tells about Buddha Vipassi that he belonged to the Kondanna clan. About himself Siddharta reports that he is a kshatriya and was born in the Gotama clan.” Edward Weber
Weber states under the caption, “Buddha and the Dalits” in his monograph:
“The standpoint which caste a Buddha should belong to has not been revised in Buddhism up to the present day. It is dogmatised in the Lalitavistara in the following way: a Bodhisattva can by no means come from a lower or even mixed caste: “After all Bodhisattvas were not born in despised lineage, among pariahs, in families of pipe or cart makers, or mixed castes.”25
Instead, in perfect harmony with the Great Sermon, it was said that: “The Bodhisattvas appear only in two kinds of lineage, the one of the brahmanas and of the warriors (kshatriya).”26
In which of the two high castes they were born depended on the fact which of the two had the better reputation at that particular moment. “When the Brahmins are especially respected on earth, they were born in a lineage of Brahmins, when the warriors play a greater role, they appear in a noble family.”27
According to Buddha, at his time the kshatriyas were above the now impure brahmanas. That is why, only a kshatriya can have the Buddha-ship. “Today the nobility has priority in the world, therefore the Bodhisattvas were born in a noble family.”28
Worldly reputation determines the Buddhas’ caste, not the moral qualification of the family or the caste. Lower castes have never had the chance to consider Buddha among them namely because they don’t have a good reputation.
The Bodhisattva explains to the gods that he should be born only in a family of a noble birth and caste. Furthermore the family ought to have procreated only in a direct line and on the man’s side, an adoption is impossible. Otherwise, purity would not be guaranteed. The purity of the family is so essential, that the father-to-be Suddhodana says: “King Suddhodana is pure on the side of the mother and father and was born in a respected family.”29
For the ancient Indian Buddhists like the author of the Lalitavistara the idea that somebody belonging to a lower caste or even a dalit could become a Buddha was absolutely impossible. On the other side, it was no problem for them that Buddhas could come from a brahmanas’ castes. If they had been decisive opponents of the brahmanas, the way modern Buddhism ideology assumes, they would not have left the genealogies of the early Buddhas without a commentary.
The preference of the kshatriyas and the brahmanas in ancient Buddhism leaves no place for doubts: Buddha and the so called impure castes were entirely separated from each other. A Buddha had nothing to deal with the dalits. The dalits were unworthy of Buddha-ship.”
“Besides Buddha, the ancient Buddhism of India worshipped the gods, brahmanas and shramanas. It accepted the caste system and introduced it even itself. A Buddha could be either a pure kshatriya or a pure brahmana; however, a person belonging to a mixed or lower caste could never become an enlightened one, and by no means could a dalit become a Buddha.
The more we study the reality of the ancient Indian Buddhism we see that it is so extremely related to its contemporary co-religionists and so far from the thinking, working and feeling of modern Buddhists too. Religious people who are fighting against one and another today are nevertheless more related to one another than to their own strange ancestors.
Therefore, the Ambedkarite Neo-Buddhism belongs to the same modern Indo-genous dharma culture as the Hindu modernism of the Hindutva movement does: both favour the dharma, fight against caste system, propagate nationalism and worship a modernised Buddha as their predominant guru in social affairs. However, that is neither the ancient Buddhism nor the ancient Buddha.”
There are other sources also which points out to this problem as seen below:
“When Ywan Chwang traveled to South India after the period of the Chalukyan Empire, he noticed that the caste system had existed among the Buddhists and Jains.
Buddhism in India, like other religions, has attempted to reform and create a society without classes. Nevertheless, in some parts of India such as Ladakh, with significant historical presence of Buddhists, a caste system existed in a manner similar to caste structure in Tibet. The upper castes belonged to sger gzhis, and were called sgar pa. The priestly caste belonged to monastery, and was called chos-gzhisMiserwas the serf caste. Serfs, the majority of the people, farmed and paid taxes. An individual’s social status and lifelong occupation was destined by birth, closed, and depending on the family one was born into, the individual inherited a tenure document known as khral-rten. Buddhist castes had sub-castes, such as nang gzankhral pa and dud chung. Buddhist also had castes that were shunned by their community and ostracized, such as hereditary fishermen, butchers and undertakers. The untouchables in Buddhist regions, as in Tibet, were known as Ragyappa, who lived in isolated ghettos, and their occupation was to remove corpses (human or animal) and dispose of sewage.”
Understanding the relationship between Buddhism and Shintoism can be confusing for foreigners. A common saying in Japan is, “We live as Shintoists, but die as Buddhists.”
Japan enjoys full religious freedom based on Article 20 of its Constitution. Upper estimates suggest that84–96 percent of the Japanese population subscribe to Buddhism or Shinto, including a large number of followers of a syncretism of both religions. Due to the syncretic nature of Shinto and Buddhism, most “life” events are handled by Shinto and “death” or “afterlife” events are handled by Buddhism—for example, it is typical in Japan to register or celebrate a birth at a Shinto shrine, while funeral arrangements are generally dictated by Buddhist tradition—although the division is not exclusive and currently there are believed to be only about 4 million Shintos though exact figure is hard to determine. [As of the most recent census (October 2010), Japan's population is 128,057,352; for March 2012 the estimated population is127,650,000]
In Japan‘s history, social strata based on inherited position rather than personal merits, was rigid and highly formalized. At the top were the Emperor and Court nobles (kuge), together with the Shogun and daimyo. Below them the population was divided into four classes in a system known as mibunsei. These were: samurai, peasants, craftsmen and merchants. Only the samurai class was allowed to bear arms. A samurai had a right to kill any peasants and other craftsmen and merchants whom he felt were disrespectful. Craftsmen produced products, being the third, and the last merchants were thought to be as the meanest class because they did not produce any products. The castes were further sub-divided; for example, the peasant caste was labeled as furiuritanagarimizunomi-byakusho amongst others. The castes and sub-classes, as in Europe, were from the same race, religion and culture.
Howell, in his review of Japanese society notes that if a Western power had colonized Japan in the 19th century, they would have discovered and imposed a rigid four-caste hierarchy in Japan (as they did in India, yet blame Hindus – Author).
DeVos and Wagatsuma observe that a systematic and extensive caste system was part of the Japanese society.
Japan, like China and Korea, had its own untouchable caste, shunned and ostracized, historically referred to by the insulting term Eta, now called Burakumin. While modern law has officially abolished the class hierarchy, there are reports of discrimination against the Buraku or Burakumin underclasses.”
The Burakumin are descendants of outcast communities of the feudal era, which mainly comprised those with occupations considered “tainted” with death or ritual impurity (such as executioners, undertakers, workers in slaughterhouses, butchers or tanners), and traditionally lived in their own secluded hamlets and ghettos. They are one of the main minority groups in Japan along with the Ainu of Hokkaid?.
They were legally liberated in 1871 with the abolition of the feudal caste system. However, this did not put a stop to social discrimination and their lower living standards, because Japanese family registration was fixed to ancestral home address until recently, which allowed people to deduce their Burakumin membership. The Burakumin were one of several groups discriminated against within Japanese society.
According to a survey conducted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 2003, 76% of Tokyo residents would not change their view of a close neighbor whom they discovered to be a burakumin; 4.9% of respondents, on the other hand, would actively avoid a burakumin neighbor. There is still a stigma attached to being a resident of certain areas traditionally associated with the burakumin and some lingering discrimination in matters such as marriage and employment. Read at. Neither laws nor mere shallow attempts at reformation can change the minds and hearts of the people who are mere slaves of the conventional taboos. It did not succeed in Indian model and the Hindus have been ostracised for it globally because they are not able to counter the blasphemous pre-empted strategic verbosity of hideous vested interests.
The Sachar Committee report of 2006 revealed that scheduled castes and tribes of India are not limited to the religion of Hinduism. The 61st round Survey of the NSSO found that almost nine-tenths of the Buddhists, one-third of the Sikhs, and one-third of the Christians in India belonged to the notified scheduled castes or tribes of the Constitution: In Buddhism, scheduled castes are 89.50% and scheduled tribe 07.40%. Peruse at:
According to the 2001 census there are 7.95 million Buddhists in India out of a population of 1 billion, making it the country’s fifth-largest religion. These Buddhists include a number of groups. There are scattered survivors of the period when Buddhism flourished in India such as the Baruas of Assam, Chakmas of Bengal, the Saraks of Orissa and the Himalayan Buddhists of North-East India; there are also ethnic overlaps from Nepal, Thailand and Burma, such as Tamangs and Sherpas there are converts who have been influenced by the Maha Bodhi Society, the Dalai Lama and so on; and there are refugee Tibetan Buddhists in different settlements. Finally there are the followers of Dr. Ambedkar, who constitute over 90% India’s Buddhists. Dr Ambedkar was the unquestioned leader of the dalits – people considered ‘untouchable’ under the Hindu caste system. He converted to Buddhism on 14 October 1956 with about 300,000 of his followers. All belonged to his lower Mahar caste in Maharastra.

David Holmes aka Anagarika Tevijjo argues on Buddhism and Caste System on Theravada Dhamma Blog:
“There is, however, a philosophical theory of `racism” held by some of the religious teachers in the Buddha’s time which is mentioned and criticised in the Buddhist texts. It is associated with two teachers both of whom denied free will to man. One was Purana Kassapa, who denied man’s capacity for moral action in virtue of the fact that he had no free will. The other was Makkhali Gosala, who denied both free will and causation and argued that beings were miraculously saved (ahetu appaccaya satta visujjhanti) or doomed. They argued that human beings belonged to one or another of six species (abhi jati)[18] or specific types; in virtue of which they had certain genetic constitutions, physical traits and habits and psychological natures which they were incapable of altering by their own will or effort. The six types were designated by six colours. They were the black species (kanhabhi jati), the blue species, the red species, the yellow species, the white species and the pure white species. Whether these colours denoted differences in their physical complexions is not clear,[19] but that they were genetically different physical and psychological types is what is implied by the classification.
To the black species belonged the butchers, fowlers, hunters, fishermen, dacoits, and executioners and all those who adopt a cruel mode of living. They were, incidentally, among the lowest castes and their complexion was on the whole the darkest. The other five specific types differed in virtue of their degree of wickedness or saintliness, which was not in their power to alter. The pure white species were reckoned to be the perfect saints, though their saintliness was considered to be natural to them as much as their physical constitutions, and was in no way achieved by any effort of will on their part. In the opinion of these typologists, human beings who suffered pain in this life were so born to suffer as a result of their inheriting certain physical constitutions and psychological natures. [20]
He further argues, *Caste names were merely conventional designations signifying occupational differences and, since men were free to change their occupations, these diffe-rences had no hereditary or genetical basis*. As Asvaghosa says, *The distinctions between Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras are founded merely on the observance of diverse rites and the practice of different professions.[21] One who engages in trade comes to be known as a merchant, one who indulges in military pursuits is known as a soldier, and one who administers the country a king. It was not by birth that one becomes merchant, soldier or king but by the actions that one performs or the job one does.*
To spice it up he adds flavour into it, *The Hindu conception of society was static and was dominated by the idea of caste. The traditional fourfold order of priests, soldiers and administrators, merchants and agriculturists and menial workers was considered not only to be absolute, fundamental and necessary to society but was also given a divine sanction by being considered a creation of God (Brahma).*
This is a usual apology by most opponents to advance their image over Hinduism by tongue-in-cheek phenomenon. Compare his beginning of the observation in this quote with the subsequent assertions, the glare of dichotomy in his concept on Buddhism is quite obvious. Nonetheless this assertion is indicative of the fact that castes in Buddhism is extant and is no different from the philosophy expounded in the ancient holy Hindu scriptures like Geeta. Ref. Slok 4:13 where it is clearly laid down that according to *Triguna* there have been four divisions of society to systematise the work. In Slok 3:8 again it is exhorted that one must do his decided *Karma* instead of doing nothing. There are unlimited references in various other Hindu scriptures which are uncomparable. Here under is some brief indication about the Vedic descriptions and their purpose which is detailed in the relevant texts.
The Four Varnas Brahadaranyaka Upanishad

Stories and episodes (30)
The four orders of human beings, Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra seems to be quite ancient.

The Rg Veda mentions the division.

Here is an explanation of that system given in an allegorical manner. It is said here that society is complete and perfect on account of the existence of all these four divisions but much more so on account of the law which binds all and which all ought to obey. 

However one will argue that how does it differ from the puritanical original Hinduism as expounded in her scriptures? It doesn’t differ in the least bit. It only got corrupted over the period by the zealots and circumstances. Older it got, worst it became for multitudes of reasons.
Section B:
The RSS Sarsanghchalak Prof. Rajendra Singh extols Babasaheb Ambedkar in the following words: “In 1935, because of the highly discriminatory treatment meted out to the Dalits, he announced that though he was born a Hindu, he would never die as one. This caused a lot of commotion in the country, and it is rumoured that he was offered millions of Rupees by the Nizam if he brought the Dalits to the fold of Islam, and similarly by the Christian missionaries. (…) He gave a very important message to the Dalits before embracing Buddhism. He said that he was embracing Buddhism because it promised equality to all and was a path of this very soil with many common features and thereby not taking the Dalits against the culture of this country.”
We shall like to think so but our research on this aspect does not support Ambedkar’s view of equality to all castes in Buddhism; we have seen it in the preceding paragraphs here as well as we shall try to devolve further on this point. Has Ambedkar read and evolved his thesis of Buddhism on full distillation of the ideology or mere individual hatred perhaps generated via his personal earlier ostracization during the sensitive stage of self-conscious adulthood? It is a matter for debate and discussion. Whereas I am against any kind of alienation based on caste, race, creed, colour, gender, religion, language, or such diversity; despite my personal bitter experiences while passing through the same formative years both at home and abroad, I do not consider that a change of religious identity could alone solve the problem. A dazzling example is Babu Jagjivan Ramji and his most successful high profile daughter viz Ms Meira Kumar the present speaker of India. Ms Mayavati feels that she will change her religion after she gets her Government at the centre. Her argument is contentious but I am highly sceptical of her own credentials in conversion because her track record so far only shows her love for the sculptures and wasteful indulgence in corrupt practices more than the vivacious poor dalits vis a vis Manuwadis. She remains to prove herself a messiah of the oft repeated her dalit clans or is it only another dirty political power game? Let us examine some more views:
Jeevan Kulkarni argues; “…Most of them have decidedly proved that Buddha had never discarded caste system”.
Kulkarni calls Western authorities to the witness stand. Sir W.W. Hunter has written: “It would be a mistake to suppose that Buddhism and Jainism were directed from the outset consciously in opposition to the caste system. Caste, in fact, at the time of the rise of Buddhism was only beginning to develop; and in later days, when Buddhism commenced its missionary careers, it took caste with it into regions where upto that time the institution had not penetrated.” This is a profound truth revealed by Kulkarni smashing the acrimonious belief against Hinduism.
Prof. T.W. Rhys-Davids has given details about caste practices in over 100 Buddhist communities.
The eminent historian D.D. Kosambi pointed out that in the recruitment of monks, the candidate’s social position was not entirely disregarded: “…runaway slaves, savage tribesmen, escaped criminals, the chronically ill and the indebted as well as aboriginal Nagas were denied admission into the order.”
Where slavery existed, Buddhism did not abolish it. The Buddha never ordered the masters to set the slaves free, nor the slaves to revolt against their masters. Buddhist monasteries continued the labour arrangements existing in society at large. In his study on slavery in ancient India, the Marxist historian Dev Raj Chanana noticed the stark contrast between the actual history of Buddhist social practice and the more “progressive” picture given by modern writers, who fail to register the existence of serfdom in connection with the Buddhist monasteries:
“On reading the modern works concerning the Buddhist order in India one gains the impression that no slave labour was employed in the monasteries. One would be inclined to believe that all the work, even in the big monasteries like [those] of Kosambi or Rajagriha, was carried out by the monks themselves. However, a study of Pali literature shows clearly that the situation was otherwise.”
From the beginning, Buddhism shared the disdain for manual labour expressed by certain Brahminical and ancient Greek sources, which held that philosophical pursuits required a freedom from labour tasks. According to Chanana, this attitude to labour had not always existed in India to the same extent: “This attitude to manual work as an imposition is in contrast with the view expressed in an earlier epoch, in the Rigveda, where there is no expression of any dislike of manual work. This is, in part at least, due to the absence of the division of labour as seen in the well-known verse describing various jobs, intellectual and manual, undertaken by members of one and the same family.” In the case of Buddhism, however, “we must not forget that the Buddha, anxious to free his monks of material preoccupations, had forbidden almost all manual labour to them.”
To the slaves, Buddhism gave the same justification of their condition as is always scornfully attributed to Hinduism. (cf. slave practices in Africa, Europe and Americas – Author) Chanana summarizes: “On the other hand he advised the slaves to bear patiently with their lot and explained the same as follows. If a person is born a slave, it is the consequence of some bad acts of an earlier life and the best way for him is to submit willingly to his lot. He should submit to all sorts of treatment at the hands of his master and should never allow any feeling of revenge to grow within himself, even if the other should try to kill him. In such cases, a change of destiny is promised to the slave in the next birth. (…).”
So, the same allegation of using the karma doctrine as an opium for the people to keep them happy in their submission has been levelled against the Buddha as well as against Puranic Hinduism: “That he derived his conclusion from the widely accepted belief in the theory of karma, of the retribution of acts, need not be stressed again and again. To him and his followers birth in a particular group was the consequence of certain good or evil acts. Since the retribution was believed to be inexorable, unvarying, like the working of a machine, he could not but advocate complete submission to one’s destiny (…) we may agree that the Buddha (from what we learn about him in the Tipitaka) sincerely believed in [karma]. But even from this angle it is clear that disobedience on the part of a slave or servant was considered as an evil act. The same view was held of bad treatment on the part of a master.”
It is giving a Buddhist license for slavery.
“Everywhere it integrated itself into the existing social and political set-up, from bureaucratic centralism in China to feudal militarism in Japan. There is no known case of any of these branches of Buddhism calling for social reform, let alone for a social revolution as far-reaching as the abolition of caste would have meant in India. After centuries of profound impact of Buddhism, Tibetan society was in such a state that the Chinese Communists could claim in 1950 (with exaggeration, but not without a kernel of truth) that 95% of the Tibetans were living in slavery. Buddhism does not seem to have made Tibet’s traditional feudalism any more egalitarian than it had been in the pre-Buddhist past.”
On caste divisions it is stated again, “Coming to the specific form of inequality which is the caste system, in a survey of the Buddhist canon, we do find a number of references to this subject. These instances show that Buddhism was not meant as a social revolution, even when it was critical of caste inequality. Thus, in a list of parables from the Pali Canon, we find the well-known simile: “Whether kindled by a priest, a warrior, a trader or a serf, from whatsoever type of fuel, a fire will emit light and heat; even so, all men, regardless of caste, are equally capable of the highest spiritual attainment.” This merely says that the spiritual dimension is common to all, not that the differentiation of men into castes or even the secular inequality between these castes should be abolished.” It does not even lay any concern on account of caste.
There are more similar references given about castes as related to Buddha and Buddhism.
“A case could be made that this appropriation of spirituality by the Brahmin caste is what the Buddha criticizes in the Prakriti story and elsewhere. What he objects to is not the existing social system on the basis of caste, but precisely the improper extension of caste division to the spiritual sphere, beyond the worldly sphere where social distinctions belong. We may add that Sri Lankan Buddhists, who have a long history of fighting predominantly Hindu Tamils, and hence a strong sense of separateness from Hinduism,observe their own caste distinctions.
Buddhism’s lack of interest in social reform was implicitly admitted by Dr. Ambedkar himself, when as Law Minister he defended the inclusion of Buddhists in the category of citizens to whom the Hindu Code Bill would apply. He declared: “When the Buddha differed from the Vedic Brahmins, he did so only in matters of creed, but left the Hindu legal framework intact. He did not propound a separate law for his followers. The same was the case with Mahavir and the ten Sikh Gurus.” That should clinch the issue, it continued.
In the conclusion Elst states, “The neo-Buddhists are not Hindus, because they say so. Indeed, whereas all the other groups considered developed their identities naturally, in a pursuit of Liberation or simply in response to natural and cultural circumstances, only to discover later that this identity might be described as non-Hindu, the neo-Buddhists were first of all motivated by the desire to break with Hinduism. The most politicized among them, all while flaunting the label “Buddhist”, actually refuse to practise Buddhism: because it distracts from the political struggle, and perhaps also because the Buddhist discipline is too obviously similar to the lifestyle of the hated Brahmins in its religious aspect.” More at:
Let us continue our quest further:
“…The most interesting of these arguments is that one could have been high caste, low caste or outcaste in one’s former life or that one might be in the next life, and that one’s future is conditioned by one’s behaviour in this life (i.e. kamma), not by which caste one belongs to.
Despite the Buddha’s repudiation of caste, less extreme variations of the system exist in most Buddhist countries. For example, the paya kyun of Burma are the descendants of monastery slaves, and the burakuof Japan and the ragyapa of Tibet, were originally degraded because they worked as fishermen, scavengers or butchers. These groups are marginalized by their respective societies. Sri Lanka’s monastic sects are all divided along caste lines. Since the 1950’s, millions of low caste and outcaste people in India, following the example of their leader Dr. Ambedkar, have converted to Buddhism to escape the indignities of the Hindu caste system.” As exemplified in “Buddhism and the Race Question, J.N. Jayatilleke, 1958.”More at:
Koenraad Elst further expresses about Castes in Buddhism, “The Buddha also didn’t believe in gender equality. For long he refused to recruit women into his monastic order, saying that nuns would shorten its life-span by five hundred years. At long last he relented when his mother was widowed and other relatives, nobly-born Kshatriyas like the Buddha himself, insisted. Nepotism wasn’t alien to him either. But he made this institution of female monastics conditional upon the acceptance that even the most seasoned nun was subordinate to even the dullest and most junior monk. Some Theravada countries have even re-abolished the women’s monastic order, and it is only under Western feminist influence that Thailand is gradually reaccepting nuns.”
Buddhist monk Jivaka wrote: “In India the movement started by Ambedkar was not Buddhism but a campaign for social reform under the name Buddhism, and he has promulgated the idea that bhikkhus are for the purpose of social service. But his book ‘The Buddha and His Dharma’ is misnamed for he preaches non-Dharma as Dharma, even sweeping away the four Aryan Truths as a later addition by scholar-monks, maintaining that the Buddha distinguished between killing for a good reason and purely want only, and saying that He did not ban the former; and to cap it all he writes that the Dharma is a social system and that a man quite alone would not need it (…) Hence the so-called New Buddhists or better named, Ambedkarists, surround bhikkhus aggressively and tell them what they should do and abuse them if they are not actively engaged in social work or preaching reform. The result is seen in the acts of violence they have committed, the rioting that has taken place in Nagpur and Jabbulpur and other places. For Ambedkar entered on his new religion with hate in his heart (against Hindus – Author) and his followers are still nourishing and fanning the flames of hate in the uneducated masses they lead.” I am in agreement with Jivaka on this gross observation.
At any rate, nothing in Buddhist history justifies the modern romance of Buddhism as a movement for social reform. Everywhere it went, Buddhism accepted the social mores prevalent in that country, be it Chinese imperial-centralistic bureaucracy, Japanese militaristic feudalism, or indeed Hindu caste society. Buddhism even accepted the religious mores of the people (a rare exception is the abolition of a widow’s burial along with her husband in Mongol society effected by the third Dalai Lama), it only recruited monks from among them and made these do the Buddhist practices. In “caste-ridden India”, the Buddhist emperorA?oka dared to go against the existing mores when he prohibited animal-slaughter on specific days, but even he made no move to abolish caste.
In a report to his Government in 1992, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, Mr. Neville Kanakaratne, noted the “regrettable fact” that a great majority of Indian Buddhists were members of the Scheduled Castes who converted under Dr. Ambedkar’s leadership in order to assert their political rights “rather than through honest self-persuasion and conviction”. By contrast, the effort by the Mahabodhi Society to spread Buddhism through proper information and teaching had achieved “very little”, according to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner.
Buddhism wasn’t more casteist than what went before. It didn’t bring caste to India anymore than the Muslims or the Britons did. Caste is an ancient Indian institution of which the Buddha was a part. But he, its personal beneficiary, didn’t think of changing it, just as his followers in other countries didn’t think of changing the prevailing system.” Elst continues.
A less controversial but essentially similar Buddhist presence is the Vipassana association of the Burmese master Sayagyi U Ba Khin as represented by S.N. Goenka. As I have been able to see for myself, this tradition of Buddhist meditation has struck firm roots in Ambedkar’s own Maharashtra, mainly through its Vipassana International Academy in Dhammagiri near Jalgaon where 10-day courses for laymen are offered. This way, a process of rapprochement between traditional Buddhists and Ambedkarite neo-Buddhists is already visible, so that we are probably witnessing the genesis of a genuine new Indian Buddhism. (It is Elst’s personal opinion)
However, the exercise can also be tried on the Buddha. Indeed, one V.N. Utpat wrote a booklet Riddles of Buddha and Ambedkar in reply. It points out that the Buddha’s conception was even more illegitimate …: his mother was visited at night by a white elephant. Heartless as the Buddha was, he left his wife and child behind without asking their opinion, to set out on his selfish quest for personal liberation. By giving up his throne, he also robbed his own son of the inheritance of the throne, and when later his son came to ask him for his rightful inheritance, the Buddha cynically offered him initiation into his miserable monk order. And so on: people (including the human being Siddhartha Gautama the Shakyamuni) have to make choices in life, and in their decisions there will always be a dark side available for foul mouths to pick on (very well observed by Elst who perhaps is no exception to the rule). More at:

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and her followers will embrace Buddhism after the BSP gains an absolute majority at the Centre, reported in The Hindu, Oct 17, 2006 with caption – “Prominent Indian female politician to embrace Buddhism”

Ms. Mayawati announced this on Monday at the conclusion of the seventh day rites of party founder Kanshi Ram which were conducted according to Buddhist traditions at her New Delhi residence.
“It was Manyavar’s dream to see the BSP in power at the Centre, and in the States, before the 50th anniversary of Babasaheb’s conversion. Unfortunately, that did not happen,” she said.
What was the connection between political power and religious conversion? The BSP chief said power was essential to spread any faith.
“It is not about me becoming a Buddhist. I could do it today but it would be just me. We have to spread the faith for which absolute majority at the Centre is a pre-requisite.” Peruse at:
Hence Mayavatiji again refers to social transformation more than religion or egalitarianism in Buddhism. One wonders, could she have not tried it within her current milieu which have given her sufficient power in UP instead of indulging in building personal fanciful sculptures and wasting the taxpayers’ money wantonly without any fruitful returns. If she is looking for similar opportunity at centre, I am afraid, she better not get the desired “power or mispower”. In her pursuit for power, she has crossed all barriers of principled politics by dilly-dallying from attracting the different castes for her vote bank including her most hated Manuwadis. One wonders: Is this what she wants or expects from Buddhism after power grab? Thus is Buddhism an instrument for grabbing power or is it an ideology that has pulled her and her cohorts?
Let us examine another side of the spreading hate cult among the Arihants:
Japanese-born Surai Sasai emerged as an important Buddhist leader in India. Sasai came to India in 1966 and met Nichidatsu Fuji, whom he helped with the Peace Pagoda at Rajgir. He fell out with Fuji, however, and started home, but, by his own account, was stopped by a dream in which a figure resembling Nagarjuna appeared and said, “Go to Nagpur”. In Nagpur, he met Wamanrao Godbole, the person who had organized the conversion ceremony for Dr. Ambedkar in 1956. … In 1987 a court case to deport him on the grounds that he had overstayed his visa was dismissed, and he was granted Indian citizenship. Sasai is one of the main leaders of the campaign to free the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya from Hindu control.”
It is sad to learn that these foreign born current itinerant ignorant young Buddhists who care less for the historical roots of their faith and indulge in chauvinism and perhaps even attempt to exhibit extrovert loyalty to the surrounding people for an oneman upship posture but unmindful of the fact that their patron Saint never advocated such violence and hatred. Is he true to his faith? Perhaps doubtful!
Ipso facto the custom is aboriginal. The Hindu priests in Bodh Gaya shrine are right from the inception when there was no other Bodhisattva and Buddha himself must have been building his empire of followers from among Hindus. There were only Hindus at that time to help him and to lean on. Any forceful eviction of these priests will amount to an act of blasphemy and disrespect to Lord Buddha himself or the ancestry of his followers. This custom is as old as the Buddhism itself and it must have been endorsed by their ancestors with full ascendency. At the same time it is bound to taint and corrupt their image of a peaceful and non-violent ideology. It does not make Buddhism a very peaceful religion!
Man’s quest for security and lasting happiness never ceases, but it is never quenched by soft pandering to his desires as a result of which he is continually in a state of flux. What brought men together was the realization of their common lot and their common humanity. All men of whatever race were subject to disease, decay and death. All men were likewise impelled by the desires within them—the desire for sense-gratification, the desire for life or personal immortality, and the desire for domination over death. But deep within this fathom-long body, says the Buddha, is the final goal we all seek and it is only by dis­covering this eternal peace and happiness within us that we realize the highest that we are capable of.
Unlike the Dalai Lama, who emphasizes the closeness of Hinduism and Buddhism before his Indian hosts, the Ambedkarite tendency in Buddhism is overtly anti-Hindu and tries to maximize the separateness of Buddhism, asserts Koenraad Elst.
Section C:
Various Buddhist Schools Vis a Vis hidden class or caste divisions:
Buddhism has several divisions now which differ vastly in their practices and remain isolated on this count. There is also some variation in the different accounts e.g. some say that Buddhism has only two major divisions e.g. Theravada and Mahayana. While others divide it into further subgroups like Vajrayana and Hinayana apart from the recent Ambedkarite group representing the Dalit sections in India after the advocacy by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. There are further subgroups in each of these branches which are classes or castes are a matter for discussion but they do represent various distinct sections.
There is another section that has emerged recently in India called Vipassana on the lines of Sayagyi U ba Khin of Myanmar as taught by the Guruji Sri S. N. Goenka at Dhammagiri, Igatpuri in Maharashtra. Thus it is noticeable that with the passage of time, any ideology is also bound to create diversity since it is the very human nature to differ among them selves. This leads to strong irreconcilable differing subgroups that depend upon the mass appeal and acceptance. It assumes more materialistic outlook than spiritual one over the passage of time and then the things start going wrong. Another human weakness that leads to disaster is its faltering weaknesses like ego, anger, greed, passion, jealousy, hatred and etc which sway the opinions of various individuals and create differing strong subgroups; whether in castes, classes or races. Ultimately all lead to the same divisions and diversity.
In perusing the various available literatures on Buddhism, it is again highly misleading, e.g. “while describing the Shramana (Sanskrit ?rama?a; P?li sama?a) movement was a non-Vedic movement parallel to Vedic Hinduism in ancient India. The Shramana tradition gave rise to Jainism, Buddhism, and Yoga, and was responsible for the related concepts of sa?s?ra (the cycle of birth and death) and moksha (liberation from that cycle).”
It may be noted here that ‘Yoga’ is very much a technique intimately linked with Vedas and other Hindu scriptures. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism all have a similarity on one count that they propound the ultimate aim of their teachings as the “Liberation” of the soul from the worldly misery and sufferings which this universe is comprised of. There are differing opinions on the various practices and methods. If these differing methods will not exist, then there is no need for existence of these differing various groups. Why these differing groups? A deeper unbiased analysis may depict that either it is human ignorance or their materialistic greed or other weaknesses. Unfortunately the masses in any or every community are like a flock of sheeps which move in herds, led by the front leader. They hardly seem to have their individual say. Thus the so called human societies behave no different in this respect. Another human aspect of sensibility is a sentimental phenomenon which help create a mass movement; political, religious, sports, games, nationalism, or otherwise. All these factors work in tandem to divide et impera. In such matters, the individuals hardly seem to have their choice. There are extraneous factors also with their vested interests in creating further diversity e.g.:
“The British employed the Roman principle of divide et impera to enslave colonial peoples. The US has taken up the tradition. “Our endeavour,” remarked Lieutenant-Colonel Coke, Commandant of Moradabad during the middle of the nineteenth century, “should be to uphold in full force the (for us fortunate) separation which exists between the different religions and races, not to endeavour to amalgamate them.Divide et impera should be the principle of Indian government (13).” Lord Elphinstone, Governer of Bombay, seconded the motion. “Divide et impera was the old Romon motto, and it should be ours (14).” It continues further:
“Adumbrating US imperial tactics in Iraq, the British devised a system of separate electorates in India and separate representation by religion, caste and ethnicity. Sound familiar? “The effect of this electoral policy,” observed one commentator, was “to give the sharpest possible stimulus to communal antagonism (15).” Prior to British rule in India there was no trace of the type of Hindu-Muslim conflict that later emerged under British rule (16).
“There is no natural inevitable difficulty from the cohabiting of differing races or religions in one country (17).” Muslim and Hindu lived side-by-side peacefully until the British arrived in India; Sunni and Shiite commingled peacefully before the US imposed its occupation on the country. “The difficulties arise from social-political conditions. They arise, in particular, whenever a reactionary regime is endeavouring to maintain itself against the popular movement (18).”
In the USSR, diverse religions and races lived together amicably. Germans and Jews lived together peacefully under Germany’s Weimar Republic. It wasn’t until the Nazis emphasized national identity to weaken growing working class consciousness that systematic persecution of Jews began.
The strategy is simple. The last thing an occupying power wants is for the people it’s dominating to recognize their common situation and interests. Were they to do that, they might mobilize their energies to fight their common enemy. So the occupied countries are organized by their occupiers along color, religious and ethnic fault-lines. Iraqis mustn’t think of themselves as Iraqis, but as Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, locked in a struggle with each other for access to resources.”
The Buddha (meaning “the awakened one” in Sanskrit and P?li). Buddha derives its etymology from the root word ‘dhi’ which means knowledge and wisdom. It is related to his enlightenment.
Buddhism is a religion indigenous to the Indian subcontinent that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs, and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha (meaning “the awakened one” in Sanskrit and P?li). The Buddha lived and taught in the eastern part of Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end suffering (dukkha) through eliminating ignorance (avidy?), craving (ta?h?), and hatred, by way of understanding and seeing dependent origination (prat?tyasamutp?da) and non-self (an?tman), and thus attain the highest happiness, nirv??a (nirvana). Although Buddhism is known as the Buddha Dharma, the Buddha referred to his teachings as the Arya Ast?nga M?rga, Brahmay?na, Dhammavin?ya, and Jinas?sanam. (Cf. Patanjali’s Ashtanga Sutras)
Two major branches of Buddhism are recognized: Theravada (“The School of the Elders”) and Mahayana(“The Great Vehicle”). Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Mahayana is found throughout East Asia and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, Tiantai (Tendai) and Shinnyo-en. In some classifications, Vajrayana—practiced mainly in Tibet and Mongolia, and adjacent parts of China and Russia—is recognized as a third branch, while others classify it as a part of Mahayana. There are other categorisations of these three Vehicles or Yanas.
Theravada, Sanskrit: ????????? sthavirav?da, ; literally, “the Teaching of the Elders” or “the Ancient Teaching,” is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India. It is relatively conservative, andgenerally closer to early Buddhism than the other existing Buddhist traditions. For many centuries, it has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (now about 70% of the population) and most of continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand). Theravada is also practiced by minorities in parts of southwest China (mainly by the Shan and Tai ethnic groups), Vietnam (by the Khmer Krom),Bangladesh (by the ethnic groups of Baruas, Chakma, Magh, and Tanchangya), Malaysia and Indonesia, while recently gaining popularity in Singapore and the Western world. Today, Theravada Buddhists, otherwise known as Theravadins, number over 150 million worldwide, and during the past few decades Theravada Buddhism has begun to take root in the West and in the Buddhist revival in India.
According to its own accounts, the Therav?da school is fundamentally derived from the Vibhajjav?da (or “doctrine of analysis”) grouping which was a division of the Sthavira (“Elders”) stream. (The Sthavira were in turn a breakaway group from the majority Mah?s??ghika during the Second Buddhist council.) (Sanskrit “Sthavira” and the Pali “Thera”) Theravadin accounts of its own origins mention that it received the teachings that were agreed upon the Third Buddhist Council, around 250 BCE, and these teachings were known as the Vibhajjavada. The Vibhajjav?dins in turn split into four groups: the Mah???saka, K??yap?ya,Dharmaguptaka, and the T?mraparn?ya (which means “the Sri Lankan lineage”).
According to the P?li chronicles of the Sinhalese tradition, Buddhism was first brought to Sri Lanka by Arahant Mahinda, who is believed to have been the son of the Mauryan emperor Asoka, in the third century BCE, as a part of the dhammaduta (missionary) activities of the Asokan era. In Sri Lanka, Arahant Mahinda established the Mah?vih?ra Monastery of Anuradhapura.
Over much of the early history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, three subdivisions of Therav?da existed in Sri Lanka, consisting of the monks of the Mah?vih?ra, Abhayagiri Vih?ra, and the Jetavana Vih?ra. According to A.K. Warder, the Indian Mah???saka sect also established itself in Sri Lanka alongside the Therav?da, into which they were later absorbed. Northern regions of Sri Lanka also seem to have been ceded to sects from India at certain times.
Traditionally, Theravada Buddhism has observed a distinction between the practices suitable for a lay person and the practices undertaken by ordained monks (in ancient times, there was a separate body of practices for nuns). While the possibility of significant attainment by laymen is not entirely disregarded by the Theravada, it generally occupies a position of less prominence than in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, with monastic life being hailed as a superior method of achieving Nirvana. The view that Theravada, unlike other Buddhist schools, is primarily a monastic tradition has, however, been disputed.More at:
Mah?y?na (Sanskrit: ?????? mah?y?na, literally the “Great Vehicle”) is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice. Mah?y?na Buddhism originated in India, and is associated with the oldest historical sect of Buddhism, the Mah?s??ghika.
The Mah?y?na tradition is the larger of the two major traditions of Buddhism existing today, the other being that of the Therav?da school. According to the teachings of Mah?y?na traditions, “Mah?y?na” also refers to the path of seeking complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, also called “Bodhisattvay?na”, or the “Bodhisattva Vehicle.
In the course of its history, Mah?y?na Buddhism spread from India to various other Asian countries such as China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and Mongolia. Major traditions of Mah?y?na Buddhism today include Zen/Chán, Pure Land, Tiantai, and Nichiren, as well as the Esoteric Buddhist traditions of Shingon, Tendai and Tibetan Buddhism.
According to Jan Nattier, the term Mah?y?na (“Great Vehicle”) was originally an honorary synonym forBodhisattvay?na (“Bodhisattva Vehicle”) — the vehicle of a bodhisattva seeking buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. The term Mah?y?na was therefore formed independently at an early date as a synonym for the path and the teachings of the bodhisattvas. Since it was simply an honorary term forBodhisattvay?na, the creation of the term Mah?y?na and its application to Bodhisattvay?na did not represent a significant turning point in the development of a Mah?y?na tradition.
The earliest Mah?y?na texts often use the term Mah?y?na as a synonym for Bodhisattvay?na, but the termH?nay?na is comparatively rare in the earliest sources. The presumed dichotomy between Mah?y?na andH?nay?na can be deceptive, as the two terms were not actually formed in relation to one another in the same era. More at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahayana
Vajray?na Buddhism (Devanagari: ???????; Tibetan: ??????????????, rdo rje theg pa;) is also known asTantric BuddhismTantray?naMantray?naSecret MantraEsoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle. Vajrayana is a complex and multifaceted system of Buddhist thought and practice which evolved over several centuries.
According to Vajrayana scriptures Vajrayana refers to one of three vehicles or routes to enlightenment, the other two being the Hinayana and Mahayana.
Its main scriptures are called Tantras. A distinctive feature of Vajrayana Buddhism is ritual, which are Skillful Means (Upaya). They are being used as a substitute or alternative for the earlier abstract meditations.
Although the first tantric Buddhist texts appeared in India in the 3rd century and continued to appear until the 12th century, scholars such as Hirakawa Akira believe that the Vajrayana probably came into existence in the 6th or 7th century, while the term Vajrayana first came into evidence in the 8th century. Prior to the Vajrayana developed the Mantrayana, and after the Vajrayana the Sahajayana and Kalachakrayana developed.
The period of Indian Vajrayana Buddhism has been classified as the fifth or final period of Indian Buddhism. The literature of Vajrayana is absent from the oldest Buddhist literature of the Pali Canon and the Agamas. More at:
H?nay?na (??????) is a Sanskrit and P?li term literally meaning: (H?na = mean or lowly, y?na = vehicle) the “Inferior Vehicle”, “Deficient Vehicle”, the “Abandoned Vehicle”, or the “Defective Vehicle”. The term appeared around the 1st or 2nd century.
H?nay?na is contrasted with Mah?y?na, which means the “Great (Mah?) Vehicle.” There are a variety of interpretations as to who or what the term “H?nay?na” refers to. The Chinese monk Yijing who visited India in the 7th century distinguishes Mah?y?na from H?nay?na as follows:
Both adopt one and the same Vinaya, and they have in common the prohibitions of the five offenses, and also the practice of the Four Noble Truths. Those who venerate the bodhisattvas and read the Mah?y?na s?tras are called the Mah?y?nists, while those who do not perform these are called the H?nay?nists.
According to Jan Nattier, it is most likely that the term H?nay?na post-dates the term Mah?y?na, and was only added at a later date due to antagonism and conflict between bodhisattvas and ?r?vakas. The sequence of terms then began with Bodhisattvay?na, which was given the epithet Mah?y?na (“Great Vehicle”). It was only later, after attitudes toward the bodhisattvas and their teachings had become more critical, that the term H?nay?na was created as a back-formation, contrasting with the already-established term Mah?y?na. The earliest Mah?y?na texts often use the term Mah?y?na as an epithet and synonym forBodhisattvay?na, but the term H?nay?na is comparatively rare in early texts, and is usually not found at all in the earliest translations. Therefore, the often-perceived symmetry between Mah?y?na and H?nay?na can be deceptive, as the terms were not actually coined in relation to one another in the same era.
Although the 18-20 early schools of Buddhism are sometimes loosely classified as H?nay?na in modern times, this is not necessarily accurate. There is no evidence that Mah?y?na ever referred to a separate formal school of Buddhism, but rather that it existed as a certain set of ideals, and later doctrines, for bodhisattvas. More at:
From analysing and perusing the above descriptions which only reflect the tip of the iceberg or even perhaps less than that; it is amply clear that given sufficient time and allowed to spread as the “Sanatana Dharma”, all these various diversities will either evolve themselves or will be made to result into various diverse classes wherefrom it may or will be difficult to classify them in no other terms than what Hinduism has been subjected to suffer the blames of casteism. Then these same adversaries will start criticising on one hand while busy in manipulating them for their vested interests on one or the other accounts as the modern day Hinduism is made to suffer as medieval, Idolators, heathens, pagans, polytheists, phallic or cow worshipers, primitive religion, superstitious soul searching religion, monstrous cult, barbarians and whatever else they could innovate to denigrate it and make a laughing stalk. It is a vast topic in its own right. Indian peninsula has witnessed a lot of various kinds of overseas visitors, rapacious cheaters, and profligates.


Casteism in India and the Fallacies of Hindu Religion






Apr 1

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,

New Delhi: The National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR), which has about 1200 Dalit groups under its umbrella, has demanded the Central Government to introduce separate electorate for Dalits, Adivasis and women to ensure their real representation in Lok Sabha.

At a massive rally organized in New Delhi on December 5 NACDOR also demanded constitutional amendment “to introduce reservation in Rajya Sabha and make this mandatory to elect members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as per their share in population in the state.”


At the end of the daylong rally at Jantar Mantar, the group presented a charter of demands to the Prime Minister.



Out of 28 recorded heinous crimes against dalits, 24 done by Andhras. At least sixty killed, many raped, hundreds of houses burnt, lots of property looted and destroyed.


Important to note that most of these are done by those in political power or their supporters/relatives. The perpetrators are mostly Kamma and some Reddy. The highest number of crimes were committed in the Coastal districts, Krishna, Guntur, Godavaris, Prakasam.


Around 60 women village leaders Friday hailed the passing of the women's reservation bill in the Rajya Sabha but demanded a quota for Dalits and other backward classes (OBCs) for their proper representation.


At a conclave organised here by international NGO ActionAid, the women, representing village councils in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, urged political parties to take note of the discrimination against women within the backward classes.


All over the world, people are asking questions about the nature of India’s society and government, and about the war on the adivasis—the tribal peoples—that has recently been launched by that government with strategic assistance from the US and Israel.


Most commentators admit that the Indian people suffered greatly under British rule.

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A nice factual report from How Many More Arrests Will Orissa See?


Ranjana Padhi, Pramodini Pradhan, D Manjit



Much before Operation Greenhunt, people’s movements have been facing repression on a sustained basis in Orissa. This state has seen struggles of different ideologies and political persuasions coming up as people’s lives, livelihood and natural resources are at stake. While the question of land for the adivasis remains unaddressed by the government, protesters are often met with bullets.

The Senthilkumar Solidarity Committee, a group of Hyderabad intellectuals and activists, cry out against caste-ism in higher education this blog. Their cause began with the death of Senthilkumar at the University of Hyderabad. Senthilkumar, or Senthil for short, was a dalit (untouchable) student at the University of Hyderabad and was studying to be a PhD in physics. He was the first person in his entire Panniandi community to enter higher education.

(A Fact Finding Report issued by Nagrik Adhikar Manch and Yuva Samvad.)


(The situation in the Gadarwara Sub Division of District.Narsinghpur (MP) has been in a state of constant flux since last 3-4 months. The Dalits living in the villages adjoining Gadarwara have been condemned to a life of fear and intimidation.Their human rights and dignity are being at stake.


Intercaste marriage is unusual, and the caste considerations are genuine.Because of this if you perform an honour killing(but only kill the low caste person) , it is perfectly justified.
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Answer:

Andhon mein kaana raja.

Reason: Others like Udit Raj could not make it big, and there is still time before I enter politics :-) .


Well so much furore is their over money garlands to mayawati.

Today another MP, Ijaj ali was welcomed with 1 lac rupee garland at patna airport(Amar Ujala report).If the story doesn't get main coverage, which i am quite sure it will not, decide for yourself as to why media runs a hate campaign against Mayawati.


The strength of mayawati/BSP is the never ending criticism of her.Mayawati is the only politician against whom only negative propaganda is directed.Had the recent rally been for any other party, atleast the speech of the leader of the party would have been aired.But let alone the speech being aired, even excerpts of it could not make the news.The news to become was a garland.


15th of march 2010,25th anniversary of BSP and 76th birth anniversary of late shri Kanshi Ram.

BSP organized a huge rally(maharally).More than 20 lakh people turned up for the rally.The city of lucknow was decorated like a new bride.


Well i have heard a lot of arguments against the reservation policy.But i have always wondered if those arguments are against the reservation or are a mere attempt of people to deny jobs to the SC/ST.

Well a lot of people might have started thinking bad about me.How can i speak such a crude truth.Well i have my grounds.



In today's TOI, there is a news on a stampede in a temple in U.P.Well 65 people died in that.But how come this news item is featuring in this Blog?

Well it is not because of the news, or even about the way it was reported.

It is because of the comments in the comments section of this article.Well the caste bias among Indians run so high that , even on a national daily(and the most read english daily) people could clearly follow untouchability.


I must say that i was shocked when i came to know a new linkup of caste.I have known that people tend to relate usage some kinds of hair oil with particular castes.But it was my first time experiencing that even the amount of hair oil you use , could also be related to caste.
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I have heard a lot of arguments which say that since the SC's/St's come from poor/village background , they tend to be more corrupt.

This is spread so vehemently by media and the so called "for equality upper castes" that they tend to blame the failing and corruption in government ran organizations and bureaucracy to reservation(trying to be politically correct, thouisgh they have so much urge to directly say low castes).

Below is a writing from an IAS officer published in TOI.


Disclaimer :This is an account of discrimination faced by me in my life.I must say that i have met a fair share of people whom I found Non discriminatory.Among my friends i will say that 80-90% were not at all prejudiced , but rest have less or more degree of prejudice.These accounts must not be misquoted to say that there is no way that we can reform the society in order to eradicate casteism.I must say that this is because of the 90% that i am still hopefull that We can get rid of this evil.Al


Sorry for the delay folks, I post from my office as i don't have internet at home.

In this post I will be covering the proposed solutions for a problem.This post will essentially cover the implmentation of the solution as well, because this will be analyzing why the proposed solutions failed.


The third part of 'solving a social problem' is overdue.I am working on the draft for the third post.

Till then i will like to tell you why i consider myself GOD.
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As i pointed out in my previous post the dalit representation in government jobs is dismal , despite the reservation.This is because in India Reservation has always been for the upper caste.

Also in another post i presented the data which clearly showed that dalits have almost no cultivable land.

Why are we revisiting those posts?

This is because of a reply given by Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Prithviraj Chavan's in the Lok Sabha (The Hindu report here).
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This is the post for those who continuously shout merit based on some bogus marks.

Following is a piece from Economic times, Tata Group may become second equal opportunity employer after Videocon Inc in India.


In previous post I explained that societies are hesitant to accept a change , because of which they are unable to recognize most of the problems.

Now I shall try to analyze the situation when a problem is recognized.As I said second step to solve a problem is , to root cause it.

But several time this is the step which is skipped and people directly jump to the 3rd step(proposing a solution).In case of casteism , you can clearly see that other than Dr.
3


This is an attempt to understand the major problems concerning 'Human Societies ' all over the world.This is an analysis of the problems.

Most of the major problems in the world can broadly be categorized into the following four categories:

1.Political problems : Problems which arise due to political conflicts between two nations/regions.

2.Religious problems : Problems that arise because of the conflicts arising from religious teachings.
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People say that the religious texts(such as shastras,vedas,puranas,geeta) shall be interpreted not by the learned but the saints(or the so called realized gurus) and that,as the saints have understood them, The shastras do not support caste and untouchability.They also say that their has been several additions in the texts so as to make them support the caste system.
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Gandhi was a hypocrite to the core.he let his wife Kasturba die of pneumonia by not allowing her to take medicine.He betrayed dalits by demonstrating against poona pact.There are many such issues.But his killing of kasturba  clearly reveals the kind of mahatma he was.

[The following is an excerpt from pp.
6


Aryan invasion theory has been proven wrong by several scientific methods.

But it still has a significant role to play in exposing the cunningness(i would have use kaminaapan) of Brahminic/sanatanist/hinduists.
13


As I have pointed out in several of my previous posts, Indian media reports with a biased view when it comes to reporting dalits/reservation issues(here).
2


We have no direct evidence that the Broken Men were Buddhists. No evidence is as a matter of fact necessary when the majority of Hindus were Buddhists. We may take it that they were.

That there existed hatred and abhorrence against the Buddhists in the mind of the Hindus and that this feeling was created by the Brahmins is not without support.


Out of these ten tests some divide the Hindus from the Animists and the Tribal. The rest divide the Hindus from the Untouchables. Those that divide the Untouchables from the Hindus are (2), (5), (6), (7), and (10). It is with them that we are chiefly concerned.

For the sake of clarity it is better to divide these tests into parts and consider them separately. This Chapter will be devoted only to the consideration of (2), (5), and (6).


THE Census Reports for India published by the Census Commissioner at the interval of every ten years from 1870 onwards contain a wealth of information nowhere else to be found regarding the social and religious life of the people of India. Before the Census of 1910 the Census Commissioner had a column called ‘Population by Religion’. Under this heading the population was shown (1) Muslims, (2) Hindus, (3) Christians, etc.


The first question is relevant as well as crucial. If the Broken Men were eating beef from the very beginning, then obviously the theory cannot stand. For, if they were eating beef from the very beginning and nonetheless were not treated as Untouchables, to say that the Broken Men became Untouchables because of beef-eating would be illogical if not senseless. The second question is relevant, if not crucial.


The curious may want to know what has led men to see in this world this dichotomy between the sacred and the profane. We must however refuse to enter into this discussion as it is unnecessary for the immediate purpose we have in mind.

Confining ourselves to the issue the next thing to note is that the circle of sacred objects is not fixed. Its extent varies infinitely from religion to religion. Gods and spirits are not the only sacred things.
1


THE stoppage of beef-eating by the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins and the continued use thereof by the Broken Men had produced a situation which was different from the old. This difference lay in the face that while in the old situation everybody ate beef, in the new -situation one section did not and another did. The difference was a glaring difference. Everybody could see it. It divided society as nothing else did before.


As the Buddhist Bhikshus did eat meat the Brahmins had no reason to give it up. Why then did the Brahmins give up meat-eating and become vegetarians? It was because they did not want to put themselves merely on the same footing in the eyes of the public as the Buddhist Bhikshus.

The giving up of the Yajna system and abandonment of the sacrifice of the cow could have had only a limited effect. At the most it would have put the Brahmins on the same footing as the Buddhists.


Brahmanism was on the wane and if not on the wane, it was certainly on the defensive. As a result of the spread of Buddhism, the Brahmins had lost all power and prestige at the Royal Court and among the people. They were smarting under the defeat they had suffered at the hands of Buddhism and were making all possible efforts to regain their power and prestige.


From this it will be clear that according to Manu cow-killing was only a minor sin. It was reprehensible only if the cow was killed without good and sufficient reason. Even if it was otherwise, it was not heinous or inexplicable. The same was the attitude of Yajnavalkya.

All this proves that for generations the Brahmins had been eating beef.


That Manu did not prohibit meat-eating is evident enough. That Manu Smriti did not prohibit cow-killing can also be proved from the Smriti itself. In the first place, the only references to cow in the Manu Smriti are to be found in the catalogue of rules which are made applicable by Manu to the Snataka [brahmin student-scholar]. They are set out below:

1. A Snataka should not eat food which a cow has smelt.

2. A Snataka should not step over a rope to which a calf is tied.

3.


Why did the Brahmins change front? Let us deal with their change of front in two stages. First, why did they give up beef-eating?

As has already been shown cow-killing was not legally prohibited by Asoka. Even if it had been prohibited, a law made by the Buddhist Emperor could never have been accepted by the Brahmins as binding upon them.

Did Manu prohibit beef-eating? If he did, then that would be binding on the Brahmins and would afford an adequate explanation of their change of front.


THE non-Brahmins have evidently undergone a revolution. From being beef-eaters to have become non-beef-eaters was indeed a revolution. But if the non-Brahmins underwent one revolution, the Brahmins had undergone two. They gave up beef-eating which was one revolution. To have given up meat-eating altogether and become vegetarians was another revolution.

That this was a revolution is beyond question.
2


Here is survey of the legislation both by Asoka and by Manu on the slaughter of animals. We are of course principally concerned with the cow. Examining the legislation of Asoka the question is: Did he prohibit the killing of the cow? On this issue there seem to be a difference of opinion. Prof. Vincent Smith is of opinion that Asoka did not prohibit the killing of the cow. Commenting on the legislation of Asoka on the subject, Prof.


Let us turn to Manu. His Laws contain the following provisions regarding meat-eating:

V.11. Let him avoid all carnivorous birds and those living in villages, and one hoofed animals which are not specially permitted (to be eaten), and the Tithbha (Parra) Jacana.

V.12. The sparrow, the Plava, the Hamsa, the Brahmani duck, the village-cock, the Sarasa crane, the Raggudal, the woodpecker, the parrot, and the starling.

V.13.


To begin with Asoka. The edicts of Asoka which have reference to this matter are Rock Edict No.I and Pillar Edict Nos.II and V. Rock Edict No.l reads as follows:

“This pious Edict has been written by command of His Sacred and Gracious Majesty) the King.


THE food habits of the different classes of Hindus have been as fixed and stratified as their cults. Just as Hindus can be classified on their basis of their cults so also they can be classified on the basis of their habits of food. On the basis of their cults, Hindus are either Saivites (followers of Siva) or Vaishnavites (followers of Vishnu). Similarly, Hindus are either Mansahari (those who eat flesh) or Shakahari (those who are vegetarians).


TO the question whether the Hindus ever ate beef, every Touchable Hindu, whether he is a Brahmin or a non-Brahmin, will say ‘no, never’. In a certain sense, he is right. From times no Hindu has eaten beef. If this is all that the Touchable Hindu wants to convey by his answer there need be no quarrel over it.
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The Census Returns [of 1910] show that the meat of the dead cow forms the chief item of food consumed by communities which are generally classified as untouchable communities. No Hindu community, however low, will touch cow’s flesh. On the other hand, there is no community which is really an Untouchable community which has not something to do with the dead cow. Some eat her flesh, some remove the skin, some manufacture articles out of her skin and bones.


Today is my birthday.So today i will be publishing some of  Babasaheb's writings.

It is well known that Babasaheb was a great scholar and did a lot of research in the field of dalit history.

The history that was always neglected by Brahminic scholars.There were many questions as to how untouchability came into picture.

in 1948 Bhim Rao Ambedkar sought some serious answers to these and other questions, answers which have been neglected by the mainstream academia and intelligentsia.


An earthquake can shake mightiest of mighty mountain,a tsunami can tear apart the sea shore,a flood can submerge highlands, But they are not powerfull enough to break the caste barriers.

In the times of disaster, it is said that even enemies will provide you a hand of help.But if you are a dalit don't even think that a disaster may evoke some humanity in the hearts of Brahminic/Casteist and they will help you.


Indian government deceives dalits over various issues.They deceive them in the matter of reservation,in providing them justice and in providing them security.

In this post i will tell how Indian government deceives dalits on the economic front.


India(including several netizens propogating false info that caste is dead in India) has always been in a state of denial over the caste discrimination issue.

India ,as a state, never accepted discrimination against dalits as a case of human rights violation.Why is this so?

Why India feel shy of accepting the truth in front of the world?

Well the answer is clear but the motives are not highlighted much.The answer is that India continues to be dominated by upper caste elites.
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Indian government has publicly, in many U.N conferences,stated that discrimination based on caste does not come under the purview of Human rights violation(It might shock a lot of people that according to India,untouchablity is not inhuman).It has always sighted it as its internal matter.


India is a huge country with almost 1/6th of the world population residing in it.India has been a democracy for almost 62 years.Compare this with Nepal,a small country,and a democracy for almost one year.

Yet Nepal did something so brave that India should be ashamed to call itself a democratic country having a transparent system.


People nowadays try to mislead others,eg in this post a person is trying hard to say that caste system in India was followed some centuries ago.This is done in order to save hinduism from the shame that inhuman caste system brings to it.Though it is the naked truth that it continues till date.Dalits are till date not allowed entry in many temples and are treated as untouchables(this is today's news).It is highly unlikely that the person replying didn't knew that caste system is followed in almos


Naxalism:The term evolves from a village named naxalbari in west bengal.

In 1967 the small farmers of this village lead an armed movement against the landlords.y Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal  led the violent upsurge.


It has been emphasised time and again that the form of untouchability in India is taking a new form ie educational untouchability( though it existed pre independence).Dalit students are discouraged from attending schools , the dropout rate is as high as 94 %.
1


Indian courts time and again show their caste prejudices while delivering justice (justice by manu law).It is not surprising that from 1950-till date the conviction rate in cases having dalits as victims is only 2%.Had khairalanji not become a wide issue, i doubt if justice would have been delivered in that case(though partial justice done, out of 145 accused only 13 convicted).


IIT ,BHU, AIIMS are much revered institutes of excellence in India.The Indian upper castes takes pride in portraying them as world class institute(though only one IIT(kharagpur) ranks in top 500,AIIMS doesn't figure anywhere in world top university list).

Yes the are institue of excellence and also they are world class universities but not in field of modern education, rather in field of caste education.
6


The Hindutva brigade(should be better known as Brahmin brigade) is furious over the conversion issue.It is always highlighted that it is the tribals and dalits who are converting to christianity and thus damaging the culture of India(or Brahminism).

The fact is, before condemning the conversions, they should look into the reasons why the people are converting to other relegion.
3


Discrimination based on caste and race is the core of hinduism.Discrimination(based on caste and race) can be observed in almost every single story of Hinduism.It was also always justified in the stories to give undue advantage to the Devatas/Brahmins in the hinduism stories.
15


The Karnataka chief minister has announced a contribution of Rs 10 crore for the Mantralaya Guru Raghavendra Mutt(link).


It is said that,

The captain shall abandon the ship last.

But for Hindu Acharyas/Brahmins,

The captain shall be saved even at the cost of thousands of lives.

Mantralaya Guru Raghavendra Mutt(Andhra Pradesh) pontiff Swamy Suyateendra Acharya, preferred to leave his thousands of devotees in the grasp of death(We were witnessing jala pralaya).


Vote bank is the most derogatory term to be used in a democracy.everybody is free to excercise his/her vote and he could vote for any candidate who fulfills/promise to fulfill his/her needs.

But the Brahminic media and people are time and again using this term to show that the people voting in India are fools.Yes the term does not mean that politicians are playing with us, it just means that a large chunk of people are fools.


well first a few lines of suresh albela:

cigarette has the warning against smoking but bidi doesn't have it.cigarette is smoked by wealthy and rich and bidi by poor people.Kyunki

Amir hota hai duniya mein kuch karne ke liye,

garib to paida hi hota hai marne ke liye

well here is a reoprt from The hindu(Attack on Dalits triggers all-round protests ), it says

Marketing Minister M.


Indian Apex court(Supreme court of India) seems to be following The law of manu rather then the Indian constitution.

It seems that The supreme court has went so far in their beliefs that they even forget what to say and what not to say.

Yes I am talking about the mayawati statue case.


Here are few facts about Rama 'the avataar of  lord Vishnu'.

Rama was cruel to lower caste:

Shambuka was slain (by Rama) because he was making penance which was forbidden to him by Vedas as he was a "Shudra". (Uttara Kandam, Chapter 76). Looking at his hand Rama said the Sanskrit slogan "Oh right hand, you kill this Asche Shudra unhesitatingly as killing this Shudra is the only way to get back the life of the deceased Brahmin boy.
48


Nowadays Brahimns have adopted a new political stand.They are trying to portray that it was/are never/not them who propogated the caste system.


Nowadays too much people claim their right in India.Without ever recognizing that this country never was theirs.

How can Dalits ask their right if India is the sole property of upper castes.How did they believe that the apex court, though legally it was out of their juridiction, will allow monuments to be built for dalit leaders.


http://www.lordraj.com/2009/07/bitch-has-gone-crazy-mayawati.html

Just check out the link. the writer desperately tries to defend his derogatory language but it is quite clear how castiest this guy is.


Rahul Gandhi has all the qualities in him to become the prime minister of India.First and foremost being the hierarchy he comes from.Who other then him has the lineage of a great kashmiri pundit(Brahmin) and whose family went on to give India 3 prime ministers,be more suitable to become prime minister.

Mayawati was being a fool in thinking that she could be the Prime minister of India.How could a dalit,woman,ugly looking,slum borne,non english be the prime minister of india.


Nowadays i read a lot of comments/posts/blogs by overwhelmingly large number of Indians(mostly upper caste) trying to defend the caste system.

This is generally done in a way, so as to convince a firangis (in most cases) , that caste system is dying/already dead in India. they say that in Indian cities now caste is non existent.

Despite all this they do not want to concede that caste system is a bad tradition of Hindu Religion.
6


This Post will try to throw some light on the two faces (both being brahminic) of Indian media.

Supposedly Indian media is very much concerned about the waste of public money by the politicos.But wait a sec, this is only if the politician in question is Mayawati.


Yes,she is,because she is a dalit and worst she is building the statues of dalit leaders and naming the parks after the dalit leaders.

Other then this there is nothing wrong in building parks and statues.Has she built the statues of Gandhi instead of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar , or temples instead of park there would have been no wastage of funds there.

This is the country where 20% of the entire country's land belongs to temples and religious matths/ashrams of hindus.
3


M.K Gandhi,a great political mind,but a hypocrite to the core.

Dr. B.R Ambedkar ,Not too great a politician,but a man of his word.

This blog focuses on comparison b/w gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.Gandhi was a self proclaimed leader of dalits , Ambedkar was/is considered a leader/god by dalits.

Gandhi was a staunch hindu,and supporter of varna system.he himself quoted that abandonement of caste system will be a huge loss of culture to India.
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Here goes my first post on the famed blogging domain of internet.

I am here to take up some issues regarding the oppression of certain communities(read dalits) and to report some of the atrocities on them(which the upper caste dominated indian media, doesn't even think of worth reporting).

my sole purpose is to try to help these people achieve justice.


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       जाति पाति: आदर्श और हक़ीकत (पंजाब के सन्दर्भ में)

Sardar Ajmer Singh (सरदार अजमेर सिंह)

(यह आलेख आज़ाद भारत के पंजाब प्रांत में दलित/पछड़ा वर्ग एवं सिख के 'हम हिंदू नहीं' दृष्टिकोण का ब्राह्मणवादी आर्य समाज और इसके पोषक बन गए राजनीतिक दलों के बरक्स जो भी हुआ है, उसका ऐतिहासिक विवरण है। पंजाब की राजनीति को देखने, समझने और परखने का, पाठकों को, यह आलेख बढ़िया मौका प्रदान करता है। सरदार अजमेर सिंह द्वारा लिखी यह रचना उनकी पंजाबी में लिखी बहुचर्चित किताब 'बीसवीं सदी की सिख राजनीति - एक ग़ुलामी से दूसरी ग़ुलामी' से ली गई है, एवं अनुदित है - गुरिंदर आज़ाद [अनुवादक])
s ajmer singh
बेशक़ गुरु साहेबान (सिख गुरु) ने हिन्दू समाज की सबसे बड़ी लाहनत, जाति पाति प्रणाली का, सिद्धांत और अमल के स्तर पर ज़ोरदार खंडन करते हुए, सिख समाज में इसकी पूरी तरह से मनाही कर दी थी। गुरु काल के बाद धीरे धीरे सिखी के बुनियादी सिद्धांत कमज़ोर पड़ने शुरू हो गए। जिन हिंदूवादी अभ्यासों का गुरु साहेबान ने खंडन किया था, उन्होंने सिख धर्म और समाज को फिर से अपने क़ातिलाना शिकंजे में ले लिया। हिन्दूवाद के दुष्प्रभावों का सबसे गाढ़ा इज़हार सिख पंथ में जात पात प्रणाली की फिर से अमल के रूप में हुआ। ऐसे अनेक ऐतिहासिक प्रमाण और हवाले मिलते हैं जो उनीसवीं सदी तक सिख पंथ के फिर से जात-पात प्रबंध की मुकम्मल जकड़ में आ जाने की पुष्टि करते हैं। 

उनीसवीं सदी के दुसरे अर्ध दौरान बेशक़ सिंह सभा लहर द्वारा आरंभ सुधारमुखी गतिविधियों ने सिख समाज को हिंदूवादी प्रभावों से मुक्त करने में कुछ काबिले-तारीफ़ सफलताएं हांसिल की। लेकिन जात-पात का कोढ़ सिख समाज में इस कदर फ़ैल चुका था कि 'सिंघ सभा लहर' के आगूओं की इंक़लाबी कोशिशों के बावजूद सिख पंथ इस नामुराद रोग के असरों से मुक्त न हो सका। फिर भी सिंह सभा लहर द्वारा सिखी के मूल सिद्धान्तों और मौलिक परम्पराओं की फिर से स्थापति के लिए चलाई वैचारिक मुहीम का इतना असर ज़रूर हुआ कि पंथ के रौशन ख्याल हिस्सों में जात-पात को ख़त्म करने ले लिए न्या जोश और उत्साह पैदा हो गया और उन्होंने सिख समाज को इस हिंदूवादी लाहनत से जुदा करने के लिए तीखी वैचारिक मुहीम शुरू कर दी। नतीजतन, सिख पंथ में जात-पात की खुली तारीफ करने वाले तत्व, खासतौर पर सिखी में, ब्राह्मणवादी खोट मिलाने वाला मुख्य वाहक बना। महंत-पुजारी 'परिवार' सिखी सुधार लहर के हमले की सीधी मार तले आ गया और सिख पंथ के धार्मिक केंद्रों और अभ्यासों में जात-पातिए भेदभाव का खुला प्रदर्शन पहले जितना आम नहीं रहा। पर जहाँ तक आम सामाजिक जीवन का संबंध है, वहां जात पातिए भेदभाव और बाँट-अलगता जैसे की तैसी बरकरार रही। खासतौर पर ग्रामीण समाज में कथित ऊँची जात वर्गों के 'नीच' और 'अछूत' समझे जाते वर्गों के प्रति जातिय अभिमानी तरीकों और बर्ताव में कोई कमी नहीं आई। 

सच यह था कि सिख पंथ में से ब्राह्मण वर्ग जिस्मानी तौर पर भले ही गायब हो चुका था लेकिन सोच के स्तर पर वह सिख समाज में ज्यों का त्यों हाज़िर-नाज़िर था। रोज़मर्रा ज़िन्दगी में जात पातिए भेदभाव और विरोध-अलगता के हिसाब से हिन्दू और सिख समाज में कोई मूलभूत अंतर नहीं रहा। हाँ, गुरु साहेबान की इंक़लाबी विचारधारा की प्रेरणा और प्रभाव तले सिख लहर द्वारा अपने आरंभिक दौर में पूरे किये इंक़लाबी कार्यों की बदौलत सिख समाज में जात पातिए दर्जाबंदी की बुन-बनावट में ज़रूर बड़ा बदलाव आ गया था। जहाँ हिन्दू समाज में ब्राह्मण वर्ग का समाजी दर्जा सब से ऊँचा  माना जाता है, वहां सिख समाज में धार्मिक और सामाजिक क्षेत्र में ब्राह्मण वर्ग के प्रभुत्व को पूरी तरह से नकारा है। 
ajmer singhs book
लेकिन समय पड़ने से जैसे ही सिख समाज फिर से जात पातिए प्रणाली की जकड़ में आ गया तो वह वर्ग जिन्होंने खालसा पंथ के इंक़लाबी दौर में ज़्यादा गतिशील भूमिका निभाने का नाम कमाया था और जिन्हें रिवायती हिन्दू जात पातिए दर्जाबंदी में ब्राह्मण वर्ग से एक या दो दर्ज नीचे समझा जाता था, वह सिख समाज में ऊँचा सामाजिक दर्जा हासिल कर गए। इस तरह, ग्रामीण सिख समाज में जट्ट वर्ग ने और शहरी सिख समाज में खत्री-अरोड़ा वर्ग ने 'सवर्ण जातियों' वाला सामाजिक रुतबा हासिल कर लिया जबकि जात पात की जकड़ में आये वर्गों का पहले वाला दर्जा ही बरक़रार रहा। 'पछड़ी' समझी जाने वाली और अन्य जातियों के सामाजिक दर्जे में कोई बड़ा बदलाव नहीं आया। इस सामाजिक यथार्थ की राजनीतिक क्षेत्र में परछाईं पड़नी स्वाभाविक थी। ख़ास तौर पर ग्रामीण क्षेत्र में यह बात ज़्यादा चुभनिए रूप में सामने आई। 

गाँव की ग्रामीण ज़िन्दगी की सामाजिक एवं आर्थिक हक़ीक़त यह है कि ग्रामीण दलित वर्ग ज़मीन जायदाद से वंचित, सामाजिक तौर पर सबसे ज़्यादा लताड़ा हुआ, तीखी आर्थिक लूट-खसोट और चुभनिए सामाजिक ज़बर और दबाव का शिकार है। उसकी ज़िन्दगी में हिन्दू सवर्ण जातियों का बहुत सीधा दख़ल नहीं। खेती में मेहनत मज़दूरी करते और ग्रांव में आम जीवन बसर करते उसका ज़्यादातर सीधा वास्ता जट्ट से ही पड़ता है। इस तरह आर्थिक लूट-खसोट और सामाजिक ज़बर, दोनों ही पक्षों से उसका तुरंत विरोध जट्ट किसान से ही है। इस में सीधे रूप में हिन्दू सवर्ण जातियां कहीं भी नहीं आतीं (सिवा ग्रामीण बनिए के, जो दलित वर्ग की आर्थिक मजबूरियों का फायदा उठा के सूदखोरी आदि के ज़रिये उसकी आर्थिक लूट-खसोट में सहभागी बनता है). सो, यह सामाजिक आर्थिक फैक्टर ग्रामीण दलित वर्ग को राजनीतिक तौर पर अकाली दल जिसे कि ग्रामीण क्षेत्र में जट्ट किसानों की राजनीतिक जमात के रूप में ही पहचाना जाता है, के विरोध की तरफ धकेलते हैं। दूसरी तरफ, समूचे भारत में दलित वर्ग, जैसे पंजाब का दलित भाईचारा, भी कोंग्रेस पार्टी को अपना हितैषी पक्ष के रूप में देखता है। उसकी यह धारणा कई पक्षों के मिलेजुले प्रभाव का नतीजा है। 

सब से बड़ी बात यह है कि मोहन दास कर्मचंद गाँधी ने आज के इतिहास में छुआछूत विरुद्ध तीखी लड़ाई शुरू करने और भारत में युगों युगों से मानवीय हक़ों से वंचित किये हुए कर्मों के मारे करोड़ों जनों को भारतीय समाज और राज्य में बराबरी के मानवीय अधिकार उपलब्ध कराने का 'पूण्य' कमा के दलित वर्गों के सर पर अहसानों का कर्ज़ चढ़ा दिया कि कोंग्रेसी लीडर पचास सालों तक निरंतर इस कर्ज़े का सूद वसूल करते आ रहे हैं। कांग्रेस पार्टी की तरफ से दलित वर्ग को सरकारी नौकरियों से ले कर चुने हुए महकमों तक आरक्षण की सहूलियत और ऐसी ही और रियायतें देने से इस वर्ग की कांग्रेस पार्टी से सांझ और पक्की हो गई। इस के उलट, सिंह सभा लहर द्वारा शुरू सिखी सुधार लहर का यश घट जाने के बाद सिख लीडरों ने जात पात के खात्मे के कार्य को लगभग नज़रअंदाज़ ही कर दिया। भारत की आज़ादी के संग्राम के दौरान सिख लीडरों की तरफ से दलित वर्ग के हितों की पैरवी की शायद ही कोई उत्साहित उदहारण मिलती हो। आज़ादी के बाद बेशक़ अकाली लीडरों ने कांग्रेस पार्टी की दलित वर्ग को रिजर्वेशन देने जैसी नीतियों का खुल्लम-खुल्ला विरोध तो नहीं किया पर सिख समाज के अंदर ही कथित उच्च जातियां की इस मसले पर असली भावनाएं कभी भी गुप्त नहीं रहीं। उनकी जात-पातिए भड़ास अक्सर तहज़ीब की हदें पर पार करतीं और दलित संवेदना को रह रह कर घायल करती रहीं। इस से दलित वर्ग, डर और असुरक्षा की भावना से, कांग्रेस पार्टी का और ज़्यादा आसरा क़ुबूल करने की और धकेला जाता रहा। 

1966 में पंजाब के पुनर्गठन के बाद अकाली दल को राजनीतिक सत्ता की और बढ़ता देखके पंजाब का दलित वर्ग, ख़ास तौर पर इसके भीतरी ग़ैर-सिख हिस्से अपने आप को खतरे के मुहँ में आया महसूस करने लगे। इसी दौरान आर्थिक तौर पर ज़्यादा मालामाल और राजनीतिक तौर पर अधिक बलशाली हुए धनाढ्य किसान वर्ग में अहंकार का पारा ओर ऊँचा चढ़ चला और 'हरे इंक़लाब' के आरंभिक वर्षों दौरान गाँवों में जट्टों द्वारा दलितों की नाकाबंदी की घटनाएं आम हो गईं।  इस तरह पंजाब के ग्रामीण क्षेत्र में जाति-पाति की लकीरों पर राजनीतिक धड़ेबंदी का रुझान और बल पकड़ गया जो अकाली दल के लिए एक बेहद घाटे वाली और कांग्रेस पार्टी के लिए बड़े राजनीतिक फायदे वाली बात थी। 

इसलिए, पंजाब में राजनीतिक सत्ता के ऊपर काबिज़ होने के लिए अपने सामाजिक आधार को ज़्यादा खुला करना और अपनी राजनीतिक हिमायत के घेरे को और ज़्यादा वर्गों तक फैलाना अकाली दल की यकदम राजनीतिक ज़रुरत थी। इसके लिए सचेतन सुघड़ रणनीति घड़ने और फिर उसका दृढ़तापूर्वक पालन और पैरवी करने का काम अकाली लीडरशिप का सब से अहम और तुरंत सरोकार वाला काम बनना चाहिए था। सचेत स्तर पर रणनीति घड़ने का मतलब था कि सिख धर्म के बुनियादी सिद्धांतों को मद्देनज़र रखते हुए अकाली दल के दूरअंदेशी उद्देश्यों और तुरंत करने वाले कार्यों में जंचने वाला तालमेल बिठाया जाता और सिद्धांतों पर अडिग रहते हुए राजनीतिक दावपेंचों के मामले में उपयुक्त लचक लाकर राजनीतिक पैंतरेबाज़ी का आकर्षक मॉडल ले करके आया जाता। ऐसा करने से पहले सबसे पहले ज़रुरत (और शर्त) यह थी कि सिख राजनीति के सामने इस गंभीर चुनौती को सचेतन क़ुबूल किया जाता और पैदा हुए नए हालातों और समस्याओं के सामने अकाली राजनीति की दरुस्त मार्ग-दिशा तय करने के लिए बौद्धिक स्तर पर गहरे एवं गंभीर यतन किये जाते। 

लेकिन अकाली लीडरशिप या सिख बुद्धिजीवियों के स्तर पर ऐसा कोई सचेतन यतन किया हुआ नज़र नहीं आता। इस महत्वपूर्ण मसले के बारे में अकाली दल या  उसके अंदर गंभीर विचार -चर्चा छूने और विचार मंथन के ज़रिये सही निर्णय पर पहुँचने का, किसी भी तरफ से, कोई संजीदा कोशिश नहीं हुई। लेकिन समस्या क्योंकि ख़्याली नहीं बल्कि हक़ीक़त में थी और राजनीति की ज़रूरतें इसके तुरंत हल की मांग करती थीं, इस लिए इसे बिना गहरी सोच-विचार के, मौके पर जैसे और जो ठीक लगा वैसे हल कर लेने की अटकलपच्चू (random) पहुँच अपना ली गई। गहरी और गंभीर मसलों के प्रति अपनाई ऐसी बेकायदा पहुँच पर विवेक के मुक़ाबले अंतरप्रेरणा (instinct and/ or intuition) का तत्व ज़्यादा हावी हो गुज़रता है और फैसले लेते समय अक्सर दूरगामी उद्देश्यों और निशानों के मुक़ाबले सामने पड़े मतलब ज़्यादा वज़नदार हो जाते हैं। अकाली दल के मामले में ठीक यही बात हुई। 

पंजाब में कांग्रेस पार्टी सिख पंथ की अव्वल दुश्मन और अकाली दल की मुख्य विरोधी है। सही अर्थों में बात करनी हो तो पंजाब में सिख पंथ की असली दुश्मन ताक़त आर्य समाजी वर्ग था जो पंजाब के लगभग समूचे हिन्दू भाईचार को अपनी सांप्रदायिक विचारधारा मिलावटीपन चढ़ाने और अपनी सांप्रदायिक चालबाज़ी के गिर्द लामबंद करने में कमाल की हद तक सफल हो गया था। दरअसल पंजाब में कांग्रेस पार्टी आर्य समाज के एक राजनितिक विंग विचर रही रही। पंजाबी हिंदू वर्ग की असली वचनबद्धता आर्य समाजी विचारधारा से है और कांग्रेस पार्टी उसके लिए एक 'फ्रंट जत्थेबंदी' से ज़्यादा और कोई अहमियद नहीं रखती। पंजाब के हिंदू वर्ग और कांग्रेस पार्टी के आपसी संबंधों को समझने के लिए यह तथ्य बहुत ही महत्वपूर्ण है। 

यह कहना कि कांग्रेस पार्टी पंजाब के हिंदू वर्ग को बरगला रही है या अपने संकुचित राजनीतिक उद्देश्यों के लिए इस्तेमाल कर रही थी या है, सच्चाई को बिगड़े हुए रूप में देखना है। सिख पंथ के संबंध में पंजाबी हिंदू तबके और कांग्रेसी लीडरशिप की बुनियादी पहुँच में कोई टकराव नहीं। दोनों ही हिंदू मत को एक बानगी मानके चलते हैं। दोनों ही सिख धर्म को हिन्दू समाज में जज़्ब कर लेने के सांझे उदेश्य पर पहरा देते हैं। सो, इस दृष्टि से दोनों ही सिख कौम के प्रति बराबर दुर्भावना रखते हैं। भारत की आज़ादी की लड़ाई के दौरान पंजाबी हिंदू वर्ग के बड़े हिस्से राजनीतिक तौर पर कांग्रेस पार्टी से जुड़े होने के बावजूद गाँधी की विचारधारा से आर्य समाजी विचारधारा के ज़्यादा प्रभाव तले थे। लाल लाजपत राय से लेकर जगत नारायण तक, सभी आर्य समाजी 'परिवार' की सोच पर सांप्रदायिकता का एक-सामान गाढ़ा रंग चढ़ रखा था। भारत के बंटवारे से पहले सांप्रदायिकता की यह धारा मुख्य रूप से मुस्लिम भाईचारे के खिलाफ इंगित रही। वैसे बीच-मध्य जब भी सिख पंथ ने हिंदू वर्ग से अपनी अलग पहचान जतलाने की कोशिशें की तो उसे तुरंत ही आर्य समाजी वर्ग के क्रोध का सामना करना पड़ा। 

भारत की आज़ादी के बाद पंजाब में मुस्लिम फैक्टर नदारद हो जाने से इस सांप्रदायिक धारा का सारा कहर सिख कौम पर टूट पड़ा। भारतीय सरकार की बागडोर कांग्रेस पार्टी के हाथों में आ जाने से पंजाबी हिन्दू वर्ग, अपने सांप्रदायिक उद्देश्यों और हितों को पूरा करने के लिए, कांग्रेस पार्टी का और भी ज़्यादा जोशीला हिमायती बन गया। उधर कांग्रेसी शासकों को भी पंजाब में सिख कौम के संबंध में अपने फिरकापरस्त मंसूबों को अंजाम देने के लिए पंजाब के हिन्दू वर्ग के सहयोग और हिमायत की भारी ज़रुरत थी। विचारधारक समरसता के साथ ही यह एक परस्पर उदेश्य था जो पंजाबी हिंदू वर्ग और कांग्रेस पार्टी में मजबूत संयोग-कड़ी बना हुआ था। 

पंजाबी हिंदू वर्ग कांग्रेस पार्टी से एक तरफ से थोड़ी लाभकारी पोज़िशन में था। उस की सारी जान कांग्रेस पार्टी की मुट्ठी में नहीं थी। कांग्रेस पार्टी के पंजाबी हिंदू वर्ग की उम्मीदें और मांगों पर पूरा न उतर सकने की सूरत में, उसके लिए कांग्रेस का पल्ला छोड़ किसी अन्य राजनीतिक पाले में चले जाने का रास्ता खुला था। इसके विपरीत पंजाब में कांग्रेस पार्टी के लिए हिन्दू वर्ग की बाजू छोड़ के ज़िंदा रह पाना मुमकिन नहीं था। सिख कौम को ग़ुलाम बना के रखने और अकाली दल को राज्यसत्ता से पर रखने के लिए कांग्रेस शासकों को पंजाब के हिन्दू वर्ग का सहयोग हासिल करना निहायत ज़रूरी था। हिन्दू वर्ग के इलावा कांग्रेस पार्टी का पंजाब में सामाजिक तौर पर पछड़े वर्गों में भी मजबूत आधार था। इस तरह इन वर्गों की मिश्रित हिमायत के साथी ही कांग्रेस पार्टी अकाली दल को राज्यसत्ता से परे रखने के उदेश्य में सफल रही थी। सो अकाली दल के सामने कांग्रेस पार्टी की इस राजनीतिक किलेबंदी में दरार डालने की राजनीतिक चुनौती थी। केवल ऐसा करके ही वह अपने लिए राज्यसत्ता तक पहुँचने का रास्ता समतल कर सकता था। 
~~~

सरदार अजमेर सिंह पंजाब के एक जाने माने इतिहासकार हैं। ब्राह्मणवाद की गहन समझ रखने वाले अजमेर सिंह महसूस करते हैं कि पंजाब अपने असली इतिहास के साथ तभी बच सकता है, एवं उसका भविष्य सुरक्षित हो सकता है अगर वह अलग सिख स्टेट बने। पंजाब की तारीख़ का सिख परीपेक्ष्य में मूल्यांकन करने वाले शायद वह इकलौते इतिहासकार हैं जिन्होंने ब्राह्मणवाद की नब्ज़ को पकड़कर सिखों में घुस चुके ब्राह्मणवाद की निशानदेही की है।

मनुस्मृति और जाति व्यवस्था

क्या महर्षि मनु शूद्र विरोधी थे? या शूद्रों के सबसे बड़े रक्षक? जानने के लिए पढ़ें!
 
भारत में आज अनेक संकट छाये हुए हैं – भ्रष्टाचार, आतंकवाद, कट्टरवाद, धर्मांतरण, नैतिक अध : पतन, अशिक्षा, चरमरायी हुई स्वास्थ्य व्यवस्था, सफ़ाई की समस्या वगैरह – वगैरह | पर इन सभी से ज्यादा भयावह है – जन्मना जातिवाद और लिंग भेद | क्योंकि यह दो मूलभूत समस्याएँ ही बाकी समस्याओं को पनपने में मदद करती हैं | यह दो प्रश्न ही हमारे भूत और वर्तमान की समस्त आपदाओं का मुख्य कारण हैं |  इन को मूल से ही नष्ट नहीं किया तो हमारा उज्जवल भविष्य सिर्फ़ एक सपना बनकर रह जाएगा क्योंकि एक समृद्ध और समर्थ समाज का अस्तित्व जाति प्रथा और लिंग भेद के साथ नहीं हो सकता |
यह भी गौर किया जाना चाहिए कि जाति भेद और लिंग भेद केवल हिन्दू समाज की ही समस्याएँ नहीं हैं किन्तु यह दोनों सांस्कृतिक समस्याएँ हैं | लिंग भेद सदियों से वैश्विक समस्या रही है और जाति भेद दक्षिण एशिया में पनपी हुई, सभी धर्मों और समाजों को छूती हुई समस्या है | चूँकि हिन्दुत्व सबसे प्राचीन संस्कृति और सभी धर्मों का आदिस्रोत है, इसी पर व्यवस्था को भ्रष्ट करने का आक्षेप मढ़ा जाता है | यदि इन दो कुप्रथाओं को हम ढोते रहते हैं तो समाज इतना दुर्बल हो जाएगा कि विभिन्न सम्प्रदायों और फिरकों में बिखरता रहेगा जिससे देश कमजोर होगा और टूटेगा |
अपनी कमजोरी और विकृतियों के बारे में हमने इतिहास से कोई शिक्षा नहीं ली है |  आज की तारीख़ में भी कुछ शिक्षित और बुद्धिवादी कहे जाने वाले लोग इन दो कुप्रथाओं का समर्थन करते हैं – यह आश्चर्य की बात है |  जन्म से ही ऊँचेपन का भाव इतना हावी है कि वह किसी समझदार को भी पागल बना दे | इस वैचारिक संक्रमण से ग्रस्त कुछ लोग आज हिन्दुत्व के विद्वानों और नेतागणों में  भी गिने जा रहे हैं | अनजान बनकर यह लोग इन कुप्रथाओं का समर्थन करने के लिए प्राचीन शास्त्रों का हवाला देते हैं जिस में समाज व्यवस्था देनेवाली प्राचीनतम मनुस्मृति को सबसे अधिक केंद्र बनाया जाता है | वेदों को भी इस कुटिलता में फंसाया गया, जिसका खंडन हम  http://agniveer.com/series/caste-series/ में कर चुके हैं |
मनुस्मृति जो सृष्टि में नीति और धर्म ( कानून) का निर्धारण करने वाला सबसे पहला ग्रंथ माना गया है उस को घोर जाति प्रथा को बढ़ावा देने वाला भी बताया जा रहा है |आज स्थिति यह है कि मनुस्मृति वैदिक संस्कृति की सबसे अधिक विवादित पुस्तकों में है | पूरा का पूरा दलित आन्दोलन ‘ मनुवाद ‘ के विरोध पर ही खड़ा हुआ है |
मनु जाति प्रथा के समर्थकों के नायक हैं तो दलित नेताओं ने उन्हें खलनायक के सांचे में ढाल रखा है | पिछड़े तबकों के प्रति प्यार का दिखावा कर स्वार्थ की रोटियां सेकने के लिए ही अग्निवेश और मायावती जैसे बहुत से लोगों द्वारा मनुस्मृति जलाई जाती रही है | अपनी विकृत भावनाओं को पूरा करने के लिए नीची जातियों पर अत्याचार करने वाले, एक सींग वाले विद्वान राक्षस के रूप में भी मनु को चित्रित किया गया है | हिन्दुत्व और वेदों को गालियां देने वाले कथित सुधारवादियों के लिए तो मनुस्मृति एक पसंदीदा साधन बन गया है| विधर्मी वायरस पीढ़ियों से हिन्दुओं के धर्मांतरण में इससे फ़ायदा उठाते आए हैं जो आज भी जारी है | ध्यान देने वाली बात यह है कि मनु की निंदा करने वाले इन लोगों ने मनुस्मृति को कभी गंभीरता से पढ़ा भी है कि नहीं |
दूसरी ओर जातीय घमंड में चूर और उच्चता में अकड़े हुए लोगों के लिए मनुस्मृति एक ऐसा धार्मिक ग्रंथ है जो उन्हें एक विशिष्ट वर्ग में नहीं जन्में लोगों के प्रति सही व्यवहार नहीं करने का अधिकार और अनुमति देता है| ऐसे लोग मनुस्मृति से कुछ एक गलत और भ्रष्ट श्लोकों का हवाला देकर जातिप्रथा को उचित बताते हैं पर स्वयं की अनुकूलता और स्वार्थ के लिए यह भूलते हैं कि वह जो कह रहे हैं उसे के बिलकुल विपरीत अनेक श्लोक हैं |
इन दोनों शक्तियों के बीच संघर्ष ने आज भारत में निचले स्तर की राजनीति को जन्म दिया है |भारतवर्ष पर लगातार पिछले हजार वर्षों से होते आ रहे आक्रमणों के लिए भी यही जिम्मेदार है| सदियों तक नरपिशाच,गोहत्यारे और पापियों से यह पावन धरती शासित रही| यह अतार्किक जातिप्रथा ही १९४७ में हमारे देश के बंटवारे का प्रमुख कारण रही है| कभी विश्वगुरु और चक्रवर्ती सम्राटों का यह देश था | आज भी हम में असीम क्षमता और बुद्धि धन है फ़िर भी हम समृद्धि और सामर्थ्य की ओर अपने देश को नहीं ले जा पाए और निर्बल और निराधार खड़े हैं – इस का प्रमुख कारण यह मलिन जाति प्रथा है| इसलिए मनुस्मृति की सही परिपेक्ष्य में जाँच – परख़ अत्यंत आवश्यक हो जाती है |
मनुस्मृति पर लगाये जाने वाले तीन मुख्य आक्षेप :
१. मनु ने जन्म के आधार पर जातिप्रथा का निर्माण किया |
२. मनु ने शूद्रों के लिए कठोर दंड का विधान किया और ऊँची जाति खासकर ब्राह्मणों के लिए विशेष प्रावधान रखे |
३. मनु नारी का विरोधी था और उनका तिरस्कार करता था | उसने स्त्रियों के लिए पुरुषों से कम अधिकार का विधान किया |
आइये अब मनुस्मृति के साक्ष्यों पर ही हम इन आक्षेपों की समीक्षा करें | इस लेख में हम पहले आरोप – मनु द्वारा जन्म आधारित जाति प्रथा के निर्माण पर विचार करेंगे |
पाठकों से निवेदन है कि वे http://agniveer.com/series/caste-series/को पढ़ें ताकि ब्राह्मण, क्षत्रिय, वैश्य और शूद्र के सही अर्थों को समझ सकें|
मनुस्मृति और जाति व्यवस्था : 
मनुस्मृति उस काल की है जब जन्मना जाति व्यवस्था के विचार का भी कोई अस्तित्व नहीं था | अत: मनुस्मृति जन्मना समाज व्यवस्था का कहीं भी समर्थन नहीं करती | महर्षि मनु ने मनुष्य के गुण- कर्म – स्वभाव पर आधारित समाज व्यवस्था की रचना कर के वेदों में परमात्मा द्वारा दिए गए आदेश का ही पालन किया है (देखें – ऋग्वेद-१०.१०.११-१२, यजुर्वेद-३१.१०-११, अथर्ववेद-१९.६.५-६) |
यह वर्ण व्यवस्था है | वर्ण शब्द “वृञ” धातु से बनता है जिसका मतलब है चयन या चुनना और सामान्यत: प्रयुक्त शब्द वरण भी यही अर्थ रखता है | जैसे वर अर्थात् कन्या द्वारा चुना गया पति, जिससे पता चलता है कि वैदिक व्यवस्था कन्या को अपना पति चुनने का पूर्ण अधिकार देती है |
मनुस्मृति में वर्ण व्यवस्था को ही बताया गया है और जाति व्यवस्था को नहीं इसका सबसे बड़ा प्रमाण यह है कि मनुस्मृति के प्रथम अध्याय में कहीं भी जाति या गोत्र शब्द ही नहीं है  बल्कि वहां चार वर्णों की उत्पत्ति का वर्णन है | यदि जाति या गोत्र का इतना ही महत्त्व होता तो मनु इसका उल्लेख अवश्य करते कि कौनसी जाति ब्राह्मणों से संबंधित है, कौनसी क्षत्रियों से, कौनसी वैश्यों और शूद्रों से |
इस का मतलब हुआ कि स्वयं को जन्म से ब्राह्मण या उच्च जाति का मानने वालों के पास इसका कोई प्रमाण नहीं है | ज्यादा से ज्यादा वे इतना बता सकते हैं कि कुछ पीढ़ियों पहले से उनके पूर्वज स्वयं को ऊँची जाति का कहलाते आए हैं | ऐसा कोई प्रमाण नहीं है कि सभ्यता के आरंभ से ही यह लोग ऊँची जाति के थे | जब वह यह साबित नहीं कर सकते तो उनको यह कहने का क्या अधिकार है कि आज जिन्हें जन्मना शूद्र माना जाता है, वह कुछ पीढ़ियों पहले ब्राह्मण नहीं थे ? और स्वयं जो अपने को ऊँची जाति का कहते हैं वे कुछ पीढ़ियों पहले शूद्र नहीं थे ?
मनुस्मृति ३.१०९ में साफ़ कहा है कि अपने गोत्र या कुल की दुहाई देकर भोजन करने वाले को स्वयं का उगलकर खाने वाला माना जाए | अतः मनुस्मृति के अनुसार जो जन्मना ब्राह्मण या ऊँची जाति वाले अपने गोत्र या वंश का हवाला देकर स्वयं को बड़ा कहते हैं और मान-सम्मान की अपेक्षा रखते हैं उन्हें तिरस्कृत किया जाना चाहिए |
मनुस्मृति २. १३६: धनी होना, बांधव होना, आयु में बड़े होना, श्रेष्ठ कर्म का होना और विद्वत्ता यह पाँच सम्मान के उत्तरोत्तर मानदंड हैं | इन में कहीं भी कुल, जाति, गोत्र या वंश को सम्मान का मानदंड नहीं माना गया है |


वर्णों में परिवर्तन : 
मनुस्मृति १०.६५: ब्राह्मण शूद्र बन सकता और शूद्र ब्राह्मण हो सकता है | इसी प्रकार क्षत्रिय और वैश्य भी अपने वर्ण बदल सकते हैं |
मनुस्मृति ९.३३५: शरीर और मन से शुद्ध- पवित्र रहने वाला, उत्कृष्ट लोगों के सानिध्य में रहने वाला, मधुरभाषी, अहंकार से रहित, अपने से उत्कृष्ट वर्ण वालों की सेवा करने वाला शूद्र भी उत्तम ब्रह्म जन्म और द्विज वर्ण को प्राप्त कर लेता है |
मनुस्मृति के अनेक श्लोक कहते हैं कि उच्च वर्ण का व्यक्ति भी यदि श्रेष्ट कर्म नहीं करता, तो शूद्र (अशिक्षित) बन जाता है |
उदाहरण- 
२.१०३: जो मनुष्य नित्य प्रात: और सांय ईश्वर आराधना नहीं करता उसको शूद्र समझना चाहिए |
२.१७२: जब तक व्यक्ति वेदों की शिक्षाओं में दीक्षित नहीं होता वह शूद्र के ही समान है |
४.२४५ : ब्राह्मण- वर्णस्थ व्यक्ति श्रेष्ट – अति श्रेष्ट व्यक्तियों का संग करते हुए और नीच- नीचतर  व्यक्तिओं का संग छोड़कर अधिक श्रेष्ट बनता जाता है | इसके विपरीत आचरण से पतित होकर वह शूद्र बन जाता है | अतः स्पष्ट है कि ब्राह्मण उत्तम कर्म करने वाले विद्वान व्यक्ति को कहते हैं और शूद्र का अर्थ अशिक्षित व्यक्ति है | इसका, किसी भी तरह जन्म से कोई सम्बन्ध नहीं है |
२.१६८: जो ब्राह्मण,क्षत्रिय या वैश्य वेदों का अध्ययन और पालन छोड़कर अन्य विषयों में ही परिश्रम करता है, वह शूद्र बन जाता है | और उसकी आने वाली पीढ़ियों को भी वेदों के ज्ञान से वंचित होना पड़ता है | अतः मनुस्मृति के अनुसार तो आज भारत में कुछ अपवादों को छोड़कर बाकी सारे लोग जो भ्रष्टाचार, जातिवाद, स्वार्थ साधना, अन्धविश्वास, विवेकहीनता, लिंग-भेद, चापलूसी, अनैतिकता इत्यादि में लिप्त हैं – वे सभी शूद्र हैं |
२ .१२६: भले ही कोई ब्राह्मण हो, लेकिन अगर वह अभिवादन का शिष्टता से उत्तर देना नहीं जानता तो वह शूद्र (अशिक्षित व्यक्ति) ही है |

शूद्र भी पढ़ा सकते हैं :

शूद्र भले ही अशिक्षित हों तब भी उनसे कौशल और उनका विशेष ज्ञान प्राप्त किया जाना चाहिए |
२.२३८: अपने से न्यून व्यक्ति से भी विद्या को ग्रहण करना चाहिए और नीच कुल में जन्मी उत्तम स्त्री को भी पत्नी के रूप में स्वीकार कर लेना चाहिए|

२.२४१ : आवश्यकता पड़ने पर अ-ब्राह्मण से भी विद्या प्राप्त की जा सकती है और शिष्यों को पढ़ाने के दायित्व का पालन वह गुरु जब तक निर्देश दिया गया हो तब तक करे |

ब्राह्मणत्व का आधार कर्म :

मनु की वर्ण व्यवस्था जन्म से ही कोई वर्ण नहीं मानती | मनुस्मृति के अनुसार माता- पिता को बच्चों के बाल्यकाल में ही उनकी रूचि और प्रवृत्ति को पहचान कर ब्राह्मण, क्षत्रिय या वैश्य वर्ण का ज्ञान और प्रशिक्षण प्राप्त करने के लिए भेज देना चाहिए |
कई ब्राह्मण माता – पिता अपने बच्चों को ब्राह्मण ही बनाना चाहते हैं परंतु इस के लिए व्यक्ति में ब्रह्मणोचित गुण, कर्म,स्वभाव का होना अति आवश्यक है| ब्राह्मण वर्ण में जन्म लेने मात्र से या ब्राह्मणत्व का प्रशिक्षण किसी गुरुकुल में प्राप्त कर लेने से ही कोई ब्राह्मण नहीं बन जाता, जब तक कि उसकी योग्यता, ज्ञान और कर्म ब्रह्मणोचित न हों |
२.१५७ : जैसे लकड़ी से बना हाथी और चमड़े का बनाया हुआ हरिण सिर्फ़ नाम के लिए ही हाथी और हरिण कहे जाते हैं वैसे ही बिना पढ़ा ब्राह्मण मात्र नाम का ही ब्राह्मण होता है |
२.२८: पढने-पढ़ाने से, चिंतन-मनन करने से, ब्रह्मचर्य, अनुशासन, सत्यभाषण आदि व्रतों का पालन करने से, परोपकार आदि सत्कर्म करने से, वेद, विज्ञान आदि पढने से, कर्तव्य का पालन करने से, दान करने से और आदर्शों के प्रति समर्पित रहने से मनुष्य का यह शरीर ब्राह्मण किया जाता है |

शिक्षा ही वास्तविक जन्म  :

मनु के अनुसार मनुष्य का वास्तविक जन्म विद्या प्राप्ति के उपरांत ही होता है | जन्मतः प्रत्येक मनुष्य शूद्र या अशिक्षित है | ज्ञान और संस्कारों से स्वयं को परिष्कृत कर योग्यता हासिल कर लेने पर ही उसका दूसरा जन्म होता है और वह द्विज कहलाता है | शिक्षा प्राप्ति में असमर्थ रहने वाले शूद्र ही रह जाते हैं |
यह पूर्णत: गुणवत्ता पर आधारित व्यवस्था है, इसका शारीरिक जन्म या अनुवांशिकता से कोई लेना-देना नहीं है|
२.१४८ : वेदों में पारंगत आचार्य द्वारा शिष्य को गायत्री मंत्र की दीक्षा देने के उपरांत ही उसका वास्तविक मनुष्य जन्म होता है | यह जन्म मृत्यु और विनाश से रहित होता है |ज्ञानरुपी जन्म में दीक्षित होकर मनुष्य मुक्ति को प्राप्त कर लेता है| यही मनुष्य का वास्तविक उद्देश्य है| सुशिक्षा के बिना मनुष्य ‘ मनुष्य’ नहीं बनता|
इसलिए ब्राह्मण, क्षत्रिय, वैश्य होने की बात तो छोडो जब तक मनुष्य अच्छी तरह शिक्षित नहीं होगा तब तक उसे मनुष्य भी नहीं माना जाएगा |
२.१४६ : जन्म देने वाले पिता से ज्ञान देने वाला आचार्य रूप पिता ही अधिक बड़ा और माननीय है, आचार्य द्वारा प्रदान किया गया ज्ञान मुक्ति तक साथ देता हैं | पिताद्वारा प्राप्त शरीर तो इस जन्म के साथ ही नष्ट हो जाता है|
२.१४७ :  माता- पिता से उत्पन्न संतति का माता के गर्भ से प्राप्त जन्म साधारण जन्म है| वास्तविक जन्म तो शिक्षा पूर्ण कर लेने के उपरांत ही होता है|
अत: अपनी श्रेष्टता साबित करने के लिए कुल का नाम आगे धरना मनु के अनुसार अत्यंत मूर्खतापूर्ण कृत्य है | अपने कुल का नाम आगे रखने की बजाए व्यक्ति यह दिखा दे कि वह कितना शिक्षित है तो बेहतर होगा |
१०.४: ब्राह्मण, क्षत्रिय और वैश्य, ये तीन वर्ण विद्याध्ययन से दूसरा जन्म प्राप्त करते हैं | विद्याध्ययन न कर पाने वाला शूद्र, चौथा वर्ण है | इन चार वर्णों के अतिरिक्त आर्यों में या श्रेष्ट मनुष्यों में पांचवा कोई वर्ण नहीं है |
इस का मतलब है कि अगर कोई अपनी शिक्षा पूर्ण नहीं कर पाया तो वह दुष्ट नहीं हो जाता | उस के कृत्य यदि भले हैं तो वह अच्छा इन्सान कहा जाएगा | और अगर वह शिक्षा भी पूरी कर ले तो वह भी द्विज गिना जाएगा | अत: शूद्र मात्र एक विशेषण है, किसी जाति विशेष का नाम नहीं |

‘नीच’ कुल में जन्में व्यक्ति का तिरस्कार नहीं :   

किसी व्यक्ति का जन्म यदि ऐसे कुल में हुआ हो, जो समाज में आर्थिक या अन्य दृष्टी से पनप न पाया हो तो उस व्यक्ति को केवल कुल के कारण पिछड़ना न पड़े और वह अपनी प्रगति से वंचित न रह जाए, इसके लिए भी महर्षि मनु ने नियम निर्धारित किए हैं |
४.१४१: अपंग, अशिक्षित, बड़ी आयु वाले, रूप और धन से रहित या निचले कुल वाले, इन को आदर और / या अधिकार से वंचित न करें | क्योंकि यह किसी व्यक्ति की परख के मापदण्ड नहीं हैं|

प्राचीन इतिहास में वर्ण परिवर्तन के उदाहरण :

ब्राह्मण, क्षत्रिय,वैश्य और शूद्र वर्ण की सैद्धांतिक अवधारणा गुणों के आधार पर है, जन्म के आधार पर नहीं | यह बात सिर्फ़ कहने के लिए ही नहीं है, प्राचीन समय में इस का व्यवहार में चलन था | जब से इस गुणों पर आधारित वैज्ञानिक व्यवस्था को हमारे दिग्भ्रमित पुरखों ने मूर्खतापूर्ण जन्मना व्यवस्था में बदला है, तब से ही हम पर आफत आ पड़ी है जिस का सामना आज भी कर रहें हैं|
 वर्ण परिवर्तन के कुछ उदाहरण – 
(a) ऐतरेय ऋषि दास अथवा अपराधी के पुत्र थे | परन्तु उच्च कोटि के ब्राह्मण बने और उन्होंने ऐतरेय ब्राह्मण और ऐतरेय उपनिषद की रचना की | ऋग्वेद को समझने के लिए ऐतरेय ब्राह्मण अतिशय आवश्यक माना जाता है |
(b) ऐलूष ऋषि दासी पुत्र थे | जुआरी और हीन चरित्र भी थे | परन्तु बाद में उन्होंने अध्ययन किया और ऋग्वेद पर अनुसन्धान करके अनेक अविष्कार किये |ऋषियों ने उन्हें आमंत्रित कर के आचार्य पद पर आसीन  किया | (ऐतरेय ब्राह्मण २.१९)
(c) सत्यकाम जाबाल गणिका (वेश्या) के पुत्र थे परन्तु वे ब्राह्मणत्व को प्राप्त हुए  |
(d) राजा दक्ष के पुत्र पृषध शूद्र हो गए थे, प्रायश्चित स्वरुप तपस्या करके उन्होंने मोक्ष प्राप्त किया | (विष्णु पुराण ४.१.१४)
अगर उत्तर रामायण की मिथ्या कथा के अनुसार शूद्रों के लिए तपस्या करना मना होता तो पृषध ये कैसे कर पाए?

(e) राजा नेदिष्ट के पुत्र नाभाग वैश्य हुए | पुनः इनके कई पुत्रों ने क्षत्रिय वर्ण अपनाया | (विष्णु पुराण ४.१.१३)
(f) धृष्ट नाभाग के पुत्र थे परन्तु ब्राह्मण हुए और उनके पुत्र ने क्षत्रिय वर्ण अपनाया | (विष्णु पुराण ४.२.२)
(g) आगे उन्हींके वंश में पुनः कुछ ब्राह्मण हुए | (विष्णु पुराण ४.२.२)
(h) भागवत के अनुसार राजपुत्र अग्निवेश्य ब्राह्मण हुए |
(i) विष्णुपुराण और भागवत के अनुसार रथोतर क्षत्रिय से ब्राह्मण बने |
(j) हारित क्षत्रियपुत्र से ब्राह्मण हुए | (विष्णु पुराण ४.३.५)
(k) क्षत्रियकुल में जन्में शौनक ने ब्राह्मणत्व प्राप्त किया | (विष्णु पुराण ४.८.१) वायु, विष्णु और हरिवंश पुराण कहते हैं कि शौनक ऋषि के पुत्र कर्म भेद से ब्राह्मण, क्षत्रिय, वैश्य और शूद्र वर्ण के हुए| इसी प्रकार गृत्समद, गृत्समति और वीतहव्य के उदाहरण हैं |
(l) मातंग चांडालपुत्र से ब्राह्मण बने |
(m) ऋषि पुलस्त्य का पौत्र रावण अपने कर्मों से राक्षस बना |
(n) राजा रघु का पुत्र प्रवृद्ध राक्षस हुआ |
(o) त्रिशंकु राजा होते हुए भी कर्मों से चांडाल बन गए थे |
(p) विश्वामित्र के पुत्रों ने शूद्र वर्ण अपनाया | विश्वामित्र स्वयं क्षत्रिय थे परन्तु बाद उन्होंने ब्राह्मणत्व को प्राप्त किया |
(q) विदुर दासी पुत्र थे | तथापि वे ब्राह्मण हुए और उन्होंने हस्तिनापुर साम्राज्य का मंत्री पद सुशोभित किया |
(r) वत्स शूद्र कुल में उत्पन्न होकर भी ऋषि बने (ऐतरेय ब्राह्मण २.१९) |
(s) मनुस्मृति के प्रक्षिप्त श्लोकों से भी पता चलता है कि कुछ क्षत्रिय जातियां, शूद्र बन गईं | वर्ण परिवर्तन की साक्षी देने वाले यह श्लोक मनुस्मृति में बहुत बाद के काल में मिलाए गए हैं | इन परिवर्तित जातियों के नाम हैं – पौण्ड्रक, औड्र, द्रविड, कम्बोज, यवन, शक, पारद, पल्हव, चीन, किरात, दरद, खश |
(t) महाभारत अनुसन्धान पर्व (३५.१७-१८) इसी सूची में कई अन्य नामों को भी शामिल करता है – मेकल, लाट, कान्वशिरा, शौण्डिक, दार्व, चौर, शबर, बर्बर|
(u) आज भी ब्राह्मण, क्षत्रिय, वैश्य और दलितों में समान गोत्र मिलते हैं | इस से पता चलता है कि यह सब एक ही पूर्वज, एक ही कुल की संतान हैं | लेकिन कालांतर में वर्ण व्यवस्था गड़बड़ा गई और यह लोग अनेक जातियों में बंट गए |

शूद्रों  के प्रति आदर :

मनु परम मानवीय थे| वे जानते थे कि सभी शूद्र जानबूझ कर शिक्षा की उपेक्षा नहीं कर सकते | जो किसी भी कारण से जीवन के प्रथम पर्व में ज्ञान और शिक्षा से वंचित रह गया हो, उसे जीवन भर इसकी सज़ा न भुगतनी पड़े इसलिए वे समाज में शूद्रों के लिए उचित सम्मान का विधान करते हैं | उन्होंने शूद्रों के प्रति कभी अपमान सूचक शब्दों का प्रयोग नहीं किया, बल्कि मनुस्मृति में कई स्थानों पर शूद्रों के लिए अत्यंत सम्मानजनक शब्द आए हैं |
मनु की दृष्टी में ज्ञान और शिक्षा के अभाव में शूद्र समाज का सबसे अबोध घटक है, जो परिस्थितिवश भटक सकता है | अत: वे समाज को उसके प्रति अधिक सहृदयता और सहानुभूति रखने को कहते हैं |
कुछ और उदात्त उदाहरण देखें –
३.११२: शूद्र या वैश्य के अतिथि रूप में आ जाने पर, परिवार उन्हें सम्मान सहित भोजन कराए |
३.११६: अपने सेवकों (शूद्रों) को पहले भोजन कराने के बाद ही दंपत्ति भोजन करें |
२.१३७: धन, बंधू, कुल, आयु, कर्म, श्रेष्ट विद्या से संपन्न व्यक्तियों के होते हुए भी वृद्ध शूद्र को पहले सम्मान दिया जाना चाहिए |

मनुस्मृति वेदों पर आधारित :

वेदों को छोड़कर अन्य कोई ग्रंथ मिलावटों से बचा नहीं है | वेद प्रक्षेपों से कैसे अछूते रहे, जानने के लिए ‘ वेदों में परिवर्तन क्यों नहीं हो सकता ? ‘ पढ़ें | वेद ईश्वरीय ज्ञान है और सभी विद्याएँ उसी से निकली हैं | उन्हीं को आधार मानकर ऋषियों ने अन्य ग्रंथ बनाए|  वेदों का स्थान और प्रमाणिकता सबसे ऊपर है और उनके रक्षण से ही आगे भी जगत में नए सृजन संभव हैं | अत: अन्य सभी ग्रंथ स्मृति, ब्राह्मण, महाभारत, रामायण, गीता, उपनिषद, आयुर्वेद, नीतिशास्त्र, दर्शन इत्यादि को परखने की कसौटी वेद ही हैं | और जहां तक वे  वेदानुकूल हैं वहीं तक मान्य हैं |
मनु भी वेदों को ही धर्म का मूल मानते हैं (२.८-२.११)
२.८: विद्वान मनुष्य को अपने ज्ञान चक्षुओं से सब कुछ वेदों के अनुसार परखते हुए, कर्तव्य का पालन करना चाहिए |
इस से साफ़ है कि मनु के विचार, उनकी मूल रचना वेदानुकूल ही है और मनुस्मृति में वेद विरुद्ध मिलने वाली मान्यताएं प्रक्षिप्त मानी जानी चाहियें |
शूद्रों को भी वेद पढने और वैदिक संस्कार करने का अधिकार :
वेद में ईश्वर कहता है कि मेरा ज्ञान सबके लिए समान है चाहे पुरुष हो या नारी, ब्राह्मण हो या शूद्र सबको वेद पढने और यज्ञ करने का अधिकार है |
देखें – यजुर्वेद २६.१, ऋग्वेद १०.५३.४, निरुक्त ३.८  इत्यादि और  http://agniveer.com/series/caste-series/ |
और मनुस्मृति भी यही कहती है | मनु ने शूद्रों को उपनयन ( विद्या आरंभ ) से वंचित नहीं रखा है | इसके विपरीत उपनयन से इंकार करने वाला ही शूद्र कहलाता है |
वेदों के ही अनुसार मनु शासकों के लिए विधान करते हैं कि वे शूद्रों का वेतन और भत्ता किसी भी परिस्थिति में न काटें ( ७.१२-१२६, ८.२१६) |

संक्षेप में – 

मनु को जन्मना जाति – व्यवस्था का जनक मानना निराधार है | इसके विपरीत मनु मनुष्य की पहचान में जन्म या कुल की सख्त उपेक्षा करते हैं | मनु की वर्ण व्यवस्था पूरी तरह गुणवत्ता पर टिकी हुई है |
प्रत्येक मनुष्य में चारों वर्ण हैं – ब्राह्मण, क्षत्रिय, वैश्य और शूद्र | मनु ने ऐसा प्रयत्न किया है कि प्रत्येक मनुष्य में विद्यमान जो सबसे सशक्त वर्ण है – जैसे किसी में ब्राह्मणत्व ज्यादा है, किसी में क्षत्रियत्व, इत्यादि का विकास हो और यह विकास पूरे समाज के विकास में सहायक हो |
अगले लेखों में हम मनु पर थोपे गए अन्य आरोप जैसे शूद्रों के लिए कठोर दंड विधान तथा स्त्री विरोधी होने की सच्चाई को जानेंगे |
लेकिन मनु पाखंडी और आचरणहीनों के लिए क्या कहते हैं, यह भी देख लेते हैं –
४.३०: पाखंडी, गलत आचरण वाले, छली – कपटी, धूर्त, दुराग्रही, झूठ बोलने वाले लोगों का सत्कार वाणी मात्र से भी न करना चाहिए |
जन्मना जाति व्यवस्था को मान्य करने की प्रथा एक सभ्य समाज के लिए कलंक है और अत्यंत छल-कपट वाली, विकृत और झूठी व्यवस्था है | वेद और मनु को मानने वालों को इस घिनौनी प्रथा का सशक्त प्रतिकार करना चाहिए | शब्दों में भी उसके प्रति अच्छा भाव रखना मनु के अनुसार घृणित कृत्य है |
प्रश्न : मनुस्मृति से ऐसे सैंकड़ों श्लोक दिए जा सकते हैं, जिन्हें जन्मना जातिवाद और लिंग-भेद के समर्थन में पेश किया जाता है | क्या आप बतायेंगे कि इन सब को कैसे प्रक्षिप्त माना जाए ? 
अग्निवीर: यही तो सोचने वाली बात है कि मनुस्मृति में जन्मना जातिवाद के विरोधी और समर्थक दोनों तरह के श्लोक कैसे हैं ? इस का मतलब मनुस्मृति का गहरे से अध्ययन और परीक्षण किए जाने की आवश्यता है | जो हम अगले लेख में करेंगे, अभी संक्षेप में देखते हैं –
आज  मिलने वाली मनुस्मृति में बड़ी मात्रा में मनमाने प्रक्षेप पाए जाते हैं, जो बहुत बाद के काल में मिलाए गए | वर्तमान मनुस्मृति लगभग आधी नकली है| सिर्फ़ मनुस्मृति ही प्रक्षिप्त नहीं है | वेदों को छोड़ कर जो अपनी अद्भुत स्वर और पाठ रक्षण पद्धतियों के कारण आज भी अपने मूल स्वरुप में है, लगभग अन्य सभी सम्प्रदायों के ग्रंथों में स्वाभाविकता से परिवर्तन, मिलावट या हटावट की जा सकती है | जिनमें रामायण, महाभारत, बाइबल, कुरान इत्यादि भी शामिल हैं | भविष्य पुराण में तो मिलावट का सिलसिला छपाई के आने तक चलता रहा |
आज रामायण के तीन संस्करण मिलते हैं – १. दाक्षिणात्य २. पश्चिमोत्तरीय ३. गौडीय और यह तीनों ही भिन्न हैं |  गीता प्रेस, गोरखपुर ने भी रामायण के कई सर्ग प्रक्षिप्त नाम से चिन्हित किए हैं | कई विद्वान बालकाण्ड और उत्तरकाण्ड के अधिकांश भाग को प्रक्षिप्त मानते हैं |
महाभारत  भी अत्यधिक प्रक्षिप्त हो चुका ग्रंथ है | गरुड़ पुराण ( ब्रह्मकांड १.५४ ) में कहा गया है कि कलियुग के इस समय में धूर्त स्वयं को ब्राह्मण बताकर महाभारत में से कुछ श्लोकों को निकाल रहे हैं और नए श्लोक बना कर डाल रहे हैं |
महाभारत का शांतिपर्व (२६५.९,४) स्वयं कह रहा है कि वैदिक ग्रंथ स्पष्ट रूप से शराब, मछली, मांस का निषेध करते हैं | इन सब को धूर्तों ने प्रचलित कर दिया है, जिन्होंने कपट से ऐसे श्लोक बनाकर शास्त्रों में मिला दिए हैं |
मूल बाइबल जिसे कभी किसी ने देखा हो वह आज अस्तित्व में ही नहीं है | हमने उसके अनुवाद के अनुवाद के अनुवाद ही देखे हैं |
कुरान भी मुहम्मद के उपदेशों की परिवर्तित आवृत्ति ही है, ऐसा कहा जाता है | देखें –http://satyagni.com/3118/miracle-islam/
इसलिए इस में कोई आश्चर्य नहीं होना चाहिए कि मनुस्मृति जो सामाजिक व्यवस्थाओं पर सबसे प्राचीन ग्रंथ है उसमें भी अनेक परिवर्तन किए गए हों | यह सम्भावना अधिक इसलिए है कि मनुस्मृति सर्व साधारण के दैनिक जीवन को, पूरे समाज को और राष्ट्र की राजनीति को प्रभावित करने वाला ग्रंथ रहा है | यदि देखा जाए तो सदियों तक वह एक प्रकार से मनुष्य जाति का संविधान ही रहा है | इसलिए धूर्तों और मक्कारों के लिए मनु स्मृति में प्रक्षेप करने के बहुत सारे प्रलोभन थे |
मनुस्मृति का पुनरावलोकन करने पर चार प्रकार के प्रक्षेप दिखायी देते हैं – विस्तार करने के लिए, स्वप्रयोजन की सिद्धी के लिए, अतिश्योक्ति या बढ़ा- चढ़ा कर बताने के लिए, दूषित करने के लिए| अधिकतर प्रक्षेप सीधे- सीधे दिख ही रहें हैं |
डा. सुरेन्द्र कुमार ने मनु स्मृति का विस्तृत और गहन अध्ययन किया है | जिसमें प्रत्येक श्लोक का भिन्न- भिन्न रीतियों से परीक्षण और पृथक्करण किया है ताकि प्रक्षिप्त श्लोकों को अलग से जांचा जा सके | उन्होंने मनुस्मृति के २६८५ में से १४७१ श्लोक प्रक्षिप्त पाए हैं |
प्रक्षेपों का वर्गीकरण वे इस प्रकार करते हैं –
– विषय से बाहर की कोई बात हो |
– संदर्भ से विपरीत हो या विभिन्न हो |
– पहले जो कहा गया, उसके विरुद्ध हो या पूर्वापार सम्बन्ध न हो |
– पुनरावर्तन हो |
– भाषा की विभिन्न शैली और प्रयोग हो |
– वेद विरुद्ध हो |
इसे और अच्छी तरह से समझने के लिए, मनुस्मृति के गहन और निष्पक्ष अध्ययन के लिए डा. सुरेन्द्र कुमार द्वारा लिखित मनुस्मृति (प्रकाशित-आर्ष साहित्य प्रचार ट्रस्ट,दिल्ली)  अवश्य पढ़ें |
डा.सुरेन्द्र कुमार ही नहीं बल्कि बहुत से पाश्चात्य विद्वान जैसे मैकडोनल, कीथ, बुलहर इत्यादि भी मनुस्मृति में मिलावट मानते हैं |
डा. अम्बेडकर भी प्राचीन ग्रंथों में मिलावट स्वीकार करते हैं | वे रामायण, महाभारत, गीता, पुराण और वेदों तक में भी प्रक्षेप मानते हैं |
मनुस्मृति के परस्पर विरोधी, असंगत श्लोकों को उन्होंने कई स्थानों पर दिखाया भी है | वे जानते थे कि मनुस्मृति में कहां -कहां प्रक्षेप हैं | लेकिन वे जानबूझ कर इन श्लोकों को प्रक्षिप्त कहने से बचते रहे क्योंकि उन्हें अपना मतलब सिद्ध करना था | उनके इस पक्षपाती व्यवहार ने उन्हें दलितों का नायक जरूर बना दिया | इस तरह मनुविरोध को बढ़ावा देकर उन्होंने अपना और कई लोगों का राजनीतिक हित साधा | उनकी इस मतान्धता ने समाज में विद्वेष का ज़हर ही घोला है और एक सच्चे नायक मनु को सदा के लिए खलनायक बना दिया |
इसी तरह स्वामी अग्निवेश जो अपने आप को आर्यसमाजी बताते हैं, अपनी अनुकूलता के लिए ही यह भूलते हैं कि महर्षि दयानंद ने जो समाज की रचना का सपना देखा था वह महर्षि मनु की वर्ण व्यवस्था के अनुसार ही था | और उन्होंने प्रक्षिप्त हिस्सों को छोड़ कर अपने ग्रंथों में सर्वाधिक प्रमाण (५१४ श्लोक) मनुस्मृति से दिए हैं | स्वामी अग्निवेश ने भी सिर्फ़ राजनीतिक प्रसिद्धि पाने के लिये ही मनुस्मृति का दहन किया |

निष्कर्ष  :

मनुस्मृति में बहुत अधिक मात्रा में मिलावट हुई है | परंतु इस मिलावट को आसानी से पहचानकर अलग किया जा सकता है | प्रक्षेपण रहित मूल मनुस्मृति अत्युत्तम कृति है, जिसकी गुण -कर्म- स्वभाव आधारित व्यवस्था मनुष्य और समाज को बहुत ऊँचा उठाने वाली है |
मूल मनुस्मृति वेदों की मान्यताओं पर आधारित है |
आज मनुस्मृति का विरोध उनके द्वारा किया जा रहा है जिन्होंने मनुस्मृति को कभी गंभीरता से पढ़ा नहीं और केवल वोट बैंक की राजनीति के चलते विरोध कर रहे हैं |
सही मनुवाद जन्मना जाति प्रथा को पूरी तरह नकारता है और इसका पक्ष लेने वाले के लिए कठोर दण्ड का विधान करता है | जो लोग बाकी लोगों से सभी मायनों में समान हैं, उनके लिए, सही मनुवाद ” दलित ” शब्द के प्रयोग के ख़िलाफ़ है |
आइए, हम सब जन्म जातिवाद को समूल नष्ट कर, वास्तविक मनुवाद की गुणों पर आधारित कर्मणा वर्ण व्यवस्था को लाकर मानवता और राष्ट्र का रक्षण करें|
महर्षि मनु जाति, जन्म, लिंग, क्षेत्र, मत- सम्प्रदाय, इत्यादि सबसे मुक्त सत्य धर्म का पालन करने के लिए कहते हैं –
८.१७: इस संसार में एक धर्म ही साथ चलता है और सब पदार्थ और साथी शरीर के नाश के साथ ही नाश को प्राप्त होते हैं, सब का साथ छूट जाता है – परंतु धर्म का साथ कभी नहीं छूटता |
संदर्भ- डा. सुरेन्द्र कुमार, पं.गंगाप्रसाद उपाध्याय और स्वामी दयानंद सरस्वती के कार्य |
अनुवादक- आर्यबाला
Original post in English is available at http://agniveer.com/manu-smriti-and-shudras/

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