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#867 - November 14, 2005 03:02 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Bamkim and Gandhi on Caste

Farida Majid


George Orwell could get the sense of the political posturing of
Gandhi and hence he remarked on its "shrewdness" in his 1949 essay,
Reflections on Gandhi. Orwell was born in India, and so he
sympathized with her plight under colonization. His essay, "Shooting
an Elephant" will forever remain a classic, a most moving testimony
to the evil workings of colonization.

Orwell's comments on Gandhi should be taken seriously because of his
deep knowledge of the colonial mindset of the British imperialist
policy makers and intellectuals, a mindset that he held in utter
contempt. He could tell, like none of us can really, how Gandhi was
playing the political card of the "untouchables" to the benefit of
Gandhi's colonial masters, because Orwell knew the nuances.

As far as I know, Gandhi could not read Sanskrit, and so was
unschooled in the vast literature of Hundu Shastras, philosphy and
jurisprudence. His sense of the Hindu "caste system" was what he had
received about it from the British and other local writers. The
imperial British administrators were obsessed with the idea of the
Indian system of caste and endlessly analyzed it, not so much for
the sake of real knowledge of how it actually functioned in the pre-
colonial societies without exploitation of lower castes, but in an
overall effort to malign Indian civilization. The common people of
India were not plunged into the lowest depths of wretchedness and
despondency, as Thomas Babington Macaulay and his colonizing cohorts
falsely envisioned them to be before they took over India as a
pretext for taking over India.

It is important to have an understanding of how colonial rule
actually changed the way caste was strctured in India. From the end
of 18th century, by enacting a series of laws, the British changed
land ownership, revenue collection and other agricultural and
commerce laws whereby the peasantry and ordinary laborers were
dispossessed and disenfranchised. They then codified the lower
castes in such a way that smothered what fluidity in upward mobility
the lower castes had in the past. New laws freed the Brahmins from
traditional strictures of moral conduct and obligations, making them
the group that most benefited from colonial opportunities.

By the time the British left, the caste system of modern India had
turned into reality as the one that the British had feverishly
imagined it to be an instrument of extremely cruel social injustice.
Bearing little or no resemblance to the pre-colonial economy or the
way a hierarchical social arrangement functioned in the past, caste,
as it is prevalent in India today, is the biggest system of
institutional racism adversely affecting the largest number of
people in the world.

Other than the word shudra, all the words we use today to describe
the lower castes are new-fangled, colonial, and Gandhian. Whoever
heard of scheduled caste or the term Dalit in the 19th century?
Harijan, a gratuitously imposed nomenclature by Gandhi is intended
to make lowly people feel proud of being "God's creatures" and that
should be good enough! To a writer like Bankimchandra
Chattopadhyaya, the great Bengali writer writing in the 1870-80s,
the word acchyut or untouchable was an adjective, not a common noun
designating a class of human beings.

Gandhi's shrewd tactics with his weirdly passionate ideas about
the "caste system" being an integral part of Hinduism is a ploy to
carry on the authoritarianism of imperialism even after the British
left India. His penchant for the status quo of a racially segregated
sociopolitical system was evident in his stint in South Africa as a
young lawyer, where he pleaded for the Indians’ rights to be
treated as non-blacks, closer to being treated as whites, or semi-
whites.

How much did Gandhi really know about Hinduism? How much did any
ordinary person know? It was an easy job for him to present himself
as one dedicated, out of the goodness of his heart, to alleviating
the misery of these lowly people born in their lowly station. Being
born as low caste is an inescapable fate -- with a hint that such
birth was due to some bad "karma" that could not be helped and is
due to an implied innate flaw of the low caste person himself or
herself.

In sharp contrast, we read the writings of Bankim, a superbly versed
Sanskrit scholar, immensely proud of his scholarly Brahminical
lineage and the numerous Bengali pandits' contribution to the body
of Nayashastra, and other branches of philosophy, Sanskrit
literature and juridical commentary. He was not himself a
practicing, ritualistically observant Brahmin. Though obviously
trained in his Brahminical studies, he pursued, as we all know, a
newly devised weighty regimen of modern secular, Eurocentric
education and was the first distinguished graduate produced by the
newly established Calcutta University. As much as he was a produce
of colonialism, he was also of the generation that was face to face
with British imperialism. His was a genuine voice of anti-
imperialism that boldly empathized with the dispossessed peasantry
and the workers of Bengal, both the Hindu and the Muslim, due to
colonial rule!

Bankim detested Varna! He wrote against it with unmitigated scorn.
And he wrote against it in a language that I have rarely seen any
other writer express. There are many writers who wrote heart-
wrenching tales of injustice due to caste discrimination ? the
Bengali novelist Sharatchandra Chattopadhya was certainly one of the
greatest of protesters against social injustice due to caste. His
novels are marvelous studies of subtle manipulations through
established, rule-governed Hindu social practices, and how a small
section of the society undermines the other, larger section's basic
humanity.

But Bankim is the one who actually stated that Varna is the cause of
all the backwardness and wretchedness of today's India. Unlike the
British, and unlike Gandhi, Bankim does not talk about caste in
essentialist terms. He talks about Varna in developmental terms
through history, and concludes that the varna system ended up being
no good for any body, not even the middle-tiered castes. He reserves
his sharpest barbs for the Brahmins. Those Brahmins who created the
great epic and romance literatures, laws and philosophies of India
have gone astray, their mental faculties now as fallow as a desert,
he laments. Since the traditional structure of the Hindu society is
Brahmin-centered, and now, in the colonial era with the gaping blank
at the center, I am sure, Bankim would have seen no use for
preserving the caste system.

Had Bankim been alive to witness Gandhi's political maneuverings,
his costume drama (of wearing the langhoti, pretending to be one
with the harijans, with his captive audience being the colonial
Masters), he would have died in shame. Bankim was modern enough as a
secular but proud as a Hindu, as a progressive 19th century Indian
intellectual, as an internationalist or a 'multi-culturalist' as we
call them these days, to have enthusiastically supported the
abolition of the caste system. It is such a pity that there was only
Gandhi at the table, no Bankim or any representation of his legacy
bearer, when leaders of the Independence movement, including
Ambedkar, Periyar and others approached Gandhi about the abolition
of the caste system, and Gandhi steadfastly refused the proposal.

Isn't it ironic that Gandhi is being upheld as the hero of
the "untouchables," hailed as the Mahatma, and Bankim is being
heralded as the "flag bearer" of the mean and contemptible brand of
Hindutva goondaism?

In the unswerving pursuit of truth and in possessing piercing
insights into the follies of the domineering powers, Bankim was a
precursor of Orwell. Like Orwell, he too would have been certain to
have detected the pretensions of Gandhi and protested loudly against
the preservation of the cursed caste system.

2005, Farida Majid

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#868 - December 18, 2005 12:40 AM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Endogamy

If you think about it, an endogamist is really a race discriminist and a purist. Deep down he has beliefs of race/jaati purity though outwardly he may not discriminate against another person. This is a more insidious kind of subtle discrimination.

While it is alright to choose a spouse that shares one's beliefs for the purpose of a smooth and harmonious marriage and religious practices, it is not alright to discriminate against another of similar religious beliefs on matters of choosing marriage partners.

What could be the reason for this discrimination if its not race/jaati purity which we know today from dna studies thats its the most erroneous of notions? People who hold race purity notions are simply ignorant. Put it another way, endogamists are ignoramusus, who are further constricting their gene pool to their own detriment.

Where there is no endogamy, there can be no race or jaati. Where there is endogamy there will always be discrimination. It goes together you see.

There is no Indian race! Indians from the northeast like Asomese, Manipuris, Nagas, Sikkimese, Mizos, Bodos, Chakmas, Gurkhas, Ladhakis are not really 'Indian' in the usual sense of the word. They are
'Oriental'.

'Indian' is just a nationality that denotes domicile as well as the language-culture of that nation. Like we say, 'Indian food'.

We are not concerned with India and Indians. We are only concerned with Hinduism and Hindus, and that is universal. We have to make this mental
disconnect between India and Hinduism, to delink Indians and Hindus, and only then will everything fall into place in our worldviews.


Isn't the ultimate question of loss of endogamy that prevents most Hindu Indians from giving up casteism today? Isn't this the issue after all, and not quite the shastras which only serves as a useful punching bag to deflect the issue? Isn't this the issue that really comes to stump the reformer dead in his tracks?

Twenty million of us have emigrated to distant lands and cultures to live and work and to accept the host nation's goodwill. Our gurus too travelled to these lands to spread the good word of the Hindu and supplant temples there; yet we do not accept the people of the host nations as part of our the kutumbam, even if they are Hindu. Even while knowing fully well that we share genes with africans and europeans. There is an unkind word for this.

Great Voyages
In 100 BCE, Hindus arrived in North Malaysia. Over a thousand years they together with the locals established the Bujang Valley civilisation in over 200 sites. Over these thousand years there were frequent voyages between India and Malaysia. Naturally these Hindus interbred with the locals.

According to Khmer records by 200 CE a Hindu reached the shores of Cambodia, married a princess and helped spread the religion and culture there. He and his entourage stayed on and over the millenium there were frequent voyages between these two nations. More interbreeding.

By 300 CE Hinduism arrives in Java and Bali. And so on.. You know the story.

Great Voyagers of the Second Millenium
In the 11th century the Cholas establish a maritime empire in south east asia that was about 6 times larger than the Indian subcontinent, probably larger in area than the British empire ever was at its zenith. Just have a look at the map. The Cholas were the unipolar superpower in the first half of the millenium. The chola expeditions were the first of the large vogages, and the first in the last millenium.

Then in the 15th century came the 7 voyages of Admiral Zheng He.

Then came the europeans; the Spanish with Ferdinand Magellen, then the
Portugese with Vasco Da Gama, then the Italians with Christopher Columbus, then finally with the Dutch, the British and the French.

In all these expeditions and voyages there was conquest, occupation as well as migrations and regular Indian trade right up to China, Tanzania and further. Indians did migrate and intermarry with the locals all the time. In 2,000 years of migrations Hindus have always practised exogamy.

You could see pictures of Eritreans, Somalians and Ethiopians but you will swear that those are pictures of Indians! I made the mistake myself in my office when I asked an Ethiopian couple if the were Indians and they replied , no! When I persisted asking if they were Indian Ethiopians, they replied, no, they are Native Ethiopians. Many of these people look just like your average Indian Joe Ramasamy and Valli-Jane. Same experiences in south east asia too.

We are deluding ourselves if we think that Indians did not intermarry with locals upon migrating and that there are no Indian genes in the people of south east asia and africa.

"India is known for her casteism which is based on such notions as purity of birth, commensality, and endogamy."
Dr. V. V. Raman

"People who hold race purity notions are simply ignorant."
Pathmarajah Nagalingam

"India learned more than any other nation and before many others that in the long run an influx of people into a country tends to enrich rather than diminish it."
Dr. V. V. Raman

We enrich ourselves thru exogamy. We have always been exogamous, until the recent past. Outflux of Indians enriches the Indians themselves and the religion too.

Now this is a new and better way of looking at it, isn't it?

Regards.

Pathmarajah

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#869 - January 11, 2006 01:50 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Harijans Are Pillars of Hinduism - They Gave Us the Shastras


Which are the most celebrated Hindu texts? Most would think of the Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Tirukkural. Who wrote or compiled those texts? Vyasa, who was born of a fisherwoman, and hence a Harijan, wrote or compiled the Vedas, Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata. Valmiki, a hunter, and hence an Adivasi, authored the Ramayana. Tiruvalluvar, a Paraiyah by birth, wrote the most celebrated treatise in Tamil: the Tirukkural.

When you think of the great Saiva and Vaishnava Bhakti saints, the Nayanmars and Azhwars, the names of many celebrated Harijan saints such as Tiru Panazhwar, Tirumazhisai Azhwar, Enati Nayanar, Kannappa Nayanar, Atipattar Nayanar, Anayar Nayanar, Kaliar Nayanar, Tirukkurippu Tondar Nayanar, Tiru Nilakanta Nayanar, Tiru Nilakanta Yazhpanar and Nantanar Nayanar come to mind.

Kalavai Venkat


-
We owe it to Dr. M.V. Nadkarni for a brilliant study titled: Is Caste System Intrinsic to Hinduism? [Economic and Political Weekly, November 8, 2003] wherein he has proved beyond anyone reasonable doubt that ìit is necessary to demolish the myth that caste system is an intrinsic part of Hinduism. Dr. Nadkarni further argues very convincingly that "the caste system emerged and survived due to totally different factors, which had nothing to do with Hindu religion". He concludes his study with a highly perceptive remark that the caste sytem "has collapsed today because all its functions have collapsed. It has lost whatever relevance, role, utility, and justification it may have had."

The caste system was never meant to create a Brahmin hegemony or was conceived as birth based. Brahmins were those venerated because they led a simple life and were devoted education and religious theology. But to become a rishi it was not necessary to be born of Brahmin parents. Valmiki, Veda Vyasa, Vishwamitra, and Kalidasa were not born in Brahmin families. Nor were Brahmins above the law.

Dr. Subramaniam Swamy

-

By the way just a caution in relation to the MEANINGS in Rig Veda particulalry Purusha Suktam. In Rig Veda there was NO, as far as I am aware the notion of Brahmin as a caste. We see this once we RECOVER the Tamil Base of the Rig Veda and recover also the original meanings.
 
The VD must have been a very late phenomena where it is very clearly available in Manu Smiriti, and many so called Dharma  Sastras. Even in the time of Sambantar (c. 7th cent AD) there was Tamil Vedism and where the Vedists were not caste groups but rather Munivar (philosophers), Nan MaRaiyaLar (those well versed in the four Vedas), Pan MaRaiyaaLar (those who study all scriptures) and CenTamizoor (chaste Tamils). Sambantar saw himself as one of them and in that not at all a Brahmin solely by virtue of birth.
 
In the earlier strata of PuRam we see the Tamils as a whole idenfying themselves with the Vedas as if they constitute their own scriptures etc. During that time and till about 16th cent AD there was no hatred towards Sk . In fact perhaps all the major books in Sk on Indian philosophies were written in the South. Recall that Sankara Ramanuja Madhva and so forth were from the South. So were Dharmakirti Dignatha and such other Buddhists Logicians.
 
In CaGkam period the Tamils must have understood Sk as a kind of Tamil a view, I understand, some Brahmins in Kerala still maintain.
 
Loga


[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited January 11, 2006).]

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#870 - January 22, 2006 03:37 AM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
On Dalits & Hinduism


Why would the dalits want to leave
their own religion? After all, they gave us this religion that we call
Hinduism today. If you think about it, most of our saints and shastras
came from dalits.

Vyasa, the author of the Vedanta Sutras and the Mahabharata and
Valmiki were the progenitors of the Smartha and the Vaishnava sects. A
number of vaishnava saints were dalits too. 'Thuvaraik Komaan' aka
Krishna was a prevedic Tamil hill tribal god. We might as well call
smarthaism and vaishnavism as the the dalit religion or the paraiyar
religion. A number of saiva saints were dalits too. So, dalits gave us the
bulk of shastras, the saints and the sects. There is no Hinduism without
the dalits!

Now, why would the dalits, our prajapatis, would want to become
christians, when they already have an irreproachable place in Hinduism?
No unintended pun here, but haven't they tirelessly taught us about
humility? What more gurus - teachers of the faith, can anybody ask for?

No offense meant please.

Pathmarajah

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#871 - January 31, 2006 11:29 AM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Some Notes on South Indian Caste & History


The scholar T R Sesha Iyengar in his Dravidian India (1925) states categorically as follows:

The Aryan theory, that mankind is divided into four varnas or groups of caste, such as Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra, was wholly foreign to the Southern Dravidians. Caste was non-existent. There is no reference to the term ‘sudra’ in the whole of the Tolkappiyam. In the words of Mr Manicka Naicker a transmutable, plastic, and barrierless professional distinction is all that is found in the work. The Tolkappiyam’s fourth class can never be identified with the degraded North Indian fourth class Sudra of any age. A caste system nearest to this can only be found in Dutt’s Rig Vedic castes. Manu’s compound castes cannot be gleaned the least in the Tolkappiyam. (p.180)

Bhadriraju Krishnamurti in his Dravidian Languages (Cambridge University Press, 2003) says that Dravidians were scattered throughout the Indian subcontinent by the time Aryans entered India around 1500 BCE. It is certain that Dravidians were located in northwestern India, even as far as Afghanistan, by the time the Aryans entered the country around the middle of the second millennium BC. Rigvedic Sanskrit, the earliest form of Sanskrit known (c.1500BC), had over a dozen lexical items borrowed from Dravidian. The Dravidians were a highly civilized people, who lived in towns in tiled or terraced houses, with agriculture as the main occupation. They drew water from wells, tanks and lakes, and knew drainage. They also conducted trade by boat in the sea. But there are no reconstructible words for caste or caste names in the Dravidian languages of that age (p.21).

Ancient Tamilians identified themselves with kulams (????? ) which were occupation-related social groupings. Nowadays, at least in some communities that I know of, the kulam affiliation corresponds to family lineage or deity (kula deivam), thereby precluding marriages within the same kulam (as amongst the Chinese, a Lim, for instance, will have to marry someone other than a Lim, e.g. a Tan or Goh), unlike the endogamy of varnic castes (i.e. marrying only within a caste).

Sesha Iyengar further asserts:

“The influence of the Dravidians on the culture of India has been ignored, because the literature which records the development of the Hindu religion in India was the work of a hostile priesthood, whose only object was to magnify its own pretensions, and decry everything Dravidian. But the truth is that the Dravidians had already developed a civilization of their own, long before the Aryan civilization was transplanted into their midst. The division of society among the Tamils shows that they had emerged out of savagery at a remote period, and had enjoyed an orderly, peaceful, and settled form of government for centuries. Their civilization was more ancient than that of the Aryas; for among the latter the fighting men were next in rank to the priests, whereas among the Tamils, the farmers were next to the religious men, and the military class was below that of herdsmen and artisans." (p.119)

M S Purnalingam Pillai’s Tamil Literature (1929) lists the social classes in ancient Tamil society as Arivar (scholars or ascetics), Ulavar (farmers), Ayar (shepherds), Vedduvar (hunters), Kannalar (smiths), Padaiadchier (soldiers), Valayar (fishermen) and Pulayar (tanners).
In the first division of ancient Tamil social classification were the Arivars, comprising the ascetic Anthanars or Aiyars (sages who have taken to ascetic life) and the scholarly Parppar (i.e. literally ‘those who look into books’ – and engaged in domestic / married life). Devaneya Pavanar in his The Primary Classical Language of the World (1966), says that the term Anthanar may, in some cases, be used collectively for both sub-divisions (Note 3). But this appellation would be later appropriated altogether by the Brahmins of Tamil Nadu as the creeping Aryan colonization tightened its grip on Tamil society with the ‘enticement’ of the gullible among the arasars (kings). It appears to be a case of ‘smothering by embrace’. It is likely that some of the Dravidian Anthanars were inducted into the ranks of the Aryan Brahmin caste that was embedding itself deeper into the host society.

Ancient Tamil society was not aware of any divine mandate or karmic purpose to reserve education for any social group OR exclude any social group from education, contrary to the dictates of varnashramam. When Valluvar says: ???? ?????? ?????? ???????? ????? ???????? ?? (Let a man learn thoroughly whatever he may learn, and let his conduct be worthy of his learning), the message was not selectively targeted and was unqualified. It was meant for one and all. The right to education is not one to be earned by (type of) birth. Instead, education was seen as essential to make human birth right and wholesome. Take notice that this can spring only from a humanistic social philosophy and ethos, of which Valluvar was its greatest known exponent, NOT from a dehumanizing varnashramam which would be foisted later on the society to its enormous detriment. It was unfortunate that Manuvaatham ( ???????? ) or varnashramam eventually overpowered Kuraliyam ( ?????? -Kuralism).

Next in the social order was the Uzhavar (farmer), also called Vellalar and Karalar (lord of the floods and seasons). They formed the landed aristocracy of the country, which naturally equipped them for commerce, scholarship and kingship. Agriculture is given prominence in the Kural, but ranked lowly in the Manu’s social order (Note 6).

Tolkappiyam appears to reflect the change that Manuvaatham was already bringing about in the social order: it speaks of “four professional castes”, as Sesha Iyengar refers to them, viz. Anthanar, Arasar, Vanikar and Vellalar (Note 7). Even then learning is prescribed as a duty for all classes.

In short, the above is an outline of what is, in one sense, the earliest colonization of India stretching from the times that it was (primarily) a Dravidian civilization. There is an essential difference between this and subsequent waves of colonization or invasion: it’s the degree of assimilation of the intruders into the host society, to paraphrase a remark by the scholarly former Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao (late).

Sesha Iyengar’s Dravidian India (1925):

Agriculture was practised by the Vellalas. From the higher kind of Vellalas, the major and the minor dynasties of kings were chosen. Next in rank to the Vellalas were the shepherds and huntsmen. Below these were the artisans such as goldsmiths, carpenters, potters, etc. After these came the military class, i.e. the Padaiachchier or the armed men. Last of all were the Valayar and Pulayar or the fishermen and scavengers respectively. The distinction of the four castes Brahma, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra observed by the Aryas did not exist among the Tamils. The expression ‘twice-born’, applied by the Aryans to those who were sanctified by the investiture of the sacred thread, was always used in ancient Tamil literature to denote only the Brahmans, and it is evident therefore that the Kshatriya and the Vaisya, who wore the sacred thread, were not known in Tamilakam.


Dravidian Astronomy

Dr Maclean (‘Manual of Administration of the Madras Presidency’) observes, “The fishermen of the South, dependent on the moon’s phases for their operations early developed a primitive lunar computation of time. The agriculturists of the plains observed the seasons and the movements of the sun. The Tamils had a highly developed practical astronomy, before they were touched by Brahmanical influences, and their system still holds its ground in many respects. The Jovian cycle of five revolutions of Jupiter or sixty years, which regulates the chronology of the Tamilians, is no part of the Aryan system. The familiar period of twelve years for domestic events among the Tamils is similarly independent.” …… These remarks prove the independent origin of Dravidian astronomical science in South India, and hence should be borne in mind by scholars, when they contend that everything connected with astrology, astronomy, and time-measure in Tamil is from Sanskrit.

Dravidian Commerce

In the field of commerce, the activity of the ancient Dravidians has been equally striking. South India, the home of the Ancient Dravidians, was the heart and centre of the old world for ages. It was one of the foremost maritime countries, and was the mistress of the eastern seas…..

The Dravidians of South India were accustomed to the sea. They formed a large proportion of the sailors of the Indian Ocean. It is believed that regular maritime intercourse existed between South India and Western Asia even before the 8th century B.C. Various proofs have been adduced to establish the high antiquity of the maritime intercourse of South India with West Asia. The Dravidian speaking races of India traded with the Ancient Chaldeans, before the Vedic language found its way into India. Indian teak, was found in the ruins of Ur, and it must have reached there from India in the fourth millennium B.C., when it was the seaport of Babylon and the capital of the Sumerian kings. “This particular tree grows in Southern India where it advances close to the Malabar coast and nowhere else; there is none to the north of the Vindhya (vide Ragozin’s Vedic India).” This shows how advanced and enterprising were the Dravidians even as early as 4,000 years ago.

The Story of Joseph, who came to Egypt about 1700 B.C., is a notable evidence of the early caravan trade which, crossing Arabia, carried the merchandise of India to Egypt, Syria, and Babylonia. In the tombs, dating from the time of the 18th Dynasty of the Egyptian rulers which ended in 1462 B.C., were found mummies wrapped in Indian muslins. The Egyptians of those times, says Prof. Lassen, dyed cloth with indigo, and this vegetable product could have been obtained only from India at a time when the major portion of it was still non-Aryan……

Sesha Iyengar’s Dravidian India (1925):

….. The names of Marutham, the land where paddy and other grains are cultivated with the aid of irrigation, and of paddy, nel, are Dravidian terms. The term paddy was not known to the Aryans at the time of their first appearance (in India). Sir John Hewitt in his treatise on The Pre-historic Ruling Races says that the Dravidians were of all the great races of antiquity the first to systematize agriculture. Archaeology also confirms the evidence obtained from tradition, literature, and language as regards the acquaintance of the ancient Tamils with agriculture. The labours of Alexander Rea, M.J. Walhouse, Captain Newbold, Colonel Branfill, Burgess, Caldwell, R.B. Foote, R. Sewell, and other distinguished archaeologists have made us familiar with the existence of monuments such as rude stone circles, cromlechs, dolmens, menhirs, Kistvaens, urns, Tumuli, and Pandukulies at Adichanallur, Perumbair, Coimbatore, Pallavaram, Palmanir, Kollur near Tirukovilur, and many other places in South India. It is affirmed that the people, who use these burial urns, must have been an agricultural race, as brass and iron implements of agriculture were often found buried in their graves.

The Dravidians had made much progess in the industrial arts. They worked in metals. The Dravidian name for a smith, karuma, from which the vedic Karmara is probably borrowed, meant a smelter. Their artificers made ornaments of gold, pearls, and of precious stones for their kings. The explorations of the Hyderabad Archaeological Society have brought to light pottery with incised marks resembling those of Minoan Crete. The Adichanallur remains, we have already indicated, consisted of bronze figures of a variety of domestic animals and of fillets of gold beaten very thin. These afford conclusive proof of the artistic development of the Dravidian races in pre-historic times…..

Sesha Iyengar’s Dravidian India (1925) lists out the duties of the four classes as stated in Tolkappiyam:

Anthanar or Parpar (Brahmans): learning, teaching, sacrificing, officiating at sacrifices, giving alms, and receiving alms.

Arasar (King): learning, sacrificing, giving alms, protecting the people, crushing the wicked.

Vanikar (merchants): learning, sacrificing, giving alms, cultivation, trade, and tending cattle.

Vellalar: divided into two classes, the higher and the lower.
The duties of the higher type of Vellalars are learning, sacrificing, giving alms, cultivating lands, trade, and tending cattle, while those of the lower type of Vellalars are learning (excepting the Vedas), giving alms, cultivating lands, tending cattle, trade, and services to others.

Only certain duties were special to each class. The higher Vellalars and the merchant class had at first the same duties to perform, even though in actual practice each class specialized in one walk of life. The merchant class attended to commercial matters. The attention of the higher Vellalas was absorbed by high matters of state. They could enter into vocations allotted to the upper three classes. Nachchinarkiniar states that Vellalas could give their girls in marriage to those of the kingly class, serve in the army as commanders, and could become kings of the second class, and be called ‘Arasu” and 'Vel’ (Kurunilamannar). The Vellalas occupied a high position during the days of Tolkappiyar. In the words of Tiruvalluvar, the author of the Kural, they constituted the noble heritage of a nation.

Arul


[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited March 21, 2006).]

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#872 - February 16, 2006 12:56 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
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Dalit and Harijan

Over time, Dalit and Harijan have become viewppoints about caste
system, independent of religion and caste of the person. I would
strongly recommend that hindu's like the present group too evaluate
where they personally stand with respect to the following
definitions.

1. Harijan is the viewpoint which does not have any problem with one
human who accepts patronage from higher caste human.
2. Dalit is the viewpoint which encourages deserving and getting what
is deserved, irrespective of the caste of the giver and receiver.

Harijans are despicable becasue "highness" of caste is not based on
merit. Most of the time, this non-merit based "highness" is the cause
of their patrons positions and their control over power and
resources. Harijans implicitly provides sanction to the "system"
which grants the "highness" and thereby enslaves him/her. Essentially
they are happy with small favors and never fight from freedom from
their enslavement.

Dalits on the other hand, never accept any kind of patronage and will
go hungry or even die, but will refrain from doing anything
whatsoever which can potentially provide any type of sanction to
the "system" which parcels out "highness" without regard to merit.

The target mental model of dalits about themselves is of achieveing
economic, social and political independence and this gives them self-
confidence to form/joining communities, which pursue their respective
interests through democractic means.

Harijans are happy to be servants of their upper caste patrons, who
are equal citizens in their own communities and seek to
become "independent" of their patrons based on slow growth through
incremental patronage.

Dalits insist that one can never become "independent" through
patronage and that a struggle is always required to win independence
from any kind of system which holds one in its thrall.

Dalits seek to hence "fight" through the ballot boxes to bring about
radical change, while Harijans continue to seek to garner incremental
change.

The problem with the current apology is that is assumes that the
untouchables were never equal and that the NS group has come away and
become "more equal". The apology is for not doing enough for bringing
them "up" with the group.

Untouchables could never have been untouchables through all past.
Even if the NS group doubts the Buddhist origins of untouchables, how
can one group of Indians have been untouchable through all past. No
sub-group of humans will willingly put themselves into the despicable
category that untouchables were put into. There has to have been
equality at some point in the past. The horror of making a group of
peer Indians into untouchables through some kind of force has to have
occurred in India. Any apology which does not address the cruelty of
making "equals" into "unequal" and merely focuses on the lack of
efforts to make the "unequal" into "equal", which does not talk about
the transition from "equality" to "inequality" and the denial over
time of the rights of untouchables as equal human beings implicitly
claims some super-natural cause for the inequality, which is clearly
a socially caused malady. It is therefore implicitly supportive of
the hierarchical beliefs present in the minds of those who wrote it
and does not recognize the essential equality of all human beings.

That is the reason I accused the NS group of not having imbibed the
democratic values of equality, fraternity and liberty.

I hope that it will be taken in the right spirit and appropriate
modifications made. Better for you folks to make it. It actually
might help you at some deep internal level.

Pratap Tambay

.

.

> 1. Harijan is the viewpoint which does not have any problem with one
> human who accepts patronage from higher caste human.
> 2. Dalit is the viewpoint which encourages deserving and getting what
> is deserved, irrespective of the caste of the giver and receiver.

If this defines, then all of us here are dalits, and henceforth I shall use the
word
dalits to refer to discriminated and ill treated Hindus.

I had a relook at our draft Apology and if members agree we could insert the
following para to avoid any gratuitious and presumptious inclinations that may
be implicit:

"It was the advent of the guna and varna theories that made a Hindu society in
which all were equals without social and religious borders in the vedic and
agamic spirit, into a divided, inhumane and ruinous one. Navyashastra fully recognises this and rejects unequivocally as heinious and despicable the varna and guna theories and all shastras that supports this. Navyashastra understands that all
Hindus cannot be equals when such theories and the varna shastras are still amidst us. And we accept responsibility, apologise and stand in humility that we allowed these shastras to arouse our baser minds to divide, discriminate and degrade us."

Regards.

Pathmarajah

PS

Educate us on the buddhist origins of untouchables. I may not be surprised, as it may be in the origins of excommunication of peoples from Hindu society for embracing heretic faiths, blasphemy and heresy, which our saints fought against. The present day dalits may be the remnants of the once buddhists and jains who reverted to Hinduism but not quite accepted back into mainstream society.

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#873 - March 23, 2006 12:30 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
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Think it over
Caste: Beyond its passions and prejudices

By M.S.N. Menon


Reverence for the old is a commendable virtue. But it can turn into a curse. Such has been the case with the caste system. Savarkar calls it: “the greatest curse on Hinduism”. Every effort to blot it out has multiplied the evil.

The caste system creates social distance between man and man. As such, it is anti-social. It is also against the noble Hindu concept of the “human family”. To make matters worse, social distance turned into physical distance—the worst form of alienation. Unity and social cohesion became impossible after that. The Hindus became prey to foreign invaders. Their tragedy? They did not even know what caused their tragedy!

The caste system is perhaps 3,000 years old. Mahavira and the Buddha were the first to reject it. Every reformer has since opposed it. The revolt has continued to this day.

The Hindu civilisation is based on freedom of enquiry. Naturally, it promoted individualism. It went against unity and collective effort. Only a common language and religion could have brought the Hindus closer to each other. But, alas, the caste system prevented the study of Sanskrit among the lower castes and their participation in religion!

To classify men according to their aptitude (Varnashrama) is natural. (Aptitude tests are common all over the world.) But only in India, it became hereditary. More lies had, therefore, to be told to make people accept it.
But telling such “lies” was common. All in good spirit. The Panchatantra is a collection of fables. They are recited for didactic purposes—to educate princes in Rajadharma.

Purusha Sukhta, on which the caste system is based, was largely fabricated by the priestly class to justify the caste system. But why so much of atrocities? Well, was not the inquisition known for its atrocities? In Hinduism, there is more bark, than bite. Hindu societies were never strict in their observance of scriptures. Thus, the Vaishyas did engage in battles. And Shudras were recruited into the protection forces. Vastupala, the great warrior under the Chalukayas, was a Vaishya. So was Ambada, who killed the great Mallikarjuna, a Kshatriya. And do you know that the Kashmiri and Hoyasala troops were composed largely of Shudras? (See Art of War in Ancient India by P.C.Chakravarty) The point is: If the rule was broken in one place, it could have been broken all over India.

Ambedkar calls caste a “monstrous contrivance of social oppression”. Yes, it was. But the oppression in India was nothing compared to what the slaves suffered in Greece and Rome. A.L.Basham says in The Wonder That was India, that “the most striking feature of ancient Indian civilisation is its humanity.”

Early Aryans had no caste. They were priests, soldiers and peasants. Caste is a human contrivance. Aurobindo says: Caste was originally an arrangement for the distribution of functions in society. It was made into a divine order by the priests.

Three groups emerged at first: Priests, Kshatriyas and the rest.

They represented the three gunas: Satvik, Rajasik and Tamasik. Surprisingly, we find the same division in Plato. He divided men into three groups on the basis of virtues: Wisdom, Courage and Temperance. He was influenced by Vedanta.

Dr S.Radhakrishnan says: “Whatever might have been the historic basis for the development of the caste system, it has degraded the great ideals of the ancient Upanishads, which affirm, that the human being as such is a speck of the spirit, a ray of the divine. Yet we built stone walls separating peoples, exalting some as superior and branding others as inferior.” To Dr Radkahrishnan character is the only patent of nobility. That alone distinguishes one man from another. In the Ramayana, Rama tells Jabali, the Brahman cynic: “It is a man’s character and his deeds that determine whether he is a high or low born, pure or impure.” The birth principle had little support in the country, not even in the Rig Veda.

Buddha opposed the purity principle. Remember, it led to untouchability. Untouchability is a monstrosity, says Gandhi. Efforts were made to combat it. But in vain.

R.C.Dutt, the historian, writes of this priestly class: “The Brahmins as a caste are perhaps the most socially exclusive and reactionary.” But Gandhi needed their help against the British. In any case, the Congress was a den of casteists. Gandhi could make no impact on them.

Did Shankara, our greatest philosopher, approve of the caste system? He did not. In Nirvana Shatakam, he says: there is no jati beda. And when Shankara created the ten ascetic orders, he banned caste in order to make them more cohesive. What is more, he chose Shudras to man the akharas (military wing attached to the mutts)

The Muslim advent forced Hindus to close their ranks and stamp out any opposition to the caste system. It was made more rigid and fixed, says Nehru.

Manu was no supporter of the Brahmins. He says: “Brahmins who tend herds of cattle, who trade, who practice mechanical arts—must be treated as if they are Shudras.” Alas, even the reformist Arya Samaj failed to expel such people from the Brahmin community! That could have solved the caste problem.

How is one, then, to explain the persistence of the caste system? Above all, because of the support it received from the theories of karma and transmigration of souls. Perhaps from the principle of purity, also. Are we ready to give up the Karma theory? Not yet.

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#874 - March 25, 2006 12:25 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
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'CASTE' by Prof. Koenraad Elst

Caste
Verdict from Belgium


This focuses on history and how jati and varn have, for the most part, helped rather than hurt Hinduism.

By Prof. Koenraad Elst
Hinduism Today
http://www.hinduismtoday.com
September 1994


In an inter-faith debate, most Hindus
can easily be put on the defensive
with a single word -- caste. Any
anti-Hindu polemist can be counted on
to allege that "the typically Hindu
caste system is the most cruel
apartheid, imposed by the barbaric
white Aryan invaders on the gentle
dark-skinned natives." Here's a more
balanced and historical account of
this controversial institution.

Merits of the Caste System
The caste system is often portrayed
as the ultimate horror. Inborn
inequality is indeed unacceptable to
us moderns, but this does not
preclude that the system has also had
its merits.

Caste is perceived as an "exclusion-
from," but first of all it is a form
of "belonging-to," a natural
structure of solidarity. For this
reason, Christian and Muslim
missionaries found it very difficult
to lure Hindus away from their
communities. Sometimes castes were
collectively converted to Islam, and
Pope Gregory XV (1621-23) decreed
that the missionaries could tolerate
caste distinction among Christian
converts; but by and large, caste
remained an effective hurdle to the
destruction of Hinduism through
conversion. That is why the
missionaries started attacking the
institution of caste and in
particular the brahmin caste. This
propaganda has bloomed into a full-
fledged anti-brahminism, the Indian
equivalent of anti-Semitism.

Every caste had a large measure of
autonomy, with its own judiciary,
duties and privileges, and often its
own temples. Inter-caste affairs were
settled at the village council by
consensus; even the lowest caste had
veto power. This autonomy of
intermediate levels of society is the
antithesis of the totalitarian
society in which the individual
stands helpless before the all-
powerful state. This decentralized
structure of civil society and of the
Hindu religious commonwealth has been
crucial to the survival of Hinduism
under Muslim rule. Whereas Buddhism
was swept away as soon as its
monasteries were destroyed, Hinduism
retreated into its caste structure
and weathered the storm.

Caste also provided a framework for
integrating immigrant communities:
Jews, Zoroastrians and Syrian
Christians. They were not only
tolerated, but assisted in efforts to
preserve their distinctive
traditions.

Typically Hindu?
It is routinely claimed that caste is
a uniquely Hindu institution. Yet,
counter examples are not hard to come
by. In Europe and elsewhere, there
was (or still is) a hierarchical
distinction between noblemen and
commoners, with nobility only
marrying nobility. Many tribal
societies punished the breach of
endogamy rules with death.

Coming to the Indian tribes, we find
Christian missionaries claiming that
"tribals are not Hindus because they
do not observe caste." In reality,
missionary literature itself is rife
with testimonies of caste practices
among tribals. A spectacular example
is what the missions call "the
Mistake:" the attempt, in 1891, to
make tribal converts in Chhotanagpur
inter-dine with converts from other
tribes. It was a disaster for the
mission. Most tribals renounced
Christianity because they chose to
preserve the taboo on inter-dining.
As strongly as the haughtiest
brahmin, they refused to mix what God
hath separated.

Endogamy and exogamy are observed by
tribal societies the world over. The
question is therefore not why Hindu
society invented this system, but how
it could preserve these tribal
identities even after outgrowing the
tribal stage of civilization. The
answer lies largely in the expanding
Vedic culture's intrinsically
respectful and conservative spirit,
which ensured that each tribe could
preserve its customs and traditions,
including its defining custom of
tribal endogamy.

Description and History
The Portuguese colonizers applied the
term caste, "lineage, breed," to two
different Hindu institutions: jati
and varn. The effective unit of the
caste system is the jati, birth-unit,
an endogamous group into which you
are born, and within which you marry.
In principle, you can only dine with
fellow members, but the pressures of
modern life have eroded this rule.
The several thousands of jatis are
subdivided in exogamous clans, gotr.
This double division dates back to
tribal society.

By contrast, varn is the typical
functional division of an advanced
society -- the Indus/Saraswati
civilization, 3rd millennium, BCE.
The youngest part of the Rg-Ved
describes four classes: learned
brahmins born from Brahma's mouth,
martial kshatriya-born from his arms;
vaishya entrepreneurs born from His
hips and shoodr workers born from His
feet. Everyone is a shoodr by birth.
Boys become dwij, twice-born, or
member of one of the three upper
varns upon receiving the sacred
thread in the upanayan ceremony.

The varn system expanded from the
Saraswati-Yamuna area and got firmly
established in the whole of Aryavart
(Kashmir to Vidarbha, Sindh to
Bihar). It counted as a sign of
superior culture setting the arya,
civilized, heartland apart from the
surrounding mlechh, barbaric, lands.

In Bengal and the South, the system
was reduced to a distinction between
brahmins and shudras. Varn is a
ritual category and does not fully
correspond to effective social or
economic status. Thus, half of the
princely rulers in British India were
shoodr and a few were brahmins,
though it is the kshatriya function
par excellence. Many shoodr are rich,
many brahmins impoverished.

The Mahabharat defines the varn
qualities thus: "He in whom you find
truthfulness, generosity, absence of
hatred, modesty, goodness and self-
restraint, is a brahman. He who
fulfills the duties of a knight,
studies the scriptures, concentrates
on acquisition and distribution of
riches, is a kshatriya. He who loves
cattle-breeding, agriculture and
money, is honest and well-versed in
scripture, is a vaishya. He who eats
anything, practises any profession,
ignores purity rules, and takes no
interest in scriptures and rules of
life, is a shoodr." The higher the
varn, the more rules of self-
discipline are to be observed. Hence,
a jati could collectively improve its
status by adopting more demanding
rules of conduct, e.g. vegetarianism.

A person's second name usually
indicates his jati or gotra. Further,
one can use the following varn
titles: Sharma (shelter, or joy)
indicates the brahmin, Varma (armour)
the kshatriya, Gupta (protected) the
vaishya and Das (servant) the shoodr.
In a single family, one person may
call himself Gupta (varn), another
Agrawal (jati), yet another Garg
(gotra). A monk, upon renouncing the
world, sheds his name along with his
caste identity.

Untouchability
Below the caste hierarchy are the
untouchables, or harijan (literally
"God's people"), dalits
("oppressed"), paraiah (one such
caste in South India), or scheduled
castes. They make up about 16% of the
Indian population, as many as the
upper castes combined.

Untouchability originates in the
belief that evil spirits surround
dead and dying substances. People who
work with corpses, body excretions or
animal skins had an aura of danger
and impurity, so they were kept away
from mainstream society and from
sacred learning and ritual. This
often took grotesque forms: thus, an
untouchable had to announce his
polluting proximity with a rattle,
like a leper.

Untouchability is unknown in the
Vedas, and therefore repudiated by
neo-Vedic reformers like Dayanand
Saraswati, Narayan Guru, Gandhiji and
Savarkar. In 1967, Dr. Ambedkar, a
dalit by birth and fierce critic of
social injustice in Hinduism and
Islam, led a mass conversion to
Buddhism, partly on the
(unhistorical) assumption that
Buddhism had been an anti-caste
movement. The 1950 constitution
outlawed untouchability and
sanctioned positive discrimination
programs for the Scheduled Castes and
Tribes. Lately, the Vishva Hindu
Parishad has managed to get even the
most traditionalist religious leaders
on the anti-untouchability platform,
so that they invite harijans to Vedic
schools and train them as priests. In
the villages, however, pestering of
dalits is still a regular phenomenon,
occasioned less by ritual purity
issues than by land and labor
disputes. However, the dalits'
increasing political clout is
accelerating the elimination of
untouchability.

Caste Conversion
In the Mahabharat, Yuddhishtthir
affirms that varn is defined by the
qualities of head and heart, not by
one's birth. Krishna teaches that
varn is defined by one's activity
(karm) and quality (guna). Till
today, it is an unfinished debate to
what extent one's "quality" is
determined by heredity or by
environmental influence. And so,
while the hereditary view has been
predominant for long, the non-
hereditary conception of varn has
always been around as well, as is
clear from the practice of varn
conversion. The most famous example
is the 17th-century freedom fighter
Shivaji, a shoodr who was accorded
kshatriya status to match his
military achievements. The
geographical spread of Vedic
tradition was achieved through large-
scale initiation of local elites into
the varn order. From 1875 onwards,
the Arya Samaj has systematically
administered the "purification
ritual" (shuddhi) to Muslim and
Christian converts and to low-caste
Hindus, making the dwij. Conversely,
the present policy of positive
discrimination has made upper-caste
people seek acceptance into the
favored Scheduled Castes.

Veer Savarkar, the ideologue of Hindu
nationalism, advocated intermarriage
to unify the Hindu nation even at the
biological level. Most contemporary
Hindus, though now generally opposed
to caste inequality, continue to
marry within their respective jati
because they see no reason for their
dissolution.

Racial Theory of Caste
Nineteenth-century Westerners
projected the colonial situation and
the newest race theories on the caste
system: the upper castes were white
invaders lording it over the black
natives. This outdated view is still
repeated ad-nauseam by anti-Hindu
authors: now that "idolatry" has lost
its force as a term of abuse,
"racism" is a welcome innovation to
demonize Hinduism. In reality, India
is the region where all skin color
types met and mingled, and you will
find many brahmins as black as Nelson
Mandela. Ancient "Aryan" heroes like
Raam, Krishna, Draupadi, Ravan (a
brahmin) and a number of Vedic seers
were explicitly described as being
dark-skinned.

But doesn't varn mean "skin color?"
The effective meaning of varn is
"splendor, color," and hence
"distinctive quality" or "one segment
in a spectrum." The four functional
classes constitute the "colors" in
the spectrum of society. Symbolic
colors are allotted to the varn on
the basis of the cosmological scheme
of "three qualities" (triguna): white
is sattva (truthful), the quality
typifying the brahmin; red is rajas
(energetic), for the kshatriya; black
is tamas (inert, solid), for the
shoodr; yellow is allotted to the
vaishya, who is defined by a mixture
of qualities.

Finally, caste society has been the
most stable society in history.
Indian communists used to sneer that
"India has never even had a
revolution." Actually, that is no
mean achievement.

Address: Professor Koenraad Elst, PO
box 103, 2000 Leuven 3, Belgium.
Dr. Elst is a Belgian scholar who has
extensively studied the current
socio-political situation in India.

Keenly interested in Asian
philosophies and traditions from his
early years, he has studied yoga,
aikido and other oriental
disciplines. Between 1988 and 1993 he
spent much of his time in India doing
research at the prestigious Banaras
Hindu University.

http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/1994/9/1994-9-12.shtml

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#875 - April 24, 2006 01:43 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
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Registered: February 07, 2010
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From Manusmriti to Madhusmriti
Flagellating a Mythical Enemy


by Madhu Kishwar
http://www.infinityfoundation.com/ECITmythicalframeset.htm


On March 25 of this year, copies of Manusmriti were burnt by
reformers protesting against the ill-conceived installation of the
statue of Manu in the precincts of the Rajasthan High Court. The
protestors believed that the text is the defining document of
Brahmanical Hinduism, and also the key source of gender and caste
oppression in India. In the ensuing controversy defenders of
Manusmriti projected it as a pivotal canonical source of religious
law for Hindus.

In a somewhat similar fashion, Deepa Mehta's film Water revived an
ongoing controversy about whether those who exploit and downgrade
women are following shastric injunctions. In the course of trying to
explain why this debate amounts to a misunderstanding of the role of
the shastras in Hindu religious life, I commented in a recent TV
interview that Manusmriti (and other shastric texts) have as much or
as little authority for Hindus as have Madhusmriti (my writings) - or
for that matter the pages of Manushi, for its subscribers.

This perfectly serious statement was dismissed as "facetious" by many
feminists (see for example, Images of Widowhood in The Hindustan
Times of Feb. 19, 2000 by Urvashi Butalia and Uma Chakravarti).
Others, claiming to speak on behalf of Hindu culture, took my comment
as an insult to the great shastrakar himself. These diverse responses
indicate that there is a serious misconception among the modern
educated elite over the actual status and role of the shastras in our
religious life and cultural traditions.

The confusion is not theirs alone; these common misrepresentations
are an unfortunate byproduct of our colonial education which we
slavishly cling to, even though it is more than five decades since we
declared our Independence. We keep defending or attacking the same
hackneyed quotations from the shastras and the epics which,
incidentally, colonisers used for the purpose of creating a new
discourse about these writings. Their inaccurate and biased
interpretations have continued to inspire major misreadings of our
religious tenets.*

The Search for Non-Existent `Hindu Fundamentals'

The Englishmen who came as traders in the 17th century were befuddled
at the vast diversity and complexity of Indian society. Having come
from a culture where many aspects of family and community affairs
came under the jurisdiction of canonical law, they looked for similar
sources of authority in India. They assumed, for example, that just
as the European marriage laws were based in part on systematic
constructions derived from church interpretations of Biblical tenets,
so must the personal laws of various Indian communities similarly
draw their legitimacy from some priestly interpretations of
fundamental religious texts.

In the late 18th century, the British began to study the ancient
shastras to develop a set of legal principles that would assist them
in adjudicating disputes within Indian civil society. In fact, they
found there was no single body of canonical law, no Hindu Pope to
legitimise a uniform legal code for all the diverse communities of
India, no Shankaracharya whose writ reigned all over the country.
Even religious interpretations of popular epics like the Ramayana
failed to fit the bill because every community and every age
exercised the freedom to recite and write its own version. We have
inherited hundreds of recognised and respected versions of this text,
and many are still being created. The flourishing of such variation
and diversity, however, did not prevent the British from searching
for a definitive canon of Hindu law.

Perhaps more egregiously, in their search, the British took no steps
to understand local or jati based customary law or the way in which
every community - no matter how wealthy or poor - regulated its own
internal affairs through jati or biradari panchayats, without seeking
permission or validation from any higher authority. The power to
introduce a new custom, or change existing practices, rested in large
part within each community. Any individual or group respected within
that biradari could initiate reforms. This tradition of self-
governance is what accounts for the vast diversity of cultural
practices within the subcontinent. For example, some communities
observe strict purdah for women, whereas others have inherited
matrilineal family structures in which women exercise a great deal of
freedom and social clout. Some disapprove of widow remarriage, while
others attach no stigma to widowhood and allow women recourse to easy
divorce and remarriage.

The multiplicity of codes was a major reason for the wide divergence
in judgments, interpretations and reports provided by the pandits
appointed to assist British judges presiding over the newly
established colonial courts. Often, the same pandits even gave
different opinions on seemingly similar matters, confounding the
judges of the East India Company. The British began to mistrust the
pandits and became impatient with having to deal with such a range of
customs that had no apparent shastric authority to back them, since
that made it difficult for them to pose as genuine adjudicators of
Hindu law. The British were even more nonplussed because they had a
history of using the common law system, based on precedent. However,
given the myriad opinions of the Indian pandits, they couldn't depend
on uniform precedents to make their own judgments.

An Anglo-Brahamanical Hybrid

In order to arrive at a definitive version of the Indian legal system
that would mainly be useful for them, the East India Company began to
recruit and train pandits for its own service. In 1772, Warren
Hastings hired a group of eleven pandits to cooperate with the
Company in the creation of a new digest of Hindu law that would
govern civil disputes in the British courts. The Sanskrit pandits
hired to translate and sanction this new interpretation of customary
laws created a curious Anglo-Brahmanical hybrid. The resulting
document, printed in London under the title, A Code of Gentoo Laws,
or, Ordinations of the Pandits, was a made-to-order text, in which
the pandits dutifully followed the demands made by their paymasters.
Though it was the first serious attempt at codification of Hindu law,
the text was far from accurate in its references to the original
sources, or to their varied traditional interpretations.

The very idea of "Hindu" law, in fact, was as much a novelty as the
idea of a pan-Indian Hindu community. In the pre-British era, people
of this subcontinent used a whole range of markers based on region,
jati, language, and sect to claim and define their identities. Hardly
anybody identified themselves as "Hindu" - a term first introduced by
foreigners to refer to people living across the Indus River. The
British lent new zeal in bringing actual substance to the new
identity markers imposed by Europeans on the diverse non-Muslim
inhabitants of the subcontinent. The codification of their so-
called "personal laws" became an important instrument in that
endeavour.

Maha Pandit William Jones

This codification still could not put an end to the conflicts of
opinion. The British mistrust of the pandits increased, along with
their frustration at the way they thought they were misleading the
court primarily by favouring the interests of their own caste, and
dealing with a spectrum of customs that were not certified by any
apparent shastric source.

The resulting confusions and reports of corruption led William Jones
to work on a more 'definitive' code of Hindu law, as a reference work
for Europeans in India. Jones' statement says it all:

"I can no longer bear to be at the mercy of our pandits who deal out
Hindu law as they please, and make it at reasonable rates, when they
cannot find it ready made." (Derret, p. 244)
He was determined that the British should administer to the Indian
people the best shastric law that could be discovered. Jones went on
to translate Manusmriti. It became one of the most favoured texts of
the British. A policy decision was taken at the highest levels in the
India Office to keep this particular document in circulation and
project it as the fountainhead of Hindu jurisprudence, for the
purpose of perpetuating the illusion that the British were merely
enforcing the shastric injunctions by which Hindus were governed
anyway, and that they had inherited the authority to administer this
law.

Thus Manusmriti came to influence Oriental studies in the West far
more profoundly than it had ever influenced the practices of any
actual living communities in pre-British India. After Jones,
Colebrook tried his hand at a similar compilation. In a few years
time, Colebrook's translations of the Mitakshara and the Dayabhaga
became the two most frequently referenced sources in court judgments.
At the same time, several Sanskrit scholars were also writing legal
treatises, but the work of European authors on shastric law was held
in higher authority than even the genuine Sanskrit shastric works.

The British consistently promoted the myth that Hindus were governed
by their codified versions of shastric injunctions. The modern
educated elite in India, whose knowledge of India comes mainly from
English language sources, were thenceforth systematically brainwashed
into believing that the British were actually administering Hindu
personal laws through the medium of the English courts. This was part
of a larger myth-building exercise, whereby the people of the
subcontinent were taught that theirs was a stagnant civilisation. The
ignorant assumptions of our colonial rulers, that social stability in
India was due to the supposed proclivity of its people to follow the
same old traditions, customs and laws that had allegedly remained
moribund for centuries, slowly came to acquire the force of self-
evident truth over a period of time, both for those supporting as
well as those opposing British rule.

Custom vs Anglo Shastric Law

Since then, the dynamism of customary law has been in constant
conflict with the frozen and artificial Anglo-Shastric law.
Dharmashastras, for instance, were not strictly religious treatises.
Dharma itself means the aggregate of duties and obligations -
religious, moral, social and legal - delineated for every individual
and collective performing a specific role in society. For example,
the obligations and duties of a person in his role as a king (raj-
dharma) are different from his obligations as a husband or son (pati-
dharma or putra-dharma). Similarly, guru-dharma demands specific
responsibilities from a teacher just as shishya-dharma binds students
to their own set of obligations. Even war demanded a very rigorous
code - yuddha-dharma. The list is endless and refers mostly to
secular duties.

Similarly, the smritis are collections of precepts written by the
rishis, the sages of antiquity. Smritis are presumed to be the
compositions of human authors, not gods; these authors make it clear
that they are merely anthologising traditions handed down to them
over generations. They did not hesitate to propose changes and
reforms in their writings. For instance, Apastamba, whose work
embodies the customs of certain regions of southern India, and who
authored one of the most respected Sutras, takes care, at the end of
his work, to impress his pupils with the statement:

"Some declare that the remaining duties (which have not been taught
here) must be learnt from women and men of all castes." He adds, "the
knowledge which... women possess is the completion of all study."
(Mulla, Principles of Hindu Laws, N.M. Tripathi Pvt., 15th ed., 1986,
p. 15).
Neither shastras nor smritis suggest that there exists an immutable,
universal moral doctrine. Rather, they emphasise that codes of
morality must be specific to time, person, and place, and evolve
according to changing requirements. For example, Narada
states, "custom is powerful and overrides the sacred law." Manusmriti
itself stresses that the business of the ruler is not to impose laws
from above but that,

"a king... must inquire into the law of castes (jati), of districts
(Ganapada), of guilds (Shreni), and of families (kula), and settle
the peculiar law of each...Thus have the holy sages, well knowing
that law is grounded on immemorial custom, embraced as the root of
all piety good usages long established." (Mulla, Principles of Hindu
Laws, 15th ed., 1986, p. 23).
The authority to change or create new customs rests with not just the
biradari but also the kula or family. Our smritikars repeatedly
stress the primacy of custom and practice over textual axioms.

People as Law Makers

Since different smritikars documented the customs of different
communities, there were substantial differences in their approaches,
perspectives, and precepts. But characteristically, none of the
smritikars deny the authority of other smritikars or attempt to prove
that theirs is the supreme, most authoritative version of a code of
conduct. They acknowledge that the authority of the king and the law
are derived from the people. Most of the leading smritikars make
explicit statements to this effect. The Smriti of Yajnavalkya, for
instance, lists twenty sages as law givers. The Mitakshara explains
that the enumeration is only illustrative and Dharmasutras of others
are not excluded. Nor is the authority of any shastrakar assigned
hierarchical importance.

The smritikars were not rulers. Nor did they owe their authority to
any sovereign political or military power. The authority of the codes
they enjoined were not enforced by punitive measures. Their influence
depended solely on the voluntary internalisation of such value
systems by the groups to which they addressed themselves to, and
people's respect for their judgement. Actual enforcement was left in
the hands of the local communities. An oft-repeated maxim was that
reason and justice are to be accorded more regard than mere texts.
Most important of all, a dharmic code, in the rishis' view, was one
that was "agreeable to good conscience."

Gandhi is one of the few modern social reformers to have understood
this principle underlying the shastras. Therefore, he could
unhesitatingly declare:

"My belief in the Hindu scriptures does not require me to accept
every word and every verse as divinely inspired... I decline to be
bound by any interpretation, however learned it may be, if it is
repugnant to reason or moral sense." (The Collected Work of Mahatma
Gandhi, The Publication Division, Government of India, Vol. XXI, p.
246)
He goes on to add:

1) I believe in varnashrama of the Vedas which in my opinion is based
on absolute equality of status, notwithstanding passages to the
contrary in the smritis and elsewhere.
2) Every word of the printed works passing muster as `Shastras' is
not, in my opinion, a revelation.
3) The interpretation of accepted texts has undergone evolution and
is capable of indefinite evolution, even as the human intellect and
heart are.
4) Nothing in the shastras which is manifestly contrary to universal
truths and morals can stand.
5) Nothing in the shastras which is capable of being reasoned can
stand if it is in conflict with reason." (The Collected Work of
Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. LXII, p. 121).
Gandhi could present himself as a modern day sage calling upon people
to overthrow beliefs and practices that did not conform to principles
of equality and justice - or went against "good conscience" - because
he had inherited a tradition whereby the power to change its own
customary law rested with each community.

People in India have demonstrated time and again that they are
willing to accept changes in their customs, provided those who
propose change take the trouble to win the confidence of the
community, rather than attack or humiliate the community as hostile
outsiders. The success of the 19th century social reformers is
testimony to this inherent flexibility of Hindu communities. In
recent decades, the work of Swadhyaya in parts of western India, the
Radhasoamis in Northern India, and many other reform movements have
carried forward the same tradition.

Practice of Self-Governance

Thus, the practice of self-governance continues to be a dynamic
tradition in India. Each caste, sub-caste and occupational grouping
continues to assert its right to regulate the inner affairs of its
own community and does not pay much attention to either ancient
textual authorities or to modern parliament-enacted laws. When an
individual or a group in India seeks to defend a particular practice,
the common statement one hears across the country is, "hamari
biradari mein to yeh hi chalta hai" (This is how we do things in our
community) - rather than quotations from the shastras.

Those who insist on attributing our social ills to the shastras
repeat the mistake of our colonial rulers. Just as a doctor can kill
a patient through wrong diagnosis and treatment of the disease - no
matter how benign the intention - in the same manner social reformers
can wreak havoc on the people if their understanding of social ills
is flawed.

Discrimination against women or Dalits is neither inherently 'Hindu'
nor is it scripturally mandated. This is not to suggest that such
practices do not exist. Sadly enough, the disgraceful treatment of
Dalits and downgrading of women are among the most shameful aspects
of contemporary Indian society. But they will not disappear by
burning ancient texts because none of the 'Hindu' scriptures have
projected themselves as commandment-giving authorities demanding
unconditional obedience from all those claiming to be Hindus.

For example, oppressive widowhood was and is practised only in
certain castes and communities in some regions among the Hindus.
According to the 1901 census, the ban on widow remarriage applied to
only ten percent of all the communities in India. And yet, in
colonial critiques, this ban came to be projected as the universal
situation of all widows in India.

If we look closely, we will find that many of the older widows have
ended up in exploitative institutions of Varanasi and Vrindavan not
because of Manu's commands, or any other religious stipulations, or
even the dictates of some contemporary patriarch. They are there
primarily because of the failure of their community to provide secure
rights for women in the family and many are there even because of ill-
treatment by their daughters-in-law. It is also important to remember
that of all the millions of widows only a few thousand end up in
places like Vrindavan and Varanasi. True, many may live oppressed
lives within their own homes. But it is also true that many others
live respected lives as honoured matriarchs. If all Indian women are
so subordinate, as suggested by a certain kind of feminist
literature, we would not so frequently encounter the phenomenon of
the dominating mothers-in-law who, in many homes, has the power to
make or break their children's marriages. Nor would we witness
innumerable older women putting up with humiliation and neglect
because their daughters-in-law have come to acquire such a powerful
hold over their husbands that they can make them abuse their own
mothers. Those who find this description of the situation far-fetched
should do a survey of their own families. They are likely to find
both these extremes coexisting within their own family circles, along
with instances of fairly balanced and reasonably happy equations.

We are free to rid ourselves of any text that debases women or
certain castes. Let us not imagine that Manu or any other shastrakar
is obstructing our efforts to improve the lot of women or other
oppressed groups. Despite some of the very negative and offensive
things he might have said from our point of view (which many scholars
hold to be later interpolations)** Mr. Manu did have the proper sense
to pronounce that good karma was more important than biological
lineage. He also emphasised that families and societies which demean
women and make them lead miserable lives inevitably move towards
destruction. He noted that truly prosperous families are only those
in which women are honoured and happy.

I believe that Manu bhai would fully endorse my writing a
Madhusmriti, no matter how much I differ with him. He would probably
rejoice in the fact that many people of today prefer Madhusmriti to
Manusmriti because Manu, like all other smritikars, emphasised that
codes of morality are not fixed by some divine authority, but must
evolve with respect to the changing requirements of generations and
communities.

* For a more detailed analysis see Duncan Derret, Religion, Law and
State in India. The Free Press, New York, 1968; also see Codified
Hindu Law: Myth and Reality by Madhu Kishwar, Economic and Political
Weekly, Vol. XXIX, No. 33, August 13, 1994.

** See for example The Manusmriti, with critical commentary by Dr.
Surendra Kumar, Arsh Sahitya Prachar Trust, Delhi, pp.452-53.

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#876 - May 05, 2006 12:50 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Caste in Sri Lanka


In Sri Lanka, there is a caste system among the Sinhala Buddhists,
but it is not very strong and it has been weakening since
independence. There is no untouchable caste nor is there caste
violence; thus caste for the Sinhala Buddhists in many ways cannot be
compared to caste in India (or Jaffna for that matter). Previously
it was an issue for marriage, but this is dying out. In ancient pre-
Buddhist times, the Sinhalese appeared to have the same varna system
as found in the Vedas, with Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and so forth. This
continued for a few hundred years after Buddhism was established in
Sri Lanka. Then around the 2nd century CE, caste seemed to have
disappeared.. no mention of it came up either in the historical
chronicles or inscriptions. About 800 years ago, caste resurfaced
but no longer along the old varna lines. Instead there was a
remarkable similarity with the caste system as found among the
Tamils, without the Brahmins. The highest (and oldest) Sinhala caste
is Govigama which is the same as Tamil Vellala. There is the Karava
caste which originally came from the Tamil Karaiyar.

Interestingly, the Batticaloa Tamils also have a weak caste system,
even though they are Hindu not Buddhist.

Nisala

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#877 - May 05, 2006 12:57 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
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Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
VHP on Smirthis

The "Manu Smriti" or the "Yagyavalkya Smriti" has no connection with
Adi Manu or the Sage Yagyavalkya. The "Smritis" were written during
the reign of Pushyamitra about 2200 years ago. There is no reference
of such Smritis in the Mahabharata.

There are two portions in the Smritis; one is 'Yama' and the other
is 'Niyama'. 'Yama' consists of eternal values while the 'Niyamas'
were the periodic governing laws or codes of conduct meant for
running the affairs of the state of the then kings. There are more
than three hundred Smritis. They have little to do with the eternal
values of Dharma. These have been responsible for gross
discrimination that is alien to our concept of 'Ekaatmataa' (Ekaatm
Bhaava/Integralism)
that is expounded in our ancient scriptures, the
Shrutis (the four Vedas - the eternal revealed scriptures) and the
Upanishads.

Caste untouchability never existed in our society. It is the creation
of the Muslim rule because those who put up a fight and did not
convert to Islam were punished for their commitment to their
indigenous ethos and thrown out of the society as untouchables. These
heroic people are enlisted as scheduled castes. We must differentiate
between the 'scheduled castes' and the 'Shudras'. Shudras were held
with respect before the advent of the Smritis and the scheduled
castes are of recent origin created during the muslim rule.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad totally rejects the "Manu Smriti" as it has
no place in a civilized society.
The Adi Manu Smriti is the Gita as
revealed in Chapter IV of the Gita. The Dharma Sansad and the
Margadarshak Mandal of Vishva Hindu Parishad constituted of
Dharmacharyas, Sants, Mahamandaleshwars and Mahants have totally
rejected caste discrimination. They give 'Mantra Deeksha' without any
discrimination.


In the Vedas, there is no discrimination amongst the four Varnas. All
are considered genius and masterminds in their own fields and all
looked upon one another with respect. Recitation of the Vedic Mantras
in daily life was practiced by the entire society irrespective of
Varna.
As for the Ashram Vyavastha, it enabled the individual-self to
gradually unfold and expand his/her horizon of consciousness from
micro-self through family, creed, nationality and ultimately attained
absolute perfection by identifying with the universal self, the
omnipresent divine self. Man started his journey as an individual
Brahmachari, proceeded to Grihastha Ashram, then Vaanaprastha Ashram
when he dedicated himself to the service of humanity, and finally
accepted the Sannyaas Ashram in which he had to surrender his
individual self at the feet of the divine for ultimate salvation.

(Ashok Singhal)
President

Mr Singhal is now - at long last - reaching the point where Ambedkar and Periyar were already nearly three-quarters of a century ago.  This is evidenced by Singhal's unequivocal pronouncement: 
 
“The Vishva Hindu Parishad totally rejects the "Manu Smriti" as it has no place in a civilized society.”  
 
Also see:
 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/22256
Fight casteism, return to Vedant-Vasant Sathe
 

2.   But, unfortunately, it appears to be a case of growing out of myopia without any improvement in astigmatism.  Mr Singhal is still not able to see that the Gita has been contaminated by the Varnashramam as enuciated by the Manusmrti.  For instance, Gita’s Krishna admonishes it would be better to perform one’s own (inherited) profession (karma) badly rather than (seek to) excel in another, i.e. profession that one is not born into.
 
3.   Let’s remain hopeful that the VHP will slowly but surely wake up to the facts about Hinduism, and join the reformists / universalists in rejuvenating Hinduism.  They should also know that the recovery of religion would and must include the people taking back their temples, and directly engaging the deities therein in languages intelligible to them (the people).  
 
Anbudan
ARUL
http://anbudanarul.blogspot.com

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#878 - July 27, 2006 01:27 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
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http://www.nipissingu.ca/department/history/MUHLBERGER/HISTDEM/INDIADEM.HTM

Democracy in Ancient India
by Steve Muhlberger, Associate Professor of History, Nipissing University.

Extract:
Such Brahmanical classics as the Mahabharata, the writings of Kautilya and the Manu-Smrti, works that promoted hierarchy, are manifestations of a later movement (300 B.C.-200 A.D.) away from the degree of egalitarianism that had been achieved. Kautilya, who is traditionally identified with the chief minister of the Mauryan conqueror Chandragupta Maurya (fl. after 300 B.C.), is famous for his advice to monarchs on the best way to tame or destroy ganas through subterfuge; perhaps a more important part of his achievement was to formulate a political science in which royalty was normal, even though his own text shows that ganas were very important factors in the politics of his time.63 Similarly, the accomplishment of the Manu-Smrti was to formulate a view of society where human equality was non-existent and unthinkable.

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#879 - August 15, 2006 11:54 AM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Dalit Writers, Endogamy and Genetic Diseases


I agree entirely that the epics have been a shastric and social tragedy for the nation, the single disasterous source that I can trace the curse that has befallen the people. What the Koran did for the muslims so did the Epics do for the Hindus.

What can we say about the writers, Vyasa and Valmiki, both dalits, who foistered this epic religion called Hinduism on us? The religion that is practiced today called Hinduism is a Dalit Religion. Is this their curse on us? Is this why Hindus till today subconsciously treat the dalits bad? Instead of listening to the counsel of our saints Hindus prefer to listen to these two dalit writers (forgive the unintended innuendo).

Usually Hindus are quite contend in studying their shastras in isolation. We must study the impact of the Koran and the Epics on the respective cultures; one has successfully kept its believers in bondage in the medieval era, and the other entrenched itself in the fuedal era? We need to look into that. It seems to me that the only people who broke away from this feudalism were the Aryas, Brahmos, p-secs, athiests, communists as well as most of us educated in english missionary schools.

I feel the epics have served their purpose in the feudal and agrarian age and we simply have to let it go. It is becoming indefensible. Young people just dont buy this stuff anymore. No one buys the song and dance routine. The more we keep it the more we lose the younger generation to 'apathy and indifference' as Ram Swarup said but in a slightly different context though.

Like the ongoing clash of civilisations in west asia, in India there is a clash of the feudal era Hindus with the modern era Hindus. The 12th century stubbornly resisting the 21st century. Yes we have our own clash of eras. 60-70% of the Hindus, comprising dalits and OBCs do not accept the epics and never will. In our ignorance we cause pain to them each time we mention the epics. Anyone thought of it that way?

As Hindu leaders if we choose to represent just the 30% dvija Hindus, then we must accept that we will lose the leadership of the rest of the 70% Hindus to the athiests, commies and p-secs, as it as been for the last fifty years. As well as close the door to foreigners becoming Hindus. This is calamitous and unacceptable.

In my country everyone knows that Indians as a racial group have a very high rate of asthma, hypertension, diabetes, prone to strokes and heart attacks many times over and above the other communities and the national averages. The chinese on the other end are more prone to cancers. These are genetically inherited diseases.

All those taking medications for blood pressure (me included) as well as diabetes daily for the rest of our lives, are the living dead. If not for modern medicine I would have been dead some years ago as would about a hundred million Indians. Most probably these are related to restrictions on the gene pool. Lots of studies on this. Varnashrama in reality means 'restricting the gene pool'.

Endogamy is a doomsday clock counting down on the Hindu civilisation. The seeds of its destruction is already inlaid there in our genes. I guess that is one way to bring down the caste system.

People do not realise that just 300-500 years of observing caste endogamy results in todays caste marriages being effectively consanguineous ones. In other words most of our parents are actually first cousins or such. Almost incest. We should tell them that. Most of us from the subcontinent, including me, are from such relationships.

No wonder I have never had an instinctive attraction to Indian girls! Thats because they are all my sisters! I guess my genes told me 'dont'.

Pathma

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#880 - October 19, 2006 02:18 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
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#881 - December 04, 2006 03:06 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
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Registered: October 13, 2006
Posts: 6
The caste system, originally described in the Vedas, but much abused and maligned over the years, is nothing but a representation of an efficient human society. The four castes described in the scriptures are - the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, and the Shudras. According to the Vedas, an efficient human society is based on the strength of its educational/knowledge-pursuit system (Brahmin), its military and defense system (Kshatriya), its economical and business system (Vaishya), and a strong, happy, productive workforce (Shudras).

This noble representation was misinterpreted, exploited, and abused by a few in the Indian society, leading to the indiscriminate creation of thousands of castes and sub-castes, including the so-called "upper" castes. Fortunately, the caste system has been more or less abolished since Indian independence and the distinctions are beginning to disappear and there is a significant change atleast with the educated and young.

http://dharma.indviews.com

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#882 - December 06, 2006 12:06 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Hi Hinduweb,

Its good to hear that caste is disappearing from Hindu society. You may have missed many of the articles in this thread. There never was a varna _system_ in the vedas or in Indian society. There was always only a jaati system, and that was abused over time. And that many shastras, including the vedas, were padded later on with varna p***ages.

Pathma

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#883 - December 15, 2006 11:16 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
karigar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: December 15, 2006
Posts: 1
See a satirical 2 part play I posted in my blog on Sulekha ( http://karigar.sulekha.com)
"CashtSishtum, Bhoil Da Bhoot Explains" at [ http://karigar.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/casht-sishtum-bhoil-da-bhoot-explains-part-1.htm ]

Today's young are getting taken in by Unenlightened & Un-empathetic "Western" explanation of "caste system".

Comments welcome.
_________________________
For Revival & Thriv-ALL of Indic Culture.

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#884 - July 11, 2007 02:28 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
The Diversity of India

In 1992, the Anthropological Society of India published the first of an ongoing series of monographs with the omnibus title,"The People of India." In this volume, the late K. S. Singh laid out the basic findings of this immense study of the Indian people.

There are, he wrote, 4635 identifiable communities in India, "diverse in biological traits, dress, language, forms of worship, occupation, food habits, and kinship patterns. It is all these communities who in their essential ways of life express our national popular life."

Strikingly, the scholars working under Singh's direction discovered the immense overlap across religious lines. They identified 775 traits that related to ecology, settlement, identity, food habits, marriage patterns, social customs, social organization, economy and occupation. What they found was that Hindus share 96.77 percent traits with Muslims, 91.19 percent with Buddhists, 88.99 percent with Sikhs, 77.46 percent with Jains (Muslims, in turn, share 91.18 percent with Buddhists and 89.95 percent with Sikhs). Because of this, Singh pointed out that Indian society was like a "honeycomb," where each community is in constant and meaningful interaction with every other community. The boundaries between communities are more a fact of self-definition than of cultural distinction. Unity was a fact of life, not a conceit of secular theory.

The grand conclusion:
The Hinduism that cares more for its reputation than for its relevance is no longer a living tradition. It has become something that one reveres from a distance. To keep it alive, Hinduism requires an engagement with its history (which shows us how it evolves and changes) and with its core concepts (what we otherwise call philosophy). "Every formula of every religion has, in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal justice if it is to ask for universal assent."

Gandhi wrote in 1925. "Error can claim no exemption even if it can be supported by the scriptures of the world."

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#885 - August 16, 2007 04:39 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
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There is an inescapable dividing line running throughthe corpus of Hinduism:

On one side of the line ([b]the Sanskritic side
) are many writings that contain gore,contempt, divisivenesand/or hatred, philosophically underpinned by the noxious varnasrama dharma; on the other side (the Tamil side) are writings (without exception, to the extent of my knowledge)permeated by and exudinga sense of compassion, love and inclusiveness, founded on aRam (as best expounded bythe Tirukkural).

Yet Sanskrit has a substantial Tamil substratum.

Apart from the archaic Vedic Aryan language, it wasuponthe Prakrits (which are essentially NorthernDravidian languages, according to theeminent etymologist PaavaaNar) and Tamil that Sanskrit was artificially constructed.

As intended, Sanskrit was reserved for a small groupthatsought to monopolise the intellectual and spiritual life of the land.Sanskrit was thuskept away from the 'ordinary' people. (Dr Loga has been seeking to establish that the Vedic Aryan language of the RigVeda - which he calls 'Rigkrit' - is largely or derived from archaic Tamil of ancient Sumeria.)

On the other hand, the Tamil languagehas beenalways available for use by all, fromthe ruler (chief/king) to the thinker (e.g. Tolkaapiyar, Tiruvalluvar, Auvaiyyar, etc.)to the tinkerer(craftsman) to the toiler. Above all, it was intelligble to their gods and goddesses as well.(In earlier days, there was no need for intermediaries called 'priests' because people can worship God directly; those were times when God remained directly accessible without need for priestly 'brokers'!)

With the growth of Sanskrit, the language began to be increasingly used by Tamil thinkers/intellectuals as well, not unlike the manner in which English has come to be used today.

Even within the writings in Sanskritone will be able to discernthe imprints of opposingcultural influences or ideological orientations. For instance,within the Manusmrtithere aresome sectionsthat aredistinct in texture from the rest of the text or, in meaning or motivation, opposedto the main thrust ofthe text. Are these partsreally interpolations that were sneaked in?Or, are theyremnants of a much earlier Tamil text (as there are references in ancient Tamil literature to 'Manu') that has been taken over by the Sanskritists and progressively corrupted beyond recognition, and, of course, in collusion with therulingclasses.

As I have said earlier:

http://anbudanarul.blogspot.com/2006/02/sanskritisation-definition-or.html
Tuesday, February 28, 2006

'Sanskritisation': Definition or Deflection?

QUOTE
The oft-cited definition of Sanskritisation (Note 1) by the late Dr M N Srinivas, an eminent sociologist, appears to be clearly contrived to obscure a far more insidious process. In fact, Sanskritisation is no less than the (cultural) colonization of society that entails the imposition of a set of beliefs, social structures and practices (Brahmanism) upon the society, allowing it to take root progressively and in a top-down (NOT bottom-up) manner by first inducting the upper / ruling classes of the native population.
UNQUOTE

What else doesIndia's apartheid system that was cunningly constructed by the Brahmanists in the name of God, including Lord Krishna of the Bhagavad Gita, deserves to be called or characterised (other than as evil)?

For instance, the historian Anil Chandra Banerjee (formerly Professor of History, Calcutta University) writes as follows in his 1982 book:

QUOTE
There is no doubt that the caste system was in many respects a cruel and immoral system; but it was too deeply rooted to be shaken even by medieval religious reformers. (p.192)
UNQUOTE

Read that again:"cruel and immoral". That is exactly how I first felt and continue to feel.

That is the extent to which the Brahmanists had poisoned the Hindu well of water, or the Hindu pot of milk.

Thesingle greatest threat to Hinduism and Hindu/Indian society hasNOT been from the outside, but from the inside and it has beenthe socially divisive, self-serving and parasitical Brahmanism aka Varnashrama Dharma.

The biggestproblem has been that of division,corrosionand parasitism fromwithin, and thishas been figured out.

Anbudan
ARUL

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/28838

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited August 16, 2007).]

Top
#886 - November 21, 2007 12:57 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Siddhanta is Caste Free


I provided the link on the SJB, where clearly there is no caste. If its not in
the primary document then it should not be in the secondary document (the
commentaries). If it is it has to be rejected. To proceed further the enquirer
must declare categorically as to whether there is caste in the SJB or not, as
that was the original contention. We need verse and line numbers.

Siddhanta, agamism, jaati, varna and varna system has been discussed here for
years and I hope participants take some trouble, say six months, to read past
posts first, so at least we don't have to be repeating ourselves and rehashing
old stuff. In this yahoo group format there seems to be no way to compile posts
topic-wise. It will be good if at least the posts for the last one year is read
first which contains translation of the works of Appar, Karaikal Ammaiyar,
Nammalvar and others as it gives a solid background.

Siddhanta is a philosophy like samkhya, advaita or dvaita, etc., explaining the
relationship of the triad - god, soul and world. It does NOT deal with societal
relationships among humans.

Agamism is temple worship, which incorporates siddhanta as its base philosophy.
All temple worshippers are agamists, or siddhantists, no matter in their minds
they may fancifully hold other theories and description of their philosophy of
life.

Siddhanta also means, 'that which is the final irrefutable conclusion, that
which stands all tests (deconstructions) and cannot be logically refuted
anymore'. This stands independent of any text or authority.

Siddhanta was advocated by Tirumular. The nayanmars taught it. It took its final
form in the SJB by Meykandar. The rest are elaborations and commentaries on the
SJB. but they remain commentaries only.

It would be wrong to say siddhanta originated with Tirumular. For we find it in
the upanishads. We find it in the veda samhitas. It would also be wrong to say
siddhanta originated with the vedas, for we find root concepts in Sumerian texts
too. Siddhanta is simply a long standing philosophy, just getting sophisticated
over time. But remaining essentially the same, as the base concepts are temple
worship and bakti. Yagna is a branch of temple worship. But the branch is not
the tree, or a specie. We are dealing with a whole family of species and
vegetation in general on earthscape. That yagna is today represented in the
'aarathi'.

The ethics that undergird siddhanta, agamism and tamil (dravidian) society is
'aram' - Justness and Rightness, as in the Kural, and not dharma as in the
puranashastras! Praising of the vedas is not praise to varna, or brahmins. An
anology: vedas is grade school bakti hymns (bhajans or nursery rhymes). Agamas
are university degree technical dissertations. Siddhanta is post graduate
doctoral thesis. There is no conflict, simply more sophistication that overrides
primary school stuff. Graduates do not deride primary education, rather praise
it as fundamental and necessary for all.

Vedanta means the upanishads. It does NOT mean the latter day vedanta
philosophies, by the 'latter day saints' (adventists) - shankara, ramanuja and
madhva. Praise for vedanta is praise for the upanishads, meaning the secrets of
the vedas, and not aryanism, brahminism, sanskrit and what not!

Praise for a brahmin is praise of a jaati, NOT varna. It is praise for an
important part of a complementary part of an interdependent society. Praise for
brahmins does not mean non praise for other jaatis. Praise for other jaatis is
all over the place including the veda samhitas. There is praise for the
woodcutter, the prostitute, the tramp, the bandit, the witches, the politicians,
the metalworkers, praise for the dogs, and the owner of the dogs.

Jaati is an endogamous vocational clan.

Varna is the four fold grouping of the social order, a rough grouping of the
jaatis.

Varna System is varna order in a top down hierarchy, plus the implementation of
the manusmirthis secular and sacred laws including penal, family, contract, tort
and customary laws.

My contention is that we have always had a jaati system. We have never had a
varna system! We find mention of varna words (casually and innocuously perhaps)
in the vedas and agamas too, but that does NOT imply a 'varna system'.
Furthermore, we are aware of additions and accretions to texts too, including
the Kamika, and the Ajita as I have shown. These additions clash sharply with
siddhanta or the rig veda. The agamas unambiguously extol temple worship for
all, diksha for all, atmartha puja for all. It fact it says one who does not do
sambhavavrata murthi puja as a daily sadhana is an animal!. Atmartha or
sambhavavrata puja is akin to sandhyavadanam of the smartha brahmin. Saiva
siddhantins do atmartha puja. Vira saiva siddhantins do sambhavavrata murthi
(lingayat) puja.

The Kamika Agama has not yet been translated and published, so we cannot look at
selected quotes taken from commentaries. The nayanmars (and alvars) extol temple
worship for all and mukti for all in a single lifetime.

The revolt of the nayanars against the samanar and the buddhar, because they
were ATHEISTIC, and the disappearance of these religions from the subcontinent,
and the demise of sanskrit, the total eclipse of the vedas by the agamas, is
proof of the overwhelming and devastating effectiveness of agamism and
siddhanta. It was an untold catastrophe! The stuff of legends. A genocide of a
language-culture. Licking their near fatal wounds, the smarthas, varnashramists
and sanskritists retreated into the puranas, itihasas and the ramcharitmanas,
and from there in the frying pan into the fire, the further slaughter by the
arriving muslim invaders. Such was the fury of the saints.

Shunned by the gods and without any agamas of their own, these brahminists and
varnashramists wander here and there, ride on the saivas, vaishnavas and shaktas
and their temples, appearing invisible and pervasive, hold out as authorities on
everything, feigning ignorance of history and ground realities but extolling the
Latter Day Saints.

The modern Ambedkar-Periyar reformists just carried on from where the saints
left off. Today, do we need any kind of system of societal relationships among
humans?

Many, many things to explain but its best to start by reading this on Agamas so
that we can take things methodically:

Ajita Tantra
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/28266

The Magic of Tantra - Invoking the Gods, Worshipping the Gods
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/28394

Makuta, Chandrajnana and Parameshvara Agama
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/29172

Then this, a Discussion on Saiva Siddhanta we had recently, and which can be a
starter pack for aspiring siddhantins:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27352
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27639
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27668
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27701
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27745
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27778
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27819
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27832
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27868
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27887
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27909
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/27921

Read all of it without missing a single phrase!

I may, or may not deal with the rest of the matters raised. Dog-tired weary of
repeating things all the time!

Regards.

Pathma


[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited November 21, 2007).]

Top
#887 - March 25, 2008 02:23 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Milestones in Indian Reforms

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/...pe1=1&Serie sID1=1173&MatchID2=4673&TeamID3=4&TeamID4=8&MatchType2=1&SeriesID2=1177&PrimaryID=4664&Headline=
Glorious+years+for+Indian+Eves


1829 Sati Abolition Act passed.

1855 Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar pubilshed his first tract on Widow Remarriage. 2000 prints sold out in the first week.

1856 Draft Bill on Widow Remarriage introduced in the legislative council and passed as the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act; Act passed fixing the age of consent at 10; Indian Penal Code - bigamy treated as a crime and the marriage is considered void. The crime is punishable with imprisonment and fine.

1869 Indian Divorce Act 1869 Section 10, looked at issues like adultery, cruelty, desertion and mental disorder/unsoundness of mind as grounds for divorce. Section 19 cited Fraud and Section 22 allowed for impotence as valid grounds. Widow Remarriage Association started in Madras Special Marriage Act. Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872. This act was a consolidation of different small statutes of marriage of the Indian Christians. It repealed certain Acts of 1852 and 1865.

1890 Age of Consent increased to 12 after reform work by Tilak and others.

1917 Led by Sarojini Naidu, Margaret Cousins, and Annie Besant among others met with Lord Montague to demand voting rights for indian women.

1925 Indian Succession Act of 1925; National Council of Women in India was established as a branch of the International Council of Women. The organisation began with three life patrons, Dowager Begum Saheb of Bhopal Maharani Saheb of Baroda and Lady Dorab Tata.

1929 Gender Equality was adopted in the Fundamental Rights Resolution of the Indian Congress

1935 India Act 1935, granted the vote to women over 21 years of age who qualified for the same because they owned property or had a certain level of education.

1947 The Indian constitution gives right to Equal Franchise Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex but permits discrimination in favour of women.

1955 The Hindu Marriage and Divorce Act 1955 Section l3 - Adultery, Cruelty, Desertion and Mental Disorder and Unsoundness of mind. Section 10 - Impotence Section 12 - Fraud (under Voidable Marriages.)

1956 The Hindu Succession Act governs a Hindu woman's right to property.

1961 Maternity Benefit Act o 1961; Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961

1971 The Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Act, 1971 - An Act to provide for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners; Ela Bhatt founded the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) to bring poor women together and give them ways to fight for their rights and earn better.

1975 All India Medical Institute realised that foetus tests were conducted for abortion of female foetuses. 8 Forum Against Rape formed as a reaction to the Mathura Rape Case. (Now called Forum Against Oppression Of Woman)

1983 A law passed in of Karnataka which included a clause that 25% of the seats in local councils be reserved for women. Elections to these councils were hold in 1987; Kali for Women, Asia's first feminist publishing house founded by Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Monon.

1985 Hindu Succession (Andhra Pradesh) Amendment Act, according to this law the rights of the daughter are absolutely equal to that of the son even in cases of application of Mitakshara system

1987 Roop Kanwar, an eighteen year-old widow was burnt alive in her husband's funeral pyre in front of the entire village. Protests forced the government to bring in the Rajasthan Sati Prevention Ordinance (RSPO),1987 by October.

1992 Government reserves 1/3 seats in ithe Panchayats and Municipalities for woman

1997 Vishaka Judgement The Supreme Court of India Issued a judgement against sexual harassment at the workplace known as the Vishaka judgment

2001 Womens Empowerment Year Indian Divorce Act 3 of 1869 amended to remove gross inequalities mutual consent was also recognised as a ground for divorce

2004 Hindu Succession (Amondment) Bill amends Section 6 of 1956 Hindu Succession Act and removes discrimination giving equal rights to daughters

2006 The Delhi High Court passes a judgement allowing the employment of women in bars as bartenders


[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited March 25, 2008).]

Top
#888 - June 13, 2008 10:43 AM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Agamism and Non existence of Varna Society

<So we see the immense Sophistication with which Agamism DEVELOPS the mind and
because of which it sees the scriptural texts only as adjuncts to such
experiences.>

This is what makes Hindus or Agamists, different from the abrahamic faiths. They
are book centered, while Hindus are temple centered, somethign that can be
dispensed with. They rely on quotes and authorities, we rely on personal temple
experiences for pedagogy.

For Hindus shastras and books are 'fringe adjuncts only' as you concur too. It
is for this reason most Hindu homes hardly have any veda or shastra except for
little booklets containing bakti hymns. No need for books or shastra as all
memorise hymns from young, each hymn equivalent to an entire veda. But all Hindu
homes have a little shrine or altar, which is a miniature temple, and all Hindus
are pujaris, as they conduct temple like pujas in their home shrines in various
degrees of elaborations. This is Agamism. The temple and shastra is built into
each other. The temple IS the shastra.

The dharma-viewed perspective of Hinduism (or hindutva) is book centered, making
it essentially 'an abrahamic-type of religion'. We need to get the Hindus away
from the books to back to the temples.

I provided the link on the SJB, where clearly there is no caste. If its not in
the primary document then it should not be in the secondary document (the
commentaries). If it is it has to be rejected. To proceed further the enquirer
must declare categorically as to whether there is caste in the SJB or not, as
that was the original contention. We need verse and line numbers.

Siddhanta, agamism, jaati, varna and varna system has been discussed here for
years and I hope participants take some trouble, say six months, to read past
posts first, so at least we don't have to be repeating ourselves and rehashing
old stuff. In this yahoo group format there seems to be no way to compile posts
topic-wise. It will be good if at least the posts for the last one year is read
first which contains translation of the works of Appar, Karaikal Ammaiyar,
Nammalvar and others as it gives a solid background.

Siddhanta is a philosophy like samkhya, advaita or dvaita, etc., explaining the
relationship of the triad - god, soul and world. It does NOT deal with societal
relationships among humans.

Agamism is temple worship, which incorporates siddhanta as its base philosophy.
All temple worshippers are agamists, or siddhantists, no matter in their minds
they may fancifully hold other theories and description of their philosophy of
life.

Siddhanta also means, 'that which is the final irrefutable conclusion, that
which stands all tests (deconstructions) and cannot be logically refuted
anymore'. This stands independent of any text or authority.

Siddhanta was advocated by Tirumular. The nayanmars taught it. It took its final
form in the SJB by Meykandar. The rest are elaborations and commentaries on the
SJB. but they remain commentaries only.

It would be wrong to say siddhanta originated with Tirumular. For we find it in
the upanishads. We find it in the veda samhitas. It would also be wrong to say
siddhanta originated with the vedas, for we find root concepts in Sumerian texts
too. Siddhanta is simply a long standing philosophy, just getting sophisticated
over time. But remaining essentially the same, as the base concepts are temple
worship and bakti. Yagna is a branch of temple worship. But the branch is not
the tree, or a specie. We are dealing with a whole family of species and
vegetation in general on earthscape. That yagna is today represented in the
'aarathi'.

The ethics that undergird siddhanta, agamism and tamil (dravidian) society is
'aram' - Justness and Rightness, as in the Kural, and not dharma as in the
puranashastras! Praising of the vedas is not praise to varna, or brahmins. An
anology: vedas is grade school bakti hymns (bhajans or nursery rhymes). Agamas
are university degree technical dissertations. Siddhanta is post graduate
doctoral thesis. There is no conflict, simply more sophistication that overrides
primary school stuff. Graduates do not deride primary education, rather praise
it as fundamental and necessary for all.

Vedanta means the upanishads. It does NOT mean the latter day vedanta
philosophies, by the 'latter day saints' (adventists) - shankara, ramanuja and
madhva. Praise for vedanta is praise for the upanishads, meaning the secrets of
the vedas, and not aryanism, brahminism, sanskrit and what not!

Praise for a brahmin is praise of a jaati, NOT varna. It is praise for an
important part of a complementary part of an interdependent society. Praise for
brahmins does not mean non praise for other jaatis. Praise for other jaatis is
all over the place including the veda samhitas. There is praise for the
woodcutter, the prostitute, the tramp, the bandit, the witches, the politicians,
the metalworkers, praise for the dogs, and the owner of the dogs.

Jaati is an endogamous vocational clan.

Varna is the four fold grouping of the social order, a rough grouping of the
jaatis.

Varna System is varna order in a top down hierarchy, plus the implementation of
the manusmirthis secular and sacred laws including penal, family, contract, tort
and customary laws.

My contention is that we have always had a jaati system. We have never had a
varna system! We find mention of varna words (casually and innocuously perhaps)
in the vedas and agamas too, but that does NOT imply a 'varna system'.
Furthermore, we are aware of additions and accretions to texts too, including
the Kamika, and the Ajita as I have shown. These additions clash sharply with
siddhanta or the rig veda. The agamas unambiguously extol temple worship for
all, diksha for all, atmartha puja for all. It fact it says one who does not do
sambhavavrata murthi puja as a daily sadhana is an animal!. Atmartha or
sambhavavrata puja is akin to sandhyavadanam of the smartha brahmin. Saiva
siddhantins do atmartha puja. Vira saiva siddhantins do sambhavavrata murthi
(lingayat) puja.

The Kamika Agama has not yet been translated and published, so we cannot look at
selected quotes taken from commentaries. The nayanmars (and alvars) extol temple
worship for all and mukti for all in a single lifetime.

The revolt of the nayanars against the samanar and the buddhar, because they
were ATHEISTIC, and the disappearance of these religions from the subcontinent,
and the demise of sanskrit, the total eclipse of the vedas by the agamas, is
proof of the overwhelming and devastating effectiveness of agamism and
siddhanta. It was an untold catastrophe! The stuff of legends. A genocide of a
language-culture. Licking their near fatal wounds, the smarthas, varnashramists
and sanskritists retreated into the puranas, itihasas and the ramcharitmanas,
and from there in the frying pan into the fire, the further slaughter by the
arriving muslim invaders. Such was the fury of the saints.

Shunned by the gods and without any agamas of their own, these brahminists and
varnashramists wander here and there, ride on the saivas, vaishnavas and shaktas
and their temples, appearing invisible and pervasive, hold out as authorities on
everything, feigning ignorance of history and ground realities but extolling the
Latter Day Saints.

The modern Ambedkar-Periyar reformists just carried on from where the saints
left off. Today, do we need any kind of system of societal relationships among
humans?

Pathma

Top
#889 - September 28, 2009 08:59 AM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
[b]'Genetic ailments among Indians due to endogamy/b]


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/...how/5052414.cms

HYDERABAD: The Indian traditional habit of marrying within one's caste or community leads to genetic mutations, thus explaining why certain
diseases are concentrated only in a particular pocket of the population in India.

The research paper that restructures the Indian population history carries important findings that have medical implications. That many modern groups of people in India have descended from a small number of people is what scientists technically describe as a "founder event'' -- a rampant Indian practice of people marrying within small group of people.

Senior scientist with Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Kumarasamy Thangaraj says that because of this "high endogamy'' within the country, a practice that dates back to several thousand years, makes these pockets genetically unique. "Because of this, there may be mutation in the gene that leads to various diseases,'' Thangaraj says.

And thus recessive hereditary diseases (single gene disorders that occur when person carries two abnormal or malfunctioning copies of a disease causing gene) are seen among Indians who have descended from a small group of founder individuals. Thallasaemia is a case in point wherein a couple (both carriers) carrying one abnormal and normal gene each pass on the abnormal ones to the child.

Researchers say similar founder events seen in other groups, such as Finns and Ashkenazi Jews are well known to increase the incidence of recessive genetic diseases. The new study predicts that the same will be true for many groups in India. "Further studies of these groups should lead to the rapid discovery of genes that cause devastating diseases, and will help in the clinical care of individuals and their families who are at risk,'' said the study's co-author David Reich, an associate professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School.

Researchers say there is a certain genetic mutation seen specifically in the Indian sub-continent alone, which they have been able to connect with the cardiac condition. "The study gives us an understanding why the incidence of cardiac disease is different in the Indian sub- continent from the rest of the world,'' says Thangaraj. He says there would be similar diseases that can be understood genetically.

Top
#1525 - May 07, 2013 02:45 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Caste is an aspect of racism

UK set to outlaw caste discrimination

...the Equality Act will "provide for caste to be an aspect of race".

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/uk-set-to-outlaw-caste-discrimination/1106622/

Pathma

.

Top
#1526 - May 07, 2013 02:46 PM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice



Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative
ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and
resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice...

(substitute racism with casteism and sexism)

http://www.livescience.com/18132-intelligence-social-conservatism-racism.html

Pathma

.

Top
#1534 - May 09, 2013 10:43 AM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Does Hindusim even deserve to survive?

The latest episode of Aamir Khan's Satyamev Jayate focuses on Untouchability. Here is the link to watch it. http://www.satyamevjayate.in/

In the same episode he has interviewed Stalin, the director of a documentary called India Untouched. Here is the link to the documentary.
http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/5752/India-Untouch\
ed---Stories-of-a-People-Apart-

A few questions came up while I was watching these videos, especially the clips where a Brahmin in Benares claimed that the Indian Constitution was against the shastras and he would not follow it. Doesn't this sound just like the Muslim Sharia which is Muslims form of Dharma shastra?

Is Equality incompatible with Sanatana Dharma (both caste and gender)? How can we claim that the Vedas are eternal and universal and applicable to all when this is how they are being applied in real life?

"Does Hindusim even deserve to survive?"

It is painful to hear this. The answer, equally painful is, must be no. Most of
Hinduism and its culture as we saw, a semi civilised, superstitious and barbaric
society, a third world nation, of which almost nothing is worth saving. What is
the culture and ethos of this nation that sustains this? I have been saying that
for sometime, almost nothing of Indian culture can be taken into the 21st
century. It is incompatible with the 21st century as we saw in the recent Norway
case. Obviously much of the nation is uneducated, in the proper sense of the
word, as recent surveys show India has among the lowest education system and
curriculum.

What is the ethos of a culture that perpetuates staggered genocide of dalits,
adivasis, women especially brides, and recently complicit in the genocide of
40,000 tamils in Tamil Eelam? An abhorrent race, religion and culture!

I have been making adjustments. I have ceased eating with fingers for nearly a
year now, as I learnt that culture was foisted on syphilis bearing foreign
seamen and traders, then extended to dalits, then to the whole society to
maintain purity and the concept of separateness.

My wife and I decided we want almost nothing of Indian culture. One month ago,
we got rid of all the salwar kameez in the home, leaving a few sarees and dhotis
for ceremonial use only. Now, except for the altar and a few motifs on the wall,
there is nothing to suggest ours is an Indian home. We very recently chose to be
this way after all the things we have seen.

What we can take with us into the 21st century are our temples and home altar,
vedanta and siddhanta philosophy, meditation and yoga, and some temple
festivals.

The director, K. Stalin, is a communist-christian. We should commend him as an
honorary navyashastrin for his work.

Pathma

.

Top
#1535 - May 09, 2013 11:01 AM Re: Caste, Varna and Jati [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Egregiously obscene Indian inequality

A worth read. 11 pages.
http://caravanmagazine.in/essay/breaking-silence

.

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