Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What caste actually was like « Indian Realist

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    • Logic behind perversion of caste
      Ram Sawrup
      (From the Indian Express, 13th September, 1996)
    • Today casteism is rampant. It is a new phenomenon. Old India had castes but not casteism. In its present form, casteism is a construct of colonial period, a product of imperial policies and colonial scholarship. It was strengthened by the breast-beating of our own “reformers”. Today, it has acquired its own momentum and vested interests.
    • With the advent of Islam the Hindu society came under great pressure; it faced the problem of survival. When the political power failed, castes took over; they became defence shields and provided resistance passive and active. But in the process, the system also acquired undesirable traits like untouchability.
    • Then came the British who treated all Hindus equally – all as an inferior race – and fuelled their internal differences. They attacked Hinduism but cultivated the caste principle, two sides of the same coin. Hinduism had to be attacked. It gave India the principles of unity and continuity; it was also India’s definition at its deepest. It held together castes as well as the country. Take
      away Hinduism and the country was easily subdued.

      Caste in old India was a cooperative and cultural principle.; but it is now being turned into a principle of social conflict.