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Hinduism, “Caste System” and discrimination – Join the debate

9 October 2007 2,235 views 128 Comments

Dear Readers,

I am moving several comments on the Turkey and Secularism post here due to the fact that they are more to do with Hinduism and discrimination and less with the subject of the original post.

Please continue this discussion on this thread.

Thanks

*** COMMENTS BEGIN ***

1. Patriot, on October 8th, 2007

There is this whole positioning about Hinduism (excuse me, VCK) being such a tolerant religion, which has not imposed its faith on others.

I really, really want to question this:

Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is a drawdown from the polytheistic faith of our ancestors who settled in the indus valley region (wherever they came from, that is another debate!). They settled and grew in what was probably the most fertile, productive and habitable region of the civilised world then (ex the Nile region). As a result, they never needed to go out of this region to ensure survival. All they needed to ensure is that any invaders did not wipe out their gene pool. Moreover, as invaders came and settled here, the original inhabitants accepted them into their gene pool, because the Invaders were militarily MORE POWERFUL.

Thus grew the myth of peace loving, non-geographical extending hindus. But, have you considered the following: While the Hindus did not harrass any external faith, they more than made up for it by what they did to people of their own faith!!!

1. The caste system – the longest running discrimination system in the world, both in terms of number of years and volume of people discriminated against
2. The treatment of women – child marriage, Sati, widows sent off to Benares to become prostitutes, temple prostitutes, no chance of owning property, I could go on and on
3. Education – Large scale deprivation of education for 85% of the population. All prayers said in Sanskrit (not understood by 95% of the people, equivalent to Latin masses of the Roman church) – this still goes on, no local languages are used.

I can go on and on, but I think this should be a good starting point for all those who believe Hinduism to be a peaceful religion to respond? And, my point is that a lot of the above practices are STILL going on … hinduism is like a cancer that feeds on its own people.

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2. v.c.krishnan, on October 8th, 2007

Dear Sir,

It is always hinduism and Caste! What about the caste system in the “Enlightened Educated Society”.
I am always surprised that the modern “Educated Individual” (EI for short) keeps harping on Rituals and Caste in the religion.

The EI considers it abhorring and “Feels” so much for the deprived. But suppose the same EI goes to a give a lecture at a place where only a three peice/coat is made compulsory to enter the hallowed precints. What does he do, he goes to the extent of even investing in one for a single night to be a part of this “Society”
The same EI feels it very comfortable where some places known as “Exclusive Clubs” and inside that a place known as a “Bar” , where people most times find it difficult to hold their physical needs under control, and what are they expected to wear A Collared shirt, Pants, ( maybe the dhothi does not sufficiently cover the parts covered by a pant) and feet should be appropraitely covered.  This means a Jibba/Kurta, a Dhoti, and a Chappal are not wears but something else!!

No EI would like to avoid such a place as he has to be part of the crowd and the �in society�.
For the EI this is not a casteless society but subscribing to certain norms.

Why single out a way of life and state that it has these flaws and leaves out people from this activity or that activity.
Just as a club has its norms and its bye laws every society carves out a way of life for it.
When one is not anathema why is the other considered so. Is it because the underlying feeling is that it is related to the next world where one catches up with the greatest person one wishes to meet�GOD! or is it anything else?

Caste in what ever form you may call it exists in every human being. So let us get down from our high horses and feel the earth for what it is.

Regards,
vck

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3. B Shantanu, on October 9th, 2007

@ Patriot: Thanks for contributing to the discussion with your thought-provoking remarks (as always!).

Hurried response (due to time pressure):

1. I believe it would be wrong to consider Hinduism as an organised religion

2. Re. the various �ills� of Hinduism that you mention, none of them find religious sanction in the Vedas – which I believe come closest to being an authoritative treatise(s) on Hinduism.

I certainly do not think that there is any religious basis for any kind of discrimination within Hindusim – either gender-based or �caste� based. I know such practices exist – but it is wrong to say that religion demands that we discriminate against women and others.

More on this hopefully later.

Thanks for joining the discussion.

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@ Vidhya: Welcome to the blog and look forward to more comments from you in the future.

***

@ Nandan, Sanjeev and vck: Thanks for sharing your views.

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4. Patriot, on October 9th, 2007

@ Vck,

Are you really, really equating the caste system with dress codes???? And, are you justifying the caste system because �clubs� have dress codes? WOW!!!!!! That is really amazing and really, really scary. To hear such views even today.

@ Shantanu,

Thanks for your comments. I accept that Hinduism is not an organised religion like say, christianity, but its upper layers exhibit the same kind of organisational behaviour as any other organised religion.

RE: sanction of holy texts for discrimination – I do not think any �holy� text ever directy sanctions any discrimination, but the holy men of the day do their bit to twist the texts to support discrimination. This has been true of all religions (and it continues to be so in varying degree in all religions). In the case of Hinduism, though, you have had the added �inspiration� of Manusmriti, which probably started most of the regressive practices and sanctified it.

Look forward to hearing your usual balanaced thoughts on the issue!!

Cheers

***

5. Patriot, on October 9th, 2007

Shantanu,

I just read this post of yours: http://satyameva-jayate.org/2007/07/02/is-this-too-much-to-ask/

Very interesting post and also the link to Nava Shastra �.. Good to find at least one reforming religious organisation these days. If all the �Shankracharyas� start listening to what Nava Shastra is saying, we may yet make progress socially.

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6. Nandan, on October 9th, 2007

Dear Shantanu:

Many of us consider Manu Smriti as the villain of Hindu Society. I have never read it. Yet, I can quote a couple of stanzas from it. Esp. the one relating to women � na stree svatatyam arhati� is widely known to all and sundry. Even a lack of familiarity with Sanskrit language is not an impediment in understanding the meaning of the dictum.

I have always felt that Sanskrit impedes our understanding when it is used as the language for prayer. The quotes with such words as �satyam vada� , �dharmam chara� remain by far the most difficult ones for the modern non-Sanskrit scholars. However, they overcome the problem of language by reading the Ten Commandments which have been rendered in simple and easy to understand English.

I came across these two articles while browsing the internet. I think they are very informative.

http://www.india-forum.com/articles/5386/1/New-light-on-Manu-Smriti

http://www.geocities.com/lamberdar/manu_smriti.html

Regards,

Nandan

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7. v.c.krishnan, on October 9th, 2007

Dear Sir,

That is precisely the point. Dress codes are not castist but a way of life is not accepted! Why because it is acceptable to the majority who think on the lines today. So if somebody thinks that dress codes are Castist it is ooph! scary.

That is the point I am trying to drive in. Each society creates its own self sufficiency and way of life, it may start with the dress code and may end up with Talibanism!
That is more scary than this ridiculous thought as of not accepting a way of life structured to the requirements of a society and riducling it.

I will rather live with the scare of the way of life rather than the Talibanistic dress code!
Regrds,
vck

***

8. Patriot, on October 9th, 2007

Dear VCK,

Based on your posts, I have to ask you this – have you ever faced or seen the discrimination that our caste system foists on people, who just happen to be unfortunate in birth??? Or, are you part of the elite that created this structure and said that this is great for our society and we should all accept this as a gift from our forefathers??

If you want to wear a dhoti, you can CHOOSE not to go to “westernised” clubs that discriminate on attire and it is no big deal.

But, if you are BORN a Chamar, then what DO YOU DO? Wait for rebirth?

(PS: I have deliberately used that harsh word in the previous sentence)

Upanayan

Image courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Iyer_Upanayanam.jpg

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9. Patriot, on October 9th, 2007

Apartheid in South Africa – about 100 years
Slavery in America – about 150 years
Feudalism in England/Europe – about 500-700 years
Caste System in India – over 2,000 years, and still going strong

Yeah, we sure are the leaders of the world .. in world-class discrimination.

And, also give credit to those who set up and perpetuated the caste system – they created the longest running power system in the world, which survived emperors, kings, feudal chieftains, internal wars, the mongols, the mughals AND the english. WOW!!!

***

10. v.c.krishnan, on October 9th, 2007

Dear Sir,

A nose ring cost a job in London. Is it a dress code or is it a casteism? This inert thinking of caste is in prime need of extinguishment as the talibanistic and christian evangilical mentality of the Educated Intellecutal (EI) is being primed up frequently.

The traditions on which this society has grown has never looked at it as �caste�. It has looked at it only from the point view of a job and a way of life. The concept of caste �is mainly a foreign import as it exists only in the minds of the EI brought up in the talibanistic and christian evangilical educative method. The concept of divide and rule has replaced the wholesome concept of being together as a family.

Even in the Mahabharatha, Karna, the warrior is eugolised. Karna was called a �Charioteer�s son� and hence incompetent to fight with the warrior like Arjuna. There was no �caste involved here�. It was a way of life. Assuming Karna was truely a Charioteer and truly incapable and if Arjuna had fought with him it would have been one sided conflict and Arjuna would have been despiced as a Warrior as he fought with �only a Charioteer and not a true warrior�.

(I am only wondering what would have happened if Karna only had been only a charioteer�s son and Arjuna had fought with him, was there a human rights commission existing at that time – pity Arjuna).

That was not caste, it was a way of life.

Again, where Lord Rama is in search of Sita he meets Sabari, a tribal. She had tasted every fruit and kept the sweetest for him and Lord Rama ate the fruits. Here, Lord Rama is a Kshatriya / Warrior / Prince and according to the doubters of �Sanatana Dharma� an Aryan invader. (Was Sabari a part of invading race I do not know – the EI�s have to answer the question).

Coming back to the subject Lord Rama ate everything given to him was there any �caste� involved.

What are the EI�s talking: let them read the true history of India, not some history written by some guy from Cambridge or Oxford or other X,Y,Z foreign unviersity. Let him visit the Archives of BHU, Thanjavur palace, the Royal Archives of Rajasthan, Gwalior / Jodhpur / Jaisalmer and other royal families. Let the EI�s also read what is avaiable with the royal families of the Kerala.

The question is �caste� a desi or pardesi concept.

Even coming to the aspect of Buddhism, Prince Siddhartha did not leave because he was an upper caste and he found the lower caste being illiterate and downtrodden or illtreated. It was because he found the truth was not as it is seen but there was a greater truth to the way of life and he wanted to seek and attained nirvana. Even here the EI loses his protection of focusing on caste.

Buddhism is from India, I hope the EI�s do not dispute atleast this. So is caste desi or pardesi.

Unless the EI gets educated the problem will continue in fester in his mind.
Regards,
vck

*** END COMMENTS ***

Please continue the discussion below and use comment #s to refer to something said before. Hope this helps. Please also note that several comments are being caught in the “spam queue” but I am clearing it several times a day. Thanks.

Related Posts:

Is this too much to ask?

Utterly shameful and “inexcusable”

Caste, Varna and Jatis: The need for clarity in intellectual debate

Please follow the comments to Part II here.

128 Comments »

  • 1. Bharat said:

    How many of us know the origin of the word “Caste”? I am afraid, perhaps not many.

    Do we find Caste word in any Bharatiya bhasa (Indian languages), prior to the advent of British and Portuguese? NO.

    Caste is not an Indian word. It is derived from Portuguese word “Casta”. When Portuguese mercinaries and missionaries came to India, they found a kind of social (actually functional) divisions among the native people. Since their society already have Casta system, they started using the word Casta for Hindus too. British, later, popularised it and finally made a Caste-based population census in 1931.

    Greek ambassador to Bharat/India, who lived five years in Pataliputra (present day Patna) during Maurya period (3rd century BCE) mentioned several occupations (around 10) of the people. His writings contain no words as caste.

    Does that mean, we had no social divisions among Bharatiya people? We had, they are based on socio-economic functions, and not by birth-based system.
    What we had/have is Varna system. And varna is not caste. Varna is not birth-based system. Rishis/sages of Vedic times were not surname holder Brahmins like today. They were brahmans by guna and karma, e.g. Valmiki, Vedavyasa.

    Read Bhagavad Gita and see what it says about varna. Krishna says, these four varnas (Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra) are my creations based on guna (quality) and karma (actions). Nowhere it mentioned about birth-based system. It is impossible and impractical. If a Professor’s son become a criminal, does we call him Professor? If a dacoit’s son become a noble man and a saint/professor, do we call him dacoit?

    And this divisions of society based on socio-economic fuctions exists in every society and it will remain. We have teachers, bankers, businessmen, cultivators, cleaners, contruction workers etc. All are performing their own actions and not bound by birth. They may move upwardly or downwardly. Smt Mayavati, Chief Minister of UP, is a ruler now. She is performing Kshatriya funtions, do we call her chammer? Does her guna and karma has anything to do with chamra (skin) or leather work?

    What is important is the practice, practice what we preach. Those high priests here and in other medias vehemently criticise and oppose caste-system, most of them practice castism. They will be going to find a match/partner from same caste. So, lets practice and not merely criticise. By-birth castism will not go, unless we stoped practicing it; unless we accept, castism is racism and inhuman practice.

    Dr Ambedkar said, “Castism is untouchability. Unless untouchability goes, castism will not go.” So, what we need is practice, practice and practice.

  • 2. Patriot said:

    Nice theory, VCK, but you did not answer the questions that I posed in my post.

    In theory, caste can be anything …. the varnas, a way of life, whatever. In practice, in Modern India, it is a tool of discrimination and enslavement. Are you saying we should justify this as a way of life???? What about the other stuff? Shall we re-institute the practice of Sati, since that is also part of our glorious culture? How about not allowing anyone apart from Brahmins from getting educated? That should be very popular and take us back to the pinnacle of our glory.

    And, what does a nose ring costing a job in London have to do with my original point? That two wrongs make a right? Then, the London guys have a long way to go …… after all, 2000 years of discrimination is not easy to catch up with.

    I DO NOT care what the original intention behind castes was … I only care about how it is being practiced today. As they say, the road to HELL is paved with good intentions.

    And, please do not try to sidetrack this post into a discussion on western vs Indian cultures or dhoti vs trousers or whatever.

    Please read my original post and then come back to me on the merits of what I am saying and the state of our society today, not some fanciful construct of what Arjun said to Karna and how that is relevant to our caste system.

    I will not answer any more off-topic posts from you.

    What astounds me, though, is the difference in the quality/tenor of your comments in the “is india a hindu state” post and this one.

  • 3. Patriot said:

    Bharat,

    The theory of the vocation based varnas as the basis for the caste system is well known ……. but is that the social system that exists today?

    With hand on heart, can you truthfully say that a non birth-based system has existed for the last 500 years? 1000 years? 1500 years?

    I think there is enough historical evidence to suggest that the vocation based varnas degenerated into a birth-based one very early in its life. And, that is not surprising when you think about it ….. if you are a Brahmin and control access to the scriptures, would you not want to perpetuate it? If you are a Kshatriya ruler of a kingdom, will you not want to pass on the kingdom to your blood son? Or would you rather hold a contest in your kingdom to check who is the most valorous one? It is human nature – when you have power, you want to perpetuate it. And, that is the problem of our caste system …. it is a tool of power, of subjugation.

    In the current context, it is as you say …. what do you actually practice?

  • 4. Nandan said:

    I fully agree with Patriots view that discrimination of any kind, whether in the name of caste or way of life, is abominable. We must not even try to defend it. No purpose will be served by closing our eyes to facts. It is a fact that discrimination existed in India for a long time. It is also a fact that the intensity of discrimination has reduced today due to a number of reasons.

    There is no denying that oppression and suffering have turned many away from the religion of their birth. But our society has undergone many positive changes in the twentieth century. Now our task is to let such reforms continue unhindered. For this to happen, we must own up our past mistakes and provide equal opportunities for all

    However, in certain parts of India, we are witnessing the trend of reverse discrimination. Tamil Nadu is an example. There is wide spread discrimination against the Brahmins there. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The present generation must not be held responsible for the acts of a previous generation.

    Patriot has made a reference to Navya Shastra in his Comment #5. I had never heard of such a movement. What a fantastic thing to happen. We do not know whether the movement is the result of real repentance or just motivated by self preservation. Whatever it is, we must all vow to support the beautiful idea. This is the way to carry forward the reforms. It is time to stop the blame game. We must acknowledge each others contributions, take responsibility and strive to build a nation that can truly be called VASUDHA IVA KUDUMBAKAM

    Regards
    Nandan

  • 5. B Shantanu said:

    Dear All,

    The history of the caste system is too complex to be dismissed in sound-bites and short comments to a post (to get a sense of how complex, have a look at the linked article on “Caste, Varna and Jatis”)

    We have a choice of dwelling on the past and studying history OR of making sure that the evil is eradicated.

    I am clear about my own position: While I remain seriously interested in the origins of the caste system and how it morphed into what we see today, beyond a point, such a discussion becomes academic and/or unproductive.

    Instead, let us look at what we have today and how can we make it better in the future.

    A good beginning could be NavyaShastra – and I am certain there are lots of other good ideas out there.

    Can we focus on them rather than on the finer nuances of caste system (although it is a worthy topic of academic research)?

    Dhanyawaad.

  • 6. Bharat said:

    Dear Patriot,
    Nobody is denying that varna system of yesterdays degenerated into a caste-fundamentalism today. We can see, what happened in Karnataka last few weeks is purely a caste-fundamentalism politics.

    However, we can’t generalise the time period of degeneration, as it varies from region to region. Even today, there are places in Bharat where hardly anybody cares about caste and most don’t know what caste he/she belongs (e.g. Hindus of Asom). But again, politics there goes by other factors as ethnicity etc.

    Caste is the main bottleneck for unity among Hindus, at least in a major way. And it seems, increasing day by day due to power-politics.

    What is the way out? Its only through good education, education which builts characters and bring self-confidence. Those who reads Vedanta philosophy, I can say at least they understand the danger of caste system and try to reform themselves and others. Swami Vivekananda is an example before us. He relentlessly fought against caste system. While he was in Kerala, he found Kerala is the mad-house of castism.

    I practice Vaidic/Vedic Sanatan Dharma or Hindu Dharma. To identify, I call myself a Hindu, infact a proud Hindu. As a national, I identify as Bharatiya. In day-to-day life, my guna-karma passes from one end to another, all the functions of varna system (whether divide into four or eight or hundreds). I am sudra at one time, vaisya at another, kshatriya at another and brahmin at another time and so on. They are like sometime I teach, sometime I shop, sometime I clean home, sometime do rajniti/politics and so on.

    Vedanta is the answer to all problems. It sees divine in every creatures, every human beings. Only we need to realise that. Once realised, not only caste system, even religious barriers will disappear from mental state.

  • 7. Othena said:

    Here is a perspective to consider…
    As societies with philosophical underpinnings go, India is perhaps the only place on earth that has the caste concept has so visibly entrenched itself in its communities. And though it has also been pointed out by many that, such visible divisions exist in all societies outside of India, yet India alone has laboured under this seemingly unshakable hereditary based tradition. Why is that?

    I suggest that a fundamental and pervasive quality in Indian society, that all life is sacred, has contributed much to the evolutionary twists and turns that has made caste into what it is today. All transactions of trade, commerce and nation building in India was guided by this overriding dictat of ahimsa. The practice of caste was a perfect accomodation of such ideal not only did it allow for life to proceed in an orderly productive and efficient manner, it also provided the ultimate essentials of security (roti, kapada & mahkan) for all, in plentiful measure. It made India into the fabled land of milk and honey

    As against this purely Indian idea (of ahimsa), societies outside of India held no such over-riding value. As is commonly known, the warring mentality of semitic socities arabs and europeans (one could add to it, the mongols, the tartars, the huns, the aztecs and other assorted tribals of asia and africa) – settled all manner of governance and disputes with the winner takes all way of the beast, often after bitter and bloody battles. Men among the defeated were slaughtered, and the spoils women, children and booty were fair game for the victor.

    What set to change the idyllic pace of life in India, was with the arrival of the barbarians at the gate. The Indian subcontinent was for large part of its history isolated by natural geography the Himalayan mountain ranges and the vast oceans elsewhere. Although history records many incursions by hostiles into north India, these were by and large insufficient to impact the Indian society significantly.

    The first major arrival into India of a very different class were the Muslims, whose were motivated purely by the promise of lucre and booty. Yet they were different because for the first time among aliens, they possessed a codified set of beliefs, the Islamic commandments, hostile and iconoclastic, and one that could be impressed against the, heretofore, sway of Hindu practices.

    The gradual expansion of Islam into the subcontinent saw the beginning of a diminishing control the Hindus had over the productive output of their lands. The Muslim overlords were essentially takers; their vast kingdoms had to be serviced through the toil of Hindus (the jizya taxation) and frequent bouts of violence against local authority. Matters got even worse when 600 years on, the British through guile and cunning usurped dominion over the subcontinent, and proceeded to impose even more draconian forms of taxation while systematically destroying the very fabric of indigenous culture, education, health, agriculture and industry (all with a view of establishing British dominion in perpetuity.)

    The effect of losing soverignity for over 800 years, must have created enormous social stresses in the Hindu social practices. Yet while consciously and subconsciously accomodation the spirit of ahimsa, the caste system that once upon a time was the engine of productivity and security, must necessarily have morphed into an unrecognisably grotesque caricature of what it now is. Desparate times bring forth desparate measures.

    There are famous scietific studies on behaviour (Calhoun Population Density and Social Pathology) that suggest that populations gradually deprived of resources tend to transit from organised social behavioural norms into chaos and anarchy, even with instances of cannabalism. When viewed against this background, some amazing patterns emerge. While Hindus may be castigated for their casteist practices, they have never been known to habitually indulge in the mindless orgies of slaughter at the slightest pretext of social, economic, political or religious discord, as even present day histories show non Hindu societies are capable of.

    It is therefore my contention, that when India is able to raise its fortunes to meet minimum economic standards of living, the grievances of casteism will melt into the fogs of memory.

  • 8. Vishnu said:

    Indian societies have discriminations among Jathis which is a form of social problem. To conclude that this problem is only unique to Indians is a sign of ignorance. All societies whether progressive or not has discriminative practices among its clans, ethnic groups, linguistic groups, caste based groups, ideological groups, social groups, religious groups, racial groups, etc.

    For instance, racial discriminations is very prominent and a critical problem in most Western societies even today if compared to Asian societies. What about discriminations against ethnic groups? Well it is prominent is all places.

    What about Linguistic discrimination? It is a kwon fact that Linguistic chauvinism is very prominent in European countries. What about discrimination against Sanskrit in India?

    What about discrimination on the basis of religion? The Muslims and Christians split the world into Believers vs. Non-Believers and this is sanctioned in their holy scriptures. Thus the need for conversions. It is the thought of intolerance that arise from the belief that their faith is superior from the other that makes them to seek to convert everyone to their brand of believe system. Isn’t this “religious racism/chauvinism”? How much violence has this from of “racism” or “chauvinism” has created in this world?

    Today we can see how the Communist/Atheist or those subscribe to Marxism… abuses Hindus, are anti-Sanskrit and anti-Brahmins in general. They discriminate against and suppress Hindu interest, Sanskrit or Brahmins just because it does not serve their ideological motives. Isn’t this a from discrimination? Why do you think many Tamil Brahmins fled Tamil Nadu? Isn’t it because of discrimination and suppression of their rights? What about conflicting ideologies such as Secularism, Communism, Marxism, Capitalism, Socialism, Democracy, Consumerism etc.? Arent the proponents of these ideologies discriminates or against those who does not conform to these ideologies?

    The list is unlimited…

    My point of drawing these parallels is to make this very important point!!!

    1. Racism is bad… but does that mean Race is a bad thing? Are we supposed to obliterate all Races? or shall we turn anti-Race?

    2. Linguistic chauvinism is bad… but does that mean Language is a bad thing? Are we supposed to obliterate all Languages? or shall we turn anti-Language?

    3. Religious chauvinism or conversions is bad… but does that mean religion is a bad thing? Are we supposed to obliterate all Religions? or shall we turn anti-Religion?

    4. Jathi based discrimination is bad… but does that mean Jathi is a bad thing? Are we supposed to obliterate all Jathi? or shall we turn anti-Jathi?

    5. Ideological imposition or discrimination is bad … but does that mean Ideology is a bad thing? Are we supposed to obliterate all Ideology? or shall we turn anti-Ideology? For instance anti-Secularism, anti-Marxism, anti-atheism, anti-Capitalism, anti-Democracy?

    Christianity and Islam has caused the greatest amount of conflicts, destructions, holocausts and deaths in the world because of its castists religious propagation, but how is that no one — in spite of so much intolerance and discriminations that sprung from these scriptures are not propagating that these 2 religions should be obliterated to solve the world problem?

    Thus, if one is really looking into resolving the Jathi based discrimination, anti-caste or anti-Jathi propaganda is not the solution. It is an age old propaganda initiated by the Christian missionaries to convert the pagans. Their motives and agenda is still ongoing in present India and they make sure that the caste issue is alive. Thus the motive behind their dominance in acquiring the Indian Medias.

    It is no doubt that the discriminatory act of humans that causes these problems. Therefore the need of the hour is transformation of humans by inculcating Human Values and Dharmic thought in them. Therefore talk about the deterioration of human values and dharma in today’s societies irrespective of race, caste, gender, religion, language etc. Be a true reformer by transcending these superficial bounders. Those who are talking against caste are just playing politics to serve their own agenda and it will not lead anyone anywhere except it will bring more hatred and intolerance.

    Just look around and see who is talking about deterioration of Human Values and Dharmic thought today? They are the true reformers! The others are just talking politics to serve their own hidden agendas which will end in hatred and intolerance.

  • 9. Nandan said:

    Hollow words will not alleviate the sufferings of a hungry man. Food will. A dose of Vedanta will not reduce the pain of an ailing man. An ounce of medicine will. This is what we must understand.

    Action has no substitute. We must act to reform and hasten to remove discrimination. This is where we must focus our attention.

    Regards,
    Nandan

  • 10. Vishnu said:

    In US, there is no problem of food and medicine… but yet why there are so many social ills and sufferings?

    In fact they should have become a ideal society by now if food and medicine is the only need.

    You can give food to solve the hunger for a time being and you can give medicine to cure an illness temporarily… but it will not solve the problem!

  • 11. Nandan said:

    Dear Vishnu:

    There is a popular saying in Malayalam. Roughly translated it means, “Even if you beat your mother, there will be people who support you and those who criticize you. Some will say, ‘ Well done!. The old girl deserved it.’ There will be others who would say, ‘ You shoudn’t have done it. After all, she is your mother’. ”

    People can go to any extent to justify their views and actions. But the question here is not winning an argument. Of what use is analysis and counter analysis if we lack the collective will to evolve and move forward?

    Are we forever going to be talking about our glorius past and do nothing about the miserable present? Must we be so naive as to say that we will not address the problem until the causes have been conclusively determined?

    Is it proper to say that Indians can go to dogs since even America is not an ideal society? What a logic!

    Regards,
    Nandan

  • 12. Vishnu said:

    You draw logic without even understanding my point. Food and medicine just resolves temporal problems and it will not tackle the root problem. Don’t reduce a great and ancient nation like India to a mere food and medicine problem.

    Why do you feel uncomfortable when someone talks about our glorious past? What made you to think that a person who talks about the glorious past is incapable of resolve the present problems? How does then being negative about the past help to resolve the present problems?

    Can I ask, are we forever going to be talking negative about our past and do nothing about the miserable present?

    You see… these is straw man’s argument!

  • 13. Patriot said:

    RE: Vishnu,

    Discrimination happens everywhere …. does that mean it is okay to justify it in India? The thing that amazes me is this: If you talk to any White in US or Europe (except the white supremacists), they will denounce racism and say it needs to be wiped out. Yes it exists, but it is bad. But, in this thread, I find people willing to justify casteism (under various pretexts)!!!!! So, are you a Caste Supremacist?

    RE: Othena, you say
    “While Hindus may be castigated for their casteist practices, they have never been known to habitually indulge in the mindless orgies of slaughter at the slightest pretext of social, economic, political or religious discord, as even present day histories show non Hindu societies are capable of.”

    That was my whole point in the second post ….. that while the other groups/races/religions took out their violence obvertly and on other groups, the violence of hinduism/indians was subtle and internalised. We fed on our own people. So, yeah, we do not slaughter others, we just keep millions of people in slavery like conditions.

  • 14. Patriot said:

    RE: Othena, you said

    “The effect of losing soverignity for over 800 years, must have created enormous social stresses in the Hindu social practices. Yet while consciously and subconsciously accomodation the spirit of ahimsa, the caste system that once upon a time was the engine of productivity and security, must necessarily have morphed into an unrecognisably grotesque caricature of what it now is. Desparate times bring forth desparate measures.”

    Sure, blame everything on the invaders, the foreigners ….. Indira Gandhi would have been proud of you. Remember the “foreign hand”??!!

    We have a previous poster demonstrating
    (unwittingly) caste based discrimination in the Mahabharata….. when Arjuna refused to fight Karna, because he was a Charioteer’s SON ….. oho, I thought the birth-based caste system was a recent phenomenon?????? By profession, Karna was a Warrior, so why would Arjuna not fight him????? HA! So much for our glorious past. And, then there is the whole Parshurama episode of Karna being cursed by Parshurama because he had Kshatriya blood in him and had not revealed it to him …… so, please can we stop with this charade of birth-based caste being a recent phenomenon.

  • 15. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Sirs,
    It is sad to note that it is we vs them. It is not a we vs. them it is process of integration that we are working for. It is of no use but only a cause for concern if one does not undestand the concept of dharma.
    Unless one does understand the concept the person will think as the Christian Evangelist has taught him to think. Unless one understands the idea of a greater civilisation the underlying Christian Evangelical spirit will never die.
    A person must be willing to understand, wishing to understand and wanting to understand, but if it a Christian Evangelist to whom one wants to address this issue of dharma shastra it will like trying to fill up a well with a broken pot or listening to music on a broken gramaphone which can never get to the next step.
    If one understands the concept of Dharma, then one will understand the philosophy of Arjuna not fighting a charioteers son, but with a fundamental flawed thinking of anything goes including kickass the way of life! then it is a very difficult situation.
    For the Evangelical educated person Bush will a peace monger as he went about smashing the head of Saddam as he could not find any WMD’s. I am reminded of a fable which I read during my childhood.
    A tiger is drinking water upstream and a deer is drinking in the same stream down below. A Tiger and a deer, WOW!, the tiger turns to the deer and asks why are you muddying the stream?
    This the type of Dharma that these Christian Evangelical educated individuals will understand and not that is being discussed here.
    I should any way continue to add that as Shri. Bharat adds that unless we practise the understanding the Vedas these anomolies of caste will continue.
    Unless the real Way of Life as prescribed by the Vedas is understood and practised the festering wound will continue.
    Once the Vedic way of life is appreciated, then this wound will get healed as the Vedas do not prescribe caste in any form, including Jathis.
    The concept of Varna has to be understood further if one has to place reliance on the Vedas. It very clearly stated that each type of service has its dharma and when one reaches the ultimate stage of acceptance as everything as the Consiousness then even the concept of dharma disappears.
    The analysis of Shri.” Othena” was wonderful and saluations to you sir. I cannot say “Hats of to you as” as it is of foreign origin and I would like to stick as far as possible something from the ancients of this land!
    Shri. “Vishnu” you are absolutely right, food and clothing will not solve the problems and as stated by you we have a duty to solve the current crisis and this can be done only if we go back to our moorings. As beautifully analysed by Shri “Othena”, unless we get back our pride and our self respect destroyed by the Talibans and the Christian Evangelicals, it will never happen.
    It is time that we put our shoulders to the wheel and see that we get back the Vedic way of life in place and sort this cancer caused by the Talbanisation and Christian Evangelical Education of the past.
    Regards,
    vck

  • 16. Othena said:

    Re: Patriot you said

    * That was my whole point in the second post .. that while the other groups/races/religions took out their violence obvertly and on other groups, the violence of hinduism/indians was subtle and internalised. We fed on our own people. So, yeah, we do not slaughter others, we just keep millions of people in slavery like conditions.

    ** Youve gone off a tangent. My point is not as you suggest, rather it seeks to hypothesise (or expose) the effects arising from the conflict of fundamentally opposing forces … the impact of himsa on ahimsa and the resultant dynamics on the ahimsa based society, wherin it retreats into a fear based insular outlook , as a means for self protection. That would explain the rigidification of caste constructs over time a reactive mechanism for self preservation, as against its once open, flexible and productive character. If this point is understood, then of course the symptoms of such would be manifest as you cynically conclude we just keep millions of people in slavery But lets not misunderstand cause and effect.

    * Sure, blame everything on the invaders, the foreigners .. Indira Gandhi would have been proud of you. Remember the foreign hand??!!

    ** Are you so easily detracted, as to miss the wood for the trees? Does the clarification above help? And your harking to a passage from the Mahabharatha to bolster your argument is hardly helpful. That single episode can be interpreted in so many nuances eg. a righteous outlook of not seeking unfair advantage in skills; karmic implications of exploitation; compassion for the ignorant; upholding of dharma etc etc. So too with the Parsurama episodes. That you should choose to understand these epics from a jaundiced, casteist view point is only reflective of pent up bitterness and frustrations. Cutting the nose to spite the face is hardly recommended as a panacea for understanding aberrations in societal behaviour and rectifying it judiciously.

  • 17. Vishnu said:

    Patriot,

    You said… “Discrimination happens everywhere . does that mean it is okay to justify it in India?”

    Did I justify discrimination anywhere in my post? Don’t try to twist and turn… it only shows you can’t discuss earnestly.

    Then you said..

    “If you talk to any White in US or Europe (except the white supremacists), they will denounce racism and say it needs to be wiped out. Yes it exists, but it is bad. But, in this thread, I find people willing to justify casteism (under various pretexts)!!!!! So, are you a Caste Supremacist?”

    Again did I ever say anything in favor of caste based discriminations? I do not see anyone here justifying caste based discrimination too. But that does not mean we must be against at caste itself. Yes we will here that the Whites are against racism, but they are not against RACE period.

    I gave few illustrations to make this point very clear, yet you are not able to comprehend.

  • 18. Vishnu said:

    A general note…

    I do no see any justification when someone blames the Hindus for caste based discriminations. 1st of all understand that it has nothing to do with Hindu dharma.

    For those who like to blame Hindus… think about this…

    1. Why the caste based quota system is practiced today in India? Did Hindu scriptures asked for it?
    2. If caste based discrimination is bad, then what is the need for Caste Based reservations? Isn’t it a state sponsored discrimination? If Hindus wants to do reverse-discrimination for what the Muslims and Christians did when they invaded this land… will it be justifiable?
    3. isnt the Caste Based reservations system have given Caste based discrimination a legal underpinning in education, jobs and etc?
    4. Why the DMK government in Tamil Nadu which is against-Hindus in most aspects who supposed to champion the anti-caste discrimination is in favor of caste and religious based reservations?
    5. What about the so called Seculars, Communists, etc. why are they in favor of caste based reservation too?

    Do any Hindu organizations, Gurus, or Seers asked for it? Then why are people blaming the Hindus?

    If anyone really cares and wants the caste based discrimination to end, then why nobody is asking the discriminative caste based reservation to be repelled? Why don’t we follow the merit system?

    Those who keep harping on Hindus without even questioning the discriminative caste based reservation system are a just bunch of hypocrites. It only exposes their anti-Hindu attitude!

  • 19. Patriot said:

    RE: Vishnu,

    “I do no see any justification when someone blames the Hindus for caste based discriminations. 1st of all understand that it has nothing to do with Hindu dharma.”

    Yeah, let us just blame the aliens from mars for the caste system

  • 20. B Shantanu said:

    Bharat, Othena, Vishnu, Nandan, vck and Patriot: Thanks for a very lively and engaging discussion.

    ***

    @ Patriot: I feel Vishnu may have been referring to the true meaning of “Dharma” when he said, “1st of all understand that it has nothing to do with Hindu dharma.

    I do not want to split hairs here but “Dharma” is not religion. The closest equivalent word for religion is “Pantha” (and the adjacent word, “SampradAya”).

    For an interesting analysis & interpretation of this term, pl. have a look at:

    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2005/11/14/excerpts-from-word-as-a-weapon/

    We need to be careful in choosing words (although I do understand what you mean).

    I personally feel that the “caste” system is more rooted in socio-cultural mores than in religions texts – and that gives me hope that it is (more) a matter of social reform rather than religious (re)interpretation – which can be very hard.

    Thanks all for contributing to the debate and I wll continue to watch this with great interest.

  • 21. Patriot said:

    RE: Vishnu, re your questions -

    1. Why the caste based quota system is practiced today in India? Did Hindu scriptures asked for it?

    This is so pathetic that it is laughable. This is a standard attempted escape clause by religious types when cornered …… Oh, my holy book did not say this. No scripture ever says go out and do evil. Yet men twist the scriptures to suit their needs and go out an do evil in the name of the scriptures. So, if you notice, I never blamed the vedas for the caste system. I said Hinduism (as it is practiced). And, your problem with that stand IS?

    Why dont all the Brahmin Samaj’s in India come out and unequivocally condemn the caste system and throw open the gates of all the temples to all hindus? That, at least, would show intent, right?

    2. If caste based discrimination is bad, then what is the need for Caste Based reservations? Isnt it a state sponsored discrimination? If Hindus wants to do reverse-discrimination for what the Muslims and Christians did when they invaded this land will it be justifiable?

    LET ME SAY THIS UPFRONT WITHOUT AMBIGUITY – I THINK CASTE BASED RESERVATIONS WAS A VERY, VERY, VERY BAD IDEA. AND, I DO NOT SUPPORT IT.

    I think the issue in 1947 was that affirmative action was needed to end centuries old discrimination, and the leaders fixed upon reservation. Which was a terrible thing because it just hardened caste lines, instead of mitigating them.

    However, I would like to know from readers of the blog what THEY would have done in this case? I have my own ideas, which I will share later.

    3. isnt the Caste Based reservations system have given Caste based discrimination a legal underpinning in education, jobs and etc?

    See above.

    4. Why the DMK government in Tamil Nadu which is against-Hindus in most aspects who supposed to champion the anti-caste discrimination is in favor of caste and religious based reservations?

    The TN govt has been the most aggressive with reservations …… is it because the terror of brahmins was the highest in this state pre-independence? (I remember reading something like that) Or is it because that the lower castes were proportionately significantly higher in TN? I dont know, Maybe some one from TN can educate us.

    THERE ARE NO RELIGION BASED RESERVATIONS IN INDIA TODAY, NOR HAVE THEY EVER BEEN. Please do not lie and try to confuse the issue. (The recent AP reservation for muslims is before Supreme court, and the probability is very high that it will be thrown out)

    5. What about the so called Seculars, Communists, etc. why are they in favor of caste based reservation too?

    Can you say, vote bank politics? It is the same reason that politicians in mumbai do not allow our slums to be cleared. It is not a religious or social thing for them.

    I hope that this attempt to confuse matters is now laid to rest. As I said before, two wrongs do not make a right.

    I wonder if some of you folks are into holocaust denial as well?

  • 22. Patriot said:

    Vishnu said

    “Again did I ever say anything in favor of caste based discriminations? I do not see anyone here justifying caste based discrimination too. But that does not mean we must be against at caste itself. Yes we will here that the Whites are against racism, but they are not against RACE period.”

    Why not? Why should we not be against Caste and Race? What useful purpose to do they serve except to divide people? Why should they be markers for people and why should we not eliminate them completely except for the purpose of genetics research? Would you rather be known by your achievements or your race/caste/breed/zoology specimen?

  • 23. Patriot said:

    I have an anthropological/social theory about the use of caste/race in modern times -

    The achievers break through the barriers imposed by caste/race/clan and want to be identified on their own merit and their own achievements. Their identity supersedes clan identity.

    The non-achievers are the ones who cling to such clan identity, because they see themselves as less actualised, less powerful and less protected than the achievers. So, they run to the collective strength of their clans for power and protection.

    Views?

  • 24. B Shantanu said:

    @ Patriot:

    “I wonder if some of you folks are into holocaust denial as well?”

    Somewhat below the belt, I think? Hope that was not the intention.

  • 25. Patriot said:

    RE: Shantanu,

    ” I wonder if some of you folks are into holocaust denial as well?

    Somewhat below the belt, I think?”

    Yes, probably.

    But, read the posts above — all glorifying the caste system, trying to subvert the debate and move it into other channels, not a straight answer to any of my questions, and not a single word of condemnation for what the caste system has ACTUALLY DONE to people — wouldn’t that, at least, partially justify the barb?

  • 26. Patriot said:

    RE: Othena, you said:

    “My point is not as you suggest, rather it seeks to hypothesise (or expose) the effects arising from the conflict of fundamentally opposing forces the impact of himsa on ahimsa and the resultant dynamics on the ahimsa based society, wherin it retreats into a fear based insular outlook , as a means for self protection”

    My point is that your fundamental hypothesis is irreparably flawed. Ahimsa is not a hindu concept. It is a Buddhist and Jain concept, that was absorbed into Hinduism and made popular by Mahatma Gandhi. There is no historical evidence to suggest that Indian society was more or less violent than any other societies of its time. We did not venture out through the Khyber pass, and we were the victim of more powerful aggressors, that is all.

    Please educate me if you think I am wrong.

  • 27. Othena said:

    RE: Patriot, you said:

    “Please educate me if you think I am wrong.”

    Ahimsa is not some patented invention. It is a facet of the truth revealed to every seer and saint that has lived or is living. Read Pathanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga – it is the very first item under Yama.

    And if you don’t think Hindu society has not been influenced by ahimsa because the Buddhist and Jains and Gandhi have a copyright on it, well God bless you.

  • 28. Vishnu said:

    Patriot, you said…

    “Oh, my holy book did not say this. No scripture ever says go out and do evil.”

    Are you sure no scriptures ever says go out and do evil? Have you ever read the Bible and Quran? Anyone who had read these scriptures will never dare to say this. Hope you will do more research before you make such statements.

    you said…
    So, if you notice, I never blamed the vedas for the caste system. I said Hinduism (as it is practiced). And, your problem with that stand IS?

    First of all, what is your understanding about the term “Hinduism”? If you think of Hinduism to mean inclusive of all that is originated from India [Vedanta, dharma, its history, culture, social system, way of life, all margas (spiritual traditions), ayurveda, yoga, tantra, vedas, puranas, sastras, jyotisha, vastu, sculpture, music, dance, sanskrit, tamil, etc.] as it is synonymous to “India” then, it is true that it is part of Hindu social system. But if you do not see it this way, then it is improper to term it as Hindu and to be more precise, it is part of Indian social system. That is why; this social practice still exists among the Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. It is part of the Indian social practice.

    To be more precise… it is not really a “caste system” as we had no such term before… it is called “Jathis”… which is a non-rigid social sub-group. We don’t call racial groups as “race system” even though it is more rigid then Jathis. The term “caste system” was pioneered by the Portuguese and then the British made it a rigid system when they started to catalog and institutionalize the Jathis. Today it is more rigid in a sense that it is endorsed by the state government legally for reservations.

    Why dont all the Brahmin Samajs in India come out and unequivocally condemn the caste system and throw open the gates of all the temples to all hindus? That, at least, would show intent, right?

    I guess you meant caste/jathi discrimination and not Jathi itself. If a jathi is discriminated from entering a temple then it is condemnable. I am seeing more and more Hindu organizations are doing this and it will create more awareness as time to come. Yes if you wish Brahmins to come out and show their intent… then go all out for it but if you turn anti-caste or anti-Brahmin then it will send a wrong message. Remember jathi based discrimination is not just a Brahmin vs. non-Brahmin issue, but it is prominent among all jathi groups.

    your question on the caste based reservation system…
    I would like to know from readers of the blog what THEY would have done in this case?

    If there is some section from the society that needs to be aided or given priorities due to their poverty or illiteracy, then the criteria should be based on the poverty level and NOT JATHI or religion!

    The TN govt has been the most aggressive with reservations is it because the terror of brahmins was the highest in this state pre-independence? (I remember reading something like that) Or is it because that the lower castes were proportionately significantly higher in TN? I dont know, Maybe some one from TN can educate us.

    How the 3% of the population terrorized the 97% of the populations? Any records that proves this as we see in the case of apartheid? How that is when the Muslim and the British ruled India, the Brahmins were so powerful? Any evidence to justify this or it is just a wishful propaganda?

    THERE ARE NO RELIGION BASED RESERVATIONS IN INDIA TODAY, NOR HAVE THEY EVER BEEN. Please do not lie and try to confuse the issue. (The recent AP reservation for Muslims is before Supreme court, and the probability is very high that it will be thrown out)

    Read some news and update yourself…

    State Assembly passes Muslim reservation Bill
    http://www.hindu.com/2005/10/06/stories/2005100622070100.htm

    Tamil Nadu includes Muslim, Christian backward groups in quota
    http://www.rxpgnews.com/education/Tamil-Nadu-includes-Muslim-Christian-backward-groups-in-quota_22548.shtml

    Also read this blog..
    The truth about christian/muslim reservation in Tamil Nadu
    http://vichaarah.blogspot.com/2007/04/truth-about-christianmuslim-reservation.html

    Well things are getting worst then expected! Is it because of Hindus????

    Can you say, vote bank politics? It is the same reason that politicians in mumbai do not allow our slums to be cleared. It is not a religious or social thing for them.

    Yes exactly. My point here is… it has nothing to do with Hinduism or its scriptures… but just politics.

  • 29. B Shantanu said:

    @ Nandan: Thanks for the link at comment #6 (in the post above).

    I had a quick look at them. The “New Light on Manu Smriti” is particularly interesting:

  • 30. Patriot said:

    Vishnu,

    You have no credibility left with me. I will just answer this part and leave the rest, not worth spending my time to comment:

    You say:
    ” State Assembly passes Muslim reservation Bill
    http://www.hindu.com/2005/10/06/stories/2005100622070100.htm

    Yes, the AP state assembly passed such a bill. The Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional. The AP State assembly has since passed another bill saying 4% reservation for muslims, which is currently in the Supreme court. There is a very high probability that the Supreme Court will reject it again.

    You say:
    “Tamil Nadu includes Muslim, Christian backward groups in quota
    http://www.rxpgnews.com/education/Tamil-Nadu-includes-Muslim-Christian-backward-group

    If you actually READ the article, it is something proposed by the TN govt, once its current reservation case in the Supreme Court is resolved. This is PROPOSED, which may never see the light of the day and even if it does, it has to pass the scrutiny of our Supreme Court.

    So, I assert again, TODAY, there is no religion based reservation in India. (And, I hope I never see it in India, either).

    And, as far as your puerile comparison of 3% vs 97% goes, you only have to look at the erstwhile Soviet union to find out how 3% of the people can terrorise 97% of the population. OR, Burma, currently, for that matter.

    If we want to deny something, we will just pick any strawman argument.

  • 31. Patriot said:

    Shantanu,

    Why don’t you invite some people from the “backward classes” to actually comment on this issue. They will be able to give some real life examples against all the brilliant theory being expressed here by all the “upward class” types.

    I am handicapped in rebutting many of the points here, as I am neither a victim of discrimination nor have benefitted from reservation.

    If you you google for reservation based articles or blogs, you will find many really good commentators. I do not want to do it as this is really your blog.

  • 32. Patriot said:

    “Are you sure no scriptures ever says go out and do evil? Have you ever read the Bible and Quran? Anyone who had read these scriptures will never dare to say this. Hope you will do more research before you make such statements.”

    Nice to spread the hatred around. Yeh, WE ARE THE GREATEST, our books are the greatest. Yeh!!!!! Lets just sh*t on all the other sects. YEH!!!!!!!

  • 33. Bharat said:

    Bharat (India) is facing danger from four evil forces: Islamist jihadi terrorism, Christian missionary terrorism, Leftist-naxalite-maoist terrorism and Brahmanical supremacy terrorism. Each one work in partnership with the others.

    First three evil forces are well documented; the fourth are not documentated yet. Who are Brahmins, Who are the communists ,and Who are the communists rulers? Most of them are co-called Brahmins and few upper-caste Hindus. Who is ruling Bengal for the last 30 years? Jyoti Basu, a Kshatriya and then Buddhadeva Bhattacharya, a Brahmin. Bengal power are with Banerjees, Chatterjees, Gangolies, Bhattacharyas, etc (all are Brahmins). Similar patterns in Kerala and Tripura. Power never goes to lower-class (or caste) Hindus, who comprise majority of the population. Similar patterns in other parts, Sharmas, Goswamis, Trivedis, Pandeys, Patnaiks etc control the power structures.

    When comes the issue of reservation for low-class (caste) Hindus, Brahmanic supremacist fundamentalists were on the forfront to oppose. Brahmanic Congress (headed by Brahmin Nehru clan) deceiving the poor Hindus since independence. What is the percent of so-called Brahmins in Bharat and what proportion of power they control? Most top Union cabinet posts are controlled by Brahmins and few other upper caste hindus.

    Babu Jagjivan Ram was not allowed to become Prime Minister, as he is from low-caste and dark skin person. Similar treatment was given to Sitaram Kesari, humiliatd by the Nehru clan holders at time removing him from Congress President post. No Congress or communists will allow a low-class Hindu like Mayavati (a so-called Chammer) to become Prime Minister. BJP removed Uma Bharati (a low-class hindu) from the party, as they started feeling she is getting popular and powerful.

    Who filed the Ram does not exists affidavit to the Supreme Court? Additional Solicitor General Subramanium and Law Minister Bharadwaj (both Brahmins) and christian Ambika Soni. ASI guys has become scapegoats.

    Who are the chamchas of Nehru, Indira Khan-Gandhi, now Antonia Maino Khan-Gandhi clan led Congress? Most are Brahmins.

    Only solution: Supremacists Brahmanism must be seperated from Sanatan Hindu Dharma and given a proportionate reservation to them. Be it 3% or 4%. They control heavily dis-proportinate power in the country. They never get tired to show their supremacy. Brahmin supremacists were responsible for crores of Hindus to leave their faith and become muslims and Buddhists (even today leaving). Results we have Islamists Bangladesh, Pakistan and over hundred millions Islamists in Bharat. And about 20 millions of low-class hindus became christians due to ill-treatments by the Brhmanic supremacists. If a muslim enter a mandir, even to pray, mandir get polluted and need cleaning by performing huge dramas. Recently Jagannath mandir in Puri through-out lakhs of ruppes of prasadam and cleaned the huge mandir complex, just because an American visited the mandir, whom they considered not a Hindu.

    Followers of Sanatan Hindu Dharma need to create own puruhits/pujaris. Brahmin supremacists must be removed from all mandirs (except those which are their personal) All mandirs must be opened for all Hindus, even for non-Hindus who wish to pray or worship. Castism must go from the soil of Bharat and from Sanatan Dharma. Strict National law must be enacted to ban castism. Anyone practice castism is a racist and he/she must be punished under the national and international law.

  • 34. Patriot said:

    Reading all the denials and the justifications in this blog actually makes me revisit my position on reservations.

    Maybe, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar was actually right about his stated position – without hard reservation quotas written into the constitution, the downtrodden of India will never get justice.

    If 60 years down the line, these are the attitudes and positions of the “elite”, I can well imagine how it was like in 1947.

  • 35. Vidhya said:

    This debate is interesting and there are points on either sides. While I do agree the varna system was started not with discriminatory intentions, it has slowly morphed into a very rigid system as what we see today. The question is do we debate the scriptures and origins of caste or what it is now. I prefer to do the latter. I see caste as two different things.

    One is bad which has propogated differences and hate and discrimination. But these differences are among all caste groups, and also among Muslims and Christians of current times. For instance there are christians of certain castes who prefer to marry within the caste even if they are hindus, rather than marry a christian from another caste. This is how deep rooted the identity of caste is within each person. And the differences arent just between upper and lower castes. In many places the clashes are between so called backward classes and schedule castes. We have seen so many such reports.

    Why does this happen.

    For one, everyone feels as an identity they need to feel superior to another person and hence they take it out on who they feel are inferior.

    The second aspect is caste as an identity that has produced such a diverse range of traditions and customs, and life styles, not to mention knowledge systems. For instances each caste has its own marriage practices, praying, food, and the variedness and richness of these differences are huge. So if caste werent there perhaps such rich traditions would have disappeared.

    So looking from these two perspectives – here is what I feel. Caste system as an identity is difficult to destroy specially since its so deeply entrenched in each and every one, people dont want to change. In addition, making everyone brahmins or making everyone follow same things is also not a solution. Its like wiping out the native american culture or so many cultures around the world in trying to improve their position. So much of knowledge passed over so many generations still lie in different families, both upper and lower castes. So what is the solution.

    Differences are a part of life, cannot be removed, people always find differences. However that does not give a sanction to discriminate. Any discrimination in a public arena should be first be banned and made punishable (whether temples or public well or public road, anything outside the house). Education in schools should also include moral education. A westernised education would not be useful to help solve indian problems, we need to take good things from the culture of india as children relate to it easily and set the process in motion. For instance the story of Adi Shankara where he meets an untouchable and his disciples asks him to move. The person asks if they want the soul to be moved, the everlasting athman, or the body which goes back to the five elements? Adi Shankara immediately prostrates before the person knowing it was lord shiva himself. What this teaches kids is even lord shiva came down to teach people to respect everyone. Just saying everything is bad, wont teach children any good, but doing it the positive way, reinforcing positive thinking is essential.

    While a person from lower castes should be made to feel they are no lesser than others, it is not just enough castigating others. We need to make them realize the importance for respect for others. Vyasa muni was a fisherman’s son, lot of azhvars and nayanmars of the south were from lower castes, the list is endless. Finally using caste as a political tool should be banned. As long as politicians keep exploiting in the name of caste and try to keep it alive, the discrimination and feeling of difference will only further harden.

    Thanks

  • 36. B Shantanu said:

    @ Patriot: I am directing this comment largely at you but it is neither an attempt at criticism nor meant to be a denial of several points you have made.

    Please treat this as an effort at correcting some misconceptions.

    But first of all let me give credit where it is due:

    You say: Why dont all the Brahmin Samajs in India come out and unequivocally condemn the caste system and throw open the gates of all the temples to all hindus? That, at least, would show intent, right?

    Excellent idea and eminently do-able. Will the Hindu leadership show the courage and the vision to do something like this? I do not know but I sincerely hope so.

    You also say: Why dont you invite some people from the backward classes to actually comment on this issue. They will be able to give some real life examples

    Again, great idea and I am very open to it.

    Unfortunately backward classes are also oppressors at times (I am referring to the horrific incident at Khairlanji (Kherlanji) so one needs to be careful here about drawing the line? (and I hope you now realise that the issue is far more complex than it appears at first glance).

    On to some of your other remarks.

    You talk about the terror of Brahmins in TN. I believe the reasons for anti-Brahmanism in Tamil Nadu are complex and not solely to do with caste-based discrimination. See for example, http://satyameva-jayate.org/2007/05/01/periyar-against-brahminism-not-brahmins/

    You ask: “Why should they be markers for people and why should we not eliminate them completely except for the purpose of genetics research?”

    You are touching on the complex subject of identity here. I am neither a sociologist nor an anthropologist but the longing for an identity is universal across societies, races and people. And it is, I believe unrealistic to expect that to change in a short period of time.

    We, as a society, will need to evolve to a different level from where we are today to make it happen.

    And, I do not agree that The non-achievers are the ones who cling to such clan identity, because they see themselves as less actualised, less powerful and less protected than the achievers It may be partly true but I do not think that we can generalize.

    Also I hope you realize that caste-based discrimination is not a simple Brahmin vs. the rest issue.
    It is far more complex with multiple oppressors and oppressed and to paint it as a Brahmin vs Dalit issue is false and not entirely supported by the current situation in India.

    Finally, I like your optimism about religion-based reservation. I desperately hope you are proven right but I am not optimistic.

    Patriot, I sense some anger within you against the system but I am not able to put my finger on it. Are you from India or outside? The only reason for asking this is to understand whether you have had a first-hand experience of the system and the wrong(s) it can commit? Or whether your anger is because of something else?

    I do not think any commentator here is even trying to justify the caste system or caste based discrimination but it does not help to distort (or ignore) history and forget the context while engaged in a discussion like this.

    So while we must unequivocally condemn caste-based discrimination, to extend that to a blanket condemnation of Hindu-ism is probably unjustified, unwarranted and unhelpful.

    As for what each one of use can do to reverse social practices like untouchability, at the very least, we can (i) decide never to practice it in our own lives and (ii) to actively work towards the eradication of such practices by condemning them and highlighting that they are NOT part of our religion- but a shameful distortion.
    ***

    Bharat and Vidhya : Both of you have made some great points in your detailed comments and they merit a serious response. Please give me some time

    ***

    @ Bharat: I do wish to point out though that in politics at least, democracy does appear to be finally succeeding in giving due representation to the non-Brahmins and non-Thakurs. Witness the rise of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and of course Shri Lalu Yadav.

    ***

    All,
    Please do continue to share your ideas of what can be done to eradicate this evil system from our society.

    ***

    Additional interesting links:

    1] “Was there discrimination in education?” http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2007/08/30/stories/2007083050180800.htm

    from which a brief excerpt:
    “To believe that there is a single caste order to which every caste, from Brahman to untouchable, acquiesce ideologically, is a gross misreading of facts on the ground. The truth is that no caste, howsoever lowly placed it may be, accepts the reason for its degradation (Interrogating Caste; pp1; Penguin Books, 2000).

    The debate also does not take into account that backwardness is not a static phenomena but a dynamic one.”

    2] Without quota, every caste would be a forward caste” http://www.rediff.com/money/2007/apr/24guest.htm from which

    “All available historical evidence shows that almost none of the OBCs considered themselves to be backward, in any sense of the term, at least till the beginning of the 20th century.

    Most of the rulers, both at the local as well as larger regional levels in different regions of India during 16-18th centuries, seem to have come from these OBCs.

    Further, most of the professions that sustained the vibrant economy of India, which was considered a great agricultural and industrial nation till early 19th century, were peopled and managed mostly by these communities.”

    3] “Not many know the Indian past he had discovered!” http://www.newindpress.com/column/News.asp?Topic=-97&Title=S.Gurumurthy&ID=IE620061115230938&nDate=&Sub=&Cat=&
    from which:

    he (Dharampal) exploded the popularly held belief that most of those attending schools must have belonged to the upper castes particularly Brahmins and, again with reference to the British records, proved that the truth was the other way round.

    During 1822-25 the share of the Brahmin students in the indigenous schools in Tamil-speaking areas accounted for 13 per cent in South Arcot to some 23 per cent in Madras while the backward castes accounted for 70 per cent in Salem and Tirunelveli and 84 per cent in South Arcot.

    The situation was almost similar in Malayalam, Oriya and Kannada-speaking areas, with the backward castes dominating the schools in absolute numbers. Only in the Telugu-speaking areas the share of the Brahmins was higher and varied from 24 to 46 per cent.

    Thanks.

  • 37. Vishnu said:

    Patriot, you said
    You have no credibility left with me. I will just answer this part and leave the rest, not worth spending my time to comment:

    I find that you are engaging with a lot of accusations rather then presenting your points in a way that is sensible. Now your accusation is drifting towards personal level that is unfortunate.

    Your comment on religious based reservations
    So, I assert again, TODAY, there is no religion based reservation in India. (And, I hope I never see it in India, either).

    Over here I am not talking about hopes but talking about the current issues. It does not make any good by defending that religious based reservation is not implemented and so on the gist of my point is, in todays India — to even think, talk or propose about religious based reservation is already setting a wrong message and it is a dangerous trend. No where in the world I have heard about religious based reservation except in Islamic states.

    And, as far as your puerile comparison of 3% vs 97% goes, you only have to look at the erstwhile Soviet union to find out how 3% of the people can terrorise 97% of the population. OR, Burma, currently, for that matter.

    Why you are giving an example from another country to make parallels? If your accusation is valid, then it should speak for itself.

    Nice to spread the hatred around. Yeh, WE ARE THE GREATEST, our books are the greatest. Yeh!!!!! Lets just sh*t on all the other sects. YEH!!!!!!!

    This has nothing to do with hatred. The Bible and Quran, explicitly asks its adherents to go over and convert or destroy all heathens or kafirs and this view fundamental to these religions and that is why the conversion business is the fountainhead of their practices. When many teachings from these scriptures are spreading hatred and the adherents of these religions are also echoing the same thing all the time and they are not shy of this conviction, then why are you in a state of denial?

    If you view it from a Hindu point of view, they are just expounding hatred, but for them it is their fundamental right and they do not deny it!

    Let at least 30% of Christians or Muslims come all out and declare that, their scriptures does not say this, and they do not endorse such views, — I will immediately withdraw my statement.

  • 38. Vishnu said:

    check this out…

    Evangelist agenda in practice-Secluding SC/ST Students in Govt. Schools

    WAYANAD: A Hidden Evangelist campaign to convert Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) is going on in a Government school here.

    In Moolankavu Government School at Sultan Battery,school headmistress Sosamma Mathew an agent of Evangelists directed school students who belong to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) to wear uniforms of a different colour than the other students. Here SC/ST students wear forced to wear blue checked shirts and other children wear maroon checked uniforms!

    This vicious campaign is to create a sense of segregation first among them and also to identify them for the vultures of Conversion. By creating this sense of seclusion, it will be handy for them to preach their divine love upon theses nave children.

    Now the evangelists want to repeat their successful campaigns in Christian funded Missionary schools in Government schools as well.

  • 39. Vishnu said:

    This is a good example to show that the Hindu hating groups are the ones responsible to have the caste issue alive in India so that to serve their hidden agenda.

  • 40. Vishnu said:

    Over 90% of America’s churches remain segregated- American Academician

    http://www.explore.rice.edu/explore/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=8229

  • 41. B Shantanu said:

    Some of you may have also come across this “news” earlier this year:

    Now, Muslims refuse food cooked by Dalit

    Excerpt:

    “…Dozens of Muslim students of a government-run Urdu school in a Bihar village have refused to take mid-day meals cooked by a Dalit woman.

    “We will not touch the food. There is no question of taking food cooked by a woman belonging to the scheduled caste,” said Nurjahan Bano, an eight-year-old student of Amri Urdu middle school in Rohtas district…”

    Source: 29 Jun 2007, 0127 hrs IST,IANS news-story

  • 42. Rational said:

    Patriot: you say that Hinduism is the longest running discrimination system in the world. You also describe it as a cancer. Perhaps by extension you might agree with descriptions of it as being evil, morally corrupt and fundamentally unsound.

    If a people accept evil, cancerous, morally corrupt practices then they must be evil, corrupt people. Therefore you have effectively labelled all Hindus as evil and corrupt. Would you describe your parents and ancestors and friends as such? If you cannot allocate that label to the majority of people you know, then that implies that not all Hindus are corrupt. Which may mean that they do not spend their days thinking of new ways to be nasty to people using the brutish caste system.

    However, they follow questionable practices. We know these practices are questionable because we live in an enlightened age. One where people are free to do what they like, where they like. Or are we? Is the thing that you descibe as discrimination not really hierarchy? And that is something that has always existed. The form of hierarchy you desribe is banned in Indian law, but keeps living in people’s minds. The new castes are across the world, with new names: usually their nationality. So Americans and Brits are more important than Malaysians and Australians who are more important than Indians and Africans. Is that not discriminatory? But its legal, fully sanctioned and rarely questioned.

    Hierarchy and discrimination have always existed. We can flagellate our forefathers for their sins, or we can try and understand that we are no better and no worse than most other people and we still don’t really know how to live good lives.

  • 43. Patriot said:

    Shantanu,

    Have been very busy and hence have not able to respond earlier. Apologies.

    You say:
    “Patriot, I sense some anger within you against the system but I am not able to put my finger on it. Are you from India or outside? The only reason for asking this is to understand whether you have had a first-hand experience of the system and the wrong(s) it can commit? Or whether your anger is because of something else?”

    I am very much an Indian, a proud Indian but not a proud, BLIND Indian. I have lived here all my life and most people would consider me to be from the priviledged “class” of Indians. And, no, I have not been discriminated against by either caste or religon, probably because of the fact that I live in India’s most cosmopolitan city.

    Yes, I do have a lot of anger at the social “system” and especially those who wish to continue to propagate an unjust system.

    Why? Because I am a Patriot. Because I think if we can unleash the creativity and the potential of ALL our people, we will once again be the greatest nation on earth, without the need to back it up with arms.

    Because I deplore the waste of our people, who are born and die in abject poverty because the “system” does not allow them to progress. For every Dalit IAS officer that gets talked about, there are 10,000 or probably 100,000 equally potentially capable persons that have been crushed by the system. Can you imagine the effect of 10,000 Dr Narendra Jadhav’s on our governance system?

    Is this so hard to understand? Is it so hard to get over our regional/casteist/religious/lingual labels and say that every Indian has the inalienable right to grow to his/her full potential? But, I am too optimistic. Probably getting to the moon will be easier for Indians than to shed their parochial labels.

    Rational, you say:
    ” Hierarchy and discrimination have always existed. We can flagellate our forefathers for their sins, or we can try and understand that we are no better and no worse than most other people and we still dont really know how to live good lives. ”

    This is one of the most incisive comments that I have read on this topic. You are right that discrimination has always existed. Does that mean that we should not do anything to prevent it or reduce it?

    I am not flagellating our forefathers, but opening them up to a discussion on their social mores. Why should that be a taboo topic? How do you progress if you do not enquire? If you do not discuss? If you want to accept their customs blindly TODAY, that is your prerogative. But, I should have the liberty to question them and express my views as to why I think those customs are intolerable and intolerant.

    RE: Majority hindus – the silent majority is never an active oppressor, but they are willing co-conspirators with those in power who run the system. So, even if you go along passively, you ARE tainted to that extent.

    BUT, it is possible that many go along passively because they have not thought about the issues involved. THEREFORE, it is important to get them to think about what they are condoning and perpetuating. That is why we need to speak out against an oppressive system – then, maybe you get people to think about what they are doing and reform their actions.

    “So Americans and Brits are more important than Malaysians and Australians who are more important than Indians and Africans. Is that not discriminatory? But its legal, fully sanctioned and rarely questioned.”

    I am not really sure what you mean by this? I certainly do not think that any American or Brit is NATURALLY more important than me. And, legally sanctioned by whom? or What? And, I think the Chinese and the Indians are questioning this order in the economic fields, where “superiority” is measurable but I think you meant socially?

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your comment – thanks.

  • 44. Patriot said:

    Rational,

    BTW, I think your use of the cancer analogy is flawed. I used it in the medical sense, that cancer is caused by the mutation of good cells into bad ones, that multiply and ultimately devour the host.

    The caste system is similar – started off with good intentions but then mutated into an evil, that needs to be eradicated. If you do not treat it with drugs, radiation and surgery, ultimately it will devour the host.

    Maybe, that IS the future of hinduism – to be eaten up by its internal cancer of the caste system.

  • 45. Patriot said:

    And, I must note this, in passing:

    My contention in the original post was that the violence in Hinduism is internalised, while other religions project their violence externally.

    People have debated the caste system threadbare, which is one of the symptoms of this violence, but no one has yet challenged my basic premise.

    So, shall we take it as given that Hinduism is an equally violent religion and we should shed all claims to being a peaceful race???

  • 46. Vishnu said:

    Patriot,

    So, shall we take it as given that Hinduism is an equally violent religion and we should shed all claims to being a peaceful race???

    Again a blind accusation on Hinduism when you had no guts to give a convincing answer to my post on how Hinduism is causing it when what we see in reality it is not the Hindus or Hinduism that is the cause of caste based discrimination.

    Remember there has been many “Patriots” like you since a long time who bash Hinduism all the time for caste discrimination… but unfortunately they are the root cause of caste base and religious based social segregation and reservations that makes sure that these issues are always kept alive. They are just a bunch of unrealistic people.

    Today the Tamil Nadu governance has already passed the religious based reservation and it is a reality… and what I see is it is as purely against Hindu interests wether it is caste based or religious based.

    The real need of the hour is revival of DHARMIC based governance and education system in India.

  • 47. Patriot said:

    Vishnu,

    Guts????

    I think we want logic and reason, hopefully some intelligence, not “guts”.

    And, yes I can not be bothered to reply to you, as I have mentioned before. Your posts are too inane, besides-the-point and dogmatic for me to spend my time on it. I would rather watch paint dry.

  • 48. shrinu said:

    We can classify the religions of world in two categories -old pagan religions (Like Hinduism) and modern organized religions (Like Islam and Christianity)
    Islam and Christianity are organized religions because they have one prophet, one holy book and believers of these religions wanted rest of the world to follow their set of beliefs and if they are following some other set of beliefs, they want other people to convert their religions and follow their beliefs only.
    Hinduism is not a organized religion and nobody can tell the birth date of this religion,
    First of all why we require religion– To make sure that humans behave like a social animals . Religions are required to make set of rules and make sure people follow that, In all communities people select their leaders and these leaders want people to follow set of rules so that we can run the human society and their should be no chaos. These leaders will formulate the set of rules like doing this is good and doing that is bad. Do good things – you will go to heaven or you will go to hell.
    So as human civilization was in transition from hunting nomadic culture to settled farming culture, people started worshipping nature and other pagan gods and here ancient religions like of Greek gods and Hinduism started. Different set of people came to India over the period of time and added to this religion.
    But Hinduism do not have and centralized figure. Dharma does not mean religion as Dharma also means duties and responsibilities. Hinduism is not a religion like Islam or Christianity, It is a culture, a way of life, we can call it Sanathan Dharma but cannot say religion as their is no equivalent word of Dharma in English language.
    Various people settled in India and their way of life and customs mixed with India and form a part of Hinduism until organized religions like Christianity and Islam came here.
    Hinduism includes everybody, Even if you do not believe in any God (Naastik) You can call yourself Hindu. But you cannot be Christian if you do not believe Jesus or for that matter you cannot be Muslim if you do not believe in Mohammed.
    So Hinduism do not want people of other religions to convert to their religion as it is not a organized religion and acknowledges various paths to reach god that is why we have so many gods and these believers of organized religions make fun of Hinduism.
    But this led to downfall of Hinduism as it never interested in other people take their religion so it was content with itself and whoever came from outside (foreign invaders)their beliefs and ideas added to Hinduism except Islam and Christianity as these people wanted the native people to completely forget their beliefs and follow their path.
    Now came the question of Casteism in Hinduism. I do believe that casteism is nothing but racism as India is land of people of different races (lot of mixing of races over last of thousands of years), we are not one race like all white people of England so we always have ruling classes comprising of high castes and peasant classes and lot of middle castes and very lower castes. So Indian people got divided and we are not united and peasant classes never mind who rules them as they are ready to pay taxes to whomever rule them. That is why foreign invaders with less number of people able to conquer here as they have to fight only with so called ruling classes and common man will never interfere in their war, so Muslim invaders with very less army able to conquer India and later Britishers. Now since Muslims are organized they started converting people with their force with swords on head. Since Hinduism was not united as it cannot be due to lack of organization, major chunk of bengalis, kashmiris, Punjabis and Sindhis converted to Islam that is why we have Pakistan and Bangladesh around us.
    So casteism is the result of different races where one set of people able to rule other set of people and term them as lower castes.
    Now who says casteism does not exist in Organized religions – Islam and Christianity ?
    On paper they do not talk of castes but a British white Christian can consider a black Kerala Christian as his equivalent? Can he marry his daughter to Kerala Christian?
    A Arab Muslim will consider a Punjabi or Bengali Muslim his equivalent?
    The fact that Pakistan and east Pakistan (Bangladesh) separated because Punjabi Muslims believed that they are superior then Bengali Muslims.
    Is this not casteism?

  • 49. Vishnu said:

    Patriot,

    What I meant was you have no guts to face “logic and reason”. Well I do not like to engage in personal comments. If you think you are truthful then you should be able to answer rationally… and not dogmatically bash Hinduism…. without valid reason!

  • 50. Patriot said:

    Whatever floats your boat, Vishnu!

  • 51. Nemo said:

    #1
    NOTE: All excerpts are nested within either — or quotes

    “Patriot” was not trying to discuss inhumane social practises but rather hurled accusations against Hinduism from the first. Therefore this and the immediately following posts of mine deal solely with these baiting accusations. They accuse Hinduism *uniquely* of the evils of a “caste” system, all while concealing the existence of the same phenomenon in many other places (which are discussed in #2 and onwards). He throws in some invasion-enslavement theory for good measure, which does not fit our Indian situation (or that of others discussed in #2 and #3), but it rather does fit the christian-islamic cases discussed in #4 and #5 and end of #3.

    Says “Patriot”: “the polytheistic faith of our ancestors who settled in the indus valley region (wherever they came from, that is another debate!).”
    Not the biblical Japhetic-Hametic story again – also known as the christian Aryan-Dravidian myth (AIT in India). But it’s baseless.

    The IVC people have been shown to be related to the people in present day East Punjab and Gujarat as per archaeology, anthropology. What genetics says is an even greater slap in the face for the christian AIT myth. So “patriot” is again repeating fiction when his rolling pin kneeds out more of the usual christian propaganda: “Moreover, as invaders came and settled here, the original inhabitants accepted them into their gene pool, because the Invaders were militarily MORE POWERFUL.”

    What invaders? He’s leapt from “settling invaders” to “suppressing original inhabitants” to “militant invaders who were more powerful than (the suppressees)”. Who are these invaders? (No quoting from Indian communist ‘historians’, thanks. They aren’t even good for a laugh anymore).
    Ive already posted scholars’ statements on the hypothetical nature of “Aryans” at http://satyameva-jayate.org/2005/10/08/revising-the-aryan-invasion-of-india-theory/

    Genetics shows that ancient *tribal* South Indian genes are there all throughout India’s gene pool and into Iran! A summary of the genetics stuff can be found in the long footnote (31) of page http://www.india-forum.com/articles/153/2/The-AIT-%3A-More-than-meets-the-eye while footnote (29) is on archaeology and (30) on anthropology.

    Hindus have had enough of the racist myth which christianism imposed on us (the Japhetic-Hamitic story). It’s rather the same as the Semitic-Hamitic story which the christians imposed on the poor Rwandans. We’re familiar with the outcome of *that* terrorist tactic:
    “Christian Churches and Genocide in Rwanda” paper by Timothy Longman, Vassar College, for a conference on Genocide. http://faculty.vassar.edu/tilongma/Church&Genocide.html – Section “Christianity and the Construction of Ethnicity” That’s the section that contains the striking parallels with the christian AIT. If anyone reads that part, theyll find it’s interesting to note how both in Rwanda’s case and India’s case, christians of the colonial era were only able to explain the perplexing extant social situation and phenotypical variety by recourse to some desperate invasion fiction.

    It was the christian colonials from Britain who destroyed the Indian school system and prevented people from being educated. Just like they burnt up Hindus’ books on Ayurveda – http://www.hinduwisdom.info/European_Imperialism.htm. Also at that link, it quotes from “The Case for India – By Will Durant Simon and Schuster, New York. 1930″ (Will Durant is a historian):
    — When the British came there was, throughout India, a system of communal schools, managed by the village communities. The agents of the East India Company destroyed these village communities, and took steps to replace the schools; even today, after a century of effort to restore them, they stand at only 66% of their number a hundred years ago. Hence, the 93 % illiteracy of India. —

    And as Dharampal has shown in his meticulously researched The beautiful Tree, it was the same christian British that thwarted a great many Hindu communities who had been getting excellent education prior to the uninvited christian colonial meddling/destruction. Some of Dharampal’s stuff can be found at: http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=1068 (At the bottom, it also discusses the use of Samskritam.)
    Lest we uniquely blame the British for this most christian habit of vandalism, we must recall that they were but following what their predecessors – the christians of Rome – did to the Ancient ‘pagan’ Roman education system: destroy it. http://freetruth.50webs.org/A2b.htm

  • 52. Nemo said:

    #2
    As for caste, which “patriot” seeks to tie in with Hinduism – it is a phenomenon seen in many parts of the world. Not just many geographic regions of the world – but also communities: from tribal to more urban ones. Caste – the word with the exact connotations that “patriot” wants to use – has has hounded humanity in many otherwise disconnected places. “Patriot” didn’t know this or was he just hoping Hindus won’t know? After all, when one repeats hollow missionary slogans with clockwork regularity (even bringing in the missionary Japhetic-Hamitic invasion horror myth) as “patriot” has been parroting above, it reveals a character that banks on Hindus being ignorant.

    Both (1) and (2) above are http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/wiah/ch9.htm – footnotes provided there. (Some symbols like ? corrected to “.)
    (1) POLYNESIA and related:
    — The world over, tribal populations observe various kinds of caste distinctions. Thus, concerning tribals on the Pacific islands: “In the Mariami group it was the common belief that only the nobles were endowed with an immortal soul, and a nobleman who married a girl of the people was punished with death. In Polynesia the commoners were looked upon by the nobility as a different species of beings. Hence in the higher ranks the marriage was concluded only with persons of corresponding positions; and if in Tahiti, a woman of [rank] chose an inferior person as a husband, the children he had by her were killed.”82 Among the natives of Fiji, too, “a strict hierarchy, a kind of caste system, regulates all of village life”.83 So, these Polynesian tribals had endogamous groups in a hierarchical relation (“nobility” and “commoners”). The relation between them was neither more egalitarian nor more flexible than that between Hindu castes, on the contrary: marriage outside the caste was not punished with mere expulsion, as happens among Brahmins, but with death. —

    (2) CONGO:
    A small note on the following excerpt. My previous post mentions Rwanda and provides a link which shows that it was the missionaries’ christian hypothesising/lying that created the myth of the “invading African tribes”. That same link discusses how missionaries had done the same to Rwanda’s bordering lands, mentioning Zaire. Zaire was the colonial name of Congo (DRC Congo). And thus we can surmise that the Congolese tribe mentioned in the quote below are now found innocent of having invaded their own land as the christian myths had previously accused them of (as it did Rwanda’s people).
    — For another example, we may turn to Congo, where the Batwa or Pygmees coexist with the Baoto, who settled in their land about two thousand years ago: “From this violent clash resulted a modus vivendi which persists till today. The division of roles is contained in unwritten laws. While the Baoto live in the village centre, the Batwa live in the periphery (?) The Batwa used to serve as village guardsmen (?) All kinds of taboos colour the relations between the communities. Batwa and Baoto cannot use the same washing-place, Baoto don’t touch food prepared by Batwa, mixed marriages are absolutely prohibited. It has nothing to do with social justice, but these relations certainly are stable.”84 Unequal ranking, endogamy and untouchability: all the elements allegedly typical of Hindu society have sprung up in the heart of tribal Africa without any “Aryan” influence. —
    Koenraad Elst then talks about India’s endogamous tribes (endogamy = exclusively marrying within their own community).

  • 53. Nemo said:

    #3 Caste elsewhere – continued:

    Maybe “patriot” wants to limit himself to the European and Asian geography and plead that there, at least, Hinduism is the ‘great evil’?

    (3) JAPAN. “Burakumin” is a rather recent term for a group of people initially called eta (meaning “abundant pollution”) and hinin (meaning “nonhuman”). Intermarriage with them was prohibited and is still highly avoided. Workplace discrimination continues.

    Note the mentions of ‘Confucian’ and Shinto in the following.

    - http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2267/is_1_70/ai_102140954
    — Burakumin at the end of history – history of social class in Japan – Social Research, Spring, 2003 by Ian Neary
    Prologue
    DURING the seventeenth century, Japan’s social order took shape in the form of a hereditary four-status order of–in descending socioethical rank–warrior-rulers (samurai), peasants, artisans, and merchants. There were restrictions on intermarriage, social interaction, and clothing. This was justified by reference to Confucian theory. The functions of the four groups were seen as symbiotic, such that together they would constitute a stable and virtuous society (Totman, 2000: 225).
    …Pariah communities had developed in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as leather workers (kawata) and as handlers of animal and human corpses. —
    The above link says that although the Japanese government has taken considerable remedial action: “The government has, however, refused to make discrimination illegal.”

    The above refers to Confucianism not Hinduism! In Japanese Shinto-Confucian society which later also included Buddhist (christians now want to make Buddhism the fall-guy for the Burakumin situation, since Buddhism is still popular in Japan) – certain occupations were considered so impure by other Japanese, that they avoided interacting and intermarrying with their practitioners. Eventually it led to much discrimination. See also (5) in the next post.

    - http://www.bookmice.net/darkchilde/japan/burak.html
    — Discrimination against these people came about because of Buddhist prohibitions against killing and Shinto concepts of pollution, along with governmental efforts at controlling the population. The people were originally discriminated against because they were butchers, leather workers, grave-diggers, tanners, executioners and, at least in some cases, entertainers.

    From the book Japan: A Modern History, 2002:
    “Fundamental Shinto beliefs equated goodness and godliness with purity and cleanliness, and they further held that impurities could cling to things and persons, making them evil or sinful…. But a person could become seriously contaminated by habitually killing animals or committing some hideous misdeed that ripped at the fabric of the community, such as engaging in incest or bestiality. Such persons, custom decreed, had to be cast out from the rest of society, condemned to wander from place to place, surviving as best they could by begging or by earning a few coins as itinerant singers, dancers, mimes, and acrobats.”

    The “impurity” of these people was considered to be spreadable to other people (much as a disease is spread). The people were classified as eta (“pollution in abundance”), binin (“nonhuman”), or Eta (“leather workers”).
    In addition, the “condition” was considered to be hereditary. The eta were not even allowed to leave the communities of their birth. —

    - http://japanfocus.org/products/details/2075
    — Japans Burakumin: An Introduction – Alastair McLaughlan
    Burakumin maggotskill eta filthburakumin have four legsburaku people cause AIDS These examples of anti-buraku graffiti are not from Japans distant past, but vivid reminders from the 21st century that anti-buraku prejudice remains extant in some sectors of Japanese society.
    … Sadly, this leather connection remains a link between todays buraku and the spiritual pollution enforced upon the eta of the Tokugawa period (1600-1868).—

  • 54. Nemo said:

    #4 Next posts are about Caste practises in Christianism and Islam

    (4) The religious equality of CHRISTIANISM and ISLAM: the Gypsies.
    - http://www.chgs.umn.edu/histories/victims/romaSinti/gypsies2.html
    — Both Moslem and Christian religious preachers placed Gypsies outside normal society by treating them as outcasts and not letting them participate in church and religious functions even when they professed to be converted to the religion of that country. Those Gypsies who were sincere in their beliefs were forced to listen outside an open window of the church or mosque. —
    - http://www.chgs.umn.edu/histories/victims/romaSinti/gypsies.html discusses the christian race-based discrimination of Gypsies in Europe:
    — To understand how European prejudice developed against Gypsies we must explore the European western mind in the medieval period. When Gypsies first appeared, Christianity had shaped the doctrine of war between light and dark and personified the white angels against the black devils. To the church the Gypsy culture was non-acceptable and their dark skin exemplified evil and inferiority. Hence in western Christian Europe the dark-skinned Gypsies became victims of prejudice as a result of this Christian doctrine. —

    (5) GERMANY:
    Germany in christian times! How can we twist the story and still blame Hinduism for this anyway?
    Similar to Japan and India – certain occupations were regarded as impure/polluting – could this phenomenon actually be … a societal thing?????:
    http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521027217
    — Defiled Trades and Social Outcasts – Honor and Ritual Pollution in Early Modern Germany. By Kathy Stuart.
    This book presents a social and cultural history of dishonourable people (unehrliche Leute), an outcast group in early modern Germany. Executioners, skinners, grave-diggers, shepherds, barber-surgeons, millers, linen-weavers, sow-gelders, latrine-cleaners, and bailiffs were among the dishonourable by virtue of their trades. This dishonour was either hereditary, often through several generations, or it arose from ritual pollution whereby honourable citizens could become dishonourable by coming into casual contact with members of the outcast group. The dishonourable milieu of the city of Augsburg from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries is reconstructed to show the extent to which dishonour determined the life-chances and self-identity of dishonourable people. The book then investigates how honourable estates interacted with dishonourable people, and how the pollution anxieties of early modern Germans structured social and political relations within honourable society. —

  • 55. Nemo said:

    #5
    From the christian casta system in Germany (above) to elsewhere.
    (6) http://www.zonalatina.com/Zldata55.htm
    The truly CHRISTIAN casta system in Latin America. As anyone can see, it is RACE-based, a hall-mark of the long-held tradition of hierarchy in the christian world-view. (Casta is itself a Portuguese term that the christian Portuguese coined for something they knew of – a word which they then later applied to some complex social situation in India).

    (7) Inequality in christianism – slavery and serfdom is the complex christian casta system where there’s the free, and then there’s the hereditarily bound for life/the expendable. There are lots of stunning quotes from “Christianity, Slavery and Serfdom” by Chapman Cohen and others at http://freetruth.50webs.org/B3c.htm#AncientSlavery
    Those historians have documented how slavery has been a hallmark of christianism since the start. Starting from Constantine who instituted all kinds of nasty slavery-laws to eclipse what had gone before – from the link:
    — “The first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine (c274-337) actually undid most of the humane laws to alleviate the position of slaves laid down by his pagan predecessors. He permitted parents to sell their children into slavery and allowed finders of abandoned children to bring them up as slaves. He also issued a decree which stipulates the death penalty for any Christian woman who had sexual intercourse with a slave; that the slave would also be put to death is a foregone conclusion.” [The Social Record of Christianity, Joseph McCabe] —

    Then through the medieval church councils that did far worse, like “in 541 A.C. the Council of Orleans required that the descendants of slaves should be re-enslaved.” And here’s religious equality in christianism: “Christian slaves were not permitted to partake of the Eucharist without their master’s consent, as decided by the [4th century] Council of Laodicea”. (Rather unsurprising that religious “equality” in Indian churches today follows suit – “Baptised, but boundary remains” by Sandhya Jain http://www.dailypioneer.com/displayit1.asp?pathit=/archives2/may1505/columnist/jain/jain55.txt )

    After centuries of that, christianism’s enslavement of the Africans began – all biblical of course, as the “Hamites” were “cursed”. And that’s why the churches opposed the abolition tooth and nail: http://freetruth.50webs.org/A4b.htm#HistoryAfrica

    Today, however, christianism is off on a crusade blaming everyone else, organising groups of people and sprinkling around “liberation theology”. Organising christian activism in various parts of the globe. You know the old game of Divide And Convert:
    http://www.cca.org.hk/blog/cca/2004_07_01_cca.htm
    — He also mentioned about Asian theologians articulating their contextual theologies like Minjung theology in Korea, Homeland theology in Taiwan, People�s theology in the Philippines, Water Buffalo theology in Thailand, Dalit theology in India, and Buraku liberation theology in Japan. —
    Christianism and its missionaries have been working frantically in trying to blame all the non-christian religions for the plight of the Burakumin in Japan. Western writers have started blaming Buddhism too though not blamed for *creating* it (which would be historically impossible), but rather for “exacerbating” the situation. All with fingers crossed that this will bring in more converts to christianism rather than losing *any* to the other traditional Japanese religions.

  • 56. Nemo said:

    #6 Caste elsewhere continued. ISLAM:
    (8) An example of the caste system in islam. Can’t blame Hinduism, as this is in Yemen.
    - http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=49867&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=YEMEN
    — SANA, 1 November 2005 (IRIN) – Clean your plate if it is touched by a dog, but break it if its touched by a Khadem [meaning servant in Arabic]. This traditional saying expresses the contempt by mainstream society in Yemen against members of the Akhdam community. —

    - http://www.ordoesitexplode.com/me/2005/11/minority_report.html
    — Minority Report: Yemen’s Akhdam “Out-Castes”
    They have lived in Yemen for well over a thousand years. They are Arabic-speaking Muslims. And yet they are Yemen’s great outcasts. Meet the Akhdam.
    The photo at right is a snapshot from one of the Akhdam shanty-towns in Yemen’s capital. As one article notes, this street slum lies “virtually in the shadows of the multi-million-dollar presidential mosque, and is made up of squat cinderblock buildings and shacks made from scrap materials. It sits on a waterway that fills up in the winter, turning the pathways into rivulets and dirt floors into muck.” —
    — They are almost always kept at arms length, and any chance of social integration is next to impossible. Their name, akhdam, is the plural of the Arabic term khadim, which literally means servant, a term far predating their common occupation nowadays as sanitary workers and garbage collectors, and is given to any Yemeni-born person with black skin, especially in the north of the country. —
    - The Yemen Mirror reports – http://www.yemenmirror.com/index.php?action=showDetails&id=136
    — The Akhdam, literally “servants” and the plural of the term Khadem in Arabic, is the lowest rung in the Yemeni caste system and by far the poorest. Marginalized and shunned by mainstream society, its members live in small shanty towns, mostly in big cities, including the capital, Sanaa —
    — They hardly call us humans; it is true that we may be darker in color and lower in the social status but that does not give them the right to exercise discrimination against us. Our black skin should not be the reason for which we should carry this negative stigma of being, dirty, immoral and lazy for centuries,” said Mohammed al-Raymi, a 30-year truck driver at the capital municipality. “Most of us do not have the basic needs for living; we do not have water, electricity, medicine and most of us are illiterate and have no method for earning other than begging or take the broom and clean the streets. We want education, health care and a better environment to live in,” he added. —

    It is interesting that in Islam’s case (as in the christian slavery case), their casta and slave systems *do* involve subjugation of people of other ethnicities – something that theyve tried to pin on others in order to blinker us all:
    — After slavery was abolished with the birth of the 26 September Revolution in 1962, their social position remained relatively the same. During the Immam rule in the north part of Yemen, Akdam were housed in a place called Bab el-Sabah in the old city of Sanaa which used to be also a shopping mall. Of course, there are other marginalized groups which were doing the same low jobs like the Maz’enah, butchers and other castes. —

    The articles at the last 2 links also show how islam – being the victor – behaves like christianity would: by making up legends/myths/excuses for Akhdam treatement, rather than explain it with the obvious: that of enslavement by islam, same as so many other Africans underwent.

    (9) The islamic RACIST system is documented, for instance by Bernard Lewis in “Race and Slavery in the Middle East”: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/lewis1.html
    European slaves of islam were treated differently from African ones.

    Materials and links in these 5 posts above were copied from other sites and pages.

  • 57. Nemo said:

    #7
    (4) The religious equality of CHRISTIANISM and ISLAM: the Gypsies.
    - http://www.chgs.umn.edu/histories/victims/romaSinti/gypsies2.html
    — Both Moslem and Christian religious preachers placed Gypsies outside normal society by treating them as outcasts and not letting them participate in church and religious functions even when they professed to be converted to the religion of that country. Those Gypsies who were sincere in their beliefs were forced to listen outside an open window of the church or mosque. —
    - http://www.chgs.umn.edu/histories/victims/romaSinti/gypsies.html discusses the christian race-based discrimination of Gypsies in Europe:
    — To understand how European prejudice developed against Gypsies we must explore the European western mind in the medieval period. When Gypsies first appeared, Christianity had shaped the doctrine of war between light and dark and personified the white angels against the black devils. To the church the Gypsy culture was non-acceptable and their dark skin exemplified evil and inferiority. Hence in western Christian Europe the dark-skinned Gypsies became victims of prejudice as a result of this Christian doctrine. —

  • 58. Bharat said:

    Monotheism vs. Polytheism

    1. Sanatan Hindu Dharma is not a polytheistic faith, BUT the mankind’s oldest Monotheistic Dharma.

    2. Vaidic Sanatan Dharma is the Mother of all monotheism. Later religions like Christianism and Muhamedism simply copied the idea of Monotheism from Vedic culture and philosophy.

    3. Moreover, christianity is not monotheistic, it got trinity – Son God, Father God, and Holy Ghost. To reach to Father God, one can’t bypass Son God (Jesus), but must follow Jesus. Thats why christians keep proclaiming, there is no other way of salvation but Jesus.

    3. RigVeda, the mankinds oldest available writings, boldly declared: “Ekam sat, viprah vahuda vadanti” (Truth/God is One, wisemen call it by different names). That is why, it is Universal, Eternal Dharma. No other religions proclaimed such inclusiveness and Universalism.

    4. Worshiping many Devas/Devis (not Gods) don’t make Sanatan Dharma polythesitic, each deva/devi represent only different attributes of the same Brahman (Absolute Reality).

    5. And nowhere it is mandated in sastras, one should worship all deva/devis, it is upto us (the followers). One can worship the Brahman nirakar way (Absolute One, without form) and one can worship Brahman in His diverse roopas (forms, i.e. deva/devi).

    6. Thirty crore deva/devis are infinite number of aspects and attributes of the same Brahman. Many in One and One in many. Each human being, similarly, inherits infinite number of attributes, but in One human being.

    7. One need to uplift the mind to the higher level of consciousness to see the Absolute Being, One and the Only One (Para Brahman).

  • 59. Nandan said:

    So we have proof that they are as bad as we are. Is that reason for us to pat ourselves on our backs? I think not.

    It is a fact that the downtrodden will be exploited in any society. But the enlightened among us must rise to the occasion. Instead of presenting case studies and seeking justifications, the need of the hour is to understand that there nothing divine, not even humane, in trying to perpetrate this despicable practice.

    We must seek and thereby strive to achieve equality for all. All it takes is sankalpa.

  • 60. Patriot said:

    Nemo,

    What erudition!!! Very impressive …… but I think you miss the wood for the trees.

    Have I ever said that discrimination does not happen elsewhere? BUT, I have said that just because discrimination happens elsewhere is no reason to sanction it or tolerate it in India.

    What part of THAT do you not understand?

    It is amazing the number of people on this board that just want to go off on tangents.

  • 61. Nemo said:

    Nandan: “So we have proof that they are as bad as we are. Is that reason for us to pat ourselves on our backs? I think not.”
    I don’t know why you think my posts gave you license to pat yourself on your back. It was certainly not there in anything I wrote.

    Patriot’s first post repeats the christian myth/lie about some invasion into India. Then it brings in caste – tying it into that mythical invasion (complete with oppressed subjugees and all) – and then tries to argue that Hinduism is intolerant. That first post of his showed no intention of discussing anything, it was merely slinging mud – mud laced with lies too, which made it all the slimier.

    As I said at the very start of my comment numbered #1: I was only going to deal with his unfounded accusations (and nasty implications). His unfortunate level of discourse dictated the content of my comments (which therefore dealt with *nothing* more however important).

    Said Patriot: “Have I ever said that discrimination does not happen elsewhere?”
    Sorry, Ive not followed your writing or speaking career. I restrict myself to your opening comment on this page, where your desperation to prove that Hinduism was intolerant made you reach out to fictions in your pointed listing on invasions, military invaders into the IVC, oppressees, Hindu communities excluded from education, and a lot more. (Do re-read what you wrote.) Accusations on Hinduism which you nowhere corroborated (how convenient!)

    And when these accusations were disproved (with data that is verifiable) that is, no AIT, no Aryans, no oppressed inhabitants before said invasion, yet how there was a thriving native Hindu school system (destroyed by christians, of the British variety in our case) – patriot has to somehow save face for having brought forth false allegations.
    And when shown how the very “CASTE system” he intended to pin onto Hinduism-and-Hinduism-alone is actually there in many parts of the world and that therefore Hindu society was not its sole instigator/that it is not anything uniquely Hindu, he has to resort to some other argument.

    And he does so most predictably. Deflection in action:
    “but I think you miss the wood for the trees.”
    No. But you apparently missed what I wrote. I said clearly in my comment marked #1 that I was going to deal *only* with your slander. Re-read my first paragraph there.
    (General note: Theres a referential error in #1. #4 and #5 and end of #3 ought to be #5 and #6)

    Patriot: “Have I ever said that discrimination does not happen elsewhere?”
    What you *did* do was slander and expect us not to respond. You talked about “Hindu intolerance” and AIT.
    And when comments here refute the slander, you pretend surprise why anyone would talk about the topics of the very issues (and non-issues) *you* had raised.

    “It is amazing the number of people on this board that just want to go off on tangents.”
    As I said, you’re the one who broached the largescale myths of AIT and how supposedly certain Hindus were excluded from education in pre-British India. See your first post.

    I merely disproved certain accusations youd made. I did not go off on any tangent, but rather stayed within the orbit of the topics you brought up – even the yawn-inducing fictional ones. Therefore, any tangents you speak of must be the ones you embarked on.

    Now, if you don’t want to talk about your fancied invaders or about the rather widespread Hindu education system before christian vandalism, then don’t bring these matters up. If you lie/repeat lies, expect to be corrected. If you don’t want a response, don’t post lies.
    Don’t be upset that we don’t roll over and blindly believe everything you accuse us of. Hindus do know which accusations are true and which ones aren’t. We don’t have to answer to fictional crimes like “invading-and-subjugating”.

    Said patriot: “just because discrimination happens elsewhere no reason to sanction it or tolerate it in India.”
    I dont think any others here require such lectures on the obvious. Though perhaps you are sermonising to yourself.

    But here’s one for you: Just because you parrot christian lies, don’t expect us to not retort with facts exposing them. And dont whine about responses.

    Patriot: What erudition!!! Very impressive
    Its impossible to return the compliment.

  • 62. Patriot said:

    My, my, we are in a spate of words out here, virtually a flood. If only we could convert these pearls of wisdom into grains of rice

    My original hypothesis was very simple:

    That the violence in Hinduism was internalised vs the externalised violence perpetrated by other religions. That was the basic premise and again, so far, I only see erudite theses about whether they were aryans or dravidians, and nothing about the core of this hypothesis.

    How does that matter and how is it relevant? Maybe the original inhabitants of the Indus Valley were not migrants but Dravidians .. I was going with the popular view . either case, how does it matter????

    RE: British destroying our gurukuls – yes, you may be right about that, but my point was about how egalitarian were the gurukuls???? Could anyone go there and study? (Yeah, yeah, I know they were the pinnacle of our lost civlisation .*sigh*)

    And, of course, while we have sweated reams about the caste system, no one has bothered to comment on the status and oppression of women in our society (and yes, I know women have been oppressed in other places too .. *sigh*)

    So, Nemo, carry on with all your dissertations, it does not mean a whit, if you miss the central hypothesis. I have spelt it out here, so that you can at least see the woods now.

  • 63. Ashish said:

    Foreign scholars who visted India before the Muslim invasions speak of India as a place where everybody was happy. “Lower castes” used to make up a good share of the schools.

    All this has gone bad progressively since the Muslim barbarity (and then after the the East India Company deception that gave rise to our culture getting subverted by Lawd Mac and his cronies, and by the missions, the end result of which was the self-hatred among Hindus, Aryan-Dravidian divide, the “Bramhins are bad onlee” theory, “Hindu = superstitious morons who worship stones in dark, narrow places and take breaks whenever they need to burn widows and daughters-in-law”, etc).

    There definitely was caste oppression, but it was not built into Dharma.

    Yanyway, how much “caste” oppression is there in India today? (This is not a sarcastic, rhetorical question. How much is it, really?)

    And how much “Brahmin”-oppression is there?

  • 64. Nandan said:

    I did not mean to belittle Nemos effort. He has done a fantastic job of analyzing past human behaviour around the globe. And he has certainly proved a point.

    My contention is that we must not stop with taking note of our past mistakes. By rationalizing them we end up unintentionally justifying them. We must move on with a resolve to leave this planet a better place than we found it. This can happen only if we dwell in the present with a vision for a brighter future so that future generations do not see their past as no dissimilar from our past which we have analyzed threadbare.

    Expressions of anger and frustration are, most of the time, self-defeating. Unless we are able to harness the available resources, spiritual as well as temporal, to bring positive changes in the society, we must consider ourselves as having failed in our duty.

    Each one of us can take a vow not to practice discrimination based on caste, colour or creed. Sound bytes do not make any difference; but resolve and adherence to principles of social justice and equality do.

    It strains credulity to presume that one sincerely longs for change when one is seen to be stuck in gloating over past glory or blind to anything other a gory past. Information is valuable if we use it as a tool for reform and change. But bits and pieces when used as self serving tools can be quite destructive.

    There never was and perhaps, there never will be an ideal world; yet we must not stop dreaming our dreams.

    I will conclude by inserting some quotes by Poojya Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji:

    Community reform cant happen out of anger or hatred; we need a sane mind and a loving approach. Without the whole-hearted participation of the Caste Hindus, Dalit empowerment will remain a dream.

    Caste discrimination can be solved only through reforms and by educating people in human values, not by creating hatred between the communities. Hatred will only polarize the society and create civil wars.

    The oppressors need to be taught that what they claim to be their own has major contributions from the Dalits. At the same time, Dalits should be encouraged to take pride in their rich heritage.

    We are free to agree or disagree with him. But let us not ignore his words altogether.

  • 65. Nemo said:

    #8

    Said patriot: “my point was about how egalitarian were the gurukuls???? Could anyone go there and study?”
    Its clear patriot did not read the link on Dharampal (in my post marked #1). It answers exactly that and more about the nation-wide Hindu education system.
    As he didnt bother reading, its obvious he doesnt want verifiably factual answers, but would rather keep up the *pretence* of arguing honestly.

    Said patriot: “no one has bothered to comment on the status and oppression of women in our society”.
    Yes, they have. But he wouldnt want to read this either, as it may further disprove his already tattered hypothesis:

    (1) —Author Veena T. Oldenburg in her seminal research Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime. Dowry Murder dispels this generalized misinformation which has been consciously fed to western and Indian readers and audiences for years relatively unchallenged.—

    Description of the book itself:
    — The Hindu custom of dowry has long been blamed for the murder of wives and female infants in India. In this highly provocative book, Veena Oldenburg argues that these killings are neither about dowry nor reflective of an Indian culture or caste system that encourages violence against women. Rather, such killings can be traced directly to the influences of the British colonial era.—

    About the book:
    — “A strong, contentious book on an intellectually and socially hot topic, Dowry Murder offers a rich complex answer to the question: What are the causes of violence against women in India, of female infanticide, ‘dowry’ deaths, and battering?”–Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago —

    (2) The British admitted that Sati was *voluntary* immolation (as in *suicide*, which is of course why the christians banned it):
    — Of more import for the biased westerner is rather, that also the not-to-be-suspected British shared the opinion that the widows involved carried out their sati voluntarily. Before the British rule banned this practice in 1829 on Lord Bentincks initiative, it had a report drawn up with the significant title: The Report on Hindu Widows and Voluntary Immolations. H.T. Colebrooke, H.H. Wilson, Jonathan Duncan and other British authorities advised against a legal ban on sati, because this ritual does not occur under duress/coercion. A few citations from the in this report collected assessments, and also from other British testimonies, deserve to be heard. —

    The above’s from an article by Koenraad Elst which continues at http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=614&view=findpost&p=45314

    The same text also proves how *Hindus* were the first to try and end the practise of Sati not the British (as christian propaganda always falsely claims):
    — Around 1800, about thirty years before the British administrator Lord Bentinck issued a ban on sati in Bengal, the hindu governments in some princely states had already issued orders to discourage sati, in particular the Maratha government in Sawantwadi and the Brahman government in Pune. With this, they concretised the anti-sati policy of the Maratha-queen Ahalyabai who passed away in 1795. —

    For examples of *coerced* immolations, we may turn to the poor Vietnamese Buddhist monks who had to resort to burning themselves in protest against their land being terrorised by christianism mid 20th century.

    And for women burnt against their will, we may recall the cherished christian practise of burning them for witchcraft which was *always* murder and *never* suicide. 7 to 9 million of them were murdered according to historian Will Durant ( http://www.secweb.org/index.aspx?action=viewAsset&id=176 )

  • 66. Nemo said:

    Following from #8 immediately above.

    Nandan: “My contention is that we must not stop with taking note of our past mistakes. By rationalizing them we end up unintentionally justifying them.”
    You still dont understand the purpose of my posts #1 to #8, though Ive explained it repeatedly.
    And I can have given you no cause to rationalise or justify any such thing.

    Nandan quotes Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: what they claim to be their own has major contributions from the Dalits. At the same time, Dalits should be encouraged to take pride in their rich heritage.
    I need no Ravi Shankar or anyone else to prove to me that Harijan communities (and individuals) have contributed greatly to Hindu civilisation and are an integral part. I have sense enough to know it for myself. The same applies to the Hindus called tribals. And every other Hindu community.
    And I have never considered nor treated another Hindu as unequal to me. So *why* are you lecturing me?

    [Harijan is used above, because that is how the *Hindus* designate themselves:
    "Dalit or Harijan? Self-Naming by Scheduled Caste Interviewees" by Alan Marriott
    http://www.letindiadevelop.org/irochtc/Dalit%20or%20Harijan.pdf
    --- while harijan (or harizan or some other spelling) was used by 1351 respondents in 18 different states, and a number of respondents used scheduled caste, not one respondent chose dalit.) ---
    It shows how the pseudo-psecular Indian media wants to force the term Dalit on the unconverted Hindu communities too. There's a great gain for christianism in subverting identities through names.]

    Said patriot: “My original hypothesis was very simple: That the violence in Hinduism was internalised vs the externalised violence perpetrated by other religions. That was the basic premise and again, so far, I only see erudite theses about whether they were aryans or dravidians, and nothing about the core of this hypothesis.”

    Your original hypothesis rested on fiction: you started with the AIT and other lies your teachers fed you.
    Let me summarise: (1) You repeated lies (AIT was the opener for your original hypothesis see your first comment here) and (2) then you were caught out, and (3) now you say that thats irrelevant. Then why did you bring it up? Granted that its rather embarrassing for you, but evading your own mistakes wont salvage your theory.

    Ive not written – as you now claim out of the blue – on *anyone* being aryans or dravidians. It was *you* who was greatly preoccupied in believing in that christian myth and writing on it (see your first post again).
    Rather, Ive only posted on how scholars admit to there being no evidence for any aryans; and how, instead of the christian myth of an invasion into the IVC, researchers have shown how theres been anthropological and archaeological continuity there.

    Perhaps from the caste system, slavery and slavery-enhanced caste-system in CHRISTIANISM and ISLAM (my comments marked #4- #6), you may be able to conclude that those religions of horror fit your hypothesis of both ‘external’ AND ‘internal’ violence?
    Im feeling generous. To help your redirected hypothesis some more: The north-western European word for Sinti and Roma (“Gypsies”) means untouchable, as detailed at http://www.holocaust-trc.org/thegypsies.htm
    — For centuries, Sinti and Roma were scorned and persecuted in Europe. Zigeuner, the German word for Gypsy, derives from a Greek root meaning “untouchable.” In the Balkan principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, Gypsies were slaves bought and sold by monasteries and large estate holders (boyars) until 1864, when the newly formed nation of Romania emancipated them.—

    patriot: “carry on with all your dissertations, it does not mean a whit, if you miss the central hypothesis”
    And carry on deceiving yourself by ignoring verifiable facts that contradict your wild claims. Your hypothesis fell through: from myths of AIT and selective-education to more parroted make-believe. And, of course, your accusations against Hindu society as uniquely to blame for the caste phenomenon.

    The term was well-chosen, though: Hiding behind a hypothesis affords you freedom from having to prove the various fictions you pulled out of your hat to abuse Hinduism with. And when proven totally wrong, you can always claim it was but a hypothesis nothing more. Well, its indeed time now for you to do exactly that.

  • 67. K. Harapriya said:

    In the entire rant fest between the poor sap who goes by a silly pseudonym (patriot) and tries to denigrate an entire religion because of some retrograde social practices, and the rest who try to find various reasons for explaining away those practices, I noticed that not one suggested any viable solution other than the usual reform of Hinduism.

    In the sixty years of independence, even after outlawing the discriminatory practices of the caste system, we still have a country where everyone is continuously reminded of his caste and is always conscious of it. Maybe all this is the result of having caste based reservations and caste based politics. It might be time to try something different. How about a dont ask, dont tell policy? We can remove any mention of caste and religion in the public sphere. Thus, no one is asked what community they belong to on any document and no caste based discrimination
    is allowed.
    Thus ,no educational institute or employer can ask what community one belongs toit becomes illegal to do so. If one is asked what ones community is, one can also refuse to answer .

    In response to patriots rant over the use of Sanskrit in religious ritualsit is really amusing to see bombastic English speakers , who dont mind learning a foreign language (the language of our colonizers no less) if it helps them economically or professionally, complain incessantly over having to learn a little Sanskrit in order to understand the religious rituals.

  • 68. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Sir,
    The question you have addressed is what is the source of the caste system and how can it be eradicated.
    I am not aware of any source within India. As far as I know from the scriptures of Indian Origin, PLEASE NOTE- INDIAN ORIGIN! not written, translated, edited, pharaphrased, described, studied, and any other form of human understanding by a weterenised, corrupted ,Christanised, and evangelised mind!!
    I am making it very clear that the scriptures as existing under Indian Conditions as traced from times millenia have no mention of “CASTE” or even “JATHI”.
    All it says is that a person who lives, behaves, eats, or performs any human related activity in a particular sort of way is a person who an be called this category. That is all.
    This form of thought process had continued for millenia and then we had the invasions. One came to plunder and brutality was its core wode and activity.
    Another came with soft words for exploitation, destruction of native ideas and thoughts and way of living.
    To make a living and that too for a luxurious one for running a kingdom the group used cheap and underhand means to exploit and even destroy a structure. They called it love and called it equality!
    This scourge then developed formats to encourage the locals mainly in the form of titles, women, money power and pelf and put brother against brother.
    This scourge pinched the child and rocked the cradle in very subtle forms.
    Today this scourge continues to exploit it in the form of money, power, pelf and women and is trying to eat into the entrails of every form of system in the society.
    They have twisted the education system, the concept of respect for elders, the concept of work and twisted it for only one end, for the scourge to grow.
    Unless this scourge is eliminated form the system and fought against the non existence of the caste system in this eternal country and the truth of its way of life of its true inheritors will never come to light.
    You have correctly hit the nail on the head endless arguments will be academic and non productive.
    Unless the truth of the Vedas which have been desroyed deliberately by the followers of the scourge are highlighted we can discuss this :Caste” until the sun turns blue and it will be fruitless
    An attempt has begun with the Chinmayanada Mission, taken forward by Shri Dayananda, Shri. Sri Sri Ravishankar and a host of others who are bring to light the hidden truths of this ancient land covered by hundreds of years of scorn heaped upon it.
    I think with the Christian Educated, persons like me included, who participate in this blog coming to slowly understand this and also and discussing this way of thinking gives me hope that sometime in the near future the truth will come out on this concept of caste and who the real perpetrators and founders of this divide and rule policy were!!
    Then your solution will be there SIR!
    Regards,
    vck

  • 69. Patriot said:

    RE: “Aryan migration into India or otherwise”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Aryan_migration

    Multiple sources, all linked in the above article:

    Excerpt (Pls read the whole excerpt and not just the first lines, and as you can see I am not “selective”):

    “The vast majority of the professional archaeologists Bryant (2001) interviewed in India insisted that there was no convincing archaeological evidence whatsoever to support any claims of external Indo-Aryan origins.[12] Kenoyer (as cited in Bryant 2001:231) and Shaffer (as cited in Bryant 2001:232) argue that current evidence does not support an invasion of South Asia in the pre- or proto-historic periods.

    According to Kenoyer (as quoted in Bryant 2001:190):

    Although the overall socioeconomic organization changed, continuities in technology, subsistence practices, settlement organization, and some regional symbols show that the indigenous population was not displaced by invading hordes of Indo-Aryan speaking people. For many years, the invasions or migrations of these Indo-Aryan-speaking Vedic/Aryan tribes explained the decline of the Indus civilization and the sudden rise of urbanization in the Ganga-Yamuna valley. This was based on simplistic models of culture change and an uncritical reading of Vedic texts…

    Similar arguments were made by Hasler (as cited in Bryant 2001:141), who found that the archaeological evidence in central Europe showed continuous linear development, with no marked external influences. As Bryant (2001:235) points out, “India is not the only Indo-European-speaking area that has not revealed any archaeological traces of immigration.” Mallory (in Blench & Spriggs 1997) states that archaeological continuity can be supported for every Indo-European-speaking region of Eurasia, not just India. Several historically documented migrations, such as those of the Helvetii to Switzerland, the Huns into Europe, or Gaelic-speakers into Scotland are not attested in the archaeological record.[13] Cavalli-Sforza (2000) states that “archeology can verify the occurrence of migration only in exceptional cases”. ”

    More excerpts for DNA evidence:

    “Bamshad et al. (2001) state:

    For maternally inherited mtDNA, each caste is most similar to Asians. However, 20%-30% of Indian mtDNA haplotypes belong to West Eurasian haplogroups, and the frequency of these haplotypes is proportional to caste rank, the highest frequency of West Eurasian haplotypes being found in the upper castes. In contrast, for paternally inherited Y-chromosome variation each caste is more similar to Europeans than to Asians. Moreover, the affinity to Europeans is proportionate to caste rank, the upper castes being most similar to Europeans, particularly East Europeans. [...] Analysis of these data demonstrated that the upper castes have a higher affinity to Europeans than to Asians, and the upper castes are significantly more similar to Europeans than are the lower castes. Collectively, all five datasets show a trend toward upper castes being more similar to Europeans, whereas lower castes are more similar to Asians”

    I leave the analysis of the above to my most erudite friend, Nemo.

    Further excerpts:

    “The separation of Indo-Aryans proper from Proto-Indo-Iranians has been dated to roughly 2000 BCE1800 BCE. It is believed Indo-Aryans reached Assyria in the west and the Punjab in the east before 1500 BC: the Indo-Aryan Mitanni rulers appear from 1500 in northern Mesopotamia, and the Gandhara grave culture emerges from 1600. This suggests that Indo-Aryan tribes would have had to be present in the area of the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (southern Turkmenistan/northern Afghanistan) from 1700 BC at the latest (incidentally corresponding with the decline of that culture).

    The Gandhara grave culture is the most likely locus of the earliest Indo-European presence east of the Hindu Kush of the bearers of Rigvedic culture, and based on this Parpola (1998) assumes an immigration to the Punjab ca. 1700-1400, but he also postulates a first wave of immigration from as early as 1900 BC, corresponding to the Cemetery H culture. However, this culture may also represent forerunners of the Indo-Iranians, similar to the Kassite invasion of Mesopotamia early in the second millennium BCE.

    Rajesh Kochhar (2000:185186) argues that there were three waves of Indo-Aryan immigration that occurred after the mature Harappan phase: the Murghamu (BMAC) related people who entered Baluchistan at Pirak, Mehrgarh south cemetery, etc. and later merged with the post-urban Harappans during the late Harappans Jhukar phase; the Swat IV that co-founded the Harappan Cemetery H phase in Punjab and the Rigvedic Indo-Aryans of Swat V that later absorbed the Cemetery H people and gave rise to the Painted Grey Ware culture. He dates the first two to 2000-1800 BCE and the third to 1400 BCE.”

    And, here is what the Rigveda says or does not say:
    “There is no explicit mention of an outward or inward migration in the Rigveda. Kazanas interpretes a mythological passage, RV 7.6.3, as: Agni turned the godless and the Dasyus westward, and not southward, as would be required by some versions of the AIT.[35] Talageri speculates that some of the tribes that fought against Sudas on the banks of the Parusni River during the Dasarajna battle have maybe migrated to western countries in later times, as they are possibly connected with some Iranian peoples (e.g. the Pakthas, Bhalanas).[36]

    Just like the Avesta does not mention an external homeland of the Zoroastrians, the Rigveda does not explicitly refer to an external homeland[37] or to a migration. Later texts than the Rigveda (such as the Brahmanas, the Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Puranas) are more centered in the Ganges region. This shift from the Punjab to the Gangetic plain continues the Rigvedic tendency of eastward expansion, but does of course not imply an origin beyond the Indus watershed. However, the Rigveda contains names (such as Rasa/Raha, Sarayu/Haroyu) that represent memories of the Volga, as well as the Pani (Parni) tribe and the Herat Rivers in western Afghanistan.”

    So, Nemo, given the historical/archealogical/DNA ambiguity about the topic, I do not have to accept your thesis, either.

  • 70. Patriot said:

    *** COMMENT mistakenly stuck in spam queue. RECOVERED by Moderator ***

    Dear Ashish,

    Some pointers for you:

    School meals in Bihar
    http://www.indianexpress.com/story/228726.html

    Discrimination in Jobs (posting this link, although I have serious doubts about the methodology used)
    http://www.indianexpress.com/story/233765.html

    A different caste angle (relates to your earlier point, Shantanu, about Khairlanji)
    http://www.indianexpress.com/story/226720.html

    More fees from SC/ST?
    http://www.dnaindia.com/mobile/report.asp?n=1130154

    New movie on current caste discrimination in 8 states (Do read at least this one)
    Excerpt: “The middle classes are more prone to this denial and they are the ones who are most vocal – the writers, the journalists, the policy pushers. My film is dedicated to all those who are in denial of the fact that our lives continue to be governed by age-old caste practices that are discriminatory.”
    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1127101

    Crooked Politicians using fake caste certificates!
    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1100206

    AI abuse?
    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1039004

    Congress at its normal game, but caught this time
    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=4057

    Caste in the Indian Army???
    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=101975

    More Khairlanji?
    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1124216

    Rising caste crimes (or are more being reported?)
    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1062996

    Marry out of caste, get killed
    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1131213

    PDS – pay more, get less
    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1131338

    Caste in AIIMS?
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/AIIMS_faculty_member_cries_caste_bias/articleshow/2399864.cms

    Caste over development (not discrimination, but nevertheless telling)
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/806084.cms

    There are an equal or more number of articles on politicians using/abusing caste for their own brand of evil, but I guess we all know that and have become immune to it.

  • 71. Patriot said:

    And, BTW, given the current scientific thinking that all of mankind arose and spread from a single gene pool out of Africa, all the AIT vs OIT debate is fairly meaningless.

  • 72. Nemo said:

    Bruce Lincoln, whose field is in Indo-European Studies, writes in Theorizing Myth:
    — we recognize that the existence of a language family does not necessarily imply the existence of a protolanguage. Still less the existence of a protopeople, protomyths, protoideology, or protohomeland (Lincoln 1999, p. 216).—
    The protopeople he mentions is your Indo-Europeans/Aryans.

    I pasted the above and more, over 4 comments at:
    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2005/10/08/revising-the-aryan-invasion-of-india-theory/

    It shows how scholars (they’re not Indian, so you can’t accuse them of bias or some such) say that there is in fact NO EVIDENCE for any “aryans”. These aryans only ever been hypothetical (even the Proto-Indo-European language, on which their very existence depends, is hypothetical).
    And that means that any discussion of “Aryan Invasions” is moot: when even their existence has never been ascertained, they couldn’t have gone around invading, could they?
    Do read it.

    Wikipedia is a place where *anyone* can write *anything*. One needn’t be an expert on anything and can still post one’s stories there and make it part of the “encyclopeadia”.
    There may be facts at wikipedia, but there are certainly falsehoods there. It will take a lot of one’s time to verify what content there is factual and sift it from the rest. I’ve no intention of wasting my time in that way. But you will have to if you intend to continue consulting wikipedia.

    “Just like the Avesta does not mention an external homeland of the Zoroastrians”
    Yes it does. “Airyana Vaejah” (or Vaejoh or Vaejo?) and several other ancestral places named in the early part of the Vendidad. A researcher – Gerardo Gnoli? reviewed by S. Talageri – has placed most of them east of Iran: in Afghanistan and definitely further east, in India.
    But then, wikipedia is not known for reliability. But you weren’t to know that.

    Said patriot: “I do not have to accept your thesis, either.”
    You’re wrong again. It’s not my thesis. The material on the AIT that’s on the linked page are excerpts from works by researchers in Indo-European Studies. It’s *their* conclusions.

  • 73. Nemo said:

    The homeland of the Persians (Zoroastrians) – wherever it may have been – doesn’t say anything about the hypothetical aryans.
    The Zoroastrians were (and are) historical. Aryans are not – they are purely theory.

  • 74. Vishnu said:

    Nemo… great post!

    I fully understand the points made by Nemo. The problem with Hindus today is, they are fed with a lot of myths about Hinduism and their traditions. In spite that it is evident that Hindus went through a long period of colonization that resulted in poverty, looting, domination, suppression, lack of opportunity and many social ills. What we find today is we see a lot of attempt and propaganda manufactured and repeatedly told to blame the Hindus for all these social problem and at the same time attempt is made to suppress the real cause… by pretending as though as no invasion or colonization had ever occurred.

    It is these kind of cunning motives that do not have any truthfulness but rather attempt to spread wrong information about Hinduism that people like Nemo and myself could not accept!

    A great deal is made to “proof” that all of today’s social ills in India is due to Hinduism, Brahmanism, etc. parroting the Christian missionaries. What is common about these people is they do subscribe to all foreign colonial-historiography such as AIT, AMT, Dravidian theories etc. to support their claim which has no roots in India! I will say that they live in a “imaginary land” therefore whenever the true perspective is presented which is logical or rational, they immediately resort to personal attack and condemn the other as communal. This is the trend we see today and this thread is not an exception.

    The kind of irrational and narrow perspective can be seen in posts made by Patriot such as this one…
    “That two wrongs make a right? Then, the London guys have a long way to go after all, 2000 years of discrimination is not easy to catch up with.”

    As what Nemo had also clarified… there is no attempt or intention to make wrong things right… but the problem arise when these problems are associated or blindly blamed on Hindus.

    How did Patriot know that for 2000 years such discrimination existed in the Indian society? Had he done any research to show clearly that it existed for 2000 years? In fact the truth is, the caste based discrimination as we see today is totally a recent phenomenon.

    Take the case of dowry practice in the contemporary Indian society. It is always blamed as it is sort of due to Hinduism. We see people simply bash Hinduism for all dowry based social problem. Is this the truth, and by simply blaming Hinduism for it, can these social problem be eliminated?

    In truth, the dowry practice has Indian roots, but the dowry based social problem is in reality a recent phenomenon. This can be easily be proven by looking at dowry practice in South East Asia which has its roots in India or Hindu (as what India is referred in these part of the world before the British).

    The Malays in Malaysia still practices the dowry (known as Mas Kahwin) which they inherited from the Indians …

    http://bdeen.blogspot.com/2007/09/malay-wedding.html

    A Malay wedding is a mixture of cultural traditions –indigenous, Hindu and Islamic. But in a Malay wedding, the groom had to pay a dowry to the bride. The amount of dowry is comparatively low to that of what a groom demands from the bride in India. In Malaysia, there is no discrimination to females as they are not a burden to the family.

    http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Pool/1644/precolonial.html

    Many Filipino customs are of Indian origin. Among them are the following: (1) placing a sampaguita flower garland around the neck of a visitor upon his arrival and departure as a symbol of hospitality and friendship; (2) before marriage, a groom gives a dowry to the bride’s parents and renders domestic services to his future in-laws; (3) when the guests throw rice on the bride and groom after the wedding; and (4) when a childless couple goes on a pilgrimage to a holy shrine, believing that the god of shrine will grant their prayer for fertility.

    If one sees it, the dowry practice spread and got its influence to the SEA region from India in pre-Islamic and pre-colonial times. The form of dowry practice is entirely different from what we see today in India. The original dowry practice was “the groom had to pay a dowry to the bride” and not the other way round as we see today in India.

    The logic behind the dowry practice as what it is still practiced in the SEA region is as explained below…

    The dowry is unique in the way it is paid. The man and woman agree upon an acceptable price (the woman can ask anything she likes). Upon marriage, she is asked before witnesses whether she accepts the man and agreed amount. When the dowry is paid, it becomes her property alone. It may be obsolete in today’s western society, but it is still practiced as a formality. Women today, can fairly easily acquire jobs and make a decent living for themselves if they divorce. In those times (and I guess still in some places around the world )it was not so easy to get by as a single woman. The dowry was meant to help a woman along if she all of a sudden found herself without her husband (almost like a lump sum alimony payment, paid right at the get-go).

    Then when did this practice got reversed? One research reveals that, the dowry practice is a result of socio-economic changes brought about by the British in undivided Punjab. It is mentioned that the British introduced a law and made it impossible for women to inherit property.

    In the book , The Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime by Veena Talwar Oldenburg
    http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Politics/InternationalStudies/?view=usa&ci=9780195150728

    In the precolonial period, dowry was an institution managed by women, for women, to enable them to establish their status and have recourse in an emergency. As a consequence of the massive economic and societal upheaval brought on by British rule, women’s entitlements to the precious resources obtained from land were erased and their control of the system diminished, ultimately resulting in a devaluing of their very lives.

    Thus, given the example above, we can clearly see how many social problems that we see today in India have it roots in colonization and devaluation of the original Indian practice. Why not educate Indian about these real truths and create awareness on it? Thus Indians will appreciate the fact that the dowry practice is meant to protect the women and the current practice is an aberration due to colonial cause. Why there is conspiracy to bury these facts?

    Why then make such a big lie by blaming the Hindus or Indians? The real solution to overcome these social problems is to de-colonize the Indian mind and the colonial system. Even after independence, it is surprising that India being such an ancient and civilizing nation has not de-colonized it constitution, the system of governance, education, colonial-historiography and many of its social regulations while many other colonized nations has done it! Why?

  • 75. Patriot said:

    Nemo

    Wonderful!! Without reading anything, question the authencity of the article ….. That wiki article is cross-referenced all the way. Go find out and educate yourself instead of being your usual patronising self.

    do read the part about the dna …… Dna does not lie.

    I hold no brief for the AIT or otherwise and am always willing to modify my views if proven incorrect. Unlike some others ……

  • 76. B Shantanu said:

    @ Nemo: Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts and the extensive links to external sources.

    This will help the debate and discussion in a very significant way.

    I will try and go through each one of them sometime over the next few days.

    ***

    @ Patriot: Two short comments.

    1] The AIT theory has been fairly discredited and I doubt that there are many scholars (regardless of Wikipedia) who find it credble. Of course, you will always have lone rangers and small groups that will continue to hold a view – but that does not prove the hypothesis (in my humble opinon).

    2] The main comment though is with regards your statement:

    “My original hypothesis was very simple:

    That the violence in Hinduism was internalised vs the externalised violence perpetrated by other religions.

    …And, of course, while we have sweated reams about the caste system, no one has bothered to comment on the status and oppression of women in our society”

    I assume when you say that he violence in Hindu society was “internalised” vs. “externalised” what you mean was that it was religiously sanctioned…Am I right in assuming that?

    If that is indeed what you meant, then the debate should focus on this.

    And the fact about ill-treatment of women and other castes should be interpreted in the context of whether it was “actively” encouraged by the original tenets of the religion (Vedas?)

    OR was it a result of severe distortions and decay of societal values due to exogenous – i.e. non religious, reasons.

    What do you think?

    ***
    Vishnu, Shrinu, Nandan, Ashish, Harpriya and vck: Thanks for shairng your thoughts. Harpriya: Novel suggestion and I will comment in some more detail in a day or two on it.

  • 77. Patriot said:

    Vishnu,

    Thank you for the interesting post on Dowry. Certainly, food for thought.

  • 78. Patriot said:

    Shantanu,

    1. To be honest, I am not particularly concerned about the validity of the AIT or otherwise. I made a passing reference to the Aryan settlers at the beginning of my post, but that could as easily be modified just to say the indigenous people of Indus Valley, and then by extension, the Gangetic plains. So, mea culpa, for introducing an extraneous topic to the discussion, which allowed Nemo to take us significantly off-topic.

    2. If you note in my posts, I have specifically said that the vedas do NOT sanction these practices. So, to answer your question even more specifically, I do not believe that these discriminatory practices are sanctioned by our ancient texts, but they have certainly been PRACTISED and put into practice by “Hindus” and this has been sanctioned by hindu religious “authority” at different points in time.

    So, what do you think caused these distortions from the pure?

  • 79. Patriot said:

    RE: Harpriya, you said:

    “In response to patriots rant over the use of Sanskrit in religious ritualsit is really amusing to see bombastic English speakers , who dont mind learning a foreign language (the language of our colonizers no less) if it helps them economically or professionally, complain incessantly over having to learn a little Sanskrit in order to understand the religious rituals.”

    Is it too much to ask that the texts be available and be read in the local language? Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, etc?

    Can you explain why this is an unreasonable demand?

  • 80. Ashish said:

    These are a fantastic, ready to go set of PDFs that people can give out to their misguided secular-mulla-marxist-missionary friends:

    http://www.yashodharman.org/english/books_authored_and_published.htm

  • 81. Nandan said:

    If our secular Government could be persuaded to set apart at least a small portion of the collections they make from our temples to fund such a project, It would be possible to translate important Sanskrit books and make them available at affordable prices.

    However, translations generally reflect the prejudices of the person translating it. Just imagine a scholar who belongs to DMK translating Ramayana. Setubandhan may be translated as building Adam’s bridge.

  • 82. Nemo said:

    Split over 2 comments:

    Patriot:”Without reading anything, question the authencity of the article .. That wiki article is cross-referenced all the way.”
    My point was: wikipedia is part fiction part fact. (For example, the Zoroastrian homeland gaffe wikipedia made.) It takes too long to sift facts from the unfactual content, meaning I’ll have to go verify *everything* for myself. Whereas, I can read actual journal articles and *know* they have been peer-reviewed by actual researchers and choose to verify where I think necessary.
    Therefore, you can stop sloganeering for wikipedia.

    “do read the part about the dna Dna does not lie.”
    I had already read Kenoyer and Bamshad and the others a couple of years before your wikipedia post. Of the verifiable things there, youve posted nothing that I hadnt already read.
    Ive read far more recent genetics journal articles too (Kivisild left Bamshad and made a near 180 degree U-turn). My caution against wikipedia was meant for you.

    It’s true that DNA does not lie. But objective data can – *and has been* – construed by people with biases to align with their theories. For instance, when some researchers who greatly favour the aryan hypothesis found what they thought were “European” genetic markers in India, they got all excited and announced that “it proves the AIT” – until they found out that the same genetic marker was *older* and with *greater variability* in the Indian subcontinent (which proves that the marker’s origin was in our subcontinent). This marker business is better explained by geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer in his book on genetics “The Real Eve”:
    — For me and for Toomas Kivisild, South Asia is logically the ultimate origin of M17 and his ancestors; and sure enough we find highest rates and greatest diversity of the M17 line in Pakistan, India, and eastern Iran, and low rates in the Caucasus. M17 is not only more diverse in South Asia than in Central Asia but diversity characterizes its presence in isolated tribal groups in the south, thus undermining any theory of M17 as a marker of a `male Aryan Invasion of India’, (p. 152).—
    After M17 was found to be non-European in origin, even the invasionists were quick to relinquish claims to M17 being the European/aryan “invasion” marker (because in that case, their imaginary aryans would be originating from the Indian subcontinent instead!)

    Another example is “Victor Mair” who is deeply biased toward seeing his aryans in everything and is very infatuated with race theories: he sees mummies that have gone “white” in China and assumes they are therefore the European aryans who must therefore have “brought civilisation to China”. http://homepages.utoledo.edu/nlight/uyghhst.htm
    But even less biased researchers have assumed their aryans and gone on to theorise about these hypothetical “civilising” Europeans ancestors of theirs in western China – until the results turned out rather less to their liking:
    Clark Spencer Larsen, Journal of Archaeological Research, Vol. 10, No. 2, June 2002 . http://monkey.sbs.ohio-state.edu/bioarch/PDF/ProfLarsen-JARarticle.pdf
    —…Cavalli-Sforza (2000) argued that populations living in the Tarim Basin of western China (Xinjiang Province) had a European origin. He noted that the mummies Bioarchaeology 145 found there lacked the so-called Mongoloid cranial features that distinguish them from surrounding Asian groups. Hemphills biodistance analysis of cranial metrics, however, provides compelling evidence that the ancestry of the Tarim Basin groups was non-European (Hemphill, 2000). Rather, his analysis reveals a biological affinity with the Indus Valley population of northern India for the earlier groups, whereas the later groups show affinity to populations of the Oxus River valley in south-central Asia.—

    Said patriot: “I hold no brief for the AIT or otherwise ”
    Well, your first comment on this page assumed it in its fullest measure. That’s right: the comment that outlined your “original hypothesis”.

    patriot: “and am always willing to modify my views if proven incorrect.”
    That’s good. So your hypothesis based on invaders (and subjugees and the rest) has wafted away?
    (Note that you were the one patrionising everyone with your Argumentum Ad Your Hypothesis.)

  • 83. Nemo said:

    This is part of my previous comment – continued on from there:

    The point was (examples in above comment):
    Yes, DNA does not lie. But that does not stop researchers from either force-fitting objective data into their subjective theories (until such a time as further data comes along to disprove them), such as biased/one-way leaning scholars presuming the aryans and then writing about DNA data in terms of their aryans: such as “Aryans did invade, they travelled here and there, because genetic marker so-and-so is found here and there”.
    But aryans have never been more than an idea. There is no baseline definitive “aryan” genes to compare things with, so it’s no more than play.
    This tendencey for “theorising myth” – especially in the field of Indo-European (aryan) studies – is exactly what Bruce Lincoln has written about in his book “Theorizing Myth”.

    As an Indian, in spite of being anti-Hindu, are you not the least bit interested to know what Indo-European scholars who take/took a step back and realised aryans were never more than a hypothesis in the first place (and so too the “Proto-Indo-European” language), have written about *why* these are hypothetical?
    And don’t you feel the least bit cheated that all the nonsense the Indian communist ‘historians’ have been spinning on about, turn out to be founded on pure assumptions that have never been proven? (See footnote (46) at http://www.india-forum.com/articles/153/2/The-AIT-%3A-More-than-meets-the-eye for communist aryan-theorizer Jhas far-fetched speculations).

  • 84. Nemo said:

    Correcting an error 2 comments ago (mine):
    until they found out that the same genetic marker was *older* and with *greater variability* in the Indian subcontinent ”
    It should have been:
    “until they found out that the same genetic marker was in *higher* frequency and with *greater diversity* in the Indian subcontinent”
    That’s what makes it older in the Indian subcontinent.

  • 85. Patriot said:

    Nemo said:
    “patriot: and am always willing to modify my views if proven incorrect.
    Thats good. So your hypothesis based on invaders (and subjugees and the rest) has wafted away?”

    Not at all. My hypothesis had very little, if anything, to do with the AIT.

    Please see my post to Shantanu, which I repeat for your convenience:

    “To be honest, I am not particularly concerned about the validity of the AIT or otherwise. I made a passing reference to the Aryan settlers at the beginning of my post, but that could as easily be modified just to say the indigenous people of Indus Valley, and then by extension, the Gangetic plains. So, mea culpa, for introducing an extraneous topic to the discussion, which allowed Nemo to take us significantly off-topic.”

    And, the passing reference was not even to “aryan settlers” as such, but just settlers in the IV. Now, unless you tell me that they sprung from the riverbed itself, I would assume that they originated from someplace?

  • 86. Patriot said:

    Nandan,

    Good suggestion!

    I am sure translations can be peer reviewed to remove bias? I know for sure that I would read a lot more of our ancient texts, if they were made accessible to me in a current language of use.

    And, as an aside, the DMK can hardly claim sethubandhan to be building Adam’s bridge as they claim that it is not man-made (which is supported by scientic opinion, btw).

  • 87. Patriot said:

    Nemo: “Its true that DNA does not lie. But objective data can – *and has been* – construed by people with biases to align with their theories. For instance, when some researchers who greatly favour the aryan hypothesis found what they thought were European genetic markers in India, they got all excited and announced that it proves the AIT – until they found out that the same genetic marker was *older* and with *greater variability* in the Indian subcontinent (which proves that the markers origin was in our subcontinent). This marker business is better explained by geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer in his book on genetics The Real Eve:

    Do you have a link for this? I would like to read more on this. Thanks.

  • 88. K. Harapriya said:

    In response to patriot, as far as I know, all slokas and mantras are available in local languages as well as in English. That is, the ritualistic mantras are available in local script. Nowadays with so many people pressed for time, even cassettes with the sanskrit slokas as well as explanations in local languages are also available to help people perform the rituals themselves. In addition, all four Vedas are available online with transliteration and translation.

    As to the question of why ritual mantras need to be in Sanskrit, it is purely an aesthetic reason. Just as Kambar Ramayanam sounds best in Tamil and Thyagaraja’s Telugu kritis (songs) sound best in their language of composition, so too do Sanskrit mantras sound best in Sanskrit. I have heard the Vishnu Sahasranama in Tamil and while it is okay, it doesn’t have the poetic resonance of the Sanskrit .

    Having said that, there is also a vast repetoire of religious songs in local languages which are routinely used. For example, in Tamil Nadu they sing Tevarams at temples. In Maharashtra there are the songs of Tukaram etc.

    When people like Karunanidhi etc. insist that all religious rituals be performed in local languages, I question this move for two reasons:

    One is that there is a loss of a continuous tradition (that of chanting in Sanskrit). In the name of reform, it is not necessary to destroy every old tradition of Hinduism.

    The second reason is that Sanskrit is not really difficult to learn. An average person can pick up enough Sanskrit with three to six months of study to understand the Gita or Valmiki’s Ramayana. Sanskrit is the base of most Indian languages and most of our complex words derive their roots from Sanskrit. I find that people of Indian origin who know at least one Indian language, are often astounded at how easy Sanskrit is to understand.

    Many people protest against Sanskrit because they think that Brahmins are hoarding the knowledge of religious rituals and language. This may have been so in the past. However, in today’s world of mass published books and of course , the internet, I don’t think any group can really hoard any knowledge.
    I think if a person is really interested in performing rituals, all the tools are available to them regardless of their class background.

    I also question the assumption that the path to God or self-realization should be an easy one. While most people don’t mind learning multiple languages for their own economic growth, many think that understanding religious or philosophical insights should be easy–that it should require no extra effort on their part. I just happen to disagree.

  • 89. Nemo said:

    Patriot: “Do you have a link for this? I would like to read more on this.”
    http://evolutsioon.ut.ee/publications/Kivisild2003a.pdf contains the domper to the invasionists’ initial excitement about “at last, proof for AIT” that I mentioned:
    Kivisild et al., “The Genetics of Language and Farming Spread in India”, Examining the farming/language dispersal hypothesis, edited by Peter Bellwood & Colin Renfrew, McDonald Institute of Monographs, 215-222, 2003
    — “Indians appear to display the higher diversity both in haplogroups 3 and 9 – even if a pooled sample of eastern and southern European populations was considered. If we were to use the same arithmetic and logic (sensu haplogroup 9 is Neolithic) to give an interpretation of this table, then the straightforward suggestion would be that both Neolithic (agriculture) and Indo-European languages arose in India and from there, spread to Europe.”—

    It basically says that if the genetic marker under discussion was to continue being used as being indicative of the direction of the spread of “Indo-European” languages and genes (that includes direction of travel of the accompanying hypothetical aryans), then, rather than the initial assumption of a movement from Europe/central Asia into India, it turns out that India is its origin and therefore the languages would have spread to Europe. But then, of course, the researches merely posit this as an “*if* the marker were to still be used to argue in the same way” and they then leave it at that.

    The above article-excerpt is also discussed in point 5 of footnote (30) of http://www.india-forum.com/articles/153/2/The-AIT-%3A-More-than-meets-the-eye

    Patriot wrote: “Not at all. My hypothesis had very little, if anything, to do with the AIT.”
    This was what you wrote in your first comment: “Moreover, as invaders came and settled here (IVC), the original inhabitants accepted them into their gene pool, because the Invaders were militarily MORE POWERFUL.”
    That is the very description of the AIT, regardless of whatever name it goes by.

    Patriot: “Please see my post to Shantanu, which I repeat for your convenience”
    The post to Shantanu that you refer to is a very recent post, wherein you’ve changed your view/hypothesis.

    Patriot: “And, the passing reference was not even to aryan settlers as such, but just settlers in the IV. Now, unless you tell me that they sprung from the riverbed itself, I would assume that they originated from someplace?”
    This is disingenuous. At the start of this page you were talking about settlers (invaders) from outside of India, as I have just shown by quoting a pertinent statement from your first comment here.
    It’s okay to change one’s mind (we all do that), but not to say thereafter that the change was actually part of your initial position.

    The SSVC (IVC) people are from India – there’s no evidence of them being from outside (let alone of any attestable migration or violent invasion into India and the IVC region); instead there’s evidence of continuity.

  • 90. Patriot said:

    Nemo: “This is disingenuous. At the start of this page you were talking about settlers (invaders) from outside of India, as I have just shown by quoting a pertinent statement from your first comment here.”

    Again, not at all ……. You can say that my comment about the settlers in IV to be references to “aryan settlers”. But, my later comment about invaders referred to more latter-day invaders – the mongols, the persians, and the mughals. Should have made that more clear.

    “The SSVC (IVC) people are from India – theres no evidence of them being from outside (let alone of any attestable migration or violent invasion into India and the IVC region); instead theres evidence of continuity.”

    Yes, they may be from India, but they had to originate somewhere, right? They could have sprung out of the earth as a separate evolutionary event but I think Stephen Oppenheimer answers that question in his book and work about the entire current human population tracing its roots to a single woman in Africa. Tie that in with a single landmass, and then the drift of continents, it starts to make sense.

    Meanwhile I found this website while scouting the net:
    http://www.svabhinava.org/AITvsOIT/

    Amazing set of links in one place.

    Also, Nemo said: “And dont you feel the least bit cheated that all the nonsense the Indian communist historians have been spinning on about, turn out to be founded on pure assumptions that have never been proven?”

    I have never given much thought to AIT before this discussion, and so I don’t feel cheated, as much as bemused by the new knowledge gained.

    But, having said that, I think the Communists of India and the quasi-communists in the Congress have much to answer for in MODERN India, which makes my blood boil. They are the real traitors of this country, the real fifth column and I believe a lot of our problems would disappear if we could counter their work more effectively. The sad part is that even the BJP does seem to have the calibre to take them on, heads-on. Rest are fellow-travellers.

  • 91. Nemo said:

    Patriot: “Yes, they may be from India, but they had to originate somewhere, right? They could have sprung out of the earth as a separate evolutionary event but I think Stephen Oppenheimer answers that question in his book ”
    Genetics research says that India’s interior was populated starting from the South to the East then to the North and Northwest. And from there onward into “West Asia”.
    Our human ancestors from Africa colonised India from the South, and also colonised South East Asia.
    This also makes sense when we look at that data of Kivisild showing how our South Indian tribes are the ones whose genes flows in every Indian and even into “West Asia” (Afghanistan and Iran).

    And when we couple this with the non-invasion (of the imaginary/hypothetical aryans), it has basically taken us all back to the position our nation held before the “AIT” was formulated: Indians are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. (After having arrived from Africa, of course.)

    Patriot: “Stephen Oppenheimer answers that question in his book and work about the entire current human population tracing its roots to a single woman in Africa.”
    From what I understand, the device of naming a single gene cluster after an individual is to make a point on gene flow. The female name for the African origin DNA lineage actually represents the mitochondrial DNA of *several hundred* female founders from Africa. Instead of referring to a single woman, it refers to the genes generated by a larger group of Africans that set off to colonise the rest of the planet. This is similar to how individual names are used to represent various other haplogroups (K for Krishna, R for Ruslan, N for Nasreen). The use of these names have nothing to do with any ‘Eve’ or any other single individual, but is to illustrate the transmission of a gene sequence.

    Patriot: “Tie that in with a single landmass, and then the drift of continents, it starts to make sense.”
    If in referring to a single landmass and the continental drifts you mean the theory of “Pangaea”, then the proposed breakup thereof took place millions of years before humans came along (Pangaea is estimated to have broken up 180 million years ago, in the Mesozoic period). The landmass Pangaea is therefore not related to the matter of human population dispersal. However, Sundaland, which appears to be the topic of Stephen Oppenheimer’s earlier book “Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia”, does have a bearing on humans. The book is about the breakup of a large South East Asian landmass “Sundaland” into many islands (Indonesia and thereabouts).
    As a general note: the biblical names “Eve” and “Eden” just make for poetic titles but have no other bearing in Oppenheimer’s work; just like the names he gives for the various haplogroups in “The Real Eve”.

    Patriot: “Meanwhile I found this website while scouting the net: svabhinava.org/AITvsOIT/ ”
    When both AIT and OIT (at least, where “Out of India” concerns *aryans*) depend on the existence of the hypothetical aryans – or at least depend on the hypothetical language “Proto-Indo-European” – it means these are all theories built on another major unproved theory.

  • 92. Ashish said:

    Please see how white supremacists, bigoted Harvard professors, and the missionary-marxist-Macaulayite combine are keeping AIT/AMT alive based on outright lies — just to keep their vested interests alive.

    http://irffanclub.blogspot.com/2006/03/stl-fires-dj-for-racial-slur-harvard.html

    Jeez, I thought this was old hat! People, defending AIT in this day and age is like defending the flat earth theory.

  • 93. Bharat said:

    Nandan:

    1. There are many good translations of our sastras and itihasa/history by Hindu scholars (not fake Hindus and westerners). Read books written by Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Dayananda Saraswati, RC Majumdar (renouned nationalist and patriotic historian), and many more. As Ravindranath Thakur/Tagore rightly said, “If you want to know India, read Vivekananda. In Him everything positive and nothing negative”.

    2. There are many good sites, from where you can download sanskrit sastras and their good translations. Eg.

    http://www.chinmaya-chicago.com/guide.htm
    http://www.samskrita-bharati.org/newsite/index.php
    http://www.kamakoti.org/
    http://www.vedah.com/
    http://www.sriaurobindoashram.org/
    http://www.belurmath.org/
    http://www.krishna.org/
    http://www.yogausa.com

    3. Never read a book written/translated by commie like Romila Thapar, RS Sharma, Irfan Habib, Bipan Charna, Satish Chandra etc. They are anti-hindu and anti-nationals. They work for the interests of foreign forces, those who don;t want Bharat to become powerful nation and prosperous.

    4. Don’t expect anything from anti-hindu secular brigades. As you can see anti-hindu Govt of India set-up a 10 member Setu Commitee to examine whether it was man-made or not. Note, out of 10 members, nine are atheists (comprising hindu-hater commies like RS Sharma, etc). It is an exercise of whitewash, to fool the hindus. HIndus must not fall into this trap. Ram Setu must be protected, at any costs.

    5. It is the anti-hindu and anti-national Congress and commies run the Aryan Invasion theory, as it is suited to their vote-bank politics (divide hindus and rule). This theory fabricated and used by the Europeans to subjugate the rich Bharat, Bharatiya and show their supremacy. Now, it is exposed and many westerners feel ashamed of it. This theory is surviving in Bharat due to anti-hindu brigades (Commies, Congressies, Christian missionaries, and Jihadis). They need to sustain the bogus theory to keep hindus divided. They sustaining the castism and communal politics. Hindu unity is the threat to their survival.

    6. I end by quoting Swami Vivekananda: “Let people say whatever they like, stick to your convictions and assured, the world will be at your feet”.

  • 94. Nandan said:

    Dear Bharat,

    How I wish I could dispute your contentions in items # 3, 4 and 5 and dismiss them as mere paranoid reactions typical of a Hindutvavadin. But, I am left with no option but to stand by and wring my hands, for I concur with your assessment to a certain extent.

    Each and every one of those you have named would think nothing of wrenching the text to prove his or her point. I would not go as far as calling them anti-nationals, though. At worst they are self serving and ideologically enslaved to the point of lacking self-esteem. In fact, ideological addiction makes most of us to see truth all the way through coloured glasses. So to me, Lord Rama is adarsh purush (????? ?????) but to Sri. Karunanidhi, He is a mere drunkard.

    You say Ram setu must be protected. But there is a lot of money waiting to be gained by breaking it. These are people who want proof that Lord Rama existed. It is another matter that they may not (like many of us) be able to tell us the dates of birth or names of their own great grandfather and others before them or show any record to prove they existed. That is why some arguments must be dismissed as merely immature. I happen to believe that faith by nature is blind. One cannot prove or disprove it by arguments.

    Thank you for the information on translation of Sanskrit texts and the web links. What I meant was it would be difficult to preserve the beauty of the original text while converting to a different language. After all, any translation is only an interpretation. But left with only Hobsons choice, I am quite willing to settle for translation, even a bad one at that.

    By the way, I stumbled upon this site a year ago (www.chitrapurmath.net). If anyone is interested to learn Sanskrit language, this is the place to start with. In fact, I have downloaded so many files and started learning the language. But I am afraid time is not on my side to be able to master the language. Yet, I am going to give it a try.

    Regards,
    Nandan

  • 95. B Shantanu said:

    All: This is turning out to be an amazing discussion, already at the 100+ comments mark, in just over a month.

    I have learnt a lot from it – and I am still not through with all the links.

    Thanks to all of you who joined in – especially (but in no particular order) Patriot, Nemo, Bharat, Nandan, Ashish, vck and Harpriya…Apologies if I missed someone.

    I will continue watching this with great interest.

  • 96. B Shantanu (author) said:

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    To find the appropriate post/thread, please type a word/phrase in the “Search” box on top right corner of the webpage or at the bottom of the right-hand side pane.

    The blog has almost 400 posts so it is likely that you will find a related thread on the topic you wish to comment on.

    Thanks.

  • 97. Vidhya said:

    “So, to answer your question even more specifically, I do not believe that these discriminatory practices are sanctioned by our ancient texts, but they have certainly been PRACTISED and put into practice by Hindus and this has been sanctioned by hindu religious authority at different points in time.

    So, what do you think caused these distortions from the pure?”

    I think Patriot has raised an interesting point. My take on this is that time again hindu society has been reformed whenever the religion was taken over by limited interests. In hinduism the final authority are the shrutis – vedas, upanishads, bhagavat gita, and the teachings of realized souls. The smritis and any other religious texts that go against the spirit of smritis has to be rejected, and it has been emphasized time and again.

    When rituals took a stranglehold on hindu society forgetting the basic vedantic ideals, we had reformers like Adi Shankara and Ramanujacharya to bring people back to the right thinking, where every creature has to be respected and everyone and every life is an extension of God or the self. So whenever people forget the main tenets of vedanta and seek personal gain that is when the problems like discrimination occurs. Perhaps some overzealous priest wanted to attain moksha but believed it was not possible if he came across a person who ate meat. If he were really realized he wouldnt come up with such a belief. (Wonder why Kannappa Nayana r is so famed, but not the priest who kept trying to keep him away from offering meat to Lord Shiva). I think its a matter of ego. Whenever someone was better, or threatened one’s status, the best way was to delegate him to a lower caste, therefore eliminating competition. If Manu Smriti is one scripture that does talk about caste (even if passages were added later), there are millions that talk of unity of humanity and of life. Wonder how many people sit and read manusmriti as opposed to Ramayana, or bhakti poems. So many temples are replete with stories of how a low caste person because of his bakti got the vision of the deity. Doesnt that say all are equal under the eyes of God?

    Despite all this we not only see discrimination, we see lower caste person still discriminating against someone who he thinks is lower to him. So does that mean, its a chain reaction? If its a chain reaction, then an act of few individuals are enough to spoil the society. If this happened with ill minded people in different parts it would have resulted in a widespread problem. Again this is just a speculation, I am not suggesting this was the case.

    I see this as a micro problem as in a macro problem. Each village, and town has its own hierarchical setup, and therefore someone with strong powers and others who are weak who are kept subordinate. It is said by seeing the surname we can find the caste, but as a person from south, I cant identify based on this , specially people not from my state. What is the difference between “illathu pillaimar” and saiva pillaimar, and why is one group in forward caste and other backward. It is a complex problem, whose root is multiple, not a single one. So one cant just point to distortions in hinduism, cos it is more than that. The caste system that is there now, specially interfered with by the government has become chaotic and complex. It has definitely moved from even a possible degraded varna system to a system governed by regional differences, and complexities.

    When u goto college in TN, you will probably not notice who is forward caste or backward caste etc. But slowly people talk if they are SC, or OBC etc, or talk about it when having to fill forms. This is when we really know ohh, so someone is from so and so section. If this classification of OBC, SC etc wasnt there, we might still get to know the caste name, but would we really know which section that caste belongs to?

    Perhaps dont ask dont say policy is the solution? But will our government, politicians and our intellectuals allow it?

  • 98. Bharat said:

    1. Sharing thoughts and opinions on inhuman caste system (not Varna system, which is based on guna-karma- quality and action), discriminations based on caste are fine. What is the way out? Are there way out? Or we will keep debating another millennia and so on without any practical results?

    2. What is important is practice, practice, practice. How many of us writing on this issue really really don’t practice castism? How many of us will marry beyond our own so-called caste? How many of us will not discriminate lower-class Hindus (chammar, methor, muchi etc)? Practical results of non-discrimination and casteless Hindu samaj must come from each of us. Than only talks, debates, opinions will make real sense.

    3. Inhuman castism entered into Vedic culture by the so-called superior surname TAG holder Brahmins (a creature worst than animals). There was no surname Tags holders during Vedic time, as we can see from names of rishis/sages, kings.

    4. Jaina and Buddha dharma (founders Mahavir and Siddhartha were Kshatriya by guna and karma) borned out of Vedic dharma due to monopoly business of so-called Brahmins. It seems, by-birth varna system has started before Mahavir and Buddha appeared. Discriminations based on varna was probably less at that time as there was a strong Jajmani system (a complementary system of work culture).

    5. Todays castism and discrimination will not go until so-called surname Tag holder supremacist Brahmanism goes. Its they who sustain the by-birth castism as it sustains their monopoly business on Hindu samaj. They never practice Varna system based on Guna-Karma, prescribed by the Sruties (Veda, Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita Gita). They preach Manu-smriti (where extrapolated inhuman castism verses exists, seem to be fabricated by surname Tag holder Brahmins), so that they can continue to keep dividing Hindus caste-basis and control the society.

    6. Why surname Tag holder so-called Brahmins don’t get tired identifying them as Brahmins (and not as Hindus)? Saying Brahmin, he/she feels of super-superior species. I have a friend, who never get tired of barking like dogs, he is a pandit, brahmin etc. By guna-karma, he is worst than an animal. This is an age-old bullying tactic by this supremacist species to intimidate others. But days are over for these species.

    7. Until Tag holder Brahmanism supremacists goes, castism will not go. Castism got imposed from the top (by the Tag holder Brahmins), it has to go from top first. Else, so-called lower castes Hindus must liberate themselves and control the power they deserve (political, economic and all). They must not allow a tiny Tag holder Brahmin supremacists control the power structure of the nation, through their cunning and deceitful tactics. Reservation for lower-class/caste Hindus at every levels/systems (politics, justice, health, economic (public, private), social-religious etc) proportionate to their population is a must. Mandirs must have proportionate numbers of pujaris from lower-class Hindus.

    8. As Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar rightly said, ‘Castism is untouchability. Unless castism goes, untouchability will not go.” I say, Castism is racism and insult to human dignity. Unless castism goes, racism will not go.

    AUM Tat Sat !

  • 99. Ashish said:

    Vidhya:

    Great post. The guna-based system is gone, all people want is to hang on to “Bramhin” label. (This is not to say there are no really good, decent people born under the Bramhin label today)..but we should get rid of this birth based system..since surnames are going to be hard to get rid of legally, we should publicize, in a big way, the fact that only gunas decide varna, and this birth-based thing is an ugly monster that we should get rid of..

  • 100. Vidhya said:

    Well well, lets not go on brahmin bashing and that was not the intent of my post. I only gave plausible origin theories. The real powers lay in the hands of kings, the rulers and administrators. And in many periods of time this has been low caste rulers too. They could have easily banned discrimination, but they didnt. It is only a matter of who gets the pie, and gets to discriminate others, not the interest of eradicating it. Thats why in TN in the name of brahmin bashing there was reverse discrimination, but caste system is still there. Name tags are not just brahminic. Why did Periyar stick to his tag Naikker. As I said this problem does not have a single source of origin. Blaming brahmins is the easy way out, so once the people with knowledge of hindu darma are vilified everything else in hinduism gets lost. While there are bad brahmins there are good ones too. They not the only culprits, everyone has to share the responsibility. The upkeeper of dharma was the king, not the priest., where did his originality go? Kings werent puppets in the hands of half baked priests. Many of the authors of hindu scriptures weren’t brahmin’s either. So let us not point fingers at someone or something to get rid of caste system, it will not work, its just futile is erroneous.

    All people want to do to solve this problem is to get the share of the ruler’s pie and terrorize others. Whether its a dalit ruler or a upper caste one. Its a slow death of dharmic principles. Instead of getting rid of caste identity we only keep it alive by asking it in every little form. Instead of trying to solve this problem by educating people to respect everyone, teach the real principles of vedanta, we villify hinduism and brahminism. We have tried this vilification for more than 3 decades, has caste system gone? Doesnt this suggest these are not the causes, it lies elsewhere, perhaps in the decaying principles of people?

  • 101. Ashish said:

    I was not bashing brahmins either, only the “birth-based varna” thing. Most anti-Brahminism I think comes from what the missionaries have taught Indians. Once India was divided, their work became easier. The made-up “AIT” has already divided North from South. Plus anti-Brahminism by “Dalitistan” and such Xtian-run organizations.

  • 102. Vishnu said:

    Good to see some posters here pondering on the question of finding the root cause of how to get rid of caste based discrimination. It is the right thing to ponder. However, how we see it is really important.

    Let me share some thoughts on this . . .

    First of all, we must bear in mind that, there had been many movements against caste by many political, non-political, reform, human rights, and foreign funded (Christian missionaries, Western media etc.) movements in India since independence. Yet can anyone today say that Indian society is becoming more and more casteless (jathi less) or can we say that there is no more caste based discriminations?

    Well what we see today is more and more discriminative caste based politics, state sanctioned caste based reservations, and discrimination towards Brahmins that keeps caste based discriminations alive. If you see the reality today, the so called anti-caste groups are the ones that make sure that these issues are kept alive and at the same time blame Hinduism. This we must realize first.
    Second, why no effective solution is found until today to end caste based discrimination? Fundamentally something must be wrong isnt it?

    According to columnist Sandhya Jain:

    “The determined bid by Christian evangelists to take caste-based discrimination in India to the UN World Conference against Racism (WCAR) has inspired leftists, liberals and human rights activists into a frenzy of verbiage and sanctimoniousness. Yet, for all the anti-caste rhetoric we have been subjected to these past few months, nothing substantial has emerged to assuage bruised Dalit consciousness and offer a way out of the vicious cycle of caste-based violence that has undeniably increased in recent times. Hence, while the run up to Durban has put the international spotlight on the Dalit issue, there has been no internal soul-searching on the question.”

    What do we observe when a caste based discrimination is discussed today?

    1) The issue is centered on ANTI-CASTE (ANTI-JATHI) propaganda. (1st introduced by the Christian missionary based education and later picked up by Communists, and Western or English educated Indians who had internalized this concept and the parroting Indian media)

    2) It is portrayed as synonymous to anti-Brahmanism.

    3) Attributing caste system as intrinsic part of Hinduism.

    4) Convinced themselves that the real problem is between the lowest and the highest jathis, and about how the former want to be just like the latter.

    5) The standard explanations of India’s caste system are based on the now discredited “Aryan Invasion” theory of ancient India.

    Can anyone find the caste issues discussed by todays English educated elite and the politics without the above three?

    The Christian missionaries first took advantage of the caste problem in the Indian society and attributing caste system is an intrinsic part of Hinduism with the mischievous intent of proselytizing. The early Indologists also created the concept called Brahmanism which does not exist in the Indian vocabulary, thus painting a picture of Brahmin supremacy on non-Brahmins. It was aimed at deconstructing the goodwill people have on Brahmins who is trusted in the affairs of Hindu conduct.

    But the truth is entirely different.

    1) A Brahmin is not a ruler to control or repress the masses.

    2) A Brahmin does not control the Hindu dharma similar to a Pope or Imam in Christianity or Islam respectively.

    CASTE is not an Indian word but a derogatory epithet introduced in India by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century to describe the Hindu society. They assumed that the Brahmins commanded the same authority and power as the Christian clergy did in their own time in Europe. The reality is that the Brahmins in India never commanded the authority and power of the Christian clergy. They controlled neither the economy nor the army, both of which the clergy did in Medieval Europe.

    3) A Brahmin in this contemporary period signifies a priestly job that requires a form of rigorous training to run a temple and ceremonies.

    4) A larger form of caste based discrimination exists among the non-Brahmins.

    5) Were there Brahmins at the gate checking the pilgrims status in case they belonged to lower caste and were untouchables? Look at the evidence. (i) Maha Kumbh happens every 144 years. (ii) It is the holiest of holy occasion in the Hindu religion; there cant be, and is not, a more holy occasion. (iii) Dipping at Sangam during this period is therefore the holiest of holy ceremonies. (iv) 100 million people performed these ceremonies including dalits, so-called low caste and untouchables Hindus. (v) Entry to this ceremony was not restricted to any one. Hindus, even Muslim women from Pakistan were welcomed to participate in these ceremonies.”

  • 103. Vishnu said:

    According to columnist, Meenakshi Jain . . .

    “The British were not wrong in their distrust of educated Brahmins in whom they saw a potential threat to their supremacy in India. For instance, in 1879 the Collector of Tanjore in a communication to Sir James Caird, member of the Famine Commission, stated that “there was no class (except Brahmins ) which was so hostile to the English.” The predominance of the Brahmins in the freedom movement confirmed the worst British suspicions of the community. Innumerable CID reports of the period commented on Brahmin participation at all levels of the nationalist movement. In the words of an observer,
    “If any community could claim credit for driving the British out of the country, it was the Brahmin community. Seventy per cent of those who were felled by British bullets were Brahmins”.

    To counter what they perceived, a Brahmanical challenge, the British launched on the one hand a major ideological attack on the Brahmins and, on the other incited non-Brahmin caste Hindus to press for preferential treatment, a ploy that was to prove equally successful vis--vis the Muslims.

    In the attempt to rewrite Indian history, Brahmins began to be portrayed as oppressors and tyrants who willfully kept down the rest of the populace. Their role in the development of Indian society was deliberately slighted. In ancient times, for example, Brahmins played a major part in the spread of new methods of cultivation (especially the use of the plough and manure) in backward and aboriginal areas. The Krsi-parasara, compiled during this period, is testimony to their contribution in this field. Apart from misrepresenting the Indian past, the British actively encouraged anti-Brahmin sentiments.

    A number of scholars have commented on their involvement in the anti-Brahmin movement in South India. As a result of their machinations non-Brahmins turned on the Brahmins with a ferocity that has few parallels in Indian history. This was all the more surprising in that for centuries Brahmins and non-Brahmins had been active partners and collaborators in the task of political and social management.

    This attack was born out of the inability of Christianity to gain a serious foothold in the Indian society.

    The communist being anti-Hindu in their very nature, later high jacked the concept of Brahmanism to realize their own interest as a tool to bash Hinduism. Thus the obsession of Christian and Communist media on these issues. They are not really interests in resolving the caste based discrimination, but rather to keep it alive so that it can be used to bash Hinduism to further their respective agendas.

    What we see today is an entirely a bizarre perception about caste system that did not reflect the true jathi practice, its social problems or discriminations that comes from it.
    Today it is unfortunate that, it has become a conditioned reflex for Indians to believe that caste is unremittingly evil.
    But the truth is, caste or jathi is inescapable as race. It is neither good nor bad, it just is (casteism, however, is reprehensible, just as racism is.)

    The modern term caste is derived from the Portuguese casta, alluding to family, tribe or race, and was introduced into Indian society in the late 16th century.

    The reality of today is we have thousands of jathis, segregated according to occupational, sectarian, regional and linguistic distinctions. Beyond these superficial differences what makes a caste group dissimilar from the other? If one sees it clearly, it is the different habits, ethics, social life and traditional job that make the difference. It is not just names or tag associated to a jathi. I believe some of the posters here belong to one of the jathis or live amongst other jathis and they should know. Even in matrimony we see many jathis prefers to marry from the same jathi. Isnt it true? What is the reason? Is it really based on discrimination or based on the sence of belonging to the same jathi?

    Let look at it in a different angle. If an Indian prefers to marry an Indian, is it because he or she is racist? Or when a White prefers to marry a White, does that mean they are racist? The fact is, it is NOT. It is simply because one feels that if one marries within the same race, ethnic groups or jathi, they will face less resistance, have more sense of belonging, shares similar habits, ethics, social life and needs less adaptation.

    If there really a homogeneous group called a Brahmin caste? If you belive so, then you are illusionized, the fact is that a Tamilian brahmin would rarely have a marriage alliance with a Punjabi Brahmin. Why? Caste based discrimination? Not at all! The real reason is different habits; ethics, and social life even though belongs to the same traditional job.

    They are as far apart from each other culturally as could possibly be. It’s really not the operative and, yet, we have the whole notion of brahmin domination, brahmins as a caste, whereas the regional differences matter much more!

  • 104. Vishnu said:

    Now lets keep aside casteism (caste based discrimination) and look at caste or jathi in it own light as what it is contrary to the conditioned make believe by the Christianized media.

    In reality . . .

    1. There is not real Caste as a System or Caste System. There are no regulations or central body administering a caste system.

    2. There is no monopoly or concentration of power by any jathis.

    3. There is no such thing as privileged jathi. All jathis feels discriminated in one way or the other. (For instance traditionally Brahmins were not supposed to seek regal power. Their duty was to seek knowledge and preserve the Vedas and carry on the vedic tradition. They were not supposed to amass wealth and had to depend on other jathis for their sustenance.)

    4. There was no unanimity about which jathi is above which jathi, because each considered itself superior to the other.

    5. People of any jathi are generally not looking to go up and down in the hierarchy of jathis. They are content with their existing in-group, even if they belong to a relatively ‘low’ jathi. It is the belonging that matters (this is one of the signal differences between the atomised and unhappy citizens of Western countries and the relatively better-adjusted Indians.)

    6. It is also a fact that hardly any members of ‘low’ jathis are looking to become priests, although this is a war-cry raised by the usual suspects. (In Kerala, there are seminaries where anybody can train to be a temple priest, but nobody is queuing up for the opportunity. Most people have a healthy attitude towards priest-hood: it’s like any other skilled occupation where you hire someone trained in it, if you are not capable of or not interested in doing it — much like you hire a lawyer, an architect, or a doctor.)

    7. Though there was significant social mobility initially, jathis became gradually hereditary due to collapse of traditional educational system and mobility among people (due to many reason such as a long period of invasions, colonization and destruction of traditional education and social system added with fear and intimidation that resulted in distrust with each others). As a result, it evolved with increasing division of labour and specialization as it was easier for skills and knowledge to be imparted within family from father to children as there were no trade schools or polytechnics as such.

    8. Initially the notion of purity vs pollution may have been based on the need to maintain cleanliness, but it soon developed into an rigid form where pollution was associated with birth.

    9. During the period of colonization when the interests of local people were neglected the jathis developed their own jathi panchayats to decide their own affairs, reducing their dependence

    on the ruler. The jathi panchayats settled disputes within the jathi in an inexpensive and prompt way. They also imparted tremendous social stability. Rulers came and went, but the society remained stable in spite of all invasions, wars and political instability. The panchayats looked after the welfare of the members of their jathis in a decentralised way.

    10. The jathis also performed an important function of reducing competition for and avoiding overexploitation of natural resources. Only fishermen jathi could go for fishing, and their jathi panchayats evolved rules for sustainable exploitation of fisheries. Only chamar or cobbler caste had the right to the dead animals and their skin and etc.

    11. Jathi also plays as a localized system of production based on jatiwise division of labour for meeting local needs, rather than the needs of the larger market.

    12. Jathi is also used as a mechanism for collective bargaining, wherein a group member has a better chance than an unattached individual. At times, Jathi acts as a trade union, with members attempting to grab more than its fair share of the pie that hasn’t grown, because of the dirigiste and suffocating nature of the Indian State.

    I would like to quote Kishwar on jathi . . .

    “It allows even the most disadvantaged and impoverished groups to identify themselves and a political assertion based on their numerical strength. It has kept democracy not just alive, but has given it very deep roots. I think all these modernists attacking caste can’t understand the survival strategy of the subcontinent. For example, it has provided social security for a rural migrant when he or she comes to the city as an impoverished economic refugee.”

  • 105. Vishnu said:

    Coming back to the true reform towards caste based discriminations, what we see today is, it is the Hindus, Hindu Seers and Hindu based groups and organizations are the one sincerely voicing out and working towards elimination the caste differences and barriers. Of cause they do not decry anti-caste, anti-brahmin or anti-Hindu slogans as been anticipated by Marxists and other anti-Hindu intellectuals calling themselves Secularists.

    Some good examples of reforms taken and voiced by Hindus includes . . .

    1) There took place several movements against caste, starting from Bhakti movements continuing

    to more modern movements. The Bhakti movement, both in the south and north of India, saw many saint poets coming from the so-called lower castes. They were more prominent than brahmin and upper castes in the movement.

    2) The Hindu culture created legends to impress the popular mind that the caste system is immoral and invalid.

    3) The Hindu Mahasabha resolved:

    Whereas the caste system based on birth as at present existing is manifestly contrary to universal truth and morals: whereas it is the very antithesis of the fundamental spirit of the Hindu religion: whereas it flouts the elementary rights of human equalitythis all India Hindu Mahasabha declares its uncompromising opposition to the system and calls upon the Hindu society to put a speedy end to it.

    4) Sri Aurobindo, while praising the original caste system, does not spare it in its later stages:

    “it is the nature of human institutions to degenerate; there is no doubt that the institution of caste degenerated. It ceased to be determined by spiritual qualifications which, once essential, have now come to be subordinate and even immaterial and is determined by the purely material tests of occupation and birth… By this change it has set itself against the fundamental tendency of Hinduism which is to insist on the spiritual and subordinate the material and thus lost most of its meaning. the spirit of caste arrogance, exclusiveness and superiority came to dominate it instead of the spirit of duty, and the change weakened the nation and helped to reduce us to our present condition…”

    5) The promotion of Sanskrit was one of the main attempts to bring the Indian people, ethnic, linguistic, and jathis together. Sanskrit is the only language common to all languages including Tamil (which the atheist or communist deny).

    The report of the Sanskrit Commission (set up by the Government of India) which was submitted in 1957 speaks eloquently about the importance of Sanskrit. At page 71 of the report has been mentioned that…

    “Sanskrit is one of the greatest languages of the world and it is a classical language par excellence not only of India but of a good part of Asia too.

    At page 73 the report states that . . .

    The Indian people and the Indian civilization were born, so as to say, in the lap of Sanskrit and it went hand in hand with the historical development of the Indian people, and gave the noblest expression to their mind & culture which has come down to our day as an inheritance of priceless order for India for the entire world” — (Supreme Court judgment of 4/10/1994).

    In the process of colonization, the Indian language got more and more de-sanskritized and in the long run resulted in more linguistic difference that alienate the Indian people based on ethnic and jathis. The typical difference between Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu languages are naturally variation in terms of Sanskrit. Same goes to Hindi or Urdu etc. It is not only true in India, but many languages in Asia such as the Thai language, Malay, and the Indonesian language have a heavy influence of Sanskrit.

    However what we see today is blunt opposition to Sanskrit as though as it is some sort of alien language and a lot of attempt is done to de-sanskritize the Indian language. Some good example is de-sanskritization of Urdu as done by the Muslims. De-sanskritization of the Tamil language by the communist in Tamil Nadu etc. Even in countries like Malaysia, after independence, the Malaysian government has set up a body to de-sanskritize the Malay language by incorporating more and more Arabic words as the process of Islamization is increasing.

    Thus the noble attempt by Hindus to reduce the barriers in terms of ethnic, linguistic and jathis are always prevented by vested groups who are against Indian interest and unity.
    Well there is more to all this and it is going to be a very long post if I am to mention everything here. What we fail to note is, many Hindus are truly doing a great job by creating awareness among the Indians who are long colonized in their way of thinking and fail to see the Indian reality.
    Lastly I would like to quote ..

    N. S. Rajaram in A Hindu View of the World . . .

    While Marxists and other anti-Hindu intellectuals calling themselves Secularists never miss an opportunity to denounce it, the fact of the matter is that the Indian civilization survived nearly a thousand year onslaught of Islam. Several other ancient civilizations like those of Iran (Zorastrian), the Byzantine Empire (Christian) and Central Asia (Buddhist) broke down under the same force over a much shortest period. This shows that they must have lacked a social order capable of protecting their societies.

    The so called egalitarian Buddhist society lacked the social organization which enabled the Hindu society to survive. It was the same story in Egypt, Syria, and Turkey which were part of the Christian Byzamtine Empire. They lacked the strength and resilience of the Hindu society and succumbed to the Islamic invasion.

    Prof Koenraad Elst in hinduismtoday.com . . .

    “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.”

    Koenraad Elst in Voice of India . . .

    “Increasingly, Hinduism is identified by the international public with the caste system and nothing but the caste system. The caste system, in turn, is painted in the ugliest colors: as a racist Apartheid system designed to oppress the native population. These notions are eagerly welcomed and amplified by outside forces such as Christian missionary centers, followed by their Islamic counterparts. Till recently, American foreign policy agencies made no secret of their designs on India’s unity. When she was US ambassador to the UN, Mrs. Jean Kirkpatrick once said that “the break-up of India is one of the goals of the American foreign policy.” Patrick Moynihan, who had held the same job, said more recently, “After the break-up of the Soviet Union, the artificial state India is also bound to break up.”

    Madhu Kishwar . . .

    “It would lead to a greater respect for Indias culture, and indeed a better understanding of it, if it were recognized that the caste system has never been totally static, that it is adapting itself to todays changing circumstances and that it has positive as well as negative aspects. The caste system provides security and a community for millions of Indians. It gives them an identity that neither Western Science nor Western thought has yet provided, because caste is not just a matter of being a Brahmin or a Harijan: it is also a kinship system. The system provides a wider support group than a family: a group which has a social life in which all its members participate.”

    Anti-Brahminism has a long history in India, being a dominant theme of the long period of foreign rule. In the last thousand years India was primarily governed by non-Hindus – Muslims and Christians – who certainly cannot be called pro-Brahmin in their policies. When India was invaded by foreign powers, the Brahmins proved to be a great obstacle, particularly against religious conversion.
    Muslim rulers made special efforts to convert or even kill Brahmins. They destroyed Hindu temples in order to deprive the Brahmins, who were mainly temple priests, of their influence and their income. The British rulers of colonial India targeted the Brahmins and dismantled the traditional educational system that the Brahmins upheld.

    However, the same groups which attacked the Brahmins found that they had to use the Brahmins at times, who represented the intelligentsia of the country, to help administer the country. So occasionally they compromised with the Brahmins and allowed them certain privileges. But the Brahmins had little power under their rule, and were officially discredited as heathens.

    Hence the Brahmins were the main oppressed community in India over the last thousand years and the main target of Muslims and Christians trying to control and convert the country. This historical oppression of the Brahmins has been lost on modern Indians, primarily because of anti-Brahmin propaganda of various types. Somehow this oppressed group has been stereotyped as the ruling oppressors!

    It is a serious mistake to view caste from the European Christian and imperialistic viewpoints. These were hostile to Hindu civilisation and society which they were trying to undermine to serve their own interests. They also lacked the historical perspective necessary to understand it.

    Sorry for the long post as it is no shortcut to clear the prevailing myth about caste.

  • 106. B Shantanu said:

    @ Vidhya: Thanks for your thoughtful comment. That is a novel suggestion and I think deserves some serious thought.

    Perhaps dont ask dont say policy is the solution? But will our government, politicians and our intellectuals allow it?

    Might a radical (impractical) solution be to remove all policies that are caste-based? But what do you replace them with?

    ***

    @ Bharat: You make some good points but I feel that the points made in 5-7 may be a bit off-tangent.

    I have written on reservations before (see e.g. A fresh look at Reservations and Quotas – PART II, A fresh look at Reservations and Quotas, This, not reservations, is the answer – II)

    Please have alook at those posts, in particular, Part – II and let me have your thoughts.

    I am not sure if “Reservation for lower-class/caste Hindus at every levels/systems (politics, justice, health, economic (public, private), social-religious etc) proportionate to their population” is the answer.

    Some of you may also find this post interesting: Periyar was against Brahminism, not Brahmins (excerpts)

    ***

    @ Vishnu: That is an amazing series of comments. I will read and respond in some more detail later. Thanks

  • 107. More material on this topic said:

    Sandhya Jain’s “The Brahmin and the Hindu” for the Pioneer newspaper (14 Dec 2004) discusses some of historian Dharampal’s findings (a copy at http://www.hvk.org/articles/1204/59.html ):
    — Indeed, given the desperate manner in which the British vilified the Brahmin, it is worth examining what so annoyed them. As early as 1871-72, Sir John Campbell objected to Brahmins facilitating upward mobility: “.the Brahmans are always ready to receive all who will submit to them. The process of manufacturing Rajputs from ambitious aborigines (tribals) goes on before our eyes.”

    Sir Alfred Lyall was unhappy that “.more persons in India become every year Brahmanists than all the converts to all the other religions in India put together… these teachers address themselves to every one without distinction of caste or of creed; they preach to low-caste men and to the aboriginal tribes. in fact, they succeed largely in those ranks of the population which would lean towards Christianity and Mohammedanism if they were not drawn into Brahmanism.” So much for the British public denunciation of the exclusion practiced by Brahmins!

    Before that paragraph, Sandhya Jain goes over the numerical data concerning Hindu education -destroyed by christians, from Britain. (The relevant section starts with: “Dharampal (The Beautiful Tree) has effectively debunked the myth that Dalits had no place in the indigenous system of education.”)

    Meanwhile, more of the grand christian (British) contribution comes to light. She writes:
    — Even Dalit intellectuals have questioned what the British meant when they spoke of ‘education’ and ‘learning’. Dr. D.R. Nagaraj, a leading Dalit leader of Karnataka, wrote that it was the British, particularly Lord Wellesley, who declared the Vedantic Hinduism of the Brahmins of Benares and Navadweep as “the standard Hinduism,” because they realized that the vitality of the Hindu dharma of the lower castes was a threat to the empire. Fort William College, founded by Wellesley in 1800, played a major role in investing Vedantic learning with a prominence it probably hadn’t had for centuries. In the process, the cultural heritage of the lower castes was successfully marginalized, and this remains an enduring legacy of colonialism.

    Examining Dharampal’s “Indian science and technology in the eighteenth century,” Nagaraj observed that most of the native skills and technologies that perished as a result of British policies were those of the Dalit and artisan castes. This effectively debunks the fiction of Hindu-hating secularists that the so-called lower castes made no contribution to India’s cultural heritage and needed deliverance from wily Brahmins.

    http://www.arcamax.com/morereligions/s-254108-139142?review=5#rating
    (which, besides covering the same essentials as above) contains some more information on Dharampal and his work.

  • 108. B Shantanu said:

    Thanks so much. I will certainly have a look at the links.

  • 109. Patriot said:

    Another great piece by Tavleen Singh in the Indian Express:

    A casteist remark and a Dalit woman CM
    http://www.indianexpress.com/story/293085.html

    Well done Mayawati, for making that boorish old fossil Mahendra Singh Tikait apologise for his casteist abuse. How sad, though, that he apologised so readily. We missed a chance to lock him up and throw away the key. Caste is not a subject we like to talk about because it means admitting that in every village in India there is still untouchability in some form. As a frequent traveller in the squalid depths of rural India I have not come across a single village in which Dalits live in an upper-caste vicinity. It is a shameful Indian truth.

    Do read the entire article I can not agree more with Ms Singh when she writes the state of Uttar Pradesh has a Dalit woman as chief minister and even if Mayawati fails to deliver on the promise that idea contains, just by being there she has done enough. It is my humble opinion that the reason why we hear so much about her corruption is also a matter of caste. How many Dalit journalists do you know?

  • 110. Ven said:

    Pl. have a look: TTD goes for new mantra to protect flock

  • 111. Bharat said:

    “Well done Mayawati, for making that boorish old fossil Mahendra Singh Tikait apologise for his casteist abuse. How sad, though, that he apologised so readily. We missed a chance to lock him up and throw away the key.” ~Tavleen Singh in IE

    1. It is like thief shouting ‘thief thief’ after running away. Tavleen Singh’s abusive and hateful language to a senior citizen, as can be seen from above para, is worst than Sri Tikaits castist remarks. Castists remarks are daily occurances at every levels, even found inside mandirs. There is no hue and cry, as Hindus are used to it and due to high degree of tolerance. I am not defending it as I myself detaste/condemn castism. Social problems like castism need to be cured by social reforms, social-spiritual education. It can never be cured by scolding, abuse, insults, and by law.

    2. There is respect for elders, senior citizens in our society. Tavleen Singh need to realise this. Except few urban educated people, no Bharatiya will accept such abusive language to a old person, a leader of lakhs of farmers. By hate we can’t conquire hate, but by love, forgiveness.

    3. Even an honest apology has brought sadness to Tavleen Singh, as she thought Taikait would have get death penalty or prison for life long without the apology. India is not Europe, where merely saying ‘no holocaust’ will land one into prison. In that case, Taikait can also sue Tavleen for insulting him. Tikait is a respected farmers leader.

    4. Verbal bombardments has become instruments of intimidation for media and politicians. It shows the cultural and spiritual de-generations in Bharatiya society.

    5. Castism must go for the good of Hindu samaj and Bharat. As Dr Ambedkar said, ‘Castism is untouchability. Unless castism goes, untouchability will not go.’ This can’t be achieved by playing castist vote-banks. A single castist remark is not so harmful to siciety as practicing castist vote-banks.

    Bharat
    =====

  • 112. Praada Verna said:

    I don’t really understand how can people term this article by Tavleen Singh(mentioned above) as great

    wonder whether she carries a modern xxx system along with her whenever she ventures to a place where she cannot find it.

    Isn’t it disgusting to see how she mixes all sort of thing in the following lines in her article.

    “With the greatest respect, may I say here that Gandhiji was on the wrong track when he tried to address the caste question? In his time, there were villages in India which forced those of the Shudra caste to scream as they walked so that their shadow may not pollute a Brahmin, and yet, all he did was change the name from Shudra to Harijan and start cleaning toilets himself to show that it was not a despicable task. It is a despicable task.

    Nobody should have to do it. He would have done India a much greater service if he had started a movement for modern sanitation instead. In Indian cities, flush toilets and public transport have sort of solved the problem but there are still no famous Dalit lawyers, teachers, doctors, cricketers, movie stars or businessmen.”

    Modern sanitation goes side by side with the fame in professions.

  • 113. Patriot said:

    Dear Bharat,

    Couple of points:

    1. When Tikait abused Mayawati, he lost any right to respect that he might have otherwise received due to his age. If you are an Elder, behave like one. If you don’t, you are fair game for even the dog on the street, no exceptions. Respect has to be earned, not demanded or generated in proportion to your years.

    2. Honest apology???? He had to be threatened with arrest and NBWs before he apologised! Even if we assume for a moment that the apology was indeed honest, I think Tavleen was making a broader point – that we need to have zero tolerance for casteist abuse and exemplary punishment. Only then will you be on the way to eliminating casteism. I think it is a valid point and in any case, Tavleen has every right to her opinion, as do you.

    Cheers

  • 114. Manish zijoo said:

    Cateism is Endangering HINDUISM
    Every where there is cry that the reason of down fall of hindus in India is caste-ism but I want to know from all of you that who has made this caste system we are those who have made this system & now we had to come up to end this system .I want to know one thing that what we are we are Pandits /Rajputs etc first or we are Hindus First .

    If we are Hindus first then we have to work for our ism as we can see in India those so called politician have divided us in the name of caste for their vested interests those politicians who become politicians with money or muscle have no public likings .
    We are casting vote to those people because we dont have any alternative and the youth of today is not ready to be politician as those have made the politics such smutty we can see the youth politicians which are coming up are the sons and daughters of all those so called politicians no one new from masses is there ready to join the politics
    There is example of Kashmir why Hindus have been forced to live life of refugee in their own country is there any body who can answer No there is no one
    We should take lesson from this that a biggest un happening thing happened in last millennium and No investigation is ordered for the Exodus of hundreds of thousands of Hindu people forced to exile .But when few people killed in Gujrat lot of hue and cry is made why? The reason is vote bank but if they are minority then which vote bank this is astonishing that the minority is vote bank

    This is the most appropriate time Now if we will not came up leaving this all behind the caste-ism we will have to pay a lot .We have experience of this from Kashmir .
    This is not the blog this is the voice of my heart the voice of hindus .We have to make this voice loud the voice that reaches ever where no one is over Hinduism.
    Every one has to do his work on work if one is Pundit he has to look after Temples if one is Rajput he has to defend the religion/country etc- But when the time of religion is there
    All voice should be one
    One thing moer i have noted when Pravin Bhai marchs with Trishul its an offence but when in Public rally Imam bukhari says I am Pakistani agent this is not offence why ?
    To show the glimpses of Dharam is crime
    and to utter any thing against The country .What is this ? This is award winning act
    Remember politicians nothing is over country dont pursue for own interest.
    That was amazing being hindu when we see some of our politicians challenges the presence of Ram .
    I just want to ask them one question that how the start their daily proceedings ?
    If they are married had they taken satapadi against scared fire
    How their Crimination will be done ?

    Manish A youth avenging kashmir

  • 115. B Shantanu said:

    Manish: Thanks for your comment. You may find this post interesting:

    Redefining Hinduism – Need of the Hour

    Separately, I would be very interested in your views/opinions on what is happening in Kashmir. Do you have more information or can you point me in the direction of some other sources/references?

    Thanks.

  • 116. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Sir,
    Once again the dreaded word of Caste has found a place in the realms of written media.
    The discussions on this blog and the views of all here would lean towards the matter that Caste should be made non existent in the annals of Hinduism.
    I am goung to set the Cat among the pigeons by saying and reiterating again and again the the Caste system did not exist in the true vedic way of life and this matter of Caste has been highlighted, discussed and made a part of life to destroy that way of life.
    Today all true Bharatiyas want to go back to that way of life and hence they are able to discuss without rancour the existence of the caste system and its destructive act on the true Bharat.
    I would like to point out here that many of the true HIGH CASTES are so proud of saying. “You know haw difficult it is to survive in the US, the Eldorado for all, and how they survived on washing dishes, cleaning toilets and how they made it big there.
    Today I know of a very high caste who is proud to say that he is a “High Caste” but does the lowest or supposed to be lowest of the work, MAINTAINING TOILETS”.
    I think Shulabh Souchalys has been a idea of a “HIGH CASTE”.
    So where does it all lead to?
    Just as I have mentioned in the MARATHI MANUS matter, it is neccessary that we recogonise what WORK is and then we will understand the value of human beings.
    I am willing to have a nice exchange of ideas, as I am sure my mail is going to create a lot of controversies.
    I would like to have all the strong thoughts directed as only through discussion and questioning will one understand and get to the truth, as our ancient seers have said.
    That means acceptance of ancient truths, for a healthy discussion.
    Regards,
    vck

  • 117. Jagmohan Singh Khurmi said:

    Let us say welcome to our friend Manish from Kashmir. Thanks God, at last we have come across an angry Kashmiri Hindu ! Things are looking up…

  • 118. Kumar said:

    We indians should refrain from talking about caste.Long before the aryan’s settle down in Sindhu we were of one community,that is the Dravidian community and our spirituality is towards nature and neither do we practice any caste system.All this problem was created by the settlers to divide and rule and also to have supremacy of the people of origin.So analyse and TQ

  • 119. Kaffir said:

    (Yeah, yeah, I know they were the pinnacle of our lost civlisation.*sigh*)
    ====

    Well, if India during those times was not at its pinnacle, why do you think it attracted Muslims and British, as well as various scholars? Nalanda University was world-renowned. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nalanda#Description_of_Nalanda_University)

    Indulgence in a bit of self-hatred going on in the original comment by ‘Patriot’ perhaps?

  • 120. tarique said:

    kumar , who were these aryan invaders ?? where did they all come from ? their true history is very important and relevent to understand even today .

  • 121. tarique said:

    vck , i totally agree with u that the concept of caste system does not exist at all in the vedic religion .i m glad u have brought it out at a time when i recieved brickbats here for suggesting the same .caste politics is not sanctioned by true hindu religious teachings and let that be very clear to all . caste politics was born when a section of human population gained exclusive financial and military strenghts .we are cheering the americans for democracy and human values , but let us not forget that a man called ‘barrack hussain obama ‘ was growing up in the early 80′s in an american nation where because of his skin color he had to let ‘whites first ‘ in public transport buses . he had to drink water from ‘fountain taps’ meant only the ‘coloured’.so what is so great about obama’s success ? our great indian nation achieved its ‘yes we can’ way back in 1952 , when b.r.ambedkar wrote the constitution of india.later zakir hussain ,a muslim assumed the highest office as the 1st prez of india .we were way ahead of the americans in our search for equality and social justice .

  • 122. tarique said:

    when obama’s parents got married ,do u know that their marriage was legal according to the american laws of the time in only 19 out of the 50 states.here too indians had beaten the americans in ‘human equality’ .

  • 123. B Shantanu said:

    @ Kumar, Tarique: The “Aryan Invasion Theory” has been thouroughly debunked.

    Pl. have a look at the following links:

    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2005/10/08/revising-the-aryan-invasion-of-india-theory/

    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2007/05/24/ait-and-sneak-attack/

    Also have a look at http://satyameva-jayate.org/2005/11/25/caste-varna-and-jatis/

    re. the caste system etc.

  • 124. Incognito said:

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  • 125. Jayadevan said:

    *** COMMENT MOVED HERE ***

    Please continue the discussion on the new thread.

  • 126. Incognito said:

    *** COMMENT MOVED HERE ***

    Please continue the discussion on the new thread.

    .

  • 127. sahil jain said:

    i want to say that if we talk practically about these bullet topics and curb essential steps rather pushing and pulling

  • 128. B Shantanu said:

    REQUEST to all readers: Please continue the discussion on the new thread:

    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2009/03/24/caste-system-discrimination-2/