Caste system which was created originally for systemic spiritual and social growth of people has now become a curse to the Hindu society because of its misinterpretation, ignorance, and disadvantages taken by some sections of society. Some people blame the current form of caste system to Hinduism, which is absolutely wrong. Evangelists provoke some so-called low-caste people to accept their religion by using caste system as a weapon against Hinduism.
This article is not written to support any form of caste system but to present the truth behind it in front of the people. Upon completion of reading this article, I assure you that you will have an in-depth knowledge of the caste system and you will come to know that these are not Hindus actually who are responsible for the current form of caste system, but it is the lack of that scientific knowledge which have led to this stage.
Introduction to caste system:
Caste system is a system, which decides a person’s social status and trade by his/her birth.
Modern caste system is a misinterpreted form of Varnashrama, also called as Chaturvarnya System i.e. Four Varna System.
It is important to note that Hinduism advocates Varnashrama and not modern caste system, which is based upon the caste of the family in which a particular person is born.
The caste system is broadly divided into four categories:
1. Brahmin – Brahmin is the highest-revered society in Hinduism who by birth rights can perform all the rituals and become priest of a temple or do teaching or scholarly jobs.
2. Kshatriya – The main job of Kshatriaya is to protect the society from external aggressions and to keep law and order. Kshatriya is the second highest-revered community but their status is that of below Brhamins.
3. Vaishya – Vaishya is the trading community. Their job is to trade. Their status is that of below Kshatriya.
4. Shudra – Shudras are considered to enjoy the lowest status in the hierarchy of caste. Their main job involves physical labor such as cleaning, pottery, carpentry, etc.
Ancient caste system i.e. Varnashrama or Chaturvarnya System:
Each human being is born with certain characteristics and with some natural inclination towards a particular occupation e.g. some people are natural businessmen. They do not want to work for others at any cost even if they are highly paid. On the contrary, some people want to serve and do not at all want to do business. Some people want to join the armed forces only and fight for the cause of country.
A few years back British scientists discovered that for being a successful businessman, the person needs to born with certain sets of genes. There is a rumor that even some companies are planning to check the gene map of a person who has applied for a certain post to see whether they fit for that particular job or not.
Varnashrama was the system which used to recognize the certain inclination of a person towards a particular occupation and help him to do the job which he will be best suited for. It was of no significance in which family he was born. There were no restrictions on marriage between the persons of two different castes.
Now, the question arises is that do the ancient Hindus have knowledge about genes? If so, to what extent? Because the laboratories that we have now were not available at that time, then how?
Cast system during medieval period:
The medieval period was the worst period for Hinduism. It was this period only when the castes were divided into many subcastes. Moreover, the regionalism added new aspects to the castes.
The above-mentioned four categories are further divided into subcategories. For example, In Brahmins, there are subcastes like Chitpavana Brahmins, Deshastha Brahmin, Kayastha Brahmin, Vaishnava Brahmins, Kokanastha Brahmins, and a lot.
When a baby is born in a Hindu family, he/she is not only a Hindu but is also attached to a particular caste and subcaste, which his/her family is from. For example, if a baby is born in a Deshastha Brahmin Family, he will be a Hindu as well as a Brahmin but a Deshastha Brahmin.
The occupation of a person was decided by his caste only. That means a carpenter’s son will have to do carpentry only and not other jobs like pottery or he cannot be a soldier while a soldier’s son will have to be soldier only and he will not be doing other jobs.
Modern Cast System:
At the present time in India, there are more than 2800 castes and subcastes. In Vedic times, there were only four castes. So between the period of about 3500 years, Hindus have thrown out the original caste system and have evolved now to a new form of caste system.
In modern India, people are not much bothered about caste unless it comes to election and marriage. People are throwing out the old thoughts of caste system. Modern Indian society is inclining towards a money-centered society instead of a caste-centered society. But unfortunately, the caste system is not totally eradicated, especially in rural areas where people still consider the caste of a person as a primary factor. The conditions are changing fast. By the efforts of Indian government and social organizations, rural India is also changing. Though the sporadic incidences are still there, the future is very optimistic. Lower caste people have been given reservations, so that they can occupy higher authority positions in government institutions. They have been given reservations in government services also so that they can progress faster.
Science behind ancient caste system:
The following paragraph is just a hypothesis as it is very hard to prove what happened thousands of years ago and how things developed. We will give some theoretical evidence to prove science in ancient caste system. I do not claim that it is 100% true.
What I think is ancient Hindus were advanced in science and technology that including genetics. They knew that these are the genes (not exactly but something like that) which controls the properties of a human being like skin, color, hair, inclination for job (whether he is a fighter or a labor etc.), nature, diseases, etc. At that time, there were no laboratories to take a blood sample and identify the genes, but they had developed another way of finding it out and that was Janma Kundali or Janma Patrika. Janma Patrika is sketched based on the positions of stars, planets, and nakshatras at the time of birth of a person. If you have ever seen a Janma Patrika or if you have ever shown it to a priest who has profound knowledge about it, he will easily tell the characteristics of a person like skin color, nature, job prospectus, and a lot of other things without seeing that person. I have personally experienced this many times.
I am giving a few examples here what I have experienced:
1. Since my childhood I wanted to join either armed force or police force, I did not know why. Unless and until a few years back, I did not even consider any other career. I tried my best to join armed forces but unfortunately I could not. (My Varna is Kshatriay according to my Janma Patrika which means warrior).
2. My brother always wanted to be a businessman. Though he could not, he is still trying to become one. Actually, he likes business from the heart (His varna is Vaishya according to his Janma Patrika).
3. One of my friends wants to do business at any cost. Right now, he is working and doing a small business also for which he has to work about 16-18 hours a day. He thinks each and every thing in terms of a business (He is also a Vaishya according to his Janma Patrika).
These are very few examples. I have seen the Janma Patrika up to 90% accurate in some cases but I am not sure how one can tell future of a person from Janma Kundali.
In conclusion, what I want to tell is that it is quite possible that the occupation of a person was decided in ancient India based on Janma Kundali as the Janma Kundali was considered as your gene map (if you think in modern terms). Only the technique to find characteristics of a person was different.
But in the flow of time, people might have started misusing it as it is very hard to know who was born at what time, and Janma Kundali can easily be manipulated by a person who has knowledge about it. So, people at that time must have decided to allot a job to a person based on which family he is born instead of his Janma Patrika as the next generation carries genes of the ancestors. For example, if a person was born in a Shudra family, he had to do labor work and if a person was born in a Brahmin family, he had to do priestly works.
Thus, the caste system which we see now must have risen.
Now, the most basic question is did ancient Hindus have knowledge of genes?
My answer is “Yes.” If you have some knowledge about a typical Hindu family, each and every family has Gotra. Gotra is the lineage or clan associated with a Hindu family. Each family has gotra. Some families have different gotra and some families have the same. In preparation of a Hindu marriage before coming to any decision, gotra of the two families is checked. A marriage between same gotra is not allowed as they are considered to be from the same origin and genetically the would-be bride and groom would be brother and sister! The marriage between same gotra could have adverse effects on the forthcoming generation.
It sounds weird but it is true.
I think that proves my point.
The rise of untouchability:
Please read above paragraphs also if you want to know how untouchability might have been raised.
I must first mention here that in any Hindu scripture like Vedas or Bhagvad Gita, there is not such concept. This inhumane thing was put into practice by some misguided people and Hinduism does not support untouchability in any form.
In medieval India, people of upper caste and even lower caste also used to observe practice of not touching persons from some of the subcastes of Shudras like sweeper, toilet cleaners, cobbler, etc. These people were forced to live outside the village, were not allowed to share the water resources the upper caste people used, were not allowed to enter temples, were not allowed to attend marriage ceremony of a upper caste person, were not allowed to do intellectual jobs, etc.
Due to caste system, some of the lower caste people were forced to do jobs like toilet cleaning, sweeping and other jobs which are considered dirty and useless by the society. The people doing these jobs might have failed to maintain the cleanliness because of the water scarcity or due to other reasons.
As most of the Hindus are idol worshippers, persons doing these jobs might had been considered as dirty by the people doing other occupations and therefore, I think, this concept of untouchability might have been raised.
Untouchability is illegal now according to Indian constitution and law and no one in India observes this, but some conflicts still happen in some part of rural India over issues of entering the temple and sharing of the same water resources.
Caste system in other religions in India:
Is it not funny to know that even people from other religions like Christianity and Islam observe caste system and they have groups resembling to castes and subcastes in their religion also?
Unfortunately, it is true. Islam has around 80 different groups same as castes and subcastes in India. People from different groups do not marry each other. For example, Konkani Muslims think themselves as different and they do not establish marital relations with others easily. Differences between Sunni and Shiya are prevalent.
Christians in India have divided themselves over regions. There are groups like Goan Christian, UP Christian, Catholics, Marathi Christians, Keralite Christians, and a lot. People from these groups consider themselves as superior to each other, which is totally against their religion.
Clearly, this has nothing to do with Islam or Christianity. It is the side effect of Hindu caste system, which has penetrated through other religions also.
How to eradicate caste system:
No doubt, whatever may be the reason, observing caste system in any form, which may be ancient, modern, or medieval, is not good for humanity. We should not, at any cost, divide humanity in terms of religion, caste, or may even be genes. Each and every human being has rights to choose his own form of employment, no matter what his/her genes say. Therefore, it is the duty of all Hindus and people of other religions also to eradicate the caste system. It is really possible and feasible. If we can eradicate slavery, then why cannot we eradicate caste system. This thing will take some time even a few hundred more years, but it will be eradicated. I suggest some simple things to accelerate this process.
1. Meet every person as a human being and not as if someone representing his/her caste, religion, race, etc. Never ask anyone that what is his/her caste.
2. Never look for a person’s caste at the time of marriage.
3. Politicians are making use of caste for their vote banks and making use of reservation merely to gain more votes. It is the duty of those who get reservation to deny it. Rise on your own. You are the greatest creation of the God. You do not need crutches of reservation to stand, throw it.
4. Teach your children about equality and not about caste system.
5. Avoid caste-related comments, not even for fun; it really hurts to the person.
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