As perceived by the west, the great Indian caste system is a discrimination institutionalised by the Hindu religion. It’s a taboo which a normal Indian carries when he travels abroad. Apparently I have been asked many times that, why does India still has caste system? It’s tough to explain an outsider about Indian caste system as it is a rich tradition that has been systematically corrupted with the course of time by the power holders of the society.
The society was formally divided into four varnas :
• the Brahmins: priests and scholars
• the Kshatriya: kings, governors and soldiers
• the Vaishyas: cattle herders, agriculturists, artisans and merchants.
• the Shudras: labourers and service providers.
But nowhere in the holy books of Hinduism is it mentioned that a child born to a Brahmin would be a Brahmin by default. One had to prove him or herself to earn the stature of a Brahmin by showing high intellectual standards in the thinking process and by mastering the knowledge of the philosophy of God and the credibility to handle the power of the religious rites and duties which were the basic entity of a hindu’s life. But to continue the lineage of power, Brahmins started passing this knowledge to their children. But history is the proof that great saints and gurus like Viswamitra, Kalidas, Vedavyas, Valmiki were sons of non-Brahmin. Similarly a Ruler was a Kshatriya irrespective of his parent’s caste, Ravan being a Brahmin was a great ruler. Now the question arises that why did we even have this cast tagging at the first place?
Just to prove the importance of a caste system I asked one same question to 4 different types of people.
What happens if a man consumes alcohol?
Doctor: The alcohol in your drink is absorbed into your body through the stomach and small intestines. Alcohol travels through the intestines to the liver and then on to your heart, brain, muscles and other tissues. Usually, though not always, this has a pleasant effect. Your body can’t store alcohol, so it breaks it down – your liver’s job. The liver firstly changes alcohol into acetaldehyde (this is toxic), then into acetate (harmless), which is then broken down into carbon dioxide and water. About 90% – 95% of alcohol consumed is broken down by the liver; 5% – 10% is excreted through urine, breath, and sweat. And he kept continuing for another 30 mins
Engineer: Alcohol makes you feel lighter and relaxed but excess consumption could be fatal causing liver cirrhosis.
Priest: It’s a sin and if you consume alcohol you would go to hell.
Illiterate labourer: It’s a great thing but comes expensive.
I am sure the day you rot your liver drinking alcohol; you would go to a doctor and not to the priest who would rather directly send you to hell. Same was the scene with the understanding of God and religion those days and hence had to be assigned to someone learned. These people were called the Brahmins who had no interest in the luxury of life but only God’s fellowship. Similarly when you needed a labourer to work in a factory you can’t rely on a person who spent all his life reading books or a person waging wars or person busy in business, you have to go to a shudra to get you job done.
Which society doesn’t have a priest, a ruler, a businessman, or a labourer? Even the open and broadminded west has it. And if you consider discrimination, every society and every religion has it, some have it based on race, some with skin colour and some with the way they pray the same God.2000 year old Christianity has so much of aberration from the original preaching of Christ. 1600 year old Islam too has been misinterpreted many times. There has been so much of crimes being done with the name of God by Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists but I don’t think Jesus, Muhammad, or Buddha ever taught violence. Then how do you think 5000 years old Hinduism would be kept virgin?