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When everyone is debating whether a caste consensus is imperative or not, I wonder, why not just give up the caste system, as we did with sati 200 years ago? Do we need an archaic model of discrimination that no longer serves its true purpose? But as I read books and watch videos to learn more about the caste, the more I realize how dark and deep the rabbit hole goes. Unlike sati, which can be said to be a distortion of understanding the scriptures, the caste system is ordained in the Hindu scriptures, and there is no denying it.

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There can be no discussion about the destruction of the caste system without mentioning the pioneering legend Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and his book “Annihilation of Caste.” His knowledge on the topic is immense, and his works are commendable. Even if the book was written almost a hundred years ago, it still holds in today’s age. I think everyone will agree that the caste system is no longer practiced as per the Hindu scriptures. If it was, it would be a disaster, not for the oppressed but also the privileged sections of society. Unfortunately, instead of being shunned, the monster has evolved and adapted to the modern world, taking the form of cronyism. While Gandhi decided to tame it, Ambedkar insisted on killing it. Babasaheb refuted all the arguments made by the Mahatma and people who supported the caste system. He proved that this system is deplorable and counterproductive to the growth of the nation. Based on his views and some of my own, here are the reasons why casteism needs to stop right now:

1. Profession

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There is no doubt that caste no longer defines somebody’s profession anymore, at least in most cases. Ambedkar knew that if swaraj, a.k.a independence, took place without social reform, then subjugation worse than the British, by the upper caste of the society, is imminent. He failed to uplift the consciousness of the people. So he introduced the reservation system to safeguard the interests of the repressed sections. Consequently, many children from downtrodden families get the opportunity to educate themselves or get jobs. But the fact remains. Those who try to raise themselves socially and economically face casteism from others at their workplaces or colleges.

Ambedkar has predicted this in his book. According to him, political reform and economic reform cannot precede social reform. India never revolutionized its society, so it never evolved. Hence, the government has to keep the social evils in check with the extra work of setting up laws against them. However, these laws are often broken by many because the social order of India is incompatible with its political order. Despite the reservation system, the majority of the government seats are still held by people belonging to the general caste. Most of the IIT faculty members are Brahmins. Vipin P. Veetil, a professor of IIT Madras, resigned after allegedly getting constant backlash due to his caste from his colleagues and seniors. This is a link to his detailed interview. It illuminates how he and others are barred from the opportunities by keeping the reserved seats as vacant as possible. The loopholes in the system fail to spot the discrimination happening in front of their eyes. The reason behind the vacancy is given by the so-called “Professors” that if they give the seats to the reserved candidates, then the talented ones will leave for private institutions or move abroad. To preserve the sanctity of the top national institutions, they don’t want to compromise over the quality of teachers. Some outright say what is in the minds of most of these intellectuals - people belonging to the lower strata of the caste system have inferior genes and IQ. They are unfit to be teachers!

There is also the segregation of laborers based on their caste. You’ll find that every sanitation worker is a Dalit. They are underpaid, under-equipped, and undervalued by society. The average lifespan of a Dalit working in adverse conditions of sewage tanks is merely 40 – 45 years of age. To cope, they often turn to alcoholism, which leads to domestic violence and other criminal activities. Despite the Supreme Court’s orders to stop the unfair treatment of these workers, the railway department or the municipal corporations have not implemented them yet. I recommend watching this video by Scoopwhoop Unscripted to get more insight on this matter.

2. Race and Eugenics

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One of the main reasons caste is still a thing is because many believe that it is preserving the purity of their race. The only thing pure is the level of stupidity in this idea. Science has proved that the Indian gene is mixed with various other races from Europe, Africa, and the Middle-east. Even if there is some difference in the genetic makeup throughout the sub-continent, there is no distinct difference based on caste. All Indians are racially similar to each other. I am sure advocates of racial purity consider themselves intellectually and physically superior to others, but that is not the case. As Ambedkar has mentioned in the book, Indians are C3 people. We are pygmies and dwarfs with stunted growth and lacking stamina. Moreover, the caste system came in long after the different races had co-mingled with each other. Even if we entertain the perverse idea of racial difference between castes, what is the harm in the mixing of blood by inter-caste marriages?

According to the theory of evolution, inbreeding has led to the extinction of many species. Generations get stronger genetically when they inter-breed, producing off-springs with much more mutations. The caste system is not a scientific demarcation of race that promotes judicious mating. As Ambedkar said in his speech, “It is a social system which embodies the arrogance and selfishness of a perverse section of the Hindus who were superior enough in social status to set it in fashion, and who had the authority to force it on their inferiors.”

3. Equality, Fraternity, and Unity

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Many people believe that the caste system is a division of labor that provides clarity and efficiency in the smooth functioning of society. But in reality, caste is a division of laborers that do not promote harmony, instead develops narrow-mindedness among the communities. It makes people confine themselves instead of sharing their culture with other sections of society. Even if hundreds of kings have ruled for thousands of years, establishing civilization, we still have Adivasis living like savages in forests. Why? The truth is, we never tried to civilize them because the caste system prevented us from being inclusive of each other. Instead, we outcast them and treat them like animals. Inhuman treatment against these communities still exists today, like this case in MP where a 40-year-old tribal man was beaten and dragged by a vehicle because a milkman’s milk was spilled on the road. The milkman hit the victim with his motorcycle. But due to casteist feelings of untouchability, he blamed the victim. He called his friends to thrash him and dragged him by a vehicle on the road. The man died later in a hospital.

This idea to preserve the “purity” of your caste keeps the different communities divided. It reminds and preserves the hostility and enmity developed over generations between different castes. People have betrayed kingdoms and even the nation to safeguard the interest of their castes. As long as caste exists, people will not unite and identify as citizens of a single country.

We all praise the Sikh community for their bravery. Even the Muslims do the unthinkable, that is, sacrifice their life for the cause of their community. Where do you think they get the strength? It is not their physical prowess but their strong bond of brotherhood that motivates them and gives them immense courage. They believe that even if they are one, they are not alone. In contrast, Hindus lack that confidence in themselves because they are left alone, even sometimes by their own caste. Their strength is limited and so the personality generally developed by the average Hindu is full of timidity and anxiety.

It is different when it comes to the army because that sense of brotherhood is developed through training and missions. But when it comes to the general Hindu population, their instinct is to ignore or flee the situation because their fellow Hindus are not there to support them. That is why crimes like rapes and murder happen in broad daylight and go unreported. I won’t put links to any Dalit rape case because every one of them matters. Hindus have learned to be weak and indifferent to the wrongdoings of society. Is this the society we want to live in? Is this a sustainable way of living?

4. Religion

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Babasaheb stated in his book that Hinduism, like other religions, must have been a missionary religion at first as it has spread over the entire Indian subcontinent. But later, it ceased to be because of the caste system. Because of its abhorrent customs to alienate those who do not belong to the caste system, it is technically impossible for a foreigner to be a Hindu. If a Hindu wants to convert someone, he/she must ask what caste on what basis should the person belong? It is because the caste is as integral as the religion when mentioning a Hindu. Caste exists in Islam, Sikh, and other religions too, but it is not a defining aspect of an individual in society. Whereas a Hindu is asked his caste in every aspect of his life. Before you object to me in this regard, go ahead and open the newspaper’s classified section. We still have matrimonial ads that first specify the caste of the wanted bride/groom. Hinduism will cease to exist if the caste system prevails. It considers people out of caste inferior and is non-inclusive of them. Eventually, the religion will converge on itself and go extinct.

Solution to Casteism

I am not just a critic who will criticize the caste system and close the chapter. I believe as an Indian and a Hindu, it is my responsibility to provide solutions to my criticisms of the caste system. So, here are some of them as follows:

1. Inter-dining and Inter-caste marriage

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Even though it has its limits, inter-dining and inter-caste marriage have radically changed the social map of India since Independence. Ambedkar was not so keen on inter-dining because many castes can eat together already. But he was optimistic about inter-caste marriage because blood relations with people of other castes can put a dent in those barriers. That is how Indians in South Africa overcame casteism during the early 1900s. However, many Indians who are blinded by the tradition commit deplorable crimes against their own children. One such recent example is a man, Ashwin Sharma, who was poisoned and burned by his father and paternal aunt because he married a Dalit woman. Here is the link to the article. Therefore, it is not the permanent solution to casteism. Even if it is, it is a long and painful one.

2. Reforming the Caste System

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Mahatma Gandhi and the members of Arya Samaj believed in reforming the caste system by restructuring it based on the four major castes, that is, Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra. The existing thousands of sub-castes would be assimilated into them, and they would be granted based on guna, a.k.a virtue of the person. However, Ambedkar believed it would not work, which brings us to the next point.

3. Destruction of Hinduism

Before you jump to conclusions and take out your swords, please bear with me till the end, then make up your mind.
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When Ambedkar said in his book that Hinduism must be destroyed to abolish the caste system, I was baffled. But as I kept on reading, I understood what he wanted to say. Many people still misunderstand Ambedkar because of his views on Hinduism. And therefore, this book is the most obscure piece of his writing. Well, no more.

According to him, the reformation of the caste system is futile because it is not a physical barrier that separates one caste from another. It is a notion, a deplorable one. This evil notion lurks under the guise of religious reforms in the texts of Manusmriti. In his book, he has mentioned Sanskrit verses from the texts that prohibit the people from critical thinking and reasoning against the texts of Manu, and even when there is a conflict between Manu and the Gods, the person should follow the texts of Manu! What kind of religious text asks to betray their own God? It is quite evident that these texts are not based on the teachings of God, like the Bhagavad Gita, but are a collection of stringent laws written by a human.

Ambedkar said there is a difference between principles and rules. While principles are the wisdom that forms the basis of religion, rules are laws for maintaining the social order. Hindus are very religious, and they won’t tolerate questions against the caste system as long as they see it as an ideal based on religion. But if they understand that most of our Hindu texts are not principles but laws, which are meant to evolve with time, perhaps they can see that the caste system can be repealed from Indian minds. Ambedkar was not a hinduphobic. He was terrified of ignorance.

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If you consider this treason against Hinduism, then let me tell you that this is not the first time the caste system would be banned. The Great Mauryan Empire did it, which is considered the golden era of Indian history. King Suheldev did it to increase his strength of the army to fight against the Turkish Invaders about a thousand years ago. He defeated the Ghaznavid general Ghazi Miyan and stopped the foreign invaders for decades.

I have written this article because we are at a critical point in human history. USA’s strength as a superpower is dwindling, while Pakistan is gaining support from China, a growing superpower. It has its ports in Sri Lanka and has plans to control the Taiwan Strait, which would neutralize our strategic backup against China in case of a war. In short, we are surrounded by China right now. When enemies are at our doorstep, it is no time to discriminate and fight amongst ourselves. We have the right tools in our hands that connect us irrespective of caste, gender, class, etc. They can be used to start the positive revolution against the archaic laws that divide us and have been the cause of our defeat for the last millennium.

You can ask me questions in the comment section and I'll answer them.

Jai Hind..!!

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