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Creation of casteless society in India

 

At present, caste has become a derogatory word. Many modern reformists, politicians, non-governmental organizations, intellectuals and activists regard the system as indefensible, problematic and complicated as it carries a historical baggage of discrimination and exploitation. It has forced destitution on a vast number of people belonging to weaker and unprivileged sections of society in the country. Its practices and values are the causes for illiteracy, communal problems escalating violence, crimes and corruption, disparities of power, wealth and culture, leading ultimately to disintegration of Indian society. Therefore, they wish to change the caste-ridden Indian society into a caste-less society.

Before forming an opinion or passing on any comment, it is necessry that one must understend what caste system really is? How, when and why did it come into existence and develop in its present form? What have been the factors, which brought changes in the system during a very long period of its evolution or  contributed to its development? What are the strengths and weaknesses of caste system? How much influence does it still exercise on modern Indian society?

So far, people propogating for casteless society have not been able to find an alternative to replace caste system. More they criticize caste system, the more they themselves cling to their own caste identities. They find castes to be the easiest and most effective channel to propagate their ideas or create vote-banks. No doubt, a few deformities have developed into caste system during its long period of evolution. But it is not easy to bring caste to an end. It is very difficult for millions of people to forget about their roots or identity, which is defined in their own society on the basis of caste.

Caste-system is one of the oldest social structures in the world. Still it can not be ignored as an adolescent or useless phenomenon, as its hold on the public mind is still very strong. So much and so that, Muslims and Christians, Sikhs or Buddhist, living in India could not remain immune from it for long, though their respective religions believe in egalitarian society.

Caste system has given Indian society a distinguished identity and a solid social structure with a system of thought, a way of life, and sense of direction. It has served to give Indian society coherence, stability and continuity. It still appears to most of the Indians as a very dear and natural social institution. It is not the caste system, but its politicization due to vested interests of a few, that has created problems and has disfigured the face of caste system beyond recognition and created many problems in nation’s prosperity. Socially it has held together different castes and communities despite numerous foreign invasions, migrations and assimilation of various groups and having diverse languages and practices for generations – thus making unity in diversity a reality.

 

 

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August 29, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

7 Comments »

  1. hi
    Did you sopport casteless system or not? I did n’t get understand but practical analisis is there in it.so casteless fair society loving people should understand and utelise it to their favour to make casteless society in strong form.
    thanking you
    dromprakashderma,hyderabad,andrapradesh

    Comment by dromprakashderma | October 9, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comments.
      Substituting caste-based Indian society with a caste-less society is no solution for improving the social evils developed into the system during long period of its evolution. Besides, supporters of caste-less society have not been able, so far, to suggest a better alternative scheme or thought of new support systems and norms needed to substitute caste-system. Common men in India is not sure about the effectiveness of proposed scheme of creating a caste-less society. They are reluctant to replace or abandon caste system – an institution of proven value with a Caste-less society on trial and error basis. They understandably wish to make improvements in the tried and testes old system by removing deformities developed into it with time.
      Despite all its weaknesses, caste as a system has given to India a sold social-structure, which has remained stable even after many internal and external onslaughtson it. It can not be denied that –
      1.Roots of many present socio-political and economic ills do lie not in distant past, but only about 150 years back i.e. started with British Imperial rule in India. Before that the heart-burning because of caste and religion was  not as much as it was during British rule.
      2.So far, adaptability and absorptive nature of caste system has saved it by erosion from within and assault from outside.
      3.it assimilated numerous social groups – immigrants, locals, tribal, professionals or others – into its mainstream, without any conversion or without aninhilaiting their indigenous internal order, values, system and faith.
      4.Family, extended family, Kula, and Caste are fundamental social institutions in India. A common man regards caste a natural, and inevitable unit/institution widening the scope and contacts of a person in the society.
      5.The principles of Varna, Dharma and Karma clearly specify duties, privileges and restrictions of each role separately and managed relationship with others. It encourages self-discipline, self-control and self-direction.
      6.Caste-system is based on certain principles like “Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam” (whole world is one family), “live and let live”, “Self restraint”, “automatic checks and balances” “division of labour” along with “to each according to his needs and from each according to his capacity” etc. etc.
      7.The system separated wealth from status, power from authority and knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts.
      8.caste system acted as shield for Hindus to retain their cultural identity while living under alien rule. It was a major force for failure of Islam, Christianity and other religions to make headway even after mass conversion and recreceiving state patronage for sufficiently long period, whether it was Mughal’s, Portuguese or British. Islam and Christianity had.
      Caste system has adapted itself well with the changing times. It took different shades and meaning with changing times and places. Once changed, it never returned to its original form. Its character during Indus Valley Civilization was altogether different from what exists today. It is still in a transient phase. It is different in context of village, locality, region or religion.
      A change is good for the growth of a society. But Changes must be based on constant interpretation of past experiences and opinions, present requirements and existing ground realities of the place and future prospects.
      For details please see the posts -Casteless society, caste-ism and caste as a system, dalits-discrimination-and-caste-system in website – latasinha.wordpress.com

      Comment by latasinha | October 10, 2010 | Reply

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