IT is important to be aware of the facts about the caste system.
It originated from “Varna classification” envisaged by Sage Manu, thousands of years ago. He classified the “human efforts” into four broad categories, which constitute four pillars for building a progressive society. He recognised that the human resource is the most precious and productive resource. It is of paramount importance to channelise the human resource and provide a correct direction. The same human resource would be most destructive and horrifying if not given due recognition and direction. Most human beings start by developing physical activities and skills and then elevate to the higher skills through education, training, practice etc and acquire the field of their specialisation.
According to Hindu Philosophy, every person has some “in born” talents and qualities based on the “Samskar” built into the soul in the previous birth. The purpose of the classification was that we recognise our natural interest, talent and aptitude, use that as base for building further professional capabilities and acquire higher level of specialisation in the chosen field and take up the profession in that field. Both, Individual and society shall be benefited if one is allowed to nurture his hidden strengths and take up the profession according to his aptitude and skill.
During the course of profession, involving physical skills, we would develop deeper understanding of the process. This will trigger our thought process to improve or upgrade the method, develop the devices (jugaad) to simplify the human involvement. Thus achieve higher output with lessor effort. If we start educating or training others, about what we have learnt from our experience and thinking, we sort of graduate from “shudra” to “Brahmin” category.
However, it is amply clear that such aptitude or in born talents are “not hereditory”. They may be based on the “Samskars” of previous birth. It is also possible that the “Samskar” base of previous birth is too weak to provide a useful base. Therefore, the education and training given in this birth provides the base for his/her profession.
In any case, all the four types of professions are essential to constitute the social/economic system. The constructive efforts will crumble, if any of the four types of profession is eliminated. Therefore, we cannot correctly evaluate the worth of that type of profession or to call it dignified of undignified profession.
Most of us have a natural desire to pass on our experience and skills to our children or the children may naturally learn by observing their parents and adopt the profession of the parent. However, this cannot be called inheritance and a base of “caste system”. Talent, “samskar”, aptitude, natural in born qualities or interest cannot be inherited, to form a caste as it is perceived today.
Crux is that, the backwardness of any person cannot be determined by his/her inheritance. The backwardness lies in lack of opportunity to get basic nutritious food, lack of education and training to bring out the natural talent, non availability of conducive social environment to learn, draining of learning part of life into struggle to keep body and soul together etc.
Some people argue that “Caste” is embedded in the psyche of Indians. Yes, that is true and it is also true that this psyche is being continuously hammered by the politicians into the minds of people for electoral gains. The same politicians who advocate for enacting caste based policies, call caste system as a disgrace of Indian society.
Nobody bothers to know the caste of people for conducting any commercial activity. People of all castes work together, not ‘even’ knowing the caste of colleagues. The boundaries of caste will melt, if we stop giving any official recognition to the caste and bring about a casteless society as written in the directive principle of the Constitution.
Caste plays an important role, when people go for arranged marriages. But, for arranged marriages many other factors like horoscope, numerology, attitude, beauty, health etc. are also considered. We do not include these columns in the census. Only caste will be recorded, because it provides an easy tool to the politicians to address large chunk of people, to arouse their sentiments and use them as vote banks
We have to recognise each person as a precious human resource. Recognise the talent and aptitude, nurture the talent and provide channels to use those skills for the mutual benefit of humanity to him/her. That does not require any caste.
In the true spirit of democracy and “Antyodaye” the state must establish a life long “give and take” direct relationship with every citizen. Provide direct identity and security, and also give a message that his/her unlawful activities are also under watch. This will provide the basic human need of recognition. This will deter people from getting carried away by the groups, who use fear as a tool for spreading hatred and seek following. The problems of naxalism, terrorism, casteism, regionalism, religious separatism will all be alleviated.
(The writer can be contacted at Omega Residency, Baner, Pune 411045, Email [email protected].)