There have been a lot of heated discussions lately at Mutiny about mass conversion of Hindus to Christianity and the prevalent Caste system. This prompted me to understand more about the evolution of Caste System in India.
According to our Caste System (in Hindi it is Varna) our society divided in 4 categories:
- Brahmin – A person who is literate in Vedas and Vedic Science
- Kshatriya – A person who protects and fight for the a kingdom/country
- Vaishya – A person involved in running in trade, agriculture.
- Shudra – A person who works for others.
People are put into these categories by their Karma and not by Birth as mentioned in Vedas and more specifically in Bhagavad Gita – (in Hindi it means bhagwaan kay mukh say nikaley hyuey gaan and in English it means songs sung by god, in this context bhagwaan is lord Krishna. Lord Krishna came to this planet in 3200 B.C.)
This caste (Varna based) system was defined to run a society in an organized manner with clear roles and duties. This has been followed in India and Pre-independent India for 1000 of years. But over the centuries this system is seldom followed with their intended purpose as people categorize themselves by their birth instead of their karma (day to day activities).
So following the footsteps of others I call myself as a Brahmins as I’m born in a Brahmin family. But by Karma I’m a Shudra as I’m employed by multinational company, which means I’m working/doing a service for others.
To be a qualified Brahmin I need to perform these 6 activities –
1. Pathan – (Learning Vedic Science/Scriptures)
2. Paatthan – (Preaching Vedic Science/Scriptures)
5. Bhikhsa lena
6. Bhiksha Dena
What I do everyday is my prayers and read some scriptures, which means I’m not entitled to be called a Brahmin, but in our society I’m a Brahmin.
Bhagavad Gita’s preaching contradicts this, so why do I still call myself Brahmin? Even if I would like to say I’m Shudra by Karma, it is unlikely that Indian society will accept this.
My perception is that this flawed practice of categorizing society by birth needs to reformed. It’s over many centuries, kings, rulers, Britishers and now our politicians like Mayawati, Paswan, Laloo, Mulayam and Mandal Man V.P. Singh have exploited this system for their own benefits. Its time we reform this and treat everyone on par irrespective of his or her caste. Western countries respect everyone on par, but we don’t. Lets decide which category we really come under on basis of Karma and see if we are really entitled of that category and get a feel of how discriminatory this practice is.
We as a nation should rise above anyone who divides and exploit us on this basis, especially today’s shortsighted Netas(politicians) who are helping our society to disintegrate day by day. We have to reform this crippled system first, which is haunting us for centuries. All talks of India becoming a superpower will remain just that unless we are prepared to re-look at what we have been taught by tradition. I urge all of you to do some soul searching on this matter and welcome your thoughts. Until then I’m happy being a practicing Shudra.