Evil of the Caste System

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Hindu society is plagued by the ills of caste system and of late, this problem has taken the proportions of Goliath and is threatening the very integrity of the nation. The society in India is rather divided on the basis of caste and not a single day passes without an incident where caste becomes the focal point. Recently in Maharashtra State a Dalit family of four was done to death by the upper caste Hindus and there was big riot and arson in the State. Similar incidents also take place in other State from time to time. Trains were burnt, shops were looted and life came to stand still. A caste war is a regular phenomenon in Bihar and Jharkhand States. For western people, this issue appears rather very strange and weird. The extreme end of caste problem is the case of untouchability that was once predominant in Hindu society. This practice although has died out outwardly, is still raising its head at some place or other in the country and causing serious heart burns. These issues have been examined. The caste system and the practice of untouchability have lowered the image of Hinduism in the eyes of the world. Eminent social reformers in all ages tried to fight the system and could not eliminate the evil. The modern stalwarts like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Babasaheb (Respectful addressing in Hindi) Dr Bheem Rao Ambedkar (Much publicized as an architect of Indian Constitution and an eminent Barrister), Mahatma Phule, the social reformer are some of the noted social reformers who struggled to eradicate the evil. But they could not succeed. Frustrated Ambedkar finally shifted over to Buddhism from Hinduism. The problem was also recognized in 12 th century in the present State of Andhra Pradesh by eminent social reformer Brahma Naidu (Brahmanna), the Prime Minister of King Nalagama Raja who ruled at Gurajala in the present Guntur District and was a very valiant military commander. His policies also resulted in the great Palanati Battle fought in 1182 ~1186 in which scores were slain and almost all the South Indian Kings took part in the battle that was mostly the outcome of a family feud.. Hindu society is divided into four castes. These are firstly Brahmin (Priestly class, secondly Kashatriya (War like or ruling class), Thirdly Vaisya (Merchant Class) and lastly Shoodra (Servent class). The shoodra category has innumerable sections and tribes and at the lowest end are the untouchables. These were named Harijans by the Late Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Father of Nation) who did not want to address them as untouchables and gave a respectful word and called them Harijans meaning God’s men. This term is under disuse now and Harijans are being addressed as Dalits. The first three castes which are called upper castes have many sects, all falling in their respective class. The most important question is whether the caste system was sanctioned by the scriptures and was it an authorized practice (1). Caste System or Varna Ashrama has been one of the most misrepresented, misinformed, misunderstood, and misused and the most maligned aspects of Hinduism. If one wants to understand the truth, the original purpose behind the caste system, one must go to antiquity to study the evolution of the caste system. Caste System, which is said to be the mainstay of the Hindu social order, has no sanction in the Vedas. The ancient culture of India was based upon a system of social diversification according to spiritual development, and enlightenment, not by birth, but by his karma. Lord Krishna in his discourse Bhagavad-Gita proclaimed:

“Chaturvaranm maya shrushtam Gunak Karmaha Vibhagasya”
It means the Lord has created the system of four Varna (Castes) according to one’s own traits and Karma. Thus the Varna system has not been sanctioned as per birth. However over a period of time the system has degenerated in to the present State and continues to plague the society. One could attain higher Varna by gaining higher knowledge and conducting in...
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