Organized Religion

Hindu Caste Apologetics and the Culpability of the Pre-Adi-Sankara Era

While there is a grudging acknowledgement among even hard-core Hindu nationalist intelligentsia that Casteism in India is a serious issue, they would stop short of accepting it as a reprehensible social evil. The resort to evasion and camouflaging it as facet of culture and tradition or blaming it on factors and circumstances extraneous to Hinduism is typically a stock characteristic of Hindu caste apologetics.

But most sections of this intellectual class also exhibit a type of denialism, where almost the entire blame of India’s casteist legacy is laid squarely at the door of British conquest of India and if that does not work or sell, to replace it with Mughal and Islamic invasions as the primary cause of casteist structure of society

Blaming Mughal and British colonialism has by now become the most worn-out cliché of Hindu caste apologetics.

Yet it refuses to die down and keeps coming up in many ways even today like in the case of this report of the Hindu Council of UK or even like this comment below from a responder to a Nirmukta article on Vedanta:

“What if you are wrong about the social oppression part in ancient India prior to shankara… what if there are no proofs to your conjecture… and then will it just become social evolution as common to a society like the Greeks who had institutionalized slavery or the arabs of the same time… it(Philosophy you are criticizing) was science for their time… and the holders of this legacy (it was as much as your ancestors achievement as mine as any Brahmin’s or dalit’s, although I no longer wish to classify humans as such) are willing to change, we missed the enlightenment part since we were under successive Muslim rule and English rule, where in during the muslim rule I don’t find any secular institutions like universities shining from our country… So instead of criticizing subjectively criticize the objective nature of the state we are in… what if you are wrong about ancient india and their society provided we haven’t had great deal of research in this area…”

The Hindu nationalist above, being more ‘ingenious’ than the Hindu Council of UK has perhaps attempted to fill that void of repetitiveness of Hindu nationalist defense by positing a new theory of India missing the bus of the ‘Era of Enlightenment’ or the Age of Reason due to Mughal and British colonialism.

This is akin to replacing one species of denialism with another. But we will let that pass for now and focus on the denial of the apologist about the conjecture that there was caste-based social oppression in ancient India prior to Adi Sankara.

Even if there are elements of contention about the hypothesis of the existence of caste-based social degradation and persecution of the masses of underprivileged before the Adi Sankara era, there is no need for disgrace or contrite recantation about it.

Here we are referring to credible and reasonable inferences and deductions from historical records of particular periods in ancient and medieval India that can support or refute such a conjecture.

Based on the Hindu nationalists’ own insistence on questioning the period prior to Sankara’s time, the implication is that in Sankara’s time and beyond, caste-based discrimination and social decadence was already a harsh and undeniable reality.

Is India’s civilizational decline due to invasions alone?
(Image shows a controversial painting by the late MF Husain. Image links to source)

The scapegoat of British and Mughal villainy as the causative agent of Indian civilizational misery is a needless Hindu apologetic redundancy. That is because the vibrancy of Indian Civilization had died long before these invaders had set foot on our soil.

Now conveniently for the apologists of the innocence of ancient Indian scriptural heritage to the charge of perpetuating social injustice, the further we trail back in time, the reliability of chronologies and chronicles do tend to diminish and the contentions over their authenticity and authority rise.

While there can be obviously no proofs, to incontrovertibly establish my conjecture, given the state of documenting in the India before Islamic invasions, what I or any other open-minded Indology and social science novice can look for and build is a kind of ‘smoking gun’ plausibility, if not a totally cast-iron evidence and well as deductive interrogation of the rosy projections and assumptions about ‘benevolent’ monarchies of that timeline in history.

If we accept the opinion or claim of DD Kosambi that a much better clarity of the chronology of Indian History emerged with Alexander’s invasion of India around 326 BCE and the onset of Mauryan Empire from 321 BCE onwards, the timeline for testing this conjecture or hypothesis should be 350 BCE to 850 CE (Adi Sankara is estimated to have died around 820 CE).

I am taking 850 CE as the outer limit since around that time Buddhism almost totally vanished or was banished from India and the kind of regressive Hinduism that we are still witnessing today was gaining a firm foothold. The major monarchies in this period in the North though to the Deccan plateau were :

Nanda Dynasty (343 BCE to 321 BCE), Maurya Dynasty (321 BCE to 185 BCE), Shunga- Kanva Dynasty (185 BCE to 26 BCE), Kushan Dynasty (30 CE to 230 CE), Gupta Dynasty (320 CE to 540 CE), Satavahana Dynasty (230 BCE to 200 CE), Chalukyas (543CE – 753CE), Harshavardhana (606 CE – 647 CE), Pallava Dynasty (400 CE – 900 CE)

The chaturvarna caste system was already well in place during the period of the Mahajanapadas of which Nanda dynasty was probably a part. References to the ‘low birth’ or ‘lowly origin’ of Mahapadma Nanda is frequently found in any mention to the king and his clan. This appears to be attested by both the Vedic Puranas as well as by Greco-Roman chronicles. Mention of Mauryas and Nandas as Sudra empires is also not hard to find in the pages of history.

Whether there were innumerable jatis and its proliferation at the beginning of this period is hard to establish. But there appears to be evidence that by the end of the Mauryan Empire and the start of the Sunga era, stratification of society into varnas and jatis was expanding in spite of the Buddhist onslaught on Brahminic ideological hegemony during the latter Mauryan era.

One must also to aware of or open to the supposition that monarchs and dynasties of those times were not necessarily reformist, radical or revolutionary in their outlook, in the modern sense of the words, even if they were considered as successful in governance and in the political sense aggressive and militaristic.

So even if the Nandas, Mauryas and Harsha patronized Buddhists and Jains more, they did not necessarily cross swords with the Brahmin and priestly elites. They even collaborated with the Brahmin class by appointing them as ministers and royal priests. That an orthodox and hard-core Brahmin like Chanakya was the personal advisor and mentor of Chandragupta Maurya, shows that Brahminism faced no threat to their high elitist status from these Sudra/Dalit feudatories.

In the Arthasastra that is attributed to Chanakya, the approval of the social order of chaturvarna is quite clear and unequivocal. A look at the verses of CHAPTER III. THE END OF SCIENCES, leaves very little room for doubt especially with verses like these:

Four varnas

Chaturvarna system: Endorsed by Puranic scripture but older than the Puranas
(Image links to source)

“As the triple Vedas definitely determine the respective duties of the four castes and of the four orders of religious life, they are the most useful.”

“That (duty) of a Sudra is the serving of twice-born (dvijati), agriculture, cattle-breeding, and trade (varta), the profession of artisans and court-bards (karukusilavakarma)”

“The observance of one’s own duty leads one to Svarga and infinite bliss (Anantya). When it is violated, the world will come to an end owing to confusion of castes and duties”.

Hence the king shall never allow people to swerve from their duties; for whoever upholds his own duty, ever adhering to the customs of the Aryas, and following the rules of caste and divisions of religious life, will surely. be happy both here and hereafter. For the world, when maintained in accordance with injunctions of the triple Vedas, will surely progress, but never perish.

We must also be mindful that most histories of these periods or even later are not focused much on their prevailing social economy and its discontents, but more on the military exploits and conquests of their royal heroes. These chronicles may measure the wealth of the kingdom and its prosperity and not necessarily its dispersion and the extent of general poverty. Just because these eras were more successful and prosperous as compared the Mediaeval eras before or during Muslim rule does not mean that there were no social inequalities and crises in those times.

So casteist stratification and its vile consequences did not suddenly spring upon us in the Post-Gupta era. It has been a social evolution in the making as some of Hindu intelligentsia concede, but a perverse, retrogressive and degrading one that started centuries ago.

Ironically the roots, basis and foundations of India’s terminal decline were most probably laid in the ‘Golden Age‘ of the Guptas, which is the toast of Hindutva pride. This is of course a long story and not easy to grasp and needs some perspective in sociology and also the somewhat counter-intuitive hypothesis that actual events and their recognition in public consciousness are always lagging their underlying trends in social and cultural mood settings and milieu.

The prosperity, progress and relative stability of the Gupta era was masking the subtle yet consolidating undercurrents of revivalism of an orthodox and ritualistic Vedic religion in the form of

  • Resurrection and rehabilitation of the priestly Brahmin class
  • Growing proximity of the Brahmin class to the royalty. This was a continuation of the trend begun in the Sunga era, kicked off by the shrewd and crafty Patanjali of the ‘Yoga Sutras’ fame.
  • Proliferation of Dharma Shastra texts, again probably inspired by much celebrated Manava Dharmasastra or Manusmriti (The generally accepted date of 150-100 BCE for Manusmriti places it in the Sunga period)
  • Revival of Vedic ritualism with resumption of Yagnas like the Rajasuya Yagna and the like
  • Composition of additional Puranas, interpolations and extensions to the Maha-puranas (like Bhagavata Purana)
  • Very significantly the improvisation of the Bhagavad Gita, which laid the formal theological basis for caste-based and sectarian discrimination as a spiritual philosophy (Quite likely, its composition must have begun in the Sunga era)

When the Gupta era eventually declined and ended, Brahmanism had taken a vice-like grip on Indian culture and society, with the royal class the Brahmin clergy colluding to keep the masses in perpetual submission and ignorance, in the immediately succeeding centuries.

Surely this is a subject of intense debate and counter-trend theories, which can hopefully be reserved for cogent debate and argument and clarificatory articles.

MF Husain 1981 painting

Demonizing the outsider and ignoring decadence within?
(Image shows a controversial 1981 painting by the late MF Husain. Image links to source.)

At the root of our desperate attempts to glorify our culture and religion, lies a deep-seated sense of inferiority and guilt of the miserable decline and stagnation of our civilization that began more than 1500 years ago. An inability to come to terms with this cultural tragedy and forget the dead past makes many of our intellectuals seek redress and palliatives in the form of a mindless rationalization and worship of antiquity.

This attitude is most conspicuous among the upper crust intellectuals, particularly Brahmins as their ancestors were the culprits who ran our civilization aground and toppled it into an abyss from which it is yet to emerge as a mature society and culture.

This article cited by Satish Chandra, very clearly shows that there is plenty of research available in public domain for analyzing ancient scriptures as well as historical and sociological investigation of the India of Ancient and mediaeval periods.

Of course the ostrich like attitude of Hindu nationalism can and does respond to these realities by ignoring them, pretending and proclaiming the poverty of such research, defaming the authors of such studies as Marxist and westernized or as apologists of Christianity and/or by engaging in its own version of revisionism in defiance of all rules of historical and research methodology.

About the author

Ranganath R

An accountant and a man of commerce by background and education, I am a Business Applications analyst by work and profession. I am a lover of diverse intellectual pursuits and interests. I have over time cultivated interests in literature, history and social sciences.

In terms of beliefs, I have had in the past my share of swings between irrationality and rationality. As hopefully thinking processes and impulses mature, I am learning to cultivate the faculty of examining all systems and forms of thought and opinions, in whatever it is received and only accept those that accords with reason, logic and understanding.


  • Its wrong to say that Mauryan empire had caste system.

    Their were probably people with Bramanical ideology with a proposal for exploiting society and Rule and to some success had it functioning in small kingdoms much like Anna Hazare’s village have this own example of Swaraj! Beating drunkards tied on to a pole and favoring Caste school.

    Chandragupta Maurya on the other hand adopted Jainism, his son adopted ajivika school of thought and his grandson Asoka Maurya famously known for his love for Buddhism and propagating it outside his empire and also Sri lanka via his grandson who was killed by Pushyamitra Sunga. Sunga Rule came which propagated Manusmriti and Gita was composed and imposed through violence, treachery and dictatorship.

    • Pratik,

      Thanks for your inputs. Even this article feels that evidence is skewed in favor of Sunga and subsequent monarchies of institutionalizing the Hindu caste system.

      While Mauryan kings did not play any role in promoting caste system, that is not the same thing as saying that there was no caste system during their era.

      The smoking gun evidence for this should be ‘Arthasastra’ itself which is quoted in the article.

      Hindu defenders try to go around this by claiming that the extant ‘Arthasastra’ is an interpolated text compiled in the early CE based on the thoughts of Chankaya of the earlier Mauryan era. But that is a different topic.

      Opportunities for social mobility despite existence of caste structure must have been there during the pre-Sunga era. But the structure itself must have existed in those times.

  • Dear Sir No historian has given such a clear picture as this Blog. Even today So called Brahmin Intellectuals maintain that “Chatur varna” is a Devine ordinance. On Nov.8 2008 One such Brahmin Mr. Mattoor Krishna Murthy [Who passed away a year back in Bangaluru] writes in a Kannada daily ” Chatur Varna Paramatma srashtisiddhu”

    Note: Your E-Mail is not clear to me.

  • “we missed the enlightenment part since we were under successive Muslim rule and English rule, where in during the muslim rule I don’t find any secular institutions like universities shining from our country”

    This person must be living in his own shell. It was English rule that brought enlightenment to India. It was Britishers who banned savage practices like Sati system,human sacrifices,killing of babies by throwing them in Ganga at the fulfillment of wishes.
    Rather Britishers tried to uplift lower castes by giving them more rights but high caste hindus and hindu fundamentalists did not let that happen.

    Puna pact is a glaring example of that.

  • An excellent insightful article, Sir, your claim of Gita period is also matches with the article “How Ashoka The Great Gave Brahmins A Song With Which They Conquered India” by Dr.Prabhakar Kamath. Kalinga war might be the desperate and fitting situation for writing deserted words like death, killing, nature, dharma, adharma, nothing, everything, created, destroyed, hell, heaven and etc…. I think, I am missing many more like this!!! But the pathetic one is all low caste people, who succumbed to these hidden tantric attacks. Many irrational practices were changed, except the religious belief, for which there always a new type of apologetic explanation and new method of justifying the lies, is orchestrated in the media and public. Blaming mughal and british is the only left out tactics of this time for the Hindu apologist to safe guard their religious fundamentalism.

  • marxist loving and Sanatan Dharm hating drivel. dare criticise islam of xianity if you have the guts.Sanatan Dharm is perfect and the only true word of the divine, rest all including your revisionist delusional drivel will all be wiped off.

    • Quoting from here,

      It is those who accuse us of hurting Indian culture (the puritans) who tend to see Indian culture as a monolithic, un-changing entity, incapable of improvement. ‘Why improve when we’re the greatest culture on earth?‘ seems to be the belief underpinning this outlook. This view is informed primarily by a rabid nationalistic exceptionalism rather than by reason. The Puritans who uphold this view are not necessarily genuinely concerned about Indian culture and the people who follow the traditions and practices of India. Indeed, the prime motivating factor here is arrogant, undeserved pride. Our culture does not belong to any group of people, let alone to those with such primitive and arguably un-patriotic ideas as the puritans. Such folk have no business dictating to other Indians what we can and cannot say about Indian culture.

      And BTW, check out these links and these and this and this.

      • Arvind Iyer: Given you are an atheist, unless your last name conveys anything other than a caste lineage, why do you continue to have the IYER, last name?

    • The mark of a true troll is that they outright dismiss an article without citing any reasons other than name calling.

    • There required a support system or government for the survival of any religion, but nothing is required for rationalism, only self awareness, hope the all human will attain it. If you see the past history of Sanadhanadharma, it was forced into the Indian society by monarchy and sword and it has many cheating, compromise (?!), superstitious and flattery records. The same is applicable to islam and christainity. Recent development reminds us nothing is fit to be followed. Your claim also true sanathanadharma will long live! yes in museum/library!

  • Thank You for this very interesting and thought provoking article.The author has argued all his points very thoroughly indeed.

  • First of all I failed to recognize as to how the author came to the conclusion that the writer of the Comment quoted in the article was Hindu Nationalist-caste apologist?! I suppose he hasn’t come across fellow skeptics who at times sound like a member of the opposing camp, without any political intentions ofcourse. I suppose being a rationalist must also include cow-head dangle all that Marxists say happened and not think to themselves or come to own conclusions.

    The persistent recurring theme of the articles by the author seems to be that there was historically a conspiracy by Brahmins who “created” a Regressive system of Castes and discriminated against the people who were perceived to be of the lower castes to the point that whole society broke apart, nonviable to continue in the same way, hence the Islamic kingdoms to the north invaded.

    The author confused me with his usage of Varna and Jati. He also views history with lens made from ideals of modern society that came to be since last 200 years of human evolution into the age of democracy and equality. He is also not considerate for people of a different age and different time. And gross generalization on many themes.

    The objective is a noble endeavor namely, to criticize social inequality of two human groups in India today, to criticize the rituals, philosophy, and social attitudes of one of the groups in India the Hindus. Let us not loose sight of this. The goal is to remove these hurdles and make us rich in material and rich in systems that increases human wellbeing.

    1.Today there is discrimination between different Jatis and organize into hierarchies and socially Brahmins consider themselves to be the top Jati.
    2. India was ruled by regressive Islamic Sultanates in the north for a period of 800 years that included slavery, genocidal attacks on hindu populations, destruction of temples, and Hindu places of thought the universities. Destruction of previous social systems like political systems, elites and nonelites etc.
    3. British rule changed the social arena a little. Universities were built for the process of educating Indians in english to help in administration. Upper class Hindus excelled in this, read the works of voltaire and the likes of european renaissance philosophers, discovered that ‘their’ history was not uncivilised savages, but that even they had ancient cities, had developed a culture, had a language to be recorded for posterity etc and fought successfully for independence. Today we are a poor nation after 60 years of congress mismanagement, having said that, I don’t see any better if anybody else would have made significant difference in our position although one might fantacise about a better alternative.
    4. There are the lower class of Jatis toiling away in utter poverty and social degradation with out hope and perpetual discrimination, even basic human rights as we define today are denied to their children for no fault of theirs.
    5. The Culture and way of life of the upper class of hindus are evolved form of previous cultures that evolved in the human population in the subcontinent- Here one might say, the sophisticated rituals philosophies of Upper class of Hindus and the more simpler Dalit culture (for there are no written evidence for philosophical pursuits who were toiling away their life.)
    6. Are they one and the same people? DNA evidence seems to say yes, from the last 10,000 years there doesn’t seem to be any large scale Migrations of human populations in the subcontinent. Rather historically, Invasions from the north have only added small changes to already complex human systems. And most of todays Muslims and Christians in India have similar Genetics to a Brahmin or a Dalit or a Gowda or a Shetty. AIT/AMT is false.

    Today we have set ideals in Human Rights and raised expectations of how one human must treat another. And by all analysis in ancient times had different Social Norms than today. It was a time when people were not self aware of the historical processes that moulded their systems of their day.

    Renaissance happened in europe, why didn’t it happen in India or in Turkey or in China, Niall Fergusson examines this in his book and TV series Civilization: The West and the Rest.

    One of the Killer App he suggests is growth of Universities. First starting out as religious establishments then turning out to be war research facilities then alchemy finally chemistry, so on starting out as something vile but ending up as a formal study like todays Physics, starting out as astrology, Kepler was one, then by the time of galileo it was Astronomy, noble science of the stars.

    Now one can laugh at the old alchemists as pseudo-science practitioners today, since it was a step in the right direction right? Full marks for trying, 0 for failing miserably in today’s standard.
    What you are doing is the same, You are criticizing ancient systems, with yard stick of modern Ideals and systems. Even be it human systems like social formations of caste.

    What you must criticize is today people practicing Alchemy… because one has passed that step 300 years ago and today it is nolonger viable. Similarly, criticize people today for discriminating, all of them, not only Brahmins, but Khatris, Gowdas, Shettys, everybody in the Upper class of Hindus who inspite of modern education fail to grasp the message of Great philosophers worthy of their fame.

    In india during Islamic times, the Universities like nalanda were destroyed, varanasi was destroyed, people moved to villages and cities were dominated by militarized muslim elites having ideological bent towards political islam. If Universities would have been intact in this period, I am sure that Indian society would not have remained the same as today’s. Maybe the failure of a society collectively was that they themselves failed in being belligerent Militarized elites to fend off the invading barbarians the turks and Mongols. Will you square the blame on Brahmins solely for that… Then you must have large amount of proof to back your theory. Even so it is highly unlikely. What was a Nayaka or a Gowda or a dalita doing the. Were there cities that were outside the Brahminic civilisations(Marxist definition) that could have saved us and brought change in the way we think like Caesar’s rome or Alexander… Even during partition, existance of Tribes outside Hindu civilisation proves my point, Isn’t it their failure as well, to remain without a civilisation, a civil thought of their ancestors. And what is the significant scientific output of an islamic India for at the time of partition there were 100 million muslims, 100 million hindus and 100 million dalits and other tribes. Isn’t it their failure, and your failure to point this out instead of whining just over Brahmins. They (Brahmins) are nothing in population, 2% max, theirs is just an idea of superiority, a glass house, mirage, that could well have been broken if someone outside just thought, or left to think in the ambit of a University.

    Having said that, there are Subaltern studies that indicate that today’s caste discrimination was not the same before the period of Islam… North India had sati aggravated, because of muslims making slaves of hindus and women taken off to their harem. South India had no such problems. I have read Ambedkar, and I think he also thinks these thinks, having said that, let us not come to conclusion that whatever ambedkar said and opined should be considered correct and taken at face value, indeed he was a great thinker and achiever but even his works should be taken in a context that he belonged to a different India than today. There are many other indicators that suggest India was not the only place where such a system developed under the muslim rule. Balkan history suggests similar plight of christian and jews under ottamans.

    Lastly quoting few sanskrit verses that are racist from Manusmriti to arthashastra, here and there does not prove any thing! that was not the ground reality. Unless you find a Diary of a lower Jati worker toiling as a slave in the brahmin’s fields, lamenting his plight, cursing the brahmin for having developed this system etc (even be recorded in folk poems that I think is a rational way of its transfer through the ages), I shall have my skepticism over the marxist interpretation of Class war leading to stagnation and collapse of Hindu India. By the way to scientific researcher, words like stagnation does not make sense, for everything is an evolving system, there was no time in the past which was decaying or worst possible place for humans forever… Period of decay followed period of spring… My example would be Dark ages followed by renaissance… I think we need to have better expectations from our historians and forgive the ancients for being trapped to their social realities… Death, disease, war, and I don’t blame them for believing in god or metaphysics. It is when I stuff down my beliefs in your mouth that one should fight back.

    Aldous Huxley-”Not a choice of metaphysics and no metaphysics, but Good metaphysics vs Bad meta physics…”
    I think even atheists should consider their argument a bit…

    Final critique to the author, I know for a fact, the commentator of your blog is not a Hindu Nationalist-caste apologist because the commentator is ME…!!! Don’t jump to conclusions.

    • “What you are doing is the same, You are criticizing ancient systems, with yard stick of modern Ideals and systems. Even be it human systems like social formations of caste.”

      So what this person is saying that caste system was good. Every Hindu apologist says that. So according to him that discrimination of blacks by whites was also good in ancient times.

      “Having said that, there are Subaltern studies that indicate that today’s caste discrimination was not the same before the period of Islam…”

      I totally agree with you. It was much worse, they were thrown alive into fire in the name of human sacrifice. That’s why lower castes people converted to islam. If you really want to know a fact almost all the muslims in Pakistan, india and Kashmir are converts. But how many of them are Brahmins? I have never ever heard of any Brahmin who converted to islam on his own.

      “Lastly quoting few sanskrit verses that are racist from Manusmriti to arthashastra, here and there does not prove any thing! that was not the ground reality.”

      That’s the point that is beyond my comprehension. What should he quote from : Bible, Quran or Book of Mormons. If one is talking about vulgarity and brutality of Hindus, it is obvious that Hindu religious texts will be quoted.
      If you think that Manusmriti or arthashastra are no longer Hindu texts of authority, then why are they not banned. Ambedkar burned Manusmriti, but in my opinion anyone possessing Manusmriti, Ramayan, Gita and any other religious texts that contains anything that supports caste system should be considered as a threat to unity of country and be given a minimum sentence of 5 years for disrupting the peace and harmony of the country. In addition anyone who believes, posess or reads these texts should automatically disqualify from any government job.

      “Unless you find a Diary of a lower Jati worker toiling as a slave in the brahmin’s fields, lamenting his plight, cursing the brahmin for having developed this system etc (even be recorded in folk poems that I think is a rational way of its transfer through the ages)”

      This is like saying find me a diary of 6 month old child. Where are you going to find this when they were murdered for reading or writing. Lord Rama murdered Shambuka for this very reason. Dronacharya crippled Eklavya for pursuing a field of study which was meant for higher castes.

      • Sir,

        You said “That’s why lower castes people converted to islam. If you really want to know a fact almost all the muslims in Pakistan, india and Kashmir are converts.”

        If I were to quote you from Arab chronicles on who launched guirella attacks on Arab/Turkish armies and whom were the ones that died fighting against Islamic armies, would you retract your statement? And also I will quote how the lower castes were treated by invading Arab armies (again from Arab chronicles). Would you be interested, to know?

        • Muslim invaders killed or mistreated lower caste people not because they were lower caste people, but for the sole reason that they were Hindus.

          They were mistreated because they were poor and could not pay jaziya/tax to practice their faith like high caste hindus did.

          They were mistreated because they could not establish friendships with Muslims by marrying their daughters and sisters to Muslim invaders like high caste hindus did.

          Jahangir was the son of harkha Bai, daughter of bharmal of Jaipur.

          Jahangir then married Manmati of Jodhpur.

          So basically muslim rulers like Jahangir, Shahjahan, Aurangjeb established very good relations with wealthy high caste Hindus who gained their favour while lower caste were left with no other option. Either die,suffer at the hands of high caste or convert.

          So by bribing these muslim rulers or Maternal Uncles Brahmins were able to maintain caste system.

      • //anyone possessing Manusmriti, Ramayan, Gita and any other religious texts that contains anything that supports caste system should be considered as a threat to unity of country and be given a minimum sentence of 5 years for disrupting the peace and harmony of the country. In addition anyone who believes, posess or reads these texts should automatically disqualify from any government job.//

        By such draconian criteria, authors like DD Kosambi, M N Roy and Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya who were Indologists in their own right and did study such texts from antiquity, would have been languishing in prison rather than promoting the humanist cause they way they did! That is not quite compatible with the stance here, which is only that freedom of religion must include freedom from religion as well, as Prof. Nayak concludes here. In the defense of Reason and Compassion, blanket censorship is not the way, neither is violent iconoclasm.

    • Firstly, you’ve got to remove the marxist glasses so that you can see things in colors other than red. Pulling the marxist card to derail discussions is a classic tactic of the Hindu-right.

      Secondly, your alchemy example is way off mark. There is universal agreement that alchemy cannot work. On the other hand, there is a great deal of agreement amongst Hindus that varnashrama dharma has at least some merit (ex: Vivekananda). So comparing the two is a false equivalence.

      Thirdly, citing Subaltern voices to make a point about caste system becoming worse after Islam came is a strawman fallacy because it is a fact that caste system existed before Islam came to India, which is the point that this article is making. Btw, did you read the subaltern piece linked to in the article? You’ll not find a diary there (duh, education was restricted to a few), but you’ll find something more.

      Fourthly, Ambedkar’s India isn’t that different from today’s India. Things have changed, but not so much that Ambedkar’s points have become irrelevant. They are as relevant as they ever were. It is because Ambedkar was a keen student of humanism and knew right away that a system which lacks provisions for equal opportunity will end up like the caste system. He also knew the importance of empowerment to dismantle the system of discrimination. So your point about Ambedkar makes no sense.

      Fifthly, brahmanic != all brahmins. Brahman class != all brahmins. Criticizing some brahmins != criticizing all brahmins. So you’ve only setup another strawman.

      And finally, about labels. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is likely a duck even if it doesn’t think of itself as a duck.

      • Hello all,

        As we debate on the premise about the existence of god, or about the Indian caste system, I would like to add some more points on this discussion. Let me make this clear first than I am an atheist, as I have previously stated, however, I am also a realistic idealist at the same time. By this, I mean there are some things that need to be understood in a realistic way. I am presenting there conditions here:
        1) Every civilization has a special major characteristics: the Hindus have a caste system, the Christians, a few decaded ago, had anti-semitism, the Muslims too have too much religious expansionism as the Christians, and Europe and the rest of America had slavery, and so on. This is a major characteristic of every civlization. I am not saying that such characteristic is still relevant, but I am trying to state that they were there.
        2) Hinduism, unlike Monotheistic religions, is not only complicated to understand but very difficult to comprehend. If you look at Hindu culture, you may either like it or not –caste system, whereas if you look at the philosphy, you will end up being a sanyasin. This is a positive part. Unlike Hindus, the Christians and Muslims did not have caste system. Unlike both the two, the Hindu religion and other Indian religions were not very absolute. This is a major thing that Hinduism has taught: the truth is one but you could choose any way.
        3) Caste system: As an atheist and a realistic idealist, I look at caste system in two ways: one as a culture and the other as a philosphy. The cultural caste system is very tough and rigid. The only way to remove the caste system is to replace new minds into the existing minds of Indian people, be it Hindus, Christians or Muslims. The other solution for it is that as people become more wealthier, caste system will itself vanish. Now, let me explain my stand on the philosophical aspect of the caste system, which primarly comes out of the Upanishads. The Upanishads conclude that one who knows Brahma is a Brahmin, and the knower of Brahma has nothing to do with birth but he has to renounce his desire, see himself in all, understand the self, be truthful, and so on. The Upanishads, which I think are the infinite times expensive thnt the total price of India (just as a comparision), has laid the clear foundation that self is the Brahman. Where in the Upanishads do you find anything that supports caste system?

        Indian brothers, know your philosophy. Indian philosphy is very diverse and pluralistic. With no god to One supreme God, to one god in three forms to a god with multiple demigods and from caste system by birth, to caste system by gunas, to no caste system, Indian philosphy offers so much. I am providing you three ways to stop the caste system.
        a) Make the Upanishads accesible to people of all castes.
        b) The anicent India is almost taken over. Make people feel that if caste system does not go out, then India may turn into another Christian convert state. Give example of the Philippines, Mizoram and Nagaland states in India.
        c) Teach people that neither Hindu gods nor Muslim or Christian gods exist, they are created by men like you and me. So, let us preserve our history without a belief in a god, however, let our ancient philosphy be our guidance–just the good part of the philosophy.

        Friends, India and Hinduism are same–does not matter if you believe in a god or not, or whether you belong to Indian religions or not. By Hinduism, I mean the vedic Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and other subgroups. Even if India were to be a 100% atheist state, it would still be a Hindu state because of its history and its still existing civilization.

        • Here comes another defender of Hinduism by writing himself as Rationalist. Mr. Rationalist writes :
          “if you look at the philosphy, you will end up being a sanyasin. This is a positive part.”
          1) What is positive in being ending up as sanyasi?
          Sanyasi are parasites of society who run away from their worldly duties and responsibilities.

          Then he writes : “The other solution for it is that as people become more wealthier, caste system will itself vanish.”
          This is a thing that he has made up in his own mind. There are many wealthy people, the wealthier they are the more rigid they are in following racism/caste system.

          Finally he writes :
          “Friends, India and Hinduism are same–does not matter if you believe in a god or not, or whether you belong to Indian religions or not. By Hinduism, I mean the vedic Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and other subgroups. Even if India were to be a 100% atheist state, it would still be a Hindu state because of its history and its still existing civilization.”

          Now this is not Mr. Rationalist, who is speaking. This is Savarkar, Golwalkar at their best.
          1) What should muslim, Christians and other communities do? They don’t agree at all and India and Hinduism are same.
          2) What is the meaning of the word Hindu? In which Upanishad it is found?

  • Sir,

    You stated “Very significantly the improvisation of the Bhagavad Gita, which laid the formal theological basis for caste-based and sectarian discrimination as a spiritual philosophy (Quite likely, its composition must have begun in the Sunga era).” How did you arrive at this conclusion.

    I am beyond surprised at the last statement. Are you alluding to the Bhagavad Gita being composed during the Shunga era? King Pushyamitra , who was a military general in the Mauryan army (when the dynasty’s power was on the wane), executed a coup and he founded the Shunga dynasty. The Kena Upanishad talks about Krishna (son of Devaki) and also about Dhritarashtra. And the Upanishad talks about them in a way that shows that they were contemporary to the Upanishad. And the Shunga dynasty starts after the Mauryans. Your statement seems to have a huge gaping hole.

    If you say that you meant that the improvisation of the Bhagavad Gita started during the Shunga dysnasty, then there are other problems with that, as, the literary work during that period can be chronicled and the BG related writings is not one of them. Also, I am curious as to what was improvised in the BG durng Sunga dynasty?

    • On Krishna, let me correct myself. It is Chandogya Upanishad and not Kena Upanishad that talks about him and Dhritarashtra.

    • It is accepted that authorship and dating of BG are very contentious issues. But that does mean we don’t try to attempt to place a historical perspective around it using available resources and our skills of deduction and inference.

      The alternative is to accept Hindu sloganeering about the Gita being timeless and eternal and the voice of divinity, which will get us nowhere.

      If we refer to Wendy Doniger in her recent work, “Hindus – An Alternative History”, she dates the Mahabharata in a range of 300 BCE to 300 CE. While that could be debatable, BG which is accepted to be a later addition or insertion to it can be argued to be surely later than 300 BCE. And how far later to 300 BCE is 185 BCE which is estimated start period of the Sunga era?!

      If one assesses bulk of cited historical research on the timeline of Gita’s composition, it varies from 500 BCE to 300 CE. This part of scholarly opinion discounts unreliable timing and dating methods derived from cryptic astrological and astronomical clues in the texts themselves which have the potential of pushing Gita’s origin to 3200 BCE and beyond.

      It is also speculated that Gita in the beginning has a small kernel of content that was later expanded to the now extant 700+ verses on which Adi Sankara wrote his bhasyas.

      The Gita is alleged to have ballooned from its original ’70’ to its current 700 verses. There is surely some grain of truth to the claim and speculation about Gita’s expansion over the lifespan of around 800 years. Narla’s work in its chapter on ‘Who wrote the Gita’ provides a different range of 125 to 745 verses.

      Why is it then unreasonable to speculate that expansion of the Gita from the basic Kernel of 70/125 verses started in the Sunga era and received further editing/improvizations in the Gupta era?

      VR Narla in his book ‘The Truth of the Gita’ devotes a whole chapter ‘Who wrote the Gita’ to the controversies and challenges involved in dating and estimating the timeline of the Gita and its authorship. Despite the methodical rigor of this chapter and copious references to and quotes from historical research, Narla refrains from any dramatic speculations or conspiracy theories of his own about either the timeline or the authorship of the Gita. He concludes with the lament that this is an exercise in futility given that Indians and their chronicles both lack a sense of time and history.

      Apart from relying on the unreliable Kena and Chandogya Upanishad, you don’t seem to any source for your counter argument.

      Also what I implied by ‘improvization’ of Gita, apart from explicit verses endorsing casteism, is its manipulation/adulteration of the Sankhya school of Kapila/Ishwara Krishna by wrong and misleading interpretations of its Triguna theory in its chapter on Sankhya-Yoga. The Gita in this and subsequent chapters hijacks the secular nature of Sankhya entities like Prakriti, Purusha and Pradhana and makes them the act/will of the God of Gita. This perverse innovation of the Gita has a Patanjaliesque twist to it, as some Buddhist/Pali texts allege.

      It is also argued that Patanjali was the officiating priest at the Rajasuya Yagna of Pushyamitra Sunga. Patanjali has also been alleged to be one of the editors of the Gita, where in Chapters 2 and 3, there are evidences of a spurious cocktail of the mixture of Sankhya and Patanjali’s own nonsensical metaphysics of the ‘Yoga Sutras’

      • @ Ranganath:

        1) Wendy Doniger is one of your sources of information for explaining the improvisation of Gita allgedly during Pushyamitra’s reign? That book of hers, you referred to has tons of inaccuracies that were exposed by Aditi Banerjee. Now I am begging to wonder about the rigor of your research.

        2)So your pinning down to the so called improvisation of Gita to the time of Shunga dynasty is based on Wendy Doniger, one of the chapters of the book by Narla (in which he lists down some other researches without saying something with conviction)and your speculative question that why can you not pin down the improvisations in Gita to the Shunga dynasty?

        Is this the extent of your fidelity to the research you indulge in?

        3) And in addition, you are leaning on a disputed claim that Patanjali was around during Pushyamitra’s reign? The icing on the cake comes when you say “Patanjali’s own nonsensical metaphysics of the ‘Yoga Sutras’.” Do you know for a fact whether the Yoga Sutras and in fact the Yoga doctrine itself was founded by Patanjali, in the first place? And do you know the way Aryavarta and the inhabitants are described in Patanjali’s Mahabashya. For starters, Mahabashya describes the population to be completely Vedic, language being completely Sanksrit and that the brahamanas that lived in the Aryavarta,lived without keeping anything for the next day, devoid of worldly ambitions and practiced very good morals without any motives. Why don’t you compare the geographical boundaries of Shungas vs the geographical boundaries mentioned in the Mahabashya? And without knowing all these you are making a claim that Patanjali officiated the yajna of Pushyamitra? Please do read Patanjalis’s Mahabashya to check what I have stated above.Internal evidence of Mahabashya proves that Pushyamitra and Paatanjali lived aeons apart.

        And we all know that during Pushyamitra’s time Buddhism and Pali were on a crescendo. Now, you are going ahead and claiming that Patanjali edited the Bhagavad Gita during this king’s reign?

        This proves how spurious your claim on Bhagavad Gita being edited / improvised during the Shunga reign by Patanjali, happens to be. I can even list down the rough timeline of Patanjali, Gautama Buddha and Sakyamuni to drive home my point. But that will be an overkill to disprove your incorrect premise.

        • Wendy Doniger is one of your sources of information for explaining the improvisation of Gita allgedly during Pushyamitra’s reign?

          This is Hindu apologetics at its sublime best. The moment Ranganath mentioned Doniger, I knew that any apologist worth his salt will pounce on it, and make a beautiful use of the ad-hominem fallacy. You didn’t dispute the dates that Ranganath gave. But you merely mentioned the name ‘Doniger’ and lo, you magically refuted everything. This is just so classic.

          • Satish,

            Again you are not paying attention to what I am writing. Where is the ad-hominem?Thewrk of WD that Ranganath quoted had factual inaccuracies. That were exposed by Aditi Banerjee. A body of lireray work aimed at postulating something, is only as strong as the weakest link. So WD’s work is inaccurate. And WD angle was brought in by Ranganath, not in the original post but as one of the sources for him to pin down the BG’s improvisation. The onus is on Ranganath to show that WD’s dating of the BG carries weight. I have called out the author’s (of this post), unsubstantiated claim using Patanja;i and Sunga dynasty in the original post. Perhaps, you folks do not seem to read and understand literary works that you aim to criique or use as a support to formulate a particular perspective.

            On the opposite end of the spectrum, those apologists that bash Hinduism fall head over heel and saliviate over WD’s pedestrian works (which have been called out to be false)as the alpha and omega of your perspectives. Please try doing some original research.

          • Gurush,

            The dates Ranganath mentioned are not unsubstantiated just because you read the words “Wendy Doniger”. The fact that you type out reams of comments based on non-controversial facts (like the dating of Bhagawad Gita within a range) is a testament to your derailment prowess.

        • Dear all,

          I believe that it is a futile debate as to when Gita was written.

          The real point on which Gurush agrees with all of us is that Gita is a racist and anti-human rights book.

          Therefore anyone posessing and propagating its teachings should be considered as commiting crimes against humanity.

          We should appreciate Gurush for acknoledging that.

        • Gurush

          “Internal evidence of Mahabashya”

          wow!!. You are using the word ‘Internal Evidence’ without caring for its significance and its implications on fact-finding and research.

          I am aware of Mahabhasya being attributed to Patanjali, but have not read its contents.

          But there is controversy over Patanjali’s authorship of Mahabhasya. You may see the Wikipaedia’s noting of this

          If below is the kind of fairy tale that Mahabhasya spins
          “For starters, Mahabashya describes the population to be completely Vedic, language being completely Sanksrit and that the brahamanas that lived in the Aryavarta,lived without keeping anything for the next day, devoid of worldly ambitions and practiced very good morals without any motives.”

          How can its internal evidence be trusted? Aryavarta could very well refer to fantasyland or Utopia. On what basis should it be taken as the account of the times in which Patanjali lived.

          “Comparing the geographical boundaries of Shungas vs the geographical boundaries mentioned in the Mahabashya”, is like comparing today’s oceans to the oceans of milk, honey, nectar and treacle in the Puranas.

          No wonder Wikipedia or NewWorld Encyclopedia or this link

          do not share your opinion of the ‘internal evidence’ of Mahabhasya and place Patanjali in and around 150 BCE, which unfortunately for you places your hero Patanjali bang in the middle of the Pushyamitra reign.

          Then your claim “And we all know that during Pushyamitra’s time Buddhism and Pali were on a crescendo” also not something that historians agree upon. Even if Buddhism was rising, what has that got to do with Brahmin clergy of the Sunga era trying to edit the Gita. There is no connnection between the two.

          • Ranganath,

            You claim that there is controversy surrounding Patanjali’s authorship of Mahabashya but are trigger happy to emphatically say that Patanjali edited the Bhagavad Gita. How so? Where is the attention to detail in your research? For your information, I can lay it out for you the complete life of Patanjali and his authorship of Mahabashya and the chronology based on connected literary works and if you have a problem with Hindu works, I can bring Chinese literary works that are independent of Hindu literary works. What say you?

            You are entitled to your semantic take on internal evidence but the hurry with which you are disposing off something that you have never read is hypocritical.

            And of all the sources of information, you are relying on Wikipedia!!! I have not seen another instance of serious blogs and articles relying on Wikipedia. No wonder you have been making spurious claims about the timeline of Patanjali by tying him to the Shunga dynasty. Like I told in my response to Satish, please do some original research instead of borrowing others’ works, adding some of your own based on the borrowed content and passing it as an informed opinion.

          • And on the last paragraph of your post, you claim that there is no link between emergence of Buddhism and your claim that Brahmins were editing the BG. It appears you have missed out on why I stated that. Please re-read what the Mahabashya states about the then
            contemporary society of Patanjali. And that society has no Buddhists or Jains. But at the time of Shungas, Buddhism was on an ascent. So the point is Patanjali and Pushyamitra lived in different eras and your claim of the BG being edited by Patanjali, falls flat.

  • Ranganath,

    Another avenue that is worth investigating is the importance of varnashrama dharma to Sanatana Dharma. There is a lot of weight to the Hindu apologetic claim that Sanatana Dharma lead to a society which did not see bloody revolutions like in other countries.

    Questions that can be pondered over are – once a rigid, non-egalitarian system is in place, what options did the people most badly affected by it have to counter the system? If there is a central authority, then there is a target for these people to fight against.

    But what if there is little to no central authority? If each village is a self sustained unit does it hamper opportunities to educate, agitate and organize? Some of the greatest defenders of Sanatana Dharma, like Gandhi, fantasized about these self sustained villages that lead to “peace” and a “stable” society.

    • Thanks Satish for pointing to the need to look under the hood of the ‘Varnashrama Dharma’

      In fact one should be turning the argument of the ‘pacifism’ and ‘orderliness’ of Santana Dogma on its head by positing the radicalist need for reformative revolutions or uprisings that was nipped in the bud by the very nature of patriarchal and feudalistic structures of the mediaval Sanatana society (Elders, Pundits, Brahmana preists with emphasis on mindless obedience)

      The irony is that Varnashrama only prevented internal social transformation, but did nothing to prevent the ravages of the waves of invasions into this country.

      Varnashrama seems to be a legacy of the Dharma sastras again. But one may need to look beyond Manusmiriti and probably into Grihya Sutras or Apastamba sutras.

      Something surely worth pursuing…who knows Varnashrama society may turn out to be glorified antiquarian Khap system!!!

    • If each village is a self sustained unit does it hamper opportunities to educate, agitate and organize?

      Contemporary khap dispensations seem to bear this out. If educated and provided employment and travel opportunities, youngsters in khap-dominated villages will be less beholden to the land and the khaps that derive their authority from effective ownership of the land, which is the chief factor of production in an agrarian economy. Contrast this with youth from elsewhere in the nation who find themselves in workplaces miles away geographically and culturally from their birthplaces, and likelier to form ‘Two States’ partnerships (I never thought a day would come when I would cite a Chetan Bhagat work so approvingly!). No wonder the khap establishments will go to any lengths to protect their gothra dharma which simultaneously sustains a patriarchal, parochial and clan-based power structure.

      • Wow! You look fantastic with blonde hair. You're very lucky you can suit blonde and dark. Loving all the past were gorgeous and of course still are! X

  • @ Satish: Instead of using adjectives to describe what my prowess is or isn’t, please adhere to the facts.

    1) WD: I did not attack her but pointed to her work being factually inaacurate. You seem to be conditioned to believ that when Hindu apologists discuss WD, it is about personal attacks against her.Where have I done that?

    2) Dates of BG: The author of the post is jamming two people of different eras to arrive at a specific POV. I am using the work of Patanjali (one of the parties of the two that the author is using) to disprove the author and the inaccuracy of the attempted dates.

    Instead of exploring the Mahabashya based inaccuracy of what the author says, you are trying to accuse me of things. And I am getting used to your way of discussion but let the author disprove my standpoint on Mahabashya and the dating of BG, based on his incorrect attempt at clubbing Patanjali and Pushyamitra.

    • All hefty dirty advise of the Mahabshya may be applicable to Brahmin and Brahmin dasa. Nothing is fit to the rest of the majority mass who has been hard working and instrumental on the dynamics of the multiskilled society- That’s Nirmukta orate in line of the unimportance of the so called Mahabashya and its text. What is the interest or worry of the common man about the Mahabshya ‘s Patanjali and its savior Sankara or Pushya mitra etc ……. which was protected as divine text(unfit to read by common mass- It is correct only, because, I read it in the below link, how bad it was? ), now Gurush like half baked intellectuals are in massive campaign in support of the forbidden texts of commoner.

      How badly the Mahabashya texts stinks, you can taste it on the below link

      But I should appreciate the Gurush likeminded for their relentless brazen effort to support it even in the time of cosmism 2.0 . You cannot achieve your mahabhasya to reach to this 1.3billion mass, because they are not in an amnesia.

    • Gurush,

      This article is not about Patanjali and his supposed or imagined Tom Sawyer-Huckleberry Finn bosom friendship with Pushyamitra Sunga or their sagas and odysseys.

      It is about existence of social and cultural forces in Ancient India, that laid the basis for accelerating social oppression of poor/underprivileged by locking them down into caste/varna/jati identities, the perpetuation of which has continued to this day.

      This hypothesis/conjecture has a lot of evidential strength from history and sociological examination,that requires more than the myths and fairy tales of Patanjali’s Mahabhasya to be knocked down or refuted.

      Even haggling on a few 100 years here or there about the dateline of the composition/expansion of Bhagavad Gita, also does nothing to change the actuality of Gita’s verses of casteist endorsement.

      So you are wasting your energy and those of others by throwing these red herrings of Patanjali and needless vilification of Wendy Doniger or other western Indologists.

      Let me end this note by quoting this from

      “Significant religious developments took place. Patanjali’s synthesis of the tradition of Yoga became the foundation of one of the Hindu “darshans” (schools of thought) and continues to enrich the lives of people all over the world.

      The Bhagavad Gita composed around about 150-100 B.C.E. is one of the most popular of all Hindu scriptures.”

      Instead of fighting with us, please go fight your battles with or other sources of citation

  • @Ranganathan

    I really don’t want to discuss much with you since I realized that you ave based your article on Wendy Doniger’s word who treats the smritis and the shrutis like some porn novels, judges Mahabharat as a bad war and Gita as a provocative book to fight.

    The things that you need to understand is that Vedas are a collective science of consciousness andthe study of self. Even the modern science is coming close to Vedas after the understanding of Quantum mechanics which says that everything is a dance of energy, even matter! Thought are nothing but a spark of energy whose origins is known by nobody. It can be an intuitive, creative thought or a thought of a loved one or perhaps a manifestation of the of subconscious conditioning which sows its seeds as one grows and gets influenced by the world. This is further elaborated in Kena and Katha Upanishads!

    When the princess of the great Hastinapur, whose roots were spread from India to afghanistan, was molestated in front of everyone, it only shows the height of intolerance, injustice and criminal mindset. Thus no war is good or bad, but only dharmic or adharmic. Even in your own body cells die for greater good i.e the preservation of your whole body. The immunity system is working constantly to fight the adharmic forces withtin your body which are trying to disrupt the natural order of the body. Similarly, lust, greed, ego etc are few other demons which were are trying to fight consciously or unconsciously. If the soldiers don’t fight on the borders, you and your sister might bear the brunt of the pakistani and muslim soldiers who historically raped and killed thouasands of women as testified by Aurangzeb Nama, Babur nama and doctrines of Quran itself. If the soldiers fight, there would be casualties on both the sides. This is something which is beyond the learning scope pf Wendy Doniger!

    Moreover, Krishna never tells Arjun to kill, but to fight and in chapter 6 and 18 you can see clearly, that Krishna tells Arjun that it his opinion and do as he wishes. He never forces Arjun!

    Regarding the dates, you research is again based on the christian missionary works which reduces vedas to some few thousands years old. The great VedVyas compiled Vedas in written form before which is was passed in oral fashion from master to the chosen disciple. And the reason the texts could never get corrupt is because of the integrity of the sanskrit language which only the sanskrit students can understand unlike Wendy Doniger!

    Dwarika isfound to be atleast 12000 years old and the idea to build Dwarika was that of Krishna. Please watch the scientists busting the bubbles of Wendy Doniger’s little castle in the air.

    Here’s a good article for you :

    Sorry to say, but your whole article is just based on today’s reactions without an iota of knowledge on the actions on which reactions are based. It is like the NDTV and CNN-IBN clippings which accused Modi of genocide without even showing the source, the actions i.e muslims who burnt the 58 karsevaks, 48 of whom were women and children, the English channels who only interveiwed Muslim victims and presented as if Hindus never died!

    Yes, today many Indians or Hindus, are against Mughal and Biritsh invasion and hold them directly responsible for decline of sanatan dharma because the abrahamic religions clearly incite to destroy under the context of one god. They clearly spread attachment to the name of that god, who is isolated from the nature and judges the mankind based on a childish taggings of believers and non-believers. Whereas, the sanatan dharma teaches detachment from the name, form, taggings etc where the creator, created, creation etc are all one (e.g Rigvedic hymn of creation, Gita chapter 2,13 ..13.17 to be even more specific). Yet the nameless is identified with different names like Brahman, Ishvara, Vishnu, purusha etc, unmanifested yet manifests in different ways, formless yet appears to be having infinte forms.

    There is no word as Hindu to be precise in the entire cannon of shrutis let alone any discrimination like believers or non-believers. To be even more scientific the scriptures teach us to question like neti-neti, verse 3.42 of Gita which are reflected in Katha Upanishad again and Rigvedic hymn of creation which shows the highest questioning and scientific and spiritual mind.

    The divine is the word that associates with the Indian scriptures and not god which has its stems in abrahamic religion. Both theism and atheist are laughable taggings for the ultimate truth is beyond any attachment to an male chauvinist, isolated god. Atheism is a joke in itself for it treats science like a religion. How can science tell what is beyon the universe, or if the universe itself is moving or rortating around something higher. If yes, then what is beyond that? It becomes recursive and therefore infinite again. Hence tagging oneself as atheist also, one obstructed his own intellect to grow further. Atheism cannot see the unity within the diversity, the indivisible nature of the ultimate reality as presented by the shrutis and the Quantum mechanics and hence stuck to a lower world of perception only which is still higher than the understanding threshold of Wendy Donger!

    • You don’t want to have a discussion, don’t want to comment on the points of the article, but preach you will. There should be a name for people like you who waste no time in proselytizing. Just like how a Xtian missionary won’t have mental peace unless they stress the importance of getting saved by Jesus to everyone they meet regardless of the occasion, there are Hindus who preach pseudoscience and ignorance to assert the supremacy of their faith. Since I’m not feeling that imaginative, I’d settle with “Evangelical Hindus”.

    • Mr.Girdhar,

      Since you dont want to discuss with me, I have also have no interest in ‘discussing’ with you

      But I would like to give you a ‘piece of mind’ (or advice)

      Please read up properly on Quantum Mechanics and Particle physics, if you can and try to clearly understand the difference between matter at the particle level and that at the atomic/subatomic level, before mouthing nonsensical sermons on the so-called identity between Vedas/Upanishads and modern Quantum Physics or Mechanics.

      Think before you make a fool of yourself by talking ridiculous nonsense like:
      “Even the modern science is coming close to Vedas after the understanding of Quantum mechanics”
      “Atheism is a joke in itself for it treats science like a religion”

      Atheism is not a joke, but your appalling ignorance and arrogant confidence in your own quarter-baked knowledge is surely a sick and disgraceful joke!!

  • Ranganath,

    So, that’s your hatch. You make many claims about the BG and one of it happens to be that it was edited by Patanjali during Pushyamitra’s reign. When the factually inaccuracy of that premise is pointed out, all you do is claim that the article was not about Patanjali. Your profile says that you are an accountant. Let us say you are doing a month end closure for an organization. The cost of some materials being used in the month end closure is found to be inaccurate, in the books. Would you claim that it is all about month end closure and not about those material costs that were incorrect? But you just did that while responding to my question.

    Unless someone is extremely prejudiced, he/she will not diss away a book without ever reading it.I have read works of rationalists, including Tamilnadu’s Periyar. But I’d never pass opinions on those works without flipping a page. But you just did that with Patanjali’s Mahabashya.

    And false accusations will not fly Sir. I did not vilify WD, as you claim. But I pointed the fact that WD’s book titled “Alternate History..” was called out for factual inaccuracies and obfuscation. I have read both WD’s work and Aditi Banerjee’s rebuttals.

    So the conclusion is that your accusation of the BG being edited during the Shunga reign by Patanjali is wrong.

    • Gurush,

      I am sorry to note that you don’t even seem to able to read and understand a brief profile.

      I am not an accountant and my profile does not say that. It refers to my background and training in accountancy and commerce.

      So first get over this itch of misquoting people and things.

      Even then your comparison between process of accounting book closure and historical research is invalid and a false comparison.

      Only a vain and desperate Hindu Nationalist would call for standards of Accounting or who knows even surgery and medical diagnostics!!! to be applied to matters of hypotheses in history or economics.

      Then coming to the hapless Wendy Doniger who is being pilloried by you and your Aditi Banerjee, was she called out on the factual inaccuracy of the dating the Mahabharata? In fact I did not even mention that WD dated the Gita.

      That is your cheap trick of misquoting at work, turning the dating of Mahabharata into dating of BG by WD!!!

      If you have nothing substantive to say or comment on casteism, can you stop your idiotic inquisition ( trotting around the Mahabhasya as a great work of chronicling) of the chronologies mentioned in this article and move on to better things.

      BTW have you filed cases with Wikipedia and New world Encyclopedia and other sources who dont agree with your fancy notions about Patanjali existing in the Pre-Vedic age for historical misstatements???!!!

      • Ranganath,

        The tone of your responses to me is there for everyone to see and understand who is getting desperate.

        And before exuding sarcasm by asking me to file cases against Wikipedia, it helps to remember two items, in this regard. In case you did not know, Wikipedia is a free, collaborative ongoing project.There is no authenticity associated with anything you may find and that too if one is to write some earnest blogs and articles. My bad, a business analyst would know this, right? b) And in case you did not know, Microsoft Encarta used to carry entries from Wendy Doniger on Hinduism till 2003, in all areas (theology, history, Sanskrit etc). All her entries were removed when they were proven to be factually incorrect. That tells a lot about Wendy Doniger. Her knowledge of Sanskrit has been questioned repeatedly by the likes of Michael Witzel (if I mention any Hindu’s name, that would be an anathema to you). So much for your sources of information…

        Before I forget, I did not mention Wendy Doniger in my discussions, till you brought her in. And with so much of evidence against WD’s work on Indology, her dating of Mahabarata is wrong too. Please open your blinders and please see that Wendy Doniger is in error on the dating of Mahabarata and given you are alluding to the dating of BG, based on the incorrect dating of Mahabarat done by WD, you are obviously in error too.

        At the end of the day, it is so obvious that you are in error- Mahabaratha evidence based on WD and the combo of Shunga / Patanajali centric BG edits.You made a claim that that the BG was improvised by Patanajali during the reign of Shunga dynasty. This is completely wrong,as, Patanajali and Pushyamitra Shunga lived in different eras.

        I have shown you what Mahabashya contains about geography and society at the time of Patanjali, as opposed to the geographical boundaries and society at the time of Shungas. So your claim of Patanajali editing the BG is baseless. This is a major gap in your write up.

        And it does not help to keep dismissing a literary work without ever reading it. That shows a frozen mindset and agnostics and atheists that I am associated with, have a very open mind. I did not tout it to be anything, as claimed by you. You seemed to be programmed to stereotype people that question you. And please let me know your email id & I can send you an email on the period in history when Patanjali was alive and evidences to back up those dates. Like I stated earlier, I will bring in both Hindu and Chinese literary evidences to prove my point.

        And when it comes to analogies, please publish what qualifies.If my analogy is wrong, your peers and fellow authors on this site post some very abysmal analogies to make their points.

        Please upgrade the rigor behind your posts. Or please get used to your write ups being called out.

        • Gurush,

          You should not have bothered sending me the link to WD’s criticism.

          That same doc quotes this
          “Scholars like Koenraad Elst base the antiquity of the core Mahabharata, on precisely accurate details of astronomical phenomena in the text. He points out that given the available technology of that period, those observations could only have been recorded first hand at the time of occurrence, not back-calculated at a later date.”

          I have already responded to this fallacy that Koenraad Elst is relying on, in my earlier response to your comments harping on this so-called chronological fallacy.

          I am repeating this because you get fits of selective denseness and amensia and have a tendency of ignoring discomfiting points

          “If one assesses bulk of cited historical research (cited in VR Narla’s work on Gita) on the timeline of Gita’s composition, it varies from 500 BCE to 300 CE. This part of scholarly opinion discounts unreliable timing and dating methods derived from cryptic astrological and astronomical clues in the texts themselves which have the potential of pushing MB/Gita’s origin to 3200 BCE and beyond.”

          One can very well accuse Koenraad Elst of using unreliable timing and dating methods derived from cryptic astrological and astronomical clues in the texts themselves which have the potential of pushing Gita’s origin to 3200 BCE and beyond.

          And your other raving and ranting idiocies either about Patanjali and Sunga era or the constant flag waving of Mahabhasya and its fictions, do not result in any convincing calling out of any significant chronological fallacies in the article.

          Other than diverting the attention of people from the main issues and concerns of the article and persisting with derailment tactics (as rightly described by Satish Chandra) you have achieved precious little in your comments.

          • Ranganath: Your claim does not translate into a fact just because you stated it. Look at the irony of your viewpoints- Hindu astronomy is cryptic, Mahabashya is utopian, upanishads have repetitive verses (and hence you will not rebut) and so on.

            If you claim Hindu astronomy is cryptic, prove it. Please disprove Aryabhtta’s astronomical calculations or Bhaskara’s approximation formula for sin x, for starters. If you do that then your claims on Hindu astronomy can carry weightage. Until then you are merely claiming and passing it to be a fact.And moving back further in time (prior to Aryabhatta and Bhaskara), I can quote a whole bunch of concepts and astronomical tabulations that Hindu astronomers built much before some of them were picked up by other cultures 3000 years ago. I can quote literary sources to back my points and again they are NOT from Hindus but from Europeans.

            And the way in which you dismiss anything that does not fit into your POV is for everyone to see. I am not relying on mahabashya alone to back up my premise that Patanjali lived in a different era, far removed from the Shunga era. I have stated it in the past. But of course you will have none of it. What you are doing here Ranganath is nothing more than “Stonewalling 101” though it is so obvious that your analysis has been shown to be faulty and incorrect.

  • Dear Ranganath,

    Hindus never deny castism. Instead confirm that it is not birth based but quality or guna based one. Your whole article doesn’t debate it and emphasize is misplaced one. Very bad! Just like in a organisation one is owner (say brahman), other is manager (say kshatriya), then there are marketing executives (say Vaishyas) and then clerks, peons etc (shudras). That’s how society works. Nation works. That’s how a home works. It is the ability of each which gets him a particular place. It would be worthwhile if you discuss whether castism was by birth or by Patraka, Please note. And take into account these articles before you comment:;;
    and the linked articles.

    • “Hindus never deny castism”. True. They only use the smoke and mirrors of gunas to support casteism. They don’t teach everyone math and then look in bewilderment as to why some people can’t solve differential equations. They utter pious litanies of “Anyone can learn math”, but then shamelessly say “You need to have the right gunas to learn math” and then use that as an excuse to teach math to a select few, who conveniently happen to be their own children and children of their kin.

      • @Satish, when it comes to teaching there comes a thing like qualification (caste say PUC science or CET for BE, MBBS etc). When it comes to learning there is no such qualification prescribed. Even an illiterate may become expert than MBBS by his sheer sense of enquiry bypassing tradition. When you teach you should see his qualifications, ability. That is there exists a caste unique to him. But when he himself seeks to learn he will do upto his level. There’s no caste for him. This is hinduism. Teaching has limitations and learning never. Difference is subtle.

        Re: They utter pious litanies of “Anyone can learn math”, but then shamelessly say “You need to have the right gunas to learn math”

        Yes, anyone can learn science to prepare atom bombs, guns but only a qualified and human being with humanity alone is taught such a science lest he will destroy the very humanity by his sheer qualification e.g. Bill laden etc!! Advait Vedanta etc is far more drastic weapon in the hands of non qualified. But true (and hence by quality) learner always gets it he need not be TAUGHT IT as you argue but he LEARNS IT and then NOBODY DENIES IT.

        • You’ve setup a strawman of learning science to prepare bombs or learning advaita vedanta. Teaching simple tasks like math will do. Doing it is actually pretty simple. You setup schools where everyone is encouraged to send their kids to. You teach them basic stuff like reading and writing. Once everyone knows the basics, they can do whatever they want with those skills – use them to learn more things, or not use them.

          So “ability” doesn’t come first. You need to teach it. I’m not talking about exceptional abilities, but mundane abilities like reading a text. But in Sanatana Dogma, which believes in the nonsense of karma, one is supposedly born with the required abilities. And yet its apologists have the gall to lie through their teeth that varna is not by birth.

    • Just like in a organisation one is owner (say brahman), other is manager (say kshatriya), then there are marketing executives (say Vaishyas) and then clerks, peons etc (shudras). That’s how society works. Nation works. That’s how a home works.

      That’s fortunately not how every society works. Consider these case studies (noting that these personalities are either contemporary or within living memory, and not shrouded in legend like Vaalmeeki, Vyaasa or Vidura)

      – The scientist and Nobel laureate Santiago Ramon y Cajal, acknowledged by most as one of the founding pioneers of neuroscience, was a gymnast, a military medical officer and an accomplished artist (a skill he employed fruitfully in his scientific work).

      – Former US President Ronald Reagan was at different points in his life, a life-guard who made 77 rescues, a radio-announcer for baseball games, a WWII draftee and a successful Hollywood actor.

      – The economist Ian Little, a professor of Dr. Manmohan Singh at Oxford, had an aristocratic background in the landed gentry, was a decorated WWII pilot and then a philosophy graduate before becoming one of the influential economists of his time.

      Arundhati Roy, before acquiring fame as an author and essayist, was an architecture major, a movie actor and an aerobics instructor.

      All these people, who have made contributions valued by their respective communities and societies, couldn’t have done so if their imagination was constrained and their occupational options were limited by the idea that there is one job that is ordained for every human being. How many such contributions to humanity would have been stymied if everyone who made such crossovers to find their calling, was immediately denounced and excommunicated as a transgressor and trespasser? Varna Dharma and apologetics on its behalf, stand in the way of the human freedom to find one’s calling.

      • @Satish, “They don’t teach everyone math …” How is that?

        Instead we say lessons have been eternally open and that everybody learns upto his ability alone and our essence is that there exists “DIFFERENT” (castes) abilities. That’s all.

        @Arvind, you only proved my point likes of which are abundantly found in the links I provided. Simple google search will throw up tens of such contemporary examples e.g.

        greatest of them being Shirdi Sai Baba (by birth Muslim)

        You did not show up how such contributions are denied to humanities simply based on birth in Hinduism!! Indeed if there are such examples you will find that hinduism only shuns it and if not that’s not hinduism but perversion. When the legends are set with ample examples (like valmiki, vyasa, vidur) it is only the perversion which goes against it. It is so not because theory is wrong but because so is nature of man. (science invented bomb for good but man uses it for destruction, terror than energy)

        Nehru was politician. Indira, Rajive, Sonia, Rahul, Priyanka (any politician) need not be politicians as par with him. Still they are considered of caste ‘politician’ because of perversion on the part of people and misuse of the same by those in power. There are far better people in the society but can’t stand on par with them in competition because of the ‘SYSTEM’ (DEFINITELY NOT HINDUISM but money, muscle power etc). that’s how perversion gets into society. So happens with hinduism.

        • If it is indeed human proneness to error and corruption that leads to such travesties as dynastic policies and such grave injustices as the denial of education and even free school meals to children despite government schemes, then shouldn’t fighting such injustices on the ground be a more urgent priority for genuinely concerned citizens than issuing catalogues of mystics and preachers in blog comment trails? How long will ‘cultural nationalists’ take refuge behind exceptions and ignore the overwhelming reality on the ground?

    • Mr. Ramesh ji,

      small correction with your exaple, accoring to varna principle BRAHMINS main job is not running businees it is meant for Vyashyas. Brahmins should live on begging food from others. That too they should ask for alms once thrice and not more than that. If you are engaged in other profession it is against hinduism and you become a fakkir.

  • I find Brahmin Culture a very civilized culture to be saved for future irrespective of changes to India around them. They are vegetarians mostly in the south(I know I am from this community), great respect for their native Music and songs traditionally composed in neo Mysore-Kannada, commendable cultural values, Moral idealisms, expectations, festivals, saving our native achievements in Philosophy, epic writings, Sanskrit language… They are hardworking community, well educated, no wonder they look down on others, Having said that, there are egalitarian Brahmins, or else you wouldn’t find people in the top Communist Brass all from Brahmin origin… Other communities are jealous, they are animal killing cruel barbarians… Until they become civilised don’t expect a change in Brahmins treating you the way you do, no matter what Inanity of Brahman you condemn… Create a better society, afterall politically now you are empowered right… Instead of falsifying history, try to correct your mistakes and come together as brothers, after all we all have same genetics… History is not so linear as you write, impossible to write in a finite piece, especially when writing about complex human systems…

    Having said that Brahmins are not infallible angels, there were equally Bad instances when they had mistreated people, I believe it is only a certain part of history, when society was greatly fractured. There are always chances to improve, they know it, and there are movements to improve it. People today accept intercaste marriages in cities… It will be broken in the future, having said that, I want to preserve a rich culture for future generations who are born into and are raised in a brahmin environment… Anybody willing to follow may follow, no compulsions, but having another way of life, don’t expect us to accept your way of life.

    We will also be part of wider political arena, afterall it is our country as well sharing resources with others… We will respect the other communities, intend good for them… All these apology, is not needed, we who are living today, didn’t do all these mischief, as you put it, nor have you seen or been a victim… So I need not apologise for anything…

    Yes thats the way it was ages ago, chaturvarna… Thats how philosophers saw the society, they didn’t create it nor they encouraged it, they happen to be part of it and they projected their thoughts and aspirations on the things they recorded and that is preserved… It does not prove a thing, as you claim. Distortion seems to be an unfortunate victims of class struggle.

    Uncivilised nations must get up from self deceiving slumber, be it you atheists, a term connected with a christian god, or lack of it, and respect for what we are. We are not asking you to believe nor putting a rag inside your throat. You can be an rationalist and follow all the festivities, respecting the dead, rituals, without any loss of heart beat. What you are calling for is destruction of Brahmin culture which brahmins will fight. We don’t want to live in an unequal world… Atleast we today were born as equal to anybody!

    • I think this comment is quite telling. Nobody is calling for destruction of “brahmin” culture. People are free to listen to music, read literature, celebrate festivals, etc… The only way to interpret criticism of casteism in Hinduism as calls for destruction of a culture is if casteism is an integral part of that culture. If an integral part of a culture collapses, so does the culture. If casteism isn’t integral to a culture, that culture will survive no matter how stringent a fight is put up against casteism.

    • Other communities are jealous, they are animal killing cruel barbarians…

      And thanks for admitting your casteism.

      • Casteism, is if I discriminate between different castes… I won’t do that. I am willing to marry any girl from any community, provided she likes me and my ways… Ask the same for a muslim. I want my Kids to grow in a brahmin environment, doesn’t mean I have to discriminate others. Yes other communities have their own cultural evolutions, they can keep it if they want to. I condemn discrimination, anybody is open to adopt Brahmin culture. If they can’t then why cry over Brahmins. Leave us alone.

        After all some communities still have weird practices like animal sacrifice, self mutilation, tribal gods and tribal dances after intoxication, how on earth do you expect brahmin to put up with that. Yes, distances have developed… To bridge them, there should be a hand given on both sides, compromises have to be made, why whine over Brahmins to change. They won’t!!!

        After all the author hasn’t written a word on casteism as a social phenomenon, manifested in all communities on earth in some form or another, it is the process of enlightenment which bridges the barrier. Today there are europeans, like Miller, smith, walther, boucher, Lackner, taylor etc all having family names of their ancestors guilds. Nonetheless they are equal in societal norms, because they have achieved economic, political stability albeit recently. There are poor people there in europe also, and nobody whines as if the blame is on aristocrats, although, brahmins were one of the poorest communities, you square the blame on Brahmins. Thats logically unfair.

        Create political rationalism, develop our nation, feed people, after that equality and acceptance of each other, and respect comes.

        But, in India, Rational intellectuals run after false enemies…

        All talk of decadence is a blank notion of unscientific mind. Hindu history was never stagnant… always changing… Yes Hindus today have forgotten Buddhist influence, Jain influence, have you any advice for that… Hindu society has just awoken from a deep shock… The very fact ‘Rational atheists’ can cry their throats clear shows hindus are not uncivilised Brutes. We were always open plural society. Appreciate that in the edge of the essay after rubbing the point of today’s utter discrimination of a poor Dalit boy, I shall appreciate your essay more…

        Ok afterall this mudslinging, give us a solution. Give us a protocol of goals to be achieved to create a better society with essential interests saved… Atleast let there be a Hindu contribution to world thoughts to improve human wellbeing, then what should that be.

        Discuss that. An objective analysis of things to do. I think that is a better exercise than, write a hate essay of assumed caste apologetics. (who by the way are good people trying to balance 2 sides as best they could, still struggling to get a right answer their way)

        • You think some people are “cruel barbarians” just because they have different dietary preferences.

          To divert attention from the fact that you prejudge and vilify entire sections of people, you make what-aboutery arguments about poor elsewhere. This article is about casteism. Stick to the topic at the hand.

          As to solutions, the first step is to recognize where the problem lies. If you think your fellow human is a barbarian because of a silly reason, well there lies the problem. You are the problem. The solution then lies in you respecting your fellow humans.

          • Yes, meat eaters are cruel Barbarians to animals according to me in human evolution those who still require ‘civilizing’… Still here a lot of my friends here in Germany are non-vegetarians whom I call noble savages as a joke, I do sit with them and they eat meat while I eat veg and they appreciate for my convictions, I haven’t heard a thing or two of such graciousness from you guys! We can create such a society even in India, if you solve the mutual conflict. By the way my Hero is Peter Seller, and even Dawkins agrees with that. In the far distant future We will have a vegetarian world! I am ok with intermingling at that level, a matha’s Brahmin can’t do that, that is his principle, Doesn’t mean he has no consideration for the other human being, ofcourse we have, you are painting us as heartless human beings who find pleasure in making the dalit feel wretched! I am trying to drive that point home. We are human beings who are considerate. If there are humans, who inspite of it do it, then there must be seriously something wrong with the system, change the system. For that, you need to compromise with us, as with we with you. Tomorrow if you improve the quality of life of every community in India, I can’t see why anybody would discriminate. There is inherent connection in people’s economic level and social status… explore this possibility.

            And still you did not give a convincing reply… I dare you there are better problems to go after than apologists… Try Muslims sacrificing animals on Eid Al Adha, try Protesting against Khap Panchayats who are not brahmins. Try protesting Dalit communities who practice Animal sacrifice, have rampant superstitions…

            Go after Imam Bukhari, Go after hajj subsidy in a secular state. Go after Muslim honour killings, go after muslim demographic siege. Have you written about Islamic times, when slavery was rampant, have you written about Hindu ‘kush’…? massacre of hindus? Have you written about global Jihad affecting local muslims… What is your contribution of research in this area?

            Pile on caste grievances, then what? Your message is not reaching the ground. Have a revolutionary social change, work on ground… An amateur history contemplation produces no lasting effect.

            What do you want- Castes destroyed? Casteism destroyed? Feeling equal in a society with plural cultures but civilised cultures? People with one or more cultural background and possibility of diverse culture within umbrella of Hindu culture, including brands of rational thought.

            Can you destroy belief in Supernatural(you can’t control fate, death, fear of death, nor millions who have evolved principles on the good side), I doubt! Can you reform all of today’s evils in religions like Hinduism and Buddhism and zen etc make them look benign philosophical schools in the future, as it should have been, more probable… Can you do more on Abrahamic faith, yeah I certainly think you should. Do I appreciate your effort as of now, yes!(But I don’t expect a hair of space from you) Do I condemn your short comings, yes I do, and you return the favour! So take it…

          • I think it all comes down to your inability to take criticism and view criticism of one aspect as a package deal. You conflate critique of an ideology (brahmanism) with criticism of an entire section of people. You then make one of the worst possible form of argumentation. It is also one of the best derailment tactics. A person who truly cares about a problem will think about the problem and will not divert attention away from the problem.

            Despite preaching about “our message not reaching” the ground, you still seem incapable of understanding the caste system. The various customs are what contribute to a culture of discrimination. You can’t close your eyes, plug your ears and say “I’m not casteist”. Peter Singer is one of the most well known animal rights activist and yet I highly doubt he would deny renting out his house to a meat eater. But the self-righteous “I’m not castiest” types in India would do that without even batting an eyelid. So go figure that before you wallow in self pity and feel all persecuted.

          • @Straw-man finder, you seem to come across as most sharp tongued writer… You seem to assume that all your points are correct and making great impact on the opponent’s views and he is shamed in this public forum… Infact it seems to me you are acerbic for the sake of it.

            I am not derailing any thought processes, if it is derailing yours then take care my friend! we don’t want any crashes do we 😉 If the essay was anything but biased views, it wouldn’t effect me so much… What you are telling me and what your forum does makes me want to write back, in fact I know it doesn’t cause any impact… If you are honestly reading my views I hope to have a better space of an individual with the “Other view” instead of your dissenting admonishment.

            Showing me opinions of other people won’t help win a debate, nor would that be the aim of this exercise. I have only succeeded as far as letting you know, there are people who think myriads of things wrong with your assessments…

            And please spare me your links! I have enough literary skills to search through serious forums of self knowledge for myself!

          • For the record, it is indeed possible to have a serious discussion on the merits or otherwise of vegetarianism and veganism without slurring entire communities as ‘barbarians’ and without invoking supernatural premises. A comment trail such as the above is sufficient to disabuse myths of a vegetarian diet guaranteeing an affable temperament.

    • Freethinkers here are not asleep to the concerns of fence-sitters and moderates. They are not philistines either, let alone bloodthirsty ‘class-enemies’. It is repeatedly reiterated that “We are not anti-God; Only pro-human”, in spite of the fact that the spokespersons of the gods insist on playing a voluble part in our affairs, bearing terrifying names like KaalBhairav or UgraNarasimha maybe to ‘put the fear of god’ into the hearts of unbelievers. We differ on the stance that some manifestations of culture enjoy divine sanction while others are lowly, and are unconvinced that pursuits of metaphysical speculation which are very compelling to some should be compelled upon others.

      • Aray! Ugra Narasimha is my Pen name! Why should you assume that I have deliberately used it to scare you…

        • I appreciate your reply, no doubt I get the earnestness of the issue. Yes, we feel ashamed when a boy doesn’t get opportunity to study because he is born to parents who do menial Jobs and are perpetually denied opportunities… But why do we have to point to a misty distant past and keep on pointing fingers at some of our ancestors and cry that they are the reason today this is there… Why aren’t you considering other possibilities of explanation!

          The comment that hurt me the most was the authors insistence that our Hindu past is dead and we have “deep-seated sense of inferiority and guilt of the miserable decline and stagnation of our civilization that began more than 1500 years ago”… I will point to that and say that is a wrong surmise.

          We were not a wretched civilization so savage we had to be taught a lesson or two by anybody else (especially from savages like turkic barbarians and afghan warlords) and suffering the punishment of such horrific proportions… I call that a biased heartless cruel judgment passed on those who are dead… I wonder how many of them were trapped in their social norms and thought freely at the bottoms of their heart, an alternate reality… All you have is a pile of accusations!

    • Brahmin culture very civilized example.

      Have you ever heard about the ‘scented excreta’ emanating like a fragrance in the air for upto ten Yojnas [about 30 miles]? Saint Rishibdev performed all his day-to-day functions while sitting or sleeping, and never stood up. His body remained immersed in his excreta [faecal and urine], and the fragrance of his scented excreta could be smelt for around a 30 miles radius. [Ref. Bhaghwat Puran,Skand 5,chapter5]

  • Nirmukta is probably the most brain numbing forum on the internet.
    Let’s all unanimously agree that Hinduism is the most despicable religion. Hindus are bigoted and support slavery. Hindus are much worse than any other person on the planet. The indian way of life is outdated, backward and full of superstitions.

    Wait a minute, not all the hindus are bad. Let’s put all the blame on those brahmins. That’s right, they are the community with the most wealth and are the sole people who discriminate others. No one else in the planet discriminates other people based on class or caste except those brahmins. Let’s annihilate them from the society. They are evil, and contribute nothing to the society.

    • Please read the detailed ‘About’ page of this blog. Quoting from there:

      Nirmukta and Indian Atheists are opposed to religion in all its forms. At Nirmukta however, we are careful to make a distinction between ideas and people. Religions are comprised of ideas, and as with all ideas that Freethinkers deal with, must be scrutinized and dismissed if found wanting. People, however, have thoughts, desires, foresight and the ability to feel compassion, kindness, pain, sadness and empathy, and so must be treated on a different footing. Simply put, people deserve respect, ideas do not. This simple distinction is lost on many people, both religious and otherwise. Our position at Nirmukta is extremely nuanced, given that we are anti-religion, but pro-people of all kinds. We are not anti-Muslim, but are anti-Islam. We are not anti-Hindu, but are anti-Hinduism, and therefore by default anti-caste system. The same goes for Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and all other organized belief systems that seek the protectionist status accorded to this idea we call “religion”.

    • If there is anything brain numbing, it is people like you who have reading comprehension problems. No one has said the nonsense you typed.

    • yes, just 2 to 3% of people dominates and determines the fate of 98% of INDIAS MASSES. Instead of reservation for sc/sc.obc. Governemnt can think of system where 2 to 3% reservation be extended to thses brahmins and let them have a taste of real life endured by the masses.

  • @Ramesh and Gurush!

    Justifying caste in different angle in a different way is the new ideology of hindu fundamentalist propaganda lists. So, like you, we must justify the racial fundamentalism, religious fundamentalism(afghan, pak must be right in their activity), west fundamentalism against east and so on… because like you they also have thousands of justification and mild applicablity. I think the recent attacks and racial abuse at Aus, UK, US is nothing selective target of other then Brahmins, but we are worried of every incidence.

    You will live/earn in a house/temple which built by nonveg eater, eat the foods which is comes from nonveg eater’s blood and sweat and all petty things you have to depend the nonveg eaters. Could you take a while and think of all Brahmin living in a separate region? You are trying for the fundamentalism blossom again. As long as majority mass divide in caste row, your vedic principle and you will be really in luxuries only.

    • @ Pannai: Why do people on this site (including you)stereotype those that question the authenticity of the articles, to be folks that justify discrimination? Please prove from my comments, that I support discrimination against another person.

      • Simple! It is not necessary you stick to specific case of discrimination, but the basic mentality of countering a caste criticizing topic also indirectly reveals your originality. But I forget to add Ugranarasimma in the name calling!

        If I agree, your veda has all the good morality and all worldly useful content, why was it failed to even culture its follower Ex: recent arrest of sankara lineage and lust game at kanchi moolasthan.

        Whether all the inventions and science and tech are Vedas gift or vedic intellectuals stealing it on approximation ground. pl answer me!

          • First I have not used the word “discrimination” except to answer you. You should tell me, where I called as discriminator?

            If you feel this articles has no authenticity, it is your finding, it is not everybody’s. If you claim your veda is holy text irrespective of its irrationality, it is open to all for criticism and comments. But Gurush! you must be smart, because you selectively avoiding criticism. I think you are better in your veda, If you really best in it, you will not depend your irrationality.

        • When media is with us, Kanchi Seers Murder and romantics leelas and Devanathan Iyers adventures inside Moolasthan are like gods own leelaaws it is allowed in hinduism and the news bit will be burried to tiny column, instead poor Nithiyananda will be maligned for a silly issue as big bizzae. When some one enters our domain this will be their fate This is India adjust live according to vedic dharma.

  • @Pannaichan: My last question was about you attributing some “mentality” to me. I was asking what that mentality was. On my views about religious scriptures being criticized, please await my response to Satish getting published. And on lack of authenticity and analytical rigor in some of the posts, I am pointing to, are not claims of mine. But I am backing up my claim with evidence and reasoning.

    • Ok, You have agreed indirectly! What I attributed? You only taken it! I only narrated the general strategy of racism, castism and religious fundamentalism, because as far as your veda dominates Indian subcontinent and its governance, caste aggressiveness never dilutes, and india lacks progress. I am seeing many people like you, run around in protecting your veda, which is not fit for the working mass, may be useful to lazy mass. To give hardly few advices, your veda has totaled enormous lies, division and abnormal lust theory. But you never agree, or you give justification or ask proof. I think, I have given enough in my first reply.

      • @ Pannichan, just because you have articulated your opinions on vedas, it is not the fact. I can churn out a dozen verses from Rig Veda that ask everyone to go after the diverse callings from the standpoint of vocations. Infact there are many verses that talk about the working class. Where is the abnormal lust in vedas, Sir? And what division are you talking about in vedas. Merely parroting what you have heard over and over again is of no use. Who does it upset you if you are asked to substantiate your viewpoint / claim. Why is the expectation that what you say about vedas/hinduism is a fact?

        • Yes, pls narrate the dozen or even more which mesmerize the humanity or at least me! Again I am telling the Vedas is a indias curse, useless pathetic vocal misquotes. If you have the selective meaning for something, that doesn’t implies universal truth. Rational mind only reveal the originality.

          • @ Pannaichan: Thanks for the nice adjectives in your first line. If I did post the verses, will you be willing to alter your views that you posted earlier about vedas making people lazy? If so, I will. The remaining things you have posted is just your opinion and a by-product of what you have become accustomed to hear / believe.

  • I am definitely out of my ground here as I am a foreigner. Granted that I might miss some important points but your posts and the comments generated from it gives me a very good background and points about Indian culture and lifestyle. I don’t wish to side with anyone but only to be enlightened

  • This is a very powerful and much-needed article. I would love to read more on the social realities of the ancient times- where can I look for sources (books, websites etc)?

  • Thanks Gaurav for your comments!!.

    About the sources that attempt a reasonably realistic deconstruction of society of Ancient India, the answer is not very encouraging. There are more books than there are websites, though not many. For books you can turn to John Muir’s essays on Hindu ‘sacred’ texts, Alberuni’s Indica. PV Kane’s Dharmasastra (it has its share of bais, but still a useful reference for understanding the roots of casteist institutionalization in India). VR Narla’s ‘Truth of the Gita (It has a lot of citations to Indological research). MN Roy’s ‘Fragments of a Prisoners’ Diary’ (especially the Chapter Marx or Manu)

    If you could ping my email I would be more than glad to provide some of this from my collection to you

    • In the article in question, Shankara is mentioned only as an epochal marker and his ideological stances are not examined or critiqued. So what’s the reason for the anguish expressed in the above comment?

      If a critical appraisal of the Advaitic worldview is desired, you can look elsewhere in the site.

      As for the references to Shankara in ‘social discussions’, Episode 7: The Long Twilight of the India Invented series will make useful viewing to get a sense of how the social order further ossified into caste structures in the post-Buddhist era in which Shankara would emerge as an influential authority figure.

      • Still my question stands…..angusih is real….. lack of understanding of a person / ideas leads to very very awkward situations….. Shankara must only be even mentioned when there is a subject of knowledge (gnana) / philospohy…. he should not be disturbed for any other subject….
        (he did try to change society and people…. but he was a failure and his contribution is not in this spehre)

        Lot of stupid people (his followers including) misuse him… very painful….

      • How do references to an important historical figure in chronicles of their time, constitute a ‘misuse’ or abuse?

        What do you find objectionable, factually and in principle, about the linked resources which you dismiss as being of ‘poor nature’?

        Should all discourse on Shankara be limited to hagiographies like the Madhaviya Shankara Vijayam or art films like G V Iyer’s?

        How exactly does the discourse diminish in quality if Shankara is studied in his historical context like in this documentary “The Pilgrim’s Progress” from the India Invented series?

  • I appreciate your vision and I also appreciate that you keep a low tone criticism with full affection of the many unknown and scrutinized things in this above dialog of yours. But as you yourself have claimed this dialog requires a huge study and eras that run from at least 2500 BC till at least 1300 BC. The society of India has changed so many times, revived so many times and has been in period of bliss and depraved situations several times. In fact you can always account the mere presence of Epics like Mahabharata as a reflection of the worsened situation of the Indian society because of which the whole Mahabharata had to be fought! So this takes us to the horizontal dimension of doing a comparative study with other social systems across the world and also in light of the social evolutionary theories as to how much a criticism one should go about. There has to be a much deeper argument which also tries to compare the society with some the best social system that ever existed. Given that ‘Ram Rajya’ or the ideal society has mostly been in theories and has always and currently a topic of philosophy only then one should be very well ready for accepting imperfections as there are even in today’s society.

    Given that you yourself have put your argument as a very liberal dialog open to imperfection, I would try to put it in a very decent fashion that the biggest flaw in your above description and the ignorant or less researched work presented above is the total wrong understanding of the caste system origination and the chronology of Manusmriti which was the basis of the caste system and was compiled by most probably Parsurama in 2350 BC [1] and he was the son of King Bhrigu which makes it more old than the Code of Hammurabi and has got drastic similarities with the of Hammurabi Code. And it was Manusmriti that has been flowing as a subtle knowledge in all the major texts that came after that Vedas, Upnishads, Mahabharat, Purans, Ramayana and then in a more political framework in form of Arthshastra and Chanakya neeti. I think we need to do a much deeper study. This should not be taken as my revolt against your argument but rather its credibility. I on the contrary love such open views and the learning that we can do from past mistakes or past reverent things.

      • Also the blur statements you make that: “At the root of our desperate attempts to glorify our culture and religion, lies a deep-seated sense of inferiority and guilt of the miserable decline and stagnation of our civilization that began more than 1500 years ago.”, I think should be seen in an analogical context of Renaissance of 13th century Europe where they revere the ancient Greek culture and try to come up with those ancient moral values and a total revivalism of ancient things. Now the same Greek culture through the Roman age ended up into Dark ages but still Renaissance was a huge success for the west. The whole concept of Vishnu avatars, the reason why something like Gita was ever written, the whole revitalizing of the social system through Chanakya and the later things like Bhakti Movement are instances of Renaissance. I would also agree to the whole Buddhism and Jainism as a revolt in a bad society full of adharma where the dharma is not practiced in the right sense and a socenty where there is disparity through castes rather than taking castes as something that categorizes the various dharma that one can take in a particular society. And yes the ideal caste system is secular and free as its a segregation on the basis of dharma not blood and such segregation build the whole frame work of any society even today in form of modern concepts like party system , democracy and republic, center-state duality political system, etc. Now the worse caste system that one sees today is the worst form we see which was made much more abhor during the Mughal and the benevolent Britishers. And hence we abhor it. But still we have states in India and if you start making criticism of Rajasthan if you are from UP on n number of reasons and the vice-versa and you start blaming the whole multi-state political system you are being foolish. The theories are always right and the implementations are wrong and error prone. One should wisely understand that errors are there and that one should chose a system or theory that has least possibility of such errors and also the cost to transition into such a change for a particular current system.

    • Ankit,

      While I take due note of your comments, I can notice some of your points that need to be contested.

      I did not mention that period of 2500 BCE to 1300 BCE needs to be studied in detail. For the claim of the 3000 year time-line of casteism in India to be plausible, we only need to mainly examine whether casteism began prior to 1000 BCE. This would be the Yajur Vedic (YV) era. Since the 10th Mandala of the RV has the Purusha sukta which has clearest first mention of the Chaturvarna system in Indian Shritis, and that is the last Mandala of the extant RV, it can be reasonably speculated that some of it could be co-terminus with the YV texts.

      Some passages of the YV contain clear mention of the words/phrase Sudras, and some authors of YV ask to be excused /forgiven for the crimes they have committed against the ‘lower’ castes.

      There are at least 7 or 8 or maybe even more Manus in Vedic mythology. What is the evidence that it was the son of Bhrigu that composed the Manava dharmasastras so that the timeline of Manusmriti can be pushed beyond 2000 BCE

      Also MS claims to be based on the authority of the Vedas and Vedanta, which makes it unlikely that it could have preceeded the primary scriptures of Vedic system.

      Most of the historical consensus that I have come across on Manusmriti gives it a date range of 180 BCE to 200 CE. That places it in the Sunga era.

      Your estimate of 2350 BCE for Manava dharmasastras is way out of line and will place it in the IVC timeline. But philology and lingiustics or even archeology provide no support for this incredible hypothesis of yours.

      This article took the timeline starting with the Mahajanapadas era, specifically the one that ended in Nanda dynasty which was overtaken by the Mauryan era. The end timeline is era before the birth of Adi Sankara.

      Your claim that Arthasastra revitalized the social system of its era has very little evidence at the ground level. The village style feudal system was very much in vogue. We have Indo-Greek travelogues and accounts to counter the fanciful fairy tale picture that Puranas and Mahabhasyas may seek to provide.

      Your reference to the Bhakti Movement in one of your comments is also out of place as the this movement is a post-Adi Sankara event and feature. Even though it contained revolt against social discrimination, it failed to dislodge the caste structure. Its artistic and creative legacy is immense, but it failed to be a social or political revolution or renaissance

      • Well I am no Historian but I do not know are you one. Sorry can you clarify your academic credentials. Second, I can only point out to the reference which is among highly reputed analysis of Manusmriti: Manu’s Land and Trade Laws, AYYAR, 1967. This I think you did not care to look at also and are claiming it be my own hypothesis. I quoted my reference. Also when you say, “Also MS claims to be based on the authority of the Vedas and Vedanta, which makes it unlikely that it could have preceeded the primary scriptures of Vedic system”, this statement can you come up with some part of Manusmriti which says so as AYYAR makes it absolutely clear that there is no reference of vedas in MS and in fact the Mahabharata mentions the caste system being originated by Parshuram. Let me tell you that this AYYAR book is a considerably important text and repudiates many of the foreign and Indian claims of MS and its origination time. It is much more established because he comes up with huge archeological evidences with lots of other main foreign archeologists involved and not just chronological inferences on the study of various texts. My main aim was to show you that when one is refuting a framework one has to go back to the real origin of it only then one can shake the foundations. I am no historian and so I gave you a reference. And if you want to come up with a theory then better refute AYYAR, then you come up with the exact date and real origin of caste system and then make a detailed study of each era and the implications of caste system in India in those segments of Indian history.

        “There are at least 7 or 8 or maybe even more Manus in Vedic mythology. What is the evidence that it was the son of Bhrigu that composed the Manava dharmasastras so that the timeline of Manusmriti can be pushed beyond 2000 BCE ” — Yes there is a lot of debate of multiple Manu’s but these all are non-archeological and text based inferences. AYYAR thrashes all these arguments with archeological evidences and takes Manusmriti 1000 year before Vedas themselves. Thus I do not even know on what exact basis you are making a statement that 7-8 Manus in “Vedic Mythology”. I would buy your comment even if you say 7-8 Manus by various historians and their interpretations not by Vedas.

        “This article took the timeline starting with the Mahajanapadas era, specifically the one that ended in Nanda dynasty which was overtaken by the Mauryan era. The end timeline is era before the birth of Adi Sankara.” — Why only this era ? Have you got any explanation for such specificity when the phenomena is 4-5 thousand year long.

        “Your claim that Arthasastra revitalized the social system of its era has very little evidence at the ground level. The village style feudal system was very much in vogue. We have Indo-Greek travelogues and accounts to counter the fanciful fairy tale picture that Puranas and Mahabhasyas may seek to provide.” — I told this as an example the revitalization / clear re-establishment of the caste system of Manu and just want to point out that this system has been in India for 4-5 thousand years with cycles of bad and good times. But you seem to be against such a powerful treatise as Arth-shastra also. You seem to be getting anti-indological of some kind.

        As I have mentioned in the previous replies that if you are saying that some thing was bad then you got to give some argument as to how much a bad it was and come up with a comparative analysis of that with other social systems. You lack in the number of times the caste system is repudiated in the historical texts. You cannot bring down a system just because you think that presence of caste itself is bad, caste based discrimination is bad. One should also understand that no system at least in the known history was Ramrajya: ideal system. I can come up with dozen of evidences from various genetic studies conducted that there was frequent admixing of the various castes and that there was no prominent tendencies suggesting that the caste systems was in fact not blood based rather Dharma based.

        I am not against you and as I said I am liberal to learn the reality. But if you come up with blur refutations over such a topic whose origin itself are unclear with large number of studies done by historians, archeologists, in genetics and sociology have failed to come up to a concord and a satisfactory origins and the implications of caste system over the life in India across thousands of year, then you are just being puzzled. I appreciate your learning and the seemingly extensive literature surveys but I would say that first you write a clear book on the basis of this phenomena only. Criticism we will do later.

        “Your reference to the Bhakti Movement in one of your comments is also out of place as the this movement is a post-Adi Sankara event and feature. Even though it contained revolt against social discrimination, it failed to dislodge the caste structure. Its artistic and creative legacy is immense, but it failed to be a social or political revolution or renaissance” — Who said that it was aimed for the dislodging caste system but rather dislodging the discrimination and the getting rid of the impedance the caste system caused for spreading the true message of Vedas ? And it was definitely a relief for the common people to practice Vedantic philosophy in a more pragmatic fashion and this tradition is existing even til now in majority of the Hindu homes. Another note is that renaissance is not revolution though its relearning process culminated in most of the major social and political revolutions. It was indeed a renaissance. For me this was just an example to tell you that the system that you are talking about has been spread across a massive time span with periods of revival. I am fine when you say that its post- Shankara but then you first answer why you take this specific period of yours. If so then you should not be making implication of the system in general, that it was wrong in general, and bring the discussions to the modern world context and coming up with abhorring statements. WHY not be positive for things you do not know with perfection.

        • Ankit,

          I have googled “Manu’s Land and Trade Laws, AYYAR, 1967” and could not find any document or PDF bearing that name.

          Even if such a document exists, it is AYYAR’s word against the word of so many historians both Indian (SN Dasgupta, PV Kane, RC Majumdar and foreign (Winternitz, Hopkins, Wilson, Muir etc). I would go with the hypothesis of known historians than some obscure AYYAR

          To answer your dispute about the Manusmriti’s derivative authority please read CHAPTER XII –
          Transmigration from this link

          And you may also read CHAPTER X – Castes & Mixed Castes. It leaves very little doubt about casteist sanction and endorsement

  • sir i wana to tell you only one thing…….. i accept that in hinduism there is cast system exist but you have also noted that every particular class has given a particular work……. in the begning the every folk are given a particular work for eg some take the work of teaching some join defence some join bussness and some used to work as servent or doing some important works which others hesitate to do . ……………….. in bigning all the process may have gone smothely but when some persons of socity which think theirselvs superior start sowing the seeds of hate for person doing the low jobs……………….. ……….. there have to note one thing caste system was created to protect the interfaring of ones work by others ( i.e a person who is a solder can not interfare with the job of bussnesman and to ensure job of one comunity ) but it goes bad after sometime when the person doing higher job start thinking theirselvs suprior so in this way a well palned system gone into vain and left a evil behind it.
    ……………… so it is not the hinduism which ask to do hate for comunity doing low jobs and genrating less income these are just the ……..individual thoughts of some persons of ancient times which change their real meaning………. there are many hindus which does not regard some cast as low as an example from ramayan ram was a kshtrya and his friend whome he met in jungle was a bheel what ram ate with him hug him so …………….. puting the cast system as a evil created by hinduism is bad it is created by only some person of ancient time which changed the whole meaning of cast system ………so it is not from the begning but addad later.

  • Caste is part of our identity and gives us a place in the society. I have been asked about my caste countless times.

    I do not know when it started and why. I feel history behind caste is debatable.

    But, what keeps the system going?

    It is better to get rid of this system for lot of reasons. Who feeds this system?

  • A vitriolic essay. But, casteism is a vile disease in need of obliteration. I’ll agree on that. However, I couldn’t help myself from laughing at one of the very last sentences regarding your critics thinking that you are Christian or Muslim apologetics. But, do you have articles where either of the two religions are addressed? I can’t locate any. Help me out, por favor.

  • My Take on Caste System :

    Caste System :

    Caste System is the most notorious stick to beat Hinduism – so here I explore its origin, history, similar situation in other parts of the world, current situation, etc.

    Word ‘Caste’ is a Portuguese word for ‘lineage, race, breed’ – Hindu equivalent is Varna

    Origin and system prior to 1AD:

    There is no mention of birth based caste system in Vedas. “Vedic system of Varnashrama has been mentioned in the Vedic literature in many places, such as in the Purusha Sukta verses of the Rig-veda (Book Ten, Hymn 90). But there is no indication in these verses that say that birth is the essential quality for one’s varna”

    Central concept of Hinduism being debate and discussion – one story in Mahabharata relates to discussion between Sages Brigu and Bharadwaja on counters of division of labour.

    “ All the four orders, therefore, have always the right to the performance of all pious duties and of sacrifices. Even thus were the four orders at first created equal by Brahman who ordained for all of them (the observances disclosed in) the words of Brahma (in the Vedas)”

    Caste system was not based on chance of taking birth in a particular family. There was movement of people from one caste to another – meaning it was not rigid. This can also be seen in the following examples :

    a. Aitareya Rishi was son of a Daasa or criminal but became a Brahmin of highest order and wrote Aitareya Brahman and Aitareyopanishad. Aitareya Brahman is considered critical to understand Rigveda.
    b. Ailush Rishi was son of a Daasi, gambler and of low character. However he researched on Rigveda and made several discoveries. Not only was he invited by Rishis but also made an Acharya. (Aitareya Brahman 2.19)
    c. Satyakaam Jaabaal was son of a prostitute but became a Brahmin.
    d. Prishadh was son of King Daksha but became a Shudra. Further he did Tapasya to achieve salvation after repenting. (Vishnu Puran 4.1.14)
    Had Tapasya been banned for Shudra as per the fake story from Uttar Ramayan, how could Prishadh do so?
    e. Nabhag, soon of King Nedishtha became Vaishya. Many of his sons again became Kshatriya. (Vishnu Puran 4.1.13)
    f. Dhrist was son of Nabhag (Vaishya) but became Brahmin and his son became Kshatriya (VP 4.2.2)
    g. Further in his generation, some became Brahmin again (VP 9.2.23)
    h. As per Bhagvat, Agniveshya became Brahmin though born to a king.
    i. Rathotar born in Kshatriya family became a Brahmin as per Vishnu Puran and Bhagvat.
    j. Haarit became Brahmin though born to Kshatriya (VP 4.3.5)
    k. Shaunak became Brahmin though born in Kshatriya family. (VP 4.8.1). In fact, as per Vayu Puran, Vishnu Puran and Harivansh Puran, sons of Shaunak Rishi belonged to all four Varnas.
    Similar examples exist of Gritsamad, Veethavya and Vritsamati.
    l. Matanga was son of Chandal but became a Brahmin.
    m. Raavan was born from Pulatsya Rishi but became a Rakshas.
    n. Pravriddha was son of Raghu King but became a Rakshas.
    o. Trishanku was a king but became a Chandal
    p. Sons of Vishwamitra became Shudra. Vishwamitra himself was a Kshatriya who later became a Brahmin.
    q. Vidur was son of a servant but became a Brahmin and minister of Hastinapur empire.
    r. Krishna is a Yadava which was considered a backward caste.
    s. Chandragupta Maurya, one of the greatest king to rule India was a ‘Dasiputra’
    t. “Ved Vyasha” who was a Maharishi, who wrote the “Mahabharat”, Gita, collection of Vedas, Puranas -his mother was a fisher women.
    Maharishi “Valmiki” who wrote the “Ramayan” was considered as child of a Dalit women.
    ‘Kalidasha” who is the greatest poet our country has produced, was a Hunter.

    This is further proved by genetic study :

    “Researchers found that people from different genetic populations in India began mixing about 4,200 years ago, but the mingling stopped around 1,900 years ago, according to the analysis published today (Aug. 8) in the American Journal of Human Genetics.”

    Caste System in first Millennium:

    The movement of people from one caste to the other, based on their skills, became rare – Transgression of from one caste to another was discouraged. – maybe with the influence of much maligned Manu Smiriti.

    Manu Smiriti, apart from classifying people into castes, covered whole gamut of society ‘Code of Human Ethics’. “Friedrich Nietzsche greatly preferred the ‘healthier, higher, wider world’ of the Hindu social code
    Mânava-Dharma-Shâstra (‘Code of Human Ethics’), also known as Manu-Smrti (‘Manu’s Classic’), to ‘the Christian sick-house and dungeon atmosphere” For detailed insight into Manu Smiriti visit the link :

    Each caste had its specified duties, rights and punishments. There was no discrimination between organized classes – Shudras were important part of society

    Hindu Society at the end of first millennium :

    “Between the latter two classes there is no very
    great distance. Much, however, as these classes differ
    from each other, they live together in the same towns
    and villages, mixed together in the same houses and

    But there were people who were left out of caste system and were classified as per their profession :
    ” These eight guilds are the fuller, shoemaker, juggler, the basket and shield maker, the sailor, fisherman, the hunter of wild animals and of birds, and the weaver.

    The four castes do not live together with them in one and the same place.
    These guilds live near the villages and towns of the four castes, but outside them.“

    “The people called Hadi, Doma (Domba), Candala,and Badhatau (sic) are not reckoned amongst any caste or guild. They are occupied with dirty work, like the cleansing of the villages and other services. They are considered as one sole class, and distinguished only by their occupations. In fact, they are considered like illegitimate children”

    “The worst of all are the Badhatau, who not only devour the
    flesh of dead animals, but even of dogs and other beasts.”

    “Whilst according to the Hindu philosophers, liberation is
    common to all castes and to the whole human race, if their intention of obtaining it is perfect. This view is based on the saying of Vyasa : ” Learn to know the twenty-five things thoroughly. Then you may follow whatever religion you like; you will no doubt be liberated.” This view is also based on the fact that Vasudeva was a descendant of a Sudra family,
    and also on the following saying of his, which he addressed to Arjuna: “God distributes recompense without injustice and without partiality. He reckons the good as bad if people in doing good forget him; he reckons the bad as good if people in doing bad remember him and do not forget him, whether those people be Vaisya or Sudra or women. How much more will this
    be the case when they are Brahmana or Kshatriya.”

    Al Beruni’s India

    Reviewing the above references of Al Beruni’s – one can conclude the following at the end of millinium :
    Caste was no longer flexible ie it became rigid
    The lowest rung of people were NOT based on racial division but rather on moral division – as low caste were considered to be progeny of inter caste marriage.- this is result of the Manu’s code.
    Lower status people were also due to the association with ‘dirty work’.
    There was no discrimination as far as religion was concerned – as every class of people stand a chance to be liberated.

    Meaning the code of ‘Manu Smiriti’ was selectively used to suit the society’s need. Al Beruni also mentions in his book “Hindu laws, Alberuni observed are derived from their rishis, the pillars of their religion and not from the prophets i.e. Narayana.. “Narayana only comes into this world in the form of human figure to set the world right when things have gone wrong. HINDUS CAN EASILY ABROGATE THEIR LAWS FOR THEY BELIEVE SUCH CHANGES ARE NECESSITATED BY THE CHANGE OF NATURE OF MAN. Many things which are now forbidden were allowed before”. (Sachau:106-7)

    Interesting explanation for the origin of caste system (maybe there is truth in them):
    – “Did Ahmisa cause a professional monopoly driven caste system to ossify and metamorphose into a system of segregation?

    If ‘do not kill’ and ‘do not even hurt animals’ principle is taken to the logical extreme, the pure vegetarians (brahmins?) would shun those whose economic survival depends on killing animals, creating leather, fishing, eating meat, etc (untouchables?). The cattlemen, the farmers, the workers cause more unavoidable injury than say those who sit and read and meditate on ideas/sutras, or who count money/merchants. The warrior group would have needed a carve out, rituals to absolve the ‘kill and injure others with just cause.

    If it isn’t the emphasis of Ahimsa as the highest virtue, what has the basis for a hierarchy? Why is a person who earns a living by hunting or fishing or processing meat or producing leather or dealing with dead bodies lower or shunned, than say a farmer or tool maker or pottery maker or a merchant?”

    Comparative System prevalent in other parts of the world (one cannot discuss anything with absolute – it has to be compared with other systems prevalent at other places at those times) :

    Similar Caste system was prevalent in Persia :

    “When Ardashir ben Babak restored the Persian empire, he also restored the classes or castes of the population in the following way :—

    The first class were the knights and princes.

    The second class the monks, the fire-priests, and the

    The third class the physicians, astronomers, and other
    men of science.

    The fourth class the husbandmen and artisans.

    And within these classes there were subdivisions, distinct from each other, like the species within a genus.”
    Al Beruni’s India

    Caste system and untouchability remained alive in the following societies :

    Gypsies in India and Europe
    Burakumin in Japan
    Baekjeong in Korea
    Cagots in France
    Dalit in South Asia
    Ragyabpa in Tibet
    Akhdam in Islamic Yemen
    China’s jianmin

    In all cases, the shunned untouchables worked with dead bodies, or killed animals, fished, worked with leather, etc.


    “Ragyabpa – Untouchables[edit]
    The ragyabpa or untouchable caste were the lowest level, and they performed the ‘unclean’ work. This included fishermen, butchers, executioners, corpse disposers, blacksmiths, goldsmiths and prostitutes. Ragyabpa were also divided into three divisions: for instance a goldsmith was in the highest untouchable class, and was not regarded as being as defiled as an executioner, who was in the lowest.

    They were regarded as both polluted and polluting, membership of the caste was hereditary, and escape from the untouchable status was not possible.[16]”

    So Caste System or untouchability / discrimination was a universal phenomena based on the ‘dirty work’

    Hindus did not have a slave system which was prevalent in most of the other parts of the world. Now on one hand u have people with less privileges but r free and on the other hand in slave system – one human is owning the other human without any rights. Slave can be bought or sold or raped as desired.

    Caste System in second millennium :

    As mentioned in the following write-up :

    With the coming of Islamic invaders – whose philosophy was just the opposite of Hindus in every respect – Hindu religion became internalized – there were no more debates / discussions and society became rigid. The effect was that lowest rung of society suffered the consequences – again this was not unique to Hinduism.

    Hindus who converted to Christianity and Islam – to ‘escape’ Hindu Caste System were relegated to the different caste system within these societies. So Caste System was not sole perverse of Hinduism.

    Fact is the caste like structures exist in multiracial societies, and its purpose is to preserve racial purity of the fair race peoples.

    e.g Casta system in Brazil. Even today, Hispanic origin communities, pure spanish and all, still do not marry other races, mixed and natives and blacks.

    Apart from Slave System – western world was divided into Classes – where high class people looked down upon low class people. Nobles usually married within nobility and commoners were there to serve them.

    Modern Age :
    It were Hindus who started the reform movement by referring to the basic texts of Hinduism – as Vedas, etc did not have heredity caste system.

    Gandhi – the most famous Hindu of last century – is on record saying that he condemns caste system and in case there is any mention of it in any holy book – than he would prefer to burn that book. – this statement means a lot – that Hindus r ready to make amends to the ills – they r ready to look in – reflect and change according to the changing times.

    In 1947 when after 1000 years, Hindu’s came to political power – apart from adult franchise – low castes were positively discriminated and untouchability made a crime. The situation now is that one cannot even call a low caste person by his ‘jati’ name – that itself will result in non-bail able warrants.

    Just for comparison – blacks were given voting rights in only 1965.

    The result is that Caste system is almost non-existent in urban areas (where in most house holds – it is low caste women who make food and do other chores) – I have not seen anyone refusing to eat in any restaurant because it has low caste people as workers – whereas it is decreasing at alarming rate in rural areas.

    The decrease in caste system would have been at a faster pace but for socialist policies – recently I was reading articles of Dalit Entrepreneurs – who r owning companies worth hundreds of crores who keep high caste – as drivers, cooks, etc. – their remedy is capitalistic policies – so that there is more movement of people and where only determined factor is one’s skill. This will eliminate caste system but will create ‘class system’ instead – which I think is OK – we can never have a totally egalitarian society – that can only be in books or our dreams.

    But is caste system that bad? Obviously looking down upon the people at the lower rung is bad and so is not letting anyone with better skill to move up the ladder. Here is an article by an American longing for Caste System :

  • All the typing goes in support of the caste theory to justify it by comparing the Indian cruelty with the whole world. The dead body and feces are not the only property of low caste, once someone born into this world, he become another body supposed to be buried by any moment- carrying his own feces all the time of his life within his so-called hygienic/divine body and it is mandatory for his/her survival; no other way! Stinking is something that is not only belongs to low caste, but everyone should measure their own level of stinking- which is hell of anything cannot be compared at all and being suppressed by possible means but not for long. So, We know science and biology but we don’t know and consider humanity and rationality, it is a failed intelligence of educated, and we are not dare to disown/correct our idiotic establishment and its old bunches. Waste of centuries and growth of science and tech! Strategy of survival makes the human to go on digging for justification of his committed errors. Caste change theory, caste by birth theory ….all shows level of innocence and foolishness to scale and recognize the intellectualism of individual by attributing particular caste name. Intellectualism is not the property of one particular caste or group name.

  • @pannaichan : so you could not pin point any wrong facts mentioned in my write-up – your only problem is that ‘two wrongs’ do not make it ‘right’.

    1. We do not live in isolated world all our values are relative to each other and to the time. You are juxtaposing current morality – which effectively took birth 50 years ago – onto the system that is thousands year old. In case u want to compare the things than do that with the systems prevalent at the other parts of the world.

    2. It is from within hindu religion that reforms started and is an on going process. Hindus have initiated the most comprehensive positive discrimination anywhere in world.

    3. The pace of reforms would have been faster had it not been for the socialist mindset of the founders of this nation. It is ironical that the so called Bharmin – Baniya party is in favour of capitalism – that would usher in society based on skills of the individual.

    • Raman,

      It was not the Hindus who initiated the stringent of reforms or affirmative action. Most Hindus loathed Ambedkar when he talked about reforms and reservations. Many Hindus still loathe him and still keep whining about reservations. All you are doing is to erase that bit of inconvenient history and substituting with your own revisionist crap.

      • But sir , wasn’t caste-reform in modern times started by Jyotiba Phule among many? Wasn’t he a Hindu belonging to a folk Hindu faith?

        The biggest problem while pursuing Atheism radically is that you alienate a large portion of the targeted group from discourse . Recently I have been studying newspapers & articles for arguments given by Pakistan’s pro-reformists & comparing that to the Indian ones , since Iam a Rajasthani & we share a lot culturally & even our castes ( the same Rajput , Jat , Gujjar & Khatri tribes divided by the border).

        Superficially if noticed , one can observe that unlike our discourse that stresses on Rejection of Hinduism completely , many of them (eg. Dr Hoodbhoy) only put the blame on Fundamentalists for all backwardness & avoid any direct criticism of Islam. Even Ibn Warraq (a Pakistani-American & an atheist) though critical of Islam at times yet asserts that Islam can be reformed & avoids talking about its annihilation , unlike in India.Two things I did note after months of reading , 1 adv that we have over them & 1 disadv. we have against them .

        1) Advantage : They have not yet been able to carry out critical study of Islam & its histories to the targeted audience at all. Though authorities , governments,military etc are criticised but Islam is untouched. No attempt is made to show its humane flaws , its human origins etc. This slows development of society.

        2) Disadvantage :Through their moderate arguments presented in firm but friendly tone (esp. Hoodbhoy & Hassan Nissar) , they have been able to convince a large number of young middle-class Pakistanis towards fighting their social evils , without giving up faith or identity ( thus MODERATION & not ANNIHILATION) , though hardcore fundamentalists speak what they want. It is this assurance of not being told to give up their religion or religious identities which ensures increasing no. of middle-class Pakistanis to reject Fundamentalists .

        Though no-doubt we are more progressive than them because of our Reform-movements being older but is not it that this radicalism is starting to make Secularism a repulsive word for even moderate Hindus who increasingly think of the word as Hinduphobia , though they need not be supporters of BJP-RSS ??
        Moreover if religion alone is the cause of caste , perhaps ,Pakistan itself would not have castes ?? It is weaker than ours but not absent despite Islam’s egalitarianism & despite conversions a 1000 years ago.

        • The debate over how “radical” or “moderate” one should be when it comes to criticism of a religious worldview is a tired old one (The most recent debate went by the name of accommodationism). And such debates aren’t unique to atheism/religion and they happened with every movement aimed at social change. With that history in mind, it becomes obvious that a pluralistic strategy is what works in end. If Hindus want to reform Hinduism? More power to them. What I can’t stand is middle ground posturing of this kind.

          • Satish Chandra
            You forgot that the above included my observation of two cases & not an appeal for moderation .No doubt radical groups like yours are also needed against the Radical section of right-wing but to caution you that due to radicalisation often Reasoning & Rationalism takes a back seat & a polemical world-view takes the front seat (a trait more pronounced amongst religious radicals than atheist radicals) , like in the article above.This only has been leading to reactionism .This makes Rationalism only limited to No doubt True Rationalism (where one avoids even political bias ) is quite hard needing a lot of patience & is nearly elusive state as everyone is bound to be biased.
            For eg. Gupta era is boasted of as a Golden age by Hindutvavadis because of the misconception of them being homogenously Hindus . Hence the rejection of the Gupta era as a Dark age as against the Mauryan age (the Golden age) by the Reformists ( an example of Reactionism amongst even rationalists) . The following facts are casualty to the reactionism :-

            1) Guptas were not homogenously Vaishnavs or Shaivas or Ajjivikas , but also Mahayana Buddhists. SHILADITYA ,a Buddhist Gupta emperor is considered the founder of NALANDA widely.

            2) Hinduism was non-existent back then & is a modern creation. A fact often forgotten , though Brahminism existed in the form of Puranism ,Vedism & Mimamsa.

            3)Was not the Gupta court home to Aryabhatta , Varahmihr , Kalidasa ?

            4) How is it so that on the ordinary level (not scholarly) Buddhism , Jainism , Shaivs , Ajjivikas , Bhagawats etc did not intermingle positively at all when infact we see such interminglings amongst Medieval Indian groups (Warkaris , Rampanthis etc) & Islam (non-Indian origin) ??
            Ofcourse explaining all these minor stuffs to hooligans is impossible but it can be explained to non-fanatics , provided one works from within ( like Ibn Warraq etc) rather attacking from outside.

          • No matter what you think, your posts do appeal for moderation. You assume that articles like this lead to reactionism which leads to certain results. Leaving aside the validity of those assumptions, the implied conclusion is that things should be toned down. You are also wrong in assuming that there is a thing as political-bias free rationalism. Once you move beyond dictionary atheism, you need to chose a set of ethical values and the moment you do so, you’ve picked your politics.

  • I had written

    “No doubt radical groups like yours are also needed against the Radical section of right-wing but to caution you that due to radicalisation often Reasoning & Rationalism takes a back seat & a polemical world-view takes the front seat”

    So definitely Iam not appealing for moderation on your part . Recent events in India , do not even demand that. But what I am opposing is your posturing that every political statement made in the garb of Radical Atheism leads to Truth . No , rather like any radical movement it also makes its own exaggerations & political lies , which no doubt have to be made but the maker of that argument should know about its shortcomings in the long-run.
    Ordinary people should be taught the very humane nature of their religions , which sadly is not focussed in India. That Valmiki’s Ramayan is just a piece of literature (Sanskrit drama) like Vishakhadatta’s Mudra-Rakshasa, works of Bhash ,Abu Fazl etc thus should be read as them ; that Muhammad was a great Arab social reformer but a very humane person with many flaws also , so everything he spoke need not be true.
    On the contrary it is preferred “Ramayana is a Conspiracy” , “Muhammad was a Terrorist” . Such provocative theses only overshadow the former more sane arguments . There is a link below , Iam not debating with you but had a feeling which I wanted to share : [hear Javed Akhtar between 20-40min ].

    You are doing a good job ,& well done.

    • It is not right to call radical theory of the atheist – since atheist never proposes radical theory, never proposes conversion law, terrorizes, kills, cheats, loots, divide the society and benefit out of it and etc… Science is baby of the rationalists, and it has been always opposed by the religious radicals. We never heard any religion is responsible for any invention or helped In the process of development of human race, instead it created unrest, sexual exploitation, killing and so on. But now we can see, religious beneficiary are working hard to fit their belief system with suitable theory of current development /invention/morality. The recent statement of Puri shankaracharya of low caste temple entry is also a radical call, but the whole nation with educated population simply keeping mum, except little opposition from rationalist and low caste organization. A little boy beaten severely for entering the priest room at Bangalore by priest himself, what you expect the atheist/rationalist to do simply mum……? If they do response, could you call them radicals? What is idea of Hinduism, does they really reviving their varna theory? If so, whether they have guts to apply the same standard with present top leadership of this nation- since, hopefully they are not in the top of varnas.

  • For above article : Only Nandas can be authentically called as Shudras. Both MudraRakshasa & Mahaparinibanna call Mauryans as Kshatriyas. Harsha is disputed as a Bais Jat by some or Vaishya , but never Shudra . Now out of reactionism , the author paints Guptas as Brahminists , but rather they practiced even Buddhism – also the creators of Nalanda. So is it that we should see Guptas as Hindutva people??They were as good & as bad as the former three. Another lie is that Buddha was a revolutionary against Varnashram & Buddhism was a response to casteism (today it is iterated as a fact) This insidious rhetoric was first propagated by Ayothya Das in late 1800s . Buddhism did not entertain varnashram but was not a willful reaction against it either. Buddha hinted towards equality but was more concerned about spirituality .Read RC Dutta’s (the former type) rebuttal to Das’s rhetoric . Historians rather point towards caste oppression & egalitarianism as reasons to its rise in post-Buddha era. So stop creating your own “demons” & “gods” , while demolishing the existing ones.
    You asked “What is the idea of Hinduism ? “ . If you knew anything about it , you would not have talked about it as religion but a nebulous umbrella for a large no. of religions , both organized & unorganized ,living or dead created in modern times

    • There is no other way for Hinduism except depend on “organized & unorganized ,living or dead created in modern times” otherwise it is no more!!! We can see a diluted practice of hindu principle, now a days, for example any one can read vedas, any one can enter temple, a sudra can sit on the top of the governing body. So, it is total opportunistic and cunning principle………. ok?

      • Do you really feel majority of hindus are hindus because they believe in Hinduism. You should not forget non-Brahmins(including upper castes) never read shastras , as Sanskrit was never their spoken language , atleast not in the last millenia . Yes, it is a total opportunistic & cunning principle , if you are familiar only with Brahminism.

        But Hinduism as forged by Raja Rammohun Roy & large groups of people – that include Orientalists like Schoppenhauer or Mueller ,Imperial Historians like Mill & Macaulay ,Reformers, Nationalists,, transcends Brahminism . It includes all the ancient, medieval & modern social,cultural & political institutions not just religious of all the non-Buddhist,non-Jain,non-Sikh,non-Muslim,non-Christians of South Asian society.As it includes tribal religions, folk-traditions of different ethnic groups , neo-Hinduisms, even anti-Brahminical religions like Lingayats,Arya Samaj , Warkaris , Kapirpanthis.

        The only difference is that with globalisation & the rise of Abrahmic religions ,politically superior & more organised, these all groups that run in 1000s & are independent of each other (at times even opposite too) are coming together under a banner of “Hinduism” .
        As after all does the GoI give any option to people of Prakrit/Pali cultures to enlist themselves as anything other than Sikh, Jain, Buddhist or Hindu ?? If one is anything from the former three , then its fine , otherwise he/she is a Hindu. This is a fundamental problem .

        • The upper caste ( as per your claim) proved as the best servant of Brahmin (Ex: google -Breast Tax in india) and it is continuing as on date in different way like ostracizing low caste from current developments, but here, your blame is different and surprises- betrayal of Brahmins? The worst target of the upper caste hegemony was dalits(panchamas) and sudras (large section of OBC) in the name of God, Superstition, orthodoxy(stinking claim) and etc. Why not you include Abrahamic rel. in your umbrella? Try it also! Pity.. . But they are not like helpless dalits and poor Sudras! Scapegoats ……….in the imaginary umbrella!

          • You said ** Why not you include Abrahamic rel. in your umbrella?**
            1) Abrahamic religions are politicall superior , larger , global & more organised than these Indian-specific groups. Will a bigger corporate like to work under the brand of a local company??
            2) Moreover, I did not get when you referred to me in your question .Also , remember this umbrella is not deliberate, but being forged by social-political forces like globalisation . A reason it becomes more difficult to teach people the “Syndicated” nature of this “Hinduism”.
            3) Many of those “Hindu Religions” are tribal, and many others are created by lower castes themselves. Warkari saints like Tukaram & Namdev , individuals like Ravi Das , ex-communicated Brahmins like Eknath & Jnaneshwara , adivasis like Valmiki ,the Yadav emperors of Devagiri all are thus Brahminical Scapegoats ?? A few centuries ago hardly people introduced themselves Hindus , today everyone does.
            4) Also , if you see “Jaativada” & “Varnashram” as same & also see “Hinduism” & “Casteism” as same ,then indeed Indian Muslims , Christians etc are already part of this umbrella . Are not they?? So what is wrong calling them Hindus as the RSS wants (though the RSS Hindu is more related to Prakrit/Pali cultures than just some Brahminical spirituality)??
            6) If Caste problem is solely due to Hinduism , then seek destroying complete Hinduism. Let us hope Hinduism is expunged . What next?? To keep even majority of these people Atheists for long is only a hillarious utopia ,as these people will either start creating new religions or will revert to already existing religions , preferably Islam & Christianity as they are the only two religions that accept conversion as they have throughout the history. As happened in Russia , & is happening in China.
            If want to destroy religions , then seek destroying all otherwise it remains futile.

  • @the eddy
    Are you hinting the RSS agenda of Hindu/Prakrit/Pali type of utopia in indian subcontinent? But atheist/rationalists never proposes this kind of utopian style; it is individual realization of being free from constraint objective of religious rules, offending, torture, conversion, extortion, castism, groupism and etc.

    ##Also , if you see “Jaativada” & “Varnashram” as same & also see “Hinduism” & “Casteism” as same ,then indeed Indian Muslims , Christians etc are already part of this umbrella . Are not they?? So what is wrong calling them Hindus as the RSS wants (though the RSS Hindu is more related to Prakrit/Pali cultures than just some Brahminical spirituality)??##

    You can call them anything you want; it is free choice of religious democracy, nothing to do with rationalists! The ISIS also making similar calls and missionary also making similar calls across the world! Good offer of utopia by the Corporate and company, it is a good competition indeed- but a terror state of world will continue to exist.

    Let the common man realize the truth, let them think freely, let them live peacefully, it will possible only if the old corrupted religious identity disappear from the human mind. It will automatically happen, because no one will like to carry the disease always with him/her.

    • # Are you hinting the RSS agenda of Hindu/Prakrit/Pali type of utopia in indian subcontinent? #
      I do not know what utopia, you are talking about, please explain??. Plz read my threads above (esp. the one where I rebuffed the author’s simplifications of history), they hint at “greys” of Indian society, discarding any idea of “utopia” or “dystopia”. The idea of “Indian Subcontinent” beyond Government diplomacy today is gobbledygook. The idea of “Prakrit & Pali cultures” only keeps this otherwise fissiparous India together, that too ostensibly, from ethno-nationalists.
      #But atheist/rationalists never proposes this kind of utopian style; #
      Apologies sir, the lines that followed the above statement were full of “utopian style” though I am unaware of its “kind”. Pick any article, barring a few, most of them only vacillate btw utopia & dystopia, they dodge highlighting all the intricacies of the “cob-webs” of different social forces unlike Kosambi , RC Dutt ,Karve ,M N Srinivas ,Thapar etc ; rather explain away everything by “Conspiracy Theories” like Periyar, Illaiah, Ayuttha Das etc , did. The former were rationalists who talked in “grey” terms, the latter (though great social activists) were atheists, but also rhetoricians who caricatured “history & sociology” with illusionary “utopia-dystopia” shades. The former lucidly explained the complexities of Indian societies, the latter through rhetorics made it even more clouded with “hollow aggression” .The usage of “Atheism” & “Rationalism” interchangeably is also problematic. All Rationalists are Atheists (true of formers) but all Atheists are not Rationalists (true of latters). So do not reduce Rationalism to just Atheism.
      ## individual realization of being free ##
      Individual realization of – 1.2 billion & increasing, are you serious??
      ## Let the common man realize the truth, let them think freely, let them live peacefully, it will possible only if the old corrupted religious identity disappear from the human mind. It will automatically happen, because no one will like to carry the disease always with him/her##
      Apologies sir, only few of us will be “Atheists” & fewer still “Rationalists”. The common man after getting bored & fed up , perhaps would reject traditional bigotries in favour of new bigotries (as Periyar rejected Hindu dogmas for Dravidian dogmas) & new lies.
      Nevertheless, I salute your “Utopian Optimism for future”.

      • @The eddy,
        ##Conspiracy Theories” like Periyar, Illaiah, Ayuttha Das etc ##
        You call the rational revelation as conspiracy theory then what about all puranas story. You cannot expect the reformist to plead with evil system Ex ; Temple prostitution (Deva Dasi), Sati and temple entry of low caste. They have to deal the evil system of society in a toughest way; it is like what happened to Dr. Muthulakshmi reddy, who had a tough debate with the upper caste members those were in support of devadasi system, in the upper house of parliament. Few upper caste members had supported the devadasi system, stating it as serving the god, but the muthulakshmi reply was, why cannot the girls from upper caste members serve the god here after, Are they ready? This question only put a end to devadasi system. This is a piece of information, there are numerous merciless atrocities which needs tough treatment, and so many Periyar are in need of this time to deal this kind of evils.
        (, ( , (
        ##Individual realization of – 1.2 billion & increasing, are you serious??##
        I believe changes will happen slowly, the purpose of education is to relieve from evil system, it may be from any religious or caste based, hopes are there that the 1.2billion population get rising as educated and will be relieved from existing evil system. You cannot underestimate the masses always; surely they will rise against the slavery mind set.
        ##The idea of “Prakrit & Pali cultures” only keeps this otherwise fissiparous India together, that too ostensibly, from ethno-nationalists.##

        It is a normal belief that word secularism is the reason behind the unity of this nation, It surprises when you have quote some language identity, how far it will work with multi linguistic set up and in many cases people with unique language identity(south india). Are not you neglecting their interest of Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Tulu and etc…
        ##The common man after getting bored & fed up , perhaps would reject traditional bigotries in favour of new bigotries (as Periyar rejected Hindu dogmas for Dravidian dogmas) & new lies.##
        The lies are in success including the new one like you people proposal? But let the educated young free mind decide which one is lies & slavery and which one is truth & freedom.

        • ##The lies are in success including the new one like you people proposal?##
          Are you categorising me as a “Brahminist” or a “Hindutvavadi”? Well I am none. Argue with me the way you would argue a fellow atheist. Each time I point out the importance of “serious discussion” about the genesis of Caste (Jati not Varnashram) instead of “empty short- term rhetoric “. You (bcz it is essential to understand the disease, its causes etc to cure it) Do not detour by telling about some social reformer, some social evils of esp. your Hindu society ,quote some Brahminical shastra as if I am defending these archaic ideas
          The argument here is not about the “religious debauchery” but about CTs that are inadvertently created to fight them. I support the Atheistic cause but not these sweeping verdict-cum CTs. So stick to the debate.
          ##You cannot expect the reformist to plead with evil system##
          Muththulaxmi Reddy did not plead with the system but she did not create CTs. People like Irawati Karve, Mahatma Karve , Ranade also did not plead with the system but they avoided rhetoric. But Periyar was a populist politician apart from being the laudable Social reformer , do not miss this.
          ##You call the rational revelation as conspiracy theory then what about all puranas story##
          Some so-called rational revelations as mentioned below are indeed mirror images of the Puranas
          1) In this, Kancha Ilaiah declares Hinduism as Fascist religion & all other religions as Democratic.
          In this he , calls for the Christian-Muslim-Buddhist evangelism to finish off Hinduism. Is this not counterproductive?
          Do you call their anti-Semitism as revelations & their spread of lies that calls Brahmins are of Jewish descent, just because we share a common enemy.
          4) The misusgae of AIT (an academic theory created to understand linguistic similarities of North India with Iran) for political ends first by early Hindutvavadis & then by even Dravidians. A Hindu is a “liar”, accepted, but what about a Dravidianist?
          5) The author uses word Aryan as if a “race” but DD Kosambi had rejected that idea & called it a “linguistic group”. This has been reiterated by Romila Thapar.
          6) “Buddha was a Caste revolutionary” .Not true. Buddha was a Spiritualist, that’s it. What about the castes among Buddhist Sinhalas??What about the fact that majority of Buddhist philosphers we remember were Brahmins ??
          7) “Mauryans were Buddhist shudras & Sungas were Hindu Brahmins , bad people only persecuting the innocent great Buddhist Rationalist” This is exactly what Ambedkar presented decades ago .Later Archaeological discoveries established that Sungas were patrons of Buddhism , not just persecutor.
          Worst part is, that these CTs overshadow “real criticisms” of the different Hindus, by portraying these large number of groups as a single entity . Even now, despite all hullabaloo of Hindu identity they are not one people.
          I support their “Just” cause but I do not accept those arguments because they were never debated & never supported by evidence & thus ended up being contradicted. They ended up making words like “Rationalism” clichés, just like the Brahminists made the word “truth” .Things need to be written & debated here , on History & Socilogy , that deepens our understanding of both caste ,communalism & other issues, without the narrow aim of just writing a diatribe ( which are in plenty ).

          • @ the eddy
            ##Are you categorising me as a “Brahminist” or a “Hindutvavadi”? Well I am none. Argue with me the way you would argue a fellow atheist##.
            Yes sir, you are not, ok Atheist!
            ##You (bcz it is essential to understand the disease, its causes etc to cure it) Do not detour by telling about some social reformer, some social evils of esp. your Hindu society ,quote some Brahminical shastra as if I am defending these archaic ideas##
            Since you are an atheist, we may look into the practical problems which are the reality of situation those needs to be debated. Surely, it will be of the evils in the society, to which the large population accustomed to it. It is better to avoid citing useless bunches; it is up to the people of theist choice to hold it in their head (not you). It is purely a worry of a person who behaves like a tail piece of a particular “linguistic group’ (as per your claim) and the linguistic group itself. As far as the Brahminical sastra concerned, it is the one by which the majority of this indian population were kept as uneducated, 95% of indian population were denied education citing caste as eligibility criteria for learning and alienated them from the science and technological growth, and if we analyze rationally, there were nothing practical in specific of S & T in the old bunches, Am I right? Technology is the outcomes from a working class, if the working classes denied the right to exercise their effort and were made as half naked slaves; it is easy for the invaders to simply rule the total mass for century together. Hope it will not happen again!
            ##But Periyar was a populist politician apart from being the laudable Social reformer , do not miss this.##
            He was not a politician and never enjoyed that status – a real reformer who changed the life style of low caste and make them understand causes of their slave status. No one other than caste vigor hates him and blames him.
            ##“Buddha was a Caste revolutionary” .Not true. Buddha was a Spiritualist, that’s it. What about the castes among Buddhist Sinhalas??##
            I agree hindu caste system spoilt Singhalese, Indian Muslim, Indian Christine and our other neighbors. It is the proof that to show hindu system is living octopus will engulf anything in around it. But it has to face the reality from the educated rationalist.
            ##What about the fact that majority of Buddhist philosphers we remember were Brahmins ??##
            That’s what he is recognized as reincarnation of Vishnu. Buddha a great revolutionary who simply undermined god and illusion- later recognized as spiritualist and made one among crores of god.
            ##This is exactly what Ambedkar presented decades ago .Later Archaeological discoveries established that Sungas were patrons of Buddhism , not just persecutor##
            Any proof? Seems, simply hype! Patron in the sense, Tiger patronizing goat till it got eaten up- there are speculation many temples are Buddhist shrine once upon a time.
            ##The author uses word Aryan as if a “race” but DD Kosambi had rejected that idea & called it a “linguistic group”. This has been reiterated by Romila Thapar##.
            No one is happy about AIT except the people who own that name “A”. This is the reality; otherwise they would have removed that name from their at least hotel. Simply opportunistic now they are against the theory and spinning alternative theory!
            ##Kancha Ilaiah##
            If Indian upper caste justifies the caste system just like Puri shankaracharya who spoke in support of caste or varnas system, it is natural they have to face the ire from the low caste. And Kancha Ilaiah is a backward caste.

  • In the puranas there is a mention of Nanda dynasty of Magadha which preceded mauryans. One Nanda king will have a strong son born from his maid servant (sudra women) and this person will destroy Kshatriyas. This is the reason why nandas are probably called sudras.

    We must not confuse sudras with Dalits. outcastes and untouchables were not classified as sudras but chandalas. Sudras are actually considered upper castes in many modern Indian states. Sudras served as generals and ministers. Even Vidura was a sudra minister of King Dhritarashtra.

    Mauryans were considered degraded dynasty but not necessarily sudras. Chandragupta Maurya was identified and mentored by Brahmin Chanakya indicates that he was a Kshatriya but probably not of any royal clan. Perhaps a samanta or lower Kshatriya. Buddhism and Jainism were ascetic orders till the time of Asoka, nothing more nothing less. They were not religions. In Hinduism, there were four varnas (castes) and four ashramas. The fourth ashrama was samnyasa where in one abandons, house, sacred thread and even caste . There were not much established samnyasi orders before Buddhism and Jainism , hence many Hindus after grihasthasrama entered samnyasa through Buddhist “ashrams”.
    Chandra gupta maurya after becoming Jain monk abandoned throne. It was Asoka who even after becoming a Buddhist remained as King. From his time ownwards, Buddhism elevated as a religion where even grihasthas can be Buddhists.
    caste system remained before and after the time of Adi Sankara. Adi Sankara was a staunch Hindu and I don’t think he did anything against chatur varna system.
    Kumarila the great meemamsaka and Adi Sankara the great Vedanti, both were responsible for defeating Buddhist monks in debate . As a Hindu I would like to say that post these defeats Buddhists converted to Hinduism but my rational mind says may be the Kings had forced people to convert following the defeats of their Gurus (Buddhist and Jain monks).
    Whatever it may be the fact remains is Buddhism and Jainism were decimated and most of them who have converted would have become Sudras or still lower only

    Who knows muslims in UP(and rest of India) might convert and become Hindus? but they too cannot become Brahmin

  • Good post. I specially liked the way in which the ancient books have been referenced with the kingdoms of those times.

  • Hindu Caste Apologetics and the Culpability of the Pre-Adi-Sankara Era – This is Very good informative Article. and also concept cleared ,
    Thanks for share keep it up.

  • Surprising Facts About Ancient India

    Not many places on Earth can trace their civilization back as far as India, and not many civilizations can boast of as many ‘firsts’ as the ancient Indians. The accomplishments of ancient India go well beyond yoga and the Kama Sutra—at a time when the rest of the world still hadn’t figured out a good numeric system, India was making major innovations in everything from science & technology to board games that are still relevant today.

    These 42 facts will give a taste of ancient India’s rich legacy and stunning achievements.

    Ancient India Facts

    Precious Freedom
    Though it was common practice in other ancient civilizations, ancient India didn’t use slave labor. According to contemporary Greek historians, all Indians were free. Off to a strong start!
    Dam It!
    The ancient Indians were accomplished engineers. The Kallanai Dam, built in the second century AD, is the fourth-oldest water diversion structure in the world—and it’s still in use today!

    Ancient India facts

    Girl Power
    Women in ancient India had a high degree of freedom and autonomy. Not only were they allowed to discuss topics that nowadays are considered inappropriate, but they also got to choose a husband for themselves from a group of eligible men.
    Number Crunchers
    The ancient Indians were mathematical pioneers and came up with many advanced mathematical concepts before the Europeans did. Their mathematicians invented the number zero, algebra, calculus, and the decimal system, and they even worked out the value of pi.
    A Cut Above
    Thinking about a nose job? Maybe the ancient Indians could have helped you out. Their doctors performed advanced surgical procedures including cataract treatment, cesareans, brain surgery, and even early forms of plastic surgery.
    Can’t Feel My Face
    Surgeons in ancient India even used anesthetic—in the form of wine and cannabis incense. I don’t know about you, but I’ll stick with laughing gas.
    Move Over Copernicus
    Ancient Indian astronomers had a lot figured out. Not only did they work out equations for predicting solar and lunar eclipses, but scientific texts also show that they embraced a heliocentric view of the solar system—that means they figured out that the Earth revolves around the sun, and not the other way around.
    Big Stretch
    In the West, we’ve only been lugging our yoga mats around for a few decades, but the practice goes back a lot further in India. Yoga first started being practiced about 5,000 years ago, and the first use of the word ‘yoga’ for this practice appeared almost 2,500 years ago.
    End of the Line
    Ancient India reached its height under a series of indigenous empires. When the Huns invaded, the region became fragmented and susceptible to further invasions from outsiders, and India never re-established a native-ruled empire.
    Herbal Essence
    If you’re having a good hair day, you might have the ancient Indians to thank. They invented a kind of shampoo using herbs and other cleaning ingredients, and it’s thought that the word ‘shampoo’ comes from the Hindi word ‘champo.’
    Release Your Inner Goddess
    The Laksmi Tantra, a Hindu text from circa the 9th to 12th centuries AD, celebrates the mother-goddess Laksmi. The text asserts that all women are made in the form of Laksmi, and should, therefore, be worshipped.
    Take Me to the River
    Hinduism, the religious practice whose origins go back to prehistoric India, was first codified in a series of texts around 700 BC. The word ‘Hindu’ comes from the Indus River, which is an important river for worshippers.
    Knowing Your Place
    The caste system first appeared India’s Vedic Period (1,700-150 BC). Society was divided into four classes: Brahmana (priests and scholars), Kshatriya (warriors), Vaishya (farmers and merchants), and Shudra (laborers). Though at first the classes just reflected people’s careers, they eventually became hereditary and strictly divided—thus inspiring countless Bollywood romance plots.
    A Girl’s Best Friend
    Where would jewelers be without ancient India? Diamonds were first mined around 700 BC in India. After that, no country could beat India in diamond production until the 18th century AD. Oooh, shiny!
    Challengers Have Appeared
    Originally, ancient Indians followed the Vedic religion, which we know as Hinduism. Buddhism and Jainism both arose between 600 and 500 BC and they soon became major religions—today, a little over 1% of the Indian population practices Buddhism or Jainism, but Hinduism is still tops, with 80% of the population practicing.
    Early Birds
    The Indus Valley Civilization, a Bronze Age culture that existed from 3,300 to 1,300 BC, is one of the three oldest civilizations in the world. The people of this society were advanced in math, science, navigation, and the extraction of ore.
    Flush It Down
    The Indus Valley Civilization was advanced in many respects, including the bathroom. Almost every house in their settlements had toilets with running water that drained into a sewage system, making them the earliest flush toilets.
    You Won’t Feel a Thing
    The ancient Indians were even pioneers in dentistry. The oldest evidence of dental drilling practiced on a living human comes from India, 9,000 years ago. This also tells me that people have been afraid of the dentist for 9,000 years.
    No Flat Earthers Here
    The Greeks might have gotten there first, but the ancient Indians independently figured out the circumference of the Earth with remarkable accuracy. The scientist Aryabhata figured out that our planet rotates on an axis, and worked out Earth’s circumference as 39,736 km. He was only off by 339 km!
    Take That, Newton!
    The ancient Indians also came up with some of the first theories of gravity. In the 6th century AD, Aryabhata used gravity to explain why things don’t fly off the surface of the Earth as it spins.
    Chaturanga Masters
    The game that we know as chess is thought to have come from the ancient Indian game chaturanga. Invented 1,500 years ago, chaturanga features foot-soldiers that move like chess pawns, a Raja that moves like the king in chess, and a horse that moves like the knight in chess. Not all the pieces are identical to chess, though—for example, instead of bishops, chaturanga uses elephants.
    Fun & Games
    Is chaturanga too complicated? You could always play another ancient Indian game, mokshapat—also known as ‘snakes and ladders’. Originally, the snakes represented vice and the ladders represented virtue, and the purpose was to make it up to heaven. I love when games have a good moral.
    Natural Fabric
    The ancient Indians were the first to cultivate cotton, around 3,000 BC. By 1,000 BC, cotton fabric was being used all over India, and they had developed cotton-spinning methods that would remain in use until industrialization came along.
    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    The city of Harappa, in modern-day Pakistan, was a major center in ancient India—in 2,000 BC, it had about 30,000 inhabitants. Unfortunately, archaeologists can’t learn too much about Harappa now, since British colonists took the city’s stones for their own construction projects in the 1800s.
    Ancient Sci-Fi
    An ancient Indian story introduced the concept of cloning. The epic Mahabharata, parts of which were written almost 2,500 years ago, features a woman named Gandhari who has 100 children. They are conceived by splitting an embryo into 100 parts and putting all the parts into containers to grow.
    Coin a Phrase
    The first ancient Indian coins were made about 2,500 years ago. The word ‘rupee’ comes from the Sanskrit word for a shaped coin, ‘rupya.’
    Higher Learning
    The first university in the world was founded in Takshashila, India, around 700 BC. It offered over 60 subjects and educated over 10,000 students. Another of the earliest universities, Nalanda (founded in 427 AD), attracted scholars from as far away as China and Greece. I wonder if India also invented student loans.
    Kind of a Big Deal
    At its height, India’s Mauryan Empire (322–187 BC) covered 5,000,000 square km (approx. 1,930,510 sq. miles) and ruled over 50 to 60 million subjects, making it one of the largest empires in the world. The Maurya Dynasty of emperors got its start when Chandragupta Maurya drove Alexander the Great’s governors out of the Indus Valley.
    We Are Family
    Sanskrit, the lingua franca of ancient India that is still used today in certain contexts, dates back to the 2nd millennium BC. Sanskrit is part of the Indo-European language family, meaning it’s related to English, Russian, Italian, Persian, and dozens more languages.
    Watch Your Language
    Classical Sanskrit, the language of ancient India’s learned classes, was standardized around 500 BC when a grammar was published for the language. This version of Sanskrit is still in use today, and there is a movement in India to bring the language back to prominence.
    Finding Their Way
    The art of navigation first appeared 6,000 years ago, and it was used to sail the Indus River. The word ‘navigation’ even comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Navgatih.’
    Sticking With Tradition
    Traditional Indian medicine, called Ayurveda, started to be practiced about 5,000 years ago. At first, practitioners passed the system down orally but eventually, they wrote it down, and it still survives to this day: 80% of the population of India still use Ayurveda in some form.
    It’s All Greco-Indian to Me
    After Alexander the Great extended his Macedonian Empire into India, there was an influx of Greeks that spurred significant cultural exchange with India. Greek-style cities started to pop up in India at this time, temples put up statues of the Buddha wearing Greek clothes, and some Greek immigrants even converted to Buddhism.
    Indian Numerals
    We call our current number system ‘Arabic numerals,’ but that’s a bit of a misnomer. The modern number system did come from the Arabs, but they got their numbers from ancient India. Symbols for the numbers one to nine appeared in India around 500 BC.
    The ancient Indians were innovative metallurgists, who started working with iron as early as 1,800 BC and developed a method for producing steel around 300 BC. India first started extracting zinc around 400 BC, too, and they were the first to produce it on an industrial scale.
    We Go Way Back
    Humans first appeared on the Indian subcontinent over 250,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest inhabited places in the world.
    Getting Antsy
    Ancient Indian surgeons found an all-natural—and really gross—method to stitch up wounds. Since surgical staples didn’t exist yet, they used Bengali ants, which have strong jaws that clamp tightly shut. Doctors would hold the ants up to the wound, and once the ants had chomped down, they would cut away the body to leave just the jaws holding the wound closed.
    Born-Again Buddhist
    One Mauryan emperor was Ashoka the Great, who ruled from 269 to 232 BC. When he conquered the city-state of Kalinga, over 100,000 people died. Shocked at the toll, Ashoka turned to Buddhism, and his religious donations depleted the imperial treasury. The empire declined after Ashoka’s death because of his excessive philanthropy.
    All That Glitters
    The ancient Greeks knew about India, but they had little contact with that region before Alexander the Great and considered it the edge of the habitable world. The historian Herodotus, apparently working from travelers’ accounts, wrote that India had giant, furry ants that dug up gold dust which the locals would then steal. Had those travelers been using some of the aforementioned ancient Indian anesthesia when they told him that?
    When Life Throws You Lemons…
    The Kama Sutra, one of the most famous literary works from ancient India, isn’t just about sex; Kama means desire, which goes beyond the bedroom. Out of the seven books, only one talks about sex and the rest cover such useful topics as how to make money, how to teach a parrot to talk, and how to make lemonade. Uh, I swear I just read it for the lemonade recipes.
    Chowing Down
    The Kama Sutra was written around the 2nd century AD, but the text draws on much older traditions. It covers a wide range of sexual techniques, including various sexual positions, moaning, and biting. I hope it’s very clear about where not to bite!
    Show Your Pride
    The Kama Sutra describes homosexual relationships between both men and women, and it says that homosexual partners at that time could live together and even get married. The text also includes a third gender, encompassing those who are neither male nor female. Sounds pretty modern to me.

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