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

Written by July 16, 2012 6:41 am 137 comments

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.

This post was written by:

- who has written 13 posts on Nirmukta.

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.

137 Comments

  • 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 :
    http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/the-buck-stops-here/rushdie-row-was-a-storm-in-a-teacup-javed-akhtar-to-ndtv/230375 [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.

      http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/priest-thrashes-dalit-boy-bangalore-rudreshwara-swami-temple/1/397201.html

      http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/register-fir-against-puri-shankaracharya-ncsc_1486806.html

      http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/manu/manu01.htm

  • 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?**
            Simple
            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)??
            https://www.facebook.com/pages/MUSLIMRAJPUTS/304497898840
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_system_among_Muslims
            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.
            http://www.cpiml.org/liberation/year_2002/april/article%20caste%20and%20class.htm
            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.
        (http://www.commissionstories.com/asia/stories/view/temple-prostitution-still-alive-in-india), (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/575795/suttee) , (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Uttarakhand-village-tense-after-dalits-refused-temple-entry/articleshow/33516082.cms).
        ##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) http://www.countercurrents.org/ilaiah310808.htm In this, Kancha Ilaiah declares Hinduism as Fascist religion & all other religions as Democratic.
          2) http://kafila.org/2014/09/01/a-civil-war-is-on-the-doorstep-of-india-interview-with-kancha-ilaiah-by-mahmood-kooria/
          In this he , calls for the Christian-Muslim-Buddhist evangelism to finish off Hinduism. Is this not counterproductive?
          3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit_Voice
          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.

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