Overcoming Caste Barriers

It is said that the Caste System was imposed more harshly upon us by the Muslims & Britishers and that earlier it was not so bad. Before the Muslims and British ruled Bharat, every village had its own self-sufficient way of living. The advent of these colonial powers destroyed that system. We also hear how Vedic Bharat did not have the Caste System at all – it was the Varna System – i.e. the system based on the work performed. But it all became rigid & no one could change their Varna over time.

All of the above is true, but I want to know what is it that we are doing to destroy this menace. Swami Dayanand Saraswati did a lot to destroy this evil, but after so many years of Independence we are still in the clutches of this evil. One of the counters devised to fight this evil – the Reservation System – has spawned new problems of its own. The mad race to widen the scope of the Reservation System has become the bane of merit-based society & it has also contributed to the brain-drain that we are facing. But it is also true that the Government is bound to help those who have been ill-treated for so long. So how do we get out of it?

I have a different and radical solution to change this system head-on… do read & let me know what you think of it…

  • Traditionally, a Brahmin is expected to know the Vedas, Sanskrit and pursue knowledge… he/she used to teach, become ministers, advice kings & regents, do Homa for the welfare of the world.
  • Traditionally, a Kshatriya is expected to know the Martial Arts … he/she used to protect the borders, protect cows & cattle, protect people, were rulers.
  • Traditionally, a Vaishya is expected to know how to run a business … he/she were manufacturers, traders, financiers.
  • Traditionally, a Shudra is expected to know how to make articles which made life easier for everybody … they were farmers, artisans, sculptors, housekeepers, members of the service staff.
  • Adivasis, Tribals and others who did not follow the general system too did the above jobs. So, in short, most of the populace can be divided into the above profession.

I now suggest:

Those who are born in a particular varna or follow a particular varna, can continue to do so. Those who wish to be part of any of the above varnas, irrespective of their present varna, should be allowed to do so, by declaring themselves as one of the above varna. But in order for them to move to the new varna, let them follow these guidelines:

  • If any person wants to declare himself/herself a Brahmin, let him/her learn written and spoken Sanskrit & take up a course in the Vedas / Upanishads / etc. compulsorily for at least 2 years. It could be from any recognized Institution like the Chinmayananda Ashram or Art of Living, etc. It could also be a course from any University of Bharat, like the Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan or Mumbai University. In addition, they should accept vegetarianism as a way of life. They should also teach, serve as doctors, guides, etc. for a period of 2 years minimum. They should also perform rites (Yagyas) for the benefit of the world.
  • If any person wants to declare himself/herself a Kshatriya, let him/her train themselves in Martial arts and serve the Armed forces for a period of 2 years minimum. In addition, they should take a vow to protect cows and temples. They should also perform rites (Yagyas) for the benefit of the world.
  • If any person wants to declare himself/herself a Vaishya, let him/her train themselves in Accounting practices and Business/Management practices for atleast 2 years and work in those areas as far as possible. They should also perform rites (Yagyas) for the benefit of the world.
  • All others can be considered as ‘Savarn’ … let us drop the nomenclature ‘Shudras’ completely, since now it evokes a feeling of mixed response on many.

Those who still choose to be called Dalits, can continue to be called the same. But if they work in any of the above fields for a period of more than 5 years, namely, as a Teacher, Scientist, Armed forces, Police, Business, Service industry, etc., they should be asked to decide on their varna compulsorily. There should be no scope for taking up a job and then still hold on to the Dalit nomenclature.

A time frame of 25 years should be set to see to it that every Hindu comes out of the Dalit category completely. Those who participate in ‘Ghar Wapsi’ i.e. those who want to reconvert themselves from any other religion into Hindu Dharma, can do so freely and take up the varna of their choice. In case of marriages, the choice and decision to be of a particular varna will be of the couple alone. Every Hindu will decide for himself on attaining Majority as to which varna he/she wants to follow; and then irrespective of being born in a particular family, will have to follow the above-mentioned rules.

For those who will argue that the present Brahmins may not know Sanskrit or they may not follow a vegetarian way of life, or those who say that all Kshatriyas are not in the Army, etc. I wish to accept that this is true. But to make such a big upheaval, one has to let go of a few things. So I request all the Intellectuals, the Mathadeeshas, the Religious heads to come together and give my proposal a thought. We need to do this if Hindu Dharma has to survive. We need to destroy the Caste system in a systematic way.

Hopefully a day will come when we will realize that NO varna is above another and that for each one to survive, all the varnas have to be given equal respect. When that day comes, we will all truly be Hindus alone.

Jai Hind !!! Vande Mataram !!!

About the Author

Rati Hegde
Rati Hegde is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.