Annihilation of Caste: One More Look
by Dr. L. Jawahar Nesan
- The evolution of the caste system and its current status
- Annihilation of caste: the old thesis
- Annihilation of caste: the New theory
- Who should lead the revolution?
- Post-revolution integration
I am neither a sociologist nor an anthropologist but a student of the human society and for being that I leave the choice to the readers that they can assign me under any terminological category as they wish. However, I must clarify what prompted me and compelled me to touch the issue of ‘caste’ although all my academic education were pertained to ‘engineering and technology’. Much abler and more profound pens have analysed the issue of caste in the past without leaving any doubt over its genesis and mechanism. Of them, one can not point out anybody who had surpassed and bypassed the thesis of Dr. Ambedkar on caste. So do I too in this article as to whether his thesis on Annihilation of caste bears any relevance to and brings significant success along with if it is applied in today’s environment. If it does what shall be the way forward ahead of his thesis in annihilating the caste and if it seeks modifications in line with the current situation what are such modifications required of it or if it does not what could serve as a realistic solution, all have been intended to explore in this article.
But have I possessed the eligibility or acquired the knowledge to put Dr. Ambedkar’s thesis under my scrutiny, I asked myself before I thought of taking this subject through my pen. Much contemplation myself enabled me to ascertain that I have the eligibility and knowledge to review the work of one of the great professors of the concerned subject on earth. I found myself eligible because I have been from a mass, which is the immediate victim of the caste system. This is not to say that those who are not victims are not eligible to analyse this subject matter but it is because of being a victim one could come up with a most right conception on and solution to the caste system. For instance, if the chaturvarnya system which became an impetus for the evolution of the present day caste system could be upheld by a person no less than Mahatma Gandhi, then it could be rightly said that the victims of the caste system are the most appropriate people eligible to analyse the caste.
I myself found knowledgeable to explore this subject not because I hold the terminal academic education but simply for being a student of the society. The use of the word ‘student’ is so prudent as one could notice but it is right when a so-called sociologist claims the validity of my knowledge to assess this issue. Being an element of the human society I observe the societies of all cults and religions from the outset without being part of them and thus claim that I have become the student of the society. I am convinced that a person who is already a part of the society hardly studies it as it is without any bias unless he/she possesses the ability to perceive the things to which he/she is attached with as they are. Especially, the student who is associated with a religious society can not perceive that society as it is and make its best student while he/she endorses that society with all sacredness and loyalty. Having endorsed none of the religious societies I was able to freely learn them as they were and thus made a good studentship of them.
The evolution of the caste system and its current status
The planet earth is a formation of several matters and particles and thus forms a system in itself. The whole solar family forms a system composed of planets and sun that are bound to operate within the overall system. Within such a system that facilitates interaction of energies amongst its elements, if one element fails to function properly then the failure of the whole system can not be prevented. For instance, if the sun fails to emit light nobody can imagine how the earth would survive. This same principle applies to the human system, which is normally composed of individuals, a small group of people, and a group of nation and so on. If a component of a human system deviates from its duties it is supposed to discharge or works against the interests of the other components then it will endanger the very existence of the human system. To illustrate this, a terrorist component (group) being equipped with wrong motives against the human system will undertake all activities to fulfill its motives resulting in the damage of the system. The sociological term for the human system is ‘society’. The human society is supposed to be comprised of several components or classes characterised by certain common creed, ethics, communication, love and affection and that with the embodiment of such characters the components are bound to be organic in nature rather mechanistic. The organic nature suggests that the components or classes are open to the society, as the society (environment) changes the components shall also change so that the components will transit to the changed environment as intact because of the existence of fraternity and communication amongst them. This means if any of the components is not organic or not allowed to be organic within the society then its isolation by, deprivation of or disintegration from the society is irresistible. The mechanistic nature, in other words the endogamic character, of the society assumes a closed setting, where the classes dissociate themselves from the other classes within the same environment, therefore, the elements of the society which attempt to be organic with the others (or within the environment) will be excommunicated in order to maintain the mechanistic character.
In a religious society all components are bound to behave as organic such that when changes are envisaged due to environmental influence, they can sail through the change without affecting the overall system. During the change process, new components (classes) may evolve without affecting the society provided the society facilitates the organic character. A religious society shall therefore encapsulate the organic character otherwise its disintegration will be irresistible. The religious society is bound to ingrain with the indispensable characters such as fraternity, liberty, equality, love and communication apart from its religious practices. In contrast, most of the religious practices uphold the spiritual or divine characters and entertain the social characters such as love and fraternity as secondary. But social needs are essential and important than religious needs for the survival of the human society. This can be well conceived by pondering over the genesis and behaviour of the religious society.
The primitive human societal system and the evolution of its civilised form as it is seen today helps clarify how the ‘social needs’ form the essential basic characters of a society. It is well known that the primitive social system was simply groups of people tied together based on the physiological needs like food, shelter and so on and geographical proximity, but it lacked the need for ‘social’ like the need for being loved by or living for the common cause of the people. Gradually, the social needs were nurtured and thus they became the foundation for the evolution of the civilised society. For instance, making affiliation with friends, relatives and others based on love, affection, compassion, morality, faith, ethnic origin and creed and sensing comfortable by being with them or being a part of them through some formal groups lead to identify societies. What does it reveal except the necessity of the social need such that when people are surrounded by the people who love them and care them and have same creeds they sense a feeling of confidence in that group and consequently feel satisfied with the thirst for social. As the population grew and new thoughts were continually inculcated the social demand also became complex and thus led to the formation of societies characterised by variety of non-social interests brought about by ethnicity, race, colour and religions. But when religions caught hold of the people being addict to them the religious aspect predominated the social aspect and thus today almost majority of the people on earth are segregated into several religions and that people are identified and evaluated through religious value rather than social values.
The depletion of the social value and over reliance on the religious value alienated the humanity and caused the prevalence of persecution, injustice and degradation amongst the human system. This is a very common attitude that exists at inter-religions nowadays; for instance, between religions, the religious value predominates because it is the only value that distinguishes their identities. But at intra-religion both social and religious values are entertained, if not equally, except Hinduism. One could conclude that most often the religious values brought the people to be bound by respective social ethics but the Hindu religion differs from the others by not even having such religious values that socially bind the people as a society. This is the main reason Dr. Ambedkar dismissed the Hindu religion as a society. If the Hindu religion is not a society then what it is as a whole? It is a set of endogamous societies where each one of them deserves to become a religion, as there is a lack of socialness in it. As explained above any religion, which fails to provide social needs to its components (classes), is fatal and cannot be said as a religious society. The lack of such socialness triggers the components to act as separate entities and in the long run these entities dissociate themselves or excommunicated from the respective religion and make their own leaving the parent religion meaningless. Thus it is clear that a religion without socialness proves fatal flaw. One could repudiate this standard on the ground that the Hindu religion has survived for millenniums notwithstanding. But on a much deeper investigation one could easily unveil not only the non-existence of the socialness but also the existence of the anti-socialness in the Hindu religion. The symptoms of the anti-socialness are the execution of the act of persecution and the untouchability through an established graded social hierarchy. Perseverance of these anti-social elements has made the suppressed to acquire a syndrome of “Socially Induced Helplessness” (SIH). The SIH is a feeling of lowness and inefficiency that the suppressed experiences such that given an opportunity to socially improve or agitate against prejudices the suppressed will not claim to do so. Having put under the trap of the anti-socialness of the Hinduism for millenniums, the suppressed or depressed experienced a feeling of helplessness which prevent them from agitating against the evils of Hinduism or from dissociating from the Hindu fold physically. But this doesn’t mean that they are mentally associated with Hinduism. In other words if one doesn’t accept a religion consciously how can he/she be said as belonged to that religion. Since Hinduism is superimposed on them without their conscience or consciousness and that they too are experiencing the SIH no one can claim them as to have belonged to Hinduism. Thus having emancipated from the experience of the SIH and eliminated the symptoms of the anti-socialness the suppressed or depressed component might break the Hindu fold and degenerate it to a confined group of minority orthodoxies.
The same standard can be used to measure or trace out the socialness in other religions as well. While exploring the socialness one should note the fact that the religious values have brought the components (classes) to be bounded by respective socialness. The question of whether the so-called socialness exists in other religions can be answered affirmatively although it can not be said as to have existed perfectly. This ascertion could be claimed from the fact that these religions facilitate the organic character amongst its components. The components of these religions are not so perched from those of the others in their own religion and they neither follow any degraded hierarchical system amongst themselves. If at all had there been any clashes or divisions amongst them like the one between sunny and shia muslims and between the catholics and protestants they were not due to the endogamousness or graded social hierarchy but due to their organic intention of conquering or absorbing one by another. This means one can not observe the lack of ‘socialness’ in these religions but their socialness can be seen to emerge when there is an external threat imposed on them. Where as in the Hinduism the strict observance of different customs by different castes prevents the castes to be social even if there is an external threat to the religion as a whole. Dr. Ambedkar puts this clearly as: the caste system prevents common activity and by preventing common activity it has prevented the Hindus from becoming a society with a unified life and a consciousness of its own being.
However, other religions can not be said as perfectly holding the socialness on its entirety but bearing only a range of it from low to high. For example, the range of socialness can be found as existing high in Buddhism when compared to Islam and Christianity but nil in Hinduism. The nil existence of the socialness in Hinduism is mainly because of the practice of the graded hierarchical system of castes as prescribed by the chaturvarnya. But if the system of chaturvarnya is subjected to the earlier conception arrived in this article that “a religious society shall encapsulate the organic character otherwise its disintegration is irresistible”, one can easily conclude that the chaturvarnya does not exist now as it was intended to be but except its impacts. The main reason for this assertion is that it is disintegrated into more than 4000 castes. No category of the chaturvarnya is intact in itself but an explosion of different castes with different customs and practices. This proves well within the thesis of Dr. Ambedkar that “any innovation that seriously antagonises the ethical, religious and social code of the caste is not likely to be tolerated by the caste and the recalcitrant members of a caste are in danger of being thrown out of the caste. A novel way of thinking will create a new caste for the old ones will not tolerate it”. If this is true thousands of innovations had created thousands of castes due to the endogamous character is the fact that none can repudiate with. If these thousands of innovations could prevail through the thousands of castes and that if majorities of these innovations are antagonistic with the chaturvarnya then where is the trace of the notion of chaturvarnya as it has been claimed to be in existence still now? Such is the truth, the practice of chaturvarnya is not worth to consider as it has been over ruled by its repellants (innovations). However, one should not forget that the impact of the system of chaturvarnya does still exist in the form of graded employment opportunities and graded social inequalities. But it can be noticed that although majority of the castes doesn’t accept the notion of chaturvarnya they still claim to be Hindus, which is a marked difference in the attitude of the present day castes of lower rank with their past. This proves well that they are still trapped under a state of mental slavery that prevents them from identifying the affinity of the divinity with the chaturvarnya system. The basic injunction of the chaturvarnya is based on its relatively with the divinity is the fact which no one can reject. In the past, people were so ignorant that they could not have differentiated the divinity with the chaturvarnya but nowadays it is a generally accepted notion amongst the shudras and untouchables that chaturvarnya is a fallacy. But they still get along with the divinity of the Hinduism, what such a contradiction. It can be read from this attitude that people see divinity and chaturvarnay as two different matters but both contribute each other is the fact.
Another remarkable attitude is that the people who reject chaturvarnya still does not intend to fuse with other castes, why? There can be only two answers; one, the society is habituated to not allow fusion within its components, two, the practice of ‘inequality in equality’ adopted by the components for their own benefit. The first case suggests that the perpetual endogamic character of the society with which the castes have prevailed over years prevent them to break the barrier and fuse with others. The practice of endogamousness solely will not harm others but if it is practiced in accompaniment with full of hatred towards and suppression over others then it can not be simply referred to the habit but something inherent with an intended purpose. Deeper analysis of answer two should resolve this doubt. It is the attitude of expecting equality from those at the higher level while showing inequality to those at the lower level. This attitude is more serious than the strict observance of chaturvarnya since it recognises only the castes, which are at higher levels for equality but continue to perpetrate the persecution of the lower ones. Where as in chaturvarnya except the brahmana all the other three are sandwiched in between their superiors and inferiors. Therefore this changed attitude might create more confidence and strength in every castes and drive them to not mearly imitate the brahmana but to act like them. Since this attitude assumes the existence of no superior castes, as the brahmana assumes, every caste which experiences this attitude will tend to be more tyrannic than ever before thus ending with the likes of the brahmanas. If this attitude were perpetrated in all castes then the dire consequences would be far from imagination. The intended purpose of this attitude can be dwelt in two aspirations; one is to get the social status improved in par with the brahmana and two, to grapple with the power of political economy. To achieve these two for the non-priestly castes the easiest way is to continue with the persecution of those at the lower levels but at the same time in order to be not persecuted by the castes at the higher levels they dismiss the chaturvarnya system and thus preach equality. No caste in India forbids this attitude including the so-called shudras and untouchables. The untouchables for instance imitating the uppercaste prefer inequality amongst its several classes in favour of superiority of one to the other if not persecution of one by the others. If a section of untouchables shows its superiority over its own fellow then where has it the moral right to claim against the graded inequality for its own freedom?
Annihilation of caste: the old thesis
Annihilation of castes has been a perpetual issue over years and that several antidotes had been prophesied as remedies and some of them were indeed practised but they seemed to have not eradicated the caste system or at least eliminated the symptoms of the caste system. Some advocated the practice of the softcore remedies such as inter-dining and intermarriage and others dictated the hardcore solutions such as the destruction of the shastras and the Hindu religion as a whole. Those who believed the sanctity of the Hindu shastras could afford to go up to the act of inter-dining to abolish the caste system, which was cowardly. These people having known that this would not help eradicate the caste system adopted it to mislead or divert the people who are concerned on caste system. Those who did not believe the sanctity of the shastras disregard them as fallacy and found them as the real cause for the casteism and advanced destruction of the Hindu religion. Having prophesied the destruction of the sanctity of the shastras, Dr. Ambedkar disregarded the inter-marriage system as it is repugnant to the beliefs and dogmas, which the Hindus regard as sacred. He further went to state that “if you wish to bring about a break in the system then you must destroy the religion of the shruti and smiritis nothing else will avail. However, in his “Annihilation of caste”, he did not make it very clear as to whom he pleaded to renounce such sacredness and destroy the religion. Had he appealed to the caste Hindus or Brahman, it would have been a meaningless effort as he himself had stated that “some of them stand to lose more of their prestige and power than others do”. Neither would it have been a fruitful effort had he appealed to the untouchables or shudras (who were the worst victims of he caste system) who were at that time so ignorant not even aware of the shastra or chaturvarnya that had been inflicted upon them over era. Even now this appeal stands irrelevant to the shudras and untouchables, as these classes are so aware nowadays inasmuch as to the extent of their mass protest against the chaturvarnya. But still they feel comfortable to remain in the Hindu fold, which requires further investigation. However, having disregarded the chaturvarnya by the lower classes why the caste system still prevails amongst them? The answer to this is what has been discussed in the previous section that the attitude of ‘inequality in equality’ created the modified system of social inequality with which people feel comfortable. To add more to it if the sacredness was put on the caste system just for the sake of the fulfillment of its divinity then its eradication should also erode the caste system. But the sacredness although has a nexus with the divinity indeed has a special purpose that to grapple with the power, wealth and social status. Such is the real purpose how the castes will be eliminated even if the sacredness on them is destructed. If the caste system existed still after the destruction of the sacredness then it means that the submerged purpose of the sacredness is the one, which controls the caste classification, not the sacredness alone as it used to be thought in the past.
Having the chaturvarnya disregarded by the shudras and untouchables as social injustice who else will be its followers except the uppercastes or brahmana? If the minority uppercastes are the only strict observers of the shastra then how can the faith on the chaturvarnya be erased which is in fact non-existent in its original form in other castes? Therefore the chaturvarnya could be seen as to have treaded backwards and reduced to brahmana and uppercastes because of the disregard of the shudras and untouchables. If the sacredness on the shastra is confined only to the jurisdiction of the uppercastes then their sacredness will not mean anything as the lower castes have already relinquished their sacredness but still remain in the Hindu fold. However, if the caste system is to be eliminated it must be always remembered that it relies on the shudras and untouchables.
Even if the Hinduism is destructed the post destruction period will not be completely able to see the erased trace of the caste system. It may not necessarily exist as a caste system but as a class system accompanied by inequalities if it is not in consonant with principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. In the aftermath of the destruction, castes will be bound to stick with their own classes in the form of attitudinal, cultural, functional and ethical identities on which they have put their faith for years. This in turn will lead them to be loyal to and enthusiastic with their own classes and thus prevent the fusion with others. The best example can be found from the history of Northern Ireland, which has been a problem over centuries between the catholics and Protestants. Both are the two different classes following the same bible but with different ideologies. Predominated fanaticism drove them to avoid fusion between them. In the Hindu fold the destruction of the sacredness on the shastras on the part of the shudras and ati-shudras while may not necessarily shackle the caste system will lead to a class system where still the disparities can be seen to be existed. This must be based on what I propose to state that the “law of conservation of plurality of the society”, which can be defined as plurality of the society is inevitable and that due to the stimulus of the change process plurality in the form of classes may evolve but after the evolution they can neither be destructed nor be avoided but they can be transformed from one form to another. If this is true caste system can not be destructed but transformed to a class system based on the principles of co-existence. The fact is that there is no guarantee of achieving homogenousness in any society, especially in a society, which has been completely divided in terms of castes and creeds over years.
One may be ready to cease putting faith on the notion of the caste system but it does not necessarily suffice the other prerequisites for him/her to treat others equally and fuse with them. The prerequisites may include social ethics, culture, spirituality, eating system, attitudes and behaviour which in the long run may become the next priority of sacredness for the transformed castes (who gave up the caste system) to identify and segregate themselves as distinct classes. This shows that the caste can only be transformed from one form to another and that due to the change process of social evolution ‘plurality’ will come on into the society in its own way. If such a transformation of the caste system is set to occur whether the homogenous society is established or not but certainly the evils of the caste system can be ridden away if the transformed classes incorporate the sacredness on liberty, fraternity and equality.
Another solution for the caste problem that was aboard for some time was conversion to other religions. Embracing a religion can not make a salvation for the caste-ridden society if the real intention of the embracement is to escape from the caste prejudices. Analysing the conversion from two perspectives can vindicate this; one is the strict observance of the religious principles and rites by the people of the recipient religion and the other is from the perspective of mass conversion. Conversion to a religion must be triggered by the desire to embrace that religion based on the satisfaction on its ideologies principles and faith, any other motives that drives the recalcitrant members to embrace other religions will not last long in those religions. On the other hand, if the conversion is triggered by the caste prejudice and inequality inherent in the present religion then the recipient religion should at least be tested not only for its ideological notion and consciousness for providing equality and freedom but also for its people’s attitudinal and social behaviours towards the converts. On the ideological ground most of the non-Hindu religions can be said as providing equality amongst its entire people but in reality it is in contrast. For instance, the Christian converts from the lower castes of the Hindu fold have to still go through the same sufferings, as they can not mix up with the converts of the upper castes. Inter-marriages between the lower caste converts and uppercaste converts are punishable to an extent of excommunication by those belong to the upper caste converts. Even in Indian Islam converts of the lower castes can not be seen as mixing up with others although all are treated equal in their religious rites. Such peculiar characters of these religions in India are largely in contrast with their foreign counterparts. The prevalence of this attitude in these religions is because of the import of the uppercaste converts who although could afford to erase the sacredness on the shastras and embrace a new religion could not afford to relinquish the caste consciousness. This indicates that if the recipient religion of the lower caste also constitutes the upper caste converts then some form of caste prejudice is expected to occur, thus making the sufferings of the lower caste converts never ending. No religion in India can escape from this infection no matter howsoever pure their ideologies and social notions are. The gist of this perspective of the analysis of conversion therefore is that there will be no guarantee that the low caste converts will get their due rights and equal treatment in the respective recipient religion in India. On the other hand, for the low castes to embrace other religions there are a lot more other than the issue of equality must be weighed including the notion of the divinity and sacredness, liberty, fraternity, cultural compatibility, and the readiness to adopt the linguistic sacredness associated with the recipient religion.
The second perspective of the analysis, i.e. mass conversion is not so complex to ponder over. The under privileged castes can opt for a ‘mass conversion’ to a suitable religion to weaken the hegemony of the upper castes Hindus and that such conversion on a large scale might be thought of reducing the Hindu fold to one of a minority. Unless and until a revolution occurs a mass conversion seems to be quixotic. Even if it happens the radical transition to an another religion would apparently mean that the recipient religion is nothing but a composition of lower castes. Then, gaining equality from both the people of the recipient religion and those of the other religions much depends on their readiness to accept the converts as to have achieved the status to be treated equally. This reaction of the people of the recipient religion towards the low caste converts much depends on how far they are alien to the Hindu fold in terms of the notion of caste. However, the fact that the changed status of the converts from the eyes of the other religions including the donor-religion is questionable. For instance, a low caste Christian convert is still a low caste in the eyes of the other religions and that he/she still ought to go through the same sufferings of social injustice with other religions if not from the recipient religion. Especially, when the recipient religion fails to provide full fusion with and security to the converts then in the society their status is still continued to be foundlings.
Conversion can still become one of the effective ways to escape from the sufferings of the graded inequality provided all the aforesaid negative impacts are eliminated. In fact the shudras and untouchables together becoming the prime target of the religions invading India is not a new issue, rather millions of them have been embracing these foreign religions since long time ago. Now the uppercaste Hindus are on a mission of reconverting the converted untouchables back to the Hindu fold. Whether or not they concern about this impudent act but is it the rationalistic path of restoring the Hinduism that they must ask themselves. The religious history of the world has borne evidence that some of the global religions like Christianity and Islam had trespassed on the other societies to extend their kingdom. Trespassing sometimes was executed along with charitable assistance but many a times it was by outrageous aggression, but the end result of such trespassing is worthy to consider here. In their mission, they managed to get people of the Hindu faith embracing their religion such that later the converts became no less than any true orthodox Muslims or Christians. How was it possible the present day Hindu trespassers must contemplate with but they conveniently avert to explore this question or knowingly they continue hunting people. If the conversion is to be successful, it must be reinforced by the elements of ‘fusion’ and ‘equality’ on the part of the recipient religion as did by the Christianity and Islam, but one should remember that these religions could not afford to offer these elements at full scale. Therefore, one could conclude that trespassing is not new to any religion but how the hunted people are integrated in a religion in the aftermath of the trespassing is the key for the success. The present day Hindu orthodoxies in India have no mechanism in their mission but they will never have an efficient one as long as they continually put faith on the chaturvarnya system. However, the mission of the rejuvenation of the Hinduism by the orthodoxies shows their acknowledgement of the defeat of the Hinduism. There was a time when the uppercastes Hindus never claimed to even accept the untouchables as Hindus and always isolated them from purely adopting the Hindu rites. In contrast now they are on the battlefield to hunt the untouchables for the Hindu fold. Does this not reveal their defeat? Some might perceive them as strong for having undergone such aggressive reconvertion of untouchables but the fact is that they are very weaker than ever before and scared of their survival and thus take a defensive action to protect the Hindu religion from deterioration. But with a lack of proper fusion element incorporated in the hunt they will never succeed in their mission. Had they adopted Dr. Ambedkar’s suggestion on the reformation of the Hindu religion in their past endeavours, the Hinduism now would have been everyone’s choice in India.
Annihilation of caste: the new theory
To annihilate the caste Dr. Ambedkar prophesied that “caste is a notion, it means a notional change is needed. To change the notion, the real remedy is to destroy the belief in the sanctity of the shastras”. Having proposed this solution he foresaw the complete destruction of the religion of the smiriti. But as discussed detail earlier in this article although the depressed community has now discarded the sanctity of the chaturvarnya they still claim to be a part of the Hindu fold and their spiritual interest in Hinduism has increased than ever before. On the other hand one can not expect the upper castes to give up their belief in the sanctity of the shastras as this will detrimentally affect their superior social status, but the depressed community must do so if they want to stake their claim for equality. However, to reap its full consequence the relinquishment of the sanctity must come on in its entirety without any exclusiveness. The depressed community discarding the chaturvarnya system solely will not destroy the religion unless the shastra and smiriti as a whole is discarded with full conscious. Disregarding shastra not only means destroying the chaturvarnya but also divinity, which most people will not afford to do. To them, chaturvarnya is a matter of a system imposed by the uppercastes for their own benefit which they can afford to lose but divinity is a matter related to god whereby dismissing the god on which they put all their faith to get salvation is something which they can not even wish to retrospect in. Therefore, if one wishes to change the people’s notion on the divinity and their spiritual faith in large scale, it would prove a mere time waste. The reasons are many but to mention a few; people see divinity and the chaturvarnya exclusively as two different matters and that they are not prepared to accept that chaturvarnya is one of the characteristics of the divinity in Hinduism even though the shastras explicitly reveals this character, people are still entrapped in a state of mental slavery, and people still prefer imitating the uppercastes which in combination with their disregard of chaturvarnya lead them to adopt the practice of ‘inequality in equality’. These are the main reasons that the shudras and untouchables are still believed to have belonged to the Hindu fold despite the fact that they oppose the concept of the chaturvarnya. Then what is the real remedy to annihilate the caste system? Having found the conventional remedies such as conversion and elimination of sacredness of the chaturvarnya obsolete, the feasible solution must be the physical disintegration of the Hindu fold although it principly exists as a composition of disintegrated islands because of its endogamous character. The physical disintegration means destruction of the system of the chaturvarnya and leaving the castes as separate entities. Destruction of the system in turn means extrication of the ‘forced dependency’ amongst different castes. Having characterised by strict behaviour of endogamousness, the only factor that links all castes to form as a system is the dependency of the inferiors on the superiors for social, economic and political status. Extrication of the dependency from the caste system will empower every caste to attain the desired social status and that since the only factor that binds them to form as a system is eradicated it will be disintegrated into several entities of their own. This means it does not destroy the castes but only the system; in fact the castes can not be undone. However, extrication of the dependency alone will not be able to undo the system unless it is accompanied by the relinquishment of the sanctity of the chaturvarnaya.
How to extricate the dependency from the caste system? It can be only through the elimination of the behaviour of Socially Induced Helplessness (SIH). The concept of the SIH has been explained in detail earlier in this article, which is a feeling of lowness, inferiority or inefficiency by the people who have been continuously put under persecution for a long time. Having experienced with this attitude, people will not even attempt to overcome from their problems even under the provision of the right environment. Within the context of the caste system, this attitude of inefficiency prevents them from overcoming from the problem of dependency. Elimination of the SIH seeks to inculcate the feeling of self-efficacy in the suppressed communities, which in turn seeks them to be educated socially. Social education not only will build confidence in and impart social skills to them but also will make them not imitating the uppercastes and relinquish the sanctity of shastras. But one should not forget that relinquishment of the sanctity of shastras should not necessarily enable them to renounce Hinduism because of the sacred faith they put on the Hindu daities. Of course, the objective of the elimination of the SIH is not to destruct their faith on Hindu daities but to prepare them to be responsible for their own social status. Therefore, upon the elimination of the SIH both the sanctity on shastras and imitation of the uppercastes can be eradicated by the suppressed communities within themselves. A person can imitate one only when he/she is attracted with the special features of the one being imitated just like the follower imitates the leader. By imitating the leader the followers consciously accept the ideologies and supremacy of that leader, but within the context of the caste system the followers (lower castes) have no option except imitating the leaders (upper castes) because of the SIH persistently experienced by the lower castes. Therefore the extrication of the SIH should be able to prevent the lowers from imitating the uppers and make them feel self-efficient which in turn will extricate the dependency of the lowers. Thus the removal of the forced dependency will create a physical disintegration of the caste system whereby the disintegrated entities (castes) will in no environment feel inferior to or be depressed by the one who wishes to dominate since the post-removal of the SIH should enable the depressed to grapple with enough social strength to oppose any feudality inflicted upon them. However, the caste consciousness will never end because as discussed earlier if caste is not meant to suppress others it becomes a matter of identity with which people who belong to them feel comfortable. Therefore the caste consciousness will not take the same form as it was before the disintegration of the caste system but it will conceive the notion of the class system that precludes the dependency factor. Endogamous character might have created castes or classes of different nature but if they carry along with them the factor of forced-dependency in terms of graded inequality then they are against the humanity. This means that caste consciousness or class-consciousness of a society without the notion of the graded inequality is more practical to achieve. But to annihilate the caste system if one aims to eliminate their endogamous character by getting fusion amongst them to form a homogenous society then failure in their mission is unavoidable. Therefore, a social revolution in consonant with the elimination of the SIH amongst the depressed or lower castes and consequent extrication of the forced dependency that exists in the form of graded inequality amongst the castes must become a realistic solution to the caste problem. In the aftermath of such a revolution, inculcation of social fraternity amongst different castes based on the principle of ‘integration’ will not be quixotic.
Who should lead the revolution?
Revolutions often had the stimulus from those of the affected one because the full commitment and the courage to go through the sufferings during the revolt can be shown only by them. In the past revolutions such as the communist movement in Russia and the French movement all proved beyond doubt that the losers ought to lead the revolution. The aim of the revolution must be a radical reconstruction of the society based on the new theory of annihilation of caste as propounded in this article. Dr. Ambedkar discarded social revolution to annihilate the caste system in the past as the weaker sections then had not had freedom in having political weapon and moral weapon (education) which are indispensable to trigger a change in notions, sentiments and mental attitudes of the people. Therefore at least in his lifetime as a short-term measure he put all his efforts and strengths in the political and economic reconstruction to secure constitutional safeguards for all depressed castes including untouchables. Some might argue that he was inconsistent with his own ideologies that social reconstruction must precede economic and political reconstruction. These revelations are based on shallow analysis but having much deeper insight into it one could see the fact that it was the time that impulsed him to deal with the economic and political reconstruction that had come on in his way of social reconstruction. In fact, he emphasised social reconstruction before achieving independence to India for he was of the view that prior to such reconstruction independence would not mean anything to those who are at the lower level of the graded social hierarchy. However, being forced with the compulsion for the political and economic reconstruction in the independent India he had to get the most out of it. This resulted in procuring a package for the benefit of the menials that brought them their proportional representation, a political weapon, in the power structure. Amongst the menials who had the opportunity to enjoy the power structure there was consequential socio-economic improvement in par with the oppressors which in turn led them to imitate the upper castes oppressors. The formation of such an oppressive attitude within the menials is the main enmity to the social reconstruction, which must be destroyed immediately. It is a fallacy on the part of the privileged section of the lower castes for having assumed that the political package as secured by Dr.Ambedkar was the end in itself for their never ending social problems. What Dr. Ambedkar had secured was a temporary salvation for their persistent problem and that he never supposed that it was the end but the weapon for achieving a permanent social reformation, which the depressed classes have conveniently ignored for a long time. All were because of the precedence of having acquired the political advantage over the social reconstruction. Had the social reconstruction preceded the political reconstruction the privileged section of the weaker communities would not have taken the wrong direction, leaving the majority of their community under a constant ambience of the social inequalities. Therefore, the ultimate measure to be undertaken is the social revolution in consonant with the new doctrine of annihilating the caste and that if it ought to be successful it is the losers who have to agitate and lead the revolution in an integrated manner. Now the situation is so conducive that the weaker communities could not be prevented to use their political and moral weapons in their struggle against the social prejudice unless they themselves restrain from doing so. The nucleus of the revolution must be the emancipation from both the mental slavery and from the clutches of the shastra, which is possible only when the moral weapon is properly used.
The lower castes will have obtained socio-economic strength in the post-disintegration of the caste system so that any confrontation will be resisted equally by the lower castes, which may thus lead to a severe conflict between the upper and lower castes. Therefore, the post-social reconstruction environment should inherently facilitate ‘integration’ amongst all classes. The notion integration came into being because of the being of the differentiation. A society is always multipolar with diversed interests, ideologies and practices and that the peaceful co-existence of all its constituents seeks them to be effectively integrated. Therefore, integration is not simply the avoidance or destruction of differentiation but a problem of approaching, analysing and managing differentiation without attempting to eliminate them. If any attempt was made to eliminate the plurality of the society in the name of integration then the destruction of the society will be inevitable. This means that the law of integration seeks to undisturb the characteristics of different castes that bear their identities. But the characteristics should not be wrongly interpreted as to have also included the feudal attitude of the uppercastes as the traditional brahmanical attitude is to dominate and suppress others. This lofty attitude will impede people of different castes to execute mutual recognition and respect and thus will create conflict amongst them. Therefore the new approach of integration must acknowledge and respect different castes while taking into account the fact that different castes are expected to continually evolve triggered by the change process.
The enthusiastic pro-vedic brahmanical mass when thousands of years back set to make a transition to the change – the incorporation of the chataurvarnya system – it failed to provide equality, mutual recognition, mutual respect and mutual assistance to the then existing dravidian system. Therefore, the Hindu society is still floundering with continued agitations and resistance from the affected groups. If the chaturvarnya system precluded the graded hierarchy and incorporated the aforesaid mutualities the brahmanical society would have succeeded in their mission with greater respect and dignity. Due to their earlier feudal attitude they earned a name far worse than any racial or communal apartheid in the world. To annihilate the caste system castes should be integrated by accepting and properly handling differences amongst them in the post-revolution and that if the process of effective integration requires preservation of their differences then it must be done so. To effectively integrate different castes following principles are noteworthy to consider.
Castes, which do not destructively impact upon the society, should have mutual understanding, respect and assistance for mutual co-existence. But it must be noted that regardless of the castes being whether good or bad must be acknowledged as a separate entity otherwise the ignored caste will cause all ill effects to show its existence.
All commonalties that exist amongst the castes should be fostered and encouraged so that a sense of unity can be achieved across the variety of castes.
Castes, which fall away from the ‘path of purity’, should be weakened by increasing and strengthening the unity amongst the castes which follow that path. The path of purity means the path that dictates one to adopt high ethical standards including humanity, honesty and sincerity and high social standards including liberty, fraternity and equality.
Castes, which are destructive to the human kind, should be made faded away by excommunicating them from the society and preventing them from grappling with the wealth and power.
Changes are persistent and inevitable; nothing on earth is eternal such that everything is subjected to change. But within the caste ridden society it is evident that endogamousness or excommunication is the characters that often cause the change, which consequently stimulate the emergence of different castes. These formations may dramatically seek different ways in which the issues relevant to the changes or needs or excommunication are usually dealt with. Consequently this may cause stir, confusion and agitation amongst different castes which are affected by those new developments. Therefore the new formation should not be undermined or ignored but should be subjected to continuous scrutiny for the validity of their contribution to the humankind. First, analyse them as to what they really mean to the humankind. Second, analyse whether the situation really calls for their emergence. Third, if so, analyse whether they serve their purpose. Fourth, analyse their impact upon the humankind. Fifth, if they bring negative impact, find out the ways to diffuse them without trying to blatantly oppose them at the first instance. Because filled with indignation they might oppose with equal force and thus injure the process of integration but they must be treated properly so that they gradually wane by themselves. Excommunication of such castes by fostering more integrity and solidarity amongst other castes and prevention of those destructive castes from grappling with power will leave them with only two options: either to change their attitude and follow the path of purity in social life or suffer from the fate of excommunication. In all respect, to improve the integrity amongst and achieve peaceful co-existence of all castes, the commonalties along with the principles of fraternity, liberty and equality must be reinforced during the post-annihilation of the caste system