|How Does The Caste System Impact Indian Mindset,Attitudes and Behaviour ? As a keen observer of the Indian Caste System in practice,I could not help but observe its undue impact on the mindset and attitudes of every Indian, irrespective of his religious affiliation.In fact every single move of an average Indian is directed by all the all powerful and pervasive Caste System or Caste Spirit(CS).I have attempted a critical and well-researched study on the impact of Caste System on the Indian mindset and attitudes.For such a study to be realistic ,first of all,one needs to step out of the system and observe through the eyes of a foreigner.I am sure that you would agree on such a view, once you read the analysis in full.I would urge the readers to consider this study more as an introspective exercise than as a charge sheet against Caste System .If this study is considered as a charge-sheet,then it may unnecessarily prompt the reader to prepare a defence. After all,we need to know ,that all said and done in Caste System undoubtedly remains as a curse on India, that needs to be mercilessly killed in the interests of the Nation.· Caste System is not about people alone!Often we think that CS applies only to’ human beings’ !Nothing can be far from truth than this thinking.If you critically analyse Indian life, you will know that the tentacles of CASTE SYSTEM extends into every area of human activity in India. .Eg.The left hand of the body is treated as inferior to the right hand and is used for cleaning ***.Similarly the leg is treated as’ low’ as it carries all dirt of walking etc.Most Indians wash their legs when they return home after going out.Among drinks’ coffee’ is considered as ‘high’ and ‘tea ‘is considered ‘low ‘.The reason attributed is that tea is normally consumed by people who are into physical labor category and coffee is taken by ‘thinkers’! What about cars ? Maruti 800 is a’ low caste’ while Dzire will fit into high caste . Among the snacks, some are considered low and some as high depending on each area.
In certain Hindu families the eldest son is treated like the high caste as against the youngest who is the servant caste.Similarly between man and woman, a woman is always the low caste and is entitled only to what is left after the men in the family have their full.Among the animals dogs are considered low and that is the reason why Indians have the minimum number of dogs as pets per household in the entire world .Brahmins never have any pets .
In (Satapatha Brahmana 14:1:1:31) women ,dogs and shudra are equated in a verse -“And whilst not coming into contact with Sûdras and remains of food; for this Dharma is he that shines yonder, and he is excellence, truth, and light; but woman, the Sûdra, the dog, and the black bird (the crow), are untruth: he should not look at these, lest he should mingle excellence and sin, light and darkness, truth and untruth.”
Among cattle the poor buffalo is low caste as its’ varna’ is black ! Cow is a Brahmin among the cattle.Garden lizards are to be killed as they are anti-Rama and squirrels are ‘reverential’ as they helped Rama in building the bridge to Lanka!
So Caste System extends to all areas of activities in India.
· Caste Spirit makes one knowledge-proof !
When CS rules ones mind, the person concerned may learn new things but nothing that is inconsistent with the CS enters their mind. So however high one’s education may be, he may acquire just academic knowledge but he continues to remain change -proof when it comes to his opinion or behavior with respect to superstitions, caste discrimination etc.
Indians who are educated in Harvard, when they return back to India, do not change their behavior in any manner.They continue to practice whatever they they were practising before their overseas exposure.They observe caste while marrying. They do not fight against social injustice or superstitions ,as CS still controls their thought process.Space scientists in India who are capable of sending rockets into the space ,continue to look for auspicious omens before launching the rockets ! So CS effectively rules out change in superstitious culture of the Indian intellectuals,through acquired knowledge.
Compare this with a particular tribes in North Eastern India who used to kill their enemies and hang their skulls in their verandahs as a statement of valour.When the Christian missionaries who served among them, taught them that it was not correct,they changed their century old obnoxious practice immediately .How could they change a century old practice? Because they are beyond the control of the powerful CS !
· ‘Lying’ is the mother-tongue of Caste System !
We saw that the spirit of caste ,over rules every thing else in India.It shapes all your opinions and views.It determines the direction of your ‘decisions’ as well.
Eg. A Painting Competition was held in Chennai, in an office for the children of the staff of a PSB. The Paintings were first viewed by the public and given marks.A particular Painting P1 came first followed by Painting P2 ,in this viewers rating.The viewers who gave marks were not aware of who painted P1 and P2. Now a Brahmin Judge comes to finalize the award and he quickly gets to check who painted P1 and P2.Unfortunately P1 is done by a dark Dalit and P2 done by a fair Brahmin ! The moment he comes to know, this the Spirit Of Caste(SOC) takes over the mind and commands him to comply with ‘Caste Dharma’.So the Judge tries and finds out some’faults’ in P1 and declares P2 as the winner of 1st Prize !
Here the beauty is that the Judge himself may not be aware that SOC has taken him over and that his decision is biased ! So it is not correct to blame the Judge for ‘injustice’ as he is not aware of his prejudice.A ‘foreigner’ observing the scene closely can sense it immediately.
Often we find it so exhausting in convincing the Indian intellectuals,on what is patently acceptable ,if their accepting that fact can go against the Caste Dharma.The intellectuals draw all their argumentative skills to the fullest extent and put down any argument that militates against the CD.Suppose a Dalit argues that the sun rises in the East,the response from the intellectuals would be ‘Well,depends on which direction you are sitting !’.The same argument is put forward by a Brahmin,the response would be something like this’That,of course, is a universal truth!’
This is the reason why Indian intellectuals keep on denying ground realities relating to ’untouchability’ ‘ beef ban’etc.They may not be aware that they are doing it at all,as they are under the spirit of caste..
As a natural consequence of this imperative,one is required to do any thing or pay any price to maintain and uphold the ‘Caste Dharma’(CD).That anything includes ‘lying/cheating ‘and that is why ‘lying/cheating’ is so common in India among intellectuals and others.When the intellectuals practice ‘lying/cheating ’,others tend to imitate the same.So’ lies’ breed ‘lies’ and soon it becomes the official language of the Caste Kingdom. ’Lying’ becomes an essential part of Caste System(CS) as it is an easy way out when the ground realities clash with the mandated requirements of CS.
This is the basic reason for lack of integrity among the intellectuals of India.While in foreign countries,it is very common to find the accused in criminal cases admitting to charges, the accused in India never admits to his guilt on his own.
· Caste System controls Judgment/Justice/Law
Caste System prevails over all individual judgments including all judicial decisions.
Let me illustrate the hold CS has over judicial ‘judgments’ with the following explanation.
The western concept of ‘ justice’ implies the following:
1) just 2) equal 3) neutral 4) impartial 5 )without prejudice 6)fair 7) crime-based
The Indian concept of ’Dharma’ is concept unknown to the west.
‘Dharma’ implies the following.
1. Based on one’s birth in a ‘caste ‘,each caste is assigned a duty. The Caste Dharma is to do that duty sincerely. If they do not do their assigned duty and try do the duty of some other caste it is called ‘Adharma’.
2.‘Adharma’ is punishable under Hindu law.
3.The punishment for any crime committed,as per this dispensation, depends on the’ caste of the criminal ‘and not ‘on the crime’. This means for the same crime, different punishments are applicable according to the caste of the criminal.
For illustration, let us assume that X murders Y in England. The punishment for murder as prescribed in the criminal law of the land will be awarded to X in England irrespective of his race or colour.
1. But suppose the same X murders Y in India.
Let us see how Dharma works.
First of all the caste of X will be ascertained
The punishment will be as under.
a)If X belongs to Brahmin caste ( priestly caste) -Punishment will be very low ,say something like ‘ plucking a few hairs from his head’ etc.
b)If X belongs to Shudra caste(servant caste) punishment will be severe like capital punishment. The lower the caste, higher is the punishment
Hence Caste Dharma practically translates into’ injustice’.
So Caste Dharma is the opposite of ‘Justice’.It is not crime-based but person-based.
It is unfair,unjust,prejudiced,,partial and unequal .
By Sundar A.S