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A Hindu Response to Ambedkar's paper
AMBEDKAR ‘S PAPER - CASTES IN INDIA: THEIR MECHANISM, GENESIS AND DEVELOPMENT - RESPONSE
When investigating ancient social structures the most important factor is perspective and context. Modern social class categories do not really apply to ancient cultures.Dr Ambedkar greatly errored here .The HINDU varṇa system refers to the classical structure of society first described in the Rig Veda where society described as a single socio-economic being (puruṣa) was divided into four sections: brahmins — teachers, priests, scholars, advisors were the head of the social entity, the kshatriyas — warriors and administrators were the arms of the social entity, the vaishyas — farmers, were the loins and the sudras — legs, were the support, the stabilizers and the locomotion of society. This was a purely idealistic description of society and not a socio-political functional model. Power in ever society in invested in the economy and in those who control the means of production.
The four Varnas are a general professional classification of human society — the same four categories can be found in every complex society.These were only a THEORETICAL
All politicians, governing agencies, law-enforcement, border protection, armed forces etc. are “Kshatriyas”.
All those who work in the teaching, consulting and legal profession are categorised as “Brahmins”
Those who work in finance, investment, banking, entrepreneurs and investors, owners of the means of production etc. are “Vaishyas”
And all those who work in service professions and vocations are “shudras”.
VARNA were merely conventional designations signifying occupational differences and, since men were free to change their occupations, these diffe-rences had no hereditary or genetical basis.The distinctions between Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras are founded merely on the observance of diverse rites and the practice of different professions. One who engages in trade comes to be known as a merchant, one who indulges in military pursuits is known as a soldier, and one who administers the country a king. It was not by birth that one becomes merchant, soldier orking but by the actions that one performs or the job one does.
Here is the Gist of his Paper - Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development -
In the paper, Ambedkar made a presentation a social phenomenon that emerged from the strategy of the Brahmins who adopted a strictly endogamous matrimonial regime, leading the other groups to do the same in order to emulate this self-proclaimed elite. He said that "the superposition of endogamy on exogamy means the creation of caste".
This is coming from Western Universalism where Situations in Europe is mapped into India.The Europeans mapped the protestan experience of India and we internalised it as fact. Tyranny of the church becomes tyranny of Brahmins, fiefdom and serfdoms of land owners in Europe becomes caste system in India, decentralised polity becomes corruption and so on.We have internalised the colonial experience where the Europeans saw only misogyny, caste and corruption. This says more about European society of the time rather than India. Brahminism is a mirror image from Europe Society where Pope and Church had supreme powers.Europe feudal system of the Middle Ages when the Church had total power over society,The majority of the population were serfs and were exploited, down trodden and lived in abject poverty while the clergy and nobles lived in extravagant luxury. In India this was completely reverse. Here the Vaishya-Shudra community was the major production n land owning power n the Brahmins were poor. this is complete reverse
The Problem is -There never was any central organisation giving certificates of varna status to people.there never was an administrative structure in place to ensure the varna status of any person ,the problem with forced Varna label is- is that there has to be a central organisation and an administrative structure n bureaucracy in place to ensure the compliance of the people fixed with varna and with the imposed varna behaviour n duties. There was no organized state machinery so vast and pervasive like in Europe and Middle East that it could enforce any of those laws outlined in the Dharmashastras, which were merely theoretical textbooks. Think about this-India consisted of more than 1000’s of Languages,Very few People spoke Sanskrit which is the Languages of Smritis.
the endogamy part doesn't seem to have been too strict. Our puranas, itihasas, stories are full of cross-jaati, cross-varna, even cross-species relationships and marriages, occurring usually without much objection or scandal.it was just a form of tribalism , a kind of extended family system gone even further to include people with similar values and trade . They formed clans to fulfil their social needs and security . It is an ingenious system in which people of all varieties and diversities were able to live together.Caste is neither race nor a system in India until the British devised & made it into one. No Indian emperor/king made lists. Caste was largely peer-regulated endogamous professional social groups. Aryan myth & Caste system are British gifts to India.
Historically, the Brahmins never had political sway over the population in the capacity of rulers and kings, (with the exception of a few sporadic examples). The education and Sastras of brahmins were largely deemed unfit for making a living, up until McCaulay started the system of white collar jobs for ruling the empire cheaply, without having to pay high salaries to natives of Britain. Brahmins, with their traditional mastery over literary, linguistic and mathematical skills and a heridity wedded to poverty, jumped first to become the salaried employee class in the British Raj. In fact, some brahmins mistook the British empire as relief from centuries of Islamic oppression of Hindu religion and Brahmins' in particular. The people who started with lowly clerical posts in courts, magistrate and accounting offices, within two generations, went on to become senior bureucrats, lawyers, judges, professors. The other upper castes with access to British education pretty much followed the same socioeconomic trend. The story of Brahmins, who probably never owned more than 2% of agricultural resources (which was the only form of wealth in the pre 20th century and despite being 8% of the total population) at any point in history, and who never did any business whatsoever, has been rewritten by many political “reformers” in the 20th century to create a socio political bogeyman, who continues to provide a convenient political narrative, as you hinted, for a number of political gains. Part of the blame must go to the Brahmins' themselves - the class of people who fought British tyranny vehemently fot over 60 years became voluntarily complacent when the same acts of corruption, looting and deception are repeated under the 70 years of Congress rule by the Nehru-Indira dynasty. Post independence, Brahmins' have forsaken their traditional life wedded to poverty, divinity and pure intellect, and started chasing money in the public and private sector employment. They lost their cultural superiority, but never found the money they began chasing.
Now we get into more Details -
Humans evolved as social animals many centuries ago. We started off as nomadic creatures who hunted, farmed and reared animals. We were the simple folks who did manual labour and hardwork and found happiness in the mundane life. That was the foundation of civilisations.
Slowly when tribes formed, people started trading with each other to obtain necessary items. Barter system was established first and people gave what they had in excess in exchange for what they needed. Thus came to be the concept of traders who helped the society progress .
As trades grew and resources in some places depleted, some rogue people decided to steal and loot. To protect themselves from such harms, some of the people fought. They provided protection to their tribes and helped the workers and traders live peacefully and safely. Warriors came to be so.
When societies became more complex, they needed leaders and guides. Philosophies were created and preached by some. They became teachers. Since the teachers were wise, they had the power to command respect and decide on who would lead the people. Often the strong, the warriors, would be the leaders while the wise would be the king makers. Thereby came to be the political masterminds and teachers. The men of ancient times had learned to worship the nature. Some of the wise regularised and arranged methods of worship which slowly and over the centuries evolved into religions.
Why I wrote down this long lesson of history is to show that the physical labourers, the farmers, artisans and the ones who do the day to day activities are the foundation of the society. If you see the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you can see that the most basic needs of everyone are fulfilled by these people. That’s why they are the base of every society.
Humans, like many other mammals, live in various social groups. We often build a web of relationship known as the Kinship. Initially we were all in small bands or tribes & we were not in close contact with other groups. As we kept coming together to form more complex societies, some wanted to organize & formalize the group.
Band — Bands are the smallest units. It is an informal group of a few dozen people who work together. It might not have a leader.
Clan — This is a slightly more matured group with a belief in a common origin & descent. In India, this roughly translates to Gotra.clans were in most ancient human societies. The clans formed a strong kinship & bonding among themselves. Also, most clans thought of others in the clan as brothers/sisters & thus would not marry within the clan. The Khaps in Haryana take to this the extreme & can even give death sentences to those who marry within the clan.
Tribe — Mulitiple clans can come together to form a tribe & tribes can often be quite well structured. They can have their own leaders & build common cultural practices. In many ancient societies, people married within the same tribe. In short, you marry out of a clan and within a tribe. In India, this roughly corresponds to Jati.
Nations — Tribes formed even bigger groups named the nation. For instance, in the Battle of the Ten Kings the tribal groups formed the nation of Bhāratas that won over the confederation of 10 tribes in north India. Thus, we call our nation Bharat.
Division of labour — As we started forming civilizations, we also found it quite useful to divide work. Thus, some would produce milk, some would farm, others would weave etc. Like in other civilizations, India had this division of labor too. These divisions then got superimposed over the much older clan & tribal divisions.
These are Equivalents of Jaatis as Community groups in INDIA.
It is the evolution from hunter-gatherer to nomadic stock-herding to agriculture based society. In ALL early civilisations there were four divisions of society — kings, priests, herders and farmers.
Ancient Hindu society was very primitive and there were four sections to society, the nobility (Kshatriyas) the priests (Brahmins) the farmers and stock-breeders (Vaishyas) and all the rest — skilled and unskilled labourers and servants (Sudras.)
By around 3102 BCE or the 4th Millennium BCE, humans figured a few awesome things that propelled us into an era of technological advancements - we are still to witness since. During this time, we figured the following:
How to write - Which finally lead to the birth to ‘History’ - anything that happened or is inferred before this time is considered pre-history (for all those getting confused about Indian epics pre-dating this timeline, remember, they are known as Shrutis or books transferred through hearing and memory).
How to grow crops - which lead to the advent of the first human settlements. Leading to development of languages and even music - this is the time when humans get their first pets as well.
How to make pottery on potter’s wheel - Which helped humans store produce and water. The knowledge earned while making pottery was applied in metallurgy as well.
How to build sail boats - which lead to the first cross country voyages and the advent of trade and exchange of ideas.
How to smelt Bronze from Copper and Tin - This was such a huge technological leap in human evolution that historians named this era as the Bronze Age (3000 BCE to 1200 BCE).
The Indian caste-system started in an unsophisticated agrarian society of 5000 years ago in which there were basically four possible vocations - (1) priest/scholar, (2) chieftain/warrior, (3) farmer/stockman or (4) labourer/craftsmen.
Leaving aside the first 2 vocations as being non-productive, we take a peek at the other two. The economy of such an agrarian society was static and consisted of internal barter and exchange of goods and services. Trade did not develop until farmers began producing surplus. With a surplus of food they could began trading with other communities, villages, towns, kingdoms etc.
Trade then required traders and brokers who received payment and thus wealth gradually accumulated. With the accumulation of surplus wealth an interest arose in fine goods. So the fourth estate rose to the challenge and started producing fine goods:– textiles, jewellery, pottery, tools and utensils - pots, pans, cups, plates etc.
The erstwhile farmers (vaishyas) abandoned farming and took to trading, shopkeeping, banking and to expanding foreign markets – exporting and importing goods.
The former labours (sūdras) took up the farming and stock-breeding as well as all the crafts and construction.
This economic expansion atomised the previous simple “varna-system” into hundreds of different jātis - which were highly skilled and professional guilds. Each and every craft, and vocation was managed by a single community that had a monopoly on production. For example there were the weavers and their guilds which at one time in the 1700’s had a virtual monopoly on the world’s textile production. Only the caste-weavers and no one else was employed in the textile manufacture.
Goldsmiths and silversmiths had their own guilds and would only employ and train men of their own caste, likewise for the sculptors, engineers, builders, carpenters, blacksmiths, ship-builders, tanners, cobblers, mechanics etc. name any vocation or profession and they had their caste-guilds. And this is how the “caste-by-birth” meme was entrenched in Indian society, because you would learn the trade of your father and become a member of the guild. There was no vocational choice or mobility between guilds.
This structure and division resulted in highly skilled and specialist craftsmanship requiring cooperation and partnership with other guilds. For example a cart-builder would require the cooperation of the woodsmen, carpenters, wheel-makers, blacksmiths and leather-workers.
So there was an extensive network of cooperation and exchange of goods and services across society - and ancient India was renowned for the quality of the goods produced.
Needless to say the former unemployed and economically unproductive warriors and priests fitted themselves into the emerging complex economy by taking to farming, stock-breeding, security work, or in the case of the priests under the British- found employment in the expanding educational system and the extensive and complex bureaucracy.
As society developed and commerce and international trade flourished and expanded, mainly under the Guptas in the 3rd century, society underwent a drastic change. We now have the proliferation of jātis — thousands of new professional guilds emerging in keeping with the ever increasing of goods and services.there was an expansion of temple building which required huge investment, labour and workers as well as the congregants to supply the services and income — all these projects relied on the work and financial support of Sudra-vaishya majority.
For a Society to function,u need different people who have different abilities,aptitudes,skills to contribute in society..Hinduism is the oldest religion on earth that is min. 5000 years old. Origins of Varna system. Compare old world with todays modern world n u will get why at that point of time Varna system maked Sense .It was made when then there were no formal training centers for any particular profession in India,In Ancient times,There was no car,train,or any such modern equipment that we use today.I am talking about a time when there was no car,planes,trains,electricity,Internet etc
Suppose your father was a blacksmith, so at the age of 6, the moment you were ready, you started playing around with the hammer and anvil. By the time you were 8, your father saw that you anyway wanted to hit it, so it was better to hit it with some purpose. By the time you were 12, you were on the ,the time you were 18 or 20, you had some craft and expertise on your hand to make your own living. So if your father was a blacksmith, you became a blacksmith; if your father was a goldsmith, you became a goldsmith. Each profession developed its own training centers within the family structure because that was the only training center; all the craft, professionalism and skills in the society could only evolve like this. If you are a blacksmith, you do not try to go and do a goldsmith's job, you just do a blacksmith's job because we need a blacksmith in the society. When people multiplied and became a thousand blacksmiths, naturally they had their own way of eating, their own way of marriage and their own way of doing things, so they formed a caste. There is really nothing wrong with it if you look at it on one level. It was just a certain arrangement of convenience for the society. Between a blacksmith and a goldsmith, the kind of hammer they use, how they work, how they look what and how they eat, everything was naturally distinctly different because the type of work was very different. It is over a period of time that it became a means for exploitation. We started saying that a man who runs the temple is better than a man who runs the school. A man who runs the school is better than a man who runs the blacksmith shop. These are differences,everybody has to do something. But we established differences as discriminations over a period of time. If we had just maintained the difference, we would have been a nice, colorful culture; but we made it discriminatory. These kind of discriminations existed in every Society n Civilization n Culture at that times.Anybody can look this from China,Japan,Korea,To European Societies.
Caste system develops, when the worth difference within a society sharpens to such a point that the social superior shuns fellowship and intermarriage with the inferior, thus creating a society made up of closed hereditary classes. This happened in European history for centuries. For example, among the Saxons of the eighth century social divisions were cast-iron, and the law punished with death the man who should presume to marry a woman of rank higher than his own. The Lombards, claims Ross, killed the serf who ventured to marry a free woman, while the Visigoths and Burgundians scourged and burned them both. Among the early Germans a freedman remained under the taint of ancestral servitude until the third generation, i.e., until he could show four free-born ancestors.
As class lines harden, the upper class becomes more jealous of its status and resists or retards the admission of commoners, however great their merit or wealth. This was the motivation of observed caste lines in the Roman Empire. Castes become a means to block social mobility. Over time, it does not matter if an individual has merit or talent or creative energy. The birth or purity of blood becomes more decisive for social status than the differences of occupation or wealth which raised up the original social inequalities. Look for more details on global perspectives and for “The last untouchable in Europe”.
The caste system was just a way of organising society and establishing hierarchy - it is common to all biological systems and every society on earth - even the Communists have a caste/class system with advantages and disadvantages for the elect.Many classical societies of the world had pre-modern social systems worse than India. When transformed into modern states they dealt with unequal social systems by banning such official lists ®isters. If you want equal society you should stop using unequal measures-
What is deplorable is not the structure, its the oppression, exploitation, suppression, discrimination etc. that humans engage in when given the opportunity - again common to all societies. How was the medieval Christian society with its caste-system? How were the peasants treated? The system itself is not bad as long as there are possibilities of human flourishing and access to health and education and social services. The ultimate form of spiritual discrimination is posited by Christianity and Islam - eternal sadistic torture for all unbelievers - for ETERNITY and the exaltation and bliss for the believers. In Hinduism there is a human hierarchy based on many conditioning factors but the Self(atman) is the same in all beings and all Selves will ultimately be reunited in the Godhead.
Since ages, there has been a constant evolution in the way people make money. Times change, technology changes & incomes have only increased in the past decades. Those who moved with the time & upgraded themselves, they flourished. Those who didn't, perished. Subjective or objective division will always be there in the basis of Money , Muscle , Intellect , Religion , Caste , Job , Profession etc . It's a worldwide phenomenon. Political establishment will always create their base either by mutuality of interest or by division.
Simple fact is that medieval geopolitical and sociopolitical dynamics can not be judged by 21st century standards.
Hindu society as if it is a monolith that has existed unchanged since the beginning. There are innumerable examples from ancient times when birth-based caste did not exist, and people chose their vocation freely. Please read more about the history of birth-based caste. It started only in the early centuries AD, and only progressively became stricter. Even so, there are countless examples from medieval times where “caste” was never a barrier for occupations. For example, most kings of medieval kingdoms were Shudras. The founders of the great Vijayanagara empire were shepherds.The communities in traditional India each specialized in an occupation useful to society. Each of those communities as a unit wielded sufficient power proportionate to their expertise, that they were self-governing units. There was no organized state machinery so vast and pervasive that it could enforce any of those laws outlined in the Dharmashastras, which were merely theoretical textbooks..No culture or civilization in the past had social equality, and no modern democracy or nation has social equality. This comparative perspective is essential to get an unbiased and sincere view.
Varna was only a theoretical description based on what the person is currently engaged with.There never was any central organisation giving certificates of varna status to people.there never was an administrative structure in place to ensure the varna status of any person, The problem with forced Varna label is- is that there has to be a central organisation and an administrative structure n bureaucracy in place to ensure the compliance of the people fixed with varna and with the imposed varna behaviour n duties .The pre-colonial written record in royal court documents and traveller accounts studied by professional historians and philologists like Nicholas Dirks, GS Ghurye, Richard Eaton, David Shulman and Cynthia Talbot show little or no mention of caste.
Social identities were constantly malleable. "Slaves" and "menials" and "merchants" became kings; farmers became soldiers, and soldiers became farmers; one's social identity could be changed as easily as moving from one village to another; there is little evidence of systematic and widespread caste oppression or mass conversion to Islam as a result of it. All the available evidence calls for a fundamental re-imagination of social identity in pre-colonial India.
IMPACT Of COLONIAL AND INVASIONS ON SOCIETY -
Before British ,Hindu law was never been formalised or applied uniformly anywhere in India or other Hindu kingdoms and empires in South East Asia for over 2000 years. the nature of the judiciary and legal system in India has been extremely complex over the millennia reflecting the multifarious diversity of Indian society, and an egregious attempt to rationalise and regulate it caused immense disruption which echos even today. The Laws of Manu are incredibly complex, contradictory, out-dated and simply impossible to apply in any practical way or real-time situation - ever! So they never formed the basis of any legal framework in any Hindu kingdoms in India or South-east Asia EVER. it was the description of what those many authors saw as the IDEAL society - it never was the basis of any real practical law in any Indian state. The British resurrected Manusmriti
The Laws of Manu are incredibly complex, contradictory, out-dated and simply impossible to apply in any practical way or real-time situation - ever! So they never formed the basis of any legal framework in any Hindu kingdoms in India or South-east Asia EVER. it was the description of what those many authors saw as the IDEAL society - it never was the basis of any real practical law in any Indian state.
British created a static mapping of varna and jati. They forced everyone into a varna. There were 100s of kgs of letters in protest. Isn't it strange that for a system which was said to be frozen for 5000 years, people were contesting their varna. Shouldn't everyone have known?
This doesnot mean Discrimination was not there.-All kinds of discrimination is present in every society. This keeps changing. A zamindari system was created, on the lines of European feudalism. Lords had power over the commoners. The power-holders became a jati. This is the core of discrimination.
What about Untouchables than ?-No one was untouched via successive invasions. Read book about formation of "untouchables" during Islamic invasion, when the practise of carrying night soil around camps came about. Many British-time "untouchables" were formerly defeated kshatriyas.Yes, the defeated khsatriyas lost status, and were often pushed into degrading roles by invaders. They also themselves felt defeated and the status for the entire clan was lowered, they would move to the outskirts.
Here is a good book on the group of SC and ST during Muslim rule. https://hindupost.in/review-of-growth-of-scheduled-tribes-and-castes-in-medieval-india-by-ks-lal/
the problem is with absolutism. No one is claiming "no discrimination existed" or "British created everything." British created something they called the "caste system." This does not mean no discrimination, atrocity etc. happened in India before this.But if you look at the kind of social stratification and institutionalized slavery & racism that was present in societies across the world, India was at least as much, if not more advanced for most of history.
Birth-based social hierarchy is a very European idea where social privilege and rank was carried by birth. Note how there is an explicit hierarchy of titles (which get passed down by primogeniture) Archduke, Duke, Marquis, Count, Earl , Viscount, Baron , Lord, Gentleman.
No surprise then that the British tried to map Indian society to the Birth-based privileges in their own society. Hence the creation and enumeration of "the caste system." Not that "gentleman" is also a rank in the social hierarchy, coming from the notion of "landed gentry."
The "aristocracy" was based on blood and race privilege in the British system of peerage and the landed gentry was below this. Landed gentry were those who could live off of rental income from the underclass. The Mughals had similarly created "zamindari."
Shoehorning Jati/zat into Varna was the Colonial Contribution. Census took hierarchical Zamindari imposition & badged everyone according to their job or nostril width/skull-length/skin Colour where job couldn’t fit. It was pure pragmatic admin. 3 generations later internalized. Indians never used surnames until census. These became ‘caste markers’. Jati was far more fluid before that. Varna hardly known unless you were super-devout minority. Look at caste-names:all refer to Zamindari roles! Pattnaik, Patel, Chaudhary, Roy. Nothing to do with Dharma! . Interesting to distinguish between Zat and Jati as subtly different uses of the term. Etymology leaves a trail of clues to stimulate fresh thinking as it doesn’t co-operate with political spin, expediency or power-play revision. Understanding needs multi-lingual scholarship.
Eg - Zat and jati? .Oonchi-Zat/Neechi-Zat predates the Varna imposition. It refers to the respect/reward afforded over centuries by Zamindari. Persian/Mughal andaaz of class/elitism in culture, dress, appreciation of ‘finer things’. Complete with race-based aristocracy being serviced by neechi-zat. Thus scholars, military leaders, accountants, landlords all oonchi zat. Workers all neechi zat. From my reading, Jati was not a way of indexing people, but a local colloquial term, source of personal esteem/belonging/shared welfare. Individuated/Monetized/ranked thru Zat lens.
We all know that Southern India is about 40% richer than the Indian average in PCI, while UP / BIhar are about 50% poorer than the Indian average. But when did this gap originate? I have a hunch the chasm has its roots in 19th century and in Thomas Munro Sir Thomas Munro, 1st Baronet - Wikipedia
Thomas Munro was appointed the governor of Madras presidency in 1819. And he introduced the Ryotwari system in 1820 - a system where the cultuvators (ryots) (anglicized form of Raitas - a dravidian word) paid the government directly rather than through the Zamindar - a middleman.
In the North, the revenue assessment system retained the Mughal Zamindari paradigm. In fact the British solidified the system further by granting Zamindars more powers and land ownership rights While in the South, thanks to Munro, there was a shift to the Ryotwari system in 1820 . I am not particularly well read on this. So this is more of a musing than a theory. Would be good to hear if there are others who have studied this topic, who feel similarly and think the South North economic divide originated with Munro's legislation . The great 19th cen thinker John Stuart Mill who worked for several years for the East India Company wrote this about the Ryotwari system (in contrast to the Zamindari and Mahalwari systems of north india -Ryotwari system is "the System where every registered holder of land is recognized as its proprietor, and pays rent directly to the Government""He is at liberty to sublet his property, or to transfer it by gift, sale, or mortgage. He cannot be ejected by Government so long as he pays the fixed assessment, and has the option annually of increasing or diminishing his holding, or of entirely abandoning it." (Contd..) . "In unfavourable seasons remissions of assessment are granted for entire or partial loss of produce. The assessment is fixed in money, and does not vary from year to year, ..........nor is any addition made to the assessment for improvements effected at the Ryot's own expense""The peasants under this system is virtually a Proprietor on a simple and perfect title, and has all the benefits of a perpetual lease without its responsibilities, inasmuch as he can at any time throw up his lands, but cannot be ejected so long as he pays his dues"
These are fine words highlighting the virtues of the Ryotwari (or Raiyatwari) system from none other than JS Mill himself.Though I haven't studied the issue it appears the Ryotwari system incentivized better cultivation and also by making the peasant independent of the control of any middlemen, it also permitted greater mobility and possibly more rural-to-urban http://migration.So I did a thread of mostly idle speculation wondering if Ryotwari vs Zamindari settlement choices had a lasting impact on South vs North economic development paths (Contd..).Now I discover a couple of MIT researchers had asked the same question 14 yrs ago and concluded that settlement choices are INDEED a significant variable! Here's the link https://economics.mit.edu/files/511 Feels very good!
Here's what the researchers concude - "We analyze the colonial land revenue institutions set up by the British in India, and show that differences in historical property rights institutions lead to sustained differences in economic outcomes"
"Areas in which proprietary rights in land were historically given to landlords (zamindars) have significantly lower agricultural investments and productivity in the post-independence period than areas in which these rights were given to cultivators (ryots)" Hunches are useful!
Table 1 in the paper is useful. Here's an examination of the % of districts in major states in British Raj where the individual cultivator was assessed for revenue directly BIhar- 0% Bengal - 0% MP- 10% Ori - 32% UP- 42% AP- 66% TN- 75% Har- 85% Punjab- 87% Kar- 100% Guj- 100%
A postscript : It appears "ryot" derives from the Persian "Raiyat" and is not of Dravidian origin. Here's an alternative paper (HT:) that has a different narrative on the origins of the Raiyatwari system https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/26718768/FOA-DISSERTATION-2016.pdf?sequence=1
The British institutionalized the "Zamindari" system on the basis of "caste" & made it hereditary.
There was No official documents or register of castes before alien rule.A Billion Indians were being told that a 5% Minority, who were traditionally neither kings / muscle-men nor landlords were able to keep a Billion population hypnotized into submission. Check World History n one will be surprised to notice that nobody ever have such power. For millennia, India was a collection of village communities. Each village was, practically, self sufficient in terms of production and consumption of goods & services. People formed sub-communities on the lines of their profession / skills.Society changes as its economics and politics changes, as happening now
It should be noted whatever disabilities we read about imposed on lower castes, it is primarily due to the foreign regimes who caused it through their religious, social and political discriminations and atrocious polices towards Hindus in general. Untouchablity was primarily due to the abhorrence of most of Hindus population towards anybody who takes beef or any similar animal, irrespective of caste, religion etc. The primary reason for rapid increase in massive number of SCs and STs in medieval india is large scale fleeing of city and village dwellers to deep forests and mountains, on account of upon staying disconnected from their original culture, these fleeing communities developed new set of own rites, rituals etc which shaped their new culture in forests from oppressive Islamic tax collectors and rulers...
Restrictions on entry of lower castes into temples was never a widespread phenomenon. In the book, the author has talked about the basic design of most of the temples in India which does not allow much of public space for masses and thus restricts most of the population in the city or village in its premises .However, in all public events like Rath Yatra or any event where God or Goddess is taken around in a religious procession, there is no historical evidence of any restrictions on basis of caste or Creed , those times too like now, there were some orthodox narrow minded Who discriminated against lower castes but such population was always minimal and their action was never in vogue.till 19 century, in Europe ,Education was only available to Feudals ,the church started educating the common masses only in 19 century copying from Education system in India
Indian caste system” was not“an infinitely more elaborate hierarchy” in which “the subcaste, or jati, to which a person was born established the occupation their family fulfilled from cleaners to priests in the temples” but what people ignores is that the majority of people born into the “priestly” jati/kula are not employed as priests. May be, in ancient times, when there were few of them, all the Brahmin males served as priests, but even then, the priest was expected to serve God/king/community by learning the sacred texts, maintaining the temple, and serving people. The priest, almost always, was expected not to pursue wealth, and Brahmins therefore were mostly poor, and they were expected to go beg for food from members of the community they served.
Jati relations were very complex. For some "low caste" jatis, Brahmins were untouchable and could not be allowed into their homes. Social distancing was also practised *within* Brahmin communities.This was reduced to a story of a single "hierarchy.
Although the varnas and jatis have pre-modern origins, the caste system as it exists today is the result of developments during the post-Mughal period and the British colonial regime, which made caste organisation a central mechanism of administration.
Starting with the 19th century, the British colonial government passed a series of laws that applied to Indians based on their religion and caste identification.These colonial era laws and their provisions used the term "Tribes", which included castes within their scope. This terminology was preferred for various reasons, including Muslim sensitivities that considered castes by definition Hindu, and preferred Tribes, a more generic term that included Muslims.
The British colonial government, for instance, enacted the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871. This law declared everyone belonging to certain castes to be born with criminal tendencies. Ramnarayan Rawat, a professor of History and specialising in social exclusion in Indian subcontinent, states that the criminal-by-birth castes under this Act included initially Ahirs, Gurjars and Jats, but its enforcement expanded by the late 19th century to include most Shudras and untouchables, such as Chamars, as well as Sannyasis and hill tribes. Castes suspected of rebelling against colonial laws and seeking self-rule for India, such as the previously ruling families Kallars and the Maravars in south India and non-loyal castes in north India such as Ahirs, Gurjars and Jats, were called "predatory and barbarian" and added to the criminal castes list.Some caste groups were targeted using the Criminal Tribes Act even when there were no reports of any violence or criminal activity, but where their forefathers were known to have rebelled against Mughal or British authorities, or these castes were demanding labour rights and disrupting colonial tax collecting authorities.
The colonial government prepared a list of criminal castes, and all members registered in these castes by caste-census were restricted in terms of regions they could visit, move about in or people with whom they could socialise. In certain regions of colonial India, entire caste groups were presumed guilty by birth, arrested, children separated from their parents, and held in penal colonies or quarantined without conviction or due process. This practice became controversial, did not enjoy the support of all colonial British officials, and in a few cases this decades-long practice was reversed at the start of the 20th century with the proclamation that people "could not be incarcerated indefinitely on the presumption of [inherited] bad character". The criminal-by-birth laws against targeted castes was enforced until the mid-20th century, with an expansion of criminal castes list in west and south India through the 1900s to 1930s. Hundreds of Hindu communities were brought under the Criminal Tribes Act. By 1931, the colonial government included 237 criminal castes and tribes under the act in the Madras Presidency alone.
While the notion of hereditary criminals conformed to orientalist stereotypes and the prevailing racial theories in Britain during the colonial era, the social impact of its enforcement was profiling, division and isolation of many communities of Hindus as criminals-by-birth.
Eleanor Nesbitt, a professor of History and Religions in India, states that the colonial government hardened the caste-driven divisions in British India not only through its caste census, but with a series of laws in early 20th century. The British colonial officials, for instance, enacted laws such as the Land Alienation Act in 1900 and Punjab Pre-Emption Act in 1913, listing castes that could legally own land and denying equivalent property rights to other census-determined castes. These acts prohibited the inter-generational and intra-generational transfer of land from land-owning castes to any non-agricultural castes, thereby preventing economic mobility of property and creating consequent caste barriers in India.
Nicholas Dirks has argued that Indian caste as we know it today is a "modern phenomenon," as caste was "fundamentally transformed by British colonial rule." According to Dirks, before colonialism caste affiliation was quite loose and fluid, but the British regime enforced caste affiliation rigorously, and constructed a much more strict hierarchy than existed previously, with some castes being criminalised and others being given preferential treatment.
De Zwart notes that the caste system used to be thought of as an ancient fact of Hindu life and that contemporary scholars argue instead that the system was constructed by the British colonial regime. He says that "jobs and education opportunities were allotted based on caste, and people rallied and adopted a caste system that maximized their opportunity". De Zwart also notes that post-colonial affirmative action only reinforced the "British colonial project that ex hypothesi constructed the caste system".
Sweetman notes that the European conception of caste dismissed former political configurations and insisted upon an "essentially religious character" of India. During the colonial period, caste was defined as a religious system and was divorced from political powers. This made it possible for the colonial rulers to portray India as a society characterised by spiritual harmony in contrast to the former Indian states which they criticised as "despotic and epiphenomenal", with the colonial powers providing the necessary "benevolent, paternalistic rule by a more 'advanced' nation".
BR Ambedkar enacted the most violative “Hindu Codes of conduct” Hindu code bills - Wikipedia in Rajya Sabha directly, without consulting the Lok Sabha. He accused ManuSmriti of introducing caste system & making women slaves. These false pretexts were out rightly rejected by Pandit Malviya ji. However because of a hurry in passing this bill for the purpose of breaking down Hindu Families by introducing a strange thing like divorce, to make Hindus similar to Islam & European divorces, this Act was hurriedly passed in 1950s. This Act has taken a large number of lives of Hindus rather than done any good.
BR Ambedkar never had any knowledge of Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism. He got carried away by Arabic & Medieval European caste systems which were introduced through the British Census in 1901 in India. BR Ambedkar completely ignored that it was the Hammurabi code Code of Hammurabi - Wikipedia of Ancient Babylonia (now Iraq) which legalized slavery & equated good wives with prostitutes. He did complete rumor mongering and was extremely ignorant of real Santan Dharma.
BR Ambedkar also did a severe damage by introducing caste based reservations. In order to understand this , one needs to know, that India never had a caste system. India had gotra system (biological family tree, biological family rights, extended and joint family systems) for personal relationships which no other country or continent had. This biological family tree was also part of the legal framework of Family courts in Ancient India. The courts had sufficient powers to keep the society intact and the societal aspirations grow. Which is why the Family courts accepted a family upto 4th generation as a single unit of Family.
Refer - http://www.allahabadhighcourt.in/event/TheIndianJudicialSystem_SSDhavan.pdf for Ancient Indian Justice Systems which were far superior to the English Court systems.
The caste systems in India was introduced by the British in their 1901 census by erroneously mixing up communities (jatis) with caste. They could never understand our concept of large families where many people stayed in spacious houses and enjoyed the social security which most countries never had.
Refer - Census of India prior to independence - Wikipedia
This was superimposed on a flexible & fluid society which had varna systems
After Independence, BR Ambedkar continued with the legalization of the Medieaval European Caste systems superimposed on India. Also introduced the caste reservation concepts
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