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CREATION OF CASTE SYSTEM DURING BRITISH RULE History of Hindu Religion

1 points | Post submitted by suyash95164 days ago |3 comments | viewed144 times

COLONIAL CREATION OF CASTE SYSTEM


  • suyash95164 days ago | +0 points

    Creation of caste system during British Rule -

    the fact is occupation was just one identity marker in pre colonial Indian subcontinent. The entire group dynamic was flexible.

    WR Cornish, who supervised census operations in the Madras Presidency in 1871, wrote that "… regarding the origin of caste we can place no reliance upon the statements made in the Hindu sacred writings. Whether there was ever a period in which the Hindus were composed of four classes is exceedingly doubtful".

    Similarly, CF Magrath, leader and author of a monograph on the 1871 Bihar census, wrote, "that the now meaningless division into the four castes alleged to have been made by Manu should be put aside".

    Anthropologist Susan Bayly writes that "until well into the colonial period, much of the subcontinent was still populated by people for whom the formal distinctions of caste were of only limited importance, even in parts of the so-called Hindu heartland…

     The institutions and beliefs which are now often described as the elements of traditional caste were only just taking shape as recently as the early 18th Century".

    In fact, it is doubtful that caste had much significance or virulence in society before the British made it India's defining social feature.

    Astonishing diversity

    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. The picture that one should see is of astonishing diversity. What the colonisers did through their reading of the "sacred" texts and the institution of the census was to try to frame all of that diversity through alien categorical systems of religion, race, caste and tribe.

    The census was used to simplify - categorise and define - what was barely understood by the colonisers using a convenient ideology and absurd (and shifting) methodology. The colonisers invented or constructed Indian social identities using categories of convenience during a period that covered roughly the 19th Century. This was done to serve the British Indian government's own interests - primarily to create a single society with a common law that could be easily governed.

     A very large, complex and regionally diverse system of faiths and social identities was simplified to a degree that probably has no parallel in world history, entirely new categories and hierarchies were created, incompatible or mismatched parts were stuffed together, new boundaries were created, and flexible boundaries hardened.

    The resulting categorical system became rigid during the next century and quarter, as the made-up categories came to be associated with real rights. Religion-based electorates in British India and caste-based reservations in independent India made amorphous categories concrete. There came to be real and material consequences of belonging to one category (like Jain or Scheduled Caste) instead of another. Categorisation, as it turned out in India, was destiny.

    Annhiliation of Caste doesnot make sense - You cannot conform people to come together ,It is about Free Will and choice.

    If u want to become a Preist ,than make ur own temple through Govt  Help, You cannot wish to be a Preist of Jagannath temple ,why should the pujaris stationed there will vacate their current position for someone ,However Entry should be allowed.

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  • suyash95132 days ago | +0 points

    the religious texts of India which have been popular among Hindus, unlike the Smritis which mostly belonged to the legal scholars and were not religious texts as such, repeatedly insisted that social stratification should be given up.

    The Mahabharata repeatedly speaks of Brahmin nature asarising not from birth but from one’s conduct and character. The Bhagavad Gita yet again reinforces the same. In the case ofthe so-called divine sanction, for every Smriti statement allowing birth-baseddivision, there are literally thousand other references which reject suchdivisions and insist on inherent oneness of humanity and all existence.

    In the case of heritability, we have entire communities moving out of one occupation to become another. For example, Shudras have become Kshatriyas; similarly, Brahmin communities had become Scheduled Communities. So here is actually a paradoxical twist: In the West, the parallelcaste structure estate was more secularly rooted than the Hindu jati-varna system. But historically, this provided an advantage to Hindu jatis in social mobility – particularly during the pre-colonial period.

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  • suyash9571 days ago | +0 points

    If you are a Hindu stop using these terms: • Adivasi• DalitThese terms have no relation to socio-cultural or religious structure or reality of Hindu civilization. Don't propagate fictitious atrocity literature and mythical fault lines drawn by Christian colonisers.

    All Hindu communities have their identities intact. They have their Jaati, Varna. Instead of using a derogatory or misrepresentative terms which generate an inferiority complex and create fault lines, use ancestral, traditional identities of Hindu communities to refer to them.

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