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NOTES ON VARNA-JAATI AKA CASTE SYSTEM History of Hindu Religion

1 points | Post submitted by suyash95 8 days ago | 2 comments | viewed 30 times

Some thoughts


  • suyash95 8 days ago | +0 points

    Caste as we know it is a colonial construct, no scholar worth their salt today would disagree. Varna and Jati go back thousands of years but have been different things at different times. To make absurd claims its the same as found 4000 years ago as today is fantasy land

    Varna-Jati system is probably the world's oldest running Eugenics programme. Why was it required, you might ask. The answer is that the national characteristics of a people are primarily decided by their geographical surroundings. Since the geographical terrain of India is primarily a "sub-tropical land of abundance" it is difficult to hope for nature to select for positive traits that you want. Thus, artificial selection is required so you have significant numbers of elite warriors, and signficant numbers of elite priests/academics, and significant numbers of elite merchants/traders and significant numbers of elite craftsmen. Without the Varna-Jati system of social organisation, this country's population would have wholly represented some sub-saharan country where people would eat, fuck and kill as they pleased. Not really the building blocks of civilisation, you know? The reality is that today we neglect the ancient wisdom of our forebears who saw the necessity of applying Eugenics to our lands. If we deviate too much from the way things were meant to be, we will end up in a very very nasty place. Mark my words. 

    Indus Valley Civilization represented one major cluster of cities. Before that time people probably lived in small groups. Based on current evidence it was likely that rest of India was either farming or hunting/gathering, but in small groups at around the time of Indus Valley Civilization. Rice and wheat had already been domesticated and so were water buffalo and cows. Thus, it is likely that the life of India at that time was probably not much different from the life in some of the most interior villages of present India

    The jaati system and the Varna system is/was the most inclusive and empowering system ever developed. Christian colonialists ranted against it since it wouldn't allow colonial exploitation, chaddis rant against it because they are brainless. Thejaati/varna system guaranteed zero unemployment, made monopolies impossible, and made everyone an entrepreneur at a proper young age.

    Nobody was allowed to intrude into the occupation of somebody else, everyone was given a profession. Imagine a situation where amazon types are not allowed to get into retail. Expand that a million times. It also guaranteed excellence of the kind that ITI diplomas can't achieve

    Marxist sociologists explain the evolution of caste as a result of growing division of labour with the rise of agriculture and private property. They blame Brahmins for providing the legitimacy to this system by justifying it using religious concepts.

    The peculiar feature of Indian society in which Jati (caste) system was the fundamental modal of socioeconomic organisation, its sustenance in the rural areas could only be ensured by Yajmani (also spelled Jajmani) system which was intricately intertwined with Jati system. In Yajmani system, the Jatis which were engaged in providing different services and products were integrated with the Jatis which were primarily agriculture producers or performed administrative activities. The discussion in subsequent paragraphs of Yajmani system will be restricted to rural areas where it is still in existence to some extent.

    To understand the Yajmani system, we will start with the most common example of how the system works for someone who belongs to a Jati engaged in agriculture. A person engaged in agriculture needs different kind of services for religious and secular activities – iron ploughs for ploughing the land, bullock cart for carrying loads, leather straps for tying oxen to specific wooden implants during ploughing, service of Brahmans for conducting a wedding or any another samskara, pitchers for storing water in summer, service of barbers for regular and specific events such as death or wedding etc. In the Jati system, each of these products and services were provided by specific Jatis who specialized in their own domains.

    In Yajmani system, each of the required products and services to a household was provided by the designated members of different Jatis. For example, if A needs iron ploughs, B from Luhar (blacksmith) Jati will provide the required product. The interesting thing to note here is that B has traditionally inherited A as his patron, which he is not allowed to change nor A has the option of going to a different vendor. When B passes away, his offsprings will inherit the same business relationship with the offsprings of A. It was a patron-client model in which the relationship was transmitted across generations where both the parties had guarantee of the relationship.

    In this model, the mode of payment for the services and products varied on multiple factors. It was dependent on the geography, occupation of the patron and the nature of service. If the patron belonged to agricultural Jati, the payment was made after the main season of harvest in form of grains. In Eastern India, the payment was usually done using rice as it was the main cereal for the region. The amount of payment varied on the basis of nature of services rendered. Jatis which provided products used to calculate their expected payment on the basis of kind of products which they had delivered in a specific year while Jatis which provided services had a fixed payment and additional payments for specific activities. For example, a barber was given fixed amount of grains every year irrespective of the volume of services provided, but if he had also provided his services for a wedding during the year, he received an additional payment for that service.

    The Yajmani system which we have described above differs greatly from the employer-employee model of the industrial world. Unlike employer-employee model, Yajmani system adopted a hereditary model in which the business relationship was carried forward across generations. In this system, if a patron was not happy with the quality of services or products rendered, he didn’t have the easier option of changing the vendor. If he wished to change the vendor, no other vendor would be ready to provide him the services as it will create a conflict amongst the members of their own Jati and violate the fundamental norm of not encroaching in the territory of fellow members of the community.

    In the employer-employee model, the employer is free to terminate the employment of the employees based on the terms and conditions associated with the employment as opposed to the Yajmani system. While in pre-industrial world, the system ensured stability of the socioeconomic order as economic transactions were intimately connected with the social relationships, it took away the incentive to be entrepreneurial and innovative. As the producers or service providers were assured of definite base of patrons, they had no incentive to innovate as there was no additional reward associated with it. The chances of gaining an additional patron were slim owing to the social norms and the potential patron already having their own service providers. Having said that, Yajmani system was a functional social institution in a world where there was no clear difference between economic and social relationships and they often converged.

    Dr J K Bajaj, India’s foremost demographer and scholar in his research, offers some conclusions which he shared with this author. In the same Ganga-Yamuna belt (or North India, broadly speaking) there is not a single village or town that has remained in the same place for more than four hundred years. In his study travels, Dr Bajaj found only one village near Hissar, Haryana, which remained intact for more than six hundred or so years. He also found that this village almost exactly resembled a typical South Indian village in terms of its plan and layout: for example, where and how the temple, water bodies, burial grounds, fields and farmland, boundaries, etc should be located. This was completely unlike any typical North Indian village falling in the entire stretch between Punjab to Bihar to Bengal.

    To understand the impact of temple destructions which played a key role in shaping today's Caste system, it is important to understand what’s known as the Rooted Indian psyche. This can be more accurately called the attitude of the Hindu soul: an inseparability from Sampradaya. An honest study of Hindu history and culture shows that this psyche is a deep attachment to said Sampradaya and the intimacy that their immediate physical surrounding provides them. Unless violently forced, Hindus typically never moved out of their villages for generations. Of course, the jaundiced critic may call this attitude as frog-in-the-well but that discussion is beyond the scope of this essay.

    The caste system as it exists today is the result of developments during the collapse of the Mughal era and the rise of the British colonial government in India. The British Raj furthered this development, making RIGID caste organisation a central mechanism of administration. Between 1860 and 1920, the British formulated the caste system into their system of governance, granting administrative jobs and senior appointments only to Christians and people belonging to certain castes.

    The caste system is one of the main expressions of the traditional sociopolitical order, a “form" victorious over chaos and the embodiment of the metaphysical ideas of stability and justice."

    This continuous seething over caste system is nothing but acknowledgement of their defeat by votaries of egalitarianism as differences between classes have only increased in last century and they show their desperation by insulting or abusing hindu caste system wh

    the purest form of a hierarchy based system. And these maniacs consider Brahmins who stand at the top of this system as their mortal enemy.

    Traditional baniya businessman: Profit > scale, builds business from saving, हरि भक्ति and doing charity for Dharma.Modern start-up founders: Thrives on VC money, can't make profits so scale > profit, gives retarded hot takes about Indian society and people.

    The worst thing which you could do to a kid coming from poor economic background is to reduce the standard of education for him. You're ensuring that he will fail where it matters because his standard was kept below compared to his peers for compassion.

    In 1950-51, the percentage of workers engaged in agriculture was 82%. What does it essentially say? That majority of Indians including LC Hindus were living on agriculture by the time British left.

    Around 30% of the rural households in 1950-51 came in the category of agriculture labour and further 15% of it were landless labourers. An agriculture labour household meant that it received more than 50% of its income from agriculture labour.

    So, not only majority of Hindu LCs were dependent on agriculture but a significant number of them didn't produce enough to sustain themselves due to which agriculture labour was their prime vocation. The ones who didn't own land had no other options anyway.

    The manufacturing sector had mix presence of both bigger and SME firms. But even there, the owners were from business class as they had started modernization within their capacity to boost their production and productivity.

    The manufacturing sector had mix presence of both bigger and SME firms. But even there, the owners were from business class as they had started modernization within their capacity to boost their production and productivity.

    The service castes were in even more pitiable condition because the wage in service sector was low as a consequence of lower economic development. If he remained there, he couldn't progress as everyone else was poor. So, whenever he got the opportunity, he took up another job.

    As a consequence of industrialization and British colonialism, by 1947, India was essentially a country of landless poor who sustained on agriculture somehow. It was just enough to keep oneself alive.

    In such dire situation, people left their villages and families behind to find something better. Many found, many didn't. But had they not tried something, nothing better would have come. Giving a haircut in Bangalore is profitable today, it's still peanuts in villages.

    Another thing which people need to understand is that a skilled worker is not necessarily a good entrepreneur. Hindu LCs traditionally had skills, but didn't venture into running business. Modern economy is different. Running the business is the most important skill today.

    Compare the jaati system of Hindu India where everyone had a profession guaranteed from birth into which no one else could encroach, where everyone became an entrepreneur at puberty with the current system.

    Everyone had their duties & responsibilities pretty well defined. The transfer of knowledge via generations led to prosperity & expansion of boundaries in every field.

    Buddhism ended up creating a previously never existed class called "chandalas" aka "panchama varna" also known as "Dalit". Buddhist punishments were too harsh .. such as social expulsion for "crimes" as simple as having a glass of alcohol or a taking bite of meat.

    After 1857 War of Independence, the British demonised the various communities of people who could prove obstacles to their rule in future, through institutional mechanisms. As long as we continue using those mechanisms & associated propaganda, we aren't truly decolonised!

    Industrial revolution took away the traditional artisan, etc. jobs, which traditionally Shudras did. To exploit this disenfranchisement further, missionaries exaggerated anti-Shudra things in the Smritis & sought to encourage conversions.

    Industrial revolution took away the traditional artisan, etc. jobs, which traditionally Shudras did. To exploit this disenfranchisement further, missionaries exaggerated anti-Shudra things in the Smritis & sought to encourage conversions.

    Automation is repeating the process of obscuring traditional occupations.

    Caste diversity was there in pre modern India too, in fact the diversity was greater but it didn't lead to so much conflict as it does in our times. What changed ??

    Because the avenues of competition as well as rewards were limited except for extremely motivated ones who were ready to pay the heavy price of conflict. That always happened at individual or small group level. Things have radically change now for good.

    The old time mindset was completely different. Most of the people were happy doing what their ancestors did because they didn't know how to do something else, nor they thought they were capable of doing. Even if someone was in misery, he accepted it as fate.

    Caste system has nothing to do with racism and if you are probably not aware, both Indian and Western liberals are obsessed with caste system to take it down. What you are saying is not unpopular, but completely incorrect.

     

    Jāti — as social caste based on occupation is already redundant because most people don’t follow their designated occupations and with the open education system people have free choice in matters of career.

    Social caste is, as many writers have already remarked, a ‘class’ delusion based on a sense of identity and shared values - whatever than means. So the battle is to change the psyche of people who still subscribe to discrimination based on surnames.

    Today,Varna and jāti have no relevance whatsoever to Hindus growing up in Modern World and they have fully imbibed

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  • suyash95 8 days ago | +0 points

    Varna and jati have more complex roots than such pillars.

    Let us consider Tamil Nadu.There are three SC communities: Paraiar, so-called Pallar and Arundathiyar.

    Pariar also have the name Sambavar or Siva Sambavar and they relate themselves to Shiva. In fact, the Sri Lalita Sahasranama has the name Sambhavi and traditional commentary explains that as the mother of Sambavas.

    The so-called Pallar name became dominant and fixed mostlyduring the colonial times. Their own traditional name is Devendrar.

    Today, they have started demanding, based on pre-colonialhistorical documents, that they be taken out of the SC list. They have firstrights in ceremonies of some of the major Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu. Thatsuch a people were made SC because of colonial interventions, shows thecomplexities involved here.

    Chakliyar is a derogatory name but their traditional name is Arundathiyar- a name associated with one of the most venerated women in the Hindu tradition.

    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 as arising 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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