We are marching towards peak of our civilization, adorned with multifarious technologies, more polished, refined, comprising of well-bred ladies and gentleman, Yet! we continue to encounter discriminations, on various grounds. Well, Casteism is the most conspicuous and contentious one of it – you would need no further explanations if you are from any rural parts of India, irrespective of your religion! At least one in ten of the population is a potential victim, in one way or the other, at-least at some point in their life time. You could see things like ****Land disputes turns into caste violence*** Teen paraded naked for affair with a girl from different caste**** girl allegedly assaulted, tonsured for marrying out of caste***Dalits attacked for hoisting national flag***, frequenting the headlines. In-fact these are pretty much run of the mill affairs that are just brushed aside while there are many other subtler non vocal ones as well.
It all roots back to our ancient castesim (comprising of 4 varnas – Brahmnas , Kshatriyas , Vaishyaas and Sudraas). My understanding of its origin is not of mere stratification but more inclining towards social balance. To form a whole society, we need people to split up the responsibilities equally, people took various métiers based on their capabilities, got labelled accordingly, thereafter trying to preserve the genes over generations under the veil of karma, to maintain the balance. Whatsoever, we all know this balance could not last long. Two things – One is that, genetics is just one of the influencing factor and that it could very much flip, alter and evolve. The other is that our society has witnessed a sea change since then, that now our choice of occupation is quite subjective and rely on various ingredients like educational opportunities, job opportunities, competition, location and environmental factors, monetary aspects, so on so forth – the point is, now the choice is very much controlled by these societal factors, in an unformulated way of-course, than a free man’s desire, aptitude or heritage.
One fact clear! Castesim is stereotyped, hackneyed, dull and nothing more than a cliche now, devoid any real worth to the society. Yet, you are reading this, implies despite of no value or efficacy, there are and continuing to be several victims of it, including me! It still prevails, continues to defy and resist to evolve with the changing technologies. It’s not just the four varnas anymore. Not only the castesim has overgrown and has so many branches now, cloaked under various names, its roots has perpetuated deeply, not just into materialistic aspects like politics, business, blah blah blah – into more deeper place, making it quite difficult to deracinate – Yes! into our very own minds!. Someone at some point of time, has recorded this information somewhere deep. In my case, I belong to the brahmin clan and the recording sounds like *** ‘I am intellectual, I am highest of all the class, I am selfish and ridiculous!’****. We have been hearing this over and over, I could very much sense that it has altered the consciousness to a considerable extent, influencing my desires and choices, even defining my character at times, slowly feeding all over me. It is this very recording that keeps people from having an open mind, skeptic, in ignorance!
Recently I read a blog on humanistic psychology talking of Abraham Maslow’s theory of learning, proposing that human motivation is based on a hierarchy of needs. Surprise!, I could very much correlate his pyramid to the four varnas – from the basic physiological needs of survival to the path of self actualization. ***Stratifying the society based on our needs, so that we could always actualize them, all of them, reserving people with appropriate vocation to deliver the job **** that’s what our ancestors had done. Irony is that the purpose has faded away, leaving us with nothing more than mere discrimination. With ages of conditioning, many of us have either developed intolerance to change or just too lazy to pull the strings, while some do willfully enjoy the dominance, take leverage and stamp over the weaker. Now the situation has to started to show its flip side as we have angered the meek for so long, nevertheless the caste system by itself is unswerving. Whoever protest, they do under the same tag line. For some fatuous reason they still want to hold on to it.
I was looking at the Abraham Maslow’s pyramid, deeper this time, occurred that it’s not just the hierarchy of needs, a clear indication of evolution as well, so as the varnas. . As I was looking, unconsciously my mind was trying to fit me in there, rating me. My brahmin recording said,*** Yay! you are on the top of the pyramid and my logical mind rejected laughing, see you still spend most of your time, making your living***. Hmmm…..***bit my lip*** why blame someone else?. It was then I remembered something – We have seen people who have held self esteem way above their lives, we have seen people who have reached heights in the path of self actualization even before realizing their basic needs – I would say these are typical epitomes of evolution and holism.
What we miss is that we have always been looking at evolution in a sequential way and continue to – one of the prime reasons behind the tendency to develop superiority – inferiority traits. We are so fundamentalistic to still hold karma as fate and not discern that it’s nothing but causality. We have evolved a lot and have complicated ourselves a lot, we will not fit just like that in these classifications, not anymore! We are more of a whole and compiled version, that we cannot break and restrict ourselves down to one of these sections/classes. With our given society, high time for us to wake up, renounce our preconceived notions, stop being fundamentalists, acclimate ourselves to play the role of all varnas , be agile!