I happened to write on the above mentioned subject on Mr. Bhupendrasinh Raol’s Blog – Kurukshetra as a reply on one of his posts (“Manu-Smruti Adhyay 2/1”) and the same was published as an article on his Blog. This incident inspired me to enter into the world of bloggers. And as a gratitude towards my inspiration; I would like to publish the same article as my first article. The original article was published in my own language – Gujarati; but, I would like to translate the same here in English for its wider spread.

Article as it is –

I did not have a chance to study literatures like Manu-Smruti; but, I am interested to study so called cast system (or four-class system) prevailing in Indian (not ONLY in Hindus) society and I have some objections also against it.

I happened to travel many countries other than India and due to my personal interest and curiosity I try to study social systems of these countries. According to me such class-systems are prevailing more or less in all societies and civilizations around the world. It may be based on religious status or on social respectability; and in almost all societies it is prevailing on the economic condition of one self. (It is sometimes also known as a SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION too!!) May be such system must have developed in ancient Indian civilization (in Vedic Era) as a Varn-Vyavastha and it may have been accepted widely.

It is obvious and as natural as a Jungle Rule – Survival of the fittest!! It is as well prevailing in animal kingdom – one who is strongest than others has a first right to have the prey! Alpha male has a right to mate with all females of his heard; and the alpha will be decided by internal fights amongst the probable candidates. It will be his DNA which will be carried on to the offspring of the heard. This is a tradition created by the nature. The so called Hindu class-system (or Varn-Vyavastha) of India could be traditionally created and a well STURCTURED & complex form of such social system (i.e. Survival of the fittest)

I happened to meet some scholars in Iran (note : Iranian civilization is as old as a Vedic Era); according to them – they also had and still has such class-based social structure. Evan in today’s Islamic period (Equality is one the pillar of Islam) they still have a social discrimination; based on Family’s Pride; not only over the economic situation!! Similarly, upper class Arabs (discriminated by their Family’s history) do not keep any relation (marriage and/or social gathering etc.) with lower class Arabs. Even if these ‘lower class people’ has attained a high economic status, they could not get a high status amongst the ‘Higher Class’ people due to their ‘Family by Birth’!! The similar system is prevailing in East Asian countries too. However, we can more or less blame the influence of Hinduism in these countries for such social systems. But, European society is not different than Indian society. It is a universal fact that the class which is ruling the society of that time; will try to mould and regularize the entire social system (rather social structure) according to the needs of ruling class.

It may have been possible that Brahmins (Or you can say that the “upper class” of society engaged in a particular activity or tradition; which was later termed as Brahmin!!) were ruling in the times of discriminating such complex social structure / system in ancient India. And as per the (above mentioned) Jungle Rule; they must have devised a social system to maintain their supremacy & dominance forever. Which was accepted (willingly or un-willingly) in the society of that era and the sovereignty of a particular class was established. The dominance is still prevailing more or less in today’s era; and the same ruling class is still making all its efforts to keep it intact.

Neither I, nor you nor any human being could prevent such (discriminated between higher class & lower class) social system. Because, whoever is stronger as per the nature’s law (it could be a male or female, Brahmin or Shudra, rich or poor, king or vagabond, intellectual or unlettered) will come out as a ruler and all other members of society has not only to notice that person but they will worship and follow too. You can have many examples in ancient history, recent past or even in the present. If we try and demolish the “chaturvarna” (four-class) social system today than there a new such system may emerge tomorrow which will be machinery to make stronger more stronger and crushed ones more crushed. Because, no one can deny nature’s law.

Just look at the recent past – a worker (labor) was more important than a doctor or engineer in Soviet Russia (which had a socialist structure of the society). The definition of social status was completely reversed!! Similarly, I have a friend from Iraq (which was one of the earliest civilization of the world and the Arabic language got its peak in this region); who studied medicine and is an orthopedic surgeon; but, was completely involved in a trading business of his family. Because, he has to work at the Govt. Hospital in Saddam ruled Iraq and his monthly pay will be US$ 5; while traders were not restricted like professionals. This is a bitter example of stronger!! Similarly, all intellectuals (like professor, advocate or philosopher) were forced to work on fields during the rule of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia (where one of the world’s biggest Hindu Temple is situated). This is also a good example of twisting of social system for strong & ruling class of the society.

Similarly, India’s four-class social system (which was described as Hindu Social system initially by Muslims, than by missionaries and later by trader-rulers from Europe) should be considered as a part of their natural desire to survive and rule and it is prevailing in all different societies of the world. Oppose (and acceptance to) of such system is accepted and invited but undue comments to degrade the entire society just due to a four-class system is unworthy. We shall understand that the right to oppose such system is the best part of this system.  (And this system is in existence because of such reason. Otherwise, all above mentioned social systems vanished within very short time; because such systems didn’t have a place for fresh thoughts) People, who has a strong oppose of this four-class system which is also known as Brahmin centered social system; should try to become like a Brahmin (not only in knowledge and intelligence but also shrewd and stubborn like them) and if they are not accepted like them; than they should really fight against so-called Brahmins. But, most of the people wish to enjoy fruit of the peak being at their own heights (or ditch) – which is not possible. I would like to make it clear that neither I intend to favor the so called four-class system (or chatruvarn vyavastha) nor I wish to deny the pitiable situation of so-called lower class of the system and also I support their ‘true’ fight against the system. But, the other side of the coin is that they encouraged this social system by accepting it without uttering a word against it. They also never tried to come out of this system but, accepted our position in the system and also enjoyed the fruits of their own part. They also saw their survival and security in this system and they bought their existence by obeying rules of this system.

If this so called “crushed” class – ‘dalits’ – wish to get the higher position on this system than they also need to attain the same height.  They may face so much of resistance; people who are already sitting at this place will not be ready to leave their position easily!! They have to attain top position by direct fight with them & by proving themselves as the best. The people and individuals who proved themselves are already enjoying such position in the society. Baba Saheb Ambedkar is the best example of it. But, the whole such ‘crushed-class’ should not try reach to the same height just by riding on the back of Baba Saheb. One has to achieve the same height as of the Baba Saheb. If you change this four-class system for your own benefits; instead of slandering it, than you can attain your position naturally by honoring the ‘jungle-rule’.  

The disregard and hatred endured by the ‘shudra’ society shall be considered as a fight against this system; which is continuing since last so many centuries and may be continued for some more decades. Because, the change doesn’t come overnight and there is no master key for such a big social change!

And if we see this in wholesome way, than there is no such Brahmin-Shudra discrimination in today’s Indian Society or it is diminishing day by day. You can find a Brahmin youth working as a peon (office-boy) or a Driver’s job. He is a Brahmin by birth but shudra by his work (karma). And his position in the society (even in his own social circle) is same as Shudra. Similarly, a ‘Dalit’ can become a proud teacher (in today’s world) with the help of his comprehension and proficiency. And he can also enjoy the honorable position like GURU (if he is a teacher in true sense)!! Thus, we have already started changing this so-called “chatur varn-vyavastha” into new direction & in a new ways.

If we come back to ‘Manu-Smruti’; then we can accept that it may have the influence of social and political situation of that time when it was created and it is accepted too. We should also accept the ‘universal’ social laws existed in the ‘Manu-Smruti’ which may be prevailing even in today’s world. If somebody would try to interpret it in his own way and get benefitted; then it shall be considered as a good luck (or bad luck??) to him or a special skill of that person or a class of society. Brahmin’s have been doing this for centuries now it’s a turn of other classes, keep it up!!

By the way, I am a “vaishya” by birth and doing (karma) and I enjoy that position in my society. Being happy by accepting it is required for my survival. After all, I am also a social Animal.