Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Caste System

"If there is a hell, that is reserved for those who invented caste system and those who exploit religion, nationality , language and race to separate human beings from each other. " : Random .Thoughts - 6 of Vineetha Venugopal in 'Random Thoughts'(Infy blog) . This sentence gave me the idea for the post.

I had read many articles and stories related to caste system, whether it is good or bad, disadvantages , problems etc. But when I read some of them, I asked myself whether formation of caste system was such a bad thing that happened in our society? Well,I feel that the answer is ‘NO’ . And who found caste system was the next question. Certainly the answer was ‘No one found it. It just formed because it was the need of society at that time. ‘

I request you to think about life of people a few thousand years back(say 10000 BC). Humans were struggling for their existence. They were not worried about GDP growth or inflation. But there were several challenges they had to face.Attack from animals, preparing food, diseases, agriculture etc were some of them. Definitly each person / group of persons had to fix one job for themselves. One cannot imagine everyone becoming warriors to protect themselves from animals. Then who will prepare food for them? So various classes of people formed naturally, based on their job. That is what we call today as caste system.Such a classification was necessary for society. Whichever the caste you are in, one job is assigned to you. Yes, job is what we can call as skeleton of caste system. Consider the class ‘Brahmins’– There are various castes and sub castes in it and it varies from place to place across India. But they have only one job assigned to them. To serve god. Like that every caste have a job assigned to them. It was for a balanced economic structure. Consider the farmer class in those days. If everyone were farmers , could they survive in earth? The caste system helped to manage it perfectly. All other classes remained as consumers and the farmer class were producers. The fact is true for all the classes that we see today . Basics of economics - demand and supply . Caste system was a solution in those days. When a child is born for a farmer, he would be learning what his father was doing. There were no engineering or medical colleges in those days to teach them different things. So son of a priest became a priest and son of farmer became farmer. Over thousands of years they became different castes and thus caste system evolved.If caste system was not there society wouldn’t have developed.Most importantly, it had solved one important problem that our world is facing today- Unemployment. A job was guarranteed for every child born in this world.

Now comes another question why there is no caste system in other religions , but why it is in Hinduism? Answer is simple. Hinduism is not a religion. It is a civilization. Caste system exists in all civilizations. Check the history of Roman civilization or Greek civilization.Caste System or ‘Pyramidal structure’ of society was the base of those civilizations. Whatever religions formed on various places actually overcame the civilization, but it couldn’t break the caste structure. Farmers in Greece accepted Christian religion , but they remained as farmers. In other words caste system exists even now in all parts of world, though no particular name was given to it. (If anyone doesn’t know the difference between religion and civilization , please inform me, I will put it as a different post) .

Now I guess everyone knows what was caste system and how it formed. It was needed in those days. But one thing was sure that when it was formed it was merely based on job and there were no upper or lower classes in those days. What is your profession? That defined your caste. That’s it. But later on someone told like one caste was higher than other. Unfortunately rest of the people agreed it. I think it was at this point humans did the mistake. In other words it was not the formation of caste system, but the later period of caste system was responsible for problems.I would like to edit Vineetha’s comment like those who said one caste is better than other shall be send to Hell and not those who invented it. Every caste was treated with equal status and respect in the beginning.

Now let us come to twenty first century. Today caste system has lost it’s rigidity. Everyone can change their job. So there is no point in calling everyone according to caste. There is no point in saying that I belong to a particular caste today. If someone ask me about my caste , according to my present job my caste is Engineer and Subcaste is Bank P O. Team or Society interest  was changed to individual interests.But such a change in society is really going to make a huge problem in future. Wait and see the end of twenty first century.We will have many engineers and doctors. But who will really continue in agriculture and produce food for everyone. An economic imbalance will arise. Please don’t forget that when we are hungry we cannot eat computer . Even a Pizza hut or McDonalds cannot help us. For giving a food first one should produce it. But who is going to produce? Everyone like to be a consumer. Everyone including me is responsible for this change. Now we really have to think whether caste system was a boon or not. While everyone trying to ‘develop’ , no one is worrying about the loss that is happening to us. I think time has come for government to start thinking about protecting people based on ‘jobs’ and not on 'present caste'.

I have one request, please don’t think that I am simply supporting caste system. I believe that everyone should be treated with equal respect. I was just pointing to the other side of caste system.


  1. Comparing caste with a job category is not fair
    What is your opinion on "caste and reservation"
    Maybe because of that the infy guy said one caste is better
    To do a job i need not belong to any caste ; "I think"

  2. What I told about is a period where it originated.Today there is no need to compare a caste with job.And personally saying I am against reservation.