Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Caste System In India


The Caste System In India
By : Justice Markandey Katju, Judge, Supreme Court of India

The caste system is one of the greatest social evils plaguing our country today. It is acting as a powerful social and political divisive force in our country at a time when it is absolutely essential for us to be united if we wish to face our nation’s challenges. It is a curse on our country which must be speedily eradicated if we wish to progress.

We may consider a few facts to realize how strongly caste is still entrenched in our society today.
  1. Our politics is largely governed by caste vote banks. When the time comes for selecting candidates for the elections a study is made of the numerical caste distribution in a constituency, because voters in most areas vote on caste basis.

  2. What to say of the illiterate people, even the so called intellectuals tend to operate on caste lines. Thus, in the elections to many bar associations the lawyers tend to vote for the candidates of their caste.

  3. Many castes want to be declared as O.B.C.s or Scheduled Castes, to get the benefits of reservation. Even some O.B.C.s strive to be declared as M.B.C.s (most backward castes) or Scheduled Castes.

  4. Fake caste certificates have become rampant, as is often witnessed in our law courts, to get jobs or admissions in educational institutions.
  5. Marriages are still largely performed within one’s caste.

  6. Violence often occurs between castes, as was noticed in the recent fight between students of different castes in a University in Chennai, while the policemen looked on as silent spectators.

  7. Even Muslims, Christians and Sikhs often have castes, although their religions preach equality.
We can multiply these facts manifolds. Many books and articles have been written about the caste system in India, but a scientific study is still wanting. An attempt shall be made here to explain the origin, development and future of the caste system.

Origin of the Caste System

The origin of the caste system was in all probability racial.  It is said that caste originated when a white race, the Aryans, coming from the North West, conquered the dark coloured races inhabiting India at that time, probably 5000 years ago or so.

Some persons deny that the Aryans came from outside India and assert that India was the original home of the Aryans (Aryavarta) from where a section of them migrated to Europe.  It is difficult to accept this view because people migrate from uncomfortable areas to comfortable areas (see the article `Kalidas Ghalib Academy for Mutual Understanding’ inwww.kgfindia.com).  Why should anyone migrate from a comfortable country like India which has level and fertile land ideal for agriculture to a place like Afghanistan or Russia which is cold, mountaneous and therefore uncomfortable.  Indian history bears out the view that almost all invasions/immigrations were from outside India (mainly from the North West and to a lesser extent from the North East) into India.

The caste system is called `Varna Vyavastha’ and the word `Varna’ in Sanskrit literally means colour of the skin. This also points at the racial origin of the caste system. Fair skin colour is usually preferred to darker skin even today, as is evident from matrimonial advertisements.

Subsequent Development of the Caste System

While the origin of the caste system appears to be racial (as mentioned above) it subsequently developed an altogether different basis according to the needs of the feudal society in India.  In other words, the caste system, though originating in race, subsequently developed into the feudal, occupational division of labour in society.  This needs to be explained in some detail.

In theory there were only four castes, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. This, however, was only a fiction. In reality there were (and still are) hundreds, if not thousands, of castes and sub-castes in India many of which do not fit into the 4 traditional castes mentioned above e.g. Yadavs, Kurmis, Jats, Kayasthas, Bhumihars, Gosains, etc. Every vocation became a caste. Thus, in North India badhai (carpenter) became a caste, and so did lohar (blacksmith), sonar (goldsmith), kumbhar (Potter), dhobi (washerman), nai (barber), darzi (tailor), kasai (butcher), mallah (fisherman), kewat (boatman), teli (oil presser), kahar (water carrier), gadadia (sheep herder), etc.

This was not something unique to India. For instance, in England even today there are many people with the surnames Taylor, Smith, Goldsmith, Baker, Butcher, Potter, Barber, Mason, Carpenter, Turner, Waterman, Shepherd, Gardener, Miller, etc., which indicates that the ancestors of these persons belonged to those professions.

In feudal society, apart from agriculture, there was development of handicraft industry. This happened in India too, and the caste system became the Indian variation of the feudal occupational division of labour in society, somewhat like the medieval European guild system.

As pointed out by Adam Smith in his book `The Wealth of Nations’, division of labour results in great progress. The caste system in India resulted in great development of the productive forces, and hence in the feudal age it was a progressive institution (as compared to the preceding slave society).

It is well known that before the coming of the British, India was one of the world’s most prosperous countries (at that time).  India was exporting Dacca Muslin, Murshidabad silk, Kashmir shawls and carpets, ornaments, etc. apart from agricultural products like spices, indigo, etc. to the Middle East and even Europe.  The discovery of Roman coins in several parts of South India show the great volume of trade from India, which shows the great development of the productive forces in feudal India.  In fact India was once a super power with a 31.5% share in the global gross domestic production, which came down to 3% in the year 1991.

The Destruction of Handicraft Industry in India

It is estimated that before the coming of the British into India about 40% of the population of India was engaged in industry while the rest of the population was engaged in agriculture. This industry was no doubt handicraft industry, and not mill industry. Nevertheless, there was a very high level production of goods in India by these handicraft industries before the coming of the British, and many of these goods were exported often up to Europe, the Middle East, China, etc. e.g. Dacca Muslin, Murshidabad silk, and other kind of textiles, spices etc.

A rough and ready test of the level of the economic development of a country is to find out how much percentage of the population is engaged in industry, and how much in agriculture. The greater the percentage of population in industry and lesser in agriculture the more prosperous the country. Thus, the U.S.A., the most prosperous country in the world today has only about 2 or 3% of its population in agriculture, while the rest is in industry or services.

India was a relatively prosperous country before the coming of the British because a high percentage of the people (which could be up to 40%) was engaged at that time in industry (though no doubt this was handicraft industry, not mill industry). Thus, Lord Clive around 1757 (when the battle of Plassey was fought) described Murshidabad  (which was then the capital of Bengal) as a city more prosperous than London, vide `Glimpses of World History’ by Jawaharlal Nehru (Third Impression p.416, chapter entitled `The Indian Artisan goes to the wall’).

When the British conquered India they introduced the products of their mill industry into India, and exorbitantly raised the export duties on the Indian handicraft products. Thereby they practically destroyed the handicraft industry in India. The result was that by the end of the British rule hardly 10% or even less of the population of India was still in the handicraft industry, and the rest of those who were earlier engaged in the handicraft industry were made unemployed. In this way about 30% of the population of India who were employed in handicraft industry became unemployed, and were driven to starvation, destitution, beggary or crime (the thugs and ‘criminal’ tribes were really these unemployed sections of society). As an English Governor General wrote in 1834, `the bones of the cotton weavers are bleaching the plains of India’. At the end of the British rule, India, which was one of the most prosperous countries in the world, became one of the poorest, unable to feed itself, with industrial development stalled (as the British policy was to not permit industrialization of  India), low life expectancy and very low literacy rate. As Angus Madison, the Cambridge University historian points out, India’s share of world income fell from 22.6% in 1700 to 3.8% in 1952.

In this connection it may be noted that in the revenue records in many states in our country one often finds recorded: ‘A son of B, caste lohar (smith), vocation agriculture’; or ‘C son of D, caste badhai (carpenter), vocation agriculture’, or ‘E son of F, caste kumhar (potter), vocation agriculture’, etc. This indicates that the ancestors of these persons were in those professions, but later they became unemployed (although ostensibly they were shown as agriculturists) as British mill industry destroyed their handicraft. Some people think that if the British had not come into India an indigenous mill industry would have developed in India, because the high development of handicraft industry leads to capital accumulation which is the pre-requisite for industrialization, and India would have become an Industrial State by the 19th Century, like North America or Europe, but it is not necessary to go into this here, as there is no use crying over spilt milk.

In England and other European countries, too, the handicrafts were destroyed by the mill products, but the handicraftsmen got employment in the mills, whereas in India the British policy was to prevent industrialization of India (see Rajni Palme Dutt’s `India Today’) with the result that the millions of handicraftsmen either starved or became beggars or criminals. The Thugs of India or the `criminal tribes’ were those former handicraftsmen who became unemployed.

Handicraft Industry and Mill Industry

In the feudal period there were no engineering colleges or technical institutes, and the only way to learn a craft was to sit with one’s father from childhood and learn the craft by seeing how he works, with some tips from him.  Thus the father was not only doing the production work through his craft but also teaching the craft to his son.

This was totally unlike modern times where the teacher in an engineering college or technical institute is not a producer engaged in some industry. In other words, in modern times the vocation of a teacher is separated from the vocation of a producer, but there was no such separation in the feudal age.

In feudal times one had no choice of one’s profession, one had to follow his father’s profession, and thus the son of a carpenter (Badhai) became a carpenter, the son of a blacksmith (lohar) became a blacksmith, etc. In this way carpenter, blacksmith, potter, etc. all became castes. The same thing happened in Europe too in feudal times (as mentioned above).

Modern Mill Industry

In the modern industrial age the demand for skilled technical personnel is much larger than in the feudal age, because the demand of goods is much more (due to increase in population, etc.). Hence the traditional feudal method of teaching a craft, in which only a handful of persons, (usually the sons of the handicraftsman), were taught, no longer sufficed for modern society. Now technical institutes or engineering colleges have become necessary, where a large number of students are taught the technical skill.  Obviously all these students could not be sons of the teacher. This destroyed the very basis of the caste system in which one had no choice in choosing one’s vocation and had to follow his father’s profession. The caste system, in which one’s vocation is chosen by one’s birth, is thus totally outmoded in the modern age.

Today a boy of the badhai (carpenter) caste comes from the rural areas in India to a city where he becomes an electrician or motor mechanic or takes up some other vocation. If he gets some education he becomes a clerk or even a doctor, lawyer, engineer or teacher. He does not usually follow his father’s profession, and this has largely destroyed the basis of the caste system economically.

The caste system is now being artificially propped up socially by some vested interests e.g. vote bank politics, but when the basis of an institution has been destroyed (by the advance of technology) how long can that institution survive? To my mind the caste system in India will not last for more than ten or twenty years from now (because its very basis has gone).

A modern mill no longer bothers about the caste of the worker it employs, it only sees his technical skills.

The caste system was a social institution corresponding to handicraft industry. Now that handicraft industry has largely been replaced by mill industry, the caste system has today become totally outmoded, and is hindering our progress. The sooner it is destroyed the better.

Was the Caste System Bad for India?

Many people think that the caste system did a lot of damage to India. This is undoubtedly true of modern times. But it must also be said that in the feudal age the caste system did good to India because it corresponded to the feudal occupational division of labour in society (as pointed out above), which resulted in the great development of the productive forces (at that time).

It is a myth that the Scheduled Castes of today were always treated with indignity. In fact upto the coming of British rule, these castes were usually in some handicraft vocation and were earning their livelihood from that vocation. It was only when the British mill industry destroyed their handicraft and they became unemployed that they began to be treated with indignity. An unemployed man becomes a poor man, and a poor man is not given respect in society.

For instance, the chamars were at one time a respectable caste because they earned their livelihood by doing leather work. It was only when Bata and other companies destroyed their handicraft (and thereby their livelihood) that they sank in the social ladder, so much so that today to call a person a chamar is often regarded as a word of insult (see the judgment of the Supreme Court in Swaran Singh & Ors. vs. State through Standing Counsel & Anr. [2008(8) SCC 435, JT 2008(9) SC 60]).

Similarly, other castes whose handicraft occupations were destroyed by the British mill industry also became unemployed and thereby fell in the social order.

How will the Caste System be Destroyed?

To my mind the caste system will be destroyed (and is in fact being destroyed) in India by (1) The advance of technology (2) The people’s struggles, and (3) Inter caste marriages.

As regards the advance of technology, it has already been pointed out above that in modern industrial society the division of labour cannot be on the basis of one’s birth but on the basis of  technical skills.  Hence industrialization destroys the caste system, and in fact the caste system has become weak in a State like West Bengal, which was partially industrialized before most other states.

As regards the people’s struggles, these are in fact going on everywhere in view of the harsh economic conditions in India (price rise, unemployment, etc.). People in India are realizing that united they stand and divided they fall, and caste is certainly a dividing force.

As regards inter caste marriages, I have stated in my judgment in Lata Singh vs. State of U.P. [2006(5) SCC 475, JT 2006(6) SC 173], that inter caste marriages are in the national interest and hence should be encouraged.

28 comments:

  1. Since you are highly respected Judge, I am really shocked at your knowledge about caste system in India. You say that Caste system and its ill effects only started post 1700 century when Britisher's destroyed Mill Industry ??
    1)Have you forgotten what was written in Manusmriti?
    2)So you mean just in 2 century people became untouchable?
    3)Your article talks about caste being an evil just for the points mentioned in this post without highlighting the inhuman sufferings the lower caste have suffered at the hands of upper caste?
    4)Have you ever read BR Ambedkar's Annihilation of Caste? Any idea about the origin of untouchability ? the role of beef eating habits which implicated the fashion of untouchability? Why Brahmins don't allow shudras the right to worship false gods? All this happened post 1700 century is a goofy statement and theory. Please share more data to credulate your baseless theory.

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    1. Whats your academic merit in questioning: 1)What you know about manusmriti(have you digested or eaten vomition of others. 2)Do you know contemporary untouchablity, its not so called upper caste(brahmin and ruling class) who maintain this today in villages 3)The renouncing brahminism turned powerful(selfish)in hands of ruling class somewhere in 10th century CE who were before only preaching class living on 'biksha'. 4)Does all those you have mentioned have credulous base which it can breath truth.
      Yes! blame it on your own people, curse them till you become ruling class kill the brahmins(caste), but do not kill what's good in my religion.

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    3. "2)Do you know contemporary untouchablity, its not so called upper caste(brahmin and ruling class) who maintain this today in villages
      WOW!! Manjunathman...you are right. Upper caste people do touch lower caste people on regular basis....through money when the latter pays the former. Buy some brains, Manju. And it is not 'Vomition', it is Vomitus.

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  2. ok, good but half hearted attempt to explain caste system. Anyway, one question I have for your sir ....what these brahmins had as a vocation apart from 24x7 humiliating lower caste by going near them and telling them do not come near to me as you are un-toucheable ? Any guess sir ?
    Truth is always one and alone and biased minds can never take the truth.

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  3. caste is clan / kul really in India. And quite frequently the clan picked up a single profession. So the clan also frequently became a caste. Basically the European notion of caste should not be transplanted to India. The european clan / tribe is more appropriate.

    Caste will not be "destroyed" in India. The divisions and barriers of caste will be erased. Clan as the extended family system will grow and adapt to include rather than exclude. The sharp divisions will instead become bridge points. And the boundaries will become fluid and elastic to accommodate larger definitions.

    We need not judge or direct our history to the drums of european radicalism. But to the sensible and mature stability of spiritual understanding.

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  4. Mr. Nomad,

    It is very easy to castigate people, but have you read the Manusmriti yourself?

    In the days of the old, as has been rightly pointed out by our Press Council Chairman, there was a division of people on the basis of work in practically every (then modern) society and country.

    However, putting the blame whole on the British Raj is also improper... the Hindu kings for centuries followed by the Muslim rule thereafter had their own faults. In fact the 'rule of the few' principle in India was first time introduced and (in) effectively done during these regimes, which was sort of an instruction manual to the British EIC.

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  5. Caste is despicable...what troubles me is the fact that this article never mentions dalits and their struggle...it never mentions manual scavenging...It does however put caste down and encourages inter-caste marriage which is positive...Keep up the good work Judge

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  6. caste system never led to development.. son of manual scavenger ll learn the same ... and wat he earns.. with his little wage how could he come up...

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  7. I have been searching the web for information on the caste system and, while obviously not exhaustive, your post has been a clear and interesting introduction to the topic. Thank you.

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  8. Very Good study and observation, very well crafted blog, whatever happened is the history, but it is wise to destroy this caste system as it is the need of an hour, and look towards prosperity and growth,very nice to read the refreshing thought...Thank you sir

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  9. A well written piece of work. Broad and crisp.Very informative.

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  10. Sir with great respect your contribution is great. Let's get together and forget the past and keep going ahead by your way.
    Varna vyavastha was created by Bhrigu and Bhardwaj risi. And it was a type of decentralization of power in the society as we have today in our federal system between state and central. The brahmin was allowed to keep knowledge but has to beg for food. The viashya had power of money. The king had power of weapons but he has to ask brahmin for wisdom and so on. There were adulterations. Today we have democracy and a best constitution but why there is so much disparity. Why People are malnutrished why so many pending cases in judiciary. Perhaps in the future we may have much more better system with human advance intelligence that doesn't mean everything is bad.

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  11. I dont know Why our citizens still thinking about past. now dont you all of you think we must think about present and future ???
    On my view in everything should be based on BELOW POVERTY LINE BPL, People who lives under BPL should get reservation.
    why we still scratching about past things which not gona changed ever !

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  12. CASTE SYSTEM is the origin of britishers, but VARNA VYAVASTHA was is the real term. And, everyone were aware of their VARNA or VOCATIONS which one has to perform. I don't find anything wrong in this, as every person has an identity and

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    1. in the continuation of the same, actually, everyone is born special, this is what the SAGES have talked about. Yes, the 4 varnas are there, BRAHMAN-KSHATRIYA-VAISHYA-SHUDR, and in many cases, VAISHYA-SHUDR had mobility also, because skilled labor can capital his own works, but all the 4 VARNAS had to adhere to duties. The duty of BRAHMANS was to GUIDE the rest 3 varnas. Sages never mistreated anyone, as they used to look everyon as the part of same parmatama. We trust foreign literature and account on our civilization.

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  13. Mr. Katju,

    You had written in many forums, that scientific temper should be the basis for modern age..

    I would like to question you, what are the substantiations of your article? Till today, no one had made any official study about our society, except for some few british officers, like Edgar Thurston, who only document what they saw while they travelled.. (Not out of any proper study)..

    In such case, it has to be only concluded that most of what you have written is from imaginated understanding and NOT from any detailed study..

    Where is the scientific Templer sir?

    Secondly, you said the britishers destroyed the handicrafts of india.. and they destroyed to create markets for their corporate companies..
    In that casecase, after the so called independance , india should have revived and supported these numerous handicrafts.. why did that not happen?

    These native occupations are systematically destroyed by the free india, which was controlled by the very same corporations which british nurtured.. and what is the justice for these numerous affected people ?

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  14. Dear sir
    What you've said is half hearted. The speeches of Tilak on Lower caste, the abolition of Devadasi system, the Brahminical community which still has its own system in the Government to grab all the posts to its people never highlighted. The truth has two sides and I feel youe subconscious mind still goes with the system and the sanskrit language. In the Novel of Dostoyevsky a character declared that even Science one day proves against god (jesus)he cannot go with science. Yes many of us are like that.

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  15. It has long been fashionable to denegrate the caste system. I was expecting a deeper understanding from Justice Katju, a man of immense priviledge, stature and heritage. Surely, a system that developed and evolved over centuries and paid dividends along the way, deserves a rethink. It is easy and perhaps maverick to say “destroy, destroy, destroy!” Religious zealots have said that, political zealots have said and pseudo secularists have said that. But, isn't it time to revisit this topic with a fresh perspective instead of beating the same old drum left behind by our foreign masters who we love to ape? Isn't it time to think what the future holds if such a destruction happens, or rather, is already happening? Have you thought how the community life in the villages is breaking up that are still tied to agricultural roots? Have you thought how the farmers, in difficulty,cope with government babus who have replaced the traditional feudal/caste system? What are your views on the epidemic of farmers’ suicide? The farmers today are lost in the crumbling village community brought about by eager politicians and anti-caste policy makers who don’t have to live in the villages. The feudal lords have been replaced by politicians and babus who fleece the farmers and conveniently transfer to another district. I am sure you have read the famous “Animal Farm”. The moral of this passage is - reform is better than revolt. And I would like to add - reformers are intellectuals of the highest order! Revolutionaries are a mixed bunch - they could be great heroes, or plain criminals! Justice Katju- you still have a choice of which path you would like to take. Its not too late.
    Your article is just another addition to those run of the mill articles on the subject of caste - nothing new- and seems to be written in a hurry. I am disappointed, to say the least! But, I am hoping, you will respond with a better sequel to his article.

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  16. I don`t know from where caste system emerged--based on their skill??or Profession??-fine but why discrimination??--Even Jesus was asked by Phrase-es how he is jelling with them-sit and eat with them??according to Scriptures tax collectors are an inferior caste!!!! mentioned by Phrases!!!!.

    Once Great Late Gundu Rao ex CM of Karnataka talking to Akela Brahman Sabha (All India Brahmins Union) at Bangalore very clearly said and quote Deccan Herald news paper of that time.....You people can not be just doing Puja at temple...learn every passable skills and excel..That`s how an Carpenter become Interior designer!!!--Barber becomes Beauty parlor!! ....maid servant work has become Housekeeping!!!!.WHAT IS WRONG IN ALL THESE AS LONG AS ITS NOT STEALING/LOOTING/CHEATING/ANTI-SOCIAL???

    People can just choose any profession and really earn very decent money in Modern India.

    As per doing Puja...In Tamil Nadu all Mantras/Prayers are translated in Tamil..-Any person irrespective of class creed caste who likes to serve Devotees by helping them to pray/perform Pujas have to pass the Exam specially meant for it and will be appointed as temple priest!!!

    Cast-ism is all bullshit...It will slowly go and Brotherly/Sisterly relationship will come to fore in future.

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  17. Lot of sense in what the writer says here except the Aryan Invasion/Migration. I think Indians did not migrate to anywhere except in the English rule period when they were shipped as labors to the Indies and Mauritius and other such places.Hinduism did migrate to the far east like Indonesia, Thailand, Combodia and other countries. Varna system of Manu is basically division of labor of an ancient society where the world was not as complex as of today.
    The great thing about us Indians is that we are constantly evolving, adapting and progressing materially as well as spiritually.

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  18. sir, may god grant you courage to fight evil, dont worry about loudmouth liers (they are any way not near your standards)speak the truth...

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  19. Caste system was designed by society for meeting its particular needs. We do not know what its needs were. It might be perfect at that point of time. Otherwise people of that time would have objected to it or revolted against it.(I am in no way supporting caste system. I was trying to explain it the way i tried to understand). However the times have changed and the circumstances which necessitated for caste system ceased to exist. However, we as a society, failed to adopt to changes and failed to reform an institution. So let us accept that it is our failure to adopt to changing times.
    Even during the time of Megesthenes, there was a caste system but not the one which existed today. It was very scientific. No religious literature in India supported caste system. what people call Manu smriti may not be written by one person.. Manu seems to be an instituion and not an individual. because several law givers in Egypt and other countries names derive their name from 'manu'.
    Thirdly, look at western civilization. When India was practicing caste system, slave system was widely prevalent and church has actively supported slave trade. Even the Indian caste system in its most abused form is no match for slave system.
    Again I am not supporting caste system. Any country on the planet can commit any sin but an Indian should not tolerate such inhuman practices because if India does not follow DHARMA, there is no place for Dharma to exist. It is like police committing the crime.
    All people should try to analyze old institutions from creators' point of view then one will get impassioned conclusion. Feeling hurt for things which were beyond our control will only add salt to injury and this attitude will never help national integration.

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  20. I was always curious as to why the Indian history before the British is silent on the alleged caste system. Mughal records or even ancient Indian literature does not mention castes at all. As late as in 19th century, over 2/3rd of Indian kings were from the low or middle castes. There have hardly been any Brahmin kings in India. Neither have Brahmins ever been known for their wealth. So how come the caste system came to be called as an integral part of the Hindu society with Brahmins as the main oppressors of everyone?

    There is major psyops involved in fooling Hindus about this issue. Most such accusatory scholarship about caste has only one origin: Christian evangelists in the guise of historians and sociologists. Indians should research their ancient and medieval literature themselves and bring out the truth about the caste system so that this mischief of Westerners and church finally comes to an end.

    http://indianrealist.com/2009/04/23/caste-as-british-creation/comment-page-1/#comment-15631

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  21. savithri warrior7 August 2013 15:33

    in many books written in malayalam and english the word orgin is discussed.from the social history of kerala some
    excerpts are quoted here."
    In Brahminic Hinduism dog and hound have come to occupy an important position.
    Even in the English language, phrases like watch-dog, dog-like loyalty and dogged
    resistance are expressions of high literary acceptability. Kampil Ananthan in his open
    letter (1952) addressed to R. Narayana Panicker, a Malayalam lexicographer pointed out
    that the domestic services in Sanskrit were swavrithy (suna- eva-vrithy) which is given as
    "sevaswa vritl ralthyata" in Manusmruti and sevaswa vrithy in Amarakosa and, therefore
    he comes to the conclusion like Kanippayyoor that the term Nayar means one who serves
    the Nampootiri with dog-like loyalty (for further meaning refer to pp. 53-54 of the Open
    Letter). Even otherwise Manusmriti loudly proclaims that the Sudras' occupation is to
    render services at the foot of the Brahmin and the other two varnas. At the time when the
    Kerala Sudras fully trusted the Nampootiri and hailed him god, he had cleverly coined
    the term Nayar concealing the meaning of it but making them believe that it was an
    honorific."

    but the unbelivable thing is that those who followed them used the word nair to denote the soilders of kerala.many never seen kerala and those who visited were not aware of the social setup of kerala.many who visited kerala have already read books about kerala written by their forecomers and were driven by the prejudices.this continued and in 400 years that word gradually got accepatance and today many keep that word in their surname thinking it has great meaning.what shall a person,who have lived 400 years ago think when he hears such names.he may have laughed and says what pitty.

    REFERENCES OF HISTORY BOOKS

    it have been shown earlier that the army commander of marthanda varma was anantha pathmanabhan who was a channan or nadar and not a nair.he was also the commander of the personal body guard battalion of the king.it consists of 36 warriors selected by the king personnaly.they were all channars.in many victorious battles conducted by marthanda varma the commander was ramayyan who was not a nair.his caste is not known clearly.he was born in tamilnadu and came into the serice of the travancore king at a very young age.for many years he was considered as a bhrahmin,but some have pointed out that he belonged to the maravar community of tamilnadu.what it is clear is that he is not a nair .kanakku ,pillai,chempaka raman etc were given as titles to the courters or to those who were in service or to those who have done service to the king. it was not given on community basis nor to a particular caste.it cant be competetant persons are to be taken to service and it cannot be found from a particular caste,not always from upper caste .

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  22. Great article ...Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post.Khass Khabre||politics news||news live||Hindi world news||market news||breaking news

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  23. Sir, you not do any justice to this topic. Being qualified to dispense justice does not automatically make you capable of dispensing discourse on such a serious issue or may be it does since right to free speech is enshrined in our constitution.
    You claim “It is well known that before the coming of the British, India was one of the world’s most prosperous countries (at that time).” And you go on to cite ancient Indian exports. The point proffered it’s implication and logic are facile at best.
    It would be akin to the claim that ancient India was one of the most educated and intellectual places on earth. After all we have Vedas and other texts (mentioning million gods who by the way have never bothered to pay a visit and address the denizens of this ‘prosperous’ and intellectual/creative country). The ‘sacred’ texts were out of reach for just about everyone except for Brahmins. The Shudras and those outside the pale of Varna system had and still have to contend with wondering what makes a Brahmin, a Brahmin even when the said superior being sits on the road side on Saturdays with a dirty bowl filled with mustard oil and doesn’t give a damn whether it is a manual scavenger creating a oily splash with his coin or his begging bowl is receiving a coin from a rather exalted person.
    Indian society was and still is abhorrently elitist. India was never prosperous as you claim since there never was equitable distribution of wealth. Or may be you somehow know for sure that in ancient India Shudras and untouchables constituted a tiny fraction of population and hence not worthy of being a part of the equation. The worldly wealth filled the coffers of monarchs and ministers so they were prosperous who in turn bought the ‘divine’ favors which Pandits were too happy to oblige.
    I have no idea about provenance of such a claim of prosperity as history of India in many cases is gleaned from hagiographies of kings and outright mythology. The mythology hammered so often that it has become a ‘truth’

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  24. Your arrogance continues when you claim ” In fact India was once a super power with a 31.5% share in the global gross domestic production, which came down to 3% in the year 1991.”
    I would ask when that ‘once’ was and what is meant by ‘global’. Somehow the claim appears to have as much veracity as that of Murli Manohar Joshi’s insistence to include in the school textbooks the ‘fact’ that India never had any famine before the arrival of British.
    You quote Adam Smith “The caste system in India resulted in great development of the productive forces, and hence in the feudal age it was a progressive institution” (I hope it is Adam you are quoting and not yourself).
    Once again progressive system for who? Certainly not for the lower castes
    And how on earth can you say something like “the chamars were at one time a respectable caste because they earned their livelihood by doing leather work.” And then you go on to claim Bata for their present day plight. Your ignorance is unbelievably disgusting. You are an armchair expert unfortunately with credentials held in some esteem by society.
    You blame British for the ills plaguing India which once again is a travesty especially when you, throughout your professional life have been following the laws and constitution mostly inherited from British, including Me Lord and Lordship. Dear Justice katju, even a superficial reading of Indian history will tell you that the traitors who joined hands with either Mughals or Brits to fight against their neighbors were Indian elites. Brits wouldn’t have done what they did in your opinion had the cupidity of Kashatriya, Brahmins and Vaishyas and resultant internecine wars in then ‘India’ hadn’t made the land fertile for a few thousand of Goras to make this country a slave.
    To your mind” the caste system in India will not last for more than ten or twenty years from now (because its very basis has gone), the basis according to you being economic.
    Tunnel vision at it’s worst.
    And how do I know?
    I am a doctor, highly qualified, have a good job, money and most of all I am a dude who is well read, even good looking with fair complexion. I am considered to be highly intelligent and hard working. But I am still considered a ‘product of reservation, a low caste’. Not that it bothers me.
    You just can’t get rid of caste discrimination in a country where it is divinely sanctioned, unless of course when education and honesty becomes the criteria for respect and mythology finds it’s true place in trashcans.
    Dear Justice Katju, cast system and discrimination was here before the concept of extant India and it shall prevail like a lingering disease even after India falls apart (Historically Nations and civilizations are formed and destroyed as a rule).
    The only way to get rid of this filth within 20 years is if caste system and religions are made illegal coupled with zero tolerance for dishonesty/criminal activities and not to mention an iron resolve to ensure that fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution are actually enjoyed by even the commercial sex workers and manual scavengers.
    But that is not possible; you should know it better than anyone. And for heaven sake, do read a bit on the topic you decide to write on.

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