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Why has it become so cool to hate India

A Bhushan
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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby A Bhushan » 18 May 2003 02:06

Caste system itself is not bad. For an agragarian soceity it was a good model in ancient time. Caste preserved 'sanskar' to be carried from one generation to the other.Saying that, I also say during the course of time ,it has generated negative influences (as by product). Why we can't live with caste identity as well as national identity. In USA people openly says I am Italian American,Irish American or whatever still all work and work in same place. Untouchability and other byproducts of it, are bad and we need to eradicate it, No doubt about it.We should not allow any other Indian to hate us about our social model and Aliens can't understand it because it is unique.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby R Vaidya » 18 May 2003 02:15

NARAYANAN
__
BTW, who is "AKG"? Is this in Kerala? If so, "AKG" stands for "A.K. Gopalan" prominent Red Communist neta from the 1970s. Happily (for India, that is) dead now.
_______

All your statements are true--unfortunately the first two and fortunately the last one.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby AshishN » 18 May 2003 02:18

Caste (or better varna) system is excellent, caste discrimination in bad.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby R Vaidya » 18 May 2003 02:33

Among thousands of activities undertaken by the Indians in the USA our DDM's get this to publish.
The message:
Indians cannot be right in India or outside.
The news is silent on any cases launched --any convictions--Not needed --we are talking about Indians --just accusations are enough

http://www.hinduonnet.com/stories/2003051801410900.htm
Indian-American youth gangs earn notoriety

WASHINGTON MAY 17. Police in California are bearing down on three Indian-American youth gangs that have been involved in a series of violent incidents during the past four years.

The authorities describe the members of `Santa Clara Punjabi Boys,' `Aim to Kill,' and `All Indian Mob,' the three gangs that operate in Alameda and Santa Clara counties of California, as some of the Bay Area's most violent offenders, according to Mercury newspaper.

Police say there are perhaps 500 members, mostly Sikh men in their 20s, in these gangs.

``In family photos, the young men pose politely in turbans and ties. But in secret snapshots confiscated by police, some of them reveal a darker side. They stuff assault rifles down their pants, flex their tattooed muscles and flaunt their bare chests,'' says the newspaper.

``Others point 9mm pistols at each other's temples and flash gang signs.''

``Their conflicts always result in stabbing, shooting or beating,'' said Dave Lanier, a Fremont police sergeant who also is the region's foremost expert on Indo-American gangs. Investigators began focusing on the gangs after a series of violent incidents during the past four years. — PT

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Nikhil Shah » 18 May 2003 03:38

lets keep things in perspective here. If there are Indian gangs operating in US, it needs to be reported the same way as other gang news are.

It is one thing to be vigilant about subtle gestures that have long term aim of creating stereotypes and destroying native thoughts. It is other to be a cynic and react to every negative news.

Have you travelled Air India :eek: You have a gang war right up at 35000 ft.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Nandu » 18 May 2003 08:26

Yes, there are Indian gangs among high school kids in Silicon Valley. At least Indians stopped getting beaten up after that.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Arvind » 18 May 2003 11:01

caste is neither a uniquely Indian phenomenon nor an unnatural one. The varNa as was practiced in Indo-Aryan India was an offshoot of the social tripartation seen in various other Indo-European societies, eg. German, Iranian and Keltic. It vanished in its native form in Iran and Europe because the native Indo-European cultures were destroyed in those lands. A parallel social stratification was even prevalent in Dravidian society and was merged with the Indo-Aryan varNa.

In turn these social structures have evolved from the social stratification seen in anthropoid and non-Anthropoid primates. Sociobiological studies on chimpanzee have shown that the rank of the offspring is positively correlated with that of the parent. This is were you see the origins of hereditary caste. So, rather than deny something emerging from a natural process, one should accept it and try to minimize the problems emerging from it. Just because one gets tonsilitis one need not believe that the tonsils are an evil.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby shiv » 18 May 2003 12:53

Originally posted by Hauma Hamiddha:
caste is neither a uniquely Indian phenomenon nor an unnatural one.

In turn these social structures have evolved from the social stratification seen in anthropoid and non-Anthropoid primates. Sociobiological studies on chimpanzee have shown that the rank of the offspring is positively correlated with that of the parent. This is were you see the origins of hereditary caste. So, rather than deny something emerging from a natural process,
May I reiterate that I am attempting to sow a "thought seed", a possibly Chankian sleight-of-word?

Caste is a bad word. Leave it be. Don't fight it. Any attempt at rationalizing the sociobiological origins of "caste" will only lead to negative press.

The world has decided that "caste" is bad. But we must not allow denigration of the whole social system for that. When one tries to explain the Indian social system and substitutes the phrese "Indian social system" with the word "caste" you end up against a brick wall. No amount of wriggling is going to make the world sit up and understand explanations from anyone about how things cannot be bad when you are using the word "caste". It is like telling people why it is not bad at all to use the word N1gger.

I think "sleight-of-word" is required. Sidestep the bad word "caste" Explain what is good about the social system. If you want to explain how the social strtification came about - do not desfribe it useing the word caste. Caste is a bad word. Use it and you score an own goal.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Pulikeshi » 18 May 2003 14:12

Shiv,

A Caste/Varna by any other name is but Caste/Varna!
I know you mean well, but what the Bhakti movement, and other enlightened Hindu leaders could not do, a sleight-of-word cannot! My ideas are simple: The Varna system is flawed (see my reasons below), but it made Hindu society strong in ancient times. This system has not worked in quite some time. The time has come for change, what new system can we evolve? My suggestion is to be the best Kshatriya, Brahmana, Vyshaya and Shudra. If every Hindu strives to do that, we may yet have a platinum age of Hinduism (or Sanathana Dharma).

Human beings are beautiful animals but we are neither bees nor monkeys! I agree that there is socio-biological ranking among some animals. The division of labor provided by Caste/Varna system made our ancient society very efficient and powerful. This system even allowed us to assimilate new tribes (jatis). Shudra’s could become Kshatriyas overnight if they conquered lands and became kings. The system becomes more and more rigid with Islamic and later the British invasion. Now the reservation system is trying to make it even more codified. While some urban inter-Caste/Varna marriages are a progressive sign, but Quo Vadis? Our rural areas are still very rigid and inward looking. Caste/Varna in the villages is just a justification for resource control. Even if one human being belonging to the Hindu fold is structurally discriminated against, that is one too many. I am not talking about people’s prejudices; my problem is with the Purusha Suktha and the Manu Smrithi. There is just reason for us to remove these “offensive” texts from our Religion. Hinduism will exist and may even flourish without them.

The western (more precisely Anglo-Saxon) concept of fairness is different and it was extended to include all human beings as equal under the law. In my view the Caste/Varna system is ill understood from an Anglo-Saxon fairness perspective. This and the confusion of Caste/Varna with Race is a major reason for prejudiced views/articles in the west. My solution is education. Make presentations at Churches, colleges and other venues, explain the system to them. In order to do that we need to first agree on what we consider the system to be Caste/Varna/”Sleight-of-hand” :D

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Kuttan » 18 May 2003 16:34

"Caste" is bad news, period. It may have made sense in an age where skills were passed on through families, lacking other social structures for formal education and training.

But I see no way that "caste" as in "birth-based career determination" is compatible with a modern society. It is also not fundamental to any religion, but a "system" which developed in an inbred society. Surely there must have been good reasons for developing such divisions, but there is no way that I can support any interpretation which says: "You were born in XYZ family, whose ancestors were.... Therefore you can't ...." And that interpretation is clearly part of the inseparable baggage of "caste".

The moment one insists that "caste" is integral to religion, one alienates 75 to 90% of people by telling them that the Almighty chose to deal with only a special coterie of flunkies and has no interest in the rest of us.

Unacceptable.

Again, the failure to erase caste hangups is responsible for much of the difficulty facing progress in India. Caste hangups benefit only Commies and Pakis these days, though they of course have the worst "caste" distinctions of all tribes:

Commie Caste System in the Soviet Union

1. Politburo Members
2. "Nomenklatura" and Academicians
3. Generals
4. Scum proletariat

Must be similar in China.

Paki caste system:

1. Jehadi terrorists
2. Generals with houses in New Jersey, and Swiss bank accounts
3. Sugar thieves and drug barons
4. Daisies (i.e., fodder for Daisy Cutters).

There are many great things which need to be revived from ancient times. But the sicknesses of society and all that baggage need not be dragged along as "this is how we do things onleee", devoid of logic or fairness.

My own interpretation is that in ancient times, as now, some bragging rights evolved in villages. The doctors who owned the fine chariots and wrote those illegible Harappan prescriptions, no doubt set up exclusive private schools for their brats. The guys who kept the doctors in business by hacking up people on the slightest provocation, no doubt evoked fear, and accumulated resources. Those who made money by selling the chariots to the doctors, and "astras" to the killers, no doubt were able to achieve some measure of respect and fear for their talents. And the rest of the population, well, went about their lives, working for salaries, with no PR machine to boost their "image".

This was all fine, as long as there was free merit-based diffusion between these "classes". The moment merit was replaced by "birth", things went really downhill, and society became inbred. The invaders, both Islamic and British barbarians, found this neat pigeonholing to be very convenient in controlling India. The nitwit "upper classes", having long lost the street-fighter's toughness, could be easily controlled. And they in turn kept the real power of India, the free people, under control neatly through "religious caste system", bolstered by the misinterpretations of religious texts by silly fake Swamis. Hey, if someone tells you that THAT's what Sri Krishna meant when he was telling the prima donna Arjuna to quit :p

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby shiv » 18 May 2003 17:13

Originally posted by Pulikeshi Varma:
Make presentations at Churches, colleges and other venues, explain the system to them. In order to do that we need to first agree on what we consider the system to be Caste/Varna/”Sleight-of-hand” :D
The word caste puts off 75% of educated Indians, leave alone others - so that word needs to be substituted if anyone wants to explain anything about Indian society.

Basically there is a very difficult to break link that is established in "common knowledge" between India, hindus and caste. That is because the original "you farted" accusation was made centuries ago. I see a way forward ONLY by accepting that "caste" is a bad word. If you want to explain the benefits of "varna/jati/whatever" explain it without using that bad word. That is the "sleight of word". that is required.

Note that if the "good concept" of Varna is not adequately explained by the derogatory word "caste" why continue to use it? Why should I say "Hey Maulana Masood Azhar" when I mean to say "Hey Pulakeshi Varma"?

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby shiv » 18 May 2003 18:54

The Kannada word "khaara" and the Tamil word "kaaram" describe the sensory and gustatory responses evoked by chillies. Some moron in antiquity mistranslated that into English and called it "hot". Note that "hot" in english refers to a thermal sensation, not a taste sensation so the word was DEFINITELY inappropriate but is still used. This causes no real problems except to irritate some doctors.

On the other hand the word "caste" only means trouble. The word has already acquired a negative meaning. The person who thought up that word was probably not asked to define anything, but a meaning has now been applied to the word that is indefensible

On online dictionary defines caste as:

"One of the hereditary classes into which the Hindoos are divided according to the laws of Brahmanism."

Millions of dictionaries cannot now be rewritten to make the word caste taste sweet. In any case "Caste" is not an indigenous Indian word or definition and the only reason we use it is because it has been drilled into millions of us at school and at home that the our social system is based on "caste" - a Portuguese or whatever word coined by some joker to describe some sensation that he felt when he saw what was going on.

"Caste" is bad. If you think the concept has something going for it, put in some effort to use words other than "caste" to explain the concept. It isn't that difficult.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Kaushal » 18 May 2003 19:31

We are going around in circles as usual when we discuss this issue.

Caste is.

Whether the effect of C are pernicious or not is immaterial, it is a social institution that is widely prevalent in the Subcontinent. So prevalent it is that it is widely practiced in various forms in countries outside India. One can rant and rave all day long that it is bad , but its effects on our thought processes are manifold and you mention the word outcaste, the presumed behavior associated with such a person (unclean, unreliable, dishonest, not trustworthy etc.etc.) and its ramifications are known instantly to the 6 Billion people of the world . Even people who convert to other religions from Hinduism practice it diligently when it comes to marriage . I contend that no matter what word you use the practices that are understood to be included in 'Casteism' cannot be removed overnight from Indian society. That doesnt mean all is lost.

Several things can be done and are being done.

On the institutional and societal level it should be outlawed - Done.

On the individual level do not practice it - Done in most urban environments.

Banish inequality in society - i contend this is impossible to do. We all know every human being is not equal in his/her talents and accomplishments. That is quite obvious when we see the lives of extraordinary individuals such as Gandhiji, Sw. Vivekanananda, Dr.Ambedkar, Pr.Abdul Kalaam. The problem is to assume this happens because of an accident of birth. Unfortunately the laws have not been of great help here. They have institutionalized the notion that a person needs assistance from society merely because of his/her accident of birth and have created an attitude of snobbery (chi chi, he got in because he is a SC candidate) towards those who avail themselves of this remedy.

Caste by birth has no sanction in our traditions. Varna by behavior is of course definitely sanctioned and is sanctioned in every society, in one form or another. Combine this with the natural propensity to marry within our own social circles(jati), ergo you have the explosive mixture now known as Caste.

Tackle the most pernicious problems first. That of mistreating a individual because of his/her accident of birth.

I continue to maintain the solution lies in modifying ones own personal behavior and treat every individual as an individual with respect and dignity. Once this becomes a habit of thought the rest will follow.But do not expect as a result that inequalities in society will disappear overnight. That will not happen in a long time.

We fret far too much on this issue. This too will pass. Human evolution has now been established to be over a million years old. Out of that only 8000 years is known to have a recorded history. Trust me,this too will pass and in the meantime i suggest we are all a little more tolerant of diverging viewpoints.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby A Bhushan » 18 May 2003 19:34

Shiv.Okay if word and dictionary is a problem, Then say it Varna. You agree a system was needed in ancient time and it got carried till now? Again I would like to say Varna discrimination is wrong. System was pure intially for whatever reason it has acquired impurity then we need to purify it.Probably I would like to stick with your suggestion "Indian social Order" .However Vivekanand view on caste system uses this word and I am reproducing it as it is :
quoted from
vivek and caste

Swami Vivekananda
Caste System in India


Editor's Note: This article is a chapter from the book, "Swami Vivekananda On India and Her Problems".

Caste in Society and not in religion
Though our castes and our institutions are apparently linked with our religion, they are not so. These institutions have been necessary to protect us as a nation, and when this necessity for self-preservation will no more exist, they will die a natural death. In religion there is no caste. A man from the highest caste and a man from the lowest may become a monk in India and the two castes become equal. The caste system is opposed to the religion of Vedanta.

Caste is a social custom, and all our great preachers have tried to break it down. From Buddhism downwards, every sect has preached against caste, and every time it has only riveted the chains. Beginning from Buddha to Rammohan Ray, everyone made the mistake of holding caste to be a religious institution and tried to pull down religion and caste altogether, and failed.

In spite of all the ravings of the priests, caste is simply a crystallized social institution, which after doing its service is now filling the atmosphere of India with its stench, and it can only be removed by giving back to people their lost social individuality. Caste is simply the outgrowth of the political institutions of India; it is a hereditary trade guild. Trade competition with Europe has broken caste more than any teaching.

The underlying idea of the Caste System
The older I grow, the better I seem to think of caste and such other time-honored institutions of India. There was a time when I used to think that many of them were useless and worthless, but the older I grow, the more I seem to feel a difference in cursing any one of them, for each one of them is the embodiment of the experience of centuries.

A child of but yesterday, destined to die the day after tomorrow, comes to me and asks me to change all my plans and if I hear the advice of that baby and change all my surroundings according to his ideas I myself should be a fool, and no one else. Much of the advice that is coming to us from different countries is similar to this. Tell these wiseacres, "I will hear you when you have made a stable society yourselves. You cannot hold on to one idea for two days, you quarrel and fail; you are born like moths in the spring and die like them in five minutes. You come up like bubbles and burst like bubbles too. First form a stable society like ours. First make laws and institutions that remains undiminished in their power through scores of centuries. Then will be the time to talk on the subject with you, but till then, my friend, you are only a giddy child."

Caste is a very good thing. Caste is the plan we want to follow. What caste really is, not one in a million understands. There is no country in the world without caste. Caste is based throughout on that principle. The plan in India is to make everybody Brahmana, the Brahmana being the ideal of humanity. If you read the history of India you will find that attempts have always been made to raise the lower classes. Many are the classes that have been raised. Many more will follow till the whole will become Brahmana. That is the plan.

Our ideal is the Brahmana of spiritual culture and renunciation. By the Brahmana ideal what do I mean? I mean the ideal Brahmana-ness in which worldliness is altogether absent and true wisdom is abundantly present. That is the ideal of the Hindu race. Have you not heard how it is declared he, the Brahmana, is not amenable to law, that he has no law, that he is not governed by kings, and that his body cannot be hurt? That is perfectly true. Do not understand it in the light thrown upon it by interested and ignorant fools, but understand it in the light of the true and original Vedantic conception.. If the Brahmana is he who has killed all selfishness and who lives to acquire and propagate wisdom and the power of love - if a country is altogether inhabited by such Brahmanas, by men and women who are spiritual and moral and good, is it strange to think of that country as being above and beyond all law? What police, what Military are necessary to govern them? Why should any one govern them at all? Why should they live under a government? They are good and noble, and they are the men of God; these are our ideal Brahmanas, and we read that in the SatyaYuga there was only one caste, and that was the Brahmana. We read in the Mahabharata that the whole world was in the beginning peopled with Brahmanas, and that as they began to degenerate they became divided into different castes, and that when the cycle turns round they will all go back to that Brahmanical origin.

The son of a Brahmana is not necessarily always a Brahmana; though there is every possibility of his being one, he may not become so. The Brahmana caste and the Brahmana quality are two distinct things.

As there are sattva, rajas and tamas - one or other of these gunas more or less - in every man, so the qualities which make a Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya or a Shudra are inherent in every man, more or less. But at time one or other of these qualities predominates in him in varying degrees and is manifested accordingly. Take a man in his different pursuits, for example : when he is engaged in serving another for pay, he is in Shudra-hood; when he is busy transacting some some piece of business for profit, on his account, he is a Vaishya; when he fights to right wrongs then the qualities of a Kshatriya come out in him; and when he meditates on God, or passes his time in conversation about Him, then he is a Brahmana. Naturally, it is quite possible for one to be changed from one caste into another. Otherwise, how did Viswamitra become a Brahmana and Parashurama a Kshatriya?

The means of European civilization is the sword; of the Aryans, the division into different varnas. This system of division into varnas is the stepping-stone to civilization, making one rise higher and higher in proportion to one's learning and culture. In Europe, it is everywhere victory to the strong and death to the weak. In the land of Bharata (India), every social rule is for the protection of the weak.

Such is our ideal of caste, as meant for raising all humanity slowly and gently towards the realization of the great ideal of spiritual man, who is non-resisting, calm, steady, worshipful, pure and meditative. In that ideal there is God.

We believe in Indian caste as one of the greatest social institutions that the Lord gave to man. We also believe that through the unavoidable defects, foreign persecutions, and above all, the monumental ignorance and pride of many Brahmanas who do not deserve the name, have thwarted in many ways, the legitimate fructification of this glorious Indian institution, it has already worked wonders for the land of Bharata and it destined to lead Indian humanity to its goal.

Caste should not go; but should be readjusted occasionally. Within the old structure is to be life enough for the building of two hundred thousand new ones. It is sheer nonsense to desire the abolition of caste.

Inequality of Privilege vitiates the system
It is in the nature of society to form itself into groups; and what will go will be these privileges! Caste is a natural order. I can perform one duty in social life, and you another; you can govern a country, and I can mend a pair of old shoes, but that is no reason why you are greater than I, for can you mend my shoes? Can I govern the country? I am clever in mending shoes, you are clever in reading Vedas, that is no reason why you should trample on my head; why if one commits murder should he be praised and if another steals an apple why should he be hanged? This will have to go.

Caste is good. That is only natural way of solving life. Men must form themselves into groups, and you cannot get rid of that. Wherever you go there will be caste. But that does not mean that there should be these privileges. They should be knocked on the head. If you teach Vedanta to the fisherman, he will say, "I am as good a man as you, I am a fisherman, you are a philosopher, but I have the same God in me, as you have in you." And that is what we want, no privilege for anyone, equal chances for all; let everyone be taught that the Divine is within, and everyone will work out his own salvation. The days of exclusive privileges and exclusive claims are gone, gone for ever from the soil of India.

Untouchability - A Superstitious Accretion
Formerly the characteristic of the noble-minded was - (tribhuvanamupakara shrenibhih priyamanah) "to please the whole universe by one's numerous acts of service", but now it is - I am pure and the whole world is impure. "Don't touch me!" "Don't touch me!" The whole world is impure, and I alone am pure! Lucid Brahmajnana! Bravo! Great God! Nowadays, Brahman is neither in the recesses of the heart, nor in the highest heaven, nor in all beings - now He is in the cooking pot!

We are orthodox Hindus, but we refuse entirely to identify ourselves with "Don't- touchism". That is not Hinduism; it is in none of our books; it is an orthodox superstition, which has interfered with national efficiency all along the line. Religion has entered in the cooking pot. The present religion of the Hindus is neither the path of Knowledge or Reason - it is "Don't-touchism". - "Don't touch me", "Don't touch me" - that exhausts its description.

"Don't touchism" is a form of mental disease. Beware! All expansion is life, all contraction is death. All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. See that you do not lose your lives in this dire irreligion of "Don't- touchism". Must the teaching (Atmavat sarvabhuteshu) - "Looking upon all beings as your own self" - be confined to books alone? How will they grant salvation who cannot feed a hungry mouth with a crumb of bread? How will those, who become impure at the mere breath of others, purify others?

We must cease to tyrannize. To what a ludicrous state are we brought! If a bhangi comes to anybody as a bhangi, he would be shunned as the plague; but no sooner does he get a cupful of water poured upon his head with some muttering of prayers by a padri, and get a coat to his back, no matter how threadbare, and come into the room of the most orthodox Hindu, I don't see the man who then dare refuse him a chair and a hearty shake of hands! Irony can go no farther.

Just see, for want of sympathy from the Hindus, thousands of pariahs in Madras are turning Christians. Don't think that this is simply due to the pinch of hunger; it is because they do not get any sympathy from us. We are day and night calling out to them "Don't touch us! Don't touch us!" Is there any compassion or kindliness of heart in the country? Only a class of "Don't-touchists" ; kick such customs out! I sometimes feel the urge to break the barriers of "Don't-touchism", go at once and call out, "Come all who are poor, miserable, wretched and downtrodden", and to bring them all together. Unless they rise, the Mother will not awake.

Each Hindu, I say, is a brother to every other, and it is we, who have degraded them by our outcry, "Don't touch", "Don't touch!" And so the whole country has been plunged to the utmost depths of meanness, cowardice and ignorance. These men have to be lifted; words of hope and faith have to be proclaimed to them. We have to tell them, "You are also men like us and you have all the rights that we have."

Solution to the Caste Problem
Our solution of the caste question is not degrading those who are already high up, is not running amuck through food and drink, is not jumping out of our own limits in order to have more enjoyment, but it comes by every one of us fulfilling the dictates of our Vedantic religion, by our attaining spirituality and by our becoming ideal Brahmana. There is a law laid on each one of you in this land by your ancestors, whether you are Aryans, or non-Aryans, rishis or Brahmanas or the very lowest outcaste. The command is the same to you all, that you must make progress without stopping, and that from the highest man to the lowest pariah, every one in this country has to try and become the ideal Brahmana. This Vedantic idea is applicable not only here but over the whole world.

The Brahmana-hood is the ideal of humanity in India as wonderfully put forward by Shankaracharya at the beginning of his commentary on the Gita, where he speaks about the reason for Krishna's coming as a preacher for the preservation of Brahmana- hood, of Brahmana-ness. That was the great end. This Brahmana, the man of God, he who has known Brahman, the ideal man, the perfect man, must remain, he must not go. And with all the defects of the caste now, we know that we must all be ready to give to the Brahmanas this credit, that from them have come more men with real Brahmana-ness in them than from all the other castes. We must be bold enough, must be brave enough to speak their defects, but at the same time we must give credit that is due to them.

Therefore, it is no use fighting among the castes. What good will it do? It will divide us all the more, weaken us all the more, degrade us all the more. The solution is not by bringing down the higher, but by raising the lower up to the level of the higher. And that is the line of work that is found in all our books, in spite of what you may hear from some people whose knowledge of their own Scriptures and whose capacity to understand the mighty plans of the ancients are only zero. What is the plan? The ideal at the one end is the Brahmana and the ideal at the other end is the chandala, and the whole work is to raise the chandala up to the Brahmana. Slowly and slowly you will find more and more privileges granted to them.

I regret that in modern times there should be so much discussion between the castes. This must stop. It is useless on both sides, especially on the side of the higher caste, the Brahmana, the day for these privileges and exclusive claims is gone. The duty of every aristocracy is to dig its own grave, and the sooner it does so, the better. The more he delays, the more it will fester and the worse death it will die. It is the duty of the Brahmana, therefore, to work for the salvation of the rest of mankind, in India. If he does that and so long as he does that, he is a Brahmana.

Any one who claims to be a Brahmana, then, should prove his pretensions, first by manifesting that spirituality, and next by raising others to the same status. We earnestly entreat the Brahmanas not to forget the ideal of India - the production of a universe of Brahmanas, pure as purity, good as God Himself : this was at the beginning, says the Mahabharata and so will it be in the end.

It seems that most of the Brahmanas are only nursing a false pride of birth; and any schemer, native or foreign, who can pander to this vanity and inherent laziness, by fulsome sophistry, appears to satisfy more.

Beware Brahmanas, this is the sign of death! Arise and show your manhood, your Brahmana-hood, by raising the non-Brahmanas around you - not in the spirit of a master - not with the rotten canker of egoism crawling with superstitions and charlatanry of East and West - but in the spirit of a servant.

To the Brahmanas I appeal, that they must work hard to raise the Indian people by teaching them what they know, by giving out the culture that they have accumulated for centuries. It is clearly the duty of the Brahmanas of India to remember what real Brahmana-hood is. As Manu says, all these privileges and honors are given to the Brahmana because, "with him is the treasury of virtue". He must open that treasury and distribute to the world.

It is true that he was the earliest preacher to the Indian races, he was the first to renounce everything in order to attain to the higher realization of life, before others could reach to the idea. It was not his fault that he marched ahead of the other castes. Why did not the other castes so understand and do as they did? Why did they sit down and be lazy, and let the Brahmanas win the race?

But it is one thing to gain an advantage, and another thing to preserve it for evil use. Whenever power is used for evil it becomes diabolical; it must be used for good only. So this accumulated culture of ages of which the Brahmana has been the trustee, he must now give to the people, and it was because he did not open this treasury to the people, that the Muslims invasion was possible. It was because he did not open this treasury to the people from the beginning, that for a thousand years we have been trodden under the heels of everyone who chose to come to India; it was through that we have become degraded, and the first task must be to break open the cells that hide the wonderful treasures which our common ancestors accumulated; bring them out, and give them to everybody, and the Brahmana must be the first to do it. There is an old superstition in Bengal that if the cobra that bites, sucks out his own poison from the patient, the man must survive. Well then, the Brahmana must suck out his own poison.

To the non-Brahmana castes I say, wait, be not in a hurry. Do not seize every opportunity of fighting the Brahmana, because as I have shown; you are suffering from your own fault. Who told you to neglect spirituality and Sanskrit learning? What have you been doing all this time? Why have you been indifferent? Why do you now fret and fume because somebody else had more brains, more energy, more pluck and go than you? Instead of wasting your energies in vain discussions and quarrels in the newspapers, instead of fighting and quarreling in your own homes - which is sinful - use all your energies in acquiring the culture which the Brahmana has, and the thing is done. Why do you not become Sanskrit scholars? Why do you not spend millions to bring Sanskrit education to all the castes of India? That is the question. The moment you do these things, you are equal to the Brahmana! That is the secret power in India.

The only safety, I tell you men who belong to the lower castes, the only way to raise your condition is to study Sanskrit, and this fighting and writing and frothing against the higher castes is in vain, it does no good, and it creates fight and quarrel, and this race, unfortunately already divided, is going to be divided more and more. The only way to bring about the leveling of castes is to appropriate the culture, the education which is the strength of the higher castes.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby R Vaidya » 18 May 2003 19:34

Shiv
________
"Caste" is bad. If you think the concept has something going for it, put in some effort to use words other than "caste" to explain the concept. It isn't that difficult.
__________
Vey well said. Cast away the word caste. We cannot re-write all English Dictonaries.
The tradional words -- varna or Jati-- or the English word "Community" is perhaps better substitues if one wants to use it in a different sense than it is understood.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby AshishN » 18 May 2003 20:57

Excellent. We need to throw out the foreign word caste. Use varnashrama and explain its meaning as it was meant to be explained (earlier post). Reading any kind of discrimimation into varnashrama is just plain lying.

And then explain that unfortunately, thats exactly what many people in India did it for their own benefit (no, not everyone is a saint, even amongst us hindoos), and foreigners exploited it to the utmost to :

1. ridicule hinduism

2. keep the natives divided [which is essential if you are trying to oppress-oops, I mean "rule"-300million people with just 300thousand of your own (one of you for every 1000 of them natives, see?)]

All this need for explanation because:

1. it is the truth

2. explanations will be required. **You dont have to confront every passerby and say hey here is the explanation; but in many discussions in all walks of life, it will come to this at some point. And I don't want anyone to wonder "yeah, did hinduism really sanction discrimination?". No. I want them to have an answer. The true answer. :)

One has to give explanations for the *discrimination* based on "caste". I know it is nowhere as prevalent as NG would like you to believe. But some is there, and has to be explained, along with facts on how GoI is doing things to punish that sort of discrimination

The other aspects of like social groups, communities, endogamy etc can easily be explained away. Such things are part of life everywhere (episcopal/methodist/seventh day adventist/texan/new yorker/steelers fan/rapper...blah blah...people can relate and the tubelight comes on quite quickly).

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby chola » 18 May 2003 22:05

To the non-Brahmana castes I say, wait, be not in a hurry.
To put it mildly: this is the most condescending piece of crap I've read!

See, we're equal. Your station is to mend shoes and mine is to rule the land. And what's more, your children, born into the good graces of your varna, will also mend shoes and mine will inherit lordship over them.

The problem with this euphremism of varna as opposed to "caste" is that it still means a division of groups according to certain "traits" or "worth." What's worst is it is not a fleeting thing. It does not end with a generation.

How many of us here will accept it if the world community decides that Indians belong to a varna that is meant only to serve but not rule because it is in our nature to serve? Not many, and most of us will claim racism.

Look at us here at BR. We rail against bad treatment by Americans and Westerners. Yet, similar treatment of groups within our own people is ignored and even considered "good." Is it because discrimination against the backward varnas can be ignored as something benign but when outsiders practice discrimination against us here then it is racism?

Feudalism was once considered good for Europe. But it was never "good" per se. It was there until someone realized that it was wrong that there should always be lords whose children were born into the station and serfs whose children were born into servitude. It was when feudalism was decried that Europe came out of the Dark Ages.

Serfs were once a "caste" integral to European culture and society. Today, this "varna" no longer exists even though the vast majority of the wealthy European and America peoples were their descendants.

I second Pulikeshi.

"A Caste/Varna by any other name is but Caste/Varna!"

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby parsuram » 18 May 2003 22:24

Ashish:

For one thing, get out of the defensive mode. Why must you or anyone else "explain" caste. One of those "when did you stop beating your wife" questions, the issue of caste is similarly framed. That too from "some of my best friends are -----" crowd. There are casts everywhere. Indians were smart enough to give them names. Its not good? nor are a lot of other things. How about others take care of their own problems, now that they beat their wives less often.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Sai » 18 May 2003 22:26

Why did this thread become caste-centric!?

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Arvind » 18 May 2003 22:27

Would anybody think that GW and Jeb would be occupying their current positions, if pater familias was not president?

Regarding marriages: Surveys have shown that on an average mates tend to maximise similarity.

Just extrapolate the consequences of these things in a non-PeeCee society....

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby R Vaidya » 18 May 2003 22:28

The tradional India haters brigade gets egg on its face!
But they will try to find some new abuse for the judge!!
http://in.rediff.com/news/2003/may/18guj.htm

No police lapse in Gujarat riots: Justice Nanavati

May 18, 2003 18:20 IST

Evidence recorded so far does not indicate any serious lapse on part of the Gujarat Police or administration in handling the communal clashes that erupted followed the Godhra train incident, Justice G T Nanavati, heading the two-member commission to probe last year's riots, said on Sunday.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Kuttan » 18 May 2003 22:37

Chola: Agree 100%

I can perform one duty in social life, and you another; you can govern a country, and I can mend a pair of old shoes, but that is no reason why you are greater than I, for can you mend my shoes? Can I govern the country?
Yes, I can mend shoes about as well as I can govern countries, but, better than all that, I sure can throw my worn-out shoe at the oiseules who claim to be "born" to rule my country. And I can hit a single stump from 25 yards out with a reasonable probability....

All this "wait for the next incarnation" garbage is what contributes to the defeatist mentality exhibited by TOI and The Hindu. Given what I've done over the years to assorted pompous worthies who claim to have guaranteed reservations in Houristan (various different suburbs thereof) I ain't going there. So I might as well enjoy this incarnation, and anyone who thinks they are "born superior" can go stick their superiority where the sun don't shine.

Its a testament to the incredible patience of the "lower classes" that there has been no Indian Revolution along the lines of the French and Russian revolutions (except in Naxalbari, Wynad and a few other places), despite the desires of the Commies to conduct such pleasantries. But still, these "caste" hangups ruin so many lives and shatter so many aspirations every day.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby AshishN » 18 May 2003 22:49

Originally posted by chola:
[b]To the non-Brahmana castes I say, wait, be not in a hurry.
To put it mildly: this is the most condescending piece of crap I've read!

See, we're equal. Your station is to mend shoes and mine is to rule the land. And what's more, your children, born into the good graces of your varna, will also mend shoes and mine will inherit lordship over them.

The problem with this euphremism of varna as opposed to "caste" is that it still means a division of groups according to certain "traits" or "worth." It is not a fleeting thing. It does not end with a generation.

How many of us here will accept it if the world community decides that Indians belong to a varna that is meant only to serve but not rule because it is in our nature to serve? Not many, and most of us will claim racism.

Look at us here at BR. We rail against bad treatment by Americans and Westerners. Yet, similar treatment of groups within our own people is ignored and even considered "good." Is it because discrimination against the backward varnas can be ignored as something benign but when outsiders practice discrimination against us here then it is racism?

Feudalism was once considered good for Europe. But it was never "good" per se. It was there until someone realized that it was wrong that there should always be lords whose children are born into the station and serfs whose children are born into servitude. Then Europe came out of the Dark Ages.

Serfs were once a "caste" integral to European culture and society. Today, this "varna" no longer exists even though the vast majority of the wealthy European and America peoples were their descendants.

I second Pulikeshi.

"A Caste/Varna by any other name is but Caste/Varna!"[/b]
So you do have to :
1. Abolish the word caste
2. Abolish the discrimination which comes with the word caste
3. Explain what varna really means
4. Explain that presuming to decide anyone's varna is crap. You cant, only the person himself can, based on what his tendencies are from the inside, which only he knows.
5. When you cannot even arbitrarily decide anyone's varna, all this hereditary thing is full of crap, and needs to be exposed as such
6. Explain that in conemporary terms, varnashrama means:
a. people who try to find out about God, spirituality etc as priority #1 are bramhan
b. people who want to fight for righteousness
etc. as priority #1 are kshahtriya
c. people who are concerned about their family, business, etc as priority #1 are vaishya
d. people who want to serve others by volunteering etc are shudra.

I have a, b, and d in me very strongly. (More of d, though).

This is the kind of honest self-analysis that was expected when Krishna spoke of varnashrama. Assigning any kind of superiority or station in life or hereditary passage to varna was and is a trick used by people who are lazy, cheats, and greedy.

Vivekananda, for all his greatness, was still a man. He was also speaking to an audience that knew much more about varnashrama than present-day people do. If he had known that his words would be taken out of context, he would have exponded more, IMO. But for the sake of argument, lets say he was just a man, and stop it at that.

Now, his Guru, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, was a fully realized soul, as witnessed by his consistently loving teaching, miracles, and
equal, *demonstrated* love for all humans.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby harishn » 18 May 2003 23:16

From Shivs posts :
Caste is a bad word. Leave it be. Don't fight it. Any attempt at rationalizing the sociobiological origins of "caste" will only lead to negative press.
I must disagree with u on this. " Caste" is equivalent to "Nigger", " Negro". The politically correct word is " Afro-American". This reflects reality. They are Americans of African origin. The correct name for "Caste" is "Varna"

The world has decided that "caste" is bad. But we must not allow denigration of the whole social system for that. When one tries to explain the Indian social system and substitutes the phrase "Indian social system" with the word "caste" you end up against a brick wall. No amount of wriggling is going to make the world sit up and understand explanations from anyone about how things cannot be bad when you are using the word "caste". It is like telling people why it is not bad at all to use the word N1gger.
The world had also decided that "Nigger or Negro" means black. The Afro-American community did managed to reverse that dint they? I don't mean to give up without a fight! The Indian Hindu community should make it politically incorrect to say "Caste", we should all use the term "Varna" and enforce this every time we see the word "caste" used. Its time to play the game with our rules, the Afro-American community has shown us how to do it. The Jews used to be called "Kikes", that is politically incorrect today. I don't see why "caste" should not be made to sound politically incorrect.

From Swami Vivekananda originally posted by abhushan
Caste is a very good thing. Caste is the plan we want to follow. What caste really is, not one in a million understands. There is no country in the world without caste. Caste is based throughout on that principle. The plan in India is to make everybody Brahmana, the Brahmana being the ideal of humanity. If you read the history of India you will find that attempts have always been made to raise the lower classes. Many are the classes that have been raised. Many more will follow till the whole will become Brahmana. That is the plan.

The son of a Brahmana is not necessarily always a Brahmana; though there is every possibility of his being one, he may not become so. The Brahmana caste and the Brahmana quality are two distinct things.

As there are sattva, rajas and tamas - one or other of these gunas more or less - in every man, so the qualities which make a Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya or a Shudra are inherent in every man, more or less. But at time one or other of these qualities predominates in him in varying degrees and is manifested accordingly. Take a man in his different pursuits, for example : when he is engaged in serving another for pay, he is in Shudra-hood; when he is busy transacting some some piece of business for profit, on his account, he is a Vaishya; when he fights to right wrongs then the qualities of a Kshatriya come out in him; and when he meditates on God, or passes his time in conversation about Him, then he is a Brahmana. Naturally, it is quite possible for one to be changed from one caste into another. Otherwise, how did Viswamitra become a Brahmana and Parashurama a Kshatriya?
What is the definition of a Brahmin?

Bhagavd Gita : Chapter 18, Verse 42.
Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness--these are the qualities by which the brahmanas work.
Mahabharata : Vana Parva Chapter 180
A person who possesses truthfulness, charity, forgiveness, sobriety, gentleness, austerity and lack of hatred is called a brahmana.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam : 7.11.21 Sri Narada Muni states -
The symptoms of a brahmana are control of the mind, control of the senses, austerity and penance, cleanliness, satisfaction, forgiveness, simplicity, knowledge, mercy, truthfulness, and complete surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Maharaja Yudhisthira in Mahabharata : Vana Parva chapter 180 -
If such symptoms are found in a sudra, he should never be called a sudra, just as a brahmana is not a brahmana if he lacks these charactaristics.
Similarly, Lord Siva tells Uma in the Mahabharata : Anusasana Parva 163.8, 26, 46
If ksatriyas or vaisyas become situated in the behavior of brahmanas and spend their lives in the occupation of brahmanas, then such persons attain the position of brahmanas.

O Goddess, by the same process, a sudra can become a brahmana and a vaisya can become a ksatriya.

O Goddess, by the results of these activities and by following the agamas, then even a low-born sudra also becomes a brahmana.

A person in this world is born a brahmana simply as a result of his nature. A sudra situated in the profession of a brahmana also becomes a brahmana.
Mahabharata : Anusasana Parva 143.50
Neither birth, purificatory ceremonies, nor learning, nor progeny are qualifications for brahminical status. Only brahminical conduct is the basis for brahminical status.
Last verse from Vajrasucika upanisad
Who indeed then is brahmana ? A brahmana is he who is absorbed in the Supreme Self. He is free from all mundane attributes of birth, work, and material qualities. His nature is that he takes pleasure in the knowledge of the unlimited Supreme Truth. A real brahmana is he who totally absorbed in the infinite, limitless, Absolute Supreme Person who is present in the hearts of all. That Supreme Lord is indivisible, and His nature is divine ecstasy. Such a brahmana is free from faults such as lust, anger, greed, pride, illusion and envy. He has all twelve qualities of a brahmana beginning with peacefulness and self-control. He is never envious and is free from illusion and from any trace of pride and false-ego. One who has these qualities may be called a brahmana. This is the opinion of sruti, smrti, itihasa and the puranas. No other endowments of perfection can confer brahminical status.
The Idea here is not to destroy the Varna (caste ) system but to make efforts to educate Indians about the reality of the Varna system. The Varna system is not evil, it's the ignorance about it that is the root cause of this social evil. There is no reason to treat anyone as a Brahmin if they fail to observe all the 12 qualifications for a brahmana.

As Vivekananda said, the dream was to make bharata a country full of brahmanas. Somewhere back in the pages of history we have lost our purpose. Its time to reclaim our lost cause. I know this is drifting away from the main topic, but since this topic has veered towards Varna, I feel this is too important a truth to be left unsaid.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Pulikeshi » 19 May 2003 00:41

The Brahmana-hood is the ideal of humanity in India as wonderfully put forward by Shankaracharya at the beginning of his commentary on the Gita, where he speaks about the reason for Krishna's coming as a preacher for the preservation of Brahmana- hood, of Brahmana-ness. That was the great end. This Brahmana, the man of God, he who has known Brahman, the ideal man, the perfect man, must remain, he must not go. And with all the defects of the caste now, we know that we must all be ready to give to the Brahmanas this credit, that from them have come more men with real Brahmana-ness in them than from all the other castes. We must be bold enough, must be brave enough to speak their defects, but at the same time we must give credit that is due to them.

Therefore, it is no use fighting among the castes. What good will it do? It will divide us all the more, weaken us all the more, and degrade us all the more. The solution is not by bringing down the higher, but by raising the lower up to the level of the higher. And that is the line of work that is found in all our books, in spite of what you may hear from some people whose knowledge of their own Scriptures and whose capacity to understand the mighty plans of the ancients are only zero. What is the plan? The ideal at the one end is the Brahmana and the ideal at the other end is the chandala, and the whole work is to raise the chandala up to the Brahmana. Slowly and slowly you will find more and more privileges granted to them.


Well meaning souls still missing the forest for the trees! The Varna system worked because the Kshatriya, Brahmana, Vyashya, and Shudra were of equal station. The division was based on labor (equally honest labor if one belonged to one Varna or another). The power struggle between the Kshatriya and the Brahmana is the real cause for all this mess. Most of our great kings went and accepted Buddism, Jainism and other isms, to protest the Brahamana. This meant a weakened Varna system. The result was the attempt to codify and make structural the Varna system. This meant the one was born into a Varna, which is incongruous with the original intent. You can see this problem arising when there were inter-Varna marriages during the time of Chanakya. The Arthashastra struggles with this problem.

Vivekananda in the passage above is making the same mistake of not recognizing that Varna worked because a Shudra was as important to society as a Brahmana in its original conception. That is what made Hindus (Sanathana Dharmi followers) powerful and strong. During the time of Vivekananda the Varna system as today has become hierarchical. The solution of making everyone Brahamana is to put it mildly impossible. Even if this was achievable what use is a bunch of Brahamanas against a warring horde of enemies that surround us? The solution is to make every Hindu believe that they are the best of the: Shudra, Vyashya, Brahmana and Kshatriya. This will happen if we allow the inter-marriages etc., going on in Urban India to proceed into rural India. I agree here with Kaushal that this will take time. However, I have a slight disagreement with you on the “This too will pass”:

We fret far too much on this issue. This too will pass. Human evolution has now been established to be over a million years old. Out of that only 8000 years is known to have a recorded history. Trust me,this too will pass and in the meantime i suggest we are all a little more tolerant of diverging viewpoints.

India is an enduring civilization. However, we have never been an enduring nation-state. It’s not enough for people to like us, they have to respect us. This too may pass, but we can be bigger and more powerful than any other. The only way to do this is to keep an open mind and learn from our colonizers and invaders what we can, and evolve new social, military and economic order as we go along.

Thanks for the discussion Y'all. AshishN and R Nathan informative post! Narayanan as usual you make me smile.
I will quit posting on this issue, since its taking away from the main topic of this thread, which is a big whine on why they hate us.
:D

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby harishn » 19 May 2003 02:12

The Varna system worked because the Kshatriya, Brahmana, Vyashya, and Shudra were of equal station. The division was based on labor (equally honest labor if one belonged to one Varna or another).
Ur missing the tree too. The Varna (caste) system is just a fact of life; all societies have it. The Hindu society just observed it, reported it and refined it. Saying Hindu society developed the Varna is like saying America invented freedom.

The power struggle between the Kshatriya and the Brahmana is the real cause for all this mess. Most of our great kings went and accepted Buddism, Jainism and other isms, to protest the Brahamana.
A true brahmana free of lust, anger, pride, illusion, greed and envy would never be involved in a power struggle. If there was such a power struggle then it shows the failure of the Brahmana to protect Hindu society or the failure of the Kashtriya to protect the brahmana. It is important to find out which failed first and why!

The solution of making everyone Brahmana is to put it mildly impossible.
Then Buddha was wrong in spreading his message? :) Or was Jesus wrong? Why do u feel that it is not possible for every one of us to reach a higher state of being? I am not stating that it will happen overnight, but surely as the people evolve, they will seek to reach a higher sense of purpose.

Even if this was achievable what use is a bunch of Brahamanas against a warring horde of enemies that surround us?
If every one was Brahmana then there would be no enemies! Did Gandhi have any enemy? Gandhi was as much a British leader as he was an Indian leader. Gandhi has done as much reform to british society as he has reformed Indian society. Most British do not realize this fact but it does not make it any less true. The Brahmin in Gandhi converted the British as enemies into friends.

The Idea is to make the Indian society aware of the Varna system. Once that is done then there is no need to be on the defensive on this matter. Each Indian will be able to face the baseless accusation with conviction. Indians fall prey to outside lies because we have failed to spread the true meaning of Hinduism even to Hindus in India. How can we then expect others to respect us?

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Nandu » 19 May 2003 03:24

It is interesting that almost all of the discussion here centers around the varnAshrama system, on why Shudras should be considered equal to Brahmanas and so forth. The NG article, on the other hand is not about any of these castes, was it? It is about those outside these castes, the outcastes. Looks like the outcastes remain outside the discussion here.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Kuttan » 19 May 2003 03:42

Looks like the outcastes remain outside the discussion here.
Not really. They are as much Indian citizens as Atal Behari Vajpayee is. Or Jagjivan Ram was.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Nandu » 19 May 2003 04:01

Originally posted by narayanan:
They are as much Indian citizens as Atal Behari Vajpayee is.
My point is that the discussion in this thread is focussing on varnashrama and ignores the avarna. What has Indian citizenship got to do with it?

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby sanjay_chawla » 19 May 2003 05:51

Originally posted by Kaushal:
Kuldeep Nayyar is a lost cause.
Yes. But Why. He is a refugee from West Punjab. He has witnessed the futility and horror of Partition. Surely he does not believe in the concept of Pakistan- based on exclusivity. Why is he trying to go out of the way to placate Pakistanis. In fact it is obvious that Pakis use him to forward their duplicitous agenda. Is he not aware of it! I am very curious to what motivated him to feel this way--Is it longing for his ancestral homeland.

Sanjay

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby shiv » 19 May 2003 06:01

Originally posted by Nandu:
Originally posted by narayanan:
[b]They are as much Indian citizens as Atal Behari Vajpayee is.
My point is that the discussion in this thread is focussing on varnashrama and ignores the avarna. What has Indian citizenship got to do with it?[/b]
Excellent observation. One more reason why the word "caste" is inadequate as a descriptive term of the Indian social system. It refers to the castes and fails to speak of 160 million (as per NG) outcastes.

We need new, precise terminology. That is a FUNDAMENTAL starting point in ANY science or any discussion for that matter

Most people here are talking past each other because of the vague nonspecific meaning of the word caste which is applied to any aspect of the social stratification system in India.

Even the Vivekananda passage above suffers from this vague definition - that makes caste "good" in one paragraph and a "problrm" in another.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Kuttan » 19 May 2003 07:21

Ah!Forgive my ignorance. My understanding of the "caste" system was

If.NOT.Kshatriya

then if.NOT. Brahmana

Then if.NOT.Vaisya

Then Sudra.

Endif.

Like, I am Sudra. So the question of "outcaste" is irrelevant, and is in fact a pure creation of bullies.

Its the usual scheme where those who do the toughest, dirtiest, most thankless jobs are held in "contempt" by the lotus-eaters. Look at the History Professors and Columnists relaxing in the luxurious parts of Mumbai and Dilli and sneering, between parties, at poor me, slaving away at 9:45 on a Sunday night trying to get my turbofan engine program to quit giving a negative fuel-air ratio - after slaving away all weekend creating it. And tomorrow I have to go to war with the bureaucrats at work on behalf of someone a lot less scary than I am - whom they bully naturally.

No rest for the outcastes.

In the caste system, the lotus-eaters are more scared, and hence pay obeisance to, the enemy, while treating their own compatriots with contempt. Sounds familiar? The soldiers who stand on the LOC are of no consequence to the dorks, while they kiss up to some gora hippies and wag their tails at visiting Pakistani dictators and "MPs".

They sneer at social workers who try to help orphans and leprosy patients, while kissing up to the Pakistani propaganda Editors and admiring the secessionist Traitoriyat.

This is why the Lotus Eaters are so popular with the British with their poopah class system of "Upstairs Downstairs" and "Public Schools" which are better called "Public Houses" and their Party School universities.

We outcastes will never WANT to go into those societies. A few years ago, I was sitting on a wall in a major Scottish university in Edinburgh, and my American colleague suggested that I take Supreme HQ to visit London. I asked why. He said "Oh! You HAVE to see the British Museum". The British professor who was also sitting on the same wall,however, understood the look in my eye perfectly. "He doesn't want to see the British Museum - he knows that most things there are stolen property from his country". Same reason why I'll never "fit" into "High Society" or its High Castes.

We are all "outcastes". If we ever do anything useful.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby shiv » 19 May 2003 07:40

N3 thanks for bringingthis up. I am equally ignorant I suupose.

I think you have left out "mleccha".

What is the exact "mleccha-sudra" equation?

The issue is actually pretty foggy with evreyone having his own take.

Why is this topic important? Why is this topic (to be locked and archived and re-incarnated) after it reaches 9 pages/339 posts) important.

It is important BECAUSE of the fog. The fog enables multiple opinions and "takes" from us - people who have been in the system. But the same fog enables only one clear picture to emerge on the outside:

"India=Hindu=Caste=discrimination by birth"

If we strongly feel that tjis is untrue, we need to get our definitions and explanations UNDERSTANDABLE and uniform without sinking into too much InDeCIpheAble sAnsKriT

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Kuttan » 19 May 2003 07:52

What is the exact "mleccha-sudra" equation?
I think the former is the term used for foreigners and, in the old "pure" quarters, to denote Muslims.

The "caste system" is a very good imitation of Victorian society of the United Queendom. If you watch "Upstairs Downstairs" for as as many hours as I have (involuntarily :eek: ) you would see ALL the same blind, horrendous prejudices and their effects.

I think UQ society was "liberated" and "egalitarianized" by the world wars, and by loss of the plantations in India etc. Indian society is being "liberated" first by the NRI exodus to the Gulf and elsewhere, and now perhaps by rapid post-industrial DOO-type crazes. But of course, I would agree that the pace can be a lot better, so that the good things don't get thrown out along with the bad.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby chola » 19 May 2003 08:23

For all practical purposes, the avarna is the lowest rung of our system.

If "caste" is a western term then to westerners, and even western-educated desis, the avarna is for all intents and purposes a "caste" after the sudras.

Telling dalits that they are actually "outcasts" and not really "low caste" does nothing to change the fact that they are discriminated against.

Bharat's system is not unique in its hierarchy. Let's not deceive ourselves. England, France, Russia, China, Japan and nearly every other country in Europe and Asia had a system not that much different than ours. It was called feudalism. The only real difference between those countries and ours is that feudalism is gone and dead, through revolution in many of those countries, and the varnashrama system is still with us.

And if the harm caused by the idea of varnas was simply misinterpretation by bad people as Vivekananda said and the dream was to make Bharat a country full of brahmans, then why is it not possible to just declare every Indian a Brahmin and be done with it? Why this smiling "you must wait" apology. Yes, wait. Wait for multiple lifetimes. How many rebirths does it take for a sudra to become a brahmin? It'll take a 100 lifetimes before he'll get to rajanya and then another 100?

Excuse me, if I do not think it is nothing more than a ploy to keep people in their places.

As a Tamil, I can't even discount the racial origin in this system either but I'll hold my tongue on that.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby harishn » 19 May 2003 08:40

Chola u seems to have ignored the above posts.

And if the harm caused by the idea of varnas was simply misinterpretation by bad people as Vivekananda said and the dream was to make Bharat a country full of brahmans, then why is it not possible to just declare every Indian a Brahmin and be done with it? Why this smiling "you must wait" apology. Yes, wait. Wait for multiple lifetimes. How many rebirths does it take for a sudra to become a brahmin? It'll take a 100 lifetimes before he'll get to rajanya and then another 100?
Check the definition of a Brahmana. A Shudra does not have to wait for a muliple life time to become a Brahmana. Valmiki was a Shudra who became a brahmana and wrote Ramayana.

What we have today is a corrupted form of Varna. The Varna was never supposed to have degenerated to what we see today. The problem is the ignorance of the general population about the truth, about Varna and its implication.

The Varna (caste) system can be explained in a more practical way.

The Shudra would be a person who is generally termed a Bum in todays society. He has no self-respect. He does not love himself, and is hence incapable of loving others. He does not aspire for anything; he has no hope and no ambition. He ekes out his living in a manner that is revolting to most of the people around him. He steals, robs, and begs. He is untidy and dirty. He is frustrated and full of anger. He would earn his living in doing some menial job, which no self-respecting man would choose to do. This naturally earns him the scorn of society. He lives in dirty and disgusting neighborhood, and eats out of the trash can. He has forsaken responsibility for his own welfare, not to mention his family. Look around in the alleys of New York and u shall soon find a modern day Shudra. Look into the slums of Bombay and there too shall u find him. The Idea of Hinduism was not to shun him but to help him aspire to a better life. Like a kid aspires to be a Tendulkar or a golf player aspires to be Tiger woods, so should a Shudra aspire to be a Brahmin. This is where Hinduism in its present form failed him; forcing him to look elsewhere.

The Vaishya is more evolved. He loves himself and hence loves his family. He loves money and the things it can bring him. He works hard for himself and his family. His love does not extend too much beyond his family or sometimes his community. He might cheat on his tax or lie to the tax inspector. He may even practice a bit of dishonesty ;) so that he and his family can live a better life.

The Kshatriya is higher still. He loves himself and his family. But he has nobler purpose. His love also extends to the whole society he lives in. he works hard to support himself and his family, but is also responsible to his society. When the time comes he would fight his enemies so that others in his society can live in peace. He will choose to die so that others may live. His dedication to his family and then to his society ranks him higher in any social structure. Isnt that why we respect a man in Uniform? Or a dedicated politician, a social worker or a social reformer?

A Brahmin is most evolved. He loves god and hence all his creation. He has no enemies to fight and is at home in his land or in any other land. He is free from the illusion of control or from any other illusions. He is free from fear and free from ignorance. He has found god and has found peace. His mission is to spread the awareness he has found so that others can evolve into a Brahmin. The society then puts him on a pedestal and honors him over all others eg. Gandhi, Dalai Lama.

So we now have,
1.) Shudra - loves nobody, not even himself.
2.) Vaishya - Loves himself and his immediate family
3.) Kshatriya - Loves himself, his family, his community and his society.
4.) Brahmana - loves everybody.

It dosen't get any simpler.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Nandu » 19 May 2003 09:42

N^3, in Kerala, the Nairs are supposed to be Shudras, though as Mannath Padmanabhan said, since Nairs are warriors, they should have been classified Kshatriyas. But my question is, haven't you wondered where the thiyyas and ezhavas and pulayas and parayas fit in? The answer is, they don't. Hence the term "outcaste". They are the same as mlecchas.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Pulikeshi » 19 May 2003 10:53

Originally posted by R Nathan:
...........................
...........
So we now have,
1.) Shudra - loves nobody, not even himself.
2.) Vaishya - Loves himself and his immediate family
3.) Kshatriya - Loves himself, his family, his community and his society.
4.) Brahmana - loves everybody.
Nathan,

I was planning not to write anymore on this thread, but your response made me. ;)

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby chola » 19 May 2003 11:05

Originally posted by R Nathan:
Check the definition of a Brahmana. A Shudra does not have to wait for a muliple life time to become a Brahmana. Valmiki was a Shudra who became a brahmana and wrote Ramayana.

What we have today is a corrupted form of Varna. The Varna was never supposed to have degenerated to what we see today. The problem is the ignorance of the general population about the truth, about Varna and its implication.
The problem is the system had been corrupted for several thousand years. What we see today is a shade of what it was during colonial times and back to the time during and before Valmiki.

Valmiki was not a sudra, he was born into a brahmin family. He committed banditry during his younger years. Perhaps this is why you had thought him to be base like a sudra.



The Varna (caste) system can be explained in a more practical way.

The Shudra would be a person who is generally termed a Bum in todays society. He has no self-respect. He does not love himself, and is hence incapable of loving others. He does not aspire for anything; he has no hope and no ambition. He ekes out his living in a manner that is revolting to most of the people around him. He steals, robs, and begs. He is untidy and dirty.
No man prefers to live that way, my friend. There are no millions upon millions of "bums" among the sudras of today. That many dalits must live that way is not by choice but because of circumstances caused by many things, both natural and manmade. Prejudice is one of the greatest obstacles of the manmade ones. Simple incompetence of worthless babus is another. But their stupidity impact the poor far worse than the privileged.


So we now have,
1.) Shudra - loves nobody, not even himself.
2.) Vaishya - Loves himself and his immediate family
3.) Kshatriya - Loves himself, his family, his community and his society.
4.) Brahmana - loves everybody.

It dosen't get any simpler.
I wish myself that it were that simple. To take the philosophical explanation of love for self and community.

But it's not. In economic/political terms they correspond directly to the old European and East Asian feudal societies.

1.) Shudra - servants and peasants
2.) Vaishya - merchants, landlords, craftmen
3.) Kshatriya - knights, samurai
4.) Brahmana - nobility.

A fifth group, Gandhi's Harijans, are equivalent to the destitute landless and tribal groups who were outside feudal system such the gypsies and Scottish Highlanders of Europe and the UK and the burakin and Ainus of Japan.

So you see, there is still a feudal system in place in rural India. This we can't deny. Just as we can't deny that there is much progress made, especially, in the cites.

The Kshatriya is higher still. He loves himself and his family. But he has nobler purpose. His love also extends to the whole society he lives in. he works hard to support himself and his family, but is also responsible to his society. When the time comes he would fight his enemies so that others in his society can live in peace. He will choose to die so that others may live. His dedication to his family and then to his society ranks him higher in any social structure. Isnt that why we respect a man in Uniform?
Ah, here is something I learned in my East Asian studies class many years ago that is related directly to the above.

The Japanese Samurai had a "nobler purpose." His life was forfeit to his lord. He will lop the head off of any peasant who so as much cast a shadow on his lord.

In 1877, conscripted young men, sons of peasants, fighting in the national army of the reformist Meiji government, met and crushed the Samurais in the last battle of three separate rebellions by Japan's armed caste attempting to preserve the old order.

That victory of the commoner over the hereditary warrior set the stage for Japan under the Meiji to do away with the feudal castes, unite the Japanese people across class lines and rise to world power.

While I respect the Hereditary Soldier, I respect the Citizen Soldier even more.

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Re: Why has it become so cool to hate India

Postby Sai » 19 May 2003 11:55

The social reality of India today is not shudra vs brahmana, or kshatriya vs brahmana etc. These are antiquated, if not imagined, faultlines. The reality is dominant-caste vs dominated-castes. The dominant caste varies from region to region: it probably has achieved its preeminent position (which is manifested through wielding political power) either through economic muscle or numerical strength. The dominated castes try to topple the dominant caste, while the latter struggles to retain its status. Conflicts ensue. The most intense caste conflicts are occuring between castes of the same (shudra) fold.

The discussion here is really 'academic', having no bearing on contemporary realities. As I see it, most of it consists of 1) non-brahmins getting at brahmins, for the latter having (allegedly) looked down on them in the past 2) brahmins countering by explaining how well-intentioned the caste system of yore really was; the fault is with this damned corruption of the system you know ...

Out on the field, the parties warring and shedding blood are entirely different. I know of villages in Rayalaseema (Andhra) where dalits rule the roost and the once-powerful 'upper' castes (Reddys) are living in fear. Apparently an identical situation prevails in villages quite close to Madras, where Mudaliar girls do not step out of homes alone for fear of getting molested by dalit boys. At the same time, there are also villages, quite close to Madras again, where dalits are still not allowed entry into temples. So the reality is quite complex, not a one-dimensional upper-castes-oppress-the-lower-castes story.

It matters not to the warring parties where the theoretical framework places them in the hierarchy, except, of course, if it can be used to score a brownie point or two over the adversary, or can be used to nurse a historical grievance among one's caste constituency. What matters is to get the panchayat president's post to "our man", who will then presumbly distribute the spoils among "our people". The loyalties of caste are used for acquisition, retention and perpetuation of power.


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