Mark Ulyseas – The Caste System and Human Rights

Mark Ulyseas

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The Caste System and Human Rights in India by Mark Ulyseas

In the 21st century how can India solve the problem of the continuing atrocities against lower caste Hindus by upper caste Hindus?

And how does one change the mindset when the caste system is an integral part of Hinduism?

Here is a complaint filed by an NGO with the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi, India. LINK

The National Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance of a complaint filed by an NGO that caste-based discrimination, sexual exploitation and untouchability are widespread in the Bundelkhand area of UP, which is very backward. The demography of the region shows that 53% are OBC, 25% Scheduled Castes/Dalits, 10% tribals and 12% Thakur and Brahmins who own land and dominate others.

The report alleged that a Dalit has to take off his shoes and hold it in his hand when a Thakur approaches him. He has to do so while visiting a locality of upper caste people. The women of the Balmiki community manually scavenge night-soil and the carcasses of dead animals. This practice is prevalent in several villages of District Lalitpur. Violence against women is rampant and during the last few years, a number of Sati deaths were reported. The sex-ratio is very skewed and women are sold to repay debts.

Sadly this is just one of the many instances of caste violence and discrimination that is reported across the country by the national media. Curiously, India’s largest English language newspaper, The Times of India, publishes a weekly matrimonial section under caste and religion. Does this mean that the Indian media is promoting the caste system or is it just about the bottom line…profit?

The Constitution of India guarantees the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity for every citizen of India. Unfortunately for the lower caste Hindus in rural areas across the sub-continent this is a distant dream. In fact it was Mahatma Gandhi who famously defended the system: “A Shudra can’t be called a Brahmin even if he possesses all the qualities of a Brahmin by inheritance. He should never claim his right other than the Varna in which he was born. This is an evidence of his being humble.” Young India (11-24-27) 

“The Hindu Social Order is based on the principles of graded inequality, fixity of occupation and  fixation of people within their respective castes. Society at large remains exploitative, unfair and criminally unjust to them.

The caste-Hindus observe untouchability because their religion enjoins them to do so. If he is ruthless and lawless in putting down the untouchable rising against the established order, it is because their religion not only tells them that the established order is divine and sacrosanct but also imposes upon them a duty to see that this established order is maintained by all possible means. If they do not listen to the call of humanity, it is because their religion does not enjoin them to treat untouchables as human beings.

They do not feel any qualms of conscience in assaulting, looting, burning and other acts of atrocities against the untouchables, because their religion teaches them that nothing is sin, which is done in defence of social order.

The Hindu social order degenerated into an instrument of exploitation, tyranny and oppression. It tended to perpetuate inequality and inhumanity and developed the spirit of separatism, hatred and enmity, low and high”. (Radhakrishnan, The Hindu View of Life). LINK

There are laws in force that protect the rights of the lower caste Hindus. But the scourge continues unabated in the rural areas of India. With the General Elections due in a few months one will  witness once again the charade of caste politics played out to garner the votes. And when the dust settles, when the votes are counted and the winners and losers announced, the dispossessed will be forgotten. The discrimination, beatings, rape, slavery will continue in earnest for the Social Order must be enforced in the rural areas by the self appointed guardians of the caste sytem who do not represent millions of devout Hindus but whose actions resonate across the country.

Nothing will change. Nothing can change until such time the mindset changes and this will not  happen until all right thinking Hindus decide to put an end to this despicable form of discrimination.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

01 March 2014

© Mark Ulyseas

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