Casteism bane of Hinduism
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
In the wake of much ruckus over 'Hindu Mathananthara Bharata Desam,'
the Telugu translation of Kancha Iliah's book 'Post Hindu India,' the
HMTV and The Hans India organised a 'Dasa Disa' programme to elicit
the views of eminent persons from a cross-section of society.
The speakers, while opposing or supporting the views of the author,
nevertheless agreed on the immediate need to address the evil of
casteism. While some argued Hinduism is not a religion but a way of
life, others denounced it as a religion and that caste system would
sound its deathknell.
My book dwells on anti-democratic and anti-secular nature of Hinduism
and the institution of multi-racial caste system. By perpetuating
their domination and denying the lower castes education and knowledge
– which would have developed their skills and technology in their
professions – the upper castes hurt India.
Hinduism is not inclusive and with its inhuman caste system it is
shorn of spiritual democracy. Unless, it corrects its maladies and
imperfections, the growing dissent among the lower castes will result
in its end.
- Kancha Iliah, author, Post Hindu India
Hinduism is not democratic and is based on caste divide. Dalits are
even termed 'Kula heenulu' (not belonging to four-class caste system).
In that sense, they are not Hindus. As for other lower castes, Sudras,
Hinduism, especially Brahmanism, denies them equality.
Unless Hinduism is ridden of the caste system, it would see a civil
war of sorts. It's a layered system wherein each layer or caste only
looks at the other beneath it and derives satisfaction. Unless changes
take place, Hinduism has no right to continue.
- Bojja Tarakam, Dalit leader
I respect the views of Ilaiah. Everyone should read 'Post Hindu
India.' Iliah calls for spiritual democracy which is lacking in the
Hindu religion. If caste system derived from the practice of various
professions, why doesn't it end as professions are changing.
It is only Brahmanism which perpetuated the caste divide to serve its
selfish ends. It should first end and Hinduism can flourish in the
absence of Brahmanism. Otherwise, civil war will end the Hinduism. I
am not targeting individuals, but a way of thinking.
- Dr Gopinath, cardiologist
I am proud of being a Hindu. Which religion isn't free of
imperfections and injustices? No religion is without crimes against
the humanity. Hinduism advocates tolerance towards all, faithful and
While it preaches oneness and universality for the faithful, it also
stipulates that service to man is service to god, which would appeal
to the non-believers in it as well as atheists. The book prods us to
study the evils in the system and learn lessons from others on how to
eliminate them. We have to reform it and not reject it outright.
- Surynanarayana Sastry, social activist
I agree with Ilaiah that caste divide is the bane of Hinduism. The
root cause of casteism is mainly the state forces. Hinduism should be
looked upon as a way of life. Caste system essentially revolves around
political interests, while casteism is to be sneered upon.
I published the book as it stresses need to reform Hinduism and
explains the pains caused by the caste system. It provokes one to
think in that direction and there should be a widespread debate on the
points raised by it.
- Vijay Kumar, Emesco Publications
I congratulate Ilaiah for raising very pertinent points and pointing
out the ills in Hinduism, going by its present course. Religious heads
should introspect and pave way for equality.
Muslims and Christians and others in this country have not come from
other countries. They are all converts and why they converted should
be seriously thought of. Power and vote bank politics are the driving
forces of caste system. Hinduism is a way of life based on highest
ideals and we should examine if we are following them.
- Soundarya Rajan, Chilkur temple trustee
At the outset, we should all realise that any debates or discussions
like this could merely lead to inciting feelings. Hinduism is a
confluence of an innumerable ways of life and faiths.
Over the centuries, it, nevertheless changed, but only after adopting
ideals from other religions or adapting to demands of the time. I
think all religions should end and only humanism should top one's
thinking and living. This land belongs to none, but Indians, all equal
in rights and respect.
- Vadrevu China Veerabhadrudu, author & critic
An interesting fact explained by Iliah is how India poorly fared in
the field of science and technology, by denying rightful respect,
education, dignity and equality to the oppressed classes.
Otherwise, they would have perfected their skills and each profession
would have seen several milestones. It is said of other religions that
they are imperialistic. And Hinduism is not an exception. However, its
feudalistic thinking prevented it from being expansive. Hinduism can
- Sudarshan, research scholar
I fully agree with Iliah's views. 'Either mend or end' is his main
message to Hinduism. I think classification of people through caste
system negates spiritual democracy in the religion. A ruler could
expel a lower caste person if he strays away from the imposed
They were denied knowledge and oppressed and kept poor to serve the
needs of upper castes. Hinduism's core strength is Manu dharma which
should be disowned by the Hindus and declared unconstitutional, too.
- K Madhava Rao, IAS (Retd)
Hinduism is sanathana dharma and can't be ended by any force.
Untouchability or oppression of certain classes is not unique to
Hinduism. It's undeniable with injustice has been meted out in the
name of religion. Imperfections exist in all religions. Mere outlawing
them would not suffice.
And it is the political class which is its major sustenance. Looking
at it from the sins and virtues viewpoint and humanistic thinking
alone would lead to their removal. Mere wishing away a certain
religion is not proper.
- T H Choudhury, former IT Secretary
Iliah has a right concern about Hinduism. He doesn't condemn it. He
listed the injustices done to oppressed classes in other religions
The heinous caste system is the inherent speciality of Hinduism and he
rightly warned that the oppressed classes were engaged in brewing a
civil war unless the casteist thinking of the upper castes ended.
However, change appears very remote in Hinduism. Its forward castes
are not only oppressing lower castes, but harming the nation as a
- Ramulu, Kula Vivaksha Vyathireka Porata Samiti
Ilaiah has alerted the Hindu society either to reform or perish. I
think it has got a capacity to reform it. Caste system should go.
There is no doubt about it. If Hinduism can reform itself and treat
all people as equals, then it can very well survive.
The book beckons one and all to deliberate on the evils of caste
sysems gnawing away at the vitals of the Hindu society. Mere nodding
would not suffice. We need to pay attention to the anguish of the
- K Ramachandra Murthy, Editor in Chief, The Hans India
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