A niece of mine who is visiting Mumbai, showed interest in learning more about Hindu culture. I, being pleased with her new born interest offered to answer her queries.
I have realized that youngsters who study abroad suddenly acquire an interest in Hindu beliefs, because people there are interested, and ask them questions which they are unable to answer. Whatever the reason I am pleased in the new-born interest of my young relative.
One of the topics that she wanted clarified is ‘The Caste System’.
The four castes consist of :
- The Teachers (Brahmins)
- The Soldiers who fought for the country (Kshatriyas)
- The Merchants (Vaishyas)
- The Shudras ( Those who served the above three)
I explained to her that the caste system was equivalent to ‘professions’. In modern society, the son of a lawyer may decide to become a doctor, or the son of a sweeper, a teacher. Similarly there was no law that insisted that the son of a ‘Shudra’ remain a ‘Shudra’ A son of a ‘Shudra’ could join the army and become a ‘Kshatriya’ just as easily as the son of a teacher may become a merchant today. Unscrupulous people have the genius to exploit the credulous for their selfish ends, and this is exactly what happened to the ‘caste system’. The Brahmins decided that only their sons may have access to the Scriptures, They exploited the ‘working class’ and even declared that it would amount to a sin to have any contact with them! Nowhere in the scripture is the above expressed!
Education is required, to eradicate ignorance. Desire to learn erases misconceptions.