Criticism of Hinduism

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Caste System

Krishna Kohli, a Hindu Dalit from Pakistan. She is treated as an equal in Pakistan whereas she is seen as inferior in India, purely because of her caste.
Krishna Kohli, with Dalit children in Pakistan where the concept of Dalits does not exist given that they are treated equally under the law, unlike India.
  • The Persecution of Dalits in Hindu societies is both extensive and brutal. Dalits are a caste of the Hindu religion, and are considered the lowliest of all castes amongst the Hindu Caste System. It has never been independent from religion, and is in fact rooted into the very fabric of Hinduism. There are five castes in Hinduism (but Hindus believe there are only four, with the fifth and last caste, Dalit, existing below or outside this system[1]).[2]
    • The structure consists of (from highest to lowest) Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras and Dalits.[1] Even within this caste structure, there are sub-divisions within each caste (for example the Dalits have some 40 sub-subcaste divisions). Each caste is responsible for different roles in society, however the crucial difference between the Hindu Caste System and class is that these professions are inherited in Hinduism and furthermore that they are only reserved for these specific castes, with all others banned from following these professions as per the laws of Hinduism.
      • In total, excluding the Dalits, the four main castes are further subdivided into 3,000 further subcastes, these themselves are subdivided further in 25,000 sub-subcastes "each based on their specific occupation".[2] Of the four main castes, the Brahmins can occupy any position up to priests and academia (the most valued positions in Hindu society); the Kshatriyas, warriors and kings; the Vaishyas, merchants and landowners; the Shudras being commoners, peasants and servants and the Dalits being the outcasts, street sweepers, garbage pickers and latrine cleaners.[1]
    • The caste system is religiously mandated in Hinduism, written evidence for this can be found in the Manusmriti, a text dating back to the 2nd Century BC.[2][3] Those who want to keep the caste system in place in non-Hindu societies often claim that the caste system is not mentioned within this text and doesn't even exist in the religion. However reading from the text, it clearly exists and is clearly religiously sanctioned in Hinduism.[3]
      • The Manusmriti is one of the religious texts of Hinduism (the others include Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda, Dharmasastra, Arthasastra).[4] The importance of the Manusmriti cannot be understated; it is said to have been written by Manu, who is believed by Hindus to be the first man on earth or the progenitor of humanity.[4] It is precisely this text that contains evidence that Caste is integral in Hinduism.[n. 1]
        • The Manusmriti is also known as the "Manav Dharam Shastr" and is considered to be the absolute word of Brahma, the Hindu God of creation.[4] It consists of 12 chapters; with 2,690 verses.[4] Furthermore the book is also "classified as the most authoritative statement on Dharma".[4] The text is also notable for encouraging some of the worst forms of violence and discrimination against women.[4][5]
    • The Dalits have been looked down upon so much in Hindu society (as the system has existed for 3,000 years) that during the era of British colonialism, the Dalits fought alongside the British for their freedom instead of their fellow upper-caste Hindus.[6] This battle came to be known as the Battle of Peshwas (1818) or the Battle of Koregaon (1818) where 500 Dalit soldiers defeated a force of 25,000 upper-caste Hindus.[6][7] It is so significant that from 1927 it became an annual pilgrimage event for the oppressed minority, much to the anger of upper-caste Hindus.[6]
      • The most fascinating aspect of the Dalits are is that they form almost a fifth of the total Indian population (with there being over 200 million Dalits living in the country).[8] This potentially holds important military advantages should any country wish to invade India as millions of Dalits would relish being freed from the system that keeps them in a state of permanent persecution (for instance some are forced to eat rats for a living[9][10]).
  • The educational level of a Dalit doesn't even matter to upper-caste Hindus; as they are still considered filthy and untouchable.[11] The BBC highlighted one case where a Dalit had managed to escape poverty and earn a PhD but when he walked into a teashop the upper-caste shopkeeper treated him with disdain, asking him to wash the glass himself before handing it back.[11]


Sources

Footnotes

  1. ^ Quote: "The roots of Dalit oppression go back to the origins of the caste system in Hindu religion. The philosophy of caste is contained in the Manusmriti, a sacred Hindu text dating from the second century BCE. ‘Untouchable’ outcast communities were forbidden to join in the religious and social life of the community and were confined to menial tasks that were viewed as polluting, such as animal slaughter and leatherworking".
    1. Dalits. Minority Rights Group International. Archive.is Link. WayBackMachine Link. Retrieved August 20th, 2020.

References

  1. ^ a b c Dalit Muslims of India | Al Jazeera World. Runtime: 42 Minutes 35 Seconds (42:35). Timestamp: 01:08 to 1:30. YouTube (Channel: Al Jazeera English). Retrieved August 21st, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c What is India's caste system?. June 19th, 2019. BBC News. Archive.is Link. WayBackMachine Link. Retrieved August 21st, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Dalits. Minority Rights Group International. Archive.is Link. WayBackMachine Link. Retrieved August 20th, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Shristi Goswami (25th October 2017). ‘If A Woman’s Hymen Tears, Her Head Will Be Shaved’: Manusmriti And The Hindu Woman. Youth Ki Awaaz (YKA). WayBackMachine Link. Archive.is Link. Retrieved August 20th, 2020.
  5. ^ Hirday N. Patwari (August 27th, 2011). The Status Of Women As Depicted By Manu In The Manusmriti. Nirmukta. WayBackMachine Link. Archive.is Link. Retrieved August 20th, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Mridula Chari (January 3rd, 2016). Why lakhs of Indians celebrate the British victory over the Maratha Peshwas every New Year. Scroll. WayBackMachine Link. Archive.is Link. Retrieved August 21st, 2020.
  7. ^ Zahed (January 4th, 2018). Battle of Bhima Koregoan: A victory of Dalits over Brahman Peshwas. The Siasat Daily. WayBackMachine Link. Archive.is Link. Retrieved August 21st, 2020.
  8. ^ Sunny Hundal (January 3rd, 2018). The Mumbai Dalit strike is just the beginning of unrest in India. The Independent. Archive.is Link. WayBackMachine Link. Retrieved August 21st, 2020.
  9. ^ Mohd. Imran Khan (January 24th, 2020). Why NRC Will Deal Heaviest Blow to Bihar’s Musahars. News Click (India). Archive.is Link. WayBackMachine Link. Retrieved August 21st, 2020.
  10. ^ Showkat Shafi (May 1st, 2014). In Pictures: The 'rat eaters' of India. Al Jazeera. WayBackMachine Link. Archive.is Link. Retrieved August 21st, 2020.
  11. ^ a b India's Dalits still fighting untouchability. June 27th, 2012. WayBackMachine Link. Archive.is Link. Retrieved August 21st, 2020.

External Links