We have the caste system in India. I think at this point, most people already know about it.
I was born in a Hindu family. Hinduism, Buddhism whatever. If You have trouble understanding Hinduism, just think about Buddhism. It’s almost the same.
I was born in a higher caste Hindu family. Our family has the surname Nair. Its somewhere on the top of the caste system. I never thought about myself as someone from the higher caste. All my friends were equal to me. Whether its Muslim, Hindu, or my Christian brothers and Sisters. Seriously, Caste was something that people look into when it comes to getting jobs in government offices, and or getting admissions at the universities.
India is a secular country. But when it comes to jobs and getting admissions into national universites, they will ask You to show Your birth certificate. To check Your caste, and religion. Thats a secret though. Thats when we stop becoming secular. 😉
During my childhood, I spent most of my time at my grandfather’s house. My grandfather would always tell me, it’s a curse that we were born in a higher caste Hindu family. I never knew what he meant. Later in my adulthood, I would understand what he meant. Actually when i left India, i understood it even more.
I mean, I went to a very prestigious private school. At home, we had food on the table, a big house to sleep in. My parents were both working. So, what is it that my grandfather is talking about?
When my mother finished her university, my grandfather got her a job as a teacher at the local University. DO You know why?
In my country minorities are given much more priority, than to Hindus.
Let’s take into account Kerala, the state where I was born. There are Christians, Muslims and Hindus living in Kerala. Christians have their orgnizations, that give priority to other Christians. Muslims likewise. Hindus have very few. Since we are the majority in India, we didnt give much weight to forming our own orgnizations based on Hinduism. Reservations made it very hard for Hindus to get admissions at the local Universities, or get a job at any government office.
My grandfather got my mother a job as a teacher, at a university managed by the Nair caste. There are not much organizations like this one left for Hindus. It was one among maybe a handful others in Kerala. If it was not for my grandfather, my mother would probably have had it difficult to find a job.
If my mother would read this, she would get angry. Chandu what kind of bullcrap are Your telling Your Polish, and foreign friends?
I am not suggesting that my mother was stupid. She is very smart. But because she was from a Hindu family, she had it difficult from the very beginning.
My mother taught history for 30 years, and even got a PhD. She was a very loved teacher at her university. She even went on to get a PhD. Usha, my mother, was very helpful towards her students. She even helped her poor students with cash. I would often tell her, that she cant be Mother Theresa towards everyone. But her life, her choice.
Brother? My brother had to leave Kerala, because almost every school had their religious agenda. Christians would take care of Christians, and Muslims would help other Muslims out. My brother decided to study in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, and did his masters in Hospital management. Kerala didn’t want him. He had worked previously in Qatar. Now he is residing in Maldvies.
Let’s talk about my grandfather. He was a Kerala state awardee in Languages and translations in Malayalam language. News channels, and Newspapers would call him asking for corrections in Malayalam language. When people have any doubts about Malayalam, Panmana, my grandfather, was the man to call.
I have never seen such a hardcore salesman in my life. My grandfather would often talk for hours on the telephone. He always told over the phone that he was the best. I wondered, grandfather common, maybe some humility? But little did I know, that he had to sell himself hard. He was born into a higher caste Hindu family. So naturally he had to poise himself as the best among the best in Kerala, and he did it without any mercy. Government didnt care about him. In the midst of all the caste-based reservations, and the disregard towards Hindus, my grandfather had to take matter into his own hands.
He actually did a good job. I think he was one of the most revered book writers from Kerala. High five to my grandfather for a good job.
I never thought that I would tell You this. But one of the reasons Iam in Poland, is because India didnt want me. There was no place for me in Kerala growing up. I never understood my government. Sometimes I didn’t understand my own people. People who had jobs and places reserved at the universities, because of their caste, didn’t understand me and or my family.
People from lower castes thought, mhmm, I remember how Your great great grandfather told me to clean the toilets, He spat on my face. You and Your community suck!*
If You were in a position to talk to any Indian in the UK, USA or anywhere else, and You were to have this conversation with them about caste system in India, and whether they felt like they were ignored by the government because of the caste system, they would look at You with a big question mark on their face. What are You talking about dude? Wtf!
Not all Indians might have wondered about this problem. I did, because my grandfather told me to. He told me to think, and ponder about the meaning of different things. To read, and to reflect.
So now You finally know, why I am here in Poland. 🙂 I thought, maybe I can find my future in Poland?
Let me tell You. The problems with the language, the problem with looking different, and coming from a foreign country, are nothing. I have fought with that my whole life. I think I can get past any difficulty. India made me ready for that.
I am really glad that I came here. Poland, and Polish people have been very nice to me. Some of You have treated me like family. Thank You.
„There is no evidence in the Rigveda for an elaborate, much-subdivided and overarching caste system”. Our ancient texts did not create the phenomenon of caste system in India. Mughal and later British colonial rulers used socio economic gaps in our society to divide and rule over the Hindus. The colonial British even created division and hatred amongst the Hindus and Muslims. Although the Manusmriti includes extensive and highly schematic commentary on the varna system, it is only as a guide rather than must follow diktat. Rishi Valmiki who wrote down The Ramayana, was a Kshatriya (warrior) who by gaining the virtues became a Bramhin (priest).
Really great blog.
Good day Manoj. The varna system in Hinduism as You said, is not derrogatory by in itself. But i think due to colonization, and abject poverty, we lost it completely, and started misusing the varna system. OR as You said, the Brits and Muslim invaders used it against us. I often watch Sadhguru and his explanations on many things related to Hinduism, Dharma etc. You should take a look.
Have a good day.