Universal varnas?

Partha Banerjee partha at CAPITAL.NET
Sun Mar 7 14:31:21 UTC 1999

Martin Gansten writes:

>Modern advocates of (Neo-)Hinduism sometimes argue the merits of the
>four-varna system on the basis of its supposed universal applicability: the
>division of society into an intellectual, a ruling, a productive, and a
>serving class is claimed to be a fact all over the world, which fact the
>varna system merely recognizes and conforms to.

This brand of the so-called varna system conforms only to the capitalist
and exploitative structure of the world. It does not take into account the
notion that all men and women are equal and there can be universal
brotherhood and peace. It discourages the thought that a "serving" class
does not have to remain so and a "ruling" class can see its demise.

Even though Western societies revolving around religions such as
Christianity on the surface do not subscribe to such a varna system, they
in fact practice it by conforming to a hierarchical and exploitative social
and economic system. On the other hand, even though "old-glory" Hindu
scholars advertise that varnashram in Hinduism does not divide the society
and it's merely a classification system, it has almost always been a
history of the haves and the have-nots and therefore sharply segregative
and reactive.

The historical rise of Buddhism, Islam, Brahmoism, and Marxism, etc. has
taken place because of this segregative and divisive nature of religious
and social systems.

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