speech on evil of cateism.
Evils of Casteism
- The worker is denied of his freedom to choose an occupation of his choice.
- It makes the society stagnant rather than dynamic.
- It proves to be an obstacle to the growth of national unity in the country.
- It becomes a barrier to the social and economic growth of the country.
The caste system is the most fundamental feature of Hindu society. Since the Vedic age the system has exercised a profound influence on the social and economic life of the people. Originally it was introduced on the basis of division of labour in society and was calculated to promote its economic strength and efficiency. The division was, to begin with, completely flexible and it was possible for a member of one caste to change to the other. But as time passed, the caste system became a watertight social compartment.
It is believed that social stratification on the basis of caste in India owes its origin to the advent of the Aryans. It has never died, only changed its form and manifestation from time to time. In its pristine Vedic form, the caste system had its own merits, but it has lost its validity in the modern, fast-changing times.
The caste system however is not India’s monopoly. It existed, and still exists in parts of Egypt and Europe, though in a milder form. It comes from the Spanish word casta, which means breed, race or strain. Riley has defined caste as a collection of families or group of families bearing a common name, professing to follow the same hereditary calling and regarded by those who are competent to give an opinion as forming a single, homogeneous community .
Being a unique stratification system in the Hindu social organisation, the caste system is a stumbling block in the nation’s progress. It has unwarrantedly divided the Hindu society into mutually hostile and conflicting groups and sub-groups from which the practice of untouchability has emerged. The restrictions put by the so-called higher castes on the so-called untouchables (or Harijans as Gandhiji called them) has created dissensions and disunity in the Hindu society.
It not only hinders progress but also the growth of national unity as even the slightest deviation from the caste system is severely dealt the in a majority of cases. Caste, in the words of sociologists, is “its own under”. Innovation has no place in the caste system. The system makes no compromises because, within its ambit, “the most ignorant Hindu is also able to compel the obedience of the most intelligent.”
Since caste is based on tradition and custom, the worker is denied his freedom to choose an occupation of his choice. Talent and merit is sacrificed at the altar of casteism, leading to immobility and inefficiency of labour which results in economic backwardness. As Sir Henry Maine maintains, a transition from status to contract is essential for the political as well as economic progress of society.
Excessive caste loyalty has brought about political disunity in the country, wrecking the successful working of the multi-party system. While democracy implies equality of all categories of people in public life, the caste system inevitably tends to give them special treatment and members of a particular caste are discriminated against. Organisations flaunting casteist leanings, which are in the hands of the so-called upper castes invariably win at the dustings to hold on to their privileged position in society with the result that they behave in a despotic fashion creating permanent feelings of inferiority and insecurity in the minds of the ‘lower’ castes.
The caste system has also harmed the social fabric of the Hindu society by encouraging and perpetuating such evils as untouchability, child marriage, prohibition of widow remarriage and denigration of womenfolk. In the past, it has also led to mass conversions to Christianity and Islam on account of the tyranny of the upper castes. The caste system thus leads to stagnation; it makes the society static rather than dynamic. Thus, it is imperative that for the growth and progress of society, consciousness must be created against the evils of the age-old caste system that has sapped the roots of the Hindu society.