There is a problem again in the right wing discourse if you see that you just don’t discuss something which is extremely important, i.e., caste. The discussion of the caste only revolves in the right wing circle about what does caste meant in the Vedic period? Or what was the true caste system? I’m sorry to say there is no such thing as a true caste system. Caste system is just a social system which grew, we even don’t know when. There is some studies which says it is a pre Vedic system. It was present even among the Harappans and it continued in the Vedic period and it got changed and transformed, but that’s natural, you know, any social system will change and get transformed. So caste was transformed when the rise of feudalism happened in India, the caste underwent a change when there were Mughals and the Turks came to India, the caste underwent change when the Britishers came to India because the underlying reality of the society underwent a change and the caste is undergoing a change in the modern independent India.
So, I think it’s a very futile thing to argue that what was the pure, real caste system, I think there is no such thing. You have to deal with it as a system as a dynamic social system like any other social system. Now, but there is a problem that right wing start saying there was pure caste system which was a very good thing and it got distorted and, you know, the British created a problem, or the Mughals created a problem. First of all as a conservative we should not say that because you have to base your opinions on the reality. The caste system was not good system even before the Mughals came to power. You have to read simple history, you have to see when Chandragupta Maurya was about to be coronated the emperor. There was a heavy resistance by the Magad Brahmins saying ‘you cannot make this guy the emperor, you cannot crown him as an emperor because he is a lowborn person. And it was Chanakya who basically, you know, who pushed him then, you know, he will become the emperor. So it was always a problematic system. It all depends up on from whose perspective you are looking at it. Some people will say well, it was ok, there was some restrictions on, even on the, what you call the upper caste, there was some restrictions on the sudras, there was some restrictions on the avarnas and it is all ok. But this is not how it operates you know, it depends upon while perspective you are looking at. For the people at the lower bottom it was never ever a good system. It was never ever a good system and that is why throughout the history you will find resistance to this system.