Hindu Unity Must be Strengthened Through Elimination of Caste System

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Barry Nirmal

India has long been known as “Hindustan”, meaning the land of the Hindus. Hinduism arose in India and it is the oldest living religion in the world. But we also know that even though Hinduism is the oldest religion, regrettably we Hindus are third in numbers after the Muslims and the Christians. Threatened by conversion and relentless attacks by other religions and by misguided secularists, we are fighting for our existence. Hindustan was occupied and ruled by the Muslim invaders for over five hundred years and then the land of the Hindus was desecrated and ruled by the Christian British occupiers for over two hundred years.

One of the main reasons for the past slavery of the Hindus is the lack of unity amongst Hindus due to the caste system and the division of India amongst numerous linguistic groups. While the one factor that has united Indians over the centuries is Hinduism, the two factors that have divided the Hindus is the caste system and the multiplicity of spoken languages.

The caste system is difficult to uproot because it is sanctioned in the scriptures. For example, the revered Bhagwat Geeta mentions the division of society into various castes, and hence the Hindu saints and gurus refrain from criticizing the caste system for fear that they will be considered heretics for opposing a central concept of the religion.

However, the truth remains that if we Hindus can eliminate caste feelings, it will go a long way in uniting the Hindus and making Hindu unity so powerful that the enemies of the Hindus who continue to convert Hindus will shudder at the thought of being defeated by the united Hindus.

It is for this reason that the Christian West does not care about aiding the Dalits (i.e. lower caste Hindus) in their struggle for equality and better social and economic conditions. The Islamists too wish that the caste system not only continue but become stronger so as to keep the Hindus divided and fighting amongst ourselves.

So, it is not in the interest of the Christian West and the Islamic powers to oppose the caste system which keeps Hindus divided and as we all know, divided we fall and united we stand.

However, because unlike the Muslims we Hindus are not religiously brainwashed from very early age, we have developed a rational and tolerant outlook. Because of the advancement of modern education amongst Hindus, we have begun to realize the great importance of breaking the caste barriers.

Thus in the United States of America, this author has witnessed that the Hindus have started to marry outside their caste. This author was recently informed that one Agarwal family from North India was looking for a ‘bania’ match for their daughter who had become a doctor. They were finding it very difficult to find a suitable ‘bania’ match. On the advice of their priest, they broadened the search and gave permission to their daughter to find a Hindu. Quickly she found a South Indian doctor as her match, and the marriage was solemnized with great fanfare. At the wedding, hardly anyone asked the caste of the groom.

In fact in the West, Hindus think themselves lucky if their son or daughter finds a Hindu match, because the alternative would be to marry outside the religion. And in the West, under peer pressure, young Hindus are trying to imitate the ways of the Christian majority and consider dating as superior to the traditional Indian mode of arranged marriage.

So in the past few years, this author has attended wedding receptions where a Sikh man married a rich Hindu lady, an Agarwal lady doctor married a South Indian man who did not belong to ‘bania’ caste, and another Agarwal man married a South Indian lady who belonged to Brahmin caste.

Over the past few years, this author also attended a wedding in New Delhi where a Brahmin lady married a man from the Rajput caste.

So, inter-caste marriage is becoming common not only in the West but also in India. These inter-caste marriages are to be applauded because they build Hindu unity. In fact inter-religious marriages are also to be applauded as long as it affords both parties freedom to practice their own religion.

But it is well known that when a Hindu lady marries a Muslim man, she is eventually forced to convert to Islam. This has been observed by this author in the U.S. and Canada. In fact because of the great pressure exerted by the relatives of the Muslim groom, it is very difficult for a Hindu bride to remain Hindu. In such a difficult situation, she either has to accept Islam or divorce her husband. Love jihad is a well-known phenomenon in which the Muslims prey upon Hindu girls who lack deep commitment to the Hindu religion due to poor religious training in childhood.

In this regard, we should remember the following saying of Guru Ramanand who declared:

Jati pati puchhe nahi koi,
Hari ko bhaje so Hari ka hoi !

This translates as follows, “No one should ask for the caste, he who chants the name of the Lord belongs to the Lord.”

Sant Kabir Das was the follower of Guru Ramanand.  Kabir Das was born a Muslim in a weaver family. He wrote many poems exhorting Hindus and Muslims to rise above caste feelings and become true devotees of the Lord. Kabir Das had an association with yogis and Sufis both and his historical achievement was spreading the principles of Nirguna (formless) Bhakti.

Guru Nanak also laid emphasis on Nirguna Bhakti. His Bhakti also had the aspect of Shakti (power), because without Shakti bhakti is useless. He rose to the cruelties of Babur and thundered time and again. His disciples rose to his clarion call and continued his tradition of fighting. Guru Arjun Dev sacrificed his life protecting the honor of Guru Granth Sahib and of Tilak and the sacred thread.

The valiant Sikh gurus who fought against the barbaric Mughal rulers inspire the Hindus to continue the tradition of fighting to defend the honor of Hinduism.

In summary, the Hindus should impart religious education to their children when they are very young. They must also educate their children and their friends to ignore caste feelings and to love all Hindus regardless of their caste and language spoken at home.

This is the best way to build Hindu unity and strengthen Hinduism all over the world into a mighty force to be reckoned with.

Posted in: Opinion

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