100 years of a hoax
Strangely, one British hoax that has not been called out, even sixty-five years after independence, is the creation of the caste-system narrative. While many Indians know of Max Muller’s motivations in creation of the Aryan Invasion Theory, very few are aware of how one man created the equally enduring myth of the caste system.
Herbert Hope Risley.
The ethnographer behind the caste system in the 1901 census. In-charge of the 1901 census, as per his biographer
Risley believed that the varna, however ancient, could be applied to all the modern castes found in India, and “meant to identify and place several hundred million Indians within it. seven racial types. The three fundamental races are – Dravidian, Mongoloid and Indo-Aryan. Four secondary races- Cytho-Dravidian, Aryo-Dravidian, Mongolo-Dravidian and Pre-Dravidian. (extract from Wikipedia).
Risley was also behind the Bengal Partition along communal lines in 1905. On the Bengal Partition, as the Home secretary to the Government of India, in 1904, H. H. Risley, made an official noting:
Bengal united is a power. Bengal divided will pull in several different ways. That is what the Congress leaders feel: their apprehensions are perfectly correct and they form one of the great merits of the scheme… One of our main objects is to split up and thereby weaken a solid body of opponents to our rule. (via The Long View: The Partition Before Partition – NYTimes.com).
Caste system is a hoax, invented by the British, to expand and keep up power in India.
Have faith and belief
For the next few paragraphs, let us assume that colonial history is correct.
As per Western notions about Indian history, Indian society along with its caste system was set up by Brahmins between 400BC-800AD. Goes Western history, from circa 800 AD, Islāmic invaders started conquering India – and for the last 1200 years India has been ruled by Muslims or Christians. Both these Islāmic and Christian rulers have no use for the caste system.
Assuming ‘Hindu’ elites established this system in 1200 years, why have Muslim, Christian and Secular rulers not been able to remove it in the last 1200 years.
Looters and rentier
It cannot be removed, because it does not exist.
What exists today is a system where the Indian economy was handed over to different communities by Islāmic and Christian rulers – under the Iqtedaari system, Jagirdaari system, Zamindaari system.
This created a ‘rentier’ class of land owners, who ill-treated the former land owners, whose wealth was seized and re-distributed.
Numbers shall set you free
10% of Brahmins kept 90% of Indians as slaves?
Keep in mind Kabir Das’ doha –
साईं इतना दीजिये, जामे कुटुंब समाए, मैं भी भूखा ना रहूँ, साधू ना भूखा जाये|
sai itna dijiye jaame kutumb samaye, main bhi bhukha naa raho, sadhu na bhukha jaye
(God give me just enough to take care of my family; and feed myself and any saadhu who comes to my house).
In a society, which reflected this belief, that had few super-rich Brahmins, the caste-system narrative implied that Brahmins looted everybody, kept slaves and suppressed everybody.
What kind of fools were the rest of the people?
When the same British tried suppressing people, between Buxar (1765) to Indian Independence (1947), more than 200 revolts, wars, battles, bombings, terrorist plots were executed. The British needed a highly paid army of more than 10 lakh soldiers to suppress the Indian population.
Now these are numbers.
Where is any source about Brahmin wealth, Brahmin armies, required to suppress people?
Indians not allowed
British who had No Indians Allowed signboards in many places promoted themselves as liberators. Probably, people also need to see Europe to understand what is the real caste system really is.
In Protestant Britain, there are hardly any Catholics. Protestant Germany has a few more than Britain Catholics. Now Britain and Germany were both Catholic countries 500 years ago. In Protestant USA, there has been only one Catholic President in more than 200 years. There is hardly any Protestant population in France of Italy.
To repeat a point – If Brahmins have been in power for 1200 years, and established the caste-system, why have Muslim, British and now Secular rulers not been able to remove it in the lat 1200 years.
Words … words … words
Words and logic apart, there is visual evidence that the caste system as ideated and portrayed by the British did not exist. Below is a selection of 5 images of India, dated between 1799-1899, before Risley came out with his caste-system ideas.
What these paintings show in great detail, is how in Indian bazaars and streets, there was a vibrant trade in rotis (unleavened bread), makhan (butter), mithai (sweet-meats). How could this be possible in a society where untouchability was rampant and embedded?
I’ve forgotten this before
My father remembers that his summer vacations were spent in serving cooled water from earthen pots with mur-mura-chana handfuls, in Hyderabad, at the side of the Hyderabad-Mumbai highway. There were widespread culture of piyaoos where water was served – at many centres with mur-mura (popped rice) and roast chana (lentil).
All, from all castes and religions were welcome, many times even persuaded, to slake their thirst and take the edge of their appetite with chana-mur-mura.
Abdar (seller of cool drinks) in Kolkatta (earlier Calcutta) c.1799 | Etching by Solvyns Franz Balthazar (1760-1824). | Click for image.
Butter seller in Kolkatta (earlier Calcutta) c.1799 | Etching titled Makhanwala by Solvyns Franz Balthazar (1760-1824). | Click for image.
A seller of roti (unleavened bread) in Kolkatta (earlier Calcutta) c.1799 | Etching titled A Rooty-Wolla by Solvyns Franz Balthazar (1760-1824). | Click for image.
A Sweetmeat-seller of Lahore; Date:ca. 1885 (made); Artist: John Lockwood Kipling, for sometime Principal, Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art and Industry in Mumbai (then Bombay); father of Rudyard Kipling; from the Victoria & Albert Museum | Click for image.
This painting was used for Rudyard Kipling’s book – Kim | A Drink by the way – a street scene in Bombay. 1876 by John Griffiths | Click for image.