HINDU PHILOSOPHY & SOCIAL JUSTICE
Dr Ambedkar, Mahtma Phuleand Shahuji Maharaj writings and
publications committeegovernment of Maharashtra.
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hindu social order was based on the Four Verna
system i.e. Chaturvarna Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. These varnas
are designed as the different floors of the building without a stair case. This
is the ladder of inequality. There is no parallel in world of such a
discriminatory and cruel system of human subjugation as the Indian caste
system. The caste system has the sanction of all Hindu scriptures.
In the very
first chapter of Manusmriti, it is clearly stated that Brahmins, Kshatriyas,
Vaishyas and Shudras were created by Brahma (creator of this world) from his
mouth, hands, thighs and feet respectively. Manu claims that the same Brahma,
who created this world, also created Manusmriti and taught it to him
were created for teaching, studying, performing yajnas (ceremonial sacrifices),
getting yajnas performed, giving and accepting dan (gifts). The Kshatriyas were
created for protecting the citizens, giving gifts, getting yajnas performed and
studying. The Vaishyas were created for protecting animals, giving gifts,
getting yajnas performed, studying, trading, lending money on interest and
doing agricultural work. The Shudras were created by Brahma for serving
Brahmins and the other two varnas without being critical of them.
the masters of the entire universe. Besides, Brahmins alone act as a sort of
post office for transmitting food to the gods and the dead, that is to say, the
gods and the dead eat food through the mouths of Brahmins (apparently because
they do not have mouths of their own). Therefore, no one can be superior to
Brahmins. All others are said to enjoy everything owing to the Brahmins' mercy.
The Manusmriti clearly states that Brahmins alone are entitled to teach this
dharmashastra and none else.
10.129 says, “ Even though the shudra possesses the quality/merit, he/she
should be prohibited from collection of wealth or money.”
article 8.416 gives the right to the Brahmins to snatch the wealth of shudras.
Manusmruti also prevented women giving equal right and freedom.
says, “Shudras are prohibited from taking education. They should serve the
above 3 vernas without complaining to anybody.” It is interesting to note that
studying, getting yajnas performed and giving gifts or charity are common
duties of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas; whereas teaching, accepting gifts
and performing yajnas are reserved exclusively for Brahmins. The Shudras, of
course, are denied the rights to study, getting yajnas performed by Brahmins
was not merely a religious book but it was a constitution of India for 2000 yrs.
The Hindu law
as codified by Manu is based on the principle of inequality. The punishment for
a particular crime is not same for all varnas. In fact, the punishment varies
depending on the varna of the victim as well as the varna of the person committing the crime. For the same
crime, the Brahmin is to be given a mild punishment, whereas the Shudra is to
given the harshest punishment of all. Similarly, if the victim of a crime is a
Shudra, the punishment is mild, and the punishment is harsh in case the victim
is a Brahmin.
If a Brahmin
is awarded death sentence, it is sufficient to shave his head, but Kshatriya,
Vaishya and Shudra are to actually die. If a Kshatriya, a Vaishya, or a Shudra
repeatedly gives false evidence in the court, he is to be punished and expelled
from the kingdom, whereas the Brahmin is not to be punished, he is to be only
If a person
has sexual intercourse with a consenting women of his own varna, he is not to be punished. But if a person of
lower varna has sexual intercourse with a woman of higher varna, with or without her consent, he is to be killed.
If a Brahmin forces a dwija to work for him, he is
to be punished. But if a Brahmin forces a Shudra to work for him, whether by
making or not making payments to him, he is not to be punished, because Shudras
have been created only for serving Brahmins.
If a Brahmin
abuses a Shudra, he is to be fined mildly, but if a Shudra abuses a Brahmin, he
is to be killed. On the other hand, even if a Brahmin kills a Shudra, he is
merely to perform penance by killing a cat, frog, owl or crow, etc. Thus a
Shudra is to be killed for abusing a Brahmin, whereas a Brahmin is to be let
off lightly even if he kills a Shudra. Such is the unequal justice of
the same amount, Kshatriya has to pay more as interest than Brahmin, Vaishya
more than Kshatriya and the Shudra has to pay the maximum amount as interest.
dwija ought to marry a woman of his own varna. A woman of the same varna is considered best for the first marriage.
However, a dwija may take a woman of inferior varna as his second wife if he is overcome by sexual
passion. But Manu strongly disapproves of Brahmins and Kshatriyas taking a
Shudra woman even as their second wife. They become Shudra if they do so.
mentions that Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya, collectively known as dwija and
the Shudras are the four varnas. There is no fifth varna. He explains the origin of other castes by saying
that they are varna-sankara castes, that is to say, castes originating due to
the intermixture of different varnas, both in anuloma (upper varna male and lower varna female) and pratiloma (lower varna male and upper varna female) manner. Nishad caste is said to have
originated from anuloma relationship between Brahmin male and Shudra female.
caste is said to be owing its origin to pratiloma relationship between Shudra
male and Brahmin female.
Manu seems to
be disapproving of pratiloma relationship more than the anuloma, because he
describes Chandalas as the lowest of the low castes. The Chandala, says
Manusmriti, must not ever reside inside the village. While doing their work,
they must reside outside the village, at cremation ground, on mountains or in
groves. They are not entitled to keep cows or horses, etc., as pet animals.
They may keep dogs and donkeys. They are to wear shrouds. They are to eat in
broken utensils. They are to use ornaments of iron, not of gold. They must keep
moving from one place to another, not residing at the same place for a long
duration. They must not move around in villages and cities in night hours. They
may enter the villages and cities in daytime, with king's permission, wearing
special symbols (to enable identification), and take away unclaimed dead
according to Manu, must not teach the Shudra and woman even if he dies with his
knowledge without imparting it to anybody. On the other hand, if anyone studies
the Vedas on his own he or she will go straight to hell.
No one is to argue critically about vedas because
religion has originated from them. Any nastika (non-believer) or critic of the
Vedas, who "insults" them on the basis of logic, is worthy of being
socially boycotted by "noble" persons.
Women, that is, even women belonging to Brahmin,
Kshatriya and Vaishya varna
are not entitled to upanayan and the study of the Vedas. For them, marriage is
equivalent to upanayan and service of their husbands is equivalent to the study
of the Vedas in the gurukul. Even if the husband is morally degraded, engaged
in an affair with another woman and is devoid of knowledge and other qualities,
the wife must treat him like a god. A widower is allowed to remarry but a widow
is not. Besides, women are not considered fit for being free and independent.
They are to be protected in their childhood by father, in youth by husband and
in old age by son. They should never be allowed by their guardians to act independently.
A woman must never do anything even inside her home without the consent of her
father, husband and son respectively. She must remain in control of her father
in childhood, of husband in youth and of son after the death of her husband.
Ramayana, Ram kills Shambuka simply
because he was performing tapasya (ascetic exercises) which he was not supposed
to do as he was a Shudra by birth.
In Mahabharata, Dronacharya refuses to teach
archery to Eklavya, because he was not a Kshatriya by birth. When Eklavya,
treating Drona as his notional guru, learns archery on his own, Drona makes him
cut his right thumb as gurudakshina (gift for the teacher) so that he may not
become a better archer than his favorite Kshatriya student Arjuna!
much-glorified Bhagvat-Gita, too, favors varna-vyavastha.When
Arjuna refuses to fight, one of his main worries was that the war would lead to
the birth of varna-sankaras or offspring from intermixing of different varnas
and the consequent "downfall" of the family. On the other hand, Krishna tries to motivate Arjuna to fight by saying that it was his
varna-dharma (caste-duty) to do so because he was a Kshatriya. In fact, Krishna goes to the extent of claiming that the four varnas were created by
In the backdrop of ever pervading exploitative
Bramhnical Social Order, Gautam Buddha made a first revolt against the
Bramhnism 2500 years ago. Goutam Buddha
was the first one to introduce the concept of social equality and justice. He also
gave equal right to both men and women. Through Dhamma, he provided equal
opportunities to the people of all the social strata. To counter Buddha’s
social equality revolution, manusmriti was introduced by Vaidik Aryans. Dr
Ambedkar called this as a counter revolution of India. During the British rule in India, everybody was equal before law which was
introduced through criminal procedure code. But civil code was still based on
the Manusmruti. All the civil judgments were based on manusmruti during British
Mahatma Jotirao Phule stood against the Manuwad (Manusmriti Article
1.91) and started the first Indian school for Bahujans in 1848.He also
demanded reservation based on caste population in services and in educational
fields for the first time. Mahatma Phule exposed the misdeeds of bramhins as to
how they cheat the gullible Bahujan Samaj by creating in them a fear of God.
The king of Kolhapur Shahuji Maharaj implemented 50 % caste
based reservation in 1902 in his Kolhapur state. During 1920s, the southern states like Mysore also implemented the same reservation policy.
In 1921 Periyar Ramaswami Naikar and his
justice party burnt the Manusmruti and made revolt against the vaidik system.
The sustenance of Dravidian movement as started by Periyar can mainly be
attributed to his success in freeing people from the mental slavery of
In 1932, Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar in the
round table conference demanded reservation at all India level. In 1935, due to Dr Ambedkar’s efforts
reserve seats and the principle of reservation was accepted by British
government. But the major breakthrough in the process of social justice came
into existence through the constitution of India, which was written by Dr Ambedkar. The most
important article no.14 of the Constitution of India provides equality before
law to all Indians. Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of
Religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 15(4): Provision of
reservations, Article 16: provides equal opportunity in matters of public
employment. Manusmriti divided the society according to caste based employment
but Dr Ambedkar gave equal opportunity to all the castes. (Revolt against code
of manusmruti 10.129). The actual benefits from the efforts of Dr Ambedkar were
evident when the resources were generated as part of this revolution. Article
46 : promotion of educational and economic interest of SC ST and other weaker sections Article 330-342 :
Reservation for SC ST and OBC in emplyemnt, education and political. 340: OBC
Ambedkar resigned from the law ministry in protest of non-implementation of
article 340 by the Nehru led congress govt. In 1953 First backward class
commission was established under the chairmanship of Mr. Kalelkar. Kalelkar was
so castiest Brahmin that he wrote a letter to the district collector of Satara
district before visiting the place that he would eat the food prepared by
Brahmin cook only. Kalelkar opposed caste base reservations due to which OBCs
were prevented from their social justice. The second backward class commission
was constituted under the chairmanship of Mr. B. P. Mandal who
was former Chief Minister of Bihar. This commission recommended 27 % reservation for
OBCs in 1980. But late Indira Gandhi and her son late Rajiv Gandhi refused to
implement Mandal recommendations. During 1991 Mr. V.P. Singh was forced
to implement the Mandal commission by the Ambedkarite movement but V.P. Singh
partly implemented Mandal commission. Proper implementation of constitutional
rights is still not done. e.g. Countrywide atrocities on dalits ,decreased
female population , Opposition to OBC reservation. These are the main obstacles
in the path of social justice.
A revolutionary ordinance was passed by the Hon.
Chief Minister of Tmilnadu Mr. Karunanidhi to appoint non Brahmins
Priests in all Hindu temples. But much before him in 1927 and 1936 Dr Ambedkar
demanded to conduct an examination for the post of Shankaracharyas and other
religious bureaucrats. But, till today all the posts of shankaracharyas are 100
% reserved for Brahmins. The wish of Dr Ambedkar and Periyar Ramawamy is partly
fulfilled by C.M. Karunanidhi so we must congratulate him. The castiest
electronic and print media is opposing 27 % reservation but why this media is
keeping quiet on this 100 % Brahmin reservation. But we should not keep quiet
and we should fight for our rights.
To achieve the total social justice Dr Ambedkar
· Free and compulsory Education to Everybody
· Critical evaluation of religious books like Vedas,
Gita, Ramayana and Mahabharata
· Redistribution of resources land, water, wealth,
· Intercaste marriages
· Buddha Dhamma
Dr Ambedkar chose the path of struggle to achieve
social justice. He said, “ The battle to me is a matter full of joy. The battle
is in the fullest sense spiritual not for wealth or power. It is a battle for
freedom. It is a battle for the reclamation of human personality which has been
suppressed and mutilated by the Hindu social system and will continue to be
suppressed and mutilated if in the political struggle the Hindus win and we
lose. My final words of advise to you is Educate, agitate and organize,
have faith in yourself and never lose hope”.