Brahminical (caste) Hinduism: a system of institutionalised oppression
Draft 19 August 2013
The effects of caste discrimination on India’s almost 200 million Dalits are strikingly similar to that of race discrimination: social stigmatization, physical segregation, lack of access to education and social advancement, under-representation at all levels in government, business and the organized labor market. [Source]
In Hinduism, ‘the type of birth you take in this world, and the conditions of your existence here are all determined by what you did in your earlier existences. You may even be born as an animal, says the Upanishad, if the karma is very bad’ (Vivekananda)
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I once met a Mahar, who, fearing that I was going near him and that my purity might then be defiled in case I touched him, and that he might incur the sin of defiling my purity, cried out at once and made his caste known to me. I got into conversation with him. I found that Mahar, though illiterate, could repeat many verses of Tukaram, Namdeo and Chokhamela. He appeared to be well acquainted with the theories of Karma and Bhakti, and of transmigration of soul. He believed that though he was a Mahar in that birth, by some misdoings in his past life, he was going to become a Brahmana in the next birth, as he felt the desire for learning Sanskrit, and reading Gita and Puranas. He conceived that these desires were clear indications of the better birth which he was going to get in his next life.
I do not know how far such sentiments exist in other members of the tribe. Bid it is not improbable that very many of the low castes believe, or are made to believe, that they justly suffer in this condition as a retribution for the sins which they did in the past life. [THE HISTORY OF CASTE IN INDIA by SHRIDHAR V. KETKAR (1909)]
1. We, the self-respecting humans, are born free. 1