Caste as British Mischief

I stumbled upon a nice book recently. Pick it up if you can. It is called “Castes of Mind: Colonialism and Making of British India” and is written by Nicholas D. Burks, an American professor of history and anthropology.

The author argues that it is actually the British who invented the caste system in India through social engineering and that the caste system as it exists today has absolutely no resemblance to the caste system before the British came to India.

As a side note, the Brits are also credited with doing the same thing to the tribes of Africa as a way to divide and splinter the society on ethnic lines and keep various groups pitted against each other.

This also explains the excessive obsession about caste system in Westerners even today. They overstate its existence and keep pretending as if Hindus are nothing but a bunch of castes. This is nothing but a hoax, of course, and this behaviour is driven by some religious and political objectives that the Westerners are trying to achieve in India. Hindus should be careful not to fall into the trap.

I am noticing more and more scholarship — most of it written by British and American scholars — which throws light on the British mischief in creating Hindu castes as they exist today. This is a step in the right direction. It is the Indians which are lagging behind and for some reason do not want to go into this aspect of the Raj. How come the Western professors are able to find so much material about this to write books, but Indian scholars keep groping in the dark? Or is it that since most of Indian historians are leftist liberals, they do not want to go this route at all lest their own propaganda about Hinduism be punctured.

Some reviews of the book from Amazon:

From Library Journal
Is India’s caste system the remnant of ancient India’s social practices or the result of the historical relationship between India and British colonial rule? Dirks (history and anthropology, Columbia Univ.) elects to support the latter view. Adhering to the school of Orientalist thought promulgated by Edward Said and Bernard Cohn, Dirks argues that British colonial control of India for 200 years pivoted on its manipulation of the caste system. He hypothesizes that caste was used to organize India’s diverse social groups for the benefit of British control. His thesis embraces substantial and powerfully argued evidence. It suffers, however, from its restricted focus to mainly southern India and its near polemic and obsessive assertions. Authors with differing views on India’s ethnology suffer near-peremptory dismissal. Nevertheless, this groundbreaking work of interpretation demands a careful scholarly reading and response. John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review
Massively documented and brilliantly argued, Castes of Mind is a study in true contrapuntal interpretation. Nicholas Dirks is a subtle unraveler of the dense, many-layered fabric of India’s colonial and modern history as they converge in the idea and practice of caste. Even for the nonspecialist, the results of this gripping book are remarkable to behold. No one before Dirks has examined the ways in which caste gathers from as well as ignores the complex realities and hierarchies of Indian society. Neither reductive nor schematic, the notion of caste that emerges here is genuinely original.
(Edward W. Said )

This books needs wider dissemination and publicity. There is a conspiracy of silence in India and the West about such books. Buy it, read it and gift it to others if you can. Let this hoax of caste sytem perpetrated by the cunning Britisher administrators on the hapless Hindus be well exposed to the world.

17 Comments

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17 responses to “Caste as British Mischief

  1. VoP

    Thank you Sanjay for this, this is a positive development, it seems Indian intellect molded and blinded mostly by the Raj is going to be extremely uncomfortable at this new trend by at least some whites who are discovering the Truth!

  2. Bharat Nair

    “It is the Indians which are lagging behind and for some reason do not want to go into this aspect of the Raj. How come the Western professors are able to find so much material about this to write books, but Indian scholars keep groping in the dark?”

    Due to “sickularist’s” unique hold on Indian scholars only..
    How many people in India know about Shri.Dharampal’s writings?

  3. JGN

    Dear Sanjay, there is another book “DHARMA, INDIA, AND THE WORLD ORDER
    TWENTY ONE ESSAYS by CHATURVEDI BADRINATH which throws light on many aspects of ancient India including Caste System. I have not read the same completely but know that it is an honest attempt to define of culture & civlization. This book is available at the web of MultiVarsity dot com or if any one wants the same, pl write to me at JGN190@rediffmail.com. I have a copy of the in Word-format as a Zip-file.

  4. anon_one

    ^^ http://www.multiversitylibrary.com

    DHARMA, INDIA AND THE WORLD ORDER TWENTY ONE ESSAYS

  5. VoP

    Ethnographic Mapping and the Construction
    of the British Census in India

    http://rajeev2004.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-brits-manufactured-caste-and.html

  6. Incognito

    Another one of british mischief has been unravelled by Radha Rajan in “Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and his Freedom Struggle”

    Some of the lines by Gandhi quoted in the book reveal how much he was influenced by the Church.

    ” I would make India offer all her able-bodied sons as a sacrifice to the Empire at its critical moment (WW I); and I know that India by this very act would become the most favored partner in the Empire and racial distinctions will become a thing of the past ……. and they are wakeful enough to realise that they must be equally prepared to sacrifice themselves for the Empire in which they hope and desire to reach their final status ” (Letter to Viceroy 1918 CWMG Vol 17 pp 7-10; page 209)

    ‘ sons as a sacrifice’ , ‘most favored partner’ (Jesus was God’s most favored son who was sacrificed for the ‘sins of mankind’), ‘sacrifice themselves’ … words almost lifted from the Old and New Testaments. Was Gandhi naive enough to think that such blatant duplicity would go undetected by the Viceroy and he will fall for the Bible talk ?

    It is likely that the British used missionaries to plant biblical ideas in the minds of educated indians with the purpose of influencing those of the them who may come to lead the masses. Indians thus made pliant by the ‘love’ and ‘brotherhood’ is more likely to submit to rule by his ‘white brother’ from Britain. In the case of Gandhi, it is likely that some shrewd missoinary struck gold and cleverly fostered the fire of overarching ambition within that mind, with the result that Gandhi came close to identifying himself with Jesus.

    “If you love me, you should keep your patience, should they arrest both of us, even if they hang us on the gallows … .. Where a tyrant reigns, a prison is a palace and a palace is a prison. If you have learnt this equation of palace and prison, do as I tell you. If you believe that what I am telling you is only what God tells me through my inner voice, then give me the assurance, that you will restrain your passion and will not boil over even if they sentance me.” (Rawalpindi speech 1920 CWMG Vol 21 pp 66; page 239)

    ‘If you love me, you should keep your patience even if they hang me” line seems to be another lift from Bible where Jesus tells his followers to keep calm even if he is taken by Roman soldiers. Prison-palace equation is similar to the parables that Jesus is supposed to have told his disciples to make his points clear. The rest is like the ‘My Father in heaven’ style of wordings commonly seen in Bible.

    “God has been abundantly kind to me. He has warned me the third time that there is not as yet in India that truthful and non-violent atmosphere ….. He warned me in 1919 when the Rowlatt Act agitation was started … I humbled myself before God and man … The next time it was through the events of Bombay that God gave a terrific warning. He made me eyewitness of the deeds of the Bombay mob … The humiliation was greater than in 1919. But it did me good. …. But God spoke clearly through Chauri Chaura. …. It is penance for me and punishment for those whom I try to serve, for whom I love to live and equally love to die. They have unintentionally sinned against the laws of the Congress .. .. with my name on their lips. The only way love punishes is by suffering.” (Young India 1922 CWMG Vol 26 pp 177-83; page 253-54)

    God speaks to Gandhi like he did to Jesus.
    ‘They sinned…’
    In Bible people sinned against the laws of God and as punishment God’s son died for their sins. In the subject case people of Chauri Chaura sinned against the laws of the Congress and Congress’s father/son/HolyGhost Gandhi fasted for their sins.

    “And now a message for the young men. If you want my service, do not disown me. Come and understand everything from me. … I declare that we cannot win swaraj for our famishing millions, for our deaf and dumb, for our lame and crippled, by the way of the sword. With the Most High as witness I want to proclaim this truth that the way of violence cannot bring swaraj, it can only lead to disaster. I wish to tell these young men with all the authority with which a father can speak to his children that the way of violence can only lead to perdition. Would our women known as the meekest on earth … ..I want the impatient youth in the name of God, …”(Karachi speech 1931 CWMG Vol 51 pp 305-7; page 275-6)

    The first line is like Jesus saying ‘Come unto me… for I am the way and the life … I will take you to my Father in Heaven’ and stuff like that.

    ‘deaf and dumb’, ‘lame and the crippled’ (miracles associated with Jesus, of the deaf hearing, crippled walking etc.), ‘Most High as witness’, ‘in the name of God’, the meekest on earth (meek shall inherit the earth line)

    “Take a pledge with God and your own conscience as witness … He who loses his life will gain it; he who will seek to save it shall lose it.” (Bombay AICC speech 1942 CWMG Vol 83 pp 197; page 293)

    Only the Amen is missing.

    While he was considerably influenced by the Church teachings and probably aimed for the halo of a Christ himself, he was also very shrewd in appropriating the Gita and Rama naam knowing that they are icons of Bharatiya national consciousness. He rightly deduced that people of India would listen to one who publicly shows reverence to these icons. And he did that charade for public consumption using the mantle of Mahatma while he privately travelled away from the path of righteousness shown by Sri Rama and Sri Krishna.

    A book for Kshatriyas, written by a Kshatriya.

    This book is to be read with the mindset of a Kshatriya. Not that of a Vyshya, seeking compromises and self benefit. Not that of a Sudra, dogmatic and contrary. Only with that of a Kshatriya, seeking to uphold righteousness.

    • sanjaychoudhry

      Gandhi was a church plant. Just see who he was surrounded with in his early days in South Africa in Tolstoy Farm. His friends were all missionaries and reverends. It is these people who guided him and raised his profile through newspaper stories, and encouraged him to take on the Brits in a non-violent way (“turn the other cheek”).

      The Brits were spooked by the 1857 revolt and wanted to erect a messiah for Indians with the message of non-violence (“never pick up arms against the Brits again even if they kill you all”).

      Gandhi will launch a protest under missioanry guidance in South Africa, and General Smutts will pretend to cave in to his demands, thus raising Gandhi’s profile among Indians and proving the effectiveness of his “non-violent method.” It was all a carefully orchestrated hoax. He was a leader that owes his rise totally to British and church guidance and patronage. Indians were led up a garden path.

      Gandhi acquired from the church a hatred of the Hindus. As long as he lived, he remained a blind supporter of Muslims against the Hindus (a behavior that is identified with the Whites even today). In short, Gandhi was a British plant. You have to do research into his early days in South Africa to realise this.

  7. JGN

    Dear sanjaychoudhry, though I also do not hold Gandhiji in very high esteem, it would be unfair to judge him from today’s prespective. As a leftist brought up on a staple diet of cheap Soviet literature during the heydays of USSR, I had also believed that Gandhiji was the one who was responsible for sabotaging an armed revolution in India by acting as a “safety relief valve” for defusing the anger of the masses against the ruling class and zamindars..

    Alongwith Gadhiji, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had also played an equally important role in our freedom struggle. If not the success, then the thunderous fall of INA speeded the process of attaining freedom.

    Whether you agree or not, Bhagad Gita was a later day addition to the Mahabharata (probably wirtten during the time of Adi Shankara) as the language itself varies from that of original Mahabharata and was meant for waking up the lazy Kings of our Country when the European colonizers set out to conquer the entire world for Jesus, armed with their PAPAL Bull and the Muslims set out to conquer the entire world with swords.

    Any way we cannot go back in a “Time Machine” and correct historical wrongs. We would be doing a great dis-service to ourselves and our future generations if we do not learn from History. History repeats itself as a farce!!

  8. vivekam.vairagyam

    nice post ….. thanks …..

    check these links too …..

    The Real History of India Part 10 – The Abominable Caste System – Indian Fact or British Fiction?

    http://www.sastwingees.org/2008/04/20/the-real-history-of-india-part-10-the-abominable-caste-system-indian-fact-or-british-fiction/

    The indian Caste System:

    http://psenthilraja.wordpress.com/tag/learning-history/

  9. Bharat Nair

    “Whether you agree or not, Bhagad Gita was a later day addition to the Mahabharata (probably wirtten during the time of Adi Shankara) as the language itself varies from that of original Mahabharata and was meant ……..”

    Another missionary insinuation.

  10. som

    वास्तविक वे अंग्रेज़ ही थे, जिन्हों ने जाति व्यवस्था के घृणात्मक रूपका आधुनिक आविष्कार किया, और कपटपूर्ण षड-यंत्र की चाल से जन-मानस में, उसे रूढ किया।
    जाति भेद, जिस अवस्था में आज अस्तित्व में है, उसका अंग्रेज़ो के आने से पहले की स्थिति से , कोई समरूपता (सादृश्यता ) नहीं है।
    http://www.pravakta.com/sc-british-victim-of-mischief

    • raj

      बहुतेरे इतिहासज्ञ वाम पंथी दल के होने के कारण इस दिशा में जाना ही नहीं चाहते, कि डरते हैं, कि, यदि गए, और सत्य हाथ लगा तो फिर उनके अपने हिंदुत्व के विषयमें कुप्रचार के धंधे में सेंध लग जाएगी।
      http://www.bahujanindia.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4850:2012-05-14-01-23-44&catid=146:2011-11-30-09-57-23&Itemid=551

    • ravi

      The author argues that it is actually the British who invented the caste system in India through social engineering and that the caste system as it exists today has absolutely no resemblance to the caste system before the British came to India.

      As a side note, the Brits are also credited with doing the same thing to the tribes of Africa as a way to divide and splinter the society on ethnic lines and keep various groups pitted against each other.

      This also explains the excessive obsession about caste system in Westerners even today. They overstate its existence and keep pretending as if Hindus are nothing but a bunch of castes. This is nothing but a hoax, of course, and this behavior is driven by some religious and political objectives that the Westerners are trying to achieve in India. Hindus should be careful not to fall into the trap.

    • karan

      There were/are thousands of Jatis in India. The British, when they took over the continent, decided that they wanted an easier system to classify their subjects. They found the Jati system very complex and confusing. For example, people belonging to a Jati could be both fishermen, and Naval Sailors. Another Jati members could be both scribes and agriculturists. Yet another Jati could be soldiers during wartime, and coconut pluckers during peacetime! This has been(and continues to be) the way the Jatis operate in India. On top of this, the widely different Linguistic/regions subcultures had their own flavors to this system. However some British Indologists who probably read the manustrimiti (forgotten and discarded by Indians) decided that the Hindus should be divided into 4 castes!.

      Known for their bureaucracy, soon all British subjects in India were arbitrarily classified into one of the 4 “Castes”.The Chrisitan missionaries also played a big part in the creation of this “Caste” system as they believed it was their right to bring “civlization” to the savages…often by misinterpreting, and attacking such misinterpretations as some evil pagan religion/rite.

      All of a sudden, even people from regions of India where the 4fold system of the Manustrimit was not even known 3000 years ago, found themselves classified into a 4fold caste system that was totally alien to them.
      http://www.democraticunderground.com/121821286

    • karan

      The caste system had been a fascination of the British since their arrival in India. Coming from a society that was divided by class, the British attempted to equate the caste system to the class system.
      As late as 1937 Professor T. C. Hodson stated that: “Class and caste stand to each other in the relation of family to species. The general classification is by classes, the detailed one by castes. The former represents the external, the latter the internal view of the social organization.”
      The difficulty with definitions such as this is that class is based on political and economic factors, caste is not.
      In fairness to Professor Hodson, by the time of his writing, caste had taken on many of the characteristics that he ascribed to it and that his predecessors had ascribed to it but during the 19th century caste was not what the British believed it to be.
      It did not constitute a rigid description of the occupation and social level of a given group and it did not bear any real resemblance to the class system.
      The main concern is that the British saw caste as a way to deal with a huge population by breaking it down into discrete chunks with specific characteristics.
      it appears that the caste system extant in the late 19th and early 20th century has been altered as a result of British actions so that it increasingly took on the characteristics that were ascribed to by the British.

      One of the main tools used in the British attempt to understand the Indian population was the census.
      Attempts were made as early as the beginning of the 19th century to estimate populations in various regions of the country but these, as earlier noted, were methodologically flawed and led to grossly erroneous conclusions.
      It was not until 1872 that a planned comprehensive census was attempted.
      This was done under the direction of Henry Beverely, Inspector General of Registration in Bengal.
      The primary purpose given for the taking of the census, that of governmental preparedness to deal with disaster situations, was both laudable and logical.
      However, the census went well beyond counting heads or even enquiring into sex ratios or general living conditions. Among the many questions were enquiries regarding nationality, race, tribe, religion and caste. Certainly none of these things were relevant to emergency measures responses by the government.
      Further, neither the notion of curiosity nor planned subterfuge on the part of the administration suffices to explain their inclusion in the census.
      http://www.britishempire.co.uk/article/castesystem.htm

      • nitha

        @karan

        Herbert Hope Risley is the ethnographer behind the caste system in the 1901 census. In-charge of the 1901 census.

        According to Risley :
        “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.”

        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.
        http://2ndlook.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/caste-system-its-life-birth/

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