Caste, Class and Society

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Caste System is not merely a division of labour. It is also a division of labourers. It is a hierarchy in which the divisions of labourers are graded one above the other. Caste has killed public spirit. Caste has destroyed the sense of public charity. Caste has made public opinion impossible. Virtue has become caste-ridden and morality has become caste-bound. There is no sympathy to the deserving. There is no appreciation of the meritorious. There cannot be a more degrading system of social organisation than the Chaturvarna. It is the system which deadens, paralyses and cripples the people from helpful activity. Caste in the hands of the orthodox has been a powerful weapon for persecuting the reforms and for killing all reform. These castes are anti-national. In the first place because they bring about separation in social life. They are anti-national also because they generate jealousy and antipathy between caste and caste. The Caste system is a system which is infested with the spirit of isolation and in fact it makes isolation of one Caste from another a virtue. There is isolation in the class system. But it does not make isolation virtue nor does it prohibit social intercourse. The class system, it is true produces groups, but they are not akin to Caste groups. The groups in the class system are only non-social while the Castes in the Caste system are in their mutual relations definitively and positively anti-social. Practically speaking, in a class structure, there is on the one hand, tyranny, vanity, pride, arrogance, greed selfishness and on the other insecurity, poverty, degradation, loss of liberty, self-reliance, independence dignity and self-respect. The group set-up prevents an individual from acquiring consistency of mind, which is possible only when society has common ideals, common models.

The group set-up leads to stratification of classes. Those who are masters remain masters and those who are born in slavery remain slaves. Owners remain owners and workers remain workers. The privileged remain privileged and the serfs remain serfs.

—   Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

Read more at:

http://www.ambedkar.org/

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