The move by the UNHRC to treat caste-based discrimination as a human rights violation is an irresponsible act of subverting Indian democratic and cultural institutions. The UNHRC’s obsession to equate caste as a ‘racist’ institution smacks of Christian and Leftist influence, and attempts to undermine India’s Hindu heritage. Marxists hate caste as it prevents the formation of class. In Marxist soteriology, antagonism of classes necessitates revolutionary violence, culminating in a new utopia-laden ‘egalitarian’ world order. Accentuation of the idea of discrimination benefits Christian evangelists who promote strife between different ethnic groups, while gaining footholds and fresh converts in hostile terrain.
The internalization of the ‘caste problem’ is mutually beneficial for both these groups. Leftists-Marxists in academia will benefit from increased research grants. Analysts of the UN process said these little inclusions in official documents make a big difference in the field – in terms of funding to social activist organizations with a strong caste bias (Times of India, 18.4.2009).
Evangelists will multiply their revenue generation to take Jesus’ message to the ‘wretched’ and ‘oppressed’ Hindu populations subject to the tyranny of ‘satanic’ beliefs like Karma. Already, writers like David Keane are promoting the perverse argument that caste-based discrimination is not race-based discrimination only because the former has a powerful justification in religion (Caste-based discrimination in international human right laws, Ashgate, 2007)
This is a false parallel. Koenraad Elst in Saffron Swastika reminds us that elements of racial discrimination and slavery can be found both in Islamic and Christian theology and their derivative civilizations, which practiced profound systems of trans-continental slave trade, although he rejects the idea that those beliefs anticipated the modern machinery of racial discrimination in US and elsewhere.
Western Indologists have grappled with the idea of caste, but failed to understand the notion of caste for what it is, then what it is not! Class divide, colour divide, Aryan-non Aryan (race) and even occupation divides, which are known historical modes of Semitic and Western discrimination, have all miserably failed in the case of relevance and applicability to caste.
Under such circumstances, it was no surprise that the word caste does not appear in any international human rights treaty. Dalit separatists and their allies have appealed for including caste discrimination as a form of racial discrimination vide Article 1(1) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1965 (ICERD). However, we don’t find any parallels between race and caste.
Genomic studies have dismissed the notion of Aryan immigration [Y chromosomal analysis Sahoo S et al 2006, Mt-Dna analysis by Kivisild et al 1999]. A path-breaking study by Harvard and indigenous researchers on ancestral Indian populations says there is a genetic relationship between all Indians (Times of India, 25.9.2009). No wonder Andre Beteille, a leading sociologist, condemns this attitude of treating caste as a form of race (to be) politically mischievous; what is worse, it is scientifically nonsensical!
The association of the Vedic varna with skin colour, a 19th century fantastic racist interpretation of the Veda by Western Indologists, is today obsolete. Max Muller was the creator of the theory of the Aryan race who had invaded the native barbarians of India. In later years he deeply regretted the theory of race science, and instead suggested a schism between philology and ethnology. It was too late before he realized that language does not determine racial kinship.
Historian David Lorenzen, after a meticulous study of the Rig Veda, concluded, “I can find no evidence of this modern racist view in Vedic literature. There is no evidence that the Rg Vedic Aryas regarded the Dasas and Dasyus as either biologically distinct or as innately inferior in terms of intellect or strength or as divinely cursed to become slaves. The Vedic evidence does suggest, however, that the Aryas sometimes regarded the moral behaviour and character of the Dasas as inferior and certainly Dasa religion as inferior to their own (Who invented Hinduism, p.151, Yoda Press, 2006)
Trautmann in ‘Aryan and British India’ revisits the original theories and is astounded to discover the manner in which the dark skinned savage is extracted from a very recalcitrant Vedic text – the image is drawn from all but two passages referring to dark skin, and another referring to a flat nose [anasah] All these images, Trautmann identifies having been derived from a consistent degree of text-torturing both substantive and adjectival in character.