Hindu Caste/Varna Ideology-the Roots of Nazi Philosophy

 

The seemingly pagan and esoteric thoughts of the Nazis was not rooted in any madness but in a rational which upheld extreme notions of hierarchy and racial pollution. German Nazi philosophers found their perfect master race model in the Brahmin and Kshatriya supermen of Krishna who claimed to have created the caste/varna system; in the perverted and ruling class Zen-Buddhist warrior model of the Japanese samurai and in the Tibetan elite Buddhism which combined master race warriors in both its perversion of Tantric religion and in the fighting man machine best described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. To the Nazis Tibetans were long lost Aryans. To the upper caste Hindus Hitler was not less than a Mahatma and the extreme right wing of Hindu society still looks upon Hitler admiringly.

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A Critique of the Hindu Council Report 'Caste in India' by Gail Omvedt

 Caste in India

* This article was written as a reply to a document on “Caste in India” issued by the Hindu Council of the UK, which was itself a response to Dalit organizing globally as well as nationally.  The issues it deals with are very general, and I have attempted to give a full alternative account.  Those interested in the Hindu Council’s document may download it from the Hindu Council UK's website.  I owe thanks to Michael Witzel [Wales Professor of Sanskrit Studies at Harvard - Editor] for his help  in note citing Vedic references on caste and his careful reading of an earlier version of this essay - Gail Omvedt

 

The author of this critique Gail Omvedt is a world famous scholar of Dalit Studies. She has also been very supportive of Dalit issues globally. [Editor].

 Introduction

            The essay submitted by the Hindu Council of the United Kingdom on “Caste in India” contains no surprises.   It seeks to justify and legitimate the continuation of the caste system.  It argues that in its origin the caste system was a way of maintaining a harmonious and integrated society, that it was not by birth but by “merit”, and that today it functions as something like a “club” in which likeminded people can associate freely with one another.  Caste, according to the Hindu Council,  took on its severe and birth-related qualities only during the medieval period in India, when a wave of invasions, mostly by Muslims (though the report mentions at first the Kushans), forced a retreat into a defensive form of integration.  It has not been stagnant, and is in the process of being reformed today.   The Report concludes by saying that “Historically, varnashram has enabled Hindu civilisation to survive repeated invasions.  It has made Indian society stronger….Today it has outlived its usefulness.”

Does this mean it should be destroyed?  Not according to the Hindu Council:

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Valmik Sabha Demands Apology

 

Shri Guru Valmik Sabha Southall UK has demanded an apology from the Hindu Council UK. So what is behind this unusual demand?

In its Report on Caste the Hindu Council UK claimed that it had Dalits amongst its supporters. It failed to publish the names of these 'supporters'.

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Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT)

Indian history is an on-going process of dicovery
 
Many scholars of Indian history now accept that there was no large scale Aryan military invasion into India which resulted in the catastrophic destruction of the Indus cities. Nevertheless majority of historians also accept that the Aryans could not have been the originators of the Indus Valley Civilisation – a Hindutva assertion that is held by a very tiny minority of mostly untrained Indian scholars. Because Dalits do not have access to most up to date historical knowledge, and much of this knowledge has become hotly debated and politicised, there is a time lag for this knowledge to filter downwards to Dalits. There are signs that with the advent of the Internet that is changing but it will take time for the old books to be rewritten with the incorporation of the correct historical perspective.
 
Aryan Invasion Theory - a complex concept

Hindutva writers have latched on to this by indirectly claiming that if Dalits and some of their sympathisers were incorrect in the past then logically they must be wrong on other aspects of Indian history. What these writers do not mention is the fact that the upper castes accepted this and many other colonial theories including the theory of martial and superior races with gusto for almost a century. Now all of a sudden when things are not going their ways they have decided to deny that the Aryans actually originated from outside of India.
 
Aryans not indeginous to India
 
Unfortunately for them, there are a few problems associated with this approach, as outlined by Michael Witzel in the Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies [vol 7 2001 Issue 2] in his study Autochthonous Aryans?:
 
To sum up: even when neglecting individual quirks, the various autochthonous proposals simply do not present a cogent picture. They almost completely neglect the linguistic evidence, and they run into serious chronological and geographical difficulties: they have horse drawn chariots in S. Asia before their actual invention, horses in S. Asia before their introduction from Central Asia, use of iron tools at 1900 BCE before its first use at c. 1200/1000 BCE. They have the Rgvedic Sarasvati flowing to the ocean while the RV indicates that it had already lost its main source of water supply and must have ended in a terminal lake (samudra).

They must also distort the textual evidence of the RV to make it fit supposed Harappan fire rituals, the use of the script, a developed town civilization and its stratified society of traders and artisans, and international maritime trade. And, they must rewrite the literary history of the Vedas to fit in improbable dates for the composition of most of its texts so that they agree with supposed contemporary astronomical observations -- when everything else in these texts points to much later dates.

 
Finally, they have the Old Indo-Aryan, or even the Indo-European Proto-language, developing in the Panjab or even further east in northern India while all non-IA227 linguistic and historical evidence, including that of linguistic palaeontology, clearly points to areas further northwest and west. They maintain an Indian homeland for IE, while the expected early South Asian loan words are entirely missing in all non-IA IE languages, including even the neighboring Old Iranian, and while, conversely, such loans are already copious in Vedic and are traceable to S. Asian substrate sources.
 
Dalit intelligentsia may be slightly behind times and their thinking may lack sophistication. This does not change the fact that although the Aryans did not destroy Indus citadels and cities, they originated from outside of India and that they subdued the indigenous population by superior military means. History witnesses that no nation or country submits peacefully to any outsiders without putting up a fight. Even the indigenous elite who may have made a common cause with the Aryans soon identified themselves as Aryans, for even those days class would override ethnic boundaries or 'caste'.
 
Aryan Invasion Theory - A Hinduttva Red Herring

In other words Aryan Invasion Theory is a red herring or a straw man put up by Dalits haters in order to demolish the same theory thus trying to mislead  Dalits  and their sympathisers into thinking that they are totally mistaken about their historical oppression.
 
Internet Resources:
 
1. The Aryan Question Revisited - Romila Thapar.

2 .The Hindutva Movement and Reinventing of History – by Nobel Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen (Excerpts).

3. Aryan Invasion/Migration - Friends of South Asia (FOSA) website - FAQ

Iron in India and the Caste System

 

Most investigations into the formation of the caste system start from the study of Hindu scriptures as the earliest sources of references to the caste are to be found in these.

However to rely purely on such sources, is seriously flawed as these documents can not be taken at their face value as it was not in the interest of the Vedic authors to record the truth or for that matter the time frame. Put simply the Vedas have to be interpreted in the light of other known scientific facts.

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