[5] Caste cannot preserve a nonexistent “racial purity”

[1:] Some have dug a biological trench in defence of the Caste System. It is said that the object of Caste was to preserve purity of race and purity of blood. Now ethnologists are of the opinion that men of pure race exist nowhere and that there has been a mixture of all races in all parts of the world. Especially is this the case with the people of India. Mr. D. R. Bhandarkar in his paper on “Foreign Elements in the Hindu Population” has stated that “There is hardly a class or Caste in India which has not a foreign strain in it. There is an admixture of alien blood not only among the warrior classes—theRajputs and the Marathas—but also among the Brahmins who are under the happy delusion that they are free from all foreign elements.” The Caste system cannot be said to have grown as a means of preventing the admixture of races, or as a means of maintaining purity of blood.

 

[2:] As a matter of fact [the] Caste system came into being long after the different races of India had commingled in blood and culture. To hold that distinctions of castes are really distinctions of race, and to treat different castes as though they were so many different races, is a gross perversion of facts. What racial affinity is there between the Brahmin of the Punjab and the Brahmin of Madras? What racial affinity is there between the untouchable of Bengal and the untouchable of Madras? What racial difference is there between the Brahmin of the Punjab and the Chamar of the Punjab? What racial difference is there between the Brahmin of Madras and the Pariah of Madras? The Brahmin of the Punjab is racially of the same stock as the Chamar of the Punjab, and the Brahmin of Madras is of the same race as the Pariah of Madras.

[3:] [The] Caste system does not demarcate racial division. [The] Caste system is a social division of people of the same race. Assuming it, however, to be a case of racial divisions, one may ask: What harm could there be if a mixture of races and of blood was permitted to take place in India by intermarriages between different castes? Men are no doubt divided from animals by so deep a distinction that science recognizes men and animals as two distinct species. But even scientists who believe in purity of races do not assert that the different races constitute different species of men. They are only varieties of one and the same species. As such they can interbreed and produce an offspring which is capable of breeding and which is not sterile.

[4:] An immense lot of nonsense is talked about heredity andeugenics in defence of the Caste System. Few would object to the Caste System if it was in accord with the basic principle of eugenics, because few can object to the improvement of the race by judicious mating. But one fails to understand how the Caste System secures judicious mating. [The] Caste System is a negative thing. It merely prohibits persons belonging to different castes from intermarrying. It is not a positive method of selecting which two among a given caste should marry.

[5:] If Caste is eugenic in origin, then the origin of sub-castes must also be eugenic. But can anyone seriously maintain that the origin of sub-castes is eugenic? I think it would be absurd to contend for such a proposition, and for a very obvious reason. If caste means race, then differences of sub-castes cannot mean differences of race, because sub-castes become ex hypothesia[=by hypothesis] sub-divisions of one and the same race. Consequently the bar against intermarrying and interdining between sub-castes cannot be for the purpose of maintaining purity of race or of blood. If sub-castes cannot be eugenic in origin, there cannot be any substance in the contention that Caste is eugenic in origin.

[6:] Again, if Caste is eugenic in origin one can understand the bar against intermarriage. But what is the purpose of the interdict placed on interdining between castes and sub-castes alike? Interdining cannot infect blood, and therefore cannot be the cause either of the improvement or of [the] deterioration of the race.

[7:] This shows that Caste has no scientific origin, and that those who are attempting to give it an eugenic basis are trying to support by science what is grossly unscientific. Even today, eugenics cannot become a practical possibility unless we have definite knowledge regarding the laws of heredity. Prof. Bateson in his Mendel’s Principles of Heredity says, “There is nothing in the descent of the higher mental qualities to suggest that they follow any single system of transmission. It is likely that both they and the more marked developments of physical powers result rather from the coincidence of numerous factors than from the possession of any one genetic element.” To argue that the Caste System was eugenic in its conception is to attribute to the forefathers of present-day Hindus a knowledge of heredity which even the modern scientists do not possess.

[8:] A tree should be judged by the fruits it yields. If Caste is eugenic, what sort of a race of men should it have produced? Physically speaking the Hindus are a C3 people. They are a race of Pygmies and dwarfs, stunted in stature and wanting in stamina. It is a nation 9/10ths of which is declared to be unfit for military service. This shows that the Caste System does not embody the eugenics of modern scientists. It is a social system which embodies the arrogance and selfishness of a perverse section of the Hindus who were superior enough in social status to set it in fashion, and who had the authority to force it on their inferiors.

 

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One thought on “[5] Caste cannot preserve a nonexistent “racial purity”

  1. I learned about the Caste system when I was in 9th grade, Social studies. My teacher had traveled world over and showed us many pictures of all the places he visited as we learned each country’s customs, geography, religions, etc. It was at that time in my life I began to question the Christianity I was raised with. Even back then I found the Caste system to be unfair and sad. Here in America, if you have the intelligence to better yourself and make a better life, nothing can stop you. These days, black, white, asian, mixed, are all equal and people in this country for the most part, accepting of everyone. We teach our children that everyone is the same on the inside. We are all human and we have the capacity to live and love. The way we learn, the way we look or speak may be different, but we should always respect others no matter how different they may be from us and that difference is what makes each person wonderful.

    I just read another article with depicting the people of the different Castes in India and the roles they play in Society. I am also in the middle of a movie on Netflix called Swades, starring Sharuk Kahn, who is a fabulous actor and the jist of the plot is about the caste system and educating the children in a village in India, which is why I am here refreshing my memory of my studies so many years ago. Mohan (Kahn) plays an Indian who lives in America and works for NASA designing satellites that predict precipitation. He goes home to find his Nanny as he had lost touch with her after his parents death. I find Indian culture fascinating and love their movies and how respectful, gentle and polite as a people, they seem to be.

    I wonder how the Caste system transfers here to the many Indian people who live here in America? I find it hard to believe that in this day and age that anyone can be pure of blood, especially after 5000 to 7000 years of this caste system. It just seems like the people in power did indeed proclaim themselves the highest because they were more intelligent. Others who excelled at other things like agriculture, art, building would of course be grouped together and passed down their trade to coming generations. The people at the bottom. probably less bright, poor, poorly fed, poor prenatal care makes for children who would also lack intelligence. I see that here as well. Poor and unitelligent seem to go hand in hand and these people either live off the government or have the jobs no one else wants or will do. I saw a picture of Indian girls making dung patties for fuel for all the other castes! Imagine, touching cow poop all day! There should be a better life for a little girl, but thus is their lot because of a Caste System. Even the poor and ignorant produce bright children and they are doomed to live out their lives in ignorance, uneducatee because noone will teach them or want to be near them…they are human beings and nobody is less than.

    I liked your article very much and look forward to reading more. Thanks you for your time!

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