Essay by roopanroy July 2014

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Annihilation of caste

The term caste has no universally accepted definition. The ancient Hindu texts show that caste system was not rigid. This flexibility allowed the lower caste Valmiki to compose Ramayana , a widely accepted and major Hindu scripture .Individuals were allowed to move from one caste to another during their lifetime, numerous examples from the ancient texts support it. Fa Xian , a Chinese Buddhist monk who travelled by foot all the way from China to India around 400 AD , found only the lot of the Chandals to be unenviable .The Chandals were outcastes and were universally shunned due to their degrading work as disposers of dead ..The Chinese pilgrim found no other section of the population to be notably disadvantaged and no other caste distinctions attracted comment from him. Instead, peace and order prevailed.

But eventually this changed and one of the challenging tasks of modern India is to face creatively the tension that exists between castes.

The caste system has already existed for more than 3000 years in order to maintain the so-called "social" system. The caste discrimination is a serious issue as it is a system which has devalued the human dignity of Sudras and the Untouchables. As a result, they have remained socially degraded, economically impoverished and excluded from educational and cultural opportunities. The practice of caste system jeopardized their free association with the rest of the society.

The social reformers like Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Ramana Maharishi, Aurobindo, and Gandhi condemned the practice of untouchability, but they upheld the caste system and considered it to be an essential part of the Indian society for its smooth functioning. Their efforts did not go beyond condemning the caste Hindus for perpetuating atrocities on the Dalits. They did not carry out any specific programme to release the...