Thursday, October 18, 2007

untouchable and unthinkable

I recently came across an article in The Economist about the Indian government forcing businesses too to have quotas for backward castes. While railing about the existence of the caste system in India, the article goes on to blame it on the Hindu religion and cites the scriptures thus:

The caste system is possibly the world's ugliest social system. And it is sanctified by India's largest religion: according to the Laws of Manu, an ancient Hindu text, anybody from the lower orders who has the temerity to mention the name of a higher caste should have a red-hot nail thrust into his mouth; if he makes the mistake of telling a brahmin what to do, he gets hot oil poured into his ears and mouth.
Now, I am not a pundit in these matters but I am pretty sure the author of this article has not done his homework properly and seems to be only too eager for melodrama even if it is slander. From what I know of the Hindu religion, it is really a way of life and of science from the early day of civilization. Many layers of de rigeur practice have been added to it over the ages but one must not confuse social artefacts with religious instruction.

I am going to try and find out little more about what the Laws Of Manu actually say and whether they do recommend hot oil being poured into facial orifices and then give a piece of my mind to The Economist. If you have any pointers in this regard, it will be much appreciated.

Since we are on this topic, the Government of India mandates the reservation of seats for the backward classes in premier academic institutions across the country. And now it is trying to force private sector companies to do the same for jobs. Is this not a case in point to do away with quotas in the educational system too, if even after a quality education they need systemic assistance to find work?


srid said...

I'd really like to know what sort of what of life and of science is the Hindu religion.

I know of rituals, festivals, monasticism, non-violence and vegetarianism. Are there more?

Swaroop C H said...

I'd like to see reservation in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha first. Will they do it?

Manu said...

That video has been removed by the user... whatzit??

Umang said...

Manu: You mean the video at

I've updated the post with a newer link. That's the trouble with YouTube. Most of my bookmarks aren't valid any more.