The caste is inhuman and anti-human as it teaches one human to loath another human. It is founded on hatred. Babasaheb Ambedkar summarised the caste system: ascending the scale of reverence and a descending scale of contempt,” or more strongly as an “ascending scale of hatred and a downward scale of contempt.” It pretty much summarises what the caste system is about.
We must understand “ascending scale of reverence” in the caste system is same as the descending scale of contempt. The higher one moves on this scale the amount of reverence increases and the lower one descends the contempt increases. The increasing upgraded reverence upscale means decreasing downgraded reverence downscale. In this system, social harmony and peace is impossible. The scale gets internalised and this scale is not the absolute scale, but it is a social scale created by social structures based on hatred and not on love.
The immediate remedy is to love other human beings. Embrace them fully and completely. The Buddha taught metta as the remedy. The caste system does not let the people at the bottom to love themselves.
It induces self-hatred among the castes at the bottom of the scale. The Buddhism begins from self-love, it is not an egoistic and paranoid love towards one’s self. It is positive and expansive love felt towards one’s existence and one’s being.
The Buddha teaches us to cultivate love for ourselves and look after ourselves. If we cannot love ourselves we cannot love others. If we cannot accept ourselves, we cannot accept others. The Buddha then teaches us to extend this love to our near and dear ones. The Buddha exhorts us to extend this love to the people with whom we have no emotional connection.
Then the Buddha challenges us to extend love to people with whom we do not get along. The circle of metta extends to all and everybody, without exception. This is the ultimate nature of Buddhist understanding of love. It must be expansive and unlimited.
Our individual selves are deeply destroyed by the caste system and we need to build our human personality. The cruel Brahminical Hinduism system makes people hate themselves. On the contrary, it teaches the Brahmins to believe that they are the Brahma. It is a language game when they teach the Brahmins that “I am That”. It is an exercise in language, but we know that language produces action and weaves the communities or destroys the communities. The only way to escape from this entrapment of scaled selves is to fully love oneself and embrace others with the same love.
We must learn to love our people who are close to us in the social ladder and gradually extend it in all directions without discrimination. Even if we can extend our circle of love to our immediate castes to begin with and gradually increase it to embrace all, we can become a great force. If this generation can fully cultivate a love for its own kind with an attitude of universal love, we can do wonders in all the areas.
Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist