Hinduism was born out of a philosophy that stated that God created human beings unequal. This thesis was propounded in the Rig Veda itself. In this process the country and the people who suffered most were the Indian Dalit-Bahujans. Not just in the text called Purusha Sukta that explicitly outlines this philosophy, but throughout Hindu literature, the notion of human inequality as natural and divine was systematically established and propagated. By so doing they fixed the social inequities of their day as if they were eternal and unchangeable.
In all other religions, groups of people have suffered, then in the next generation the tables have turned and the oppressors become the oppressed. Through this process of cyclical social change governments have been overthrown, hegemonies challenged and laws overturned, until through struggle a more equitable society has been built, sometimes at great cost.
The democratic construction of the spiritual realm made such changes possible in these religions. Ideas of reparation and justice as ideals for believers to strive for generated forces to reverse social oppressions and reformulate hierarchies.
If the social pendulum swung too far in one direction, another revolution would come along to correct it, perhaps again inviting correction a generation later. But nowhere in the history of mankind has one group, the upper castes of India, been able to oppress so many, the Dalit-Bahujans or the ‘oppressed majority’, for so long.
[Excerpts from Kancha Ilaiah’s book “Buffalo Nationalism”]