October 22, 2012

Recasting caste

India Growth: The Untold Story –Caste As Social Capital Prof R. Vaidyanathan October 18, 2012 · by Vaidya  
Sociologists underline that a nation could be maintained successfully only when people are able to live with each other as groups… The amount of networking and contract enforcement mechanism available with caste institutions are not fully appreciated… It is also assumed that caste is a rigid hierarchical system which is oppressive… The metropolitan elite and rootless experts have concluded that caste is bad. They have made it into a “four letter” word and so every Indian is expected to feel guilty whenever caste is mentioned and talked about. In international forums caste is used as a stick to beat anything connected to Indian religions, customs, and culture. In other words slowly caste has been made to be for Indians what is “holocaust” for Germans and Austrians.
We have an uncanny ability to self-abuse ourselves in a masochistic way. But more tragic is our enthusiasm to convert all our strengths to weaknesses since some white men started abusing Indians for having caste system. We fail to recognize that it is a valuable social capital, which provide cushion for individuals and families in dealing with society at large, and more particularly the State. The Anglo-Saxon model of atomizing every individual to a single element in a right-based system and forcing him to have a direct link with the State has produced disastrous effects in the west wherein families have been destroyed and communities have been forgotten. Every person is standing alone in a sense stark naked with only rights as his imaginary clothes to deal directly with the State. The State also does not have the benefit of concentric circles of cushions to deal with individuals. The State has taken over the role of father and mother as well as spouse in terms of social security, old age homes and rights of children to sue and divorce parents!
Caste has been made a curse by the intellectuals based on the half-baked knowledge and acceptance of the Euro Centric model of individual, which is right based rather than duty, based system. Hence one way to overcome it is to have reservations since the euro centric model suggests that. If you decide to carry the cross or burden which others impose then you begin to impose the solution provided by them. In a sense the debate does not distinguish between caste discrimination and caste as a social capital. The cry to abolish caste is to “Semitise” or “homogenize” Indian society which has been attempted by many “reformers” but has not been successful.
Caste has played an important role in the consolidation of business and entrepreneurship in India particularly in the last fifty or so years. The economic development has taken place in the “India Uninc” or the partnership/proprietorship activities financed by domestic savings and facilitated by clusters and caste/community networks. Actually caste has been a major social capital in our growth process and it has not been adequately recognized. This paper explores the economic growth constituents and catalytic components. It also identifies the role of caste in the growth process among the emerging entrepreneurial groups.

Identity and Otherness: from Philosophy News in India by Dr Desh Raj Sirswal - Oct 21, 2012
Sebastian Velassery at velassery48@hotmail.com Department of philosophy PanjabUniversity, Chandigarh-160 014 India. Mob: 09041108458/ 09988253035.
The term identity refers to such features of people as their race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, religion and sexuality. Labels of identity like men, Americans, Indians, Catholics, Buddhists, and so on generate ideas about people who fit the label. These ideas shape the ways people conceive themselves and their projects. More often than not, people conceive the idea of a ‘good life’ also by reference to the available labels of identification. Every collective identity is said to have certain genus of structures: First, it requires the availability of terms in public discourse that are used to pick out the bearers of identity. Normative content of a group of people as well as their particular identities with a particular label is determined by its bearers.
Identity is an abstract concept that has a metaphysical import. Its referent cannot be pointed at and said to be this or that. To identify is to delineate or isolate the features which mark out from others and hence of a conflict. Thus to talk of identity is to talk of a conflictual relation, which forms the basis of the underlying philosophical problem of identity. When we say that identity implies a conflictual relation, what is meant is that issues which are related to identity must begin from recognizing and appreciating identity both in nature and society as conflictual.
During the past many centuries, Indian understanding of identity is shaped and supported by caste identity. This systematic evil was vigorously supported and often vitiated by the stratified social system with an absolute impossibility of crossing one’s caste. It is legitimized and enacted by a theological, social and cultural ontology by the crude and selfish interpretations of the doctrines like Karma, Svadharma, Advaita and Yoga. What is central to the idea is that even today, caste has not lost its ontological status; it also points to the implication that that caste is the basis of solidarities and collective identities.
Defined from the aspect of being, caste may be regarded as the historically and culturally located categorization of human persons involving certain visual determinants such as colour, ascribed social stigma, stark poverty, ancestry, outside perception, habits and practices etc. In fact, caste considerations got its metaphysical validity and efficacy through the medium of human cognition, which has been considered as anvikshiki or philosophy in India. Philosophically considered, they are the explicit manifestation of two kinds of ontologies that this tradition and culture has brought forth; the first one may be called as the ontology of permanence and the second may be called the ontology of impermanence. Thus, there are two conceptions of reality in this culture and the philosophies and world-view in this tradition may be categorized in terms of these two categories of ontologies. 

The Caste System of India --- An Aurobindonian Perspective INSTITUTE FOR INTEGRAL YOGA PSYCHOLOGY :: Publications > DOWNLOADS DR. SOUMITRA BASU 
The four‑fold personality featuring Wisdom, Strength, Harmony and Service integrated around the Soul‑force is such a new synthesis made from the same seed ideas that produced the Caturvarna. This would be more acceptable to the Indian psyche to whom the Vedas, Upanishads and Gita continue to be living spirit.
Such a new synthetic vision of personality has another dimension. The reaction to conventionalism in the West took the form of materialism, secularism and mechanical organisation in the age of Individualism. Sri Aurobindo had opined that the Indian reaction might differ from that of the West and take the form of subjectivism and practical spirituality.30 An acceptance of Sri Aurobindo's synthesis of a perfected personality type constructed from the seed-ideas that evolved the Caturvarna while rejecting the worn‑out caste system would itself be a classical Indian reaction to the age of conventionalism. As such an attempt will have to integrate Wisdom, Strength, Harmony and Service around a Beyond‑Ego principle, it will be mandatory for the Time‑Spirit to press the Human Cycle to move towards a spiritual age en route an era of subjectivism. FIRST PUBLISHED : SRI AUROBINDO MANDIR ANNUAL No. 54,1995, Sri Aurobindo Pathmandir, Calcutta-73. 10:18 PM 12:07 PM

The caste system in India has been a subject of much controversy. It was supposed to be an identification of man's inbuilt inclinations and ...

Tweets 5m Armchairpandit @armchairpandit The American "Protestant ethics and spirit of Capitalism" is closest to Hindu "Grahastha Ashram". Hindus are natural Republicans. 

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