Is caste a division of Labour ??

16 07 2007

Civilized society undoubtedly needs division of labour. But in no civilized society is division of labour accompanied by this unnatural division of labourers into watertight compartments. Caste System is not merely a division of labourers which is quite different from division of labour—it is an hierarchy in which the divisions of labourers are graded one above the other. In no other country is the division of labour accompanied by this gradation of labourers. There is also a third point of criticism against this view of the Caste System. This division of labour is not spontaneous; it is not based on natural aptitudes. Social and individual efficiency requires us to develop the capacity of an individual to the point of competency to choose and to make his own career. This principle is violated in the Caste System in so far as it involves an attempt to appoint tasks to individuals in advance, selected not on the basis of trained original capacities, but on that of the social status of the parents. Looked at from another point of view this stratification of occupations which is the result of the Caste System is positively pernicious. Industry is never static. It undergoes rapid and abrupt changes. With such changes an individual must be free to change his occupation. Without such freedom to adjust himself to changing circumstances it would be impossible for him to gain his livelihood. Now the Caste System will not allow Hindus to take to occupations where they are wanted if they do not belong to them by heredity. If a Hindu is seen to starve rather than take to new occupations not assigned to his Caste, the reason is to be found in the Caste System. By not permitting readjustment of occupations, caste becomes a direct cause of much of the unemployment we see in the country. As a form of division of labour the Caste system suffers from another serious defect. The division of labour brought about by the Caste System is not a division based on choice. Individual sentiment, individual preference has no place in it. It is based on the dogma of predestination.

SECTION IV Annihilation of Caste. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches

Reform as Change of Notions

13 07 2007

All reform consists in a change in the notions, sentiment and mental attitudes of the people towards men and things. It is common experience that certain names become associated with certain notions and sentiments, which determine a person’s attitude towards men and things. The names, Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra, are names which are associated with a definite and fixed notion in the mind of every Hindu. That notion is that of a hierarchy based on birth. So long as these names continue, Hindus will continue to think of the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra as hierarchical divisions of high and low, based on birth, and act accordingly. The Hindu must be made to unlearn all this. But how can this happen if the old labels remain and continue to recall to his mind old notions. If new notions are to be inculcated in the minds of people it is necessary to give them new names. To continue the old name is to make the reform futile.

Annihilation of castes. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches

Fallacy of Inheritance of Class/Caste

8 06 2007

There is another mistake which the Ancient Hindus including Plato made. There is probably some truth in saying that there is among human beings a dimorphism or polyformism in human beings as there is among insects, though in the former it is only psychological while in the latter it is both physical as well as psychlolgical. But assuming that there is a thing psychological dimorphism or polyformism among human beings, it is wrong to separate them into those who are born to do one thing and others to do another, some born command i.e. to be masters and some born to obey i.e. to be slaves. It is wrong to suppose that in a given person some qualities are present and others are absent. On the contrary the truth is that all qualities are present in every person and this truth is not diminished in any way by that, some tendency predominates to the extent of being the only one that is apparent. So well established is this truth that a tendency which may be dominant in a man at one time may be quite different from and even the direct opposite of the tendency that may be dominant at another time.

CHAPTER-7 The Triumph of Brahmanism : Regicide or the birth of Counter-Revolution, part-III. Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Ancient India, Volume-III. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches