Philosophy Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 6 - Question 6
90 Days Philosophy Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 21-Dec-2018
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21-Dec-2018 - Question 2
How did Ambedkar analyse the caste system from the historical and social perspectives? Explain (2016)
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Ambedkar broadly refers Caste system to the division of labor called Varna, and sub-groups called Caste, and Untouchability.
Varna: Also known as Chaturvarna sytem, division of labour amongst 4 varnas, Brahmins (Preists, Academicians), Kshatriya (Warriors and Kings), Vaishya (Merchants and Traders) and Sudra (Peasants and servants).
According to him, those Kshatriyas, who had conflict with the Brahmins were termed as Untouchables or Ati-Shudra (Out-caste and manual scavenging).
To define what is a Caste, Ambedkar in one of his books concluded that, “This critical evaluation of the various characteristics of caste leave no doubt that prohibition, or rather absence of intermarriage- endogamy, to be concise- is the only one that can be called the essence of caste when rightly understood.”
Dr B.R. Ambedkar in his “Philosophy of Hinduism” writes that, one of the most striking feature of caste is that it do not stand as a horizontal series but a vertical series one above the other. He says, Manu was responsible for upholding the principle of gradation and rank in Manusmriti.
The hierarchy goes this way:
So, when vertical hierarchy and self-preservation are combined with endogamy, rigid categorizations arouse. He says that, Manu is opposed of inter-caste marriage, the sole reason for existence of caste even today.
This created a permanent social relationship among these castes to be observed at all times for all purposes.
Whereas, for Untouchability, Ambedkar says, was a result of Brahmin-Buddhist conflict.
To counter the challenge of Buddhism, Brahmins emphasized non-violence, ban on meat eating and ban on sacrifices. And those members of the Hindu society who did not comply were termed as Untouchables.
Hence, according to him, the root of untouchability lies in the caste system.