Year end vacation has given me time to see people and reflect upon the problem of “caste” in Hindu society.For many this may be seem like a reflection may be a decade old and highly irrelevant to the current time .
But habits always take time to die especially bad habits .Hailing from a liberal bhramin family and from a place such as Srirangam gives a birds eye of the problem.
Organised hindu religion with its god’s (Bhrama , vishnu shiva ) the vedas are seen as a scientific way of expressing ones faith towards the almighty . The mooniswaran , karupannasamy et al are seen as a touch lower on the hierarchy of gods . Most Bhramins atleast the oldies i see share a aversion towards the gods worshipped by the masses . Organised religion has successfully adopted gods from “pagan” deities into mainstream religion . One of the most notable example in this case is lord “muruga” , historians argue that the history of murugan can be summed up as the history of the dravidian people itself , the popularity of muruga made him the son of lord “shiva” .
The one thing that bothers me the most is the treatment meted out to poor village people in bhraminic temples like srirangam for example . The poor people who come from long distances are looked down upon as parasites , and are not even given 2 minutes to worship their beloved god. I have seen this happen , in srirangam lord renganatha is in “anatha sainam” so people who come to see from long distances at times are unable to even see him . After they come out of the garbagraha many complain that “They told some god will be lying down we were unable to spot him ” .
There is no dearth of devotion to god among poor people , the only glitch may be they are not erudite as the scholarly people at times . They may not be aware of the 4000 dhivyaprabantham or azhvaar paasurams . The bhramin priests treat them with utmost sense of aversion . At times the moments i see these injustices while taking my friends to temple i feel bad for coming to a place lacking in culture and civilisation . The poor people who travel from very long distances to catch a glimpse of lord renganatha at times never see him sleeping in the darkness . If you are not lucky enough and watch out for him carefully , chances are very high you may never see him (literally !!) :p .
As Marx said “Religion is the opium for the masses ” , most human beings inspite of their castes require gods / religion to satisfy their fears . To participate in religious activities , to carry one’s god on the shoulders are aspirations that are common to most people irrespective of their casts / religions . Organised hindu religion is totally dominated by Bhramin priests who consider the low caste people atavistic and uneducated . Thus low caste people suffer alienation in the hands of caste hindus in religious places of worship . Many people due to this tend to convert to other religions or build their one temples and rituals . All rituals / prayers come out of devotion , experience, and no one form of god worship is superior / stupid, they are just different forms of a single truth .
Sadly the majority in upper caste never tend to realise it , if killing animals in the name of god is atavistic then what you call the stupidity of pouring milk / water on stones in the name of abhisheka .
If you go to vaishnava temples in villages , like say thiruvallarai near trichy you can see the balipeeda there , long back traditional hindu religion had the belief of giving animals as bali . Bhramins used to perform this ritual that habit is not followed any more these days .
The practice of considering majority of people as “outcasts” and discriminating against them will affect the sustainability of hindu religion . Even educated people have reluctance in marrying people in other casts citing cultural differences . The beauty of human race is the diversity in its behavior , the belief that once culture is pure and superior is the most stupid dogma you can ever have . Let me finish it of with a quote “The only thing that is true with all cultures is the impurity of all of them ” .