We know that in India ,there is caste system. But can anybody tell me how caste are produced ? Also, is it present only in India ?


1 Answer 1


The caste-system a few thousand years ago was largely Varna (profession) based. The caste-system as we see today, was artificially created and then systematically enforced by the British to dominate Hindus or India. Rajiv Malhotra in his book 'Breaking India' talks about this at great length. I would recommend that you read that book. I will post some excerpts below to just give an overview. Also, Nazism was a race based discrimination against Jews which resulted in Holocaust.

Europeans invent the Aryan race:

In the eighteenth century, when the traditional religious edifice of Europe was threatened by the Enlightenment, Europeans looked for a golden past. Many hoped they could find it in India, which had been the source of much of Europe's imports for centuries. In this search for identity, they began to hypothesize and construct an idealized 'Aryan race' through a distorted reading of Indian scriptures. Fed by virulent German nationalism, anti-Semitism and Race Science, this manipulation ultimately led to the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust.

Inventing the 'Dravidian race':

In the late eighteenth century, the Indologist Max Müller proposed the Aryan category strictly as a linguistic group, but it soon got transformed into the Aryan race by colonial administrators who used Race Science to make a taxonomical division of traditional Indian communities. The castes designated as 'non-Aryan' were marginalized or excluded in depictions of Hindu society. In parallel, the Church evangelists working in South India constructed a Dravidian race identity. They de-linked Tamil culture from its pan-Indian cultural matrix, and claimed that its spirituality was closer to Christianity than to the Aryan North Indian culture.”

Use of Aryan theory against Jews:

Philosopher Ernest Renan (1823–92) claimed that the Hebrews brought the gift of monotheism to the world, and that Jews were self-centered, troublesome and static. The Aryans had noble virtues like imagination, reason, science, arts and politics, and were therefore dynamic, and these qualities became linked to polytheism and pantheism. Aryan polytheism was dynamic and contrasted with the monotheistic stagnation of the Semites. This sort of profiling led to tension between pro-Aryan scholars and the Christian establishment.

Risley's morphs Jati-Varna into Race (Caste) and freezes them:

Risley wrote that he wanted his 'scientific' research to 'detach considerable masses of non-Aryans from the general body of Hindus'. He adopted the popular Race Science measurement methods used by French experts, according to which physical traits, such as the size of the nose, were a more reliable measure than skin color. Risley was an enthusiastic champion of the newly fashionable science called anthropometry, which measured various parts of the head to characterize different peoples. He used his measurements of people in India to conclude that there was a remarkable correspondence between two kinds of data, namely, (i) the 'gradations of type' as brought out by certain indices of head measurements, and (ii) the 'gradations of social preference'. This, he wrote, 'enables us to conclude that the community of races, and not, as has frequently been argued, the community of function, is the real determining principle . . . of the caste system'. His 1891 ethnographic study of Bengal became the model for similar studies across India. His program measured Bengali heads and noses with calipers in order to establish hierarchies based on physical body dimensions.

Based on Risley's research, Indians were classified into seven major races located on a linear scale, with Aryans and Dravidians as the two opposite poles. He also organized 'social types' into seven groups. To protect himself, he wrote numerous disclaimers against blatant racism, and against taking things too far. Yet that was precisely what he did and wanted others to do. He claimed that according to his data, 'the correspondence between the two sets of groupings', namely, the seven races and the seven social types, was sufficiently close. He thereby concluded that Indian tribes had turned into castes. He described the various tribal types in the order of their primitiveness, positioning the Dravidians as the lowest, assigning manual labor as their 'birthright', along with human sacrifices to a goddess.16 Those tribes that had developed professional specialization became castes, while those that had remained in a limited geographic territory were still classified as tribes.

As the commissioner of the 1901 census of India, Risley wrote the section on caste, which was published in the highly influential Imperial Gazetteer of India, and became the template for academicians and colonial administrators to do their studies. He decided that Indians consisted of 2,378 main castes and tribes (with sub-castes), and 43 races. To implement his hierarchy of castes, he decided not to list them in alphabetical order in the census forms, but rather in order of what he considered 'social preference' based on his evaluation of 'native public opinion'. Thus, a hierarchy was constructed and made official. The bewildering array of castes he listed, from which each person was required to choose when filling out official government forms, ran into so many pages that it 'gives so much trouble to the enumerating and testing staff and to the central offices which compile the results.

Risley translated the dharma of various jatis as 'race sentiments', and made it his ambition to scientifically prove that a comparatively pure 'Aryan type' existed in North India. His obsession with noses caught on with other colonial administrators. For example, noses of Indians became the subject of scientific inquiry for Edgar Thurston, author of the voluminous Castes and Tribes of Southern India (1909). Thurston even used his 'Lovibond Tintometer' (originally an instrument for quality-testing in breweries) to measure the racial features of Indian villagers.

When I first heard about this, it did not sound convincing. Although, this book talks in-depth about the large extent to which the British used an artificial caste-system to dominate India, making it very clear and evident.

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