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Monday, 21 March 2016

Cast or ability?

For years the Aarakshan movement has been the cause of riots and the loss of lives and property in our country. The damage caused after such movements is a damage on common man's life. To pay for this damage the government slaps the tax on the shoulders of the commoners. In short "khaya piya kuch nahi glass toda bara haana".

Is a physically strong body disabled mentally, which needs the stretches of Aarakshan for support?

Is the cast really the last option to do something incredible? Cast based Aarakshan is not the need of the public, but the need of the politicians.

India and Indian culture are often considered hostile towards change. These grounds are often seen as where work does not become successful by actually working but rather by luck. However, is this really true? Does Ramayana and Mahabharata teaches us that casts matter? What does these sacred texts tells us about blood-relations? What lessons do we learn from such texts about the classification of society?

The answer is- choice. The sacred texts often teaches us the same- It does not matter which family you are born in, what matters are the people that you select for yourself.

There are a few examples in Ramayana that shows blood relations comes after the relations we prefer.

Ram and Lakshman were not born from the same womb. Ram's mother was Kaushaliya and Lakshman's mother was Sumitra, in fact Lakshman had twin brother named Shatrughan. But Lakshman always stayed with his older brother, Ram. Lakshman was devoted to Ram his whole life. He supported Ram throughout the exile and on the battlefield. No one can question Lakshman's devotion towards Ram in Ramayana, because they were not related by blood.

Another interesting fact is that Dashrath was not the real father of any of his sons. After eating Kheer from a Yagya, Dashrath's wives gave birth to the sons.

In Mahabharata, none of the five Pandavs were the sons of Paandu. Although Paando accepted them as his own sons and declared them as his heirs but all five had different fathers.

Yudhishtar was the son of Yamraj, the God of death and the truth.

Bheem's father was the God of Air.

Arjun's real father was Indra, the king heaven.

These were the sons of Paandu's first wife Kunti.

Paandu's second wife Madri gave birth to the twins, Nakul and Sehdev, who were sons of the God Ashvin.

Paandu's sons were not related to him by blood, and we can say that neither were Nakul and Sehdev related to the other three. Paandu's name and Kunti's willpower brought these five close.

In Mahabharata Krishna and Balram were not brothers by blood. Despite that these two were thicker than thieves their whole life.

In Ramayana, Raavan and Vibhishan were related by blood, but Vibhishan faced away from his family and stayed true with his relationship with Raam and the Vaanar sena.

India found its independence many years ago, but we are still tangled in casticism. We have tied a knot in our minds over the thought that the cast we are born in is going to decide how our life will be. But our sacred texts says that the actions we take decides our future, not our birth.

Valmiki who wrote Ramayana was not a Brahman but a robber. But because he was the creator of Ramayana, everyone knows of him as a poet. It was not his birth but his choice that made him rise.

The creator of Mahabharata, Ved Vyas was not a high born; his father was a Rishi and his mother was a fisher-woman. Despite that his name is on the top of the list of poets. Hanuman is probably the most beloved Hindu god. He was associated with wildlife, and therefore has no cast. He belonged to the apes society where the priority was given to the one of the same cast.

Ravan who was the Villain in Ramayana, was the son of a Rishi and yet he was seen as a horrendous creature who was killed by Ram because of his wrong deeds.

Karn was the son of Sun, and he spent his whole life as a "SutPutra". Despite the fact that he was from a royal family and was a demigod. His father was a God and mother was a princess, and yet he had to spend his entire life in pain. Eklavya lived in a forest and belonged to no cast. He had no teacher and yet he became a great archer. Even Arjun, who was Guru Dron's best student, felt ashamed of his lack of skills when he saw Eklavya's archery.

The sacred books not only shows the importance of stable social price and luck, but they also shows the importance of a person's will power and the deeds. They tell us about the existence and about what we become. Where will a person stand, it is not just decided by his/her name. It takes shape by what actions they take and what choices they make in their life.

Is you believe in these sacred texts, if you think of them as the proud past and future of India, then instead of feeling the need for it, step aside from the circle of reservations. Show the world that India will not move forward through cast-ism but through its own will and hard work. If you are under Aarakshan then step out of it shade.


  1. Another brilliantly analytical and well researched write, Manisha!
    Congratulations! You are becoming an authority on the topics related to epics and scriptures.
    Now on reservation in India:
    In my view it is more of a selfish political tool than anything else:( And is here to stay, come what may:(

    1. Thank you Amit :) As for the reservations, it is something that the public needs to understand that they are being used for something that is in no way beneficial for them.I see it as a slow poison for any society.

  2. So Thought Provoking this article is................Well Initiated Manisha

  3. Good research! Caste is a terrible evil but our society seems to be firmly in its grip.

    1. Thank you, Kalpanaa :) Cast is actually under the grip of the "Leaders" and the society just falls under it.