During the infancy of human existence, which was millions of years ago; there would not have been any boundaries. Areas would have diverged according to terrain and climate, but a lot of manmade classification would have been beyond one’s imagination.
Early men must have been more animalistic in a very positive sense of the term. Searching for food and shelter in the forest, exploring new areas like nomads, or protection against wild animals or climatic changes must have consumed most of their time. Relatively different activities must have consisted of inventing things like fire, making new weapons out of wood and stone, or having instinctive wars (for food, tribal issues or reproductive interests). Even more unusual would have been defining territories and categories, ‘dividing’ to be precise.
There was no formal education, career options, technology or modernization; as were there no discriminations on the basis of borders, castes, race, or religion. In the Indian context, before the arrival of the Aryans in 1500 BC, existed communities of other origins like Negrito (resemblance in physical features with Africans), Mongoloids (Chinese features), Austroloid (features similar to the aboriginals of Australia) and the largest community in India, Dravidians (Mediterranean origin). Aryans started disregarding the local culture and started organising among themselves the division of castes as Brahmins, the priests; Rajayanas or Kshatriyas as warriors; Vaishyas, the farmers and craftsmen and the labour force as the Shudras. It’s noteworthy and also mentioned in the Rig Veda that the first-ever classification of caste was neither on the basis of any community, skill nor region but ‘Varna’, meaning ‘skin colour’.
Today’s highly educated generation obviously knows the basic as well scientific reason behind the difference in skin colour of people, i.e., climate! People from hilly region tend to be fairer skinned and people from tropical regions are darker. Those living in plains would be on the moderate side, wheat-ish, and any regional contradictions could be because of genetic assortment. We need the day as much as we need the night. Heat has its own role to play as has a cold in balancing the environmental dynamics. So why should we discriminate those unintentionally affected by the rationally diversified Mother Nature? We are constantly ignoring the message it is trying to convey, ‘that it is the co-existence of the dissimilar that strikes a balance and not the monopoly of the similar.’ Also, the way we need various skills for the efficient functioning of an organization, we also need various calibre people for the survival of a society, city, state, country or the whole wide world. The way a CEO cannot work without ground force, we as a society cannot do without labour, the ‘Shudras’, especially now when we are not at all self-sufficient. Can we grow our own crop or make our own houses? How will even a king survive without farmers? Irrespective of the caste, skin colour, region or status, every living being needs food, the most basic element for survival. Should we suppress farmers merely because we coined a term ‘Vaishyas’ for them or should we look down upon people who clean our trash and label them as ‘untouchables’? Every group needs protection from outside dangers and that’s where the warriors, ‘Kshatriyas’ come into play. Education is an integral part of human evolution so the teachers, ‘Brahmins’ have a significant role too.
This is about ancient India, and caste division like Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian became much later a part of our history. Needless to mention, this was also an outcome of a particular community trying to be more powerful than others, and having smaller groups only makes the task easier. Different tribes always fight. If the tendency to ‘divide and rule’ is so much a part of our communal selves, then why do we Indians despise the British rule? In fact, they were intelligent and futuristic enough to bank upon our weakness and hence could enslave us for so long. Our ancestors harassed the sweepers for too many years, their generations will naturally try to get even with us now and they deserve our support.
There is too much hue and cry about social intolerance amongst Indians these days. We think what our irresponsible media wants us to think instead of it being the other way round. Negative is more attractive as well as popular, hence no Hindu wants to react when a cow that cannot provide milk is sold to a slaughterhouse but they want to kill Muslims who eat beef, irrespective of the fact that a lot of Hindus eat beef as well. Nobody bothered to stand by the Bollywood actor Amir Khan when he had the courage to fight for those being rendered homeless as a result of Sardar Sarovar Dam construction during the Narmada Andolan or when he wanted to highlight the social evils of united India through his TV series Satyamev Jayate. We are always ready to start hating and banning, a sign that our negative self is more powerful than the positive one. If we hate Amir because his wife finds India unsafe, why don’t we also hate Indian women who find Delhi unsafe or Indian youth that feels India lacks career opportunities and settle abroad for the same reason?
Hatred and wars have never resolved issues. If we truly want to clean this mess, we have to understand divisions were merely disguised weapons for power and political interests. Religions were created by some humans for fellow humans and against a much larger number of other humans. It’s harmful to an individual, social as well as national development. Rise beyond these barriers and think openly, construct a better society. The onus is on this generation to undo the injustice practised by our ancestors as well as imbibe a more acceptable and harmonious culture in our successors. Let the human within win over the hidden monster! Jai Hind!