Mr. Chairman, Sisters and Brothers!
Ever since man began to have thoughts on the existence of God we have also had ideas of high-castes and low-castes. In the name of God, high and low caste ideas have been floated and sustained. In Hinduism, whether in vaishinivite or saivite sub-sect, can you show castes without discrimination, higher or lower order Gods, or avatars (descent of God on earth)? Also the playful activities of God (leelas), great men who showed path towards God, puranas which explain God’s activities or ithihasas are soaked with caste ideas. The 64 nayanmars (saivite saints) had belonged to 64 castes. The 12 alwars (vaishnavite saints) had belonged to 12 castes. If you consider Manu dharma (the code of righteousness), the basis of Hindu religion, you will find reference to a number of castes and discrimination amongst them. In whatever way you look at, whether it is your today’s faith in religion, or faith in God based on that, or faith in the veda, sastra, purana, ithihasa, you can never say that, that there is no caste discrimination or differentiation.
If any body were to tell you that according to Hindu traditions, there are no caste distinctions, you must consider them as ignorant people or fraudulent people. Some others would tell you that “Only based on differences in occupations that caste system was created, not on basis of birth.”, “So occupational differences are bound to be there”, “God has said like that in Gita” and try to mislead or cheat you. Even if it is based on occupation, why should there be discrimination? Why cannot a person be a carpenter in the morning, businessman during day time and a teacher in the night? Why should he not be doing agricultural tilling work the next day, weaving in the noon, a seller in the evening and a watchman in the night?
What I stress is that we do not require a system in any form. It has not given people a use in any sense. These have been used to create evil ideas like people of high birth, low birth, rich, poor etc. but never for promoting ideas of equality and freedom
Translated by Prof.T.Marx
(Lecture at Irugoor – 3.1.1931 – ‘Republic’, ( kudiarasu)11.1.1931)