Chapter

Varṇa

Arvind Sharma

in Modern Hindu Thought

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195676389
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081974 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195676389.003.0019
Varṇa

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Varṇa, when made to stand for the caste system, poses one of the great challenges to modern Hinduism. There are two aspects of the caste system: caste disability and caste mentality. India has made considerable progress in removing caste disabilities, as reflected by the access that women and the lower castes have gained to the Vedic scriptures; for centuries, they were not allowed to study such scriptures. According to Professor K. Satchidananda Murty, the Veda is meant for all, regardless of sex, caste or race. Swami Vivekananda and Govinda Das both criticized the caste system. This chapter explores the concept of varna in relation to the caste system in modern Hinduism. It discusses the critique offered by Jyotiba Phule, E. V. Ramasami Naicker, and B. R. Ambedkar on the subject, and focuses on the principles of social justice within Hinduism.

Keywords: varna; caste; Hinduism; caste disability; caste mentality; social justice; Jyotiba Phule; E. V. Ramasami Naicker; B. R. Ambedkar

Chapter.  16453 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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