A few years ago, the Hindu American Foundation put out a report on caste. Rajiv Malhotra, a prominent Hindu intellectual, said that the report provided ammunition to anti-Hindu groups. HAF's Director of Government told me that when HAF made the rounds in DC to talk about hate crimes against Hindus (notably in Pakistan and Bangladesh), people shot back with "what about the caste system?" That is why HAF put out its report on caste.
I disagree with Suhag Shukla that caste is a thing of the past. Here are a few salient points about caste:
- Caste discrimination and caste-based violence is outlawed in India. Social attitudes, however, die hard.
- Reservations (affirmative action) provide minorities access to seats in the various legislatures, government jobs, and enrollment in higher educational institutions.
- Caste did not enter in as an issue in the 2014 elections in India. PM Narendra Modi is from a lowly caste.
- With regards to Thomas Blom Hansen's remarks that the caste system is "justified in the Hindu scriptures," the only allusion to caste in the Vedas is the Cosmic Man.
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