Discussion contd on “Caste Question and Marxism”
Caste system is not serving feudal powers, but the capitalism
Chandigarh, 15 March. “Today, it is not the feudal powers that are maintaining the caste system but it is the capitalism which is responsible for instilling vital energy to the caste system and this has become a powerful instrument for creating divisions among the working people. So it is wrong to think that with the development of capitalism and industry, the caste system will get eradicated on its own.”
This was stated by Abhinav Sinha, editor of Ahwan magazine while presenting the paper in the Fourth Arvind Memorial Seminar going on here today in Bhakna Bhavan. Speaking on the subject of “Historiographic writing of Caste System” he outlined the ideas of foremost historians of India and said that Caste never remained a static system, but it underwent changes in its form and characteristics with the change in relations of production.
He said that origin of varna-system is invariably associated with the origin of classes, state and patriarchy. From its origin to the present day, caste has remained a strong instrument in the hands of ruling classes. It keeps the poverty-ridden working people in the state of slavery and divides them into different castes. The capitalist system has shaken the caste-based labor division and repulsion on the basis of sharing food but it has affected the endogamy because endogamy is not in any conflict with the capitalism.
Before this, in the evening session yesterday, Shivani from Delhi University presented a paper on “Caste, Class and Politics of Identity” and Praskanva Sinharay from Social Sciences Studies Centre, Kolkata presented his write-up on “Caste and Politics – Changing face of Left front.”
Shivani in her paper said that identity politics is serving the ends of capitalist system by creating divisions in the struggle of people. The identity politics is creating factional feuds in the dalit castes and sub-castes. The identities of caste, gender, nationality etc have to be steered towards the common enemy i.e. capitalism and imperialism, and this task can be fulfilled only by the class-based organizing.
Praskanva Sinharay speaking on the politics of Matoua community sprung up from Naam-shudras in Bengal, said that left front strongly brought the demands of Matoua refugees to the forefront, but after that the left front not only ignored the Matoua caste but also oppressed it. This was one of the reasons of the defeat of left front in last elections.
Participating in the discussion over the paper, Sukhwinder said that by attaching the caste system with feudal system, it is neither possible to recognize the enemy nor it is possible to create slogans for the struggle. The reality today is that the basis of the exploitation is capitalist system. The slogan of “Land to the Tiller” has lost its validity in present circumstances.
Sabdeesh, a known writer, said that because of the hatred for the Brahmanism, Ambedkar failed to understand the conspiracy of colonialism. Ambedkar’s pain for dalit oppression was true to its core, but by only feeling deep pain one can’t put forward a project of emancipation.
Researcher and activist associated with Sanhati, Asit Das in his reply to the questions raised on his paper said that it has to thought that how can we give a class outlook to the anger against oppression.
Nepali Rashtrya Dalit Mukti Morcha president Tilak Parihar said that imperialism is following the way of “divide and rule” in the whole world and is encouraging the identity politics. Thousands of NGOs are active in the dalits of Nepal which get their million-billion dollar funding from imperialism but still the majority of the people have stood with the communists.
Laltu, professor in Hyderabad IIT & a known writer, Anant Acharya from Kolkata, journalist Prabhakar from Mumbai, Santoshi Vishavkarma from Nepal, Dr. Darshan Kherhi from Ludhiana, Bebi Kumari, Lashkar Singh etc also participated in the discussion. The discussion was so lively and interesting that it continued upto 11’o clock in the night.
Today’s session was presided over by renowned literary critic from Nepal Ninu Chapagai, senior social activist Kashmir Singh and editor of ‘Pratibadh’ Sukhwinder. The stage was conducted by Naujawan Bharat Sabha activist Tapish Mandola.