Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
In the past, though people were divided on the basis of caste, they were
free from hared and ill-will. It is now that we see ill-will and hatred
everywhere in the country. One state is at loggerheads with another; one
state has dispute with another over the sharing of river waters; and
one state has a quarrel with another on the question of boundaries. In
the past, Cettiars [of the South] built dharmasalas [free boarding and
lodging houses] for pilgrims from Kasi. Correspondingly, the Sethjis
constructed dharmasalas for pilgrims going to Kasi and Badrinath. People
then were united as devotees of the Lord. Everything has gone awry
today because of increased political activity and empty talk. So, as a
medicine for our ills, as a sovereign remedy, we must pray that people
become more devoted to the Lord.
The incessant cry that "Caste must go" has resulted in an aggravation of
hatred between one jati and another. Though the propaganda against
caste has been going on for 30 or 40 years, the caste factor comes to
fore even today during elections. Caste feelings run so high that
clashes between communities are not infrequent. Here it is not hatred
between Brahmins and non-Brahmins. Fortunately, the Brahmin has been
made to distance himself from politics. It is a matter for some comfort
that, even though they have not quit politics on their own, others have
pushed them out of it. So the present quarrels are between other castes.
In the Andhra Pradesh the Khammas and the Reddis are quarrelling
between themselves; in Karnataka the Lingayats are at war with some
other community. Ironically enough, it is in these days when the cry of
equality is the loudest that we witness so many caste wars. This
phenomenon is something unknown to the sastric tradition. Here [in
Tamil Nadu] candidates are chosen for elections on the basis of jatis.
Padayacis in one district, Gaundars in another, Tevars in a third,
Mukkulattars in a fourth, and so on. Elections are fought not on the
of ideology but on that of caste.