Dalits in India, Manusmriti and Samkhya Philosophy by Ratan Lal Basu

Dalits in India, Manusmriti and Samkhya Philosophy

By Ratan Lal Basu

  • Release Date: 2017-01-11
  • Genre: Philosophy
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Description

The term dalit means downtrodden and trampled. In fact the dalits in India, the lowest of the lower castes and the poorest of the poor, are being trampled (socially, politically and economically) by the rich, especially those belonging to the upper castes.
Roughly the dalits in India comprise about 16.6 per cent of India’s population. But their share of ownership of land and property, and access to education and employment and basic social amenities is miserably lower. The worst inhuman practice against them is the practice of untouchability. This is associated with various kinds of atrocities perpetrated on them by the rich. All these social exploitation have been associated with economic exploitation and slavery.
In general, the root of the malady may be traced back to Manusmriti (M.S.) and its basic psychic origin. M.S. ascribed a legal, ethical and religious justification to the existing system of exploitation. M.S. delineated how plethora of new sub-castes was generated by inter-caste marriage and thus the forefathers of the modern dalits emerged.
The basic objective of this article is to get down to the depth of human psychosis that gives rise to the exploitative and discriminatory socio-economic practices related to the dalits and other exploited classes. In this connection we are going to highlight the primordial psychosis of the intelligent and privileged minority to give birth to and perpetuate discrimination against and inhuman exploitation of the majority. The psychosis is deeply rooted in basic human modes as analyzed and elaborated in the Samkhya Philosophy of ancient India.
According to Samkhya Philosophy, human consciousness is a part of material manifestation of Nature and it is the combination of three modes viz. satva, rajas and tamas, endowed by Nature. All these basic modes combine in different degrees to assign different characteristics to different individuals. If isolated in the abstract, unmixed satva pertains to goodness and virtue, rajas to passion and insatiable desire and tamas to darkness of mind, obsession and inertia. All our mental and intellectual faculties originate from these three basic modes. Accordingly all individuals may be classified broadly into three major categories.
The people in the upper strata of the society are in the rajasika state and the dalits are forced to be at the lowest echelon of the tamasika state through poverty, illiteracy, social customs, false religious beliefs, and legal measures by the state machinery which is being controlled by the rajasika minority. This process of de-humanization of the dalits started long ago to fulfill the greed and power mongering of the rajasika upper strata as is evident from the prescriptions of the Manusmriti.
The only way out of this malady is to raise the dalits and the other exploited classes like the Sudras from the state of tamas to the state of rajas and later on to satva through rapid industrialization with modern technologies, removal of illiteracy and abject poverty of the exploited majority and spread of scientific education and scientific world outlook to eradicate all tamasika modes like superstitions, obsessions with religious rites, distinctions of and discrimination against the population on the basis of caste, creed, mother tongue, religious practices etc., and blind devotion of common people to religious gurus and priests, celebrities and political parties and political leaders. To this end it is necessary to inculcate ethics and satvika values among the exploiting minority, the politicians and political parties and the mass media.

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