March 05, 2008

Seed of Varna System in Purush Sukta

बराह्मणो.अस्य मुखमासीद बाहू राजन्यः कर्तः |
ऊरूतदस्य यद वैश्यः पद्भ्यां शूद्रो अजायत |

The above lines belongs to 10th Mandal of Rig Veda as 90th Sukta. It has been attributed with the status of religious sanction to the social differentiation of Indian society in four varnas or classes. It is argued that the four classes later became the anchor sheet of complex caste system based on Jatis in the social order and social differentiation of Indian social system. This theory is propounded by Marxist Historians and carried by the NCERT books adopted by CBSE board in India. It has become the basis of various thesis of the Indian scholars for explaining the development of caste system in India. According to the thesis of A. L. Basham, the tenth Mandal was compiled around 1000 BCE and it is the latest mandal. The caste system of India developed later as an edifice of Indian social system with Purusha Sukta forming the foundation of the system.

In the above mentioned lines, the word rajanya is used for the Kashtriyas. Now it is a question to be verified that when did the word Kashtriya replaced the word Rajanya. The Punjabi form of Kashtriya is Khatri. I am not an linguistic expert and can not explain this transformation. However, those Punjabis who generally call themselves as Punjabi belong to Khatri class. They are supposed to be the warrior class of the Indian society. The warrior class of medieval period call themselves as rajputs. The word Rajputs has more affinity with the word rajanyas. On the other hand, the Khatris are not generally found among the warrior class now these days. They do not divide themselves into castes or jatis. They divide themselves into Parivars. They are mostly found in the field of business which is a field meant for Vasiyas and Sudras. In case of film industry of India, especially Mumbai film world, we find Kapoors, Puris, Chopras, Chawlas, Khannas, Mehras etc who are all Khatris. The other Parivars which considers themselves of a superior scales like Sonis, Jalotas, Sobtis, Suds and some parivars of Malhotras are mostly found in business field of India. The Arora Khatris who generally call themselves as Soods, Sahdevas, Chadhas, Vermas and many of them call themselves as Chugs, Chopras, Chawlas etc but with different gotras in order to form a Parivar are found in the field of trading and artisans class. I understand that some of my observations are subject to criticism by the Khatri clans but this is what I have learned from Khatri class people at the time of organising their marriages and death rites.

Further, the word Shudras has appeared in the above mentioned richa. The scholars declare that this word appears only here in the whole of Rig veda. It means that the ideas of Shudra had appeared by 1000 BCE. The earlier words are Panis, Dasu and Dasuya.

Anyhow, my only motive is to identify the above mentioned Richa which is considered to be a starting point in the field of social history and sociological explanation of Indian Society.

Internet Sacred Text Archive

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