2nd August 2013
The Caste System: “a Great Eugenic Movement in the truest sense of the word”. Btw, if you are a girl, avoid marrying a hairy man.
This is an amazing attempt to justify the caste system, justified as a "race" project ("white" Brahmins vs others). The writer mourns the damage done to India by Buddhists who forced the mixing of the "white" Brahmins with dark ones.
And btw, please don't marry hairy men, girls. That's a eugenically bad idea.
And sorry, if you are not Brahmin, you are inferior and not much can be done about it. Get used to it.
T. N. Roy, Department of Agriculture, Bengal [The Journal of Heredity, American Genetic Association, [1927 vol:18 iss:2 pg:67 -72]
The greatest eugenic movement that the world has as yet witnessed originated in India. It was the institution of the caste system. That intermarriage between two different races was undesirable was early appreciated in India and hence prohibited. That marriages which originated in lust were not likely to be good marriages was also appreciated by the Hindus. The Hindus not only classified themselves according to parentage, but they classified the different kinds of marriages. The best form of marriage was known as the Brahmanva marriage whose sole object was the improvement of the progeny. The choice of the mate did not rest with the contracting parties but with their elders and guardians. Such marriages were likely in many cases to be unhappy, nay unbearable, if both the contracting parties did not believe in the sanctity of marriage. Marriage was, therefore, and still is, with many Hindus a sacred duty where-from all considerations of self and passions were to be excluded. This was effected by religious inculcations, and by moral and social training. Marriages were usually early, sometimes even in infancy, and the married couple had usually to undergo a rather severe training in controlling themselves. Whatever may he said as to the happiness or otherwise of such matings, no one will deny that eugenically such marriages were in some respects of very great advantage.
Origin of the Brahmins
To understand fully and to appreciate Hindu eugenics one has to go back to the earliest period of their religious and social history. The earliest eugenic movement began with the institution of what is known as the Gotra. The word literally means that which protects the cow, i. e., an enclosure for the cows that was raised for protecting them from the ravages of wild animals or from thieves. The time of the institution of the Gotra has not yet been settled but it is reasonable to suppose that it must have been centuries before 700 B. C. It is contemporary with the institution of the Brahmins as a separate caste for there is no Brahmin without a Gotra. A few intellectual giants of those times who repaired to the solitude of the forests to meditate and evolve their own school of thought or knowledge became famous and attracted pupils. The places where they lived and taught were known as As-rams. These intellectual giants, known as Rishis or Munis, lived mainly on wild fruits of the forest and milk. They kept herds of cows which grazed in the almost unlimited pasture and were herded at night in the enclosure or Gotra. The Asrams and the Gotras were named after the founders. The descendants of the founders came to be known by their Gotras. Just as we now qualify a distinguished person by his place of residence or where he won his fame, just as we say Lord Kitchener of Khartoom or Lord Curzon of Keddleston, so in those days a Brahmin would introduce himself by saying that he was so and so of such and such Gotra. There are altogether forty-two Gotras.
Whether you meet a Brahmin at Cape Comorin or Simla, at Karachi or Calcutta or anywhere in the wide world, you must know that he is a descendant of one of those forty-two intellectual giants and that his ancestry dates back over 3,000 years. And every Brahmin knows his Gotra and thereby he knows also how, when, and where his soul had its origin.
As the descendants of the Gotras multiplied and migrated and settled elsewhere, further distinctive marks came to be instituted. This was done by the institution of what are known as the Prabars, what may in English he translated as the progenitors. The Prabars were the distinguished persons of the same line of descent, so that when a man could tell you his Gotra and Prabars (the founder and the distinguished person of the line) his geneaology was accurately fixed for several centuries. And every Brahmin knows his Gotra and Prabars even today. In fact it is impossible for him to forget them because the sacred thread that he wears has to be knotted together by thrice repeating his Gotra and Prabars. A sacred thread usually does not last more than six months so that a Brahmin usually has to repeat his Gotra and Prabars six times a year. Therefore he cannot forget them. A Brahmin may have as many as five Prabars according to the line to which he belongs. If you meet a Chatterjee anywhere you know that he belongs to Kasyap Gotra and that his Prabars are Kasyap, Apsar and Naidhuva.
Further distinctions came to he instituted according to the quarter of the Vedas that each Brahmin followed. There were four Vedas (schools of religion) viz., Rik, Shyam, Yaju and Atharva. And every Brahmin knows his Gotra, Prabar and Veda.
No race pays so much homage to the memory of their forefathers and no one regards them with such veneration as the Brahmins. True they did not build Pyramids or Taj Mahals or Minars or gigantic stone needles or other expensive monuments, but, that was characteristic of the Brahmins. They had a supreme contempt for what was merely temporal. Mind was their world and not matter. The Brahmins had already delegated to their inferiors the Khatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras the charge of all temporal matters so that they might unhampered follow their mental persuits. It was impossible for every man to build an expensive and lasting memorial to all his ancestors but it is within everybody's capacity to build a mental memorial that will (and has) outlasted the most ancient temporal monument. The mental memorial erected to the memory of the forty-two founders still shines in the minds of their some millions of descendants and is not likely to die so long as any of them live up to their traditions.
The Brahmin has to celebrate the anniversaries of the death of his father, mother, forefathers and foremothers, seven on the mother's side and seven on the father's side, by religious ceremonies, offerings and entertaining other Brahmins. He therefore must remember the names of his immediate ancestors, seven generations on both sides. In those days of longevity, seven generations must have covered a period of over 200 years. These seven generations coupled with the Gotra, Probers and Vedas would have given in the pre-literate period a complete ancestry of every Brahmin.
Brahminism Not Hereditary
The Brahmin was originally created by eugenic selection. The son of a Brahmin in those days was not necessarily accepted as a Brahmin, whereas there are instances where people from different castes were admitted into the Brahmin caste if they could give evidence of the possession of the requisite mental and moral traits, ability and attainments. The Brahmin is called twice-born as also are the Khatrivas and Vaisvas. The second birth takes place at the time of the thread ceremony which is the acceptance of the creed and the beginning of a special training, different for each of the three castes. Evidently many sons of Brahmins were debarred from having the privileges of the caste and denied the sacred thread. This was a very healthy weeding operation as every breeder knows. Without it no pure lines can be established. Later on the weeding was stopped and the caste became hereditary. Of the scheduled mental and moral traits that a Brahmin was to possess by nature we may name the following: (1) Unselfishness, (2) Forgiveness, (3) Self-control, (4) Unswervingness, (5) Cleanliness, physical, moral and mental. ( 6) Simplicity, (7) Devotion, (8) Natural tendency to take delight in the special work of the Brahmin.
These works were: (1) Teaching, (2) Learning, (3 and 4) Performing and presiding over religious ceremonies, (5) Giving alms to the good and (6) Receiving alms only from the good.
The Brahmin's position was originally above those of the kings and emperors, but for some reason or other the Brahmin fell from his high position. His authority was very greatly shaken after the birth of Buddha, i. e. 500 B. C. Hinduism waned as Buddhism increased. Though Buddha is regarded by some of the Hindus as one of the ten incarnations of God and the law of Karma (Buddha's great tenet), is also preached by the Hindus, there was one fundamental difference between Buddhism and Hinduism and that was in the caste distinctions. With the conversion of Asoka the Great, Buddhism spread very rapidly. The tide was turned by the great Sankaraacharjya but not before the harm had been done.
In Bengal, Buddhist influence had so far demoralized the Brahmins that when in the eighth century Adisur, the then reigning king, wanted to celebrate the Putresti Jagna not a single Brahmin could be found in the whole of Bengal who could preside over the ceremonies. Adisur sent for five of the best Brahmins from the United Provinces. These came to Bengal with their wives and each with an attendent servant. They performed the ceremonies to Adisur's satisfaction and .he induced them with offers of land and other privileges to settle in Bengal. These five Brahmins are the progenitors of the bluest of the blue Brahmins in Bengal, known as the Kulins. Complete written accounts are available of all their descendents. These five had between them sixty-five sons and each of them settled in a different village with a free gift of land to support himself. A village in Bengal is called Gain. So, the offsprings of these sixty-five sons were further distinguished by the name of their village which was called Gain. Just as Gotra distinguished the place of the original Brahmin in India, Gain distinguished the original settlement of the sixty-five pure Brahmins in Bengal. It is not necessary to enter into the details of the history of Kulinism in Bengal. Suffice it to say that it was a great eugenic movement in the truest sense of the word. Modern science may not approve of its methods or their results. The Brahmins of Bengal cannot be called a pure line but it is yet true that the best of the scheduled characters of the Brahmin are oftener met with amongst the Brahmins than amongst any others. If you look up "When and where of famous men and women" by Howard Hensman and Clarence Webb, published by George Routledge & Sons, the three famous men of Bengal that you will find there are Brahmins. viz., Raja Ram Mohan Ray, the theologian Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, the writer and reformer and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, the great novelist. It is noteworthy that their fields of fame were exactly those of the Brahmin, religion and literature.
The laws of Manu and other religious books contain many instructions and restrictions for the choice of the mates and there are certain laws which have been religiously followed from the remotest antiquity to the present day. It may be an interesting work to have all these published to the world. In these what strikes one the most is the extreme care with which in-breeding was avoided. If the ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians and Greeks were the most in-bred people; the Hindus were the most out-bred people, though usually within the caste. The Brahmins were one caste and a Brahmin must marry a Brahmin but he must never marry one of his Gotra or Prabar. i. e., any one of his own line. The reason for this restriction is not known but conjectures are possible. Probably the law was prescribed because they learned from experience that inbreeding sometimes resulted in reversion to undesirable ancestors. In the Puranas, some of the most ancient literature, instances of brother and sister marriages are actually recorded. Susrue, the great medical authority, has also pointed out the bad effects of inbreeding. But the prohibition of marriage within one's own Gotra and Prabar did not by itself constitute a bar to inbreeding. It made brother-sister mating impossible but not cousin marriages. An unmarried daughter had the Gotra and Prabar of her father but she adopted those of her husband after marriage, so that a man's son and his sister's daughter had different Gotras and Prabars and could therefore be married. But this was effectually guarded against by another law which forbade intermarriage between blood relations not separated by at least seven generations.
Regarding bodily disabilities and diseases, there are many prohibitions and amongst these one is rather significant and—suggestive of Darwin's theory. It is that no girl should be married to a hairy man. That men do differ considerably in hairiness is common knowledge and there are men even today who when passed the middle age strongly suggest in their state of nature the ape. Was it possible that in those remote days a concentration of the hairy genes did in some cases result in a reversion to the wild hairy ancestors?
There is also another injunction and to me it is the most important, so far as eugenics is concerned, as I have elsewhere said. It is to observe the law of similars. Marriages should be between similars who are similar looking and similarly constituted, of the same breed and attractive. Here we have a high ideal of selective intensive breeding which has not yet been surpassed.
It is likely that a race which has been so systematically out-bred for thousands of years contained many inherent and masked defects. The seven generation prohibition, however, by no means ruled out of court the chance meetings of two recessives during all those thousands of years, specially as marriages were confined to the same caste. This may probably account for the downfall of the Brahmin and hence of the Hindus. But more than that, the downfall was caused by the readmission into Hinduism of the Buddha converts as a result of the preachings of the great Sankaracharjya. Sankaracharjya is credited with the great feat of driving Buddhism out of India by reconverting the Hindu-Buddhists into Hinduism. But this was achieved at a very great sacrifice. During the Buddhistic spell many had intermarried and their reconversion into Hinduism contaminated all the castes. This is most damagingly proved by the color differences. The pure Brahmin was a white race but today Brahmins of all colors are to be found —from the dark aborigines of India to the white of the European race. Intermixture has very greatly disintegrated the castes. The downfall of the Brahmin was a great calamity, but it is idle now to bemoan it. One is tempted to say with Tennyson "The old order changeth yielding place to new and God fulfills himself in many ways lest one good custom should corrupt the world." The Brahmin was certainly not the special property of India. There have been, and still .are, Brahmins all over the world amongst the different races, as there have been and still are the Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras. They have only to be singled out and bred pure in order to constitute the world federation of the different castes. Such castes will endure and profit the world enormously.
Insanity, it has been said, is a corporeal disease but one-sided, as it is localized in the head. As with the individual so with the race. A race which has developed very highly on the intellectual side but has woefully neglected its physical side, must also appear to the normally developed race as insane. The Hindus are a case in point. Hindu civilization was essentially an intellectual civilization. The material, the physical, always appeared to them as very low, gross, not worth much thought, something that may be entrusted to the lower people. This was probably due to the environment. Nowhere in the world was life so easy as in India, nowhere was the struggle for existence so little. Whatever was the cause, one-sided views cannot endure for long. Intellectual progress could not proceed far without the material, its physical substratum, as is amply borne out by the result. Hindu civilization was destroyed, as all civilizations have been, by barbarism, by people whose physical side was more cultured than their intellectual. The people who destroyed Hindu civilization failed to appreciate its intellectual attainments. Hindu philosophy still leads the world. Hindu religious literature is almost inexhaustible and beyond the comprehension of most people. Their philosophy, their religion, their civilization, like themselves, are discredited because they failed to govern themselves, because they failed to protect themselves from foreign invasions, because they failed to progress materially with the material progress of the rest of the world. [Sanjeev: This bit I can agree with, at least in part]
A reaction seems to be setting in. The races which have made the greatest material progress are today questioning their sanity. They wonder whether they themselves are not perilously near that onesidedness which is insanity, only it is the other way about. They wonder whether they have not given too much attention to the material and too little to the intellectual. No doubt there are amongst them those who with a justifiable pride point to their high attainments in physics and chemistry, to their telegraphs, telephones and wireless, to their railroads, motor cars and aeroplanes, to their gigantic commerce and industry. Others as a result of more detailed studies and introspection, are genuinely alarmed at the future prospect. They realize the danger of the by-products of these gigantic commerces and industries,—the moral, mental and physical wrecks, —the amazing increase in number of the inmates of prison, hospital and lunatic asylum. More than by these they are alarmed at those strange whirlpools of political and economic distress under the action of which the moral, mental and physical wrecks get welded together and cause one of those cataclysmic upheavals such as was lately witnessed in Russia—real menaces to civilization. [Sanjeev: this was only the beginning]
Megasthenes who visited India dining Chandra Gupta's time wrote his impartial and now famous account of Indian civilization, as it was at that time. I pass over what he says of the material advancement. "The people were contented" 'he says, "they were peaceful, honest, clean, simple, truthful and industrious." How would that compare with the modern international distrust, envy, crime, restlessness, distress—Capitalism, Commercialism, Pauperism and hence Bolshevism.
To say that the downfall of the Hindus was due to their caste distinctions would be like mistaking an invariable concomittant for a cause. It would be more correct to say that the Hindus' downfall was due to their trying to march in advance of their times, to their exclusiveness and to their. onesidedness. If the caste distinction did them any 'harm it did so because it was not observed well enough.
 Caste system—The word caste is derived from the Latin word cast-us meaning pure. It was first used by the Portuguese after their connexion with India. The Portuguese word casta means breed or race. The original castes in India were four, viz., the Brahmins or priest class, the Kshatriya or the military caste; the Vaishva or the merchant class and the Sudras or the servant class. The first three were Aryans and they were called the twice-born because they were initiated at a certain age and wore the sacred thread. Later on a large number of castes came to be instituted as a result of intermixture between those four castes. There are in India now nearly as many castes as there are occupations. Though the people do not now follow their caste occupations religiously as they used to, yet the caste is observed in all religious ceremonies, i. e., those relating to death, birth and marriages.
 Putresti Jagna—It is a religious ceremony for invoking the gods to bless a childless couple with children. Frequent references are found in sanskrit literature about this Jagna. Many of the famous and great men of India were ushered into the world by the performance of this very expensive ceremony.