Thursday 18th September ,2008

Sat Maharaj
Sports Arena
Business Guardian
Online Community
Death Notices
Classified Ads
Jobs in T&T
Contact Us
Privacy Policy

[email protected]


  • The word caste was first used by the Christian Portuguese invaders.
  • Caste is not an Indian word but a derogatory epithet introduced by missionaries.
  • A Christian-inspired caste system has led to the creation of ‘untouchables’ in every nation that Christi-anity invaded.


When one hears the term “caste,” images of Hindu discrimination are conjured up in the mind. This imagery has been constructed over the centuries, thanks to an ill-informed media with a decidedly Christian bias.

Although India is often now associated with the word caste, it was first used by the Christian Portuguese invaders to describe inherited class status in their own European society.

Caste is derived from the Portuguese “casta” which is derived from the Latin word meaning “chaste” or “pure.” There is absolutely no equivalent term in Hinduism. There are the terms “gotra”, “varna” and “jati,” which are entirely different concepts of social arrangements.

In the book The Hindu Tradition edited by Ainslie T Embree, it is written:

“The Hindu tradition is rooted in the Vedic age, the period of Indian history that extends from about 1500 BC to 600 BC. Although this long expanse of time was marked by great religious and social changes, and conditions differed widely throughout the subcontinent, the age had a unity and style that sets it apart.”

The Indian system is difficult to define. The various classes of human beings are created by Bhagawan (God) who declared in the yajur Veda at verse 11:

“From my mouth I have created the Brahmins, from my arms the kshatryas, from my abdominal region the vashya, and from my legs the sudra.”

It is a combination of faith, our ancient social traditions and Hindu Dharmic law. While caste is now only spoken about in connection with India, caste can also be found in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Japan, China, Korea, Yemen, Africa, Europe, and the United States.

Caste is not an Indian word but a derogatory epithet introduced in India by Portuguese Christian missionaries in the 16th century to describe the Hindu society. They assumed that the Brahmins commanded the same authority and power as the Christian clergy did in their own time in Europe.

The reality is that the Brahmins who provided the religious leadership in Hinduism never commanded the authority and power of the Christian clergy. They controlled neither the economy nor the army, both of which the clergy did in medieval Europe.

Countries in Africa who have societies with caste systems within their borders include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Somalia.

In Rwanda “Hutu” and “Tutsi” may have changed through European Christian invaders. Societal structures were not identical throughout Rwanda. There was clearly a Tutsi aristocracy that was distinguished from Tutsi commoners, and wealthy Hutu were often indistinguishable from upper class Tutsi.

When the Christian German colonists conducted their censuses, they desired to classify the people throughout Rwanda-Urundi with a single classification scheme. They merely defined “Tutsi” as anyone who owned more than ten cows or a long nose.

It is serious mistake to view caste from the European Christian and imperialistic viewpoints. These were hostile to Hindu civilisation and society which they were trying to undermine to serve their own interests. They also lacked the historical perspective necessary to understand it.

To properly study the role of caste, we must look at it from the prospective of Indian history and culture. The Indian word for what is called caste is “varna.” The clearest definition of varnashrama or duties by different sections of society was given by Lord Krishna in the Bhagvadgita.

He says: “caturvarnyam maya srishtam guna-karma vibhagashah.” This simply means: “The four varnas (castes) were created by me based on guna (character) and karma (duty).” It was a social order meant to ensure stability and proper functioning of society.

A Brahmin was needed for education and cultivation of scholarship. But he could not exist without the support of kshatriya, the vaishya or the shudra. The kshatriya was the political leader and warrior.

In the Indian state of Orissa, large contingents of non-Indian Christian missionaries have been spreading false anti Hindu propaganda to win converts.

Hindus have responded by sending hundreds of Hindu swamis, sages and teachers to counter falsehoods. The return to Hinduism has caused these new types of invaders to resort to violence.

Swami Laxmanaada Saraswati and four other Hindu teachers were murdered while asleep in their ashram.

Christian gunmen killed the 84-year-old monk to stop the tribes people from reconverting to their original religion—Hinduism.

A Christian-inspired caste system has led to the creation of “untouchables” in every nation that Christianity invaded. In recent times many leaders in country after country are apologising for the atrocities caused by the missionary zeal.

Invariably the untouchables created were the natives of the invaded land.

To be continued

n Satnarayan Maharaj is the

secretary general of the

Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Designed by: Randall Rajkumar-Maharaj · Updated daily by: Sheahan Farrell