Subscribe to SIAWI content updates by Email
Home > Resources > India: THE SILENT COUNTERREVOLUTION: CASTE AND FASCISM

India: THE SILENT COUNTERREVOLUTION: CASTE AND FASCISM

Thursday 6 September 2018, by siawi3

Source: http://www.radicalsocialist.in/articles/national-situation/831-the-silent-counterrevolution-caste-and-fascism

THE SILENT COUNTERREVOLUTION: CASTE AND FASCISM

Friday 10 August 2018,

by Murzban JAL

“I have not the shadow of doubt that Hinduism owes all the great traditions that the Brahmans have left for Hinduism. They have left a legacy for India, for which every Indian, no matter to what varna he may belong, owes a deep debt of gratitude.â€
M.K. Gandhi,1921.

This essay is on how one understands caste in the space of modes of production and how Marx’s original idea of dialectical and historical materialism could literally “lift up†(aufheben), to borrow an expression of Hegel, the understanding of caste. The caste question has thus to go through a process of dialectical metamorphosis where in locating it in the Indic variation of the Asiatic mode of production, it can be scientifically understood. This essay also understands caste as a neurotic and psychotic system that has now been transfigured itself as an ethno-religious fascist state.

Repeating History and Fascism’s Dirty Mouth

“Beneath the veneer of a modern, developing, superpower†, so Anand Teltumbde says in his Republic of Caste, “India remains a republic of caste.†[1] The perverse celebration of the 125th Birth Anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar by the Indian elites is not mere an attempt on the part of the upper-caste elites to appropriate the message of Ambedkar by purging it of all the revolutionary content. It is basically on how one completely dismantles revolutionary ideologies by claiming a supported nationalist tinge to it. This, as we know from Freud, is the work of psychosis where reality is completely erased. But in the functioning of fascist ideology that manipulates all that comes its way is the functioning of neurosis where the same traumatic act is repeated ad infinitum.

Sometime back in an article on Leninism I had said that, if for the bourgeoisie, history repeats itself twice: the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce, then for revolutionaries there is a sublation of tragedy and farce for revolutionary joy. This idea of repeating history is taken from Slavoj Žižek, a theme that we have highlighted earlier[2]. In a way it transcends the idea of repetitive history that Marx draws in his celebrated Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. We have therefore the model that Marx outlined where history under counterrevolutionary governments repeat twice—the first as tragedy, the second as farce.[3] In Žižek we have another model that I am trying to invoke—especially his idea of repeating Lenin. Lenin is repeated, but not in the same way as he came on the scene of history in late 19th and early 20th history.

In contemporary times we say that with the triumph of the neo-conservatives, we have the Marx inspired model—history now works in a farcical manner. Yet what we say is that despite the neurotic model that counterrevolutionary history prescribes, and despite this being governed by a form of tragi-comedy, there seems to be a form of joy embedded in history that transcends both tragedy and comedy. Marx, it seems, should have said that history repeats itself thrice, the third time as great joy. In a certain sense we are sitting on the crossroads of history where tragedy, farce and joy appear all at the same time. The overthrow of the Indian fascists will lead to this form of revolutionary joy.

Central to our analysis of the rise of the Indian fascists is the question of caste. If Georgi Dimitrov had said that fascism is the most reactionary dictatorship of finance capital, then this has to be linked with the caste question. One must note that for the British colonialists as was also for the German Nazis, the Indian caste system was an ideal model of governance to be followed. We thus turn to the problem of identifying caste in India, especially in identifying the genealogy of caste. Tragedy shall be inexorably linked with the genealogy of caste. Central to this theme of caste is the question of capitalism and modern classes and whether the new capitalist structures are able to erase the earlier caste-based mode of discrimination. If tragedy is linked to the genealogy of caste, farce is related to the question of the persistence of caste in the age of modernity.

The relation between social hierarchies and graded inequality (the sine qua non of the caste system and the philosophy of ‘Hinduism’) on the one hand, and the very Marxist issue of class struggle especially the bourgeois/proletariat opposition on the other hand will be studied. Alongside the question of caste and class emerges another issue that of caste and race. We thus pose the question: “Is caste and casteism similar to racism, if not a European type of racism, then at least a South Asian type of it?†Finally the problem of caste is also related to the psychoanalytic problem of neurosis and psychosis. It is keeping these three problematic: (1) of estranged clannishness, (2) class, (3) race and racism, and (4) neurosis and psychosis that we shall try of locate the question of caste. Combined with these three problematic we also deliberate on the question of social and political power in India.

I have been articulating for quite some time that the initial articulation stems from the first appearance of caste in ‘Indian’ literature, namely in the Rg Veda where the Brahmans appear as the wielders of the Ideological State Apparatus of India, and the Rajanyalater to become the Kshatriya becoming the military elites and the bearers of the Repressive State Apparatus who control the army, the police and the paramilitary forces. It is important to note that these concepts: the Ideological State Apparatus and the Repressive State Apparatus, as we know, are from Louis Althusser’s repertoire. The peasants (the Vaisya) and the artisans (Sudras) become the Hellish and Unclean Other. If the tenth mandala Rg Veda has the first statement on social stratification, then Sankara (the philosopher and ideologist of caste Brahmanism and also its theological founder) becomes the most reactionary spokesman for caste stratification veiled in his almost nihilistic and proto-fascist philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. In this sense one will have also to disagree with Wendy Doniger’s articulation of Advaita Vedanta who gives space to this nature of thinking akin to the Sufistic way of philosophizing.[4] We disagree with the idea that “the wisdom of Vedanta is the wisdom of Sufism†.[5] Instead we say that what Sankara did was that he mastered the macabre technique of alienation and ontologized the lines of caste-based demarcations. He in this sense mastered the art of psychosis where social reality is totally forgotten.

But as we know, psychosis is so closely woven with neurosis. And thus like the neurotic who negates the trauma, only to posit it once again, caste refuses to leave the scene of India. One recalls Marx’s classical formulation here of hauntology: “Alongside of modern evils, a whole series of inherited evils oppress us, arising from the passive survival of antiquated modes of production, with their inevitable train of social and political anachronisms. We suffer not only from the living, but from the dead. Le mort saist le vif! We are seized by the dead!†[6]

This hauntology of caste domination occurs in modern India because those who control the Ideological State Apparatus of contemporary India are the uncanny Brahmans. In this sense the foundational myth stated in the tenth mandala of the Rg Veda—where the Brahmans are said to be to the mouth and speech act of the schizophrenic-stratified god, and other castes-classes said to be arms, thighs and feet and also many things besides that are totally alienated from the sacred (read “dirty†) Brahmanical mouth (thus “fascism’s dirty mouth†)—stands even today as the reality of the social and political life-world of so-called ‘modern’ India. Consider the myth. Also try to imagine how in contemporary India this same form of domination operates:

The Brahman was his mouth, of both his
arms was the Rajanya made.
His thighs became the Vaisya, from his
feet the Sudra was produced.[7]

Now relook at what this myth suggests: the Brahmans as the wielders of state ideology speak, but do not think. They most certainly do not feel. Feeling and emotions along with thinking remain totally absent both in the foundational myth as also absent in the Indian ruling classes.

Yet the Brahmans as ideologists have to deal with ideas, despite they being bereft of all ideas. They are said to think, though thinking is perpetually absent. They become imaginary thinkers, who do not think, but make claims to think. Just as capitalism produces surplus value, the Brahmans operate in the realm of this surplus. They think in terms of surplus, to be precise thinking in terms of surplus value. And as we know since Marx surplus value is “unpaid labour†.

The Republic of Caste and the Terrible Counterrevolution

It is true we live in a republic, but this republic is the republic of caste. Any democratic movement would have wanted to supersede this system. What democratic India did was that it abolished untouchability, but not caste. As Sunil Khilnani says:

“…caste was infused into the Constitution by the legislative afflatus of reservations. Policies of reservations….have produced real gains for dalits. But they also gave the already privileged a pliant tool to manipulate caste categories—allowing then to maintain their dominance, not least by generating a self-cancelling politics of internecine conflict between subcastes.†[8]

The Constitution then had two paths opened: that of democracy and that of the sabotage of this very democracy, thus of counterrevolution. The phrase the “silent counterrevolution†is borrowed (albeit in inverted form) from Christophe Jafferlot’s The Silent Revolution. This inversion is central in our understanding of how counterrevolutions are able to overpower revolutionary upsurges. A small note on this silent counterrevolution is necessary. The “silent counterrevolution†is the narrative of history, to be precise the narrative of present history that is burdened by what Hegel once called “the cunning of reason†(die List der Vernunft) where caste supposed to ‘disappear’ according to the alleged logic of history appears once again dressed not only as the communal-fascist, but also as the liberal. This silent counterrevolution is thus in actuality built on cacophony and chaos. Though there is chaos, there is also order in this chaos. It is basically about the silencing of radical voices.

It is thus about the silence on the speaking of the dynamics of Indian society, despite the plethora of the once upon a time indological studies which miraculously under the influence of Yankee universities turned to postmodernity and the now re-born as the prosperous centres for the studies of inclusion and exclusion. It is thus about speaking in borrowed language, of language that is masked. It is thus about speaking on India’s social relations, or as one may dare say so, speaking on the basic structure of Indian society—about caste and all the vicissitudes that it carries—from the Indian variant of apartheid and a form of human slavery to a form of neurotic and psychotic cultural system. Thus to the question of caste is intrinsically bound the issues of class, racism and neurosis-psychosis.

In this sense the silent counterrevolution is about the political economy of this cultural system. Our motif is the Marxist Humanist articulation of caste that functions under the banner of studying non-Western societies. Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Capital and the rather unknown Ethnological Notebooks form the epistemic mechanism of this New Text. The historicism and humanism of Lukács and Gramsci will be present in the background of this essay, alongside what I call the “Indian Fanonists†(derived from the militant repertoire of Frantz Fanon), namely Jyotiba Phule and B.R. Ambedkar. Thus unlike the Established Indian Left (I insist of the word “Established†, “Established†because it was always in thrall of Stalinism and the Indian parliament) that has been deliberately blind to Marx’s alternative reading of Asian societies, thus blind to his Ethnological Notebooks, the essay on the silent counterrevolution speaks about Marx’s alternative understanding of Indian history, a history that refuses to follow the dictates of an imagined history written with the Orientalists’ spectacle and constructed in exotic spaces, that ultimately created the Hindu nationalists political logic of the “imagined Hindu community†in the late nineteenth century, nor of course the Stalinist dictates of history governed by the even more imagined “iron laws†. This exotic space constructed by Orientalism not only covers Basham’s The Wonder that was India, but also the nationalist imaginary from Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj and Nehru’s Discovery of India to the communal-fascism of Savarkar and Golwalkar. It also covers the spaces chartered by the Indian Stalinists. Whilst S.S. Dange could be said to be the founder of this strange school of “exotic Indian Stalinism†, the parliamentary left led by the CPI(M) is the true inheritor. For them what Marx said about India and Asia, what he says about an alternative understanding of history would be not only forgotten, but actively repressed.

This essay is thus on the silence of voices of scientific exploration as well as on the silence of dissent. In this sense it recalls what Freud used to call “hysterical blindness†. This silence and blindness locates this terrible silence in the upper cast liberal coup d’étatthat took the form of what we call “Brahmanical Constitutionalism†after the death of B.R. Ambedkar. In this sense Indian parliamentary democracy is thus truly Brahmanical Constitutionalism. This essay is on counterrevolution and Brahmanism in all its forms: liberalism, fascism and Stalinism. It is about the counterrevolution that devours even Jaffrelot’s “silent revolutions†of the Yadavas and the Mayawatis., for whom in all the rhetoric of dignity have forgotten the very important programme of the annihilation of the caste system. For them it is the preservation of caste that remains at the forefront of their politics. They are thus the Stalinists and the counterrevolutionaries within the dalit movement.

A Pre-history to the Asiatic Mode of Production Debate

What is necessary to understand is that hitherto studies on caste could not empirically locate this system in concrete history. Caste thus could not be grounded in a concrete historical mode of production. Both dalit and orthodox Marxist theory failed in this endeavor. This is because they did not encounter Marx’s idea of the Asiatic mode of production. There are two themes intersected in this essay: The first deals with Marx’s original idea of the Asiatic mode of production with caste forming the nucleus of the understanding of social formations in India. Caste here is not understood merely as primitive division of labour. One will have to critique D.D. Kosambi here. For it his view that caste is only linked to primitive division of labour[9]. Instead we say that caste is something more complex that combines the issues of class, race and neurosis-psychosis. The second theme deals with Marx’s problematic of alienation and radical humanism in critiquing both caste and class societies. The linking of caste with modern classes, thus the linking of caste with industrial capitalism and the global accumulation of capital remains the leitmotiv of this essay.

At the outset one must say that though the ‘legacy’ of the Asiatic mode of production is said to lie in the 13th century translation of Aristotle’s Politics and consequently with the development of a ‘science’ of politics by Machiavelli, Marx’s idea is not to be confused with either the Latin interpretations of Aristotle or Jean Bodin, Machiavelli and Montesquieu. For Marx the Asiatic mode of production is not a normative discourse, thus unlike Karl Wittfogel’s Oriental Despotism which drew a fictitious line of demarcation between apparent ‘free’ societies of the West and an alleged ‘totalitarian’ Eastern world, but a specific concrete mode of production that could not be reduced to the same mechanisms of slave, feudal and capitalist societies of Western Europe, but is a concrete mode of production following its own internal mechanism. As we shall see in the course of this essay there will be three different structures: the centralized state, village communities and the classless communes central to Marx’s idea of the Asiatic mode. We will insist that when theorizing on the Asiatic mode of production any claim that Marx differentiated a materialist and ‘rational’ West from an ‘idealist’ East would be completely wrong. Instead Marx had a very materialist on the question of the Asiatic mode of production where the peculiarity of the Asiatic characteristic of the state emerged. Consider Marx’s first usage of this idea:

“Either, as in Greece, the res publica was the real private concern, the real content of the citizens and the private man was slave, that is, the political state as political was the true and sole content of the citizen’s life and will; or, as in Asiatic despotism, the political state was nothing but the private will of a single individual, and the political state, like the material state, was slave. What distinguishes the modern state from these states in which a substantial unity between people and state obtained is not that the various moments of the constitution are formed into particular actuality, as Hegel would have it, but rather that the constitution itself has been formed into a particular actuality alongside the real life of the people, the political state has become the constitution of the rest of the state.†[10]

Once one is able to grasp this materialistic character of the Asiatic state and the Asiatic mode of production one will be able to understand the mistakes made by the critics of Marx. A very small note on the Asiatic mode is necessary since a form of criticism would come in, namely that it is a product of the colonial mind. According to this thesis (and there is great deal of serious thought behind this) Orientalism drew a line of demarcation that demarcated the seeming ‘rational east’ from a supposed ‘mystical and idealist east’ if not an out rightly ‘idiotic east’. Caste would be the final product of this outright stupidity. Consider Edward Said:

“Until the last thirty years of the nineteenth century, everything to the east of an imaginary line drawn somewhere between Greece and Turkey was called the Orient. As a designation made in Europe, ‘the orient’ for many centuries represented a special mentality, as in the phrase ‘the Oriental mind,’ and also a set of special cultural, political, and even racial characteristics…..But mainly the Orient represented a kind of indiscriminate generality for Europe, as associated not only with differences and otherness, but with the vast spaces, the undifferentiated masses of mostly colored people, and the romance, exotic locales, and mystery of ‘the marvels of the east’.†[11]

In contrast to this reading that claims that proponents of the Asiatic mode of production would produce a great abyss between the ‘rational’ west from an ‘irrational’ east thereby deducing a form of absolute peculiarity of the east, one needs to understand what one calls the mode of “relative peculiarity†[12], contextualized in a form of concreteness of social phenomena. Thus in contrast to the thesis of a great abyss of the west vs. the east, we talk of what is known since Trotsky as combined and uneven development. Thus when theorizing on caste and the Asiatic mode of production we do not talk of civilization gripped by some sort of invisible iron cage constructed by Eurocentric discourse. Instead we talk of real history, history that actually happens.

One has thus to be careful about terminology. A small note on Marx’s characterization of the “Oriental despot†is thus necessary. Marx’s idea of this “Oriental despot†is not any way opposed to the free thinking liberal European. As we shall see in this essay, Oriental despotism—and here we are talking of the Indian variant of the Asiatic mode of production—is linked almost directly to the Indian caste system and the cunning hegemony of Brahmanical oligarchy. Hegel’s “the cunning of reason†can now be transcribed as “the cunning of the Brahman’s (un)reason†. Consider this celebrated and much quoted passage from Marx where he talks of:

“….idyllic village communities, inoffensive though they may appear, (which) had always been the solid foundation of Oriental Despotism, that they had restrained the human mind within the smallest compass, making it the unresisting tool of superstition, enslaving it beneath traditional rules, depriving it of all grandeur and historical energies. We must not forget that the barbarian egotism which, concentrating on some miserable piece of land, had quietly witnessed the ruin of empires, the perpetuation of unspeakable cruelties, the massacre of the population of large towns, with no other consideration bestowed upon them than on natural events, itself the helpless prey of any aggressor who designed to notice it at all. We must not forget that this undignified, stagnatory, and vegetative life, that this passive sort of existence evoked on the one part, in contradistinction, wild, aimless, unbounded forces of destruction and rendered murder itself a religious rite in Hindustan. We must not forget that these little communities were contaminated by caste and slavery, that they subjugated man to external circumstances, that they transformed a self developing social state into never changing natural destiny, and thus brought about a brutalizing worship of nature, exhibiting its degradation in the fact that man, the sovereign of nature, fell down on his knees in adoration of Hanuman the monkey, and Sabbala, the cow.†[13]

So are these ‘offensive’ passages of Marx? Is Marx an Orientalist as Edward Said imagined? But then were also Phule and Ambedkar Orientalists, since they also said almost the same thing[14]. Consider Aijaz Ahmad who had said that “Marx’s denunciation of pre-colonial society in India is no more stringent than his denunciation of Europe’s own feudal past, or of the Absolutist monarchies, or of the German burghers; his essays on Germany are every bit nasty†.[15] Remember that for Ahmad Marx visualized the power of the caste system in the Indian village—“restraining the human mind within the smallest compass†equals his critique of “the idiocy of rural life†in feudal Europe.[16] Further, for Ahmad, Marx “regarded the caste system as an altogether inhuman one—a ‘diabolical contrivance to suppress and enslave humanity’, as Ambedkar put it in the preface to The Untouchables—that degrades and saps the Indian peasantry, not to speak of the ‘untouchable’ menial castes†.[17] Our emphasis is on the linking of caste with the generic idea of the Asiatic mode of production and that of the infamous Orientalist despot.

And here it is imperative to emphasis that the Asiatic mode is a complex genre and cannot be reduced to a Unitarian mode of production. In Iran it takes a certain kind of form, whilst in China and India it takes different forms. In India it is caste and the peculiar type of social stratification that forms the basis of the critique of political economy of India. In the Indian variant of the Asiatic mode we put caste (and not class devoid of caste) as central to a Marxist radical imagination of historization and humanization of Indian society. We not only recall, but also emphasize Marx’s statement that caste has been “the solid foundation of Oriental despotism†[18], celebrating the “wild aimless, unbounded forces of destruction†[19], based on “a sort of equilibrium, resulting from a general repulsion and constitutional exclusiveness, resulting between all its members†[20]. Not only is it the foundation of what I insist on calling “Oriental despotism†, it is also the solid foundation of the “inherited evils†[21] that yet possess and haunt modern India. That is why it is pertinent to say that in contrast to the liberal’s forgetfulness of caste (Gandhi and Nehru are only two examples), as well as in contrast to the established left that has made a fetish of class (here one means that only modern economic class matters—in fact a European idea of class—and nothing else) and thus ignored the dialectic of caste and class, one needs keeping this dialectic central in order to understand how actual class formations and state power come into the scene of revolutionary history. One also needs to tell the established Indian left, who seem not to have read Marx critically, that by “modes of production†Marx means something much more profound than what the economist inspired left imagines it to be so. Consider Marx: “Religion, family, state, law, morality, science, art, etc., are only particular modes of production, and fall under its general law (i.e., the law of estrangement, private property and the production of reified consciousness. My insertion: M. J.).†[22] One also needs to inform this same “Marx-less leftist†that Lenin had based his revolutionary politics on the radical critique of economism. Taking this in consideration, as also taking into consideration that caste like religion, family, state, law, morality are all modes of production, we insert caste as not only some aberration of Indian society, but as very well defined social structure, so deep rooted that we call after Hegel as the essence or the Wesen of social being.

Re-viewing Caste in the Genre of the Asiatic Mode of Production

One needs to review the caste question in the larger genre of the Asiatic mode of production. We outline three basic fault lines centralized on the mechanism of caste:

(1) Caste as human alienation. Here one understands caste as the alienated “cutting off†of one human from the other governed by the dictatorship of the upper castes. This dictatorship is carried out through not only the upper caste Panchayats and communal organizations, but also through the medium of the parliament and the bureaucracy. Caste is thus not merely related to pre-capitalist rural India, not only related to anti-democratic movements of primordial nativism (best emphasized by the RSS and the Shiv Sena) whereby the Indian right-wing produces a fantasy world that is built on the dream-images of imperialist barbarism. It is an essential part of the liberal project institutionalized since the early 1920s where the upper caste ideology of the Hindu reform movement sank deep into national consciousness. We will keep Žižek’s recent account of Gandhi as a “social fascist†and Jaffrelot’s reading of Indian democracy as “conservative democracy†[23] and Gandhi as the source of Congress conservatism[24] that despite its cosmopolitan appearance remains conservative in actual practice. As Ambedkar said Gandhism is a “call of return to Antiquity†as well as a “reanimation of India’s dread, dying past†.[25] It is this conservative character that the Indian liberals nurtured, thus disabling the programme of the annihilation of the caste system.

(2) How the caste system, albeit radically modified in the age of late imperialism in permanent crises, structures minorities like the Muslims along with the traditionally oppressed castes to look like the “hellish other†(to borrow Sartre’s term from a different context) that serves the interests of anti-democratic, anti-secular and pro-imperialist forces, and

(3) Caste to be understood as the Confucian lethargy of Indian civilization which serves the production of the political economy of the capitalism-at-the-periphery, as well as the creation of a sluggish de-politicized and fragmented working class that is so internally divided that it cannot play out its role as the insurrectionist proletariat. Here we relate the problem of caste with R.D. Lang’s theory of the divided self and Theodor Adorno’s theory of the general regression of thinking.

Keeping the above in mind I state that by caste one means inherited class status (or frozen classes, classes that are involved in the production of surplus, but classes that are reified and hypostasized) based on segregation that is sanctioned on religious grounds and built on the ideas of purity and pollution.[26] ‘Exclusion’, one must note is a transcendental form of exclusion, but exclusion based on concrete political economy. For instance Irfan Habib mentions that the hunters (the Chandalas and the Nisadas) “were the original ‘untouchable castes….(who) were excluded from taking to agriculture†.[27] Exclusion is thus based in concrete social situations, in concrete political economies.

In this historical materialist model based on the critique of political economy it is the upper castes led by the priestly castes (the Brahmans) accompanied by the warrior clans[28] which are considered ‘pure’, whilst the working masses (the Sudras) are said to be ‘impure’. What happens in ancient India despite Buddhism (unlike in ancient Iran, for instance, where Zarathushtra as the messianic prophet of ancient Iran denounced this warrior-priests combine), is that the warrior-priests combine (with the help of the Vedic rituals) could institutionalize this form of domination.

A small note on the term “caste†is necessary. Despite the terms “varna†and “jati’ being part of the Indian lexicography, the modern term “caste†is precise to define its characteristic. The word “caste†is itself derived from the Latin castus meaning “pure, segregated, cut off†, and is etymologically related to carere “to cut off†.[29] If then caste implies the logic of “cutting off†, it gets to be directly related to alienation. One will need to point out the relation between alienation as Entfremdung that arouses the feeling of loneliness and helplessness with Freud’s concept of Unheimlich or the “uncanny†that raises the feeling of dread and terror. And since caste as human alienation and the feeling of the uncanny has within it the discourse of race, the problem of racism inherent in Hinduism is repeatedly raised. Now what seems to be mere cultural criticism from a radical secularist perspective turns into the core question of locating revolutionary subject positions in India. Would caste imply race, and if so would the problem of the political economy of India conjoin the class question with that of caste? In this sense would the ‘high’ castes, the priests (Brahmans), the warriors (Kshatriyas) and merchants (Vaiśyas) be considered part of the ruling establishment and the Śūdras and anti-Śūdras be understood as the proletariat? Then is caste=class and class=caste and that at both the levels of the ideological superstructure and the economic base one has to unleash a cultural revolutionary attack on Hinduism? Would this attack be the prelude to the critique of political economy in India? In this perspective of the caste-class combine, one must also note that whilst caste remains a part of the history of India in particular, caste takes a more generic form where understood as an oppressive social system was also linked to the Asiatic states and even to the counterrevolutionary bureaucratic Stalinist state[30].

A small note on the origins of caste is necessary. Since social science has attempted to locate a manifold origin of caste: from the Indo-Iranian origins to the period from the rise of Buddhism to the Gupta period[31], its genealogy and structural analysis is necessary. The scientific point of view locates caste in the complex of social formations that is itself based on a form of labour process that produces surplus.[32] Removing caste from this space of historical social formations would only make the reading of the caste question extremely unscientific. Secondly attempting to locate caste exclusively as a conspiracy created by a specific social group could be erroneous. Caste is so unfortunately deeply rooted in Indian civilization and intrinsically woven in India’s social fabric (and that though it is represented both theologically and ideologically in Hinduism) its encounter with Buddhism and then with Islam and Christianity did not allow the uprooting of this system. It seems that despite Buddhism’s humanist and anti-Vedic worldview and despite Islam’s egalitarianism, the Buddhist and Muslim rulers not only did not challenge it, but used it for their own advantage. Irfan Habib, for instance, claims that not only in Brahmanism, but also in the times of Buddhism and Islam caste was present.[33] The sources drawn by Habib will be of great help, though as we shall see, he does not want to link it with the Asiatic mode. Not only does he link castewith Brahmanism and Buddhism, but also with the Islamic rulers[34], despite both Buddhism and Islam’s ideology of egalitarianism.

How does one understand this irony that despite anti-caste religious ideologies (in Buddhist and Islamic times) caste continuously persist? How does one understand that it is not created by some sort of idealist conspiracy independent of the questions of land, labour and capital, but located in a particular social formation? But also how does one understand how in almost similar social formations (existing in India and Iran in medieval times) in one case (India) caste was prominently present, and in the other (Iran) it did not prevail?[35] Would then, the Iranian version of the Asiatic mode of production give way to different results, which do not correspond to the Indian variant?
Locating caste to the question of the Asiatic mode of production also brings in the question of human geography as well as the very important issue of origins into our discussion. One will have to turn one’s attention to ontogenesis and phylogenesis. The origins of caste are complex and diverse ranging from the versions from Kosambi to Habib and from Georges Dumezil to Gherardo Gnoli. Historical analysis traces the domination of the Indo-Iranian military elites (the Indian Kshatriyas and the Iranian Rathaēštars (literally “the wielders of the chariot†) in the Late Bronze Age with discovery of bronze and production of chariot as the vehicle for raiding pastoral communities. According to Gnoli the primary class struggle was between these warrior tribes (the Indian Kshatriyas and the Iranian rathaēštars) and the agriculturalists (the Indian Vaiśyas and the Iranian VastryŠ.fšuyants)[36]

To understand this class struggle in the ancient Indo-Iranian world whereby one understands the origins of caste, one needs to understand how the Indo-Iranian warrior-priests combine could dominate the agriculturalists and the pastoral communities through the ideology-ritual of Yagna. Yagna was not merely a religious ritual. It was a mode of destruction of the surplus produced by the agriculturalists and the pastoral communities. We begin here with the theory of trifunctional ideology as introduced by Dumezil in 1929 where proto-Indo-European society was divided into three classes: the priests, warriors and the working multitude (the farmers, herders, craftspeople and traders). What happened is that corresponding to these three ancient classes were the three great economic activities: the sacred/political (dealing with the ideology and practice of sovereignty—this is the Ideological State Apparatus), war/defence/policing and internal repression (the Repressive State Apparatus) and economic production. Whilst in a certain way historical materialism would state that there is a shared code between the Indians, Iranians, Romans, Greeks and Germans with this tripartite division of society, what happened in the Indian sub-continent is that these three classes got reified into castes with its corresponding theological sanction, whilst also producing the “great refusal†(to use Herbert Marcuse’s term from a different context) in the form of the Śūdra and the ati-ŚSūdra communities. The fact that there is a genetic affinity between the upper castes in South Asia with Europeans, whilst the lower castes are more like Asians has to be pointed out. A 2001 study pointing to these conclusions also puts Phule’s thesis of the upper caste elites being parts of the European stick and thus Indo-Iranian raider tribes, where stratification according to the principle of racial colour (“varna†) was the basis of their class rule.

Here one needs to go to Albêrûnî who points to this race-based classification with regards the Indian castes. In his chapter ‘On the Castes, called “Colours†(Varna), and on the Classes below them’, in his magnum opus India talks of the apparent ‘genius’ of the kings of ages gone by who invented the caste system to prevent the ‘disorder’ of intermixture.[37] Iranian mythology claims that Jamshid (Middle Persian), who appears as Yima (in Old Persian) and Yama (in Old Sanskrit) created the three-fold class division. The Sháhnáma (the eleventh century Persian classic penned by the legendary Firdausi) says that Jamshid created the three Anjuman (literally “institutions†or “assemblies†). This what the rendering of the origins of institutions of pre-capitalist class formation looks in Iranian literature. Remember that the Persian words are Anjuman and Guroh implying “assembly†, “congregation†, “troop†and “band†. How it is related to caste as a pre-capitalist institution and whether it is related to the Hindu order based on purity and pollution where untouchability remains the essence of its system remains to be seen. This Persian text (rather in translation says), that “to the joy of all he (Jamshid) founded castes†and that ‘†distinguishing one caste (the priest, my insertion, M.J.) as sacerdotal†.[38] What happens in India, is that caste as a hierarchical system based on the totem of purity and taboo of pollution with deeply graded system of inequality, took roots that no nation could ever duplicate.

Since the Ur-origin of caste is related definitely to the Rg Vedic tradition, one has to understand its relation to the Indo-Iranian past. We saw how in the Hindu caste system the alienated cutting off one social group from another is the sine qua non of India. But in the Iranian narrative, there is class stratification, but this is not the same as caste stratification as in the Hindu-Brahmanical model based on the totem of purity and the taboo of pollution. Remember that however brutal the Iranian mode of Asiatic pre-capitalist social formation was (which reached its epitome in late Sasanian era, probably in the late 5th century A.D.), it did not take in this peculiar form that emerged in India. The reason? One could say that a form of human geography that forms a part of historical materialism could be the basis. It must be noted that though the Indo-European model that we just mentioned formed in a type of a generic model of class formations that was common in a very minute way with the Greeks, Romans, Iranians and the Indians; there is a considerable difference between the Greco-Roman model on the one hand and the Indo-Iranian on the other, not to forget a difference between the Iranian and the Indian type of class formation. To explicate the latter point it must be noted that in Iranian tradition the king of kings (ShÄ hÄ n ShÄ h-Ä«-Ä’rÄ n) was a messianic form of personification of all the classes. He was priest, warrior, peasant and artisan all at the same time.

Consider the Sháhnáma where “separation†of one social group from another links only to the priests—they are separated from all other classes (it seems that even today the Iranian Ayatollahs represent this obnoxious ‘Aryan’ tradition)—and also considering that the Iranian peasants were considered “independent tillers of the soil†just as weavers were said to be “free men†who “labor upon the soil safe from dispute and contest†, along with the artisans who are depicted as “given much to thought†(unlike the Indian caste system that is based on the most de-humanized division of labour between physical labour that was said to be unclean; and mental labour which was said to be of a higher level and thus which monopolized the process of thinking, or rather speaking). Clearly the difference between the Iranian and the Indian models are apparent.

The problem is that due to the neurotic structure of caste—one abolishes it only to make it reappear once again—caste makes its presence firstly liberal India under Nehru and then once again in neo-liberal India in the era of globalization. One thus needs to say that it is not merely the Hindu right-wing led by the RSS and their fascist cousins like the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena that emphasizes caste, but also Gandhi in his silent way who swept it below the carpet of semi-feudal reason, not to forget Nehru who romanticized it as “an all-inclusive order without any common dogma and allowing the fullest latitude to each group†that also included “equality and a measure of freedom†and “a high degree of specialization and skill in handicrafts and craftsmanship†[39].

‘Hinduism’ and the Asiatic Mode of Production

That is why we are saying that we need to be critical of the established Indian left’s deficit analysis of caste and surplus analysis of “Indian feudalism†and thus critical of not only the analysis of classes in contemporary India, but also is critical of the theory of transition of pre-capitalism to capitalism in India. It is also critical of the abstract-universal theory of history propounded by Kant (that laid the basis of the theory of history determined by iron laws independent of humanity) as well as critical of the general theory of history that has its origins in Stalin’s counterrevolution and manipulation of Marxism. Remember it was Stalin (since the early 1930s) who literally banned any debate on the Asiatic mode of production. The debate on the Asiatic mode of production was officially banned in the Soviet Union in 1931. In 1933 V.V. Struve’s theory that the ancient east (like Western Europe) also had a slave owning mode of production was adopted. Though the Soviets after Stalin’s death re-opened the debate in 1964 followed in France by the works of Maurice Godelier and Suret-Canale; in India the pattern of history writing was determined by R.S. Sharma’s Indian Feudalism followed by the works of Irfan Habib that followed the Stalinist unilinear model. More recently it is Kevin Anderson who has challenged the Stalinist view by raising the importance of a more nuanced reading of Marx on non-Western societies in his Marx at the Margins.

That is why we are putting caste as the central category in Marxist historiography, caste located in the problematic of the Asiatic mode of production, caste that has yet not left us even in the age of late capitalism. And that is why we also insist that the philosophies of Marx and Ambedkar are central in this analysis. But since we talk of caste as not yet leaving us in the age of late capitalism, we also recall Freud’s theory of neurosis as the eternal recurrence of the self-same trauma. As we shall see in the course of this essay, since critics of Marx, (especially those following Edward Said) found that Marx’s critique of pre-capitalist India as stagnant was some sort of hidden Orientalism based on the Eurocentric narrative; we shall be relating the Freudian critique of neurosis to critique the Indian caste system. Thus when Marx had talked of the Indian “self-sufficient communities that constantly reproduce themselves in the same form, and when accidently destroyed, spring up again on the spot and with the same name†[40], we were referring to the neurotic caste system.

Here we would like to note that Marx did not think of the so-called “Eastern world†as “timeless†and “devoid of history†. Marx not only considers the dynamics of non-European societies, but also emphasized it. Remember that in the letter to Vera Zasulich he talks of the dynamism of the Russian communes, how they are revolutionary and can directly skip the capitalist mode of production, and thus how he celebrates the archaic world[41]. Likewise Kosambi too did not view the Indian village in the Orientalist phantasmagoric space of living “outside history†. Instead he says how historical materialism links the formation of caste with agricultural economy, and thus in his view was a “tremendous advance in the mode of production†.[42] But with this “tremendous revolution†is tied “grimmest poverty and helplessness†.[43] What Kosambi misses out is linking of caste with the Indian variant of the Asiatic mode of production as also his lacuna in articulating the superstructural aspect of caste, not to forget his almost forgetfulness of psychoanalysis and his consequent amnesia on the relation between neurosis and caste. We, on the contrary, place this neurosis central to India.

And this neurosis I have stated in the following tragedy: that caste survived Buddhism, survived Islam and would soon collide with not only colonialism, but also with industrial civilization and modernity, and survive these too. Our repertoire is thus based on the trio—Marx, Freud and Ambedkar. Not only do we relate the Marxist-Freudian-Ambedkarite critique of caste with domination and neurosis, but we also talk of caste as a form an estranged clannishness and thus relate it with Marx’s theory of alienation. Consequently we talk of caste consciousness with what Hegel and Marx called (in different contexts) as the “unhappy consciousness†and the “estranged mind†.

In a certain sense it is almost necessary to talk of the necessary dalitization of Marxism and consequently the necessary humanization of the communist movement. It is also necessary to talk of a philosophical rendering of historical materialism where Marx’s idea of communism as humanism and naturalism combined with Lenin’s praxis of insurrection as art is used to deconstruct caste consciousness. The philosophies of Phule, Carl Einstein, Georg Lukacs, Gramsci, Ambedkar and Žižek are utilized for this purpose. We begin with Ambedkar’s analysis of both caste as well as its ideological superstructure called “Hinduism†.

It seems to be tragic that though Ambedkar speaks with the head and the heart of a radical Marxist, the left could simply not understand him. And despite thinkers like Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya from the left, the established left could not unleash a radical historicist and humanist critique of the Indian ruling classes and its ideology called ‘Hinduism’. And since India (alongside a large part of South Asia did not go through the process of an Enlightenment where humanism and science could displace superstition, rituals and anti-humanism inherent in pre-capitalist societies, one has the ghosts of inherited evils yet oppressing us, where we are yet seized by the dead! The ghosts are divided into two schools—the liberal and the fascist.

Here one needs to point out that not only is the liberal theme of Gandhi and Nehru incorrect, not only the high idealism of Vivekananda and Aurobindo completely wrong in trying to articulate what ‘India’ and ‘Indianness’ means, but also contemporary thinkers like Ashis Nandy alongside the now proliferating departments in American universities, who following the New Orientalists like David Lorenzen hypostasize India as some sort of phantasmagorical ‘Hindu Nation’ that has existed from time immemorial with its idealist systems of philosophy that is resistant to secular ideals. That Andres Brevik the Butcher of Norway also follows this line of thinking and also the fact that the Nazis were readers of the Vedas and the Upanishads should not go unnoticed. Thinkers like David Frawley, a born-again Yankee neo-Hindu who in his Universal Hinduism: Towards a New Vision creates a fiction of a great and tolerant Hinduism, completely forgets that ‘Hinduism’ as a discipline is basically a colonial construct that is completely oblivious to caste stratification. One must point out that the now fashionable idea of Hinduism as an eternal religion (sanÄ tana dharma) was born only with the nineteenth century theosophists. And that is why one insists that “the notion of ‘Hinduism’ is itself a Western-inspired abstraction†[44], an abstraction that completely forgets caste only to hypostasize a so-called tolerant Hinduism. A small history of the genealogy of the word ‘Hinduism’ is necessary.

For we have not only thinkers from Gandhi to Nandy who reconstruct this hysterical melancholia called ‘Hinduism’in the repertoire of liberalism, or Lorenzen who constructs this imaginary discourse called ‘Hinduism’ to be taught in American and European universities[45]. We now are not only accompanied by these so-called innocent inventors of innocence discourses. We have now Western Academia who accompany the Indian fascists. Consider Koenard Elst who not only wrote ideological treatises as in his infamous Decolonizing the Hindu Mind,, but also hate literature like Rama Janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid, a book that was released by the Indian fascist leader L.K. Advani. And that is why we insist that ‘Hinduism’ is no longer an innocent discourse that can claim to be the most original Gnostic philosophy and neo-Platonism where Ananda Coomaraswamy and René Guénon occupy this space of Orienatlist innocence. It now becomes out rightly fascist where its inheritors can only be Advani and Narendra Modi, not to forget Andres Brevik, the infamous butcher of Norway.

So one may ask: what is so specific to the discourse of ‘Hinduism’ that caste which remains at the essence of its repertoire is almost always perpetually veiled? At this juncture it must be noted that the term ‘Hinduism’ as is being used today is basically a vacuous and fuzzy term manipulated firstly by the colonial state and then by the upper caste elites in independent India. The contemporary usage cannot be confused with the original Persian origins—the Achaemenians mention the people on the east of the river Sind as Hindus (Hapt Hindûkân, as the Iranian Avesta calls this land[46]). The term then in the age of the first Persian Empire was geo-cultural. This geo-cultural usage continued till the Mughal rule in India. Contemporary usage of this term (mainly as a single religious entity) was constructed by the eighteenth century Orientalists based on the Judeo-Christian understanding of what constitutes a religion.[47] If the Orientalists (especially Max Müller) imagined a unified doctrine called ‘Hinduism’, the colonial authorities used the same to create a Hindu-Muslim zone of conflict. The term for the dominant ideology of India, since Shankara (788-820 A.D.) began his counterrevolution against Buddhism, ought to be Brahmanism. And that is why we insist that the term ‘Hinduism’ is a fetishized cloak that veils caste and class relations.

This fetishized reading not only encompassed the Indian Orientalists who indigenized Max Müller’s theory: from Dayanda Saraswati, Bankim Chattopadhyaya, Aurobindo and Vivekananda to Tilak, Lajpat Rai, Savarkar and Gandhi. This fetishized manufacturing of traditions was used by the Indian national Congress since the beginning of the twentieth century, which via Nehru got transformed into the Indian variant of political liberalism. What we inherit today is less of the original geo-cultural understanding and more of the geo-political inheritance of colonialism. The tragedy of Indian is that the radical left, despite Phule, Ambedkar and Annabhau Sathe and the grass root fighters of liberty, equality and fraternity, has not been able to shake off this phantasmagoria of ‘Hinduism’.

We therefore unleash a certain kind of fury that envelope many a movement for social and political emancipation. The fury is directed to the exploiters, the counterrevolutionaries, the communal-fascists and imperialist cartels. But the fury is also directed towards the hidden ideologists and the wielders of the ideology of dominance, an ideology of dominance that has led not only to a type of ideological blindness, but also to a silent counterrevolution in India. This silent counterrevolution has been blind to the question of caste and then constructed an imaginary theme of India being a Hindu society. Our claim is that this silent counterrevolution links what Marx once called “idyllic village communities, (that have been the)… ..the solid foundation of Oriental Despotism, restraining the human mind within the smallest compass, making it the unresisting tool of superstition, enslaving it beneath traditional rules, depriving it of all grandeur and historical energies†[48] to the imperialist policies of Washington based think tanks.

What we claim is that in the complete overhauling of the entire ideological superstructure of capitalism, the complete overhauling of the caste system and the ideological myth of Hinduism is absolutely necessary. It is not merely that we argue against imperialism, as if imperialism exists independent of pre-capitalist social formations. One needs to link organically the relation between global capital accumulation, the Indian elites and the ideology of dominance in India. The organic linking of the relation between the economic base of accumulation of capital and the superstructure of the mass hysteria (of “we are Hindus being swamped by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in our own homeland†) and the corresponding stratification, superstition and backwardness needs to be studied.

One needs to link the Yankee War Industry and the Indian ideology in dominance. One thus needs to claim that even the so-called holy book of ‘Hinduism’ which now the RSS wants to promote as the national book is not in any way to be confused with any sort of philosophical or ethical treatise. One needs to deny the moral claims of the Gita as it does nothing but represent the ideological upholding of the caste system. One needs to stress alongside Marx that the caste system “restrains the human mind within the smallest compass†. One needs also to emphasize alongside Ambedkar that the claim that the Gita is devoid of any message is absolutely correct.[49] It is a “justification of war†and “a philosophical defence of war and killing in war’.[50] It is consequently the classical book for the Indian counterrevolution.[51] In this case why did Gandhi also celebrate this classical book of the counterrevolution?

We need to strike at this terrible counterrevolution. We thus have to attack its ideology. I have said this before that to strike at the Ideological State Apparatus, held domestically by both the liberals and the communal-fascists and globally by the American led corporate imperialism, one needs to articulate how this Ideological State Apparatus produces not only this “hysterical melancholia†that Gandhi had mastered, but now the construction of what we call after Fredric Jameson as the “hysterical sublime†[52], this post-Kantian sublime which moves from aesthetics to spectacle-like politics of fascism. In India the production of the discourse of ‘Hinduism’ (again re-packaged in the early 1990s) whether in the form of peaceful anthropological Hinduism, the Gandhian variation, or the fascistic political Hinduism of Hindutva, has taken brutal forms. For one it has been totally anti-democratic, for caste has always been reproduced by it.

It is necessary to demarcate the eras of liberalism by differentiating the politics of melancholia and that of hysteria. We live in a hysterical world order. It necessarily produces this hysterical sublime, the hysteria that I outlined in a number of articles published in Mainstream which later came out in my Why We Are Not Hindus. It is here that one asks the important question: “What is this hysterical sublime, this post-Kantian sublime?†It is to quote Jameson “the experience bordering on terror, the fitful glimpse, in astonishment, stupor and awe of what was so enormous as to crush life altogether†.[53] It is also “the limit of figuration and the incapacity of the human mind to give representation†.[54] In the above stated articles I had said that it is a “phantasmatic relationship with some organic pre-capitalist peasant landscape and village society†.[55] The hysterical sublime has necessarily to create a pre-capitalist imaginary.

In this phantasmatic representation, the mass hysteria of “being Hindu†implies a violent ideological phantasy created by some sort of castration anxiety which is projected elsewhere (i.e. the production of the ‘Hindu’ as the one who is crushed by the ‘Muslim’). This mass hysteria is also the master signifier of the Indian culture industry where people who are unhappy in the unhappy home of capitalism are served with this sense of false happiness, what one can call after Marx (and which w call again and again) the feeling of ease and strength in human self-estrangement.[56] One is thus forced to say with cynicism and irony: caste has never left us. Like Freud’s eternal recurrence of the neurotic, caste returns to haunt us once again.

The problem is that caste now appears in fascistic form. Caste was always headed by the Caste Oligarch. This time the Oligarch has become totally insane. The name of this insanity is fascism. The annihilation has now to be at the same time the annihilation of fascism.

Notes

[1]Anand Teltumbde, Republic of Caste , with foreword by Sunil Khilnani (New Delhi: Navayana, 2018), p. 19.

[2] See my ‘Why We are Not Hindus: A Reply to the Indian Fascists’, in Mainstream, Vol. LII, No. 1, December 28, 2013, p. 110. Also see my Why We Are Not Hindus (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2015).

[3] Karl Marx, ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’, in Marx Engels. Selected Works (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975), 96.

[4] Wendy Doniger, On Hinduism (New Delhi: Aleph Book Company, 2013)
[5] This was allegedly the Mughal emperor Akbar’s viewpoint. See ibid., p. 15

[6] Karl Marx, Capital (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983), p.

[7] This is the passage from the Rg Veda, Sacred Writings. Hinduism. Rg Veda, trans. Ralf T. F. Griffith (New York: Quality Paperback Books, 1992), p. 603, where the first reference to castes in Indian society emerges:

[8] Sunil Khilnani, ‘Foreword’, to Anand Teltumbde, Republic of Caste, p. 14.

[9] D.D. Kosambi, The Culture and Civilization of Ancient India in Historical Outline (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 2000), p. 50.

[10] Karl Marx, ‘Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of State’, in Karl Marx. Early Writings (London: Penguin Books, 1992), p. 91.

[11] Edward Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage Books, 1992), p. 3.

[12] See Marian Sawer, Marxism and the Question of the Asiatic Mode of Production (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1977), p. 159.

[13] Karl Marx, ‘The British Rule in India’, in On Colonialism (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976), p. 40-41.

[14] See my ‘In Defence of Marxism: A Reply to a Neo-Hindu’s Reading of The Seductions of Karl Marx, in Critique, Vol. 40, No. 1, February 20012, p. 109. See also my The Legacy of Karl Marx (Centre for Scientific Socialism: Nagarjuna University, 2012), pp. 56-7.

[15] See Aijaz Ahmad, In Theory. Classes, Nations, Literatures (Delhi; Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 224

[16] Ibid., p. 225.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Karl Marx, ‘The British Rule in India’, in On Colonialism (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976), p. 40; and Marx’s ‘Letter to Engels, June 14, 1853’, in Marx. Engels. Selected Correspondence (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975), 80.

[19] Karl Marx, ‘The British Rule in India’, p.41.

[20] Karl Marx, ‘The Future Results of the British Rule in India’, in On Colonialism (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976), p. 81.

[21] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, p. 20.

[22] Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1982), p. 91.

[23] Christophe Jaffrelot, (2003): India’s Silent Revolution. The Rise of the Low Castes in North Indian Politics (Delhi: Permanent Black), p. 11-12.

[24] Ibid., pp. 13-47.

[25] B.R. Ambedkar, ‘Gandhism’, in The Essential Writings of B.R. Ambedkar , ed. Valerian Rodrigues (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 165.

[26] The idea of ‘purity’ and the construction of a hierarchical social system is not a construction in the void, independent of an economic system. Instead, as Irfan Habib claims: “Concepts of ‘purity’ and ‘pollution’ were a rationalization of this basic economic fact†. See Irfan Habib, ‘Caste in Indian History’, in Essays in Indian History. Towards a Marxist Perception (New Delhi: Tulika, 1995), p. 166.

[27] Irfan Habib, ‘Caste in Indian History’, p. 166.

[28] The Brahmans besides being priests are also scholars and ideologists, not to forget the interpreters of Dharma (the Hindu moral law).

[29] The cutting of is evident since the foundational myth in the Rg Veda, Sacred Writings. Hinduism. Rg Veda, trans. Ralf T. F. Griffith (New York: Quality Paperback Books, 1992), p. 603.

[30] Leon Trotsky, The Permanent Revolution & Results and Prospects (Delhi: Aakar Books: 2005), p. 40; Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2006), pp. 102, 214, 256, links caste as a ossified group with an entrenched closed mentality to the Stalinist bureaucracy.

[31] See Irfan Habib, ‘Caste in Indian History’, in Essays in Indian History. Towards a Marxist Perception, p. 169.

[32] Ibid., p. 164.

[33] Ibid., p. 169.

[34] Ibid., p. 173.

[35] Ibid., p. 176.

[36] Gherardo Gnoli, Zoroaster’s Time and Homeland. A Study on the Origins of Mazdeism and Related Problems (Naples: Insitituto Universitario Orientale, 1980), p. 186.

[37] Albêrûnî, India. An Account of the Religion, Philosophy, Literature, Geography, Chronology, Laws and Astrology of India about A.D. 1030 (New Delhi: Rupa, 2002), p. 83.

[38] Firdausi, Sháhnáma, Vol. I, trans. George Warner and Edmund Warner (London: Kegan Paul, 1915)pp. 132-3.

[39] Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985). See also Perry Anderson, ‘Why Partition?’, in London Review of Books, July 19, 2012.

[40] Karl Marx Capital, Vol. I, trans. Samuel Moore and Eduard Aveling (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983), p. 338-9

[41] See Karl Marx, ‘First draft of reply to V.Z. Zasulich’s Letter’, in Karl Marx. Frederick Engels, Selected Works, Vol. 3 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977), pp. 152-161.

[42] D.D. Kosambi, The Culture and Civilization of Ancient India in Historical Outline (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 2000), pp. 15-6.

[43] Ibid., p. 17.

[44] See Richard King, Orientalism and the Myth of Modern Hinduism (New Delhi: Critical Quests, 2008), p. 14.

[45] See David Lorenzen, ‘Who Invented Hinduism?’ in Society for Comparative Study of Society and History, 1999.

[46] See the Pahlavi Vendidâd (Zand=Î Jvît-Dêv=Dât), transliteration and translation by B. T. Anklesaria (Mumbai: K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, 2002), p. 12.

[47] See Richard King, Orientalism and the Myth of Modern Hinduism (New Delhi: Critical Quests, 2008), p. 10.

[48] Karl Marx, ‘The British Rule in India’, in On Colonialism (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976), p. 40-41.

[49] B.R. Ambedkar, ‘Krishna and his Gita’, in The Essential Writings of B.R. Ambedkar, p. 193.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid., p. 195, 196, 197

[52] Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (London: Verso, 1991), p. 14.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Holy Family (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1980), p. 46.