ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by E M S NamboodiripadSubscribe to E M S Namboodiripad

Caste Conflicts vs Growing Unity of Popular Democratic Forces

Unlike in Europe where Slave Society succeeded barbarism, in India the ruin and disruption of pre-historic tribal society led to the creation of a society consisting of a large number of social groups or castes, each with its own sense of solidarity. In other words, the factor of class was covered by caste society, which in theory existed in 'age-old' idyllic and self-sufficient village communities. The destruction of this 'age-old' village system and the development of new capitalist relations in all walks of life -- begun by the British and continued since Independence in the midst of surviving precapitalist social formations — has led to two apparency contradictory features in Indian society and politics: the emergence of a working class and a growing unity among them as a class; and a disruption of the unity of the working class and the toiling people as evidenced in the increasing conflicts between 'backward' and 'forward' castes, in the intensified attacks on Harijans and other minorities, etc. These divisions and tensions cannot be simply attributed to the 'casteism' and 'communalism : such divisions and tensions were built into the national movement itself whose leaders were primarily moved even when being, for all appearances, thoroughly scientific, modern and secular — by an unhistorical desire to revive the 'age-old' Indian civilisation and culture, based on the idyllic village communities at whose centre was the unalterable division of society into a hierarchy of castes. It is the refusal of millions of Indian people to be bound by the ideology of Varnashnvna Dharma, and whose social and political activities, in howsoever distorted a manner, represent a revolt against the open and covert attempts to re-establish the 'age-old' village society that has contributed most to the present continuing ' caste' and 'communal' tensions in Indian society.

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