Caste the greatest challenge to democracy, says KEN

The worst form of terrorism in the Indian context is the caste system as it is so deep-rooted that even atheists follow it, writer and thinker K.E.N. Kunhammed has said. Speaking at a seminar demanding laws against superstitions and regressive rituals here on Sunday, he said the caste system was the greatest challenge to democracy and that it was a force that could not be controlled by any number of laws or awareness programmes.

“The caste system is not restricted to Hinduism. Islam and Christianity, even Budhism, which were vehemently against the caste structure, have been influenced by it. The Sachar Committee has listed 82 castes in Islam in India,” he said. The renaissance in Kerala had primarily targeted the caste system and its demolition. Sree Narayana Guru founded the secular spirituality culture in Kerala and fought against caste system. But, it has not been done away with to this day.

Sabarimala issue

The controversy surrounding the entry of young women into Sabarimala was not just an issue of women, but one of untouchability, which was deep-rooted in the caste system in the country, said Mr. Kunhammed.

He sited various examples from across the State to assert the reach of the caste system even among the educated masses. “The nature of prasadam offered at temples, the swear words that we use, are all influenced by the caste system”, he said.

Secular Society president Jyothi Raj, in his address, pointed out that Maharashtra and Karnataka had already come up with laws banning superstitions and regressive rituals. “A ritual at the Udupi Sri Krishna temple by which lower caste people were to roll on food waste of upper caste was recently banned as a result of this law,” he said.

Mr. Jyothi Raj said rituals had not connection with rational thinking and were mostly influenced by impulse. The seminar was jointly organised by Secular Society, Breakthrough Science Society, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad and Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham.

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Printable version | May 13, 2022 4:11:04 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/caste-the-greatest-challenge-to-democracy-says-ken/article25759501.ece