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PostRe: Hinduism in US textbooks (John Eipper, USA, 09/08/06 1:39 pm)
Evelyn Aleman writes: I visited India for the first time a couple of years ago, and asked my hosts -- who were all wealthy Rotarians -- if the caste system was still very much a part of their culture. Not only did our Indian hosts deny its existence in their culture today, but I, as well as other Americans on the trip, found it very difficult to strike a conversation about this with them.
However, on a couple of occassions one of our hosts was referred to as coming from "good stock." When I inquired further as to what this meant, I was told that my hostess came from good family stock from long ago. My guess was that this was some kind of reference to caste. As I travelled through many of the main cities the class divisions seemed so incredibly obvious, and our hosts seemed much too willing to provide excuses for the existence of poverty in their country.
If there is one thing that my Rotary Club realized on this trip is how little economic investment the upper classes bestow on the poor in their own country. Yet a small Rotary Club, like mine, would go out of its way to provided much assistance to people living thousands of miles away..I love the Indian people and their culture, but I also strongly believe that they must address their willingness -- especially the wealthy class -- to descriminate and ignore its poor, sick, and disabled. This cannot be ignored, and if our U.S. text books shed light on this, then so be it.
RH: Of course the caste system exists. albeit the name has changed. Regarding the indifference to poverty, some time ago I posted a piece about a wealthjy Indian boasting about the luxury in which he lived. Meanwhile starving peasants were lying on the street outside his door. Does Hinduism say abything about this? I also posted a pieee about wealthy Mexicans denying my assertion that there were people living in poverty in their area. I drove them around, and their response was "They will have their reward in heaven". Christianity does have an answer to that.
The caste system has its origins in successive invasions, with the victors forming the upper caste. Does the caste system still exist in southern India?
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