Sunday, May 25, 2014

Property ownership in tradition of renunciation

The NCERT book has gone worse in last 10 years, from "Hindutva", a balanced opinion on Indian culture, it has gone imperialist.  Generally vile, race discussions from all over the world is printed for school children to digest.

      Caste is introduced in terms of property ownership - "untouchable" didn't own land while "twice born" had right to education. This is unnecessary, poorly written and misleading.

 Land holdings

     Indian had this tradition of renunciation and sacrifice for all.  The quest for life didn't  revolve around  ownership of  money, property and business for all . Trying to explain the renunciation through ownership has produced bunch fools and absurdities.

      For properties,  In addition to ownership,  work allocated to caste, situation and morality mandated rights to be  exercised over property.  Most learned Brahmins couldn't cultivate their own land because that was not included in their work. The owner of the property could be a trustee.

       Simillarly, other castes including the Shudra had exclusive  rights to public and private property, for doing certain work. A Brahmin couldn't go for fishing to the village river, a shudra caste person  could grow chicken, do fishing etc.

      It is not very clear even Brahmins had lot of quest for holding of the land. The Brahmin had this tradition of giving up property and going Sanyas,there was always a certain percentage of floating Brahmins, sanyasins without any property,  thus it was necessary to give the Brahmin rights to begging. Land was mostly managed by the King and whom ever he pleased.

      It is only since British rule, Brahmins close to British (ex:  Rabindranath Tagore's grand father) had significant property holdings, but Tagore were anti-Brahmins, and during this period land holding was  not controlled by caste laws.  People close to british got most of the land. NCERT authors are silent about this aspect of land ownership.

    Thus the NCERT book doesn't focus on the strong tradition of renunciation existing with tradition of partial ownership. Both Brahmins and Shudras are excluded from the ownership aspect to various extent. Brahmins, because they have right to study Vedas, the quest of Vasudeva  was worthier holding  than ownership of property and kingdom. Shudras because they have tamasic rights for pleasure - rights to capture fish, birds, cultivate chicken.


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