Dr. Gibson's book: wrong Web address
November 20, 2003
My letter "Dr. Gibson's book is the lightning rod of our times" (Nov. 14th, 2003) has a crucial typographical error with respect to the Web address of Ed. Vishwanathan as given in the Notes of Dr. Gibson's book. The correct Web address is http://www.indialink.com, not http://www.indialinks.com. The relevant portion of my letter should therefore be amended to read as follows:
"The primary sources for her ideas about the caste system are the works of two non-Guyanese Indians, Ed. Viswanathan (1992 book & 1998 Web page) and G. S. Ghurye (1969). The Web address she gives as http://www.indialink.com is a site linking Indians worldwide but I found nothing concerning the caste system on it and the other address http://www.indialink.com/Forum/Arts-Culture/message/521.html given in note 9, page 83 is unavailable. The information that Dr. Gibson provides based on these sources is therefore unverifiable and questionable."
Interested readers can search for sites on "Hinduism and the caste system" for further information.
Here are some choice tidbits from two such sites.
"Hinduism is the religion of all, not of a few privileged. A great service it would be to Hinduism, if the present day Vedic teachers identify bright children from the lower castes and start teaching them the Vedas and the Upanishads and allow them to serve God in the temples of India....Caste System has been the bane of Hindu society for centuries. In terms of damage to human progress and suffering, it did much greater damage for a much longer period to a great many people than the slave system of the western world. The caste system was a clever invention of the later Vedic people, who found it to be a convenient way of perpetuating their religious distinction and social privileges" (Hinduism and caste system.htm, Wednesday, November 12, 2003).
"The Hindu caste system is comparable to class structures in other countries, except that this Indian system has been rigidly enforced and has lasted for two or three thousand years. The caste system was enforced as law throughout the subcontinent until the adoption of the Indian constitution in 1949, which outlawed the caste system. However, it remains a deeply ingrained social structure, particularly in rural India.... Today, features of the caste system linger throughout Indian society. Laws prohibit discrimination based on caste, and the government runs affirmative action programs for lower castes, especially the Untouchables (now called Dalits). But caste continues to play a part in marriages, and some politicians actually campaign for caste-based votes. Maybe the system will change more dramatically in this new millennium" (How does the Hindu caste system work.htm, Monday July 22, 2002).