Hinduism: Not Cast in Caste - The Ten Key Points

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  1. The key message of this report is that caste-based discrimination is not intrinsic to Hinduism, and that the solution lies within the eternal teachings of Hinduism.
  2. The report acknowledges that caste-based discrimination is a complex ongoing problem in India that is distorted by political maneuvering.
  3. HAF believes that caste-based discrimination in India is a domestic issue that should only be handled by the Government of India, and that the U.S. Congress, United Nations or any non-Hindu foreign body has no locus standi to interfere in this matter.
  4. HAF fully acknowledges that there have been and are on-the-ground efforts by Hindus in India to eradicate caste-based discrimination.
  5. This report is a tool to counter countless school textbooks that represent caste as a rigid and hierarchical system that is inseparable from Hinduism.
  6. “Caste” is derived from the Portuguese word “casta” and is not equivalent to the varna/jaati tradition in Indian society; HAF is NOT suggesting an end to the varna/jaati tradition, but an end to caste-based discrimination and birth-based hierarchy.
  7. HAF acknowledges the substantial role played by the British colonial regime in solidifying a rigid caste system in Indian society.
  8. Hinduism: Not Cast in Caste presents “a” Hindu perspective on caste-based discrimination, not “the” only Hindu perspective.
  9. Prior to its release, this report was peer reviewed by approximately a dozen external reviewers, whose suggestions may or may not have been incorporated.
  10. The statements by 14 religious leaders and organizations are not endorsements of HAF’s report, but rather statements against caste-based discrimination provided to HAF prior to their review of the report. Some of these same respected leaders have endorsed the report after its release.