Hinduism: Not Cast in Caste - The Ten Key Points
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- 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.
- The report acknowledges that caste-based discrimination is a complex ongoing problem in India that is distorted by political maneuvering.
- 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.
- HAF fully acknowledges that there have been and are on-the-ground efforts by Hindus in India to eradicate caste-based discrimination.
- This report is a tool to counter countless school textbooks that represent caste as a rigid and hierarchical system that is inseparable from Hinduism.
- “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.
- HAF acknowledges the substantial role played by the British colonial regime in solidifying a rigid caste system in Indian society.
- Hinduism: Not Cast in Caste presents “a” Hindu perspective on caste-based discrimination, not “the” only Hindu perspective.
- Prior to its release, this report was peer reviewed by approximately a dozen external reviewers, whose suggestions may or may not have been incorporated.
- 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.