Misunderstanding of the caste system and mind blowing scientific DNA proof
The rigid caste system that we think of today when it is mentioned has only been around for around 1900 years. The knowledge of this misunderstanding may shed a little light upon what the caste system (caste system is the wrong nomenclature) really is and what it was about and why it was in place many many many years ago.
We today look at the caste system as discrimination. This is the lens we look at the world through. Can we even step out of our own bias and see things for what they really are without our dirty lenses casting the view of the modern world upon it? This is an article from that very lens. http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/globalcaste/caste0801-03.htm
What is amazing if one was to realize beyond their limitations of opinion, is that th word varna is not the same as the word jati. The word varṇa is derived from vṛ meaning to cover, screen, conceal, surround or obstruct and refers to all that people attach to themselves due to family, profession or club. It includes colors, symbols, implements and everything that shapes the outward appearance, figure, shape. It can refer to a class of men, tribe or order.
The terms varna (theoretical classification based on occupation) and jāti (caste) are two distinct concepts: while varna is the idealised four-part division envisaged by the above described Twice-Borns, jāti (community) refers to the thousands of actual endogamous groups prevalent across the subcontinent. A jati may be divided into exogamous groups based on same gotras. The classical authors scarcely speak of anything other than the varnas; even Indologists sometimes confuse the two.
Interesting as well as a sidenote is that all classical tantra teachers were not Brahmins yet the Tantric texts were written by Brahmins.
Interesting findings in modern science about the caste system and genetics
Extracts from “What DNA Testing Reveals About India’s Caste System” by Dan Kedmey:
The collective bloodlines at the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, India’s leading genetic-research institute, pose a unique riddle for researchers. On the one hand, geneticists can trace nearly all bloodlines back to two ancestral groups, one hailing from Africa, the other from Eurasia. These groups mingled, married and swapped genes. A mixture of their genetic material can be found in nearly every person on the subcontinent today.
But at some mysterious point in history, these braided bloodlines began to fray. The population divided along linguistic, religious and tribal lines, to the point where it separated into 4,635 distinct genetic groups. Europe and Asia look positively homogeneous in comparison, says Thangaraj. He and his collaborators at Harvard Medical School wanted to know when exactly the Indian melting pot stopped melting.
Their finding, recently published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, made waves when it was revealed that genetic mixing ended 1,900 years ago, around the same time the caste system was being codified in religious texts. The Manusmriti, which forbade intermarriage between castes, was written in the same period, give or take a century.
Thangaraj says the study shows only a correlation between the early caste system and the divergence of bloodlines, and whether one caused the other is a debate better left to historians. Nonetheless, it puts a stake in the ground, marking the moment when the belief that one should marry within one’s own group developed into an active practice.
He also doesn’t want the early signs of a caste system to overshadow another finding of his study — how completely the population mixed 2,000 years ago. He points to the Paliyar tribe in the foothills of southern India. Their villages are inaccessible by car, and outsiders cannot visit them without a government permit. “They’re still in the forest,” says Thangaraj, “but still they have some affinities with other groups. At some point in time, everybody was mixed.”