Archive for September 28, 2018

Varna and Jati aka ‘Caste’ System Was Hugely Damaging to Indians: 8

September 28, 2018 11 comments

In the previous post of this series, I said that the general lack of critical thinking skills in most Indians is deeply linked to Indian style of parenting and whatever passes for ‘education’ in that country. Some might consider this to be a harsh assessment, and that is kinda true. However reality is what it is, whether we like it or not. Also, it is not possible to fix a problem if we keep on pretending that it does not exist. So let us start by first defining it.

Have you ever noticed that a lot of typical Indians, who are good at passing exams and tests, are also incredibly bad at applying that knowledge? To be fair, we see this problem in other parts of the world. However, for reasons we shall soon get into, the levels it reaches in India are just mind-boggling. But there is a weird twist to this story. Those who grew up outside India, or are otherwise atypical, do not display this shortcoming at a higher rate than other people.

In other words, this problem is cultural not biological. But isn’t it a rather odd problem? Think about it.. how can somebody capable of regurgitating all the ‘right’ answers have such a poor grasp of subject matter? Clearly, the person in question has good memory and no cognitive problems. So what is going on? Some might say that this is a consequence of the Indian ‘education’ system being based on rote memorization- and that is true. But why is that so?

Let me pose this question in another way. Would you eat at a restaurant where the cook could recite all the ingredients in his dishes and their preparation methods, but not cook well? You wouldn’t, and neither would most Indians. But for some reason, this state of affairs is normal in the Indian ‘education’ system. Why? And what does it have to do with the jati system? What prevents Indians from changing their way of doing things?

Moving on to a related problem, why do most Indians conflate knowledge with regurgitating the beliefs of famous people? Once again. you see this problem in other parts of the world, but for some reason, it reaches almost comical levels in most Indians. Why is deliberative and skeptical thinking so uncommon among typical Indians, especially the more ‘educated’. Why do most Indians display an unwillingness to think through problems on their own, pose inconvenient questions and be reasonably skeptical about whatever passes for knowledge.

And this brings us to the proximate cause of this dysfunction. Have you noticed that typical Indian parenting produces intellectually and emotionally crippled kids? To be clear, I am not suggesting that north-american parenting is especially good or free of problems. In fact, it has its unique set of dysfunctions. Having said that, it is hard to ignore that traditional Indian parenting is way more likely to create spineless kids with little capability for autonomous thinking or action.

But why? And why would parents do something like that to their own kids? Well.. the answer has to do with the jati or caste system. Have you ever wondered why the jati system sounds so alien to non-Indians? Could it be because belief in, and practicing, the jati system is not compatible with even basic levels of critical thinking? Let me put it this way.. you cannot simultaneously believe in the caste system and still be capable of critical thinking.

So how do you perpetuate the jati system and its wretched institutions such as social apartheid and arranged (historically child) marriage. Well.. the easiest way to do that is to brainwash your children from birth into believing all sorts of nonsense, blindly respecting ‘authority’, discouraging questions and personal agency etc. Traditional Indian parenting is about perpetuating the jati system by crippling the intellectual and emotional development of your own children

It is kinda analogous to breaking the legs of your slave so that he (or she) cannot escape and find a better life. And that is why, you see, children who grow in traditional Indian families have stunted intellectual and emotional development. But what does this have to do with the equally dysfunctional system of ‘education’ in India? A lot, actually. The system, you see, is not about producing competent individuals as much as it is about producing the appearance of education.

But that sounds totally nuts! Why would anybody want to produce the appearance of education rather than the real deal? As usual, the answer has to do with the mindset of those running the system. People who never received a real education and have a limited ability to think critically cannot fix a crappy system, because they are incapable of imagining a better system. You cannot be a good car mechanic, if you have no reference frame for a properly tuned car. Similarly people who are unable to think past what they learned in medical school make bad physicians.

In the next part, I hope to show you (in some detail) the intimate connection between poor group cohesion among Indians and jati system. This will help you understand why incredibly tiny armies of foreigners could conquer and rule large parts of India without any resistance from local population.

What do you think? Comments?