Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Varna and Jati aka ‘Caste’ System Was Hugely Damaging to Indians: 8

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

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?

  1. P Ray
    September 29, 2018 at 4:31 am

    In other words, this problem is cultural not biological. But isn’t it a rather odd problem, in the first place? 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?

    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.

    You could say the same thing about a vast number of Asians … a good example is:
    Check out linkedin. A vast majority of the Asian faces there – at least the ones FROM Asia, like to talk about their job responsibilities rather than their job achievements.
    The nuance is important, because it demonstrates literacy rather than comprehension.

    This is a huge red flag, because someone who says “lead a team” … doesn’t inspire confidence, when you know nothing about what they can do on their own, or even whether they understand the subject matter.

    Agree, but this problem is especially bad in Indian society. To give you an example, China has been repeatedly demonstrated its ability to copy and improve various complex technologies in contrast to India which has not demonstrated even a fraction of that ability. Actions speak louder than words.

    • P Ray
      September 29, 2018 at 9:58 am

      Not to disagree but to present information (North Korea also surprised people with their nukes):
      India is currently trialling their “own” (put in quotes because it conforms to a previously established instruction set — NOW nobody will buy a processor that only runs their own instruction set because fighting for market acceptance is so difficult without an established software base) RISC microprocessor running Linux:
      https://factordaily.com/india-chip-design-shakti-iit-madras/
      (Feel free to ignore the hyperbole, and also remember that great strides NOW in processors are a myth, because even Intel is struggling to get to 10nm, they are now at 14nm+++ … in other words, just a “refined” technique of what was previously offered 5 years ago (chips take 2 years to qualify, so a chip released commercially in 2015 … was actually available in 2013).

      I think a lot of countries are starting to understand that they require a rudimentary, indigenous alternative to technologies that are sold by “foreigners” and also the “Big Powers”. So that they don’t get a nasty surprise when there is a trade (or other) war – e.g. the movie “Dragon Day”. There is also the reality that both workers and leaders better know how their products work so that there is competence across the organisation (Ha! as if …)

      Even IBM knew that putting their eggs in one basket for microprocessors would have put them at the mercy of one supplier, hence … they REQUIRED Intel to share their microprocessor blueprints with AMD before giving Intel the supply contract.

  2. hoipolloi
    September 29, 2018 at 6:21 am

    “…the person in question has good memory and no cognitive problems.” and no critical thinking either. Makes a good corporate serf. Thanks to a hierarchical endogamous caste system.

    Thanks AD for another thought provoking post.

    Yes, they do make good servants and ass-kissers, don’t they?

  3. September 29, 2018 at 9:26 am

    I could go on and on, but some of this shit sounds similar to what’s happening to a certain segment of the black community in America, thanks to systematic white supremacy, “Willie Lynch” syndrome (and mothers’ fear of their sons being too “masculine”). Collectively, they all groom their offspring to be “go along to get along” cannon fodder to cater to the elites at the top of society.

  4. Gp
    September 30, 2018 at 11:17 am

    You are absolutely right about the obedience to parents meme. It is drilled into kids. But why do u think parents would do that? Do you think they are well meaning fools or do you sense malice?

    • hoipolloi
      September 30, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Parental control of progeny in South Asian families is because:

      It is very much a patriarchal and hierarchal society, so father knows best. Parents want to be taken care of in old age by the kids, though it is no longer necessary due to family prosperity and old age pensions provided by government agencies, the fear of left alone in old age and poverty persists. Parents fear that kids may marry outside their jati and pollute the bloodlines and bring dishonor to the family. Parents feel they own the kids. A fifty year old son being admonished by a parent is not uncommon.

      Apologies to AD for jumping the gun and addressing the question. 🙂

      • Gp
        September 30, 2018 at 8:54 pm

        But most families are headed by women and Indian men are mostly under the thumbs of their wives. I don’t buy the patriarchy argument

      • hoipolloi
        September 30, 2018 at 9:28 pm

        “Indian men are mostly under the thumbs of their wives.” I am not aware of this stereotype for south Asians. Father or mother it is same parental control.

  5. Gp
    October 1, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Do write a piece on your thoughts on the Aryan ivasion theoryband people of the IVC. The issue has again gained momentum in India.

  1. October 2, 2018 at 9:13 pm

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