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The Materialist Basis of Caste Hierarchy & Its Abolition in Indian Society

The following is an essay by Anant Phadke of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). It was published as part of their work in the Anti-Caste Movement in India. In this essay comrade Phadke explains both the materialist basis for the existence of caste hierarchy in colonial and neocolonial Indian society and the materialist basis for the abolition of casteist oppression.

As usual though the posting of his essay should not be taken as an endorsement of the line of the CPI(ML).

The nature and role of caste relations in modern India including the post-colonial period is a matter of debate within Left in India. Traditional Marxists consider caste relations as a part of only the ‘superstructure’ and in modern India they consider ‘caste-oppression’ as a remnant of feudal relations because according to their understanding, the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution has not been completed in India. Hence in this framework of understanding of caste relations in modern India, abolition of casteist hierarchy would only require Cultural Revolution. Some of us have been arguing that this view is unscientific. Along with anti-capitalist measures, specific economic measures would also be required during the post-revolutionary Socialist March to abolish the material basis of the caste system. Let us see how. Read the rest of this entry