The following is an essay by PJ James 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 James explains the relationship between India’s ancient caste system, the modern capitalist state and imperialism.
As usual though the posting of his essay should not be taken as an endorsement of the line of the CPI(ML).
Caste is one of the main pillars of class rule particularly in India and South Asia in general. As an inhuman social institution, which evolved out of the archaic division of labour from the very beginning, the caste system is integrally linked up with women’s oppression on the one hand, and landlessness of the broad masses of the peasantry on the other. In other words, as a legitimizing power of the exploiters and being intertwined with patriarchy and land question, caste was and is one of the most effective tools in the hands of both colonial and neocolonial state acting as the supervisor and custodian of ruling class interests in India. Therefore, smashing the material basis of the caste system is an inseparable task of the revolutionary forces in their fight for the establishment of a people’s democratic state. Read the rest of this entry