Blog Archives

On The Relationship Between Caste, State and Imperialism

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. 

I have recently also posted other works from the CPI(ML) on the question of caste in modern Indian neocolonial society. You kind these others works here and here.

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

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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

A Holy Triumvirate: Class, Caste and Patriarchy in Modern Indian Society

Anti-Caste Movement of India

The following is an essay by Sharmistha Choudhury 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 Choudhury explains the role of caste and patriarchy in modern Indian class society, and the organic relationship that exists between class, caste and patriarchy (as well as indirectly traditional Hindu religion).

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

(* Please read ‘lower castes’ and ‘upper castes’ as ‘so-called lower castes’ and ‘so-called upper  castes’ for obvious reasons.) 

Class, caste and patriarchy share an organic relationship, especially in the context of the Indian subcontinent. While the toiling classes have traditionally belonged to the lower castes, the trading classes and the propertied classes have generally corresponded with the upper castes.  Read the rest of this entry