6Louis Dumont describes hierarchical ideology encrusted in ancient religious texts which are revealed as the governing conception of the contemporary caste structure. On yet another plane of analysis, homo hierarchicusis contrasted with his modern Western antithesis, homo aequalis. the unity of purity and pollution - gives us the groundof caste as a totality or system.7The all embracing nature of religious-based hierarchy grounded in the opposition between the pure and the impure is strikingly revealed in the manner in which sects, including the heterodox ones, those formed in opposition to hierarchical Hinduism, have not remained unaffected by the caste system. Dumont’s theory of the formation of sects in Indian society can be summarized briefly. In India while the social system has been regulated by caste hierarchy, novel and heterodox religious ideas and commensurate social structure have been the product of the thought of renouncers. The renouncer (sanyasin) in the Indian civilization has been characterized as the ‘individual-outside the world’ in opposition to ‘man in the social world’ (of caste). The individualistic thought of the renouncers – whether of Buddha, Mahavir, Ramakrishna Paramhansa have given rise to sects. The membership of the sect cuts across tribal and caste differences though Dumont demonstrates on the basis of Indian socio-religious history how the sects have either developed caste-like grades within themselves or become interpenetrated by the local and regional caste systems of their milieu. 6Refer: Caste and democratic politics in India, ed by. Ghanshyam Shah, pg 17 7See Dumont, Louis Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications. Complete English edition, revised. 540 p. 1970, 1980 Series: (NHS) Nature of Human Society 13
Thus the Lingayats of Karnataka behave like a caste and the Jains all over India have developed within this community caste-like grades. They also practice endogamy in consociation with the local and regional Hindu castes (e.g. the Bania in North India) or sub-castes. Equality In India, the concept of equality is mainly referred to in the context of the disparities created by the caste system. Of course, social inequality is manifested in a number of ways. The rich and the poor, landowners and landless labourers, capitalists and workers, educated and uneducated, employed and unemployed, men and women, modern and backward. In addition, there always are 'internal' inequalities among the rich, as also among the workers at various strata and the farmers at various levels. For example, in terms of the Supreme Court's judgment, there is a 'creamy layer' among the OBC's also. Further, not all BC castes are equal nor are all OBC's on the same level or in the same class.
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