|Anand Giridharadas (Darshan Photography)|
Anand Giridharadas is a columnist for the New York Times and the author of India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking.
He was born in Cleveland, USA, to Indian immigrant parents.
They came from different castes (part brahmin) and raised him to ignore the proscriptions of the caste system. He talks with The World’s Marco Werman about how caste came into being and how India is gradually shaking free of it.
Giridharadas sticks to a humanistic theory, an almost evolutionary explanation that all human societies go through.
Sticking to these terms and modern assumptions, he carefully avoids mentioning what all brahmins know:
There was a strong alien or extraterrestrial influence or at least a cynical alien justification for the entire system of inequality.
The Buddha disavowed the traditional caste system determined by birth. Instead, he promoted the position that personal responsibility and actions (karma) in this life are what really lead one to be a "brahmin" or an "outcast." We are not born meriting privilege and deference, mere outcomes of actions from past lives, we earn it in this life.
Of course, it is not only our karma now that conditions our circumstances and beauty, wealth, talents, longevity, wealth, and success. But it is more important what we do now -- how choose to respond to our circumstances -- than simply what we have inherited from the fruition of our past actions and habits.