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THE RIDDLE OF THE SHUDRAS
EVERYBODY knows that the Shudras formed the fourth Varna of the Indo-Aryan society. But very few have cared to inquire who were these Shudras and how they came to be the fourth Varna.
That such an inquiry is of first-rate importance is beyond question. For, it is worth knowing how the Shudras came to occupy the fourth place, whether it was the result of evolution on or it was brought about by revolution.
Any attempt to discover who the Shudras were and how they came to be the fourth Varna must begin with the origin of the Chaturvarnya in the Indo-Aryan society.
A study of the Chaturvarnya must in its turn start with a study of the ninetieth Hymn of the Tenth Mandala of the Rig Veda-a Hymn, which is known by the famous name of Purusha Sukta.
Cosmogonics have never been more than matters of academic interest and have served no other purpose than to satisfy the curiosity of the student and to help to amuse children.
This may be true of some parts of the Purusha Sukta. But it certainly cannot be true of the whole of it.
That is because all verses of the Purusha Sukta are not of the same importance and do not have the same significance.
Verses 11 and 12 fall in one category and the rest of the verses fall in another category. Verses other than 11 and 12 may be regarded as of academic interest.
Nobody relies upon them. No Hindu even remembers them. But it is quite different with regard to verses 11 and 12.
Prima facie these verses do no more than explain how the four classes, namely, (1) Brahmins or priests, (2) Kshatriyas or soldiers, (3) Vaishyas or traders, and (4) Shudras or menials, arose from the body of the Creator.
Also Read: Who Were The Shudras PDF In Hindi
|B R Ambedkar
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