Yes, you read it right. I do believe that the caste system was better. But before you start thinking I am a lunatic, give me the chance to explain myself.The caste system as a concept stemmed out of Hinduism where in each member of society was divided into four categories namely Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. Each caste held a position or status according to the role it played for the overall benefit of society.
The Brahmins were the teachers. They were the keepers of knowledge and wisdom. They were peace loving and righteous. They held the highest status in society.
The Kshatriyas were the protectors of society. It was their duty to protect people and fight with courage for their country. They were noble and heroic and were second in terms of status in society.
Next came the Vaishyas who engaged in trade, agriculture and rearing of cattle.
The lowest in the caste in the society was that of the Shudras whose work was that of service and entertainment to society
Now in the original caste system (before it got distorted) it did not matter which caste one was born in. A Shudra could become a Brahmin if he/she obtained knowledge and wisdom and vice versa. So it was the skills, knowledge and the benefits that an individual gave to society that decided his caste.
After Independence the Indian constitution outlawed caste based discrimination but sadly new castes evolved which was based on birth and one can see many examples of it in our own lives. In most cases the child of a businessman becomes a businessman, the child of a doctor becomes a doctor and the child of an actor becomes an actor and so on and so forth.
So it is quite clear that whether or not we like it the caste system existed earlier and it exists today as well just in a different form. What is however interesting to notice is that the table has turned upside down.
The Shudras who were the entertainers and are the actors, sportsman and the likes of today are celebrities and enjoy the highest status in society and earn the maximum amount of money. Businessman, traders are second in the status table and also earn large amounts of money. The soldiers and the protectors of our country still have respect but their financial condition is dismal. The last in the status table are the teachers who earn peanuts.
Can you notice the imbalance that has got created? The value of knowledge has diminished and the value of entertainment has increased. Knowledge provides long term benefits to society while entertainment provides only momentary satisfaction. In a way we are not investing in our future.
Today every child wants to be an actor or a sportsman or a businessman. Very few want to become teachers or want to join the armed forces. So the two most important sections of society are receiving fewer and lower quality of people.
If one looks at other countries then you will find that although the status of actors and businessman have increased the status and value of teachers and people in the armed forces has not gone down. Teaching and research professions not only pay well but are also sought after.
So in hindsight the caste system was good. I am sure everyone would agree that a teacher gives far more valuable service to society than an actor. Maybe as a society we should go back to our roots and imbibe those practices cause if one removes the untouchability and caste by birth concept I think the caste system was a brilliant way or maintaining the right balance in society.