Abstract

In the fight against racism, philosophy has to interrogate caste in its own histories and current decolonial consensus. Caste has been evading its interrogation as the oldest race theory and racist practice, which continue to oppress the lower-caste peoples who constitute the majority population of the Indian subcontinent. Caste and race are species of the hypophysics of man, which consecrates scaled intrinsic value in human nature through the notion of “being born as” by “being born to.” They are analogues in having the same denigrate-dominate function of exploiting by including as born inferior. However, caste and race are also homologues since the hypophysics of caste has been at the origins of the hypophysics of race from at least the eighteenth century, culminating in the “Aryan doctrine” of the Nazis, now being revived. Caste was the empirical, conceptual, and textual resource for Europeans as it showed that large groups could be dominated as well as excluded through the self-designated superiority, supplied by the Brahminical texts, of the oppressing group. Rather than a colonial construct, caste is the oldest racism, which in colonial times devised new calypsologies—ways to mask itself against rising anticaste thought and politics. Postcolonial and subaltern theories disguise caste’s racism as “religion,” “culture,” and subaltern subjectivity, while some sociologists have denigrated Dalit scholarship as unacademic and emotional. The homologies of caste are still dangerously regnant today.

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