SB403 Has Distinct Origins in Doctrine of Discovery

A landmark first-of-a-kind conference Castecon 2023 was held in San Francisco, convened by Pandit Satish Sharma and Richa Gautam with the leadership and support of a grassroots team. This was the first such event where many important voices against the caste bill SB403, came on a common platform to raise their concerns about the false caste allegations on the Hindu American community. Castefiles will print a series of articles with key excerpts from the Castecon conference.

Jan 30, 2024 - 03:58
SB403 Has Distinct Origins in  Doctrine of Discovery

Everybody is talking about caste to everybody else except talking to us about it. And, there is something called the colonizer mind. It is something like a memetic virus. It can be communicated and it can be spread. It has a certain pathology. 

The clauses that were being put forward in the Caste Bill SB403 remind one of another bill, 

"Invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue, all Saracens and Pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed. And the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them, and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery and to apply an appropriate to themselves and his successors – the kingdoms, dukedoms, countries, counties, principalities, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit."

Some scholars will have recognized it. It was the first piece of legislation that empowered the legitimate use of force on those principles. 1452 - It's the piece of legislation that encouraged so many people to venture out into the world and take what was not theirs to dehumanize, vilify, and diminish other Souls. 

We are here because one young man, fueled by those words, felt he had the authority to go in search of India, the fabled land of India. And he wasn't going there to bring them human rights. He was there to take and to steal because the people there were not fully humans. Persona non grata means you haven't even granted the state of being a person to that being. They were part of the animal kingdom.

This is the impact of words. 

The  Papal Bull was known as the Doctrine of Discovery. And it's the doctrine that says I have some right to fix you. You can't fix your own house. I can do it. And the moment you have one person from one group standing up, and say, I know how to fix that group; it should ring an alarm bell. 

The only way we survive in comfort is if I look after my home and do the best that I can. Likewise, let my neighbor look after his home so that he can do the best or she can do the best or they can do the best. We can turn to each other and say, can we help each other? But if I throw stones at his house and he throws stones at my house, all of our houses are destroyed. This is such a simple principle.

SB403 undermines harmony, has a basis in the Doctrine of Discovery

SB403 flies in the face of that, and yet it works on the basis of this Doctrine of Discovery. This is the doctrine that your countryman – Jaber Sutherland referred to when he tendered a poem. It was a poem written by a colleague of his called – Shadwell, who said,

"If you see an island shore which has not been grabbed before lying in the track of trade as islands should, with the simple native quite unprepared to make a fight or you should just drop in and take it for his good not for the love of money, be it understood. But you row yourself to the land where the Bible is in your hand and you pray for him and rob him for his good. Then, you shoot him for his own good. All this lesson I can shape to campaigning at the Cape where the boar is being hunted for his good. He would welcome British rule if he weren't blaming for. Thus, you see it's only for his good. So, the burning houses for his good making helpless women homeless for their good, leaving little children orphans for their good. 

In India, there are bloody sights booting out the Hindus' rights where we have slaughtered many millions for their good. And with bullet and with brand desolated all the land but you know we did it only for their good. Yes, and still far away down in China, let us say where the Christian robs the Heathen for his good. You may burn and you may shoot. You may fill your sack with loot, but be sure; you do it only for his good. If you dare commit a wrong on the weak because you are strong, you may do it if you do it for his good. You may rob him if you do it for his good. You may kill him if you do it for his good."

You may legislate against the Hindus of California so long as you do it for their good.

They assert that Hindus are casteist, that we have a rigid hierarchical structure that imposes upon you at birth what your status is, what you're destined to be, and what you will remain. And there are penalties, if you venture outside of those boundaries. It's utter nonsense!

There has been a conflation of the "Caste" word with a word that we have called "Varna". And, I would like you all to experiment and visit and find out what's your Varna. All you need to know is your date of birth and your location of birth. Hit the magic button and let's see what it shares with us. I look forward to finding out a bit more about you. It may well be that it's complete nonsense. It may well be that it's religious mumbo jumbo, but we have the freedom to say, it doesn't harm anybody else.  It's important because it establishes a principle that in our tradition, if you incarnate a human being, you have a Varna. There is no such thing as a human being without Varna, unless that person has engaged in such spiritual austerities, that they no longer have bodily identification. They are established in spirit and the unity of spirit. That's the only person who can say, I now have no Varna, and I am no longer controlled by Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva. 

So, even the persons who are not of Indian origin, I would love for you to have a look and see what your Varna is. And, then we can have a conversation about whether the Hindus of India are so exclusivist that they created an untouchable class. They created other classes, which didn't even have Varnas. It's not true, everybody has a Varna!

Pandit Satish K. Sharma – British Indian leader

Castecon Desk Hindu community leader in the UK, Pandit Satish K Sharma, and Indian American activist and researcher Richa Gautam joined hands with a group of community grassroots members for holding a landmark conference Castecon 2023 in San Francisco. The first event of its kind, Castecon 2023 brought together a number of important voices in the Indian American community against the Caste Bill SB403. The event went a long way in laying out the current and future challenges for the Indian American community, especially the weaponisation of a non-issue like caste. Castefiles will publish a series of articles culling insight from the speakers at Castecon 2023 with excerpts from speeches. The articles will hopefully lay the basis for the community's strategy to meet the challenges of the future.