varNa-s of varNavatI – v0

What is this about?

What might an updated hindu varNa-system look like? How would it compare to other social systems? This we address in the fantasy state of varNavatI. It is concievable that some state might choose to adapt this system or a variant thereof – and thrive as a result.

The varNa-s of varNavatI

The varNa-s of varNamatI are four in number.
  • The brAhmaNa-s.
    • Distinctive social functions
      • Offer spiritual and dhArmika guidance and services to the other varNa-s.
      • Update the dharmashAstra-s to suit newer circumstances, without abandoning:
        •  the ancient spirit of bringing harmony out of social chaos,
        • the urge to protect the fitness of the society
        • the feeling of belonging in a universal web that extends far beyond just humanity.
      • Officers in the Administrative service.
    • Importance of these functions
      • They help the smooth continuance of the divine universal order (RtA), as it applies to the society of varNavatI.
      • Thus, they uniting all sections of the society to function together in great harmony.
      • Needless to say, the society as a result is fitter (in its ability to improve social happiness and resistance to external threats).
    • Eligibility
      • Knowledge of relevant sacred lore (rooted in the Hindu past), of alternate social systems (especially those of their competitors), of novel findings that affect their understanding of the dharma.
        • Essential core: History of Dharmashastra by PV Kane. The entirety of mahAbhArata.
      • Knowledge of some spiritual lore.
      • Needless to say: Knowledge of sanskrit.
      • AchAra/ personal standards of behavior.
        • A certain standard of behavior is expected of brAhmaNa-s, major deviation from which should automatically result in prAyashcitta (expiation) – preferably self-induced.
      • Avoidance of conflicts of interest
        • No major stakes in businesses – beyond what is required for sustenance of oneself and one’s dependents.
  • The kShatriya-s
    • Distinctive social functions
      • Leadership in protecting the country
      • Governance and administrative service
    • Importance of these functions
      • If fantastic varNavatI were invaded or subverted, it will soon join ancient Greece and Rome in the museums of their conquerors :-)
      • The dharmashAstra requires some small portion of enforcement (daNDa) and protection. (The notion of dharma, if well ingrained in the society, should be mostly self enforced.)
    • Eligibility
      • Military service (as an officer) in early youth. A few continue this duty for a lifetime.
      • Governance and administrative service after the prime of youth has passed. In particular this includes leadership in internal security services.
      • Excellent knowledge of military tactics, history, foreign relations and statecraft.
        • Essential core: nItishAstra-s.
      • Intermediate knowledge of one current, major dharmashAstra; general knowledge of economics, science, society etc.. (as in the IAS exam).
      • AchAra/ personal standards of behavior.
        • Avoidance of conflicts of interest
          • Major stakes in businesses – beyond what is required for sustenance of oneself and one’s dependents.
      • Knowledge of sanskrit.
  • The vaishya-s
    • Distinctive social functions
      • Business (without foresaking the dharma towards other sections of the society)
      • Leadership in charity
      • Financial administrative service to the state – at this stage, they should have minimal conflicts of interests, having given up all their property.
    • Importance of these functions
      • Material prosperity is important for state security and gross happiness.
    • Eligibility
      • Experience with leadership and management of businesses or charities.
  • The shUdra-s – or the rest of the society
    • Distinctive social functions: none. They are generalists, with maximum freedom. Rise to leadership automatically would transfer them to one of the other varNa-s.
    • Importance of these functions
      • They provide the bulk of the manpower of varNavatI.
    • Eligibility
      • Open to all. Everyone is born a shUdra by default, unless other qualifications are earned and proven.

Functioning of the varNa-s

  • The varNa-s are not mutually antagonistic – fighting each other for power and reservations. Rather, they are harmonious and complementary. The emphasis is on duties and roles, rather than rights.
  • Picking a varNa
    • varNa-s are not determined solely by birth.
    • Educational opportunities are equally available – prior to specialization (which happens by choice and by testing).
      • There is some affirmative action to provide special incentives to families who are traditionally of lower social standing. The framing of this is critical: It is *never* framed as “equal rights” or “social justice”. Rather, it is framed as an attempt by the state to develop its human resources to the maximum possible extant.
      • Despite the above, the standards of admission into the higher varNa-s is NEVER lowered.
    • Within a lifetime, they are somewhat fluid – lower varNa to higher varNa transitions are possible and reversible, but a fall from a higher varNa (requiring higher standards of AchAra) to a lower varNa tends to be permanent.
  • Most social functions are open to all, irrespective of current varNa. For example:
    • Salaried/ daily wage employees.
    • Common soldiers.
    • Scientists and engineers.
    • Poets, journalists, lawyers etc..

System of government

  • varNavatI is NOT a dumbocracy (=democracy). It is either an oligarchy or a monarchy.
  • Leadership positions in governing provinces and the state
    • Selection:
      • The head of each province (and perhaps the entire state) is necessarily a fine kShatriya, past the prime of his youth, who has served with distinction both in the military and in internal administration. He should have no conflicts of interest, as described earlier.
      • Since the primary function of a ruler is uphold the dharma and the state security, he is elected by an electoral college consisting of brAhmaNa-s and kShatriya-s.
    • Limits on the powers of the plutocrats/ monarch:
      • The electoral college may be mobilized to dismiss a ruler. This can happen only once in 10 years.
      • In matters of internal administration, the body of brAhmaNa-s have the power of veto. This can happen as frequently as necessary (in case a bad choice was made).
  • Financial leadership.
    • Selection:
      • This necessarily has to be an eligible vaiShya – one who has shown his or her prowess in both business and charity.
      • The leadership is elected by a college of vaiShya-s (whose enterprise is affected by his decisions) and brAhmaNa-s (because the dharma should not take a back seat with regards to artha).
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