Could the caste system have originated from the Harappans? Indians have an uncomfortable relationship with the sanitary system. We have permitted and even justified manual scavenging. A place where the latrine is not connected to the drainage system and so humans have to come into the back alleys of homes, clear excrement from toilets, and then carry it out of the village. Those who were forced to do this job as part of caste duties and karma were called ‘untouchables’. They were not even given respect for the forced service extracted for the benefit of the community. It is ironic then that India has the privilege of the oldest and most sophisticated sewer system seen anywhere in the world. The Harappan civilisation thrived in northwest India 4,500 years ago. It had over five major cities, 100 towns and 1,000 villages, with a population of five million. This was 20 per cent of the world’s population, 4,000 years ago. They had a sanitation system. Every house had a bathroom and a toilet. The waste material would be collected through drainpipes. The waste would be taken out of the cities. Many Hindutva chauvinists argue that Harappan cities were Vedic. They are, however,… Read full this story
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