PISCATAWAY, NJ, USA, August 08, 2011 (Press Release through bezinga.com): On July 31, 2011, the Worldwide Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES) and co-sponsor All World Gayatri Pariwar concluded a well-attended three-day conference on Varna, Jati and Kula (caste) that featured prominent scholars worldwide and robust youth participation, including members of Gayatri Pariwar, HSC and Youth for Sewa. For three days, scholars from various institutions and with diverse backgrounds presented historical, anthropological, social, and spiritual aspects of the caste system in India.
Dr. Pranav Pandya, head of All World Gayatri Pariwar and chancellor of Dev Sanskriti University, gave the inaugural address, remarking, "The origin and purpose of Varna-Ashram-Dharma (the core foundation of Indian civilization) is rooted in the main purpose of life, which is to achieve Self-enlightenment and perfection, for which the Varna-order provided the choice of a suitable path and support system for a thriving social fabric and personal life attainments, including social upliftment and material development as desirable side effects."
Several key points emerged from the conference presentations:
1. It was agreed that jati / varna in their original form were beneficial for the psycho-spiritual development of the individual and for social harmony and prosperity.
2. It was agreed that the negative social practices of untouchability and the like result from a degenerated and distorted social system that cannot be equated with or blamed on Jati / Varna. Hindus worldwide condemn untouchability and other such negative social practices as discrimination.
3. It was generally agreed that it is inimical to Hindu interests for others, including Hindu organizations not based in India, to conflate Jati / Varna with racism or crimes against humanity--this is a matter for Indians to solve as an internal social issue under the sovereign power of India and one in which much progress has been made by the Indian government, the democratic / legal institutions of India and the grassroots efforts of many Hindu organizations and acharyas.
Youth participants expressed appreciation for the forum and readiness for engagement. "I am very grateful for this opportunity to learn so much about my culture," said Kshama Desai of Youth for Sewa. Ravi Jaishankar, Secretary of the HSC (Hindu Students Council) National Body, eloquently expressed the need for the community to provide support to his generation to carry forward the Hindu tradition. Several of the youth expressed a yearning to learn more about Hinduism from authentic sources and appreciation for the original jati / varna system, which many felt had continuing relevance in modern times.
You can read the entire article at the source, linked above.