In the olden days, we mean, really olden days, the four varnas – Brahmin, kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudras. This demarcation was done on the basis of one’s occupation and had nothing to do with birth. So as a Brahmin, it was his duty to conduct all religious and spiritual rituals, spread knowledge; a Brahmin was not supposed to earn; he ate whatever he got and lived on the money provided by the society. The Kshatriya was a warrior and his duty was to protect, the Vaishya or the traders earned money and it was they who provided for the rest of the society and the shudhra’s were essentially artisans and helped clean up, a very important function of living. But today, we encompass all four varnas as the society gets more and more polarized and nucleus.
Thus when today Corporate Governance is made mandatory, companies cry foul. But then a company, which is essentially a Vaishya function, isn’t it it’s duty to provide for the upliftment of the society with the money earned? There are many companies which really take this duty of theirs seriously and need no prodding from the Govt. One such company is HDFC, which has embarked on setting up schools. The company has targeted the middle-class and is also in talks with defunct schools to take them over. These schools, known as, ‘The HDFC Schools’ currently operate in three cities – Pune, Gurgaon and Bangaluru.
It is good to know that HDFC is doing its duty. But mind you, here, it is not a selfless duty; this education foray of HDFC is also a future profit venture because in today’s capitalist world, a socialist duty is frowned upon, considered to an unnecessary drain on the money. Thus given the highly polarized and selfish world that we live in today, these varnas truly hold no relevance.