We Are Not Your Monkeys

By Anand Patwardhan
5 min., 1996

Recently, the brutal 4,000 year-old Indian caste system and its “divine” justification for class hierarchy has come under attack. Modern scholars examining the Sanskrit roots of Hindu mythology have found references to a story about a nomadic Aryan tribe’s conquest of darker-skinned indigenous peoples. The Sanskrit word for caste – varna – also means “color.” One of the original functions of the caste system, which prohibits inter-caste mingling, may have been to preserve the racial purity of the ruling class. We Are Not Your Monkeys, a song composed by Daya Pawar and sung by Sambhaji Bhagat, offers the dalit (lower caste) perspective on the Ramayana story of Hindu legend, one which refutes the notion of divine superiority.