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  • Writer's pictureAyyappan Ramachandran

Imagining the Hindu caste system in the modern workplace

Let's imagine the Hindu caste system in the modern workplace...

Here's a primer if you are new to the caste system, it differentiates people into 4 groups:

  1. Brahmins (priests, teachers),

  2. Kshatriyas (rulers, warriors),

  3. Vaishyas (merchants) and

  4. Sudras (workers)

(Let's not lock horns over the rightness of the caste system. This is just a thought experiment.)

Now if you think about it, the modern workplace already consists of these divisions, but hidden under different labels.

  1. Brahmins = Thought leaders behind innovation, process optimisation, etc.

  2. Sudras = Employees who implement the innovation, power the day-to-day affairs of the business

  3. Kshatriyas = Ops specialists who safeguard the business, like auditors, legal advisors, IT security teams

  4. Vaishyas = CXOs who set the vision, work on expansion, investments, culture

There is no hierarchy in this. There is no greater role, or lesser role.

  • The employee who does the day-to-day work is in no way inferior to the CEO. At my previous organisation, my CEO, though very strategic and thoughtful, could not write code like my friend in the development team.

  • The IT security team is not inferior to the thought leader, who may not the know the difference between firewall and antivirus.

Therefore all 4 castes would come together to form a flat workplace where everyone is equally essential to the business. The grouping is only to distribute the roles and responsibilities.

But if this is already the case, what's there that is new to implement?

Merit-based modern workplace
Representational image of caste-based workplace, created with AI

The original caste system made it clear that the grouping should be according to merit instead of birth. That is, if a man born as Kshatriya has a frightful tendency, but is a dedicated worker, he must become a Sudra.

The modern workplace, too, should group employees into roles that they are more likely to excel at, instead of employing based on academic background.

Therefore an IT fresher with weak coding skills but creative at writing would do better in the Marketing desk than IT desk.

Let's see what skills people come with, not what certificates they come with. Let's imagine a workplace built on merit.


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