The first question:
Does a child not have as much right to privacy and freedom from parental conditioning as the parents themselves expect?
It is one of the most fundamental problems facing humanity today; the future depends on how we solve this problem. It has never been encountered before. For the first time man has come of age, a certain maturity has happened – and as you become mature you have to face new problems.
Slowly, slowly as man progressed, he became aware of many kinds of slavery. In the days of Rama, who is being worshipped in India as one of the greatest incarnations of God, people were sold in the markets just like a commodity, particularly women. Man was not yet aware of what he was doing – selling, purchasing people in the marketplace just like any other thing.
And the days of Rama are thought to be the golden days of India’s history. They were the blackest days possible, the ugliest possible. Even Mahatma Gandhi used to think that we have to bring back the kingdom of Rama. I am surprised at the enormous ignorance. The days of Rama – his kingdom – were as primitive as one can imagine.
Rama himself does not seem to be very religious, spiritual – what to say about his being an incarnation of God? He poured melted lead into an untouchable’s ears because he had heard the holy scriptures, the Vedas, which were prohibited to the poorest part of the society. The untouchables, who constituted almost one-half of India, were not allowed to hear the Vedas – and women were not allowed either.
It was a simple strategy: if you want to keep millions of people in slavery, let them remain as uneducated as possible. If you educate them they start thinking of themselves as human beings, equal to others. The more educated they become the more they demand equality, freedom. The best way to prevent that is not to educate them.
Education makes so much difference that only brahmins and the kshatriyas, the priests and the warriors, were educated, and the others were not. Naturally the gap between the two was big, and the uneducated could not conceive of himself as equal to the educated. He was ready to be a slave; he accepted it as his fate.
And women were not allowed to read the Vedas either. They were also thought of in terms of being a commodity – it was very easy to purchase women.