Kabir: Fearless sociologist who challenged conventions

Kabir’s uniqueness is evident in his treatment of the ‘questions of caste’. Kabir opposes the caste system but copiously refers to the caste-based social structure. He rejects the idea of caste-based occupations but alludes to them metaphorically in his devotional poems, writes Kamlesh Verma

Special on Kabir Jayanti

Kabir and Tulsidas – the two leading lights of the Bhakti movement – have dwelt on the “questions of caste” in their poetry. There are fewer references to caste in the works of other poets. Muhammad Jayasi, Surdas, Meerabai and others have referred to caste here and there but clearly the issue is not of much consequence for them. However, whether Kabir and Tulsi were opponents or supporters of the Varnashrama system, has been one of the persistent themes of Hindi criticism – Kabir opposed Varnashrama, Tulsi supported it!

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