A truly terrible situation arose two and half millennia ago. A bunch of evil Hindu priests- known as Brahmins- were providing a route out of the Caste System and Untouchability and Gender inequality and so on. How they did it was by chanting some mantras or feeding some butter into a fire or other such ghastliness before declaring anyone with a bit of money or power or reputation for generosity or sadism or whatever to be whatever they wanted to be- a King, a God, a Priest, a Sage, a guy who gets to go to Heaven without first dying, a guy who gets to go to a nicer Heaven than everybody else, a guy who gets to go to Heaven, fuck God's wife and what's more, force God to watch till God is like all- 'no, please, not ass to mouth again, Jeez this is horrible... worse than Sex in the City 2... could someone just fucking shoot me?''
Buddhism developed as a protest against not just the Brahmins- but the whole concept of getting ahead by acquiring titles, honours, memberships in graded sodalities, guilds, etc. Buddhism did this by saying 'You really think you're getting ahead? That's sweet. Good thing you don't know success just puts the karma monster on your trail. Boy are you so called successful people fucking yourselves up big time.'
Since a lot of urban, or semi-urban, Brahmins, by reason of their profession, led a miserable self-loathing existence as cloak room attendants to Secular Success, they immediately thrilled to the Buddhist message. Indeed, Buddhism was never anti-Brahmin. Lord Buddha himself granted one sub-sect of those beggars direct entry to Monastic status.
What Buddhism does is create a bunch of people- Monks- who are superior to everything that can be imagined. Everybody has to get re-born as one of these Monks to escape suffering. The Monks do nothing but live off the fat of the land telling everybody else how fucked their lot is.
Of course, Buddhism hates Social mobility, Gender equality and so on, coz that gives people a sense of achievement and happiness and gives the lie to their atrocious notion that not being one of themselves is equal to unending misery. True, Buddhism works hard to make not being a fucking Buddhist head monk a fucking unending misery but, lets face it, the hardest work a fucking Buddhist monk is capable of is still just sloth and idleness by any objective standard. Still, some people are fooled.
This is a link to an article which claims that Tibetan Buddhism put a lot of artisan classes into the untouchable category who previously, or simultaneously in non Buddhist areas, enjoyed a higher status.
The revival of Buddhism in India is linked to the Constitutional creation of a privileged status for the caste from which the guy responsible for the revival- who also wrote the Constitution- comes from. Coincidence? Perhaps. What is undeniable is that a huge number of statues of the guy are going up all over the place.
For which I, personally, blame David Cameron. That boy aint right.