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This is akin to replacing one species of denialism with another.
But we will let that pass for now and focus on the denial of the apologist about the conjecture that there was caste-based social oppression in ancient India prior to Adi Sankara.
So even if the Nandas, Mauryas and Harsha patronized Buddhists and Jains more, they did not necessarily cross swords with the Brahmin and priestly elites.
They even collaborated with the Brahmin class by appointing them as ministers and royal priests.
So casteist stratification and its vile consequences did not suddenly spring upon us in the Post-Gupta era.
That an orthodox and hard-core Brahmin like Chanakya was the personal advisor and mentor of Chandragupta Maurya, shows that Brahminism faced no threat to their high elitist status from these Sudra/Dalit feudatories.
In the Arthasastra that is attributed to Chanakya, the approval of the social order of chaturvarna is quite clear and unequivocal. THE END OF SCIENCES, leaves very little room for doubt especially with verses like these: Hence the king shall never allow people to swerve from their duties; for whoever upholds his own duty, ever adhering to the customs of the Aryas, and following the rules of caste and divisions of religious life, will surely. For the world, when maintained in accordance with injunctions of the triple Vedas, will surely progress, but never perish.
Based on the Hindu nationalists’ own insistence on questioning the period prior to Sankara’s time, the implication is that in Sankara’s time and beyond, caste-based discrimination and social decadence was already a harsh and undeniable reality.
The scapegoat of British and Mughal villainy as the causative agent of Indian civilizational misery is a needless Hindu apologetic redundancy.