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History Of Caste

Dalit – Precept, Problem and Politics

<i>Published in “Dimensions of Conversion”, the Vivekananda Kendra Patrika, Vol. 24, Feb. 1995, pp. 98-114.</i>

<b>Introduction: </b>The issue of “Dalit” identity in social, economic and political context has become so important nowadays, that it has been affecting the thinking processes of all opinion making and decision taking authorities in India. Even though, originally, it was a social problem, now it has attained significance resulting in far-fetching consequences in deciding the future of Indian polity. The handling of “Dalit” issue is very sensitive, as it is like a double-edged weapon, which may affect the person against whom it is used and as well as the person who uses it. Moreover, it is extremely delicate to deal, as it may always has ended in emotional conflicts, leading to unexpected results. Before entering into the study of “Dalit” problem, the background of it should be understood thoroughly.

Undoubtedly, the word “Dalit” has attained the prominence, only during the last one decade or even lesser than that period. But, the political exploitation of such concept can be traced back to the Muslim and British periods. The fact that the expressions “untouchables” and “untouchability” were first coined and started to be used by the British can be seen from their Census documents1. As the issue of “Dalit” involves caste and untouchability, all factors behind should also be studied with care and attention.

<b>Untouchability:</b> As the social scientists got familiarization with the expressions “untouchables” and “untouchability” through the British, the other word “caste” has been introduced to them by the Portuguese with due blessings of Europeans writers2. The description, explanation and exposition given to the concept of “caste” have completely distorted and even tarnished the concept of “Varnashrama dharma” of Hindu religion or Sanathana dharma. Nowadays, the “Dalit” writers have started equating even the very expression “Sanathana” with racism and fascism. Similarly the explanations given to “untouchables” and “untouchability” have contorted the social stratification of Indian society based on economic and political conditions of the traditional factors. Then comes the concept of “Dalit” and its ramifications with complications.

<b>The Origin of the word “Dalit”:</b> The origin is definitely Sanskrit, initially used by the Marathi and Hindi writers in adjective form to describe the “Harijans”, as dalit, dhukit, pidit, pichde logon etc. to denote depressed, sorrowful, broken, affected, backward peoples. Gandhiji used the expression “Harijans” to denote Scheduled Caste Hindus considering their pitiable state and conditions of untouchability. By using such expression, perhaps, he clearly sent signals to the divisive British and Muslim groups that they belonged to Hindu society, and therefore, they had no business to meddle with the social processes of Hindu society. Accordingly, though he condemned the practice of untouchability, but upheld the Varnashrama dharma system, clearly explaining the difference between the so-called modern caste system and Varnashrama dharma3.

<b>The Role of Muslims and British:</b> As pointed out, prior to the advent of the British, nobody thought of “untouchability”, even though such practice was definitely followed. Though, the affected communities, definitely revolted against the ill-treatment meted out, many times, they compromised with their disabilities. With the success of implanting the minority consciousness in the minds of Muslims, the British writers cleverly decided to divide the Hindu society. They recognized Muslims as a distinct entity by giving separate electorate in 1909. In the year, 1910, the Census Commissioner of India chose to divide the Hindu population into:

(i) Hindus,

(ii) Animists and

(iii) depressed classes or untoucables.

Previously, the division was always based on religion. Of course, the Muslims also aided and abetted with the British collaborators. By pointing out the differences among the Hindus and sowing the seeds by mooting the idea that tribals were different from the caste Hindus, in their address to Lord Minto, the then Viceroy of India. B. R. Ambedkar himself has pointed out this important fact4. The Muslims wantonly suggested that in calculating the numerical strength of Hindus, the tribals, animists and untouchables should be excluded. Here, it may be mentioned that initially Muslims tried to convert the High Caste Hindus, particularly, Brahmins by force, lure of power and compulsory marriages or better understood as “sham marriages” 5. Though almost, all Muslim rulers followed this practice, it was at pest during the reign of Akbar6. But, the Brahmins took serous action immediately by excommunicating such families and rewriting / amending the Dharma Shasatras, which resulted in many sociological implications. Particularly, the latter method led to different conclusions to arrive at by the scholars in deciding the date of such works and as well as know about the ancient society of India. As they failed with the Brahmins, they turned their attention towards other castes. The experiment with Rajaputs and other royal castes also resulted in unfavourable political and social conditions. Again, it may be mentioned that it was during this period, the practice of sati was perhaps revived or introduced. Somehow, they could not match with the business communities, as they themselves were originally engaged in commercial activities. Thus, finally they turned their guns towards the lower strata of Hindu society. They cleverly used the Sufi movement for this purpose7. Accordingly they tried some sort of “Inculturation” – methods with the new converts, which were subsequently opposed by the Muslim fundamentalists8. A careful study of Jizya clearly exposes the tactics of conversion (Tabligh movements) of Muslim rulers. Anybody can even now notice that it is the lower strata of Hindu society, which strongly protects and spreads Hinduism than the higher strata, by way of visiting various temples and holy places regularly and periodically according to tradition instead of convenience, conducting festivals and performing traditional pujas in all villages. That is why “Jizya rulers” specifically affected them, as they could not use horses for pilgrimages, wear saffron robes prominently, take their women-folk with them even though it was mandatory according to their custom and tradition, use of ghats, ponds, and other holy waters and so on. Therefore it is not all a new tactics for the Muslims to create dissensions within Hindu society by their crooked methods. Only, the change was that they used the British to perform their game9.

<b>Determination of Untouchability: </b>Therefore inspired by the suggestion of the Muslims, the Census Commissioner of India in 1911 tried to differentiate Hindus and non-Hindus other than Muslims and Christians. He issued a circular10 with the following criteria to effect such division among those who were not 100% Hindus were included – “Castes and tribes” – which –

1. deny the supremacy of the Brahmans
2. do not receive the manthras from a Brahmana or other recognized Hindu guru
3. deny the authority of Vedas
4. do not worship the Hindu gods
5. are not served by good Brahmans as family priests
6. have no Brahmana priests at all
7. are denied access to the interior of Hindu temples
8. cause pollution (i) by touch or (ii) within a certain distance
9. bury their dead and
10. eat beef and do not show reverence to the cow.

Evidently the conditions framed were rater more anti-Brahmanic than anti-Hindu as at that time they themselves wrote many books about the various facets of Hindu society. Slowly they stopped using the word “untouchability” or “untouchables” and prefer to use “exterior caste”.

Then, they also used the expression “depressed castes”. It is in vogue between 1920 and 1935. In Tamilnadu as early as in 1857, the expression “Adi Dravidar” was used to denote lower castes. Similar expressions “Adi Andhras” and “Adi Karanatakas” were used by their counterparts in Andrapradesh and Karnataka regions. Thus, though “Harijans” was the glorified term used by Gandhiji in 1933 for them, the term “Scheduled caste” was the expression first invented by the Simon Commission11. However, in recent times, all caste organizations and politicians are prepared to use the term “Dalit” as there have been converted Christians and Muslims from the Hindu religion and they do not want to use the label of “Harijan” as it definitely denotes to the people of Hindu origin.

<b>Print and electronic media’s role:</b> Therefore the media persons particularly the journalists with the support of Christian and Muslim lobbies preferred to use very often the adjective word “Dalit” as noun to denote SCs or Harijans. Here, they tactfully used the word to include the converts from Hindu religion to Christianity and Islam also, though legally (Constitutionally) it is incorrect. Thus, from Marathi or Hindi writings the word has been picked up and started to be used by other journalists in English dailies. Dr. Ambedkar also said to have switched over to this word, as he did not want to use the terminology of Gandhiji.

<b>Political usage:</b> Later, politicians also started to use this word at political meetings at villages and rural areas to attract them. as the SCs / Harijans wanted to have a new name for them, because of changing times, they also preferred to be called as “Dalits”, instead of the old names. In fact, in Tamilnadu, they still prefer to use “Adi Dravidar”, “Dravidar” and even “Paraiyar” 12, as they have reservations about the use of Sanskrit / Hindi word “Dalit”. But, as their leaders started to understand the political significance of the word, they have slowly started to accept it, and it may not be denied that the editor V. T. Rajasekhara Shetty of “Dalit Voice” popularized the word in the South in selected circles. However, the interesting feature is the over-enthusiastic usage of the word “Dalit” by the Christian organizations of various hues and colours. Muslims have also started to use it. Perhaps, Muslims of Maharastra started to use it. Then, “Dalit Muslims” became popular with the starting of organizations with “Dalit” banner like “Dalit Muslim Suraksha Samiti” by the notorious-smuggler-turned-social worker Haji Mastan of Bombay. After the Meenakshipuram episode, some Muslims have openly started using the expression, even though most of the Muslims do not want to use it, as according to the concept of “Islam”, they cannot have “Caste”.

<b>Christian Missionaries manipulations: </b>The manipulations of Christian missionaries are discussed as follows, as they have vested interests.

<b>Christianity, caste and untouchability: </b>In spite of the tall claims made but the Christians, the caste, racism, untouchability and other factors have been there in Christianity. The hundreds of denominations in different countries based on theology, practices, tribes etc., are the direct proof. Pope Gregory XV published a bull sanctioning caste regulations in the Christian Churches of India. Even the U. N. Commission of Inquiry (1953) into the racial situation in South Africa reported the Biblical background of inspiration for them to adopt “Apartheid” or “Christian caste system” with untouchability [Genesis. 9.25, Joshua. 9.21, 23 & 27]. Untouchability also finds its way to Bible [Joshua. 9.19]. In Ireland, there are separate streets for Roman Catholics and Protestants, as each group treats others “untouchables”.

Slavery has been a divine approved system [Levi. 25: 44-46; Timothy. 6.11]. Prasadam offered to Jehovah should not be eaten by others [Exo.12:43]. They should not touch things holy to him or offer sacrifice [Levi. 22:25]. Bible should not be taught to others [Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p.623; Exo.27:33]. They cannot offer incense [Numbers.16:40]. They should not approach the holy tabernacle i.e, the “Garba Griha” / Sanctum Sanctorum [Numbers 1.51]. The dishonest Christians suppress everything and try to fool the gullible SCs and STs projecting that their religion saves them. they could not save their own souls of SCs / STs with dubious methods. There are A to Z Churches with denominations (castes) running into more than 3000 depending upon the nation, language, ethnicity, culture, civilization and other factors. The matrimonial columns appearing in the newspapers and periodicals expose their hypocrisy, as the bride / groom are hunted only on the basis of “caste” and not on the “Christ”!

Crores of Rupees flow into India from abroad to convert India to Christianity. World Christian Organizations never hide this plan. After the Neogi Commission Report, they have only changed their tactics in routing the money. Political pressure at national and international levels is applied through different cannels to pump money in. only 30-40% is actually spent under the guise of charity, service, and liberation etc., whereas, 60-70% is adjusted in their manipulated accounts duly certified. They have formed their own high castes and they do not want to share profits with the new converts. They treat them just as “natives” counting numbers and sending statistical figures to parent organizations. Thus, the discrimination persists and percolates to bottom reaching new complications and crating new social tensions. Therefore, to divert the issue, as decided by the World Council of Churches and other organizations, they set up different “research groups” to shift the blame to Hinduism and escape. After politicizing, they have tried to internationalize the issue. Whoever Indian writer, journalist or “scholar”, who supports this theory, is received aboard usually USA or Germany and taken care of.

“Dalit Theology”13 is the superior theology masqueraded in mere theoretical egalitarianism to fool “Dalits” projecting Jesus as the Super Star Saviour and Christianity to solve all their social problems, suppressing all cold facts, historical truths and the past tract record of Christianity.

“Liberation Theology”14 is nothing but “Christian Communism” with God offered in different garb mainly advocating violence. It advocates violence, terrorism and anti-national activities in a country where it is preached. After the death of Communism and exposure of their deadly acts in Latin American countries, they have turned their attention to “Dalit Theology”.

<b>Brain washing Dalits: </b>They adopt and adapt spurious scholarship, falsified histories, forged documents to create new hypotheses and theories. Many books have been published with much fanfare and publicity. Their mouth-piece journals publicize well about the publications. Now, they unscrupulously use the same methodology in full swing as a part of their psychological warfare with all their propaganda arms and brainwashing ammunition. These forces openly join with Communist, Muslim, “Dalit” and other banner organizations, portray the symbols of Narayan Guru, Karl Marx, E. V. Ramaswami Naicker, B. R. Ambedkar and give a rhetoric or cocktail of their philosophies and ideologies to inspire, excite and animate, ultimately brainwash them. Invariably, Hinduism is condemned and criticized for all social aberrations and modern evils; Hindu Gods blasphemed and profaned; Hindu scriptures reviled and scoffed at with sacrilege. The audience would be thrilled leading to ecstasy with clapping hands, shouting slogans, jumping and raising hands. One would be perhaps baffled to see the stage, where all opposing ideologues, religious heads and propagandists sitting together. Though they stress only upon their viewpoint without sacrificing their motive and compromising religious tenets, they would be very much united as far as abusing Hinduism, Hindu Gods and Hindu religious leaders are concerned. They mix different ideologies; quote unhistorical events; make false statements and finally, perhaps, this becomes their ideology sand theology.

<b>Warning to Dalits: </b>The motive of Christianity in India, at present is to destabilize and disintegrate India through various social, economic and political blackmails. For that all international agencies are used directly or indirectly to achieve their goals. For this game plan, they try to misuse or rather abuse SCs / STs as their pawns. Therefore, they should not fall prey to their designs. The issues of human rights, women rights, liberation, self-determination, environment, indigenous people etc., are to fool the poor third world countries.

<b>Why Christianity failed?: </b>Christianity has failed not only in India but also in the entire world, because of its contradictions, inconsistencies and self-deceptive theologies. In spite of the support of colonial powers, world nomination and super-power backing, it has been collapsing in the west. Psychologists and Sociologists have proved the link between the rise of crime rate, particularly against women and children, female degradation, teenage mothers, divorce, abortion, racial discrimination, drugs and other modern evils and the Christian theological concepts applied through the clergy. The Church attendance / audience have been dwindling down day by day and many Churches are sold for demolition and commercial buildings built at their sites. Therefore, as the Christians cannot save the souls of them, definitely, they cannot save the SC / STs of India. Instead of fishing in troubled waters in India, it is better they concentrate in their own lands to prevent the believers go out of their religion.

<b>Islam and caste: </b>Islam too claims that it has no caste system, as it treats every Muslim equal. But, to understand it, one has to understand Islam and its basic tenets. As it is not known to everybody, generally, people believe what is told to them or what they read about Islam. They either do not want to ask questions or know about it, as they are either afraid of Muslims or feel extremely “delicate” to ask such “inconvenient” questions.

Islam treats all Muslims equal, not all human beings on the earth. Even, among Muslims, there are many different castes based on theology, interpretation of scriptures, acceptance or rejection of scriptures, mode of worship, celebration of festivals, representing religious-symbols, grave-yards, Quran book, the position of Imams, Caliphs, Prophets after Mohammed, Sufism, miracles, etc. on one side, and country, tribe, culture, tradition, heritage and other factors on the other side. For converts, all factors will be applicable. The so-called Muslims who have been classified as OBC in different denominations as follows15:

Andhrapradesh: Mahathar.

Assam: Maimals (Muslim fishermen), Manipur Muslims.

Bihar: Bharathira, Chik, Dafalange, Dafeale, Faqir, Gadihar, Hima, Karanjia, Qassar, Darzi, Kasai, Bhangi, Madari, Miriasin, Mirishkar, Momin, Mukro, Nat, Pamania, Rangrez, Sayee, Thakurai.

Gujarat: Eafan, Defer, Fakir, Gadhai, Galiva, Ghanchi, Hingora, Jat, Tari, Halarikhatki, Darban, Makrani, Mausari, Kureshi, Miana, Mir, Mirasi, Panchara, Sandhi, Patni Jamat, Turk Jamat, Waghev.

Jammu & Kashmir: Bhat, Dhar, Dooma, Hajjan, Julaha, Lohar, Lone, Kul, Faqir, Kumhar, Mochi, Teli, Nal Band.

Karnataka: Ansari, Julai, Tamboli, Beri, Chaffar band, Darzi, Dhobi, Faqir, Takaras, Zargars.

Kerala: Mappila

Punjab: Faqir, Meqati.

Rajasthan: Julaha

Tamilnadu: Labbi

Uttarapradesh: Ansari, Kassab, Banjara, Kayastha.

West Bengal: Ansari, Faqir, Sain.

Besides, these divisions, they have their own divisions based on the factors mentioned below:

Sunni, Kariji, Shia, Zaida, Imamia, Ismaliyya, Kojha, Bohra, Nizari, Isna Ashari, Kachi-menon, Mutazila, Murji, Wahabi, Ba’hai, Ahmeddhi, Shanusi, Sufi, and so on.

This shows the hypocrisy and double standards of Muslims proclaiming universal brotherhood, non-discrimination etc., at one end and fool the converts and accepting reservation on the basis of caste on the other hand. Therefore, converts should carefully think about the motive of the converters. Are they actually liberating them or chaining them with Islamic bondage forever? In Islam, there is no exemption, exception or relaxation, once you are declared as “Kafir”, you will be hunted for persecution. To say simply, you do not like Islam, you cannot leave Islam and come out. Apostasy cannot be thought of in Islam and only death is the reward for apostates. You can blame, criticize and even blaspheme your Hindu Gods and be Hindus forever, but you cannot be a Muslim or you cannot live by blaming, criticizing or condemning Islamic Gods and Prophets.

<b>The concept of pollution and untouchability:</b> Quran spesks of two types of pollution and impurity – Idolatry [Sura.9, Ayat. 28] and Muslim women [II.222]. Other contaminations are drinking, traveling, sexual intercourse [V.43] and Devil (Satan) [XXIV.21]. kafirs are always considered as untouchables according to Quran. Kufru is the unclean status / condition. Untouchability is also ascribed to eating of carrion, blood and swine flesh [II.173]. Women are prohibited from entering mosques and pray along with men as they are polluted by menstruation periodically [Hadis]. Hadis also describes about sexual pollution and ablution. Emancipation of women-believing slaves is nly mentioned, that too in the context of marriage [II.177; IV.25, 36, 92; XXIV.32; LVII.3; XL.13], but not about men-slaves. Mohammed sanctioned slavery unscrupulously to kafirs (unbelievers, heathens, pagans, non-Muslims) by Jihad (holy war) denying all human rights. Thus, the entire world is divided into Dar-al-Islam (the domain of Islam) and Dar-al-Harab (the domain of war); the humanity into momins (believers) and kairs (non-believers); kafirs are further divided into people with books (al-kitabia = Jews and Christians) and people without books (all other religions other than mentioned); they are also known as Zimmis, when they pay Jizya.

The concept of kafir depends on kufr i.e, impurity, status, unacceptable condition etc., and kafiri i,e., infidelity, heathenism, paganism etc., identified accordingly. There are many verses in Quran that they should not be allowed to come near the cities of Mecca and Medina [Surah XIX]. They should not touch anything meant for Allah. They should not read Quran and other scriptures.

The above-mentioned divisions (castes) are water-tight compartments and the accommodated new converts cannot claim all rights of Sayyid, Qureshi, Ansari, Siddhiqi, Farooqi, Osmani, Alvi, Hussaini, Jafri, Naqvi, Zaidi, Kazmi, Rizvi, Hashmi, Abbasi, Sherwani, Shirazi, Isphani, Timizi, Bukhari, Barlas, Kirmaniu, Yazdani – who trace their foreign ancestry or middle eastern, Persia or Central Asian origin. Lebbai of Tamilnadu cannot be treated at par with Bukharis or Bohras. They cannot also think of marrying their daughters. Now, the fact is that Muslims have started matching horoscopes, giving and taking dowry and so on. Therefore, just by becoming Muslim, they cannot think of going up or getting liberated.

Thus, the “Dalits” cannot get emancipated or reach heavens, as has been proclaimed by the Islamic propagandists, theoreticians and ideologues. See the Islamic countries with Islamic law, what has been going on? Are they leading happy, prosperous and peaceful lives? Why the Islamic countries fighting with each other calling other as kafirs? Why the Ahmeddiyas and Ba’hai Muslims are persecuted and their mosques demolished declared as kafirs? Why people are starving in Islamic countries? The Indian Muslims are treated only as second class citizens in Islamic countries. The kafir-workmen are treated as bonded labourers in gulf-countries. Women who are imported into such countries as servant maids / cooks are ill-treated, starved and sexually harassed. Ameena-like girls are married and taken away. Male children are bought and sold for camel-races. The returned (run-away) men and women from gulf-countries tell their miserable and horrified stories. It is a known fact that crores of petro-dollars are flowing into India officially and un-officially. Then, why do not they spend such amount for the upliftment of Muslims? Why the Indian Muslims are kept poor, in spite of their wealth? Therefore, as this is the true position, the “Dalits” should not be cheated with their propaganda.

<b>Islamic conversion moves:</b> Now, many Islamic organizations have openly come out with documents about the conversion of India by a phased manner. The Muslim politicians also proclaim that they could convert India into Islamic before the starting of 21st century. Islamic religious leaders, Sheikhs, Politicians, and others visit India periodically under the guise of conferences, seminars, inauguration of mosques etc., and encourage the conversion process.

Converted Muslims like Abdullah Adiyar16 has been tempting “Dalit” leaders like Ilaya Perumal to convert to Islam. RPI leaders like Dr. Seppan17 with the former has started writing books making claims that “Islam is the only way for total liberation” and so on. Surprisingly, Valampuri John18 has also joined them contributing his mite. The books written by them are just propaganda literature and a poor category of negationism [negationism is the tactful method of concealing, eliminating or destroying the past record of Islam or Christianity by their respective writers and hence it may be defined as denial of historical crimes against humanity. It is not a reinterpretation of known facts, but the denial of such known facts19].

<b>Tabligh movement: </b>it was revived against the Suddhi movement of Swami Dayananda Saraswati in the late 1920s. But, the conversion methodology has been in operation ever since the advent of Islam in India using all tactics. The movement has again been revived in the ‘Dalit” context in the recent times with the blessings and petro-dollars of International Islamic organizations.

<b>Strategy adopted and adapted: </b>The money is routed officially through the Central and State Government Social welfare and minority institutions meant for building mosques and madrasas. A portion of the amount is diverted to conversion by manipulating the accounts. The other form of pumping in money is through the individuals, professionals and others, who in turn donate and divert it. Recently, it has been found out that money is also routed through terrorists amassed through the activities of drug trafficking, arms trade and smuggling. With that money, the strategy carried out is as follows:
Building mosques at Rural areas – in own places, leased, allotted and porumboke (no one’s land) lands (to be regularized later with the blessings of the local / secular politicians, because of their minority status) lands.

- Allowing poor SC / STs deliberately to put up their huts around the mosques, so that the taking over (i.e, legalizing) of land becomes easy.

- Giving money and labour whenever they require and inducing them to join Islam.

- After conversion, their “acquired superiority” is publicized among the other family and relative members for further temptation.

- To avoid caste conflicts, they are sent to villages of other areas of the same or other states, thereby their caste identity is suppressed.

- then, Islamization process starts i.e, the complete removal of Hindu thought, culture, tradition, heritage and manners by changing name, dress, tonsure, circumcision, remarriage etc., with Islamic rituals.

<b>Can liberation be possible in Islam?: </b>Within Islam, there as always been struggles, wars and battles20. Except, the castes / tribes that trace their origin to middle-east, all other indigenously created / formed castes are placed at the lowest pedestal and treated accordingly for all social processes. Indian Muslims are treated as second rate citizens in the case of Haj-yatra. Only the high-caste Muslims are treated well to some extent. This discrimination arises out of Arabic tribal consciousness coupled with the Islamic theology and jurisprudence developed based on Quran, Hadis and Shariat. Therefore, no social reformer can question or even point out the existence of such practice. The fate of Deccan Herald, a drama troop who staged one play in a gulf country, Salman Rushdie, Naslima Tsreen and others are well known to be repeated.

<b>Why Islam has failed?:</b> In spite of the ideals-universal brotherhood, equality, rights for women etc., claimed, the practical and practiced Islam and its track record have shown and proved that even in a declared Islamic state, such ideals cannot be implemented, as the religio-political leaders have always manipulated and interpreted the tenets of Islam according to their convenience. No Islamic state from the advent or the introduction of Islam has ever exhibited egalitarianism, because of its fundamental principles of dividing humanity into superior-believers (momins) and inferior, degrading, polluted and third rate unbelievers (kafirs) under the concept of Dar-al-Islam and Dar-al-Harab. Moreover, with the concept of “Jahalliya” (dark period) before the advent of the Islam on the earth, the Muslims never appreciate the existence of people with wisdom before it. As the domain of kafirs (whether within or without Islam) is always meant for Jihad, till the kufru / kafiri is removed, peace cannot be established. Ironically, “Islam” means “peace” on Arabic. Therefore, in such warring conditions people cannot live without problems.

<b>International conspiracy:</b> Many Christian and Muslim agencies have been actively working in hands with other anti-Indian forces to destabilize India by confusing the “Dalit” groups of India. Recently their moves have been more systematic and open, synchronizing with the contemporary global political and economic changes.

“Dalit Solidarity Programme” (DSP) of World Council of Churches (WCC) was first to conceive after the WCC programmes to combat Racism was over at Madras in 1989.

At the VIIth Assembly of the WCC held in Canberra in February 1991, mischievous statement was adapted by them about the so-called “growing consciousness of the Indigenous peoples’ struggle for freedom, including those of Dalits of India”.

During the IXth session of the working group on indigenous peoples held between June 22 and August 2, 1991, some “tribal” groups represented to UN about their “status” in India.

The WCC thus recognized “Dalits” as “indigenous people” in their “document” on “Ecumenical Action o Racism” formerly known as “Programme to Combat Racism” (PCR).

The statements and representations made by some US, UK and Middle-east based “Dalit” groups are also intriguing. During the Xth session of UN Commission on Human Rights held at Geneva, Switzerland, from 20th to 31st July 1992, one Ambedkar Centre for Justice, Canada made a statement that SCs / STs are indigenous people of India, there are only 15% Hindus in India and so on!

With all the moves, surprisingly, the year 1993 was declared as the year of “Indigenous Peoples” by the UN!

The Madras Bishop Azariah (P. B. No.4914, Madras – 600 006) delivered a speech in Bonn, Germany, leading a Christian delegation on “Dalit” problem in India (August 31 to Sep.2, 1994)!

Similarly, the Islamic groups working on the very similar lines started advocating the unity of “Dalits and Muslims”, though there have been opposition from the fundamentalist Muslim outfits, who are against such unholy alliance of “Kafir-momin relationship”!

Therefore, to counter such methods, they have directly launched conversion movement of “Dalits” instead of havinbg alliance. The US, UK and Geneva based Muslim organizations and agencies have been very successful in building up anti-Indian campaign by every possible means taking every available opportunity without fail. Inside India, they circulate such stage-managed and propaganda materials to fool the locals and haste for conversion.

Surprisingly, there have been some organizations from Japan joining the hands of other collaborators in converting “Dalits” to “Buddhism”. Recently they have made the Bodh Gaya issue internationalized successfully.

Therefore, the SCs should be very careful about these alien forces, as their motive has been many times anti-Indian with ulterior designs. The SCs should not fall prey to such designs, instead, they should understand their nefarious game-plans and expose their ugly faces to the world.

<b>Can “Dalits” get liberated by continuing as Hindus?: </b>The minds of “Dalit”-Hindus know very well about the implications of converting themselves to non-Hindu religions in India. In fact, they love Hindu culture, tradition, heritage and civilization most because of their hoary past and enriched connected factors, appreciated by many scholars, philosophers, historians, sociologists and psychologists/ they have also understood that in the entire world, there have been only two civilizations in existence without break or extinction from time immemorial.

The present-day problem has definitely arisen out of the Muslim and British manipulation of Census documents, enumeration of castes and willful-mischievous exposition of varna, jati, race and other pseudo-scientific hypotheses and theories.

Unlike non-Hindus, most of the Hindus do not know about their religion, scriptures and theology, but, only stories and propaganda about the same. They talk and discuss about what they are told unlike other religions, they do not have a single scripture, single religious institution, single religious head and other stereo-types. Unlimited freedom has been given within the ambit of Hinduism to its followers whether they believe it or not. These are not drawbacks or mistakes, but perfectly in accordance with the psychological needs of man. Psychologists and sociologists have come to the conclusion that for the betterment of any society in the present day world of conflicts, the religion and psychology should go together. This is possible only in Hinduism. Unlike, the propaganda made against Hinduism, it is not suppressive and oppressive of “Dalits”.

<b>What man wants?: </b>The basic needs of man are food, dress and house. Other connected entities like sanitation, transportation, education, happy life come afterwards. The issue is not the availability of resources, but sharing of them. Definitely, God has created everything for men, but men have divided themselves into nation, religion, creed, clan, tribe, denomination, class, caste and other boundaries and barriers. Men have always manipulated out of these factors to restrict others in sharing processes. For such process the shared become decrease day by day. Those who enjoyed share / quota try to keep such benefits only to themselves and do not want it to percolate to the bottom. Hence, each factor (say nation, caste or class) has its own vertical / pyramidal type of hierarchy, with the elite / ruling / creamy layer sitting / occupying on it at the top. The terms may change, definition may change, but the reality does not change.

Moreover, if the caste factor is a particular problem to the Indian society, the reservation has to be continued for the needy based on such caste factor, then Islam or Christianity need not meddle with such social processes. Let the Christians and Muslims go to their own countries to save the souls of their believers / brethren to stop them fighting with each other, killing each other, looting each other in the name of religion. Let them share the amassed wealthy through various methods for the upliftment. And let Hindus to solve their social problems. They need not create more social problems by converting the gullible Hindus.

<b>Warning to Hindus: </b>As the entire burden and responsibility lie on Hindus, they should work sincerely and honestly to remove all social inequalities and injustice. The so-called “Caste Hindus” should stop their discrimination and atrocities committed against their SC / ST Brethren. Social evils may be there in every society, but they cannot be nurtured, justified or exploited in the name of religion, politics or otherwise for the benefit of themselves. India may be a poor country, but that does not mean only the “caste Hindus” should be rich, land owners or enjoying all the material benefits. The poor also should get their share not because they are poor, but human beings, that too, their brethren.

Urbanization, Modernization, Industrialization, Science and technological advancements have made Hindus to come close together to understand each other. There have been more and more social interactions taking place among them. The SC / ST are also educating themselves and competing equally with others exhibiting and proving their skills. They about their rights and responsibilities, but others should allow them to enjoy their rights and carry out their responsibilities. Hindus should know that Vedas do not preach caste system; do not differentiate man by colour, stature, appearance or any other factor. Hindus have always been mixed population with differing features in accordance with nature. This is same in any changing society. As Hindus have been surviving from time immemorial, in spite of the onslaughts, they should treat all of their community members equally, so that not only Hindus, even the entire nation and the world can be elevated.

<b>The Dalit Politics: </b>Of late, some vested politicians in connivance with the anti-national forces started playing very dangerous political games. They have openly started instigating Indians to divide themselves on caste basis and making calculations accordingly. Reservation figures are muddled and misused to brainwash electorate, thereby, caste wars are created. The magic-combination of “BC-SC-ST-Minorities” is picking up and it has become a game-plan for them. For all such caste-conflicts, the “traditional enemy” ids blamed and condemned. In the recent U. P elections, crores of Rupees were spent to experiment their conceived plan. In spite of the number game, extra-democratic means were adopted to capture power. After coming to power, unnecessarily, Mahathma Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar have been pitted against each other drawing parallels. All Hindus should be very careful in such moves.

<b>Swami Vivekananda and Dalits: </b>Swami Vivekananda is a “Dalit” – Shudra from Kayasth community. When he became a Sanyasi, some social reformers challenged him as to how a Shudra could become a Sanyasi. He gave them suitable reply with supporting evidences from scriptures proving that Shudras were nothing but Kshatriyas: <i>“I am not all hurt if they call me a Shudra. It will be a little reparation for the tyranny of my ancestors over the poor. If I am a Paraiah, I will be more glad, for I am the disciple of a man, who – the Bahmn of Brahmins – wanted to cleanse the house of a Paraiah”</i>21. He started Sri Ramakrishna Mission only to liberate oppressed and suppressed: “From the Math will go out men of character who will deluge the world with spirituality…………The Shudra caste will exist no longer – their work being done by machinery” 22. He defines “Shurahood” as the status of people “engaged in serving another for pay”. Then, perhaps most of the higher castes are “Shudras” and the real shudras are not, as they work for themselves and not for others to get any pay. He also points out as to how the great rishis Vasistha, Narada, Satyakama, Jabala, Vyasa, Kripa, Drona, Krishna and others were Shudras and raised to the status of Ksatriyas and Brahmins. Kausikas, Jambuga, Mandavya, Gangeya, Chavunaga, Gautama, Agastya, Ganatasalya, XGandha, Sukha, Jambavantha, Aswatthama ansd host of others were Shudras / outcastes / oppressed and suppressed heroes who rose to the highest status. From this, one canunderstand that those who have given Vedas, compiled Vedas, Itihasas and Puranas were all – Shuras. Therefore, understanding the history, the so called “Dalits” should fight against the present 3000 / 4000 Caste-system and liberate by being Hindus.

<b>Adi Hindus: </b>In view of the above facts, the all SCs can be called “Adi Hindus” more appropriately giving all credit, instead of Harijan, Paraiyar, Dalit, Shudra etc. the one collective group “Adi Hindus” can be given the SC status and STs are nothing but our brethren “Vanavashis” from time immemorial. They should dispense with the motivated usae of “Dalit” and work for the unity and integrity of India..

<b>Towards Dalit Unity:</b> It is a fact that the SCs have many differences among themselves and each group working separately with suspicion on the other group. The differences observed are due to the following factors:

-Educated SCs do not treat uneducated characteristically.

-Rich SCs do not mingle with the poor groups.

-Urban SCs treat rural categories differently.

-All the above categories do not want to identify with other SCs, because of their elevated status. Many times, they even hesitates or do not want to introduce their own mother, wife, sisters, brothers etc., to others fearing that their “caste” might be revealed. At marriage and other social gatherings, one can observe how the different groups of SCs interact / behave with each other.

-personality cult, political links for getting favours, extra-political / caste / religious connections for getting funds for organizing meetings, printing literature etc. “Acquired groups” do not want to reveal or share with other groups about their sources and application of funds.

-Elevated groups are afraid that other SCs may get their benefits so that their prospects may be affected / restricted in the long run. They are more interested in getting benefits to their children and wards than for other SCs.

-The “We-they” complex among the SCs themselves are very intriguing leading to unimaginable state of “untouchables among the untouchables”.

Competitive spirit should be there, but not rivalry leading to social manipulations. Here only, one is told about to follow some principles based on religion or otherwise. History is replete with the causes for manipulation of castes. Therefore, we need not commit the same mistakes to increase the number of castes among the existing castes. If we continue such tactics, it is nothing but suicidal politics playing with their own brethren. Therefore, forgetting the differences, one should work for the unification, instead of diversification or differentiation. For such a unification process, the concept of “Adhi Hindus” would be very much helpful. Let us our brethren think over it and come for a fruitful decision, so that the Indian society may be having prosperous future with social equity and social justice.

Notes and references

1. Census of India (1911), Part – I, p.117.

2. The word cast / casta has Spain and Portuguese origin meaning lineage or race. Latin ‘castus’ means pure. It was not used in the Indian context till 16th century.

3. M. K. Gandhi, Removal of Untouchability, Navjivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, 1964, p.37.

4. B. R. Ambedkar, The Untouchables, Jetavan, Mahavibar, 1069, pp.90-91.

5. A. L. Srivastava, Akbar, the Great, Shiv Lal Agarwala & Co. Ltd, Agra,

6. N. M. Penzer, The Harem, George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd, London.

7. Sayid Athar Abbas Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India, Mushiram Manoharlal, New Delhi, 1983, Vol. II, pp.425-432.

8. Katharine P. Ewing, Shariat and Ambiguity in South Asian Islam, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1988, pp.208-218.

9. Census of India (1911), Part – I, p.117.

10. J. K. Hutton, Caste in India, Cambridge University Press, 1946, p.167.

11. The caste classified as “depressed” on the basis of untouchability in the Census of India of 1931 were named as “Scheduled classes” for purpose of franchise - Census of India, 1931), Vol. XIV, p.339.

12. One Rettaimalai Srinivasan started a Tamil periodical “Praiyan” in 1893 and discontinued. Now, recently a monthly magazine “Praiyar kural” is in private circulation.

13. Many books published by the Gurukul Theological College, Vepery, Dalit Liberation Education Trust, Alwarpet and other Christian missionaries in India.

14. Many books published by the Indian Theological Association, NCBLC, Bangalore etc., show the strategy of the Christian missionaries.

15. See also: K. S. Lal, Indian Muslims – Who are they?, Voice of India, New Delhi, 1990.

16. Abdullah Adiyar, Islam Calls you, Islamic Dwah Mission of India, Madras – 600 024, 1992, p.24.

17. A. Seppan, Islam is the only way for total liberation, Unarvu Publications, 1992, Madras – 600 006.
…………, Why Ape for Islam, Unarvu Publications, 1992, Madras – 600 006.

18. Valampuri John, Islam: Am Earthy Religion, Unarvu Publications, 1992, Madras – 600 006.

19. Koenard Elst, Negationism in India, Voice of India, New Delhi, 1992, p.1.

20. Rafiq Zackaria, The Struggle within Islam, Viking, New Delhi,

21. Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works, Vol. III, p.211.
22. Ibid, Vol. V, p.316.

'Dalit' twist to textbook row

India's internal affairs are increasingly witnessing an interventionist American nexus. Even as the Supreme Court asks the Union Government to justify giving so-called 'Dalit Christians' a share in the quota for Scheduled Castes, it may be instructive to see how US policy has inveigled itself into our domestic discourse, while maintaining severe pressure upon its own Hindu citizens of Indian origin.

The manner in which these issues play out is enlightening. Harvard professor Michael Witzel's supporters in the California textbook battle include two evangelical bodies: Dalit Freedom Network and Dalit Solidarity Forum in the USA. DFN president Joseph D'Souza also heads the All-India Christian Council; he appealed to a US Congressional Committee to get 'Scheduled Caste' status for India's 'Dalit' Christians.

This utilisation of converts by overseas co-religionists for covert agendas fuels Hindu anger against conversions. The DFN's mission is to partner Dalits in their "quest for religious freedom" (obviously these are non-Hindu Dalits), and includes upholding the "legacy of Mother Teresa who showed god's love in word and deed... and to follow the command of Jesus Christ who called us to be 'the salt of the earth' and 'the light of the world'." Its board of directors includes only two Indians, both Christians: Mr Joseph D'Souza and Mr Kumar Swamy. The rest are white Americans, namely, Ms Melody Divine, a former adviser to anti-Hindu Arizona Congressman Trent Franks; Mr Peter Dance; Mr Bob Beltz, Ms Nanci Ricks, Mr Richard Sweeney, Mr Cliff Young, Mr Ken Heulitt and Mr Gene Kissinger (chairman).

The DSF-USA is run by the Rector of St Alban's Church, Oakland, New Jersey. It works closely with Christian Aid, which sent a fax to the California State Board of Education (SBE) from the Church premises, but tries to conceal the fact that it is a proselytising group. Mr Lars Martin Fosse, a signatory of Prof Witzel's letter to the SBE, appealed to Mr John Dayal of the All-India Christian Council for assistance in their fight with the Hindu community that is demanding proper representation of its faith in American textbooks. Sure enough, DFN and DSF-USA jumped into the fray.

California Parents for the Equalisation of Educational Materials (CAPEEM), which is challenging Prof Witzel's role as content-review expert in the history-social science textbook review and adoption process, has discovered his deep involvement with evangelical groups like DFN, which can be proven through a trail of e-mails. Prof Witzel was active in erasing information about DFN's missionary nature on the free Internet encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. DFN director Nanci Ricks said she did not want the agency to be known as a 'missions' organisation.

CAPEEM learnt Prof Witzel advised DFN how to intervene in the public hearing on the textbook adoption process in California. Here DFN directors misrepresented themselves as a group of Dalits by suppressing their Christian identity. Prof Shiva G Bajpai, the independent expert engaged by the California SBE to debate every Hindu edit/correction with Prof Witzel in a private meeting on January 6, 2006, found that Prof Witzel and his cohorts in the US and India did not want to rectify the depiction of India and Hindu dharma in textbooks.

As Witzel and his friends are firmly entrenched in American academia, few established scholars dared challenge their version of Indian history and culture. Prof Bajpai could wrestle more than 75 per cent of the desired changes solely on the basis of his professional acumen and status as the only historian of ancient India in California. Prof Bajpai now believes that winning the war against the demeaning portrayal of India and Hindu dharma necessitates the rise of a new class of academics sensitive to the mission of reclaiming agency over Hindu studies and early Indian history and culture. This also involves cracking the formidable nexus between the establishment academics and publishing industry and media, which has hitherto been virtually immune to criticism and reform.

America's Hindu community has been dissatisfied with the final changes approved in 2006 as these have failed to rectify material errors about Hindu religion, culture and history. After inputs from myriad sources about Prof Witzel's biases, CAPEEM approached the courts to subpoena him to place on record his letters/e-mail exchanges with textbook publishers about the (textbook revision) Adoption Process; with the California Board; with Stanley Wolpert, James Heitzman, Shiva Bajpai, or Steve Farmer about the adoption process; postings to the Indo-Eurasian Research List; exchanges with third parties (like DFN) about the adoption process; exchanges with racial purist Roger Pearson or anyone associated with the Journal of Indo-European Studies; exchanges with Arun Vajpayee (the mysterious 'student' who asked Prof Witzel to stop the acceptance of changes in the textbooks); communications passing on edits/revisions of Hindu groups; transmitting textbooks (or portions) revised as part of the adoption process; exchanges with Harvard University regarding the adoption process; communications about the purpose of the Indo-Eurasian Research List; and so on.

CAPEEM believes Prof Witzel's conduct during the adoption process is central to its case as he (and others) were 'hostile' academic advisers and engaged in secret manoeuvres. A full disclosure of the records sought could reveal procedural improprieties by them. While the California Department of Education (CDE) barred Prof Bajpai from any contact with publishers, Prof Witzel enjoyed this freedom.

His exchanges with DFN are relevant to show anti-Hindu bias as many of its key figures are unabashedly antagonistic towards Hindu dharma. Prof Kancha Ilaiah, who signed a DFN letter to the CDE, claims he "hate(s) Hinduism" and calls it "a cult of worshipping certain violent figures... Hinduism is basically a spiritual fascist cult". Prof Witzel's exchanges with Roger Pearson, in whose journal his article was published, and certain Internet postings also establish deep prejudice.

The flip side of the California debate is a misconceived effort to associate American perceptions of India with the fabulous wealth of the Indian-American community, which is "buying protection" in its adopted land through bankrolling candidates for congressional and presidential elections; and the desire of corporate America to invest in India's blooming economy. This could be the thin edge of the wedge. Any attempt to accord primacy to secular education and employment (Mammon) is counter to the Hindu ethos wherein the hierarchy of values (varnas) ranks mercantile and wealth-generating groups (Vaishya varna) as third, well after spiritual preceptors (Brahmin) and those who uphold the power of the state (Kshatriya).

I believe most of the people know following story:

When Buddha meditated for for a long time, he was very tired and weak. A lower caste lady poured goat's milk directly into his mouth. When Buddha became conscious, the lady moved away and said that she did not touch the milk and she poured the milk directly from the goat into his mouth. Buddha said he doesn't care for her caste but cares for her deed.

Now my question is, is the caste or untouchability part of the story a colonial plant?
<!--QuoteBegin-ashyam+Mar 30 2008, 11:19 AM-->QUOTE(ashyam @ Mar 30 2008, 11:19 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Now my question is, is the caste or untouchability part of the story a colonial plant?[right][snapback]80165[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Buddhism has lots of early narratives that inspire ethical behaviour, many of them written some centuries after Buddha himself. The one you refer to could be part of such original narratives concerning Buddha or the Buddha-minded and not have anything to do with colonialism. It could even be one of the historical events concerning Buddha.

IMO, I don't think it's colonialism. Buddhism did make points on caste (it's just that in practise it showed less energy and vigour than it did when considering the matter in theory alone). Anyway, bottom line was (despite what history rewriters today say), early Brahmanas, Buddhists and Jainas were all similar: the ascetics of Dharmic society. Not many/not enough of these broke out of theory into making effective changes in practise.

If you look in China, the southern Chinese were regarded as barbarians by the Han of the north. There's the famous tale of the Buddhist trying to convince a northern king of the Dhamma, during which he also tries to explain how being a southern brown "barbarian" doesn't exclude one from the wisdom of the Dhamma (so that the Han should realise that the southern Chinese were capable of being spiritually equal, despite any differences in appearance). The discussion was all good and well, of course - but in practise, it made little difference. It's relatively easy to convince one individual, but to convince all of society to give up on prejudices is harder and takes more organised effort. Not to mention time.
The reason I asked about above story is that the story proves existence of caste discrimination and untouchability in early Hindu society.

see the above. the first is a greek account of Indians' dining. it simply says that Indians prefer to eat alone. The second is an islamic account. It repeats the familar canard that Indians are afraid of pollution. The practice no doubt was the same.
there is some verse like this which explicates strategy of interaction betwen ancient indians:

Nai se na Nai le, Dhobi se na dhobi le. aye ghat to humaro. paar hum karaye diyo. jab ayoon mein ghat tore, Paar humein karaaiy diyo.

if we give a <i>principled</i> <i>western</i> <i>interpretation</i>, this is equivalent to blackmail.
<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Apr 1 2008, 12:56 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Apr 1 2008, 12:56 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->there is some verse like this which explicates strategy of interaction betwen ancient indians:

Nai se na Nai le, Dhobi se na dhobi le. aye ghat to humaro. paar hum karaye diyo.  jab ayoon mein ghat tore, Paar humein karaaiy diyo.

if we give a <i>principled</i> <i>western</i> <i>interpretation</i>, this is equivalent to blackmail.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Can you please translate?
it is from bhajan sung by anup jalota - "Saryu Tat Par" - On banks of Sarayu

when sri ram is by sarayu trying to cross, he meets the ferryman and says that he has nothing to offer as payment. sita offers her ring. ferryman replies that "Nai (barber) does not take from another barber, nor does dhobi (washerman) take from another dhobi, then how can i take from you since are of same profession" Sri Rama is astonished, how can I be of same profession as this ferryman, he asks ferryman to explain. ferryman replies that you help devotees cross from one bank to the other and i do the same for travelers, therefore we are kinsmen, i will cross you this time, but you will help me cross as well (Attain Moksha) when i come to your riverbank. it is one of the most beautiful lines sung and it illustrates strategy of interaction between ancient indians. on the tape the audience explodes in 'rapture' (that is the only way to describe it).

Now as soon as we analyze through western/prophetic/rationalist lens, this instance becomes an episode of unequivocal moral degeneracy, bribery, blackmail, and so on. now no one is saying that all ancient indians were friends among themselves, there were dark interactions as well, as well as indifferent interactions, and so on. but the richness of the interaction cannot be captured in terms of the western/prophetic/rationalist lens - which tends to <i>stereotype </i>actions according some or another <i>principle</i>. same analysis we can apply to when shankaracharya meets the chandala link link2 with translation
see sxn 3. to 4.4 Caste - The Ethical Corruption

basically western categories (eg discrimination, the "system") are unable to account for the richness of Indian experience. That is why, in the "western world", we repeatedly come across such absurdities (said in all seriousness) as:

'marriage is prostitution'
Proudhon's 'property is theft'
abortion-anti-abortion dramabazi
'atleast he's consistent in his beliefs',
'atleast he believes in something, that's what i really respect'

concept of "caste system" is along same type of absurdity.
Re 110:

Absolutely. Westerners are all at sea when confronted with Indic spirituality, Indic view of life etc. They have their minds made up before they explore all these things: "Western thought is superior, Abrahamic religion is religion, easterners borrow, are lazy. At the most India may be older, but all it is is basically a bunch if kids, religionwise." They have a limited capacity for deep thinking and are tremendously afraid of self-inquiry. Every "thing" has to fit in their little boxes. If it does not, something is wrong with that "thing"; the box itself can never be too damn small to accomodate stuff, the box is perfect. <!--emo&Rolleyes--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rolleyes.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rolleyes.gif' /><!--endemo-->
my favorite is their term "indian giver". they steal entire continent and while same time damning Indians for ingratitude.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The reason I asked about above story is that the story proves existence of caste discrimination and untouchability in early Hindu society.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->You might have already read the stuff to follow in other IF threads some time ago.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->(AshyamSmile caste discrimination and untouchability in early Hindu society.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Sir W.W. Hunter has written: ?It would be a mistake to suppose that Buddhism and Jainism were directed from the outset consciously in opposition to the caste system.  <b>Caste, in fact, at the time of the rise of Buddhism was only beginning to develop</b>;<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->The use of "early" in your statement is a matter of POV. What's early for Buddhism is not early for Hinduism in India. Though you may have meant 'early' with respect to the invasions of christianism and islam.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->(AshyamSmile existence of caste discrimination and untouchability in early Hindu society<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Concerning the second part: I've read that in early Indian society there was the "Chandala" - such persons were very far from mainstream Indian society, even when not geographically so. Society avoided this community because of their occupation. So something of the sort of what you refer to was certainly there, going by what I read.

The following concerns this entire statement of yours:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->existence of caste discrimination and untouchability in early Hindu society<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->This thing isn't peculiar to India. In many countries of the world, society determined what kind of behaviour and occupation were acceptable and which weren't. Examples outside of India (and not due to any Hindu influence) include Japan, Africa and Germany.

Copy-paste. Deja-vu feeling. Oh whatever.

1. Japan: Shinto Confucian society (Buddhism didn't improve it) believed society had to segregate itself from persons who had transgressed certain spiritual and social rules, so that they did not influence the rest of the people with their behaviours/misdemeanors. In Japan this community was called Buraku(min).
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Discrimination against these people came about because of Buddhist prohibitions against killing and Shinto concepts of pollution, along with governmental efforts at controlling the population. The people were originally discriminated against because they were butchers, leather workers, grave-diggers, tanners, executioners and, at least in some cases, entertainers.
From the book Japan: A Modern History, 2002:
"Fundamental Shinto beliefs equated goodness and godliness with purity and cleanliness, and they further held that impurities could cling to things and persons, making them evil or sinful.... But a person could become seriously contaminated by habitually killing animals or committing some hideous misdeed that ripped at the fabric of the community, such as engaging in incest or bestiality. Such persons, custom decreed, had to be cast out from the rest of society, condemned to wander from place to place, surviving as best they could by begging or by earning a few coins as itinerant singers, dancers, mimes, and acrobats."<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Burakumin at the end of history - history of social class in Japan - Social Research, Spring, 2003 by Ian Neary
DURING the seventeenth century, Japan’s social order took shape in the form of a hereditary four-status order of–in descending socioethical rank–warrior-rulers (samurai), peasants, artisans, and merchants. There were restrictions on intermarriage, social interaction, and clothing. This was justified by reference to Confucian theory. The functions of the four groups were seen as symbiotic, such that together they would constitute a stable and virtuous society (Totman, 2000: 225). …Pariah communities had developed in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as leather workers (kawata) and as handlers of animal and human corpses.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->These professions were considered unclean in Hindu society as well.

2. Africa
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->For another example, we may turn to Congo, where the Batwa or Pygmees coexist with the Baoto, who settled in their land about two thousand years ago: ?From this violent clash resulted a modus vivendi which persists till today. The division of roles is contained in unwritten laws. While the Baoto live in the village centre, the Batwa live in the periphery (?) The Batwa used to serve as village guardsmen (?) All kinds of taboos colour the relations between the communities. Batwa and Baoto cannot use the same washing-place, Baoto don?t touch food prepared by Batwa, mixed marriages are absolutely prohibited. It has nothing to do with social justice, but these relations certainly are stable.?84 Unequal ranking, endogamy and untouchability: all the elements allegedly typical of Hindu society have sprung up in the heart of tribal Africa without any ?Aryan? influence.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->So one African community invaded another? Where had I heard this before? Oh yes, in that other colony of Belgium: Rwanda. I think it's the same old story. I wouldn't be surprised if in time we find the Batwa and Baoto to both be indigenous after all. Anyway the paper exposing the famous christo lie about a "Tutsi invasion" into Africa also exposed how the christos from colonial Europe had manufactured similar lies in other parts of Africa. And the Tutsi Invasion christolie also applied to Zaire=Congo:
http://faculty.vassar.edu/tilongma/Church&Genocide.html "Christian Churches and Genocide in Rwanda"
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In the introductory essay to his edited volume on the construction of ethnicity in Southern Africa, Leroy Vail argues that European Christian missionaries played a crucial role in the development of ethnic ideologies in Africa. According to Vail,

In addition to creating written languages, missionaries were instrumental in creating cultural identities through their specification of "custom" and "tradition" and by writing "tribal" histories . . . . Once these elements of culture were in place and available to be used as the cultural base of a distinct new, ascriptive ethnic identity, it could replace older organizing principles that depended upon voluntary clientage and loyalty and which, as such, showed great plasticity. Thus firm, non-porous and relatively inelastic ethnic boundaries, many of which were highly arbitrary, came to be constructed and were then strengthened by the growth of stereotypes of "the other" . . . .(15)
The exact meaning of the categories of Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa in pre-colonial Rwanda, Burundi, and Zaire is a subject of considerable debate among scholars. Nearly all scholars, however, agree that the three were not clearly distinct and rigidly separated ethnic groups. The three groups shared a common language and common religious practices, and they lived in the same communities throughout the region.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

3. The instance about Germany was posted up by Dhu from an email.
http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index.ph...&st=180&p=48791 - post 181
Continued from post 113, just above.

The thing is, the concept - what the west terms "spiritual pollution" - was there in India in earlier times. And such situations existed in different forms, whether for similar or different reasons, in other countries like Japan, Congo, Rwanda (see that article on Rwanda linked in post 113).

What's there today in India is quite different and oftentimes quite separate from the Indian past, because today's situation is much the result of unnatural conditions: tyrannical christoislami colonialism actually has much to answer for today's state. One could compare the small number of "castes" and the situation in India noted by the Chinese with the continuously increasing numbers of castes during islamic tyranny, up to the vast numbers under christobritish rule due to the christobrits making so many communities unemployed and disenfranchised (well, when the Brits didn't kill our ancestors outright with their famines and their holy guns, that is):
http://www.hvk.org/articles/1204/59.html Sandhya Jain
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Even Dalit intellectuals have questioned what the British meant when they spoke of ‘education’ and ‘learning’. Dr. D.R. Nagaraj, a leading Dalit leader of Karnataka, wrote that it was the British, particularly Lord Wellesley, who declared the Vedantic Hinduism of the Brahmins of Benares and Navadweep as “the standard Hinduism,” because they realized that the vitality of the Hindu dharma of the lower castes was a threat to the empire. Fort William College, founded by Wellesley in 1800, played a major role in investing Vedantic learning with a prominence it probably hadn’t had for centuries. In the process, the cultural heritage of the lower castes was successfully marginalized, and this remains an enduring legacy of colonialism.
<b>Examining Dharampal’s “Indian science and technology in the eighteenth century,” Nagaraj observed that most of the native skills and technologies that perished as a result of British policies were those of the Dalit and artisan castes.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Basically, many skilled Hindu communities lost out thanks to christian policy and rule in India (as had similarly happened earlier under islamic rule). And the christoBrits' phenomenal success - thanks to creating mass-illiteracy in India and miseducation otherwise (christian brainwash 'education') - has been so great that there's still been little opportunity for many communities to get back on track. With all the NGOs, red herrings (dalit theology/movements, deluded media trying to delude others, communitwitism, DMK) and other time-wasters going on, people have additionally been set adrift on the wrong course.

This next bit is separate yet relevant here to show how, while the non-European cases are accused of racist or other discrimination (or have an AIT invented for them in order to paint an epic tableau to support christo-invented fables of racism), the real deal is swept under the rug:
http://www.holocaust-trc.org/thegypsies.htm says how "Zigeuner" (Dutch and German word for the Roma, 'Gypsies') comes from Greek and actually literally meant untouchable in its origin. And note that this was <i>actually</i> for christoracist reasons, it was *not* related to any religious idea of "pollution" other than that born of racism.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>How European Prejudice Developed</b>
To understand how European prejudice developed against Gypsies we must explore the European western mind in the medieval period. When Gypsies first appeared, Christianity had shaped the doctrine of war between light and dark and personified the white angels against the black devils. To the church the Gypsy culture was non-acceptable and their dark skin exemplified evil and inferiority. Hence in western Christian Europe the dark-skinned Gypsies became victims of prejudice as a result of this Christian doctrine.
Early chroniclers wrote with revulsion of the blackness of Gypsies. The monk Cornerius of Lubeck, reporting on Gypsies he had encountered in 1417, refers to their "most ugly faces, black like those of Tartars." (Kenrick 1972:19). Another monk, Rufus, also of Lubeck, wrote disapprovingly of their dark skins. And, in both the Italian and Dutch languages there evolved the saying, 'black as a Gypsy.' (Kenrick 1972:19).<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->The nazis tried to exterminate all the non-oryans in their land: that is, the Jews and the Roma. The nazis were not labouring under any fantasies about how ethnic Indians (Roma) were supposedly also 'oryans'. Not even other "white" people like Jews and Russians were allowed into the grand ranks of the oryans. Instead, they were murdered for supposedly being 'untermenschen'.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The thing is, the concept - what the west terms "spiritual pollution" - was there in India in earlier times. And such situations existed in different forms, whether for similar or different reasons, in other countries like Japan, Congo, Rwanda (see that article on Rwanda linked in post 113).<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Concept of spiritual pollution is a colonial construct; it is basically a mutilation of Indian category of Karma as viewed through the ideological prisms of race and religion common in 19th c England. There is no ideological relationship between jatis. Is there an ideological relationship between bears and tigers though these species can definitely compete among themselves? When Kevat refuses to take money from hands of Sita, is Kevat thinking about spiritual pollution, or is it merely a strategy of interaction? When Lakshmana refuses to take beda from Shabari, is he worried about spiritual pollution or is it merely a strategy of interaction? He does not want to become indebted to shabari,, he does not want to take anything from a banjari woman, Shabaris' ancestors killed his fourth cousin removed, etc, etc... one thing he will not say is that shabari is a communist, therefore I am opposed to her. but westerner will interpret any answer given in that same way. Even Rama learned from Ravana, even Devas were told to go seek knowledge from Ravana. And Rama told Lakshaman to seek knowledge from this banjari woman.

These strategies of interaction allowed for an infinite diversity of practices and traditions in India. In contrast in the west, where Ideology defined their "true innate self", traditions have been purged and everyone is located in an ideological matrix, and one must occasionally declare one's allegiance to ideology, whether communist, liberal, christian, muslim, capitalist, etc.....

<b>Understanding Caste System
A Survey of Popular Writings on Caste Violence</b>
by Dunkin Jalki


The Problem of Caste System

Caste System as a Meta-Entity

Popular Writings on Caste System

The Confusions Caused by Stereotypes


Understanding Caste System
A Survey of Popular Writings on Caste Violence

by Dunkin Jalki

The Confusions Caused by Stereotypes

It is these kinds of statements which S. N Balagangadhara calls stereotypes. A property that stereotypes share is that they are unquantified claims. They do not specify whether they are talking about all or some of the objects they are referring to. Some of the examples of the stereotypes are these kinds of statements: Blacks are lazy, Indians are immoral, Germans are industrious etc. Since, these statements do not specify how many Black people/Indians/Germans they are talking about, they fail to make any sense. As such, they are neither true nor false. Here is a list1 of the dominant stereotypes that I found in the articles and reports referred in this essay.

Dalits suffer all kinds of deprivations (they are attacked, their homes are looted and burned, their land is encroached)

Dalits are prohibited from having education (they are the least educated people in India)

Caste problem is in practice from the ancient times (the status of the Dalits has not changed for ages)

Dalit women are more marginalized

Dalits are poor (they are the low-paid workers)

Caste is a an occupation based problem

Dalits do all sorts of unclean work (scavenging, cleaning toilets, rag picking etc.)

Policy making, and politics operates along caste line

Dalits are denied basic human dignity

Dalits cannot wear nice clothes or jewelry and must take off their sandals

Dalits have to eat and drink from separate vessels in hotels

Dalits are lower in the social hierarchy

Since these statements do not specify the quantity their value as arguments gets reduced considerably. It is not clear whether these statements pick out the impression of the report writer, or refer to the data produced through the survey conducted in some specific places, say, Andhra Pradesh, or a theoretical generalization about whole of India or even Andhra Pradesh.

The contemporary popular writings on caste violence basically focus on the violence, and treat them as manifestations of the caste system. But the clarity on the overarching system of caste is lacking in these writings. So, it causes several confusions. They fail to deal with the incidents of violence within the Dalit castes or the violence inflicted by the dalits on non-dalits. Opinion raising and lobbying has taken prominence over scientific analysis. As a result, even when some people belonging to Dalit groups are at fault, it has been ignored. Due to this the NGO and Government Commission reports on the caste violence loose not just the status of being scientific analysis but also fail to get the respect of the national and international community on the whole.

The need of the day is to get a scientific understanding of the phenomenon of violence. What we should avoid is this kind of sensational writing.

[Dalit] women are raped, their breast cut off, men and children are shot at random, and, since Dalits live in segregated ghettos, all their houses are attacked simultaneously so that no one gets away. (Soumitro Das in The Statesman “Dalit Challenge – II: A Cultural Revolution in the Making?” 2001, 5 September)

My claim is that ‘caste system’, for whatever reason, has not and by extension cannot serve as an explanation for the violent incidents taking place in our society. This does not in any way deny the existence of some of the phenomena which have been addressed through ‘caste system’ or ‘casteism’, and which definitely require not only explanation but also definite solutions. The purpose of this study was to show this discrepancy in our understanding of the violent incidents in our society and the incidents themselves. If we realise this discrepancy and try to re-theorise these violent incidents, I hope, we will be able to come up with a better understanding of such phenomena and also adequately deal with it. This paper has also not suggested that Buddha or Basavanna’s understanding of the caste system is theoretically wrong. Our untheoretical understanding of caste system has also hampered our understanding of the nature of their work. So re-theorization of caste system will also help us understand our own past and our tradition, that Buddha and Basavanna represent, in a better way, and make use of their knowledge in the present circumstances.

I will conclude this essay by quoting from, the message of the National Conference of Dalit Organisations (NacDor), organised in Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) in 2002:
Stop being obsessed with reservations, and holding up a begging bowl in front of the government. Stop lingering over the details of beastly atrocities on Dalits. Stop abusing rascal politicians, or governments of scoundrels, who we all know have repeatedly let us down. We have very few resources, including time, and we just cannot afford to waste them on tearful, emotional appeals for justice. Let us, instead, begin sensitisation of non-Dalits on a massive scale. ... Let us start work to face the challenges of the future. Let us launch a Self Help Movement. (“A statement of self-confidence” The Hindu 2002, 3 November).
Of course, let me add, sensitisation is required, not just of the non-Dalits but of the entire society. But, we have to take care that such sensitisation will not happen on the lines of our unscientific theories of caste system.

:::: ::::

[* Dunkin Jalki is a Research Scholar at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore. This research is part of the doctoral research of the author. Not to be reproduced or published without the permission of the author.]

Caste System as a Meta-Entity

To begin with, we can ask the following question: Is it possible to talk about the caste system without referring to, what are called, incidents of ‘caste violence’? To follow the general theorization of the caste system is to necessarily distinguish the ‘caste system’ from ‘casteism’, at the very outset. The caste system is a particular way of ordering a society. Such an order need not be oppressive in itself. This order becomes oppressive only because of the presence of some kind of unethical attitude of certain groups within this order towards other groups. We can call this attitude casteism. But there is a problem with this distinction. This distinction compels us to conclude that casteism can be found among all jatis, irrespective of their social status. Such a hypothesis, however, is not acceptable to most of the writers and activists writing and thinking about caste violence in India.1 That would mean that there must be something deeply unethical about the very scheme of ordering called the caste system. And it is in this sense then that people generally say that caste system in Indian society is responsible for the caste violence.

[U]ntouchability being a part of the caste system will really disappear only when the caste system goes. Gandhi only opposed untouchability but not the caste system. The constitution abolished untouchability, not the caste system. On the other hand, the constitution has encouraged castes at all levels giving them a legal sanction. (Rajshekar Shetty 1978: p. 5)

…the caste system is the most powerful system of reservations; it decides who will study, rule, trade etc. Hence the biggest drawback is that majority of the society is denied opportunity, where talent has no opportunity for growth. (V. P Singh, the former Prime Minister of India in an interview, “Caste system is the most powerful quota system. It decides who studies, rules etc.” The Indian Express, 2006, 16 April)


‘They are Dalits first and then Muslims and Christians’

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The study by the National Commission for Minorities that has suggested reservation for Dalit Muslims and Christians has said that there is no room for disputing the fact that they are invariably regarded as ‘socially inferior’ communities by their co-religionists.” They are Dalits first and then Muslims and Christians, it noted.

Referring to the manner in which courts refused to recognise them as Scheduled Castes owing to lack of evidence, the study says that a lot of evidence has become available since the Soosai case — “the last major judicial pronouncement on this question.” In turn, Professor Deshpande has concluded that it is unambiguously clear that “there is no compelling evidence to justify denying the SC status to Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians.”

Among all SCs, the study found that Dalit Muslims are the worst off, particularly in urban areas. In fact, the NSSO data shows them to be completely absent in the affluent group for urban India.

Dalit Christians, on the other hand, are moderately better off than other Dalits, except SC Sikhs. The pattern seen in the income levels extends to educational levels also, with Dalit Muslims coming in the rear in terms of literacy.
Caste bias

What is of particular concern is that the backwardness among Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians has shown up in a sample survey despite their small population, and hence relatively low representation in the NSSO’s exercise. Such is the caste bias that the conclusion of the study is that religious affiliation makes no difference for the poorest 75 per cent of all Dalits.

The study commissioned in April last year, was conducted by Satish Deshpande of the Sociology Department at the Delhi School of Economics.

Finding the current regime discriminatory, Professor Deshpande has said in clear terms that “whether or not such discrimination can be proven in a court of law, it will surely weigh on the conscience of every fair-minded Indian.”

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