Category Archives: dalits

We need an India based on merit, not on caste

July 03, 2006

You knew about OBCs, Other Backward Classes. Now you have to learn about OUC — Other Upper Castes, a term coined by a bureaucrat from the Union home ministry.

The Congress has become adept at cornering the votes of Dalits and OBCs, that is enough to bring any government to power. But do they know that Brahmins and OUC, according to the National Sample Survey’s 1999 report, constitute 36 per cent of India, a huge vote bank which ignores its own power?

And are the Brahmins and OUC aware that together they may constitute more than the OBCs vote bank, if one excludes Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Trtibes, which constitute 13 per cent of the 52 per cent Mandal OBC list?

There are further post-1931 caste census adjustments to be made, due to the merger of Rajput-Dominated Princely States with the rest of India, which took off 4 per cent; and another 4 per cent due to migration at the time of Partition in 1947.

Thus we come to an OBC actual population, All Religions Taken, excluding Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, of 22.5 per cent.

People think that Brahmins and OUC are rich, arrogant and cut off from society. We have already shown that today Brahmins and OUC work as toilet cleaners, coolies, rickshaw pullers, that temple priests sometimes earn less than Rs 350 a month.

But what about the Thakurs, the farmers and landlords, who have such a bad reputation in Bihar and UP, as having huge lands and exploiting the lower castes?

A paper by D Narayana, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthpuram (‘Perception, Poverty and Health: A Contribution’ CICRED Seminar on Poverty and Health, February 2005), shows that 69.8 per cent of Brahmins and OUC never went past the 12th standard, that 52.4 per cent of Brahmins and OUC farmers don’t own land bigger than 100 cents, quite insufficient to nourish a family, and that that 53.9 per cent of the upper caste population is below poverty line.

So much for the clich�s and prejudices in India about Brahmins and Thakurs.

Narayana thus concludes: ‘Just as the higher ritual status of Brahmins does not necessarily translate into economic or political supremacy, those lower in the ranks are able to move up in the local hierarchy through the capture of political power, the acquisition of land, and migration to other regions. A combination of these strategies and India’s policy of quotas or reservations have particularly benefited the so-called backward castes, or Shudras. Referred to as ‘other backward classes’ (OBCs) in administrative parlance, backward castes are defined as those whose ritual rank and occupational status are above ‘untouchables’ but who themselves remain socially and economically depressed. Contrary to the general presumption that the OBCs belong to the deprived sections of Hindu society, few groups in independent India have made progress on a scale comparable to the OBCs.’

We are often shown Tamil Nadu as an example of successful reservation policies. But the Dravidian movement’s success has its origins in the anti-Brahmin movement launched in the first part of the 20th century.

One century on, the DMK continues to stoke those feelings. Most of the Brahmins who once enlightened Tamil Nadu have now fled to other parts of India and abroad, probably one of the greatest migrations of intellectuals from any country in the world.

It is true that thanks to reservation, social justice has returned to Tamil Nadu. But at what price?

The only Brahmins left there are priests and the DMK, back in power, is on the verge of also stripping them of this last privilege. But it takes decades to master the art of Sanskrit and puja and priesthood today is not a very lucrative career, as many Pandits are wallowing in poverty.

So how many takers will there be for their post? This is another empty vote bank posturing, which will split India more on caste lines.

This is the third part of the article on Brahmins. rediff has received a considerable amount of messages. We get huge amount of mails from Brahmins and OUC, grateful that someone has at last taken note of their plight, but also a few mails (3 per cent) from people saying that we are anti-Dalit.

First, I would like to say that after so many years in India, particularly in the cities, I am still not able to see the difference between a Dalit and a Brahmin, except if I see a Brahmin wearing a sacred thread and a Dalit in a loincloth, which is never the case in cities.

Second, we live partly in the South near Pondicherry, where most of the local inhabitants are Vanniars, an OBC caste, just above the untouchables. I play basketball with them, our marriage witnesses were both Vanniars and our best friend there is a Tamil OBC.

Thirdly, as all Westerners (and French), I am revolted by social inequalities. When during the tsunami in Pondicherry, Vanniars stopped Dalits (whose access to their burial ground had been flooded), from crossing their village to bury their dead, I was appalled.

When in Banares during a recent survey, a few Brahmins tell us that they still will not let a Shudra enter their house, I am revolted and I think to myself that Brahmins deserve the treatment they are getting today.

Today the Hindus, the huge majority of this country, they whose culture is the backbone and the genius of India, with virtues of tolerance, spirituality, acceptance of all, are treated like a minority by the Congress and more and more ostracised.

It may be true that chunks of India are still ruled by some of the erstwhile upper classes; but the 36 per cent upper castes of India — the Brahmins, Thakurs, Vaishiyas, Jains, Marwaris, Baniyas — are more and more marginalised, their voices are not heard, and their children have to emigrate abroad, because merit is not any more sufficient to get admission in a university or a government job.

When will this great brain drain stop?

What a terrible loss for India. Not only Brahmins and OUC kept alive India’s old age spirituality carried down throughout the ages, India’s sacred texts, including the Bhgavad Gita, humanity’s Future Bible, but they are also some of the top most scientists, engineers, software people, writers, artists of this country…

Will this 36 per cent so-called upper castes forever remain disunited, silent, and see its role more and more diminished, India more and more Christianised, Islamised, de-Hinduised, Marxist-ised? This may be the dream of the Sonia Gandhi-led Congress, but that will spell the doom of the India we all love.

Today, although outwardly many of the OUC still control parts of India there are many areas, such as the bureaucracy, schools, universities, hospitals, where the backward classes, often without merit, exercise huge control.

We need an India based on merit, not on caste. Indians should feel Indians first and then belonging to that caste or that religion after. But what is happening at the moment, under the Congress reign, is that Indians are made to believe that they are first OBC and then Indians, first Muslims and then Indians, first Christians and then Indians. This is very wrong and has got to be fought.

O Brahmins and OUC, awake, not against the lower castes, who are your brothers and sisters and whom you did sometimes mistreat for centuries, but against this cynical government that is trying to divide India more and more along caste and religion lines.

Let go of your centuries’ old disunity and selfishness, and unite. The power is still with you.


The myth of Mayawati’s success

May 16, 2007

It has been made out that Mayawati won the Uttar Pradesh elections because she fielded a number of Brahmin and upper caste candidates. But the Bahujan Samaj Party had given 86 tickets to Brahmins and only 34 won; a mere 39 per cent rate of success.

The media is also praising Mayawati for having reconciled Brahmins and Dalits. But hers is only an electoral cold calculation: how to get the votes of the Dalits, the Muslims and the upper castes in one shot.

It worked, and she has now entered her fourth term as Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

But will it be better than her previous three terms? Will she work for the welfare of the people who elected her? Probably not.

Already, she has transferred hundreds of bureaucrats and police officials and stopped all projects implemented by Mulayam Singh Yadav. Can you imagine the hundreds of crores wasted by these shelved projects and the chaos in the administration which will take months to straighten out?

Is this the way to start a new government and be a chief minister for all, including those defeated?

Will Mayawati again enrich her party or herself at the cost of good governance? Then next time Mulayam Singh will be re-elected because of the law and order situation in the state and we will be back to square one!

Every political columnist wants to make UP a study case. But is it a good case?

Firstly, UP is the worst example of how an Indian state can be mismanaged year after year and how the most populous state of India is also the poorest, the most unlawful — bar Bihar, maybe.

Second, UP has shown India and the world how caste and religion can be manipulated to the maximum cynical extent to get elected — as Mayawati just did.

But then, she only borrowed from the Congress book of politics and only improved upon it.

It is true that the Congress in turn only took over from the British the art of divisive politics — to polarise India on castes and religions: ‘I am a Muslim first and then an Indian’; ‘I am a Dalit first and then an Indian’; ‘I am a Christian first and then and Indian.’

Now Mayawati wants Brahmins, who have, whatever their faults, shown patriotism throughout Indian history (hello, Mangal Pandey), to say: ‘I am a Brahmin first and then an Indian.’

Today the Congress wants us to believe all these caste reservations and pandering to the Muslims is done to elevate minorities; but in truth it is just a cynical arithmetic computation: with the votes of the Dalits and the Muslims, anybody can be elected.

It is true that the Congress got bashed up in UP, but is equally true that Mayawati upped them with the same calculation, adding a peppering of upper castes for good effect.

There is also a perversion of statistics and facts.

Yes, there are still terrible inequalities in India, extremely rich people and the poorest of the poor. Yes, there are Dalits who are oppressed. But no country in the world has done so much for its underprivileged since 1947.

Today, many government, academic, bureaucratic and even medical posts in India are held by Dalits and Other Backward Castes. A Harijan made it to the highest post of President. Today India has another Muslim as President, a Sikh as prime minister and a Christian as ‘eminence grise‘.

Did the United States ever have a black President? Did France ever boast of a Muslim prime minister, or a Hindu President? No way — and it will take a long time to happen.

In fact, today it is the Brahmins who have become the Dalits of India.

  • Brahmins are in minority in most of UP’s villages, where Dalits constitute 60 to 65 per cent.
  • Most of the intellectual Brahmin Tamil class has emigrated outside Tamil Nadu.
  • The average income of Brahmins is less than that of non-Brahmins.
  • A high percentage of Brahmin students drop out at the intermediate level.
  • 75 percent of domestic help and cooks in Andhra Pradesh are Brahmins.
  • And most of Delhi’s public toilets are cleaned by Brahmins.

Yet, contrary to the West, where Christian priests and popes constantly meddled in politics and acquired huge health and land, which led to the separation of the Church and the State under the French Revolution, the much maligned Brahmins never interfered in the affairs of State throughout Indian history, restraining themselves to advising kings and maharajas on spiritual matters.

Dalits should never forget that the caste system, which once upon a time was just an arrangement for the distribution of functions in society, just as much as class in Europe, has been the stick that all invaders have used to put down India.

And it is today still skillfully employed by missionaries, Marxists and the millions of parasite non-governmental organisations who make money out of India’s misery, without really uplifting anything but their own bank accounts — one of the greatest scams today.

On top of that, nowadays, it is not the Brahmins who oppress the Dalits, but the OBC. See any village in Tamil Nadu: Dalits are parked in one corner and cannot enter the area devoted to Vanniars, who are just one rung above them.

Is the caste-isation of politics in India, as embodied in UP, here to stay? We hope not, as it may lead to the balkanisation of India.

What is the key to stem this rot? Education.

Many Indians do not feel nationalistic enough (except for cricket, the lowest and most worthless denomination of nationalism) and put their castes and religions forward, because they are not groomed in school to be proud to be Indians first.

As a Frenchman, I am taught about the greatness of my culture, my religion, my roots. Here in India, children know all about Shakespeare and Shelley, or the latest Time bestseller, but have never read Kalidas, have no idea who Sri Aurobindo was and have no idea that pranayam is the science of breath unique to India.

As a result, later, the IIMs and IITs just produce brilliant clones, without any root in their culture, who export themselves to the West to stay there, the greatest brain drain in the world.

It also produces generation after generation of Indians who scorn on their own culture and look up to the West and some of the values like materialism and Marxism, which have failed there.

But if right after kindergarten you would teach children about the greatness of their culture, a little bit of the good of each religion, great poets, saints and epics like the Mahabharat, which is a universal scripture, one would produce generation after generation of true Indians.

Ultimately, Brahmins are fools if they think they will reap benefits by allying themselves with the likes of Mayawati. The hate against Brahmins first shown by the Muslim invaders, then by the British and today espoused by Christian missionaries, Indian Marxists and much of the Indian intelligentsia, is too strongly imbedded in the collective psyche.

They should remember Mayawati and her mentor Kanshi Ram’s early war cry: Tilak, taraju aur talwar, unko maro jute char (Brahmins, traders and the warrior caste should be kicked).

Already BSP leaders feel that the Brahmin overdrive could alienate them from other upper castes, particularly Thakurs. Thus, some backpedaling may happen soon.

Look also at what happened to the 400,000 Brahmins of Kashmir who fled though terror their homeland without raising a little finger in defence.

Today no political party gives a damn about them and many of them are still languishing in refugee camps — in their own country — a first in the sad history of humanity.

Francois Gautier

Are Brahmins today’s Dalits in India?

Are Brahmins today’s Dalits in India?

<!– Views : 430
–> May 11, 2007 Source: http://www.in.news.yahoo.com

New Delhi: A time when nearly all political parties are vying with each other to please Dalits or other backward classes advocating reservations for them, ignoring the Brahmins, French Journalist Francois Gautier, having spent nearly two decades in India, finds it a prejudiced trend based on misconceptions.

In a write up “Are Brahmins the Dalits of today?” (May 26, 2006 ) posted on Rediffmail.com, Gautier has pointed out how much ill-found are the facts about the ‘prosperity’ of Hindus, especially, the Brahmins in today’s India. He lashes out at the UPA Government for following an appeasement policy, which appears to be based on obsolete data about the actual state of Dalits in India.

“At a time when the Congress Government wants to raise the quota for Other Backward Classes to 49.5 per cent in private and public sectors, nobody talks about the plight of the upper castes,” says Gautier in his write up. According to Gautier, today’s Brahmins can be easily found cleaning public toilets, a menial job that the government projects as if it is being done only by Dalits since ages. “There are 50 Sulabh Shauchalayas (public toilets) in Delhi; all of them are cleaned and looked after by Brahmins (this very welcome public institution was started by a Brahmin).

There are five to six Brahmins manning each Shauchalaya. In most villages in UP and Bihar, Dalits have a union which helps them secure jobs in villages,” Gautier states. Fifty per cent of rickshaw-pullers in Delhi’s Patel Nagar are Brahmins. Did you also know that most rickshaw pullers in Banaras are Brahmins?,” Gautier asks.

He questions: “Do our institutes connect with the real India?” while pointing out the reverse discrimination existing in bureaucracy and politics of the country. Talking about Kashmiri Pandits, Gautier mentions they are living as refugees in their own country. “400,000 Brahmins of the Kashmir Valley, the once respected Kashmiri Pandits, now live as refugees in their own country, sometimes in refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi, in appalling conditions. Their vote bank is negligible,” says Gautier.

In South India, the state of Brahmins as stated by various agencies speaks for itself. eventy five per cent of domestic help and cooks in Andhra Pradesh are Brahmins. “A study of the Brahmin community in a district in Andhra Pradesh (Brahmins of India by J Radhakrishna, published by Chugh Publications) reveals that today all Purohits live below the poverty line,” quotes Gautier.

Gautier questions: “Who are the real Dalits of India?”

“In fact, according to this study there has been an overall decline in the number of Brahmin students. With the average income of Brahmins being less than that of non-Brahmins, a high percentage of Brahmin students drop out at the intermediate level,” Gautier quotes. “The study also found that 55 per cent of all Brahmins lived below the poverty line — below a per capita income of Rs 650 a month,” adding there is no reason to believe that the condition of Brahmins in other parts of the country is different.

Gautier quotes the per capita income of various communities as stated by the Karnataka finance minister in the State assembly: Christians Rs. 1,562, Vokkaligas Rs 914, Muslims Rs. 794, Scheduled castes Rs. 680, Scheduled Tribes Rs. 577 and Brahmins Rs. 537. But preferential policies for the non-Brahmins in government jobs and modern occupations such as law and medicine have forced Brahmins to retreat in these spheres as well.

Gautier suggests that caste shouldn’t overwrite merit while quoting an Andhra Pradesh study, the largest percentage of Brahmins today are employed as domestic servants. The unemployment rate among them is as high as 75 per cent. There are hundreds of families that are surviving on just Rs 500 per month as priests in various temples (Department of Endowments statistics).

Gautier says : “There are innumerable instances in which Brahmin priests who spent a lifetime studying Vedas are being ridiculed and disrespected.” “At Tamil Nadu’s Ranganathaswamy Temple, a priest’s monthly salary is Rs 300 (Census Department studies) and a daily allowance of one measure of rice. The government staff at the same temple receive Rs 2,500 plus per month,” Gautier states. Gautier observes and lashes out at the Congress-led government observing “the tragedy of modern India is that the combined votes of Dalits/OBC and Muslims are enough for any government to be elected. The Congress quickly cashed in on it after Independence, but probably no other government than Sonia Gandhi’s has gone so far in shamelessly dividing Indian society for garnering votes.”

Gautier also quotes from the Indian Express newspaper’s report: ‘These measures will not achieve social justice’ “The Indian government gives Rs 1,000 crores (Rs 10 billion) for salaries of imams in mosques and Rs 2000 crores (Rs 2 billion) as Haj subsidies. But no such help is available to Brahmins and upper castes.” Writing about how reservations fracture Hindu society, Gautier observed that Anti-Brahminism originated in, and still prospers in anti-Hindu circles. It is particularly welcome among Marxists, missionaries, Muslims, separatists and Christian-backed Dalit movements of different hues. When they attack Brahmins, their target is unmistakably Hinduism.

Ref: http://in.news.yahoo.com/070510/139/6flfz.html