In the last article I had come to the crux of what ails Indian socially or sociologically and pointed out that this has an effect on its economics, politics, philosophy, psychology history and everything else for its detriment. I had said that the malaise was called Brahiminism or Brahmanism. I am not the first person to say this and I won’t be the last.
Before me Dr Ambedkar writes about it: “By Brahmanism, I mean the negation of the spirit of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.” Â
In that sense, it is rampant in classes and is not confined to the Brahmins alone, though they have been the originators of it. This Brahmanism which pervades everywhere and which regulates the thought and deeds of all classes is an incontrovertible fact. It is also an incontrovertible fact that Brahmanism gives certain classes a privileged position. It denies certain other classes even equality of opportunity…In other words, we must uproot Brahmanism, the spirit of inequality…The infection will not go away merely by ignoring it or by remaining silent about it. It must be pursued, dug out and notched…So long as Brahmanism remains a living force and so long as people continue to stick to it because it confers privileges upon one class and puts handicaps on others, I am afraid that till then there will be the necessity for those who suffer from these handicaps to organise themselves.”1
That Brahmanism is the originator of class inequality and inequity in India is the point noted by Dr Ambedkar which is not noted by Indian Marxists. The reason for the fact that Indian feminists and Marxists along with Indian democratic thinkers and liberalists and humanists avoid this is very simple, they are either Brahmins themselves or benefitting from the Brahamanic system even as they support it whole heartedly through active polarisation or silence or speak against it in the oppostion becoming leaders there as a result and thus gaining dividends from still being Brahmanic which means to be in the leadership ranks wherever one goes. This plays out well for their family, their community and everyone else.
Thus the people who will really be disturbed by what I write are not fascists or Hindutva people as they already openly espouse retaining and strengthening Brahmanism, wrongly but clearly, but those who say they are fighting for the rights of the Other in India like Shashi Tharoor and Rahul Gandhi who only continue occupying the space of the so called soft or non violent Hinduism created by their leaders like Nehru in earlier times, that has its same roots in the idea of genetic inbreeding and selection that I spoke of in my previous article which is what goes into the behind-the-scenes-idea of creating a superior race in terms of IQ while bleeding and impoverishing the Other to remain a slave raceÂ – as slaves are not to be killed they are also kept alive always – as the worker or labourer or employee class which is why both BJP and Congress whole heartedly tie up with capitalism which works only and exactly on these two tier divisions of people into owners and workers. The earlier distinction of private and public has faded away with the governments increasingly adopting private companies or policies as their drivers so now all are either only owners or workers. The first phase of fascism is being implemented under our very eyes and there is no one to fight it so powerfully that it can be overthrown, though some fight to stay it from coming into full force.
Let us look at how Brahmanism and its later form Vaishnavitism and its form today of Hindutva or soft Hinduism has found resistance in different ways in India briefly to see what options are open to us today.
The asuras fought it but were labelled asuras or demons by those who wrote the so called sacred texts. Jains and Buddhists and Sikhs fought it but succumbed over time to its tentacles. The Muslims tried to erase it and hence became the targets of hatred in the India of today. But let me come to Kerala and to some extent Tamil Nadu to see the real working of such an entrenched economic system to show what it means. In Kerala there were conversions and immigration, conversion to Christianity that predates the arrival of the British and are traced back to Jesus’s disciple Thomas by some, as well as Muslim immigration and Jews who came and lived in Kerala. But what is the truth about these communities in Kerala. The truth is the tolerance they experienced from the rulers resulted in their imbibing Brahmanism and thus the same ideas in a different form can be seen amongst the Syrian Christians, for example, and among the aristocratic Muslims in many parts of India and among the Jews and the repeated shocks the system of Brahmanism experienced were each time overcome in the case of each community I named either by their selling out or by exodus. The Jews left, the Muslims co exist uneasily with Brahmanism, the Syrian Chrisitans hold on to it though the others who were converted by the British later don’t, the Anglo-Indians left for foreign shores, the Zoroastrians or Zarathustrians are dying out as are the Canaanites who also both try to practive selective inbreeding, and all the Buddhists had to reconvert mainly, or were forced to flee India, or killed, Saivites had to become one with Vaishnavites, the Jains sold out and so have the Sikhs by thinking Muslims the greater threat and not Brahamanism, and the only threat left to it now or the Vaishnaivte brand of it or the violent Hindutva variety now prevalent is from the Daits and the Christians converted during the time of the BritishÂ or after often from the shudras and untouchables or mlecchas, and Muslims who made their money in the Gulf who understand they got a better llife there than in India. Of these many Christians have migrated West or elsewhere to escape thisÂ vicious caste based system that does not allow them to prosper and as for radical movements like Marxism or Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism or Marxism that includes Maoism or feminism in Inida, if you trace back the case of all the major thinkers and movers and shakers in them all, and in democracy they are all either directly Brahmins or from the Hindu upper castes also having been well educated or even upper class initially, which hijacks the radical nature of these movments, or opposition comes to Brahmanism not from rich Muslims or Syrian Christians but the lumpen proletariat who are only poor or women or “lower” caste and while they may have numbers they do not have fire power.
This is the dismal situation into which I enter knowing exactly the cost of the fray, that its result will either be having success in a land not India or compromise or stigmatization with no support from anyone in my own identity grouping, meaning none from Malayalis or Indians and Keralites upper class upper caste Syrian Christians or Dalits, or anyone else, except that of readership, a readership gained by being a sharp theoretician and not an activist which is what I am as what I know is how to read, write and think, but it pleases me to use the weapons of the Brahmanic or Vaishnavite or matham/caste/varna/jati/kula/gothra traditions or the Hindutva of soft Hinduism that claims to be democratic or Hindutvavaadis or Marxist or feminist traditions in India against itself.
Pandita Ramabai who was not a feminist afraid to take on Brahmanism and is therefore never mentioned in India nowadays along with Rokkeya Begum, while all talk of Savirtirbhai Phule to appropriate her to the mainstream of the false narrative of Brahmanisiation, says in her “The high caste Hindu Woman” that Indian women are at the receiving end of Brahmanic or Brahminic patriarchy. This is irrespective of caste and class but later studies have asked the question of why women in this system remain ready to be partakers of its violence and exploitation. To answer this, I will draw a parallel with the startling fact that many women who were kidnapped by Boko Haram terorrists later set free went back to Boko Haram. What was the attraction? It was family, that they were forced to have children while there,Â which as Marx knew is not only the last unit or outpost of civilization but also its last hold on the bourgeis’s abilityÂ and the fascist’s to retain power, as women if made to have children and put in a web of relationships will not leave against all odds even if knowing they are caught in a complicitness with the devil himself and while a few leave the majority continue as well as some join hands with the perpetrators for benefits for their children. Few can be a Pandita Ramabai and she could afford to be that only as she carried with her the privilege of being accepted as a leader in the new system, a Dalit who is converted would not have the same privilege in India even today.
Thus the fight over things like liberty, equality, equity. humanism, for meÂ in the present context one in which after these thinkers and ones like Kancha Ilaiah who are more direct,Â the only solution is to first make people aware that everywhere they are being ruled always and only by by upper caste people and work consciously to dislodging them so that there is a parity, the real work of democracy, so that there are multiplicities and pluralities of leadership first of all, and then it spreads down to the ranks or there are multiplicities and pluralities of power creating masses first of all and then it spreads upwards to overthrow this system. I have hope that is the last battle agaisnt Brahmanism and the BJP and RSS etc., are the last hurdle to be crossed before there can be a real resurgence of seeking solutions that go beyond the vexing social ones in India or sociological ones, to ones of more urgency , to what Marx calls the base and to ecological and environmental issues as a nation.
Dr A.V. Koshy is an established author and writer who is a poet, critic and artist. He has a doctorate in Samuel Beckett’s Poems in English from the University of Kerala, now published. He has co-authored and published a monograph of essays called Wrighteings: In Media Res and has several, published research papers to his credit. His greatest desire is to build a village for people having autism where all their needs are met. He runs an NGO called “Autism for Help Village Project” with his wife for this dream to come true. He has fourteen other books out now as fiction writer, literary critic, poet, academician, literary theoretician, essayist, editor, anthologist, co -editor, co-author and co-contributor. His latest and perhaps best book is a collection of short stories Scream and Other Urbane Legends.
© Dr Koshy AV