Monday, April 12, 2010

Victim of brahmanical secularism in India

                                  Victim of brahmanical secularism in India 

An interesting debate has started about Savarkar in India. Savarkar, who propounded the two nation theory much before Jinnah could do so but the unfortunate part about the entire debate is crucification of analysis and presentation of thoughts according to once ideological perceptions. How history or historian glorify one and vilify the others is visible when I read an article in the ëOutlookí, magazine on Legacy of EVR. The author claimed that there is no one who remembers Periyar today in Tamilnadu. Ofcourse, when the bramins were at the helm of writing history in our Universities and colleges and the subsequent governments who came to power purely on the legacy and historic movements of Periyar, started compromising with brahmanical forces, then we cannot think of any Brahmin secular complaining about conspicuous silence over the Dravidian movement and its historic legacy. One may argue in the same way as who is remembering Gandhi in India and even his state of Gujarat and through a very a powerful khadi establishment of power. The fact is that despite all reservations, Gandhi was not killed by the Dalit or Muslim or any OBC but pure Maharastrian Brahmin. The same Brahmins who wanted India, a Hindu Rastra and at the same point of time did not want a separate Muslim land? How could it have been possible? They must thank their stars that their India does not revolve around Nagpur and Pune if their entire thesis was accepted.

Now the point is that nothing is beyond criticism but that has to be rational. History cannot be a matter of convenience. It has to be according to events and unfortunately it is here that we have failed miserably. Actually the so-called Savarkarites have learnt this lessons from their other north Indian cousins how to nationalize a 'segregated' icon. Hence like any one else, Savarkar in Maharastra is portrayed as a hero for every one. Forgive us, sir, please do say, he was a Brahmin and this land of Maharastra has seen powerful anti-brahmin movement led by not only Ambedkar but Jyoti Ba Phile and Savitri bai Phule as well as Ramabai Ambedkar. It is not coincident that in the same 'sacred' place of Nagpur where RSS was born, Dr Ambedkar had already made his impression felt among the Dalits. The likes of Iyer or other 'socialist' Brahmins would not write anything about this history of Maharastra and may even term it as castiest.

It is interesting to ask our entire secular historian and particularly from Tamilnadu as why strong movement such as 'Self Respect Movement' and an icon like Periyar could not find place in the history textbooks or social sciences. I was surprised during a visit to Madurai that none of the University teachers were interested in talking about Periyar. In fact the upper caste Tamils are not even ready to acknowledge the spirit of Dravidian movement. Ironically, 'progressive' journals and media house of Tamilnadu, who chant secularism from morning till evening, allow discredited politicians to write about Periyar in an utterly negative fashion and none of the upper caste secular activists say a word about it. The 'Outlook' article claims that there is no taker of Periyar's ideology in Tamilnadu and that religious fanaticism is growing. It is ironical that the Brahmins are finding it easier to portray Periyar and his perception against Dalits and some of the 'outstanding' Dalit 'intellectuals' also oblige their Brahmin friends because they feel that it is good to be in the 'good' company of the Brahmins for they boss Indian establishment and if they certify any one could become secular or communal. It is they who have made Vajpayee secular and Advani communal as if there is a vast difference between the two.

The brahmanical hatred against Periyar has many dimensions. For his 'self respect movement' moblilised' Tamils against upper caste hegemony. Is it Periyar's fault if no body is ready to take him or is it brahmanical crookedness which is working in Tamilnadu. If the Hiduisation and Hindiisation process of Chennai is visible, it is not Periyar's fault. The Brahmins of Tamilnadu had already migrated to US and the north and they feel more comfortable with their ënorth Indian cousinsí than the South Indian backwards. What Periyar and his ideology are facing is not particular with him because Periyarís rationality is the toughest thing. Secondly, in the market driven society, every thing sale, even the idiocies of values system. The market, therefore, does not portray the secularism of rational variety but would sale the other variety of secularism that feed the ultra nationalism and religiosity.

The entire debate on the school education and Secular-Hindutva debate revolve around ultra-national ideas which are dangerous thoughts and must be rejected. This nationalism is not just the monopoly of the Hindutva thugs but also the socalled progressive forces also have become victim of this nationalism. Hence when we debate about Savarkar, it is often quoted about how he and other Sanghis did not participate in the 1942 quit India movement. The problem with those who write such grossly forgotten facts, is, that a number of those who disagree with Gandhi did not participate in the 1942 struggle include the communists also. Not participating in Congress's quit India movement does not and should not make any one victim of conspiracy theories. Similarly, terming Savarkar as Hindu Jinnah is another dangerous theory which need to be countered. By this comparison we underestimate the great characteristics of Jinnah, father of Pakistan. Just because Jinnah stood for a Pakistan (there are many theories which says that Jinnah did not get Pakistan but handed over by the brahmanical leadership in India), does not make him a communalists. Is not it a fact that Gandhi supported Khilafat? Why should Gandhi do it despite Jinnah's abhorrence for the same? If history has to be taken into account and even happening around the world today, Gandhiís mixing politics with religion and supporting International political Islam must be rejected and condemned. Just to sideline a secular Jinnah if Gandhi could do so and our historian donít have time and courage to condemn it, then it is frightening and atrocious. If Gandhi is the hero of 'secular' upper caste Hindus so is Jinnah a hero of secular Pakistani elite. In todayís Pakistan we need to have more Jinnah supporter to make it a secular Pakistan and get rid of the Jehadi elements. It does not look rational to make Jinnah a victim of the fight between the secular upper castes and the Hindutva ideology.

There is no point in discussing the partition or its impact with a prejudice mind. Nor can history be truly written from an ultra nationalistic sense like what we have been witnessing in the Indian subcontinent. And thatís why our history books inform us about Aurangjeb, Shahjehan, Akbar, Jahangir, Babur and others. We have roads and other things named after them. I wonder why we cannot have that on Savarkar. Not because, I am in love with him but because if Savarkar was lodged in Andman Jail, what was wrong having his plaque. I know, it offends many 'secular' friends but the problem is not Savarkar, our ultra fascistic ways of not allowing anything which we donít like. The ideology has to be tackled with ideology and not through removing or including the plaques. If Savarkar asked the British to forgive him what is the big deal. Did not Atal do so and still become prime minister of the country? Was not Indian National Congress formed to get maximum benefits from the British? Was not Ambedkar a minister in Vice Roy's council? Did not the British in their heart supported Congress party? Every one had his own interest in that. The only thing that the Congress and Gandhi did not compromised and where they could have done so was the hanging of Bhagat Singh.

What I am trying to tell is, it is wrong at this moment to politicize an issue. Mani Shankar Iyer is ill-equipped to fight Savarkar and his ideology without getting out of his own narrow mindset. Iyer should first ask why a fellow Tamil like Periyar is not taught in the textbooks of India. Was he not an icon? Were the big masses that got mobilized under him were not history. What about the Vaikom movement where Gandhi ditched the Dalits and Periyar had to leave Congress?

It is important to note that many people who were opponent of Gandhi and Congress too worked for the Indian nation hood and for the benefits of the people. One such icon was Ambedkar who differed with Gandhi from day one and termed the Congress party is an upper caste Hindu party. Jinnah had the same feeling. But still they were leading the movements of their own kind. Gandhi represented the caste Hindus while they were leading their own communities. For Ambedkar, the emancipation of Dalits was more important than transfer of power from the white men to local brown Sahibs and that is why he did not participate in Congress's agitation. Now where do our upper caste historian put Ambedkar in the entire scheme of things. Ironically, both the left and right have targeted Ambedkar and his philosophy but we still don't have Ambedkar in our school text book. I am not sure even if he is there whether his struggle for Dalitís right against the caste system and varnashram dharma would be mentioned in country which still give Dronacharya Award who has been known crooked.

10 years back Hindtuva's thesis manager Arun Shourie wrote about Ambedkar and termed that he was a 'British agent'. That he was paying Rs 13,000 per month to M.N.Roy for his fight against fascism was interpreted by Arun Shourie as payment to serve the British. After serving the cause of the transnational corporations and working with the World Bank, such nationalism is not expected from Arun Shourie. Shourie's outburst was termed as Hindutvaís effort to hit the Dalit movement but the movement is not weak not to understand these juggleries of Shourie and his company whose contribution to this country is hatred and nothing more. Unfortunately, just a month back, when I was in Lucknow and scanning the books of a ëprogressiveí organization where I could find Mao and others radical, a book attracted my attention. A fellow claiming communist from Andhra Pradesh has done the same thing as Arun Shourie did. The only difference is that Arun Shourie wrote about Ambedkar from a perspective where he termed him anti national just because he was opposed to Gandhi, this woman from Hyderabad, has written about Ambedkar in the similar fashion as he was opposed to violence and also terming him as almost anti Dalit and only therapy for India she says was to go to violent Marxism.

Now, as a rationalist, I would not say not to comment on Ambedkar, but then we should also be ready for the same about Marx, Gandhi and others also. Why is that any one who question both become a victim of slander campaign in India. Why is that we question their credentials towards the nation and society. Both Arun Shourie and the other woman claiming to be a leftist have the same story.

Indian history and social sciences must have a rationalist and humanist dimension; otherwise we will always be used by this or that side of the fundamentalists whose only aim to success is religion. If Savarkar has a two-nation theory we cannot deny his viewpoint to the students. It is upto the students to decide whether that was good or bad. It is similar to that if I say that all the Gandhian khadi smells of a fascist trend as M N Roy said once upon a time. We must not deny students to decide about what is good and bad. But the problem is history textbooks have conspicuously sidelined those who don't agree with the Congress or Gandhian thoughts. Unfortunately, the 'progressive' have been part of it. It is equally important for todayís students to know about the violent movement in India and other legacies of Bhagat Singh and his friends. Is it justified for historians to term them violent without informing the students about their ideologies and perceptions? How many of our young students know that Bhagat Singh was against violence and thoroughly secular, not of any Swami variety. Shamefully even our Parliamentarians were unable to defend his case when some over enthusiastic journalists from Pakistan tried to equate Bhagat Singh with the attack on Parliament by the Jehadis. Is it not shocking that today we have reached a stage where martyrs like Bhagat Singh are being compared with religiously blind Jehadis ?

And those who harp on the great secular legacy of this post independent country should not forget the brahmanical nature of Indian state from the beginning. The communal riots, the massacre of Dalits, tribals, the partisan police and above all, a deeply dishonest brahmancial intelligentsia, are our legacy of last fifty years. Crooked political parties play savior and enemy in the public while dining together in the evening. The secular heroes bows to Bal Thackarey in Mumbai and at the same point of time sit with the Maulanas in Lucknow. Ironically, every one is secular when the oppression is concern and hence oppression of Dalits and the varnavyavastha is not a part of our history. Our students will not know how we still maltreat people on the basis of their caste and colour and how one community is reserved to clean our shits. Nobody bother write this dirt of our great heritage boasted by the seculars.

As I conclude, I find another 'secular' reformer in our textbook. A Delhi girl Nisha Sharma has found her place in the school textbooks as she 'refused' to marry a boy asking for dowry. One does not want to comment on 'revolting' Nisha who has been 'awarded' and ërewardedí for her great social work but the fact of the matter is whether she was against dowry or whether she or her father could not met the demands of her boyfriend. Whether they were ready to give a Zen and the boy asked for Maruti Esteem vehicle. Sharma's have no objection to the obnoxious system where girl is just meant to be donated and is ëseení by the boy.

So Nisha's 'daring' work has become part of history but not the story of thousands of those Dalit/ tribal girls who fight day in and out against oppression, who work on the field. We will know Rani Laxmi Bai but may not who Jhalkari Bai was and what was her contribution to the society.

It is therefore the need of the hour for school text book to present a diverse view in the text books and not a monolithic view point as India is a big country much beyong a simple history of Congress's movement against the British. Its student must know why there is a movement against our army in Manipur or how and when Sikkim was annexed. What is Kashmir problem and what was Tamil Nationalism. We may disagree but then if we cannot agree on disagreement then what is the difference between the fascist brigade and the 'progressive seculars'.

BY  V.B.Rawat

        THANKS TO

September 22, 2004