Archive for the ‘Casteism in India’ Category

Noble Souls and the Caste Frames   3 comments

454_Prof_JayashankarThis is originally conceived and meant as a comment to my post about Prof. K. Jaya Shankar sir on his death anniversary on my FB timeline. As I kept on typing this comment, I got more and more ideas and it has become so lengthy and (I feel) meaningful that I persuaded myself to post it on my personal blog on WordPress.com with the title “Noble Souls and the Caste Frames” so that it reaches the wider circles.

 

I appreciate further meaningful and intellectually driven views and comments which I humbly try to imbibe and internalize them.

 

Here it goes,

Feel sorry to say this that there are some caste zealots those who belong to the caste in which our Jayashankar sir was born, trying to confine him in that narrow caste frame and misappropriating his name, his stature and his noble contribution to the Telangana society. This is nothing but degrading the zenithal image of the towering giant of the Telangana movement and its beacon light, and the father of Telangana. Jayashankar sir never liked to be identified with his caste in academic and public life. I don’t know much about his personal life, but one thing I can say with much confidence that he was an acclaimed economist, social scientist, political philosopher, and an orator / public speaker par excellence. He was an avowed bachelor and dedicated his entire life for securing justice to the people of Telangana. He is a father figure for all the Telangana people cutting across caste, class, religious and racial barriers.

 

My humble request to all the caste zealots in the entire length and breadth of our country is, please don’t play caste cards with great mythological and historical figures, freedom fighters, social reformers, mass leaders, spiritual leaders and masters, and seers and sages. Just leave them alone and let them have their own special and revered space in the public memory. Please see them in the much larger picture, without any sort of boundaries, and keenly study their lives, their struggles, their trials and tribulations and how they overcame all their obstacles, setbacks and misfortunes and made a distinct mark of their own in the mythological, cultural, traditional and historical ethos of our country by dint of their sheer hard-work, dogged perseverance and indomitable spirit and thereby got their unforgettable memories etched in vast sociopolitical and spiritual consciousness.

 

There is no harm in making an objective analysis of the personality traits of the greatest historical figures in the context of the times in which they lived and in the backdrop of the various sociopolitical, economic, cultural, traditional, racial, regional and linguistic factors that influenced their personal growth as individuals and as the leaders of the society. Here, the caste of course, can be an effective tool in studying the shaping of the personality and the approach of the individuals towards their society as a whole since Indian society is infamous all over the world as highly fragmented characterized by innumerable caste equations. India is ever notorious for abuses, human rights violations, discrimination, monopoly, hegemony, oppression, suppression, exploitation (and this list can awfully be long!) etc., just on the basis of caste!

 

But just one and the same yardstick can’t be used to gage the personality traits of all the individuals. There are some who go beyond all kinds of yardsticks, and their life itself is a yardstick for others and they themselves are the most powerful and the most potent yardsticks for their lives. They are the ones who set an enviable example for others to follow by their highly imposing and exalted personalities and life stories.

 

So the caste can just be a fraction of the whole lot of factors that influence the personality and the life of the noble souls who come onto the earth with some noble purpose and leave after they have achieved the high goals set by they themselves for themselves, and the myriad sociopolitical, economic, cultural, traditional, racial, regional and linguistic factors surrounding them including the caste can just act as triggers and propel them always guarding against the deviations and anomalies of life. They can never decide the destiny.

The destiny always takes care of itself, as it had already been decided by the noble souls!

 

Kindly make your caste identities and equations purely a personal and private affair and don’t mercilessly and foolishly rub them on the greatest mythological and historical figures no matter which caste/religion they were born in. It was purely out of their choice, not by chance at all!

Noble Souls are for all and for/in all the times; and hijacking them on the name of caste, race or religion is an historical blunder and the biggest sacrilege!

 

It’s a pity that we still have to live in this beautiful world (In India especially) with narrow and parochial mindsets!

 

Any meaningful change and transition must come from above since bottlenecks are always located at the top and the bottom is always the strongest base!!

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Let’s Remember the Messiah of Justice!   Leave a comment

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PEARLS OF WISDOM:

Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.

 

Cultivation of mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence.

 

I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.

 

The relationship between husband and wife should be one of closest friends.

 

A great man is different from an eminent one in that he is ready to be the servant of the society.

Men are mortal. So are ideas. An idea needs propagation as much as a plant needs watering. Otherwise both will wither and die.

 

I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity.

 

Life should be great rather than long.

 

Religion must mainly be a matter of principles only. It cannot be a matter of rules. The moment it degenerates into rules, it ceases to be a religion, as it kills responsibility which is an essence of the true religious act.

 

Men are mortal. So are ideas. An idea needs propagation as much as a plant needs watering. Otherwise both will wither and die.

 

So long as you do not achieve social liberty, whatever freedom is provided by the law is of no avail to you.

 

Indians today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them.

 

The sovereignty of scriptures of all religions must come to an end if we want to have a united integrated modern India.

 

Every man who repeats the dogma of Mill that one country is no fit to rule another country must admit that one class is not fit to rule another class.

 

Law and order are the medicine of the body politic and when the body politic gets sick, medicine must be administered.

 

Political tyranny is nothing compared to the social tyranny and a reformer who defies society is a more courageous man than a politician who defies Government.

 

My final words of advice to you is- Educate, Agitate, Organize- have faith in yourself. With justice on our side, I don’t see how we can lose our battle. The battle to me is a matter of joy. The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual. There is nothing material or social in it. For ours is a battle not for wealth, or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for the reclamation of the human personality.

 

We are Indians, firstly and lastly.

–      Dr. BR Ambedkar

 

Strong advocate of human rights and women’s rights, visionary thinker and philosopher, messiah of the downtrodden and oppressed sections and the world renowned legal luminary and constitutional expert, Babasaheb Dr. BR Ambedkar, the father figure for the majority of the Indians who are proud of the towering giant of the Indian politics and the greatest social reformer.

India would have been much more fragmented than what it is now and there would be more chaos had there not been constant earnest attempts put forth by the leader of the masses against all odds to set the lopsided things right in order to achieve a balanced and all inclusive society by his strong advocacy of JUSTICE, LIBERTY, EQUALITY and FRATERNITY!

Strongly feeling the need to have him now amidst us to set our polity, political system, administration and judiciary and other law enforcement agencies right!

 

Happy and enlightening AMBEDKAR JAYANTI!

‘Dominant Caste and Territory in South India’, a Path-breaking Research by Dalel Benbabaali   6 comments

A wonderful research done by Dalel Benbabaali on the theme of caste dominance in the united state of Andhra Pradesh and in Telangana. How the people from the dominant castes of ‘Kamma’ and ‘Reddy’ used their socio-political, economic and cultural hegemony in their social upward mobility in a forceful way, is vividly elucidated by the researcher. A must watch video for all those who want to understand the caste equations in the south Indian state and how caste is used to perpetuate hegemony and imperialism, and the resultant over exploitation.

The researcher also talks about the Telangana issue and how the fledgling state of Telangana was merged with the dominant Andhra state purely on the basis of linguistic homogeneity without paying attention to the high prevalence of social, cultural and economic heterogeneity, and spatial inequality.

Benbabaali makes a graphical presentation on how the dominant (mainly Kamma) castes have controlled the social, political, cultural and economic landscape of the state of Andhra Pradesh by wresting the political power, controlling the media and film & entertainment industry, and business by their lopsided neo-liberal economic policies. She also talks about the genesis of Naxalite movement and the repressive measures adapted by the Kamma dominated governments under late NT Rama Rao and N Chandra Babu Naidu’s regimes.

Hats off to Dalel Benbabaali for the down-to-earth research carried by her and for bringing out groundbreaking realities of a territory long suppressed by caste dominance, socio-cultural hegemony and spatial and economic inequality, onto the international stage.

Here is the link to the highly informative, educative and illuminative presentation by the researcher- Dominant Caste and Territory in South India.

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