KANCHA ILAIAH SHEPHERD | 10 APRIL, 2017
HYDERABAD: One of the Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologues—Tarun Vijay—said on an International TV channe, ’“If we were racist, why would we have the entire south, which is complete, you know, Tamil, you know Kerala, you know Karnataka and Andhra, why do we live with them?”
It is true that the RSS does not represent the black Indians. It is meant for the Aryans, who have a different colour than most Indians. Even after thousands of years when the Dravidian and Aryan migrants were stirred together in a racial mix, Indian racism remains in operation.
India as of now has four races—Dravidian, Aryan, Mongoloid and Mixed. In places like Delhi not only Africans, but the North Eastern Mongoloids also get attacked and most South Indians feel discriminated.
The black Dravidian masses domesticated a black wild buffalo. Today a major portion of Indian milk comes from that animal, which is not revered by the Sangh Parivar forces. On the contrary, they revere only the white cow!
This statement of the Sangh ideologue came at a time when the South Indians have begun to grumble about their humiliating position in the Delhi power circles. When Pavan Kalyan a Telugu actor-politician spoke about the humiliation of South Indians by North Indians, in a public meeting in Andhra Pradesh a month ago, the masses cheered him on. Clearly they shared the sentiment.
When P.V.Narsimha Rao or Deve Gowda were ruling the country the Sangh ideologues would not have talked in this language. During that time cow nationalism also could not disturb the economy of the nation, by invoking several modes of meat bans. South India has better cultural values of inclusiveness. Colour discrimination in South India is much less than the North. The South Indian food culture, which is Dravidian in evolution, is different from the North Indian, particularly that of the Aryan food culture.
Except South Indian Brahmins and Komatis (Baniayas) all others are meaterians. They eat more chillies, more rice and jawar. The South Indian languages Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannda are evolved out of Dravidian culture and have greater links with Pali, not so much with Sanskrit.
Most South Indians see the RSS as a racist organization that was the reason why for a long time it could not spread in South and Eastern India in the manner it gained ground in north and western parts of India. Now Tarun Vijay has proven that this perception was right.Though in its political avatar as the Bharatiya Janata Party there was an effort to overcome this racist thinking, the core ideologues of the North strongly believe that they are basically Aryan and hence racially superior.
In the Southern Dravidian culture the Anti-Brahminic ethos is still strong. It is this culture that was responsible for multi-cultural assimilation. Apart from Buddhism having deep roots,Christianity and Islam that landed here got assimilated without much tension. Christianity reached here with St.Thomas in 1st century AD. Islam reached here with a Shudra king Cheraman Perumal becoming a Muslim as early as 622 AD when Prophet Mohammed was alive.
The first mosque was built in Kerala in 629 AD at Methala, Kodungallur Taluk, Thrissur District . The gradual growth of Christianity and Islam did not pose a major cultural clash in South India.
If for political reasons RSS kind of organizations spread to the South social tensions are likely to increase.
I as a black South Indian I am proud of my culture and heritage. We do not need the Sangh Parivar’s racist mercy.
(Prof. Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is Director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy,Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Gachibowli, Hyderabad)