KANCHA ILAIAH SHEPHERD | 27 OCTOBER, 2020
Questions of caste and race
In the run up to the American 2020 presidential elections a debate is on about White supremacism. The media there have been grilling President Donald Trump about his position on White supremacism. In India there has been Brahmin supremacism for centuries. It is fully operational even after a democratic constitution was adopted in 1950.
This Brahmin-Bania supremacism is now on full public display. But the Indian media does not bother about it, nor is there any serious challenge to this supremacism from the Shudra forces who constitute more than 55% of Indians.
So long as the Shudras do not contest Brahmin supremacism India will not change.
Speaking at the ‘Mega Brahmin Business Summit’ in January last, the Speaker of the Gujarat Assembly Rajendra Trivedi claimed that “eight of nine Indian Nobel Prize winners are Brahmins”. He asked the Brahmin business audience in the hall, “Do you know a ninth Indian recently received Nobel? Yes, he is Abhijit Banerjee, a Brahmin,” (January 4, Hindustan Times).
Trivedi did not count Mother Teresa, as according to him she is not Indian.
After the BJP came to power in 2014 discussions about Brahmin, Bania greatness are staged more frequently than when the Congress and the other parties were in power. Amit Shah’s famous saying that Mahatma Gandhi was a ‘chatur (intelligent) Bania’ is already very popular.
Actually in all there are 10 Nobel prize winners, either Indians who lived all along in this country or those with Indian roots living in America.
In the present atmosphere Brahmin supremacism is an acceptable ideological syndrome. Rahul Gandhi who is the son of mixed parents declared before the last general election that he is a Brahmin, that too, a jenevudhari (threadbaring) Brahmin.
White supremacism is facing a big challenge, in a country like the USA where Whites are the majority and the other “races” are a minority. Although Brahmins are a small minority in “caste” terms, Brahmin supremacism is being paraded quite boldly under the present Brahmin-Bania rule as there is no challenge from Shudras.
There is hardly any Shudra/Dalit intellectual force that could oppose them and challenge them. The Indian media, unlike the US media, is not willing to debate Brahmin supremacism even in the 21st century. The Brahmin supremacism and Bania chatur business continues unchallenged, unlike the challenge posed by Blacks and other minorities to White supremacism.
The majority of Shudras, including Jats, Gujjars, Yadavs, Patels, Marathas, Reddys, Kammas, Lingayats, Vakkalingas, Nairs, Naikars and so on treat the Brahmins as gods, superior pandits, unmatched modern intellectuals, great politicians, musicians, artists, juridical personae – in other words all in one.
The more they flaunt their supremacy the happier are the Shudras. When the Shudras do not challenge it then no other challenge – like Dalit challenge – can shake that supramacism.
The Other Backward Classes, who are mostly agrarian artisans, also think that if the (twice-born) Dwijas have allowed some reservations, even with all possible humiliations in every place of work, and regional language education to their children in Government schools, that is good enough, while Brahmin-Bania children keep studying in world class English medium private schools.
Shudras seem to be very happy with this unequal existence. The satisfaction of the slave with limited thinking and good and hard working physic is the best condition for the survival of one section’s supremacism and the slavery of another.
Shudra slavery is spiritual, social, economic, and more so intellectual. The problem is not just with Rajendra Trivedi or Amit Shah, or with just the Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideology. Brahmin supremacist forces of this kind are in the Congress, in the Communist parties and elsewhere, though they may not speak out.
Brahmin supremacism is all pervasive and it has now reached the Euro-American countries. The Cisco caste discrimination case is a standing example.
Brahmins are not like Jews, who suffered persecution, concentration camps, hard productive labour outside their first nation. Ever since Brahmins migrated to the Indian subcontinent around 1500 BCE, Shudra slavery provided them honey, milk and sura (an ancient name for toddy) even though they denied Shudras the right to study the Vedas they wrote as divine books.
Till today the situation has not changed. The RSS/BJP want it to be like that forever.
The Shudras accept their theory of ancient glory, golden age because even now they treat them as bhoodevatas capable of winning the Nobel prize, becoming Bharat Ratnas, running political party affairs, controlling the gods in the temples, doing software business worldwide, running Government offices.
They run the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, all the IITs and IIMs like Adi Shankara runs all the peethas. Shudras working in the RSS/BJP celebrate their supremacy. There is hardly any change in Brahmin supremacism in the Hindu nationalist regime.
The Shudras seem to have no ability to perceive what is before their eyes. One praises Nehru, another praises Deendayal Upadhyaya, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, V.D Savarkar. Another praises P.C Joshi or Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. Books are written by them, for them and about them.
No Shudra exists in a written word, not even as much as the Blacks of America exist. Human slaves can challenge slavery only when they realise that they are slaves and the Other are masters.
Brahmins have been masters of Shudras for 3500 years. Now also they want to be like that. The very same Brahmins are showing the Shudras as masters to the Dalits. They present history as if they are in no way responsible for Dalits’ untouchable status. They write books about Shudras’ agrarian castes being the real dominant ones.
Brahminism does not exist as an ideological anchor in Shudra life. All atrocities against Dalits are attributed to Shudras. Some Dalit intellectuals accept this Brahminic theory, not bothering to consider what Ambedkar said in his book, Who Were the Shudras?
No doubt physically the Shudras commit atrocities, but where does that atrocious mind come from?
There are no intellectuals among the Shudras to write books about them and for them. They still think they are not meant to write books, study in the same English medium schools, colleges and universities as Brahmin, Bania, Kayastha and Khatri students.
Shudra-cemented sentiment about regional language, landed property, control over village power, not over national power, has become an asset of Brahmin supremacism in India.
So far only four persons who got the Nobel Prize actually lived in India: Rabindhranath Tagore, C.V Raman, Mother Theresa and Kailash Satyarthi (Kailash Sharma). All others are migrant settlers in America working in their institutions and laboratories. Most of them studied in English medium schools, colleges and universities in India and abroad.
By accident if any intellectual can write in English from the Shudra background, like Shashi Tharoor, they behave as if they were more Brahmin supremacist than Brahmins themselves. They do not challenge Brahmin supremacism but feed it, by describing even an economy class in a flight as cattle class. They become self deniers, and serve the purpose of Brahmin supremacy by writing books as if caste does not exist.
If Shashi Tharoor were to live in America he would have joined the chorus of Donald Trump to say that there is nothing like White Supremacism. That is what Nikki Haley, a Punjabi Sikh did. Tharoor would have hated his own colour if he were in the Americas, while Blacks are doing the opposite. They are saying black is beautiful, and race is in the skin and caste is in the bone.
But the Tharoor kind of Shudra intellectuals do not see the caste that exists in Indian bones.
If we ask, is there no Brahmin supremacism in India? Any Brahmin intellectual, media person, judge, scientist, priest, Prime Minister, RSS Sarsanchalak, artist, singer, actor would say this is the most horrible question to ask. But in America Trump is being grilled in every meeting by White reporters and intellectuals about his position on White supremacism. That is the difference between Indian democracy and American democracy.
A democrat must say a slave is a slave and a master master, and bring about change to make them equal. But the Indian Brahmins denied slavery, casteism and even untouchablility for a long time. Since Brahmins are the main storytellers from India in the English language, the White world also believed them.
Now in that very same America Black writers like Isabel Wilkerson are telling the truth and the Oprah Winfrey kind of unbelievers are believing.
Of the ten Nobel Prize winners who lived or were born in India, seven are Brahmins, one is Khatri (Har Govind Khurana), one is Kayastha (Amartya Sen) and one is Christian (Mother Teresa). But the Gujarat Speaker claims all of them as Brahmin.
The question then is: why is there no Shudra or Dalit Nobel Prize winner when there are several Black Nobel Prize winners, who got liberated from the cluches of classical and colonial slavery only in the recent past?
Mahatma Gandhi was considered for the prize five times but somehow it was not given to him. The question of Ambedkar figuring in that list did not arise, as he was not put on the global map by the Indian or global media.
In Brahmin sociology books, Shudra agrarian castes are the dominant castes in India. But there is not a single intellectual among them who got a Nobel Prize. Why? What happened to their dominance? Where are they dominant?
They are dominant over Dalits in the villages. Marathas are very dominant in Maharashtra, Jats are very dominant in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujjars are dominant in Rajasthan, Kammas and Raddys are dominant in Andhra and Telangana, Nairs are very very dominant in Kerala, Lingayats and Vokkaligas are dominant in Karnataka, Naykars and Mudaliyars are very dominant in Tamil Nadu.
Why is there no Nobel Prize winner from among these dominant castes?
As of now this question sounds unimportant, not only to Brahmin, Bania, Kayastha, Khatri intellectuals, as it will disturb the still waters. However, the role of an intellectual is to disturb the stilled waters.
Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd’s new book, co-edited with a Shudra scholar Karthik Raja Kuruppusamy, called The Shudras–Vision for a New Path, will be published soon by Penguin