Caste, Scavenging and predatory evangelism
Yesterday, John Dayal and myself were doing some shadow boxing.
John Dayal was calling for eradication of caste and pulled in untouchability as reason. And when questioned about the caste system in Christian denomination, some attributed it to Hinduism. I know that clarity was the victim of all these obfuscation but wanted to clearly articulate why I support Caste and disagree with the agenda to ‘annihilate’ Caste.
For a good measure he called me a Sanghi Troll....:
There are few more tweets of this tone in my TL as well as John Dayal’s.
My position after trying to understand as much as I am capable of is summed up here. It is my view.
Hinduism has survived in spite of Islamic and Christian attempts to convert Indian population. This should be seen in the light of changes in other countries that were colonized by the European powers. When we compare India to the countries in Africa and South East Asian whose indigenous cultures have been swallowed up by evangelical Christians, we would realize that by some sheer power that India was saved from the marauding proselytizers. Early wannabe proselytizers identified this as ‘Caste’.
(I have already covered the extent of cultural genocide the two Abrahamic Religions have carried out here http://notcovered.blogspot.in/2014/10/is-christianity-any-different-from.html)
One of the reasons for this is the Varna system that is practiced in India. The Varna makes the societal cohesion very hardy. Of late, Varna based distinction on one’s vocation has been explained by many in social media. Rajeev Malhotra has expounded how the Jati was stratified into racial categories by Sir Herbert Hope Risley, in an attempt to establish the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) In the light of current information available AIT has been laid to rest but the ghosts like Risley’s racial profiling still live in the haunted minds of ideologically motivated, because it suits some.
Here it is pertinent to draw attention to Max Muller who has conceded that Caste has been the ‘impediment to the conversions of the Hindus’. He also states that the ‘Castes cannot be abolished in India, and to attempt it would be one of the most hazardous operations..” He adds that ‘as a religious institution it will die but as a social institution, it will live and improve’. A call to ‘annihilate caste’ quoting Ambedkar and avoiding Max Muller is not even handed, to say the least.
In short, the stratification of Caste was steeped in deceit and double talk. The study itself was undertaken to prove a predetermined goal. And this jaundiced and defective classification continues to be the basis of caste marker even today. The jolly bits of profound details are found in Rajiv Malhotra’s “Breaking India- Western Intervention in Dravidian and Dalit faultlines” There is a school of detractors who try hard to portray India as a conglomerate of multiple races which serves a dual purpose. One is to discredit Varna/Jati discourse, that Jati is occupation based. The second is to prepare the ground to divide one against the other, the old tactics the English are good at, to divide-and-conquer.
When one carries forward the propaganda that untouchability and manual scavenging as the only manifestations of caste, the audience has to remind themselves of the sub-plots that are not being revealed.
Is Caste inhuman? No, it is not. Does John Dayal think that crores of Indians thrive within a caste system as victims? What is inhuman is the untouchability and discrimination based on caste.
Manual scavenging is cited as an example of evil face of caste. Manual scavenging is an evil in itself. Did India have manual scavenging? When I search for references to Manual scavenging in Indian texts, superficially though, there is a reference in Naradiya Samhita to it. It is mentioned manual scavenging as one of the 15 duties of a slave. A slave. Not a Jati, as far as I can find. There is nothing I could find on the period in which Naradiya Samhita was written. Any help is welcome.
I also found Harappa- Mohanje-Daro had toilets connected to underground drainage system lined with burnt clay bricks. We have excavations in Sirpur, which was destroyed in 11th Century, apparently in an earth quake, with toilets connected to drainage system.It is proof that manual scavenging was not practiced at all in some of the ancient Indian towns. It also follows, the exploitation of a caste for manual scavenging was not uniformly followed in all towns, at the least.
For a moment, let us concede that India had manual scavengers in the past, is it the final proof required that caste is the culprit or without caste human scavenging would not have arisen?
According to Bindeshwar Pathak, the noble soul that brought about Sulabh to address the inequities suffered by manual scavengers, Indian men and women living in rural areas, for ages, have been using the ‘fields’ to defecate which does not require manual scavenging. Only those living in towns had a need for it. He also mentions that a caste that is depressed in one place is not necessarily depressed in another part of the country. The caste was not the denominator for manual scavenging though in a single place only people from a particular caste were exploited as manual scavengers. The logic that Caste A people are scavengers in place X, place Y has Caste A so in place Y Caste A is exploited as manual scavengers is not correct.
Manual Scavenging for Muslims:
The Muslims who brought women in Burqa needed the scavengers as those women could not go out to defecate and to this purpose the captured warriors were forced (origin of Bhangis caste) The rigid caste system did not allow these ‘impure’ Bhangis back into their folds. Now there is not enough integrity in ‘activists’ to point to the source of Manual scavenging in modern times, but there is a rush to blame the caste system that enforced codes heartlessly.
No one in right mind would say manual scavenging is sanctioned or cite religious text as support.While Pathak kind of people produce changes on the ground, foot soldiers for missionary forces spread discontent through dissemination of incendiary slogans.
Manual scavenging in Christian countries:
Manual scavenging was prevalent in UK and other European countries as well as in Muslim countries in earlier time. During the same time, there is no evidence to prove that India had entrenched system of caste exploited manual scavengers, but evidence to well laid sewage system was available.
It is also to be noted that during Partition, Pakistan prevented Hindus to move to India fearing there would be no one to clean their sewage. However, the secular brigade will not cite this as oppression based on religion as it would hurt the sentiments of a group of people. I am calling out a hypocrisy in these bleeding hearts that bleeds depending on who the aggressor is. In that I see an agenda.
In spite of Caste not being the common denominator in human scavenging, caste being not a stratified system as being portrayed, human scavenging not being the sin of only Hindu caste driven society, not being a Hindu sin but an Islamic sin in modern times, why is one targeting Caste and call for annihilation? Caste assigns some privilege as well as restrictions. The advantages of living in a community where common good is maintained at the cost of individual rights is articulated well in “Fear of Freedom by Eric Fromm” For no reason people of India stick to their caste as it obviously has benefits. (Even Max Muller acknowledges it)
As against this, the social changes in West gave very high importance to individual. Its economic need required that people break out of their social milieu and dedicate themselves to create wealth for individuals. The industrialized society, in need of workers, broke the society and offered a chance to economic survival outside the society, stoking individuality, sold ‘fame’ as a new human need and in the process cultivated a society made up of selfish people. Erstwhile colonial powers have that interest in demographically strong countries like India and they employ foot soldiers in the guise of ‘activists’ to achieve their objective of perpetual slavery in less visible forms.
In contrast, Indian society has always been a community based one. The down side of it has been criticized, correctly though and one example is the articulation of ‘tall poppy syndrome’ by Ian Chappell. But societal living suffices us. As a warm country, in contrast to the cold western countries that promote isolated living, we mingle more and live close to each other. We are by indigenous Dharma not very individualistic as well as selfish. The containing force for individuality from breaking out is still the community and this is predominantly caste based. The fear of being ostracized by own community and fear of losing the privilege within a community are holding most individuals together. From this argument it becomes clear why few torch bearers of proselytizing forces take up the social cause of ‘annihilating caste’. While they are quick to quote Ambedkar, you hardly hear them voicing Gandhi’s views on the predatory nature of converting missionaries.
Robert Caldwell (rice convert is a term coming from his time) onwards, for hundreds of years, the proselytizing missionaries have been rummaging through social discontent in other nations for soul harvest which in turn is for economic stranglehold. It is not that only India has social discontent or the Western countries have rid themselves with the help of Christianity. The Christianized America is split in the middle between White Christians and Black Christians on lines of racism. This is the racism that has killed millions as against the Indian caste discrimination that has resulted in miniscule of magnitude of Christian white atrocity, that too in colonial and post-colonial times. Yet, the same socially depressed is not shy of serving the White Christian racist willing to kill his likes. Such is the need for a master in some slaves, the master who beckoned them to convert but would treat them only as proxies. Surely a miserable put on life.
Footnote: In our true Indian spirit, we make better of what we have. It is the lazy mind that asks about new circumstances as precondition for a solution. While in the last years we were being bombarded daily about the regressive nature of Khap panchayat, it was Modi ji who leveraged even Khap Panchayat to further national interest. The ‘Beti bachao, Beti padhao’ is by no means a small achievement from the female infanticide infested community.
Man makes truth. Truth does not make man.
Man makes truth. Truth does not make man.