The works of Brahmanism

The year started with the “spring of the discontent” and we have reached “the summer of rage” by now. We have seen a lot in terms of collective gatherings, protests, lectures, public meetings and marches, the objective conditions for which have been readily provided by the present Narendra Modi led regime. At the same time, many comrades have also seen this as an opportunity to search for a “solidarity”, unprecedented in any earlier struggle. Let me take this moment, to express one another discontent which arises within this “spring of discontent”.

In yet another institutional murder of a Dalit girl, Delta Meghwal, a young bright mind in Rajasthan, the horrors of caste based violence was brought back. We gathered to protest against this brutal killing of Delta, an accomplished painter and an artist whose works were showcased in many school exhibitions. The police deployed at Bikaner House clearly outnumbered the student protestors. A battalion of police was present at the site to handle just fifteen odd students. Our comrades possibly were dreaming of this “solidarity”, I presume. Many speakers spoke at the meeting expressing their concern and anguish. A professor of JNU who hails from Rajasthan also spoke in detail about the incident and demanded that justice be meted out to Delta. Even when he was speaking, a certain Mr. Radical started murmuring to a woman standing in the protest. Then the comrade conveyed the same to her other comrade who was sitting next to me. When she came out to speak to the public she declared that the professor who spoke was once himself charged of sexual harassment and hence had no right to speak at that forum and the organisers of the protest were being warned to call such a person in future. In sum, the person was humiliated to have come and spoken on behalf of the community which he also belongs to.

Since, I did not know about the case, I tended to inquire about the Professor and was informed by trusted sources that though the Professor was charged of harassment, he was acquitted from the institutional body within the university as well as in the court of law. So what is it that does not let him allow to speak for a girl killed from his community. It is “Brahamanical Morality” and the way it functions in the caste Hindu society that explains it. The practice of ostracising the lower castes as punishment is a norm in caste Hindu society. Our “radical” comrades may well deny that, because they have already “de-casted” themselves.

Is it also then a question of keeping a high moral ground in politics? If yes, then the “radical” comrades who boycotted the meeting should be asked some questions? The outfit they sympathise with in the university, has been “using” dalit and tribal women as a “fodder” in their path to “revolution” in the forests of Central India for long. Along with the crucial work of social reproduction, many of them are raped and sexually harassed by their fellow comrades on a day to day basis. There seems to be no voice against it since it is done for the holy cause of the “revolution”. Many of the students who formed a part of this sympathetic outfit in the university left the group precisely on the question of women in this “revolutionary” movement, if I am correct to the best of my knowledge.

If our “radical” comrades are uneasy with the fact that Professor Saibaba be labelled as a “Maoist” or “Naxalite”, Umar be called a “terrorist” and Kanhaiya be called an “Anti-nationalist”, then how can it be that a certain Professor be called a sexual harasser for the rest of his life even after the charges on him have been found false in the court of law. Is it not wrong to call any of these persons be it Professor Saibaba, Kanhaiya, Umar or the Professor who spoke at the meeting by a certain label? Is it not to argue and give a logic which essentially the state propagates for certain individuals and then builds a consensus on the same among the people? And after someone is branded, she/he is identified by the same for the rest of her/his life and is never allowed to come back to the society as a normal person.

The works of Brahmanism has to be understood in this context. There are some in the “radical” ranks who have taken the burden on behalf of the whole of humanity. They want to be the “sole spokesperson” for the working classes, the labourers, the dalits, minorities, women and other alternate sexualities, adivasis and the oppressed nationalities. None of them have the right to speak for their own community. The morality that they want to underpin on others should as well be exercised by them. I rarely saw Mr. Radical questioning in public the wrongdoings of the Professors who have done the criminal offence of not allowing many from the disadvantaged sections to even gain an entry in this university.

The work of politics is to identify this work of Brahmanism that controls our daily lives. Even on a crucial question of gender, our comrades remain mum on the critique of the movement so dear to them which in turn will bring “revolution”. The dream for a better society cannot be based on that of ostracisation. Any revolution envisioned without the annihilation of both caste and gender based inequalities would seriously have to be rethought. There is a progressive hypocrisy that pervades the left intelligentsia in this country but this understanding would remain incomplete if it does not take into account the work of Brahmanism in the caste Hindu society. “Revolution” and “Solidarity” are yet distant dreams.


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Ganesh Gupta Written by:

The writer is a research scholar of Modern Indian History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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