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Will India Ever be a Nation with Rule of Law,
|by K. Gajendra Singh|
Asatyamev Jayate (untruth prevails) has become India’s new liet motif
“I feel the prime minister has lost complete control of the government. Sonia Gandhi has lost control over the political processes and of the Congress party.” Arun Shourie, a former editor and later BJP minister.
Srinivas defined Sanskritisation as a process by which "a 'low' Hindu caste, or tribal or other group, changes its customs, ritual ideology, and way of life in the direction of a high and frequently 'twice-born' caste. Generally such changes are followed by a claim to a higher position in the caste hierarchy than that traditionally conceded to the claimant class by the local community..."
One clear example of Sanskritisation is the acceptance, imitating the practice of twice-born castes, of vegetarianism by people belonging to the so-called low castes, who are traditionally not averse to non-vegetarian food.
The British colonialism could be called Anglicization, defining it as a process by which the natives of India sought upward mobility by emulating the ways and manners of the British lords who chose to spend some time in India as part of their global mission to ‘spread civilization’ (and, incidentally, economic restructuring aka looting their subjects).
We will not discuss Hindu beliefs and relevance or importance of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars and rebirth, the varnashram dharma or varna-vyavastha either in the sense in which it is explained in Hindu dharma shastras like Manusmriti or in the so-called Vedic sense and the Hindu taboo of not eating beef or the idol-worship and other such controversial matters.
High caste Imperialism
Thus we can also say that while imperialists divided the subject races to rule over them, Brahmins, since time immemorial have divided the Hindu society, to rule over them as the highest rule making caste. They gave religious sanction and fear of hell and uncounted births as non-humans and other untold tortures and miseries, if the non-Brahmins wavered from the caste based Dharma and obligations, mostly for the benefit of the higher castes at the cost of those lower down.
In this Brahmin ordained apartheid like systemic cancer since millennia there has not been much weakening since 1947 or even in the equality of the sexes guaranteed by the Constitution. The women in real life remain relegated by the religiously enforced grading led by Brahmin fraternity, warriors and nominally ruling caste of Kshatriyas, the trading and agriculture community of Vaishyas and even the Dalits (who in the countryside still remain untouchables). While for political reasons the reservations in Assemblies and for jobs have distributed benefits unevenly to Dalits and Tribes but Muslims have now ended as the new untouchables as brought out in the prevailing discriminations against them by various studies and reports. Even rich and respectable Muslims are refused flats by Hindu dominated building societies.
But the situation of women still remains unenviable. A girl child is still given food the last in the family, so it is with her education, with female feticide, bride burning for dowry or maltreatment of widows. A few years ago, Shankaracharya of Puri declared that women have no right to learn Sanskrit the language of Hindu Shashtras or read Vedas. A Shankaracharya , mostly a Brahmin, tries to be like an Ayatollah Khomeini, a jurist –consult in Shia Iran, to maintain Brahminical control over Hindu society and has been used to deny education to non-Brahmins and women. Brahmins, about five percent of India’s population including obscurantist cranks and charlatans continue to rule the spiritual life and flourish all over India, with many of them named Ananda (bliss) spreading swamis, preachers and priests on religious TV channels. Some have been charged with molestation, rapes and other crimes somewhat like Catholic priests all over the world.
The organization of Jat and other Khapps (caste councils) in north India are nothing but maintaining the caste purity as laid down by Brahmin designed system described as tradition; reeti or ‘Dharma’. The obscurantist medieval custom of honor killings ordered by Khapps for marrying outside the caste and out casting of the families of the victims is still a common practice in many parts of India, especially in the north. The Khapps even want modern Constitution based laws on marriage and social intercourse be reversed and take the country back to medieval practices.
Pinstriped Brahmin led Khapps in External Affairs Ministry
From the 7th to the 11th century, lack of interaction between Indians and their Iranian cousins and others in Central Asia, conquered and dominated by Arab-led Islamic forces, made India inward looking and fossilized its caste-based polity. Indian polity lost its mobility, resilience (as claimed by Brahmins and some others) and the capacity to synthesize and assimilate new ideas. It went on the defensive against the conquering Islamic religion and Muslim polity. It withdrew into its own shell and became frozen. But rigid caste based hierarchy and rules of conduct were implemented with even greater severity as mostly happens to societies under siege. And so it remained throughout the Muslim rule and British rule over Hindustan. The latter only perpetuated the static nature of Hindu polity, reducing Indian rulers as their menial aides, notwithstanding some social reform ripples. Indians never had a revolution, like the French, Americans, Russians or the Chinese or the Turks and Iranians, which did away with all outdated and obscurantist feudal systems and medieval practices.
The Dharma (religion and duty), put one in one's place. A headman's son could aspire to be a headmen, an untouchable would remain an untouchable.
Yes, the process of peaceful massive social engineering through competitive party politics and reservations in favor of the disadvantaged since independence has unleashed social, political and economic forces hitherto unseen in Indian history, in the process rearranging the powers by the castes. It shattered the Brahmin-imposed village autonomy based on a rigid hierarchy of priests, landowners, traders, artisans and untouchables, which had survived Muslim and British rule.
Soon, former bus conductors, petty smugglers, village pehelwans (wrestlers), and the progeny of peons could rise to the highest levels of government as chief ministers and cabinet ministers, as shown by the Lals of Haryana, the Yadavs of Uttar Pradesh and others. Imagine the creative and other energies released into the system, with the profession of politics providing an ambitious and determined person, but poor, uneducated, socially and economically disadvantaged, the opportunity to work his or her way up the system.
Unfortunately, in this free-for-all environment, without the constraints of the rule of law , many criminal elements, after first helping the politicians in vote "gathering and controlling", soon muscled their way into the halls of power. Slowly the system's so called inbuilt resilience for corrective action through independent institutions was eroded. After watching the slide into dishonesty, chicanery and total disregard for all civic norms, first the Election Commission and then the Supreme Court took some measures to strengthen these independent institutions, but with little success so far.
Chief Justice Verma’s initiative and recommendations for an independent Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVO), and a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under him and an Enforcement Directorate have been undone by the corrupt ruling classes across the political spectrum. This can be seen by the current controversy on the appointment of the new CVO with dubious integrity. The political elite refuse to give constitutional authority and independence to the office of CVO or CBI. In the current pointless cacophony politicians have rightly criticized the bias of CVC and CBI but they have not demanded statutory and constitutional independence to these offices. They want to continue to misuse these offices by appointing pliable civil servants when in power.
Soon after independence in 1947, the lawyer-led Brahmin-dominated Congress party, with electoral support from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (dalits) and post-partition defensive Muslims, for no fault of majority of them, ruled India, with the Brahmins monopolizing the levers of power. Majority of the cabinet ministers were Brahmins.
Soon the number of Brahmins occupying senior government posts doubled, which were earlier dominated by Kayasthas, defacto almost a caste of bureaucrats since the Moghul era in India. From the mid-1960s, at the ideological economic level, the new Congress elite was opposed by maharajas, big industrialists, traders, landlords and free marketers through the Swantantra Party, and at the social level this elite was challenged by Jats, Yadavs, Ahirs and Kurmis, that is, petty landlords and cultivators who had benefited the most from the post-independence abolition of zamindari (tax collection on land).
The challenge was first led by Chaudhary Charan Singh, a Jat, and then by various Lals of Haryana, Mirdhas of Rajasthan and the Yadavs of the cow belt. But this process left the Dalits squeezed out. Prime minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh, leading a minority coalition government, panicked in 1990 and resorted to the "Mandal card" (further reservations for other backward classes, OBCs) to outflank his deputy, the overbearing Devi Lal, leader of the Jats (not included in the OBC list then). It was a devastating mistake in instituting and promoting divisiveness in the polity.
But it did initiate the loosening of the heterogeneous OBC grouping. Disenchanted with the "Yadavs only" policies of Laloo Yadav, the Kurmis in Bihar founded their own Samata Party. At the lowest rung of the ladder, the dalits, first organized by B R Ambedkar in the 1930s through the Republican Party of India, gathered under the umbrella of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Kansi Ram, and then under Mayawati in the north. She now leads the government in the largest state Uttar Pradesh in north India. She has outdone the Brahmins and other high caste leaders in building statues for their leaders and naming streets, towns to honor Dalit leaders, mostly Buddhists, a religion which the Brahmins squeezed out of India, while it continues to flourish outside India especially in Asia. This shows the power of Brahmin enforced Dharma to guard its flock and maintain domination. One of the major weaknesses of the Hindu religion is its rigid norms of purity, which force those converting back to Hindu religion back into their original low castes, the main reason they left to become Muslims and Christians to feel at par with the then ruling elite and escape Brahmin laid torture, discrimination and deprivation.
But many Dalits also seem unhappy from the weight of the creamy layer of Jatavs, Minas and others who have become the major beneficiary and become the "neo- Brahmins". But having been deprived, discriminated and tortured by upper castes since millennia, they are happy to see their caste persons occupying positions earlier monopolized by higher castes. The majority non-Brahmins in Tamil Nadu, and land-owning elements in Telgu Desam, Kanara and the Maharathas have already asserted themselves against Brahmin domination and squeezed out Brahmins from posts under political patronage. Thus the process of the heterogeneous and frozen polity being split into myriad pieces of castes and sub-castes still continues.
Do as I tell you to do and not what I do myself.
But all in all the results since independence have been somewhat distressing, depressing and counterproductive in promoting equality, nationhood and the rule of law. New families /dynasties from OBCs and other lower castes and classes have become the neo Brahmins and occupy the top ladder in their caste groups as do Brahmins among Hindus. They copy and behave like Brahmins i.e. behave as if they are above the law. They do not want equality of all before law. So it has not and unlikely to bring about equality before the law.
The irrational outcome is that any united caste group with even 25% of the population in a state can acquire power after getting around 35% of the votes cast. This regularly happens in Haryana where Jats with about 20% of the total population rule the roost. Lalu Yadav misruled Bihar for 15 years combining Yadavas (less than 20%) and Muslims. The manifestoes cater for caste groupings only, a fraction of the total electorate. All political offices are then cornered by the family and the caste group. All political parties nominate candidates based on caste calculations. Thus the caste and sub-caste divisions have been strengthened.
Continued to: Elections in Bihar
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01/10/2011 02:10 AM