ఈ వ్యాసం/ పుస్తిక 2004 లో ప్రచురింపబడింది. కాబట్టి ప్రస్తుతం ఉన్న పరిస్థితులకు, కొత్తగా వచ్చిన మార్పులను ప్రతిఫలించకపోయినా, మూలసిద్ధాంతాన్ని మాత్రం చాలా బలంగా వినిపిస్తుంది. ఇందులో కులహిందువులకు అంగీకరించడానికి ఏమీ ఉండవు. కానీ దళితుల మైండ్ సెట్ ఇలా ఉండటానికి గల "నైతిక కోపం- Ethical anger" అర్థమయ్యే అవకాశం మాత్రం ఉంది.
WHY DALITS HATE HINDUISM?
This is a short introduction to Western people, mostly Christians, interested in India and particularly the Dalits. Since they are always guided by India's ruling upper castes, who have been always very close to the West, they often get misled because of the plethora of contradictions that make the confusion worse confounded.
The Hindu ethos is guided by hate. And that is why the Hindus hate anything which is not Hindu. Muslims, Christians and Sikhs have become the first targets of their hate philosophy, converting India into one of the most violent countries in the world. They talk non-violence but practice the worst kind of violence against Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Dalits and also all women.
But the puzzle is it is these very Hindus—not even 15% of India's population— who are the closest to the West. They have made America their second if not first home. Entire Western benefits are sucked away by these people who are the very oppressors of Dalits and other non-Hindus.
They exploit the Western sincere benefactors, mislead them and at the same time oppress the Dalits and non-Hindus inside India. And to mislead the Western do-gooders they resort to deception without ever making the innocent Westerners aware of their cunning tricks.
Western people interested in India should note that there is no other country in the whole world with such a plethora of perplexing problems. That is why they very often get deceived by the Hindu propaganda. India has not only the class problem but the more serious caste problem which has no parallel in the world. Besides. It is also the original home of racism.
The triple problem of class, caste and racism are further complicated by the nationality question. India is not a nation but a country of several hundreds of nations. The Hindus effectively make use of these complex contradictions and rule this country hiding all the reigning chaos and confusion with the power of their monopoly media.
Such a unique, well-oiled machinery of exploitation is over 3,000 years old. No group has succeeded in operating such a machine for so long anywhere in the world. Why only in India? Why our Western benefactors are not trying to understand this question?
Christian missionaries to some extent at least understood the baffling complexity of India. But the Muslims, even though mostly converts from the indigenous Indians, are yet to understand these complexities.
This booklet introduces India to such Western scholars, aid-givers, missionaries and all those sincerely interested in the liberation of the Dalit — the Black Untouchables of India.
Bangalore V.T. Rajshekar
Date: Aug.15, 2004
We are thankful to the Christian Conference of Asia for having given us an opportunity to present the case of the Dalit, the Black Untouchables of India forming over 20% its 1,000 million population. (V.T. Rajshekar, Dalit — The Black Untouchables of India, Clarity Press, USA, 1987). Christians have rendered such a signal service to the liberation of Untouchables that it can be written only in letters of gold when we rewrite the Indian history. Once kept out of Brahminism, now called Hinduism, as outcastes, the Untouchables of India today present the world's cruelest form of Apartheid before which the South African racial segregation and other Black problems of US and UK pale into insignificance. But, alas, the Indian Apartheid has received hardly any world attention as India's Brahminical ruling class has kept it a closely guarded secret.
If the Untouchables are what they are today, it is only because of Hindu religion, which, they say, is followed by about 85% of the Indian population. The correct name of Hinduism is Brahminism, imported to India by the Aryan invaders. Hinduism, considered the world's most ancient religion, has no parallel in the world.
A bundle of contradictions, a boneless wonder, words such as Hinduism, Hindu or Hindustan not at all figure in the Sanskrit "sacred scriptures" of Hindus. These scriptures do not even give a name to this religion. It has no founder. It has no single god. It has neither a church nor one single text like the Bible or Quran. The Supreme Court of India has ruled that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life.
The question: "Who is a Hindu?" can be answered only in the negative: one who is not a Muslim, Christian or a Parsi is a Hindu. Its priests are unique in the world. They not only belong to one caste (Brahmin) but are a hereditary pest. At least 95% of the Hindus do not know their "holy books". A majority of them do not even regularly visit temples. At least 30% of the Hindus are not admitted into Hindu temples.
Caste rivalry among Hindu gods
Therefore, Hinduism cannot be defined except that we can identify that a Hindu is one who is by birth. The Hindu is one who is not a Muslim or Christian,. That means Hinduism can be defined only negatively. Caste system, of which untouchability is a part, is the foundation on which Hinduism is built. You remove caste, the Hindu edifice falls like a house of cards. So every Hindu must have a caste. Without a caste there can be no Hindu. Nay, caste system is the other name for Hinduism. Caste and untouchability are deathless because they have divine sanction. Even the Hindu gods belong to different castes. And one god fights with another god because of caste rivalry.
Hinduism is, therefore, a vast mad house. Nay, the maddest house in the whole world. India, because of this, has become a sick country and its sickness is affecting the health of other countries. Look at Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, USA, Canada, etc. True, Hinduism is actually practiced only by the Brahmins who form the apex of the caste pyramid. They form not even 5% of the Hindu population and yet as "gods of earth" they control everything — all the property and privileges. And, therefore, rightly constitute India's ruling class, supplying every Prime Minister that India had (barring three or four for a very brief period) since "independence". None can rule India except the Brahmin. This is the power that Hinduism has conferred on the Brahmin, who is called the Bhoodevata, god on earth.
Brahmins killed Budhism
Hinduism is so powerful that though an alien religion,being an Aryan import, it devoured every protest movement including the most liberating Budhism, which was destroyed and driven out of India over 2,000 years back. Brahmins led by the Adi Shankara literally slaughtered Budhists. Budhism today reigns in other parts of the world but not to be found inside India – except for a feeble attempt made by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the Saviour of the Untouchables and the new rising star of India, at the fag end of his life by himself embracing Budhism along with several millions of Untouchables.
Efforts are being made to strengthen Hinduism —claiming it to be a religion of over 85% of Indians — and the government itself is actively helping the process making the Christians and Muslims nervous and making them feel that the Government in India is pro-Hindu. A fundamentalist Hindu nazi party called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is vigorously at it by fanning communal flames and periodically resorting to torture of Untouchables, Tribals, Muslims and Christians. The ultimate aim of the RSS is to clamp a class-caste fascist dictatorship, before which the Hitler's nazi rule will pale into insignificance, crush the Untouchables and castrate the minorities.
2. Untouchables & Tribals, original inhabitants of India:
Untouchables and Tribals who together make a formidable third of India's population are the original inhabitants of this ancient country. But the invading Aryans drove them out and those who fled to hills and forests became Tribals and those driven out of village limits became Untouchables.
The stigma of untouchability (racism) is not confined to Untouchables alone. In fact one caste is untouchable to the other "Hindu" caste. Ascending order of reverence and descending degree of contempt. But what are called as Harijan — meaning the "children of god" in the words of M.K. Gandhi— suffer not merely from untouchability but unapproachability, unseeability, unspeakability, etc. Dogs and cats are let inside a Hindu house but not an Untouchable.
Therefore, every village in India has become a ghetto, which is the worst part reserved for these born bonded slaves, reduced to skeletons, who are expected to render free service to the Hindus without expecting any return. They do all the menial jobs: cleaning, sweeping, scavenging, agricultural operations, carrying dead cattle and eating its carcass. Building constructions. Every dirty job. While the men are Untouchables, the women can be enjoyed by the upper caste (Hindu) men. This is the concept of Hindu justice.
No place for democracy under Hinduism
Democracy and social justice have no place under Hinduism. But the country's Constitution has forced the government to introduce some "socialist reforms". But with the advent of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, even these concessions and reservations are disappearing. So we live under such serious contradictions and perpetual clash between the fascist ideology of Hinduism and the socialist slogans of the government forced by the country's Constitution prepared by Dr. Ambedkar. The Constitution has given the Untouchables some paper "reservations" in jobs etc. but privatisation has killed even this little mercy.
Untouchability (sanctified racism) among Hindus is thus a unique phenomenon unknown to humanity in any other part of the world. Nothing like it is to be found in any other society —primitive, ancient or modern. Sociologists and historians of India are not interested in the problems of Untouchables because they all belong to the upper caste. Nay. You will be laughed at and ostracised if you talk about it publicly.
3. Why beef-eating Brahmins became vegetarians:
The first organised protest movement against Brahminism was launched by the Budha and Untouchables joined it en masse. Dr. Ambedkar has discovered that before the Aryans invaded India, the language of India was Tamil. He said the war between Budhism and Brahminism and the defeat of the former resulted in its followers being driven out of the village limits. Brahmins, who were the deadliest enemies of Budhism, adopted the trick of sabotaging Budhism by infiltrating it. They conducted a war against Budhism both from without and within. And after vanquishing Budhism, they inflicted untouchability upon those defeated.
Another ingenious method the Brahmins adopted to destroy Budhism was to give up beef-eating and become strict vegetarians. The Brahmins were the most gluttonous beef-eaters and the Vedic texts have any number of references to their indiscriminate killing of cows and eating them. Killing brought them joy. In fact, cow was then reserved for the Brahmin stomach.
The Brahmins also excelled in drinking intoxicating liquor, sex and such other merry-making. When the Brahmins gave up eating beef other Hindus also followed them. If the non-Brahmins underwent one revolution by giving up beef-eating, Brahmins underwent a double revolution. They gave up meat-eating for the first time and became vegetarians.
To my mind, it was the strategy which made the Brahmins give up beef-eating and start worshipping the cow. The clue to the worship of cow is to be found in the struggle between Buddhism and Brahminism and the means adopted by Brahminism to establish its supremacy over Buddhism". (Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Untouchables, W&S Vol. 7 p. 345).
Why the Brahmins resorted such a reckless adventure, a supreme sacrifice of giving up their greatest pleasure in life? Dr. Ambedkar says:
" Without becoming vegetarians, the Brahmins could not have recovered the ground they had lost in its revival, namely Buddhism". (Ibid p. 346).
Jews of India
Brahmins — whom we have described as the "Jews of India" (V.T. Rajshekar: Brahminism, DSA-2002)— have beaten the Jews in craftiness, deceit and treachery. They wanted to beat extremism with extremism. It is a fantastic strategy. The only way to beat Budhism was to go one step forward and become vegetarians.
Today, Brahmins (barring those in Kashmir and Bengal) are vegetarians and non-drinkers, though the yuppies among Brahmins have once again started meat-eating and drinking.
Non-violence was absorbed into Brahminism which from the day of the defeat of Budhism went on changing its name and recently it came to be called Hinduism. The Vedic religion of Brahminism was sacrificed to save Brahmins and destroy the revolutionary philosophy of Budhism and thus permanently condemn India to slavery and serfdom. That is how India, which has the world's largest but the most famished cattle population, turned into a cow-worshipper as a result of the triumph of Brahminism over Budhism. It was a means adopted by Brahmins to regain their lost glory. This supreme sacrifice of the Brahmins proves that the "Jews of India" are prepared to go to any extreme and make any compromise to save Brahminism.
To them Brahminism became more important than India. Every foreign invader was invited by them to serve their selfish ends. India today is one of the poorest countries of the world, a sick nation, because of Brahminism. (V.T. Rajshekar: India as a Failed State, DSA-2004). Not only if the Untouchables are to be saved but if India itself has to be rescued, Brahminism will have to be destroyed. That is why the Untouchables, being the original owners of India, have decided to escape from the tyranny of Brahminism.
4. India is not a "nation"
The Hindu nazi terrorists now led by the RSS often boast about the "Indian nationalism" or "cultural nationalism". They are spending a lot of money and time to rouse this "national patriotism" among Hindus. But is India a "nation"?
Each religion — Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus — constitutes a different but perpetually warring nation. Muslims (15%) and Christians (3%) are being persecuted by the Hindu "majority". Apart from this, the Untouchables (20%) and Tribals (10%) each constitute a separation "nation". Sikhs are rightly demanding a separate nation — Khalistan. Linguistically, geographically and ethnically India is deeply divided. Besides, each caste is a separate "nation" within the so-called Hinduism. (V.T. Rajshekar: Caste — A Nation Within the Nation, Books for Change, Bangalore, 2004-reprint).
Hinduism is thus a vast prison-house of warring nationalities. Nationality is a social feeling. It is a longing not to belong to any other group. This is the essence of what is called a nationality and national feeling. But in India race, language and country do not suffice to create a nation. A nation is a living soul, a spiritual principle.
Suffering in common is a greater bond of union than joy. As regards national memories, mournings are worth more than triumphs, for they impose duties, they demand common effort". (Renan quoted by Dr. Ambedkar in his book, Thoughts on Pakistan, Thacker & Co., 2nd edition -1945, p.17).
As consciousness increases along with literacy and other factors, Muslims, Christians and each caste within Hinduism will clamour for separateness and some people expect India to be torn to pieces in course of time.
The Hindu ethos stands for division and disintegration and not for unity. The seeds of destruction are within Hinduism itself. Nobody need destroy it. Hinduism will destroy itself. Because the Hindu house is built on hatred. The engine of hatred drives a Hindu.
5. Apartheid in India — a world problem:
The Untouchables of India constitute the worst form of Apartheid. The Afro-Americans are employed as household servants in White houses, and therefore, they are not Untouchables. But India's Untouchables are kept outside, segregated in all areas. Their very touch, look, even thought leads to pollution. You can make out a Black man from the colour of the skin but not so the Untouchable. He may be fairer than the Brahmin. Nobody can identify an Untouchable by the mere skin colour.
Therefore, the Indian Untouchability like the Black problem is not a problem arising out of colour prejudice. It is a mental problem created by the caste system. That makes it the most serious problem in the whole world. But, alas, no world body, the UN, International Court of Justice, Human Rights Commission or anybody for that matter, has ever bothered about the Untouchables who in sheer number excel the American Blacks or for that matter the Palestinians or any other struggling group.
For the first time India's Black Untouchables took their case to the UN at Durban (2001) comparing casteism with racism but suffered a defeat because of the Brahminical rulers stiff opposition.
Therefore, ours is a world problem of the greatest magnitude needing the highest priority.
The only people to spare some thought to the Indian Apartheid are the Christians. The World Council of Churches and the CCA have done a lot. And because of this they have invited the wrath of the Indian ruling class. If the Christians are interested in saving India and thereby the Untouchables they will have to intensify their efforts.
6. Class & caste: India's twin great divide:
While every other country in the world is divided into rich and poor (class division), India has not only its rich and poor but also the high and low castes. In India, the people are not only divided horizontally as rich and poor, but also vertically into high and low castes — one cutting across the other. That means the Brahmin belonging to the "highest caste" may be sometimes poor but an Untouchable government official may be rich. This is the most baffling problem faced by no other country in the world.
If other countries have to destroy only the "class", we in India have the twin menace of "class" as well as the "caste". Since the loyalty of both the rich and the poor is first to their caste (nation), it is difficult to unite the poor of a caste against the rich of their own caste. The frequent "caste wars" in India have conclusively proved that "poor" Hindus will not join hands with Untouchables – who are economically the poorest and socially the lowest.
Therefore, India presents the world's most baffling paradox where no general mobilisation of the poor is possible.
Even Budhism, Christianity, Sikhism and Islam have not escaped caste division because originally they were also "Hindu".
Sociologists by and large endorse our opinion that in India "caste" is "class". A mobile caste is a class. The low castes are all poor and upper castes are generally the rich. But one thing can be said with confidence that in India it will not be possible to launch a "class struggle" without first destroying the caste. At least a simultaneous thrust: a "class-caste struggle" has to be launched.
The Indian marxist leadership did not agree with us and that is how the Untouchables of India have rejected marxism. (V.T. Rajshekar: How Marx Failed in Hindu India, DSA-1988).
" caste identity"
The Hindus are also not prepared to destroy their caste because they became rulers only because of their caste identity. Since Hinduism is the other name for caste system, any attack on caste means a direct assault on property and privileges that the caste brings. Since every caste and subcaste stands to benefit from this grand system, no Hindu is prepared to give up the caste.
The upper castes (Hindus) are making a lot of noise over the conversion of Untouchables to Islam or Christianity. To prevent conversion they give the false promise of destroying untouchability. Hindu leaders including M.K. Gandhi say that they want to "eradicate" untouchability. But nobody is complaining against the caste system. Because they know that untouchability being the foundation of caste system, it is not possible to remove untouchability alone without destroying the caste system, which in turn means destroying Hinduism. So when Gandhi and other Hindu leaders talk against untouchability, they are not sincere. Gandhi, whom Dr. Ambedkar described as a Hindu leader and the Enemy No.1 of Untouchables, wanted only a patchwork solution. Gandhi was content with reform but Dr. Ambedkar wanted revolution and asked Dalits to quit Hinduism and go in for conversion. Religious conversion has proved to be the best, surest and the most nonviolent way of liberating the Untouchables. (DV Jan.1, 2003 p. 20: "Conversion as the best, simplest, surest & the most nonviolent way to liberate Dalits").
7. Marxists betray revolution:
India being one of the poorest countries in the world, all the factors necessary for revolution exist here. But the country is nowhere near a revolution. This is because the marxist leadership is in the hands of the Brahmins who are not really ready to launch a struggle to destroy caste as it will effect the property and privileges of their caste. And without destroying the caste, it is not possible to destroy the class. They are not prepared to combine caste struggle with class struggle. That is why the Untouchables have rejected marxism.
The Untouchables and Tribals are born revolutionaries. Nobody wants revolution more urgently than these two sections. But the marxists have no programme to attract them. The Left parties do not inspire these revolutionary sections. And quite a number of them feel that the marxists in India are not only far from revolution but actually counter-revolutionary.
8. Religious revolution:
As the marxists have betrayed revolution, Untouchables are forced to take the only other path available — the religious solution. Thousands of Untouchables and Tribals, therefore, embraced Christianity. Sikhism, Budhism and Islam and the flow is increasing.
It must be noted that the Untouchables of India are subjected to torture not because they are poor. There are any number of poor in India and the Untouchables are not the only poor. They are only a part of the poor Indians. The country itself has over 50% living below the "poverty line".
But why Untouchables alone are subjected to torture? Not because of their poverty but their degrading social status. So the problem of exploitation and poverty in India is due to social causes and not economic factors.
The main cause of India's poverty is, therefore, social and next only economic. This has to be clearly understood. The Untouchables are kicked, killed, burnt, raped and their little property destroyed not because they are poor. Poverty is not their problem. They became poor because the Hindus robbed their human rights.
The social degradation of the Untouchables having had religious sanction under Hinduism, the Untouchables have no other go but to get out of this gas chamber of Hinduism and seek fresh air under other liberating religions: Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Budhism etc. Therefore, conversion to other religions has become popular among the Untouchables. Not because after conversion to Christianity and Islam the problem of poverty would be solved. To them poverty is not their No.1 problem. Man cannot live by bread alone. He wants self-respect which is denied under Hinduism. They will get it the moment they get out of Hinduism and convert to other religions.
The Untouchables have discovered that conversion helps them as they will no longer be subjected to atrocities. Conversion to other religion, therefore, helps the Untouchables to destroy caste paving the way or rather helping them to go to the next phase: "class struggle".
Dr. Ambedkar chose Budhism after a 20-year-long thinking on the subject but unfortunately Budhism, having been considered a part of Hinduism, has proved to be ineffective in destroying untouchability because those who embraced Budhism along with Dr. Ambedkar are still treated as Untouchables by the Hindus. So the Untouchables mostly prefer Christianity and lately in one state, Tamil Nadu, the trend is towards Islam.
9. Role of Christians:
To repeat, the sickness of Hinduism is so contagious that it has not spared any other religion. Those who went over to Christianity carried their caste with them and we have evidence that to gain more members, the Church leaders allowed the converts to keep their caste identity. There are even today separate churches and graveyards in the church for Untouchable converts.
But one thing: Christianity or Islam does not have scriptural sanction for caste. Anybody fighting against caste within the church or Islam, will get support of their religion. But not so under Hinduism. That is why inside the Church in India, there is a powerful movement to fight caste discrimination. Despite the caste distinction the Untouchable converts to Christianity are today emotionally and psychologically much better than their counterparts who preferred to stay behind in Hinduism.
The trend towards Islam in Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India, is a new development that has rattled the Hindu clergy. Even the government has expressed alarm and there are fresh moves to ban conversions and stop the flow of foreign funds to India. There are charges that Arab countries are financing the conversion drive but government investigation did not prove it. It is only a few thousand Untouchables who embraced Islam in Tamil Nadu.
Mass conversion to Islam is not new to this area but the upper castes (Hindus) and the Hindu nazi terrorist party, RSS, are worried about this trend because a Hindu considers Islam as the most inveterate enemy of Brahminism. Islam has no caste distinction. The Untouchables are attracted to this because of its egalitarianism. Even some Christian converts have opted to Islam.
10. Hinduism is anti-human:
The above account is sufficient to convince anybody that Hinduism is not only anti-democratic but anti-human. Even the Brahmins, the custodians of Hinduism, have not benefited materially from this suffocating religion. Hundreds of Brahmins have fled the "holy" India and settled in beef-eating "unholy" US, UK and Gulf countries. Quite a number of them are still complaining of their own poverty in India.
Foreigners are likely to be deceived by the propaganda of nonviolence, the Gandhian ahimsa. But as representatives of the Untouchables, we would like to blast this myth. Nowhere in the world we can get a set of people who are more violent and blood-thirsty than the Hindus.
Hinduism is no doubt dying. Christianity and Islam have a better future in India. Urbanisation and scientific development have set fire to the very citadel of Brahminism. But what keeps the dying Hinduism alive are the two main props: caste system and the karma theory — the belief in rebirth, predestiny.
The Hindus talk about democracy and socialism but "majority rule" in India has resulted in majority tyranny on the minorities who are reduced to the level of second-rate citizens — a persecuted minority. India will soon plunge into a bloody communal and caste war.
Christianity has helped millions of Untouchables to get liberation. The Tribals of the North-Eastern India are today a force to be reckoned with because of Christianity. All those who went over to Christianity are definitely better off than those who stuck to Hinduism. If Christianity has to attract more followers, it has to immediately set its house in order by getting rid of the caste within the church as far as possible. Secondly, it has to render all-out help to Untouchables and Tribals.
The Untouchables of India are so weak —socially, economically, culturally, politically and even physically — that they no longer have the patience to wait for a revolution, which has proved elusive. Therefore, instead of waiting endlessly for the revolution, they have decided to seek their own solution to their problems.
- The first and the foremost programme is to quit Hinduism and seek refuge in any religion that assures them social status. Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Budhist organisations have to step up the drive for religious conversion.
- Constitutional reservations to Untouchables having been sabotaged by the Hindus and reservations in private sector an impossibility, they will have to go in for more radical remedies. They will fight for a separate electorate and separate settlement. They are currently scattered all over India and live in isolated ghettos. Being in a minority, thoroughly disarmed and totally dispossessed, they face danger to their life, property and the honour of their women. So to get safety and security they have to seek a separate settlement and separate electorate. And pending such a settlement, Untouchables are migrating to bigger cities. Organised shifting of population is also planned. (V.T. Rajshekar: Separate Electorate & Separate Settlement, DSA-1996).
- Every Untouchable is asked to carry an arm for his self-protection.
- International organisations, UN and particularly Christians and Muslims have a duty to support the liberation struggle of the Untouchables. Our struggle needs to be linked up with the other struggling groups of Blacks, Burakus, Palestinians and other friends.
Edited and updated paper presented on behalf of the Untouchables of India at the Asian Conference on the "Role of religion and national harmony" organised by the Christian Conference of Asia, held at Colombo, Sri Lanka, Oct.28 to Nov.3, 1981. The paper, originally published as a booklet in 1983 and sold out long back, is reprinted on popular demand.
The Untouchables (Dalits) are the single largest chunk forming 20% of India's 1,000-million population. History has proved they are the original inhabitants of India and also builders of its great glorious Indus Valley Civilization, rated next only to the Nile Valley Civilization.
Downfall of India:
The invasion of alien Aryans brought their first downfall which was corrected by the Budha through his powerful socio-spiritual revolution. The entire lot of Dalits and other victims of Brahminism (today called Hinduism) embraced Budhism which assured them liberation. Budhism reigned over India for over 1,000 years which is described in history books as the "Golden Age of India".
A dwarf Brahmin from Kerala, Adi Shankara, took over the task of reviving Brahminism by destroying Budhism, physically annihilating Budhists and their monks, and converting Budhist viharas into Hindu temples. After a prolonged bloody war and violence, the Brahminical religion was revived by manufacturing two Epics — the Ramayana and Mahabharata — and then a scripture called the Bhagawad Gita. The caste system was evolved, codified and strictly enforced through the Manu Dharma Shastra and non-violence (ahimsa) was borrowed from Jainism and incorporated into Hinduism. Brahmins were directed to abstain from meat-eating and become vegetarians. And others were directed to refrain from eating beef and cow was declared a sacred animal (gomata) and next only to mother. These were the tricks adopted by Brahmins to destroy Budhism and re-establish the world's most violent religion of inequality, injustice and inhumanity. All these form part of the history written by Brahmin historians themselves.
This is the beginning of the downfall of India. And the wave of foreign invasions. Even the "independence" of India (1947) did not bring relief to the oppressed sections. The Scheduled Castes (20%), Scheduled Tribes (10%) and Backward Castes (35%) — a total of 65% of India's population — are today facing serious social, political, economic and religious crisis.
India as a failed state:
To this long list of the persecuted nationalities denied human rights we have to add the Muslims (15%), Christians (2.5%) and Sikhs (2.5%) — a total of 20%. Even the women of upper castes have been made a deprived lot.
A total of 85% of our population is today facing gloom and doom. Every part of India, every section of India, every community of India is facing unprecedented crisis — political, economic, social, cultural and religious. Law and order has collapsed. Corruption is sky-high. All the three pillars of the state — executive, legislature and judiciary — have broken down. The fourth estate — the media to which I belong — is in shambles. Several state governments have no money to pay salaries to their own staff. While China, which became independent two years after India, has assured food, clothing, shelter and even health and education to all its 1,300 million people, India has failed in the very first one — food. But the 15% upper castes (Hindus) have become rulers of the land by exploiting the rest of the population. (V.T. Rajshekar: India as a Failed State, Dalit Sahitya Akademy - 2004).
Vanguard of the revolution:
Why India has become a failed state? This is because the new rulers (Hindus) have failed to look after the just needs of its 85% population particularly the Dalits who are at the bottom of the society.
A country is like the chain of a cycle. The cycle can move smoothly only if every link in the chain is in perfect condition. In the Indian cycle chain only about 15% of the links are well-oiled and well-maintained. The rest of the links are rusted, decaying. That is why the cycle is not moving. It is as simple as that.
The first people who revolted against this Hindu bid to destroy India are the Dalits who are carrying the weight of this entire oppressive Hindu society. Of all the people, why the Dalits alone are in the forefront of the revolution? There are two reasons for it:
- The Dalits are at the bottom of this social pyramid and hence the worst sufferers.
- Besides, they are the original inhabitants of India and hence its owners.
Budhist perception of Christianity:
Though I am a Budhist since many years, I have not been a practising Budhist. We find no major contradiction between Budhism and Christianity in India. At least not to our knowledge. Dalit Voice, of which I am the Editor, has readership all over India. So far no Budhist has complained to us against the Christians. Budhists are fighting mainly the Brahminical (upper caste) people. In Maharashtra, where the largest number of Budhists live, our people do not face any problem from Christians. In fact the Christians are fully with us.
Our No.1 Enemy is Brahminism which today goes by the name of Hinduism. Though the upper caste rulers of India including their leader M.K. Gandhi declared Budhism as part of Hinduism and made Budha an avatar (incarnation), they refused to extend constitutional reservations to Dalit converts to Budhism. It was Prime Minister V.P. Singh in 1991 who removed this restriction. The Hindus are doing their best to hinduise (enslave) the Budhists. A big debate is going on in Dalit Voice on this subject and we are soon calling a meeting of concerned Budhists at Nagpur to discuss steps to fight this Hindu menace.
Role of conversion:
The social and religious aspirations of Dalits are not only to liberate themselves but through that to save India itself. According to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the Father of India, who conducted a series of experiments in this field, this is possible only through religious conversion. (Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Why Go For Conversion?, Dalit Sahitya Akademy, 1987 reprint).
Religious conversion is the best, the simplest, the most inexpensive and also the most nonviolent way of not only liberating the Dalits but also the country as a whole. It is as simple as that.
The upper castes (Hindus) give equal treatment to Christians, Muslims and Sikhs. People belonging to these three sections (called religious minorities) did not come from outside India. Christians of India did not come from Rome, Muslims did not come from Arabia. They are converts from today's SC/ST/BCs. They achieved equality and self-respect only through conversion. When 20% of India (Muslim, Christian and Sikh) could achieve equality and self-respect through such a simple social engineering (conversion), why not the rest of the SC/ST/BCs follow this simple path?
Never ending caste war:
Such a conversion will bring happiness to both SC/ST/BCs as well as their oppressors (Hindus). As long as Dalits remain within the Hindu fold, they have to fight with Hindus daily. See what happened in Jhajjar (Haryana) recently. It is a daily fight in the countryside today. India is full of caste wars between the Hindus and Dalits. Conversion will once for all end this war and violence and there will be peace in the countryside and India as a whole.
The Hindus may ask: When there is caste inside the religions of Muslim, Christian and Sikhs, why again go into such a leaking house? This is a mischievous question. There is a great deal of difference between the Hindu caste system and the castes within other religions. Caste is not the chief characteristic of these religions. But the Hindu caste system has the religious sanction. Even M.K. Gandhi, the father of the Hindu nation, defended the caste system because it had the blessings of Hindu religion. That is why no Dalit has been made a Shankarachari to this day. But several Dalits have become Bishops, Imams and Sikh Sants. They can destroy their castes without destroying their religions. But if you destroy the caste system, Hinduism itself is dead. This is because the caste system is the other name for Hinduism. Kill caste, Hinduism is dead.
Gandhi hated Christians:
We have found Christian and church leaders praising Gandhi and some priests even imitating Gandhi. Such ignorant Christian leaders do not know the real face of Gandhi. They have not read what Gandhi had said about the church and its glorious services to the oppressed — a service which can be written only in the letters of gold. We call upon such church leaders to read Gandhi's own book published by his publishing house. (Christian Missions — Their Place in India, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad-14, 1941, edited by Bharatan Kumarappa).
In this book at several places Gandhi asks the Christian missionaries "not to entice the Harijans" (p. 52) and warns:
" Those who are engaged in the competition are not serving the cause of religion". (p. 52)
He is angry with the church because it is liberating the Dalits from Hindu slavery and racism.
Enemy No.1 of Untouchables:
The most important is Gandhi's speech at the famous United Theological College, Bangalore, which he visited sometime in 1927, long before "independence", when the college had mostly Western missionaries of repute. The speech he delivered there clearly proved that Gandhi was totally against conversion of Untouchables. Because Gandhi knew that his Hinduism, which was a gold mine for the upper castes (Hindus), would be reduced to a minority and naturally die if the Untouchables quit that religion. He warned the missionaries that:
" While I am strengthening the faith of the people, you (meaning missionaries) are undermining it" (ibid p.101). He asked the church to make the Harijans "better Hindus, as they belong to Hinduism". (Ibid p. 103).
But Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the Saviour of Dalits, has declared that "Untouchables are not Hindu and were never Hindu".
Every word that Gandhi uttered proved that he was a hard-core Sanatani Hindu and that was why Dr.
Ambedkar called him the Enemy No.1 of Untouchables.
The church leaders will agree with this assessment if only they read this book which is a devastating criticism of the Christian services to humanity.
The conversion of Untouchables may weaken Hinduism but it will certainly strengthen the country. But to Gandhi and his jatwalas, who being Aryans and hence aliens, their religion is more important than the country. Who is anti-national, the Christian church must decide.
Islam, Christianity and Sikhism have become powerful religions and the people following it have also become powerful because of their egalitarian values. So, if Dalits also quit Hinduism and embrace these egalitarian religions not only they will get social harmony but thereby they also become powerful. India also can secure peace and through peace it can become powerful. Look at the neighbouring Kerala where 25% of its population is today Muslim and another 25% Christian. Kerala is a literate, clean, disciplined and progressive state because of the leading role played by these two egalitarian religions. Similarly the North-Eastern states have become fully literate, powerful and revolutionary because the entire Mangoloid Tribals got converted to Christianity. Sikhism transformed the whole of Punjab. This is the miracle of religious conversion. Therefore, those who argue against conversion are not only the enemies of Dalits but the enemies of India itself.
Ever since India became "independent" (1947), we did not have any social harmony. After the advent of the Bharatiya Janata Party, a pure Brahminical outfit, social harmony is totally dead. The Gujarat Genocide of Muslims (2002) presents the best example. Caste system is killing the country. The Hindus themselves are fighting within themselves. If conversion can end all this problem in one stroke, why the Hindus are opposing it?
Top secret of India:
The reason is simple but it is kept a top secret. Brahminism, which has lately taken the new name of Hinduism, has become the "majority religion" by annexing Dalits (20%), Tribals (10%) and the Backward Castes (35%). Untouchables, said Dr. Ambedkar, are not Hindu and were never Hindu. Hinduism or Brahminism is an Aryan import. This is true of Tribals and BCs also. That is the reason why the Hindus hate all the three. Because the SC/ST/BCs are not Aryan but original inhabitants. By annexing this 65% non-Hindu population, the 15% minority Hindus suddenly became a majority religion and thereby rulers.
Conversion reduces the number of their slaves. And once the Hindu population — now put at 85% — is reduced, the Hindus become a minority. Conversion thus has a double-disadvantage to the Hindu:
- The Hindu will lose his free, permanent, obedient slaves.
- The Hindu will cease to be the ruler because he is reduced to a minority.
That is why the Presidential Order of 1950 was brought to confine the SC/ST/BC slaves to the Hindu prison house. The state itself was used to promote Hinduism. Even our Hindu judiciary did not question this Presidential Order.
Role of Christians:
A Brahmin Chief Minister Jayalalita brought a new law in Tamil Nadu with the same reason to see that the
Hindu edifice does not crumble and become a minority religion.
But none of these legislations or state-sponsored tyranny can stop the oppressed people from seeking social justice. That work is going on — silently but steadily.
The leadership of Muslims, Christians and Sikhs can speed up this process of social justice through conversion. Islam does not have a machinery for conversion. Christians have their powerful evangelical wing. But after the foreign missionaries left India, the work in this direction has slowed down, if not almost stopped. This is because the upper caste Christians captured the church leadership and did not want to hurt their cousins in the Hindu ruling class. Had the church leadership launched a powerful struggle, the Govt. of India would have been forced to withdraw the 1950 Presidential Order.
The church leadership betrayed the Dalits who would have simply flocked into Christianity (at least in South India) had the Presidential Order been withdrawn. The church leadership, both Protestant and Catholic, did not look at the Dalit issue beyond its selfish interest — that is beyond conversion.
The church is not interested in liberating the Dalits as a whole. The persecution, daily struggle, the rampant racism in the countryside, young Dalit girls becoming prostitutes, their hunger, unemployment, murder and mayhem — their struggle for social justice — does not interest the church. What type of a church is this?
The Dalits, the worst persecuted section, today are in a very bad shape. Totally impoverished. We are not referring to the SC/ST people enjoying the reserved jobs. They form just 2-3% of the Dalit population. The village-dwelling, illiterate Dalits are on starvation diet. Poverty and deprivation is not giving them even a chance to think. A revolution is preceded by a revolutionary situation. Such a revolutionary situation is not existing in any part of India. A hungry man cannot be a revolutionary. So, an organised religion like Christianity has the ability to create a revolutionary situation among Dalits by supporting their socio-economic needs and then by awakening them. As the Bible says:
" Know the Truth and Truth shall make you free".
Change in church attitude:
Did the church tell the Truth? Did the church identify the enemy? The poor, innocent Dalits do not know who is their Enemy, who is their friend. Once they come to know this Truth, they will simply explode. Why the church failed in its most important duty towards the oppressed?
The upper caste church leadership is not taking interest in such a work. Had this leadership taken liberation of the Dalits as the sole objective of the church, the non-Christian Dalits would not have opposed the Dalit Christian reservation issue.
Lately, we find some change in the attitude of the church leadership. The church offered full support to the Dalit case before the United Nations conference at Durban which sought to equate India's casteism with racism. India's upper caste-led govt. vehemently opposed our demand and defeated us at Durban though for the first time the world was shocked to hear about the horrible Hindu Apartheid system prevailing in India. After Durban, we find a welcome change in the attitude of the church.
Dalit liberation theology:
On behalf of the Dalits of India we want to tell the church authorities that if they put the full might of the church behind the Dalits, it is possible to bring about big socio-cultural changes in the country. For this the church must take to a new Dalit liberation theology and make it the principal mission of the church.
In this new mission proposed for the church, it has to take some precautions. No political party, not even a Dalit political party, will take interest in the social and religious liberation of Dalits because that will effect their votes. That is why no party is taking a stand on this issue. Nor will the educated Dalit employees will like it (of course with minor exceptions). This is because having taken advantage of reservations, they have been corrupted and co-opted by the ruling Brahminical Social Order. The church has to conduct its social engineering experiment with the village-level grassroot Dalit organisations which still remain uncontaminated and hence revolutionary.
The church can embrace the Dalits only if it gets the full cooperation from its own Dalit Christians who form over 60% of the Christian population. Unfortunately, the Dalit Christians are angry with the church. When the upper castes within the church are not treating their own Dalit Christian brothers as equals, how will the Dalits outside develop a trust in the church?
There is good lot of mistrust between the Dalit Christians and Dalits. This can be removed if the church gives a prime place to Dr. Ambedkar's revolutionary thoughts and accords a prime place to the "Father of India". It can also seek the cooperation of Muslims in this task.
India's second independence struggle for social and religious liberation is possible only if the Dalits are at the forefront of this movement. The Dalits are willing. They are impatiently waiting. Church — being the most well-organised, cadre-based organisation with millions of its dedicated sisters working in every corner of India — is ideally cut out to act as the catalyst for such a revolution.
Is the church ready?
(1) Why Go For Conversion?
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's historic speech delivered in 1936, published by the Dalit Sahitya Akademy under the title, Why Go for Conversion? with a foreword by V.T. Rajshekar. (DSA third reprint, 1987 pp.30).
(2) Religious Conversion
Chapter no.12 of the book, Weapons to Fight Counter Revolution, V.T. Rajshekar, Dalit Sahitya Akademy, 2004 pp. 100.
(3) The Un-Christian Side of the Indian Church — The Plight of the Untouchable Converts.
The Rev. M. Azariah (former Bishop of Madras, CSI), Dalit Sahitya Akademy, 1989, pp.22.
Edited and enlarged paper presented at the consultation organised by the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies in Bangalore on Dec.3, 2002.
The author is the Editor of the powerful Dalit Voice, India's oldest and the largest circulated English journal, published in several Indian languages. Originally a senior journalist from the Indian Express, he is considered the country's most original thinker, scholar and also philosopher. As India's most famous Dalit writer, he has authored over 50 world famous books dealing with the problems of caste, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Brahminism etc.
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