The difference between the Aryans and the non-Aryans was cultural and not racial. The cultural difference centred round two points.
CHENNAI: The difference between the Aryans and the non-Aryans was cultural and not racial. The cultural difference centred round two points. The Aryans believed in Chaturvarna. The non-Aryans were opposed to it. The Aryans believed in the performance of Yajna as the essence of their religion. The non-Aryans were opposed to Yajna.
Dr. Ambedkar, Riddles in Hinduism, page: 163
It has been systematically planned and propagated for a long time that caste in India has survived in this country to this day only because children are asked their caste when enrolling in schools. But it has only been a century since government schools, caste certificates and the introduction of reservation in education and employment. But caste has been living for aeons without any certificate and proofs.
Caste is a fantasy that is deeply ingrained in the Hindu minds. It was imposed by the Hindu based culture at birth. This is still the practice in India today. One can tear off the caste certificate, but nothing can destroy this caste imposed by the Hindu culture.
Economic inequality is not permanent and education is not denied merely because one is poor in this country. One’s birth is determined by the religion and the culture on which it is based. This means that cultural capital plays a major role in this country rather than material capital!
In modern India, fifty per cent of the people in India, including women, are considered Shudras based on the Hindu culture. Twenty-five per cent of the population is considered untouchable by the same culture and is forced to live outside villages. For these people, it is impossible to become priests in temples, to become the heads of Hindu monasteries, to wear a sacred thread on their backs or even to change to another caste from the caste in which they were born into.
They can’t even become a monk to escape these denials! People who gripe and lament over why schools ask for caste certificate do not see indecency when caste is referred to and explicitly asked at temples during marriage formalities and even when hunting for a rented house. They say it is culture and that cultural pride must be preserved.
When referred to culture, it reminds us of its expressive activities such as dance, song, music, worship and festival. But the question is what kind of cognition it is based on. Dr Ambedkar says that the culture of the Aryans was based on varna-caste discrimination. It is that lifestyle that was based on discrimination that has created the inequality here. All rights in society have been transformed into natural rights only for those who are considered superior by birth.
This is evidenced by the events that take place in our daily lives. If a person without a shirt walks down the street or tries to enter an institution, he or she will be ridiculed or denied entry into the same. In stark contrast, a Brahmin who goes with a bare body is viewed with respect; he is called ‘Swami’. The reason is that the cultural values of this country portray them as superior to other human beings.
These individuals, who are considered ‘superior’ by society, do not adorn themselves with expensive jewellery, do not carry any government certificate around their neck; Instead, they wear the ‘sacred thread’ which is considered to be a stronger cultural symbol. That cultural symbol is what makes them ‘Swami’!
The majority of people who get caste certification in schools and enjoy reservation have no right to enjoy this sacred capital of culture. It is because of this undemocratic culture that dominates the society that the Dalits are advocating an egalitarian culture that is against it. The indigenous people of this country, the ancient Buddhists, have Mahatma Phule, Babasaheb Ambedkar and Periyar as their guides who sowed the seeds of equality in modern India. Dalit literature, which is flourishing all over India in the recent thirty years, embodies the ideology of liberation of these thinkers who rejected the Sanatan culture of this country.
An egalitarian society cannot be imagined without thwarting the cultural invasion of the people, language and culture of this country. Appropriate representation should be given to people who have been denied opportunities by cultural discrimination in all walks of life. For that, the cultural values of those people must be recognized. Without recognising the 25 crore indigenous people of this country and their egalitarian culture for a long time, inhumanly keeping them out of the mainland, the Sanatan culture and the classical art and literature that echo it, will surely destroy the unity and integrity of India.
On average, 27 atrocities are perpetrated on Dalits in India every day. The Dalit people, who are living in this tragedy and giving their all to improve the society and the country, are seeking to democratise the society by demanding representation for themselves. Yes, social and political representation is essential to address reservation based on perpetual Sanatan culture.
The author is a leading journalist, writer, and editor of Dalit Murasu that has stood the test of time for 24 years now.
Courtesy : The New Indian Express, 29.04.2021