Saturday, April 29, 2006

Blame it on the Brahmin

Some parts of the country are witnessing agitations against increased reservations to OBCs and there are other parts trying to ascertain if 50% is good enough since such tribes and castes are steadily increasing. In this background, a few fundamental questions come to my mind.
How can we as a developing country allow the future of education to be dictated by past prejudices and definitions that seem anachronistic in real India. In most debates about reservation , the Brahmin is made to out to be the enemy based on past crimes like not allowing lower castes into temples and not teaching them. But the truth in rural India nowadays is that the worst crimes against lower castes are perpetrated by non-Brahmin castes like thakurs etc. If you want to know the plight of a Brahmin in India, ask it to someone who has scored only 75% marks in science in 12th std in Tamil Nadu. Thankfully the BPO boom has ameliorated his suffering to some extent.
There is a need to distinguish between the two types of crimes; resource discrimination( access to water , land and education) and emotional segragation ( temples, rituals and name calling). The latter was in hindsight not that heinous. Denying access to land and water was. Education is a tricky thing to evaluate. A lot of what Brahmins learnt was ritually necessary but commercially irrelevant. For instance, learning mantras and the Vedas was part of the process of becoming a Dwija. (The Brahmin is also known in Sanskrit as dwija, the twice born, a man becomes a true brahmin once he gains the education in the sacred texts). In fact a bulk of today's Brahmins are as good as any other caste since very few have the time and inclination to be a dwija . So in a strange way, the Brahmins of today can also call himeself any caste and gain access to reservations.
Talking of commerce,most Brahmins earlier lived a life of austerity and tried to be self-preserving by marketing God and his thousand avatars to whoever would give a decent dakshina and daan. The luckier ones got jobs as advisors and accountants in the offices of kings. Even among Brahmins there would have been a natural inclination to learn the skills to end up in a kings court. As kings courts gave away to governments and bureaucracies and complexity increased, all the learnings paid off and Brahmins had a field day. (Well the same history repeated in the 90s thanks to the software boom). But as bureaucray became politicized and a vassal in the hands of politicians , skills ceased to matter and Brahmins were eased out.
Under this backdrop, I really think the Brahmin is unncessarily victimized by the proponents of reservation. As a non-dwija he has given up his roots long back. His comfort zones in administration are no longer open to him. His vote is least necessary for anyone to make a government. But he continues unfazed his strife to be what he always was : a knowledge worker (excuse me Peter Drucker). Trying to get the ever increasing percentages in schools and colleges to secure a good living, trying to find a sense of balance between his roots and modernity, trying to be competitive always. In a strange way , I salute the spirit of a Brahmin.


At 11:57 PM, Blogger BlueLotus said...

I have few suggestion for both people in favour and people in opposition of reservation policy .I would like to suggest Indian government to show the people the way by a.) Securing 49 % reservation for SC/ST in parliament.b )In the cabinet. c.) All Minsters(specially PM and Mr Arjun sing) should get treatment only from a doctor passed in quota that will give courage to others who are questioning the abilities of our brothers.

For the people questioning reservation i would like to tell you one thing , the best way to express yourself is VOTE.Speak the language the other understands.


At 11:12 PM, Blogger shikha said...

i was expecting a post on pramod mahajan jayesh...?!

At 2:39 PM, Blogger VJ said...

I have a strong point against the people who think reservations for backward class is wrong.

As as person from a forward community, who never used any reservation, spent lakhs of rupees to get a BE degree and much more money to get a MS degree from USA and from non-brahmin community I strongly feel that reservations should be implemented to help people from backward community who are mostly first generation college goers most of whom does not know anything other than hard labor in agriculture fields,...

Sucess for brahmins is much easy as most of them are not first generetion scool goers or college goers.Their parents teach them, help in home work, they have a mom or dad to teach them in home.

Most non-brahmins lack the skill that has to be gained at early age so as to grasp things and do homeworks and get a strong foot hold in education as thier parents are not educated.

That is the reason why more than 50% of the people I see in USA are brahmins as they are only 3% of Indian population.

There are 10% of SC/ST poeple in India.But I have seen only one person in USA so far.

So as the citizens of India, the backward class people need some impetus in the form of reservation to bride the gap between the brahmins.

Or otherwise their younger gereations will lag in scool,college education,in job,...

Myself being a Forwared community non-brahmin from a back ground og zero education from my family history had to strugle a lot to survive.

I can imagine the state of many backward class students from uneducated background will be really bad.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger shantanu said...

ya i think reservation is alright and make at as much as you want but whatever you do believe me you will never be able to exterminate brahmin he ill find a way overcome all odds and as ever prove himself and emerge can never deprive him for too long..i think all injustices done unto him will only strengthen him and make him more competent than ever
love to all n salute to brahmin spirit of unquenched desire for knowledge and more knowledge

At 11:58 AM, Blogger BG said...

Very well written blog with a side which i have not heard before.

For people who commented on this article(reservation).

1. Brahmin's only duty is to study, even their daily food they earned as biksham (Begging).

2. Whatever Brahmin's learned cannot be applied today.

3. Brahmins of South India are the highly migrated people due of lack of opportunities and ill-treatment.

4. The only caste in India where every tom, dick and harry can comment on with very little knowledge on the history. I see more and more people talking that they illtreated other sects etc., with minimal historical proof.

5. Reservtions can never solve any of the problem you have talked about, as it did not do anything for the past 50 years.

6. It is convenient for a lot of people to see that most Indians in USA are Brahmins with out analyzing why are there only brahmins here? Fact - Survival of the fittest. The more competition it becomes more competitive they become. No opportunities in India, so they have to move out of India.

7. Like a lot of people who suggest government that they should bring in reservation in Sports, Cinema, Publishing industry (every ten article published 5 should be from SC/ST - we should implement this in Blogging also), dance & other art forms(I am sure you dont want reservation in here), politics (already enough people here), every 100 visa's to USA 50 should be given to SC/STs.


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