Brahminical ideals

16 07 2007

Indeed the Brahmins were engaged in defending every wrong for the simple reason that they lived on them. They defended Untouchability which condemned millions to the lot of the helot. They defended caste, they defended female child marriage and they defended enforced widowhood—the two great props of the Caste system. They defended the burning of widows, and they defended the social system of graded inequality with its rule of hypergamy which led the Rajputs to kill in their thousands the daughters that were born to them. What shames ! What wrongs! Can such a society show its face before civilized nations ? Can such a society hope to survive ? Such were the questions which Ranade asked. He concluded that on only one condition it could be saved—namely, rigorous social reform.

SECTION V, Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches

Think Chaturvarnya As The Ideal Form of Society ???

16 07 2007

How can anybody who is not a congenital idiot accept Chaturvarnya as the ideal form of society ? Individually and socially it is a folly and a crime. One class and one class alone to be entitled to education and learning! One class and one class alone to be entitled to arms! One class and one class alone to trade! One class and one class alone to serve! For the Individual the consequences are obvious. Where can you find a learned man who has no means of livelihood who will not degrade his education. ? Where can you find a soldier with no education and culture who will use his arms to conserve and not to destroy ? Where can you find a merchant with nothing but the acquisitive instinct to follow who will not descend to the level of the brute ? Where can you find the servant who is not to acquire education, who is not to own arms and who is not to possess other means of livelihood to be a man as his maker intended him to be ?

SECTION V, Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches

Intellectual Class

14 07 2007

It is true that intellect by itself is no virtue. It is only a means and the use of means depends upon the ends which an intellectual person pursues. An intellectual man can be a good man but he can easily be a rogue. Similarly an intellectual class may be a band of high-souled persons, ready to help, ready to emancipate erring humanity or it may easily be a gang of crooks or a body of advocates of a narrow clique from which it draws its support. You may think it a pity that the intellectual class in India is simply another name for the Brahmin caste.

SECTION XXI Annihilation of Caste. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches

Caste Interest

13 07 2007

An anti-social spirit is found wherever one group has ” interests of its own ” which shut it out from full interaction with other groups, so that its prevailing purpose is protection of what it has got. This anti-social spirit, this spirit of protecting its own interests is as much a marked feature of the different castes in their isolation from one another as it is of nations in their isolation. The Brahmin’s primary concern is to protect ” his interest ” against those of the non-Brahmins and the non-Brahmin’s primary concern is to protect their interests against those of the Brahmins. The Hindus, therefore, are not merely an assortment of castes but they are so many warring groups each living for itself and for its selfish ideal.

N. B:- Have we ever wondered if there were elements of this “caste-interests and selfishness” in our argument for merit and against Reservation. (This POV is entirely of the bloggers)

SECTION VII Annihilation of Caste. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches

Castes Among Non-Hindus

13 07 2007

….there is one set which finds nothing peculiar nor odious in the Caste System of the Hindus. Such Hindus cite the case of Muslims, Sikhs and Christians and find comfort in the fact that they too have castes amongst them…………………………………. you will find that caste among Non-Hindus is fundamentally different from caste among Hindus. First, the ties, which consciously make the Hindus hold together, are non-existent, while among Non-Hindus there are many that hold them together. The strength of a society depends upon the presence of points of contact, possibilities of interaction between different groups which exist in it. These are what Carlyle calls ” organic filaments ” i.e. the elastic threads which help to bring the disintegrating elements together and to reunite them. There is no integrating farce among the Hindus to counteract the disintegration caused by caste. While among the Non-Hindus there are plenty of these organic filaments which bind them together. Again it must be borne in mind that although there are castes among Non-Hindus, as there are among Hindus, caste has not the same social significance for Non-Hindus as it has for Hindus. Ask Mohammedan or a Sikh, who he is? He tells you that he is a Mohammedan or a Sikh as the case may be. He does not tell you his caste although he has one and you are satisfied with his answer. When he tells you that he is a Muslim, you do not proceed to ask him whether he is a Shiya or a Suni; Sheikh or Saiyad ; Khatik or Pinjari. When he tells you he is a Sikh, you do not ask him whether he is Jat or Roda ; Mazbi or Ramdasi. But you are not satisfied, if a person tells you that he is a Hindu. You feel bound to inquire into his caste. Why ? Because so essential is caste in the case of a Hindu that without knowing it you do not feel sure what sort of a being he is. That caste has not the same social significance among Non-Hindus as it has among Hindus is clear if you take into consideration the consequences which follow breach of caste. There may be castes among Sikhs and Mohammedans but the Sikhs and the Mohammedans will not outcast a Sikh or a Mohammedan if he broke his caste. Indeed, the very idea of excommunication is foreign to the Sikhs and the Mohammedans. But with the Hindus the case is entirely different. He is sure to be outcasted if he broke caste. This shows the difference in the social significance of caste to Hindus and Non-Hindus. This is the second point of difference. But there is also a third and a more important one. Caste among the non-Hindus has no religious consecration; but among the Hindus most decidedly it has. Among the Non-Hindus, caste is only a practice, not a sacred institution. They did not originate it. With them it is only a survival. They do not regard caste as a religious dogma. Religion compels the Hindus to treat isolation and segregation of castes as a virtue. Religion does not compel the Non-Hindus to take the same attitude towards caste. If Hindus wish to break caste, their religion will come in their way. But it will not be so in the case of Non-Hindus. It is, therefore, a dangerous delusion to take comfort in the mere existence of caste among Non-Hindus, without caring to know what place caste occupies in their life and whether there are other ” organic filaments “, which subordinate the feeling of caste to the feeling of community. The sooner the Hindus are cured of this delusion the butter.

N.B :- There are few sentences regarding the practical division in society and questions on Ideal society before Dr. Ambedkar answers the question of castes in non-Hindu societies in India, which are withheld for the purpose of clarity (shown as gap/dotted line). The same could be found here.

Annihilation of castes. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches

Reform as Change of Notions

13 07 2007

All reform consists in a change in the notions, sentiment and mental attitudes of the people towards men and things. It is common experience that certain names become associated with certain notions and sentiments, which determine a person’s attitude towards men and things. The names, Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra, are names which are associated with a definite and fixed notion in the mind of every Hindu. That notion is that of a hierarchy based on birth. So long as these names continue, Hindus will continue to think of the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra as hierarchical divisions of high and low, based on birth, and act accordingly. The Hindu must be made to unlearn all this. But how can this happen if the old labels remain and continue to recall to his mind old notions. If new notions are to be inculcated in the minds of people it is necessary to give them new names. To continue the old name is to make the reform futile.

Annihilation of castes. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches

Brahmins in Vedic Era

8 06 2007

The Bramhins from the very beginning therefore were inclined to be a purely educated class, enlightened but selfish. This evil in the Vedic order of Bramhins was extreme by the changes made in the old Vedic System. The right of the Brahmins to rule and the grant of special privileges and immunities made them more selfish, and induced in them the desire to use their education not for the advancement of learning but for the use of their community and against the advancement of society.

CHAPTER-7 The Triumph of Brahmanism : Regicide or the birth of Counter-Revolution, part-III. Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Ancient India, Volume-III. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches