Awakening Article: Castle On The Dung Heap

20Oct07

Gail Omvedt is a name that commands respect in both, scholarly circles and also in wide  Activist’s forums. She writes only to make minds open so that sane can pave new way to the enlightened society. In India wishful thinkers are many but writers who understand the societal and individual sufferings and who could dream a ‘just society’ are very few. While the wealthy Business Barons fight battle to protect their wealth, people like Gail work hard to set masses free through enlightened writings. Coming out of the shell is a matter of chance.

During her stint in India; she noticed the hint of  silent revolution that’s going on Buddha`s land. Precisely the same she wants tyo convey in her most recent article wrote for Tehelka. It gives a honest picture of Indian socio-economic situation. Readers may like to go through this.

  Thanks Gail & Tehelka Team!!

+

DIFFERENTIAL DHARMA has been a major theme of Brahmanic culture ever since Krishna told Arjuna, “Better your own dharma done badly than another’s dharma done well.” The Manusmriti put this even more strongly, arguing that various castes and genders had different “essences” and so deserved different treatment. The Chandogya Upanishad warned that behaving badly (defying caste) would result in a bad birth — “in the womb of a dog, a pig or a Chandala.” As Pandita Ramabai colourfully put it, after seeing the reality of women’s lives throughout India, one should “not to be satisfied with looking on the outside beauty of the grand philosophies… but open the trap-doors of the great monuments of ancient Hindu intellectuals” and “enter into the dark cellars” where social reality festered.

Apologists have argued that the fragmented social order of the varnashrama dharma provided a means of absorbing numerous groups relatively peacefully. Even Nehru saw caste and village as providing a crucial community that would be an antidote to the bourgeois individualism he feared. But they, in fact, have been an antidote to universal justice. In Europe, Roman law and the universalism of the Catholic Church provided a foundation on which the French revolution could bring forward values of liberty, equality and fraternity for all individuals so they could be treated equally under the law. In the US, such values had to be finally achieved through a brutal civil war costing millions of deaths. In India, as sociologists like Satish Sabharwal and G. Aloysius have argued, the fragmentations of caste, village and kinship continued to ins titutionalise differentiated hierarchy, sanctified by scriptures the majority was forbidden to read. The beautiful philosophies continued to proclaim the unity of the “atman” with the “Brahman”, but this unity was denied in the real world, which was simply “maya”. Thus, society remained not only pluralistic but inequalitarian and illiberal, with the smallest and most barbaric community continuing to dominate the individual.

The Bhakti movement fought these inequalities, as priestly ritualism was fought in Europe. In a poem called “Begumpura”, Ravidas hailed the “city without sorrow”, with no taxes, no toil, no hierarchy but equality and prosperity for all. But the radical bhaktas were brought before cou – rts; trampled to death for such crimes as inter-caste marriages, assassinated as Tukaram was said to be, poisoned as Mira was believed to be. Colonialism brought new contradictions, and Ambedkar, Iyothee Thass, Pandita Ramabai, Periyar and other social revolutionaries challenged the Manuwadi prison, arguing for humanistic values to give a moral foundation to the State. Each sought some kind of religious escape from Brahmanism, constructing liberation theologies within the framework of Buddhism or Christianity. But the independence that came to India was hegemonised by a Congress party that accepted the crucial points of the “Hindutva” ideology proclaimed openly by the Hindu Mahasabha.

Read More Here



No Responses Yet to “Awakening Article: Castle On The Dung Heap”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: