Leona Anderson andersle at
Fri Apr 4 20:47:15 UTC 1997

I have a special request related to a research project for an MA.  
The movement under study is a farmers' organization known as the 
Bhartiya Kisan Sangh affiliated with the RSS in Gujarat.  Balram, 
to quote one of their leaders, has been adopted as a symbol by the 
movement because he was "the first scientific farmer".  He is 
depicted with a large pestal for processing rice and a cultivating 

Specifically, how would you interpret the use of this god as a 
symbol of a contemporary, pro-Hindutva agrarian movement?

Another request for information, relates to general religious 
beliefs and deities important to the Patidar caste community of 
Gujarat.  Patidars (with surnames of Patel and Chaudhary, for 
example) dominate the movement's leadership.  Krishna seems to be 
an important deity, so does this explain the use of Balram?   What 
do you know of the general beliefs of Patidars?

Thirdly, the Patidar community has apparently undergone a dramatic 
transformation in terms of various caste and religious practices.  
Apparently, before the 19th century they generally engaged in 
goddess worship and practices of bride price, meat eating, and 
others more typical of a Sudra origin.  Now, they claim kshatriya 
status, are involved in vaishnavism, dowry and a prohibition on 
meat eating.  Please comment. 

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