Rajaram's bull/Hindutva

Bharat Gupt abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN
Sun Aug 6 16:35:39 UTC 2000

Lakshmi Srinivas wrote:
> Although I enjoyed the expose of Rajaram's techno
> sleight of hand, I have had some trouble with some
> posts in this thread.  I do apologize for this long
> post.
> --- Luis Gonzalez-Reimann
> <reimann at UCLINK4.BERKELEY.EDU> wrote:
> > Much of the current attack on "Western" Indology
> > seems to be part of a
> > strategy that aims at defending Brahminical
> > traditions and institutions
> > against a perceived menacing threat.

Thanks to LS for bringing some analysis on the topic through his incisive

I am wondering if it is not the time to redefine "Brahminical traditions" which
to my mind has been defined too lexically so far. It is more of less as if the
people of the Book have only looked for the Books of India and the Book Keepers of

This approach does not go with the sociological and anthropological methodolgy of
studying India either. The so called Brahmanism , both as a caste-order and as
Upanishadic Brahmavaada, has been supported more by non-Brahmins because the
hierarchical order of vr.na-aas'rama dharma has always benefitted the assertive and
upwardly mobile sections of Indic populations and Brahmavaada has given a final aim
to Tantra, Yoga, Shaktism, Bhakti and many other philosophies.  Brahmins and banias have
not needed Brahminism, as neither need upward mobility.

Most in need have been the middle castes (like Shivaji) or var.nasankaraja,
now redefined as OBC (other backward classes). Not shopkeepers anymore but Bal
Thackerays working class much more.  No  Manu or his caste-fellows
could have instituted a system if it was not useful to the bulk of people.
It has been useful even to the untouchables as there are untouchables for
other untouchables to despise.

The hierarchical society was useful to the Turks, Afghans, Lodis and Mongols/Mughals
as well because they found a place in it -- the neo Muslims vs blue blood Muslims,
(eg. Amir Kusro vs the Turkish aristocracy), a hierarchy that obtains to this
day among Muslims in matters of marriage. It is a fiction that medieval Islam was
teaching equality of mankind and enticing Hindus on these grounds. Islam  was
reaffirming hierarchy and except in fragments had no communication with Indian
religious systems.

The colonial era created a more restrictive and lexical definitions both of Brahminism
and the Hindu by restricting them to mean only those who accept the Vedas and Upanishads
as revelation. Whereas historically, Buddhists, Jains, Shaivs etc had all accepted the
var.na system, an impression has come to prevail that Brahmins created Manu. Hence
Ambedkar turned to Buddhism for liberation from caste. But the reslut was zero,
caste stayed, rings with rings among the untouchables now called dalits.
                                                    continued next post

best wishes

Bharat Gupt,  Associate Professor, Delhi University

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