Political Implications of the Hindu American Foundation report on Caste and Hinduism – Gautam Sen

Dr. Gautam SenThe first and most blatant ideological difficulty is that Caste does not define Hinduism, but the critics of Hinduism, both Christian and Muslim antagonists and Hindus dependent on them for their livelihood, have long defined Hinduism in terms of Caste. It recalls a telling point made by Voltaire that the term Pagan, now an established ascription, was never used by polytheists as a description of themselves, but a term of abuse employed against them by Christians. In this context, despite citing Nicholas R. Dirks’ important book you [i.e. HAF] do not highlight his main contention that colonial enumeration of Caste identities to categorise Indians, to better exercise political control over them, hardened its previously fluid boundaries. – Dr. Gautam Sen

HAF with US Congressman McDermottAny discussion on caste really pertains to India since it is of marginal significance for Hindus in Europe and North America. One must therefore provide an a priori justification as to why Indians should be guided by measures recommended from abroad. This matter of principle does not concern the substance of any recommended policies, which may be good or bad, but the reason why they should be advanced by Hindus from abroad, but adopted by Indians living in India. It is a major issue of principle that cannot be evaded. And the fact that it is easy to find Hindus from within India to offer validation to proposals does not change the essential point because the initiative lies abroad. Indeed garnering support from within India makes the enterprise even more suspect as a consequence. My own concern is that people living away from their homeland are necessarily susceptible to socialisation by local ideological imperatives though it does not mean every single individual succumbs. These ideological certainties are likely to be hostile to the interests of their country of origin and perspectives emanating from a locale like the US, which has harboured incredible enmity towards independent India and continues to do so, are potentially harmful as a result. One must therefore exercise unusual caution although there is no good solution to the issue since people of goodwill cannot be required to stop thinking and writing.

However, I suggest that, as a matter of principle, any such attempt to wade into issues with policy imperatives tagged onto them and which might amount to injunctions or, worse still, diktats are unacceptable. Only Indians living in India are qualified to initiate and make policy for themselves because the outcomes primarily affect them and that is the appropriate democratic procedure. And it is they who have the right to make their own mistakes and experience their own learning process. This is not to suggest that Indians abroad cannot and should not hold opinions on subjects that interest them, but it is beholden to them exercise more than a measure of self-restraint when they take to preaching. And it is absolutely imperative for them not to engage in cavalier fashion with issues of paramount importance to people in India because that really smacks of arrogance that could be regarded as stemming from the wealth and status enjoyed by residing in a wealthy country as a professional. I am one of these very people, who have lived away for nearly 41 years and constantly write on Indian subjects. However, I regard myself as a lowly foot soldier operating from what to me, metaphorically speaking, is enemy territory and with due respect for those whose personal interests are tied to Indian soil.

The issue that remains critical is the political context and the consequences of particular debates and proposals. Nothing undertaken is politically innocent and it is absolutely imperative to retain this reality in mind when engaging with complex issues like Caste and espousing positions and advancing recommendations. The issue of Caste is a profoundly political question and not for the obvious reason that it affects all Hindus in some way or another. Discussions on Caste are, first and foremost, ideological weapons in the wider struggle for political supremacy and domination between white Christian nations, led by the imperialist USA and its victims, Hindus. I do not mention Islam because its enmity towards Hindus is unabashed and repeated in countless Pakistani and Arab publications. The US and India have been at loggerheads since the early 1950s and those unfamiliar with this history should desist from pontificating on intellectual cleavages that are part of the arsenal in the struggle between the Hindus of India and the imperialist USA. The Church is a mere subaltern agent in this deadly contest for domination and subjugation and primarily an instrument of State policy, as it has been since the loss of its ability to dictate to European States several centuries ago. The fact that individual Christian participants in this arena may be morally upright and motivated to spread the word of god, though that itself is an expression of sectarian intolerance, is irrelevant. The aggressive protagonist is unfailingly the State and as it happens in this particular competition, the US State. Hence, the idea that decent conduct and carefully delineated argument will alter the course of this contest is naïve in the extreme. The USA is a country that inserted live snakes into the private parts of captive Vietcong women and has had no compunction recently presiding over the murder of 1.4 million Iraqis. Hindus are not special in any sense in their scheme of things except that are proving difficult to subjugate, despite determined efforts for over 60 years. If living in the USA makes it difficult to swallow this harsh truth nothing more remains to be discussed.

Neither is the issue of who can presume to speak on behalf of the Hindus of India is not an abstract matter of principle alone though I regard the principle involved as paramount. It is a conviction that stems from direct personal experience of the serious problems that arise when Indians abroad seek to act on behalf of their brethren in India. On two separate occasions, during the last decade or so, Hindu activists in the UK sought to sign accords with the Anglican Church concerning what legitimate forms religious conversion could take. I was staggered when the already initialed document was sent to me by a lawyer opposed to it. The document could have been regarded as laughable had it not entailed the potentially serious consequence of politically compromising Hindus permanently.

The accord amounted to acceptance of conversion as legitimate, provided there was no coercion involved. Of course what amounted to coercion was undefined and it contained choice phrases like ‘freedom to share one’s religion’, which is a standard Church code for legitimating evangelical activity. There was no recognition that it is the legitimacy of evangelical activity (as distinct from religious conversion, per se) that is in insurmountable dispute, closely tied as it is to coercion, when the latter is carefully enumerated. And nor is it an established right under Indian law, though evangelists constantly assert to the contrary. But this was being bartered away by people who did not have command over the English language and could not comprehend the many loaded phrases the document contained. They were all virtually semi-literate, which I state as a matter of fact rather than mere prejudice though I do not deny the latter sensibility when dealing with such nonsense. The signing was vetoed by the late Seshadri-ji of the RSS and I earned the ire of many British Hindu activists. I subsequently learned that an American Hindu ‘convert’ of some considerable public fame had been counselling them to sign the accord. I therefore concluded he was an intelligence infiltrator and that should surprise no one. Hindus are at war, a reality difficult for many to swallow, and the enemy is engaged in a no-holds barred effort to dis-empower Hindus. Caste issues are a handy weapon being deployed by them as it has in the long history of deadly conflict between Hindus and Christian militarism.

Let me add that virtually an identical attempt was made yet again in the recent past by the very same people to sign almost the same accord on religious conversion. This time it was unceremoniously halted by an unambiguous imprimatur from the most senior leader of the VHP. I am therefore led to believe that some of these earnest British Hindus active in official bodies had been compromised by local intelligence services (a good number are engaged in VAT fraud and susceptible to blackmail) and/or in receipt of bribes from Church quarters. Let me remind you once again that the most prominent Hindu political activist in Europe had once publicly proclaimed that in the event of war between India and the UK, Hindus should fight for their country of adoption, Britain. I won’t repeat my earlier political and sociological analysis of this remarkable statement, but only point out that any invasion of India, resulting from military conflict, would occur with Pakistani help through Karachi and into Gujarat. It is poignant to imagine members of Britain’s East African community emerging from barges en route to kill their own kin! The simple fact of the matter is that there can be no dialogue with any Church denomination or Islamic institutions despite the penchant of so many Hindus for something called interfaith dialogue. Neither of these two dispensations has officially and formally affirmed the legitimacy of Hinduism and thus all interaction with them is in utter bad faith. They first need to make a grovelling apology for their legion crimes against Hindus and polytheists and amend their founding texts before they dare engage us! And Hindus should acquire spiritual, political self-confidence as well as the coercive means to dispense with the need for certification from their duplicitous sworn enemies, the Church in all its forms and Islam.

I regret that the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) document [on Caste] fails in its basic duty of care (reason enough to be struck off practising medicine for anything analogous) and demonstrates a lack of essential knowledge and elementary logic. The first and most blatant ideological difficulty is that Caste does not define Hinduism, but the critics of Hinduism, both Christian and Muslim antagonists and Hindus dependent on them for their livelihood, have long defined Hinduism in terms of Caste. It recalls a telling point made by Voltaire that the term Pagan, now an established ascription, was never used by polytheists as a description of themselves, but a term of abuse employed against them by Christians. In this context, despite citing Nicholas R. Dirks’ important book you do not highlight his main contention that colonial enumeration of Caste identities to categorise Indians, to better exercise political control over them, hardened its previously fluid boundaries.

Furthermore, HAF’s eagerly announced opposition to Caste-based discrimination, a phrase that recurs constantly in the text, is not defined except to occasionally conflate it with untouchability. This is very important because in all types of discrimination between social groups, some are types of discriminatory conduct are unethical and others illegal, but they are not identical and India has outlawed virtually all conceivable acts of discrimination susceptible to legal remedy. It appears what you might have in mind is more accurately identified as segregation. Paradoxically, in opposing Caste discrimination you are effectively opposing the positive discrimination in favour of Dalits and other supposedly backward groups in Indian society that dates back to the 1930s. All the contemporary legislative discrimination (don’t use a term that instantly controverts your fundamental stance) is against the demonised upper Castes, already in itself the counterpart of anti-Semitism because of its egregiously indiscriminate and timeless ascription of alleged crimes of oppression to whole groups of people. No matter how impeccably an individual member of the upper castes may behave in their personal life they are imputed the alleged criminality of their forebears, stretching back to time immemorial. This is how it was for Jews throughout their history, with accusations of cannibalism to poisoning wells that ended in genocide. You also appear to believe such Caste discrimination is widespread in rural India, a typical urban prejudice though actual variations in the prevalence of Caste consciousness are most clearly geographical, least prominent in Bengal, the Punjab and Maharashtra and urban conurbations increasingly.

The mundane and vicious politicisation of India’s Caste politics, long promoted by the very evangelists you approvingly credit with mitigating Caste discrimination, has made a mockery of the carefully engineered social change sought on behalf of Dalits by its original protagonists, including the astute B. R. Ambedkar. Perhaps your proposal to end all Caste discrimination is intended to favour disadvantaged children of the fifty or so Brahmin public latrine cleaners in Delhi who might then be treated like human beings and allowed entry into higher education on par with those of wealthy OBC Yadav ministers! Often their crime is to emerge from modest socio-economic backgrounds to excel in public examinations, of which Muslims complained bitterly even in the late nineteenth century and demanded quotas. The assumption that Brahmins were always privileged oppressors is an evangelist Christian libel that one should absolutely refute without compelling empirical evidence to the contrary. A study by Cambridge historian Anil Seal, a reliable informant in this regard since he holds no brief for India or Hindus, being unscrupulously hostile to them both, found that half the Brahmins of Calcutta in the first decade of the twentieth century were cooks, for reasons that were clearly religious in origin. But hardly the profession of a powerful oppressor group, deserving of the ugly pogroms that targeted Brahmins in Maharashtra after 1948!

But is there such ignorance that it cannot be recognised that the same Christian Churches that seek to deploy India’s Caste fractures to promote the political goals of their own home governments, had little trouble with lynchings in the America south only forty or so years ago and South African apartheid? Nothing Hindus have done compares with the role of the Catholic Church in the genocide in Rwanda during 1994 and its massive perpetration of paedophilia across the world. And why are Christians not demonstrating outside the White House against the scale of imprisonment of African Americans within their own Christian country instead of shedding crocodile tears about alleged Casteism? The need for Hindus today is to be ruthlessly lucid and politically focused in the way Stalin’s generals were as they faced the threat of physical extinction as a people and responded with merciless determination against the Nazis as well as enemies within.

It is imperative to note that Christian evangelists never refer to the massive social changes that have overtaken India during the twentieth century and the relentless efforts of Hindu reformers (many of the them upper caste) for the upliftment of the downtrodden in their midst, beginning with Gopal Krishna Gokhale (not Mahatma Gandhi as it happens) and Ram Mohan Roy earlier. But the efforts of Hindus themselves to combat the evil of untouchability and social iniquity and the political empowerment of Dalits in Indian states like UP and the fact of OBC-dominated polities across Indian is studiously ignored. They are an inconvenient reality when the main purpose is to harvest souls because Hinduism is beyond the pale and cannot do anything for itself. And the moment Christians (or Muslims) are in a majority in any part of India (e.g. Nagaland and Mizoram, parts of Bengal) the celebration of Hindu rituals is prevented by armed gangs of Christians and Muslims, their co-conspirators when it comes to shafting Hindus! As one Mizo Christian woman in Delhi explained to me politely last year: ‘they are uncomfortable with the Hindu ethos’.

Church representatives in the UK and their shameful Hindu/Sikh collaborators have been active since last year, seeking to outlaw, by including ‘Caste discrimination’ (the very unfortunate phrase HAF employs) within the all-encompassing Equality Bill that will conform to a host of broader EU directives. Outlawing of alleged Caste discrimination in the UK, for which there is no evidence whatsoever, is clearly a conspiratorial prelude to its official repudiation by the UN, a measure being mendaciously thrust forward by the deracine ex-Hindu, South African High Court judge, Navi Pillay of the UNHRC. One particularly malicious Indian member of the British parliament has been mobilising alleged Sikh Dalits (a non sequitur) against mainstream Sikhs, falsely accusing their Gurdwaras of ‘Caste discrimination’ though Caste issues are of infinitesimal significance within Sikhism. This vile conspiracy is not an accident or misunderstanding since that is exactly what the Church has been doing for centuries to demoralise Hindus and occupy their country permanently. Ask yourself why Korean Buddhists, who have become a minority in their own home, are up in arms today about the deliberate abandonment of their public rituals in what is now effectively a Christian country? For them it is always, ‘I am the way’ and the only way! There is absolutely no point for Christian evangelists to engage in discussion of Caste unless its enables the harvesting of souls and the political subjugation of Hindus to white Christian imperialism, namely the USA. I am waiting to have a Hindu from the US correct me on this score by berating me for not recognising that these vicious evangelists are only trying to reform Hinduism, an underlying implication of the deeply troubling HAF praise for their work in India.

The British and American governments have actively promoted Khalistani terrorists in the past and their leader, Jagjit Singh Chauhan, declared independence from British soil (the city of Birmingham) the day Dhaka fell to Indian forces and the surrender document was extracted from the defeated Pakistani army by General JFR Jacob. Creating lethal divisions within Sikhism would open another devastating front inside the Indian body politic on behalf of Pakistan by its Anglo-American patrons. And I see no compelling evidence of a change in Anglo-American policy despite the expectations of many to the contrary in the aftermath of 9/11. In case you are unaware, the Khalistani bombers who downed Air India’s Kanishka over the Irish Sea were sent from Pakistan to the US and trained by the CIA (confirmed on camera by a senior CIA official and the evidence is in the possession of the GoI). As a consequence, the inference of one interlocutor that this flawed mea culpa on Caste will prompt an invitation to the HAF by the US Congress is naïve in the extreme. The US Congress is an organ of a racist, imperial power and their invitation to vicious nonentities like Angana Chatterji (whose hostility towards US institutions does not deter invitations to the US Congress because she is specifically tasked to undermine Hindus) and John Dayal is not the product of ignorance or inadvertence. Such anti-Hindu creatures are chosen with care because they promote an evangelical agenda wholeheartedly supported by most US Congressional members.

I am elaborating this material at some length because the political context is vital when the real or imagined ills of a society are publicly scrutinized in conjunction with third parties that are actually your enemies. For the first time in its independent history, the government of India has failed to officially oppose the egregiously deadly proposal floated by the lowly Navi Pillay of the NHRC to condemn Caste as a form of racism, presumably because India has been seized by a Catholic dynasty from within. Is this the company HAF has inadvertently ended up joining by virtue of sheer ignorance and political cupidity? Is HAF unable to recognise that at this moment Hindus are fighting for their very survival as a religious dispensation under the shadow of the Nehru dynasty and in a way that had not occurred even under the sword of Aurangzeb because that asuric demon was successfully confronted on the battlefield by Maratha, Jat and Sikh warriors?

White Church representatives are in Iraq and Afghanistan at this very moment, supporting their own governments, engaged in something akin to genocide in the case of Iraq, with a 1.4 million dead (John Hopkins study, using US DOD methodology) owing to the Anglo-American invasion. It is worth recalling that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy to the Lebanon in 1987 turned out to have been hand in glove with Anglo-American intelligence services, held hostage himself when the kidnappers of the journalist whose release he was sent to negotiate, found a tracking device in his matted hair! The various Church denominations are all pretty much integral to the Western state system and their imperialist activities (is this something HAF declines to recognise as a historical phenomenon?) and have been from the time of Emperor Constantine. The Vatican was and remains a state that had armies, participated in wars throughout its long and ugly history and illegitimate heirs of supposedly celibate Popes often succeeded to rule. Their great thinkers, including both Thomas Aquinas and the dissident Martin Luther, approved torture and brutal murder of apostates and pagans and that is exactly what the Portuguese followers of the former practised with blood thirsty enthusiasm on invading Goa, burning, flaying and spearing alive Brahmins and their families with abandon. They were extinguishing the leaders of Hindu society and then quickly enslaved the supposed victims of Caste oppression once the conquest had succeeded. Condemnation of alleged Caste oppression by a basically powerless group, the Brahmins, living under the shadow of brutal Islamic rule, was a handy ideological weapon. Today, the dominant political forces in India are OBCs, Dalits and Muslims, for whom communists are quite openly surrogates (Maoists praised the 26/11 massacre and only regretted that Muslims also died) and the real nerves of political power at the Centre reside with covert representatives of the Vatican. The ideological ruse of denouncing Upper Caste oppression remains alive and well though it is now couched in drawing-room politesse, but on the entry of imperial soldiery into a conquered country old-fashioned mass murder, rape and mayhem will resurface.

To return to what appears to me to be the essence of the HAF’s apologetic mea culpa on Caste, which in the way it is articulated seems not-so subliminally addressed to a racist Christian audience. I use the term racist very consciously because I wish to counter pose it ideologically to Caste though the latter is not its Hindu counterpart as the repository of a virulent creed. White races still wield most instruments of political, military and ideological power in the world that imposes their hierarchical racist vision of social and economic organisation. Although racism has gone underground somewhat in the past two decades, supremacist racist ideology absolutely defines Western European culture regardless of its geographical locale and is always ready to reassert its inhuman prerogatives. The reach of this self-serving ideological perspective of a racially defined Western human architecture is almost universal and not merely confined to white societies, which means that even small town India has been penetrated by its pervasive distorted ideological consciousness. Non Europeans unthinkingly echo and repeat the dominant white ethos that affirms their own subalternity. Indeed both Caste consciousness as well as the resistance to it derives from the profound impact of colonisation itself. And virtually every Indian social science academic in Anglo-American universities constantly reiterates a critique of India and all things Hindu prompted by the writings of British colonialists or American Cold warriors. It is not so very complicated at all.

In this context it should be recognised that many of the documents on Caste to be found on the Internet, adorning innocuous institutional affiliations and titled academic respectability, seem to be generated from the same evangelist database. I sense an echo of their calculated machinations in the HAF report since they are easily picked up by scribes looking for quotes and information with which they are unfamiliar themselves. In addition, the paradox of the HAF plea on Caste is that it espouses a set secular sentiments and prejudices unconsciously inspired by socialisation within the instrumental Western political paradigm of domination and its associated intellectual milieu. And it seeks to validate them through an extremely superficial reading of Hinduism and without any serious grounding in the complex secular intellectual discourse on Caste and practice that it wants to influence. Since others have pointed out the gross intellectual failings of the HAF exegesis on Caste I reserve myself to expressing surprise that the august experts, who have supposedly examined it thoroughly, have made a multiplicity of faux pas in their scholarship. Mention is made of M. S. Srinivas and Nicholas R. Dirks on Caste, though why not the theorist G. S. Ghurye is unclear, but nothing is said of their central contentions on Caste, suggesting they have been cited to insinuate intellectual legitimacy without really bothering with what they have had to say. For example, Srinivas highlighted the fluid and dynamic essence of caste as a social institution and also rejected the notion of a rigid, pan-Indian caste system and these aspects of his analysis are pertinent to the idea of Caste discrimination. The most elementary blunder has been the failure to consult more widely, which suggests both ignorance and over confidence. In passing it might be noted that the literature on the phenomenon of white Christian domination I refer to is vast and need not detain us here. However, anyone interested might wish to consult Franz Fanon’s writings and the Afro American civil rights literature of the 1960s, all of which remains imperative for contextualising the cynical discourse on Caste. – Voice of India Features, December 2010.

Dr. Gautam Sen is President, World Association of Hindu Academics and Special Representative, HDAS, UK.

Update

On Jan 2, 2011 Swami Dayananda sent the following letter to the HAF president Dr. Mihir Meghani:

I have been reading some of the E-mails regarding your recent report “Hinduism: Not cast in caste”. I am very happy to learn hat different people are reviewing the report. One of them I know, is revising the whole report. So I request you to withdraw the report immediately from the website until we have a consensus among all the Hindu leaders. Thanks.

[Sd. Swami Dayananda]

18 Responses

  1. This latest news below is an another tragic example related to the earlier comments. It shows how islam is ethnically cleansing traditional Hindus in Rajasthan and how the Hindu identity of the victims is yet again carefully blackout by the christian media in India, as it refers to them as anonymous “Dalits” again. This shows that christianism is colluding with islam in this silent genocide of Hindus, which makes both christianity and islam guilty. (Not that christianity would otherwise have been innocent: in the northeast, christianism is the primary agent of the genocide of the native Hindus.)

    http://haindavakeralam.com/HKPage.aspx?PageID=13262&SKIN=B

    ‘Why 24 x 7 visual media blacked out this Hindu exodus from this Rajasthan village?
    11/02/2011 05:27:50

    More than 40 Hindus men are missing since last 20 days and their women live in fear of attacks by the village’s Muslim community ,Reports TOI. (Why TOI would like TO TERM THE VICTIMS AS DALITS AND NOT AS HINDUS IN THEIR REPORT is better known to them)

    timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Communal-violence-in-Rajasthan-village-forces-dalit-exodus/articleshow/7472831.cms

    Kamla Devi, whose house was also attacked, said, ”We were never a part of the violence, yet we were targeted. They looted the cash and jewellery I had saved for my daughter Suman’s wedding in May. I feel helpless, it would be easy just to strangulate my daughter and commit suicide.”

    The National media who aired Gujjar clashes from Rajasthan in reservation issue , completely blacked out this ongoing riot against Hindus’

  2. The following 2 sections reveal the deeper reasons for why “casta” is a christian European word (from the Portuguese). At last some evidence for the literal “caste system” as described by the subversionist textbooks in India. Sadly for Rufus, the evidence is for the factual untouchability and caste system that long existed in the heart of christian Europe and is entirely unrelated to Hindu India.

    5. Catholic-Protestant Germany:
    http://www.cambridge.org/gb/knowledge/isbn/item1116068/?site_locale=en_GB
    “Defiled Trades and Social Outcasts
    Honor and Ritual Pollution in Early Modern Germany
    Kathy Stuart, University of California, Davis

    This book presents a social and cultural history of ‘dishonourable people’ (unehrliche Leute), an outcast group in early modern Germany. Executioners, skinners, grave-diggers, shepherds, barber-surgeons, millers, linen-weavers, sow-gelders, latrine-cleaners, and bailiffs were among the ‘dishonourable’ by virtue of their trades. This dishonour was either hereditary, often through several generations, or it arose from ritual pollution whereby honourable citizens could become dishonourable by coming into casual contact with members of the outcast group. The dishonourable milieu of the city of Augsburg from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries is reconstructed to show the extent to which dishonour determined the life-chances and self-identity of dishonourable people. The book then investigates how honourable estates interacted with dishonourable people, and how the pollution anxieties of early modern Germans structured social and political relations within honourable society.”

    6. Catholic France:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/the-last-untouchable-in-europe-878705.html
    28 July 2008
    ‘The last untouchable in Europe
    The only living Cagot traces the roots of her pariah people, who endured centuries of brutal prejudice for reasons no one can even remember’

    ‘As Marie-Pierre avers, the truth about the Cagots is obscure. The people first emerge in documents around the 13th century. By then they are already regarded as an inferior caste, the “untouchables” of western France, or northern Spain. In medieval times the Cagots – also knows as Agotes, Gahets, Capets, Caqueux, etc – were divided from the general peasantry in several ways. They had their own urban districts: usually on the malarial side of the river. These dismal ghettoes were known as Cagoteries; traces of them can still be found in Pyrenean communities such as Campan or Hagetmau.

    For hundreds of years, Cagots were treated as different and inferior. In the churches, they had to use their own doors (at least 60 Pyrenean churches still boast “Cagot” entrances); they had their own fonts; and they were given communion on the end of long wooden spoons. Marie-Pierre adds: “When a Cagot came into a town, they had to report their presence by shaking a rattle. Just like a leper, ringing his bell.”

    Daily Cagot life was likewise marked by apartheid. Cagots were forbidden to enter most trades or professions. They were forced, in effect, to be the drawers of water and hewers of wood. So they made barrels for wine and coffins for the dead. They also became expert carpenters: ironically they built many of the Pyrenean churches from which they were partly excluded.

    Some of the other prohibitions on the Cagots were bizarre. They were not allowed to walk barefoot, like normal peasants, which gave rise to the legend that they had webbed toes. Cagots could not use the same baths as other people. They were not allowed to touch the parapets of bridges. When they went about, they had to wear a goose’s foot conspicuously pinned to their clothes.

    Marie-Pierre sighs. “The Cagots weren’t even allowed to eat alongside non-Cagots, nor share their dishes. Some said the Cagots were psychotic, even cannibals.” As for marriage between Cagots and non-Cagots, it was almost impossible. Nonetheless, love affairs across the divide did occur – there are poignant songs from the 16th and 17th centuries lamenting these tragic misalliances.

    On occasions, the bigotry was brutally enforced: in the early 18th century a prosperous Cagot in the Landes was caught using the font reserved for non-Cagots – his hand was chopped off and nailed to the church door. Another Cagot who dared to farm his fields (strictly verboten) had his feet pierced with hot iron spikes. “If there was any crime in a village,” says Marie-Pierre, “the Cagot was usually blamed. Some were actually burned at the stake.” Even in death, the discrimination persisted – the Cagots were buried in their own humble cemeteries; there is still one in Bentayou-Sérée, a tiny village north of Pau.’

    ‘During the French Revolution, the laws against Cagots were formally abandoned – indeed many Cagots pillaged local archives and erased any record of their ancestry. After 1789, the Cagots slowly assimilated into the general populace; many may have even emigrated.

    Nonetheless, there are historical accounts that afford an intriguing glimpse. Contemporary sources describe them as being short, dark and stocky. Confusingly, some others saw them as blonde and blue eyed. Francisque Michel’s Histoire des races maudites (History of the cursed races, 1847), was one of the first studies. He found Cagots had “frizzy brown hair”. He also found at least 10,000 Cagots still scattered across Gascony and Navarre, still suffering repression – nearly 70 years after the Cagot caste was “abolished”.’

  3. 1. IS, you might want to read the section “9.6 Adivasis” at koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/wiah/ch9.htm
    on why the “adivasi” term is missionary and deliberate in origin. It is not indigenous. Instead, the Hindu terms include such as “Vanavasi”.

    “Tribals” or “ST” refers to Vanavasis/Girijan, who are not the same as “dalits” or “SC” which refer exclusively to “Harijan” (itself confusing, because there are a lot of unrelated Hindu communities grouped under Harijan/SC, which are endogamous from each other).

    The same link also has this to say: ‘Among the Santals, “it is tabooed to marry outside the tribe or inside one’s clan” 90, just as Hindus marry inside their caste and outside their gotra. More precisely: “To protect their tribal solidarity, the Santals have very stringent marriage laws. ( ) a Santal cannot marry a non-Santal or a member of his own clan. The former is considered as a threat to the tribe s integrity, while the latter is considered incestuous.”91’

    In view and behaviour that describes well-known aspects of the overall Hindu society.

    2. IS, concerning your question, you may wish to read the first-hand observations of a Tamil Hindu at http://psenthilraja.wordpress.com/2007/09/22/indian-caste-system-some-real-truths/

    3. Small endogamous groups are very strict, and they need to be so in order to preserve their group identity and not lose people to other groups. Therefore it’s not surprising that one sees this pattern in ancient communities of Africa and Polynesia. For instance, see the section “9.11. Do tribals have caste?” at koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/wiah/ch9.htm
    “For another example, we may turn to Congo, where the Batwa or Pygmees coexist with the Baoto, who settled in their land about two thousand years ago: From this violent clash resulted a modus vivendi which persists till today. The division of roles is contained in unwritten laws. While the Baoto live in the village centre, the Batwa live in the periphery ( ) The Batwa used to serve as village guardsmen ( ) All kinds of taboos colour the relations between the communities. Batwa and Baoto cannot use the same washing-place, Baoto don t touch food prepared by Batwa, mixed marriages are absolutely prohibited. It has nothing to do with social justice, but these relations certainly are stable. 84 Unequal ranking, endogamy and untouchability: all the elements allegedly typical of Hindu society have sprung up in the heart of tribal Africa”

    4. Of course, this social feature of Congo, Rwandan and other African society was exploited as the basis of christian-mythmaking by christian missionaries, for the usual purposes of creating internal strife (for dividing, converting and ruling), in the same way similar phenomena in Hindu society were exploited.

    The paper “Christian Churches and Genocide in Rwanda” by Timothy Longman of Vassar College at http://faculty.vassar.edu/tilongma/Church&Genocide.html
    is an absolute must read for all Hindus both in this context and in general

    Of course, christianised Rwanda (where christianisation meant the indigenous people fell prey to such vicious christian myths about them) resulted in genocide, as the paper argues. The long-term but direct results thereof, being the genocide in Rwanda, including not only evidence of first-hand christian guilt therein (both Catholic and Protestant/Anglican) but also christians’ initial attempts at denying their religion’s guilt, can be seen at
    http://web.archive.org/web/20080417021057/http://web.archive.org/web/20021012152454/www.geocities.com/iconoclastes.geo/victims.html

    The converts like the Rufus-es will feel very uncomfortable reading about the very inconvenient truths about their religion revealed therein, as it shows how christianism always deliberately (and biblically) invents the most murderous lies against unconverted populations, thereby alienating people from themselves and then getting the unconverted victim populations genocided by their own alienated kind. It’s a repeated pattern in christianity, and it has long been the attempt of christianity in India.

  4. The point in the last para is important. Christian ideologues are adamant that Adivasis and tribals are not Hindus but “animists”. Last week fundamentalist Xian journalists A.J. Philip and Fr. Dominic Emmanuel and Varghese lauded the SC for back-tracking on its statement on conversion in the Graham Staines case, all writing assuming that tribals are not Hindus and therefore free to be converted.

    Some of the so-called tribes in Central India are not tribals at all but Rajputs who took to the jungle in order to avoid conversion to Islam.

    But what I would like to know is more fundamental: Where and when did Hindu society first acquire outcaste communities? What is their origin? They are not there in Puranic Hindu society. Untouchability is also not evident. When and why did it start? Nobody seems to have an answer for this question.

  5. [Continued]

    4. The reasons for organisations governed by anti-Hindu ideologies insisting on “dalit” (such as christian news media does) are obvious:

    – To invent a non-existent affiliation between christian-muslim dalits on one hand and Hindu communities on the other by forcibly grouping them all in one labelled category (“dalit”), and to thereby falsely imply that such affiliation is deeper and more powerful than the Hindu identity of the Hindus thus lumped with others.
    The determination to impose “dalit” as the universal term and to include Hindu communities therein alongside anti-Hindus is the means whereby christian media, various ideological “NGOs” and other anti-Hindus are hoping to make these Hindus themselves start using this term in the same manner.

    – Christian media’s other reason to use “dalit” exclusively is in order to render anonymous the Hindu victims of the brutal persections by christianity and islam. Over the years, even indirect references to the victims’ Hindu identity have become obscured. This means the overall Hindu community is increasingly not allowed to recognise, claim and mourn those of our own who have been victimised by the intrinsically violent ideologies.

    You can see this in the 2006 news of “DALIT accuses in-laws of attempt to convert” at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1142017881.html and timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2091476.cms
    Back then, one could still work out the religion of the heroine because she pointedly states that her christian rapist husband (presumably the courts “punished” him biblically, by getting him to marry his victim) and christians in-laws who tormented her (and who demanded 50,000Rs from her father), were opposing her doing puja to her HINDU GODS. She declared herself willing to die, but would absolutely not give up her Hindu religion.

    However, more recent news, deliberately hide the identity of the victims, such as the following two news elements from 2010: http://www.hindustantimes.com/14-year-old-raped-killed-in-up/h1-article1-468440.aspx and
    ibnlive.in.com/news/dalit-woman-set-on-fire-for-objecting-to-molestation/110509-3.html?from=tn
    where muslims gangraped and then murdered (by strangulation and by burning) what the media leaves as ideologically-anonymous “dalit” girls/women. But we know they are not muslim females, as muslims only start attacking their own when the supply of kaffirs has been exhausted. We further know the victims are not christians because the christian media would have screamed it from the rooftops had they been christian. These female victims were specifically Hindu, as all who cared would have immediately worked out. Thus, not even the names of the victims are provided anymore, as they would be indicative of the religion.

    These are but a few of the christian-islamic atrocities on Hindu victims where the victims have been reduced to the anonymous “dalits” with pre-meditation by the criminal christian media. A silent genocide of the unsaved unbelievers is not at all an uncommon tactic, and: what could be more silent than dutifully reporting on a crime while blanking out those very aspects crucial to the identity of the victims and crucial to their own people (Hindus) identifying them? Indeed, minimising the victims is as common in christianity as the flipside of the coin: christianity’s famous persecution fictions, such as the pre-cursors in ancient martyr fictions and “christians tossed to the lions by Romans” when these are all long-exposed falsehoods. Or the long line of opportunistic, lying Indian nuns screaming “(gang) rape” only to recant or be proven in court to have lied.)

    But it has long been the view of the church and its work in India that there is no such thing as Hindus among the communities claimed as “dalits”, regardless of what the concerned Hindus themselves have to say about it. By definition they are not allowed to be Hindus at all. Is it any surprise that their mouthpieces seek to reinforce this? As far as christianity is concerned, any and all lumped under “dalits” are simply devoid of religion, just so they can be claimed for christianity: blank natives supposedly waiting to be saved by jesus.

  6. IS, you overlook what that survey referred to in my previous comment reveals: at least among those individuals surveyed in 1998-1998, members of the concerned communities themselves overwhelmingly chose “Harijan” and a few others chose “scheduled castes” for designating their community. NONE of those interviewed chose “dalit”. It was not a term they themselves identify with. Not in 1998-1999, at any rate.
    Whether more have since been brought to repeat what the christian subversionists like the media and their political and ideologically active heads want them to say is a separate question. However, I will post an example of the disparity between their self-designation and what the christian media seeks to enforce in point 2 below.

    1. Koenraad Elst (koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.com/articles/aid/aryanpolitics.html) appears to be writing on the origins of the use of “dalit” in the following:
    ‘Dalit, “broken” or “oppressed”, is a term applied to the former Untouchable castes, sparingly by the late-19th-century reform movement Arya Samaj, and more officially by mid-20th-century Dalit leader Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar and by his followers ever since.’

    2. The following excerpts from a news piece of June 8, 2006 by the christian NDTV media is titled “Kota Dalits ‘break’ temple tradition” – it is written in typically bitter, anti-Hindu style to rain on the actual happy news it unwillingly reveals. (It is reproduced at http://www.mail-archive.com/zestcaste@yahoogroups.com/msg03637.html)
    Of note is how the christian NDTV consistently insists on referring to these Hindus in 3rd person as “dalit”, despite these traditional Hindus referring to themselves in first person as “our Harijan community”.

    ‘The new breed of DALIT Pandits have learnt Sanskrit to ensure that Dalit weddings are performed with Vedic rituals.’
    ‘”We are getting a lot of respect from OUR HARIJAN community. Some people from other castes like Raigars and Bairwas have also started calling us for their functions. We pray to God that soon some higher caste people will also start using our services,” said another DALIT pandit.’

    3. Officially too, as seen in the next news item, the word ‘dalit’ is not endorsed and is in fact found to be unconstitutional:

    http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/jan/18sc.htm
    January 18, 2008 15:36 IST
    ‘Dalit word unconstitutional: SC panel

    The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has asked the state governments not to use the word ‘Dalit’ in official documents, saying the term was “unconstitutional”.

    The commission has stated that sometimes the word ‘Dalit’ is used as a substitute for Scheduled Caste in official documents, sources in State Tribal Department said in Raipur.

    After consultation with the legal department, the commission said the ‘Dalit’ word is neither constitutional nor the word has been mentioned in the current laws.’

  7. Today the politically correct term for SC persons is Dalit. It is also the term used by government and in the mainstream media.

    M.K. Gandhi invented the term Harijan and it is felt to be patronising.

    Of course the term Dalit – “depressed” – is of Xian missionary origin. The missionaries used it first as a way to accuse the Hindu community of neglecting the SCs and emphasize their own “saving” mission. Now the SCs, having become politically astute and active, prefer the term Dalit themselves and disparage Gandhi’s term Harjan.

  8. The article “Dalit or Harijan? Self-Naming by Scheduled Caste Interviewees” by Alan Marriott (letindiadevelop.org/irochtc/Dalit%20or%20Harijan.pdf) states the following:

    1. “The terms harijan and dalit have evolved over the last many decades, with the latter more or less replacing the former in published works of recent years. What do members of the scheduled castes call themselves?”

    2. “Self-Naming.
    But how do the SC people name themselves? The data from the National Family Health Survey of 1998-99 suggests they strongly prefer harijan to dalit.”

    3. “while harijan (or harizan or some other spelling) was used by 1351 respondents in 18 different states, and a number of respondents used scheduled caste, NOT ONE respondent chose dalit.”

    Of course, converts are a different matter.

    And the ELM also projects only the christian line, affirming its ideology: consistently calling Hindus “dalits” instead, so that to ignorant readers they sound like they form a separate community together with christian/muslim dalits (as if they are no more than an empty slate to be written on/ready to be converted), instead of the reality that they have a larger community that they firmly belong to and which firmly belongs to them: all Hindus.

  9. According to Dalit leaders, it is the term Harijan that is both patronizing and demeaning to their community.

    Yes, the Xians do indeed exploit the term Dalit to their own advantage.

    Perhaps we should wait for a Dalit/Harijan leader to tell us which term they prefer.

  10. First of all, using the name Dalit is demeaning to Harijans, and an insult to the Mahatma.

    Let those who have replaced Harijan with Dalit, at the instigation of the Xtists, explain this dastardly act.

  11. DALIT CHRISTIANS BURIED SEPARATELY IN TAMIL NADU

    New Delhi, Jan. 14, 2011: Does only Tiruchy or do other parts of Tamil Nadu also practise burying Christians and Dalit Christians separately?

    When the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) asked Bishop Antony Devottas’s representative about this, his reply that it is not an isolated incident and is indeed prevalent in other parts of Tamil Nadu, surprised the NCM.

    At its hearing on December 20, the NCM said that it would also hear RCMC, Tiruchy and deferred the matter.

    However, in a surprising development, the NCM advised Supreme Court advocate Radhakanta Tripathy, who moved it to highlight the detestable practice of separate burial for Christians and Dalit Christians, to take up the matter in a higher court and inform it of the development.

    A peeved Tripathy, in a rejoinder told NCM that the said matter cannot be taken up to the higher court in an appeal by him as the higher court would question his locus standi and there is also an unreasonable delay as the munsif court had decided the case of Tiruchy cemetery way back in the 1980s.

    The NCM has also felt that the Tamil Nadu government must be asked to intervene in the matter to help the church to have more equable social practices.

    On this point, Tripathy told the NCM that it itself should conduct a thorough investigation and only then a public interest litigation petition would be entertained either by the High Court or by the Supreme Court. – The New Indian Express, Chennai, Jan. 14, 2011

  12. Mr.Rufus D’Souza,

    If your forbearers had been black in the same era, they would have been abducted from Africa and sold into slavery in Americas by the same Church which imposed Inquisition on your Hindu forebearers.

    Slavery was an institution fully sanctioned by Churches- both Catholic Protestant. In fact, if you search diligently you would find an official Papal bull of 15th century which sanctioned Portugese and Eurpean traders to abduct black slaves from Africa and sell them into slavery in Americas.

    Catholic Church in all her wisdom had labeled all dark people (includes people like you and me) as descendants of evil Cain of Genesis who killed his good brother Abel and went into African wilderness.

    So your situation as a descendant of dark Indian Chrisitans would be no different from Black Africans who were shipped by Church to Americas with full theological sanction of scripture.

    It is just that in India you dark Indian Christians were looked upon as convenient pawns to subvert Hinduism which Church considered bigger threat…so you got a slightly better deal than you African slave Christian brothers.

    The White Portugese Christians in Goa continued to look at Indian converts with contempt and would not intermarry with them. I should not have to tell you this if you had spoken to any of your elders who live in Goa before 1961.

  13. Mr. Rufus, sir, don’t get angry! It doesn’t behoove a Portuguese gentleman, even a brown one, to get angry with this foolish editor!

    First, had you bothered to read Dr. Sen’s article, you would see that caste, an invention of your Portuguese pseudo-ancestors, is not the sine qua non of Hindu Dharma at all. The sine quo non of Hindu dharma is Ishwara, Satya and Dharma. It is only you Catholics and the Marxists who are fixated on caste to the point of mental disorder, not us.

    It is you who announced your caste, being “Shudheer” (whatever that is) and opened the discussion on an article that has really nothing to do with you. This discussion concerns Hindus in the US and Hindus in India, not your kind of Goan Christian at all. But like all Catholics, you saw an opportunity to wield the caste stick against the Hindu so you declared your caste and went about your Hindu bashing. So typical of the caste-obsessed Catholic! See the article Christian churches threaten Dalit rights and you will see what I am talking about. The Catholic eats, sleeps, and thinks caste only it seems!

    You may not have seen the caste arrangements in churches. I have. In Pondicherry there is (or was; it may no longer exist) a church that even had two floor levels in the hall so that the upper caste congregation could stand six inches above the Dalit congregation. But this did not solve the caste problem because the Dalit side was on the left of the hall and the priest served Communion starting from the left. This meant the Dalits got to taste “the blood of Jesus” before the upper caste congregation. It was an utterly intolerable situation. The solution was to get two priests to serve, one a Dalit and another upper caste. They used to fight each other, but not until after the Lord’s Supper was served to the congregation.

    My identity is well known to everybody who visits this site. It is your identity that is the problem. You call yourself Rufus D’Souza. If I remember my Latin, Rufus means red and is used as a name for a red-haired person. Are you a red-haired person Mr. D’Souza, sir? D’Souza of course is a common Portuguese name, a toponymy, implying that you come from Souza in Portugal. Do you come from Souza, Mr. D’Souza? How much Portuguese blood there is in you, whether pirate’s, priest’s, or governor’s I dare not ask. I don’t want to cast aspersions on your poor mother or grandmother or whoever the first brown D’Souza was. Maybe the name is just a vanity, a brown man trying to be a white man! Or a slave appropriating the slave master’s title after the master has gone away.

    I make no calumnious contentions against the Catholic community. They are the first victims of the sexual obsessions of the Catholic priests who prey on them. These obsessions have been documented in India and abroad by the priests themselves. If you don’t want to recognise this fact, then perhaps you are still in a state of denial along with the pope in Rome. Or maybe you have something to hide along with all those randy bishops in Europe and the US.

    But before you lose your temper again Mr. D’Souza, sir. Do read the article above and the articles on caste in the Church you will find on the Acta Indica website.

  14. IS, thank you for your reply.

    Firstly you imply that I still have a caste which is the sine qua non of Hindu civilization and then, and in the same breathe accuse my ancestors of being traitors to Hindu civilization.

    On a few occasions that I have been to church over the past 50 years or so, I do not remember coming across seperate doors for upper castes and lower castes This is the usual canard spread by the likes of you. Be that as it may.

    It is fact that fossilization of the caste system occured much prior to these invasions which made things convenient for the success of the invaders and the subsequent religious conversion of large sections of the lower castes.

    You state that this fossilization was neccessary to save Hindu civilization which, according to you was till then open and sophisticated. Nay. It was apparently neccessary to save Brahminism and the attendant practise of social discrimination of which those of your ilk are unfortunately proud. I therefore reiterate the fact that I am indeed fortunate that my ancestors were converted to Christianity and that my progeny will not be beholden to apparently execrable pseudo intellectuals like yourself for social upliftment.

    Regarding your other calumnious contentions regarding the Catholic community, all I can say is that it is a sorry reflection of your base character. Perhaps a suspicion of this reality on your part compels you to hide your identity behind the initials IS!

  15. Mr. D’Souza, sir, pray tell what is your caste today? Don’t say to me you have none because we know the Catholic Church is riddled with caste. Which door do you use to enter the church: upper caste door or lower caste door? From which priest do you accept Communion: the Dalit priest or the upper caste priest? And on which side of the caste wall will you be buried? How many “Shudheer” bishops are there in the Catholic Church today? None, isn’t it! And there wont be any for a very long time, if ever.

    None of these “casteisms” are surprising to an Indian who has read history. There are two papal bulls sanctioning caste divisions in the Indian Catholic Church.

    And what exactly is the social position of Indian Christians in this “universal” Church. They are for the most part slave labour, especially the poor nuns who not only clean the toilets of the convents in Europe but have to satisfy the lusts of their superiors at home. Goan choir boys are a much valued commodity as catamites by the bishops of Europe.

    So do tell us more fabulous stories about your social salvation in the Roman Catholic Church!

    Caste was indeed quite a fluid social management system prior to the Muslim invasions. Any anthropologist will tell you that when an open and sophisticated society comes under sustained attack from barbaric armies, be they Turk or Arab or Portuguese, that society closes in on itself and loses it fluidity. It fossilizes and become fixed and unbending in it social system and positions. It must do so to save itself, and it has been argued that it is this much maligned caste system that in fact has saved Hindu civilization from being overrun completely by the barbarians, as Persian and Greek civilization was overrun and destroyed. It takes a long time for this to change after the barbarian’s armies have been defeated. And in India they have not yet been defeated: we are is still under sustained attack from the Catholic and Evangelical Churches who continue their unholy and unjust war on Hindu civilization.

    So you have nothing to crow about, Mr. D’Souza, sir. Your forefathers were traitors to Hindu civilization while many others in exactly the same position in Goa died the most horrendous and tortuous deaths at the hands of the very Portuguese inquisitors you claim as your social saviors today. You should be ashamed that you still carry the banner of these foreign beasts who had learned to walk on two legs and wield a sword against a helpless people!

  16. […] also “Political Implications of the Hindu American Foundation report on Caste and Hinduism” by Gautam […]

  17. If the Hindu caste system had really been fluid and dynamic as has been suggested, today there really would have been no need for positive discrimination for the upliftment of the lower castes, especially the Dalits.

    As a person whose Hindu ancestors were ‘Shudheers’ from North Goa I cannot but feel lucky that my forebearers, in the not too distant past, surrendered their Hinduism at the point of the sword of the ‘barbaric’ Portuguese. If they hadn’t, I would either have been non existent today or would still have been working the fields cutting grass for some upper caste landowner and scrounging for crumbs that fell of his table or accepting handouts in the form of government granted reservations which is nothing but crumb gathering by other means

  18. […] See also Political Implications of the Hindu American Foundation report on Caste and Hinduism by Gautam Sen […]

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