Ziauddin Barani, the author of Tarikh-i-Firozshahi, advised that without destroying ‘Brahmins’- the leaders of infidels, the Sultan cannot ensure the supremacy of Islam in Hindustan. Fundamentalist have continuously recorded their desire to eliminate Brahmins in India to ensure the demise of Hinduism. Resilient nature and dedication towards their cultural heritage by Brahmins has however made such nefarious thought a distant dream. Brahmans like any other community have positively responded to changing socio-political conditions and participated in new devotional and political movements to harmonize various conflicts. Brahmins have actively participated socio-political struggles upto National movement while also challenging various dogmas.
The academia and politics of modern India, unfortunately, decided to employ Brahmin as singular identity while projecting intellectual hatred and every social evil to their existence. Brahmanical institutions were ridiculed and their practiced degraded in scholarly circle with a promise of Utopian future minus Brahmanical presence. Such attacks were also politically prudent realizing the minor presence of Brahmins which constitutes around five percent of total population. Despite academic hostility and absence of constitutional protection, Brahmins continued to educate themselves to ensure their employability. However, the colonialist projection of division and otherness continued to overpower both Indian scholars and politicians who, rejecting all regional and cultural variations, sustained their attack on Brahmins labeling them vicious. Not many would discuss the attacks and killing of Brahmins in retaliation in India when Nathu Ram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi.
Many Brahmins of Maharashtra were killed and their houses burnt. There exist writings extolling killing of Brahmins to cleanse the land of their presence as late as in 2011. Besides in their efforts to vilify, these twitter scholars have failed to take into account the regional variations. Such variations were even recorded by the English officers undertaking Census in Panjab when they observed at many places Brahmin were bestowed inferior positions in society owning to their lack of resources. Brahmin continued to be portrayed as Jews for the Nazis of India. In Germany, the Jews were targeted as the source of evil and once the power slipped into the hands of the Nazis, the projected enemy was ruthlessly tortured and killed in concentration camps. The same happened in Kashmir where the change of power resulted in the killing of Pandits ensuring their exodus with no hope of returning back. The ethnic cleansing of communities is witnessed all over the world where the scholarly bias and malicious agendas have helped turned societies against minority community. Unfortunately the plight of Brahmins in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh has never attracted any regional or international concern.
The recent twitter controversy is an outcome of nefarious mentality of those who continued to treat Brahmin as source of all evil, ignoring the fact that oppression of caste and patriarchy remain problem among all communities. The educated participant of closed group discussion must have been aware about the working of caste and patriarchal oppression in modern India and its paradigms. However, they decided to isolate a singular community in their quest to rid it of any sanctity. Thus such efforts to demonize Brahmins even in a fight against patriarchy is an extension of that self generated hatred to ensure isolation of Brahmins in India which may signal their end once the antagonism against them is complete in socio-political circles. Patriarchy, if one is really interested to encounter, must be fought not among the Brahmins but among all male dominated communities.
Employing the word Brahmin intentionally robs Brahmin women of any victimhood where they were projected as carrier of the evil deserving no sympathy. Such attitude can help one decode the speeches and writing depicting Brahmin women as licentious, running after non Brahmins or to be left behind to be taken care of by others in the speeches and threats of the many eminent political thinkers of modern India. Emancipation from patriarchy thus remains away from the confines to a Brahman women who being agent of the Brahmanical lineage must face same hatred and ridicule by the propagators of equality. While employing the word Brahmin before patriarchy also ensures that feminism is linked with caste politics whereas caste in its own right stands against true feminism.
There remain various reasons for such attack on Brahmins who, despite mere five percent of population, have not been legally safeguarded. Thus one witnesses the slow corrosion of their cultural symbols and value. One can take the case study of Sanskrit which was perceived as Brahmanical language. As a result, its deterioration and disappearance in government schools and colleges of various Indian states stirred no soul. One wonders whether the advice of Barani has finally found it’s takers among modern political thinkers and Indian intellectuals who have decided to single out Brahman identity to vilify.
It is a right time for the community to get together and ask for the legal safeguards which if not placed in near future may result in many more biased/prejudiced attack on it with self conceited projections, circulated through popular channels like Twitter. The divisive politics of self-righteous group must be made accountable lest they succeed in degrading and demonizing a whole community merely because no right steps were taken in time.