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Brahmin- The caste of evils

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This heading itself is enough to make several people happy. This is an all-time favorite- earthquake, corona, election, or wartime — A few demeaning articles and tweets on Brahmins always delight people.

Since the time my first memories start, I remember epithets such as “fraudulent”, “ abuser”, “pakhandi” used as synonyms for “Brahmins”.

The mental conditioning was such that we thought all of this is Okay and well deserved. The media and movies have trained our minds in such a way that the word Brahmin evokes images of a fraudulent, lecherous person abusing lower cast humans and cheating people.

As per the Joshua report, Brahmins make up 4.5% of the total population. Does the 4.5% Brahmin population really represent a gang of cheaters and fraudulent devils? In fact, many of these Brahmins are living in poverty and they can’t avail any government benefits too; like reservations in jobs, admission in schools because of their caste. In India, poverty is tied to caste. Any upper caste person can’t avail government benefits due to their birth in upper castes.

This continuous brahmin bashing, forced me to think one day — I am born in a Brahmin family; should I feel ashamed and guilty? If I scan the previous two generations of my family — my grandparents (born in the late 1800s and early 1900s) and my parents (born in the pre-independence era) — none of them have done any “pakhand”. They were hard-working honest people who taught us the values of honesty.

Then I thought of my dad’s Brahmin friends and acquaintances whom we referred to as uncles — Dwivedi uncle, Banerjee uncle, Sharma uncle to find out if they have done any evil. Here also I did not get any success.

Then I started to scan the geography of India that I have visited — west, east, north, south. I thought about my Brahmin landlord and his wife in Chennai — “Mr. and Mrs. Sundararajan”, “Banerjee’s” of Calcutta, all the “Kar’s, Kale’s , Gore’s, in Maharashtra ” that I have encountered. To my realization — I don’t remember witnessing any abnormal evil in them.

Untouchability should have started for hygienic reasons which later became a tool for oppression. It took a while but, Brahmins identified it as an evil and were the first to initiate its end. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Dayanand Saraswati, Raja Rammohan Roy, or Veer Sawarkar — all Brahmins advocated ending the untouchability.

A child never chooses his or her birth. Even before a child learns to speak he learns media hate towards Brahmins. How is he supposed to join the dots? He is clueless. It will be so much better if you name and shame the people who do pakhand instead of attributing “pakhand” as a property of the brahmin community. It is as bad as punishing Muslims for the evils of Aurengzeb or labeling all Muslims as terrorists.

Brahmins have contributed a lot to this world. Be it literature, music, dance, medicine, math, science, social structure, politics, economics, law and order, philosophy, or spirituality — The contribution of Brahmins is unlimited starting from the Vedic era.

The first historical evidence of united India is also courtesy of a Brahmin — Chanakya.

Shivaji’s Guru — Samarth Ramdas was a Brahmin.

The first war of Independence was triggered by Mangal Pandey and led by Lakshmi Bai, Tatya Tope — all Brahmins.

Even Gandhiji went to South Africa on the advice of a Brahmin. Gandhiji writes in his book -” My experiments with truth”- Our learned Brahmin family friend and advisor advised me to go to South Africa and study law instead of becoming a doctor.

In those days traveling the seas was prohibited, so Gandhiji went against the fierce opposition from his community and traveled the sea. Had he not gone to South Africa, there would have been no Satyaghra nor Independence of India.

Ambedkar’s Brahmin teacher gave him his name and allowed him in school. A brahmin women doctor married him. This deserves mention as well.

Poor lower caste people’s situation must be improved, they should be given justice but that does not mean one has to take revenge on Brahmins for something they did 200 years ago. No child chooses his birth. Let’s not hate him for being born into a Brahmin family or put him to shame and make him feel guilty. He should not.

One must question and rebel against the social evil and condemn it but, it is not right to demonize the entire community and make them synonymous with evil.

The lower cast people have been empowered by the reservation system and their empowerment should also be celebrated. Brahmins and all upper caste people have asked for forgiveness. It is time to forgive them and look ahead. Brahmins deserve acknowledgment for all the positives they have given to the world. They should be given their due of thanks.

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