Brahmins are the Jews of India. I say that as a non-Brahmin. People have been fed on propaganda of rich and powerful Brahmin. Then why all stories start with - Once upon a time, there was a poor #Brahmin.
Wast vile propaganda was created against Brahmins by the British to my mind, for two reasons, most potent forces they fought against were Maratha Brahmins and the role of Brahmins in 1857.
As always the seculars, Hindu Brahmins were the most staunch opposition to the British, trying to put Bahadur shah on the throne, who while a Muslim was Indian. Muslim fought to bring back Zafar, whose return would be to them, well, return of Islamic rule.
More of an army, less of a faith, men like Sir Syed, immediately aligned themselves with the British after 1857, and India became playground of missionaries. Brahmins were the intellectual guardians of the faith they planned to attack. The Polytheists.
When Pagans were demolished in Rome, it was plato’s academy which was attacked first. Kashi and Prayag was India’s academy.
So they went after it. Macaulay boastfully wrote to his father that if things go as he planned in twenty years there won’t be any indigenous religion left in India. One may throw the example of British friend Nehrus. But they were more European than the British.
For every rich Nehru who had already given up on Indian roots, there was an Azad living like an orphan, a Bismil with his mother grinding grains for survival at few paise per Se’er.
. @pragya_barthwal ji points to me stories with ‘once upon a time there was a wily #Brahmin’. As I mentioned, stories reflect their times. As Brahmins became outcast, even more than they were under the Mughals, they adapted.
With centuries of Sanskrit education which was used in Courts and was language of employment, under Muslim rule, they were unemployable as Persian became official language. So craftiness was a tool of survival.
To understand it, imagine JNU closed and all it’s degree declared void. Will the professors who till now call shots, attend Seminars and treated with respect by the powers that be, not turn wily old Brahmin. Akbar’s court had twenty Hindus in senior position and 4 #Brahmins.
What were they to do? And then the question of intellectual dignity. The sunk stomach which denoted a stiff spine in earlier days when kings would listen to them, when they were like today’s Mylords, now denoted hunger as Law of the nation was Shariah which they knew nothing of
With all its ills, the British, when they brought in secular laws and introduced English, suddenly Hindus had almost same opportunities as the Muslims and they jumped on it. The data of graduation in initial period is telling.
It wasn’t that Hindus after 500 years of religious persecution were better off to pursue education. They weren’t but they had two things going-
- The Hindu culture of learning helped
- They weren’t plagued by the false ego of ruined aristocrats like the Muslims.
So Hindus, primarily Brahmins and a lot many of upper castes like Kayasths moved into this suddenly opened opportunity. Most Dalits were broadly confused. Under the Five year of so-called Casteless Islamic rule, they remained where they were.
The way Muslim rulers looked at them was no better than the way upper caste Hindus would. It was worse. Slavery was legit in Islam and from the societies they came, Dalits were taken as Slaves. In Hindu rule, it wasn’t exactly emancipated life but it wasn’t slavery either.
The history is full of tribal Queens and Kings from what we today think as Lower caste, but under Islamic rules where Brahmins were unemployable, #Dalits had same rule as was envisaged for them in Pakistan.
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