CONTROVERSY OF CONVERSIONS
Dr. K. Jamanadas, "Shalimar", Main Road, Chandrapur,
(Maharashtra), 442 402, India
Tel: (07172) 55346
This has a reference to M. V. Kamath's:
Subject: Upper casteism and liberation of dalits
M. V. Kamath is a big name in Writer Scholars, but his writing
about Ramraj's conversion of 4th Nov. 01, is full of lies, half
truths and distortion of History. What is the purpose?
Purpose of perverting history
Why the talk of writing a wrong history is insisted upon these
days would be clear from views of Govind Pansare who, writing on
Shivaji, explains that the corruption of history is not without a
purpose. There is partly ignorance and partly mischief but mostly
selfishness. Shivaji who was respected in north, M.P., Gujarath,
and south India has now been confined to Maharashtra. Criticizing
Shivsena, he says,
"They did everything against non-marathi speaking population
or Muslims or Dalits in the name of Shivaji. Shivaji who was
of whole Maharashtra, is now restricted to Hindus of
Maharashtra. Now he is not of even all Hindus, they made him
"go brahman pratipalak". Establishing Maratha
Mahasangh they made him of Marathas alone. While opposing
reservations of seats they shouted "Jay" of Shivaji, in
Marathawada and elsewhere, while attacking the Dalit
colonies, they shouted slogans of "Jay Shivaji - Jay
Bhavani" thus making Shivaji of only higher caste Hindus,
the Brahmins and real or imaginary "96 kuli" Marathas."
["Shivaji kon hota?", p.48, Mumbai, 1998 tr. from Marathi]
Ramraj has converted one hundred thousands
Kamath admits that authorities did put obstacles, but blames it
was Congress Govt. of Delhi and not Central Govt. of BJP, a fact
refuted by people like Dr. Opeh. What is the difference? Both are
two faces of the same coin. What difference does it make to a
fish whether it is fried in oil or ghee?
Though the Government had put restrictions and disrupted the
programme of Conversion, about one hundred thousands, got
converted, Kamath admits. Many people have given much lower
figures. May be Kamath is correct. He blames Ramraj: "What
business does the All India Christian Council have in the matter
of conversion of Dalits to Buddhism?"
The organizers had averred that they would get help from all
available and willing sources. There is nothing wrong with that,
one sufferer helping the other co-sufferer, but I wish Ramraj
should have politely declined to accept such help and should have
conducted ceremony on his own.
But the real agony of Kamath seems to be the blame put on
Hindutvavadi organizations, and denying the charges, he asks:
"And why on earth should the Vishwa Hindu Parishad get
embroiled with the issue?"
Why indeed? Had they not earlier organized "Buddhist Conventions"
at various places and depicted Buddha as a Hindu in front of
world Buddhist leaders? If these organizations did not get
wild, so far the better. But is it the truth? Kamath should ask
this to himself. Actually the aim of writing by Kamath seems to
be to deny such allegations. And the main purpose seems to advise
Bahujans that conversion to Buddhism or Islam is of no use.
Bahujans have been having the heads of Brahmins on their
shoulders all these centuries, but now in future they would think
with their own brains, and can now do without any advice from
Kamath's ilk, aver OBC scholars like Salunkhe.
Kancha Ilaiah criticized
I do not hold a brief for Kancha Ilaiah. He is competent enough
to defend himself. I do not even agree with all what Kancha had
opined in the past. But the question remains that what Kancha has
asked is not irrelevant, and I like to stress that Kamath has
failed to satisfy a common man in being unable to reply him.
Kamath refers to Kancha in derogatory words. What Kamath is doing
is exactly what he is enjoined to do by his religion, as Manu
says, respect should not be shown to people of castes lower than
yours. Just calling the question irrelevant is no answer to
"what right do Hindutva organizations like the VHP and RSS
have to claim dalits as Hindus when they are not given the
right to religion, priesthood and food culture within the
temples and other religious institutions?"
Kamath could not refute the charges leveled by Kancha. If Kamath
does not know, which I doubt, Kancha is not a Dalit. Manuvadis
are not worried about Dalits, who are no threat to them as OBCs
are. Kamath's wrath on Kancha seems to be because he is an OBC,
and still talks of being a non-hindu and of dalitization of the
What ever may be opinion of others about Kancha, he has given two
revolutionary ideas about the movement of masses against the
classes; one is the term "dalitbahujan" and second is the concept
of "hanuman". What Kanshiram calls Bahujans i.e. SC/ST/OBC and
minorities converted from them, Kancha calls "Dalitbahujan" to
describe their oppressed condition.
As a matter of fact, the relationship of Dalitbahujans to 'upper'
castes in all the political parties run by Brahmins, as various
teams from A to E of Brahmanism in Kanshiram's terms, is like
Rama and Hanuman, as put forward by Kancha Ilaiah, himself an
OBC, whose observation about Congress applies to all parties
under control of BSO (Brahmanical social order). He laments that
at such a time, when Ambedkarism was creating a small force of
conscious people among Dalitbahujans, a large number of OBCs
were perhaps for the sake of fringe benefits - the fell down
crumbs of spoils, willing to be trustworthy Hanumans. He
describes the relationship as:
"... The relationship between an 'upper' caste man and a
Dalitbahujan caste man within Congress was like that
between Rama and Hanuman. It is a common knowledge that
Hanuman was a South Indian Dalit who joined the
imperial army of Rama to fight against the South Indian
Nationalist ruler - Ravana. Hanuman worked day in and day
out in the interest of 'Ramrajya' (an anti-Dalitbahujan and
anti-woman kingdom), yet his place in the administration was
marginal and subservient. ..." [Kancha Ilaiah, "Why I am
not a Hindu", Samaya, Calcutta, 1998, p.58]
This is a new terminology and a new concept, for which the people
who wish to have change, would always be thankful to him.
Savarkar on Babasaheb's Conversion
Much higher authorities than Kamath have criticized the
conversion of Dr. Ambedkar like Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
The points raised by Kamath are already raised by many others,
including Savarkar and are all replied from time to time.
Savarkar's reaction to the Mass Conversion of Dalits by Dr.
Ambedkar in 1956 is not widely known outside Marathi speaking
region. He wrote in the "Kesari" of 30th October 1956, (pp.17-
18), an article, bitterly criticizing Ambedkar in venomous
language. [Khairmode: vol.12, p.81 ff.] Ignoring the polemics of
Hindutva, the main points of his article are worth remembering.
He mentions the number of people embracing Buddhism was hardly
one lakh, for which he was not surprised, because of the
propaganda in "Maharwadas" of Maharashtra for last eight
years and the direct indirect financial help from rulers like
Nehru, and help from foreign Buddhists, and as this help would
continue in future, Savarkar was afraid that the number within
ten years could reach a million. "Worry not- but think", he said,
claiming that when Buddha himself and Ashoka could not make any
dent in "Sanatan dharma", what is an Ambedkar? But such
movements, being disruptive and anti-national, they must be
prevented at the start, he warned. Further he said:
That Ambedkar did not become Christian or Muslim, is no
obligation on us. Ambedkar had threatened to embrace Islam,
Christianity or Sikhism for many years. Now that he hankers after
saying that Buddhism is the greatest religion in the world, did
he not know this, that time? It was a sign of immature intellect
or misguiding declarations. Ambedkar knew the untouchability
practiced in Islam, Christianity and Sikhism. And also because of
some other internal reasons, the bargain could not be struck that
time. Therefore he could not embrace these religions and not
because of his soft feelings about Hindus, as some Hindu leaders
seem to think.
It is shameless for the Hindus to admire the "batage"
(a derogatory word for Converts)
For last many years Ambedkar and his followers are showering such
abuses in dirty language against Hindu religious books,
practices, gods and customs. No other people than the tolerant
Hindus would have tolerated such words. They have no guts to
criticize the other religions for similar practices. Excepting a
few sayings of the Buddha, which were probably borrowed from
Hindu sages, the rest of Buddhist books are full of same rubbish
like any other religion.
Ambedkar's vow is broken
He said he would not die as a Hindu. His vow is already broken,
as he will have to die within Hinduism. His jump outside the
sphere of Hinduism has fallen within the boundary of Hinduism. As
a Hindu is one whose father-land and holy-land (pitru-bhu
and punya-bhu) is Bharat, Ambedkar will live and die as a
Hindu, irrespective of his repeatedly denying it, and
irrespective of his saying that he is denouncing Hinduism, and
irrespective of including vows in conversion ceremony condemning
Hindu religion, like an arrogant child denying his own parentage.
It is not possible for him to break the bondage of Hindutva
and also the fetters of Untouchability will not break just by
Untouchability is dying out in Indian cities, and would gradually
disappear in villages. Just by embracing Buddhism, their
untouchability has not been reduced a bit, and they would not be
accepted as 'touchable' by the 'touchable' Hindus in villages. On
the other hand, they would be treated as outsiders. Therefore,
the leaders like Jagjivanram, Tapase, Kajrolkar, Rajbhoj etc. do
not wish to be entrapped in this net and fall in the pit of
A warning! - Boudhasthan and Naga kingdoms
Ambedkar embraced Buddhism, not because of any love for it, but,
in a dark corner of his mind, there is one more treacherous,
anti-national, political ambition. And that is, to establish an
Independent "Boudha Sthan", an Independent "Naga Sthan", by
uniting all the divisive split forces, like Zarkhand, if he could
raise enough strength of Buddhists under his religious dominance.
This is evident from the speeches of his followers and his own
writings. So let not Hindus admire this conversion. Now that,
they are bringing back the dug out bones of Buddha from foreign
lands and carry these reverently on their head, we must analyze
the increasing influence of Buddhism from religious and political
situation angle, and read again the ancient history from Yavana,
Saka, Kushana, Pallava and Huna invasions to Muslim conquest, and
how Indian Buddhists have joined hands with these invaders. It is
better to be safe than sorry and not test the poison by drinking
Savarkar said, worry not, but Kamath seems to be worrying. Why?
This, I think is because of threat of OBC shift to Ambedkarism.
He says Full implementation Mandal Commission's Report, which he
calls "Mandalization", a nice word, is not the answer to Dalit
problem. One can see the cunningness in this statement! Every OBC
today knows, that "Mandalization" is for the benefit of OBCs and
not of Dalits.
Kamath says Chaturvarnya is hard to be defined. Is it a
fact? May be it is hard to define. But certainly not hard to
describe. Every so called scripture of Brahmanism has enjoined
it and Manu has elaborated the thesis. Even then, let us, for
satisfaction of Kamath and his ilk, express what
Chaturvarnya is, in our own humble understanding.
The cardinal tenets of "Hindutva"
There are some who classify "Hindutva" in three types, (1)
of Aribindo and Vivekananda, (2) of Savarkar and (3) of RSS
propounded by Golwalkar. We feel all this talk is an eyewash to
hoodwink the masses. Neither of them started it, and their
interests in interpreting it differently, if at all they did as
claimed, had arisen out of political needs of the time. Those
interested may see writings of Raosaheb Kasbe against this
thinking. For our purpose, "Hindutva" of any and all types
have certain cardinal points, and Chaturvarnya is the main crux.
Chaturvarnya enjoins that the society must be divided into four
water tight compartments called Brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya and
shudra, and that the entry to them is only through birth. It is
like a tower with four floors without any staircase. These
originated from different parts of God's body and hence must be
unequal in status. It is a divinely ordained system, it was made
by god. It is the duty of human beings to follow this system
without expecting any returns from it. Your duty is only to do
the "karmas," i.e. the deeds related to following the
"Chaturvarnya". This is the divinely ordained
"dharma". When this "dharma" gets dormant, god
takes birth to punish the evil, i.e. those who disturbed the
"dharma" and preserve those who are "sadhus", i.e.
those who follow this "dharma". It must not be confused
with the division of labour. This is not the division of labour
but is the division of labourers.
Under this system you are allowed to marry only within your own
caste, and you are also required to follow the calling of your
ancestors, how so ever it may be fearsome. It is better to die in
the calling of your ancestors than to follow others' profession.
Because it is always better to die in your own inferior
"dharma" than a better one of others', which is always
fearsome. It means the daughter of a prostitute must become a
prostitute and son of a pimp must become a pimp, as Ambedkar put
it. A scavenger's son may take education and become a doctor but
he must earn his living not by working as a physician but must
earn his livelihood by scavenging. Only he must become an expert
in scavenging, as Gandhi had advised a Dalit graduate. This is
the summary of "Chaturvarnya." Even now there are
supporters to this theory.
How is this theory put into action by god? Of course according to
"Karma Siddhanta", the Law of Karmas. The deeds of the past life
regulate your status in this life. If you have followed the
"Chaturvarnya" in the past life, you have accumulated
enough virtue to make you, that is your "atma", to have a
body of a higher "varna". After all, you are of no
consequence. It is your "atma" that is the thing of great
importance. It is your "atma" which is "real you". It is
separate from your body. Though you are not your "atma",
the "karmas", that is the deeds of Chaturvarnya, have to
be followed by the body. It is very simple theory. When you die,
it is the body that dies. The "atma" goes to another body,
just like you change your shirt, "atma" changes its
garment. This "atma" does not die, it can not be cut by
weapons, neither it can be burned by fire, nor it can be
desiccated by wind. What ever physical birth you are having now
is due to your deeds in previous birth. If you did "good deeds"
meaning respecting caste rules, you would be born in higher
caste, otherwise you would be born in a lower one. The idea is
that you must not grumble about your present situation, it is all
arranged by the God himself taking into consideration the deeds
of your previous birth. Belief in Infallibility of "Shastras" is
very essential, because all the above is stored in Brahmin's
books, prohibited to others.
Kamath asks 'which law prevents Dalits from reading Gita and
Upnishads.' See the cunning! He avoids the word Vedas. He could
be politely replied why the hell, Dalit would want to read
"Gita", the gospel of counter-revolution. Dr. Ambedkar has
already declared that the Vedas and other books of Brahmanism
need to be blasted by dynamite, if Hindu society is to progress,
in "Annihilation of Caste". Anyway, let us ask Kamath, which was
that law which prevented Ambedkar from learning Sanskrit in
College, though it was then a British Rule, and Peshavai had
ended much to the satisfaction of general masses? And what about
those hundreds of generations of non-brahmins who were not
allowed to learn anything, let alone Sanskrit? And let us also
ask why Saint Tukaram was punished by drowning his writings in
river. If one calls this attitude of Kamath as hypocritical, will
one be blamed?
"Furthermore there is nothing to prevent the dalits, from
among themselves, to set up their own priesthood, to cater
to their needs. Many tribes have their own priests and
nobody challenges their rights."
Either he seems to have missed the point, or may be he is
pretending. The Satyagrahas at Mahad, Kalaram Mandir or Vicom,
were not to obtain facilities to worship. Kamath well understands
these were the fights not for facilities but for rights of
equality, respect and dignity. Savarkar had also tried and failed
to get equal rights and then turned to separate temples for
Dalits. Present day Brahmins learning from old experiences,
already are talking of Swastika Temples. They know, those who
undergo "shuddhi" would not be tolerated by the rest. Even
Dayanand's Arya Samaj movement of "shuddhi" had failed. It is
only a rare person like Shivaji who had courage to reconvert a
Muslim soldier back and get him married to his daughter. For
today's reformers it is "Swastika temples".
Religion of Saints - was it Hinduism?
Saints' religion did not preach equality in society. It preached
"equality in the eyes of god", a totally harmless thing for the
custodians of Chaturvarnya
All the saint poets emerged after the fall of Buddhism. They owe
their origin to Vajrayani Buddhists, who were forerunners of
Saints. Shahjiya Vaishnavas, whom Kamath mentions, are visible
remnants of Buddhism. [Nagendranath Basu, "bhakti margi buddha
dharm", p.12 ff.]
Kamath mentions about Nammalwar. But forgets to mention the
insult caused to him by Brahmins by refusing to recognize him as
"Kulpati" of Vaishnavas, only because of his low caste. We are
"Sri Nammalvar was born in the fourth caste and whatever may
be the merits of his work and philosophy there would have
been a natural hesitation on the part of the members
of the three higher castes to acknowledge him as the
'Kulapati' of all Sri Vaishnavas." [Veera Raghavacharya,
"History of Tirupati", vol. II, p. 948]
Remember there is no image of any of the Alvars on the top of
hill at Tirumala temple, because of low caste of these saints,
observes Krishnaswami Aiyangar. ["History of Tirupati", vol. 1,
p.151, TTD, 1952]
Kamath also ignores how poems of Nammalwar were gone into
oblivion but preserved by his low caste followers and how
Brahmins accepted the poems when Nath Muni was in yoga for 340
years to resurrect his Tiruvoymouli.
If Kamath wishes to create an impression that these south Indian
saints and all other saints were treated with respect by the
Brahmins of those times, it is a false propaganda.
It is well known that Basavaraj got a son of a cobbler disciple
married to the daughter of a Brahmin disciple; for this act a war
was started in which he lost his life.
Chakradhara preached equality and he was beheaded. Raidas was
drowned in the Ganges. Mira who became disciple of an untouchable
Raidas, was given a bowl of poison and declared she got absorbed
in feet of god; so was declared about Goda a.k.a. Sri Andal, one
of the Alvars. Chokhamela was buried alive in the trench of a
fort under construction. Nandanar got "himself" burnt alive "to
purify himself". Dyandeva had to take "samadhi" at a very young
age by entering into a cave which was permanently sealed. Eknatha
was tortured all his life. Tukarama, the crown of anti-Brahmanic
saints, was tortured all his life, his property was looted, he
was ordered by brahmanic court to stop writing poetry, existing
books of poetry were drowned and ultimately he was killed on the
day of 'Holi' and it was declared that he had a rare honour of
getting a "vimana" sent for him from heaven and "went alive to
Vaikuntha", suggesting his dead body also was not found.
To talk of tolerance of Hindu religion is absurd, says Salunkhe,
describing the cruelty of punishments for petty offenses of non-
brahmins, while Brahmins were exempted, enacted by Hindu Law
books creating a terror in the minds of non-brahmins. [p. 118]
All know, as Kamath says, Vivekananda was a Kayastha, a caste
always despised by the Brahmins, there being many abuses showered
on them in Puranas. Was this the reason he was called a mere
"swami"? He preached all over the world, why was he not called a
"jagat-guru"? Was there any non-brahmin "jagat-guru" might be the
subject matter for research, which Kamath should think about.
Even in modern times hatred against Bahujans did not disappear.
The day Dr. Ambedkar was converting half a million of his people,
on Dasera day in 1956 at Nagpur to Buddhism, the Brahmins did not
welcome it, contrary to the recent statement of RSS "boudhik"
chief M. G. Vaidya; they celebrated first ever "Ravan Dahan" at
Nagpur on Kasturchand Park.
Modern examples of discrimination
It may be noted that Raghavacharya calls the hesitation
"natural". The tendency of caste discrimination continues even in
modern times. For example, when Dr. Ambedkar was trying for
"Hindu Code Bill", which was to remove the injustice on Hindu
women, Jereshastri the then Shankarachrya of Sankeswara Pitha,
"... Milk or Ganges water may be holy, but if it comes
through a nallah or a gutter, it can not be
considered sacred. Similarly, the 'Dharmasastra' howsoever
it may be authentic, it can not be considered authentic
because it has come from a 'Mahar' like Dr. Ambedkar.
Ambedkar is a scholar, it is said that his study of
scriptures is great, but he is an 'antyaja'. How
can the Ganga of Scriptures coming from the nallah of
Ambedkar be holy? It must be discardable like milk
coming from the gutter..."
Quoting this passage from 'Nav Bharat', daily, 21 Jan.
1950, Yashwant Manohar observes, even the women for whose
liberation this Bill was intended, opposed it. We see today
these women participating in hindutwavadi organizations. They
opposed Mandal Commission, and they still oppose the reservation
of OBC and other women, however, they demand right to priesthood.
[Yashwant Manohar: 1999: p.73]
Why do you renounce Hindu religion?
This was the question asked to Dr. Ambedkar on 13th October, 1956
at Shyam Hotel Nagpur by the journalists. [Khairmode: vol. 12, p.
51] Ambedkar was angry and annoyed and furiously asked him,
"Why don't you ask this question to yourself? Ask this to
your forefathers. They will reply you. You Hindus, have you
come here to ask only this to me? Where have you been hiding
before this? You have tortured me whole my life and now you
ask me why I am leaving Hindu religion."
To other questions, he replied that for centuries, forward caste
Hindus and specially Brahmins misbehaved with us. All those whose
noses can smell foul odour of Hinduism would embrace Buddhism.
Buddhism is a world religion. We have to bring about religious
conversion all over India. The Buddha never said that one must
accept, for ever. He enjoined to make changes appropriate to
changing times. One has to make changes in the thoughts, then
only ones behaviour can change.
Difference between Hinduism and Buddhism
One journalist asked, "Apart from Caste discriminations, what is
the difference between Hinduism and Buddhism?" Ambedkar replied,
"This question is like asking what remains in the body after
Life is gone. Are you not the people who observe Caste
distinctions? Who have developed this discrimination? The
Brahmins never gave us and to the Marathas any freedom of
thought and action."
To the question that caste distinctions are there among the
untouchables also, he replied that, "this was borrowed by us from
you only. We can oppose this. I am brave and courageous. I will
tell people how to behave and eradicate it." [Ibid]
Has conversions of Dalits to Islam or Christianity
done any good to them in the past?
This is the question asked by Kamath. Well, why should the
forward castes worry about welfare of the Dalits? Those who do
not see the vast change occurring in the Dalit converts, through
the ages, must either be blind or hypocrites.
During Muslim rule, a vast population escaped from the tyranny of
untouchability. Many low caste people became high officers in
Muslim kingdoms. Remember Malik Kafur, he was an untouchable.
Khusro Khan, who belonged to a bhangi caste, even became
the Sultan at Delhi, and his brother Governor of Gujarath. He had
made many of his old caste men high officers.
Kancha Ilaiah has observed:
" ... The birth of Islam ... put the religious equality of
the people who embraced it on much more solid foundations.
This could have been one of the reasons why more and more
SCAs (Shudras, Chandalas and Adivasis) embraced Islam in
India in the second millennium. If Muslim rulers were to
force the Indians to embrace Islam they would have easily
changed this country into an Islamic one. Or had they forced
all the BKVs (Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas) to convert
to Islam, their job would have been accomplished. But even
in their eight hundred years of hegemonic rule, they did not
do that. What attracted SCAs to Islam is its religious
democratic culture - the culture of aa gale milna."
["Meantime", Jan. 11, 2000, p.38]
As is well known, Kashmir was a Buddhist country, and how it
became a predominantly Muslim country is a illuminating story of
Brahmanic arrogance. Ramdhari Simha Dinkar ["Hindu Sanskruti" -
ch.4, p.269] describes it. From the story, it appears, in
thirteenth century, a boy of tender age by name Ratanju, probably
a Buddhist, came to Kashmir and got a high rank in the court of
king Sahadeva. Developing love for Hindu religion, he wanted to
embrace it. But the Pundits were not ready to accept him in their
society. A Muslim fakir, by name Bulbulshah, convinced him
that he would be respectfully accepted by Islam as the door of
Islam is open to all human beings. Ratanju became Muslim. His son
Shahamir usurped the throne. It is said, unwilling pundits, were
drowned in river Jehlam by Ratanju and Shahamir. The place in
Shrinagar where they were drowned, is famous even now by the name
of 'watta mazaar'." [ q/b Santram, Sarita Mukta Reprint
series, (Hindi) vol. 8, p.162.]
After this it did not take long for the whole Kashmir to become
Muslim. Thus we see that because the leaders of perpetuators of
inequality did not consider even the people of high ability who
have gained prominence on account of their bravery and heroism,
fit to become kings, unless they are born in higher caste.
Similar thing happened in Maharashtra in 17th century, when king
Shivaji was refused by the brahmins of Maharashtra to be
coronated as a king because of low caste. One must only imagine,
what would have been the fate of India, had Shivaji met somebody
like Bulbulshah that time.
Similar is the story of Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur in late 19th
century, when he was insulted by the priest on account of caste,
and his insult was accentuated by the so called 'national' lobby
of the great "Lokamanya" Tilak from Poona supporting the cause of
the priest against the Maharaja. Fortunately for the Hindus,
Shahu did not turn to Islam or Christianity, he turned to Arya
Samaj, which he thought, rather naively, was a remedy of ills of
Brahmanism. But he also strongly supported "Satya Shodhak"
Movement started by Mahatma Jotirao Phule and also brought
forward Dr. Ambedkar and presented him to the Dalits as their
leader. The movement started by Shahu later gave rise to a
powerful "Non-brahmin Party" which grew in prominence till early
30s when Gandhiji got it merged in Congress.
During Christian rule, the converts had better education and
better status than their old caste men. Why Christianity did not
progress is a different subject, one has to see Ambedkar's
writings on the subject for details.
But as Kamath says, it is true that even among Christians, there
is discrimination in Church graveyards, and marriages. But that
is legacy of Hinduism carried by "upper caste" converts to
Christianity, and is due to incomplete conversion. This is a
point in favour of granting them Reservations like "Hindu" SC/ST,
and also to recognize that we all, including the State, must
differentiate between the lower castes Christians and upper caste
In old Hindu kingdoms, as Ambedkar said [Khairmode vol 11, p.
147], only cows and Brahmins had the fundamental rights, under
Muslim rule these rights of cows and Brahmins were taken away and
the Muslims only had rights. Even under the British, there were
no fundamental rights from 1772 till 1935. It is very strange,
says Ambedkar, that even in the foreign British rule, not even
Congress, existing from 1885, ever agitated for fundamental
rights. This was because in spite of the colonial rule, "the
administration of this country was governed by what was called
the rule of justice, equality and good conscience".
Human rights were promulgated after second world war by the UNO.
Similarly, in India, the demand for Fundamental rights grew, and
it is for the first time in our constitution, the fundamental
rights are included. Everybody felt there was some sense of
security during the British rule. When Swaraj presented around
1947, everybody became insecure because political authority was
passing in the hands of the majority, whose doctrine being
Chaturvarnya, believed in inequality and "their caste
system is a sword of political and administrative
discrimination". So for the protection of people, the Fundamental
rights were incorporated in the Constitution. Ambedkar averred
that these rights must be protected and respected and their
infringement would be dangerous to this country in future.
Now the right to practice and propagation of ones faith is a
fundamental right. If the Buddhists or the Muslims or the
Christians wish to convert others to their faith, the State
should protect these people. Then why this prevention of
conversion of dalits to Buddhism at the Delhi Ram Lila grounds on
4 November by the State?
Kamath says the State, of course through the Delhi police,
apparently cited two reasons for preventing the holding of the
meeting, one, that it was being organized with the help of the
All India Christian Council and two, that some organizations like
the Vishwa Hindu Parishad were opposed to it. He rightly calls
these reasons as ridiculous, but fails to understand the rights
of the Buddhists or the Christians or the Muslims. He does not
condemn the authorities because they are acting according to
whims of VHP and against the rights of All India Christian
Council. He is on the contrary blaming Kancha Ilaiah for
complaining against the State action. Is it not time that one
should ask oneself whether one was more secure under the British
than under the Swaraj headed by people of Kamath's ilk?
Scientists in western countries were from lower professions
Kamath wishes to imply that inequalities exist in all countries,
and feels it as a great consolation, when he says,
"As in any society, social intercourse is dictated by one's
social and economic status or why would Bernard Shaw have
written My Fair Lady?"
Nobody denies the existence of classes. But class is different
from caste, and has no sanction of the scriptures for the
inequality it has. A person can easily transgress the class but
not the caste. It would be naive to think that Kamath does not
understand the difference in caste and class. Still let us tell
him some facts about the people who wrote "My fair lady", apart
from producing people like Mother Teresa.
While in India, Mahabharata declared all those people who were
engaged in productive arts and crafts such as medicine,
sculpture, music, acting, architecture, handicrafts, pottery,
weaving, seliculture, horticulture, agriculture and animal
husbandry as low grade shudras, the western countries treated
these with great respect. For example James Watt was son of a
carpenter, Edison's father was making wooden planks, Benjamin
Franklin was a son of one who was making candles and soap, Louis
Pasture was son of poor fellow making hide from leather in a
tannery, father of Dewey, the inventor of safety lamp, was a
sculptor working on wood. Faraday was son of a blacksmith. Father
of George Stephenson was a poor fireman, Newton was son of a
farmer and so was Marconi. Father of Darwin was a man of
medicine. Nobel, the promoter of Nobel Prizes and inventor of
dynamite was maker of weapons. Arch wright in his earlier days
was a barber. The crux of the matter was that all such vocations
were not treated as mean, and all those people were respected as
others. The men engaged in productive crafts arts and pursuits
were given due respect, whereas in our Chaturvarnya
society, all such people were degraded to be shudras and deprived
of education, were not allowed to bear arms and were not allowed
to enter commercial trading,they had but only duty that was the
serve the elites, the warriors and property holders. Still Kamath
asks about caste discriminations in western countries. India had
no classes but castes and all those discriminations going with
Ram Raj became Udit Raj
I was one of the first ones to criticize Ramraj, not for arranging
conversions - a noble cause - but for his way of functioning. He
declared that this is the second great conversion after Ambedkar,
so posing as a second Ambedkar. Earlier Maikuram had converted
lakhs without much fanfare and publicity unlike Ramraj. There
were and still are thousands of conversions going on all over the
country all these days after Ambedkar, who converted
about five lakhs at
Nagpur and two lakhs at Chandrapur, but the present official
strength is 68 lakhs - and there are many who did not register as
Buddhists. So Ramraj has no credit. The publicity and fanfare of
Ramraj, who was unknown in Ambedkarite movement except as a trade
union activist, was arranged by the media alone, suggesting a BSO
support, perhaps to create a rival for Bahujan leadership in U.P.
politics. These political motives of Ramraj became evident by
his criticizing Bahujan leaders from religious stage.
But I definitely support his rights. One may not agree with Ram
Raj's activities, but the fact remains that he, like anybody
else, has a right to convert - himself as well as others. That is
the fundamental right. But why should he change his name? Is it
because he dislikes Rama? If he really detested the name of
Rama, he could have selected a name of "Ravan Raj". But the
name, we are told, was searched by his upper caste wife, which he
accepted. It was also not necessary to tonsure his head.
Worshiping by Brahmins
Kamath tries to show the magnanimity of Brahmins by saying:
"Krishna is a Yadav; Rama, a kshatriya. Both are honoured by
all castes, including brahmins!"
What is so strange about it? Brahmins always worshipped anything
and anybody if suited their social purpose of subverting other
castes. How the gods and goddesses of Brahmins have changed
during the course of history is well depicted by Dr. Ambedkar in
his "Riddles in Hinduism". They created a sandstorm over the
Riddle Rama and Krishna with enough shedding of blood over the
issue, but none of the scholars of Brahmanism has, until now, to
the best of my knowledge, explained the "Riddles" raised by him.
In any case, they worshiped a fish, a tortoise, a boar, a half-
lion half-man, two brahmins before two non-Brahmins Rama and
Krishna. Brahmin Saint Ramadas of Maharashtra in 17th century has
lamented about the degraded condition of Brahmins. He said:
"Brahmin buddhi pasun chevale
Achara pasun bhrashtale
Gurutva sandun zale shishy shishya che
Kityek Daval malkas jati
Kityek pirasi ch bhajati
Kityek turuk hoti
The nearest English rendering of this would be: Brahmins have
departed from their intellect, have corrupted from their enjoined
behaviour. Giving up the status of 'guru' have become the
disciples of the disciples. So many go to Durgah of Sufi saint
Dawal Malik. So many worship the "Pir". So many have become
Muslims of their own wish.
Everybody knows that Brahmins have written "Allah Upnishad"
during the reign of Shahjehan.
Gail Omvedt has aptly remarked that there is no Hindu temple of
any deity, in Maharashtra at least, which is older than seven
hundred years. In any case the worship of Rama is very recent.
Let anybody make a list of temples in his own town, he would find
the Rama temples are most recent ones, (excluding those of
Saibaba and Sanotshi Mata during last fifty years.)
How did the other castes support Brahmins?
Dr. Ambedkar, a long time back, ["Asha Pramod" - 21.4.1940, q/b
Khairmode, vol 8, p.29 ff.] has given the reason, why Brahmins
started worshiping Rama and Krishna. He averred that he never
accepted "Gita", it is "a compromise of all errors" and "It is an
irresponsible book of Ethics." It gained importance after the
fall of Buddhism. He said the main reason of Buddhism being
unsuccessful was the strong opposition by the Brahmins whose
supremacy was threatened due to Buddhist principles of liberty
and equality. It was not so much for financial gains, but for
their social vested interests, they opposed Buddhism. If Buddhism
had succeeded, there would have been no discrimination of caste
and religion and Brahmins would have lost their supremacy in
Buddhism being beneficial to Bahujans, how the minority Brahmins
gained supremacy over majority to defeat Buddhism, and how did
the Bahujan castes support Brahmins? To this, Ambedkar replied:
"The minority class of Kshatriyas who had political and
military power was an hurdle to the Brahmins. Brahmins
plotted and conspired to win them over by accepting the
deities Rama and Krishna of Kshatriya clans. Thus they
cunningly diverted the Bahujans to their side and opposed
Buddhism. If this move of Brahmins had failed, today there
would have been a Buddhist era and today's picture of India
would have been different." [Ibid, p.32]
Gods of Bahujans are different from those of Brahmins
After describing how the various cultural differences exit with
Hindus and Bahujans regarding Caste Training of boys and girls,
sexual mores, caste language, god consciousness, school
education, ideals, marriages, priests, production, cooking, male
and female domains, Baniya economy, man and woman relations,
emergence of neo-Kshatriyas caste power and their consciousness,
Dalitbahujan democracy and their revolts, caste in college
education, different hotels, post colonial political parties,
post colonial universities, Brahmanical colonies etc., Kancha
Ilaiah has given vivid description of culture and traditions of
various gods of Brahmins and explained how they are entirely
different from those of non-brahmins. He has further correlated
the ancient gods used to build up consent systems of non-Brahmins
towards Brahmins with the present day consent systems, going
through various historical periods. It is worth reading from
original. I will only mention about Saraswati, about whom, he
"... The source of education, Saraswati, did not write any
book as Brahmins never allowed women to write their texts.
Nowhere does she speak even about the need to give education
to women. How is it that the source of education is herself
an illiterate woman? This is diabolism of highest order.
Brahmanism never allowed women to be educated. The first
woman who worked to provide education for all women was
Savithribai Phule, wife of Mahatma Phule, in the mid
nineteenth century. To our Dalitbahujan mind, there is no
way in which Saraswathi can be compared to Savithribai
Phule. In Savithribai Phule one finds real feminist
assertion. ..." ["Why I am not a Hindu?", p.74]
Stressing the need for debate of Dalitbahujans with Brahmin
scholars, he talks of traditions of gods / goddesses of Hindus,
Brahma and Saraswati, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati, and
Avatara gods like Vamana, Krishna, Rama and Sita, and contrasts
them with Dalitbahujan gods / goddesses like Pochamma,
Kattamaisamma, Polimeramma, Potaraju, Beerappa etc. and
"... These Brahmanical scholars and leaders who talk about
Hindutva being the religion of all castes must realize that
the Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Classes, and Scheduled
Tribes of this country, have nothing in common with the
Hindus. For centuries, even when Dalitbahujans tried to
unite all castes, the Brahmins, the Baniyas and the
Kshatriyas opposed the effort. Even today, no Brahmin adopts
the names of our goddesses / Gods; even today, they do not
understand that the Dalitbahujans have a much more humane
and egalitarian tradition and culture than the Hindu
tradition and culture. Even today, our cultural tradition is
being treated as merit-less. If the Brahmins, the Baniyas,
the Kshatriyas and the neo-Kshatriyas of this country want
unity among diversity, they should join us and look to
Dalitization, not Hinduization." [p.101]
I wish Kamath should have used his scholarly intelligence to
refute Kancha's arguments one by one on merit rather than just
condemning his views outright. But that has always been the
tactics and strategy of these people. The vagueness is their
greatest cunning virtue and strength.
Brahmins and non-brahmins are two different nations
Kancha Ilaiah is not the only OBC scholar pronouncing that the
Bahujans are not Hindus. There are many others. Prominent among
them is Salunkhe. Dr. A. H. Salunkhe, an OBC scholar, orator and
writer, from Maharashtra, in his Marathi book, "vaidik dharma
sutre aani bahujana chi gulamgiri", explains how these
scriptures enjoined that Brahmins are not under the rule of
kings. Brahmin from the even the defeated opponent king's side
must not be killed. King must not kill Brahmin of even enemy side
even in war even if he is likely to face defeat thereby. A
Brahmin belongs to neither party in war, he is his own party, and
hence even the defeated king's brahmins should be employed. This
explains why Kautilya says not to build an army of Brahmins. Even
a crowned Kshatriya King has no right to punish Brahmins even if
they break the Laws. King must obey Brahmins, otherwise his
generations would suffer, scriptures threaten. This Law was
exercised by Brahmins against Shivaji and Shahu, Salunkhe says.
No king can be king of Brahmins. Brahmins' king is different.
Soma is their king. Soma means, a Brahmin having right to drink
Soma implying that if it becomes necessary to give orders to a
Brahmin, that is not the right of a king but is the right of
Brahmins only. Vashistha feels the king of Brahmins is different
from ruler of others. Explaining all this in great detail,
"... In a way, Brahmins is a separate society from the rest
of non-brahmin society. Brahmins' nation is an independent
Nation and there is the arrangement of a parallel
alternative administration for them. This is what Vashistha
impressed on the minds of people. ... These days, we talk of
rule by a remote control. The king was always working under
the control, scare and terror of Brahmins moving around him
in his court with an equal status, and exercising a non-
parliamentary ultra-legal remote control over the king"
The Law of Karmas
"Karma-Siddhanta" is the part of theory of
Chaturvarnya. The roots of long lasting slavery of
Bahujans lie in this theory, Salunkhe explains. Apparently, it
appears to be nice pleasant admirable great and just theory.
Bahujans easily got lured by it thinking it to be moral, but they
could not realize that it is venomous and disruptive and
responsible for their downfall and ruin leading to their poverty,
weakness and loss of power. Because of this theory the Bahujans
do not consider the injustice done to them as injustice. It seems
moral to them because it says fruits of "good" deeds would be
good and fruits of "bad" deeds would be bad. The cunningness here
is that the terms "good" karma does not mean a moral, humane,
just or wise deed. It is a technically defined word and the word
"good" really means "as defined by Shastras". Salunkhe gives
example: Presuming a mediocre Brahmin accepts a noble learned
non-brahmin as guru, this would be "good" deed in the eyes of an
average wise man, but for the scriptures, it is a bad deed
amounting to sin. To say that fruits of deeds in this life would
be granted in next birth and your present status is because of
deeds in past birth, is the second cunning part of this theory.
Bahujans became so full of blind faith that they could not
recognize the cunningness and became slaves. [Salunkhe, p. 24]
It must be remembered here that the Buddha also used the
terminology of karma and rebirth, but the concept is entirely
different as explained at length by Dr. Ambedkar. [The Buddha and
His Dhamma] He considers Hindu doctrine of past karma to be
regulator of future life to be iniquitous and was invented with
the only purpose of enabling the state or society to escape the
responsibility for the condition of the poor and the lowly.
Chaturvarnya was not hereditary?
Salunkhe has quoted many scriptures to prove that Chaturvarnya
was always based on birth. [p.28] Practically, everybody knows
this. But that, originally, the concept of Chaturvarnya
was not hereditary and later it got corrupted to present status,
is a popular ploy of BSO to boost up morals of manuvadis.
Kamath also takes that plea. But he admits that:
"It is true that in some `backward' states, dalits and
girijans have been at the receiving end of the caste stick."
He also admits that "The SCs/STs (Prevention of Atrocities)
Act and the Protection of Civil Rights Act have turned out
to be toothless legislations to bring the culprits to book."
There is some more cunningness here. He wishes to create an
impression that these atrocities are few and far between and
limited to certain "backward" areas. This is a blatant lie. Is
Maharashtra a backward state? Is Tamilnadu or Gujarath or
Karnataka a Backward state? Has he not heard of Marathwada Caste
war or Gujarath Caste War or Kambanpalli Carnage? Has he not
heard of Ghatkopar or Karanja Ghadge? Kamath does not mention the
ill implementation of the Act due to caste prejudices.
Who did it?
Taking it for granted, for the moment, just for the sake of
argument, that the Chaturvarnya, originally was not
hereditary, and hereditary element has been a introduced in
religion as a corruption of pure religion later, two questions
(1) When, how, by whom and why was it corrupted?
(2) Who is responsible now for correcting it if it was a
corruption of pure pristine religion?
The first question involves a lengthy discussion, but there
should be no dispute that non-brahmins had no part in corrupting
the pristine religion. Salunkhe says right from the time of fall
of Harrapan civilization, the Brahmins were trying to tighten
their grip over the non-brahmins through the Vedas and
Dharmasutras. The Buddha and his later followers tried to loosen
this grip. The Buddhist struggle against the tyranny and slavery
imposed by Brahmins through the Vedas, was, no doubt, the
greatest struggle in the social history of India. The Brahmanic
efforts started during the period of Dharmasutras became mostly
successful after four hundred years in the times of Manusmruti,
which codified the rules of Dharmasutras, and the "Great War"
(maha yudhha) declared by the Buddha, for the benefit of
Bahujans and on their behalf, became ineffective. The tragedy of
all this is that, the Bahujans, whom the Buddha had taken to the
zenith of victory, did not remain on the top but were toppled
down by the tricks of Brahmins and started treating the very same
Brahmins who were responsible for their downfall, as their
sacrosanct objects of worship and started despising and hating
the Buddha. The books, with the assistance of which, the Brahmins
managed to overthrow the great revolution of the Buddha, were the
Dharmasutras. Unless the Bahujans know the realistic history of
Gotama the Buddha, they would not understand their own real
cultural heritage, concludes the OBC scholar, Dr. Salunkhe, in
advice to Bahujan masses. [p. 143, appendix]
Whose responsibility is it anyway?
Kamath, in his rather benign innocent cunning cleverness,
declares that RSS observes no caste restrictions and that neither
the VHP is an apex body nor even the Shankaracharya can exercise
power even to admit Dalits to temples. It is, therefore, futile
to expect that they have authority to correct the "corruption" in
original Shastras. This is another example of power of vagueness
of Brahmanism. When some fruits are to be enjoyed, everybody
comes forward, but when some rights of Brahmins are to be
renounced and surrendered to Bahujans, it is nobody's
responsibility. Those Bahujans who are supporting the building of
the temple should remember this.
What is the authority of Brahmanism. The first and foremost
authority is the Vedas. Second is the Smritis based on Vedas. The
third authority is the "shistachar", the behaviour of the council
of shistas, who of course must be Brahmins following the
Vedas- the ultimate authority. These book expound the "Karma
Siddhanta". [Salunkhe, p.18]
Are the scriptures outdated?
When confronted with the injunctions of the Shastras, the
protagonists of these books conveniently proclaim that these are
now out of date and need not be considered. This is not true.
When Sharad Pawar, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, had
promised to ban some books on demand of some Bahujans, Ram
Shevalkar, the President of Marathi Sahitya Sammelan held in Goa
had condemned this decision going out of the way of written
speech, on the ground of "freedom of speech". The same
intellectual is now awarded an honorary degree of D. Litt. by
Salunkhe avers that this claim of Shastras being "outdated" is
the trick to hoodwink the masses. These scriptures are not
declared "outdated" by any of those who are scriptural
authorities and custodians of these books. None from
Shankaracharyas, or mathadhipatis, or heads of different cults,
or religious heads at centers like Kashi, have ever declared as
such. None of those who claim to be leaders of Hindu religion,
doing their 'sanghatan' and working for their welfare, have ever
declared these books as such. [Salunkhe, p. 122] And now Kamath
tells us that these people have no authority even to allow temple
entry of Dalits. Then what should the masses do?
What should the Bahujans do?
If the people in authority are not going to oblige, the sufferers
have to strengthen themselves to shed away their own slavery.
Salunkhe asks the Bahujans, when somebody tells you that our
ancient Indian culture is greatest in the world, and avers that
all our traditions are holy, are we supposed to believe in this?
The interests of those who believe it as great and holy are
different from the interests of the Bahujans. Are we going to
understand this or not? He says there is no end to these
questions. Many such could be asked. He avers:
"... There is only one answer to all these questions. These
Dharmasutras are not the sutras of religion of Bahujans.
These can not be subject matter of their identity or pride.
They can not be objects of their worship. The religion of
slaves and their enemies who made them slaves can not be the
same. The scriptures, on the basis of which these people are
made slaves, it is certain that, such scriptures can not
belong to the religion of the slaves themselves. If the
Bahujans have some affinity for their own liberty, if they
are ready to declare that they are not slaves of anybody
else, then they should openly and unequivocally proclaim
that these scriptures were never ours, these are not ours
and these will never be ours. These books may be kept in
libraries to understand history of old society religion etc.
but the Bahujans must stop considering, from the bottom of
their hearts, these as holy scriptures for guidance in their
duties." [Salunkhe, p.120]
Let us Welcome Kamath
Kamath's generosity is overwhelming that he accepts the need for
change. And he believes new Hindu religion must annihilate caste.
But unfortunately, he thrusts the responsibility on very same
people, whose vested interests are involved in maintaining the
status quo. He says:
"Yes, Hinduism needs to be changed. That should be the main
aim of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the BJP. Hindutva must
get a new definition. It must signify rebellion against
casteism as practised, especially in rural areas. When will
BJP leaders wake up to the fact that Hinduism calls for
special efforts towards its regeneration?"
Dr. Ambedkar has long time back in 1936, declared in
"Annihilation of Caste", [W&S vol.1, p. 78] how Caste can be
annihilated. Anybody who likes to follow Kamath's wish, must read
Ambedkar who observed:
"... you must give a new doctrinal basis to your Religion, a
basis that will be in consonance with Liberty, Equality and
Fraternity, in short, with Democracy. ... This means a
complete change in the fundamental notions of life - it
means a complete change in the values of life. It means a
complete change in outlook and in attitude towards men and
things. It means conversion but if you do not like
the word, I will say, it means new life. But a new life
cannot enter a body that is dead. New life can center only
in a new body. The old body must die before a new body can
come into existence and a new life can enter into it. ..."
Well let Kamath and his friends know what conversion is.
- o o O o o -
Kindly give the above article place in your web-site and oblige
Thanks! With Regards Dr. K. Jamanadas