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Blog article: A tamil brahmin in Bangalore

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wolf

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this dialogue

This dialogue between all here is good to see. its good to know that issues can be discussed in polite and friendly fashion even though people might not agree with one another. This is the strength of being educated and civilized and a sign of an evolved society.

I would like to ask the permission of people here to post these dialogues on the ryanlobo blog and make them visible to all.

kind regards,

Wolf
 
Dear Shri Raghy,

Academic achievements are important. It indicates your ability for abstract thinking and your ability to adapt in general. The fact that academic people do not sound practical may be attributed to the fact that they do not consider it necessary to be that way. But with their back to the wall, they can indeed show that flexibility. But I do not say that those with out academic achievements are not smart.

To me even more than academic achievements, your moral qualities is the single best indicator of the quality of your mind. And to be moral in face of pervasive corruption you need to be one in a billion. That is like having the best of both worlds, maintaining your moral integrity and also being successful in your worldly endeavors.

Sri.Sravana Sir,

Greetings. I aree with your view regarding academic achievements. It is achieved by hard work and comitment. Such achievements do not happen due to caste. Most Tamil Brahmins are required to study, since most of them either did not have much of property or if they had cultivable land, did not have the intention to work hard in the farm. Trade and craft related employments are considered by most Tamil Brahmins as 'menial labour'. Tamil Brahmins restricted their own opportunities by outrightly rejecting many areas of labour force. When you consider all the possible employment opportunities and the related academic qualifications, you may find Tamil Brahmins may not be represented in many areas leave alone any 'over representation'.

Moral qualities are subjective. I see no moral issue in consumption of alcohol, smoking and consumption of non-vegetarian food. casual sex with consenting partner, engaging a prostitute/call girl to have an intimate company is not moral issue either. If someone says 'நித்ய கர்மாநுஷ்டானம் கிலோ என்ன விலை?', that is not moral issue either. As you can see, moral issues change from person's outlook. But, there are certain ethics and core values important for all humanity irrespective of religion/nationality/culture. I believe, such core values should be upheld.

Cheers!
 
I fully agree with the views expressed by Shri.KRS regarding reservation policy of the Government of India.No citizen of India can have any objection to the noble intention of
the Government in introducing schemes so as to benefit groups of people who have been
neglected for centuries.while the intention is to be applauded,the methods adopted seems to have certain inherent deficiencies.At the time of framing of constituition,it was thought by
the framers of the constitution that the entire upliftment could be achieved in a short span of time,but the initial assumed period of 10 years had to be extended periodically.Further
the implementation of the reservation policy with limited resources had adversely affected
others who are categorised as forward communities to a greater extent and who also require help from government for uplifting themselves.This seems to be the main reason for forward community people getting upset with the reservation policy.As Shri.Nara has said that the reservation policy has certainly benefitted the target group to some extent,
it is also an undeniable fact that the benefits has not reached all in the target group.
none knows when it will be possible to cover the entire targetted group(we have no time frame).In the meantime many of the socalled forward communities are being pushed to
a new group of people who may have to be looked after by the Government by introducing a similar reservation policy at a future date.When it was not possible for the Government even to complete the upliftment of SC/ST citizens within a time frame,the Government undertook upliftment of a larger segment of citizens grouped as BCs/OBCs.This has complicated the whole problem.
I wonder what prevented the successive Governments to have separate five year plans
for the upliftment of the targetted groups right from 1950 to enable them to uplift themselves.
 
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In the meantime many of the socalled forward communities are being pushed to
a new group of people who may have to be looked after by the Government by introducing a similar reservation policy at a future date.

Dear Shri Krishnamurthy,

The fact is that the SC/ST population as per 2001 census was around 24%. The SC/ST population has been steadily increasing since 1951 and I feel, therefore, that the 2011 census should show them at more than 25% of the Indian population. Compared to this Brahmans at 5% (all the other forward Hindu castes at around 50%) rank nowhere. We will have some political say only if we join the other forward castes when we will be 55% of the population.

Unfortunately for us Brahmans, we have historically alienated ourselves from the rest of the hindu population, because of our apex position in the caste-based society and the strength of the 3 to 9 cotton threads cross-belt (which I think has now become a chip) on our shoulders ;). Tabras have been more successful in such alienation than brahmans in the rest of the country generally, IMO, thanks more to the Moghul rule which lasted sufficiently long in most other regions, to show the Brahmans their weaknesses, including the uselessness of their mantras and yajnas against cavalry and spearmen.

Now, therefore, it is for us Brahmans to see the writing on the wall and decide whether we would prefer our exclusivity and achieve "moksha" in one go கூண்டோடு கைலாஸம் என்கிற மாதிரி, பிரம்மணர்கள் கூட்டத்தோடு கைலாஸம், because no government in future will care for a minuscule 5% in any meaningful way; the Kashmiri Pandits are living examples, or,

do we try genuinely and zealously to forge an alliance - politically as well as socially - with all the other forward castes of Hindus and find our future among them, along with them.
 

kunjuppu

Active member
i disagree with folks who say that the affirmative actions have not helped the extent to which they should.

for a good part of the past 50 years, the programs were scuttled or watered down by the forward community bureaucrats. tamil nadu since the 1960s, starting with kamaraj, started foolproofing this system. it is a reality today in tamil nadu, that no longer is it a default to see a tambram specialist. they can come from all communities.

why it has not reached so many targetted folks? it is the sheer magnitude of the problem, compounded by age old baggages of caste cruelties perpetuated now by the middle level castes. fortunately, the movement is now snowballing to faster rate of growth.

only unexpected side effect maybe that in the future we may be short of skilled trades, as every community is now looking down on any work done with the hand :( maybe then it will be an opportunity for tambrams to pick up lucrative skilled trades like designer jewellery, clothing and art:)
 
Dear Professor Nara Ji and Srimathi Happy Hindu Ji,

I hope that you read my sentences below very carefully.

1. I am for the improvement of the SC/ST (without attaching such labels), condition by the government - we owe it to them.
Dear Sir,

Am glad that a term called "Scheduled Caste" or "Scheduled Tribe" exists without any dharmashastra connotation attached to the term. Am speaking of shastras that label, characterize and represent certain population sections, as people who are good for nothing apart from serving dvijas.

So before we speak of the term called "Scheduled" caste / tribe we need to ask ourselves
1) why such terms as a 'sudra' servant / 'dasa' slave exist in the shastras?
2) are we comfortable with such terms in the present times?,
3) in what manner are such 'divine' labour-laws applicable in the present times?
4) what steps have been taken so far by the orthodoxy of the vedic religion
4.a) to assess social structures under a secular democracy
4.b) to evaluate the relevance of the shastras in the current social conditions
4.c) to redress the position (and terminology usage) of shudras in the current hindu social conditions and under a democratic rule.

The orthodoxy had a golden chance to work upon all this at the dawn of indian independence or even under a colonial government. But they did not. Instead the orthodoxy chose to "exclusify" itself. It took no steps to address the position and usage of the term 'Shudra'.

If the orthodoxy used / uses the term Shudra, then quite apparently the government has to use some term to denote a marginalized section. And, if the government listed such marginalized sections in a Schedule, and called them "Scheduled" caste/tribe, so be it. Atleast the term SC/ST has no religious connotations and does not brand or remind a margnilized section about their position in a "hindu" society.

I should beleive that with education and upward mobility, 'class' differences should vanish. But ofcourse casteists, esp the vanguards of orthodoxy, have a way of constantly reminding others about their castes. So, as long as the orthodoxy does not address ground-realities, casteism in the social sphere will remain. And as long as casteism in the social arena remains, then the government will have to continue caste-based reservations.

When i speak of the social arena, i would like to point out a simple example from the blog -- that is, on the way Suchindranath Aiyer attributed some 'human' qualities and characteristics (hard-work, integrity and diligence) as "brahmanical" characteristics. I do not understand what is the necessity to dub such qualities as "brahmanical" qualities?

You know sir, its like saying indirectly "I am born a brahmin, I have the nice quality of integrity". I suppose that's the sort of attitude that puts off most people. Because in effect, its like saying that shudras do not have the qualities of hard-work, integrity and diligence. Its like conveying that a brahmin is noble but a shudra is ignoble.

But ofcourse, when faced with 'direct' questions a typical obfuscation wud be that "caste is not by birth", yet the shastras have most cetainly designated caste by birth. So the next time i see someone saying caste is not by birth, am going to ask him/her "what makes you a brahmin then?" or "what makes you a vellalar then?".

Anyone reading this, including Shri Suchindranath Aiyer, please evaluate yourself and ask yourself what makes you a brahmin? If any of you thinks hard-work, integrity and diligence are "brahmanical", then would you accept anyone (irrespective of caste) as "brahmanical"?

2. I hate the varna/caste system for TODAY's conditions and mores. We are so unlucky as Indians, this single big blot of our religion is holding back India and the majority of our people to have the right to pursue happiness individually by expressing their god given talents in general.
Sir, i do not hate caste for TODAY's conditions, because i feel as occupation categories change, caste will eventually change. I feel those who were formely marginalized feel blessed for TODAY's conditions. We are in the 'chaos' period where the terms of social renaissance are unacceptable to some. Added to it the pace of social renaissance is slow with several blocks along the way. But eventually time, i feel, will settle things.

3. After passing a law in India against castes, at present, everyone in India should be treated equal and should have the same level field when it comes to pursuing higher studies or jobs, as citizens of a free nation.
The idea of a 'free' nation, cannot arise, if from the religious pov some sections continue to be marginalised. I feel one cannot expect 'equal treatment' from the government unless a religion starts treating everyone as equal socially. If we were a 'free' nation truly, then all indivuals would have the same birth right to study anything (including the vedas), and to pursue any occupation as one chooses.

4. This means those who are disadvantaged (culturally limited) to not to be able to partake in the modern age with it's requirements for thinking and education that has been practiced by the so called forward communities.
No one sets cultural limitations themselves, because i beleive the mind by nature is designed to explore. Quite apparently 'limitations' were imposed upon marginalised sections for centuries. Getting out of such 'limitations' will take time. Sometimes i do not understand on what basis can the past-beneficieries crib about benefits given to the marginalised ones now (in case they are doing so).

5. While we are helping such 'backward' communities to acquire these formulas for success, we can not forget that today all nations compete for limited resources and that means the absolute requirement for meritocracy (right man for the right job)
I suppose once the playing field has been levelled, we will eventually get to meritocracy. But there are some systems in the country that have always run on meritocracy i suppose, such as post-graduate admissions for medical specialities.

6. Unfortunately the Quota system for higher education and jobs has not over it's 60 years of history either transformed these communities' cultural condition or has it provided a meritocracy - in effect it is keeping out of the workforce a broad array of talents/aptitudes/drive to match with the job requirements, while not helping the disadvantaged communities, as research has shown (how come the govt. keeps on expanding the quota while saying that it has not really helped the disadvantaged?). It escapes me why such a massive program that was started albeit with real emotion to help with all the money spent can not show any significant statistical improvements in those communities?
Sir i disagree with this. The SC/ST section constitutes around 30% of the population i think (please correct me if am wrong in this). The forward castes constitute around 10% or so. The vast bulk majority are the BCs. I certinaly feel the BCs have prospered well due to reservations. So much that they do not need reservations anymore.

What's more, today even dalits are able to qualify on merit to professional colleges. A servent-maid's son who used to live in a hut across my house is now a teaching faculty. Such transformations amaze me.

Ofcourse reservation benefits continue to be cornered by the richer ones amongst every group. Hence recovery is slow. But recovery is happening. And happening very well. So perhaps we just have to contend with the situation. The sense of caste and hierarchy is far too deep-rooted in the indian social ethos to expect dynamic changes all across the hierachical gradient suddenly.

7. The quota system has become a symbol with an emotional division between ideologies -if you support it, you are looking for the disadvantaged folks interest and if you are not, you are a casteist, especially if you happen to be born in to a Brahmin family. I totally reject these conclusions.
Me too reject such conclusions.

8. Yes, this system is EVIL, mainly because of two things: 1) Has not helped those communities in any measurable way, while pretending to help 2) It certainly has limited the options to the sons of daughters of the same country, whose only crime is that they are born in to the so called forward castes. These two reasons are egregious enough, think about the opportunity costs lost for a poor nation to optimally use all her resources!
Sir i feel reservations have benefitted the unprivileged in many more ways that i cud have dreamt of.

As far as the designation of "forward caste" or "backward caste" goes, i feel such designations should be wiped out and all children irrespective of their "former-caste" should be given the option to study anything they wish. Am all for a uniform law code applicable to all indians.

9. As I have posted many, many times here in this Forum, why can not the government spend the money in helping these disadvantaged communities with one on one training in cultural transformation early in the lives of these children, to value education, teach values that will make them successful in the modern world? Any logical thinking person would agree with this and then make them compete starting from college. By the way, this personal coaching works as evidenced by a few coaching programs for IITs for these communities.
Would cultural transformation also include betterment of social image from the religious pov?? If not, then of what use would some training or mentorship programme be, if a child grows to be an achiever, and yet suffers social prejudice because of caste?

I remember having read in the WEEK magazine about rich dalits who change their surname to avoid prejudice. But i suppose now the dalits have had enough of running away from their surnames and old-identities. They want to assert themselves "along with" their caste. So they even have a 'Dalit Chamber of Commerce'. I feel their progress is a fitting reply to all those who brand them as "incapable" people.

!0. Why then the govt., which initially said that this will be a short term program, now expanding it, even though it is not successful? I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I think that folks who framed this system and those who are implementing it are all elitist members of the forward castes, who want to take the easy road. But the discrimination in the meanwhile against these backward castes continue at every level. 'Oh, these guys can not keep up with studies'. 'Oh, he got the job and promotion, just because he is a backward caste'. Don't you think these take away from the dignity of these folks? What is worse in life (we already know this, because we were doing it to them all along) than people knowing that even though they have admissions to good colleges/universities, even though they got their jobs, even though they are promoted, it is only because of their caste? We have substituted the curse of casteism practiced over centuries with the same curse in modern , free India, while managing to lose at the same time any meritocracy and egalitarianism needed for the modern world!

11. I read only last week, in an article posted by Sri Kunjuppu Ji on MK's life, how some Vellalars are blocking dalits from entering a temple and how they do not want a bus stand to stand alongside them! Seems like the Vellalars also need education. This is happening today! No quota system will change these ideas. We are then doomed to be affected by casteism forever as a nation. It breaks my heart to see this.
Practicing untouchability, adopting vegetarianism and imitating the practices and ways of brahmins are all part of the "sanskritisation" process. Its the "caste-demon" at work. I would blame the shastras for such attitudes. But i suppose it will take time for such casteist attitudes to drop off...esp since people have better things to pursue in the current rapidly changing world that is getting more and more industrialized and modernised.

12. Unless, we as a nation properly think through this and select proper ways to benefit the SC/ST communities, while removing the age old casteism, it won't matter. No one thinks that the system is working for them, especially the SC/ST. While they may have a high job, like the blacks in the American society, they go through indignities everyday and other communities feeling that they are also persecuted with real restrictions from the government, I really think that a gulf is widening between these communities. This is then exactly what makes for violence over the long term.
Sir, methinks the dalits feel reservations have benefitted them. I have not met a single dalit in person or on any online forum who thinks reservations did not benefit their lot. Are there statistics to prove dalits have not benefitted from reservations, or those who feel reservations have not helped them? Based on my interaction, on a personal note, i can say that some of them are resentful that despite their upward mobility they are still bracketed by the 'hindu' society based on caste. So their angst is with the caste-system of the 'hindu dharma', not with the reservation-system.

Am adding a few links on actual success stories of dalits who have benefitted from the reservations-system:
1) http://business.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?102075
2) This one is the best -- http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?266665
3) http://articles.timesofindia.indiat...86460_1_dalit-entrepreneurs-caste-national-sc

Regards.
 
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I think the commonality between jews and brahmins is superficial and not real. Whereas one has a tradition of affinity towards material affluence, the other is traditionally associated with eschewing that. This difference I think is fundamental and is reflected in many of the other aspects though I should concede that reality unfortunately seems to be changing now. It is true that both jews and brahmins are considered intelligent but the former is suited for scientific pursuits and the latter for spiritual pursuits. But the more adaptive intelligence of brahmins have allowed them to excel in scientific pursuits too. The hatred towards each of them is also for a different reason.
Jews were majorly into trades and businesses. And hence they were prosperous but they were not considered intelligent in the past. Their image was that of shrewd and miserly businessmen. Quite apparently their social image has changed over time.

Some may remember the story of "Merchent of Venice" from their school days where Shylock a Jew was a miserly money-lender.

Btw, is intelligence a brahmanical characteristic? I do not understand what you mean by adaptive intelligence in brahmins. Please could you elaborate.
 
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i disagree with folks who say that the affirmative actions have not helped the extent to which they should.

.....What's more, today even dalits are able to qualify on merit to professional colleges. A servent-maid's son who used to live in a hut across my house is now a teaching faculty. Such transformations amaze me.

K and HH, needless to say I agree with your presentations in general -- though I may mildly disagree with HH on BC. Study after study shows the progress made by the long oppressed, at every level, starting from primary school, to higher secondary, to college, and even to adult education. The GOI must be commended for the comprehensive approach.

Of course, like every other policy proposal of GOI, the education policy also has its share of shoddy and corrupt execution. But, what is amazing is, in spite of this sorry fact of corrupt implementation, the Dalits/BC have made great strides under this policy, and that is undeniable. We can observe this in our day-to-day interactions with the government and private sector. Today, in Tamil Nadu at least, in all walks of life you encounter a vibrant, confident, can-do population from of all castes. To not give credit where it is due for this, namely, the educational policy pursued by the GOI and Tamil Nadu government, is, to put it mildly, unfair.

I hate to repeat myself so soon, but let me state again, statistics, if not properly understood, can be the highest level of lie. Recently, we discussed an article about persisting educational inequality. In this article, the authors argued that the gap between oppressed and forward castes continue to persist. On the surface, if not careful, one could conclude that the education policy is a failure, the gap continues. But that is the complete opposite of what the authors were saying. The main thesis of the authors was not that the reservation policy was a failure, but that more needs to be done.

Let me give another example of this malady of jumping to opposite conclusion. The GOI National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, in their report for 1993 states that the literacy rate gap between SC/ST and non-SC/ST grew from 17.64% in 1961 to 20.28 in 1991. On the surface, this seems appalling, no logical person will object to saying that the GOI education policy is an utter failure.

However, if we delve deeper, we see that the literacy rate went up from 10.27% in 1961 to 37.41% in 1991 for SC, a 264% jump, compared to 27.91% in 1961 to 57.69% in 1991, a measly 106% rise for non SC/ST category.

Therefore, what we can say is, more needs to be done, not what has been achieved is paltry, it definitely is not.

There are many a study, plethora of reports, about the state of progress at all levels, how much is achieved and how far we are yet to go. All this is good and must be appreciated. But, IMO, the most significant achievement that the Tamil people have seen is the unshackling of the oppressed, the self-confidence threshold they have reached. This genie is not going back into the bottle. They feel it in their deepest psyche, they are just as good as anyone else. For this self-assurance/self-confidence, I think we owe a big thanks to the self-respect movement of EVR.

Cheers!
 
I had written, in a pm to one of our members that it is hight time that our religious mutts start a programme to admit children/youth from all castes among Hindus. (I now add that this should preferably be without the investiture of sacred thread at the time of admission.) On the students passing out whatever tests are felt necessary and, if they opt to become Hindu priests, they can be given the poonal and requested to follow the life style of a brahman AFA is possible under the current circumstances.

This sort of bold and revolutionary reform will IMO make the jealously (zealously?) guarded veda recital business, become a common property of all Hindus from being the monopoly of brahmans by birth only.

Will this be initiated by any mutt?
 

KRS

Active member
Dear Professor Nara Ji,

Firstly, my capitalization of EVIL, is not about it's magnitude. It is about it's certitude.

In my opinion, whenever some 'social engineering' program does not achieve it's stated goal and injures a whole segment of citizens, yes it is evil.

You perhaps did not read carefully what I said about Pol Pot. I did not equate his murderous tendencies to the conditions produced by the quota system. I only said that his extreme ideology is only a step away from the implications of the quota system.

By the way, I have never argued that the quota system did not benefit the disadvantaged. My argument has always been about the cost/benefit of that system and the amount of benefit it brought to the untouchables. Nothing more, nothing less.

Regards,
KRS

Dear Shri KRS, our respective positions on this issue are well known. I wish not to get into a long drawn back and forth on it. My only objection is to your characterization that the system is EVIL -- all caps noted.

First, let us assume, for the sake of argument, what you have stated above is true -- i.e. it has not helped, but restricted options of others. If this is so, it not good, yes, but is it really EVIL? If this is evil, then what will Pol Pot be, big evil? I feel simply throwing big words around is not a good idea, it conflates what is simply not good with what is really very bad.

Secondly, your claim that it has not helped Dalits and poor BCs is factually wrong. These communities have benefited enormously. More needs to be done, but to say it has not helped in a measurable way is simply not true.

Cheers!
 
First doubt… whether the Brahmins were good at bookish study? Pursuing various threads on this forum, I find that except parroting and re-gurgating the Vedas (without knowing the meanings of course) they didn’t specialize in bookish study either.

Shri Narayan,

"Bookish study", in so far as I understand it in the context of our scriptures, means what you say only—parroting and regurgitating; otherwise why do you think śuka (parrot in sanskrit) - with the face of parrot to boot - was held up as the supreme example of a seer ;)

And you will find from this thread that the orthodox view is that the scriptures have to be interpreted in the prescribed manner only. It is like saying "A brinjal is stone" and then giving the permissible explanation that, "brinjal here is bread; is stands for comes from; stone means wheat". That way, only the really bookish study has got ingrained into the brahman's blood, so to say. Forget about "parallel thinking, there is no scope for thinking at all; it is only memorizing and re-gurgitating copies (otherwise it will be empty after one regurgitation and the poor brahman will have to spend another 12 or 48 years to learn the whole thing all over again. ;)) Our ancients have indicated this also obliquely when they said that Yajnavalkya vomited whatever he learned from his guru Vaishampayana; the guru then made his other disciples, who were moegoes in comparison with Yajnavalkya according to him, to take the form of partridges (tittiri birds) and swallow the vomit. That was how we got Krishna Yajurveda.

Second doubt….. How did they get good at it (the bookish specialization) over centuries? Does it mean certain qualities are inherent in Brahmins/TBs or does it mean methodologies were invented and adopted, in which case the innovations are certainly beyond bookish knowledge.
You do a job for some years and develop a bit of familiarity with it, your sons pick up from you at that slightly higher level and when generations pass, the expertise becomes somewhat common among all the descendants from you, provided they all did the same job. This is true of all work, (including the trades) granting exceptions because even the children of the same parents may show different levels of intelligence, beauty, and every other trait.

Of course some methodologies were invented by some people at some point of time. But again, this was aimed only at correct transmission of the spoken vedas, no more; little, if any, attention was paid to the transmission of the correct meaning or intention and that is why "vedic" is very diificult language today, though it closely resembles modern sanskrit.

Interesting story. But let me give another fable as a re-joinder.

A hatha-yogi who could walk on water had enrolled as a sishya under a vedantin to obtain brahma jnaanam in Varanasi. They had to cross the Ganga and had engaged a boat to cross the river. The river was unduly turbulent that day. While the oarsman/boatman was waiting for the passengers to board the boat, the hatha-yogi stated (rather boasted) that he can walk on water. The vedantin questioned him as to how many years it had taken the hatha-yogi to master that art and got the reply that it was 12 years. The vedantin laughed and replied that he (hatha yogi) had wasted 12 years in a useless pursuit which could be achieved by paying 2 annas to the boatman and that the 12 years could have been more productively utilized to obtain brahma-jnana. The boatman smirked at both of them thinking both were fools not to realize the importance of swimming when they needed to cross the river in current . Well, as the story goes, the boat capsized midway, the vedantin perished (inspite of brahma jnaanam), the boatman perished despite knowing swimming as the current in river was too strong to swim against it and the hatha-yogi just walked on the water and was safe in a short time on the shore.

The point is: all stories give only aspect of life, but unfortunately, life is multi-faceted. The trick is to be at the right place at the right time where the knowledge stands in good stead.
This story seems to me to be contrived because there is no authenticated event of any hathayogi, let alone humans, being able to "walk over water"; it will be against universal law and it is not possible that anyone is able to negate such laws. Shri Nara's story was, on the contrary, very natural and therefore convincing.

Now, I can spin as follows:

A hatha yogi (HY) who could walk on water and a Siddhar who looked like a beggar - in tattered clothes and all - were in the boat. The HY engaged the Siddhar in conversation and asked him what he had been doing. The siddhar replied that he was meditating. HY laughed and said that the Siddhar had wasted his life. Flood came, boatman sank, when hatha yogi was trying to walk over the waters, a crocodile caught hold of him and ate. The siddhar simply levitated high above and escaped.

Does this not sound good enough?

The trick is not "to be at the right place at the right time where the knowledge stands in good stead" but venture only in those areas where your knowledge will be relevant and sufficient. If you try anything beyond, it will be ultra vires, IMO.
 
The main thesis of the authors was not that the reservation policy was a failure, but that more needs to be done.

Dear Shri Nara,

Even in any military campaign there are many imponderables which make it a total failure many times, even though it is a well-trained, disciplined, and much rehearsed action. In a poor country like India with one crore new mouths being added each year and thousands of other problems - due to internal and external causes - also have to be tackled by the government. Natural calamities are yet another aspect which affects the underprivileged groups more.

We have seen how our own average tabra families of the last century with ten or more children were swayed by the force of unforeseen circumstances into a host of difficulties and some were never able to come up as well as others with fewer kids and a little more resources. In a similar way, it is unrealistic to expect wondrous results from any governmental programme, in any country, much more in poorer and more populous ones. We have to be compassionate to these democratic governments at least, though, as Brahmans, we failed to show even a little bit of that compassion to the dalits, SCs and STs, at a time when it would have yielded thousand times more beneficial results.
 

KRS

Active member
Dear Professor Nara Ji,
You said:
I hate to repeat myself so soon, but let me state again, statistics, if not properly understood, can be the highest level of lie. Recently, we discussed an article about persisting educational inequality. In this article, the authors argued that the ap between oppressed and forward castes continue to persist. On the surface, if not careful, one could conclude that the education policy is a failure, the gap continues. But that is the complete opposite of what the authors were saying. The main thesis of the authors was not that the reservation policy was a failure, but that more needs to be done.

Sorry Professor, nothing of this sort. I wonder whether you have read this study at all.

The authors set out to prove that the quota system in college for SC/ST population had a direct correlation to the success/improvement in the condition of these communities, vis a vis other forward communities. To their surprise, they could not find that correlation.

Their conclusion that more should be done, has no basis with their scientific findings, rather it is an emotional conclusion.

In fact, their findings correspond to what I have been arguing for, that we need to help these kids at an younger age, not wait till they enter higher education.

Regards,
KRS
 
Namaste Sri Sangom,

I had raised the following questions (pertaining to Sankara Mutts) in other forum and received no response whatsoever. On persistence, I got a few non-complementary answers:

Are TBs/Brahmins/Advaitins, by default members of Sankara Mutts? What are their duties and obligations? What are the functions of Sankara Mutts? Do the mutts have some charter of functions or the function is at the discretion (or whim and fancy) of the Sankaracharya? How do they exactly propogate the santana Dharma? Can they or would they translate vedas and publish the translations to counter the (so called spurious and mischeavous) translations circulating around the world? Why are they doing chandi homa, ganapati homa etc.which are tantrik and not some yagnas etc. mentioned in the vedas? Why do they chant ashtottara shata namavallies of Adi Sankara, the previous pontiff of the respective mutt etc.? What is the shastra pramana for this? Why are they insisting upon sandhaya vandanam only? Does it mean my/our action in giving up agni-hotra/aupasanam etc. are ok? If it is ok, can they say so openly and relieve me/us from the guilt-feeling of not complying with shastra? Why are these mutts funded by NRI, who have basically violated the shastras by travelling overseas? Why are the mutts teaching only vedanta? Are vedas less intellectual and are to be swept under the carpet at a later time? If smritis are bound by kaala and desha, why do they not issue suitable edicts and modify the acharas? What about the new or neo-mutts or ashrams like Saibaba or Maharishi Mahesh Yogi etc.? Are they too collaborators or sanatana Dharma?

I did not get any reply and got reprimanded for my impudence. So any inputs you may provide will be much appreciated by me.

Regards,

narayan
 

KRS

Active member
Dear Srimathi HH Ji,

My response below in 'blue':
Dear Sir,

Am glad that a term called "Scheduled Caste" or "Scheduled Tribe" exists without any dharmashastra connotation attached to the term. Am speaking of shastras that label, characterize and represent certain population sections, as people who are good for nothing apart from serving dvijas.
Okay, it is fine if it works for you. It does not for me, because, again, these folks are labeled.

So before we speak of the term called "Scheduled" caste / tribe we need to ask ourselves
1) why such terms as a 'sudra' servant / 'dasa' slave exist in the shastras?
2) are we comfortable with such terms in the present times?,
3) in what manner are such 'divine' labour-laws applicable in the present times?
4) what steps have been taken so far by the orthodoxy of the vedic religion
4.a) to assess social structures under a secular democracy
4.b) to evaluate the relevance of the shastras in the current social conditions
4.c) to redress the position (and terminology usage) of shudras in the current hindu social conditions and under a democratic rule.
Dear sister, what is past is past. In terms of the social relevance, the old caste system died on the day a law was passed outlawing it. I am only talking about today.

The orthodoxy had a golden chance to work upon all this at the dawn of indian independence or even under a colonial government. But they did not. Instead the orthodoxy chose to "exclusify" itself. It took no steps to address the position and usage of the term 'Shudra'.
I have no concern about the so called 'orthodoxy'. Their relevance is less and less with each passing day.

If the orthodoxy used / uses the term Shudra, then quite apparently the government has to use some term to denote a marginalized section. And, if the government listed such marginalized sections in a Schedule, and called them "Scheduled" caste/tribe, so be it. Atleast the term SC/ST has no religious connotations and does not brand or remind a margnilized section about their position in a "hindu" society.
Again, to me this does not make sense. I thought the government has outlawed catstes and they have every power to enforce it. So, why should they continue a terminology just because some in the society can not give up the past?

I should beleive that with education and upward mobility, 'class' differences should vanish. But ofcourse casteists, esp the vanguards of orthodoxy, have a way of constantly reminding others about their castes. So, as long as the orthodoxy does not address ground-realities, casteism in the social sphere will remain. And as long as casteism in the social arena remains, then the government will have to continue caste-based reservations.
No sister - on the contrary, the government has every duty to squash casteism, because its is against the law. The problem is the government itself is casteist in general and looks like otherwise only when it comes to garnering votes.

When i speak of the social arena, i would like to point out a simple example from the blog -- that is, on the way Suchindranath Aiyer attributed some 'human' qualities and characteristics (hard-work, integrity and diligence) as "brahmanical" characteristics. I do not understand what is the necessity to dub such qualities as "brahmanical" qualities?
I don't know about his motives. To me, based on our culture and history, 'brahmin' means all the good qualities in a human being that represent the highest ideals. Swami Vivekananda expressed this idea quite well. To me it has nothing to do with one's birth in to a caste. It is everything to do with one's character and ideals as a human being. 'Brahmin' is not a bad word for me. This is why, I once called you a Brahmin and I still consider you as one. What is wrong with that?

You know sir, its like saying indirectly "I am born a brahmin, I have the nice quality of integrity". I suppose that's the sort of attitude that puts off most people. Because in effect, its like saying that shudras do not have the qualities of hard-work, integrity and diligence. Its like conveying that a brahmin is noble but a shudra is ignoble.
I do not think of this like that at all. Nobility by birth does not enter here. As you know, I totally rject birth based caste system. I only adhere to the varnas for reference - nothing more.

But ofcourse, when faced with 'direct' questions a typical obfuscation wud be that "caste is not by birth", yet the shastras have most cetainly designated caste by birth. So the next time i see someone saying caste is not by birth, am going to ask him/her "what makes you a brahmin then?" or "what makes you a vellalar then?".
I am against casteism, so I don't know how to answer this. I was born in to a 'Brahmin' family. I identify myself with the culture of my family. Other than that, to me the notion that I am any better than anyone in this world as a human being does not even arise.

Anyone reading this, including Shri Suchindranath Aiyer, please evaluate yourself and ask yourself what makes you a brahmin? If any of you thinks hard-work, integrity and diligence are "brahmanical", then would you accept anyone (irrespective of caste) as "brahmanical"?
Yes, I certainly would.

Sir, i do not hate caste for TODAY's conditions, because i feel as occupation categories change, caste will eventually change. I feel those who were formely marginalized feel blessed for TODAY's conditions. We are in the 'chaos' period where the terms of social renaissance are unacceptable to some. Added to it the pace of social renaissance is slow with several blocks along the way. But eventually time, i feel, will settle things.
I only said 'Today's conditions', in terms of the rapid changes happening in today's society vis-a-vis our past

The idea of a 'free' nation, cannot arise, if from the religious pov some sections continue to be marginalised. I feel one cannot expect 'equal treatment' from the government unless a religion starts treating everyone as equal socially. If we were a 'free' nation truly, then all indivuals would have the same birth right to study anything (including the vedas), and to pursue any occupation as one chooses.
Sorry sister, I beg to disagree. The reason India formed a secular government was to have an Indian society, not a Hindu society, or a Muslim society, etc. Religion, by the definition of a secular government, should not dictate it's functioning. Matham can say whatever they want - but if the government passes a law where none is prohibited from learning Vedas, guess what? - thatwill be the new Dharma shastra.

No one sets cultural limitations themselves, because i beleive the mind by nature is designed to explore. Quite apparently 'limitations' were imposed upon marginalised sections for centuries. Getting out of such 'limitations' will take time. Sometimes i do not understand on what basis can the past-beneficieries crib about benefits given to the marginalised ones now (in case they are doing so).
I am sorry - but because these communities were marginalized from partaking in the society, they have no concept of value of education, let alone the higher aspects of life, like literature and arts. This is the limitation set on them by others and they need to be freed from that.

I suppose once the playing field has been levelled, we will eventually get to meritocracy. But there are some systems in the country that have always run on meritocracy i suppose, such as post-graduate admissions for medical specialities.
Meritocracy can not function with only a few segments of the society partaking. True meritocracy means to have EVERYONE in the society being given the opportunity and preparation to compete equally on a level field.By not giving both to our disadvantaged brethren, we are cheating the nation and ourselves in getting the best.

Sir i disagree with this. The SC/ST section constitutes around 30% of the population i think (please correct me if am wrong in this). The forward castes constitute around 10% or so. The vast bulk majority are the BCs. I certinaly feel the BCs have prospered well due to reservations. So much that they do not need reservations anymore.
I am concerned only with SC/ST progress. Please read the research article that Professor Nara Ji posted above (which I originally posted) to understand the effect of the quota system in their lives.

Dr, Sowell is an acclaimed social thinker in the U.S. He has looked at the successes of affirmative actions around the globe (in India, it is actually called 'positive discrimination') and I am giving you two references - one an overview and two his book excerpt. Please read the latter carefully:
Affirmative Action around the World | Hoover Institution
Affirmative Action Around the World ... - Google Books

Please also read this, especially Sam Pitroda's comments:
Evaluating Tamil Nadu's 69% quota - Rediff.com India News


What's more, today even dalits are able to qualify on merit to professional colleges. A servent-maid's son who used to live in a hut across my house is now a teaching faculty. Such transformations amaze me.
My argument is not that the quota system has not delivered ANY benefits to the targeted community - but rather that it's effect is minimal anf has not delivered the benefits commensurate with it's cost. I think other members here are portraying as though I have said that it did not deliver ANY benefits.

Ofcourse reservation benefits continue to be cornered by the richer ones amongst every group. Hence recovery is slow. But recovery is happening. And happening very well. So perhaps we just have to contend with the situation. The sense of caste and hierarchy is far too deep-rooted in the indian social ethos to expect dynamic changes all across the hierachical gradient suddenly.
But, this is my point. Why should we put up with a system that is delivering so slow, when we know that we can do other things to change this?

Me too reject such conclusions.

Sir i feel reservations have benefitted the unprivileged in many more ways that i cud have dreamt of.

As far as the designation of "forward caste" or "backward caste" goes, i feel such designations should be wiped out and all children irrespective of their "former-caste" should be given the option to study anything they wish. Am all for a uniform law code applicable to all indians
This is exactly I am asking from our secular government..

Would cultural transformation also include betterment of social image from the religious pov?? If not, then of what use would some training or mentorship programme be, if a child grows to be an achiever, and yet suffers social prejudice because of caste?
Because with proper coaching, that child will overcome such prejudices, like Sri Ambedkar. It will relegate those prejudiced against accomplished persons as the 'red necks' of India.

I remember having read in the WEEK magazine about rich dalits who change their surname to avoid prejudice. But i suppose now the dalits have had enough of running away from their surnames and old-identities. They want to assert themselves "along with" their caste. So they even have a 'Dalit Chamber of Commerce'. I feel their progress is a fitting reply to all those who brand them as "incapable" people.
Yes, but we need to accelerate this - by the way as a part of our society, not as estranged from it.

Practicing untouchability, adopting vegetarianism and imitating the practices and ways of brahmins are all part of the "sanskritisation" process. Its the "caste-demon" at work. I would blame the shastras for such attitudes. But i suppose it will take time for such casteist attitudes to drop off...esp since people have better things to pursue in the current rapidly changing world that is getting more and more industrialized and modernised.
Yes. But more importantly we need to really educate

Sir, methinks the dalits feel reservations have benefitted them. I have not met a single dalit in person or on any online forum who thinks reservations did not benefit their lot. Are there statistics to prove dalits have not benefitted from reservations, or those who feel reservations have not helped them? Based on my interaction, on a personal note, i can say that some of them are resentful that despite their upward mobility they are still bracketed by the 'hindu' society based on caste. So their angst is with the caste-system of the 'hindu dharma', not with the reservation-system.
I have come across a couple of articles (one by an IIT professor), who are dalits, who do not like the quota system. I will search for them and post.

Am adding a few links on actual success stories of dalits who have benefitted from the reservations-system:
1) business.outlookindia.com | Bite The Caste Bullet
2) This one is the best -- www.outlookindia.com | Manu Who?
3) Caste no bar - Times Of India

Regards.

Thanks.

Regards,
KRS
 
Okay, it is fine if it works for you. It does not for me, because, again, these folks are labeled.
True sir they are labels. Hopefully a day will come in future when we are truly egalitarian and such labels are put into disuse..

Dear sister, what is past is past. In terms of the social relevance, the old caste system died on the day a law was passed outlawing it. I am only talking about today.
Sir unfortunately there are too many loopholes in our current laws. So casteism / social ostracization continues to thrive.

I have no concern about the so called 'orthodoxy'. Their relevance is less and less with each passing day.
Sir I feel religion itself may become irrelevant with growing modernity. And we will end up ruing about what a positive and good role the orthodoxy could have played in the past.

But i feel even today the orthodoxy can make a difference. Perhaps am dreaming i dunno. But i feel its a good thing to have a revival of sorts. Perhaps a socio-cultural renaissance of sorts. Hopefully someday in future.

Am imagining a future situation where philosophers meet and develop their philosophies and take them to the next (better) level, instead of only resting on past laurels. Am imagining a situation of healthy debate. A period of literary growth which has positive influence in people's lives. A situation where a vibrant society evaluates traditions and accepts meaningful ones to guide them in their life.

We see so many people going to godmen. People by nature do tend to seek 'something' more than just material fulfillment. So i feel religion still does and will continue to play a role in everyone's lives at some point or the other.

I dunno if am being partial. But i feel that the Vaishnava philosophy is best suited to bring about equanimity and peace of mind in this chaotic world of inequalities. Perumal, Krishna (to me) are native (old aryan) Gods; and i feel the concept of an all-prevasive Narayana is an ancient one. The Vaishnava philosophy does not demean anyone based on caste. It sees every human as capable of attaining God. So this faith is by nature designed to deliver what the current society wants.

Again, to me this does not make sense. I thought the government has outlawed catstes and they have every power to enforce it. So, why should they continue a terminology just because some in the society can not give up the past?

No sister - on the contrary, the government has every duty to squash casteism, because its is against the law. The problem is the government itself is casteist in general and looks like otherwise only when it comes to garnering votes.
I do agree the government is not doing as much as it should to remove casteism. All politicians tend to be crooks. Truly everyone everywhere is angry with the criminal state the country is in today. Even a hundred anniyans cannot cleanse the dirt today. Which is why i feel that religion can play a positive role -- if we choose it to be positive...the change has to start with the people themselves at an individual level.

I don't know about his motives. To me, based on our culture and history, 'brahmin' means all the good qualities in a human being that represent the highest ideals. Swami Vivekananda expressed this idea quite well. To me it has nothing to do with one's birth in to a caste. It is everything to do with one's character and ideals as a human being. 'Brahmin' is not a bad word for me. This is why, I once called you a Brahmin and I still consider you as one. What is wrong with that?

I do not think of this like that at all. Nobility by birth does not enter here. As you know, I totally rject birth based caste system. I only adhere to the varnas for reference - nothing more.

I am against casteism, so I don't know how to answer this. I was born in to a 'Brahmin' family. I identify myself with the culture of my family. Other than that, to me the notion that I am any better than anyone in this world as a human being does not even arise.
Unfortunately sir, our shastras say that caste is by birth and reserves all positive qualities (gunas) to describe a brahmin. The poor shudra has no such luck. So to a layman concocting 'integrity, hard-work and diligence' as "brahmanical" characteristics may seem like indirectly conveying "i am a brahmin and therefore i have such noble qualities" or that "only we brahmins have such qualities". Where does that leave the poor folks who are good-hearted and yet designated shudras?

Anyone reading this, including Shri Suchindranath Aiyer, please evaluate yourself and ask yourself what makes you a brahmin? If any of you thinks hard-work, integrity and diligence are "brahmanical", then would you accept anyone (irrespective of caste) as "brahmanical"?
Yes, I certainly would.
:hug:you know sir, this is why i love you. Thanks.

Sorry sister, I beg to disagree. The reason India formed a secular government was to have an Indian society, not a Hindu society, or a Muslim society, etc. Religion, by the definition of a secular government, should not dictate it's functioning. Matham can say whatever they want - but if the government passes a law where none is prohibited from learning Vedas, guess what? - thatwill be the new Dharma shastra.
Sir i feel the government will never pass any such law. Because politicans want caste votes. And also because any change to a cultural set-up will never be received without controversy. It may lead to even more chaotic situations.

Instead of waiting of the government to pass any such law, i feel it wud be best if orthodoxy addresses the situation of social-ostracism and relevance of caste in today's world. If they do not, then it is better that people themselves (irrespective of caste) openly reject the offending portions of shastras and work to create an egalitarian society, though this may not have a big bang or large-scale impact as compared to steps taken by the orthodoxy.

I am sorry - but because these communities were marginalized from partaking in the society, they have no concept of value of education, let alone the higher aspects of life, like literature and arts. This is the limitation set on them by others and they need to be freed from that.
I agree.

Meritocracy can not function with only a few segments of the society partaking. True meritocracy means to have EVERYONE in the society being given the opportunity and preparation to compete equally on a level field.By not giving both to our disadvantaged brethren, we are cheating the nation and ourselves in getting the best.
I feel this situation can best be addressed if there is a socio-cultural revolution, which influences / changes the mindsets of people, and forces the government to usher in total meritocracy.

I am concerned only with SC/ST progress. Please read the research article that Professor Nara Ji posted above (which I originally posted) to understand the effect of the quota system in their lives.

Dr, Sowell is an acclaimed social thinker in the U.S. He has looked at the successes of affirmative actions around the globe (in India, it is actually called 'positive discrimination') and I am giving you two references - one an overview and two his book excerpt. Please read the latter carefully:
Affirmative Action around the World | Hoover Institution
Affirmative Action Around the World ... - Google Books

Please also read this, especially Sam Pitroda's comments:
Evaluating Tamil Nadu's 69% quota - Rediff.com India News


My argument is not that the quota system has not delivered ANY benefits to the targeted community - but rather that it's effect is minimal anf has not delivered the benefits commensurate with it's cost. I think other members here are portraying as though I have said that it did not deliver ANY benefits.
Sir, am aware there are dalits themselves who do not seek reservations today. However, i feel they got to this position of being able to compete openly, because their parents could get themselves an education / literacy thanks to reservations. Someday dalits themselves may ask for the reservation system to be scrapped.

As for effects of reservations, there are so many reports. Some say dalits benefitted some say they did not benefit from reservations. But i wud rather look at the success stories. This newspaper article says reservations resulted in 65% literacy rate amongst dalits in maharashtra.

Please have a look at the picture on this page -- every single person standing on that stage is a dalit. They have come up and are now helping other underprivileged people to prosper.

Ofcourse reservation benefits continue to be cornered by the richer ones amongst every group. Hence recovery is slow. But recovery is happening. And happening very well. So perhaps we just have to contend with the situation. The sense of caste and hierarchy is far too deep-rooted in the indian social ethos to expect dynamic changes all across the hierachical gradient suddenly.
But, this is my point. Why should we put up with a system that is delivering so slow, when we know that we can do other things to change this?
Sir i feel the system is delivering. It is slow because it is not as fast as we expect it to be. What could be the other things that can bring about positive benefits to dalits?

As far as the designation of "forward caste" or "backward caste" goes, i feel such designations should be wiped out and all children irrespective of their "former-caste" should be given the option to study anything they wish. Am all for a uniform law code applicable to all indians
This is exactly I am asking from our secular government..
Sir we think alike, I too like to see a uniform law code. However, until that happens, am ok with reservations for SCs/STs.

Would cultural transformation also include betterment of social image from the religious pov?? If not, then of what use would some training or mentorship programme be, if a child grows to be an achiever, and yet suffers social prejudice because of caste?
Because with proper coaching, that child will overcome such prejudices, like Sri Ambedkar. It will relegate those prejudiced against accomplished persons as the 'red necks' of India.
But sir, everyone cannot be an Ambedkar. And i do not think Ambedkar's views were acceptable to the majority. He battled prejudice all thru his life.

We are speaking of a religion practised by 80% population of a country. And this religion includes the practice of casteism / social-ostracism (which ironically was a matter of pride to its practitioners in the past).

The dalits have prospered despite all sorts of prejudices against them. Now they want to assert their new-found standing "along with" their caste -- just to show to the rest of their brethern that they too can come up similarly if they have the determination. But anyways, it remain true that prejudices against them still exist and esp abound in rural areas.

No amount of coaching will help a child overcome prejudices if he has to face it all the time. A child cannot bear prejudices beyond a certain point. I believe it shd be the other way around. Its our own religion and our own fellow indians who have to give up their prejudices.

Yes, but we need to accelerate this - by the way as a part of our society, not as estranged from it.

Yes. But more importantly we need to really educate

I have come across a couple of articles (one by an IIT professor), who are dalits, who do not like the quota system. I will search for them and post.
True sir, this is another viewpoint. But i feel dalits do not dislike reservations per se, some of them have merely outgrown it and hence have no use for it.

Regards.
 
Last edited:

kunjuppu

Active member
Dear Professor Nara Ji,
You said:


The authors set out to prove that the quota system in college for SC/ST population had a direct correlation to the success/improvement in the condition of these communities, vis a vis other forward communities. To their surprise, they could not find that correlation.

Their conclusion that more should be done, has no basis with their scientific findings, rather it is an emotional conclusion.

In fact, their findings correspond to what I have been arguing for, that we need to help these kids at an younger age, not wait till they enter higher education.

Regards,
KRS


KRS,

i do not understand why the upliftment of SC/ST should go along with suppression of FCs. the affirmative action is goodness in itself with the goal of giving tools for upward mobility to castes which till now did not know its meaning.

as you can see, in tamil nadu today, even though private education is expensive, it is available in plenty, and through my charities, i still only hear very rarely of a tambram boy or girl needing financial assistance.

even in this forum, there was a member who was running a business who found it beyond his means for capitation fees alone, and for which we found resources without any effort. a tambram has only to ask around for help. that is what i feel.

i am looking at the welfare of the country as a whole, and from that point of view, every, i mean, EVERY community needs to have a stake in all aspects of the society. otherwise violent revolutions will happen, and guess who will be the first victims?

we are indeed very lucky for our democratic system, which has facilitated large scale social revolutons withou bloodshed. one only has to look at the history of russia, france or china.

we all agree that help is needed at the primary level. but various factors make this impossible for short term. especially in the rural areas. but one cannot waste generations of youths to graduate out of good primary education so that they can be on par with city kids. the short cut is quotas.

believe it or not, in a short span of 40 years we have two generations of dalit doctors, engineers, accountants and army officers. this is not only the right thing, but it is also good for india.

one needs to understand how far these have to go: there is not one dalit in the victorious indian team. there are still elites well entrenched :(
 
one needs to understand how far these have to go: there is not one dalit in the victorious indian team. there are still elites well entrenched :(
Don;t know who were all the members of the team, but i can think of 2 dalits offhand -- yousuf pathan and munaf patel. And as for those who are shudras from the orthodox hindu pov, i can think of sreesanth.

i remember Kambli (a dalit) used to be a good friend of tendulkar....i suppose casteism has been eschewed at the highest levels...these things seem to matter mainly in rural, backward and economically underdeveloped minds / places..
 
Namaste Sri Sangom,

I had raised the following questions (pertaining to Sankara Mutts) in other forum and received no response whatsoever. On persistence, I got a few non-complementary answers:

Shri Narayan,

I may assure you that in this forum even non-complimentary views will not be in hostile language unless you "needle" them beyond their comfort zones.

Are TBs/Brahmins/Advaitins, by default members of Sankara Mutts? What are their duties and obligations?
The second question can be tagged with the first in two ways - they being either TBs/Brahmins/Advaitins, or, Sankara Mutts. Since your next question is about "functions of Sankara Mutts", I am taking the former option. (You have given a good example, though unknowingly, of how most of our scriptures are worded. ;)

Smartha brahmans "used" to consider one of the four Shankara mutts which are traditionally held as having been established by Adi Sankara. Most tabras were, thus, holding Sringeri acharya as their guru. This position changed sometime during the 1930's or 1940's, I think and a good percentage of tabras from TN, especially the Thanjavur region, claimed that for centuries their ancestors had held allegiance to the Kanchi mutt and not to Sringeri. Anyway, that is not the topic here, but we tabras now bow down to Kanchi or Sringeri or both. Of course there are some smartha brahmans who don't give any guru's name in marriage invitation and only invoke their kuladeivam. Of the two Sringeri IMO has been low-profile, and more so after the present acharya took over whereas Kanchi has become high profile in more ways than one ever since Jayendrar disappeared and was traced, after hectic search, in Talakaveri in 1987.

What are the functions of Sankara Mutts? Do the mutts have some charter of functions or the function is at the discretion (or whim and fancy) of the Sankaracharya?
The general rules of conduct for the sanyasis of the Sankara mutts are supposed to be given in what is called "aamnaaya" tradition. Perhaps Adisankara modelled the mutts on the lines of Buddhist mutts, a place for ascetics and other religious mendicants to stay during their wanderings, and hold discussions with peers and preceptors, etc., so that the "advaita" philosophy would be propagated throughout the country. The mutt was left in the charge of one of Adisankara's disciples so that they would be the final authorities to clarify any doubts in the minds of the ascetics, mendicants and learned householders, etc. I do not think sankara would have envisaged his mutts to be centres for material wealth to gravitate to.

Vidyaranya, the twelfth acharya of Sringeri became the kingmaker of the Vijayanagara empire. This gave the Sringeri peetham lot of assets. The wodeyar dynasty which came soon after, ruling mysore areas, made the Sringeri acharyas their rajagurus; the king of Travancore followed suit. All these enriched the Sringeri peetham and it was able to establish small mathams in innumerable places in Karnataka, Kerala, the Tanjore kingdom and so on. The public is not told about the rules under which either Sringeri or its sub-mutts have to work in so far as the secular aspects are concerned. I also do not know under which category - trust, hindu religious institution - these mutts come. Hence it may not be wrong to conclude that these mutts function according to the autocratic rule of the manager, unless the seer himself is knowledgeable in fields like funds management, contracts, PR functions, etc.

There is also the very widely known but hearsay, that one powerful manager of Sringeri once wanted to instal his ward as the next incumbent of the peetham, which was not acceptable to the highly spiritualistic seer. The manager wreaked vengeance on the seer by giving கைவிஷம் (poison in food) which the seer was able to overcome due to his powers. Hence, I think these mutts with assets must have their own intrigues, inner dramas and many such unsavoury facets which are deftly shielded from the public; and therein lies their success and popularity.

In comparison the Sankara peethams in Puri, Dwaraka and jyotirmath seem to have less popularity, less material assets but more quarrels about incumbency.

How do they exactly propogate the santana Dharma?
These śankara pīṭhas were set up to propagate advaita and not sanātana dharma. Because "advaita philosophy" itself has morphed like in Avvaiyar's couplet, கரியாகிப் பரியாகி, காரெருமை தானாகி, etc., today, IMO, real advaita is limited to serious books on the topic and discussions by learned people. The hoi polloi among tabras lead a life of belief practising a bit of pūrvamīmāmsa, a large amount of bhakti, a dash of advaita by way of lip service when mouthing platitudes like "all gods are, after all, ultimately the parabrahma and nothing else", some belief in tantra, yoga etc., and also in the pre-vedic rites like shaving one's head மொட்டை போடறது (some hold that it is a buddhist rite), and, in addition - a liberal sprinkling of superstitious beliefs. But the brahman genius of India has successfully convinced itself as also others that Adi Sankara has approved almost all these beliefs and practices in expounding his advaita. That is the beauty of it; do whatever you want but justify it nicely.

In such a scenario should these mutts do anything specially to propagate "advaita" for which they were set up by Adi Sankara? No, because you also insist on sanātana dharma only which is a cornucopia of all the above items and it needs no extra effort to spread it among the tabras. For brahmans in the north it is Tulsi Ramayana (now Bhagavata also to some extent) and nothing else and there are a few who have minted fortunes making pravachans of Tulsi Ramayana internationally. The three mutts there also do not make any notable efforts to "spread" the sanātana dharma.

Can they or would they translate vedas and publish the translations to counter the (so called spurious and mischeavous) translations circulating around the world? Why are they doing chandi homa, ganapati homa etc.which are tantrik and not some yagnas etc. mentioned in the vedas? Why do they chant ashtottara shata namavallies of Adi Sankara, the previous pontiff of the respective mutt etc.? What is the shastra pramana for this?
The Sringeri peetha used to have a printing press and book publishing venture in Kumbhakonam in the olden days. It was in Grantha lipi and the books catered mainly to the vaidiki group who were more interested in swaras than meaning or commentaries. I don't think it exists now. I am not aware about Kanchi mutts record in this area. Generally, the brahmans' attitude has been one of "ignorance is bliss"; they will tell you that medicines work on the human body irrespective of whether the patient knows its chemistry and all that. So, why bother about meaning of scriptures, simply recite and that is all that is needed, is the general perception.

Why are they insisting upon sandhaya vandanam only? Does it mean my/our action in giving up agni-hotra/aupasanam etc. are ok? If it is ok, can they say so openly and relieve me/us from the guilt-feeling of not complying with shastra?
It is like trying to stand firm when the ground beneath your feet is simply slipping away; something similar to standing on the seashore when the wave recedes. The daily routine of brahman has also followed avvaiyar's verse of கரியாகிப் பரியாகி, காரெருமை தானாகி, etc., and today many brahmans do not perform any daily religious routine prescribed. In the north, many brahmans have taken to nv, drinks and many of them do not wear poonal even. Tabras seem to be heading towards that.

The insistence on sandhyavandan is inexplicable. One possibility may be that it requires minimum materials and so it can be performed in most circumstances. Your questions are valid but if the mutts answer you that the non-performance of agnihotra/oupasana is not wrong, the next question will be, "why is then sandhyavandan alone so important?", which they will find it difficult to answer.

Why are these mutts funded by NRI, who have basically violated the shastras by travelling overseas?
நாய் வித்த காசு குரைக்காது (The money earned by selling dogs won't bark.) In the same way, it is only those NRIs who have gone abroad, crossing the seas, and committing a violation of Saastras. Their money is very much pure., is it not !

Why are the mutts teaching only vedanta?
I don't know if the mutts are "teaching" only vedanta. To whom? Have they got regular classes?

Are vedas less intellectual and are to be swept under the carpet at a later time? If smritis are bound by kaala and desha, why do they not issue suitable edicts and modify the acharas?
I will venture to say that vedas are less intellectual than vedanta if upanishads are taken as vedanta. The upanishdas, at least some of them, reflect a higher level of thinking as compared to the vedas. This is my personal opinion.

What about the new or neo-mutts or ashrams like Saibaba or Maharishi Mahesh Yogi etc.? Are they too collaborators or sanatana Dharma?
Your wording is a bit confusing. All our neo-gurus, godmen et al. swear by sanātana dharma because everything gets included in it. But I personally find some plus point in some of these people since they are able to provide a common forum for all devotees to congregate irrespective of caste or creed (though foreigners do get a special attention and place, I suppose).

I did not get any reply and got reprimanded for my impudence. So any inputs you may provide will be much appreciated by me.

Regards,

narayan
My two cents.
 
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..... My argument has always been about the cost/benefit of that system and the amount of benefit it brought to the untouchables. Nothing more, nothing less.
And, therefore, it is a EVIL system?

Dear Shri KRS, I am an avowed godless atheist, even I don't think cost/benefit analysis should enter the equation in ascertaining what is evil.

Cheers!
 

kunjuppu

Active member
Don;t know who were all the members of the team, but i can think of 2 dalits offhand -- yousuf pathan and munaf patel. And as for those who are shudras from the orthodox hindu pov, i can think of sreesanth.

i remember Kambli (a dalit) used to be a good friend of tendulkar....i suppose casteism has been eschewed at the highest levels...these things seem to matter mainly in rural, backward and economically underdeveloped minds / places..


happy,

yousuf & munaf are gujarati muslims. nothing to indicate that these are dalit converts. munaf is from a small village. interestingly one would not associate gujarat with cricket. but i guess the movie lagaan has made a difference :)
 
....Anyone reading this, including Shri Suchindranath Aiyer, please evaluate yourself and ask yourself what makes you a brahmin? If any of you thinks hard-work, integrity and diligence are "brahmanical", then would you accept anyone (irrespective of caste) as "brahmanical"?
Dear HH, I understand yours is only a rhetorical question, but it is true, many people think like that, as though saying that anyone can be considered a Brahmin if they show hard-work, integrity and diligence is being broad-minded/progressive. But the problem is, such thinking itself betrays supremacist tendency. There is built-in bias to say anyone can be Brahmin, as if that is somehow a superior state to which all good people must aspire, when in reality, it is a status that is strictly birth-based.

The flip side of this claim is for one to say, anyone who exhibits the following qualities -- cunning, living on the labor of others, ready to give up on principles for the sake money or power but never give up on thinking they are superior, contempt for lower castes -- must be considered Brahmins.

I wonder which of the two versions will come out on top if a poll is conducted among NB Tamils? Well, I know the answer, and so do many here, but won't admit it and will give excuses like it is the DK who did it.

IMO, people who show hard-work, integrity and diligence, are people who are likely to succeed in their endeavors. People who show compassion, empathy, and care for others are good people. There is no need to use caste-labels at all. I know you didn't do it, you just asked a question, but I wanted to make it clear.

Cheers!
 
The jews were slaves until Moses set them free. I wud think the dalits are like the jews. They were slaves until democracy set them free.

HH,

You are at it again!! You are talking about the old testament , half of which was concocted and sanitized by the Nicean Creed which met due to compulsive circumstances. There is a much more reliable chronicled history which speaks about the ghettos of the cities of Europe to which the jews were confined and treated like tethered beasts. They went tnrough pyrhic experiences called pogroms/world war II to get free. May be panchamans of India are also destined to go through such experiences before they get free from the clutches of the Mandal crowd of dominent castes of India.
 
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Dear Kunjuppu,
.
when history is written, we tambrams will be mentioned as yet another priestly class, very conscious of its social standing, which did everything they could do block the social revolution initiated by periyar.
this acknowledgement to periyar has already started. every article on MK acknowledge his early idealism, and the ruthless but quick way he went about to establish social equality in TN, which was also followed with greater zeal by MGR & J.

Just one question. Please answer this.

All of periyar's assistants were from the dominant castes of Mudaliyars, Pillais, Yadavas etc., and none was from the Dalit castes. This was periyar's way of fighting the casteism and establishing social equality in Tamilnadu!! Or would you still defend your enthusiasm for periyarism by saying that it was just a coincidence?
 
Is it all right and necessary for ******* of this Forum to mouth the words and opinions of anti-Brahmin people? Are we surreptitiously trying to erase the names Periyar , Ambedkar and the like. Brahminism is for the self and you can correct yourself without tom-toming it. I don't think it is that difficult for us to change psychologically and silently. Pent up emotions are also finding expressions here. Prognosis does not appear to be good. God save the souls.
 
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