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Narendra Modi, Caste Reservations, Bjp and the Rss: Seeds of Destruction

MG is a keen political observer and commentator who has a ringside seat to the turbulent years of the present political scenario

narendra-modi-caste-reservations-bjp-and-the-rss-seeds-of-destruction

Introduction

The Maharishi Manu wrote the Manusmiriti the classical treatise on Hindu jurisprudence nearly 4000 years back. These are often referred to as the Laws of Manu. Ever since these laws were written and later codified in words they have remained the bedrock of Hindu jurisprudence. In other words, the Laws of Manu remained the bedrock of Hindu society and law for close to 4000 years. It is a matter of surprise that no reformer appeared during this long period who questioned these laws. The advent of the Muslims saw this set of rules being relegated to the background, but the all-important classification of Hindus into different castes carried. The Muslim rulers did not impose the Sharia and allowed the Hindus to be governed by the Laws of Manu.

Manu in his wisdom divided the Hindu believers into 4 castes and innumerable sub-castes. Initially, perhaps these had some meaning as they were based on the profession of the Hindu. But in due course, these became iconoclast; compartments that created a great divide.

The caste system became so acute that a clear demarcation came into existence between the lower castes and the higher castes. This continued during the days of the British Raj. One wonders why the British made no attempt to reform the caste system like they abolished Sati, Child Marriage, and the criminal aspects of the `Sharia. Perhaps in a way, they were keen that the schisms in Hindu society remain.

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narendra-modi-caste-reservations-bjp-and-the-rss-seeds-of-destruction

The caste system in Modern India

Over these centuries no Indian leader or saint advocated reform in the caste system. Sadly no Hindu reformer including the much-touted Swami Vivekananda and Gandhi made any attempt to reform the caste system. Gandhi has gone on record and stated that he believed in the Varna System and Vivekananda also said that caste has a place in Hindu society.

Vivekananda's position in the caste hierarchy was dubious. He was a Kayastha, who are Shudras. Brahmins saw him as a presumptuous shudra poaching in their spiritual preserve. particularly his impious attempt to interpret the Sacred Books.
Vivekananda was angry with jealous Brahmins but always defended and glorified Brahminism with all its egregious hierarchy. Besides, without justifying caste, he could not have received the generous help of his feudal patrons. He wrote with much eloquence:
"I have seen castes in almost every country in the world, but nowhere is their plan and purpose so glorious as here. If caste is unavoidable I would rather have a caste of purity and culture and self-sacrifice than a caste of dollars."
Needless to say, Vivekananda was an apologist and defender of this sanctified slavery which has kept the toiling masses down for millennia.
Elsewhere he writes, "Caste is good. That is the only natural way of solving life." He makes his position clear when he says, "I'm against leveling down caste inequalities. It is a salutary system. We must obey it."

The other great Hindu leader Mohandas Gandhi in his writings in the 1920s to '30s in Young India stated that the caste system is “natural”, and it exists everywhere in the world but in different forms. Secondly, the caste system was not based on inequality and irrationality. According to Gandhi, the caste system provides equality and rationality providing “ideal nationhood”, inherited personal qualities, and needs for moral purification. Thus these two spiritual leaders failed India.

The dawn of independence in 1947 saw India adopt a constitution under the aegis of Dr. Ambedekar. This man was a scheduled caste and to get away from caste discrimination had converted to Buddhism. He brought in the concept of caste reservation in jobs and other institutions. Perhaps for a short time, it looked like a good idea but was detrimental in the long run.The caste reservations which were initially only for 10 years were extended by the Congress governments and now are inscribed in stone and will perhaps last as long as India survives as a nation. Mr. VP Singh expanded the concept of backward castes by including a category of Other backward Castes( OBC). Thus, the caste system which should have been abolished was given a fresh lease of life by the government itself.


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Epilogue:failure of BJP and RSS

The BJP is a party that draws its inspiration from the RSS and the RSS has made its stand clear that it does not support the division of the Hindus in the name of caste. The RSS is a political-social organization that has done a lot of good, but there is no denying the merit of the RSS view of caste divisions. The RSS has also tacitly been against any form of reservation on the basis of caste.

It was expected that the BJP would follow these ideals of the RSS. Narendra Modi was voted into power with an absolute majority in 2014 and after 30 years India had a government that had a working majority. Unfortunately, the BJP digressed from its stated goals and accepted something which was not part of its manifesto. They accentuated the caste divisions and under political pressure accepted certain well of castes as part of the reservation conundrum.

Narendra Modi thus did a great disservice to India by opening Pandora's box by granting reservations to Jats in the state of Haryana. The Jats are an affluent landowning community in Haryana and they had launched a massive agitation for being included in the OBC category. Thankfully the Punjab and Haryana high court set aside this order.

This was a body blow to the Indian social fabric and shows that any government will give caste reservations in case there is a violent agitation. The Patels in Gujarat and other well-off castes now have a clue and can ask for a reservation. Modi has done great harm to the nation and future of India. This is a sad day for India and shows that in reality the BJP and Modi are more concerned about winning a few elections than in solving the problems of India. The bigger problem is the about-turn done by the RSS which for many decades since its formation in 1925 was against reservation and caste divisions but this organization also has under pressure from Mr. Modi accepted that reservations are essential. Both these worthies do not realize that the perpetuation of the caste system in jobs and other fields including education is actually leading to the sidelining of meritocracy and that could well spell the doom of India in the years to come.

Comments

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 21, 2021:

Thank you Vanita, I appreciate your sentiments and comments and also the poem

Vanita Thakkar on July 21, 2021:

Thanks, MG Singhji for your kind understanding and your invaluable blessings. I truly appreciate them.

Hindu religion, more appropriately known as the Sanaatan Dharma is the oldest religion of the world. It has evolved to the fullest and is both - Absolute and Dynamic - very much like the Absolute Truth the Sanataan Dharma stands for and leads to.

Gautam Buddha and Mahavir were both Hindu reformers and both of them established "Religions" that can well be considered as branches or extrapolations or sub-sets of the Hindu / Sanaatan Dharma.

From whatever little I have been able to understand about "Religion", I understand that the Sanaatan Dharma is the universal set of the domain called "Religion" and the different philosophies and life styles termed as "Religion" under different names are but an evolving, dynamic philosophy of some principle(s) already explored, developed and realized in the Sanaatan Dharma.

Using labels of "Religions" for power games that cause social and political unrest in the territories of targeted opponents is the latest prevalent form of colonialism. So, awareness about the essence and practice of religion is the need of the hour.

The present crisis is unprecedented due to the unprecedented challenges that are arising. Reforms are going on (I have been associated with quite a few spiritual organizations). They have not ended or concluded, so, calling them a failure would be premature and pessimistic and an injustice to scores of those sincere, unsung, silent efforts which are truly trying to bring about the right kind of changes.

The present Government has performed much better under very critical challenges - external as well as internal. To my knowledge, a very sincere and holistic plan is being prepared, implemented and updated regularly, based on immediate outcomes and feedback, to overcome the ill-effects already inflicted by the policies related to reservations and other systems based on such discriminatory / destructive tendencies. It is a very huge task, but right efforts and positive results are also clear and evident.

I would conclude with a small verse in Hindi that I wrote quite a long time back - sometime in the early 1990s ....

"Niraashaa kee siyaahee mein dooboee kalam likhane se inqaar karatee hai,

Use naa failaane kee apanee jimmedaaree use yaad hai ...."

meaning (for those who don't understand Hindi) :

"(My) Pen immersed in the ink of despair refuses to write, as it remembers its responsibility of not spreading despair."

My best wishes and Pranaams to you on the forthcoming Guru Poornima.

Have a great day !!

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 20, 2021:

Thank you, Vanita, yes, caste is being used to perpetrate discrimination. This is a discrimination . My point is that Hindu leaders failed to reform it and the government is perpetrating it. Thanks for your comment. Take care and god bless.

Vanita Thakkar on July 19, 2021:

MG Singhji, again you are saying the same thing. And I repeat - caste system is being used as a tool to exercise discrimination. So discrimination is the real problem.

You have given several examples. I have hundreds and hundreds of more examples right before me - I myself have suffered the ill-effects of reservations as I belong to the general category - no privileges at all, always at the receiving end. I have seen so many with lesser merits and capabilities reach higher positions just because of reservations. Many among such people create gross administrative mess that badly vitiates working environments and retards progress. This is a much, much greater problem than one can just write in a few words.

I do not favour reservations. And I have myself had a very generous share of the pains due to discrimination in the name of loyalties to professions, castes, regions, religion, language, gender and all kinds of labels and categories people find reasons to identify themselves with and trouble someone / others, when they cannot satisfy their greedy ambitions / egotism with proper reason, logic and competence.

Let me give you an example - we use fire for cooking. The same fire can be used to create destruction - say, to set a home to fire and destroy it. Or sometimes an accident occurs, causing lots of destruction. Does that mean that we should stop using fire itself or that fire is the culprit and it should be put to an end ? Will that be feasible and possible ? We have to ensure prevention of misuse of fire, learn to always use it properly and to have technologies that will help prevent destruction when problems arise.

And the most important requirement is that the destructive tendencies of those who misuse fire are to be controlled and corrected. Those who have misused fire can misuse any other tool that is available to satisfy their wrong reasons and tendencies. And don’t we see that happening ?

We have to learn to look beyond labels, like caste systems, regions, religions, gender and so on to be able to locate the roots of problems. And then seek and implement the right solutions.

Have a great day ahead.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 19, 2021:

Thank you, Vanita, your comment is welcome. I will quote your good self "Caste system is not responsible for the problems." This is where we differ because in my view the government has sanctioned caste by granting reservations not only in jobs by even in higher education. Recently a person with top marks was not given a seat in PG in surgery and an inferior candidate was given the seat as he was BC. The disgusted student migrated to the USA. Is this good? as it spells disaster for the future. I can quote you so many historians who have written that the caste system has shackled India. The government has sanctified it by bringing it into the constitution. Why? they are not bothered about India but winning a few elections and that includes Modi. Vote banks have been created. you will recollect that in his will Field Marshal Cariappa has asked for the abolition of all reservations and redrawing the Indian state on geographical lines and not language if India has to play a meaningful role in the world. Thank you for sharing your comment and thoughts.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 19, 2021:

Thanks, Peggy, Karl Marx visualized a classless society but it was a utopia, and the so-called Marxist states are guilty of suppression. I have spent time in the US and seen that there is discrimination; one cannot deny it, but it is NOT sanctioned by the state. it is inbuilt into the psyche of the people. My point here is that in India the state has passed laws that have given an impetus to caste and divisions in the form of reservation in jobs and educational institutes. Merit is a casualty and its effects will be felt another 50 years from now. Thank you for sharing your opinion.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 19, 2021:

Naturally, I have heard about caste systems. Growing up in the U.S., there are no caste systems in place. Yet, there is plenty of discrimination. The pandemic has highlighted the fault lines. It has clarified discrepancies existing between people, depending upon the color of their skin, where they live, etc.

Vanita Thakkar on July 19, 2021:

MG Singhji, please read and re-read my comment. I am sure you will understand my point of view better.

All I want to say is that discrimination is the real culprit. Caste system is one of the many tools to exercise it, the others being religion, secularism, different types of so-called empowerments and so on .... We must realise this and that proper measures are needed to eradicate discrimination - political, administrative and educational - on a mass scale.

I am absolutely fine. Thanks for your much valued blessings. Best regards to you.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 19, 2021:

Thank you Vanita for commenting. It's a pleasure to hear the opposite view but it does not necessarily mean that this view is correct. The caste system as perpetrated by the government and the political elite will in my view sound the death knell of the Hindu state. You must not forget that Hindus lost every battle from the 9th century onwards to the Muslims, the reason is the caste system. Only the Kshatriyas were allowed to bear arms and the vast majority of other Hindus like Shudras were forbidden to bear arms on pain of death. Thus when the Khasitruyas lost, there was no second line of defense. The result? Hindus were reduced to second-class status in their own land for a thousand years. Know what the enemy thinks, so said Chanakya. The Chinese Institute of strategic studies has some years back compiled a paper stating that India will break up due to inherent contradictions of caste and language. You will recollect that India the `British forged was never an entity before that. In the last central services exams out of 800 vacancies, 506 were reserved, thus meritocracy has no place in India, no wonder the clamor of higher castes to get a reservation. India is still in the medieval age as can be seen for the many people killed for marrying out of castes even in well-off communities like jats. In my view, the biggest problem among Hindus is to lionize people who had a great following but were rooted in caste division. Gandhi is one of them. Hope you will read these comments and take it easy. God bless and take care. Lastly, 40% of Hindus in the subcontinent converted to Islam. Why? You may like to think about it. It was to escape the dragenet of caste division.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 19, 2021:

I find this reply relevant to your thoughts. Perhaps, I can surmise that you are all for the caste system and feel like Gandhi that it's a good thing. Remember Gandhi has also been accused of racism and when in South Africa mad adverse comments about blacks. Dr Ambedekar converted to Buddhism to escape the stranglehold of caste and attendant discrimination. I respect your views but they are at variance with the works of great philosophers.

Vanita Thakkar on July 19, 2021:

The previous comment got submitted inadvertently before getting completed. Please remove it and consider this one :

Burning issues that are kept deliberately burning are there in this article.

Some pertinent points -

Caste system is not responsible for the problems. Shree Krishna was a personification of Absolute Truth and Knowledge (in Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta Shree Krishna has spoken about the evolution of the Varna Vyavastha that we call caste system now) and Swami Vivekanandaji and Mahatma Gandhi were people of great knowledge and wisdom. Caste system and such classification systems evolve naturally. Today we have white collar and blue collar kind of classifications .... The entry of discrimination in any system distorts it and creates havocs. So, calling caste system a problem is misleading. The challenges of eradicating discrimination have to be handled - not only in India, but globally, by having the right kind of administration and education to develop the right atmosphere for human existence. And every reformer that you mentioned in your article, including the present Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi have faced these challenges and fought their own battles against discrimination. Truly, these cries about caste system and related squabbles have grown rotten beyond tolerance. And I think everybody should have healthy enough attitude to feel sick of them to be able to just stop them from being mentioned. India has had problems related to discrimination - the so-called upper and lower castes, discrimination against women and so on .... which were aggravated enormously and most abnormally by outsiders for their own selfish motives.

Kayasthas are not shudras. They were and are a learned community - traditionally (bank) accountants and record keepers. In North India, Kayasthas are believed to be the descendants of Chitragupta - the Record Keeper Deity, considered as the Assistant of Lord Yama, the God of Death. Several renowned personalities, saints, scientists, leaders, including the present superstar Amitabh Bachchan hail from the Kayastha community.

There was a misbelief prevalent in South India that all non-Brahmins are Shudras. But now such misconceptions are not encouraged.

The reservation system is certainly a great burden on India's progress. An elderly Doctor, scholar and social worker, who led a life of selfless service to society had met Dr. Ambedkar. During one of his conversations with me, he told me that Dr. Ambedkar was very much in grief towards the end of his life as he could foresee the troubles that would arise due to the compulsions imposed on him while he was drafting the Indian Constitution. Reservation was one of the major traps which is still troubling India. It is said that Dr. Ambedkar used to say, given a choice, he himself would be the first person to set the Constitution on fire. Not taking it literally, we can understand that the prevailing conditions and the misfiring ambitions from all sides as the much-awaited independence arrived, had been a source of immense agony to those who had dreamt of a much better independent nation India during the freedom struggle.

The power games in the name of politics have perhaps made conditions too difficult for outright removal of reservation system and people keep crying in the name of caste systems. Talking about problems does not solve them. Working out solutions is the way out. And here we are blaming a system for the discrepancies that have crept into it. It is like blaming a person who is suffering from some fatal illness, instead of trying to cure him. So, it becomes a case of wrong diagnosis and treatment. The illness called discrimination has to be treated. The present corona crisis has brought forth a very important aspect of medical treatment - strong immunity. And in society suffering from discrimination, spreading lots of love, honesty, happiness, laughter and sense of justice works as immunity booster. And improved administration and education are the treatment - a long way to go as there are many, many challenges involved - diplomatic, political and others, some of which are dangerous and threaten life itself.

Vanita Thakkar on July 19, 2021:

Burning issues that are kept deliberately burning are there in this article.

Some pertinent points -

Caste system is not responsible for the problems. Shree Krishna was a personification of Absolute Truth and Knowledge (in Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta Shree Krishna has spoken about the evolution of the Varna Vyavastha that we call caste system now) and Swami Vivekanandaji and Mahatma Gandhi were people of great knowledge and wisdom. Caste system and such classification systems evolve naturally. Today we have white collar and blue collar kind of classifications .... The entry of discrimination in any system distorts it and creates havocs. So, calling caste system a problem is misleading. The challenges of eradicating discrimination have to be handled - not only in India, but globally, by having the right kind of administration and education to develop the right atmosphere for human existence. And every reformer that you mentioned in your article, including the present Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi have faced these challenges and fought their own battles against discrimination. Truly, these cries about caste system and related squabbles have grown rotten beyond tolerance. And I think everybody should have healthy enough attitude to feel sick of them to be able to just stop them from being mentioned. India has had problems related to discrimination - which were aggravated enormously and most abnormally by outsiders for their own selfish motives.

Kayastha

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 18, 2021:

Yves, thank you so much for commenting. I can read your mind and concern.

Yves on July 18, 2021:

Highly informative article regarding the current government of India. As an aside, one has to wonder what Gandhi was thinking when he approved of the caste system. Perhaps he thought it was fluid and that one could raise oneself up, spiritually. So strange. The caste system is an evil blight. No one should be treated like an untouchable just for having been born.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 18, 2021:

TOM, thank you, you have raised many points that need a special article but there is no doubt that most converting were from lower castes.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 18, 2021:

I agree. Colonel, with what you have written, Modi misses the chance to become greater than Vivekananda by bending towards vote bank politics based on caste, and that I agree, that is the tragedy of India.

Col Parduman Singh on July 18, 2021:

This is a timely article when India is already free from British rule for almost 74 years and yet medieval concepts have not gone away. Modi had the chance to become the greatest Indian in case he had carried out what the RSS had been advocating since 1925 that is the abolition of caste as a tool for a job or education. He has failed and that is the tragedy of India.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 18, 2021:

Dear Pamela, thanks, yes that is a fact of life.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 18, 2021:

This is a very interesting article, MG. I didn't think the caste system still existed, at least on an official basis. I always learn so much from your well-written articles.

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