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UNTOUCHABLES, TRIBALS AND SHUDRA WERE NEVER HINDUS

UNTOUCHABLES, TRIBALS AND SHUDRA WERE NEVER HINDUS 

When we were children we used to be taught that Hinduism is the most tolerant faith. Now having grown up we often see the demonstration of this 'fact'. We see how a Christian religious meeting at Amritsar was not allowed to be held by the Hindu protagonists. How a man called Staines was burnt alive with his two sons, for the crime that he was a Christian missionary. Their objection is that through their education and hospital services these Christians are converting innocent Hindu people to Christianity. We ask why do you allow such a lacunae of services? Why don't you yourself provide it? But the fact is, it is the Brahminic ideology to keep some people deprived of what we now days call 'human rights' Or is it the independence fever? 
We quote some of the examples how the Mannu Simritis is discriminatory to a certain section of society called Shudras; 
•    If a Brahmins eats the food offered by a Shudra he will have to undergo rebirths of 7 lives of a dog and 9 times he will be born as a pig. 
•    If a Shudra utters a word from Vedas he will surely go to hell. 
•    If a Shudra arranges a 'hom' (worship) it is the duty of the king to get him killed. 
•    Shudra should not be allowed to listen religious discourses and sermons. 
•    If a Shudra speaks harsh language to the Brahmins the king should pour boiling oil on his mouth.  Brahmins should desist from settling in the kingdom ruled by Shudra. 
On the other hand see the privileged treatment to Brahmins:
•    Brahmin is the master of whole material things and he can assume possession of any thing. He need not pay any thing neither revenue to the king. 
•    If the king happen to dig a treasure he should share it with the Brahmin. 
•    If a Brahmin is caught stealing, he should not be punished, because it is the fault of the king that Brahmin remained needy and he had to resort to stealing. 
•    Literate or fool the Brahmin is a respectable god as fire is always pious evens though produced without the chanting of any hymn. 
•    Besides the Valmiki Ramayam has an episode where  Shambuk  a Shudra had undergone penance and his devotion of bhagti was likely to be awarded by God. Then a Brahmin rushed to Bhagwan Rama complaining how a Shudra's bhagti was likely to be accomplished and awarded and that there was need of its being stopped. It is written in the Ramayana that Rama rushed to the place and beheaded Shambuk before he could accomplish the feat. 
Guru Nanak brought a revolution when 500 years ago he made a Shudra to sit along with high castes ones and dine at a langer at Kartarpur sahib. Brahmins tried to undo it when Ptrnjab was annexed in the middle of 196 century and the Hindustanis identified with the English invaders. They commenced mass conversion of Shudra in the programmes called Shudi and keshas of thousands of Shudra were shorn in groups. 
Saraswati Daya Nand led the Shudi campaign. It is a shear highhandedness that these Brahmins don't allow conversions notwithstanding the discriminatory treatnent meted out to shudra. 
Here we reproduce a piece published in the Hindustan Times of Delhi on Jan. 20 and two rejoinders that the papers received. 

UNTOUCHABLES, TRIBALS AND SHUDRA WERE NEVER HINDUS 

Y. Chinna Rao
On the eve of  the Pope's visit there were claims and counter claims Christianity in general in India and re-conversion in particular. Since 80 per cent of converts to Christianity have been either dalits or tribals, the conversion debate primarily concerns them. What is forgotten in the politically motivated campaigning is that dalits and tribals were never Hindus. Traditionally, dalits, known as panchamas, bahyas and achhoots or outcastes, were outside the caste order. 
The debate points to the dubious manner in which facts are recklessly misinterpreted. The sudden rhetoric displaying love and brotherliness for the dalits by Hindu narcissists reveals the desire to hold their hegemonic social structure intact by incorporating dalits and tribals into a social system which had no space for them till the missionaries, and more specifically Britishers, came to lndia. The sudden  aggressive mood and the claim that dalits are a part of Hindutava is the result of insecurity arising from the loosening of Brahminical dominance. 
lndeed, it needs to be emphasised that dalits have advanced to a stage in history where they can express their identity independent of outside sympathy. They no longer need patrons and godfathers. Today they are in a position to speak for themselves. It is also pertinent to note that the interests of the dalits and the Hindus are antagonistic to each better. Even before the arrival of Aryan immigrants, dalits and tribals had an independent culture, highly democratic in nature. The religion, beliefs, customs and ideals of dalits and tribals have been the very anti-thesis to the in-egalitarian, exploitative and repressive culture of the Hindus. 
How the dalits came to be defined as Hindus is a question the VHP and their ' associates [RSS] have yet to answer. The dalits and tribals have always been outside the pale of the chaturvarna scheme of stratification. They are in several places not allowed to enter Hindu temples, not served by Hindu priests, and not allowed to read ihe 'sacred' texts of Hindu religion. Then how can one count them as Hindus ? 
Numerous writings of foreign travelers and works of anthropologists show that  before the advent of Christianity in lndia, dalits had a religious system of their own. Dalits are concerned with their local village goddesses. The female goddesses appear dominant. Unlike in Hinduism they emerge as independent, unblushing erotic female figures. Be it the Mariamma, Poleramma, Peddamma, or any local deity, they have nothing in common with 'the goddesses of the Hindus pantheon. Other than the local village goddesses, they worship kula devata (caste deity) and lnti devata (family deity). Later these traditions were incorporated as "little" traditions by Brahminical  anthropologists and sociologists to protect their tradition as the "great' tradition, on account of its "intellectual", "classical" and "higher' philosophy. 
The first three census reports of 1881 , 1891 and 1901 were limited in scope and excluded the dalits. With the introduction of separate electorate, communal statistics gained greater significance. Communities became increasingly conscious not only of their own numbers but also those of the other communities. The numbers game was being played between Hindus and Muslims. In this period dalits were used by the politically motivated caste Hindus. The census proved to be a blessing in disguise for the dalits whose numbers came to be decisive in the political life of the country. Centuries of neglect began to be gradually replaced bya cautious hardling of them by the Hindus, only to be incorporated marginalised Hindus. 
The Muslims started emphasising the independent identity of dalits out of the fear that the Hindus will emerge numerically stronger by assimilating them. Thus, the Muslims took the bold step of suggesting that dalits should not be enrolled as Hindus. That was when Dr. Ambedkar suggested alternative terms like 'Protestrant Hindus" or "non-conformist Hindus'. Through his Dalit uplift programmes in the 1930s, Gandhi tried to consolidate the Hindu society on the basis of chaturvarna systems, and the dalits were the losers. 
When the Christian missionaries realised that the incorporation of dalits into the Hindu fold was the strongest obstacle to spread the Christian faith, they adopted a new policy to change their way of life by establishing schools and colleges and by introducing social reform among the dalits. The dalits  saw the contrast between caste Hindus and the missionaries. lt is not the dalits who opted for a religion of compassion and concern. The whole debate on conversion has given the impression that the dalits and the tribals are incapable of choice and they can be lured because they are Poor.
Rejoinders 
Whv do they visit temples then? 
Y.Chinna Rao has advanced specious arguments. Prior to the advent of lslam in lndia, Hinduism was able to absorb all other cultures and faiths. Even the Dravidian Shiva came to occupy a prominent position in the Hindu pantheon. Rao did not explain how the enslaved Dalits and tribals managed to stay out of the Hindu fold with their kuldevatas. Also, if Aryans had subjugated the 'aboriginal' Dalits and tribals, as avened by Rao, and assigned to low tasks then who were the shudras and what role were they performing as the lowest caste? Obviously, those unfortunate sections identified bythe writer as Dalits (and not tribals as well) doing the dirty jobs were given the name of Shudras, the lowest component of Hindu caste system. ln time, the Shudras became 'untouchable". The writer says Dalits and tribals are not Hindus because they are denied entry into ternples and not allowed to read religious texts. lf Dalits and tribals are not Hindus, why do they seek entry into Hindu temples and wish to read Hindu scriptures? 
S.C.Sharma, Delhi. 
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HINDU IS A WIDER TERM
 The write up has exposed a critically inadequate appreciation of the word Hindu. The word lndia itself ist he Greek derivative of the term Hindu (Which in turn is the ancient Persian derivative of the term Sindhu) and refers not to any theology but to the populace of the land of the river Indus. If we are called Hindustan it is not on the basis of any religion but nationality. Because Hindus unlike Christians and Muslims do not brand anyone as pagan, heathen, kafir or infidel it is not necessary that all Hindus including tribals and dalits should follow a uniform system. To Hindus, religion is not a discipline imposed by a stern unseen God but a natural efflorescence of the truth within manifesting in manifold ways. lt is the negation of experience to state that Christianity or lslam unlike Hinduism is egalitarian. Were not they civilised Christians who instituted Afro- American slave trade axis or practised till a decade ago Apartheid in South Africa or precipitated the two World Wars? lf lslam is egalitarian then why are there violent intra-religious feuds in Pakistan? Again, why are dalits even on becoming Christian asking for a dalit status? 
Priyadarsi Dutta,
Delhi.
[Those who believe in Vedas, Shastras, Purana, Ramayana or Mahabharata are called Hindus –Editor] 

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