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Opinion

Brahmins are the new Dalits of India?

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Today we need to ask whether the Brahmins are the new dalits of India. The reason is because with so many reservations increasing and Brahmins termed as upper class, they are the last people to get any benefits from government.

A detailed description of the state of Brahmins was analyzed by a famous French journalist Francois Gautier who spent nearly 2 decades in India. With every political parties trying to woo different communities and castes for vote bank politics, the Brahmins miseries have almost fallen on deaf ears. There is a misconception that if you belong to a Brahmin family or any upper class, then you are automatically rich and have every facility. But fact is negligence of the community in past 70 years has made them the new dalits of India.

Gautier has pointed out how much ill-found are the facts about the ‘prosperity’ of Hindus, especially, the Brahmins in today’s India. He goes to say that the first trend of appeasement politics was started by Congress to attract Muslims and other sections of the society for vote bank politics. While the concept should have been equal opportunity and respect for all, Congress ignored Hindus while they gave undue importance to Muslims and Christians.

“At a time when the Congress Government wanted to raise the quota for Other Backward Classes to 49.5 per cent in private and public sectors, nobody talked about the plight of the upper castes,” said Gautier. These decision caused huge unemployment problems and Brahims were completely neglected in government jobs. According to Gautier, today’s Brahmins can be easily found cleaning public toilets, a menial job that the government projects. Although there is nothing wrong doing any work, they had to opt for these jobs as the doors were closed for them in government sector.

So the rhetoric that only Dalits and backward class are made to clean toilets is a total wrong information in today’s world. “There are 50 Sulabh Shauchalayas (public toilets) in Delhi; all of them are cleaned and looked after by Brahmins (this very welcome public institution was started by a Brahmin). There are five to six Brahmins manning each Shauchalaya. In most villages in UP and Bihar, Dalits have a union which helps them secure jobs in villages,” Gautier states.

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Gautier says that fifty per cent of rickshaw-pullers in Delhi’s Patel Nagar are Brahmins and most rickshaw pullers in Banaras are Brahmins.

He questions the government as they are completely disconnected with the ground situation and says that in a mission to attract backward communities, a trend of reverse discrimination started against Brahmins.

The Kashmiri Pandits who were the natives of Kashmir, became refugees in their own land. “400,000 Brahmins of the Kashmir Valley, the once respected Kashmiri Pandits, now live as refugees in their own country, sometimes in refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi, in appalling conditions. Their vote bank is negligible,” says Gautier.

In South India, the condition is even worse. 75% of the Brahmins in Andhra are working as maids and cooks in houses. “A study of the Brahmin community in a district in Andhra Pradesh (Brahmins of India by J Radhakrishna, published by Chugh Publications) shows that all the purohits and Pandits live below poverty line and they have got no help from any government.

Gautier also quotes that today the percentage of Brahmin students enrolling in educational institutes and professional courses have decreased considerably. Since their average income has gone very low, the students drop out has increased in intermediate level. More over Brahmin students are the last ones to be considered for Scholarships by government bodies which makes it even more difficult to survive.

“The study also found that 55 per cent of all Brahmins lived below the poverty line — below a per capita income of Rs 650 a month. The condition was similar in almost all south Indian states. According to karnataka finance ministry, the per capita income of various communities was like, Christians Rs 1,562, Vokkaligas Rs 914, Muslims Rs 794, Scheduled castes Rs 680, Scheduled Tribes Rs 577 and Brahmins Rs 537. (2006 data).

The Department of Endowments statistics showed that hundreds of Brahmin families are surviving on just Rs 500 per month as priests in various temples. Gautier sadly says that “There are innumerable instances in which Brahmin priests who spent a lifetime studying Vedas are being ridiculed and disrespected.”

At Tamil Nadu’s Ranganathaswamy Temple, monthly salary of a priest is just Rs 300 (Census Department studies) and a daily allowance of one measure of rice.

The Congress government divided the dalits and backward classes people from Brahmins to use them for vote banks. So Brahmins were seen as aliens in the country. “The Indian government gives Rs 1,000 crores (Rs 10 billion) for salaries of imams in mosques and Rs 200 crores (Rs 2 billion) as Haj subsidies. But Brahmin community or any other upper class people do not get any such benefits from government.

So in a way, the Congress instead of uplifting dalits, downgraded the Brahmin community by denying equal opportunity to all. In no way the situation of the country improved by the rules framed by Congress 60 years back. Before Dalits were treated bad, today Brahims have become the new dalits of India.

Credit : http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/are-brahmins-today-s-dalits-in-india/story-GUMXtPlPb3v9XYXcEXPGHP.html


Aishwarya S

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