Asatyamev Jayate (untruth prevails) has become India’s new liet motif
“I feel the prime minister has lost complete control of the government. Sonia Gandhi has lost control over the political processes and of the Congress party.” Arun Shourie, a former editor and later BJP minister.
Look at the scams being uncovered every day and the total lawlessness in all facets of Indian polity; moral, ethical, political, economic, social, and others. It brings to mind US Ambassador John Galbraith’s charitable description of India in 1960s as a functioning anarchy. Since then India has morphed into a dysfunctional anarchy. It has become a land of banana plantations.
What is wrong with India that is Bharat. Let us look at the fundamentals since minor surgeries will not cure the cancer in the body politic.
First; What is rule of law?
Rule of law is a Semitic contribution to human civilization.
An eye for an eye – Hammurabi
If an eye is not taken for an eye aka guilty not punished then lawlessness will take over. This Semite tribal thesis and custom was codified as part of the Hammurabi Code, which formed the basis of law in Semite lands. It later became the core of Christian and Islamic civilizations. In Europe it was further refined.
Rule of Law or equality of all before the law evolved in Europe following the Reformation and the Renaissance.
The current rule of law as acknowledged and accepted is basically a European construct, which evolved over a long period through revolutions and evolutions, along with the concept of a modern state and the nation. It emerged after centuries of wars among the Popes, Holy Emperors and kings and other religious leaders and barons and finally common people rose and fought for equality for all citizens and rule of law. A King was guillotined in France, Czar assassinated in Russia; Ottoman Caliph fled Turkey, as did Chiang Kai Sheik in China and the Shah-in-Shah from Iran and some others elsewhere too.
The concept of duties of a citizen and of the ruler evolved and was codified in Europe helped by development of political, economic, social and ethical thought. It is only then that the concept of a nation and equality before law emerged and slowly took hold. These were then transmitted to colonies in America, Asia and Africa and implemented and accepted with different levels of success.
India has not gone through any such metamorphosis as yet. Nor is it likely anytime soon. Eating lentils and Lokki vegetables keeps the blood pressure down. So do not hold your breath. Yes there are revolts and rebellions in north East, in Kashmir and increasing large swathes of areas where rights of tribals have been usurped, reduced to misery they are now coming under Maoist influence and sway. But the corrupt political elite controls the coercive machinery, where admission to join as a lowly constable costs a hefty bribe. The life imprisonment for a human rights activist Binayak Sen against abuse of Tribal Rights is a case in point of the injustice of the situation.
Hindu Outlook and Law
Poet AK Ramanujam said that Indians don't seem to have a sense of absolute. They place everything in some context or the other. And, depending on the context, what the rest of the world would regard as being wrong in the absolute sense becomes quite all right in India.
All this is supported even by our epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Trickery by the great and noble warrior of Ramayana, Lord Rama in killing his opponent Bali while hiding behind a tree or in the Mahabharata war, the apostle of truth Pandava Yudhister proclaiming the death of Aswathama (elephant) for military gains are all lauded, accepted and readily employed in daily life, specially by the new political leadership which has emerged from the grass roots, not versed in western concept of the rule of law.
Thus Indians in general have little sense or respect for rule of law. Their concept is very flexible. Show me the man and I will show you the law depending on the situation. There is almost total unanimity in applying rules and laws contextually for personal gains and advantage.
Thus India is not a nation in the European sense and even in many other ways. Identity is still caste based not only in India but to quite some extent even in Pakistan and Bangladesh too. Among the Muslims, supposedly an egalitarian religion, the caste has been replaced by Ashraffs (migrants from Arabia, central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan) and high caste converts, mostly Rajputs and Jats, who are considered superior to converts from lower castes and untouchables. The caste malady exists among Sikhs too as manifested by recurrent resistance by low caste Sikhs against Jat Sikh domination in religious and political institutions. Christians in Kerala have separate caste based churches. Even in the most highly educated state in India, politics is caste and religion based. Thus education is no panacea.
Let me give a few examples. When I made my first call in Cairo in 1962 on my first ambassador Azim Hussien ICS , on my telling him that I am a Rajput , he could not contain himself and smiled and blurted, ‘You know, I am a Rathore Rajput’. Son of Fazli Hussein, pre-partition chief minister of Punjab, who ruled the state in coalition with Jat leader Chhotu Ram, Azim Hussein was otherwise very reserved, taciturn and aloof. While posted in Ankara (1992-96) I visited Bucharest where I was head of mission (1981-84) and was invited for dinner by Ambassador Julio Ribeiro, a former police chief of Maharashtra and Punjab. Even before I had a few sips of the whisky, he said, ‘You know I am a Chitpavan Brahmin’.
A retired Indian Ambassador Surendra Kumar wrote a piece for Tribune, Chandigarh about the antics of Indian parliamentarians of all castes and parties about caste based census. He then narrated from personal experience how Indians were not satisfied unless they found out his caste, when he encountered them. These included high caste top civil servants, diplomats and politicians, who were or rose to become vice-presidents and presidents of India.
Upward Movement in India’s Caste System
Eminent Indian sociologist M.N. Srinivas, propounded the theory of Sanskritisation as the process by which castes placed lower in the caste hierarchy seek upward mobility, based on an ethnographical study of the Coorg Community of south Karnataka, India.
Srinivas defined Sanskritisation as a process by which "a 'low' Hindu caste, or tribal or other group, changes its customs, ritual ideology, and way of life in the direction of a high and frequently 'twice-born' caste. Generally such changes are followed by a claim to a higher position in the caste hierarchy than that traditionally conceded to the claimant class by the local community..."
One clear example of Sanskritisation is the acceptance, imitating the practice of twice-born castes, of vegetarianism by people belonging to the so-called low castes, who are traditionally not averse to non-vegetarian food.
Looked from another angle, Sanskritisation is but (cultural) ’colonization’ of society that entails the imposition of a set of beliefs, social structures and practices (Brahmanism) upon the Hindu society, allowing it to take root progressively and in a top-down (NOT bottom-up) manner by first inducting the upper / ruling classes of the native population.
The British colonialism could be called Anglicization, defining it as a process by which the natives of India sought upward mobility by emulating the ways and manners of the British lords who chose to spend some time in India as part of their global mission to ‘spread civilization’ (and, incidentally, economic restructuring aka looting their subjects).
We will not discuss Hindu beliefs and relevance or importance of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars and rebirth, the varnashram dharma or varna-vyavastha either in the sense in which it is explained in Hindu dharma shastras like Manusmriti or in the so-called Vedic sense and the Hindu taboo of not eating beef or the idol-worship and other such controversial matters.
High caste Imperialism
Thus we can also say that while imperialists divided the subject races to rule over them, Brahmins, since time immemorial have divided the Hindu society, to rule over them as the highest rule making caste. They gave religious sanction and fear of hell and uncounted births as non-humans and other untold tortures and miseries, if the non-Brahmins wavered from the caste based Dharma and obligations, mostly for the benefit of the higher castes at the cost of those lower down.
In this Brahmin ordained apartheid like systemic cancer since millennia there has not been much weakening since 1947 or even in the equality of the sexes guaranteed by the Constitution. The women in real life remain relegated by the religiously enforced grading led by Brahmin fraternity, warriors and nominally ruling caste of Kshatriyas, the trading and agriculture community of Vaishyas and even the Dalits (who in the countryside still remain untouchables). While for political reasons the reservations in Assemblies and for jobs have distributed benefits unevenly to Dalits and Tribes but Muslims have now ended as the new untouchables as brought out in the prevailing discriminations against them by various studies and reports. Even rich and respectable Muslims are refused flats by Hindu dominated building societies.
But the situation of women still remains unenviable. A girl child is still given food the last in the family, so it is with her education, with female feticide, bride burning for dowry or maltreatment of widows. A few years ago, Shankaracharya of Puri declared that women have no right to learn Sanskrit the language of Hindu Shashtras or read Vedas. A Shankaracharya , mostly a Brahmin, tries to be like an Ayatollah Khomeini, a jurist –consult in Shia Iran, to maintain Brahminical control over Hindu society and has been used to deny education to non-Brahmins and women. Brahmins, about five percent of India’s population including obscurantist cranks and charlatans continue to rule the spiritual life and flourish all over India, with many of them named Ananda (bliss) spreading swamis, preachers and priests on religious TV channels. Some have been charged with molestation, rapes and other crimes somewhat like Catholic priests all over the world.
When I write about the damage done to Indian polity and people specially to the Dalits by Brahmins by keeping it fossilized for their benefit, many Brahmin friends protest vehemently and narrate the contributions by Brahmin scholars since ancient times, including in the field of science, mathematics and engineering, apart from spiritual, religious and cultural fields. My response is if five /six percent of educated Brahmins could contribute so much; what if they had not deprived the rest of the society of education, especially of Sanskrit. And Finally just try to imagine yourself in the position of a Dalit and how will you or your children will react if put to the same torture, discriminations, deprivation of education and social intercourse.
It is not necessary to read the writings of Dr Ambedkar, Kancha Ilahia and others which make for very disturbing readings for any human being. Said Ilahia, for example in an interview a few years ago, even now the “key areas such as higher education have come under their [brahmanical] control. --, in the post-Buddhist/ Jaina period, temple power... characterized as Hindu power, very securely remained in the hands of the brahman priestly class. This power arrested the Hindu gods/ goddesses images in the tight grip of the brahmans -- a small caste in the all-India context. This spiritual power not only casteised the divine, but also reserved the highly resourceful temple-based funds for one caste -- the brahmans. All the wealth coming from the masses as well as the state was converted into a huge economic resource of this caste. During the nearly eighty-year RSS-led campaign for 'homogenous Hindu nationalist unity', they have not talked about: (a) the right to initiation [dwijahood?] of the shudra, chandala, adivasis (SCAs); (b) no right to priesthood was given to them; (c) the age-old brahmanic notion of Sanskrit being the language between people and gods was deliberately not sought to be changed; (d) while all the SCAs were 'meatarians', the spiritual authority was confined to those who followed the vegetarian food culture.”
Ilahia explains–“The brahmanic assertion started in the early nationalist period. The Maharashtra chitpavan brahmans and the Bengal, U.P., Bihar brahmans organized the early nationalist movement as basically a brahmanic movement against Christianity. The larger term 'Hindu' became more popular only when Gandhi, a baniya, and a kayastha like Rajendra Prasad entered the Indian National Congress. Beyond the 'brahman boundary' Hinduism was sought to be constructed by a kayastha man like Vivekananda... but even today in the temples of Hinduism he is not a respected or worshipped saint. He basically emerged from the Bengali non-brahman Kali cult and was drawn towards the nationalist Hindutva ideology. That is why he is portrayed as a Hindu hero in the political realm of RSS Hinduism, but not in the spiritual realm controlled by priestly brahmans. The brahmans within the Sangh Parivar and the priestly class in the temples respect and worship the Shankaracharya(s)... to some extent Dayanand Saraswati... but they do not respect Vivekananda and Gandhi. As I said in my DC article, Gandhi was killed by chitpavan brahmans. But nobody knows the cause of the early death of Vivekananda. He was said to have died at the age of 33 and he was a very healthy person all through his life. The mystery of his death should therefore be unraveled. The anti-SCA and anti-woman ideology of Hindutva used (appropriated) different historical images as was suited to it... but it failed to convince the priestly brahman caste to de-caste the Hindu temple system—“
The organization of Jat and other Khapps (caste councils) in north India are nothing but maintaining the caste purity as laid down by Brahmin designed system described as tradition; reeti or ‘Dharma’. The obscurantist medieval custom of honor killings ordered by Khapps for marrying outside the caste and out casting of the families of the victims is still a common practice in many parts of India, especially in the north. The Khapps even want modern Constitution based laws on marriage and social intercourse be reversed and take the country back to medieval practices.
Pinstriped Brahmin led Khapps in External Affairs Ministry
For almost half a century pinstriped Brahmin led Khapps in external affairs ministry, in total violation of India’s Constitution, destroyed many diplomats’ lives and careers for wishing or marrying foreigners. Thus the medieval mindset permeates even in the so called modern highly educated milieu. Brahmin Foreign Secretaries persisted in this obscurantist attitude to the end e.g. with a vindictive Maharajkumar Rasgotra telling a lie (on record with eminent journalist Jyoti Malhotra) and Venkateshwaran dismissing legal opinions of Justice Rajender Sachchar and eminent legal luminary Soli Sorabji that the Ministry’s rule on the subject was ultravires of the Constitution with Tamban arrogance and disdain. The Ministry had never once consulted the ministry of law on this rule since 1947. It only highlights Brahmins belief in their manifest destiny to lay down the law as they see it and even defy the law of the land. (Watch this space for full story)
The caste system is still rigidly followed outside the metros. I request my Brahmin and other high caste friends who protest against my observations and conclusions to just venture into the countryside.
Evolution of Indian Polity!
From the 7th to the 11th century, lack of interaction between Indians and their Iranian cousins and others in Central Asia, conquered and dominated by Arab-led Islamic forces, made India inward looking and fossilized its caste-based polity. Indian polity lost its mobility, resilience (as claimed by Brahmins and some others) and the capacity to synthesize and assimilate new ideas. It went on the defensive against the conquering Islamic religion and Muslim polity. It withdrew into its own shell and became frozen. But rigid caste based hierarchy and rules of conduct were implemented with even greater severity as mostly happens to societies under siege. And so it remained throughout the Muslim rule and British rule over Hindustan. The latter only perpetuated the static nature of Hindu polity, reducing Indian rulers as their menial aides, notwithstanding some social reform ripples. Indians never had a revolution, like the French, Americans, Russians or the Chinese or the Turks and Iranians, which did away with all outdated and obscurantist feudal systems and medieval practices.
The Dharma (religion and duty), put one in one's place. A headman's son could aspire to be a headmen, an untouchable would remain an untouchable.
Yes, the process of peaceful massive social engineering through competitive party politics and reservations in favor of the disadvantaged since independence has unleashed social, political and economic forces hitherto unseen in Indian history, in the process rearranging the powers by the castes. It shattered the Brahmin-imposed village autonomy based on a rigid hierarchy of priests, landowners, traders, artisans and untouchables, which had survived Muslim and British rule.
Soon, former bus conductors, petty smugglers, village pehelwans (wrestlers), and the progeny of peons could rise to the highest levels of government as chief ministers and cabinet ministers, as shown by the Lals of Haryana, the Yadavs of Uttar Pradesh and others. Imagine the creative and other energies released into the system, with the profession of politics providing an ambitious and determined person, but poor, uneducated, socially and economically disadvantaged, the opportunity to work his or her way up the system.
Unfortunately, in this free-for-all environment, without the constraints of the rule of law , many criminal elements, after first helping the politicians in vote "gathering and controlling", soon muscled their way into the halls of power. Slowly the system's so called inbuilt resilience for corrective action through independent institutions was eroded. After watching the slide into dishonesty, chicanery and total disregard for all civic norms, first the Election Commission and then the Supreme Court took some measures to strengthen these independent institutions, but with little success so far.
Chief Justice Verma’s initiative and recommendations for an independent Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVO), and a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under him and an Enforcement Directorate have been undone by the corrupt ruling classes across the political spectrum. This can be seen by the current controversy on the appointment of the new CVO with dubious integrity. The political elite refuse to give constitutional authority and independence to the office of CVO or CBI. In the current pointless cacophony politicians have rightly criticized the bias of CVC and CBI but they have not demanded statutory and constitutional independence to these offices. They want to continue to misuse these offices by appointing pliable civil servants when in power.
The "Hindu" perception of Dharma and the rule of law are often quite ambivalent. Hindus believe that by propitiating local deities and gods (now the local politician, now the police sub-inspector), one can escape punishment. For the implementation of the rule of law with the proper checks and balances of a truly democratic system the institutions of the judiciary and the media, so easily tempted by wily politicians, have to be above suspicion and exercise their duties without fear and favor, have been co-opted.
Post-independence Brahmin Dominance
Soon after independence in 1947, the lawyer-led Brahmin-dominated Congress party, with electoral support from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (dalits) and post-partition defensive Muslims, for no fault of majority of them, ruled India, with the Brahmins monopolizing the levers of power. Majority of the cabinet ministers were Brahmins.
Soon the number of Brahmins occupying senior government posts doubled, which were earlier dominated by Kayasthas, defacto almost a caste of bureaucrats since the Moghul era in India. From the mid-1960s, at the ideological economic level, the new Congress elite was opposed by maharajas, big industrialists, traders, landlords and free marketers through the Swantantra Party, and at the social level this elite was challenged by Jats, Yadavs, Ahirs and Kurmis, that is, petty landlords and cultivators who had benefited the most from the post-independence abolition of zamindari (tax collection on land).
The challenge was first led by Chaudhary Charan Singh, a Jat, and then by various Lals of Haryana, Mirdhas of Rajasthan and the Yadavs of the cow belt. But this process left the Dalits squeezed out. Prime minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh, leading a minority coalition government, panicked in 1990 and resorted to the "Mandal card" (further reservations for other backward classes, OBCs) to outflank his deputy, the overbearing Devi Lal, leader of the Jats (not included in the OBC list then). It was a devastating mistake in instituting and promoting divisiveness in the polity.
But it did initiate the loosening of the heterogeneous OBC grouping. Disenchanted with the "Yadavs only" policies of Laloo Yadav, the Kurmis in Bihar founded their own Samata Party. At the lowest rung of the ladder, the dalits, first organized by B R Ambedkar in the 1930s through the Republican Party of India, gathered under the umbrella of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Kansi Ram, and then under Mayawati in the north. She now leads the government in the largest state Uttar Pradesh in north India. She has outdone the Brahmins and other high caste leaders in building statues for their leaders and naming streets, towns to honor Dalit leaders, mostly Buddhists, a religion which the Brahmins squeezed out of India, while it continues to flourish outside India especially in Asia. This shows the power of Brahmin enforced Dharma to guard its flock and maintain domination. One of the major weaknesses of the Hindu religion is its rigid norms of purity, which force those converting back to Hindu religion back into their original low castes, the main reason they left to become Muslims and Christians to feel at par with the then ruling elite and escape Brahmin laid torture, discrimination and deprivation.
But many Dalits also seem unhappy from the weight of the creamy layer of Jatavs, Minas and others who have become the major beneficiary and become the "neo- Brahmins". But having been deprived, discriminated and tortured by upper castes since millennia, they are happy to see their caste persons occupying positions earlier monopolized by higher castes. The majority non-Brahmins in Tamil Nadu, and land-owning elements in Telgu Desam, Kanara and the Maharathas have already asserted themselves against Brahmin domination and squeezed out Brahmins from posts under political patronage. Thus the process of the heterogeneous and frozen polity being split into myriad pieces of castes and sub-castes still continues.
Do as I tell you to do and not what I do myself.
But all in all the results since independence have been somewhat distressing, depressing and counterproductive in promoting equality, nationhood and the rule of law. New families /dynasties from OBCs and other lower castes and classes have become the neo Brahmins and occupy the top ladder in their caste groups as do Brahmins among Hindus. They copy and behave like Brahmins i.e. behave as if they are above the law. They do not want equality of all before law. So it has not and unlikely to bring about equality before the law.
The entrenchment of caste system has only been strengthened because India copied the flawed and unsuitable British Electoral Law of the first past the post for elections which was OK in UK because of their history and political evolution. (British are a highly stratified polity: us and they). This does not speak well about our so called wise men who framed India’s Constitution. Britain had evolved a two party system after many centuries while no such experience or evolution existed in India prior to 1947 nor it appeared then that it might evolve any time soon. It should have been obvious that India’s heterogeneity needed a different electoral system. Perhaps it was a clever strategy by the Brahmins, who however gave credit to a Dalit leader Ambedkar as the father of the Indian Constitution. Cleverer than even the perfidious Albion.
The irrational outcome is that any united caste group with even 25% of the population in a state can acquire power after getting around 35% of the votes cast. This regularly happens in Haryana where Jats with about 20% of the total population rule the roost. Lalu Yadav misruled Bihar for 15 years combining Yadavas (less than 20%) and Muslims. The manifestoes cater for caste groupings only, a fraction of the total electorate. All political offices are then cornered by the family and the caste group. All political parties nominate candidates based on caste calculations. Thus the caste and sub-caste divisions have been strengthened.
As far as coverage of foreign affairs is concerned, Indian media’s record remains abysmal, relying and bribed by Western nations specially USA, where five corporate conglomerates of financial military-industry, energy, communication interests dominate 90% of the media. But even on internal affairs, Indian media mostly owned by corporate houses, who are faithful allies and followers of the fast declining US led liberal capitalist system, is equally unsatisfactory. Truth comes out by default as sections of media owned by one political or financial group expose the other side.
Continued to: Elections in Bihar