Secretary – External Relations, Dravidar Kazhagam
Tactice of ‘Divine’ Discrimination and ‘Humanistic’ Compensatory Measures
Tactful Social Design:
The societal set up of this ‘holy’ land, in order to avoid any revolution for progress, was knitted in a tactful design. The social design is very deep, satisfying the temporal ego of the various layers of stratification. The human tendency of being in upper stratum in the society, unmindful of the dominating sect of above all is well capitalized in the formation of four fold division of the Hindu society.
The societal hierarchy is manifold. The human psychology of ‘mine is better than the lowers’ has been well exploited. All these features have been reckoned in the design and divine prescription of varnaashra dharma, the four fold divisions viz. Brahmins, Shatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras.
• Shatriyas are meant for bravery and physical power to protect themselves and others
• Vaishyas are trading classes, of little bodily power and more of brain power comparatively
• Sudras are bodily toiling section, involving in manufacturing of goods, production of agricultural produces.
Vaishyas are subservient to Shatriyas besides being subservient to Brahmins. Sudras have to be subservient to Vaishyas besides being subservient to Brahmins and Shatriyas.
In traditional societal set up the distinct identities of Shatriyas and Vaishyas were visible under the rule of kings. In the course of advancement of attaining modern polity, at present the practical relevance of such identities is lost superficially but still continues to remain in the minds of the respective layer subjectively glorifying their past. Practically their functional roles have been clubbed with that of Sudras at present.
The lower in the social rung viz. Sudras should not feel that they are the lowest, below to all. To pacify their mental servitude, next lower layer was formed as out caste in the society, in fact outcast from the four fold division of the society. They were named panchamas. As a tactic, the panchamas have been branded as ‘Untouchables’ below to the layer of Sudras.
Dr.B.R.Ambedkar analysed thus:
The inequality that is ordained in the four fold division of the society is not on straight plank i.e. low and high; but it is graded inequalities – one below the other, the next below the other, the ultimate lower rung is below all the above and the sect which was ditched as out-caste as panchamas.
Dividing the people and discriminating them unequally is the essence of varnaashra dharma. No one needs to point out the overall beneficiary – sect which is above all. Even mantras say that the supreme sect as god.
Devadhinam jagat sarvam,
Mantradhinam ta devata
Tan mantram Brahmanadhinam
Brahmana mama devata
देवIधीनं जगत् सर्व मन्त्राधीनं च देवता |
ते मन्त्रा ब्राह्मणाधीनां तस्मात् ब्राह्मण देवता ||
‘The universe is under the power of god;
The god is under the power of Mantras;
The Mantras are under the power of the Brahmins;
Therefore Brahmins are godly’
Major sections of the society were kept as social slaves and for that, the four fold division was quoted as ordain of god. The peculiar feature of the so-called ‘divine’ ordain is that even though the power of designing the four fold division is vested with god himself, the ‘omnipotent’ god declares that it has no power to erase the design. It resulted in the perpetuation of discrimination for many centuries. Because of the ‘divine’ coating, the enslaved people were made to enjoy as well as glorify their slavery as divine destiny.
Menaces of Caste System:
The three menaces prevalent in Hindu religion are untouchability, unseeability and unapproachability. The bases for all these menaces rest on caste system. If the caste system is abolished the menaces will disappear automatically. The caste system is deep rooted in Hindu society. One can change his religion but not the caste. The caste system is the core of Hindu religion. The effect and influence continues even one gets conversion from Hindu religion to the other.
For instance Christians in other countries do not have any caste identity since the caste system does not prevail in those countries. Whereas in this land, the Christian converts were identified with caste to which they belonged earlier. Such identity continues even after religious conversion. The relevance of caste identity to Christianity is immaterial in its original religious form. So the caste identity is stronger than the religious identity.
If a particular human touches another, the touched person gets polluted. If a particular human comes in the vicinity of another, the person who saw gets polluted. If a particular human is allowed entry into a street or walk on the road, the street or road gets polluted, thereby the other persons who used the street or road is also polluted.
If the untouchables, the unseeables and the unapproachables can pollute the objects viz. the
upper castes, then who are more powerful?
The upper castes or the oppressed castes!
Taking the theory of social pollution the upper castes, if they are really superior they should be immune to all sorts of pollutions to which they are exposed. If they don’t have such immunity, they are weak. The so called polluting population must have been stronger. The stronger section in the society is made lower and the susceptible sections to pollution are termed upper. Is it not ironical?
Empowering the ‘Polluting’ Population:
For argument sake, let us accept the hierarchy of upper castes and branding the oppressed as polluting population for time being.
Polluting capability need not be considered as weakness. It has to be transformed as a source of strength. Polluting capacity has to be converted as power to retaliate against the oppression not by violence but by will. Polluting power has to be translated into political power for which Thanthai Periyar (1879 – 1973), Sree Narayana Guru (1856 – 1928), Mahatma Jothirao Phule (1827 – 1890) and Babasaheb Ambedkar (1891 -1956) toiled and sacrificed their entire life.
Let the followership of the major section of the society be revolutionized as potential political power. If such full revolution takes place, all the people in the society will become equal and the social justice philosophy of ‘ All is meant for All’ will rule the rooster.
Compensation for ‘Divine’ Discrimination:
Reservation (i.e. Affirmative action as practised in the capitalist US economy) in education, employment and legislatures is one of the means of dispensation of social justice. Primarily social justice is, besides justice – political and economic, emphasized in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution. The opponents of the reservation may be categorized into two. The one openly opposes the provisions of reservation and the other does in an implied manner of dividing the population entitled for reservation.
“Polluting capability need not be considered as weakness. It has to be transformed as a source of strength…. Polluting power has to be translated into political power”
No doubt, reservation discriminates the population but the nature of discrimination is purely compensatory. If people want to oppose the discrimination then they have to make their claim against the original discrimination in the society, prescribed as varnaashrama dharma. The inhuman nature of the original discrimination is that it is based on the birth of the individuals. The major section of the toiling masses was denied education and was forced to practise the profession that was carried out by their parents and forefathers, centuries together. Such sort of social discrimination exists nowhere in the world. Nowhere, education was denied based on the birth of an individual. Even the racial discrimination which was in practice as Apartheid in USA, education was not denied to Negroes (Afro-Americans). But they were allowed to get education separately and not along with the Whites. This sort of inhuman social discrimination of denial of education has prevailed in our country for the past more than 2500 years.
Contribution of Compensation by Dravidian Movement:
To offset, the original discrimination, compensatory modes were advocated as early as in 1921 in the Madras Presidency of British India under the rule of Justice Party, the founding organisation of Dravidian movement. The first Communal GO was put in practice in 1928. From then onwards, the reservation mode began to be strengthened and the proportion of reservation has been ascending but not at adequate level in proportion to the respective population. People who were denied entry started to get admissions in schools and colleges and later got employment, different from their family profession. Overall, reservation in education and employment is not alone for earning income and to lead a decent life, as many people presume. Through reservation, all the sections of the population participate in the governance of the State which is expected as the true spirit of democratic polity; it is not to strengthen in monetary terms, but to empower themselves through their role of governing the State. Still the participation has to find relevant and proportionate progress. 2500 year old discrimination cannot be wiped out within the span of less than a century. This is not mere assumption.
The Mandal Commission recommended 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) whose share in the country’s total population is 52 per cent. The representation of OBCs in the Central Services was started in 1994. Even after the elapse of 23 years, the representation of OBCs in the Central Services remains at the range of 9 – 12 per cent only. Instead of extending the reservation for the total population (which is pointed out as ‘not adequately’ represented in Indian Constitution), is it equitable to put restraint and curtail the presently existing reservation level. Still the account has not been opened in higher judiciary, defence services and many Central Services. Democratic participation in proportion through the respective population is the ultimate goal in the dispensation of social justice.
The society is divided and discriminated unequally. Treating unequals equally results in the furtherance of inequality. So unequals have to be treated unequally in a discriminated manner through reservation. That is the solution to attain equality of all in the society. Justice Party, the founding political organisation of Dravidian Movement released Non Brahmin Manifesto in 1916. Thanthai Periyar, Father of Dravidian Movement made the communal reservation as the core strategy to wipe out the discriminations caused by the caste system.
The situation is like thus: The enslaved masses have been seated for food. Food items have to be served fully and they have to eat it. Before serving the food fully (reservation in proportion to population) will it be fair to ask the people to vacate the dining hall? The reservation has just begun. It has to go a long way both in volume and in the areas of application and effective implementation. The original discrimination perpetuated over more than two millenniums cannot be compensated within a century! The compensatory measures, for the historically caused discriminations, in the form of reservation has to continue……
(Article contributed to the ‘Souvenir – Yukthichintha 100 years,’ commemorating the Centenary of Rationalist Movement and Social Revolution of Inter-Caste Dining on May 27, 28 & 29, May 2017 at Kozhikode)