The politics behind Weinstein and Diwakar’s dislike of parallels between the abstract “Brahmin” and the abstract “Jew”

Posted on November 28, 2018. Filed under: Antisemitism, Brahminism, Buddhists, Christians, Delhi, economics, economy, feminism, Hindu, Historians with political agenda, History, India, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Jew, Jihad, Kashmir, Kashmiri Pundit, Marxism, Muslims, neoimperialism, Pakistan, Politics, rape, religion, Roman, Taleban, terrorism, UK, Ulema, USA, Wahabi |

Liza Weisntein and Pranathi Diwakar have published an opinion piece in scroll: why-it-is-utterly-wrong-to-call-brahmins-the-new-jews-of-india?

Referring to the by-now-viral-on-social-media item on the Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey being photographed with a poster bearing a call to “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy” – the authors start out their very first paragraph saying

Controversy arose as the interpretation of this message shifted from a rallying cry against intersecting power hierarchies to accusations of hate speech against India’s small but powerful caste group of Brahmins. Author Advaita Kala drew a parallel between the supposed demonisation of Brahmins and the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany. Referring to casteism as a mere “historical ill”, Kala suggested that Brahmins were the real victims here, who, like Jews, comprise a minority group “touted to be privileged” and scapegoated for political gain. Congress leader Manish Tiwari latched on to this parallel, and Twitter was soon abuzz with claims that “Brahmins are the new Jews of India”.

I have italicized the phrases that these two authors chose to illustrate the modern academic “Humanities” linguistic tactics of subtly placing words and expressions into the mind of the reader to associate negativities or positivities as per “Humanities” academic’s underlying beliefs or projected beliefs and world views they seek to impose on the public. By claiming that the “interpretation shifted” they are pretending that there was already a prior – “correct interpretation” or the “interpretation that should have been unchallenged” which was “shifted”. Further they already declare and probably unintentionally identify the “message” as a “rallying cry” against “intersecting power hierarchies” – thereby more openly admitting or making the “message” an essentially politically motivated activist defined agenda. In doing so, and even in the use of jargon used within the subdomain of “Humanities” the authors belong to – like “intersecting power hierarchies” (which most common readers will not be able to immediately place in the context of their own readings),  the authors beautifully expose many of the tools of the trade with which specific and selected political and religious ideologies are now being legitimized from within the “Humanities” academics as worthy of projecting on to the public domain as the “norm” against which all other rival claims should be measured or judged.

But more crucially, the more the authors expand on their initial comments, they actually expose two fatal weaknesses in their arguments and their version of the narrative:

(1) they reveal and actually lend credence to their critic’s claims that the whole “anti-Brahminism” project is a political and possibly religiously motivated modern project.

(2) they end up showing that there are actually uncanny similarities between the “Jew” and the “Brahmin” in the context of the modern anti-Jew/anti-Brahmin paradigms – both often covered up under labels that would allow wriggling out of accusations of “identity-based-hatred” by tagging the “Humanities” obfuscation device of “ism” [“oh no we are not against A or B/we are against A-ism or B-ism”]. The device is actually quite deceptive as by adding “ism”, Humanities/political activists can construct, add, delete, suppress, imagine, relabel, any or all aspects of an entity and stretch it to suit their contemporary political, ideological, religious or other agenda.

Most of the times this device acts as a double edge sword – as the same “ism” device is then selectively applied to also protect favourite religions or politics, as and when opportune. For example, “Islamism” can be “bad” if something crops up in real life that cannot be denied or falsified in public perception but is perpetrated with openly proclaimed elements identifiable with historical claims within Islam but is not deemed glorifying by modern claimed-to-be-universally-applicable standards, but by adding the “ism”, both “Islam” and “Muslim” can be detached from the negatives associated with the “bad”.

The authors next explain why they cannot simply let go of this “reaction” to the “poster”, even though they are careful in avoiding a direct statement as to “why” they feel it is “worthy” to “reflect upon this discourse”, for a direct statement would make their project and drives appear more politically or ideologically driven.

“It is tempting to dismiss these claims as feigned outrage or the whimpers of “Brahmin fragility” and simply wait for the controversy to pass. Yet, there is value in reflecting upon this discourse that attempts to conflate two groups with very different historical trajectories – briefly considering what it evokes, what it masks, and why it has provided a useful vehicle for claims of Brahmin victimhood.”

Note the two key phrases I have italicized as continuing illustrations of the “academic humanities” linguistic techniques of subtly trying to associate negative/positive value judgments in the mind of their readers. By using the word “attempt” they want to make the reader think that the “conflation” is a construction, that there is no basis for it, that the reader must start normalizing the belief that these are “two groups” with “very different historical trajectories” – both in turn being claims in their own right, and which can only be done by strictly defining the identities in a certain way, and therefore critically depends on who is constructing these two as “groups” and what constitutes “difference” in historical trajectories. Note that the authors are not stating their own definitions or characterizations of these groups or their histories – for both depend on perception and construction by other authors who came before these two – all having their own opinions and “interpretations” of the past, all coloured by political and religious undertones in those authors, with attendant fallacies of selective highlighting or suppression and approval or disapproval of elements that align with what those authors themselves had approved or disapproved. Note the authors themselves do not feel the need to clarify that they too are constructing these two “identities” and claiming “historical trajectories” which are themselves possibly contaminated by historical biases in reconstruction.

“Anti-Brahminism and anti-Semitism

The parallel suggests that Brahmins today (like Jews back then) are persecuted for their success. By celebrating caste-based successes in education and profession but denying any advantages of group membership, Brahmins deploy what anthropologist Ajantha Subramaniam calls the “politics of meritocracy”. The parallel also allows for what academic MSS Pandian has called “the subtle act of transcoding caste and caste relations into something else”. As Pandian astutely notes, caste always belongs to someone else, it is somewhere else, it is of another time. The act of transcoding caste into merit allows the group to acknowledge feelings of persecution and disavow caste privilege at once.”

I have italicized the phrases that the authors are using again first to point out their linguistic technique I have been repeatedly drawing attention to, and secondly, to start pointing out their methods of constructing the “Brahmin” as an “identity” in a way that suits their underlying ideological agenda here. Pandians “observation” also acts for excuses on jihadi or evangelist violence: “the subtle act of transcoding Islamist/Evangelist of imperialist conquest and destruction of the other and dominance-submission relations into something else – violence always belongs to someone else, it is somewhere else, it is of another time. The act of trasncoding the results of dominance or success of jihad/inquisition into legitimacy/peaceful winning over allows the group to acknowledge feelings of persecution and disavow religious privilege at once”.

Note that they have avoided the tricky task of defining the “Brahmin”, by default, making the “Brahmin” a label denoting a homogeneous subgroup, which is rigorously “caste” aligned, and which as a single homogeneous “caste” identity has monopolized privilege, and educational success. Like the device of Marxian “class”, and its concretization into abstract rival categories of “bourgeois” and “proletariat” which over the history of Marxist experiments in real life politics, was always suitably stretched or shrunk, here the authors too casually use the label “Brahmin” to tag into the “educationally successful” “class”, and those who seemingly therefore also derive privilege. Suddenly all the usual “nuance and context”, the “inhomogeneities and heterodoxies” which “must be taken into account” when “Jihad” or many other problematic social and political phenomena are discussed, the loud claims that “Islam or muslim is not a homogeneous category, with wide diversity of opinions, values, even marital or social practices” are no longer applicable.

Is this just an error of omission not to support claims of and use of a single category of “Brahmin” in discussing privilege, in an opinion piece? Perhaps not. If it was the case of “islam/jihad” the same subject area within humanities discipline would be ultra-cautious to find counterexamples and their favourite method of “case studies” (that can avoid answering questions of how representative are the claims being made on these case studies on broader identities or phenomena which are however still be placed in context – directly or indirectly – while doing the “case studies”, in another subtle linguistic and psychological manipulation of the reader to associate hoped for imagery and conclusions about the wider phenomena based on carefully selected “case studies”).

So did the authors not do any homework on possible counterexamples to “Brahmin” “by caste exclusive” privilege and dominance over “hierarchies of power”? In a “humanities area” which is super diligent on doing such homework on chosen or apparently approved-of-identities, this appears more a deliberate silence – so that the imagery of a “homogeneous” power hierarchy monopolizing privilege – is not jeopardized. There have been two cases that have refused to be erased in the public perception even after endless and arduous attempts by academia, and “mainstream” media, with the first refers to the rape and eventual death from injuries of a female student in a Delhi bus 2012_Delhi_gang_rape.

For a long time, the media avoided giving out the name of the student, preferring to mask it under excuses of “privacy” and claiming that by dubbing her “Nirbhaya” (a word derived from Sanskrit “bhaya/fear”- and supposedly “Brahminical language” which therefore needs to be hated, or removed or replaced because it is the language of the “Brahmin” – as per many in the “anti-Brahminical” political spectrum), they were actually glorifying the courage she had shown in trying to resist. Given that names, or identities, that give out “caste/religious/social-subgroup” context of victims of criminal assaults are quite common in Indian media, if the victim, especially women come from assumed to be violently repressed identity categories such as “Muslim”, “Dalit”, it was rather curious that media avoided any and all details that would reveal the “caste/social layer/” identity bits in this particular case. When it leaked out much later, that the name of the student was “Jyoti Singh Pandey”, that she and her family came from very poor background from a rural area that has not seen any or much “development”, it became clear why the media initially hesitated. Jyoti was a Hindu, not a Muslim or a Christian. She was also a Pandey – a surname indicating “Pandit”, and therefore, by “caste” mappings, indicating a traditional “Brahmin” descent. Did she show high educational success on the road to privilege?

From wiki, “Her father sold his ancestral land to educate her, and worked double shifts to continue to pay for her schooling. In an interview he related that as a youth he had dreamed of becoming a school teacher, but at that time education was not considered important and girls were not even sent to school. “Attitudes are changing back home now, but when I left 30 years ago, I vowed never deny my children so sending them to school was fulfilling my desire for knowledge.”[28][29] He said that he put his daughter’s education above that of even his two sons, stating: “It never entered our hearts to ever discriminate. How could I be happy if my son is happy and my daughter isn’t? And it was impossible to refuse a little girl who loved going to school.”

A “Brahmin” who by “caste” has “monopolized educational success and privilege” only “dreaming of becoming a school teacher” but unable to? A “patriarchal Brahmin” (whose “ism” is to be smashed as per the poster in whose defence the authors are writing) putting his daughter’s education “that of even his two sons”?! We can perhaps see why such “case studies” will not find place in these kinds of “academic exercises” in opinion pieces.

The second case, a recent one, is strangely but not unexpectedly absent in mainstream discourse with a few social media voices sharing the story: incident in UP, Varanasi where a Brahmin girl was raped with a stark absence of activists or the media. In sharp contrast to these two, with the latter never making the hallowed sphere of liberal “unbiased and authentic” journalism of the likes of Guardian, or both international and Indian media that gleefully ran claims of India’s “patriarchal” culture of “violence against women” (the “patriarchal” gets more stressed if the attackers cannot be conclusively identified as “Upper/forward caste Hindu”, and more so if they are non-“privileged classes” or Muslim, and even non-Hindu “attackers” would be blamed to have been inspired by “Hindu patriarchy”) – both the name and the “religious identities involved” made immediate headlines – even as far as the Guardian – on the following case:

But the fact that emerges is that if either of the first two cases were explored in details as to social background, income level, education, one would immediately start doubting the representation of the “Brahmin” as a unique “caste based category that monopolizes educational success, privilege, and dominate power hierarchies”. The authors chose not to as it would jeopardize their model. How will they excuse their omission? Let me anticipate: they will hide behind their deliberate mixing in of both “Brahminism/Brahmin” to claim that they were critically analyzing the “ism” which represents the “monopoly/hierarchy/privilege/education” paradigm. But to defend that excuse they should have shown an awareness of the counterexamples, an honest acknowledgment that their “term” for “Brahminism/Brahmin” is an abstract construction, on which they have slapped on all the hallmarks typical of any elite anywhere – all of which tend to become overt or covertly endogamic, seeking to protect privilege within blood descent, and who use all relevant and contemporary tools to engage with contemporary levels of technology and economy to leverage material success. But they did not clarify, and chose to retain the imagery of a “caste” with all its colonial era constructions that were in turn driven by imperialist need to project superiority and delegitimize pre-existing cultural categories especially social subgroups who might most compete with them.

At the same time, the parallels being drawn between Jews and Brahmins mask the systemic nature of Brahminical oppression originally referenced on Dorsey’s placard. Like patriarchy, Brahminism is a social system that reflects not just oppression by the group at the top of the ritualistic structure (Brahmins or men), but the violence engendered by its categorical inequalities. In contrast to colonial depictions, India’s caste system has varied geographically and has transmuted over time, as mid-tier caste groups have asserted power in matters of territory, politics, and property. Yet, Brahmins have remained the structural constant, the core around which the locally specific Brahminical system has been formed and reformed. Supporting this durable social system, Brahmin agency and self-valourising ideologies – including patriarchy – have allowed this numerical minority to occupy and retain positions of hegemonic power.

Noting that their abstract categorization is problematic, the authors quickly try to close the loophole by briefly mentioning the problem in constructing a homogeneous “Brahmin” minority dominating “power” – as if this somehow makes them academically honest, but immediately try to dilute their own acknowledgment by reaffirming the “Brahmin” not as an abstract category – but a real social subgroup of individuals, the “Brahmins” who are the “structural constant” and thereby falsifying their own initial “masking” of their underlying target as the group of real human beings and not just the supposed “abstract” “ism”. In this they also throw in the jargon, which in turn can be stretched in any direction as per immediate agenda –  such as “self-valourising ideologies” and “patriarchy”, as somehow being part of the “Brahmin” social existence. Which ideology in the world has ever been not “self-valourising”? Was “feminism”, “Marxism/communism”, or the religious ideologies of various flavours of Christinaity or Islam or even Buddhism self-de-valourising? Can any ideology survive if it does not self-valourize? If all ideologies share the same property, why make it specifically “Brahmin” as a social group?

Then again the problems of the historical assumptions on “Brahmin” power are not addressed, the authors simply perpetuate the colonial constructions of caste and its alleged role in history, even though they pretend to know of the problems with the colonial construction. The reality of Brahmins as a social group occupying “seats” of power over historical times, is not addressed, and not “contextualized” (as the favourite term goes) against analysis of any possible similar roles of various other categories of “intellectual elite” connected to non-Brahmin constructions, like role of lay and theological hierarchy of Buddhist Sangha or Jaina orders, or Ulema of both Sufi and non-Sufi orders.

The discursive association with Jews in Nazi Germany has been effective in discrediting anti-caste movements and legitimising the rejection of anti-Brahminism simply for its new association with anti-Semitism. But anti-Brahminism, as a movement that has taken shape over the past 100 years, has no resemblance to anti-Semitism. Rather, anti-Brahminism is aimed at dismantling the structure of Brahminism that has legitimated the oppression of Dalits not just by Brahmins but by all caste groups. Taking distinct forms across the country, including the Dalit Panthers in Maharashtra, the Self-Respect Movement of Periyar, and the Justice Party’s Non-Brahmin Manifesto, these movements have noted that despite their significant numerical minorities, Brahmins have stood as an elite because of their institutionalised access to education, religious authority, economic power, political influence, and social prestige. These movements have at times been criticised for pinning blame too heavily on the Brahmin and ignoring the roles mid-tier and lower castes have played in reproducing structures of caste oppression. But while these groups may slip too casually from anti-Brahminism to anti-Brahmin, they have not engaged in the kind of ethno-religious scapegoating and systematic dehumanisation experienced by Jews in Nazi Germany. Moreover, by brushing over the attempted genocide and mass extermination, the parallels between anti-Brahminism and anti-Semitism stretch beyond acceptable hyperbole.

I have again italicized the expressions that expose the inner line in the authors. By dubbing it “discursive” they are trying to make readers think, it’s just a “construction by association” – even though they do the same thing themselves by linking “Brahmin” with their model of “Brahminism” in a linguistic technique, while ignoring every aspect of reality that jeopardize their “discursive” linking.

Their first objection is essentially that of political strategy – they are resenting and objecting to an assumed political response to a political agenda, so that even if the reaction had no political drive (as most mainstream political parties do not claim to, neither do they have any reason to appease the “Brahmin” as an identity, as electorally, non-Brahmin “caste” identities and religious mobilizations are reflected in the real games of hierarchies of power: nor are any traditionally ascribed Brahmin concerns reflected in Indian state power’s treatment of Hindu ritualistic or cultural practices which are supposed to be key aspects of Brahmin “control”).

Among countless examples available, I have cited just two, which shows that the alleged “institutionalized” access to “power/privilege/dominance/violence/authority/patriarchy” claimed by the authors and directly equated to “Brahmanism” which in turn is equated by them to “Brahmins” as a social group – is a carefully selective abstraction, which denies reality, which perpetuates constructions of “Brahmin” and “Brahminism” by colonial imperialists and aggressive proselytizing organized religions which acted as arm or spearhead of imperialism, and which avoids acknowledging the fact that just like the “Jews” in Europe, the vast majority of “Brahmins” eked out a meager existence, often without much educational or material success, while their few elite top tier attained a success under patronage by ruling elite.

It is interesting that the authors try to focus only on the “Nazi” era experience of the “Jew” and that too equating the whole experience with the specifics of the officially labour and unofficially extermination camps – in Europe, while perhaps even within the Nazi era there were differences between time periods and areas, and European anti-Semitism stretches back to late classical, all the way through post-Roman and medieval period to the pre-modern. That Jews were periodically targeted is well recorded, and often proudly displayed in narratives, and in this particular pastime, the reactions of pagan Imperial Rome towards Jewish religious claims spilled over into both Christian Europe and Mediterranean Islam each often drawing inspiration from the other in symbols and methods of anti-Semitism as well as genocide. Nazis were the latest in a long and illustrious history of genocides, in which Spain, France, Germany, and England once played their glorious roles. While genocides in the past were restricted by sparse and distributed nature of the Jewish populations, they did happen, and the underlying matrix of ideological justifications as and when the genocide became opportune never went away.

The authors are trying to falsify the parallel by pretending that “anti-Semitism” or even the “Nazi” version of “anti-Jew(ism)” is entirely characterized by “genocide”. Even here, the authors are perhaps deliberately keeping silent on historical narratives, especially that from the Persian sources during the Islamic regimes in most parts of India, of specific targeting of the “Brahmins” and their social situation, frequently amounting to pogroms and mass executions or executions through spectacular tortures, and often simply for practising their rituals or religion in the privacy of their homes – reported against by Muslim neighbours. The Portuguese Catholic church did the same in Goa, specifically mentioning extermination of Brahmins as their objective. Brahmins were targeted for conversion in most parts of India, tortured, executed, humiliated in public, forced to give up their women and daughters to Muslim armies, commanders or rulers, with gleeful records of their plight in records of jihadi rulers and narrators in “Islamic” Kashmir, Sultanate and Mughal India. Calls of uniting of “Islamist” activists, and a section of “Dalit” activists which try to claim promotion of an Islamist-Dalit axis against “Brahmins” will revive the image of historical genocides of “Brahmins” in many quarters.

“Pitfalls of parallelism

If it was not Jack Dorsey but an Indian chief executive officer (or even an Indian-American chief executive officer) who had held the placard, this controversy may not have grown nearly as large as it did. While caste and casteism have been debated internally, their ascendance to the global stage has made people uncomfortable. Most commentators critical of Dorsey have highlighted his limited understanding of Indian social structures and expressed discomfort with the parallel he implied – as a non-Indian – between Brahminism and white supremacy, by displaying the sign designed by Dalit rights activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan.

And while that parallel simply suggests that patriarchy intersects with other systems of hegemonic power, we do agree that one should tread carefully when making claims of parallel experience and parallel oppression. We do not suggest that comparison in and of itself is the problem, but it can become a problem when another group’s experiences are decontextualised and used to mask systemic oppression. Anti-Semitism amounted to an entire group of people being stripped of voice, agency, and life. Brahmins, on the other hand, have regularly asserted their voice, authority, and interests over the course of history in assuming the role of spokespeople for the Indian social milieu.”

The authors try to represent that the reaction came from “discomfort” on “caste and casteism” being, implied “adversely”, raised to status of “international issues”, thereby trying in turn to represent the “reactionaries” as inherently guilty who are getting their just desserts in the court of “international opinion”. I doubt they would similarly characterize the reaction in UK to exposure of the “systemic” protection afforded to the infamous Rotherham “grooming” scandal, or the latest rush of denials of “sharia law dominates UK” in case of alleged refusal by the British Prime Minister to grant asylum to Asia Bibi,  as discomfort from exposure in “international court of public opinion” – as both point to a long term and persistent indication of a minority becoming so powerful socially and politically that states and governments are proved to be scared in “hurting their sentiments”. The reason I suspect Prof Weinstein and Postgraduate researcher Diwakar will refuse to treat these at par with their “caste and casteism” paradigm is that perhaps their internal value system already prejudices them against anything in defense of “Brahmin=Brahminism” while the same value system prejudices them questioning “parallels” with other possible “minority dominance” cases, especially if it is in the “Atlantic – Anglo-US axis” of “power hierarchies” and in favour of Islam.

If we start thinking along the lines of these authors, we may wonder if their spirited “attack” against the “parallel” also stems from discomfort at the exposure of the underlying political agenda and strategy of “anti-Brahminism”, and “anti-Brahminism” would not have drawn their spirited defense had it not been perhaps aligned to the rather ancient and moldy colonial agenda of humiliating, denigrating, or delegitimizing “Hinduism”, with the constructed “Brahmins” as the source of all evil in “evil pagan Hinduism”, which in a certain perception, obstructed the advance and conquest of the subcontinent under Islam or Christianity. Absence of similar critical finding by the same category of “academic humanities” as a supposedly “scholarly discipline” of similar elements or elite behaviour and their contribution on hierarchies among christian and Muslim subcultures over the subcontinent, seems to strengthen this speculation.

The authors acceptance of the political face of “anti-Brahminism” has led them to adopt the image and categorization of the abstract “Brahmin” which was more a construction actively encouraged by the colonial regime over the subcontinent, and as represented by the “Dalit” movement – both the modern version of “Brahmin” and “Dalit” itself are abstract and created categories, where the definitions were shaped by political need and strategy in colonial regimes as well as social identities they decided to create and foster in “confrontation” to what they considered the majority – “Hindu”. Early British reliance on textual authority, and their alliances with Islamic scholarship and theologians skewed their models of the “Hindu” in a caste context that even at the time of formulation in 19th century was actually protested widely. But both the modern European insistence on this so-called caste “realism” as well as its use by “Dalit” “elite” is based on created and invented categories of political convenience, which once formed can get a seeming life of their own and therefore seemingly self-justified as to historical existence. This is the deeper parallel between the modern treatment and use of the “Brahmin(ism)” as reflected in the authors together with its use by “Dalit” or Christian and Islamic groups  that is uncannily parallel to the way the 19th century “Jew” was constructed in Europe, for a specific political purpose and serving certain international political objectives. Going into the details of the European scenario would unnecessarily lengthen this post but I am sure that the background of scholarship of these two authors will enable them to identify the sources and research I am hinting of.

Yes, it can become a problem when another group’s experiences are decontextualised and used to mask systemic oppression – just as the experience of the large majority of Brahmins who do not make it into any hierarchies of power or privilege or education or wealth and their systematic historical repression at the hands of the Christian and Muslim regimes, with the marginalization of the majority of them happening over many centuries as a social group, suggests.

Anti-Semitism amounted to an entire group of people being stripped of voice, agency, and life, just as anti-Brahmanism is seeking to strip an entire group of people of their voice, agency, and in some parts of India, increasingly seemingly, also of life. Yes, some Brahmins, like some Jews, on the other hand, have regularly asserted their voice, authority, and interests over the course of history but only in a personal context and not in assuming the role of spokespeople for the Indian social milieu. While many Jews have spoken out in favour of their “identity”, most of “Brahmins” who are being touted as having “reasserted” their voice were actually only allowed to say things that would strengthen the anti-Brahminical position, and none of India’s so-called “Brahmins” in “power” have spoken a single item that has reinforced the imagery constructed by the authors. From “Pundit Nehru” to most of the “eminent historians” who are supposedly “Brahmins by birth caste” or judicial luminaries who have “redefined” Hinduism and supposedly “Brahmins by birth caste” and who have never wavered from judicial activism or rulings that favour the referred “repressed non-Brahmin” or ruled against “Brahminical ritual practices” they deem personally unsupportable,  there is not a single example to show that the “Brahmin voices” in power have actually done anything to “assert” or “consolidate” anything the authors characterize “Brahmins” with in their alleged ritualistic, religious, social views which allegedly characterizes them.

Thus in a way, the actual track record of the small number of “Brahmins” successful in education, or privilege, who loom large as they appear to be in a large proportion of elite/state-patronized positions but which taken in the context of the overall population still leaves out the overwhelming portion of Brahmins as surviving at the margins of economic and educational opportunities and entitlements, and thus do not represent their entire “caste group”. Further, once in privilege or power they do not do anything to perpetuate their “Caste identities” grip or role in power as “Brahmins” – rather the reality of their overt and often persistently vicious “anti-Brahminical” positions simply indicates the weakness and marginalization of the “Brahmin” as an identity, and “Brahminism” as a culture. Claims and representation that these authors make, places patriarchy as a seemingly purely “Brahminical” contribution and dangerously removes the possibility of role of other ideologies and religions than the “Hindu” or the “Brahmin” as having contributed to it.

Hatred of  “Brahminism” is not only about removing the abstract “Brahmin” who supposedly dominates society, but everything that can be linked to the “Brahmin” theologically or religiously as constructed by the self-appointed “enemies” of “Brahminism” – this has led to claims to suppress, reject, eliminate, refuse space to languages deemed “Brahminical”, or texts, philosophies deemed “Brahminical”, in effect cultural or knowledge base aspects that may not have anything to do with “power”. In fact most “rituals” of the “Hindu” are target, often under the excuse of same labels the authors use – by linking anything and everything Hindu with “brahmin” and “Brahminism”, in a sense the anti-Brahminical agitation gets so much traction in the formal academic humanities simply perhaps because it helps delegitimizing the “Hindu”. The same category and group of academics are however in sharp contrast very cautious in criticizing rituals of Islam, sometimes showing rather positive keenness in trying to rationalize or find “scientific” roots or “legitimate perceptions of a different time and society – in nuanced and contextual” way. No such consideration for the “ritualistic/hegemonistic” practices of the abstract “Brahmin/Brahminical Hinduism”.

Delegitimization of the social media voices drawing parallels between the “Jew” and the “Brahmin”  as attempted by these two “academic” authors, is mischievous, and perhaps deeply disturbing as it does resemble many initial reaction to Nazism or its precursor movements – that perhaps facilitated the initial passage towards the extreme that it became under the closing days of WWII – sort of “well they had it coming”.


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