Friday, June 09, 2006

Let the voices be heard (decimation- part 3)

A decimation so systematic- Part 3 (concluding part)

"Let the Voices be HEARD"

In part I and part II of this series I had started off with some of my personal experiences, and so why make it any different in this concluding part ?

This is about my ex-housemate, a Jain - originally from UP , brought up in Mumbai . Like me, he had come to the US for his higher studies after his Bachelors. In the initial days itself it became quite clear that being a Jain made hardly any difference compared to what would have been with a northy vegetarian "mainstream" Hindu. In fact he was an ardent devotee of Hanuman, and would tell me stories of how he would visit the Hanuman temple in Mumbai. We used to enjoy driving around together, exploring newer and newer places, and among them were the Durga temple of Virginia, the Hindu-Jain temple of Baltimore , and of course, almost a weekly trip to the southy style grand Shiva Vishnu temple of Maryland

One day, upon my suggestion, we decided to go to the Jain center nearby - I thought he would be more happy at that, but soon came the realisation that it was just "another new temple" for him, as it was for me. He did explain to me about the various thirthankaras and practices they had, but at the end of the visit, he bluntly put it to me "Hey, frankly, eventhough a Jain center, I am feeling a bit out of place, as this is predominantly a Gujarati center, and also mainly focused on family and kids. For us, Shiva Vishnu temple only is the best" . I don't think he ever visited that center again, eventhough visits to the Shiva Vishnu temple and the Hindu-jain temple were quite frequent. (let me add that one of my most favorite temples in North America, that I have seen, is the Hindu-Jain temple of Pittsburgh)

Yes, that was from a Jain,the community whom the "secular" government of India is trying hard to declare as a "minority". And guess whom they are facing the biggest oppossition from ? The Jains themselves . Look at this article that came in the Indian Express . I am glad the community leaders have spoken up. I am sure the government through its ministry for minorities, headed by a Muslim, will continue its attempts to divide the larger Bharatiya community (as they have already done with the Sikhs and the Buddhists), but let all strength prevail upon those who have the guts to speak up.

Let me also add, the Hindu students group in my campus has a Jain girl as its President, and a Sikh girl as its treasurer. Things which would have had no relevance to even mention here, if only the pseudo-secular Indian mindset had not classified Bharatiyas into such air-tight compartments

That was not it - Sandhya Jain , followed it up with a strong article

She called Jainas the cream of Hindu society. I have not seen another "mainstream" Hindu woman, who can write with such strong conviction when it comes to defending the Hindu society, from being cut into pieces for vultures to prey upon

And mind you, a minority status in India comes with a lot of sops, lot of advantages - be it financial, in jobs, or for running educational and business institutions. And yet, the Jains - a substantial number of them- have the courage and conviction to stand with the truth - or in the least, be practical enough to think that if they formed an island, in the long term, they would only be eaten up by the hungry conversionists, or attacked upon mercilessly, just as it has happened to groups like sindhis, and some "sects" within Hinduism, who were at one time (and even now) too ashamed to call themselves Hindus

So, what is the take home message - simple- and this may be a repeat of what I have essentially echoed in the first two parts of my write up. Unless and until, those who are offered the sympathy and sops in the form of crocodile tears, stand up and expose the hypocrisy, the protests and resistance may not succeed. True, even with that, it may not succeed, but surely worth a try. And thats why I was so glad to see Prof MS Gopinathan, an OBC himself, stand up and criticise the move

It so happened that I knew Prof MSG, as we would call him, when at IITM, eventhough he never taught me. As part of the Kerala Kala Samithi and later as part of the institutes Independence day celebrations, we enacted a play on Gandhi- a court scene where Gandhi defends himself against the British, trying to divide and rule India. It was a script written by MSG - known for his extracurricular interests in writing and directing plays- and he himself played the role of Gandhi. Every other dialogue of his would be cheered by the IIT crowd. I was in a smaller role in the play, as well the "stage coordinator"..Never did I imagine, that in reallife too, he would come out in the open, voicing what he believes is right (of course we never knew each other's "OBCness" ) .. Sweeter are the melodies hitherto unheard !!

Ever since the reservation debate started, I had nurtured the idea of "OBCs against OBC reservation"front . With me going through one of the most crucial times of my PhD life, I was and am not in a position to take a lead. But the least I can do is to throw my weight behind others say clear and loud - as an OBC (a caste identity that I am wearing back, for the sake of the debate - for otherwise, I like to see myself as a casteless Hindu), I opposse the reservations . I do not intend to lead, I do not intend to start revolutions, but I am willing to walk alongside- until the legs get tired are are beaten and broken up - with those who have shown the courage to stand up- the Sandhya Jains and the MSGs


Anonymous said...

Varsha Bhosale!

Anonymous said...

To start with don't accept the OBC tag. Get a new word to qualify it so as to give a positive meaning.

If you could lobby to change the nomenaclature to things like Forward Business castes(FCB), Forward craftsman castes(FCC), Forward SHoe making castes ( FCS) etc, then Arjun Singh would be far more sensible here, though he would soon find Muslims as backward .

Sameer said...


Anonymous said...

Hi, got to agree with one of the anonymous' comments. Yeah, you must get rid of this OBC tag. It is the Indian politicians who need it. They can in fact take another tag - the 'neanderthal caste' tag. Opps, soory, no insults to the neanderthal man!

Anonymous said...

Hi, great write ups. Keep writing more.

wheels4ever said...

Saw it only now

Putting all three parts together it makes a great read and raises some thought provoking issues.

Keep up the blogging

camelpost said...

If you thought Reservations end with admissions in IIT, please read the following from Academics@ IIT Delhi
Department Change at IIT .. A student is eligible to apply for change of discipline at the end of first year only provided he/she satisfies the criteria: CGPA for the General Category students greater than or equal to 7.50 and CGPA for SC/ST category students greater than or equal to 6.50.

MHRD and the job reservation in private sector supporting UGC Chief must be working hard to set new standards for OBCs.
Let my country go to sleep, let my country go to sleep .......

will the respected Finance Minister talk of different income tax rates and bank interest rates for SC ST and OBCs. He should mind his own business. IMHO persons whose upper storey is empty should do