Why not a Dalit priest?

Deepavali in White House
Why not a Dalit priest?
By Kancha Ilaiah

Let not the NRIs work for creating religious frictions by presenting one
section’s festival as Indian festival.

The Non-Resident Indians of North America have
been trying to convince the White House that they should recognise the
Deepavali festival as American national festival by celebrating it in White
House. They made such efforts during the Bill Clinton period but failed. Then
they tried very hard during the George W Bush term and again failed.

However, they succeeded during this time in convincing the Obama
administration that it should celebrate the Deepavali festival in the White
House. On the Deepavali day, Obama attended a celebration organised by
Indians in the White House and lit a lamp. The main representative of India
on the dais, along with Obama was an Indian Brahmin priest with a shaven head
and semi-naked body covered with a Pattu Vastram and a dhoti. He also sported
big three fold Vaishnava ‘namam’.

Assuming that the NRIs were not willing to present a homogeneous Hinduism by
keeping a Shaivaite priest also, the basic question that does bother is: does
that priest represent Indian Dalits-Bahujans who hardly have any space in the
Hindu religious temple structures?

The NRIs living in America used Obama’s black background to convince him to
attend the celebration and give a respectability to Indian-Hindu culture.
What they have ‘hidden’ from Obama and his administrative staff was that in
India still the Hindu priestly caste does not allow millions of Dalits to
enter Hindu temples and they treat them as untouchables.

We were all a witness to Obama’s oath taking ceremony where the black pastors
played a key role, though there were white pastors side by side. In spite of
an attempt to raise a controversy around his own pastor Jeremiah Wright,
Obama refused to disown him.

Since Hinduism does not even give such a scope to Dalits and other backward
castes, they are forced to remain unequal and outside its ritual
celebrations. No Dalit-Bahujan is allowed to become a priest in any
mainstream Hindu temple.

For a long time the American blacks faced a similar denial of spiritual
rights (though there was no untouchability) within the white church. The
blacks fought for decades to fight such spiritual racism and over a period of
time they gained the right to go to the white church. But the blacks were not
allowed to ordain as pastors and lead the church system. To counter such
discrimination the blacks started their own churches, which have become a
whole religious system in themselves. All great black leaders emerged from
that black church.

Whether it were the first major black leader, Frederick Doglas of Abraham Lincoln’s
times, or Martin Luther King who emerged as the greatest leader of the civil
rights movement and won a Nobel Peace prize at the age of 38, all were black
pastors in black churches. Even Obama emerged as a political leader, while
working in the black community church.

When the Indian casteist forces celebrated the Deepavali in the White House,
the Indian community would have realised that it would have destroyed his
race neutral administrative apparatus if they did not take a Dalit priest to
the White House. They should have done that, at least, to tell the world that
the NRIs do not believe in caste discrimination and untouchability.

Some of these NRIs were raising objections as to why the Congress House
Committee of Human Rights (called the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human
Rights and International Operations in the United States House of
Representatives) heard the Indian delegation in 2005 about the existence of
discrimination based on caste and untouchability in India.

Back in India Sri Sri Ravishankar, Ramachandra Guha and others accused us
(myself, Joseph D’Souza, Udit Raj and Indira Atwale were the main deposers)
as people who were indulging in internationalising the internal problems. How
do these so called reform seers and intellectuals respond to celebration of
Deepavali in White House and that too with a Brahmin representing Indian
culture? Suppose the Kerala NRIs ask for celebration of Onam in the White
House, who will represent that festival? Would a Bali’s heritage Shudra
represent it or a Brahmin from Vaishnava tradition?

Do not these intellectuals, so called seers and NRIs understand that
Deepavali as it is being celebrated today is an anti-Dalit-Bahujan festival
as Narakasura, who was killed was a Shudra himself? How could a festival that
celebrates the death of an Indian Shudra be considered as a secular festival?
Secondly, how does Deepavali represent India as a cultural festival when
India is a country of multi-religious people?

The only festival that can represent all Indians is Independence Day (August
15) celebration. Let the NRIs not work for creating religious frictions by
presenting one section’s festival as Indian festival. Let the NRIs stop
globalising communalism and casteism also in this from. Let Obama’s
administration realise that there are 200 million Dalits who cannot celebrate
Deepavali as a festival in India.

This is the reason why the Obama administration should have asked for the
presence of a Dalit priest on the occasion of celebration of the Deepavali in
the White House.




Ambedkar & USA


June 03, 2011   3:48:12 AM

Chandrabhan Prasad

A professor recounts Ambedkar’s foray with Columbia University

Dr Ambedkar was one of the first (and one of the few) Indian leaders to be educated in the United States. I am not sure what influence his years at Columbia University in New York City had on his life, but I know we can be proud to claim some part of this remarkable man’s early development. Two of the qualities which mark his life and career — optimism and pragmatism — may have been enhanced by his contact with this country, which prides itself on its charactersitics of hope and practicality.

The three years Ambedkar spent at Columbia, 1913-1916, awakened, in his own words, his potential. Columbia was in its golden age, and a list of Ambedkar’s professors reads like a catalog of early 20th-century American educators. The transcript of Ambedkar’s work at Columbia reveals that he audited many classes, more than he could have taken for grades, including such subjects as “railroad economics.” Later, Ambedkar wrote, “The best friends I have had in my life were some of my classmates at Columbia and my great professors, John Dewey, James Shotwell, Edwin Seligman and James Harvey Robinson. II (Columbia Alumni News, December 19, 1930).”

Although it was Edwin Seligman, Professor of Economics, with whom Ambedkar kept in touch after he left Columbia and to whom he sent students when he taught at Sydenham college in Bombay, John Dewey seems to have had the greatest influence on him. Dewey’s pragmatic philosophy, his theories associated with optimistic, pragmatic American democracy, which preached (although it did not always practice) equality, no barriers to upward mobility, the use of machinery to produce leisure, and an attitude of respect for every individual.

Ambedkar’s first political party, the Independent Labour Party founded in 1936, took its name from British politics. But two things lessened the importance of Britain for Ambedkar: the colonial presence of the British in India, and the preference of British liberals for Gandhi and his non-violent direct action campaigns for independence over Ambedkar and the slow parliamentary path. And it also seems likely that American optimism, and the lack of an obvious class system in America, met a natural response in Ambedkar.

Ambedkar’s American contacts did not end when he left Columbia University in June, 1916, although one must admit they became minimal. He continued to correspond with Edwin Seligman, his mentor in Economics at Columbia, and occasionally recommended Indian students to Seligman. In 1930, Ambedkar wrote an article for the Columbia alumni magazine which reveals quite a sentimental attachment: “The best friends I have had in my life were some of my classmates at Columbia and my great professors, John Dewey, James Shotwell, Edwin Seligman and James Harvey Robinson.” In 1952, Ambedkar went back to Columbia to receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws and it is clear that this recognition of his work meant much to him. It was in this period of the early 1950’s that Ambedkar was publicly critical of India’s foreign policy of non-alignment, which seemed to him to cut India off from American contacts.

I shall end this introduction with two stories, since this is not so much a scholarly tract as an essay which attempts to explore an American-Indian cultural interaction in a personal way. Mrs Savita Ambedkar tells a touching story of Ambedkar happily imitating John Dewey’s distinctive classroom mannerisms — 30 years after Ambedkar sat in Dewey’s classes. It is impossible to find in Ambedkar’s life story any hint of a guru or a personality which dominated him, but here at least is a suggestion that he was fond of both Dewey the philosopher and Dewey the man.

The other story concerns a letter of recommendation written about Ambedkar by Edward Cannon, Professor of Political Economy in the University of London, to the head of Sydenham College, where Ambedkar applied for a teaching position in 1918. Professor Cannon wrote: “I don’t know anything about Ambedkar except that he came to do a thesis and attacked it and me in a way which showed he had quite extraordinary practical ability…. I rather wonder if he is a pure Indian; his character is rather Scotch-American.” There is absolutely no doubt that Ambedkar was pure Indian, and no one who knew his background and the history of his caste would assign any other nationality to him. But this depiction of his character as “Scotch-American” rather delights me.

(Excerpts from a lecture by Prof Eleanor Zelliot delivered in 1991 in the University of Columbia)




The Untouchable Case for Indian Capitalism -Wall Street Journal

 The Wall Street Journal, New York

The Indian left’s caste-related justifications for

 state intervention are dying.

The plight of the Dalits, those whom the Hindu caste system considers outcastes and hence Untouchables, was a rallying cry of Hindu reformers and Indian leftists for half a century. But today these victims of the caste system are finding that free markets and development bring advancement faster than government programs.

Historically, Dalits were left to do the most undignified work in society, and were denied education or job opportunities. After independence, not only was legal recognition of caste abolished, but Delhi also created affirmative action and welfare programs. Intellectuals who fought for the betterment of Dalits worked together with leftists to pass laws righting historical wrongs.

That alliance is now breaking down. India’s economic reforms have unleashed enormous opportunities to elevate Dalits—materially and socially. In research published last year, Devesh Kapur at the University of Pennsylvania and others show this transformation occurring in Uttar Pradesh state in the north, a region notorious for clinging to caste traditions.

Mr. Kapur found that Dalits now buy TVs, mobile phones and other goods very easily—at rates similar to any other caste; they have also been spending more money on family weddings. These factors and others point to practical benefits Untouchables receive from growth, the same benefits accruing to other Indians. There are more such cases in the south and west of the country.

More economic choices are changing Dalits’ own expectations and, in turn, changing social structures for the better. Dalits may have seats reserved for them in public schools, but parents now prefer to send their children to private schools. Urbanization is one trend hugely in favor of those thought to be Untouchables in the village economy. Commerce in cities doesn’t discriminate.

Dalits have also launched campaigns promoting the use of English, which has both helped them earn higher incomes and more dignity in society. One Dalit intellectual, Chandrabhan Prasad, thinks his community should worship “English” as a goddess.

This has the left, with its belief that only the modern state can repair social ills, in a quandary. One refrain common among Indian leftists is that 20 years of economic reform have benefited upper castes and left those at the bottom of this hierarchy worse off. But Dalits clearly don’t agree.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Dalits pay tribute to a portrait of their leader, B.R. Ambedkar.

The only remaining argument for the Dalit cause to stay intertwined with statism is the fact that the Untouchables’ most respected leader, B.R. Ambedkar, supported affirmative-action laws. Because of this, he was long believed to have leftist leanings.

However, 50 years later, my research shows that Ambedkar was, in fact, one of the biggest proponents of classical liberalism in India’s 20th century history—not some proto-Marxist, as some have made him out to be. Last month’s 120th anniversary of his birth is a chance to reflect on how liberalization has helped and can further help Dalits.

It’s true that the Dalit leader often spoke in favor of affirmative-action measures for Dalits and, as the architect of India’s constitution, put some of these measures into the law. For instance, he feared that without a reservation provision for education, Dalits would not achieve social equality and freedom.

Seeing their leader support state intervention, Dalit intellectuals embraced Marxism. Mr. Prasad, a Marxist-turned-free-marketeer, notes, “The idea of Communism . . . seeped into the Dalit consciousness. Many claiming to be ardent Ambedkarites, including myself for a decade, spoke the Marxist language. A great amount of Dalits’ intellectual energy, time and resources was invested in Marxism.” That boosted India’s broader left movement.

But this whitewashes Ambedkar’s true legacy. Some economists and historians have pointed out that Ambedkar was no Marxist. My own research indicates that this man, born an Untouchable in 1891, anticipated a lot of what classical liberals like F.A. Hayek later said.

In the 1920s, Ambedkar was an early advocate of property rights. He also opposed central planning, writing as early as 1917 that it “must lead to inefficiency.” Under the 1950 constitution that he drafted, not only was there little hint of Soviet-style planning, but the right to property was enshrined as a “fundamental right”—the highest and most easily enforceable of civil rights in India’s legal framework. Politicians later amended the constitution to enable economic engineering.

Ambedkar was also one of few Indians to think seriously about monetary matters. He has left behind writings from the 1920s supporting the gold standard. Like the Austrian School of Economics after him, he defended private banks’ ability to issue competing currencies and decried the state’s monopoly over legal tender.

Ambedkar may have supported reserving seats for Dalits in public education, but he actually favored a review of the provision after a decade, so as to not make it permanent. All this was forgotten after his death in 1956.

It’s important to tell the real story about Ambedkar. For one thing, it could further invigorate the Dalit community in favor of free-market ideas. His influence among Dalits remains unparalleled to this day. That, in turn, will undermine the linkage of the caste system to leftist ideas. Policy makers often invoke freedom fighters and founding fathers for their cause. Ambedkar should no longer be a pretext for statist policies.

Reform-minded policy makers can press Ambedkar’s insights into service, though. In contrast to leaders who reckoned the English language was imperialist, Ambedkar once called English the “milk of lionesses.” Unlike Mohandas Gandhi, who saw the village as the basis for economic activity, Ambedkar considered the “individual” to be the ultimate economic unit.

Ambedkar isn’t the only classical liberal in modern India’s history; nor is caste the only pretext for leftism. But if someone as influential as Ambedkar believed that classical liberal ideas could help India’s most downtrodden, and if these ideas are starting to help in practice, then the political case for them only becomes stronger.

—Mr. Chandrasekaran works in public policy in New Delhi.

The Wall Street Journal American English- international daily newspaper

Protests over anti-Ambedkar webpage

Express News Service Wed Feb 16 2011, 04:05 hrsMumbai:
Security was tightened near the Babasaheb Ambedkar statue in Khar on Tuesday 

Security was tightened near the Babasaheb Ambedkar statue in Khar on Tuesday
Facebook, Defaced photo of Dalit icon on ‘I Hate Ambedkar’ community leads to violence in suburbs

An anti-Ambedkar page on Facebook triggered protests in the western suburbs of Bandra and Khar in the early hours of Tuesday. The Khar police arrested five protesters and booked several others for rioting after they vandalised a few vehicles and threw stones.

“No local leader is involved, but we are finding out who gathered so many people for the protest. We called in additional force and restrained the protesters by 3.30 am,” said Amitabh Gupta, Additional Commissioner of Police (West).

Following nearly three hours of protests, the Mumbai Police assured the followers of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar that action would be taken against unidentified people who had formed an online community, ‘I Hate Ambedkar’, on the social networking site.

By Tuesday evening, the police acquired an order from a Bandra magistrate’s court directing that a defaced photograph of Ambedkar be deleted from the webpage and the community be blocked.

“We have also registered a case against an unknown person for hurting religious sentiments under Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code. We will now take the help of cyber crime officers and Facebook to trace the unknown person and arrest him,” said an officer from Khar police station.

Police said around 400 people gathered outside the Khar police station at 12.30 am, demanding that the defaced photo of Ambedkar be deleted from Facebook. When the police sought time, the mob got agitated, said an officer.

… contd.

Posted: Wed Feb 16 2011, 04:05 hrs
Security was tightened near the Babasaheb Ambedkar statue in Khar on Tuesday 

Security was tightened near the Babasaheb Ambedkar statue in Khar on Tuesday
The protesters then began damaging cars and burning tyres near the Ambedkar statue on 18th Road near Carter Road in Khar west. Motorists were stopped and asked to take a different route.

A motorist said he was on his way to South Mumbai when he was approached by a protester who asked him to take a U-turn if he wanted to save his car. “After dropping a colleague in Juhu, I was going towards Bandra Linking Road when a man aged about 25 stopped me and asked me to take a different route or my car would be broken,” said Ronak Kotecha, senior producer for a television channel.

“When we moved ahead, we saw the entire road barricaded, people burning tyres and glass pieces scattered on the road,” said Kotecha who finally reached South Mumbai via the Western Expressway.

Former MP and Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athawale threatened to launch a statewide agitation to protest against the insult to Ambedkar. “People are expressing their anger at various places spontaneously. Our demand is that the people responsible for uploading the image on Facebook be punished,” he said.




By: Pianke Nubiyang


The earliest form of racism may have been introduced and practiced by
wandering barbarians from Erasia, who spoke a variety of languages
before the Black Aryan (Indo-Aryan) languages of India was taught to
them. These barbarians were Caucasian for the most part, although
there were Black chiefs among them, according to Chancellor Williams
in his book, The Destruction of Black Civilization (Third World Press,
Chicago; 1976).

Later, after the influence of the Black Davidians, Black Tartars and
other Black Negroid and Australoid types who lived in Asia in ancient
times (and who still do today), the barbarians learned various skills,
including how to hitch horses to carriages and how to ride horses for
purposes of war. These techniques learned from the Blacks of Asia was
used to invade the ancient Black civilizations of the region. India
was one of the first to be infiltrated, followed by other Black
civilizations to the south, including Mesopotamia and Egypt. Between
2000 B.C. to about 1500 B.C., waves of the northern barbarians invaded
India. All did not enter ancient India as an invasion force, since
they were not militarily strong enough to defeat the mighty Black
armies of the ancient Ethiopic Dravidian Indians. In fact, many
barbarians came in trickles, looking for food and lodging in what was
one of the greatest Black civilizations earth, and one of the most

Long before the infiltrations of the aliens, India’s wealth, culture,
architecture, civilization was legendary. The ancient Indians belonged
to the Kushsite African race, still numerious in a wide area of the
globe, spread from India in the East to Senegal in the West. Of this
group of ancient Blacks, the Naga People were and still are the
largest subgroup of the Kushitic speaking branch of the Black African
race. In fact, the Nagas still retain the title “Naga” in various
forms throughout Africa and South Asia even today. There are many
examples of the term “Naga” still being used to describe various
groups in Africa and Asia, who are all of the Kushitic branch of the
Black African race. For example, the Blacks of West Africa were called
“Nugarmar-ta.” “Nagomina” is the name of a tribe from West Africa, who
were part of a series of great civilizations which existed in the
region before 1000 B.C. The “Naga,” are another group of people
related to India’s Naga people, who live in various parts of East
Africa and in the nation of Sudan, the original homeland of all Naga
and other Kushitic Black peoples. The word “Nahas” is another word for
“Nubian.” Names of tribes and nationalities such as “Nuer,” “Nuba,”
“Nubian” are all related to the Naga tribes of India and South Asia.
Long before the barbarians infiltrated India, the Blacks (Naga,
Negrito, Negroid and all those belonging to the Negroid-Australoid
Black race, as well as pure Negritic racial types ruled India as well
as a substantial portion of Asia from Arabia to China and the South
Pacific, as well as the Indian Ocean region. In India, the Blacks
built one of the world’s most magnificient and glorious civilizations.
This civilization had been developing since about 6000 years before
Christ. The magnificent cities of Harrappa and Mohenjo-daro are two of
the many cities built by these Blacks. These cities cover large
regions of Northern India and Pakistan. Wayne Chandler explains in the
book, African Presence in Early Asia (edt. by Ivan Van Sertima,
Transaction Publishers, Newbruinswick, NJ; 1985, p. 83), “The Jewel in
the Lotus: The Ethiopian Presence in the Indus Valley Civilization,”
“Mohenjo-daro and Harrappa, the greatest examples of Harrappan
architecture were built between 3000 B.C. and 2500 B.C.; these
masterpieces of Harappan city planning were the culmination of towns
and villages which date from 6000 B.C. to 7000 B.C.”

India’s ancient original Blacks (and much of today’s Black
Indians…Nagas…Black Dalits) belong to the same Negritic race of
today. Even India’s Pygmy types such as the Andaman Islanders are
related to the Pygmies of Africa. The connections between the Blacks
of India and those of Africa are so close, that even the names given
to the various Naga peoples of India and those of Africa are close in
sound. For example groups in parts of Sudan are called Nagas, whereas
in India, Black groups with racial features similar to the people of
Sudan are also called Nagas. The languages spoken by the Nagas and
other Dravidians such as Telegu, Malayalam, Kanada and others are
related to the Kushite languages of East Africa, such as Gala and
those spoken by the Nilotic peoples. Moreover, it seems that these
languages spread far beyond India into Cambodia and South China in the
East to West Africa in the West. Kushitic speaking people migrated in
both directions.


Racism against India’s ancient Blacks who founded the Indus Valley
civilizations over four thousand years Before Christ, began after
barbarians from Eurasia infiltrated the Indus Valley. These barbarians
came from the northern parts of Eurasia and from the northwest and
spread into northern India, some migrated to parts of Europe and the
Middle East, where they encountered more Black civilizations. The
barbarians were not militarily stronger than the advanced and
militarily superior Blacks of the Indus Valley. In fact, according to
Drucilla Dungee Houston, in her book Wonderful Ethiopians of the
Ancient Cushite Empire (1985, p. 221) “An ancient treatise tells of
the early Cushite element, that they adorned their dead with gifts,
with rainment, and ornaments, imagining thereby that they shall attain
the world to come. Their ornaments were bronze copper and gold. One
non-Aryan chief described this race (the Blacks) as of fearful
swiftness, unyielding in battle, in color like a dark blue cloud. This
old type is represented today by the compact masses of the south.
These Dravidians constitute forty-six millions (during the 1920’s;
today however they are over 800 million Black Dalits, Tribals,
Backward castes and Scheduled Castes). They represent the unmixed
Cushite Type. All the rest of the blood of India is heavily mixed with
this strain.” (D.D. Houston, Black Classics Press, Baltimore MD) When
the barbarians infiltrated into India, they may not have invaded in a
massive sweep, for surely, they would have been wiped out by the
invincible Naga armies who were well equipped, strong and fierce as
mentioned above. Yet, it seems that from the beginning, their
objective was to take over the glorious lans of the Nagas and other
Blacks of India. According to Al Bash-am, the Blacks of India were
described by the invaders as “dark and illfavored, bull lipped, snub
nosed woshippers of the phallus….they are rich in cattle and dwell
in fortified places called pur.” It is interesting to note that the
dwelling place of the Pharaoh was also called “Pur-o” from which them
name “pharaoh” originated. In his booklet, “Nagaloka: The Fractured
and Forgotten Glory of the Bahujan Indians,” by M. Gopinath (April 14,
1998), he explains that the Aryans arrived in India about 2000 years
B.C. In fact, their descendants still exist in India among the Bramins
and Banias (Banias are among the Blackest of Blacks). These vagrant
migrants (the ancient invaders) arrived in ancient India (Naga-
mandla) looking for food and shelter. The Naga kings allowed them to
settle in the Naga kingdoms, gave them food and allowed them to use
the land for their wellbeing. Soon afterwards however, the Blacks were
repaid by the barbarians with violence and the eventual takeover of
their lands. Gopinath states clearly in the book, Nagaloka (April,
1998), that in Nagamandla, the Aryan aliens felt insecure, and feared
that their positions would be lowered even more than they had been.
They began to devide and cause strife and discord among the Naga
tribes, in order to gain a dominant foothold (sounds farmiliar?).
Their tricks brought about enmity between the various Naga kingdoms (
people of West Africa, Sudan, and other parts of the world who
continue to kill each other over the religious beliefs of others
should take note). Gopinath’s point that the aliens felt “insecure in
their positions,” clearly underscores the major point of this book,
which is, those who claim to be “superior,” may actually feel inferior
and therefore, they have devised racist and evil means to oppress
others in order to keep themselves at the top. Gopinath states that
many of these raids were led by these Aryan infiltrators, who helped
destroy great cities such as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. The result was
the weakening of the Naga kings. Soon their kingdoms fell under the
control of the barbarians. The caste system was introduced to further
devide and controle the Black Naga people, while the Aryans
established themselves at the very top, with full control over all the
rest of the Naga people. In fact, the Aryans called themselves,
“Bhoodevatas,” or “Gods of the Earth,” Gopinath explains, (Nagaloka,
The fractured History and Forgotten Glory of the Bahujan Indians,
compiled by M. Gopinath, Dalit Sahitya Sanghatane, Bangalore, India)


A large majority of the Naga People refused to be dragged into the
evil, racist ‘varna’ or color and caste apartheid introduced by the
barbarians. These Nagas fought the system and were classified as
outcastes, unapproachables, untouchables and unseeables. The color of
skin of the Naga people being the glorious black complexion and a
devine blessing by the sun, which they considered an honor, was
considered repugnant to the albino colored invaders. Thus, to touch a
person classified as “untouchable” was considered repugnant by the
albino colored invaders. The name “untouchable” also meant that the
original Black Nagas were outside of the caste system and were (and
still are) its greatest opponents and enemies. The barbarians who
invaded India and introduced the “varna” or color and caste system
which devided and graded the various Naga tribes and other Indians
into various levels of power, had poluted some of the pure black Naga
people, creating various strata of color ranging from fair to black
skinned. In fact, their system was the world’s very first system of
apartheid, Jim Crow and color racism. V.T. Rajshekar lists the levels
of the racist caste system in his book, Dalit: The Back Untouchables
of India (Clarity Press, Atlanta; 1987, p. 56) as: “The Bramin, 5
percent of Hindus; priestly caste The Kshatriya; 4 percent of Hindus;
warrior caste The Vaishya; 2 percent of Hindus; merchant caste The
Shudra; 45 percent of Hindus; lowest caste (street sweepers) India’s
Black Dalits or Untouchables are outside of the caste system. They are
the descendants of the original Black Naga and other Black tribes of
Black African roots who were the first people on earth and who spread
throughout the entire world in prehistoric times. As already
mentioned, these are the Blacks who built Harappa and Mohenjo-daro,
two of the major cities and urban complexes of the Indus Valley
Civilizations, where many beartiful cities were built by the Nagas and
other Blacks.

According to Gopinath (April 14, 1998, pp. 9, 10), the barbarians
introduced a disgraceful civilization, where drinking, free sex,
gambling and other evil vices were practiced among them. Many rites of
worship to invoke their gods were some of these functions. In due
time, these practices began to influence others. (4) Gopinath states
that the Nagas were pushed to “poverty, ignorance, hunger and
unemployment.” (p. 12). Due to these calamities, “robbery, looting,
murder and prostitution which were unknown to the Nagamandala so far
took birth. Drought, deforestation, crop failure, and such other
natural imbalances started to surface. Farmers and businessmen were
forced to pay more taxes to the government. Enraged by this unethical
debauchery, the unbeaten Nagarajas waged wars against them. They
attacked the yagas and yajans of the Aryan rulers. But these Nagas
were so much demoralized and disunited that they could not launch an
organized battle under one leadership against the Aryans. Making use
of this failure on the part of the Nagas the Aryan rulers had managed
to picture the rebellious Rakshasas, Asauras and Dhanavas as
evil-minded “demons” and all those Aryan murders of rebel Nagarajas
were hailed as incarnations of (avatharas of their god.” (Nagaloka:
The Fractured History and Forgotten Glory of the Bahujan Indians; M.
Gopinath; Dalit Sahitya Sanghatane, Bangalore, India). (5) The issues
discussed by M. Gopinath brings to mind the common tricks used by the
invaders to gain a foothold in India and to establish their racist
devide and conquer caste system. These techniques are still being used
today in all parts of the world where the descendants of these
barbarians entered or gained control and domination over the past five
hundred years.

In most cases, however, the victims, who have been the original Black
races of planet earth have refused to unite in order to eliminate all
forms of oppression once and for all. Black against Black divisions
designed to keep weakness and fragmentation alive and to promote
destruction from outside forces continue to exist. In some cases these
divisions continue to exist even after the original perpetrator has
left the scene. In nations such as West and Eastern Africa, alien
religions introduced by the enemies of Africans, have worked well in
implementing the invaders’ “devide and conquer,” schemes. In many
cases, Africans have allowed such religious concepts to be blindly
followed by their people without examining the consequences on the
original African culture and system of beliefs, which are more
adaptable to the African way of thinking. For example, the idea of
worshipping another human as a devine, supreme being is unacceptable
to many Africans. Glory must be given to those African ancestors who
refused to join the evil schemes of the conquerors, disguised as
religious enlightenment and spiritual self-fulfillment. Glory must be
given to those who fought against being forcibly converted and
rejected beliefs which placed them in stratified, divided classes and
castes. Many fled into inaccessable areas such as the mountains and
forests in order to maintain their ancient way of live and reject the
beliefs and tricks of the invaders. Those who remained near or among
the barbarian invaders are today the most oppressed people on earth

V.T. Rajshekar explains in his essay, “The Black Untouchables of
India,” African Presence in Early Asia, edt. by Ivan Van Sertima,
(1993, p. 237), that the racist caste system is explained in the Rig
Vedas. (6) On the other hand, according to Drucilla Dunjee Houston,
the Vedas were originally Black Kushite literary works stolen and
corrupted by the invaders, who added racist ideas to them. She
explains in Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Kushite Empire:

“5000 years ago we have shown there was no branch of the Aryan race
that could have produced the Rig Veda. 5000 years ago, no Japhethic
nation possessed blacksmiths, chariots, and the civilization the Rig
Veda reveals.” (7)

According to Houston, the Kushites lived in the region of Hindu-Kush
and the plains of India. They took Dravidian wives, she states, since
they were probably of the same Black Kushite stock. Between 3000 to
4500 B.C., the Kushite father was represened as a priest of the family
who conducted religious rites. The burning of widows was not practiced
and women were held at high positions. Houston states that according
to the Rig-Vedas, the ancient Kushites of India were blacksmiths,
goldsmiths, coppersmiths, carpenters and husbandmen who practiced
agriculture. Houston states (1985, p.218), “They fought from chariots
as did all the Cushite nations. They settled down as husbandmen to
till the fields. Unlike the modern Hindu they ate beef. They adored
gods identical with those of Egypt, Chaldea and Ethiopia. Who were
these people who 4500 B.C. possessed towns and built ships? Semites
and Turanians had no such arts.” (D.D. Houston, Wonderful Ethiopians
of the Ancient Cushite Empire, Black Classics Press, Baltimore, MD.:
1985, p. 218) (8)

According to Houston, by the time the GrecoBactrian and Sythians
entered India around 327- 544 A.D., the fairest districts (where the
descendants of the fairskinned Aryans lived) in the northern parts of
India were still owned by the Kushites. She points out that ruins
built by the Kushites cn be found throughout Oudh and the northwestern
provinces, where they reigned from the fifth to the eleventh centuries
A.D. She underscores this important fact :

“Some superficial interpretations of the Vedas attempt to make out the
Dravidian Kushites as disturbers of sacrifices, lawless without gods,
and without rites. This would not describe the Cushites anywhere in
the world. To those who read the Rig-Veda intelligently and without
the confusing glasses of prejudice, these mutilated and interpolated
writings are but a description of the familiar traits and customs of
Cushite Ethiopians. The Brahmins were probably a much later and
intermixed branch of the inhabitants of Hindu-Kush. That they were
intermixed we can tell by their cruelty. Full blooded Cushites were
gentle. The fact thatthe Brahmins altered the Sanskrit writings to
such great extent is proof itself that they were not the original
authors of these works. They took over and appropriated much from
Buddhism that would appeal to the masses when they found it otherwise
impossible for them to sit in the saddle of the priesthood.” (p. 221)

Houston states that Brahminism (from the God Brahma, the first person
in the trinity), “claims to be founded upon the Vedas, the sacred
books of India, taken over by the Brahmins. They were not the creators
of the writings, although today they are the custodians, interpretors
and priests. They only attained this place after a bloody struggle
with the native races. Upon the suppression of Buddhism, a line of
apostles of Brahminism appeared, with a philosophy built upon the
peculiar mysic, ascetic, teachings of Buddha. A mass of Hindu legends
sprang up around them.” (p. 246) (10)

Houston continues:

“The Brahmins attempted to incorporate the pure worship of Buddha into
their religion by making him an incarnatin of Vishnu. As time went on
Brahmins added to and corrupted the Vedas to confirm their excessive
pretentions. Brahminism is full of elements foreign to the Aryas. It
worships gods that the did not bring to India and the traditions are
borrowed from the darker race.” (p.246) Houston emphasized the
activities of the people who brought Brahminism upon the Indian
Cushites. They punished theft by cutting of hands and feet. One who
defamed the Brahmins or the caste spirit they sought to force upon the
people had their tongue torn out, red hot irons thrust into their
mouth, or the lips cut off. (Antiquities of India, Barnett, p. 116,
122). Under their law, the husband could whip or kill his wife and
confiscate her property.”

Houston goes on further to explain that many of India’s ancient books
were of Black Kushite origins, however the religious writings were
corrupted by the invaders(or infiltrators, since they most likely they
did not invade India but took advantage of weaknesses and calamities
in order to infiltrate and occupy). For example, she quotes Dr.
Stvenson who points out that the Brahmins’ religion could not supplant
Buddhism completely, however many of the historical books were
“destroyed, revised and interpolated.” These changes brought about two
forms of the Veda writings, one pure and devotional and the other
entirely opposite. (p.247). (11)

The previous passages from Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite
Empire, by Drucilla Dunjee Houston, presents a clear idea of what the
invading barbarians brought and imposed on the Black people of Kushite
African origins as well as the Black Negroid-Australoid (Dravidian
Blacks also of African origin). These Blacks were the originators of
India’s magnificient civilizations long before the barbarians began to
move into India. Among the most odious philosophers introduced to
India by the aliens was the caste and “varna” or color consciousness
system of racial, color and caste stratification. This system was
based on the debasement of India’s original Black race. The system
originally began as a skin color based caste system, with the lightest
in skin color and closest in appearance to the invaders being at the
top of the scale (similar to the racist system in the U.S. and South
Africa), and the darkest being the Nagas and other indigenous Kushites
and other Blacks being at the bottom.

India’s Black Dalits or “Untouchables,” are outside of the caste
system. They are the original Black (Naga and other Kushitic types) of
India who spoke the Kushitic and Dravidian languages, both part of the
Afro-Asiatic language family which was first spoken by the Black race
of Eastern Africa and was later adopted by the Semites, in the same
manner that English is being adopted by people worldwide, and is
spoken by people worldwide as a primary language irrespective of race
or ethnicity. These African originated languages are spoken in one
form or another from West Africa all the way to Cambodia (where
ancient Cushitic Blacks settled in ancient times). India’s
Untouchables are the descendants of those who fought fierce battles
against the invaders and infiltrators and refused to join the racist
caste system, which was fused into religious teachings (as racism has
been fused into the bible and Christian teachings) by the invaders.
The untouchables were therefore regarded as enemies and even before,
they were lowered in status after a long series of wars which occurred
between them and the invaders. Disunity was the primary cause of their
being defeated (HEAR THIS PEOPLE). However, after years of suffering,
they were united after the Buddha Dharma was introduced to them. M.
Gopinath explains in his book, “Nagaloka: The Fractured History and
Forgotten Glory of the Bahujan Indians, (April, 1998, p.13):

Gopinath states that among the kingdoms and rulers established by the
Black Nagas were the Magadha Kingdom, ruled by Sisunag in Bihar, the
Magadha Kingdom which became an empire ruled by Bimbisara, the fifth
ruler of the Dynasty, Nanda, who killed King Bahananda of the Sisunaga
Dynasty in 413 B.C. by an adventurer called Nanda, who began the Nanda
Dynasty. In 322 B.C., Maurya Dynasty was founded. Emperor Asoka of the
Maurya Dynasty, (known worldwide as one of India’s greatest emperors),
became a Buddhist. He spread his rule throughout Asia, without having
to conquer the lands through warfare. He spread Buddhism and
eliminated the evil practices brought by the barbarians to India.
These non-Naga practices included drinking alcohol excessively,
gambling, sacrificing of animals and immoral behavior. The Naga
nations and the entire Naga empires enjoyed peace, prosperity and
progress after asoka made Buddhism the state religion. Due to this,
the Aryans began to fume, plot and infiltrate the Bhuddist religion
and organizations. By then, they had been reduced to a lower class,
while the Nagas had regained their rightful place in control of the
Naga’s lands and wealth. The Aryans were particularly angered by the
ban on animal sacrifices. Asoka allowed them to gain a few positions,
where they were treated fairly according to their performance. In due
time, however, they plotted a coup, overthrew the Naga Mauran Dynasty
and began what Gopinath states to be, “a bloodiest chapter in the
history of mankind,” (p.19) carried out by a Samavedhi Sung Brahmin
called Pushyamitra. They carried out a reign of terror on the
Naga-Buddhists which lasted for many centuries killing many thousands
of Naga-Buddhists, destroying their temples and turning them into
Aryan shrines for their own Gods. According to Gopinath, the
Brahminical genocide did not eliminate all the Naga-Bhuddist kings.
Many continued to rule a large part of India until the 1200’s A.D.
They refused to be tricked by the Aryans and stood as a challenge to
them. These final bulwalks of Naga resistance was finally crushed by
foreigners invited to defeat the Naga-rajas. The Buddhist monasteries
and religion was destroyed, and their kingdoms were taken over by the
invaders. The barbarians did not even allow the Naga-Buddhists to be
independant, or to earn a living, (sounds farmiliar, doesn’t it?).
They passed laws to prevent their commercial activities and
industriousness (reminds on of the schemes and laws passed against
braiding Black folks hair by folks who have blonde hair). The Nagas
became a stateless people in a few years after the above measures and
oppressive moves against them. The Aryans were able to separate many
of the Nagas into occupational groups (castes). A significant number
refused to join into the scheme and they became the “Untouchables,”
and lived separately from the invaders.


The history of the Glorious Black Naga People of India is a sad one
indeed, particularly after the ursurping of power and control by the
barbarian invaders who many believe and rightly know are in no way
indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, but migrated from Russia and
parts of North-Eastern Europe. Still, knowing the history of one of
the worlds oldest civilized people, the Kushite branch of the Black
race, to which the Nagas belong, should be a great honor to Blacks
worldwide, for it was the Kushites who began the entire process of
civilization on planet earth. The Naga People of India belong to a
large family of Blacks whose origins are in East Africa and who spread
to West Africa, East Asia and the Indian Ocean-Pacific region. In
fact, there are still Blacks in both East and West Africa who use the
title “Naga” as their primary name. or use words derived from it.
Examples of the name “Naga” includes the Naga Tribe of Sudan and East
Africa, the ago-Mina of West Africa and Brazil, the Nubians, the Nuers
and Nuba of Sudan, the ugamarta of West Africa. All these groups are
of Kushitic origins and are of the same racial and ethnic lineage as
the Nagas (tribals, Black Dalits and others) of India, the Blacks of
South-East Asia, and those of some parts of the South Pacific and
Melanesia. It is only a matter of time before all these
Blacks…perhaps one 800 to one billion of Kushitic origins, rise up
and regain their former glory as the greatest people the world has
ever known. Their present suffering and oppression in India and
throughout the world should be an incentive to take the steps
necessary to rise up.


In regards to the suffering of the Black Nagas of India, V.T.
Rajshekar explains, that the Dalits (which includes the Naga Tribes)
are primarily agricultural workers on whose backs the agricul- tural
system rests. Yet, the Dalits are also slum dwellers outside the major
cities, where they are segregated, just as they are in the rural
villages. Untouchables are prevented from marrying outside of their
caste and mixed dining is not allowed. To the Brahmin of Hindus at the
upper levels of the caste system, the native Black Indians were
regarded as “untouchables,” “unseeables,” “unapproachables,”
“unthinkables.” To touch, see, approach, think or dream of an
untouchable was considered an abomination by the Aryan or Hindu. This
sanctified racist caste system was maintained by making sure the
Blacks were disarmed (you all get that folks!!!! when people come
offering you food for your guns you better JUST SAY NO!!!). In fact,
most of the native Indians were disarmed so that they had no effective
means of fighting back and eliminating the racist system. The Blacks
were forced to live on the carcases of dead animals. Black Dalit women
were turned into prostitutes. They were forced to wear rags and to
>arry dead animals and perform the worse types of manual labor. (“The

Black untouchables of India,” African Presence in Early Asia,
Transaction Publishers, New Bruinswich, NJ: 1993, p. 237). (15)

Rajshekar states that the caste system as explained in the Rig Vedas
and Aryan racism as practiced in modern India against India’s original
and aboriginal Black inhabitants has been the greatest contributor to
misery in the world.



Recasting Hinduism for the 21st century


It is important that Hindus take the lead in acknowledging the damage that caste discrimination does and resolving to tackle it


India Dalit HinduDalits at the National Conference of Dalits in New Delhi. Photograph: Manish Swarup/APCaste has become the convenient “hook” to hang the Hinduism portrait since Hinduism, that “rolling caravan of conceptual spaces”, is too complex a religion/way of life for the “people of the book” who have reigned supreme the past two millennia. Unfortunately, caste being the complex conundrum that it is, Hinduism almost always is seen through the prism of caste. 

In a newly published report, the Hindu American Foundation tackles the issue of caste discrimination, and of the immediate and urgent need for Hindus to acknowledge that caste is not an intrinsic part of Hinduism; that continuing caste-based discrimination is a major human rights problem; and only Hindus, through reform movements, through an activist agenda, and through education can rid Hindu society of the scourge of caste-based discrimination.

While there will be naysayers in the Hindu community, who wish to get into their bunkers and fight a rearguard battle to “defend” Hinduism from what they see as a concerted campaign of vilification by Christian missionaries, Muslim fundamentalists, Marxist Hindu haters, and a global-capitalist-western hegemony, it is important that Hindus bell the casteist cat themselves. In this regard, the HAF report points out that caste-based discrimination is a serious human rights issue in the Indian subcontinent, and that over 160 million people, whom the Indian government categorises as “scheduled castes” (SCs), suffer from discrimination by not only a variety of Hindu caste groups but even by “upper caste” Christians and Muslims after they have converted to Christianity or Islam.

The Indian constitution, whose chief architect, BR Ambedkar, was himself a member of the scheduled castes, outlaws “untouchability” – the act of segregating and ostracising a social group by literally prohibiting physical contact with members of the SCs. Alas, India is hobbled by a weak and sometimes dysfunctional judicial system, and therefore acts of discrimination against the SCs (or Dalits, as many of them prefer to call themselves) either go unpunished or ignored.

Other lawlessness in India goes unpunished but the challenge of dealing with caste-based discrimination has been the most disheartening. This is especially so in rural areas where caste dynamics continues to play havoc. In 2008, for example, according to the Indian government, there were 33,615 human rights violations of various types – from the denial of entry into temples to denial of service in wayside restaurants, and from bonded labour to the exploitation of women.

HAF’s report therefore begins with an important point: that Hindus must acknowledge that caste arose in Hindu society, that some Hindu texts and traditions justify a birth-based hierarchy and caste bias, and that it has survived despite considerable attempts by Hindus to curtail it. It notes that caste-based discrimination represents a failure of Hindu society “to live up to its essential spiritual teachings,” that divinity is inherent in all beings, and that caste is not an intrinsic part of Hinduism.

Sure, untouchability is practiced not just by Hindus in India and Nepal but by non-Hindus in Yemen, Japan, Korea, France, Somalia, and Tibet. But the sheer number of people who are discriminated against in India makes this a uniquely Indian and Hindu problem. Fishing in India’s troubled waters are therefore missionaries who for long have sought to make India Christian, and the left/Marxist forces in India who see only Hinduism as a problem but not religion per se. In recent decades, and especially after George W Bush became president, there was a surge in monies funneled into India for planting churches and converting Hindus. Organisations like the Dalit Freedom Network, led by and catering to mostly Christians, have gone on overdrive and sought to categorise SCs as non-Hindus and therefore arguing that they are not converting Hindus to Christianity.

HAF’s report, a first of its kind by a modern Hindu advocacy group, provides readers a handy but grand sweep of the problem of caste – from its origins to its role in the past and at present, its use and abuse, and reform movements from the earliest by the likes of Basaveshwara to the great 19th- and 20th-century reform movements like the Arya Samajmovement, and reformers like Jyotiba PhuleNarayana GuruMahatma Gandhi, and others.

Noting that there are defenders of the caste system, not just the curmudgeon and cruel among Hindus, but the likes of Voltaire and Diderot who fought against the monotheistic intolerance of Christians and Muslims, to sociologists like Louis Dumont who argued that the “distribution of functions leads to exchanges”, to the great Indophile,Alain Daniélou who argued that caste does not equate to “racist inequality but … a natural ordering of diversity,” the HAF report argues that a birth-based hierarchy is unacceptable, that inequities against and the abuse of the Dalits/SCs is a human rights issue, and that the solution to this social ill is available within Hindu sacred texts themselves, and that Hindus should be at the forefront of putting an end to the system of birth-based hierarchy as well as taking the lead in energising the Dalit community to fight discrimination.

As the British seek to draft a new bill of rights, and from what one hears,equate caste with racism, similar to what was sought at the United Nations Durban conference on racism and racial discrimination, as western Europe and US-based missionary groups ratchet up the calls for actions and sanctions against India, and as we move into a new era of global interaction, it is time for Hindus to act.


NEPAL: Discrimination continues against Dalits

Dalits are still regarded as “untouchables”

KATHMANDU, 24 December 2010 (IRIN) – Dalit communities, the lowest of the 100 caste groups in Nepal, continue to be marginalized, despite the fact that caste-based discrimination was abolished in 1963, activists say.

“Untouchability and discrimination were legitimized by the state over a century ago,” said Bhakta Biswakarma, national head of the advocacy group, Nepal National Dalit Social Welfare Organization (NNDSWO).

“Today we see the state doing little to change the situation. Discrimination against the Dalit as the untouchable caste is still practised so rigidly – especially in the remote areas.”

The 1854 Civil Code, introduced by the Rana regime, explicitly declared the Dalits untouchable, the lowest status within the Hindu social hierarchical structure.

This imposed strict regulations on where the Dalit were allowed to live (they could not enter temples or use the same tap water as higher castes), forbad them from education and from participating in community festivals.

Those who defied the law of untouchability were punished; the state imposed the practice of discrimination on society, said Suman Poudel, an official with the Dalit NGO Federation (DNF).

Little has changed for the estimated 23 Dalit communities in the country’s hill and Terai regions, despite the propagation of legal rights.

Impoverished and neglected

Dalit communities have the lowest human development rankings in the country: 49.2 percent live below the poverty line compared with a national average of 31 percent, according to the World Bank.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) says discriminatory labour practices persist in the Terai, where the majority of Dalit live. During annual harvest seasons (March-May and September-November), high-caste landlords reportedly continue to use debt bondage to secure unpaid labour from Dalit labourers.

In the Terai, many Dalits are landless and live on less than US$1 a day, Poudel said, while UNDP assessments reveal that their annual per capita income is less than half that of higher castes ($764 to $1,848) across the rest of the country.

With a literacy rate of less than 33.5 percent above grade six (against 67.5 percent among higher-caste Brahmins), and high rates of school dropout, improving the social condition of Dalit communities is a challenge.

Weak implementation

And while caste discrimination was officially abolished in 1963, experts say the government has been weak in enforcing the ban.

“There are a plethora of policies and laws that have been drafted to protect the Dalit,” said Oxfam’s Robert Sila, a social inclusion and civil society expert. “But there is no seriousness on the government side when it comes to implementing these policies.”

One of the pillars of the government’s poverty reduction strategy for a long time has been social inclusion, but there is little evidence of that, Sila says.

However, Sudha Neupane, under-secretary for the gender equality and social section of Nepal’s Ministry of Local Development, says the government is focusing heavily on combating discrimination.

“The government is very sensitive to the issue of discrimination against the Dalit,” Neupane said.

A starting point would be addressing the controversy over population size. Government statistics show that the Dalit make up nearly 13 percent of the 29 million population, although the Dalit put that figure at more than 20 percent.

“A government cannot effectively address the needs of a population if it doesn’t have their exact numbers. It should do a fresh census to determine the real numbers,” said Sila.

Nepal’s last national census was done in 2001 and a new one is expected in 2011.


Theme (s): Human Rights,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]