BJPization of Dalits

My title is of course provocative but I was reading the results in Karnataka that the Dalit vote bank is now firmly backing the BJP.

If the BJP is able to unite the Hindu bloc (and Modi seems the right leader for it) well then it’s really going to become an unstoppable juggernaut (which I believe is a Sanskrit word).

Bollywood of course remains a bastion of liberalism but I am increasingly sympathetic to the Hindutva view as to why India must bear the costs of secularism.

Firstly the idea of celebrating all holidays is simply ridiculous; why does an 80% Hindu country need days off for Eid or Christmas.

Only the BJP have the willpower to smash the caste system to smithereens, which frankly has been the reason why India has been so divided and vulnerable to invasions the past millennia.

There is no doubt that the biggest influencers on the BJP has been the terrifying cohesiveness of the Muslim community (people rant on about caste in South Asian Muslims but nothing can compare to power of creed) and Pakistan.

If the upshot of Hindutva is to abolish the hierarchy of castes then I guess that can only be a good thing I guess? I’m just speculating out here in an idle academic matter since I’m more upset about the depiction of Desis in Deadpool than Elections in the Old a World.

32 thoughts on “BJPization of Dalits”

  1. Things which you say ‘smash the caste system to smithereens’, ‘abolish the hierarchy of castes’, stop days off for Eid or Christmas , unite the Hindu bloc , etc need a revolutionary mental makeup and a corresponding organizations. India , Hindus, BJP in that order are not made of revolutionary stuff. Has BJP done even a single little thing for which they made so much noise for many years – i.e. Uniform Civil Code, Abolition of Article 370 for Kashmir and so many other things. Even anti-corruption drive , they don’t do efficiently or with requisite ruthlessness. They let too much corrupt fish go through their fingers. Still, there is no alternative on the horizon now.

  2. Days off for Eid are needed because India has 15% Muslims (15 % of 1 billion is a lot of people and I am not mathematically gifted enough to tell you how many off the top of my head). Are these people not Indian? Do their two religious occasions (Eid ul Fitar and Eid ul Azha) not deserve to be honored by their State?

    What you seem to be suggesting is that India should just call itself a “Hindu Rashtra” and be done with it. Let them turn their country into the mirror image of the “Islamic Republic” next door. I find that sad and– to be frank–kind of disgusting as well.

    If we’ve learned anything from the West it is that secularism is the way to go.

    1. Kabir, India has 1.36 billion people, of which 200 million are muslims. Eid will remain a holiday. Hindus like to celebrate Eid with muslims, especially since muslims foot the bill. 😉

      Sanathana Dharma is secularism. Arya is where secularism comes from.

      1. Secularism comes from the West and from the European Enlightenment. Anyone who states anything else is either completely and utterly ignorant of World History and needs to go back to college or frankly delusional. Some things are facts and not opinions.

        Hinduism is not secularism. Secularism is keeping your religion in your home and completely out of the public sphere. That is what the dictionary definition of secularism is. When even the Congress Party is visiting temples, you are no longer a secular state. Put RG in a dhoti and sit him in front of Hindu gods so he wins Hindu votes. What are you people thinking?

        Politicians need to stop visiting temples, mosques, etc. Politics should be about politics and religion should be about religion. As the Holy Bible says “Give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s…”

        We agree about Eid. I would love for Pakistan to make Diwali an official holiday but as it is an “Islamic Republic” that is never going to happen.

        1. Western civilization is an offshoot of eastern civilization with beautiful customization that have enriched the world as a whole.

          Read Voltaire about the source of the European enlightenment.

          1. “Western Civilization is an offshoot of Eastern Civilization”– I’m sorry. NO. If you were my undergraduate you would fail for saying something so stupid. Sources for such an out-there claim must be meticulously footnoted.

            Secularism, Democracy, all of this developed in Modern Europe. Democracy arguably goes back to Ancient Greece (which is still Europe and not Asia). Secularism goes back to laicite, which goes back to the French Revolution. These are modern ideas from the last three centuries.

            You can be proud of India if you like. But the world is much bigger than India and the West is where Enlightenment thinking comes from. If I were to say “secularism comes from Muslims”, it might make me feel good, but it is a ridiculous and historically inaccurate claim.

            Europe gave the world all our best ideals. We should all be endlessly thankful to the people of Europe. Of course, it took them centuries of religious wars to figure out the need for secularism (The Thirty Years War between Catholics and Protestants in Germany was brutal). The EU also came out of WWII. But we should learn lessons from them.

            This “Arya is the best” thing of yours really pushes my buttons because it makes so little sense based on the evidence.

          2. Zach,
            Not grateful for colonialism obviously. But grateful that they gave the world Liberalism, Democracy and Secularism.

        2. Have you heard of Jakob de Roover’s work?

          He (along with S.N. Balagangadhara) is arguing that secularism is not as neutral as people think it is. You actually mentioned it in your comment that secularism emerged in the West from the European Enlightenment. Specifically, secularism emerged from conflicts between Protestants and Catholics, and while a lot of legal concepts have been de-Christianized, secularism also has certain notions of religion, self, and personhood that originate from a Protestant framework. When you have this Protestant framework applied to a mostly pagan culture like India, this ends up exacerbating different group tensions.

          One concept that exists in a Protestant (and really all Abrahamic religions) framework is the distinction between “true religion” and “false religion.” Indian and other pagan traditions do not have this distinction between “true religion” and “false religion”, while Abrahamic religions have the distinction between how monotheism is “true religion” while polytheism is “false religion.” The secular/Protestant view of religious tolerance is that different religions are different truth claims that are in competition with one another, and that the government should not interfere while the different religious groups compete to figure out what the “true religion” is.

          That’s not how Hindu and other Indic or pagan traditions conceptualized other traditions. The traditions of other people were conceptualized as that specific group’s way of spirituality. To Hindus/pagans, the idea of “false religion” makes as much sense as saying that Japanese culture is “false” or wearing pants is “true” or wearing a sari is “false.” An example is seeing Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs visiting each other’s temples and gurudwaras, and to a lesser extent, you see Muslims (excluding the shaykhs and ulema) visiting temples, although this is not as common.

          Jakob’s not advocating for Hindu nationalism, since he says that Hindu nationalists end up reconceptualizing Hindu traditions along Protestant lines which distorts the way that most rural Hindus experience their own traditions. He’s saying that India has a long history of pluralism (not secularism), and that India would be better off figuring out the aspects of pre-colonial India that made it conducive to a pluralistic environment, and how this could be applied to the 21st century.

          1. Yes, it is generally accepted by Historians that Secularism is a result of Catholic-Protestant clashes. I have mentioned the Thirty-years War in my latest comment. I did take AP Euro in High School and get an A . I know all these things already.

            Specifically, as a result of the Peace of Westphalia, it was decided that whatever the religion of the Prince, that would be the religion of the people. And then religious wars stopped in Europe.

            The First Amendment to the US Constitution calls for separation of Church and State. This is in the 1780s. Separation of Church and State is the very definition of Secularism.

            I agree “India” (meaning the subcontinent so including Pakistan) has a long history of pluralism. Pluralism is different from secularism. These concepts should not be used in layman terms instead of Academic terms where they mean totally different things.

  3. I think BJPization of Dalits would be a more suitable title. And the driving force here is more competition between castes rather than a reorientation of Dalit’s religious sensibilities.

    There are four broad jati-groups among Hindus. The privileged upper castes (Kapoors, Kohlis, Sharmas etc) that you probably come across the most in media and real life. The dominant former farming castes (Yadavs, Patels, Kunbis, Jats, Reddys, Vokkaligas) who have dominated the political scene in India since the late 1970s. The OBC castes of carpenters, artisans, metal workers who have to usually align with one of the other castes. And the Dalits, who used to go with Congress or had their own parties.

    The upper castes want reservations to go, except for Dalits.
    The dominant castes want reservations for themselves, preferably at the expense of Dalits and OBCs.
    The OBC’s I am not sure of.
    The Dalits want the reservations to stay, and do no want these extended to the dominant castes.

    It is quite obvious that the interests of Dalits and upper castes somewhat align, while those of Dalits and dominant castes are quite opposite.

    The Congress formula is secure a good chunk of Dalit votes and ally with the dominant caste parties, in addition to the Muslim vote bank, this would easily put them at 40+% of the vote.

    But the alliance with the dominant castes + the relentless courting by the BJP has steered the Dalits towards to the BJP. The BJP strategy is canceling the Muslim vote with the Hindutva one (which is spread across castes), plus upper castes, plus enough Dalits and OBCs to carry them over 40%.

    Not to mention the ground game of the RSS, which is miles ahead of any other party, except the AAP which is restricted to Delhi and adjoining areas. Plus with leaders like Shivraj Chouhan, Raman Singh and Himanta Sarma, the BJP has a far larger repertoire of experienced adminstrators who can become PM or senior ministers. The Congress dynasty is severely limiting in this regard.

    There is no way you are arguing for the choice of Rahul Gandhi as PM over these leaders without resorting to a panicky ‘BJP will destroy India’ type argument.

  4. I thought the BJP was in favor of the Caste system. Isn’t Hindutva about traditionalism?

      1. This is basically the problem with allowing education and information for the lower castes. They start getting ideas and too big for their boots. Even worse they start rejecting concepts such as the Laws of Manu, which are in their best interests.

        One of these days big government is gong to find a way to roll back education for the masses or at least dumb it down.

        In last century and less, the 0.1% needed a larger educated populace to run production, keep law and order etc.

        Now with technology just a few percent of educated will suffice.

        1. Yes well that’s why we need 1 child policy for a few generations tbh; a billion person world can serve us just fine.. if people feel like they want to have a child have a puppy first and only after a few years should they try for one..

          East Asia & Japan are going in a sensible direction; South Asia should do the same.

          I notice the only people with truly low fertility rates in South Asia are the ultra-upper castes..

        2. You are flogging a dead horse by beating Laws of Manu. ‘Laws of Manu’ remains a ‘idea cloud’ rather than actual set of laws. Which state or kingdom in India had exactly implemented Manu’s Laws remains unknown. That did not prevent Kings styling themselves going by Manu . For example, a well-known Chola King is Tamilnadu was known as ‘Manu Neethi Chozan’ Justice administration-wise , India was quite decentralized and the local elders could interpret it. Manu’s laws , if one such exists, has been overtaken by the Indian Constitution and it is of historical interest only.
          Indian Constitution starts with Liberty, equality, Fraternity in it’s Preamble. Uniform Civil Code is the need of the day.

          1. +21

            99.999% of “Manu” doesn’t refer to Manu Smriti. Manu has a deep meaning in eastern mythology, thought and the human experience unrelated to Manu Smriti. Those named after Manu are to my understanding not named after Manu Smriti.

        3. “This is basically the problem with allowing education and information for the lower castes”.
          Sarcasm apart, when the British got a foothold in India by late 18th century , education was much more widely spread with village schools , including the so-called lower castes. British reports of the Madras Presidency says Brahmins were far outnumbered by other castes in student population. There is good book on that

          The British had to break the indigenous systems with Macaulay type education with express purpose of creating clerks , and brown people who think white.

  5. “Even worse they start rejecting concepts such as the Laws of Manu, which are in their best interests.”

    sbarrkum, I kind of read them and the Dharma Shastras when I was a teenager. There is a different Manu Smriti for each age in the world. Manu smriti constantly evolves.

    By the time of the Mahabharata (around 5 thousand years ago) the laws of Manu had already been rejected. The then equivalent is the Anushasana Parva:
    In the translation I looked at when I was 11`, this Parva was three volumes long.

    The Anushasana Parva had changed greatly and been replaced during the life of Alexander the Great (who I think lived a lot earlier than historians now believe). The new system was called “Kautilya’s Arthashastra”. Which I also read (partly skimmed) as a teenager.

    If you want to compare the modern world to the ancient world, please compare it to “Kautilya’s Arthashastra”.

    “Kautilya’s Arthashastra” no longer works for modern society and should not be brought back. No one wants to bring them back. But to even compare and contrast this ancient system with the modern system someone needs to study it. Almost no one has.

    Varnas are not set in eastern philosophy. Individuals and for that matter entire Jatis (lineages) can switch between the various Varnas. Albeit the process requires work and effort. Someone needs competence, capacity, Yogya (worthiness) and a commitment to follow a specific type of dharma. Most people don’t want to do this; which is their right.

    America is also based on Varna or the division of labor based on preferences, capacity, competence, character and qualities. This is yet another reason America is so similar to ancient Arya culture. The only difference being that Jati is de-emphasized., which has a point to it.

    The use of Varna in America and globalized neo-liberal cosmopolitan society is a good thing and entirely consistent with enlightenment values.

    sbarrkum, part of the point of articles on neuroscience, neoliberalism and the intellectual dark web is that in a modern neo-liberal globalized society there are meritocratic hierarchies of competence and capacity. For people to move up these meritocratic hierarchies three “privileges” are very valuable:
    -physical health (Sharira Siddhi)
    -mental health (Chitta Shuddhi)
    -intelligence (Buddhi)
    With these three privileges people can learn anything (thanks to the internet) and do anything. Any human with these three qualities is becoming omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (all powerful), omnipresent (transcend past, present and future). This is both the wonder of our modern world and the horror of it.

    One of the big challenges in the world is that many people lack some combination of physical health, mental health and intelligence. An important question for the world is what if anything should be done to provide these three things to what you refer to as the “masses”.

    Please read and watch the following for elaboration on these ideas:

    1. AnAn,

      I think Razib had an article where it was evident that castes were genetically far apart even at village level.

      In countries like Bengal/Bangladesh (and I quipped SL) which he calls hinterlands of Hindu Influence, society is less structured.

  6. American Secularism: Watch What They Do, Not What They Say

    The most recent alteration of its wording came on Flag Day in 1954, when the words “under God” were added.

    The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag—”I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all

    Presidential Oat
    “faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    Prayers at Presidential Inaugaration, so how is this separation of Church and State

    Opening of Embassy In Jerusalem

    Prayer for Opening of Israeli Embassy

    1. You don’t have to say the words “under God” if you don’t want to.

      Yes, I know politicians say “God bless America” and stuff like that. They have to keep the Christian Right happy as well.

      Opening an embassy in Occupied Jerusalem is a whole separate topic. Don’t get me started on that.

  7. There is no BJPisation of Dalits , yes the BJP gets a higher slice of the Dalit vote than it used to , but it has to do more with other factors like economics , urban rural divide etc than Hinduisation (Its one factor but its still not big enough). The BJP killer combo is Upper Caste+ OBC hindus – The biggest OBC grouping (Yadavs,Jats etc ) . Sometimes they dont even have to minus them.

    This alone gives BJP a base vote of 30 percent(state wise) rather than its older vote of only UC of 15 percent. The Dalits are just the cherry on top. Even if the BJP stops getting the dalit vote it will still do well if dalits just dont go to the other side and vote en masse against it. Modi being there does two things.
    A. The uber consolidation of UC vote (North India) even though he is not one of them. These phenomena had never happened . No OBC leader has got this much of support from UC. Opposition can put the best brahmin in town and still Modi will get UC vote.
    B. The OBC vote because Modi is one of them and BJP can show it that its also a party of OBCs (more importantly the weaker OBCs who are not getting the reservation pie)

    This frees up Modi’s space to court the Dalits without any pushback from its base.

      1. He is an OBC. Dont know about Nirav Modi. He could be UC / OBC, surnames are misleading sometimes. OBC are 35-40 percent of India, and thats the group that matters.

  8. Modi is an OBC. Nirav Modi is a Bania (Jain). There are many Agrawal Modis (Vaishnav Banias) like Lalit Modi. Both Nirav and Lalit upper caste. Modi is some sort of an occupational marker.

  9. Not sure what happened to the previous comment.

    Narendra Modi is an OBC. Sushil Modi in Bihar I think is an OBC.

    Nirav Modi is a Gujarati (Jain) Bania (but Modi is not a common Gujarati Jain surname). There are many upper caste Modis, most notably among Rajasthani Agrawals (Vaishnav Banias, with a 20-30% Jain component), and the Rajasthani ones have a lot of prominent businessmen (example: Lalit Modi). Both Nirav Modi and the Lalit Modi types are upper caste.

    Modi is some sort of an occupational marker.

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