Opressed castes may try Jainism
By: Hem Raj Jain
Kancha may try Jainism Ref: - Transformation and not conversion is the key. Dear Sir This refers to the professor of political science and so called dalit Kancha Ilaiah’s interview to a prominent newspaper regarding his latest book ”Post Hindu India” out of experience of the sects of Hinduism the oppressed castes are practicing and in which:-
(1)- Kancha rightly said that – “Hinduism is in a state of crises, facing a civil war within due to ‘varnashram’ system which keeps 750 million (of oppressed castes of dalits, tribals and backward classes) subjugated and humiliated, whereas other religions offer spiritual democracy, as opposed to the spiritual fascism of Hinduism”.
(2)- Kancha rightly laments that -“it is also said (in Hinduism) that God does not approve of working with hands, it is impure hence this way science and technology stagnated and its practitioners (these oppressed castes) got subdued”.
(3)- Kancha is also right when he says that – “in the hearts of these oppressed castes there is anger and hatred” obviously mainly due to political empowerment thanks to democracy with universal adult franchise.
(4)- But Kancha is wrong when he resent – “the allegation by so called upper caste Hindus that these oppressed castes are merit deficient”. The upper castes do not doubt the merit per-se of the oppressed castes but certainly question the mind-set of these oppressed castes towards reservations in government services (even demands in private services), education, legislatives etc. which has so damagingly made these oppressed castes uncompetitive which is so very harm full to the country which has 750 million uncompetitive citizens.
(5)- Kancha is trying to put the cart before horse when he says that – “Marriage out of one’s cast is prohibited”. Because once these oppressed castes gain respectability and become competitive then this barrier to inter caste marriage will automatically go away.
(6)- Kancha also unnecessarily laments about –“upper caste Hindus not eating with these oppressed castes”. Because presently in India people from upper castes by and large do not mind eating with these oppressed castes.
(7)- But Kancha is impractical in prescribing remedy to oppressed castes when he says that – “the oppressed castes will embrace other religions like Buddhism, Christianity or Islam”. Because:- (i)- Dalits have been trying to embrace Buddhism since pre-independence since the time of Dr. Ambedkar but it has been a big failure. (ii)- Islam and Christianity shall not try such mass scale conversion in view of “aggressive Hindu nationalism” which came into existence in eighties and which has seen the lives, liberties, safety & properties of thousands of Muslims and Christians (also in post Babri Mosque demolition era, Kandhmal Orissa etc ) being violated in the full presence of compromising Indian State. But fortunately, the situation is not that hopeless. Kancha and other well wishers of oppressed castes may try Jainism while keeping the following in view.
(8)- There are three types of Jains. One by birth second by diet and third by choice. Vegetarianism and non alcoholism is practiced by ‘vaishnav’ and other sects of Hinduism also but what makes Jains by choice different from such others is that they believe with integrity in leading a non violent life by giving monopoly of violence (physical coercion) to State and its rule of law. Therefore Jains by birth may remain without being Jains by diet or Jains by choice but these oppressed castes will have to be prepared, after embracing Jainism, to become Jains both by diet and choice. Because then only they shall be able to construct for themselves additional Jain temples all over India in cities and villages in which they shall go and shall gain immense respectability which they are so sincerely seeking.
(9)- Moreover while transforming to Jainism these oppressed castes should also be prepared to imbibe the traits of self discipline and sanctity because there is no priestly class in Jainism to enforce these traits in the followers of Jainism and Jains themselves perform all the rituals of worship etc in Jain temples and other religious places.
(10)- Every body realizes that unless reservation is granted to these oppressed castes they hardly have any chance of getting representation in government services and which will be damaging to their interests regarding their life, safety, liberty & properties especially of the dalits and tribals (because at least backward castes are mostly militants). Hence in the interest of maintaining competitiveness and justified representation in government services the oppressed castes should support policy of (say) 80 % reservation to all the citizens in government service only (and not in education or legislatives etc) on merit on proportion to numbers (categorized on any basis of caste, group religion, sect etc) including 33 % reservation to women in these reservations in government services, where ever they can work.
(11)- There are quite a number of Jains in India who, with the cooperation of fellow religionists and Jain Munis / saints, are prepared to bring about this peaceful, non – violent, practical and serious transformation (and not conversion) of these oppressed castes from other sects of Hinduism to Jainism sect of Hinduism.
(12)- In support of transformation v/s conversion theory it is sufficient to say that Hindus (including Sikhs) have one thing in common that they use the word “Aum” in their mantras and other religious couplets and it is also sufficient to give only one example that in the families of ‘Agrawals’ in India they still take brides from the families who practice vaishnav and Jain sects of Hinduism.
(13)- Here it is needless to mention that once these oppressed castes embrace Jainism, it will have tremendous welcome effect on the attitude of Hindus toward unfortunate prejudice against ‘working with hands’ and this will have immense beneficial effect on the advancement by Hindus (85 % of 1200 million India) of science and technology, the extremely important field, which too Kancha has so brilliantly identified.
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