How caste Emancipation Shattered Indian Secularism.

From time immemorial India have been home to people of religious affiliations different from the majority. They lived at peace with each other except for brief spells of despotic rulers . So modern India was projected as a shining example of Secularism by the post independence elite . But the rise of Hindu Nationalism has shattered this false narrative and exposed the hollowness of these claims . The secularism they projected was nothing but the caste system , where every community occupied different slots in a hierarchy and lived accordingly. But emancipation of Dalits and other backward castes have distorted the caste hierarchy, leading to a Hindu consolidation, which is often interpreted as Majoritarianism.

With each wave of migrants starting with the Indo Aryans , the Indian society started to delegate itself into various stratas. Though endogamous in theory they mixed with existing society creating a hybrid one. Varna hierarchy gave way to jati where every jati had a unique position. With Brahmins at the top and Dalits at the bottom newer immigrants started finding places in between. For example In Kerala Syrian Christians where placed at par with higher caste of Nairs , making them practice untouchability with respect to lower jatis . In North India too after the initial turmoil post the Islamic invasion, as the storm settled during Mughal period , the ruling class of Turks , Iranians and Afghans were given status at par with kshtriyas (though never acknowledged). The middle strata got identified with intermediate castes and some with lower castes .

So, till the British rule the Indian society was a mosaic of castes of varying beliefs. Thanks to Indologists Hinduism was designated a separate religion and foreign religions were declared alien to the land . With Independence , things were supposed to go back to its original state and the elite wanted it that way . But thanks to work of visionaries like Ambedkar the lower castes started to assert themselves and they started questioning their position in the caste hierarchy with respect to foreigners. The Intermediate castes were more virulent and made a common cause with the higher castes leading to Hindutva coming to power in 2014 . Now with the active agenda of RSS bearing fruit , jati system is slowly being demolished and Hindus are identifying themselves more on the basis of religion than caste.

Caste being irrelevant the hierarchy also became worthless. This made the old sense of secularism go up in flames . Now it is Hindus vs the rest or Indians vs the foreigners.

THE CASTE OF A CHIEF MINISTER

There is an unwritten rule in Kerala that “we won’t ask your caste in public , but would somehow unearth it and act accordingly”. So we would love eulogising Kalabhavan Mani knowing very well that we are talking about someone who would never be your equal , how hard he try in this life or the next. This subtle discrimination is everywhere to the extent that the chief minister was recently called Toddy tapper’s (ezhava) son and the person who did it went on justifying his remarks.Kerala politics is quiet unique. Though all political parties including “Muslim” League profess secularism , it is all about caste and religion.

CPI(M) is basically a Hindu party , In Northern Kerala Nairs dominate the party at the leadership level while the middle cadre are made up of the Thiyyas/Thandans/ezhavas , the lower level workers are mostly the scheduled caste. Muslims , who are the new recruits are mostly wahabists who are kept mostly as vote getters in regions with minority majority.In the erstwhile travancore NSS has more say in politics compared to Malabar , Land reforms alienated them from the left , Hence ezhavas became the fountainhead of the party with a spattering of Nairs in between.when it comes to the leadership question it will mostly be a leader from the North, Hence preferably a Nair.

Congress has now been reduced to a party of minorities. Once it used to command a bulk of Nair and ezhava votes in Malabar, but now its the party of the Muslims in areas where they are not in majority. The moment the census hints of a changed demographics , Muslim league will become the dominant player. Down south congress is a party of higher castes – Nairs and Syrian Christians. Congress will always have a leader from south , so reserved for the above mentioned castes.

From this discussion it is quiet clear that a Nair or a Syrian Christian will most probably become the Chief Minister of the state whether the LDF or UDF wins. But that has not been the case recently first V S Achuthanandan and now Pinarayi Vijayan completing full terms.This has pushed the casteists to a corner and they have started to react.The churning is also happening among the minority vote bank. Christians who till now were considered at par with Hindus due to their tight grip over the educational system (which gave them extra weight) is feeling threatened with the rise of Muslim vote bank. The low fertility rate and increased migration has resulted in plummeting Christian population with many of their strongholds like Muvattupuzha and Perumbavoor being turned into Muslim dominant constituencies. In Kottayam district they call it Erattupetta phenomenon. Many Christian fundamentalists are having nightmares about a scenario where Mr.Kunjalikutty of Muslim League becoming the Chief Minister of the state. Though Syrian Christians had become full term CMs , a Muslim taking up that position would mean a situation where they would become equals to Muslims and not special anymore.

Next state elections would see community divisions reach the zenith , as BJP with nearly 15% votes is slowly eating into both Nair and Ezhava votes. This would make the other fronts turn more communal and finally Enlightened Kerala would have an equivalent to Rama Rajya movement.

THE WORLD OF ONLINE IDENTITY POLITICS

If you search online for Dravidian culture you would most probably be directed to web pages singing praise of Tamil Eelam Or if you looked into the history of Malappuram district it would feel more like an Arab enclave in Malabar with very little reference to its real past. The online world is a constant battle field where groups try and appropriate established identities to suite their agenda so that their own existence could be justified.

Take for example the use of “Namasthe” in Malayalam social media. Here certain sections (Hindu Right wing) has appropriated it for all forms of personal appreciation. It is very common to see Namasthe being written below a family picture or a wedding album. You cannot blame them for using it everywhere as most Indian languages lack English equivalents, but using a greeting to assert your religious identity is pathetic to say the least. This is also the same with “jai Sreeram”. As Muslim right wing of Kerala became more Arabianised and started using Arab culture as the marker of religiosity, the Hindu right wing adopted North Indian war cry to Malayalam dictionary , legitimising its use.

South India and Dravidian culture has now become synonymous with Tamil Nadu. This is a case of cultural appropriation just for political gains. Other Dravidian speakers are often chastised for being Aryan hybrids or not being Dravidian enough. Tamil is declared the mother of all southern languages and most of these online bots wants us to bow down to them like the Hindi chauvinists wants the rest of the country to .This effort to legitimise the Tamil claim to hegemony is nothing short of Nazi claim of pure race , but it is paying huge dividends in Tamilnadu . This online identity pogrom has made the fringe periyarist ideology the sole voice of all of south India .

If you scroll Wikipedia for places in Malappuram , the history section would actually perplex you. These pages are in stark contrast to the ones about places in the near by Palakkad district which are may be a few kilometres apart. Take Melattur in Malappuram and Alanallur in Palakkad. Melattur it seems is where the Arabs settlers intermarried with local women becoming son in laws(Mappillas) [Which actually took place along the coast , While Islam spread inland through missionaries] while Alanallur and Mannarkkad seems to be more in tune with their valluvanadan past . This religious interpolation of history is dangerous as your heritage is washed away in a single stroke making you anchor less. In the long run it could make Malappuram a new Pakistan where the history starts with Mohammed Bin Qasim.

Vested interests retelling history for their ends is not new. The communist intelligentsia has done it in the past and Hindutva brigade is at it now. But with democratisation of knowledge through internet , fake narratives are being peddled at a faster rate than before with a wider reach. This could have deep polarising effect on how people see themselves and their histories.

HOW CONGRESS IS DESTROYING ITSELF IN AN UNHEALTHY ALLIANCE WITH MUSLIM LEAGUE

The local body elections are round the corner and the electioneering is in full swing all across Kerala. The left front which seemed unassailable a few months back is on the backfoot and the opposition UDF is well placed to make gains. But the irony is that, it is not the Congress party but the Muslim league which is going to get a shot in its arm this time especially in the regions with sizable Muslim population which are contiguous to Malappuram District.

The relation between congress and the Muslim league has been a one sided affair for years, especially in Palakkad and Thrissur districts. Though the league has no party organisation or support base in the area it has been able to win seats at congress’s expense for some time now. Take for example Chalavara panchayat in Ottapalam taluk. Here in the last local body election out of the 15 wards, Being a left bastion 10 went to the CPI(M), 3 went to Muslim league and one each to congress and the BJP. In the panchayat though the UDF had 4 ward members, congress just had one, same as that of the new entrant BJP. This parasitic relation has been the case in Pattambi, Ottapalam, Mannarkkad, Thalappilly and Chavakkad Taluks. The fact is that in Mannarkkad and Chavakkad now league is the senior partner.

How does congress, which used to be a strong competition to the CPI(M) with MPs like K R Narayanan come to this state?. The answer is nothing but the communalization of politics in the last two decades. You might call Muslim league secular but as its name suggests, it’s interests lies with a particular community. Hence during elections they would ask for seats where there is a significant Muslim population(not Majority) and leave the rest to congress to fight it out. In regions like Palakkad where left has utter domination, the path to victory is often difficult. Moreover some of the congress votes from the majority community have slowly moved to the BJP over alleged minority appeasement, making it difficult for congress to win. This has resulted in congress becoming a party which is finding it difficult to get people for basic electioneering.

As in the rest of the country, congress is on a free fall here too. But it is not due to the leadership crisis but due to the appeasement of its allies. If the party is to remain relevant it will have to stand up for itself and fight for what it deserves or else it will be reduced to the position of just another constituent of the UDF.

WHY JUSTICE FOR SUSHANT MEANS JUSTICE FOR ALL

Let me start by saying that I believe actor Sushant Singh Rajput commited suicide. Being a person with fragile mind myself I would know what his thoughts might have been while facing consecutive setbacks in personal and professional life. So those of you who got directed to my site believing this to be about the ever widening conspiracy angle should stop reading right away. Bye the way thank you for clicking on the link.

My theory about the Westernised elite being the most hated group in India is being validated more and more over each passing day thanks to Sushant Singh Rajput drama. His death is basically the 2014 moment for bollywood. 2014 being the year when common man threw out the lutyens elite from the corridors of power. The nepotism debate is nothing but the bollywood equivalent of elitism that is synonymous with the Nehruvian clique, who weilded political power for generations. The air of contempt the likes of Karan Johar shows towards outsiders is same as the one shown to you by the civil service babus or their masters. Hence Justice for sushant is a fight against those who have hoarded power for their sake for generations, making all of us stakeholders in this battle for Sushant.

Today many bollywood celebrities came out against the arrest of Rhea chakraborty designating her the warrior against patriarchy. People in media like Rajdeep Sardesia have been calling it a witch hunt for long. Yes, harrasing the girlfriend for being the girlfriend is not just unfair but inhumane but calling it a “witch”hunt and giving it a feminist tone is misleading propaganda. The high TV ratings that Republic TV has garnered since its inception shows the trust people have in anti Nehruvian(elitist) media. So when Arnab takes up an issue and pitches it as the fight against entriched power centres it is bound to make waves. Then how else would you explain Arnab’s show in half broken Hindi being the highest rated show in the genre and the newly founded Republic Bharat toppling age old Aaj Tak in the last BARC rating. What Republic did was to sell the Sushant story as the one where the Underdog was killed by the Mighty and it was upto his Brethren(rest of us) to avenge the death. But sadly the people in the bubble never realised that and the anti elitist anger started to unleash upon them with great fury . Crying about patriarchy and witchhunt would only inflame the emotions and make the public more virulent. This disgust for the public has always been there among the elite and their sense of superiority and entitlement is nothing new. But the world around them has changed and they will have to come to terms with that. The funny thing is that these elite call themselves liberal and adore Bernie and Biden, but back home they are the 1%. Most of them have Green Cards to Western havens and always wants to remain mere commentators of Indian Politics and not the stakeholders. Thankfully their time is up and it is upto the real Indians to take the mantle of their destiny in their own hands and they are doing it well. Many of you might be subconsciously branding me a sangh affiliate, But the Real Indians that I mentioned include Indians of all colours. As you can see there are positive signals from the Congress too with the willingness of some leaders to shed the Nehru baggage, which I see as a good start (The left parties are a gone cause as their compatriats are bourgeoise to the core , making them farthest from ground realities even in Kerala). The Ram Temple movement could also be seen clearly through this angle of subaltern upheaval, where the Intelligentia repeatedly discredited common man’s belief in Ram(God) with remarks that often hurt their millennia old religious sentiments forcing them to take up arms against the system that fed these oppurtunists . BJP was the first party to tap into this discontent and they are reaping the benefits inturn making them the votaries for this New India of the Real Indians.

This change that has swept politics and now cinema must move to other spheres including bureaucracy and Judiciary. Then only can we call ourselves Fully Independent and the wielders of the reigns of our destiny.

THE INDIAN MATCHMAKING…

The Elite are at it again.. This time it is a show on Netflix about arranged marriages that is getting them triggered. According to them arranged marriages are a part of the regressive feudalistic past which we have done and dusted wtith decades ago , but to see it happening in 2020 among the much tauted futuristic generation have made them go crazy. The most interesting part about the show was that it was purely about matchmaking among the upper classes in India and abroad , and oh boy the English speaking globe trotters talking about docile wives was humour to my middle class ears.

This brings me to the topic of the day – My trials and tribulations of finding a life partner in Modern India. Born to parents who married out of love , I was always a fan of finding your life partner by yourself theory. So when puberty kicked in , my search for true love commenced. Being an average looking nerd , who was effeminate according to macho mallu standards , it was an arduous journey. Though there were many one sided crushes , my first true relationship started in 2010 when I saw her   on the staircase , painting on a t shirt at an Interdental college competition at Thiruvananthapuram. It started with phone calls , progressed to dates and then to the day of Reckoning. By 2014 we had both completed our degrees and were ready to tie the knot. Being from a household where falling in love was never seen as a crime , My parents had been aware of my relationship right from when it started . But the other side was a whole different world.

Ours is a nuclear family in the real sense. It was just the four of us and the extended family was something which we saw only on family functions. They had no say in our lives and we never interfered in theirs. I was wrong in thinking that it was the case with all the Nuclear families. It changed the day when a car full of strangers stopped in front of our house. They were hesitant even to introduce themselves , their air of superiority was there on their sleeves for anyone to see. The first thing one of them said was…”It is not going to happen”. As we were from two different castes , me being a Nair and her being an elayathu , our love does not fit into the age old tradition of endogamy. The funny thing was that one of them was an officer at the irrigation department , the others worked at a cooperative banks ( The shining beacon of communist movement in Kerala) and local self government institutions. Being benefactors of modern secular setup , they were vouching for racial purity making the whole Kerala Model social awakening a joke. Once they left I called my girlfriend who was not even aware of the escapades of her relatives. This rude incident exposed me for the first time to the regressive tyranny of casteism so rampant in our society and also to the dictatorship called extended family. From then on it has been an uphill battle. Finally in 2015 out of desperation we decided to register our marriage at cherpulassery with my parents as the witnesses , which we did. Then one fine morning her parents suddenly grew a pair of spine and decided to stand up for their daughter. So we got married in August 2015 with all of my relatives and just her parents in attendance.

Even to this day none of her family including her parents have apologised to me or my parents for dragging us through the hell that was 2015. Most of her relatives are still not in talking terms with us which talks a lot about their maturity as adults. People like them make up 99 percent of our society so the outlandishness exhibited on screen during Indian matchmaking was nothing new to me. This is the reality of India and it will remain so for centuries to come so dear elite …. Just deal with it….

WHY IAM SICK OF THE ENGLISH SPEAKING URBAN ELITE.

Let me start by acknowledging the fact that like many English medium products, I too was a part of the crowd that Iam about to rant against.so this article is sort of a self realisation piece which unfortunately would not get wider publicity as I do not belong to any “persecuted minorities”.Many before me have written tons of literature about the Indian class which apes the west like the canines therefore I will be skipping that part and moving directly to the crux of my outrage.

Iam sick of the Black Lives Matters thing . Yes African Americans are a persecuted minority and it is an universally acknowledged fact , But tell me , how is it relevant in India?. Racism( except against the people from North East or Africa) is not a pertinent issue in our country and you trying to equate it with colorism or cultural/ religious chauvanism is ridiculous and pathetic at the same time. The English speaking elite’s tendency to draw Indian parallels to American political events is not new but this intellectual slavery to the west must stop somewhere. Why can’t you look inward and question issues within our country. I am talking about the real issues not the politically motivated CAA NRC fiasco or the Naxal insurgency.  But , for that you will have to come out of the bubble and work with the plebs , the cattle class whom you despise. This hypocrisy of this pretentious wannabes is what made me question my indoctrinated beliefs and allegiances.

My story is no different from any (Upper?) Middle class Indian. From day one we are taught the greatness of the west and how we should work towards achieving that zenith of human evolution. You are also told that India was beyond redemption and it would be better to migrate to the garden of eden than to live in this hell. But in the mid 2000s something changed , the rising racist attacks forced them to redraw the curriculum  and it became fashionable to be Indian. If you can’t go to paradise why not make it’s miniature here ?. This resulted in the proliferation of gated communities. But we were not satisfied , 2010s saw the elite taking up causes to bring “change” (Anna Hazare Gandhi) which actually caused a counter revolution and polarisation , pushing BJP to power.  But by that time I was slowly opening up to the real India. So 2014 was not a shock to me unlike many of my compatriots . Then came the awakening in 2019 when the hypocrisy started to unveil as I became a plebian for real. The Class divide became a reality as I was now on the other side of the fence. After the initial repulsion I began to start liking my new world. It was dirty, loud and uncouth , but was Indian to the core. They were proud of this identity and wore it on their sleeves. Today I feel a sense of belonging that I never had in my previous life , one that is rooted in my land.

Though I care nothing about the things that happen in their world , the things like George Flyod is pushed down my throat via the media that cater to them.  My usual response is to swipe down my mobile screen , but you cannot escape it for long. I sincerely hope for an all India English news media outlet that would cater to people like me , so that we don’t have to go through this torture every day.

DEAR INDIAN MUSLIMS

Your uneasiness with the current political disposition at the centre is understandable considering many of its blatantly communal overtures , But the path you have taken to lodge your protest is only emboldening your opponent. The amount of islamist/salafist vitriol being churned out by the most vocal among you is making a large chunk of secular Hindus question the very meaning of secularism that they have vouched for , for decades. This is slowly pushing them towards your enemy camp and if it happens , there will never be a going back to pre Modi India.

I consider Social media to be an apt barometer to guage the public sentiments. Though the government was and is quiet popular among the netizens with or without the help of the IT cell , there was visible criticism to some of its most idiotic decisions like the demonitisation fiascco. But once the criticism against the government started becoming a mudslinging competition against Hindus, this opposition voices within the majority community started to die down. The concerted attack by the woke Hindus and the so called secular warriors from various minority communities especially the salafist ones and the evangelical Christians have been so relentless that it became impossible to be a Hindu in the cybersphere. Ironically the tactic the opposition took was one which had been successful across the world. It was an Indian version of American ideological right Vs left warfare where you could shut your opponent down by pulling the ” white Guilt ” card or the ” racist” card. But what these keyboard warriors in India failed to understand was the whole cultural and historical difference between the west and India. Indian Hindus could never be compared to American whites or Indian Muslims to African Americans. But if you know your history right it was the other way around. Hindus especially the ones outside Kerala and Tamil Nadu are still deeply pained by 600 year long brutal Islamic rule and the atrocities committed by few of its rulers. To publically shame them for the acts of the government had only aggrevated their sense of victim hood pushing them towards Modi – Shah combo. If you analyse any article criticizing the government , most of the comments would be from handles with Muslim names ( IT cell psuedos includes) showering profanities at the Prime Minister with indirect potshots at his percieved supporters ( Hindus ) . This came to the tipping point during the CAA protests when even Muslims who were considered apolitical started sharing political commentaries including pure Islamic theology. This shocked many including myself as we saw the CAA as an assault on Indian secularism and not as a war cry for jihad. Suddenly quotes from Qur’an started to appear as WhatsApp status of many of our close friends and some social media commentators started to show off their deep knowledge of scriptures. I would attribute the failure of the whole movement to this one aspect as public sympathy slowly vanished as salafism took centre stage.

The sense of apprehension among Hindus have started to boil over and is making the current power centres more powerful. Even though the economic downturn was palpable before the Corona crisis no one raised their voices against it . Now the unplanned Corona crisis management , which is nothing more than a disaster is being appreciated ( God knows for what) . So my Muslim Brothern please remove the communal tinge on your attack on Modi and be more inclusive of dissenting voices. This would only add heft to your voice , which would ultimately take you towards your desired destination.