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  • kewal sethi

the call for awakening

the call for awakening

dalits should be grateful to kshatriya and brahmins.

a legend has been woven that a particular set of people were exploited by the other section of people who thrived at the cost of that set.

let us look at the facts as disclosed by history.

the society was divided into four parts either by design or by time. one section took hold of the intellectual activity. based in places a little off the regular habitations, they studied and developed their knowledge. but they did not keep the knowledge to themselves. rather they distributed it to the populace or whosoever wanted to learn. shashtras were created. in course of time, they became sacred and it was prescribed that their knowledge should be shared only with the worthy. no one was barred but only the worthy amongst them could qualify.

the second section was given the responsibility of giving protection. hostility of nature, of other tribes, of other states were to be defended against. as the needs of the society grew, so did the rivalry. extending one's territory at the expense of others became the norm. but there had to be a limit to this chaotic situation which would give rise to bigger kingdoms which maintained peace within its area and enforced law and order. the lure of expanding area under jurisdiction led to constant battles between different kingdoms. but the struggle was, by rule and custom, confined to the section which was assigned the duties of giving protection at the earlier stage. the defending force also became the aggressive force.

the third section was of the producers without which the other two, described above, would not be able to function. their importance was duly recognized and it was unwritten convention that while performing their duties, the first two will not disturb the third section. the constant endeavour to increase their area of influence led to expeditions but only the second section would participate in such struggles. the first section in the wilderness and the third section in its work stations (which included vast fields of agriculture, horticulture and animal rearing) would not be disturbed and were allowed to continue their respective activity unaffected by the ongoing struggle for supremacy.

the fourth section was of workers. no society can exist without workers. but the existence of worker section does not automatically make other sections exploiters. they had their share of the produce and let others also thrive. it was written into the rules. what is described as symbiosis existed. the indian system worked successfully for centuries. there were raiders like shaka, kushans and huns but they quickly fell into routine as they adopted the country and the country adopted them. they were mostly absorbed into second section. they had no external loyalty and, therefore, there was no hindrance in their case.

then all this changed. a new religion promised equality to everyone in its fold and swore to destroy the divisions. but the equality promised was only for themselves and not for the populace outside its compass. sharing the booty (and that included women) amongst themselves was propagated and encouraged. when they came to this country, they did not care for the local rules as they had their own code. so, everyone from all the sections was looted, killed, taken slave or exploited otherwise.

the warring section took up the fight and resisted the invaders as much as they could. but since the invaders did not follow the local rules, every one suffered but still the warring section continued their resistance and did not involve other sections. the other sections stayed protected except for the looting. it is the reason, they continued to exist despite all the chaos around them. fortunately, the invaders were fewer in number and they also needed producers and workers to sustain them and, thus, by and large, these sections stayed. though exploited now, but the countryside had enough for them and the invaders. after all there is a limit to how much exploitation can be there and the greed has also its limits when the needs are physical in nature.

it is, therefore, natural to conclude that the third and the fourth section continued their existence because the second section took up all the effort needed to protect themselves and the other sections of society. the top section was decimated but, still living in isolation, they had their system of protection and the intellectual activity did not die altogether.

some of the people converted to the religion of invaders in the hope of finding better prospects but they were disappointed. they continued to be in the same situation as earlier. only their situation worsened as they were cut off from the protection of other sections and the earlier rules of leaving them alone had stopped operating. the promised equality of wealth or status by conversion eluded them.

one thing may be noted. these invaders adopted the country but did not adopt its rules. they had loyalty to external sources and therefore, could not be absorbed in the country. furthermore, they did not come in one swoop like kushans or huns but there were streams of invaders - afghan, arabs, turks, mughals – who had as much hatred for each other as for the local people, the common modus operandi being the exploitation. in course of time, the loyalty to external element lost its financial aspect but the religious aspect continued.

the christians, when they came, also came in for exploitation. by the time they came, the fervour of politization was coming down (though not extinguished) and their eyes were only on the wealth of the country which they, systematically, transferred to their own country. as a result, there was no limit on exploitation as had existed during the islamic era. this affected all the sections of the society and more so, the fourth section. the first section had already declined in importance due to various restrictions. the second section defended as much as they could but lost. they became as unimportant as the third section, just existing and facing exploitation.

the exploitation had a new methodology which depended upon playing one section against other and making them weaker against the rulers. they, vociferously, played the bogey of exploitation. on the other hand, they took up a section, trained them in their own philosophy of life and used them to further divide the society. this section had no moorings in the ethos of the land, totally estranged from its philosophy and way of living. the british saw to it that they became the leaders when they would be finally forced to leave. they expected that these hand-picked and trained leaders will continue the same tactics to weaken the sleeping giant and not allow it to become a threat. it would be observed that those whom they wanted to succeed were treated with kid gloves and kept them comfortably in aga khan palace and similar places and afforded all other facilities to enable them to write books (which would later be used to project them as intellectual giants) while those who were considered to be nearer to indian ethos were kept in solitary imprisonment in mandalay and andamans.

it is a matter of regret that the british succeeded in their design. the seed which they had planted has grown and it is herculean task now to clean the stables. a miniscule of populace is still trying to salvage the past against heavy odds. it must be impressed upon everyone that our society had never favoured exploitation. the legend that a particular section has been exploited for thousands of years is false and deliberately fostered by those who do not have the good of the nation in their hearts. the exploitation came in only in the eighteenth century and has impoverished all sections including the fourth section. the second section defended them as much as they could making enormous sacrifices to do it. they are not the culprits. they are the saviours. and the fourth section should be grateful to them. it must be owed to the first section that they did not allow the flame to be extinguished and it continues to shine brilliantly.

let us all combine and finish off the exploitation and treat everyone equally with no favour or fear. let us all defeat the elements which still nurture the division to further their aims and fill their coffers.


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