Priyajans, NOT “Dalits”!

via Aryaputra published on January 19, 2008

Hinduism is under siege currently. There is a terroristic onslaught from all the sides. From the destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas, ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits, Godhra carnage, attack on Akshar-Dham Mandir, Diwali bombings in Delhi, attack on Ram Janma Bhumi Mandir in Ayodhya, attack on Sankat Mochan Mandir in Varanasi, 7/11 Mumbai train blasts and heinous acts of terroristic killings in Jammu and Kashmir, the Hindu polity has become seriously concerned about this never-ending stream of assaults on Hinduism. The conversion from Hinduism is shaking the very foundations of Hinduism. It is also contributing to a dangerous demographic decline of Hindus in their own country. At no point in time during the history of Hinduism, the need to reform Hinduism from within has been so urgent as it is now. It is high time that the Hindus discard the old, outdated, fossilized laws of Manu and adopt a more egalitarian and avant garde Manavavadi system of core human and social values. Hindus need to strive towards a Hindu Samaj devoid of hereditary varna, jati, color of skin, national origin divisions. Let your Karma speak for itself, instead of your Varna. Hinduism should be like a big tent under which everyone gets shade, shelter and respite. No one should feel excluded.

Hindus today in the 21st century CE sincerely need to learn from the reformist movements e.g. Arya Samaj and Rashtriya Swyam Sevak Sangh that have traditionally taken more egalitarian approach and have effectively banished all the jati and varna divisions amongst their hierarchy and day to day functioning. The recent advocacy of training temple priests and Archakas from the so-called “dalit” sections by the RSS chief KS Sudarashan is a very welcome step. The Hindus must allow entry into the sanctum sanctorum (Garbha Griha) of all Hindu Mandirs of all Hindus from any background. There must not be any DISCRIMINATION.

MK Gandhi did a great service to Hinduism by understanding the plight of the weaker sections of the Hindu society and by truly embracing them by heart. His one great act of changing the then prevalent pejorative word “Achhut” (untouchables) to Harijan was the bravest as well as the kindest act of social contrition. This single act of Mohandas Gandhi led to social EMPOWERMENT and acceptance of the downtrodden classes into the mainstream Hindu-fold and rightly challenged the rigid, inflexible biases of the upper class Hindus. His insistence on staying in “Harijan Bastis” instead of hotels or houses of upper caste Hindus was a very powerful tool of social engineering in changing the attitudes of the upper castes. He presented himself truly as a genuine role model for the process of human empowerment.

Alas, in the 1970s, the “Dalit Panthers” in the Maharashtra Republican party politics supplanted the word Harijan by “dalit” (broken down) taking inspiration from the USA-based “Black Panthers Organization”. The focus was suddenly shifted from acceptance and embracement to perceived victim-hood and continued victimization. This very cleverly changed the social context and the atmospherics of the social system from harmonious embracement to deliberate and contrived segregation attempts based on political calculations and malicious maneuverings. Since then the word Harijan has almost disappeared from the social lexicon and has been totally supplanted by the grossly insulting and socially divisive word “dalit’. It is high time that the Manu’s code is given a public funeral by all the 21 st century Hindus. Unlike some of the Abrahamic religions, modernity has never been anathema to Hinduism. It is high time that the mischievous “divide and rule policy” of political lackeys and hired operatives is rejected and the 21st century Hindus refuse to use derogatory terms like “dalits” to describe our own flesh and blood. Even, the Bahujan Samaj Party refuses to use the pejorative and socially divisive term “dalit”. The BSP uses the term “Bahujan” because it finds the name-word Harijan somewhat patronizing.

If the 21st century Hindus cannot go back to “Harijan” and yet can not live with this highly insulting and pejorative expression “dalit” because of its divisive connotations, we the 21st century Hindus should use the term: PRIYAJANS instead of “DALITS”. You love your own flesh and blood, your own kith and kins with the same Hindu DNA. In the Indian villages, you always dine with your loved ones (Priyajans) and you marry your own! Priyajans are our own. Let us not abandon our own. Hinduism cares for the people. Hinduism stands for the people.

Let all the 21st century Hindus get rid of this small minded “us versus them” mentality. Let us truly cherish “Ayam Nijah Paroveti Ganana Laghu Chetasam, Udaar Charitanam Tu Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam” ! Let us transform our value system from the ancient Manu’s code. Let us accept our past mistakes. Let a thousand new flowers bloom in the Hindu Samaj. Let us give up Manu’s code once for all in the 21 st century. Let us move on to confront the foreign-inspired terroristic threats faced by the entire Hindu Samaj in a unified manner. United we stand, divided we fall. Let not the foreign-inspired terminology like “dalit” confine us in the shackles of hatred, hostility and humiliation. Social harmony will only prevail in the 21 st century Hindu Samaj when we all, indeed, become Priyajans instead of Dalits, Pandits, Vanchits or Deekshits!

Is that too much to ask?


18 Jan. 2008

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