Jotirao Phule: Shetkaryaca Asud (Part 11)

APPENDIX

A So-Called True Maratha

Just while I was taking up some other work after finishing the second part of Asud, a gentleman with a wide Brahman turban, seating himself upon a bolster in front of me, started intensely inspecting everything around him. I was wondering whether to call this gentleman a Marwari, but he didn't have three tufts hanging out of his turban. I would have thought him to be a Shimpi, but there were no needles stuck here and there in the turban. I would have thought him a Sonar, but his chest was not stuck out. And I would have called him a Brahman, but I hadn't heard him speak even two or three words. From this I couldn't tell how to classify him, so I was sitting there guessing, and at that moment he turned his face in my direction and himself asked me the question, "Do you know me?" I said, "No, Maharaj, I don't recognize you. Excuse me." The gentleman said, "I am a Marathi of Marathi lineage." "I – "You may be Marathi, but what is your caste?" Gentleman – "My caste is Maratha." I – "In Maharashtra all, from Mahars up to Brahmans, call themselves Maratha. Whatever caste you may be does not become clear." The gentleman – "Then you can say that I am a Kunbi." I – "OK, what is your occupation?"

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Jotirao Phule: Shetkaryaca Asud (Part 10)

Translated by Gail Omvedt and Bharat Patankar

Chapter 5

Our suggestions to the Arya Bhat-Brahmans regarding the Shudra farmers and the remedies which the current government should follow: --

Before beginning this final chapter, I would like to make some suggestions to the greatly cunning Arya Bhat-Brahmans of the country, with the aim that they should not obstruct these matters. I would ask God that not only our learned foreign government, but our domestic ignorant "Dasyu" Shudra brothers, should open their eyes and become conscious of the situation. These days these stalwarts of purity have been hiding their sword of religion, with all the ritual weapons that cut the throats of all the creatures of God, under the guise of being great lovers of swadeshi, and without even a glance towards the Mahars and Mangs, have been telling the frolicsome promising offspring of Shudras, Parsis and Muslims through their books, newspapers, Sabhas and similar methods that they should put aside all grumbling about the hierarchies and distinctions among those in the country and become united; and without becoming one, this unfortunate country will never make progress. Such is the instruction they give us. I am making a small effort here so that the illiterate farmers will not listen to this and carry out any adverse actions. On that lies their fate.

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Jotirao Phule: Shetkaryaca Asud (Part 9)

Translated by Gail Omvedt and Bharat Patankar

Well. These days the farmers have to subsist on a bit of leftover bhakri with some red chutney for breakfast; at noon fresh bhakris with some cooked balls of lentils or weak sauce of spiced lentils; at night some jawar or corn granules soaked in clear dal juice; in between, occasionally carrots or rutabagas if they are ripe, and he also doesn't even get bhakri on time. Because of this, if he gets hungry between meals he puts up the plough and grabs some green mangoes, figs, plums, overripe tamarind or whatever edible thing he can find near the fields and gulps a little water to splash it down, and then again takes plough in hand; and whenever he gets sufficient bhakri he eats it in such a hurry without drinking water, and due to that for the whole day he has so many burps and belches that he gets indigestion and many kinds of diseases. And he cannot even get dill seed or ginger and supari as a cheap remedy! Because of this, he finally gets a fever or ague and has to go to the realm of Yama. On festival days, for many houses "superior" food means puran poli made with jaggery, a bit of vermicelli fried in oil, papds etc. and finally rice with watery spiced lentils. In most houses lentils and roti and for sweetening the mouth, dried spicy balls. The remaining destitute farmers who can't get credit with the Gujars and Marwaris have to make out with nacni or jawari bhakris.

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I, E.V. Ramaswamy

[On the occasion of Periyar's death anniversary (24th December), we remember him through some select quotes from his speeches and writings-- Round Table India]

Periyar

'I, E.V. Ramaswamy, have taken upon myself the task of reforming Dravidian Society so that it shall be comparable to other societies of the world, in esteem and enlightenment, and I am solely devoted to that service.

I express, plainly and openly, thoughts which occur to me, and which strike me as right. This may embarrass a few; to some this may be distasteful; and a few others may even be irritated; however, all that I utter are proven truths and not lies.

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Jotirao Phule: Shetkaryaca Asud (Part 8)

Translated by Gail Omvedt and Bharat Patankar

Chapter 4

We begin this chapter not by discussing at first the ruined and pitiable state of the toiling ignorant farmers who labour night and day on the land, but rather will give on the occasion an idea of the true condition of those arrogant parading, indebted ignorant Kunbis who, because of having some mother's grandfather's aunt or father's great-grandfather's daughter given in marriage to an excellent expensive son of the Shindes or Gaikwads, beat the drums of being "Maratha" among the farmers of Mali, Kunbi, Dhangar etc. castes. 

One landowner was returning to his village in great anger from the tent of the Collector Saheb's office, pumping his arms and legs furiously, clashing his teach and chewing tobacco as he strode among the thickly grown airy mango groves along the airy banks of the river. Aged around 40, his spirit showed few signs of breaking down. Though he had a white, well-wrapped turban on his head, a torn cloth was tied over it. He was dressed in breeches and an undershirt of khadi and old fancy Satari blunt-nosed shoes on his feet. A coarse cotton cloth was flung on his shoulder and a red cotton bag hung over that; nearly all these clothes were sprinkled with drops of reddish yellow Holi colors. While the heels of his boots were thick and strong, he was limping a bit because they had cracked open in some places from the heat. The bones of his hand were thick and his chest broad. His big mustache and beard covered his two decayed teeth. His forehead and eyes were expansive and his irises were a reddish brown color. He had a light skin and a fine overall countenance, though his face was a bit round. After reaching his house around two o'clock and finishing his meal, he went into the middle room with the intention of taking a little rest, and took a rug from the swing, threw it to cover the ground covering his face with linen, lay down to sleep with a coarse woolen shawl. But troubled since he had awoken in the morning, had met the Collectorsaheb, and "since he was stupefied in the throes of his tea and dining, he did not hear my true story and fix a time limit for my installment," he could not sleep. So lying supine with his two hands on his chest, he began to almost rave to himself in his mind: --

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Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal

inscription_1_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy

[What is the 'Dalit Prerna Sthal'? What is its purpose? Why was it built? The inscription shown in the picture above, displayed prominently in the  'Rashtriya Dalit Smarak' (picture below), provides many of the answers. We are publishing here the full text of the inscription for our readers. It was copied by hand, so some inaccuracies might have inadvertently crept in. We shall correct the errors, if any, as and when we get access to an official copy of the text. We thank Bhanu Pratap Singh for both the text and the pictures- Round Table India.]  

 

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Jotirao Phule: Shetkaryaca Asud (Part 7)

Translated by Gail Omvedt and Bharat Patankar

After that the Arya Brahmans began to treat with disdain all the Kshudra peasant slaves who had come under their control. They completely stopped giving them education and brought their condition below the level of animals. And since they became illiterate and completely without access to knowledge, the Arya Brahmans plunder them so much on religious and political excuses that even today, compared to them, it can be easily proved that even the condition of the violently enslaved Abyssinians in America was better. However, more recently, some centuries ago the Muslim regime here had with compassion forcibly converted lakhs of Shudras and Atishduras of this country to Islam and made them fellow Muslims, freeing them from the snares of the Aryan religion. This is clear because reports show that among them many ignorant Muslim mullas and bagvans do their marriages according to the custom of the Shudras and Atishudras here. In the same way, the Portugese government had made thousands of Shudras and Atishudras and Brahmans into Roman Catholic Christians by force, freeing them from the fabricated Arya religion and making them happy. That is why we find among them so many have family names like Gokhale, Bhosle, Pawar and other surnames like Brahmans and Shudras. Today with the help of Americans and others, thousands and thousands of moaning Shudras and Atishudras, disdaining Brahman religion, have consciously and willingly struck a blow by accepting the Christian religion, as we have seen with our own eyes. Perhaps you are not certain of the sorrows of these Shudras and Atishudras; if you only take a little thought of what calamities have befallen even such great Rajas and Rajwadas from among the Das farmers as Satara's Shivaji Maharaj, Baroda's Damajirao Gaikwad, Gwalior's Patilbuwa, Indore's Lakhya Bargir, Yashwantrao and Vithojirao Holkar, because of being illiterate, you will get an idea of the situation, and with this I finish this part.

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