Marxism and Universalism are always associated with progressivism in politics everywhere across the world. However, this so called Universalism can be detrimental in a specific spatial, geographic location. In the case of India, Marxism becomes the tool in the hand of Brahmins and upper castes, which has been used by them to preserve their caste capital and power. In order to maintain their long historical hegemony and social capital, upper castes use Marxism and Universalism as a tool to hide their Brahminical oppressive face under the banner of ideology.
The ideology of Brahminism and its logic is constantly changing. Ambedkarites are consistently challenging this hereditary disease i.e. Brahminism of Hindus which traditionally inherited thousands of years of history. This hereditary transmitted disease can be found in each and every walk of Indian life. Universities campuses are not free from it.
After the emergence of BAPSA on the campus, there have been many criticisms and counter criticisms between different political forces in the JNU campus, especially between Ambedkarites and leftists. Ambekarites are criticizing that the left is no different from the right. This fact is clear from the slogan “Lal bhagwa ek hai sare comrade fake hain” (‘Red, saffron are the same, and all comrades are fake’), Jab Ambedkar ki jali mashal bhage sanghi bhagwa lal (‘Right and “saffron left” will run away when the torch of Ambedkar starts burning’). Some Brahmin Marxists are so furious that they are coming out with poster by poster to defend this saffron left. Accusations, slander, and mouth to mouth campaign against BAPSA are so rampant that it is important to analyse this phenomenon called “left”.
This slandering is an old one, from the inception of BAPSA, this was the major strategy adopted by the left. Common students, students who are from poor/Dalit/Adivasi/Muslim/OBCs/Women background are unable to identify the real face of the left, and most of them are confused. This confusion can be seen through the dominant political groups and the presence of the oppressed groups among them. But the question is how to capture the Brahminical hidden face of the left? Especially, when they are coming and raising every slogan which Ambedkarite forces raised? From the inception (2014) of BAPSA in the campus, if anyone sees the articulation of the left, they will be surprised to note that their political idiom has been changing. They are no more using the language which they were using earlier. They are appropriating the very language which has been deployed by the Ambedkarites. In this process, there is widespread confusion among the students in general and the oppressed students in particular. Secondly, Ambedkarites are facing greater difficulty in countering this treachery of the left.
One of the impacts of Ambedkarite movement in India is that it delegitimized the divine institution of varna and caste. Due to their consistent attacks on caste and varna system, it’s become a stigmatized category, an inhuman category. They’ve been recognized as unequal institutions in the realm of educated public space in which no one wants to be seen attached to them while at the same time everyone is still practising their norms. The disease can be found in each and every individual. Another thing is that, due to the consistent attacks and de-legitimization of these institutions and Brahminism both by the Ambedkarite forces and by the Constitution of our country, no one will dare to say that she/he is practising caste, untouchability and patriarchy and so on. He or she may seem to be progressive but covertly or overtly he/she may be utterly casteist in nature.
Let’s analyse some facts and evidence from recent politics in Jawaharlal Nehru University. One of the popular arguments of the left on this campus was that ‘since we are fighting for you what is the need for BAPSA, we are fighting for social justice, we are fighting for gender justice and we are fighting for everything’. This statement seems to be innocent, seems to be not a big deal for those who are unaware about the logic of Brahminism. When untouchables started demanding education and representation equally with caste Hindus, the protectors of dharma started barking that we are here to look after you why are you bothering, why do you want education, why do you want reservation and so on. What is the logic of Brahminism – as a historian, let me explain: Rama will protect Sita, he is a savior, Krishna will protect Dharma, when Sambhuka teaches Dharma, it will be a sin against Dharma, because when there are Brahmins to teach why should you teach.
“There are Brahmins to teach, there are Kshatriyas to protect, there are Vaishyas to feed, now there are Savarnas to represent you and your cause why do you Dalits- Adivasis, Muslims try to bother and come into politics.” This logic is inherently the logic of Brahminism, this is what they present to the disabled, disarmed, and the vast, suppressed majority of the country in the name of Vanguardism. When the oppressed speak for themselves, the hereditary disease which is transmitted from thousands of years comes out. Let me quote Babasaheb Ambedkar to understand this logic of Brahminism:
They say why should the Shudra need trouble to acquire wealth, the three Varna are there to support him? Why need the Shudra bother to take education, when there is the Brahmin to whom he can go when the occasion for reading or writing arises? Why need the Shudra worry to arm himself because there is the Kshatriya to protect him? The theory of Chaturvarnya, understood in this sense, may be said to look upon the Shudra as the ward and the three Varnas as his guardians.
Is it not the logic of Brahminism to keep Shudras in a state of perpetual slavery? The same logic is given by the left to the Dalits-Adivasis, Muslims, and the lower caste masses. Dvija-Marxists are preaching to the oppressed groups that since we are here to represent your voice since we are your saviours why do you need to come into politics, why do you need to bother and so on! This logic of Brahminism is so powerful that it eliminated lower castes, Dalits, Adivasis and women from all walks of life for millennia. Is there any difference between the logic of the left and the logic of Brahminism in this country? From the 96th year of the history of left they did not educate the oppressed, so they can lead the revolution. Instead of doing that they became the protectors and saviours like Ram and Vishnu. Thanks to their Avataric nature, akin to Vishnu, as saviours of Indians, plebeians are still sleeping, not able to consolidate, not able to fight against the oppression, exploitation, and brutality of the Dvija across the country. While observing this deplorable condition, Babasaheb Ambedkar concluded:
Why have there not been social revolution in India is a question which has incessantly troubled me. There is only one answer, which I can give and it is that the lower classes of Hindus have been completely disabled for direct action on account of his wretched system of Chaturvarnya.
Chaturvarnya disabled lower castes from bearing arms, acquiring education, land, and wealth. Left have also disabled the Dalits, Adivasis and lower castes by not allowing them to speak, to lead and to educate. This led to the perpetual slavery of lower castes and women at the hand of the upper castes. Since this upper caste disease is so inherent and rampant it can be seen in the so-called left movement. Once upon a time, upper castes disabled the lower castes from acquiring knowledge, arms, and wealth and following the same logic, Indian Brahmin-Dvija Marxists are not allowing the OBCs, Dalits-Adivasis and Muslims to emerge as leaders. They did not empower the latter to speak for themselves instead they keep them as their foot soldiers.
This sophistication of Brahminism via the theory of Universalism and Marxism by the Brahmin-Savarna can only be defeated when the oppressed groups in the universities and the country come together under the umbrella of ‘oppressed unity’. Oppressed unity is the need of the hour and the answer to the Brahminical left and right.
Note: This article is a small part taken from a paper which I am currently working titled “Marxism and Politics of Universalism in India”.
Jitendra Suna is an M.Phil research scholar at the Centre for the Study of Discrimination and Exclusion at Jawaharlal Nehru University and is a member of BAPSA.