Animality and those who are considered lower.

The broken quotes below are from an essay first published in an 1855 journal. It speaks of violence, discrimination and human sacrifices (that I mentioned in my last post. They were buried alive!). Untouchability is specific to Hinduism and South Asia, from an oppressive system which carries on into South Asian diasporas today. It determines who speaks in your movements, reeking of casteism. The movements are infused, no, fused with casteism: even Pax Ahimsa Gethen, the other day, blogged and used photos that could’ve been any other photos but they were photos that were promoting people who are privileged casteists, :. they were pro-casteist.

“It humbles me to realize that God has filled the heart of an untouchable girl like me, considered to be even lower than an animal, with the pain and suffering of my people – the mahars and mangs. The Creator of all beings has put this in my heart and while invoking His name, I dare to pen this essay with the strength I have now received.[…]

These people drove us, the poor mangs, and mahars, away from our own lands, which they occupied to build large buildings. And that was not all. They would make the mangs and mahars drink oil mixed with red lead and buried our people in the foundations of their buildings, thus wiping out generation after generation of our poor people. The brahmans have degraded us so low; they consider people like us even lower than cows and buffaloes. Did they not consider us even lower than donkeys during the rule of Bajirao Peshwa? You beat a lame donkey, and his master retaliates. But who was there to object the routing thrashing of mahars and mangs? Under Bajirao’s rule, if any mang or mahar happened to pass in front of a gymnasium, they would cut off his head and play ‘bat and ball’ with their swords as bats and his head as a ball, on the grounds. When we were punished for even passing through their doors, where was the question of getting education, getting freedom to learn?

The mang and mahar children never dare to lodge a complaint even if the brahman children throw stones at the and injure them seriously. They suffer silently because they know they have to go to the brahman’s house to beg for leftover food. Alas! O God! What agony this! I will burst into tears if I write more about this injustice. Because of such oppression, the merciful God has bestowed on us, this benevolent British government. Let us see how our pain has been mitigated under this government.

Earlier, Gokhale, Apate, Trimkaji, Andhala, Pansara, Kale, Behre, etc. [all brahman surnames], who showed their bravery by killing rats in their homes, persecuted us, not sparing even pregnant women, without any rhyme or reason. This has stopped now. Harassment and torture of mahars and mangs, common during the rule of Peshwas in Pune, have stopped. Now, human sacrifice for the foundation of forts and mansions has stopped –now, nobody buries us alive. Now, our population is growing in numbers. Earlier, if any mahar or mang wore fine clothes, they would say that only brahmans should wear such clothes. See in fine clothes, we were earlier accused of stealing such clothes. Their religion was in danger of being polluted when untouchables put clothes around their bodies; they would tie them to tree and punish them. But, under British rule, anybody with money can buy and wear clothes. Earlier, punishment for any wrong-doing against the upper castes was to behead guilty untouchable—now it has stopped. Excessive and exploitative tax has stopped. The practice of untouchability has stopped in some places. Killing has stopped on the playground. Now, we can even visit market place.” — Salve, M., Mang Maharachya Dukhvisayi, 1855.

Written by a 14-year old girl. This is her only writing we know of. In 200 years, so much has been lost; progress has stopped and been reversed: 1. we are uninformed*, 2. oppression continues while some claim reverse-casteism.

Read more about Muktabai here.

*Some can claim to be uninformed in diasporas. In truth, there is no space for certain voices, p’haps considered unaesthetic, bc not promoting that very exotic Hinduism?

I’m not in a position to speak about untouchability and in your animal movement/s, the fact that there is no space for consideration of such perspectives, and no humility, speaks volumes. It’s the only reason there are no vegans etc. who are also indigenous or Dalits. 12-15% (their statistics for vegetarians), if I may use that figure too, is much more than the 1% I experienced in my life. There was always the other 1% – a Brahmin, thus in total we were was 2% per school year. 5 schools, different mixed and single-sex (both, counting someone else’s experiences too), a total of 24 years. I make no distinction between meat-allergics (father, cousin, + 1 in-law) and vegetarians.

Once, I only made a mention to someone (Bania) I’d made admin of a vegan group, of a page (where caste is mentioned). She unfriended me, left the group, and I never heard from her again.

Caste struggles may take place in plain sight and others walk past with blinkers on. Also in India whether 1855 or now, had something tragic happened to Muktabai, it would’ve been known. Now, in the digital age, if you don’t know what sort of crimes happen there, you live in a casteist/pro-casteist cocoon. In other countries I’ve lived though, if I get killed over writing about casteism, not even my friends will ever know. E.g. someone sexually harasses you then threatens you (me and I’m a little privileged) with rape and more, you can’t necessarily do anything about it though the risks may be high (two people are involved, they have you followed and know your whereabouts and activities). You tell people, in your countries. Some of your friends choose you over him, as they should. He’s not that high caste, maybe it’s no big deal then. A decade later, someone publishes a book for your grandpa’s centennary (he was a poet and playwright), no one tells you who is the editor, how to contact him, when is the deadline. They probably guess you’ll be mad, as you should. Anyway, when I came back to home country and read it: both parents of my sexual harasser/aspiring rapist (who never really apologised and clearly think it’s forgiven and forgotten) wrote about my grandpa in the book (one of them, the editor, didn’t know my grandpa), augmenting social capital for sexual harasser/aspiring rapist. Grandchildren’s voices did not matter enough, sure, not all of them had been alive (forgetting we can know him through story-telling). I was alive some years, I know grandpa enough to know he wouldn’t stand for this casteist, sexist and ableist ink-on-paper insult, even though he belonged to a whole community beyond family or home (this in fact makes my sexual harasser/ aspiring rapist or his parents accountable to the community, it isn’t one gets to stay in power, take advantage of others then p’haps act like this book was a favour/ redemption and get a power trip, exposure and social capital for them and their sons). Many relatives and former students of his weren’t featured, I’ll never know if there were more submissions – if there was, one of my sexual harasser/ aspiring rapist’s parents or they both would have been among selectors?

The author is from a small country in Africa but casteism arguably gets worse in other necks of the woods or when the gap widens.

Junaid, Bibi, Baban, Murahu & other victims of Indian lynchings

A Muslim teenager, Junaid Hafiz, was lynched by a mob in India while he was shopping for Eid with his brothers and two friends. No other eyewitnesses are coming forward 😥 I hope his brothers and friends’ testimonies suffice.

Today, I edit this preposted entry after hearing of the mob-lynching of 42-year old disabled Muslim woman Bibi Otera on false suspicions. Today, Dalit men, Baban and Murahu Musahar were also lynched on false suspicions.

Are we at 3 lynchings a day? 1 per day for Muslims? Muslims are 14% of their population and 80% are recent converts – Dalits (h/t Mangesh Dahiwale).

Other recent lynchings, (listed by a commenter on the Logical Indian article, there were other dates, a longer list, this must be in the last week?):

June 23, 2017:- Nassirudin beaten to death by the villagers for allegedly stealing cows in WB.

Three Muslims lynched in West Bengal cow over suspicious of cow theft.

Nowhatta Mob beaten a murdered DYSP Mohammed Ayub Pandith beaten to death near Jamia Masjid

Uttar Pradesh : Cleric Shot Dead by unidentified persons while praying in the mosque.

Mob attack muslim man in Jharkand over claims that he took beef in the IFTAR Party.

Malegaon : cow vigilantes thrash meat traders on suspicious of possessing beef.

I’ll leave reality here for some part-fiction part-history and go on this tangent because of how deep the misunderstandings run, on this island, which has, like India, a Hindu majority.

Issa and Hinduism

Wikipedia: One of the skeptics who tried to debunk Nicholas Notovitch and disprove the existence of the Life of Saint Issa (claimed by Notovich to be about Jesus in India), however reached Hemis gonpa where he found the manuscript which was a Tibetan translation of the original scrolls written in Pali. They contained 224 verses which were essentially the same as that of Notovitch’s account. It was originally said to have been taken down from the mouths of some Jewish merchants who came to India immediately after Crucifixion. Afterwards, the scrolls were brought from India to Nepal and around 200AD Makhada (Quaere: Mazadhe) brought them to Tibet where they were kept in the library of Hemis monastry in Leh, Ladakh in Kashmir. He also mentioned that Tibetan translations from the original Pali text were found in various Buddhist monastries including Hemis. Whoever Issa was, this has historical information on the places.

Some verses, from ebook:
5. He spent six years in Djagguernat, Radjagriha, in Benares, and in other holy cities. The common people loved him, for he lived in peace with the Vaisyas and the Sudras, to whom he taught the Holy Scriptures.

6. But the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas told him that they were forbidden by the the great Para-Brahma to come near to those who were created from his belly and his feet; *
7. That the Vaisyas might only hear the recital of the Vedas, and this only on the festal days, and

8. That the Sudras were not only forbidden to attend the reading of the Vedas, but even to look on them; for they were condemned to perpetual servitude, as slaves of the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas and the Vaisyas.

9. “Death alone can enfranchise them from their servitude,” they said to Issa. “Leave them, therefore, and come to adore with us the gods, whom you will make angry if you disobey them.”

10. But Issa, disregarding their words, remained with the Sudras, preaching against the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas.

11. He declaimed strongly against man’s arrogating to himself the authority to deprive his fellow-beings of their human and spiritual rights. “Verily,” he said, “God has made no difference between his children, who are all alike dear to Him.”

12. Jesus denied the divine inspiration of the Vedas and the Puranas, for, as he taught his followers,–[…]

21. “And to gain favor with images of stone and metal, he sacrifices human beings in whom dwells part of the Spirit of the Most High;

22. “And he humiliates those who work in the sweat of their brows, to gain favor in the eyes of the idler who sitteth at a sumptuous table.

23. “Those who deprive their brothers of divine happiness will themselves be deprived of it.

24. “In the day of judgment the Sudras and the Vaisyas will be forgiven for that they knew not the light, while God will let loose his wrath upon those who arrogated his authority.”

12. “The heavenly laws,” said the Creator, through the mouth of Jesus, “are opposed to the immolation of human sacrifices to a statue or an animal; for I, the God, have sacrificed to man all the animals and all that the world contains.

13. “Everything has been sacrificed to man, who is directly and intimately united to me, his Father; therefore, shall the man be severely judged and punished, by my law, who causes the sacrifice of my children.

14. “Man is naught before the eternal Judge; as the animal is before man.

15. “Therefore, I say unto you, leave your idols and perform not ceremonies which separate you from your Father and bind you to the priests, from whom heaven has turned away.

A lot of fiction, no doubt, but Hindus performed both human and animal sacrifices. As prescribed in Vedas.

There is probably more Buddhist history of the rest. Some more history about Hindu feudalism from sure sources: “The existence of caste and untouchability, have throughout the ages been recorded by people who were traveling into the subcontinent and people who have been resisting the structure. Fa Xian, the Chinese monk, in 4th century C.E details the prevalence of caste and untouchability as a subcontinental reality. Al-Beruni, the middle eastern historian, in the 11th century C.E compiled comprehensive sociology, Tarikh-al-Hind, that includes extensive descriptions of varna-jāti systems. The Bhakthi saints of the 11th-15th centuries C.E […]”

Chagos includes Diego Garcia

“First, they tried to shoot the dogs. Next, they tried to poison them with strychnine. When both failed as efficient killing methods, British government agents and U.S. Navy personnel used raw meat to lure the pets into a sealed shed. Locking them inside, they gassed the howling animals with exhaust piped in from U.S. military vehicles. Then, setting coconut husks ablaze, they burned the dogs’ carcasses as their owners were left to watch and ponder their own fate.

The truth about the U.S. military base on the British-controlled Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia is often hard to believe. It would be easy enough to confuse the real story with fictional accounts of the island found in the Transformersmovies, on the television series 24, and in Internet conspiracy theories about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

While the grim saga of Diego Garcia frequently reads like fiction, it has proven all too real for the people involved. It’s the story of a U.S. military base built on a series of real-life fictions told by U.S. and British officials over more than half a century.”

Suzelle, interviewed by Mauritian TV yesterday, said something I didn’t know I’m sure: USians took care of their murdered dogs’ cemetery but left their ancestors’ cemetery in an abandoned state. Translation mine, from memory.

All other quotes from this article.

“Aurélie Lisette Talate was one of the last to go. “I came to Mauritius with six children and my mother,” she told me. “We got our house… but the house didn’t have a door, didn’t have running water, didn’t have electricity. And then my children and I began to suffer. All my children started getting sick.”

Within two months, two of her children were dead. The second was buried in an unmarked grave because she lacked money for a proper burial. Aurélie experienced fainting spells herself and couldn’t eat. “We were living like animals. Land? We had none… Work? We had none. Our children weren’t going to school.”

Today, most Chagossians, who now number more than 5,000, remain impoverished. In their language, their lives are ones of lamizer(impoverished misery) and sagren (profound sorrow and heartbreak over being exiled from their native lands). Many of the islanders attribute sickness and even death to sagren. “I had something that had been affecting me for a long time, since we were uprooted,” was the way Aurélie explained it to me. “This sagren, this shock, it was this same problem that killed my child. We weren’t living free like we did in our natal land.”

“Before the European Court could rule, the British government announced the creation of the world’s largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Chagos Archipelago. The date of the announcement, April Fool’s Day 2010, should have been a clue that there was more than environmentalism behind the move. The MPA banned commercial fishing and limited other human activity in the archipelago, endangering the viability of any resettlement efforts.

And then came WikiLeaks. In December 2010, it released a State Department cable from the U.S. Embassy in London quoting a senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office official saying that the “former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve.” U.S. officials agreed. According to the Embassy, Political Counselor Richard Mills wrote, “Establishing a marine reserve might, indeed… be the most effective long-term way to prevent any of the Chagos Islands’ former inhabitants or their descendants from resettling.”

Not surprisingly, the main State Department concern was whether the MPA would affect base operations. “We are concerned,” the London Embassy noted, that some “would come to see the existence of a marine reserve as inherently inconsistent with the military use of Diego Garcia.” British officials assured the Americans there would be “no constraints on military operations.””

Voices to prioritise

Fungai Chanetsa commented on social media(coupla days after the verdict for Philando Castille, I followed the news for the latter not the following: it seems there was apology to a family and over $1.2 million awarded for the murder of a bay retriever [dog]): “this is triggering for current and past reasons. I grew up in context where dogs owned by whites ate from the table while black employees ate food that even dogs would not eat, seeing black employees seating on an open truck cab in pouring rain while the dog was passenger. I actually cant stand dogs for that reason-reminds me too much of growing up in an apartheid state. And black people are murdered by police and not even an apology. Being black and living in this stressful context we have higher morbidity, and then they tell is we have preexisting conditions for just being alive. If they don’t shoot us, we die from all these chronic diseases.”

Whether you’re in Africa or a country like the U.S. if you’re listening, Black people keep reminding us of such things and their voices need to be prioritised.