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SC: Brahmins've no monopoly

Supreme Court makes a landmark judgement in moving towards a fully functional secular democracy. - “ In a judgement of far reaching consequence, the Supreme Court has ruled that Brahmins do not have monopoly over performing puja in a temple and said anyone well-versed with the rituals could be appointed as a pujari (priest). ”

Yes! The Supreme Court is slowly, but steadily restoring my faith in Indian judiciary.

55 years since independence is a short time when considering the fact that religious and social norms date back to several centuries. Still, India is a secular nation, and that is lot what makes me very proud to be an Indian.

In practice, cast and religion still rules the streets in rural India. Possibly in urban areas too. However, lot of people are actually realising their legal rights these days.

In India, I keep hearing that people have special skills based on their caste. This is simply stupid. Brahmins usually point out that they are very good in Mathematics - always. I’ve seen quite a bit of Brahmins who couldn’t count when their fingers run out. I’ve also seen lot of Brahmins who are very good in Maths. Non-Brahmins say that Brahmins are usually not well equipped with a back bone. Some may be. I’ve had a Brahmin room mate who had an abundance of it :-) Former Chief Election Commisionar, T.N. Seshan is an example of absolute bravery!

So, there is no real basis in associating skills or lack of skills by caste or religion.

With that in mind, and India being a secular nation, why not let any qualified person be a priest? Supreme Court is right in its decision. The fact that it even came up as a case is a good thing. People are realizing that in a democracy, it is possible to move forward from shadows of the past.

  1. I totally agree with the ones who are of the opinion that the monopoly of the Brahmins is decreasing day by day in India and also beyond India.
    This is a really very good sign taking into condiseration the ruthless Brahminical rule and dominance over the Indian Sub-Continest over the last 2,000 years.
    Finally I'd like to thnk the preservers of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court in furhter tightening my faith in the Indian Judiciary and above all the ever-evolving Indian Society.

    Thank You !!! God Bless You!!!

    Posted by: sameer sawdekar on February 19, 2003 06:47 AM
  2. Historically, any one can be a priest. The religions law that governs worship at temples are the 'Agamas'. The initiation ceremony can be conducted for anyone interested. A good chunck of the bhakti saints (Alwars, Nayanmars and Tukaram, Mirabai) were from non-brahmin background. These Alwars are held today at the highest esteem by educated brahmins. It is sad that there is so much stereotype present in indian society today. Thanks to the information revolution, we should see good change.

    Posted by: Malolan Cadambi on March 9, 2003 02:07 PM
  3. Why this brahmin bashing? Nobody asked non-brahmins not to read. BRAHMINS BY AND LARGE ARE IN PURUIT OF knowledge. This makes them powerful. This stems jealousy among others. Whose fault is it anyway?

    Posted by: S.SRINIVASAN on June 6, 2003 11:55 AM
  4. Srinivasan, I don't think anybody has "bashed" brahmins here - except for Sameer's assertion of rule and dominance. I don't think Sameer is wrong either.

    To counter your points:
    1) "Nobody asked non-brahmins not to read" - this might be true these days (may be not, in rural India), but before Independence, that was the case. If you are of lower castes, the supposedly people of God - brahmins and other higher caste - would've prevented you from learning. Ever read Manusmrithi?

    2) "Pursuit of knowledge" - perhaps. The point I made was that such stereotyping is patently wrong. It is that kind of stereotyping that SC has tried to prevent. By the way, I'm assuming PURUIT is intended to be read as pursuit.

    3) "This makes them powerful". I really don't know how to respond! If Brahmins feel that way, I guess they wouldn't have issues with caste-based reservation system. Before you assume - I don't fall into any reserved categories, so I have had to rely solely on merit so far.

    Posted by: Babu on June 6, 2003 12:03 PM
  5. the point is they manipulated the caste system so everyone relied on them and they remained in demand. they wished that no one of he lower castes gained knowledge or power as they so this as a threat.

    Posted by: truth on August 27, 2003 05:33 PM
  6. I am a Brahmin myself and agree that Brahmins certainly would have manipulated caste system. Any one in their position would have done it to protect their domination on society. But, for many past centuries, mostly Christians and Muslims were ruling India. Do we have to blame Brahmins for everything that went wrong? Brahmins as a cast have never ruled India. I can not say if a classification system as distinct, insulting and obviously visible as Hindu cast system is necessary for a society or not. To me it seems that some kind of division automatically evolves in any society. Caste system is a classification system that has outlasted any other classification system on the planet. I think we should try to fix problems with the time tested system instead of getting frustrated with it and throwing ourselves in the hands of devide and rule philosophy. Today I read on another site that initially, Christian missinaries tried to convert Brahmins to excersize control over rest of the society. When Brahmins refused to convert, it was only then they turned their attention to other sections of society where they could succeed.
    Comming back to SC Ruling, I completely agree with the ruling that a priest does not necessarily have to be of a Brahmin caste. Actually I am surprised that there has to be a ruling for such a fair deal! I am certainly curious about how the phrase "well-versed" would look at Alcohol drinking and meat eating for a to be priest.

    Posted by: Krishan on October 24, 2003 01:01 AM
  7. Mr. Krishan has rightly observed that "Brahmins certainly would have manipulated caste system"
    When a 5% foreign community wants to control a 95% indigenous community, there can be only exploitation in the name of religion.All religions are bad but Hinduism takes the lead because while calling a fellow Indian untouchable, the urine of an animal is considered scared and they drink it! No civilised world will accept this!

    Posted by: Velmurugan on January 26, 2004 08:41 AM
  8. In the above posting the word "scared' may be read as "SACRED"

    Posted by: Velmurugan on January 26, 2004 08:43 AM
  9. Velmurugan is angry but is not logical.

    By saying that 5% foreigners want to control 95% he is saying that brahmins are foreigners and all the others are "indigenous". Even if one were to accept the aryan invasion theory and say that brahmins were foreigners, the said invasaion happened around 2000BC. It is now 2000AD and NO BRAHMIN traces his identity to any clan or countrly outside india. This is a fact. It has been over 4000years and these guys have lived in India. Since Brahmins identify themselves with India, calling them foreigners is silly. You may do so if you want but it defies logic, serves no purpose to understand current problems or solve them. Over the 4000 years, numerous other people have ACTUALLY invaded india and mixed with Indians. At this point, talking about "indigenous" and non-indigenous has literally no meaning. If you want to carry this forward, you must relinquish your precious "indigenous" title to africans. They are the truly "indigenous" people and anyday a shipload of them will come from Africa and take your title away from you.

    Hinduism takes the lead regarding untouchability: This is a poorly reasoned argument in fact it is not reasoned at all. Velmurugan just states it.

    Untouchability exists in a lot of other cultures such as Japan etc. In almost all cases, it has to with people performing dirty/smelly jobs. So, the reasonable thing to say is that ancient societies had a form of social segregation that solidified into untouchability.

    After reading the above evidence, elementary logic will tell you that untouchability is a result of the forces shaping the society.

    Hinduism being influenced heavily by culture/tradition had imbibed it. Indeed, what is Hinduism if it is not culture/tradition.

    Posted by: tr on February 4, 2004 09:44 PM
  10. Announcement of newest blog. Hope you find it useful.

    Posted by: linkopedia on September 16, 2004 03:46 PM