(Part of Dimensions of the Revolution against Casteism)
Casteism is the central issue of Indian life. Every issue, from economic exploitation, destruction of the environment, debasement and decimation of Indian languages, corporate land-grabs, police brutality, communalism and omnipresent corruption, is rooted in casteism. Any attempt for a genuine revolution in India must be primarily focused on ending casteism. In Communist West Bengal, despite countless bombastic speeches talking about revolution, it is a fact that aside from outside exploiters, just three castes (Brahmin, Bania and Kayastha), who are only 8 percent of the population, control the lion’s share of wealth and high positions in the society. In addition, while each of us may be talented in only one or two dimensions of revolution, every dimension of revolution is important, not just in social life but in our personal lives as well. These brief explorations are meant to provoke discussion, obtain feedback and create a multidimensional consensus for myriad forms of resistance and revolution against casteism. The reality of these realms of revolution is revealed only in revolutionary activism. It is to spark such revolutionary activism that this document was created.
Spiritual revolution is the foundation of any revolution. Without a spiritual revolution, any lasting change in the human personality is near impossible. Hence, any non-spiritually based revolution will simply replace one group of exploiters with another. We see this in the history of casteism in modern India. After a long struggle, the backward castes obtained some social power, but mostly their power was used to abuse the castes lower than their own. The reason is that they have not become free from casteist psychology.
Spiritual revolution is meaningless if it is based on rigid non-violence, because such passiveness leads to more exploitation, more violence (himsa), and increases the crudity (tamas) in the society. Secondly, spiritual revolution is meaningless if it is based on a negative attitude towards the world and the human self as a meaningless void (shunya) or illusion (maya). If human beings are illusions, then the concept of human rights has no foundation. Thirdly, spiritual revolution is only possible if the meditation can enable the aspirants to rapidly combat inner propensities and become empowered with genuine shakti that gives them the courage to attempt the impossible and suffer tremendous hardships. Fourthly spiritual revolution is only possible if the meditation can generate a flood of deep, selfless love. It is this prema shakti alone that can create any meaningful revolution in society, as was created by the ambrosial Sufi poetry of Rumi, Bulleh Shah and others. This applied not just to individual life but to social life as well. Hitler said that love does not last, and that hatred alone is the real lasting emotion through which one can gain power. Only someone who can maintain and infuse powerful, selfless love in others can be considered a spiritual revolutionary.
A spiritual revolution is essential for adivasi societies. Conversion to Hinduism or Christianity leads to the destruction of cultures and family bonds. What is needed is first a yogic revolution where the local dieties and are realized as different experiences in different cakras (psycho-spiritual centers inside the human body). It is essential to create unique spiritual vocabulary or mantras in adivasi language that are spiritual empowered (purashcarana) by devotional surrender. The second thing that is necessary is to recover the original spiritual meanings of adivasi creation myths which are symbolic explanations for spiritual cosmology revealed by Tantric spiritual pracitice. Finally what is crucial is a devotional revolution or a reincarnation of the bhakti or sufi movement without being polluted by Hinduism or Islam. The rise of devotional movements in adivasi languages in the adivasi languages will create Baba Pari Mandala Goshtis as the nucleus of adivasi societies. A mandala is a sacred diagram that is used in Tantric mediation as it mirrors the internal mandalas around each cakra in the human body. By devotional revolution, higher (pari) mandalas will be created around the Supreme Beloved (Baba) and will radiate prema (love) shakti (power/energy) in the collective psychology and culture. Only by developing this divine force will adivasi communities and also Dalit communities gain the power not just to resist but to win the total war being waged upon them by the Indian state.
While other spiritual teachers sought to revive Vedic dogmas and taught mediation to relieve the stress of wealthy upper castes, Sadguru Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar taught a new Tantra capable of transforming ordinary, uneducated boys and girls into lions who, as a recent article in Outlook magazine revealed, gave such high blood pressure to the ruling Indian Congress that it declared the suppression of Ananda Marga as the primary reason for imposing Emergency in 1975. The reason Shrii Sarkar was able to create such revolutionaries is because being with him was like being lost in a tsunami of tenderness. Prema shakti created followers who were able to resist torture by the CBI and willingness to become martyrs or Dadhicis. The first head of the CBI revealed in his memoirs that he was instructed by Nehru to keep special watch on two organizations (the RSS and the Muslim League) and one man – Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. It was the spiritual power of Ananda Marga that caused the Brahmin-led communists of India repeatedly try to crush the organization with brutal violence.
When Ananda Marga was banned in India during the Indian State of Emergency (1975-1977), the Soviet communist newspaper Pravda declared that the organization should be banned all over the world. Yet, as the Deputy Inspector of Prisons realized about Shrii Sarkar, “Even Napoleon was tamed in prison, but this living tiger cannot be tamed.” Shrii Sarkar was asked in jail, by a high-level official of the CBI to give up PROUT, which was his ideological movement for socio-economic equality and justice. In exchange, the government would give him a plush ashram in the Himalayas. Shrii Sarkar refused, and hence was poisoned, but miraculously he was able to survive. Unlike other political prisoners, he used to shout at his jailors, making them all afraid to even see him. Once, when asked why other organizations were not being persecuted, he replied that other leaders were dead corpses and their teachings were buried by the corruption rampant in the society, whereas PROUT was a living lion and hence the corrupt elites were afraid. He then called on his follower to roar like a lion. Shrii Sarkar created Ananda Marga in the 1950s in Bihar, the bastion of casteism. He demanded that every follower have an inter-caste marriage and that every Brahmin must throw out his sutra and change his caste name legally. Only Shrii Sarkar had the courage to say:
“Ananda Margis have no caste or gotra. I have said before also that the division of humanity into Káshyapagotra, Bharadvájagotra, etc., is nonsensical. This is just to mislead people. If we look back in [archaeology] we will see that the forefathers of the present-day humans were apes or ape-men. So if people are very particular about their gotras, I will say to their faces, “Boys and girls! You belong to the ape gotra.” We have all descended from our common ancestors, the apes. The same is true in relation to the castes. [One might try to argue that] the forefathers of the Bráhmańas were the ape-Bráhmańas and the forefathers of the Kśatriyas were the ape-Kśatriyas; but that just isn’t so. As apes do not have any particular caste, the present-day caste differences are all hypocrisy and maliciousness. You should remove even the least vestige of these nonsensical notions. You must not give credence to such things.”
Despite tremendous opposition, the anti-caste movement called Ananda Marga spread throughout Bihar. When Shrii Sarkar was born, his horoscope said that he would vanquish all religions and establish genuine universal dharma. Hence, while still a young boy, a group of religious fundamentalists tried to burn him alive. Later as a young man, Shrii Sarkar took an oath before his mother that he would destroy casteism. It is to manifest this samkalpa of a casteless society that PROUT was created and it is the reason we fight today.
Moral revolution is the most difficult task facing India today. Neoliberalization of the Indian economy has metastasized the tumor of endemic corruption and revived the dormant virus of communalism into a national pandemic. Just to follow common sense morality in individual life has become an impossible task. To accomplish a moral revolution in one’s own personal life alone requires the will and capacity to endure vilification and abuse. To accomplish this in social life, even for a Gandhian like Chhattisgarh activist Himanshu Kumar, results in brutal assault by the Indian army that like the British army, exists to maintain the servility of marginalized social groups. Nowhere is this stark reality seen more clearly than in the case of farmer-activist Bant Singh of Mansa District, Punjab. Just for filing a case against his daughter’s upper-caste rapists, he was beaten so badly that his arms and legs had to be amputated. But even while being dismembered, he continued to sing his revolutionary songs. Despite his continuing medical problems he continues to serve as a Dalit leader. It is this type of moral courage, to endure violence in pursuance of justice, that India needs. Until a moral revolution amongst the mulanivasis is realized in practice, all intellectual analysis and speeches will go in vain.
As a few Dalits obtain some education and wealth, they are readily corrupted by the mainstream culture of Indian society. The question then arises how is a moral revolution going to be created? Buddha’s example of walking on foot from village to village, dialoguing and propounding sublime moral ideals is a role model of how, without money and power, one can spread morality amongst the people. The reason every Dalit leader was successful in the past was due to their moral superiority over their upper-caste opponents. Without morality, selfish and petty group interests render any movement a born failure. Today we do not need more leaders. We need communities taking control over their own actions so that they will have the moral courage to take control over their region. How and when will this be accomplished in Dalit villages across India? It is the question of the hour. This is the reason why PROUT’s slogan always is “Moralists of the World, Unite.”
During His lifetime, Shrii Sarkar created a moral revolution. While other gurus welcomed exploitative industrialists, Shrii Sarkar had his followers launch protests against them in Chhattisgarh and other areas. Shrii Sarkar demanded absolute moral strictness. He used his boundless intuitional powers not to become a fortune teller but to maintain the moral integrity of his disciples. He used to publicly expose and thrash those disciples who took bribes or violated basic moral norms. It generated strong moral fervour in his disciples, who then demanded morality in their workplaces. It led to Ananda Marga quickly attracting many enemies. Idealistic police officers in Bihar, disgusted with the all-pervasive corruption and lawlessness of Indian society, joined Ananda Marga in large numbers. In response, the Central Government banned all civil servants from becoming members of Ananda Marga already long before Emergency. It was the attraction of the moral shakti of Shrii Sarkar that led the Indian government to file countless fraudulent cases and launch a media campaign against Ananda Marga, branding them as terrorists and Hindu fanatics only because they perform the Tandava dance of Lord Shiva. Throughout his stay in prison Shrii Sarkar condemned the corruption of jail officials and the government, despite their attempts to assassinate him. As he said, ‘I can scold a million people at a time. That is the reason the immoralists cannot stand before me.”
Cultural revolution embraces all types of revolution, because all these types of revolution are communicated by culture. The cultural revolution of Ravidas and other saints was hampered by the fact that it did not include an economic cultural revolution and a political cultural revolution. The Dalit revolution in Maharashtra and other Indian states neglected an economic, spiritual and moral, cultural revolution. What is needed today is a cultural revolution that embraces all dimensions of existence. We need the spiritual and devotional power of Basava and Ravidas. We need the political & social power of the present Dalit cultural movement. But, most of all we need an economic and military Dalit cultural movement.
The cultural movements of the indigenous tribes of Latin America, as seen in Bolivia, are a role model for how India’s adivasis can regain their culture from the assaults of Aryan (local and global) pseudo-culture. In Brazil we see how the Brazilian Dalits (indigenous tribes who were made slaves of white, Christian colonizers, and stripped of their culture) have begun to reject Christian identity and have started to identify themselves with the religion, culture and ethnicity of Brazilian tribes. This is the future of the Dalit movement – to either recover their lost languages and cultures or accept a form of adivasi culture and create a new social identity. Laxman Gaikwad has been working to recover the lost culture of his community. It involves a renaissance of adivasi spirituality by transforming religious superstition into Tantra, just as the bhakti poets did in the past. Following either Aryan Hindu culture or Aryan Christian/Muslim culture is unacceptable cultural slavery and fundamentally immoral.
Recognizing the need for a holistic cultural revolution, Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar began the remoulding of the Bengali language in a systematic manner that embraces ecology, forgotten history and heroes, Neohumanism ideological inspiration and spiritual philosophy. He further created PROUT to propagate social, economic and political revolution through cheap literature, songs, plays and the arts. He created Renaissance Universal to mobilize intellectuals to propagate a knowledge revolution. Through simple but profound logic he showed the fundamental immorality of social disparities by saying:
“When one’s cognitive faculty becomes so subtle that one sees Consciousness in all manifested entities, one can play a proper role in the practical world. Only at this stage does one realize that no one in this universe is inferior, for all are the children of the same Supreme Father and Supreme Mother. Brothers and sisters belonging to the same family cannot belong to separate castes. So those who support casteism are atheists. Those who want to perpetuate economic disparities are also atheists. No parents could sincerely desire one of their children to become fabulously rich and roll in opulence, while another slowly starves to death.”
Shrii Sarkar created the Renaissance Artists and Writers Association to mobilize writers to fight for the rights of artists and to lead the cultural revolution. Most of all, however, Shrii Sarkar created a new bhakti movement by composing 5018 Prabhata Samgiita in just eight years. These songs not only explore the yogic heights of chidakash (pure consciousness), they speak out against social injustice and call for all human beings to unite. These songs not only explore the depths of devotional tenderness; they call on humanity to smash the demons who exploit and who paralyze society with the venom of casteism and other malicious sentiments. These songs not only sing of human solidarity beyond race, caste and nation, they call upon human beings to respect the rights and sanctity of animals, plants and the very dust particles themselves. It is the mission of all the followers of Shrii Sarkar to take his cultural revolution outside of West Bengal and spark cultural revolutions around the planet.
Since the death of Dr. Ambedkar, there has been an ideological void. Many scholars are there, but there is no clear ideological vision as manifested by Kabir, Guru Nanak, Phule, Iyothee Thass, and Ambedkar. Without an ideology, knowledge and wisdom will never gain the power to create a revolution in the collective mind. Today the debased pseudo-culture of Bollywood and the Indian media stunts the growth of the intellect of Dalits and society in general. If we read Vasant Moon’s autobiography about the Nagpur Dalits during the era of Ambedkar, we see how, with much less education, money and social status, these Dalits were able to create an ideological revolution that has no parallel today.
In contrast, Kabir created a spiritual ideological movement that challenged not just traditional religion but traditional yogic practice and the realization of yogis. Similarly, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, by the splendour of his prema, challenged not just superstitious religious faith but the traditional level and realization of mystical love (bhakti). The power of his prema to dissolve caste barriers is the reason why he was murdered by the Brahmins and king of Puri. Yet, while Kabir and Guru Nanak created a spiritual and social ideological revolution, they left the political and economic spheres untouched. Similarly the early 20th century Dalit ideological movements left the spiritual and economic spheres untouched. Today we need an ideological revolution that embraces all aspects of existence, from agriculture to yoga, from the fight for economic freedom to the arts, from fighting casteism to devotional love.
While propagating sublime ideological values, Kabir and other saints never explained exactly what an ideology really was. Modern Indian social reformers have largely followed Western ideas about ideology, especially those of Marx. Due to the dogmatic nature of Marxist ideology (with few exceptions, like Ernst Bloch), the very idea of having an ideology came to be disdained by society. Consolidating the legacy of Kabir and other sants, Shrii Sarkar revealed that “Idea” was synonymous with bha’va/hal or the ecstatic ambience of the devotional saints that is found in Bhakti, Sufi and European mystical poetry. He defined bhava as psycho-spiritual parallelism, which refers to the confluence of the devotee’s mental flow with the realm of pure Consciousness. Ideology then becomes the assimilation of this bhava into one’s intellectual, bodily and socio-economic life.
Hence, ideology is not a rigid set of rules as in the case of Marxism, nor is it a set of vague abstractions as in western liberalism, nor is it a dogmatic set of religious commandments. Ideology involves bringing the power of inner transcendence into one’s day-to-day life so as to enable society to transcend exploitation and injustice. An ideology is the result of deep meditation and love as well as deep thought and endless activism. It also involves liberating one’s own mind from narrow sentiments like casteism and then liberating the collective mind as well. For this very reason, Shrii Sarkar used to say that a person without an ideology is lower than an animal because an animal lacks the capacity to have an ideology.
Shrii Sarkar constantly demanded that people not just accept his ideas, but test them and expand them on the hard soil of the earth. He always gave ideas in a nutshell and then exhorted his followers to expand them by the power of their yoga, devotion and above all by social struggle. He taught people to welcome obstacles and opposition as their friends, because it would deepen their ideological understanding by intensifying their spiritual and socio-economic struggle or Tantra. He called on us all saying, “Fight for your Ideology. Be one with your Ideology. Live for your Ideology. Die for your Ideology.”
Since the death of Dr. Ambedkar, so many earnest people have tried to create a social revolution in India. Also the great sants of the past tried to create a social revolution to eliminate the caste system. Ravidas, Tukaram, Basava, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the Satnamis lost their lives in the struggle. For 7000 years adivasis and Dalits (mulanivasis) have been robbed, raped and slaughtered. This Aryan yajina (sacrifice) must come to an end. So where lies the way out. History has an example that can help us. In the USA there were great intellectuals like W.E.B. Dubois (the Ambedkar of America) who analyzed and exposed white racism, organized conferences, and lobbied politicians. But month after month, blacks were murdered (lynched) across America. W.E.B. Dubois, like Ambedkar, hated the racist, rural areas (of the South) and primarily focused on the cities of the North. Hence, year after year little impact was made. It was only when civil rights workers went on foot into the rural areas and small towns that some impact began to be created. In the cities of the South, most middle class African-Americans were too afraid to protest, and so the civil rights workers went to the slums and to the high schools. These actions brought progressive whites from the North to come work and even die in the struggle. This kind of movement is exactly what is needed in India today. In the US, economic freedom was neglected, and when Martin Luther King started to plan a march for economic justice, he was assassinated. However, the social revolution against caste must be holistic and work simultaneously on the spiritual, moral and economic levels.
The greatest example of spiritual revolution was Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He created such a powerful kiirtana’tikra’nti (kiirtan revolution) that he was able to overcome the Muslim fundamentalists and the Brahmins. The power came from His intense spiritual yearning, whose revolutionary force (viraha-viplava) was the dynamo behind his kiirtan revolution. He even was able to make fundamentalist Pathans of Afghanistan sing and dance kiirtan and he was able to make many brahmins and Dalits dance together, eat together and live together. This kind of love revolution is the most powerful and effective way to create a revolution in the collective mind.
Truly, one can never defeat an enemy until one defeats their army. One can never defeat casteism until one fights the army of casteism – the RSS. Similarly, upper-caste communists and Maoists must also be fought against in any genuine social revolution. Any genuine social revolution must combat communalism and casteism as twin heads of the same beast. All the heaps of intellectual analysis are powerless to stop Hindu and Muslim fundamentalism because a sentiment can only be defeated by an even more powerful sentiment. It is only the immense power devotional love that can overcome religious fascism. The fundamental fact of Indian history is that Kabir, Ravidas and other sants have been far more successful social revolutionaries than the countless socialists and communists of the modern era, because social revolution involves transforming the collective mind and the collective heart.
The heart of any cultural revolution lies in a renaissance amongst the Adivasis. The 21st century will become the indigenous century as indigenous peoples all over the world rise up and regain their economic, social, cultural and spiritual independence. Currently Adivasi cultures are being destroyed by Hindi pseudo-culture, and by Christian and Hindu missionaries. While the ecological practices and peaceful societies of adivasis are respected internationally by experts, in India they are treated worse than animals. By a renaissance in adivasi societies, new paths can emerge so people are not forced to choose between the devil of hindutva and the deep blue sea of western social degeneration.
The power of transforming the human heart is what made Shrii Sarkar’s followers more charismatic than any other Indian movement since the glorious days of Guru Gobind Singh. Just by one Namaskar, a crowd of people would become immersed in deep, spiritual bliss. Just by a command, Shrii Sarkar could raise the kundalini and send even a skeptic into samadhi. Just by a few words, even stern policemen would go into bhava with tears streaming from the eyes, hair standing on end. The power of his prema made people give up their caste and accept Dalit leaders in the top post of Shrii Sarkar’s Ananda Marga. In Ananda Marga there were many former enemies such as Arya Samajas, communists, and Brahmins who gave up their dogmas. Just as Buddha created the model of a casteless society in his monastic order, so also Shrii Sarkar created the model of a casteless society in his monastic and householder orders.
With regard to the future, in 1990 Shrii Sarkar predicted that after the collapse of capitalism in a world depression there would be a religious war waged between Hindu, Christian and various sects of Islamic fundamentalism. He said that after a series of bloody wars, these forces would destroy each other. Today we see capitalism in collapse and the rising fury of religious fundamentalism. During the Gujarat genocide, the BJP started boasting that next they were going to finish off the Dalits once they exterminated the Muslims. Dalits who resist will be called terrorists like the Dalit Human Rights Movement of Kerala or Maoists like the adivasis of Midnapore and Chhattisgarh. After 9/11, as documented by Professor Kim Lane Schepple, an International State of Emergency has been created and each country is using the threat of terrorism to repress its citizens, especially its minorities. So social revolution is not a matter of utopian dreaming, it is a matter of survival.
Education is the dominant injustice on which casteism is based. Tehelka magazine revealed that despite a court directive to use a certain percentage of state budgets for Dalit and adivasi education, not a single state in India has complied. The present education system was designed by the British to create clerks. It is based on the English class system in which education was the privilege of people who did not have to work for a living. Hence teaching avoided practical skills such as agriculture as it was considered the work of uneducated people. The result is that today educated Dalits feel more comfortable mixing with educated people of higher castes than they do in mixing with uneducated Dalits. This is how education is creating division amongst Dalits.
The Dalit Freedom Network has started a network of schools for Dalits, but it is based on Christianity. Christianity has a terrible record of cultural genocide in its educational history all over the world. Their present national educational system excessively emphasizes technical knowledge at the expense of the humanities; hence, students graduating today have a very small cultural and humanistic base. Dr. Ambedkar went to better schools than those attended even by educated Dalits today, because the schools in the era of Ambedkar provided moral education and a good background in literature and history. Does any Dalit youth today receive the kind of moral incandescence and courage fostered amongst the students of Mahatma Phule’s simple school?
The spread of modern American educational techniques is creating a narcissistic culture amongst students, in which they are taught only to become dumbed-down consumers of material goods. Racism is spreading rapidly as TV and movies only show very fair-skinned people who often have dyed their hair brown and wear blue contact lenses so as to appear as American as possible. This is why even in villages Adivasi girls buy face whitening creams. Tony Morrison has shown the tragedy of this inferiority complex in her novel, The Bluest Eye. Dalits educated in such a system and in the modern culture of materialistic corruption are bound to become oblivious to the plight of their brethren across the country. Due to blind adulation of the US, teachers are unaware that since the 1960s educational standards have plummeted across the USA.
The spread of Bollywood Hindi is another danger. Take Gujarat, for example. Bollywood Hindi has replaced simple Gujarati songs at weddings and other ceremonies. More ambitious students try to learn English for employment. The result is seen in the fact that a few years ago in the SSC exams, 50% of students failed a test in basic Gujarati. When people lose their mother tongue and culture, such a rootless lack of identity causes them to fall prey to communal propaganda, as is seen in the fact that so many Dalits joined the BJP during the era of the Gujarat Genocide.
Today we need an educational revolution of Dalit schools across South Asia. Just as African-Americans developed Afro-centric education (black pride and black power), India needs an educational system that is centered around mulanivasis. Adivasi cultural education is the key to creating an alternative to Hindu and Bollywood culture. Education in Dalit history needs to be taught in a way that respects local differences. Each region of India has its own local caste history which must be studied and taught. It is not enough simply to talk about a few famous people like Phule and Ambedkar. Education must be designed like Paolo Freire’s critical pedagogy and teach students to question and understand exploitation and injustice in their village/city as well as globally. Education must also cover labour history and the noble traditions of labour of adivasi and Dalit communities. This has already begun in the beautiful children’s book of Dr. Kancha Ilaiah.
Education must be holistic, as today not only do we need more Dr. Ambedkars, we need more saints like Ravidas, more gardeners of the soil and the soul like Phule, and more warriors like the Satnamis. So moral, spiritual (Tantric, not religious) and martial arts education is a must. Also, we need genuine Indian scholars like Iyothee Thass, who are outside the boxes of Brahminical and Western knowledge systems and who can evolve indigenous (adivasi) knowledge into new sciences so as to create a renaissance of indigenous wisdom. It involves a new educational system that is free from the dogma of Hindu/Muslim education and the mindless materialism of western education.
Devotional (bhaki/sufi) education is a must so as to give Dalits the sentimental-cum-devotional shakti to face down the juggernaut of Hindu fundamentalism, and the jihad of British-Saudi wahhabism. We also need education in social equality (Sama Samaja) so that sisterhood and brotherhood blossoms to resist the balkanization of mulanivasis. Dalit communities must be taught the practical (agricultural, small-scale industrial and cooperative management) skills to make them economically independent, self-reliant and capable of defense against upper-caste atrocities. The great tragedy of India is that since the rise of Jainism, Dalits and other communities have been taught to renounce arms and self-defense in the name of pseudo-ahimsa. It left Dalit communities at the mercy of ksattriyas rulers who were never forced to renounce violence. Such a double standard left lower castes helpless observers to their own cremation, when these kings embraced Puranic Hinduism and imposed the caste system with unparalleled ruthlessness. The imposition of Puranic casteism was the actual heinous himsa brought about by the non-violence of the lower castes. Such pseudo-ahimsa reflects a complete lack of the spiritedness (tejasviita) of Shaevism.
Willful blindness to the harm caused by craven submission to himsa and a renunciation of responsibility to end himsa as soon as possible reveals a fundamental lack of the simple honesty (sadhuta) and straighforwardness (saralata) of Shaevism’s shuddha (pure) ahimsa. The Hindu kings also enthusiastically championed ahimsa for the common people while worshipping violent gods in bloody animal sacrifices. The root reason for Gandhi’s non-violence was a fear of what the Indian masses would do to his beloved zamindar-Birla-Bania elite and his fear of the end of the varna-based society of the traditional Brahmin-centered village that was the goal of his ‘savarna hind svaraj.’ So any genuine Dalit educational network of training must provide education in individual and community self-defense techniques. Kerala and Tamil Nadu have world-renowned martial arts traditions that should be taught in Dalit schools. It should not be forgotten that the confidence of Dr. Ambedkar’s community came from having been soldiers in the British army.
Educational revolution can only take place if there is a media revolution to educate and empower adults. In the last ten years we have seen the tabloidization of Indian media in which there has been a Rupert Murdoch-style vulgarization of public discourse. The non-English media is under severe pressure and readily sells out to communal and corporate forces. The problem is not just with the Indian journalists, of whom more than 90% are Brahmins (2% of the Indian population.) The problem lies with the Indian public that willfully accepts government and corporate muzzling of the truth according to international polls. People of other nations may suffer the same lack of media democracy, but they have a high degree of awareness and anger that India lacks. This malaise is due to the fact that the Indian media has never known genuine freedom and has never had the courage to seriously challenge, for example, the foreign policy of their government. In the past, certain American newspapers used to expose the crimes of the CIA, but there has never been such a newspaper in India.
Around the world there are many examples of alternative media that provide education to the public on so many topics, that foster critical thinking and empower communities to take charge of their own destiny. This kind of multilingual media revolution is essential to spread Dalit culture. For many people, it will be the only education they ever receive. Hence for them a media revolution is an essential part of an educational revolution.
Perhaps the most awe-inspiring capacity of Shrii Sarkar was to take simple boys from the villages and, by the power of Tantra and ideological education, transform them into ideologically and spiritually enlightened lions who reduced the Central Government into a state of mindless paranoia, as seen in the records of the Emergency period. In history, sociology, economics, politics, yoga, philosophy, bhakti, and education, Shrii Sarkar empowered his disciples despite their lack of formal education. His disciples were given the power to envision the path forward through the prevailing intellectual and practical confusion on so many intellectual fronts. When the CBI arrested and tortured his disciples during the Emergency era, they were shocked to discover the ability of 20 year old boys to discuss so many intellectual topics with original insight and practical understanding.
Once, when told that a member of the public said that only Ananda Marga had original ideas, Shrii Sarkar queried as to where original ideas come from? He answered his own question by saying that original ideas came only to those whose thoughts, words and deeds were one. Then Shrii Sarkar remarked that he was engaged in creating such people. It is why he emphasized that his was a man-making mission. Shrii Sarkar’s disciples developed razor-sharp intellect to slice through the Gordian knot of the convoluted Marxist dialectics of high-caste communists that mirrored the bogus Vedantic dialectics of their ancestors. Shrii Sarkar’s disciples had the inner illumination to see through the fog of Gandhian and Bhudan obscurantism that created the illusion of social change. Most importantly, Shrii Sarkar educated his disciples to have the determined dedication (samkalpa) to end all injustice, not just in their nation but throughout the planet. Shrii Sarkar further said:
“Democracy is a mockery in a country of uneducated people. In such a country, cunning and fraudulent persons very easily secure or purchase the votes of illiterate people. Moreover, the general public in such a country is easily misled by the propagation of casteism or communalism.”
Dr. Ambedkar’s legacy is that of a legal revolution. The Indian constitution is a deeply flawed, communal and racist document that is a carbon copy of the structure of British rule. It bestows rights in grand phrases and restricts those rights in narrow clauses. The very fact that the constitution has no provisions for adivasi rights and uses vague, British racist terms such as “scheduled tribes” shows the clear lack of basic humanism. Throughout South America we have seen indigenous people and landless peasants rise up and secure their rights by changing their constitution. We have seen it most recently in Bolivia. India has so much to learn from South America in recreating the Indian Constitution.
The BJP has created fear across India because they want to change the constitution into a charter for a Hindu state based on the Manu Smrti. Mulanivasis need to seize the momentum for constitutional change from the BJP and the corporate elites. Dalit communities need to create their own constitutions and enforce them by their own security forces, exactly as some Latin American communities have done. The creation of a new legal order, heedless of the savarna legal order, is essential in order to create change in society.
Finally, as scholars like Boaventura de Sousa Santos have expressed, the Western legal system is itself highly biased in that it favours individual political rights at the expense of economic and community rights. The Indian legal system was designed for British educated elites to maintain control over the country. In this system, the police are designated to attack all those who oppose the party in power. Thus, each political party has a private army of thugs who are linked with the real estate, drugs, and human trafficking mafias. The Indian constitution calls for the creation of an Indian code to replace the religious law structure. To date there has been no movement in this direction. Dalits and adivasis need to create a legal imperative demanding an Indian code that ends communalism, casteism and corporate rights in practice as well as theory. Such a code must not be based on western concepts but on adivasi concepts and Dalit realities.
In South America a legal revolution was created by national indigenous organizations that held conventions with male and female representatives from each indigenous community. These conventions created a new legal vision for indigenous independence based on traditional indigenous law. The indigenous people then took their vision to their communities and fought for their rights and thus achieved change in their national constitutions. Hence, a legal revolution is an essential part of any revolution against casteism. Ayyankali has shown us the way forward and we need to build on his courageous program.
Shrii Sarkar gave a clear vision of how to reform the Indian constitution. He demanded that every mulanivasi and minority community be guaranteed clear rights in the constitution that cannot be violated by any other constitutional clause. All citizens must be guaranteed the right to life, which includes the right to adequate purchasing power to obtain food/water, clothing, education, medical care, and housing. It means that those denied these fundamental rights should have the right to sue the government in court. All religions must have equal rights and the lumping of Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains with Hinduism must be ended immediately. Religious rights include the right to convert. Currently, under proposed Gujarat government laws, a Jain can become a Hindu but a Hindu cannot become a Muslim. Currently also, the Indian government has next to no power to check economic exploitation and manipulation of price levels of crony capitalists. In ancient India, if a merchant hoarded goods to increase prices, he was executed.
The constitutional imposition of Hindi as the national language is another violation of the spirit of democracy. By becoming the vehicle for the virus of Bollywood culture, Hindi has become the primary threat to Indian civilization and culture. Currently there are countless languages that are not recognized by the Indian government, such as the languages of Bihar and Rajasthan. Every year, more and more Indian languages become extinct and it is no surprise that these languages are adivasi languages. The protection and development (schools, textbooks, and newspapers) of every language must be guaranteed by the constitution.
Furthermore, the rights of animals and forests, and the right of every single species to survival must be guaranteed in the constitution. Government ministers and officials that fail to protect species from extinction should be removed from office for life. Only those who are committed to the preservation of all forms of physical, cultural, and spiritual life deserve to run the country. There must be an end of Parliamentary immunity for all, including the President and the Prime Minister. A period of emergency should not be any longer than six months and should be approved by Parliament. In the current neocolonial constitution, the rights of states are severely restricted . In other countries, each state or province has its own constitution. The right of self-determination for a part of the country may be recognized only on the basis of a plebiscite held in that area with the permission of the parliament functioning as a constituent assembly. If the plebiscite is to be held, it should be held under the strict control and supervision of the central government by the chief election commissioner of the country. Each political campaign manifesto must be treated as a legal contract. Politicians who fail to implement their manifesto should be able to be sued for their seat by their constituents for breach of contract. These are a few of the many reforms (including electoral reforms) that are part of the legal revolution Shrii Sarkar demands for the Indian constitution.
Economic revolution is the heart of any revolution. Both the ancient and modern social revolutionaries in India have entirely neglected economic revolution. Communists and Maoists have failed because fundamentally their solution to all problems lies in party dictatorship with upper-caste party leaders. From Nepal to Andhra Pradesh, all so-called revolutionary Maoist organizations are controlled by upper-caste persons. For Dalits and adivasis, a Maoist revolution means exchanging one set of upper-caste (landlord) masters for another set of upper-caste (party leader) masters. Fundamentally, capitalism, communism and Maoism support centralized economies. They are committed to economic tyranny – to giving all economic power to a small handful of people (capitalists or party bureaucrats). Generally Communists and Maoists gain power by speaking about the rights of landless peasants and about autonomous collectives (soviets, village coops). Once in power they violently repress economic democracy and establish centralized economic dictatorship in a militarized society of party goondas.
The American president Thomas Jefferson (founder of American independence and American slavery) created a new policy towards the indigenous peoples of America. His policy was to avoid conflict and try to make these communities economically dependent on the US government. Then pressure was applied to get them to become christianized, learn English and forget their local culture. By this process countless indigenous American peoples were killed through this slow torture of economic dependency. The Indian government has been applying the same tactics in dealing with Dalit and adivasi communities by bribing their leaders and offering token handouts so people remain silent. Until the chains of this economic dependency are broken there is no hope for Dalit or adivasi liberation.
Thus far, no Dalit leader has been able to combat the structure of rural economic exploitation of Dalits. JNU did a study of Bihar, which indicated that the upper-caste landlords of Bihar resisted modernization of the economy because they feared that increased wealth would trickle down to Dalits and give them the chance to advance themselves economically and hence socially. It was in fact also one of Narendra Modi’s prime reasons for conducting a genocide of Muslims in February 2002. Muslims were coming up economically and were prospering, owning numerous hotels, restaurants, and other businesses in Ahmedabad. Since the genocide, they are back to square zero. So long as the structure of economic exploitation is present, any attempt at social reform or social revolution will prove futile. This is because all ideological and social independence of Dalit communities is dependent on their economic independence. The social democracy of Dr. Ambedkar cannot exist without genuine economic democracy.
During his lifetime, Shrii Sarkar faced tremendous oppression, solely because of his commitment to economic democracy, to the fight for economic freedom of all communities from external and internal exploitation. He was one of the first to work for the end of exploitation of Chhattisgarh and to mobilize programs for it to become a separate state. At a time when the entire region was under the linguistic imperialism of Hindi, Shrii Sarkar was the first to develop the Chhattisgarhi language and to demand its recognition by the government because he realized that the prevalent linguistic imperialism was simply a tool of economic imperialism. This new dimension of imperialism he termed as psycho-economic exploitation. In addition, he launched a pervasive movement in West Bengal to stop the endless exploitation of Bengal by outside exploiters and to recover its cultural and economic sovereignty. He also developed the concept of Samajas or bioregional societies based primarily on the cooperative system, with a small allowance for the local public sector and a very small allowance for the private sector. In addition, he developed the idea that there must be a balance between the agricultural, industrial and commercial sectors of the economy. A situation like India, where since the era of British destruction of the Indian economy a huge percentage of the population is dependent on agriculture, or a situation like the US, where the agricultural and industrial sectors were deliberately dismantled, is simply an invitation for disaster.
To implement a cooperative society so as to end rural economic exploitation of lower castes, Shrii Sarkar gave a series of stages for the cooperativization of rural areas. He further created the mandate for participatory, block-level planning of socio-economic development. It involves academic experts, such as ecologists, agriculturalists, geologists and economists, helping local communities plan for the economic development of their community lands and inaugurating a plan of resistance to outside exploiters. In other words, experts or specialists will assist and help to expand on the already vast, local, traditional knowledge that has been carried forward for generations.
We have provided herein just a brief glimpse of the vast dimensions of PROUT ideology. By focusing primarily on Dalit and Adivasi-dominated areas, this kind of community fight for economic sovereignty will create a Mulanivasi-driven movement for economic liberation. At present, revolution is just abstract rhetoric. Economic revolution brings a far vaster dimension to the revolution that reaches into the kitchens of every single community and gives concrete meaning to revolutionary struggle. Furthermore, without an economic revolution, a genuine spiritual revolution is impossible. As Shrii Sarkar said:
“How does the socio-economic path satisfy the hunger of spirituality? Suppose there is social disparity between the upper and lower castes in society. You will have to remove the disparity, and this means you will have to remove all distinctions based on caste. So the caste system itself must be eradicated. Removing different types of disparities comes within either the socio-economic, psychic or spiritual approaches. In this case the social disparity of casteism comes within the realm of PROUT. So the socio-economic path satisfies the hunger of spirituality by removing all disparities and artificial barriers, enabling human beings to move towards the goal with accelerating speed.”
Since the era of Lord Shiva, there has been no genuine military revolution against casteism. Those who tried, like Basava and the Satnamis, paid for it with their lives. For over 7,000 years we have seen an unending series of Dalit martyrs to Aryan violence. Mulanivasis must take the samkalpa to end once and for all the assault, torture, rape and slaughter of their family members by upper-castes. It can only be done by the physical and military empowerment of Dalits and their communities. Some, like Ram Vilas Paswan, have proposed the creation of Dalit armies associated with political parties, but this inevitably leads to corruption and gangsterism. We have already seen the failure of such approaches in the various Dalit Panther movements, despite the deep sincerity of some members. The genuine revolutionaries of these movements end up being murdered like Panicker. What is needed are community-based peace militias emerging from individual and community self-defense and martial arts training programs, specifically designed to resist upper-caste goondas and mercenaries. Dr. Ambedkar began such work in Nagpur for Dalit self-defense against RSS thugs. These programs should now start in all Dalit and Adivasi-dominated areas, and the resulting local militias of these areas should expand to defend Mulanivasis in nearby areas, provide training and help them build alliances with humanistic upper-caste people in their areas. This decentralized network of Dalit resistance movements can provide an umbrella for the other dimensions of the revolution against casteism.
Actually the English word “caste” is a Portuguese and Spanish word used for the Dalits of Central and South America. The Dalits of these countries were former tribals who were destroyed by the Christian juggernaut of the Bible, the battalion, the bottle and the brothel. The Bible as preached by missionaries taught the indigenous people that they were loathsome sinners, the battalion gave them practice in turning the other cheek to Christian violence, the bottle helped them forget their humiliation and the brothel enabled them to humiliate their own women who had become merchandise for Christian capitalists. This is how Dalits are still being created today in South America after 400 years of Christian colonization. The Amazon jungles that were destroyed were full of indigenous people who were either killed or enslaved into Dalits. Those who protested in the past or who protest today in Brazil are murdered. In India this process has been going on for thousands of years. The ancient Aryans used to seize the food from the forests and capture large amounts of innocent animals to be slaughtered in their barbaric yajinas (sacrifices). When the adivasis of the past resisted this resource theft, the destruction of their forests and Aryan sexual violence, they were called rakshakas (demons). Today their descendants who resist the same Aryan theft and violence are called Maoists, anti-national or terrorists. While adivasis who speak out against this violence are murdered, Dalits who speak out against this demonic development program of Aryavarta are arrested for sedition. So this issue of Dalit military resistance has been festering for thousands of years.
So long as Dalits and Adivasis do not defend themselves, the atrocities on them will continue. Hence, it is mandatory that they create local and regional peace militias whose members will serve as defenders of their own community against any kind of injustice even attempted against them. These peace militias must become so powerful that no person, no institution, no government, dares to mete out any kind of injustice against them. Dalits and Adivasis comprise 80 percent of the Indian population. It is time to convert that 80 percent into a powerful moral and military force so that the very last remnants of casteism are removed from the Indian landscape once and for all. It is important that such militancy maintain the magnamity of mind as well as the courage of genuine leaders like Ayyankali or what Shrii Sarkar calls Neohumanism.
Shrii Sarkar endlessly called on humanity to have the manly and womanly courage to fight exploitation and casteism. He stated unequivocally that “those who imposed the caste system were wicked, crooked demons.” Shrii Sarkar’s flaming words still burn ever-bright today with his saying:
“Your duty will be to unite the moralists. Let there be two camps. Let there be an open fight. The moralists have been scattered for so long that they could not fight. The united strength of five moralists is much more than the united strength of a hundred immoralists because there is an unholy alliance amongst the latter. Meditation behind closed doors will not do. Gather strength by intuitional practices and unite yourselves against the immoralists.
So your duty is three-fold. Your first duty is to observe morality and to do intuitional practices. Without this you cannot have mental determination. Your next duty is to unite the moralists of the world, otherwise Dharma will not endure. The exploited masses who do not observe Yama and Niyama – the cardinal moral principles – cannot fight against their own sense of frustration. It is therefore necessary to unite the moralists. This will be your real Dharma. You will become great by doing this, because ideation of the Great makes a person great. At the third stage, you will have to mercilessly fight against sin wherever it has taken root in this world.
You will have to propagate this mission from door to door. No political party or so-called religious institution can bring salvation. Praising God in concerts with drums and cymbals will not bring salvation either, because this will not bring the sinner to submission. To curb the onslaughts of the immoralists today, arms are more necessary than drums and cymbals.
It is not possible to fight against sin as long as there is some weakness in your mind. In this fight, your goal is not the sin or the sinner, your goal is the Supreme Consciousness. Anything that comes in the way of this has to be mercilessly removed. When clouds collect around the pole-star and cover it, your duty will be to remove the clouds and follow the pole-star without caring to see where the clouds have gone. If you always think of your enemy, your mind will adopt the bad qualities of your object of ideation, but if the Supreme Being is your goal, your mind will be metamorphosed into the Supreme Being itself.
Remember – you have to serve humanity. You have to dedicate yourself to the cause of humanity as a whole. Your life is valuable; your time is all the more valuable. You should not waste a single moment. The task is glorious. The task is novel. Lead the life of a warrior and constantly fight against evils. You will be victorious. So march ahead!”