When Jack Dorsey held up a poster screaming “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy” was he played by Indian leftists and crypto Christians masquerading as liberals? Or was it an expression of the Twitter CEO’s own Western bias against India in general and Hindus in particular? After copping a lot of abuse on social media Dorsey’s team has been on a PR tear, trying to wash his hands off the poster, saying the poster was “rhetorical”. But few Indians are buying that, and in fact, the group that created the poster has asserted that it was meant to be quite literal. (1)
But what exactly is “Brahminical patriarchy”? Is it even a thing? Do the creators of the term believe they have coined something unique that is a gift to the dictionary? The term is so banal that it doesn’t evoke any feelings – negative or otherwise. It seems a group of semi-literate leftists and members of the Tukde Tukde gang sat up all night, drinking cheap rum and munching on soggy jhalmuri, and decided that “Brahminical dominance”, “Killer Brahmins” or “Brahminical fanaticism” were too direct or too easy to parse so they settled on “Brahminical patriarchy” because nobody has a freaking clue what it means.
And like the vacuous thinking that is unique to leftists, communists and the two desert cults, it is sufficiently vague so they can write lengthy PhD theses under the benign supervision of urban naxal university professors, then apply for a scholarship at one of the Hindu bashing universities in the US and UK and spend the rest of their miserable lives teaching clueless Americans and Brits more of the same – that Hinduism is an oppressive religion.
Such agenda-fuelled teaching leads to predictable outcomes. Take the US. Because young Americans have never been taught about the real dangers – immigration from the peaceful crescent, evangelical Christianity that drags down US science education and falling incomes that are destroying the middle class – the Americans get blindsided and fail at policy making. Soon enough bombs go off in California and New York and then they wonder why despite spending a trillion dollars on war they are so vulnerable. People like Dorsey end up creating a global platform like Twitter but they are as clueless about the globe as a redneck from the American Bible Belt.
But those are America’s problems and it’s for them to sort out. More to the point, why does the West latch on to the Brahmin bogey so readily? The reason is that historically Brahmins, sadhus, saints, monks and wandering mendicants have been India’s gurus who have guided people during crises and life or death struggles. For instance, whenever there were foreign invasions, Brahmins acted as the glue that brought the masses together to put up strong resistance. This has been a singular feature of Indian history since the time of Alexander’s ill-fated invasion more than 2300 years ago to the much later Muslim and British invasions. Although Brahmins and sadhus rarely took up arms, they were the chief instigators of rebellion or resistance. This led to invaders developing a strong antipathy towards India’s priestly class. This is the chief reason why the ascension of Yogi Adityanath (not a Brahmin but a Kshatriya monk) as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh elicited a huge amount of hate-filled articles from the mainstream Western media outfits such as the Washington Post, The Guardian and New York Times. (2)
While most of the fighting was done by the Rajputs, Marathas, Jats, Bhils and other warlike communities, the minority Brahmins played a critical role when it mattered most – during defeats. In all other countries, when the kings and warrior clans were defeated, it was the end of the road for that country’s history. This was especially true after the arrival of Christianity and Islam, which specialised in erasing non-Abrahamic history and turning great pagan rulers to unpersons. Persia is the starkest example – 25 years is all that Islam took to digest this ancient civilisation. As for Christianity, it in a matter of a centuries it replaced the beautiful and vibrant native religions of Greece, Rome and Europe with the vengeful and genocide-loving god of the Bible. The 7,000 year old Egyptian civilisation first fell to Christians and later to Islam in a matter of decades.
But in India, after Sindh first fell to the Arabs in 712 CE, it took Islam 300 more years to conquer the Indian province of Gandhara (Afghanistan) and 500 to conquer Delhi. Not only were the Rajputs fighting the Muslim invaders ceaselessly, the Brahmins played an important role in the struggle by preserving ancient texts and holy books and spiriting away the consecrated statues of their deities to hideouts in the jungles and mountains, thereby inspiring the common people to stay in the fight and not surrender.
In striking contrast to how the Brahmins preserved the ancient knowledge and religion of the Hindus is the utter failure of the more egalitarian Buddhist monks to preserve theirs. One fine afternoon in 1200 CE, when the Muslim general Bakhtiyar Khilji sacked the University of Nalanda, he and his troops killed 50,000 Buddhist monks and burnt around a million books. In a single afternoon, the work of 2500 years of Buddhist learning was destroyed.
Vacuous liberals who blame caste (or to use the more appropriate and accurate non-European word, jati) for India’s problems should see how it saved India. Because the Buddhist clergy was both non-hereditary and non-violent, it proved to be a double whammy. First up, they simply refused to fight because non-violence was at the core of Buddhism in India (very unlike the more realistic Chinese, Japanese and Burmese Buddhists used violence to beat back the Europeans and Muslim invaders). This meant, it became frightfully easy for the Muslims to wipe out the religion. For, genocide becomes easy if you know the enemy won’t fight back. Secondly, the son of a Buddhist monk did not become a monk; he had to spend years studying in a vihara (Buddhist college) before he could qualify as a monk. So when 50,000 monks were killed in a single day, Buddhism practically ceased to exist in India as there was nobody left to pass on the knowledge to the next generation.
Another instance of the permanent erasure of knowledge is the loss of the exact name of the Biblical god. The Hebrew word represented by the letters YHWH only gives an indication of what it may have sounded like because it was forbidden to even say the original name. Other than a small cabal of rabbis, nobody was permitted to utter the name. However, after the Romans defeated the Jews and expelled them from Israel, the exact pronunciation of the name of the Biblical god was lost forever.
In contrast, because priesthood was hereditary among Hindus, the Brahmins taught their children the scriptures at home. Every Brahmin child was a potential priest; in most cases they had memorised the Vedas and other scriptures by the time they were in their teens. Memorising became the surest guarantor against the destruction of knowledge. While palm leaf manuscripts could be burnt and stone tablets could be broken by iconoclastic Muslims and Christians, the knowledge of scriptures stored inside the heads of Brahmins preserved Hindu religion’s most important elements over thousands of years. In fact, the exact tone and accent of every letter, syllable and word is the same as it was when the ancient forefather sung hymns to Vedic gods Indra, Agni and Vayu 5,000 to 7,000 years ago. This is how Hindu religion was saved from the barbarians of the Middle East.
It is in this backdrop of Brahminical preservation of Hinduism that they have become a huge irritant to the two desert cults who have been trying to convert India for over a thousand years. Islam is the imperial arm of the Arabs, and Christianity is the spearhead of Western colonialism. Both have met their Waterloo in India. (3) But while the Arabs are no longer an imperialist force, the West continues to use Christianity as a wedge to pry open nations and their markets to Western multinationals. This Western identification with Christianity is so strong that agnostics and atheists are willing to say there are cultural Christians while expressing their hatred of Hinduism. The worst example of such a shameful U-turn was made by British biologist and author Richard Dawkins. (4)
The history of India shows that when kingdoms made judicious use of Brahmins’ intellectual weapons they prospered and remained strong whereas when they persecuted or sidelined them, these kingdoms quickly weakened and became prey to foreign invasions. The following examples illustrate the critical role of the priestly class in India’s history and how they proved to be a thorn in the side of invaders.
Defeat of Alexander
In 326 BCE when Alexander invaded India, the Macedonian ruler met stiff resistance virtually everywhere – right from the moment he entered India via the northwest to his final exit from the mouth of the Indus. (5) Most of his opponents were tiny republics, mere city states or pocket sized kingdoms which badly mauled the invading army and in a couple of cases nearly destroyed it. According to Greek and Roman accounts, of all his campaigns, Alexander faced the most devastating battles in India. How was this possible in places like Punjab and Sindh where there were many fractured kingdoms and lacked a central unifying power? The bravery and warlike spirit of the Indian people were definitely the main factors, but there was another critical ingredient – the inspiration provided in ample measure by Brahmins.
After the Battle of Jhelum in which Alexander’s army was defeated by the army of Porus, the Macedonians decided to leave India via the Indus. However, nearly all the Indian kingdoms along the river mobilised their armies to block his path to the Arabian Sea. The battles with these republics were so ferocious that it took the Macedonians five months to reach the sea.
Nigel Cathorne writes in ‘Alexander the Great’ that these battles were largely instigated by Brahmin priests. “Alexander hanged any Brahmin that fell into his hands, reserving crucifixion for civil leaders that opposed him. He asked one Brahmin why he had encouraged his king to revolt. His reply was: ‘Because I wished him to live with honour or die with honour’.” (6)
The sacrifice of the Brahmins, kings, soldiers and ordinary citizens didn’t go in vain. “Here Alexander badly misjudged his opponents,” writes Peter Green in ‘Alexander of Macedon: A Historical Biography’. “Resistance, far from being crushed by his strong-arm methods, took on a new lease of life: before 300 BCE every Macedonian garrison in the Land of the Five Rivers had been wiped out.” (7)
Chanakya: An Empire from scratch
The Mauryan Empire was one of the largest and greatest in India’s long history. To get a sense of powerful and wealthy it was, the kingdom had a standing army of 600,000 infantry alone; that’s not counting the cavalry, chariots and elephants corps. It was also one of India’s most progressive eras when even prostitution was legalised and a superintendent was appointed for their welfare; there was also a superintendent of navigation whose job was to ensure the smooth sailing of merchant shipping. And yet this empire would have never existed without one determined Brahmin – Chanakya.
Chanakya was not just a master strategist but a great patriot who wanted to unite the entire country under a strong ruler. He was aghast at the scale of massacre and destruction caused by Alexander. Plus, he wanted to rid the country of the powerful and corrupt Nanda dynasty, which ruled Pataliputra and didn’t care that a foreigner was laying waste to India’s northwest.
While plotting the fall of the Nandas, he met a young man leading a band of local youth and was impressed with him. The youth was Chandragupta, the son of the chief of the Maurya clan, and Chanakya picked him as the leader of the anti-Nanda revolt. Chanakya groomed Chandragupta to be a leader, instilling qualities of humility and good governance. Under him, Chandragupta turned out to be an able military commander.
No sooner had Alexander moved on than the destruction of his work began. Philip, his satrap was killed by a group of mercenaries – it is very likely this was the work Chanakya who maintained a highly efficient spy network. Resistance gathered in Punjab, under Chandragupta. After Alexander’s death Chandragupta was joined by a Punjabi king named Parvataka, who may have been Porus. “Between them these two conquered the empire which Alexander had dreamed of but never won,” writes Green. “The Mauryan dynasty founded by Chandragupta held sway eastward to Bengal and the Ganges, southward as far as Mysore.”
To get an idea what Chanakya had achieved through Chandragupta, the Nanda army had 200,000 infantry, 80,000 cavalry and 6,000 war elephants. It was the fear of facing this mighty army that resulted in the Macedonians and Greeks refusing to advance further into India. But Chanakya, with his stratagem and ruse isolated the Nandas, made them friendless and unpopular, and finally went in for the kill – with Chandragupta defeating the Nanda army and becoming the master of India. What the Greeks didn’t dare, Chandragupta achieved. How? The Greeks didn’t have Chanakya.
Peshwas: Hindu renaissance
Shivaji Maharaj established the first large Hindu kingdom after the destruction of Vijayanagara in the 1565. He was responsible for grinding down the Mughal army, and establishing a strong Maratha kingdom based in Maharashtra. However, after Shivaji’s descendants frittered away the gains of the great Maratha leader, the Peshwas – or Brahmin Prime Ministers – took over and expanded the kingdom into an empire. Within a space of 40 years up to 1759, the Peshwas re-conquered vast swaths of territory from the Muslim invaders, liberating Punjab after 800 years of Islamic rule, making the Mughal Emperor their vassal and extending their empire to the Afghanistan border. In fact, after taking the city of Attock, the then Peshwa talked of “leaping over the walls of Attock” to re-establish Hindu rule in Afghanistan. The Marathas became so powerful under the Peshwas that the European powers were battered into submission on the seas – which was like home turf to the likes of the British and Portuguese. While Shivaji had humiliated the English and Portuguese in many battles, it was the imperial power of the Peshwas that made the Europeans fear that a Hindu renaissance could mar their plans to colonise and loot India. As it is, the British had to fight several gritty battles with the Peshwas before they could final take over. Since the British were cunning by nature, they saw their doppelganger in the Peshwas, reinforcing their belief that it was the Brahmins who stood between them and power.
On the flip side
This article does not attempt to depict the Brahmins as paragons of virtue. Like all Indian communities they also have their share of faults. For instance, one particular Brahmin group has been accused of cornering all bank officers’ posts in Maharashtra. The same group is a strong advocate of the Aryan Invasion Theory because the British told them the only reason a lot of members of this group have blue eyes is because they are the last of Aryans who have not mixed with ‘non-Aryan’ Indians.
Lately, the Sunga Dynasty, probably the first Brahmin dynasty, has found a huge number of admirers in Brahmin social media groups. The Sunga Dynasty is being touted as having ruled for 300 years (it ruled less than 90 years). Its founder Pushyamitra Sunga is described as a great reviver of Hinduism, whitewashing his unpardonable crime of regicide – the murder of the last Mauryan Emperor Brihadratha, during an army review.
Again, rare is the Brahmin who will admit that Sindh (which successfully defeated Arab invasions for over 70 years) finally fell after the Brahmin Prime Minister Chach under very suspicious circumstances became the king of a hereditary Rajput kingdom (he married the widowed queen after the king died). This demoralised the entire kingdom and prevented a united fight against the Arabs when they invaded in 712 CE.
And finally, in modern times, some Brahmins have attempted to stop social gentrification, as in Kerala which has competitive exams for the appointment of temple priests. (8) Brahmins devotees have refused to accept offerings from non-Brahmin priests. Both Nairs (a Shudra group) and Ezhavas (an avarna community) have faced stiff opposition from Brahmins. (9)
However, it must be clarified that Brahmins alone aren’t to blame. In some cases Nairs are also against the appointment of non-Brahmin priests – a pointer to the complex weave of caste equations in India. Also, the Brahmin population in Kerala is so low that they can’t even be categorised in percentage terms, so they can’t obviously be dominating the priesthood but rather clinging on to their only claim to pride. Lacking the skills for establishing a business, not having the cash to ‘buy’ a job in a state where the communists have ensured joblessness for all, and not having the physical qualities to join the police or army, they may be desperately attempting to survive in their only hereditary profession.
Western bias finds focus in Brahmins
The Western hatred for Hinduism and India needs a focal point – they need to find a convenient bogey to apportion blame, and they have found that in the Brahmins. The irony is that before the arrival of the Westerners, Brahmins did not enjoy a very high status in India. They were a respected group but that was all – they did not dominate society as they have done in British India and post-independence India.
If anyone could be blamed for the domination of Brahmins in the media and economy it is the British. Nicholas B. Dirks, Chancellor of the University of California, has conducted an exhaustive study of how the British transformed Indian society. In ‘Castes of the Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India’ (2001), he says the concept of caste hierarchy was a British construct. Before the emergence of British colonial rule, “kings were not inferior to Brahmins”.
However, the British took their cue from the many dodgy versions of the Manu Smriti floating around and decided that the Brahmins were the most important group and then appointed them as their interlocutors with Indians. This British experiment was first conducted in Tamil Nadu where they had made inroads several years before their conquest of the rest of India. Hence, Tamil Brahmins, a poor priestly group, were pitchforked into society as the leading Hindu community.
To test this, just look at Tamil Nadu and Bengal – both places where British rule started early and the colonialists were was total control. In these two states Brahmins soon became the apex community. They became so dominant in so many fields – totally disproportionate to their population – in Tamil Nadu that it led to the rise of the anti-Brahmin movement. In Bengal, the ‘Kuleen’ Brahmin bestowed on himself the right to consummate the marriage of every young bride he could get his hands on. On the other hand in places like Haryana where British presence was minimal, the Brahmin is a bit like Tenali Raman – a comical character whom nobody takes seriously.
While anti-Brahmin groups like the Ambedkarites and Periyaites may try and vilify Brahmins, the fact is that Brahmins are a role model for other communities. Sanskrit learning, Vedic chanting, a vegetarian diet and early rising are all typical Brahmin traits, which when emulated by other communities has led to social gentrification. These are the facts India’s leftists and their Westerners patrons so casually ignore because it doesn’t square up with their Breaking India agenda.
The most audacious aspect of the Jack Dorsey episode is how these American visitors abused Indian hospitality. Before him, there was American President Barack Obama asking Indians to be more tolerant. It is a mystery how these feckless Americans can dare advise Indians without first setting their own house in order. They live in a country where Black people are not only routinely murdered by cops in the street, but where the police enter the home of law abiding middle class Blacks and shoot them dead, and then claim they mistakenly thought it was their own house and they believed the dead man was an intruder. The police then attempted to smear the dead man’s reputation by revealing they found marijuana at his home, or in more likelihood they planted it. (10)
If there is Black hell, it is America, which once upon a time was hell for Native Americans, who have since been wiped out – all 200 million of them.
In this backdrop of genocide and slavery, for these people to lecture India is worse than chutzpah.
How to counter these forces
Clearly, “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy” is a very literal poster – there’s nothing rhetorical about it. The use of the word “smash” carries a subliminal imagery that encourages physical violence against a particular community. And it is held up by the CEO of the world’s influential social media company. This should worry everyone in India. What Indian leftists want is nothing less than a Pol Pot-like regime that will commit genocide of 1,000 million Indians. Only Muslims, Christians and some upper middle class leftist elites will remain. Not many know that the ultra-left Pol Pot was backed by ultra-right America which supplied him with cash and weapons while he and his communists proceeded to murder a quarter of Cambodia’s population. Had Vietnam not invaded Cambodia to oust Pol Pot, he would have murdered the rest too.
Hindus need to take strong action against such leftist cabals which are infiltrated by Muslims and crypto-Christians who pretend to be liberals but are actually working for the Christian church and other Breaking India groups. Why not take a few tips from the ‘special’ community plus the followers of the religion of love – both of whom threaten civil disturbance if their community is merely asked to be accommodative and patriotic. You don’t have to be more violent than them – just par. If the Indian state accepts the threat of violence by Muslims and Christians, then it should be able to accommodate Hindu threats too. Such equilibrium alone can set things right. As Chanakya said, “The antidote of poison is poison, not nectar.”
And in case you were wondering, no, I’m not a Brahmin. Just an avarna from Kerala.
- OpIndia, https://www.opindia.com/2018/11/controversial-poster-jack-held-was-not-rhetorical-but-entirely-about-caste-confirms-the-person-who-gifted-the-poster/?fbclid=IwAR1J2vmdiPpnoO1o1xR5DfYBgoSUE7e4CS-fOQe3oS_tpAPm6hesgpylQyI
- Nilanjana Bhowmick, Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/03/24/meet-the-militant-monk-spreading-islamophobia-in-india/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0e94736a5bc2
- Myth of Muslim Empire in India, https://arisebharat.com/2015/08/21/the-myth-of-muslim-empire-in-india/
- The Telegraph, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/hay-festival/10853648/Richard-Dawkins-I-am-a-secular-Christian.html
- Rakesh Krishnan Simha, India Facts, http://indiafacts.org/greek-tragedy-alexanders-failed-invasion-of-india/
- Rakesh Krishnan Simha, India Facts, http://indiafacts.org/alexander-vs-porus-beyond-the-fog-of-war/
- Peter Green, ‘Alexander of Maecdon’, https://archive.org/stream/AlexanderOfMacedon/Alexander%20of%20Macedon_djvu.txt
- Outlook India, https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/in-kerala-temple-priest-appointments-backward-caste-ezhavas-overrun-brahmins/303133
- Hinduism Today, https://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=5467
Featured Image: Indian Express
Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness,suitability,or validity of any information in this article.
Rakesh is primarily a defence analyst. His articles have been quoted extensively by universities and in books on diplomacy, counter terrorism, warfare, and development of the global south; and by international defence journals.
Rakesh’s work has been cited by leading think tanks and organisations that include the Naval Postgraduate School, California; US Army War College, Pennsylvania; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington DC; State University of New Jersey; Institute of International and Strategic Relations, Paris; BBC Vietnam; Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk; Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi; Institute for Defense Analyses, Virginia; International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Washington DC; Stimson Centre, Washington DC; Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia; and Institute for Strategic, Political, Security and Economic Consultancy, Berlin.
His articles have been published by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi; Foundation Institute for Eastern Studies, Warsaw; and the Research Institute for European and American Studies, Greece, among others.