'Slavery' by Mahatma Phule: Preface

'Slavery' 

by 

Mahatma Phule

~

Preface 

by The Author Himself

~

jotiba signature 

"The day that reduces a man to slavery takes from him the half of his virtue,"
 

- Homer.

"Our system of Government in India is not calculated to raise the character of those subject to it, nor is the present system of education one to do more than over-educate the few, leaving the mass of the people as ignorant as ever and still more at the mercy of the few learned; in fact, it is an extension of the demoralizing Brahmin-ridden policy, which, perhaps, has more retarded the progress of civilization and improvement in India generally than anything else."
 

- Col. G.J. Haly, 'On Fisheries in India'

"Many ages have elapsed since peculiar resources were afforded to the Brahmins; but the most considerate cosmopolite would hesitate to enroll them amongst the benefactors of the world.

They boast of vast stores of ancient learning. They have amassed great riches, and been invested with unbounded power, but to what good end? They have cherished the most degrading superstitions and practised the most shameless impostures. They have arrogated to themselves the possession and enjoyment of the rarest gifts of fortune and perpetuated the most revolting system known to the world. It is only from a diminution of their abused power that we can hope to accomplish the great work of national regeneration."
 

- Mead's 'Sepoy Revolt'.

Recent researches have demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that the Brahmans were not the aborigines of India. At some remote period of antiquity, probably more than 3000 years ago, the Aryan progenitors of the present Brahmin Race descended upon the plains of Hindoostan from regions lying beyond the Indus, the Hindoo Koosh, and other adjoining tracts. According to Dr. Pritchard, the Ethnologist, they were an off-shoot of the Great Indo-European race, from whom the Persians, Medes, and other Iranian nations in Asia and the principal nations in Europe like-wise are descended. The affinity existing between the Zend, the Persian and Sanscrit languages, as also between all the European languages, unmistakably points to a common source of origin. It appears also more than probable that the original cradle of this race being an arid, sandy and mountainous region, and one ill calculated to afford them the sustenance which their growing wants required, they branched off into colonies, East and West. The extreme fertility of the soil in India, its rich productions, the proverbial wealth of its people, and the other innumerable gifts which this favoured land enjoys, and which have more recently tempted the cupidity of the Western nations, no doubt, attracted the Aryans, who came to India, not as simple emigrants with peaceful intentions of colonization, but as conquerors. They appear to have been a race imbued with very high notions of self, extremely cunning, arrogant and bigoted. Such self-gratulatory, pride-flattering epithets as 'arya' 'bhudev' etc., with which they designated themselves, confirm us in our opinion of their primitive character, which they have preserved up to the present time, with, perhaps, little change for the better. The aborigines whom the Aryans subjugated, or displaced, appear to have been a hardy and brave people from the determined front which they offered to these interlopers. Such opprobrious terms, as Sudra 'insignificant,' 'Mahari' - 'the great foe' atayanj, chandal etc. with which they designated them, undoubtedly show that originally they offered the greatest resistance in their power to their establishing themselves in the country, and hence the great aversion and hatred in which they are held. From many customs* traditionally handed down to us, as well as from the mythological legends contained in the sacred books of the Brahmins it is evident that there had been a hard struggle for ascendancy between the two races. The wars of Dev and Daitya, or the Rakshas, about which so many fiction are found scattered over the sacred books of the Brahmins, have certainly a reference to this primeval struggle. The original inhabitants with whom these earthborn Gods, the Brahmins, fought, were not inappropriately termed Rakshas, that is the protectors of the land. The incredible and foolish legends regarding their form and shape are no doubt mere chimeras, the fact being that these people were of superior stature and hardy make. Under such leaders as Brahma, Purshram and others, the Brahmin waged very protracted wars against the original inhabitants. They eventually succeeded in establishing their supremacy and subjugating the aborigines to their entire control. Accounts of these conquests, enveloped with a mass of incredible fiction, are found in the books of the Brahmins. In some instances they were compelled to emigrate, and in other wholesale extermination was resorted to. The cruelties which the European settler practised on the American Indians on their first settlement in the new world, had certainly their parallel in India on the advent of the Aryans and their subjugation of the aborigines. The cruelties and inhuman atrocities which Purshram committed on the Kshetrias, the people of this land, if we are to believe even one tenth of what the legends say regarding him, surpass our belief and show that he was more a fiend than a God. Perhaps in the whole range of history it is scarcely possible to meet with such another character as that of Purshram, so selfish, infamous, cruel and inhuman. The deeds of Nero, Alaric or Machiavelli sink into insignificance before the ferocity of Purshram. The myriads of men and defenseless children whom he butchered, simply with a view to the establishment of his co-religionists on a secure and permanent basis in this land, is a fact for which generations ought to execrate his name, rather than deify it.

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What Path to Salvation?

Speech delivered by Dr. Ambedkar to the Bombay Presidency Mahar Conference, 31st May 1936, Bombay. Translated from the Marathi by Vasant W. Moon. The typescript of the translation, with handwritten emendations, was presented by the translator to Eleanor Zelliot on 25 January 1988, and has been contributed by her for this website.

Edited by Frances W. Pritchett. Editing has consisted of breaking up very long paragraphs, correcting typographical errors, and making small adjustments in punctuation and in English grammar and usage. All material enclosed in parentheses has been provided by the translator. All material enclosed in square brackets has been added by the editor.

babasaheb reading

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Dnyanajyoti Savitribai Phule - II

 

Prof. Hari Narke

Continued from here.

(This is the second part of his essay 'Dnyanajyoti Savitribai Phule', published in the NCERT booklet on the 'Savitribai Phule First Memorial Lecture' in 2008. You can read the first part here)

savitribai_copy_copy

In 1877, Maharashtra was facing a severe drought. It was not possible for Savitribai and Jotirao, who were always keen to help in the face of adversity, to stay inactive, and more so, during such times the couple collected funds, going from village to village. They started the 'Victoria Balashram' in Dhankawadi with the aid of friends like Dr Shivappa where one thousand poor and needy were given meals everyday. Savitribai, with the help of her friends, would cook all this food herself. At the same time, 'epoch-making thinkers' of Maharashtra like Vishnushastri Chiplunkar were engrossed in writing essays on the deteriorating condition of the grammar of Marathi language.

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Dr Ambedkar Remembers the Poona Pact in an Interview on the BBC

Transcribed by: Prakash Holayar, Chamarajanagar

Dr Ambedkar was extensively interviewed by the BBC radio in New Delhi in 1955 on a range of topics including his memories of Gandhi, Round Table Conferences, Poona Pact and how political independence was obtained. A portion of the interview related to the famous Poona Pact, transcribed (as faithfully as possible) from the audio record, is reproduced here:


BBC: Coming back to the ‘Poona Pact’, Can you remember all of what Gandhi said to you and what you said to him?

BRA: Oh! I know it very well, the British government had, in the original award which MacDonald had given, had accepted my suggestion. I said look at the Hindus, (they) want there should be a common electorate so that there may be no separatist feeling between the Scheduled Caste and the Hindu. We think if we have a common electorate we would be submerged and the nominees of Scheduled Castes who would be elected would be really slaves of the Hindus not independent people. Now, I told Mr Ramsay MacDonald this is a sort of a thing that he might do! Give us a separate electorate and also give us a second vote in the general election so that Gandhi cannot say that “we are separated” in point of election.

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Dnyanajyoti Savitribai Phule - I

 

Prof. Hari Narke

(This is the first part of his essay 'Dnyanajyoti Savitribai Phule', published in the NCERT booklet on the 'Savitribai Phule First Memorial Lecture' in 2008)

savitribai1

 

"More than Jotirao, his wife deserves praise. No matter how much we praise her, it would not be enough. How can one describe her stature? She cooperated with her husband completely and along with him, faced all the trials and tribulations that came their way. It is difficult to find such a sacrificing woman even among the highly educated women from upper castes. The couple spent their entire lifetime working for people."

– Narayan Mahadev alias Mama Paramanand (31st July 1890)

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D. C. Ahir is No More

K. C. Sulekh

The renowned author of more than dozen published works on Buddhism and Dr. Ambedkar, Mr. DC Ahir is no more. He breathed his last at his Janakpuri residence of Delhi on 12th July after protracted illness (learnt through my talk on phone with his son Nirmal). Born in 1928 at his native place Baath (Jalandhar), he settled in Delhi as an employee in the central govt. service and retired as Director to the Govt. of India in 1986.

ahir_46

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A Tribute to Respected D. C. Ahir

(Renowned Buddhist scholar and Ambedkarite thinker D. C. Ahir passed away on 12th July, 2012)

Ronki Ram

ahir_35

D. C. Ahir was one of the few Punjabi Ambedkarites who had the honour of sitting in the company of Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar at his residence in Delhi. That was the time when a large number of educated young men from Doaba Punjab made a bee line to Delhi for the purpose of seeking government jobs over there and to offer themselves for the mission of Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar. Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar was a Messiah for them. Following the clarion call of his beloved Master (Babasaheb), D.C. Ahir embraced Buddhism and opted for not to take any advantage from the system of caste reservation while keeping himself outside the Hindu fold. He earned all promotions in his job without counting on the policy of reservation. He especially emphasised on this point in one of my conversations with him at the residence of Mr. K. C. Sulekh at Chandigarh.

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