Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 9

 

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 9: Evidence From the Mughal Period

Continued from here.

Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

[Part 9 of Masood Alam Falahi's Urdu book Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman ('Casteism Among Muslims in India')]

~

It is likely that, like the Muslim so-called ashraf, the Brahmins, too, were greatly angered at Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq's patronage of the oppressed caste Muslims. After all, these Muslims, or their forefathers, had once been their slaves. An additional reason, one can surmise, for their probable resentment of the Sultan's policies was that these policies must certainly have made Islam an attractive option for many more Shudras who were desperate to be freed from the yoke of Brahminical tyranny.

At around this time there emerged across parts of India numerous social reformers who bitterly critiqued the caste system and preached an ethical monotheism. Many of them were heavily influenced by Islam. These were the Bhaktas, and the message of bhakti or selfless devotion to the one formless God that they taught was very similar to that of the Sufis. It was not, however, that all the Bhaktas were uniformly opposed to caste and caste-based discrimination. Some of them, particularly those of Brahmin origin, did not denounce caste as a social institution as such. The socially radical potential of the Bhakti movements was further limited by the fact that, over time, many of these were transformed into caste-like groups themselves. From being movements of social protest they soon compromised with the caste system. In this way, Brahminism was able to reassert itself and stave off the challenge posed by the Bhaktas, including those who had been deeply influenced by Islamic teachings, such as Kabir, Dadu/Daud and Nanak.

Read more...

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 8

 

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 8: Firoze Shah Tughlaq's Reign

Continued from here.

Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

[Part 8 of Masood Alam Falahi's Urdu book Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman ('Casteism Among Muslims in India')]

~

Sultan Firoze Shah Tughlaq, who succeeded Muhammad bin Tughlaq to the throne of Delhi, was quite a contrast to the latter. He was not well-read, including in religious matters, and nor was he observant of the rules of the shariah. Further, he was under the control of the ashraf nobles who had revolted against Muhammad bin Tughlaq and had placed him on the throne. He was beholden to them and did not dare act against their wishes. He was also devoted to fake mullahs and Sufis who were ardent supporters of caste discrimination. In order to please the ashraf nobles, mullahs and Sufis, he selectively killed various supporters of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, many of who are said to have been orthodox Muslims.[i] But he did not stopat this. He showered these men with lavish favours, appointing them to senior posts and granting them vast landed estates. Just as when Buddhism was extirpated from India Hindu kings bestowed on the Brahmins the posts, land, wealth and prestige that they had earlier possessed but had subsequently lost, so, too, the ashraf regained their hegemony on the death of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq. As Syed Ziauddin Barani put it, hardly able to conceal his glee, with Firoze Shah Tughlaq ascending the throne 'All the Syeds were blessed with a new life.'[ii]

The new Sultan killed many of his immediate predecessor's confidantes, granted the son of Qutlagh Khan, the ringleader of the conspiracy against Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the exalted title of Alap Khan and included him in the circle of leading nobles, and appointed Qutlagh Khan's brother Nizam ul-Mulk Amir Husain as governor of Gujarat. He gave back posts and perks to numerous mullahs, muftis, qazis and pirs that had been confiscated from them by Muhammad bin Tughlaq, reinstating them in place of those whom Muhammad bin Tughlaq had appointed. Thus, for instance, he removed Abul Fatah Shaikh Ruknuddin Multani from the post of sheikh ul-islam because he was opposed to wrongful innovative religious practices (biddat) and had been supportive of Muhammad bin Tughlaq.

Read more...

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 7

 

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 7: The Role of the Medieval Ulema

Continued from here.

Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

[Part 7 of Masood Alam Falahi's Urdu book Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman ('Casteism Among Muslims in India')]

~

Following the end of the short-lived Arab rule in western India, the Muslim dynasties that followed and ruled vast parts of India for some five hundred years all strictly upheld and enforced the Brahminical law of caste. In this entire period, the overall conditions of the oppressed castes who had converted to Islam remained pathetic. Because of this, the pace of conversion of the oppressed Shudras to Islam slowed down considerably. For many 'low' caste people who witnessed the Muslim rulers so passionately upholding caste divisions and discriminations, conversion to Islam no longer appeared as a means for social liberation. They saw no difference in their oppression and degradation under the Brahmins and that of 'low' caste Muslim converts. In this way, the caste-conscious Muslim rulers proved to be a great stumbling block in the further spread of Islam in India.

The reign of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq (d. 1351), who ascended the throne of Delhi in 1325, was somewhat different in this regard. He is said to have been a pious Muslim, an Islamic scholar in his own right. He was, so it is said, very regular in his prayers and had even memorised the entire Quran. At first, like most Muslim rulers of Delhi before him, he appointed large numbers of 'high' caste Muslims, especially those of foreign birth or descent, to top posts and bestowed on them vast estates and land grants. At this stage, he ignored the needs and interests of his own indigenous Indian subjects, Muslims as well as Hindus. However, later in his reign the Sultan developed sharp differences, to the point of enmity, with many of the foreign so-called ashraf elites whom he had earlier so lavishly patronised. The reason for this, as Kunwar Mohammad Ashraf writes, was that these foreigners had come to India simply to feather their own nests, to acquire as much wealth as they could and then quickly return to their countries. Therefore, their loyalty to the Sultan was always doubtful. Many of them were not interested in posts that would require them to stay on in India for what they considered was an excessively long period. Even those few who chose to settle down in India were motivated only by the desire for personal aggrandisement, not for promoting the prosperity of the country or for improving the functioning of the state's administrative apparatus.[i]

Read more...

Dalit Women's Right to Political Participation in Rural Panchayati Raj (Part 2)

 

Dalit Women's Right to Political Participation
in Rural Panchayati Raj

 

A study of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu

Continued from here.

~
Executive Summary

 

~
Jayshree Mangubhai
Aloysius Irudayam sj
Emma Sydenham

 

~
(Research done in Collaboration with Navsarjan Trust, Gujarat and Evidence, Tamil Nadu)

 

~

 IV. Responsiveness of the State

"I did not take other problems concerning the Vice President's cheating behaviour to the police. I was well aware it would mean more expense and no action would be taken against the dominant caste man. I suffered it all within ... Ever since I decided to enter the panchayat, I am fighting against injustice and atrocities ... Be it a Dalit or non-Dalit woman, their participation in the panchayat administration is never appreciated in this patriarchal country. Then what is the value of social justice here?"

- Pushpa, village Panchayat President, Thirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu, after facing police inaction following her numerous complaints of obstructions during the election process

Read more...

Dalit Women's Right to Political Participation in Rural Panchayati Raj (Part 1)

 

Dalit Women's Right to Political Participation
in Rural Panchayati Raj
A study of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu

~
Executive Summary

~
Jayshree Mangubhai
Aloysius Irudayam sj
Emma Sydenham

~
(Research done in Collaboration with Navsarjan Trust, Gujarat and Evidence, Tamil Nadu)

~

"More and more Dalit1 women should contest the elections and get elected to the panchayat, and help the Dalit community become liberated from their bondage. Like the dominant castes2, the Dalits should join hands with other Dalit sub-groups and stand together against the dominant castes. They should be able to work independently in the panchayats and stop being proxies for the dominant castes. We Dalits need to focus on our progress, throwing off our subordination."
- Annammal, village panchayat President in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu

"Reservation has meant little difference other than formal elections: it has not meant any real change for women other than their ability to move outside the house."
- Dalit women elected representatives, Ahmedabad district, Gujarat

Direct political participation of Dalit women in local governance (Panchayati Raj) is a central human right in itself and enables the realisation of a host of other human rights. Political voice and decision-making power concerning basic services, economic development and social justice are critical factors in challenging and transforming structural caste-class-gender discrimination, and enabling Dalit women to realise their fundamental rights. Political participation also demands accountability from state and non-state actors to guarantee and respect these women's equal political voice and development. This requires a transformation of power relationships both within institutions of governance and in the women's social environment.

Read more...

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 6

 

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 6: In the Period of 'Muslim Rule'

Continued from here.

Caste Struggle

Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

[Part 6 of Masood Alam Falahi's Urdu book Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman ('Casteism Among Muslims in India')]

~

With its philosophy of human equality Islam would have rapidly spread across India but this was not to be tolerated by the upholders of Brahminism or Manuvad. With the conversion of vast numbers of oppressed caste people to Islam they saw their hegemony, built on the caste system and untouchability, rapidly crumbling. They realised that if they did not modify Hinduism and if they did not halt the spread of Islam, Hinduism would be destroyed forever. Accordingly, they adopted many different strategies to counter the Islamic wave.

Division of Muslims into 'High' and 'Low'

Because political power over most of India was now in the hands of Muslims, the Brahminists could not quash them in the same way as they had earlier destroyed the Buddhists and the Jains—by physically exterminating them on a massive scale. Instead, they tried every means to prevent the further expansion of Islam. To take revenge on the Muslims for their political defeat and for attracting vast numbers of Shudras to the Muslim fold, the Brahmins spared no effort to promote hatred against the Muslims and their faith. In this way they tried to dissuade the Shudras and others from converting to Islam. They branded the Muslims as despicable Mlecchas, and treated them as 'impure' and 'polluted', a tendency that continues even today in large parts of India. This is why, leaving aside the Dalits, even 'low' caste Hindus refused to consume food or water touched by Muslims or to draw water from wells used by Muslims. If a Muslim touched a Hindu's water pot, he would break it, considering it to have been rendered impure. If a Muslim touched a Hindu, he would consider himself polluted and would have to take a ritual bath to 'cleanse' himself.

Read more...

Non-Implementation of Reservation policy in University of Hyderabad: A Report

 

Report on Non-Implementation of Reservation policy in
University of Hyderabad (A case study of 2011-12 Admissions)

~

Ambedkar Students' Association

[Via Arun Asokan]

Non-Implementation of Reservation Policy in P.G Courses for the year 2011-12 

University of Hyderabad has a clear-cut policy of 'no cut-off marks' for admission into P.G Courses, which means that the seats vacant under any quota must be filled. For reserved quota it becomes obligatory to fulfill mandatory provisions of reservation policy. But University of Hyderabad has violated it. From Table 1, owing exceptions to M.A Urdu and M.P.A Dance, we could observe that almost all departments had candidates available. Despite this, the seats remained vacant.

Table 1: Statement showing the No. of Vacancies and Availability of Candidates
intake 21

intake 22

Source: Compiled from Agenda Circulated for 67th Academic Council at University of Hyderabad.

Read more...

Other Related Articles

Rohingyas and Origins of the Caste System
Sunday, 08 October 2017
Umar NizarHow foolish it would be to suppose that one only needs to point out this origin and this misty shroud of delusion in order to destroy the world that counts for real, so-called 'reality'. We... Read More...
The curious case of Indian psychoanalysis
Saturday, 11 February 2017
 Umar Nizar  Marxism has been critiqued variously for its occasional elitism and casteism. But the Freudian establishment in India, a flourishing one at that, has escaped criticism. Ashis... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Rohingyas and Origins of the Caste System
Sunday, 08 October 2017
Umar NizarHow foolish it would be to suppose that one only needs to point out this origin and this misty shroud of delusion in order to destroy the world that counts for real, so-called 'reality'. We... Read More...