Raising a Buddhist generation


Chanchal Kumar

chanchal kumarOur parents shielded us from any candid discussion on caste while growing up, perhaps believing that if the monster was not mentioned, it would simply cease to exist. Another way to look at it could be that they tried to warn us but we were too busy to pay attention and too naive about the realities of the land. Either way, we were not prepared for the rude shock that awaited us when we realized that our savarna college mates in the big bright city hated us because we did not belong to the same castes as they did. The cherry on top was that they also did not think we deserved to study in the same institution as them since we lacked merit.

Being raised in gated communities in their savarna ghettos in metro cities, it was probably the first time that they had encountered a living, breathing Dalit outside of their TV sets and laptops. When they realized we were as good as them, it hurt their ego. They couldn't understand how the caste supremacist tales their parents and family members told them did not translate into reality. As far as they were concerned, we were the anomaly in a savarna world where Dalits are unmeritorious as a rule. So they tried everything in their power to kill us.

As part of a generation that anticipates more youngsters from the community to enter educational institutions in the country, what should our responsibility as adults be? The previous generation through their web platforms, publication houses, internet presence, seminars and other similar interventions, provided a safe space for us to learn, grow and resist. We should similarly pass on what we have learnt so far to young minds coming after us.

As was the case with many of us, our parents were first generation learners with a stable job, paving the path for us to earn degrees from the colleges populated by savarnas. The teenagers now, compared to when we were the same age as them, already have better access to wider political knowledge, thanks to the internet and superior technologies. More chances are that they already have an idea of what caste entails. But this could be true only for the kids who are active on social media. What about those children from smaller towns and villages, the introverts and the science nerds who want to study at MIT or Stanford some day? It is not wise to leave it to chance that they will come across and read about the history of caste on their own. Or if they do, they will fully grasp what they are dealing with. Therefore, a frank conversation with them about the caste system is vital. The first thing that we should let the young minds know is that Hindus are not their friends. They should always be wary of them. To be Hindu is to believe in caste hierarchy, it is as simple a fact as this. Other topics regarding affirmative action, about the role of the media, about Brahmin "intellectuals", even about Savarna feminism must also be discussed.

Finally, we should instil a sense of pride in them about our rich intellectual, humanitarian history— that they are not only as good as anyone they will cross paths with in future, but belonging to a tradition that believes in rationality and love, they are actually better and deserve a life of abundance and joy.

We should prepare a generation of men and women who can fight back and emerge victorious in the end. The sphere of religion is crucial because Hindu religion sets a limit to thought. Inadvertent swallowing of myths and supremacist propaganda leads to a person subconsciously thinking that they are not good enough. We must break this chain of historical trauma inflicted via religion. Teaching young kids Ambedkarite thought and Buddhist teachings frees the mind. They are then not playing according to the rules of Hinduism. They have changed the game itself. Hinduism is now irrelevant as a medieval religion that must be chucked by everyone who believes in the equality of all human beings.



Chanchal Kumar is from Jharkhand and currently lives in Delhi, India. His poems have previously appeared and awarded in The Sunflower Collective, Hamilton Stone Review, Welter Journal, Name and None, Young Poets Network, UK including others. Recently, his poems were translated to Bengali by Harakiri Journal. He is pursuing M.Phil at University of Delhi.


Other Related Articles

Raising a Buddhist generation
Sunday, 18 July 2021
  Chanchal Kumar Our parents shielded us from any candid discussion on caste while growing up, perhaps believing that if the monster was not mentioned, it would simply cease to exist. Another... Read More...
Charisma without Organizational Leadership is Abortive for Dalit Politics
Tuesday, 13 July 2021
Rahul Sonpimple Charisma is elusive yet the most common term to define leadership. Charismatic leadership is usually perceived as essential and assenting, specifically in politics. However, the... Read More...
A portrait of the casteist as a young influencer
Monday, 12 July 2021
Shy of inquiry into privilege, social media posts flaunt antiquated attitudes to caste, reservations Rahi Gaikwad We are all to some extent the prisoners of our upbringing.-PD James (Death in Holy... Read More...
Crossroads of Covid: Time for Theological Transition
Monday, 12 July 2021
  Dr Anuradha Bele & Dr Jas Simran Kehal Reading about Mahavir and Buddha with my son in his class VI ICSE history textbook took us back to the 6th century BC. The chapter explained state of... Read More...
Typing Out on the Keyboard: A Colonial Spectre or Failure of the Indian Nation-State
Sunday, 11 July 2021
Vinod Kumar I was writing something down, jotting down my thoughts about a certain incident, or perhaps, it was merely a random idea; it was a feeling I wanted to note down soon after having my... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Myth of Brahmin Merit: Refutation of Superiority
Sunday, 21 March 2021
  Pranav Jeevan P We have been hearing arguments that try to justify the superiority and monopoly of Brahmins and savarnas in the fields of education and governance based on genetics. Their... Read More...
Casteism in City Colleges and Classrooms
Saturday, 29 May 2021
Aarushi Punia It is a common myth perpetrated by upper caste faculty, students, politicians, and media that caste superiority and casteism is exercised amongst uneducated people in the villages, and... Read More...
Unnao after Hathras: Atrocities, again and again
Monday, 22 February 2021
Sonali Shirke In Baburha village, Unnao district, of Uttar Pradesh, a horrific incident of atrocities against Dalit girls has once again come to light on February 17 (many such incidents happen every... Read More...
Phule, Paine and the Idea of Religion
Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Dr. SPVA Sairam Religion has played a significant role throughout the human history and its legacy is mixed. As a means of social control, it not only divided people and subjected them to the... Read More...
Govt. of India should send One Lakh SC ST youths abroad for Higher Education
Monday, 21 June 2021
  Anshul Kumar Men sitting on the pinnacle of the palace "So, I went one day to Linlithgow and said, concerning the expense of education, "If you will not get angry, I want to ask a question. I... Read More...