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Orissa in flames… October 8, 2008

Posted by Joseph in Caste, India.
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The violence that has engulfed Orissa, India and spread through neighbouring states is now a month old and with fresh impetus for action appearing from above action is slowly stirring.

Albeit stirring from a sickening slumber. On the fourth of October it was reported that 4 men had been arrested for the vicious gang rape and ‘parading’ of a Catholic nun. This occurred in full view of the police. This tell tale behaviour; the sexual humiliation of a Dalit woman with full impunity from the local police is typical of many atrocities committed in caste related conflicts to stamp authority on an upstart Dalit community. Whether they are ‘copy cat’ crimes or reveal more about ritual humiliation and fear is unclear, what is however, is that prosecutions and police action are always hard to attain, only the shock and shame of a nation at large can usually bring about punishment.

The violence in Orissa erupted when a Hindu holy man, Laxmananda Saraswati, was murdered. Tensions no doubt had been simmering for some time. On many accounts because of the activities of men such as Saraswati and caste and religious tension between a Hindu tribal group the Khanda and the Dalit sub caste the Pana, many of whom have converted to Chritianity.

Conversions rank upon the Hindu hall of sins as one of the worst. A major feature of Abrahamic religion is conversion and redemption, a popular notion by all accounts. This is something that the rigid caste based Hindu system is deeply powerless against. The caste system being as it is heavily oppressive to those at the bottom of the social and economic hierarchy, makes other, redemptive religions offering a way of bypassing this hierarchy, highly attractive. The hierarchy however is one that higher castes benefit a huge amount from, in their dominance of society.

Just as in the Southern Sates of the U.S. slaves were a beneficial facet of the economy to the forces that were, it therefore resulted in a multitude of bitter lies and racism when those slaves decided that enough was enough. Bitterness that comes when one realises that one’s existence is not superior to the other and that one’s oppression has no justification on inferiority or inherent destiny. That one’s dominance is being challenged by those you despise, because your dominance is based on violence and has no merit whatsoever.

Just as in the ‘deep south’ blacks were characterised as dangerous sub humans and labelled and associated with all sorts of misdemeanour’s and subversive activities, the act of rebellion (converting to Christianity) has apparently made the Pana Dalit’s ‘aggressive’. This is the excuse for why nearly 15,000 of them now reside in camps, as refugees, having been forced out of their homes by force.

Naturally the murder of the fire brand holy man, Saraswati has resulted in arrests. Confusingly the assailants have been labelled as both Christians and Maoists. Whilst the CPI (ML) (Communist Party of India Marxist Leninist) has spoken out against the wanton murder and violence against Christians it is unclear if the Maoists (Naxalites) had any part to play in the murder of the 80 year old priest.

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Comments»

1. Harshad Joshi - October 8, 2008

Payback time…

Sin gets paid sometime…

2. Joseph - October 8, 2008

payback for?
sin….?


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