Casteism Front and Centre at Pune Summit to Promote Brahmin Entrepreneurs

Varsha Torgalkar Pune: 31 Oct 2018

“Jyotiba Phule would call the Congress impotent. But all bahujans when they could see by 1942 that India was going to get freedom, the harmakhor (untrustworthy) decided to enter the same Congress,” said Utpat Maharaj during his speech last week at the second edition of Brahmodyog – a summit to promote Brahmin businessmen.

Brahmodyog 2018, organised by the Akhil Bhartiya Brahman Mahasangh (ABBM) over five days last week in Pune, was held on the grounds of the College of Agriculture. A makeshift air-conditioned hall for seminars and space where entrepreneurs could set up stalls to showcase their products were created. Organisers claimed that over one lakh people visited the exhibition and seminars during the first four days, though one of the stall owners put the number at around 25,000.

Govinda Kulkarni, the founder and president of ABBM while explaining the need for holding the summit, told The Wire, “Brahmins have become insecure of late given incidents like the killing of five members of a Brahmin family in UP last year. Anybody and everybody abuses and criticises Brahmins. We have seen the Sambhaji Brigade continuously attack us by vandalising statues of Ram Ganesh Gadkari or others. Somebody associated with the Brigade runs a publication called Jijau that abuses Brahmins in the worst possible way. We need protection from the government.”

He further emphasised, “We don’t want job reservation but want to promote entrepreneurship, hence we organised this Brahmodyog. We feel that we should empower the Brahmin community.”

Kulkarni also demanded, “Supreme Court should not get into a matter like Sabarimala which is religious, Kashmiri Hindus should be rehabilitated at Kashmir, reservation should be rethought.”

Though the name of the summit is Brahmodyog, from Brahmin Udyog, only two of the five days of the summit had programmes for businessmen and entrepreneurs, most of them men. Successful Brahmin businessmen delivered talks, guided youth and interacted with those who want to get into businesses.

On the first two days of the seminar – October 25 and 26 – a gathering of Brahmin women and lawyers was held. Besides, representatives of Brahmin organisations from across the nation also pondered over various issues Brahmin face. On the last day, October 29, members of Brahmin organisations from across the state spoke on a range of topics such as the ‘insecurity’ of Brahmins, how Brahmins should become aggressive and why they should get into politics.

In his speech, Utpat further said, “Nobody dare asks where Dr Ambedkar was during the freedom struggle. He was serving the British raj by taking a big fat salary. He himself had said that there is nothing for Dalits in the constitution. The record of his speech is available in the Rajya Sabha.” He also said that “they abuse Ram and Krishna and so how about we abuse their idols?”

Pramod Shastri, another speaker, accused the British of dividing people in India as Mulnivasi(indigenous people) and Hindus. He said, “These Mulnivasi, if given a chance will throw us out of the country. For the protection of the Hindu religion, Brahmins should be protected. Once Brahmins are protected other Hindus will get protected automatically.”

He also criticised younger Brahmins for opting to become doctors and engineers and not studying literature, history and poetry. He said, “If this continues, we will be reading the poetry of sangharsha (struggle), vidroha (protest). This is the sanskar we want? Brahman girls are wooed by other castes and that should be controlled.” He suggested that Brahmins recite the Gayatri Mantra ten times every day.

Mohini Patki, a representative of one of the Brahmin organisations, called for greater coordination of such bodies, saying they should unite under the ABBM to fight for the larger issues of concern to the community.

Every speech would end with the slogan of ‘Jai Parashuram’, which was echoed by the assembly. Parashuram, a Brahmin, is said to be the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, who tried to rid the world of Kshatriyas on 21 occasions. On the last day, barely 100 people attended, though the hall had a capacity of over 500.

Rahul Kaul, a member of Panun Kashmir, an organisation of Kashmiri Hindus, said in his speech, “Hindus have been thrown out of Kashmir seven times since 1300 AD, the latest being in 1991. Muslims of Kashmir want Kashmir of Pakistan. They are not separatists but Islami Jihadi. The government should make administrative union territory of Hindus in Kashmir where Article 370 will not be applicable.”

He further said, “There are 5-6 more places like Kairana from where Hindus have been thrown out. Muslims operate from a peaceful area like Pune where they have several sleeper cells. Hence they want peace to be maintained here. Over 6.5 crore Brahmins are there across India and they should unite under ABBM.”

Another speaker, Sanjay Supekar said that many Brahmins have begun to feel ashamed of their caste. He said, “We have made many Brahmins proud who in social, political and other programmes openly boast that they are Brahmins and wear janava (thread worn like a sling by Brahmin men). Brahmin organisations should set up a coordination committee to deal with attacks they face. Parshuram Jayanti should be celebrated at large scale.”

Speakers also advised that Brahmins should be taught to answer to the criticism they face instead of staying silent. One of the speakers also said that “Brahmins are accused of oppressing lower castes for centuries. How is it possible then there would 2-3 Brahmin families against 200-300 of Bahujans in villages during old times? Either Bahujans are impotent or they lie.” ( The Wire )