MAHATMA JYOTIRAO GOVINDRAO PHULE
by: Shetkaryaca Asud
translated by Gail Omvedt and Bharat Patankar
A brief introduction to Phule:
Jotirao Phule (1827-1890) is considered a founder not only of the anti-caste movement; in Maharashtra also he is looked upon as a of the farmers’ movement, the women’s movement, and a bahujan-oriented environmental movement. He was born in a Mali (gardener jati) community of Maharashtra, and educated first in his village, then in Pune, a city which had been formerly the capital of the Brahman-dominated independent regime, but which was at that time the centre of cultural and political stirrings. He quickly became disillusioned with the Brahman leadership of the nationalist movement, and instead embarked on a career as social reformer intending to awaken the “Shudras and Ati-Shudras” to their slavery and their destiny. His initial efforts involved starting schools for untouchables and girls. Then in 1875 he founded the Satyashodhak Samaj or “Truth-Seekers” society, his answer to the various Prarthana and Brahmo Samajes which he continuously mocked. Its purpose was to encourage the education of both boys and girls, fight priestly domination, especially by organising social-religious ceremonies without them. This gained some influence in Bombay and in Pune district, and he collected around him a group of young radicals, mainly Malis in the city, but Maratha-Kunbis from the rural areas. In 1881 his major critique of the joint exploitation of the Shudra and Ati-Shudra peasantry by the British and Brahman alliance in the bureaucracy, Shetkaryaca Asud (“The Whipcord of the Cultivators”) was published.
This is one of three short books (the others are Gulamgiri, or “Slavery”; and Sarvajanik Satya Dharm Pustak, or the “Book of the Universal Religion of Truth” – the translation of titles is Phule’s own). He also wrote poetry, numerous tracts, and small plays. I have began with Shetkaryaca Asud because it is the most comprehensive of Phule’s work: it gives an account of the extortion by Brahmans in religious festivals throughout the year; of the Aryan defeat of the indigenous inhabitants (Phule was perhaps the first to turn the “Aryan theory” upside down and use it to explain Brahmanic control; though we should note that Ambedkar disagreed with him), then of the exploitation of “Shudra and Ati-Shudra farmers” by the British and Brahman bureaucracy, then a minute description of the living standards of his farmers; then his own suggestions along with a condemnation of the swadeshi movement which was beginning at that time.
A word about Phule’s language: it is raw, powerful, not simply colloquial Marathi but very cutting, so much that RSS-wallas even today have called it “obscene.” But his use of language is excellent and his vocabulary extensive. Even more, his power of description is often extremely minute; as the description of peasant households given in chapter 4 will show. This makes translation difficult; I owe much to my husband Bharat Patankar (who has the advantage of coming from a peasant household himself in appreciating Phule and his language), but he could spare little time from his current activities in organizing dam evictees, drought stricken peasants, Vidrohi Sahitya Sammelan and so on. I am responsible for all mistakes and again it should be emphasized that this is ONLY A DRAFT. QUOTE AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Due to the dominance of the selfish Bhat-Brahmans in all government departments, they have been able to so deceive the ignorant farmers with the sham of their self-interested religion that they have no resources left to send their tiny children to school, and even those who have some resources have no desire to do so because they are misguided by the Brahmans.
Chapter 2: Since the white government bureaucrats are mostly in a stupor due to their life of luxury, they have no time to get any information about the true condition of the farmers, and their overall carelessness allows Brahman employees to dominate all the government departments. Because of these reasons, the farmers are so much looted that they have no bread to fill their stomachs or clothes to cover their bodies.
Chapter 3: How the Arya Brahmans arrived from Iran and history of the Shudra peasants; and how the current government constantly levies all kinds of new taxes on the farmers with the aim of providing whatever pay and pensions their employees want; and how the farmers have been forced into arrant indebtedness since their wealth is extracted with such great cunning.
Chapter 4: The contemporary condition of agriculture and the farmers.
Chapter 5: Our suggestions to the Arya Bhat-Brahmans regarding the Shudra farmers and the remedies which the current government should follow: -
In writing this Asud I have had numerous discussions with so many gentlemen: among these two are noteworthy and are given here:
- A special so-called Maratha
- A Shudra saint of the Kabir cult
Without education wisdom was lost; without wisdom morals were lost; without morals development was lost; without development wealth was lost; without wealth the Shudras were ruined; so much has happened through lack of education.
This book is written to give an exposition of a few of the numerous reasons connected with religion and politics that have put the Shudra farmers in such a pitiable condition today. Due to a counterfeit and tyrannical religion, the dominance of Brahman employees in all government departments and the luxury-loving indolence of the European government employees, the Shudra farmers are tormented and deceived by the Brahman employees. The intention of this book is to protect them from this, and so it has been given the name of Shetkaryaca Asud (the Farmers’ Whipcord).
Reader, there are three main divisions of farmers at present, the pure farmers or Kunbis, the Malis and the Dhangars. The reason for these three divisions is that those original people who gained their subsistence purely from agriculture became Kulwadis or Kunbis; those who began doing irrigated agriculture to protect their cultivation became Malis; and those who did both but also began to keep herds of sheep and goats became Dhangars. This threefold division must have arisen through such various activities. However, today these three are considered separate jatis. At present almost all forms of intercourse, including interdining, go on among them; only intermarriage does not take place.1 From this it seems that these three (Kunbis, Malis, Dhangars) must previously have been one Shudra peasant jati.
After this, the people of these three jatis have been forced to abandon their occupation of agriculture and have begun to take up various occupations to gain their subsistence. Those who have some fortitude continue to manage their agriculture and, even though they are mainly illiterate, superstitious and go naked and hungry, are still permanently farmers. Those who have no shelter left at all have begun to leave their villages to wander here and there, where there are various means of livelihood, some doing trade in grass, some
1 Khanderao of Jejuri, who is the household god of the Shudras, has taken two wives from two jatis, Mhalsai from the Shudras (Kunbis) and Banabai from the Dhangars; from this it can be seen that previously the Kulwadis and Dhangars intermarried.
in wood, some in cloth. Similarly some have taken contracts; some have taken employment as writers and finally get pensions and make a show of pomp. In such ways they earn money and accumulate estates; however the hedonistic children who come after them, with no relish for education, become like dervishes wandering begging from door to door shouting the name of their fathers. Many have ancestors who won jahagirs, inams and other estates on the basis of their military service or wisdom, and some even became rajas like Holkars or Shindes. However, since their descendants today are ignorant and illiterate, they have mortgaged or sold their jahagirs and inams and due to indebtedness some don’t even have sufficient food. Most inamdars and jahagirdars today have not even an idea in their minds of the prodigious exploits of their ancestors, or the crises they faced; it is rare to find one who has not mortgaged his jahagir or fallen into debt due to spending his days besotted in the company of wicked and dissolute people. Now, though the estate-holders are not indebted, they are surrounded by courtiers and Brahman administrators who are so selfish, cunning and politic that they prevent these Rajas and sardars from feeling any relish for education. As a result, without knowing the true origins of their grandeur, they consider that their ancestors established their states only for their own pleasure-loving purposes, and being caught in religious superstition and without capacity to manage their estates independently, they simply throw the burden on the gods and subordinate themselves to Brahman administrators, sitting happily making a show of their munificence during the day and doing sexual dalliance at night. Such Rajas and sardars have a unique possibility of doing something for the welfare of their Shudra caste brothers, but this thought never comes ionto their minds. Indeed, as long as madness that “Brahmans are my gods” is fixed in their minds, all the projects that they conceive will be in vain; and with all of this, even if one becomes ready to do something, with the culture stamped heavily into their minds from childhood, how will they find it congenial to hear even a few words spoken against the self-interested religion? The administrators surrounding them prevent such a selfless and true caste-pride from even getting a footing. Still, if one has the daring to give me the opportunity, I will with great joy present my thoughts before him.
Now, if we conjecture about the history of all countries in the world, it can be seen that the condition of the ignorant and God-fearing Shudra farmers of Hindustan has reached a more pitiable state than that of farmers of any other country. They have sunk to a condition worse than that of animals.
It is not necessary to say that this book on the basis of the contemporary situation of the helpless ignorant Shudras and Ati-shudras has been composed with the help of numerous English, Sanksrit and Prakrit books. Without such help it is clear that it could not have been written.
It is my request that since I have presented essential research in writing this book on the basis of my meagre understanding, any errors seen by its scholarly and well-placed readers should be excused, and its merits accepted. And if in their observation any part seems improper or false, or if they want to make any suggestions, then they should inform me in the newspapers. In this way with gratitude it will be of help for a second edition.
I am extremely indebted to Shri Sarkar Gaikwad Senakhaskhel Samsher Bahadur Sayajirao Maharaj for taking time from all of his valuable political administrative work to hear the reading of this book with great pleasure and loving emotions; and for giving me the benefit of his munificence and a show of honor.
Numerous Shudra gentlemen of Pune, Mumbai, Thane, Otur, Hadapsar, Vangani, Malyace Kurul and elsewhere have heard this book and given me their testimony many times that its contents are valid.
Due to the dominance of the selfish Bhat-Brahmans in all government departments, they have been able to so deceive the ignorant farmers with the sham of their self-interested religion that they have no resources left to send their tiny children to school, and even those who have some resources have no desire to do so because they are misguided by the Brahmans.
Those farmers who are resourceless and illiterate have been so much roBhat-Brahmansed by the fraudulent Bhat-Brahman religion that it would be very difficult to anything like it anywhere in the world. From the beginning the cunning Arya Brahmans have so glibly imposed the crooked schemes of their selfish religion on the farmers that not only is the farmer looted by religious rituals from the time his mother starts menstruating and the Brahman does the ritual of “garbhadan” up to the time of his death, even after his death his son has to bear the burden of doing his shraddh according to the dictates of the crafty religion. It starts from the time the women farmers begin their menstruating, when the Bhat-Brahmans mutter ceaseless prayers and perform religious rituals, and connecting these with Brahman banquets, steal their wealth. The farmers run with such confusion to feed all the friends and relatives of the Bhat-Brahmans with ghee and chapattis that there are hardly any leftover scraps to fill their own stomachs. With this menstruation-pacifying ritual also pacifying the stomachs of the Bhat-Brahmans, they give their blessing to the farmers, advise their women to observe the Saturday fast or the Chaturthi vows, and immediately leave for home. Next the Bhat Brahmans have the women farmers put a garland of Rui leaves around the neck of Maruti or spread a bundle of leaves on the crown of Ganpati on each Saturday and at the time of Chaturthi and take their gift of rice. Some time or another after that, they bluff that the vow has been fulfilled and take large or small Brahman banquets from the farmers.
Once the woman farmer in the natural course of time becomes pregnant, the Bhat Brahman can easily wheedle the farmers, under the pretence of vows taken previously, to have a threaded little Brahman … Before her delivery, the Bhatji-Buwa makes daily rounds to the farmer’s household, praising him with great honeyed speech as a patron and taking from him payment for the vows. Later, if the woman farmer has a son, an unbounded opportunity for wealth breaks out for the Bhat-Brahman. This is how it is done – first the main priest goes to the farmer’s house and, asking the time of birth from the ignorant woman who measures time with twine to tie cattle, he finds the most unlucky planet joined to that constellation, and prepares the horoscope in such a way that all the joy of the farmer in the birth of his son is ruined, and he becomes fearful. On the second day, the Bhat-Brahman makes some Brahmans from among his relatives, friends and eating companions to sit chanting and doing rituals in front of the of the lingam, and in the name of fasting forces them to give money for fruits to eat, or for umbrellas if it’s the rainy season, or for fans if it’s summer and white blankets if it’s winter. Along with this the priest does not hesitate to take by sleight of hand oil, paddy, coconuts, dates, supari, ghee, sugar, various fruits and other food for puja from the farmers. To stamp a love for idol worship on the farmers’ mind, some Bhats let their hair and beards grow until the meditation rituals are finished. Some eat only fruits and flowers. Through such varied methods of sweet fabrications, by the time the chanting rites have finished the Bhat Brahmans have extorted a great deal of the farmers’ wealth. Finally, we all know with what profuseness the Bhat Brahmans manage to extract all kinds of gifts and Brahman banquets at the time of the completion of the ritual itself.
The Arya Bhat-Brahmans do not accept the children of the Shudra farmers into their Sanskrit schools. However, they take some of these childrenjust for practice purposes into their Marathi Prakrit schools, and not only do they take monthly pay for this, but every moonless and full moon night and for so many fraudulent festivals, they claim priest’s rations, gifts and one fourth of what the children bring to school for lunch. In return for this, they teach them only letters written in the dust, arithmetic, reading Modi script and Prakrit verses with useless legends and morning songs, leaving them with only enough learning to perform as debating pairs in tamashas. They don’t even give them enough education to keep the accounts of their own households – leave aside getting entry as clerks in taluka offices!
At the time the farmer’s son is ready for his marriage, the Brahman Joshi goes to his house with almanac in hand. Telling his horoscope, asking the names of the children, and counting on his fingers with a show of pomp, he keeps his own self-interest in mind and shows how some unlucky planet is matched with his horoscope and takes money from the farmer for the chanting and rituals necessary to appease it. Later, at the time of finalizing the auspicious day for marriage of the son, he goes to the bride’s house, makes a square rangoli of rice grains on a piece of four-layered cloth, and seating the fathers of the boy and girl on it, and builds a small mound of coconut, date and turmeric pieces. He asks for haldi kum-kum and consecrated rice, and without any concern for the age, merits, class or otherwise of the boy and girl, consecrates a betelnut as Ganpati, and with a chicanery of making offerings, he takes money. Then he makes a scrawl on a piece of paper to represent the auspicious day, and daubing a smear of turmeric on it, gives it to the couple. Then he departs, gathering into the fold of his garment all the goods and money that have been brought, including the rice and the betelnut Ganpati, to take home, break and eat.
Before the time of the marriage, when the bride’s family gives clothes to the groom in the Maruti temple, the Bhat-Brahman thrusts one or two coins into the fold of his garment and stuffs some betel leaves and nuts into his turban. Then when the groom goes to the pavilion of the bride, he puts a few grains of wheat on the wooden seat and makes the two stand on that, facing each other. Then, giving open swords to the bride and groom’s maternal uncles, he stands them behind the pair. And taking some fine cloth from anyone in the crowd gathered there, he smears some turmeric and red masala across it and holds it as a wedding cloth between the bridge and groom, and humming some verse of classical ragas like “kalyan” and “bhairavi” he says the “shubhamangalam” and marries the ignorant children of the farmers. In so many rich Mali and Kunbi weddings, the Brahmans, with shawls thrown over their bodies, arrive suddenly in order to get their donations, and with great arrogance throw themselves down on bolsters, without caring at all for the friends and relatives of the couple and other guests, making such confusion in the pavilion that it prevents the fathers of the bride and groom from paying proper attention to his invited guests. Can such unsociable boisterous bloated beggars be found in any other country or community? At the moment of marriage, the Bhatji who is doing the ceremony seats the bride and groom before each other, performs various rites, and mutters chants, takes a handful of weeds and makes a fire of them, throwing a bit of ghee and other things in it, and waves some pungent smoke from this “sacred fire” in the direction of the bride and groom and, taking one final donation from their ignorant parents, goes home. On the day of the ceremony of giving saris to the bride, he grabs on to one or two mulish farmers and gets from the parents of the bride and groom whatever amount he demands, and similarly takes money for the marriage fee.
Recounting tales of the extravagant beneficence of Karna, they incite so many well-off farmers to end the marriage with huge gatherings in their houses, and all the Bhat-Brahmans, without any distinction between Vedic, Shastric, Pauranik and simple Brahmans begging by telling stories, take large donations from them and go home. Many pleasure-loving Bhat-Brahmans among them, with tiny turbans on their heads and fancy shawls on their laps, sit through the night along with the invited guests, lounging on bolsters, snuffing tobacco and blowing it out through their noses as they listen entranced to the songs of the dancers.
Now we can give a little exposition of how the children of the farmers, after the death of their parents start their family responsibilities and are plundered throughout their life by the tempting tricks of the Bhat-Brahman religion, from its beginning to their death ceremonies.
At the time the children of farmers build their new house, the Shudra labourers carry small baskets of mud in the full heat of the sun. The bricklayers and carpenters climb like monkeys on sky-high scaffolding to set the walls and join the wooden beams to make the house. Because they are grateful to them, the house owners agree to give these harmless labourers a meal of ghee and chappatis. However, before the farmers and workers get the food, the Bhat-Brahmans make rounds night and day to the houses of the farmers, telling them all kinds of myths about religion and bringing to their attention many bogus recommendations of Brahman officials. They then do a fire ceremony before the new house, tie some colored rags to the rafters of the house, and get a meal of ghee and food first for themselves and their whole family, so that only the remainder and leftover food with some jaggery-water is left for the innocent devoted ignorant householders and their workers. Chewing supari, they give an unctuous blessing like a fox yelping after eating sugarcane, grab the donation from the farmers, rub their hands over their stomachs and go home. One or two selfish sadhu Bhat Brahmans become such favoured companions of many immature frolicsome farmers that they captivate them for spreading their name in society, and get them to organize all kinds of meetings in which some Bhat-Brahmans are given shawls and others get donations. Aside from newly built toilets, they also get feasts and donations when new temples and other buildings are constructed by the farmers.
On the first day of every new year during the month of Chaitra, the Bhat-Brahmans go from house to house reading the yearly forecasts to the farmers, and take donations from them. Similarly at the time of Ramnavami and Hanumanjayanti, the Bhat Brahmans collect donations from some well-to-do farmers in their lane, or if all are poor, then take a little from each and take a dinner of ghee and sweet chappatis for the Brahman feast.
During the Jejuri fair, when the farmers with their wives and children go to take a bath in the tank, the Bhat-Brahmans take a donation of one shir-coin from all of them in the name of getting their wishes fulfilled. There are never fewer than 75,000 people at this fair; and while so many playful devadasis sit on the laps of the frolicsome well-to-do farmers, the Bhat Brahmans extort wealth for ghee and sweet chapattis for the happiness of their wives and for their long life. Besides, the Bhat Brahmans share secretly in the merchants’ loot of the farmers’ treasury when they buy coconut and turmeric to toss in the air before the god Khandoba.
On the eleventh day of Ashad, the Bhat Brahmans take at least a coin every year from those penniless farmers who don’t have the resources to give a full Brahman’s ration.
When the farmers and their families go to bath in the Chandrabhag river at Pandharpur, the Bhat Brahmans stand on the banks of the river, and take a donation from each of them in the name of fulfilling their wishes. This yatra is never less than a hundred thousand, and some farmers there give an amount sufficient to feed ten Brahman wives, some farmers at least one holy Brahman wife, and while their wives are sitting in the middle room, they tell every farmer, “See here, your Brahman wife is sitting to eat; if you wish to give a donation, do so; otherwise give her a namaskar from afar and go away, so they will send the offerings to the god (Vithoba) before they eat.” Hundreds of Brahman badwes at Pandharpur have become rich through this “honest” business.
Every Shravan month at the time of Nagpanchmi, though the native doctors and snake charmers who catch live cobras from holes and extract their poison to hold them in their baskets under their arms and collect money as “Nag-gift devotions” for milk to the cobra have snatched away the ancestral profession of the Bhat Brahmans, they don’t bother about filing a case against them, but do puja to snakes made only of stones or mud and take donations from the ignorant farmers.
In the name of the full moon of Shravan, without even noticing the black thread around the necks of the Mahars, they swoop down to get donations from tying Gagabhati white threads around the necks of so many pompous Kunbis.2 All the farmers have charmed cords put in their hands to get a coin from each of them.3
At the beginning of the waning moon, the Bhat-Brahmans entice most of the well-off farmers to a week’s recitation, and, tying the vina around their necks and putting small cymbals in the hands of their dear friends, they get them addicted to the tabor and make them turn by turn sing songs like parrots and dance with bounding leaps night and day. Sitting before them, leaning voluptuously on bolsters, looking at the fun for a little while, they extort a little money from them every day for snacks, read a third of the chapter of Hari’s victorious exploits in the cowshed at night, without telling all the harassment of Yahoda’s childbirth, and grab donations from the farmers. On behalf of breaking their fast in the morning, they get a dinner of ghee at the farmer’s expense, and leaving the leftover remains of the food for the tabor-players and farmers, they depart for home.
Finally in the concluding Monday of the month of Shravan, the Bhat-Brahmans get from the ignorant God-fearing farmers at least one dinner of ghee and sweet chapattis in the name of their Brahman wives, collect the priests’ ration, and after giving all their wives and children dinner, take one or two puran polis and a lump of boiled rice and toss them from afar into the hands of the farmers and somehow satisfy them.
Every Bhadrapad month, using the pretence of the customary worship of Parvati by married women, the Bhat-Brahmans loot one or two coins from the old and young women farmers.
At the time of Ganeshchaturthi, they take donations for clapping their hands before the Ganpatis while singing prayers in the farmers’ houses. At Rishipanchami, in connection with the Ganpati festival, they make a shorn farmer widow bob up and down in a puddle of water and extract a dinner of ghee and chapattis along with sweets from the farmers’ toil. Overtly pretending to listen to their kirtans, they remain inwardly entranced by some renowned dancer, so engrossed by her melodious songs that they don’t cast a single glance in the direction of the Gauri-Parvati made by the potter in the farmers’ house.
At the end of Chaturdashi, they take religious contributions from the farmers. At the time of the offering to the ancestors, the Bhat Brahmans of the father’s party make all the
2 The Shudra people had no custom of tying the sacred thread. Gagabhati took gold amounting to his weight to tie the sacred thread on Raja Shivaji; this custom has gone on since then. 3 Since these rakyas are made of cotton one can get 25 of them for a penny.
farmers into an undisciplined crowd and insistently dog their steps so much afterwards that all, even the poor helpless labouring widow, are forced to give donations, gifts and slices of gourds in the name of Ganpati; and they don’t let them leave without making them put their heads at their feet. Then can the story of the Bhosles, Gaikwads, Shindes and Holkars be any different?!
After that, if some rare combination of sacred events come, the Bhat Brahmans lead so many well-off farmers to Nashik, Wai and other places of pilgrimage and extort large amounts of wealth from them on the pretence of religious donations, wheedling at least one coin from all the remaining poor farmers at the time of bathing in the river.
Finally, on the day of the new moon the Bhat Brahmans greedily get donations for the puja of the feet of the farmers’ bullocks.
On Vijayadashmi they take donations from farmers for the puja of horses and the tree of Apta, and if possible they grab a healthy share of the farmers’ milk on the day of the full moon of Ashwin. On the day of the new moon, they take gifts along with popcorn and sweet candy in the name of Laxmipuja.
In every month of Kartik, at the time of Balipratipada, while the Mahars and Mangs take a platter of five tiny lamps in their hands and wave it before the farmers with the fundamentally true and original blessing of “let troubles and sorrows go and the kingdom of Bali come,” the Bhat Brahmans only take shawls in their hands and wander from house to house asking for valuable goods, calling them patrons, but never doing them the honour of a blessing.
When the farmers and their families take baths in the river Indrayani during the pilgrimage to Alandi, the Bhat Brahmans take one coin from each on the excuse of getting their wishes fulfilled. This fair is never less than 75,000. Afterwards so many god-fearing farmers are convinced to give ghee and chapatti dinners to the divine Brahman wives, and if any among them are very poor, only a simple donation is taken and the Brahmans along with their whole families get a feast but give only a mouthed hollow blessing to these ignorant devotees.
Besides, the ignorant farmers of Bhovar village are made addicted to the fortnightly pilgrimage, and on the twelfth day of each month by rotation a feast of ghee and chapattis is taken from them. Not only this, but they incite a competition with so many well-off farmers from outside the district that they get thousands of meals from them. Finally some farmers from other villages who are decided maliciously by the Panch to be in that village are judged guilty of the quarrel, and they are shaven and money is taken from them for reparations. Is this a small way of stripping them?
On the twelfth day of the moonlit part of the lunar month, the Bhat Brahmans hold the cloth of a dhoti in front of the tulshi plant before the farmers’ house, and instead of the wedding chant they give two or three verses and celebrate the “tulsi marriage” and then leave, gathering the goods offered to the tulsi in their hands along with the money for the offering.
Every Paush month on Mahasankrant, the Bhat-Brahmans read the astrological forecasts of the Sankrant in the houses of the farmers and take donations from them; and so many illiterate god-fearing farmers are lured by the promise of gaining profound and fathomless merit that they enthusiastically allow the Bhat Brahmans to loot them.
Every month of Magh during Mahashivratra the Bhat Brahmans read the Shivalilamrut in the temples in the farmers’ lanes and take a donation from them for reading the auspicious book.
Every month of Phalgun they do the Holi puja; whether under the name of relieving the bankruptcy of the farmers or whooping loudly in the name of the Hindu religion, still these Bhatji-Buwas never free them to put the dust and dirt on their bodies without taking some donation.
Besides the yearly festivals described above, the solar and lunar eclipses and the circular movement of the planets are all occasions for the Bhat Brahmans to take all sorts of gifts from the farmers; and clasping their holy days in their armpits they wander in farmers’ lanes begging alms. Besides, so that a heavy weight of the Hindu religion should be impressed on the farmers’ minds in order to make them indifferent to their worldly condition and even more addicted, the Bhat Brahmans go at night to the houses of the well-to-do and recite the false sterile legends of Pandava-Pratap and others, and take money along with dhotis and turbans from them. So many perfidious Bhat Brahmans get the daughters-in-law and daughters of their farmer patrons so addicted that they are taught how to say such meaningless chants that sound like illegitimate relations. Then from time to time, when an occasion is found, the Bhat Brahmans get a satyanarayan puja done in the farmers’ houses, first taking one and a quarter measures of pure wheat granules, getting some fine milk, butter, ghee and sugar put in it, and swallowing this prasad, they afterwards get a feast for themselves and their whole families, and after stripping the farmers of so many donations they leave, in return, only the empty lamp in the farmers’ hands before they return to their houses.
If by any chance some weak women and men among the farmers are overlooked, the Bhat storytellers gather them almost every day in some temple and foster an addiction to such legends as those of Radha and Krishna. On the occasion of the completion of these, all are incited to compete to give great donations on a small plate, and finally the Brahmans sit on a great palanquin provided by these contributions and are paraded in a grand procession in front of the entire audience.
So many illiterate Bhat Brahmans who don’t have the intelligence to fill their stomachs through reading the almanac make some doltish idiot from among them into a white buwa, put wooden shoes on his feet and a vina around his neck, and get some Shudra to hold a great umbrella and go behind him, beating drums and cymbals and shouting “Je je Ram, je je Ram, parading and demanding alms from the farmers. Many Bhat Brahmans chose an attractive youth from among themselves and make him into a Buwa in an expansive pavilion in a large temple, putting a vina into his hands and making all the others follow him singing lovingly with gesticulations like boy dancers and saying in chorus, “Radha Krishna Radha.” So they fill their stomachs and have a jolly time out of entrancing all the well-off widows who come for darshan.
Since many dull-witted Bhat Brahmans don’t have even enough intelligence to get sufficient business as priests, they make some credulous clerk from among themselves into a Dev Malhalkari, while the remaining Brahmans go from village to village getting vows to this “revenue officer” from the ignorant farmers and bring in much money through this. Many other Bhat Brahmans who have no capacity to earn their subsistence in a respectable manner by doing the contemplation of the Vedas and Shastras, make a swami of Bagalkhot out of some half-mad fellow, and all the remaining Bhat Brahmans go from village to village saying, “The Swami can discern the desires in everyone’s mind and will show you how to fulfil these.” By giving such various enticing bluffs to the ignorant farmers they bring them to the darshan of the Swami and steal their money.
If the haughtiness of the farmers has not been mowed down by all this religious grindstone, the Bhat Brahmans get them addicted to holy yatras like Bhadra and Kedar and finally lead them to Kashi and Prayag, where they strip them of thousands of rupees and shave off their beards and mustaches and bring them back to their homes. And finally on the excuse of a final ritual, they take huge Brahman banquets from them.
Finally, after the death of the farmers, the Bhat Brahmans in the role of the priests of the cremation ground take various sorts of payments every day from their sons and read daily garuda legends, and on the tenth day they bring the watandar Bhatji from Dankawadi making noises like a crow to give the ritual of the corpse. And along with the daily payment for the reciting, they take copper, brass, umbrellas, sticks, mattresses and shoes as gifts. Then on the day in which all the descendants of the farmer do the dead man’s shraddh ceremony, they have kept a practice of taking donations and gifts according to their capacity. It is this, that with some wheedling and giving of empty titles to the patron farmer, calling one a patil, another a deshmukh, another a karbhari and so on, the Bhat Brahmans extract leaves and free vegetables form them on the occasion of their children’s marriages. At the end, to maintain their hold over them, they invite all on one occasion and seat them in the pavilion, and after first giving a feast to all the women and men of their caste, they collect the leftovers and seat their Shudra servants in a line and serve them all these remains in the same platter from a distance, with great treachery and maintaining their purity. These Brahmans go to the houses of prostitutes from these castes and don’t think it base to kiss them and drink the juice of their mouths, but consider their patron farmers so inferior that they don’t even let a touch of the farmers come into the water tanks on their verandas, leave aside the question of intermarriage and interdining!
On the basis of all these accounts, one might wonder how farmers could be so ignorant as to be looted up until today by the Bhat-Brahmans. My answer to this is that when the original Arya Bhat-Brahman regime was started in this country, they forbade knowledge to the Shudras and so have been able to loot them at will for thousands of years. Evidence for this will be found in such self-interested literature of theirs as the Manusmriti. After some years, four disinterested holy wise men who disliked the prolonged misfortune founded the Buddhist religion and campaigned against the artificial religion of the Arya Brahmans to free the ignorant Shudra farmers from the noose of the Aryabhats. Then the chief head of the Aryas, the great cunning Shankaracharya, engaged in a wordy battle with the gentlemen of Buddhist religion and made great efforts to uproot them from Hindustan. However, rather than the goodness of Buddhism being threatened even a mite, that religion kept growing day by day. Then finally Shankaracharya absorbed the Turks among the Marathas and with their help destroyed the Buddhist religion by the sword. Afterwards the Arya Bhatjis, by banning eating beef and drinking alcohol, were able to impose an awe on the minds of the ignorant farmers through the help of Vedamantras and all kinds of magical tricks.
After some time had passed, since the world-heroic disciples of Hazrat Mohammad Paigambar were smashing the idols of temples like Somnath with their swords along with the fraudulent religion of the Aryabhats, and beginning to free the Shudra farmers from the clutches of the Arya religion, Mukundraj and Jnanoba from among the Bhat-Brahmans took some imaginary parts of the Bhagwat legend and made tactical books named Viveksindhu and Jnaneshwari. These so much corrupted the farmers’ minds that they began to regard the Muslims along with their Koran as inferior and hate them. After some more time passed a sadhu by the name of Tukaram arose from among the farmers. Fearing that he would give enlightenment to Raja Shivaji of the farmers and liberate them from their noose by procuring from his hands the unceremonious removal of the fraudulent Bhat-Brahman religion, the cunning Vedic pandit Ramdas Swami, with the help of the clever Gagabhat, whispered in the ears of the illiterate Shivaji and prevented friendship from growing between the ignorant Shivaji and the selfless Tukaram. Later the legitimate heirs of Raja Shivaji were kept captive in Satara fort by their Bhat-Brahman prime minister (Peshwa).
Later on, in the regime of the Peshwas, without making any expenditure on dams or other construction to provide water to the farmers’ fields, they took up the ferocious assault of distributing shawls and cloth to twenty to twenty-five thousand Brahmans as bakshish, feeding them in the pleasure park of Parvati on the taxes taken from the farmers who had to live on roots and carrots, and bhakri and chatni. The farmers were ruined by the huge wealth forcibly extracted from them in the constant assault of these bandit kings, spent profusely every year to teach the self-interested Brahmanical religious texts to the Bhat-Brahmans, while not giving even a piece of a coin for giving even vernacular education to the farmers. And Bajirao Peshwa raced to distribute gold coins like rice in huge ladles in the pleasure park of Parvati. But we feel no wonder at all of this. Raobaji was after all a true Arya caste Brahman! All these partisan heroic donors made no arrangements in estates like Parvati for any widows or orphaned children from among the farmers, but only for the Bhat-Brahmans of their caste, giving some singing priests and four or five wandering patronized Bhat-Brahmans hot water daily for baths in the morning, and two meals a day, milk and sweets for everyone, and for breakfast and for all festivals a copious amount of cooked food, with arrangements for enjoyment and listening to songs with kettledrums around the clock.
This practice has been continued even today by our cowardly English government, and for that the toiling Shudra and Ati-Shudra farmers contribute thousands of rupees every year in expenses out of the sweat of their brow.
These days, because so many Shudra and Ati-Shudra farmers are accepting the Christian religion and arriving at a humane life, the importance of the Bhat-Brahmans has decreased and they are faced with the situation of working themselves to fill their stomachs. Observing this, so many Bhat-Brahmans have established various kinds of Samajes to defend the mad Hindu religion. In these they attack Christianity and Islam with all kinds of backhanded methods and create false ideas in the minds of the farmers about these religions. Let it be. However, if those Brahmans like Kaka and the Sarvajanik Sabha leader Joshibuwa, who want to stimulate the traditional idol worship, had torn away from their eyes the veil of chauvinism of caste differences in the Hindu religion, and seen the situation of the farmers, they would not have dared to describe as “ignorant” those unfortunate poor farmers caught in the restrictions of a partisan religion. And if they had given some kind of information about the tyranny of religion on the farmers to our English government, then perhaps some compassion would have trickled down and they would not have taken the counsel of the Bhoodev Bhat-Brahman employees about giving education to the Shudras; probably a different scheme would have been used.
To sum up, the farmers who have been kept ignorant for generations are so much exploited of their time and wealth by the Bhat-Brahmans that they have no vigor left to sent their small children to school, and besides this the tradition of the Arya-Bhats coming down from very ancient times that “Knowledge should not be given to the Shudra farmers” has left so much fear stamped on their minds that they don’t dare to send their children to school. It is true that these days our compassionate Governor Generalsaheb, following the model of the great leader of the American republic, George Washington, has declared that the ignorant Shudras and Ati-Shudras, who call what the Brahmans give as religion and what the English do as law, also have the right to be elected to municipalities along with the learned Bhat-Brahmans. However, in these matters, the Bhat-Brahmans with their haughty airs of purity play such devious tricks on the ignorant Shudra and Ati-Shudra people that they are deceived; and I hope the responsibility for the failure and letting the Bhat-Brahmans wash their horses in the Ganges does not fall on the head of the compassionate Governor Generalsaheb.
Since the white government bureaucrats are mostly in a stupor due to their life of luxury, they have no way of getting any information about the true condition of the farmers, and their overall carelessness allows Brahman employees to dominate all the government departments. Between the two, the farmers are so much looted that they have no bread to fill their stomachs or clothes to cover their bodies.
Previously, since the foreign Badshahs and so many indigenous Rajas-Maharajas throughout Hindusthan all had in their service sardars, nobles, generals, soldiers, bombardiers, elephant drivers, and camel drivers from among the Shudra farmers and grooms from among the Ati-Shudra farmers, the millions of farm families felt no great obstacle in paying land revenue. In most farming families at least some persons had a big or small service with the government. However these days, the former Badshahs, Maharajas and all have all been dislodged and around 25 lakhs Shudra and Ati-Shudra farmers have become unemployed, and the burden of all this has fallen on those who do agriculture.
It is true that the strategy of our heroic English government has brought peace everywhere, ending the slaughter of human beings in the turmoil of constant warfare throughout India. However, the end of campaigning and hunting in the country has destroyed the heroism and courage of nearly everyone, and because today the Rajas and sardars dress themselves like pusillanimous “Bhagyu bhaiyas” and remain stupefied in religious pujas during the day and immerse themselves at night in the mania of useless production of children, the population has increased immensely. As a result the sharers in all peasant families have increased so much that each has to eke out a bare subsistence by sowing eight or ten plough-widths of land. And since they have no capacity to keep bullocks for those eight to ten plough-widths, they give their land on sharecropping or lease to their neighbors and take their families with them to go somewhere outside the village to find work to fill their stomachs.
Previously those farmers who had very little land or who could not maintain themselves on their land used to go to the hills to eat fruit from figs or jambhuis or other trees, and they could scrape together a bit of money by selling fruit and leaves from the trees and wood cut form the forest, or by grazing one or two cows or three or four goats on the village pasture. Through this they could get enough subsistence to live happily in their own villages. However, the European administrators of our “mai-bap” government, in their comprehensive British wisdom, set up for the first time a gigantic Forest Department. Since they have included all the mountains, hills, peaks, glens, dales and all the uncultivated lands and pastures as “forest,” this Forest Department has risen to such a pinnacle of power that the poor helpless paralyzed farmers have an inch of ground left on earth for their goats to even inhale the wind of the fields.
They may try to find petty work in the workshops of the weavers, saddlemakers, blacksmiths, carpenters and other artisans to fill their stomachs. But because the working class in England today has begun to manufacture such attractive liquor of different flavors and taste, bread, biscuits, sweets, butter, halwa, pickles, needles of all sizes, knives, axes, sewing machines, bellows, stoves, brightly colored glass goods, thread, rope, cloth, shawls, gloves, socks, pants, hats, sticks, umbrellas, brass, copper, iron plates, keys, locks, coal and charcoal, various kinds of vehicles, harnesses, saddles, bridles and even shoes, and have been selling them cheaply here, all the production here has fallen into recession. So the cotton weavers, silk weavers, Juliyas and Momims have become so destitute that some of the weavers, beginning to starve in days of extreme unemployment, try to live by eating bran of dal or rice or wheat, or mango pits secretly to protect their prestige. Many silk weavers have become so upset at seeing the condition of their wives and children starving inside the houses that they become senseless by evening and drink two or three pennies worth of shindi liquor on credit, go in the house and fall down unconscious. So many silk weavers sell the clothes they have sewn out of silk from the Gujars and Marwadis at whatever price they can get, feeding their children and giving the bunch into the hands of the Gujars and Marwadis and flee from the village. How will the unemployed farmers get any help from such artisans who are running to fill their own stomachs?
Also, in order that the domination won by their forefathers over the Shudras and Ati-Shudras by great exertion and fraud in ancient times should be indefinitely maintained, so that they would only serve them like horses, bullocks or other animals giving them happiness, or like lifeless land providing them with necessary and luxury foods, the Brahmans inserted into the Hindu religion that warning that no Hindu should go an inch beyond the Atak river, and if they went they would become polluted. While the evil intention of the Brahmans was achieved by this, the rest of the people were greatly harmed. Since they could not get an idea of the customs of foreign people, they began to consider themselves as animals and not truly humans. With trade and commerce with people of other countries destroyed, they became destitute. It is absolutely without a doubt that because they realize the flaws in the above religion, the reformist Brahmans are now outwardly raising a clamour that “our country must be reformed, our country must be reformed.” Due to these artificial religious strictures, the weavers, carpenters and all artisans have been greatly damaged. Only a true well-wisher of the country can guess the terrible situation they will face in the future.
If anyone should ask why the poor farmers cannot gain their subsistence by working as labourers for those farmers with plentiful land, the fact is that since the population has increased everywhere, there are no farmers left with enough land to let fields go fallow in rotation. As a result the land has become infertile and has no capacity remaining to give abundant crops as before. When they become exhausted simply trying to provide subsistence for their families, how can they provide wage labour to feed their poor peasant brothers? Thus most farmers, facing obstacles on all sides, have no capacity left to send their naked ragged children to school, and in spite of the fact that all our farsighted government employees know this very well, they collect lakhs of rupees as local fund in the name of giving education to the ignorant farmers, and give only a third of this amount to the education department to open a few stray schools here and there. To some degree, farmers send their children to these schools. However, since the teachers who are giving them education are not themselves farmers, how can they have the sympathy required for their work? It is no wonder that the children of the farmers remain as dull as before, that they do not get up-todate education from the very same people who display the greatness of their selfish religion by regarding the farmers as inferior, and are continuously bathing and keeping themselves pure. Up to today, have the local funds collected form the farmers helped anyone from among them to get employment as government workers? If this has happened anywhere, let the clever Directorsaheb of our Education Department prepare a report giving their names, what kind of work they do, and publish it in the Government Gazette, and the farmers with great enthusiasm will bless their mai-bap government because the Government Gazette will have opened its eyes! Whatever teachers there are in the villages are all of Brahman caste. Their pay is not above eight to twelve rupees, and their merit is unlike that of the four to six rupee employees of Pune city. Such stomach-filling ignorant Brahman teachers, conscious of their crafty religion and their artificial caste purity, openly advise the children of the farmers in their schools, “If you don’t get employed as clerks through your education, do you expect to take almanacs in hand and go begging alms from house to house as we do?”
While surveying the land of such ignorant farmers every thirty years, the European employees who pray to our virtuous government with blind eyes don’t say “Amen” without increasing the burden of tax on the farmers. And, as this work goes on, since the hunt-addicted European employees are besotted with luxury and high living, don’t the cunning Bhat-Brahmans who work under them harass the ignorant farmers more than a little? And do the European employees ever keep a close watch on them?
Whenever there is a quarrel among the ignorant and doltish farmers about bunds and demarcating boundaries on their fields or the turns of clansmen to take water from collective wells, and some fighting breaks out, the mischief-mongering Bhat Kulkarni goes to the lanes of farmers on both sides and gives them all kinds of advice. The next day he takes the side of one group and prepares a petition on their names and sends it to the Mamletdar. Then the petitioners and witnesses take the peon who brings the summons to the Kulkarni’s mansion to get the summons approved, and after approving the summons, the Kulkarni stands his servants outside the door and takes both parties separately to the side and tells them, “You come to meet me at this time, you come at that time, so that we can get the best decision out of this.” Then when the petitioners and their parties come to the house at the decided time they are told, “You may do whatever you want, but if you make your minds great enough to give such and such an amount, then I will tell the Mamledarsaheb’s clerk to give some kind of punishment to your opponents. Because he is in the hands of the clerk. If whatever you want doesn’t happen, I will take your amount back from him and give it to you; you may give me whatever the god Bhiroba suggests to your mind. Or if you don’t give anything, there’s no worry. I have no complaint about that at all. If you succeed, it means we have all won.”
Then from the opposing party he takes twice the amount and makes a contract with them that, “You give a complaint just as I suggest and give two or three false witnesses, so that I can tell the clerk and let no adverse blow be given to your case; you know what weight he has with the Mamledarsaheb. And if you work doesn’t get done according to the deal I have made with you now, I will take the amount back form him and return it to you. However, I tell you now that I won’t give a bit of the money due for my labour back to you; otherwise I my hearth will not go out if I don’t do such exertions.”
Then, when the Brahman employees in the Mamledar’s office take the statements of the illiterate petitioners and accused, they throw in some suggestive questions and make a favorable statement on behalf of the contenders who have greased their palms. But if some contenders leave their hands empty, then they mix up all the points at the time of taking the statement, and prepare it in such a way that those who read it or listen to it will never get a realistic picture in their minds and will be prejudiced against them. Some Brahman clerks completely throw out the points of the ignorant farmers at the time of writing the statement. Some take the statement of the farmers to their homes at night and make a second statement, and put it in the government records. With all of this, even an impartial administrator is likely to do an injustice. Later, when the embezzling lawyer-shark makes an appeal to the European collector, the Collector’s clerk prepares the statement according to the degree to which his palms are greased, and when the falsified statement without its effective points is read to the Collector by the clerk, he utters the pure golden sentences, “your complaint is ridiculous.” Then, if the clerk can’t get the decision according to his wishes, he writes a statement according to his fancy in scrawled Marathi, and since the Saheb-Bahadur is in a hurry to go with his Madame Saheb for some fresh air in the evening, or is in the tumult of preparing to go hunting, or the bossy Saheb who understands Marathi is in a stupor of sleepiness and sluggishness because of keeping awake the previous day with some party, he gives his signature on the affair exactly as the report is written.
Since the crafty clerk is helpless before some surly Collectors, he does not prepare the silly ignorant farmer’s case at the main office, but humiliates him by making him wander with his aching bones, eating leftover food and trampling from village to village behind the Collector’s procession. And some, not merely content with stalling the petitions of the ignorant farmers for one or two days, get some extra scratch from the opponent and throw their petition out. In the end, by the time the side, which puts up the most money has won the victory, nearly the whole village has been drawn into the quarrel and has fallen into factions.
After that a huge fracas takes place between the two factions over who will be on the right side of the bull on the day of the Polya festival, or over who will give half the sweet chapati into the fire at Holi; and when out of this fight many get split heads and become wounded, the Bhat Kulkarni (very few examples can be found in all the civil and criminal cases in which he is not the Narad who incites the quarrel) gives a superficial pat on the back to both parties and secretly, with the complicity of the spineless police patil, brings it to the attention of the main gang of police in the taluka. Then, with an Indian cloth tied around his loins but wearing English black and yellow pantaloons and boots and an embellished vest and turban, the peon comes from there to the village, with a brightly colored stick in his hand and one or two doltish intoxicated constables with blunted swords hurrying after him under their arms; and with the help of the Mahar and the police patil, he arrests all the people of both sides, bringing them as prisoners to the village square. Except for the guards, all the other officers and peons, with the help of the ignorant patil, take liquor and food in whatever amount they want from the Marwari’s shop, and swill it while returning to the village square. There they eat in a state of intoxication and, after cooling down, bring all the imprisoned men with a little pomp and show to the main police station and present them to the criminal magistrate; and according to his order keep them in the regular jail until the time of their full examination.
After this, we can see how the family members of the imprisoned farmers have to bring whatever money they can get by selling the miscellaneous trinkets off the bodies of their wives and children, in order to prod the understanding of the employees in the criminal court. If people on one side have been heavily wounded, the cunning employees take some amount from the other side with the help of the Kulkarni, and delay sending the case to the Magistratesaheb until all the wounds have been healed. Sometimes if the crafty employees are bribed, they contact their moneylenders to prevent the witnesses from the other side from appearing to give their testimony. Sometimes, before the witnesses have their presentation ready, they give all kinds of awful threats through the Kulkarni and force them to flee the village. And if some foolish ignorant farmer should disregard the suggestions of the Brahman employees through the Kulkarni, and come to the government office to give his own testimony, since on the one hand he is illiterate his memory is not good, and on the other since he has no habit of replying to questions coming one after another out of context, the crafty employees frighten him so much when he gives the testimony that he simply wants to hide under the earth. Sometimes while taking the statements of the ignorant farmers, they make them so fearful with their mocking and taunting that they lose all capacity to give even a simple narration of the things they have seen with their own eyes and heard with their own ears. Besides this, so many arrogant, bold employees, after getting a plentiful amount in their hands, prepare false proofs according to the legal requirements with the help of the Kulkarni, and are able to give whatever fine or punishment they wish to the ignorant farmer.
Then, since none have sufficient money to pay the fines, most farmers take loans from their relatives or fiends, and after paying the fine and returning home, they find when they have to pay back the borrowed money and need more to release the other jailed people, that asking the moneylender for a loan is useless, because due to the government’s partisan law regarding peasant indebtedness, no self-respecting moneylender is ready to even open his door to them. The reason is that after giving their money as a loan to the farmers, when they try to get the final judgement they are humiliated by the Shudra bailiff in front of the ignorant farmers they have brought to court.
Many young gentlemen who are able to memorize and parrot various kinds of lawbooks and give answers in examinations are given enormously powerful position as judges by our credulous government. However, these people who have broken all important links to their social roots, considering themselves the legitimate heirs of the Bhoodevs, shameless treat even the elderly and weak people of other castes as inferior. First, after telling all the witnesses to be present at 10 AM according to the government rules, they come themselves around noon to the court, and after lounging around for half an hour or so in some room, they come out, ruBhat-Brahmansing their eyes, and sit in a square thronelike chair. They put some pan from their pockets into their mouths, and chewing like a monkey with one leg crossed over the other, take out a tin from their pockets, and while stuffing a bit of snuff in their nose, throw a sidewise glance with half-closed eyes at the group sitting below. At this moment the pink-turbaned, black-coated pleader in pantaloon and boots comes, gives a twist to his mustache, and utters the call “Your Honour!” like a mace-bearer. This Bhoodev Judgesaheb, ruBhat-Brahmansing his hand on his stomach, asks his lawyer caste-brother, “What is your position?” with this the Vakilsaheb puts his hand in his pocket and says, “Today we have to attend a murder case in the session court. With your graciousness, we ask today for an adjournment.” After the Magistrate nods his head to this, the Vakilsaheb takes to the road in a fancy horse and carriage, and the Magistrate begins his other work.
I will give only a few examples of that. Many Bhoodev judges, in the arrogance of their high-caste pride or hangover of yesterday’s drinks, speak only in familiar degrading terms with people of other castes when giving judgements. If any swaggering gentleman does not salute these kingly Bhoodevs after coming to the court, he is tormented without meaning at the time of his testimony. If some great gentleman who is a member of a Samaj opposed to Brahmanic religion should come a little late to the court, in revenge (why should the reformist group bellow against the government about his?) he is mocked in full session of the court when he gives his statements, without a bit of thought to his wealth or to his age. It is universally known how these Bhoodevs humiliate the Buddhist Marwaris. Sometimes when the sly Bhoodev cannot get the significance of the claimants and counter-claimants into his head, this so-called cultured pure man gnashes his teeth like a dog taking a bite of their hearts, with harsh words: — “You have no sense, you should get twenty lashes. You are three hundred times more dissolute than a monkey’s brother.” If anyone murmurs at this, his case is thrown out of court. Not only that, but if this murderous Magistrate’s temper is a bit off, doesn’t he take all the statements to his house and take some points from those to get another fresh statement prepared and on the basis of this give whatever judgement he wants? Because these days the practice of getting the signature or thumbprint of the person giving a statement has been abandoned.
In conclusion, since most Bhoodev Magistrates have begun to give judgements according to their whims, just like Ghashiram Kotwal, many traditional aristocratic wealthy savakars have given up their profession. Still, most Brahman and Marwari savakars, without heeding the insulting conditions, carry on business with illiterate farmers. It is done in this way: — without giving even a broken coin to the farmers who have fallen into difficulty, they take a document of loan bonds from them, and on they bring a statement to the arbitration tribunal embellished by decrepit retired pensioners; then after cutting the interest, give the remainder to them. These days, many Brahman and Marwari moneylenders tell the barren illiterate farmers that “Due to the government laws, we cannot give you anything on mortgage. However, if you sell your land to us, then we can give you loan, and once you have repaid the debt we will sell the land back to you, and you can take it in your possession.” But the vow given is only in words. In fact, the lands of the uneducated, naïve family-loving farmers are very rarely gotten back from these pure and nonviolent moneylenders. Besides this, while giving loans these extremely religious moneylenders do all kinds of harm to the illiterate farmers. They give proof of falsified expenses of all kinds along with the accounts, so that when the case is brought to the court of the munsif Brahman, the uneducated farmers have to sell their jewelry in the hope of getting justice. Since there are no educated men and judicious gentlemanly lawyers of their own caste to give them counsel, the final decision goes against them, and then these mindless people, incited by four pot-bellied shark lawyers, appeal their case to the higher court in the hope that they will get justice. However, since most of the European employees in the high court are besotted by idleness and luxury, the Brahman employees of all these courts can cheat the uneducated farmers so much that if we take even a small note of it here, it will be as follows: First the crafty lawyers take on stamped paper from the ignorant farmers a statement of power of attorney, and then take from them the earnest money and a certain amount of expenses in advance for the cost of the suit. Then many cunning lawyers go to the house of the domesticated concubine of the head clerk, and make the concubine sing in front of the head clerk and force the farmer to give her some amount in front of the head clerk saheb.
Both the money-eating government employees who harass the farmers and the completely illiterate farmers who give them bribes out of their dependence get legal punishment. If the cost of the police investigation is born by the bhakri-eating fearful weaponless ruined farmers along with the Bhat Phadke who organized attacks against the unarmed police; and if the thieves of all castes who steal from the farmers’ houses are given the same legal punishment; then by the same standard those farmers whose houses are robbed while they are in the throes of their deep sleep should also be given a legal punishment?! If our Legislative Council would make such a law and free the necks of our spineless police, there will be bells ringing in that Simla so near to heaven.
Many ritualistic Brahman employees get the ignorant rich farmers to give gifts to so many of the bards and story-tellers of their caste. Many politicking cunning fellows meet the ignorant rich farmers and convince them to build new temples of Radha and Krishna from village to village, or get old temples renovated and on the occasion of their inauguration arrange so many huge Brahman feasts. Many cunning employees, behind the backs of the European employees, give all kinds of trouble to the ignorant farmers and even if the farmers curse them, they (the employees) make such a show of officious frivolity before the European employees day and night that they get promotions. How the European employees, with their peculiar “tumi-ami” talk, who have to make such efforts to give a pure Marathi speech for even ten minutes, understand the Chatrapati Maharaj of Satara or the Himmatbahadur Military Chief Nimbalkar, or Ghatge, Mohite or Dabhade, Ghorpade and all the nobles of heroic peasant birth and clear away their difficulties, God knows! So many cunning Brahman employees act according to this policy all the time and deliberately put forward so many defaming vile Bhat-Brahmans in all districts, and bring into being huge Samajes at their hands, using their influence and contacts with the Shudra farmers, grass-cutters, woodcutters, contractors, pensioners and estate-holding gentlemen to make them members of any Samaj they want. The Brahman officials have become so useful for many European employees in helping out in their delicate domestic work that the European employees give recommendations about them to the government and procure them honours as Raosaheb, and when these European employees are transferred to another district, then this flattering servile Raosaheb makes whatever award he can invent and taking some scrawled signatures from some falsely respected parading ignorant rich Kunbis and Malis or Telis and Tambolis of the cities, holds a huge meeting in the massive court of some illiterate Shudra contractor, and makes him a presentation of this award.
In sum, damage resulting from natural and political droughts to Shudra and Ati-Shudras, or due to the assaults of pests can be repaired anytime; but the Bhats who dominate in all the government departments because nearly all the European employees are besotted by idleness and luxury do do much damage to the ignorant farmers here, like the Brahman landlords of the Konkan, that there is no hope of it ever being repaired. If all the big and little stories about this were written, it would be like the book, “Mysteries of the Court of London.” When the Christian people could not bear to see this miserable situation of the ignorant farmers, they began to make an outcry on the name of the education department of “United Great Britain.” Here, when many big sardars along with well-bred gentlemen began to uncover the absolute degradation of some of the main officials of the Education Department, the compassionate Governor Generalsaheb only established a committee of four or five great learned gentlemen to make a thorough enquiry. Mr. Huntersaheb was the Chairman of that, and taking his compatriots, like Nimrod the Hunter, he made a big tour of all three presidencies in a big railway carriage. However, without making a detailed examination of all the calamities the Shudra and Ati-Shudra farmers have to bear because they are illiterate, without going himself into the filthy huts of the farmers and, holding a handkerchief before his nose, viewing their true misfortune with their own eyes and taking the testimony of the true, lungoti-wearing illiterate farmers, he showed instead great concern to get the testimony of the caste Brahmans among the Parsis, Christians and Hindus, and won some great testimonials. Finally, he got his own boots polished, it is true, but we cannot infer that the illiterate farmers could have gotten any appropriate benefit from his report. In conclusion, we hope that Mr. Huntersaheb will not bring the majestic Governor Generalsaheb into collision with cunning people like Mr. Thuckersaheb (of the Salvation Army) so that he should give his resignation and with strenuous efforts go himself to the alleys and lanes of the impoverished ignorant farmers to sit in their creaky bullock carts and liberate them from ignorance and darkness. Out of this, the kettledrums of his own (Hunter Saheb’s) fame will be beaten; and his voice will reach the ears of the representatives of the republican regime on the other side of the earth to open their eyes and fill their hearts with compassion about the black “Red Indians.”
In this chapter, if anyone wants proof of what has been written about the behavior of the government Brahman employees, it can easily be found in various places among those who have been punished for the crimes of bribery or false testimony.
How the Arya Brahmans arrived from Iran and the prior condition of the Shudra peasants; and how the current government constantly levies all kinds of new taxes on the farmers in order to provide whatever pay and pensions their employees want; and how the farmers have been forced into arrant indebtedness since their wealth is extracted with such great force.
In all this inaccessible, inconceivable, empty expanse of space, countless stars along with their planets are created and destroyed in the commingling of various kinds of substances. In the same way, as each planet revolves around its sun, from the mutual intercourse of one mother and father on those planets, one child may be born stupid and another intelligent. We can conclude from this that stupidity and intelligence are not hereditary. Similarly when a woman and man have intercourse, the fetus if formed according to the merits and defects of the two and from the dominance of truth and other meritorious qualities on their minds at the time. That is, various children of one mother and father are born with different qualities. Those who don’t agree with this principle can’t explain how the wisdom and courage of Thomas Paine of the eminent gentlemen of England and George Washington of the American farmers have shamed by their actions our merry and happy Rajas and Maharajas who say that wisdom and courage are hereditary. Besides, there are numerous examples before us of many ignorant black soldiers who show the manliness to fight like heroes in Egypt and Kabul only to fill their stomachs and because of the dread of a court martial, and similarly so many American educated men like Parker and Meriyam who were only farmers by birth have shown courage against enemies in battle for their country. From this it is proved that courage and cowardliness are not hereditary but are dependent on a person’s nature and social environment. Because if this principle is held to be false, then how is it that some of those who are Rajas and Maharajas or Badshahs on the earth have ancestors who were hunteres, some herders, some peasants, some mullas; some were rebels, some clerks, some valets, some bandits and some ancestors were like Romulas and Remus who were banned from their own country. None of them have original ancestors who were hereditary Badshahs or Rajas.
Now, if it can be said that, as according to Darwin’s view, a fresh species of human beings must have evolved on the planets revolving around in an evolutionary process from species of monkeys, then this proves wrong the notion that all have arisen from the limbs of Brahmadev. Anyway, in whatever way a pair or pairs of human women and men were created or first emerged whether from one couple, as according to the views of the Buddhists or Jains; or from monkeys according to Darwin’s opinion; or whether they were created from the dust by God according to the views of Christians, or whether the four castes have emerged from the limbs of Brahman as according to the views of the Arya Brahmans, then in any case they must have spent their nights in the cavity of huge trees or in the crevices of mountains, and began to satisfy their hunger from fruit and roots; and when they took rest under the shadow of some tere in the heat of the day to get relief from the burning sun, then here and there the tall tall craggy peaks and the expanse of mountain ranges with their pure white caps reaching to the skies must have fallen upon their view. And below them in vast fields in large and small valleys and dales were gigantic ancient expanding banyans, pipals and crowds of fruit trees hung with pineapple, mangos, coconut, figs, pistachios, cashews and other fruits and nuts. Over these various kinds of vines of grapes and other fruit provided a thicket of networked arches; and here and there bunches of ripe bananas and various kinds of brightly colored fruits were dangling. Where they sat various kinds of leafy flowered heaps had fallen on the ground, making a huge decorated carpet with here and there various types of profuse leafy fruited trees, all appearing as if newly planted that very day. Similarly, everywhere besides streams, brooks, creeks and rivers, big and small, were spread out muskmelons, watermelons, gourds, cucumbers, and here, there and everywhere the pure clean water flowed endlessly, muttering gurgling and melodious baBhat-Brahmansling words. Around in a water universe of lakes of all sizes, flocks of humming bees buzzed in brightly colored lotuses, and herons stood sanctimoniously on one leg to catch whatever fish they could spy in the bottom of the pools. In the nearby forests, wherever they looked, herds of timid deer and sheep and other prey could be seen running panting to save their lives from wolves, tigers and other beasts of prey. And on the trees numerous birds, singing sweet songs that would put Tansen to shame, were engrossed in their own melodies, as in the skies falcons and hawks and other dangerous birds plunged to snatch their lives; and just then from the west came a cool and soft breeze bringing with its touch the scent of all kinds of flowers and occasionally letting loose a melodious song. Seeing all this, how joyful must have been the ancestors of all those human beings who today call themselves Buddhist, Christian, Mahar, Muslim or Brahman! However, since they didn’t have the knowledge of how to make tools of various kinds or clothes for their bodies, they must have left their beards and hair long and let the nails on their hands and feet grow long and had to live naked. Since they didn’t have the knowledge of making pots of earth or metal, wouldn’t they have had to kneel near the water and put their mouths to drink like animals or drink it by taking it in their hands? Since they had no knowledge of frying pans or stoves, where would they have been able to taste bhakri or chapattis? Since they had no facilities or knowledge of skinning sheep or goats, didn’t they have to walk barefoot? Where would those who couldn’t count up to 100 without a mistake get the knowledge of how to roast cattle or animals for a yagna and eat them while chanting in the intoxication of some soma juice? In short, at that time they must have been so ignorant that we cannot imagine what they would have done if some buffoons or rogues had brought before them a book like the Vedas etched on palm leaves that provided no fragrance or juice when taken in hand. Since they themselves were fruit-eaters, how would they have followed the instruction of those demon-written Vedas and gotten intoxicated with Soma or eaten the meat of cows stolen from others in the name of honoring their ancestors? indeed, they had no need to do this. Being themselves so holy, how could they have liked to consider as their own lineage the writers of such self-interested scriptures? Would it have been possible for them to say to each other, “You are a Buddhist,” “You are a Christian,” “You are a Muslim,” “You are a Mahar and so inferior,” or “You are a Brahman and hence superior”?
In any case, after some time passed, after the offspring of our original ancestors had increased greatly, they must have raised up a framework of the branches of trees and laid sheets of coconut leaves on top of it for a house for separate families, and around it they made a fence of babhul or karandi branches; and on the path going inside they placed a matted door or a boundary of small stones to mark the gates. And in order to prevent dangerous wild animals from entering at night, they chose a boundary guardian to be a watchman; and now all the villagers inside, men, women and children, must have begun to sleep peacefully at night. And because of this all villagers to this day give a donation of bhakri morning and evening to the watchman of the walls in repayment for his labour. And in the same way, don’t all of us rural people today give, not a piece of bhakri but a substantial contribution to the Police Fund in order to maintain the great employees of the Police Department along with the peons? What is the difference between the two? The Mahar has a stick and rope in his hand, and the policeman has a cudgel with a leather thong.
In any case, in the earlier villages if there was some trifling offence by the children or young people, the disputants were brought forward and all the adults of the village would sit in the shade of some tree and give judgement and punishment to the offenders. At that time, where did they have the knowledge to build some great town hall or assembly? However, some time later as all the families kept growing, various kinds of disputes about using the forests or about beautiful women also began to take place; and when these couldn’t be settled amicably, then some modest, serene gentlemen among them must have taken their goods and small children on their backs and gone with all the women and men in procession far away to different places in the country and built new villages there. And since they began to live with great happiness and joy, those gentlemen with daring who went first to far lands and made new settlements were called “patils” and “deshmukhs” by those of all the other villages, and people began to act according to their advice. And even though the ignorant patils and deshmukhs of today are slavishly submissive to the Bhat-Kulkarnis and incite quarrels among the villagers following their wishes, still all the villagers behave in consultation with them. Another evidence is that when the need to have wedding relations comes, we have a practice of asking one another in this way: “Question – what is your village and what is your surname? Answer – our village is Pune and our surname is Jagtap. Question –Then how are you related to the Saswad Jagtaps? Answer – we are the same, seven or eight generations must have gone by; our original branch came from Saswad to Pune, and today we go to Saswad for the first haircutting ceremony of our children, because their and our chief goddess Satwai is the same and their gods and goddesses are the same as ours. Question – then we can very easily have marriage connections, because the Saswad Jagtaps are our relations; just tell us the exact connection from there and it’s as good as done; the rest of the discussions can be finished in an instant and the wedding invitations can be brought out immediately.” If things have really happened in this way, then if it should be asked, what is the authority for this in the Shastras? my answer is this – How would those victorious Arya people who came from Iran to this country in the lust for gold and destroyed all the original local protectors (rakshas) and let loose one campaign after another against the remaining Dasyu people,4 finally making them into (Das)5 slaves and tormenting them in all ways, write the true history of the defeated whom they had made into Shudras in their shastras?
4 John Wilson’s India Three Thousand Years Ago, page 196. “They appear also to have been a fair complexioned people, at least comparatively, and foreign invaders of India, as it is said that Indra (the God of the Ether or firmament) divided the fields among his white complexioned friends after destroying the indigenous Barbarian races, for such there can be little doubt. We are to understand by the expression Dasyu, which so often occurs and which is often defined to signify one who not only does not perform religious rites but attempts to harass their performers. The Dasyus, here mentioned, are doubtless the Dagyas of the Parsi sacred writings, and the Dakyas of the Behistian tablets, rendered by `countries’ or `provinces’ probably of an exterior position to be the Goim and Gentiles of the Hebrews. They were not altogether Barbarians, for they had distinctive cities and other establishments of at least a partial civilization, though the Aryas, lately from more bracing climes than those they inhabited, proved too strong for them.” 5 John Wilson’s India Three Thousand Years Ago, page 29. “Of the Dasyus mentioned often in the Vedas in contrast with the Aryans, no such traces can be found, though they are once or twice
Later after much time had passed when all the villagers could not live on only fruit, they must have begun to hunt fish, animals and birds in order to survive; then when their subsistence could not be got from these either, they began to do a bit of agriculture and they must have got good harvests. Then, after some more period had passed as they started inventing various new tools and implements and ploughs, they must have planted province after province. As this went on and as population increased, battles must have started throughout the country over claims to forests and grazing land and over boundaries of the provinces, and with that great destruction and killing must have taken place. It must have been very difficult to suppress this by gathering together the people of the whole province to make decisions. In the end the resolution of the crisis came by starting the custom that the people of every village would choose some wise and informed person from their village and these would all gather in one place to consider the problem and give a decision by majority vote. From that time, the practice got fixed among our people of having an elected panches give a decision on the most serious disputes. Then after some time when cultivators began to go beyond the Atak river to make settlements and sow their crops, and everywhere due to the limitless increase in the population and migration, the crops got affected in so many places because of scanty rainfall, and since all the rivers, canals and streams started drying up, all the animals and birds of the forests began to leave for wherever water was available. Seeing human beings falling helpless everywhere due to starvation, some daring fellows made most of the innervated hungry people into their servants and, taking them along, first organized huge looting expeditions in nearby prosperous lands, fixing their grip on the people under their control, and schemed to become Rajas over others. (If we begin to research the antecedents of today’s royal families, we will find most of their original men are from this background). In order to manage them, the villagers throughout the country selected intelligent representatives, and with their help organized an army sufficient to protect the whole country, and levied taxes sufficient to maintain it; and made an arrangement to choose tahsildars and chaprasis to collect them. Due to this the people throughout the country must have gotten some relief.
Later, after some time, since prosperity had spread everywhere, beyond Bali’s place, that is beyond Baluchistan, many defiant and greedy representatives, seeing the splendor
mentioned by Manu. The word Das, derived from dasyu, ultimately came to signify a bondman. In this sense it has its analogue in our word slave, derived from the Slavi people, so many of whom have become serfs in the modern regions of their abode. Some of the names of the Dasyus and other enemies of the Aryan race mentioned in the Vedas seem to have been of Aryan origin; but we see from the non
achieved by the bandits, decided to become Rajas of their own country and the hold of the previous democratic regime got weakened. The representatives of the 96 clans in the 56 countries on this side of Iran established their separate kingdoms and with each other’s mutual help began to manage their affairs without disturbance. Because of this for hundreds of years there was no obstruction to their prosperity, and all the subjects in the kingdoms of the Dasyus, Astiks, Ahirs, Asurs, Ugras, Pishachas, Matangas6 became happy there must have been “smoke of gold” everywhere. Not only this; since the Dasyus were extremely powerful among them, their weight was felt on all the Yavanas so much that most of the Yavanas behaved with friendship and a sincere heart towards the Dasyus. Because of this the Dasyus helped them in every way and would graciously inquire after them. From this some of the Yavanas must have started considering the Dasyus as friends; but the remaining Yavanas and Aryans and others began to behave deceitfully towards them and when the time came used to openly trouble them, and when the Dasyus must have confronted these bad habits to check them, the Yavanas and Aryas must have gotten the general habit of considering the Dasyus with antagonism as enemies and evil. Because the underlying common meaning in the words for “friend, enemy, and wicked” (dost, dushman and dushta) can be found in the term “Dasyu.”
In the end all the Iranis (Aryas), Turks and other Yavanas could not easily endure the fame of the Dasyus, and among them the “people of eighteen turbaned castes” who wore eighteen types of turbans of eighteen different colors, began to attack the land of the Dasyus from time to time in the hope of looting the gold. However, the vigilance of heroes with King Bali like Kalabhairav and Khanderao on the border prevented them from making any impression.
At this point, when bows and arrows were newly invented by the Aryans in Iran, many daring marauders like Varaha appeared among the local Iranis,7 and after destroying wealthy Rajas and Rajwades of all sizes in the nearly 56 countries,8 the Aryan Narsinha beguiled the immature mind of the young prince Prahlad and with his help intrigued to
Sanskritic elements in the Indian languages that they must have belonged principally to various immigrations of the Slcythian or Turanian family of the human race.” 6 Godbolyancya Maharashtra Deschachya Itihasatil Bhandarkaranci Sucna, page 1, column 2; John Wilson’s India Three Thousand Years Ago, page 28 7 John Wilson’s India Three Thousand Years Ago, pages 17-18. 8 John Wilson’s India Three Thousand Years Ago, pages 20-21. Among peoples hostile to the Aryas we also find noticed the Ajasas, Yakshas, Shigravas, Kikatas and others. The enemies of the Aryas are sometimes expressly mentioned as having a black skin. “He (Indra) punished men for wanting religious rites tore off their skin. The Pishachas are said to have been tawny colored.”
murder his father. Later the Aryan Waman defeated the great heroic Dasyu Baliraja on the battlefield, looted the gold from all the bodies of all the women and the treasures of the palace on the third day. Because of this the Dasyus undertook many battles to throw the Aryan Brahmans out of the country. However, finally the Arya Parashuram,9 unleashing one after the other twenty-one campaigns against the Dasyus living throughout this country, brought them to such rack and ruin that in the end many heroes from among them had to flee along with their families on the trail which goes from China to the American forests (which was flooded by the ocean after some time, and which today is called the Bering Straits) on the other side of the world in “Patal”.
(This can be seen because so many of the indigenous people there have religious beliefs, customs and practices very similar in many respects to those of the Dasyus (Shudras). Among the Americans, clans like the Suryavanshis, Rakshasas and Astiks are found. They respect omens as do people here. Among those people, as among Shduras, the practice of dressing the dead and burying gold along with them is found. Though all Shudras have become propertiless today, still like the American Shudras they bury their dead with costly spices. Among them,10 as here, such names as “Topaji, Manku, Artil Yellapa, Artil Balappa” are found. There is a province called Kanada there. However, after some time the Chinese or Aryans, attacking people here, must have forced them to submit; because like the Aryans in Hindustan, they excluded the original people in America from access to knowledge, deprived them of all human rights and treated them as inferiors, while taking themselves as “gods on earth,” and it seems that along with the planets in the sky they used to do puja to the five principles like Aryans.
In any case, in the violent confrontation with Parashuram, the sword-wielding caste ancestor of the Arya Nana Peshwe,11 all the children of the dispossessed widows of the main great enemies (maha-ari) who fell in the battlefield were slaughtered by Parashuram and many clans were destroyed, and all the remaining fighting Dasyus were made into the two categories of Shudras (Das) and Atishudras (Anudas), and the Aryan Brahmans, in order to
9 John Wilson’s India Three Thousand Years Ago, page 49. Dr. John Muir, in his “Original Sanskrit Texts,” pages 44-56, has given a series of passages sufficient to prove that according to the traditions received by the compilers of the ancient legendary history of India (traditions so general and undisputed as to prevail over even their strongly hierarchical predispositions), Brahmans and Ksatriyas were at least in very many cases, originally descended from one and the same stock. Some of the cases referred to by Dr. Muir are the same as those of the parties mentioned in the first paragraph of this note. 10 W.H,. Prescott’s History of Peru and Brazil, Vol. 1, page 66; Volume 2, appendix no. 1, pages 157, 159 and 156. 11 A Sepoy Revolt, by Henry Mead, pages 135, 136 and 137.
give them all kinds of harassment, made many selfish and tyrannous “laws.” Among them some written points can be found in pitiless and partisan books such as Manu’s. These are:
“Arya Brahmans should never live in those cities where the Shudras rule; Brahmans should give no knowledge of any kind to the Shudras; not only that, but our Vedas should not even be heard by the Shudras’ ears. Aryas should not make any trip along with a Shudra in the early night or early morning. A Shudra’s corpse can have permission only to be carried out of the southern gate of the village. Shudras are forbidden to touch an Arya Brahman’s corpse. Even if a Raja dies agonized with hunger, he should not take taxes or land revenue from a Brahman. However the Raja should give yearly grants to Brahman wise men. If a Brahman finds some treasure, he should enjoy it alone. Because a Brahman is master of all. However, if a Raja finds treasure, he should give half the wealth to the Brahmans. If an Arya Brahman commits any crime, he should be only banished, without any blow at all to his body. Brahmans should keep Shudras as their servants and bondsmen, since God has created Shudras in order to serve Brahmans. If a Brahman find that a certain Shudra has become useful for some delicate work of his and frees him from slavery, any Bhat-Brahman who wants can capture him and make him a slave. Because God has brought him to birth for this. If a Brahman begins to die of hunger he should take whatever he needs from his Shudra slave. A Raja should never take the wealth of a Brahman without heirs; this is an ancient law. However, if he requires the wealth of those of any other caste without heirs, the Raja should take it. Even if a Brahman gentleman consciously commits a crime, he should at most be banished along with his family. But if the same crime is done by anyone of another caste, he will have to bear physical punishment according to the nature of the crime. If a Shudra’s children begin to starve because he does not get service in a Brahman’s house, he should gain his subsistence through manual labour. Even an intelligent Shudra should not accumulate much wealth. Because if he does, he will become proud and begin to condemn the Brahman. A Brahman should never ask for any alms from a Shdura, because if a Brahman does a Homa ceremony from this alms, he will become a Chandala in his next birth. If a Brahman kills a dog, a cat, an owl or a crow, this will be considered the same as killing a Shudra and he will become purified by doing the Chandrayan penance. If a Brahman kills a boneless animal, or if he kills a thousand animals with bones, it will be sufficient for him to do the Chandrayan penance. If a Shudra hits an Arya Brahman with a stalk of grass, or if he pulls his dhoti around his throat, or if in speaking he obstructs him or if he speaks to him with scornful words, he should fall prone in front of the Brahman and beg his pardon.”12
Besides this, various kinds of articles about the Shudras are found in the books of the Arya-Brahmans that are so tyrannous that I feel ashamed even to write them here. In any case, after that the Aryans, in order to manage undisturbed the cultivation of the land that they had conquered, appropriated many timid and pusillanimous people like Prahlad from among the Dasyus, who never sided with their own people in maintaining hatred for the Brahmans. They were appointed as Kulkarnis throughout the villages and brought into their religion. From that the habit of calling them Deshastha Brahmans was started, because the skin color and bodily form, customs and original ancestors venerated by the Deshastha Brahmans and the original Shudra people here are similar. There has also been no marriage exchange at all between the Deshastha Brahmans and the Konkanastha Brahmans. However, the prevous Peshwe government began to custom of exchange of food and daughters with the Deshastha Brahmans.
Bringing this system into implementation, as the Arya Brahmans became lords of the land here and their influence began to be felt over all the rest of the people of their varna, they began to be called the superior Brahman gurus of the 18 varnas. And they themselves, conscious that after “making heaven and hell one and departing,” no duty remained for them, instead of dressing in palm leaves, rubbing copper-colored earth on their chests, forgetting to slap their upper arm (like wrestlers), taking every opportunity for bribes, applying sandalwood fragrance on their bodies and saffron on their foreheads, drawing a musk tilak, they began the days of sitting happily enjoying themselves. Some of them lost themselves in the intoxication of marijauna, and some in the addiction of writing various kinds of selfish books. Some fell into the meddlesome industry of searching out the ways of yoga, and the rest began to propagandize, each calling the other, “Brahman gurus are superior among the 18 varnas.” Around that time, the Arya Brahmans began to harass the jungle-wandering paupers here to get them to accept their religion. As a result, these became angry and began to write various kinds of books against the Aryas and since they began the puja of their atmaling near them in order to deride the Arya religion, the Lingayat religion must have arisen as a separate religion.
12 The Laws of Manu, son of Brahman, by Sir William Jones, Vol VII, pages 398 and Vol VII, page 33, 42, 73, 79, 85, 105, 106 and 118.
After that the Arya Brahmans began to treat with disdain all the Kshudra peasant slaves who had come under their control. They completely stopped giving them education and brought their condition below the level of animals. And since they became illiterate and completely without access to knowledge, the Arya Brahmans plunder them so much on religious and political excuses that even today, compared to them, it can be easily proved that even the condition of the violently enslaved Abyssinians in America was better. However, more recently, some centuries ago the Muslim regime here had with compassion forcibly converted lakhs of Shudras and Atishduras of this country to Islam and made them fellow Muslims, freeing them from the snares of the Aryan religion. This is clear because reports show that among them many ignorant Muslim mullas and bagvans do their marriages according to the custom of the Shudras and Atishudras here. In the same way, the Portugese government had made thousands of Shudras and Atishudras and Brahmans into Roman Catholic Christians by force, freeing them from the fabricated Arya religion and making them happy. That is why we find among them so many have family names like Gokhale, Bhosle, Pawar and other surnames like Brahmans and Shudras. Today with the help of Americans and others, thousands and thousands of moaning Shudras and Atishudras, disdaining Brahman religion, have consciously and willingly struck a blow by accepting the Christian religion, as we have seen with our own eyes. Perhaps you are not certain of the sorrows of these Shudras and Atishudras; if you only take a little thought of what calamities have befallen even such great Rajas and Rajwadas from among the Das farmers as Satara’s Shivaji Maharaj, Baroda’s Damajirao Gaikwad, Gwalior’s Patilbuwa, Indore’s Lakhya Bargir, Yashwantrao and Vithojirao Holkar, because of being illiterate, you will get an idea of the situation, and with this I finish this part.
In any case, Rajas of the fifty-six countries here abandoned the democratic regime described above, and because of that the Arya Brahmans were able to bring total ruin to the Dasyus and others, and have caused much destruction up to today. There is no doubt that this was a proper punishment; in contrat, the Greeks from beyond Iran had from the beginning maintained carefully the republican regime. Later, when the main braggart of Iran, Xerxes, brought with great pomp and show an army of lakhs to devastate Greece, and camped on the borders of Greece, then three to four hundred patriotic soldiers of the city of Sparta came one by one at night through the Thermopylae pass and made a surprise attack on their camp, and confounded their army forcing them to drag themselves back to Iran. When this model was taken up by the Romans in the land of Italy, they won through the republican regime such superiority in education, wisdom and wealth compared to all the European, Asian and African lands that great orators and patriotic warriors like Scipio were created among them. Defeating generals like Hannibal of Africa, they established their rule everywhere. Later they took the knowledge of clothing to the barbarian English and others who had worn leather and painted their bodies in red and yellow in the islands of Great Britain in the western sea, and after four to five hundred years gave them the lesson of republicanism and brought them on the proper path. Then among the Roman nobles the great warrior Julius Caesar, sacrificing six hundred thousand Roman soldiers in his round of battles, won victory over the hereditary rulers of so many countries and became so bedazzled with his own grandeur that he became estranged from the original republican regime and got the intention of making all the beloved children his slaves and becoming the ruler over all. At that time the great holy patriots, with one gentleman named Brutus among them, who felt that they could not bear the human destruction that would come from this monarchical power, took daggers in their hands and stood to block the path of Julius Caesar while he was going towards the republican Senate hall with the intention of setting his throne in it. Then when Julius Caesar confronted him eye to eye, Brutus felt extremely abashed and covering his face with his toga, without taking any account of their mutual friendship thrust the dagger into Caesar’s stomach in order to free his countrymen from the future monarchical shackles, and his corpse fell to the earth. However, Julius Caesar had previously used the money of the government treasury to win over all the others to his side. Because of that most of the indolent nobles there had become his dependants, and things fell everywhere into turmoil, the constructions of the republican regime crumbled and at the end of the regime of twelve Caesars in the annihilation of the glory of the Romans, the Romi people left the English and others free in their own lands and came back to their Italian country.
However, at that time the Scotch, Saxons and others living nearby the English, being extremely mischievous, mixed some hereditary chieftains and rajas into that republican form of government, just as sterling gold is adulterated with some copper and brass, and made a great savory stew out of it and got everyone to agree to this. Since there were mountainous areas here and there in that country, there was not enough land for everyone to survive from agriculture; the cold was extreme; thus all were doing various kinds of artisanship and merchant trades and went to the forefront of all the peoples on the surface of the earth in acquiring education, knowledge and wealth. At the same time, the disciples of Hazrat Mohammad Paigambar in Arabasthan annihilated the original political splendor of the Aryans in Iran, and made various forays into Hindustan to take under their control the whole land of those chewed up by Brahmans. Afterwards the Muslim Badshahs became stupefied listening to Tansen’s songs by day and carousing at night in their harems, and with this the greatly intelligent English smashed the turbans of the Muslims and easily clasped the country in their arms. There was no great prowess in that, because the ten percent of Brahmans through their fabricated religious writings had denied education, knowledge, courage, sagacity and strength in religious and political affairs to the remaining ninety percent here and kept them inferior. However, after this when it came to the attention of the English that the nine-tenths Shudras and Ati-Shudras were uncivilised in nature and dull in all their work, and carried on their activities according to the dominant Brahman policy, they showed their covetousness to the greatly cunning Brahmans and left all the administration in their hands. With the aim of having sufficient funds to give all the European and Brahman employees whatever high pay and pensions they wanted so that they should at all times have valuable clothes, horses, vehicles, food and drink, the farmers who ate stale bhakri and toiled in the fields night an day were forced to pay revenue rates raised every thirty years according to the whims of the administrators. Not only this, they made a noisy show of giving education to their ignorant children and imposed on their heads a second tax burden known as the “local fund.” And they (the farmers) toiling night and day with their children in the fields produce grain, cotton, opium, linseed and other crops with great labour to earn money to pay the agricultural tax and the local fund installment; and when they go onto the national highway to bring all of these to the market they find octroi stations every six miles collecting lakhs of rupees. When to overcome their adversities they go to the nearby forests to cut grass or wood or to feed their cattle and sheep, they find that all of these forests have been swallowed up by the government. There is even an octroi tax on the salt they use to maek their simple bhakris palatable.
Similarly, showing superficial concern that farmers should get sufficient water for their fields to save their production and provide them with food to eat and clothes for their bodies, but having in their minds the real intention of giving great interest to the moneylenders of Europe and providing huge salaries for their European engineer countrymen, they have increased the burden of debt upon India and use lakhs of rupees of this loan to build huge canals here and there. Though they take whatever amount they want in tax from the ignorant farmers for the water of these canals, have they ever thought of an arrangement so that these employees will at least provide the water at the proper time to the fields? Because the indifferent engineers of this Irrigation Department have given all their work to the Brahman employees, and carry on their own activities in indolence like begums in a harem. Here the cunning Brahman employees, in order to show their intelligence, whisper false stories in the ears of the engineers and get, at the time they want and in the way they want, tyrannous orders passed by the government. I shall give here one example: -
The Irrigation Department does not face any hazard if all the production of the farmers is dried up and ruined by water not flowing at the proper time. Wouldn’t there be some justice in an arrangement so that all the white and black engineer bureaucrats, who swallow up thousands of rupees in pay every month, could see daily how many gallons of water are in the dam, measure it, and how much demand there is from the farmers so that the water would be sufficient to irrigate up to the end of the season? The farmers are exhausted from giving petitions to so many of the employees in that department who release the water! Finally when the farmers have gotten no water from them and they go to the cunning officials to get some response, they get a flood of arrogant words instead of water.13 Can this be called justice, when the government employees who beat the drums of justice take huge payments in this way for water from the weak, debt-ridden farmers but instead of giving them the water they have paid for, give only insulting speeches to the farmers out of their high-caste arrogance? In sum, our justice-loving government without any check on either its indolent or cunning employees, and without lessening at all the water tax on the farmers, makes no arrangement to see that water reaches the fields on time. As a result today the farmers’ abundance has vanished and they have to auction their houses and homes to the government and leave all the money in the pockets of the pitiless employees.
Therefore our compassionate government should give to the farmer a tap for water, according to the requirements of his particular land from which he should be able to take no more water than needed. And if this is done, then the government will have no need for workers to release the water, and the money saved on them can be used to reduce the taxes taken from the farmers who use the water. And the irrigation department would not be forced to lay aside the resolution made by our thoughtful government to reduce the taxes.
In the same way, other new schemes today from the municipalities, such as the local fund, have been imposed on the uneducated farmer. The farmer is tormented all around by an octroi imposed on all the vegetables and fruits produced in his field and brought to the city.
Sometimes the farmer takes a cartful of goods to sell in the city, and after receiving the lowest price that can be given after weighing the goods by the cheating middleman in the market, paying the octroi and the cart fee charged by the municipality, he has to return home to his wife and children with only moans. In Pune city alone, today’s yearly income has become equal to that of Sangli state! In the same way, the income of the huge municipality of Mumbai will not be matched by ten to twelve princely states like Pant-Sachiwar. The situation has come like a say, “outwardly it looks very nice but Ram knows what is inside.” Wherever you look you can see huge paved stretching roads with gutters on both sides, everywhere on English columns the glare of lanterns, metal taps, lavatories, dump trucks and all kinds of goods collected there. However, though the previous Rajas were idol-worshippers and not wise like the English, still for the protection of their farmers they used the money of the government treasury to build huge national highways with trees on two sides; village walls; bridges; fortresses in mountains; dams in many places; canals, wells, tanks and strong water supply systems with taps and tanks in cities like Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Vijapur, Delhi and Pune; mosques and dharmashalas, toilets, water fountains and so on. Our current ultra-principled truly monotheistic English Sarkar Bahadur extracts the farmer’s wealth through various means on behalf of the municipality and from this wealth, apart from finishing the above-mentioned works, gives them only the kind of education that deprives them of merit and the strength of the farmers to earn their livelihood honestly decreases day by day. It has become openly known that in these times of peace and plenty four crores14 of farmers don’t get sufficient food to fill their stomachs even twice a day, and they don’t see one day pass without experiencing the affliction of hunger. Truly, if our justice-loving, upright government levied appropriate taxes on the land of the illiterate farmers and gave them education and knowledge about agriculture, then they would not endanger their lives by following the ungrateful rebellious Brahmans like Peshwe, Tope, Khazgiwale, Patwardhan, Phadke15 and others. Besides, since the British Raj was established in this country, the dextrous educated people of England have begun to sell goods manufactured by machines cheaply and have placed their feet on the stomachs of all the artisans here, from the Dhors and Matangs to the Lohars and Weavers. Actually, the paddy, cotton, linseed leather and other goods produced here are sold at a cheap price to the skilled manufacturers abroad, and on this profit English merchants become millionaires.
13 This accusation does not apply to many gentlemen like our disinterested popular Mr. Vishwanath Daji. Such men of pure mind are found occasionally among the Brahman government employees. 14 Journal of the East India Association, No. 3, Vol. VII, page 124 15 A Sepoy Revolt, by Henry Mead, pages 133 and 134.
To sum up, for all these reasons farmer have to make toilsome efforts even to meet the expenses for their cultivation. Then they go to Marwaris and take loans for meeting the land revenue charges. Do the indolent besotted and purity-engrossed Bhat government employees who have been selected to make a detailed enquiry ever find the time to think of this? Here, in so many Sabhas filled with so many great names, the officious government native employees proclaim that “the farmers have become indebted because they spend extravagantly on marriages.” Once this illusory canard was brought to the attention of our greatly wise state secretary sitting on a carriage of four to six horses, unable to see the hollowness of the farmers’ prosperity, he removed all the customs duties on the goods manufactured by the foreign artisans! Here he showed the height of his wisdom! Without a single doubt in their minds regarding the interest of four to five crore rupees a year taken by his great merchants there, the Legislative Council here, those indolent European and pure native judges, people who have not a single idea of the extent of poverty, brought up the illusion of blocking the interest of the poor deficit native moneylenders. If the mind of the government is truly agitated about our ruined farmers, why don’t they completely stop this accumulation of billions by the English moneylenders? Wouldn’t it be better to do that and see if the farmer can find a foothold?
However, the government should not utilize this saved amount in some newly started campaign abroad or ruin the farmers by opening new banks here, so that their justice will be praised, altruistic generous men like Mr. Weatherburnsaheb should try to open the ears of the government about reducing heavily our English government’s interest payments. Because from this no party’s self-interest is served; not only that, but unless our Governor Generalsaheb sends a petition to the central government in England about reducing the pay and pensions of all the workers who earn more than 100 rupees in the military, justice, forest, police, education and other big and little government departments, the problem of the indebtedness of the farmers and of ensuring that they get food to fill their stomachs and clothes to cover their bodies will not be solved. The farmers toil along with their wives and children night and day in the fields and still, after paying the land revenue and the local fund, they do not even earn three rupees a month per person; and for the ordinary European and native government workers even 15 rupees a month will not be sufficient for trivial expenses and liquor. Then who will hear us if we talk about the unbounded expenses of the Collector and other bureaucrats who live like nabobs?
If we compare the situation of a shudra farmer owning eight bullocks together with his four or five sons and their daughters and daughters-in-law, who have to trod with one foot on top of another and toil night and day to earn without taking even a tiny loan from a Brahman, Gujar, or Marwari moneylender with the condition of an ordinary white soldier in a European battalion here, the difference will be more than that between Kashi and Rameswar. Here the Shudra farmer dresses in a loincloth with a bag for tobacco tied around his waste, a rag of a turban on his head, and goes bare-bodied and barefooted, holding the handle of the plough throughout the blazing heat of the day, singing a song as ploughs in the field with pionted remains of crops, overturning the clods of dirt; there the white soldier has pantaloons on his legs, a red broadcloth jacket to cover his body during the day, a flashy hat covered with red gilded embroidery on his head, strong and soft boots of English leather covering the cloth pajamas on his legs, a leather belt with cartridges around his waste and, with a rifle on his shoulder, does a parade for a half an hour or so at morning and evening on an airy field. Here if we are to describe the Shudra farmer’s traditional court dress, it would be coarse thick khadi breeches, underwear, a cotton rug, a shawl, a dark red cotton turban and village shoes made of rope clasped on his feet. His nourishment and meal in the afternoon and evening is a dry bhakri of sorghum, nandni or a dry chappati; and vegetables of carrots or roots; there may be a sauce of dry fish, and if this is not available then there is nothing to eat with the bhakri but chatney. Even chutney and bhakri may not be available on time! Since his home is next to the bull’s shed, with three calves and she-buffaloes tied there in the muck, there is a squalid smell of urine on all four sides of the house. A torn cloth or worn-out black blanket is spread for sitting or lying down; there is a pond made filthy by all the buffaloes of the village sitting in the water; beside it a well for drinking water and his toilet; this is his rural mansion. If he should get cholera or a fever he would be extremely blessed to find good medicine and a knowledgeable doctor; besides this the sword of concern about finding money to pay the land revenue and other funds and taxes is hanging over his head. Would any skilful white or black doctor put his hand on his heart and vow that the mind of such a luckless farmer would not become numbed?
In contrast, the government buys and brings from England high quality clothes, broadcloth, handkerchiefs, slippers and boots for the white soldier’s clothes, and provides here for his food superior wheat, rice, lentils, mutton of sheep or goats, a healthy young cow, etc. and good quality liquor like English port, unadulterated oil, ghee, milk, sugar, tea, salt, chillies, spices, a knife and fork, etc. and then they get a Christian acharya to approve its fresh packaging and feed him every day on time. For his residence the government spends lakhs of rupees to build imposing two-story barracks, which have iron cots, bedspreads and pillows, woollen coverlets and a lamp hanging above for light. On the veranda of the barracks, a bathroom is made with a `filter’ for the bathwater. In the same way a clean convenient toilet is made. If, in spite of this, a few coughs or fevers should come due to indigestion, there is a clinic ready with medicine worth hundreds of rupees, equipment and a doctor paid thousands of rupees every month ready to serve him; and a porter is kept at his service along with a carriage. Along with this, he has no worry about gifts or demands, about maintaining a house, toilet, trees, water, roads, fields and paying the local fund; and no care at all about natural or gang-related political calamities. And from all this, we say with condemnation to our pure native employees making the indolent Europeans happy, taking bribes from the ignorant farmers, see this native worker! What is this prodigality? What shall we call it? Really, the English government which prays to the formless God with closed eyes here should pay absolutely no attention to the rosy writings in the newspapers or the Samajes created by the cunning Brahmans, and instead heavily reduce the unlimited pay of the white and black employees in government departments and give education to the Shudra farmers caught in ignorance and weakness; and if they do not lessen the burden of the land revenue, tolls and other payments, in a short time the result of this will be very terrible. Saying this in the ears of our indolent extravagant government, I end the chapter.
We begin this chapter not by discussing at first the ruined and pitiable state of the toiling ignorant farmers who labour night and day on the land, but rather will give on the occasion an idea of the true condition of those arrogant parading, indebted ignorant Kunbis who, because of having some mother’s grandfather’s aunt or father’s great-grandfather’s daughter given in marriage to an excellent expensive son of the Shindes or Gaikwads, beat the drums of being “Maratha” among the farmer of Mali, Kunbi, Dhangar etc. castes.
One landowner was returning to his village in great anger from the tent of the Collector Saheb’s office, pumping his arms and legs furiously, clashing his teach and chewing tobacco as he strode among the thickly grown airy mango groves along the airy banks of the river. Aged around 40, his spirit showed few signs of breaking down. Though he had a white, well-wrapped turban on his head, a torn cloth was tied over it. He was dressed in breeches and an undershirt of khadi and old fancy Satari blunt-nosed shoes on his feet. A coarse cotton cloth was flung on his shoulder and a red cotton bag hung over that; nearly all these clothes were sprinkled with drops of reddish yellow Holi colors. While the heels of his boots were thick and strong, he was limping a bit because they had cracked open in some places from the heat. The bones of his hand were thick and his chest broad. His big mustache and beard covered his two decayed teeth. His forehead and eyes were expansive and his irises were a reddish brown color. He had a light skin and a fine overall countenance, though his face was a bit round. After reaching his house around two o’clock and finishing his meal, he went into the middle room with the intention of taking a little rest, and took a rug from the swing, threw it to cover the ground covering his face with linen, lay down to sleep with a coarse woolen shawl. But troubled since he had awoken in the morning, had met the Collectorsaheb, and “since he was stupefied in the throes of his tea and dining, he did not hear my true story and fix a time limit for my installment,” he could not sleep. So lying supine with his two hands on his chest, he began to almost rave to himself in his mind: -
“Because I didn’t bribe the Bhat-employees who do the survey and measurement like the other villagers, they convinced the Hat-wearers (Topiwallas) to double my land revenue, and since this year the rain fell only fitfully, all of my agriculture and irrigated crops were affected. At that point my father died. That led to a lot of expense, and so I took a loan from the Brahman moneylender to pay the land revenue for the first year, mortgaged a field and had it registered in his name. Then he increased the interest on capital as much as he fancied, and swallowed up my irrigated field. That moneylender’s mother’s brother is the clerk of the Revenuesaheb, his cousin is secretary to the Collectorsaheb, his older sister’s husband is a munsif, and his wife’s father is a constable in the taluka. Besides this, his caste-brother Brahmans are employed in all government departments. If I had tried to quarrel with such a moneylender, then all the Brahman bureaucrats would directly or indirectly cause my ruin on some trifling excuse. I paid the land revenue the next year by selling the jewelry worn by my wife and children; then after that I borrowed from the Gujar-Marwadi moneylenders of the village every year to pay it. From that day many of these moneylenders have brought cases against me and these lawsuits have been pending in the courts for years. I have had to give huge amounts for this, sometimes to soften the palms of the clerks and lawyers, and I have been exhausted paying the expenses of the chaprasis, witnesses and writers responsible for my case. I tried to find a government employee who won’t take bribes! But those who don’t take bribes are more useless than the money-eaters. Since they are indifferent, they have no concern for giving justice to poor farmers, and the clever selfish attorneys who show emotion before them can treat us weak farmers like dogs and tear off bites of bribe after bribe. And if you don’t bribe them, they will order whatever the moneylenders say imposed on our heads. Because of this, I no moneylender allows me to stand in front of their door! This year, all of the jewelry and silk cloth of my older girl who was married just last year was mortgaged to the Marwadi to pay the installment. Because of this, her father-in-law will not take the poor girl in his house. Oh, to avoid misfortune I have cut the throat of my girl Saguna and ruined her wedded life! Now, where will I get the money for this year’s land revenue? There’s no money even to buy new leather buckets to water the fields. The old ones are completely ripped and have become like a sieve. Because of this the sugarcane has been spoiled before cutting and the sorghum fodder is in the same condition. The corn has also dried up without weeding and aeration. It’s been many days since the chaff and husk has finished And the small stacks of grass and culm of jondhala used for fodder are almost finished up. Since the animals are not getting sufficient food, many once-hefty bullocks can’t even stand up. And with the saris of my wife and daughters ragged and torn, they have to manage by wearing the old valuable body covers bought at the time of the marriage! My sons who toil in the fields go about so naked that they are ashamed to show their faces in the village. Since the grain in the house has been eaten up, we are making our meals off of sweet potatos. Before my mother dies I have got no money to teat her with sweet and good food. What can I do about this? If I pay the land revenue by selling a bullock, how will I manage my farming? I can’t read or write a word, so there’s no question of doing trade. If I give up and go away from home, I still have not a bit of any skill to fill my stomach. Our skillful kids can somehow or another fill their stomachs. I can commit suicide by eating the poisonous roots of kanheri. But who will take care of the old woman who gave me birth, and my wife and small kids? Whose house will they beg from? Where will they show their faces?”
Finally, with huge sighs and sobbing, he slept. Later when I wipe my eyes and come out of the house, I see that he has a one-floor tiled-roofed house. In front and against the house, a shed has been made in which to tie the bullocks by throwing up a framework of thatch. His two or three decrepit bullocks are sitting chewing their cud. On one side two or three large corn-bins of 20-25 quintal grain capacity have fallen empty. Outside on the veranda to the right is an old, eight-bullock cart. An unravelled woven basket lies fallen on that. On the left side of the house a big, four-sided earthen platform has been made with a tulsi plant on it, and next to that is another platform below which earthenwater containers are set. Two or three earthen pots filled with water and a steel pot have been placed on that. Next to the water pots a there-sided frame has been built with small walls and a small bathroom has been made inside by putting tiles cross-wise. The water that flows from it collects in a small pond outside; it is swarming with insects. Beyond that, a crowd of filthy kids with naked bodies with water streaming over them, with pustules on their pimpled faces and snot collected under their noses, has gathered under a white chafter tree. Many of them are dancing, taking gobs of mud in their palms while rubbing their chest with the other and shouting “hai-do.” Some girl has put up a mock stall and set herself up as a liquour vendor, and sits like a shopkeeper before it with chappals of babhul leaves on her feet. Many boys give her a few fake coins of tamarind seed and take by turns fake liquor that looks like water, and after drinking it under her regime, make a show of falling on top of another.
Behind the house a framework has been tossed against it to make a thatched shed. In that are tied the she-buffalo which gave birth in the morning, two or three calves and one gall-backed horse. Against the walls here and there in corners, amid water pots, bugs are crawling. Clots of hair from combing have fallen on the eves of the thatched roof. A cage for hens has been made and set against it on one side. Next to that twig baskets are fallen, and on the other side a stone for washing hands and scruBhat-Brahmansing dirty pots has been set in a small open bathroom. Since remains of the meals are fallen in crevices of stone slabs, bunches of flies are buzzing around. Beyond that on one side compost pile has been made, and the shit of kids lies around it. Green flies drone over it. Beyond that and to the side in one corner small and large heaps of fodder have fallen where a pile of grass fodder has been eaten up. In another corner a heap of cowdung cakes has been built up, and next to it under a babul tree broken-down farm implements have crumbled, and below them are grown “dhotse” bushes which have come from England. In these bushes a dog has given birth and is groaning. In the remaining mess a young woman is plastering cowdung for making cakes. Both her legs are smeared with mud up to her knees from stamping the dung.
Beyond that if you look at the high deep floor of the kitchen, you can see husk and chaff from a sifter lying on the floor, with some stalks of sorted vegetables nearby. Here are fallen some half-eaten seeds, there a heap of rotted onions, with a foul odour coming from it. In the middle, on the bare ground a decrepit old woman covered by a colored shawl has fallen wailing. Near her pillow a little parched rice and a crumbled up bit of jawar bhakri are soaked in a dish of lentil juice with a pot of water set next to it. Nearby in a cradle a small baby lies crying loudly. Beside it is streaked a black streamlet of urine. Because some kid’s shit has been wiped, with the help of ash, a small piece of white ash is seen. In the house many corners have been covered with coppery-red spots from the streaming spit of tobacco-chewers. In one corner lies a big quern to be turned by three or four women. In another corner lies a long wooden pestle next to a stone mortar, and in the corner near the door a pile of waste and dirt is swept under a broom; on this the rag used to wipe the children’s bottoms has fallen. A frying pan has been set on a hearth and a pot of dirty leftover milk has been kept. Below a heap of ashes has gathered on one side of the hearth, smothering a pile of the excrement of cats and rats. On all four sides red stains from the killing of bedbugs and fleas dot the walls. Here and there some kid’s snot, and a blob of snuff have been wiped. Inside one wall niche are set a container of edible oil, an earthen dish of coconut oil, a vessel of tobacco toothpaste, a comb for removing lice, a cracked mirror, a bottle of kajal and a cachet of kumkum. On the outside, on the edge of the wall niche, three to four lampstands have been set one on top of another to make a ladder to keep the lamps at night. A line of spilled oil has trickled down from these to the floor below. All these are cleaned of bugs once a year during the waning moon period of Ashad month. In a second wall niche, near a small round basket of dal and pieces of left-over bhakri. In a third wall niche a few green chillies, garlic, coriander, and a small basket of mangos are lying near a basket for keeping jawaris, with mosquitoes and midges sitting on them, partly eating them and partly leaving shit on them. In the fourth niche a stack of old, repaired sandals and boots is heaped up. Nearby is a mortar and some pieces of flint stone. On one wall hook an old rug for throwing on the floor and a coarse blanket are kept. On the second one are blankets and throwovers. And on the third are hung torn breeches and undershirts.
Next, looking into the central room of the house, there are various cupboards built into the wall. One of them is shut with an ordinary village lock. Here also bundles of blankets and slips for the daughters and daughters-in-law are hung from place to place on wall hooks. On one wall hooks, saddle-cushions, bridles and an empty bottle of oil for the horse are dangled. On a second is hung a bamboo vessel of oil. Finally, earthen vessels of many sizes are piled one on top of the other to make a five-layered stack against one wall. Besides these a sling is slung from a rafter. On that are kept closed pots of milk for making curd and ghee. In front of those a very big shrine has been made of unfired brick. An iron axe, a scythe and blade are lying in its bottom recess. Above on a spread piece of small coarse cloth is set a small silver medallion of the family-deity daubed with red paint. On one side an oil-druBhat-Brahmanser for a lamp is set up, and on the other side the clothes-bag of a Muslim rustic mendicant is inclined beside the wall. Above a small bag of fragrance is hung from a light canopy. Blow the farmer is snoring in deep sleep on a burnoose.
In one corner leans a mattress along with a torn rug and the tube of an old rifle. In a second corner are set upside-down a ploughshare, a snare for a harrow, a trowel, a weaving frame and a buttermilk churner, and in the third corner a stick and crowbar are set up. A solid loft has been built by laying scaffolding of nimb and other branches and mud and plaster on top of that. On that seeds of sesame, vatana, beans and many other vegetables are kept in earthen pots and jars. Higher up on the stanchions supporting the roof, corn cobs are dangling and five or six dried gourds are hung for sifting. In another place a milk-gourd is dangling, and in a third a kashiphal gourd has been kept. In a fourth bundles of clothing are stuffed and parts of sowing implements are hung. In between paper ornaments to be worn during marriages are hung. Looking up it can be seen that since the roof tiles have not been replaced for three or four years and the beams below them are rotted in many places, they have been covered this year with thatch so thin that there are rat holes here and there. There is not one window in the whole house to let in fresh air. All the beams and rafters are blackened by a tar-colored smoke. Throughout all the empty spaces spiders have woven their fine delicate webs with great ingenuity like mosquito nets, and thousands of baby spiders are playing on these. On the thatches on the roof small piles of dust mixed with the poisonous excrement of caterpillars, rats and cockroaches have gathered, no broom having touched them in four to five years. Since it is summer, they have become very pungent so that even before the violent rain starts, wind-driven crowds of dust have gathered on the tiles, and then the nose and face of the snoring farmer is filled with the noxious dust and he suddenly wakes sneezing. The he becomes so enveloped in a poisonous fit of coughing that he finally falls a little unconscious and begins to groan loudly.
With this, his bedridden aged mother comes rushing from the middle room to his side, and after putting some rolled up rags under his head, she places her hand on his chin and looks crying towards his face, saying, “Oh Bhagwantraya, open your eyes and look at me. According to the advice of Ram Bhat, so that the evil spirits should not torment you, I deceived you and sold grain from the bin to Stub-nosed Gujar many times! I set Brahman muttering prayers before Maruti! Many times, child, without you knowing it, I did Satyanarayan puja behind your back, in Ganbhat’s house, to keep the Brahman satisfied. Then why didn’t he go to stand before the Collectorsaheb today to help you getting a convenient settlement for the land revenue? Oh, you filthy knavish Bhat, you have always extracted fancy dinners and gifts from me by pattering of vows and Satyanarayan. Oh, in the name of my one and only Bhagwantraya, you have from his birth up until today snatched hundreds of rupees from me, intimidating me with the nine planets and all that. Now, where has this holiness of yours gone? Oho, you have tire me out so much with religious chicanery that with all that money I could have paid the tax and saved the neck of my Bhagwantraya’s! Ah – among you, Raghu Bharari at first wrote to the Englishman for two annas and brought him to Talegaon. It was you who told false tales to those white misinformed Saheb people with coaxing honeyed speech, and made us Malis and Kunbis into beggars, and you, now, in the name of the English you set our heads spinning. Not only that, today just as the Malis and Kunbis become beggars and you find you can’t fill your stomachs by deceiving them as before, you Brahmans pollute the Topiwalas, putting boots and pants on your legs and applying a white handkerchief to your heads, and many fair young girls from among the Chokhamelas who have become devotes of Christ, and stand in front of the village square and tell the Malis and Kunbis, `Whatever books were written by our Brahman ancestors are all selfish and fabricated. There is no truth in the stone or metal idols they built. These are all malicious fabrications made to fill their stomachs. Just recently they set up a Satyanarayan among the foreigners in the battalion and made all of you ignorant Malis and Kunbis to dance there. When will you understand their fraudulence? Really, you should not listen to those negligent Brahmans and do puja to stone or metal idols. Don’t let Brahmans stupefy you to take out loans to do Satyanarayan. ‘Search for the formless God and you will find salvation.’ Instead of teaching this to Malis and Kunbis you should go to the lanes of your caste brothers and tell them, ‘You should burn your fraudulent religious books, do not fill your stomachs by giving false advice to farmers.’ If this kind of avice is given to them and they are made to change their practice accordingly the farmers will get easily convinced. The second thing is that if we should act according to what you padre Brahmans say, then it is your caste-brother government employees who evade the white employees’ supervision and give many reasons to leave the farmers’ wives and children in a pitiable state” – at this point the farmer came awake and throwing his arms around the neck of his mother, began to cry.
Now I will give a little information about the current situation of all the remaining ruined, impoverished, ignorant Mali, Kunbi and Dhangar farmers who toil night and day to carry on their agriculture; I will be very grateful if everyone pays attention. Brothers, any time you yourselves search, you can be easily assured that in each and every big and small village and hamlet, the farmers’ houses are of two, three or four meters of tiled or thatched roofs. In every house, in the corner of the hearth there is an iron spatula or sycle, a wooden pan and blowpipe, a frying pan, an earthen pot for milk, and below in the cavity a metal or earthen vessel for boiling; in the nearby corner some copper vessel, a big pan and brass eating plate, , bows or small bowl; or if not an old leaking drinking vessel near a green earthen stick and small earthen platters. Next to those are four or five pots stacked one on top of the other, with a little stored wheat, corn, dal, noodles, groundnuts, fried turmeric, ears of wheat, spiced balls of dal flour, salt, turmeric, cardamom, chillies, cumin, pepper, green chillies, onions, tamarind, garlic and coriander. Next to these below on the ground in the evening some old, stone-filled jawar has been brought from the pensioner-moneylender Goldbolya Bhat. Packets of lentil stalks are kept against the wall one on top of the other. On one side on a hanging stick are coarse woolen blankets, and small saris made wearable from pieces of old torn saris sewn together one on top of another; a wooden peg is pounded into the wall and on that is hung dangling a loose bundle of rags and nets to carry chaff, husks and dried cowdung. In a wall-niche for a lamp are kept a bit of oil in an earthen pot and a small bottle for kumkum with combs; on top on a loft, dried cakes of cowdung and fodder will be kept neatly stacked near some … fuel of prickly pears. Below, on the ground, will be in various corners a hoe, an axe, a sickle, a noose for a harrow, an instrument for weeding, a rice-pounder, a handmill, a mortar, a pestle, and near a broom a small earthen pot for spitting. Outside the door on the left side will be a spot for bathing, a pot to carry water, and a large earthen pot for storing water, and beyond that an open bathroom made of loosely piled up stones. On the right side a framework will be put up to make a thatched shed for tying up bullocks and other animals.
The woman who goes out, after cleaning up all the mess in the house, and works alongside the men throughout the day to complete the work in the field wears a woven cotton sari and blouse, a small silver bracelet on her arm and if this is not available a tin bracelet, a mangalsutra of one to one and a half measures of gold around her neck, jingling tiny rings on her toes, tobacco tooth powder smeared on her mouth, kajal on her eyes and kumkum spread all over her forehead; she will be extremely fortunate to have anything else for beautifying herself. The boy who wanders barefoot and nearly naked the whole day tending the buffaloes and goats can’t manage a silver wristlet and wear instead tin bracelets on both arms and with a small brass earing hanging from the right ear. As far as any other body ornament, one might as well holler. The farmer who toils night and day int he field in winter’s cold and summer’s burning heat has a sash around his waist taken from a tenth part of a sari, a khadi loincloth, a ragged turban on his head, and since he cannot get even a plain dhoti, a black blanket on his body and patched used sandals or ones woven from rope on his feet; since aside from these all the rest of his body is smooth and glossily open, he finds it difficult to work in the rainy and cold seasons. Since he is illiterate and has no capacity for long-term thinking, he wastes time in listening to the teaching of the cunning Bhats and trusts in the barren tales of such meaningless books as the Hari-Vijay, and makes pilgrimages to Pandharpur and elsewhere, does Satyanarayans, celebrates the birthdays of Krishna and Ram, and wastes night and day listening to tamashas, howling for “Ramuji.”
Instead of bringing the benefits of education to the notice of the farmer, 16 because he is no liking for it and is ignorant, he has been completely barred from education17 with the intention that he should remain forever in the clutches of slavery. In that way, even if our current government does not show any evil-mindedness in this respect, all its external behavior shows that the employees of the education department do have no compassion at all about making the farmers learned. For until today, in the name of providing education, the government has simply swallowed up hundreds of thousands of rupees of the farmers in the local fund, and all the quantity of that wealth has not been able to produce to this date even one person from among the farmers who has the education required to manage a Collector’s post. All the schools in the village are staffed by Bhat-Brahman teachers; how will those insolent arrogance-parading teachers, who are sluggish and only know how to talk, who make their living off of farmers but whose value is less than that of the Beldars and Kumbhars who work in mud and earth, who have not the slightest idea of how to hold a farmer’s plough but consider themselves to be the most superior of human beings – how will those arrogant teachers whose ancestors made all others inferior give systematic and appropriate education to the children of farmers? These are those who don’t have energy to get jobs in the cities but give a petition to the Brahman employees of the Education Department and fill their stomachs in one way or another by serving as teachers in the villages.
However, a few children of the many farmers who have migrated to the big cities to do whatever casual labour they can find instead of dying of hunger without even a bare subsistence form their land in the villages have got a nominal education. However, since in nearly all government departments the Brahman intellectuals have put their stamp on the
16 A Sepoy Revolt, by Henry Mead, page 293 17 A Sepoy Revolt, by Henry Mead, page 288
white European employees, these seven and a half deficiently educated children of farmers keep their mouths tightly closed and never expose and bring to the ear of the government how the Brahman government employees completely ruin their other ignorant farmer caste-brothers. On the contrary they only become darling companions of the Brahmans and lift their voices as a chorus of meaningless hollering against the name of the government in the Sabhas of these Brahmans. If they do not go along with this pretence, the newspapers of these people can publish such great calumnies and heap fire on them. Besides that, since the taluka officials, orderlies, magistrates, engineers, doctors, judges etc. are all Brahman employees (if some government reporter is by religion a Christian he is still by bones a Brahman) and with the government departments being filled with all these Brahman employees, the terrible fear patters through the minds of these seven and a half deficients that if they ever bring a court case it may not be accepted for one reason or another, or that if a case is accepted the foot will be on their stomach. Not only this, but many educated Bhat-Brahmans, without worrying about the restrictions of purity, use the money of these seven and a half meddlesome educated Shudras to go to England and after coming back again make a show of their caste in their presence. Once these seven and a half idiots have been swallowed up, they become ashamed of their ignorant farmer brothers and instead call the Bhat-Brahmans to their houses and have various kinds of rites and drink the water off their feet. Shall we call this brazenness or not? If they say it is because without the support of the government Brahman employees they can’t fill their stomach, the fact remains that in the villages there are so many xxxx whose stomachs get filled!
Well. These days the farmers have to subsist on a bit of leftover bhakri with some red chutney for breakfast; at noon fresh bhakris with some cooked balls of lentils or weak sauce of spiced lentils; at night some jawar or corn granules soaked in clear dal juice; in between, occasionally carrots or rutabagas if they are ripe, and he also doesn’t even get bhakri on time. Because of this, if he gets hungry between meals he puts up the plough and grabs some green mangoes, figs, plums, overripe tamarind or whatever edible thing he can find near the fields and gulps a little water to splash it down, and then again takes plough in hand; and whenever he gets sufficient bhakri he eats it in such a hurry without drinking water, and due to that for the whole day he has so many burps and belches that he gets indigestion and many kinds of diseases. And he cannot even get dill seed or ginger and supari as a cheap remedy! Because of this, he finally gets a fever or ague and has to go to the realm of Yama. On festival days, for many houses “superior” food means puran poli made with jaggery, a bit of vermicelli fried in oil, papds etc. and finally rice with watery spiced lentils. In most houses lentils and roti and for sweetening the mouth, dried spicy balls. The remaining destitute farmers who can’t get credit with the Gujars and Marwaris have to make out with nacni or jawari bhakris.
Most dependent farmers who are incapable of paying the land revenue installment without going into debt also cannot arrange the marriages of their daughters without taking at least 25 rupees. The sons of the extremely indebted farmers who can’t get loans for weddings from the Brahman or Marwari moneylenders, in order to still their desires by different means, often become sick after coming into full youth and fall sick of consumption and get wasted. About that, with proofs from a renowned doctor, I will at some time in the future write an independent supplementary essay by the name of The Cultivator’s Strop. Many youths become heedless and start going by stealth to beds in houses of ill repute, become quarrelsome and give up their lives in a short time, and the remaining ones become addicted to thievery or revolt and lose their lives.18 And since the father of the bride who has somehow taken out a loan to pay the wedding expenses does not have sufficient money left, nearly all youth among the Malis, Kunbis and Dhangars work during the day in the fields and have begun doing all kinds of work, spending the whole night milling jawari and doing all the rest of the work, sitting next to one another singing women’s songs like hijras.19
Similarly, the young women in the villages go along with their mother-in-laws and cut up onions, breaking turmeric pieces and grind powder of some roasted bajri seeds. Due to this the dust of the above material gets mixed in the green color of the sari of the bridegroom’s mother, whose body, after working the whole day, gets such a musty stink that anyone nearby her finds it hard to bear. Some shade in name only is created by planting posts for a small wedding pavilion made of shrubs in the front yard near the house and putting mango branches on a frame made of small twigs crosswise over it. From drums beaten discordantly by Mahars and Mangs comes their gaiety! The ceremonial meal for the boy groom consists of a bit of jaggery and a drop of ghee in half or a quarter measure of rice in a brass plate; and this is gulped up wolfishly by the boys who wander with the bride and groom to wipe the plate clean in a minute. The wedding meal is always served to people sitting in lines without the usual mats spread on the road. On this day of “god’s ceremony” everyone brings brass plates from their own house, and every considers it fortunate if there is
18 Many ignorant Shudras and Ramoshis getting fascinated by the Bhudev Vasudev Phadke have gone beyond the black water and many have been hanged.
a daub of meat, with four or five bones and entrails falling out, along with jawar, corn or bajri bakris. Because the fore and hind limbs of nearly all the goats are kept hanging beside the house to feed the children along with the wedding party. Dinner for the villagers is jaggery water served in a small leaf dish set up in a little mound of rice on dried sewn leaves, which they eat with polis fried in oil and crumbled up, putting vegetables such as carrots or potatoes in their mouths; finally after eating the last rice with some watery dal, drinking a full pitcher of water and giving a loud burp, the farmers’ meal is finished. In all that dining not even a drop of ghee is available for a thousand people.
With such being the pomp of a farmer’s wedding, all of the misinformed wise Brahmans here raise dishonest canards in their Sabhas that the farmers spend unnecessarily for the marriages of their children and are indebted because of that. Ho! Have these falsely named “sarvajanik”20 Samajes ever taken in Mahar or Mang farmer members and sat next to them? Or has any swami among these gentlemen who show their knowledge of the Vedas from village to village ever put his foot on the chest of casteism and sat in a line with Shudras and eaten some of the morsels of food there in order to have some experience to say that they are extravagant? They sit in their farcical dramas, making a show of concern, drumming the strings of a tabor and singing songs about farmers, enjoying themselves and leave it at that. However, if anyone has seen rough bajri and wheat being milled by them for their children’s weddings, I would be grateful to them if they would stand there and inform us all. Have any of them done the work of farmers with their own hands? Do they know what a leather strop of farming is?
The women in their houses never do the sort of work done by the women of the farming households who, after applying cowdung to their house, go with their husbands behind the drill plough, breaking up the clots of earth, digging up the weeds, putting the seedlings in the pits and stacking a bit of dirt up around them, treading the corn, winnowing the grain, taking up the winnow and giving it to the man, taking on their head pans of heaps of ashes, dung or manure, bundles of grass or other chaff, and labouring as hired labourers for the full day in the hot season when there is less work on their own lands. In contrast, without ever having laid a hand on a plough or grindstone or giving such laborious help in the fields, the wives of our Bhat-priests do their hair after waking up, finish the cleaning and cooking in the house, and for the whole day sit listening to the reading of religious verses and
19 The son of Brahman, some xxxx 20 A Sepoy Revolt, by Henry Mead, page 234, 270 and 271 56
fables and then throw shawls over their shoulders and go to weddings. There, they parade in shoes with great conceit of their glamour, exposing themselves to the public in the light of torches held by Shudras under the ceremonial umbrella. Unlike the farmers’ weddings, the Bhat Brahmans hold their meetings, distribute hundreds of rupees in prizes, with electric lights for the pavilion and meals of ghee and sweet chappatis for their caste brothers and then, without a thought for the daughters and daughters-in-law of their own households, sit shamelessly at the dances of the wanton women of the villages and hear their ugly songs giving them money. Have they and the white bureaucrats ever left so much capacity with the farmers that ever once in their life, even at the time of a festival, they could serve ghee, crisp parched rice, jeelabis, basundi, shrikhand or sweet ladus to their wives and children in their hovels? Who will lift a hand to stop this chattering? Oh, it was their cunning ancestors like Manu who established the fabrication of casteism in the filthy books of the Dharmashastras, while in contrast if the farmers had not checkmated them with the English, today an unprecedented miracle would have been shown.
It is this, that since the women of the Governorsaheb are as delicate as velvet flowers so that they should not be vexed by giving them any work, ten or fifteen European Collectorsaheb madams should be given an invitation and brought to farmers’ weddings along with their children; and if they had to join the farmers’ women and finish all the work of the wedding and then join the wedding procession, and then if they could see all this chaos, the bad smell, the plates for eating, the hurry and scurry of spreading out mats for guests, the clanging of the hymn-singing and chanting and all, on the morning of the following day if they did not run away leaving their own children exactly where they were,21 then those cunning people can change my name; so I pray with a twist to my mustache and my hand on my chest, to those boorish meddlesome greasy mace-bearing attendant Shudras who put great winding turbans on their heads and wander about with a yellow bamboo stick in their hands.
That set of black and white bureaucrats, in order to enjoy their leisure day and night, have deceived the British government and set all kinds of proliferating burdens on the ignorant farmer, and have stripped him so thoroughly that the Governorsaheb or his agent feels ashamed to call him for a meeting in his office. Oh, it is his labour22 that supports the government’s military, its ammunition, the unreasonable luxury of the white bureaucrats, and
21 A Sepoy Revolt, by Henry Mead, page 44 22 A Sepoy Revolt, by Henry Mead, page 198
the unreasonable pay, pensions and purity freaks of the black bureaucrats; wouldn’t it be proper to give him a little respect or even offer tea or bettle leaves? Oh, he who is the foundation of all the happiness of the people in the country has such misfortune! What can we say at a time when he can’t get food to fill his stomach or clothing to cover his body, when his state becomes so pitiable it wouldn’t be born even by the hunting dog of the Sahebs, when even then the government tax is held dangling over his chest! How could he manage to improve his agriculture with the help of books in other languages on agriculture he can’t even read the alphabet of his own language? When he is continuously starving,23 how and on what basis will he send his children out of the village to large cities to study in agricultural colleges?
Now let us look at the current agricultural condition of the farmers. From the day that the administration of our compassionate English government was established in this land of purity, they started killing the bullocks who pull the carts along with their robust cows and immature calves without doing the rites of sacrifice and started eating along with Muslims, Mangs Mahars; the farmers began to face a shortage of “acharyas” sturdy to have strong bullocks for heavy work in agriculture. At the same time, due to a lack of rainfall, hundreds of thousands of bulls were sold and destroyed because there was nothing to feed them during the drought. On the other hand, the decrepit bulls remaining with the farmers were left without sufficient fodder due to the uncontrollable harassment of the Forest Department and the lack of grazing land; and their lineage day by day began to diminish. With disease thousands of the farmers’ bullocks began to die every year and so many farmers found themselves left only with ropes torn off the stakes in their sheds. After that, since the farmers lacked abundant animals to be used for cultivation, and they lacked their dung to be used as fertilizer for spreading on the fields at the proper time, the primary fertility of the soil decreased and they couldn’t get the crops they previously could on their irrigated fields.
Besides, once our government in collaboration with the cunning Brahman bureaucrats began making a survey of the fields of the ignorant fearful farmers every thirty years and increasing the land revenue according to their whims, the farmers’ capacity began to break down and they could not get the full fruit of their labour in their fields; in fact millions of farmers became deprived of food for their stomachs and clothes for their bodies. And as the farmers became feeble, they fell prey to epidemics and every year thousands of farmers began to die. Along with this lakhs of farmers have taken the road to Yama as a
23 A Sepoy Revolt, by Henry Mead, page 334 and 356.
result of starvation during drought years. And even with such blows falling on so many households, still the increase of their land revenue kept growing, and since they had to keep on taking crop after crop from their fields without every giving the land respite by leaving it fallow, the rainfed land has become exhausted. At the same time thousands of maunds of grain, cotton, leather and iron were exported every year, and due to the misinformation or mischievousness of the white engineers and doctor bureaucrats in sprawling municipalities like Mumbai, lakhs of maunds of fertilizer have been dumped into the ocean and the pith of the soil is destroyed and now all the fields have become barren. Oh, these white English engineers in concord with the white doctors have, with the intention that the commodities manufactured in their country should find a market here, undertaken various schemes to draw coals across our stomachs, extravagantly spending wealth collected relentlessly from the farmers to implement these schemes; and are free to have their names given to buildings by so many of their subordinate black bureaucrats. They have no care if afterwards the farmers along with the buildings are devastated. Once they have filled their bowls and won fame; that is, they have bathed their horses in the Ganges.
With all of this, if rain fails in any one year, the fields cannot give any crop at all. Sometimes since bullocks are insufficient and seed corn cannot be sowed at the time when there is proper soil moisture, the sprouting is badly affected. Sometimes so many have their crops ruined because moneylenders don’t give funds at the proper time to buy seeds, or since old seeds gotten on credit previously are sown. And when the crop fails from various types of manmade or natural calamities, the farmers go alone to inform this to the houses of the Brahman government employees to tell their stories of land and water, and then one employee will have just taken his bath and ruBhat-Brahmansed ashes on his body and has set his holy black stone on its platform and is sitting doing puja becoming passionate with the fragrance of some incense, while another will be sitting reading some faded book of religious verses in his hand, while another will be chanting with his eyes fast shut, putting his hand in a cow’s mouth of metal, wood or stone. And when the noise of the farmer’s feet on the veranda outside falls to his ear, without opening his eyes under the pretence of chanting but remembering the prostitute’s area, this pure employee asks him, “who is it?’ The farmer replies, “Raosaheb, I am a farmer.” “What business do you have at the time of the divine puja here? If you have brought some vegetables, without touching the children in the house give them to the mistress and go away. Come to the office in the afternoon with a written petition on your name and I will go myself to the Saheb and explain it to him. Now go.”
Then when the farmer plods along putting one foot after another to the Collectorsaheb’s tent in a thick grove, saluting the guard, constable and butler and standing looking from afar towards the door of the tent, then one Saheb with a Kashmir carpet on the ground beneath his feat and wearing a princely Mughal robe is seated on a throne-like chair, engrossed in his eating and drinking amid the fragrance of lavender; another lies supine on a couch, unsociable due to being lost in a rosy description of some book and the chaprassi there throws him (the farmer) out. Then the farmer has to return mutely home without telling his grievance. In all this process since the ignorant weak farmers’ wives and children have no social intercourse with the reckless wives and children of both types of bureaucrats, due to the customs, disdainfulness and courtesies of the white bureaucrat and the grand wealth, authority, high-caste arrogance and knowledge of the black bureaucrats, there is no way at all for the white and black government employees to know anything at all about the real obstacles faced by the farmers. Everything about these two types of government bureaucrats is alien,24 and yet it is these foreign bureaucrats who are to survey the Shudra farmers’ fields and give him relief!
At the time of doing the survey, the white bureaucrats often spend their time sleeping excessively in their tents, being tired from hunting. And the holy bureaucrat, with the help of the pitiless Kulkarni and the illiterate fearful Patil of the village, does the survey along with three or four local drunken thugs, and after glancing through all the related papers, whose who are going give relief to white bureaucrats beyond the sea!
With so much painful toil, when the farmer does not get relieve on time, he will have to go to the Marwari for a loan to pay the tax, or else pay it by robbing someone!25 How else? However, when the ignorant farmer after becoming indebted goes to pay his tax, some doltish fellow lies in the path right in front of him and with the usual Bhat pomp obstructs him, saying “Yajman, may you always prosper,” and extracts some bit of money from him. If the rain falls punctually and some kind of crop can be harvested, because our world-renowned government’s cowardly white bureaucrats have snatched away the ignorant helpless farmers’ rifles and daggars, much of his crop is lost to pigs eating it at night, and the remaining is obstructed by the Brahman and Marwari moneylenders and the Lingayat and Gujarathi agent-traders, and the middlemen of other castes who keep their eyes on him to grab it. Not only that, the obstructing Gujarati and Brahman cooks of the agent-traders have
24 How is it that this is not known to the Shudra “Tikoji” who give instructions from red or green guardens here? How is it that he continues always to take the illusions of madness?
begun to snatch a sher of jaggery out of every measure. Aho, after the farmer finally does his marketing and re-enters the boundary of the village, you can be sure that if he doesn’t give a bit of liquor to one or two dissolute village thugs and drunkards including the police patil, he will be summoned in a few days to the village square. Such is this prosperous and educated dharma raj of today!
However, in this dharma raj there has been no objection to the competence of the dedicated Brahman bureaucrats who have tied gold to sticks and wandered from Rameshwar to Punjab. Since the Laxmi of today cannot get food for the stomach or clothes for her body in the farmers’ houses, she has wearied of it all and gone in full daylight to the house of her oceanic father; and as her English brothers from beyond the sea have thrown away their indolence and strive after industry according to her wishes, and keep their estate properly, giving equal respect to the young and aged women in the house, she (Laxmi) has become their slave and collects whatever wealth they want from the conquered Shudra farmers. It is true that they speak very softly and sweetly to them, however they deliberately refrain from giving them education. The main reason for this must be that if the farmers gain knowledge they will not stop from throwing their whipcords across their shoulders and bring Laxmi to live in their own houses; out of fear of this the farmers are kept ignorant. Because if this happens, the Englishmen will all be forced to go to America and fill their stomachs by toiling day and night. And if the farmers’ Laxmi had not up to now been so silent in her birthplace, the Bhat-Brahmans would have become so insolent in their holiness that even the mothers and fathers who had given birth to them would have had to move far off! They would not have stopped from saying “We have now put on our purity, don’t touch us, don’t even let your shadow fall on us.” It cannot be imagined how miserable these Bhats gods on earth would have made the ignorant Shudra farmers. However, I can say with assurance that they would have buried Mahars and Mangs alive in the foundation stones of their new buildings.
Now if the Mahars and Mangs become Christians and try to improve their situation to make a claim to humanity, so many scholarly black Bhat Christians cling night and day to the white missionaries so that these helpless ones cannot achieve their purpose. Here also it has been evident that the Christians coming from high castes maintain so many types of discrimination. Not only this but today so many learned Bhat-Brahmans,26 keeping aside their restrictions of purity, have begun to go to England. There they go to the centre of
25 A Sepoy Revolt, by Henry Mead, page 29. 26 A Sepoy Revolt, by Henry Mead, page 286.
grandeur and become besotted with the Laxmi taken form the farmers’ houses. Without giving a care for anyone they can go on telling all kinds of mischievous tales, anywhere, anytime, about the Shudras and ati-Shudras to the English people who are dallying with the “Laxmi” snatched away from the (Indian) farmers’ houses and are careless about anyone in the enticement of that “Laxmi.” Even our helpless Governor Generalsaheb himself could not understand the logic of this. Because since the Bhat-Brahmans in the administration of our extremely energetic former Governor Templesaheb’s administration were those who supervised the farmers who toiled on canals and reservoirs during last year’s drought, the Bhat-Brahmans kept such regulation over the farmers that the horrible condition of the fearful African people who were kidnapped and taken to be sold in America was better than theirs. If I wrote enough to give you assurance of this it would take a second superior book after Asud. In fact I will later have to see about this. However, if instead of prating night and day in London about India, Mr. Fawcettsaheb would somehow awaken Mr. Gladstonesaheb and take him along with him and on coming here, if the pair could live for a week in the huts of Mahars and Mangs, upon seeing their current situation right in front of their eyes they would not return to England to go on prattling but would not stop without running away to America. If this is not so, the offspring of the Bhat-Brahmans can unleash whatever ridicule they want on my writings and fill their stomachs by publishing whatever they want in their magazines and books and newspapers.
In short, since none of the Mali, Kunbi, Dhangar and other farmers have any book like the Bible or Koran worth being called divine, while the great heroic Bhosles, Shindes, Gaikwads, Holkars and other rulers among them who are farmers’ children, cannot even read Sanskrit basics because of the obstruction of the Arya Bhats, these “fathers of the cow” have not the slightest understanding that they are human beings or what their rights are. If we shouldn’t say this, then would the farmers go on eating the dust from the dirty feet of the Arya humans of their own species? Or would they, simply because the Brahmans tell them to do so, have go on doing puja to the stone statues put up by their forefathers, treating cows, snakes and tulshi plants like gods? Since they have been kept bereft of knowledge by the self-interest of the Arya Brahmans, they don’t have the capacity for all-around thinking; they keep blind faith in the ghosts of the fields and go on pilgrimage and throw their bodies to whatever heroes are put up. Since they have no confidence in medical remedies, they become addicted to crafty deva-rishis and lose their lives. Oh, we will be able to say more about this some other time.
Due to being robbed on all sides, due to the custom of child marriages among them, the ignorant farmers are rendered vigorless. Each and every farmer’s immature courage is degraded and their progenitive power becomes ever more feeble day by day. Previously not even the Pindaris could stand up to the stones hurled by the farmers’ slingshots. However, in today’s English regime their grandchildren and great-grandchildren have become so sparkless that not even the Devadasis in the villages give them alms, and due to child marriages so many vagrant dandyish sons of the roaming farmers cast away their innocent wives after coming of age, because each other’s qualities, shape, behavior, proclivities or nature alienate each other; the helpless things have to somehow carry on their live sin their parents home, while those remaining become despondent and miserable with bare subsistence and finally go to Yama. The farmers’ parents marry them off in childhood without their consent. Because of that, if they don’t like their wives and marry again, they may not be legally culpable, but when they marry one after another and end up with four or five wives then should we say this tyranny is legitimate? In my opinion, when they marry the fifth wife then their sons are released from the responsibility of doing the traditional rites after their death.
If many Kunbi farmers can read the “Vyankateshstotra,” the “Tulshiakyan,” the “Rukminiswayamvar,” then after two or three marriages, while doing the headman’s work in the villages, they fall in the trap of the cunning Brahmans of the village and give their testimony one day to false bonds and the next day put their signature to false receipts, and harass all the poor people of the village to snatch whatever payment they want. The Malis, not knowing even a little of the alphabet, feel dizzy at this devastation going on under the name of reading. They parade as learned pandits and sit on horses waving banners in front of them after they could get some saint poetry and pieces of stories by heart after continuously listening to various presentations of religious verses! By flinging out a bit of chant they get the illusion in their minds that they can do anything, and take one or two concubines on top of their properly married wife. With rings made of rupees of all sizes on their fingers, pearl pendants stuck in the right ear, a low pink hat, they sit on a small piece of sack with a dirty pouch placed in front and beside it a small brass spittoon filthy enough to make anyone who goes to spit in it after chewing betel upon his urging throw up. Sitting along with their companions nearby on the mat, squeezing the ganja and getting strength from being crowded together, they tell hollow tales of Raja Vikram and calls themselves the pure Hangojirao, son of some Topaji Maurya and becomes a Karbhari. Any helpless wife whose husband brings such a slovenly Karbhari to dinner has to give pan and tobacco along with food from her earnings. Leaving the house after a heavy sleep in the afternoon, they throws their legs about and thrust out their chest like a Sonar, weaving from side to side going through the village square, twisting their mustache as a Karbhari of two women, and while wandering in the alleys and lanes of the hamlet they gather gangs and ridicule the young women of the village, and while sitting on the panchayat to judge the factions they have created they cause splits among most relatives and poison the ears of so many people, causes so many daughters-inlaw and daughters to get blocked from going to their parents’ homes. Finally these valorious Karbharis threatens the poor and take enough money from them for liquor and go to their houses in the evening, and eat leftover fruit from their wives’ baskets.. These idle vagrants go to funerals and swoop down upon every village wedding. When such insolent illiterate vile Karbharis are leaders of the farmers, how will it be possible for either the uneducated farmer or his agriculture to improve?
Well. I have set before you a few examples selected from whatever information I have gotten up to now; if you can examine the situation for yourselves you wil be satisfied that huge misfortunes and calamities have befallen the Shudra farmers. And these details may appear sparse, but please don’t expect there to be any correspondence with whatever information about farmers our industrious government has collected for their white Gazeteers from the black Bhats and mamletdars. Because not a single government department can be found which is not dominated by Bhats. The foundation of all this excessive sorrow is that for thousands of years until today the Brahmans have kept the Shudras deprived of education. To prevent the farmers from acquiring knowledge, the puranik and story-telling Bhats have impressed upon their minds that it is a great sin to get their children educated. As everyone has experienced, since they have become so dependent these days, they have lost even the capacity to educate their children. Therefore, just as our versatile religious government collects various types of taxes, cesses, local funds and so forth from the farmers, they should, after closing down all the government Marathi and English schools in the village, give an examination to the farmers and select from among them teachers for training, and use a bit of the local fund balance to provide food and clothing, books and other necessities and set up boarding schools in every taluka to train these farmers’ children as teachers. And after this training, there should be a law that farmers should send their children to school up to a specified age to study only in these schools. Only with such laws, and if the farmers’ children get a bit of true knowledge, will the hold the cruel Brahmans have over their minds be lifted. Without this the farmers will never become conscious. However, even if our wavering government uses all the Local Fund to staff its Education Department with Brahmans and appoints the unwanted and useless men from among the Brahmans as professors and directors, the farmers’ children could never get real education from them. Because the thorn sticks that the Mahars have laid for fencing the farmers’ field go away with the wind. These (Brahman teachers) after all are like hired ponies, they would stand in front of the poor asymlum for travellers! Telling this softly in the government’s ear, I complete this subject.
Our suggestions to the Arya Bhat-Brahmans regarding the Shudra farmers and the remedies which the current government should follow: -
Before beginning this final chapter, I would like to make some suggestions to the greatly cunning Arya Bhat-Brahmans of the country, with the aim that they should not obstruct these matters. I would ask God that not only our learned foreign government, but our domestic ignorant “Dasyu” Shudra brothers, should open their eyes and become conscious of the situation. These days these stalwarts of purity have been hiding their sword of religion, with all the ritual weapons that cut the throats of all the creatures of God, under the guise of being great lovers of swadeshi, and without even a glance towards the Mahars and Mangs, have been telling the frolicsome promising offspring of Shudras, Parsis and Muslims through their books, newspapers, Sabhas and similar methods that they should put aside all grumbling about the hierarchies and distinctions among those in the country and become united; and without becoming one, this unfortunate country will never make progress. Such is the instruction they give us. I am making a small effort here so that the illiterate farmers will not listen to this and carry out any adverse actions. On that lies their fate.
From that day that the forefathers of the cunning Bhat-Brahmans won superiority over the (Dasyu) Shudras on the strength of their skills of archery and imposed their harsh regime on them, for their own self-interest they have kept the defeated (Dasyu) Shudras ignorant for thousands of years to this very day. As a result the Shudra farmers have forgotten their basic human rights. Then, because they began to have faith in those self-interested artificial religious books which began to be considered holy like the Buddhist, Muslim and Christian sacred books propounding a universal human religion, all the Shudras became subject to the Brahmans, and scorning the true religions of other human beings, began to consider it a sacred duty to slander them. As a result they began to behave towards them with all kinds of perfidy, even feeling that to do so was their right. And so that the Shudras should not have even the slightest doubt of the Brahmans perfidiousness, it was said that this was the Shudras’ dharma, and the propaganda started then goes on until this day.
Since the foreign English government and their indolent luxury-loving white employees are misinformed in every way about the true deformity, they have not been able to manage things properly. Thus the situation of each and every Shudra farmer has sunk to a pitiable level.still, with the intention of getting all kinds of important labour done by the farmers and keeping them addicted, the Brahmans have always given the advice in their Sabhas, their newspapers and their books that “unless the Shudra farmers always keep their loyalty to the Brahmans and maintain unity with them, there will be no progress in this unfortunate country.” They seem to have only the intention of deception through their hollow advice in bluffing the ignorant Shudra farmers and giving this notion of progress. The ancestors of the Brahmans, considering themselves Bhoodevas in the intoxication of their power, began to treat the helpless Shudra farmers as slaves, and this extremely base practice has been consciously continued through various means up to this day. Then how can farmers unite with such alien Brahmans?
The great majestic Dr. Franklin and Thomas Paine and other leading gentlemen, labouring constantly night and day, have through the power of learning helped the artisans and the skilled Americans in industry to go ahead of the manufacturers in all the countries of Europe, earning crores of rupees every year. In order that such knowledge should not be given to the Shudra farmers, the ancestors of the Brahmans, in the intoxication of their superiority, wrote extremely forbidding articles in their self-interested books. As a result the knowledge of archery and other military skills stagnated in this country. We see by our own eyes that so many youth of the Shindes, Holkars and other great houses of today sit on excellent horses and make a great show of their skill with spears; however these unfortunates are like mooing cows as far as the knowledge of how to use binoculars or how to forge cannonballs is concerned! Twisting their turbans and ruining the reputation of their fathers, they have only become a great weight on the chest of the Shudra farmers and a burden to the earth itself. Because of this, so many times the “French,” “Portugese,” “Muslims” and other greedy conquistadors have swept into this country and taken away immense wealth to their own lands; so many have also humiliated the self-interested religion of the Brahmans. Finally so many god-fearing Muslims finally took possession of thousands of Bhat-Brahmans, circumcizing them one after another and carrying them into their humane religion. However during all this time they kept permanent the ban in their Sanksrit schools on teaching knowledge to the children of the Shudra farmers. How can farmers unite with such Brahmans?
Now, if we observe the process of nature, it will be seen that aside from knowledge, humans and all other animals are basically alike in their nature. Animals need food, sleep and sexual intercourse; they raise their young, protect themselves from their enemies and understand nothing aide from belching after they have eaten and since there is not a speck of change in this constant behavior of theirs, there is no upheaval or basic change in their original condition. However, one marvellous speciality in the nature of human beings is a specific intelligence. With its help, they have won superiority over all the fish, animals, birds, insects and other creatures; and with this intelligence they have invented the system of writing to put their thoughts down on paper. After this, since the people of the continents all around have kept note of all their experiences up to today, there has grown up a huge mass of experienced knowledge in the world, and with the help of this experiential knowledge and their intelligence, the Europeans send their important messages through telegraph wires thousands of miles to inform each other and bring lakhs of tons of grain by boat and train in the time of drought to save each other. And in the midst of such intelligent human beings, the Shudra Shivaji has brought to ruin the Muslim Badshah who worships one god and advised the farmers to take care of all the cows and the Brahmans and their self-interested religion! Remembering this, the ungrateful Peshwa servants of the completely illiterate Shudra Shivaji kept his illiterate heirs imprisoned in the Satara fort and made the cruel and heartless Trimbakji Dengale an informant. So they established the regime of their Arya Bhat-Brahman jati fellows in Pune city, distributing great gifts of rupees and gold to Brahmans and doing the play of the Black Krishna by night and day, punishing people of the Shimpi and other castes along with the Shudra farmers if they dared to wear long dhotis like the Brahmans. Not only that, the Bhat-Brahmans today consider the urine of the cows who eat the shit of farmers to be holy and become purified by that. And these Bhat-Brahmans on the strength of their self-interested religion27 consider the Shudra farmers to be inferior. How can farmers have unity with such Brahmans?
Even though so many among the Arya-Brahmans have faced punishment of forced labour in prison for false papers, counterfeit notes and bribery, and even though so many dine on (untouchable) “Mang” women’s degraded food of meat and liquor under the pretence of the “Shakta” cult, still they consider Shudra rulers such as the Bhosles, Holkars and Shindes to be inferior and refuse to interdine with them. Most Bhat-Brahmans do all kinds of despicable practices with the “impure” women of their villages, and yet these same Arya
27 Sir William Jones, Vol II, page 224. It is indeed a system of despotism and priestcraft, both limited by law, but artfully conspiring to give mutual support, though with mutual checks; it is filled with strange conceits in metaphysics and natural philosophy, with idle superstitions and with a scheme of theology most obscurely figurative and consequently liable to dangerous misconceptions; it abounds with minute and childish formalities with ceremonies generally absurd and often ridiculous.
Bhats consider it a sin to exchange daughters with upright Shudra farmers; on this basis claiming that there can be any unity between farmers and Brahmans is like saying that “Z” comes before “A”?
All Bhat-Brahmans refuse to let the Shudra farmers even touch the stone and metal idols in their temples, nor even come near them; they don’t let them sit and eat next to them; they give them the leftover ghee from their plates and get up. With this, how can farmers have unity with such Brahmans?
When the selfless disciples of Hazrat Muhammad Paigambar set foot in this country, on the basis of the strength of their holy monotheistic religion they began to expose the sham of the Arya Bhat’s self-interested religion. When some Shudras with great enthusiasm began to accept the Muslim religion, the greatly cunning Mukundraj Bhat used a few Sanksrit quotations and applied some gilded coating to a bit of atheistic opinion and used this trickery to make a Prakrit book called Viveksindu to put before the remaining illiterate Shudras; and until the time of the establishment of the English regime, the Arya Bhats told the farmers stories from their barren Bharat and Ramayana and got them addicted to warring against the Muslims, but they never allowed the illiterate farmers to think of educating their children along with the Muslims. Because of this when the English regime got established, naturally all the great important positions in the government departments were taken by the Arya Brahmans, and they began to devour the farmers on all sides. And though the Arya Bhats considered the English and European people to be as inferior as Mahars and Mangs, still those Vedas created by their hugely cunning ancestors, the Vedas which they called supremely holy, the Vedas whose tail could not even be seen by the Shudra farmers, those Vedas hidden under veils of purity are taught today by their fat learned men wandering from house to house of the Mlecchas. However, these same Bhat-Brahmans have not even the smallest inclination to give some elemetary education to the ignorant children of the Shudra farmers in the government schools in the villages. How can farmers have unity with such Brahmans?
If the children of farmers who migrated to the big cities begin to get a little education with the help of all the religious missionaries among the Europeans, and if by some oversight due to the compassion of white bureaucrats they are given an official post, all the Bhat workers in the office will tell all kinds of slanders about them to the white employees and finally get them thrown out of work; and so many Bhat employees try to please their white employee superiors by telling them such an abundance of absurd fantastic stories about the ignorant farmers’ crops, laying all kinds of obstacles in the way of the farmers’ getting justice, and so make them shiver with fear. How can the farmers have unity with such Brahmans?
All the Vaidiks, Shastris, myth-makers and storytelling Bhat-Bhiksuks among the Arya Brahmans, using all kinds of opportunities to tell the tumultuous patter of their empty religion to the Bhosles, Shindes, Holkars and other rulers who have risen from the ignorant Shudra farmers, continuously call them “patron” and grab from them hundreds of Brahman feasts, gifts of cows and other religious donations daily. But the representatives and secretaries of the Bhat-Brahman caste or the Sanglikars and other Brahman princes never feed even a simple meal to their patron Shudra farmers, pray to them or take their blessing, even in times of drought. And most of the learned Brahmans among them take thousands of rupees yearly allowance from Gaikwad and other Shudra ruling princes while none among the Brahman ruling princes remembering such daily grabbing has ever given clothes to a farmer boy and gotten him educated. How can farmers have unity with such Brahmans?
In the house of all the rich Brahmans, the Brahman beggars daily have their choice of food like rice being distributed, while the Shudra and Muslim beggars are lucky to be given a pinch of jawar, if they are not told to go away. Compared to the Arya Bhat-Brahmans, shouldn’t the mleccha Europeans like Judge Thackersaheb from foreign countries and foreign religions who distributelakhs of rupees be called compassionate? He has fed from his own earnings many orphaned Brahman and Shudra children and educated them in English, they can now match the white employees and exchange government bills. Oh, that is what we mean by understanding! That is what we mean by graciousness! That is what we mean by avour! Otherwise, the Arya Bhat-Brahmans say one thing for the purposes of their work, and when that work is done, “you in your place and I in mine.” According to the world-famous saying, “you eat your seed and plant mine,” the Bhat-Brahmans will get the expansive benefit. The Arya educated people who really want to unite all the people and truly help this country to make progress should first drown their evil religion which they propagate among the victorious and among the conquered. And unless they dance on the chest of casteism along with their Vedanta and, without making distinction among persons, leave aside their cruelty and began to behave purely and honestly in the presence of the Shudras and Ati-Shudras, there can be no true unity and no true progress of the country.
However, even if the Arya-Bhats, with their hereditary cunning, should hold hands with fifty to a hundred half-raw educated Shudras and make a temporary unity with all the people of the country for limited purposes and achieve a momentary progress, this will not last for long. My prediction is that if the Bhat-Brahmans absorb a few meddlesome people from among the Shudras who start becoming yes-men to these belly gods, like setting up a framework for ripening fruit that breaks off the young raw mangoes, this will only mean destroying the valuable mangoes along with them, and in doing this all the capable Shudras will have to keep their heads bent. I explicitly ask them to keep this prediction in the mouths of the gods in their temples.
Now I will take some rest in the cool air of the pleasant Simla hills and make some suggestions to our supremely compassionate Governor Generalsahib in the restful atmosphere, calling upon the name of the government beyond our seas, for reforming the condition of the Shudra farmers.
Now, unless our moral religious government, putting aside its greed for wealth, appoints some detective doctors to keep their eyes on the farmers’ behavior and give them some punishment if they do low acts of theft or dissoluteness, and controls the undisciplined behavior which is destroying the farmers’ health, they will not become moral. The lineage of the Shudra farmers will not become strong unless there is a law forbidding them from arranging child marriages or taking more than one wife. Because the white government employees are misinformed about everything, and let the Bhat-Brahmans hold government positions greater than their proportion in the population, these never have to face the situation of working in the mud of the villages to cultivate the fields or sending their wives on fruitless errands to the bazaar in the middle of the day to fill their stomachs. Besides, since the farmers are ignorant, the Bhat-Brahmans get endless benefits from caste differences. The Brahman puraniks, story-tellers and teachers in the schools along with the government employees work night and day with all their shrewdness to prevent the breaking of caste differences. In reality, until the children of farmers become capable of taking charge of the government administration, Brahmans should not be given governmental positions beyond the proportion of their caste, and the remaining governmental posts should be given to Muslims or British people in India. Unless this is done they (the Brahmans) will not stop obstructing the education of the farmers. Since they occupy nearly all the government posts, any means of bringing their cruelty to the attention of the white bureaucrats has been closed. Because of this, only the Brahman caste becomes learned and wealthy, and the Shudra farmers who toil on meager food and clothing sometimes become blind followers giving their lives for Brahmans by joining in their revolts. Along with this, the Bhat-Brahmans have made such an impression of their cruel religion on the Shudra farmers that they consider it a merit to bear the punishment for the murders or crimes they have done upon the Brahmans’ urging, without mentioning the names of the Brahmans. Because of that any labour spent on the police or justice department is wasted.
In order to make the children of the Shudra farmers truly educated, teachers of their own caste should be appointed, who can themselves demonstrate how to use the plough, weeding and sowing instruments, and laws should make it compulsory to send their children to school. For the first few years the examination given to them should be simple, giving them as incentive the degree equivalent to those of the Brahmans’ children. And there should be no tyranny of alien castes regarding the marriage ceremonies for the weddings of their children. Without such controls, no relish for education will develop among the Shudras. Then, the children of the Shudra villagers who show their merit by passing examinations in using the plough, weeding and sowing instruments along with the Marathi sixth standard should be given the headmanship rights in the village. When our compassionate government makes such laws, thousands of farmers will gladly send their children to school in the competition to win headman rights. And, once there are such educated and meritorious Patils in every village, all the cunning Bhat-Kulkarnis in the rural areas will not be able to entice the ignorant farmers into mutual quarrels, and there will be such excessive benefit from this for the farmers and the government that in a short time the farmers will gain the capacity to provide even higher land revenue than today. And the police and justice departments which have been so senselessly bloated can be easily minimized. Along with this, the government should realize that the Bhat-Brahmans are absolutely incapable of doing the administrative work in Hindustan, and as the Shudra farmers become educated in the government schools, they should be given all the big and little official positions in the government offices. Without teaching them such work, without the farmers getting a shelter for their feet, the government revenue will never be increased. These days our government has fixed its gaze upon the perfidiousness of the Gujaratis’ and Marwaris’ moneylending, but even more than this they should attend to their practices of keeping false measures and rotting goods in the stores and to the drunken Patils.
Now I will make some suggestions for improving the agriculture of the barren fields of the illiterate, ignorant farmers:
Our compassionate government should give to all farmers the knowledge to do equivalent to that of European farmers, and until they gain the understanding sufficient to do mechanical agriculture like them, at present instead of the Muslims and others including all white people killing calves, bulls and cows for eating beef, they should eat mutton from sheep and goats here, or they should buy cattle from abroad to eat for beef. Without the enforcement of such a law, the bullocks of the Shudra farmers here will be insufficient to plough their fields, and they and the government will not get the benefit of their manure for fertilizer. The decomposed leaves and flowers of all the grass and trees on the hills and mountains should be compososted together with decomposed dead insects and beasts and their bones. After heaving raining, so that the water should not simply flow into the streams and rivers and get washed away, our industrious government should bring the police and all the white and black soldiers to build small embankments from place to place to that the water can get channeled first to the fields and then sent to rivers and streams. If this is done the fields will become very productive and at the same time the soldiers in the army will get the habit of industrious work in open air and will become strong and free from disease. By making them work worth one anna’s worth every day, the government’s revenue will increase more than 25 lakhs a year. Because these days there are around two lakhs of soldiers along with the police at the command of our alert government.
Similarly, our compassionate government should build as many tanks and ponds as it can, and in the most convenient way, in the valleys and gullies of mountains and hills. In this way, even in the middle of the summer there will be water to supplement the streams of the countryside below, and with small and big dams everywhere there will be water to fill all the wells. And all the area will become irrigated and the government along with the farmers will benefit. In order to prevent the fields from become eroded and barren, the government should regulate the bandhs on the side of the watershed area.
Our compassionate government should do a survey of all the fields in the province, using water-diviners to discover sources where there is water and to get a rough calculation, and marking all those places and noting them on the maps of the villages, only without the help of the government along with the water diviners showing the path. Awards should be given to the Shudra farmers who dig wells and make embankments; and all the silt in the rivers, canals and reservoirs should given free of charge as before to the farmers. Finally, the government should return all the grazing land of the villages that it has turned into “forest” and give it freely with only a strict law that wood should not be cut for selling but for fuel for cooking and burning the fields, and so make a holi of (burn up) the tyrannical Forest Department. Our government with its own exertions, should undertake a little expense from the treasury and purchase various types of fine goats and sheep from abroad and bring them to this country so that along with increasing production here, they will provide from their urine and excreta high quality fertiliser in such quantity that the fields will become very productive, and the Shudra farmers will get great benefit. If the government does not have the courage to let the farmers keep their pompous old rifles to protect their fields from wild animals in the government forests, then it should assign black police to do this work. All the losses caused by wild pigs and other animals eating up the produce of the fields should be cut from the pay of the high officials of the Police Department or taken from the government treasury and given to the farmers as compensation. Without the benefit of this the farmers will not be able to sleep at night and work industriously during the day. This is called, “I can’t do it and cannot bear it if you do it”!
If our compassionate government truly takes it to heart to increase production by seeing to the welfare of the ignorant Shudra farmers, then every year during the month of Shravan they should organize exhibits and during the month of Ashwin give tests on driving ploughs and on various crops and give prizes to the top farmers. Every three years they should give titles to the top farmers, and in order that the educated children of farmers should carry on their agriculture in a superior manner, the government should give some minor examinations in iron work and woodwork, and send them on its own expenses to survey agricultural schools abroad so that agriculture here can be immediately improved and they can be happy. Our moral government should keep a close eye on all the Jogtins, Muralis, Aradhinis, Kolhatins and Kasbins and maintain a locked hospital for them in every taluka, and so that the Kolhatins, Tamashawallas, dramatists etc should not sing improper songs; without this the health and morality of the ignorant Shudra farmers will not improve. With a big recruitment of Shudra and Ati-Shudra farmers in the military and police departments of all provinces, they are competing with the tough people of “Egypt” and “Kabul” and beginning to match the white soldiers’ courage and power.
All the Shudra and Ati-Shudra farmers along with their wives and children toiling on the fields night and day give crores of rupees to the government in taxes, cesses, funds and octroi every year. However, our religion-loving government does not give any suggestions or knowledge or material to read regarding agriculture to the Shudra farmers’ children either in books or in articles in the vernacular press. And since hundreds of thousands of farming families have fallen into difficulty getting even bhakri to eat on time or clothes to cover their body, all our law-abiding government does in the name of their happiness and protection is to give huge pay and pensions to the employees of their military, justice and revenue departments, and extracts excessive wealth from the farmers; what shall we call that!! So many spoiled children of our government, the black and white government employees, eat thousands of rupees in pay every month and after thirty to thirty-five years, they get hundreds of rupees pension every month. When most black government employees make a show of being too weak and blind to do the work of the government offices, they throw dirt in the eyes of the numerous European doctors to live off their pensions; the white pensioners bolt for England and many of the black pensioners, as if they have risen from the dead like Jesus Christ Yogi Maharaj rising from the dead, regain their youth, and giving a black die to their mustaches, and take highly paid jobs in the muncipalities or offices of merchants earning thousands of rupees to fill their bowls. Our alert government should, without a change in the meager pay of the military soldiers, ironsmiths and carpenters for construction, slowly reduce the extremely excessive pay and pensions of all the remaining great black and white employees in all the departments. Without considering these things I have written, the current starving condition of the illiterate farmers will never end, and the foundation of the government’s rule in this country will not become firmly established.
In sum, I have not written in any chapter of Asud about the great princely rulers or the ignorant small estate-holders among the Shudras, and have said nothing about the humiliating situation of the Ati-Shudras. The reason is that the first due to their hollow glory and the second due to their misfortune have become alienated from the Shudra farmers. Here I have only given some solid points for a clumsy description of the situation of the lower and middle-class farmers in order to inform the Governorsaheb in the cities and the regime of the Governor Generalsaheb here as well as our excellent English government beyond the seas. Even after all this, if it is truly the desire of our government that it should be given the last gulp of water before death from the hands of Brahmans’ children, then they can continue to spend huge sums every year to educate the children of the Brahmans from the Royal Fund which is collected from the crushed bones of the Shudra farmers. I am not saying anything about that at present.28 However, if they at least begin to spend all the local funds collected under the bluff of educating the farmers’ children to give them credible (honest) education, I will very happily consider this the fruit of the many days labour I have spent. However if this is not done they will all be responsible to the God.
I remember with gratitude my debts to my neighboring Muslim playmates, who first gave me when I was young a true idea of the self-interested nature of the Hindu religion and its many false ideas such as casteism. After that I remember the Scottish mission in Pune and the government institution which I got a bit of knowledge from due to their help and began to understand what human rights are; and those European gentlemen of religion who gave financial help to them. And I express my gratitude to the government for the independent political system of the English which made it possible for me to fearlessly put forward my thoughts, and praying to all natural powers that my unfortunate ignorant Shudra farmers’ eyes should be opened and that they should come to consciousness, that they should be inspired, holding on to this hope with fortitude, for the present I sit quietly to see who will turn around due to the blows of this my Asud.
28 July 1883, Pune, Junaganjpeth, Jotirao Govindrao Phule, Member, Satyashodhak Samaj
28 A Sepoy Revolt, by Henry Mead, pages 69 and 235
A So-Called True Maratha
Just while I was taking up some other work after finishing the second part of Asud, a gentleman with a wide Brahman turban, seating himself upon a bolster in front of me, started intensely inspecting everything around him. I was wondering whether to call this gentleman a Marwari, but he didn’t have three tufts hanging out of his turban. I would have thought him to be a Shimpi, but there were no needles stuck here and there in the turban. I would have thought him a Sonar, but his chest was not stuck out. And I would have called him a Brahman, but I hadn’t heard him speak even two or three words. From this I couldn’t tell how to classify him, so I was sitting there guessing, and at that moment he turned his face in my direction and himself asked me the question, “Do you know me?” I said, “No, Maharaj, I don’t recognize you. Excuse me.” The gentleman said, “I am a Marathi of Marathi lineage.” “I – “You may be Marathi, but what is your caste?” Gentleman – “My caste is Maratha.” I – “In Maharashtra all, from Mahars up to Brahmans, call themselves Maratha. Whatever caste you may be does not become clear.” The gentleman – “Then you can say that I am a Kunbi.” I – “OK, what is your occupation?” Gentleman – “Before Appasaheb Maharaj of Satara got addicted to Bhagubai Tarkshani near Nimba, our household could easily earn one or two lakhs of rupees from him; we say easily saying `Hari, Hari’ and ate on that. Your Dayaram Atmaram was here and we were there.” I – “OK, but then what brought your footsteps to this door?” Gentleman – “I don’t have anything to ask of you, but I have heard that you have come to understand that because Brahman employees are everywhere in government departments they exploit the farmers greatly, and if farmers become employed they will not do such mischief.” I – “Yes. In my opinion, if farmers got employment according to their proportion of the population in all government departments, they would not exploit their caste-brothers as the other employees do.” Gentleman: — “How is that? Please give me some assurance of this.” I – Imagine that if tomorrow the Collectorsaheb should appoint you as a police sub-inspectore, and if there were some quarrel between your clan and the neighboring farmers of your caste, when this came before you would you address them as inferiors while giving justice?” G: — “No.” I – “Why not?” G: — “They would be my clan or caste-fellows, and since I have become great from among them, how could my tongue manage to address them as inferiors?” I – “Would you take bribes from some among your caste-fellows to decide the others to be criminals and give them a fine or imprisonment?” G: — “No, that is something I would never do.” I – “Why not?” G – “Because a position as police officer is there today but gone tomorrow, then who will take account of it? If some meddlesome fellow bends the ear of the Collector, the position as police sub-inspector can vanish. But, how could I bend before those who I intermarry and interdine with and make my sons and daughters into vaghyas and devadasis? All the life of my children is connected with their children. Their (udders) are connected to mine. Their children and my children play in the same place. We take drinking water from the same place. We share the borders of our fields. We feed our cattle in the same grazing ground. We exchange our scythes, nooses, rice-pounders, plough-shares, ropes and ploughs. We give and take at our convenience each other’s buffaloes, bullocks and ploughs. Even at late night the women of our households give each other oil, salt, grains. At the time of childbirth of the women, we dig bath places and fetch wooden cots for their mother. Our customs and traditions are identical. We eat the same food and wear the same clothes. Our gods and family clan symbols are the same. Our lineage deities are the same. We help in putting out fires in each other’s houses. Since our death rituals are the same, we help with each other’s funerals, we go to each other’s houses with the bhakri and dry masala from our houses to quiet their children and eat a bitter bite with them; how should I take bribes to evoke mortal hatred from such caste-fellows?” I – “If you think carefully about that, you will see that since the Brahman employees are not of the caste of the ignorant farmers, they do all kinds of mischief and definitely cheat the illiterate farmers more than their own caste-fellows; doesn’t your own thought tell you this?” G – “Now, I don’t want to say anything about that, howevr, among today’s farmers some educated people have sprung up. These don’t even gather together and talk about the alleviation of the woes of the farmers even for publicity’s sake. Oh, these cowards run after women and only point their fingers at Brahman employees. However, in practice they become the officious servants of the Brahman employees and only wander around meddling in everything.” I – ‘Oh, when the employees of the Education Department in a concerted manner try to throw dust in the eyes of the Education Commission while giving testimony without much concern for the farmers’ education, and deceive our compassionate Governor Generalsaheb, what level of capacity will those feeble-minded educated Shudras have? Leave aside exposing the mistakes of the Brahman employees. However, if they don’t give a salute to even an ordinary insignificant Brahman clerk, they will only get some place in a crowded corner in the year darbar and finally they will get garlanded with state flowers, decomposed oil smeared instead of scented water and one or two pans without lime.. Is what I say true or now? Why don’t you answer me now? Oh well, as you please. It will be better if you make a detailed enquiry and then come to see me to debate about all Brahman employees.” G – “Now I have gotten definitely convinced that since Bhat-Brahmans are employed in all government departments, not only the ignorant farmers but also the wise government is excessively harmed. How is it that the `Directorsahebs’ of these government deaprtments don’t understand this?” I – “Oh, Baba, if those `Directorsahebs’ should make such a detailed round of enquiries, how would they manage their life of indolence and luxury?” G – “Oh, if under the reformed English government there is so much darkness, how much tyranny the farmers must have suffered under the Peshwas; it cannot even be imagined. OK, I’m going, please keep on having affection for me.” Completing so much discussion, the above-mentioned gentleman left.
2 November 1882
A Shudra Sadhu of the Kabir Panth
On the second day after finishing the third chapter of Asud, a loquacious Kabir cult Shudra sadhu, who was doing a poilgrimage to Pandharpur, came in saffron clothes with a necklace of tulshis around his throat, came and sat on a bench on my veranda in the late morning. Once the people of my house informed me, I came outside and asked, “What, Buwasaheb, why have you come here and what is your pleasure? If you just let me know, I’ll have great satisfaction.” Buwa – “Are you Jotirao Phule?” I –“Yes, they call this body Jotirao Phule.” Buwa – “Good, then, even though you are a Hindu, you have started to condemn the Hindu religion today after a little English study; therefore I want to convince you myself how the four main Vedas of the Hindu religion are given by God. It is for this purpose that I have come.” I – “Have you seen the four Vedas of the Hindu religion with your own eyes?” Buwa – “Yes, I have seen those four Vedas myself in one Brahman’s house.” I – “Can you give any convincing proof that these books were written by God himself?” Buwa – “There is no convincing proof aside from the chit-chatting of the Brahmans.” I – “Well, first of all, does God have a form?” Buwa – “Where will God get form? He is the formless supreme soul.”
I – “Then how did the formless supreme soul make the four Vedas?” Buwa – “The Brahmans will give you an answer to that. It will be better if you ask them.” I – “Secondly, did God make the four Vedas for the uplift of human beings or for what?” Buwa – “Yes, God made the four Vedas for the uplift of all human beings.” I – “Thirdly, in what language did God make the four Vedas?” Buwa – “God made the four Vedas in the Sanskrit language.” I – “Fourthly, do all people on all the four continents along with all the islands understand Sanskrit?” Buwa – “These days people of only a very few areas on this earth understand the meaning of Sanskrit.” I – “From this it is shown that God cannot have made the four Vedas for the betterment of all human beings. Because there are people speaking hundreds of different languages on the earth. In most countries people don’t understand a bit of Sanskrit. How would you say they should be improved by the four Vedas.” Buwa – “When God made the four Vedas, all the people on the four continents must have been speaking Sanskrit and therefore he must have made the Vedas in Sanskrit. However, after some years, such various languages must have come into existence, so we must infer. I – “Didn’t God know before he made the four Vedas that such various languages would later come into existence? On these grounds, isn’t his knowledge of past, present and future and his omniscience called into question? Besides it is very surprising that among the German, Scotch and English, learned men like Max Muller who became very studied in the four Vedas did not forsake their Christian religion and accept the Vedic religion.” Buwa – “Perhaps because Max Mullersaheb was fearful of putting a white thread around his neck like the Brahmans and sitting in the cold countries of Europe to bathe morning, noon and evening he did this, that’s what I feel. He only could know the true hitch of his mind. What can I say about that?” I – “If God had made the four Vedas for the uplift of all human beings, then God would never have prevented the Hindu Shudra and Ati-Shudras from study of the Vedas. From that since they had broken the commandments of God, how did the maker of the Vedas sit secretly on the side; and were not the Shudras and Ati-Shudras harmed to a large extent from that? Therefore why should they xxx the four vedas along with the god who is supposed to have created them and call themselves Hindus?” Buwa – “The Bhat-Brahmans never forbade the Shudras and Ati-Shudras to read the Vedas. So many Bhat-Brahmans go from house to house of the Padresahebs to teach them the Vedas. And these Shudra and Ati-Shudra people of yours are so poor that they don’t have the capacity to study the Vedas. What can the Brahmans do about that? This is what so many Brahmans say.” I – “From that it seems that we don’t know the Brahmans’ secret schemes. Well, that may be, are the Padres who manage their subsistence in the name of religion rich enough to have money to study the Vedas? And are the Rajas and Maharajas among the Shudras such as the Bhosles, Shindes, Holkars, Gaikwads and others so poor that they don’t have enough money to give to the Brahmans to teach them the Vedas? Are they all more destitute than these European padresahebs, is that what you think? Buwasaheb! With perpetual advice of all the Vaidiks, Shastris, Joshis and story-tellers in their courts, the Shudra Rajas and Maharajas have such a load of devotion that some have given jagirs to the family of Ramdas, some give sweetmeal dinners to all the Bhat-Brahmans of Hindusthan ciontinuously for a month, some distribute gold statues to the Brahmans of Pune. You cannot prove from this that not all Shudras are poor! At least one Bhat-Brahman should convince at least one patron from among all these Rajas and nobles to open schools in the villages to educate one or two persons from among his Shudra peasant brothers! Oh, compared to them are the mendicant padres, though foreign and of alien religion, a thousand times better? Because to free the Shudra and Ati-Shudras from the snares of the Brahmans in which they have been caught for thousands of years, they have collected money from the Christians of their own country and educated a few of the caste-brothers of the Shindes, Holkars, Gaikwads and other Rajas and nobles to a level comparable to the Brahman students of government schools, and because of this they can work with great arrogance as lawyers or government officials along with the Brahmans. From this, can’t it be seen what our situation was originally and what it is becoming? However, the Shudras must be thought so unlucky and so misunderstood, that even with the cooperation of such a great English government they become yes-men to the Brahman employees, without wanting to be free of this noose, from the fear that the empty glory they have today will perhaps vanish; and considering this their only responsibility, become besotted with their own grandeur.” Buwa – “If that is true, then why don’t you go and pray to our Shudra Rajas and nobles to establish schools in every village for their Shudra brothers?” I – “Oh, Maharaj, with the dominance of the Brahman administrators in their courts being so great, how will they heed the complaint of such a poor man as me?” Buwa – “How can you say that? Oh, where Kusha Gongade who sings behind dancing kids of Pune who sing and strum on their instruments gets thousands of rupees from Baroda, how can you say that in such a place you can’t get your complaints heard?” I – “The basic intention of these administrators is that the Rajasaheb should become addicted to tamashas. Bcause once this happens they can get their profit out of his kingdom’s administration. Similarly, behind the back of the Rajasaheb, they give huge grants to the `European’ employeees. And from the advice of people like me, these administrators will be harmed, because if the Rajasaheb gives education to the children of the Shudra farmers, they will in the future do the great work of the government and the children of the Brahmans will be thrown out of the administration, and be forced to work at agriculture in the mud and dirt of the fields.” Buwa
– “Up to now I had thought the Brahmans had no tactics behind what they do. However, today I am convinced; save us from them! These cunning Brahman administrators don’t even hesitate to write to the English government that because the children of the Rajas and Maharajas who come of age don’t have the wisdom to run the administration, from the present they should not be given charge; because our government is thought to be clever and they are considered to be unheeding, so we remain as administrators, tying strings around the necks of the princes like monkeys and parading them from bungalow to bungalow of the Sahebs and addicting them to liquor and dance at night. Don’t they bring them to rack and ruin? I – “Until our Rajas and Maharajas come to their senses and give education to all their Shudra nobles along with their own children, the Brahman administrators will not stop. However, there is no profit in saying all this here. The Shudras are getting the fruit of their own doing and the Brahman employees will somehow or another have to eat fruits of their doing up to now.” Buwa – “Okay, then, I’m leaving.” I – “It’s our pleasure, come again, Ram Ram.”
6 April 1883, Pune