Friday, May 20, 2011

Re: [ZESTCaste] Why I am an inter faith spiritualist


i am an inter-faith spiritualist, where paths to spirituality is in quest for justice and breaking all divides. At the end of the day we are all human beings, and the problems lie in divisions human beings make on the basis of race, caste, class, sex/gender, orientation, religion etc. I feel at a total loss with this world, and feel like beating a retreat

I however feel reservation is a must for dalits till there is some equity.



--- On Thu, 19/5/11, Siddhartha Kumar <> wrote:

From: Siddhartha Kumar <>
Subject: [ZESTCaste] Why I am a Hindu
To: "zestcaste" <>
Date: Thursday, 19 May, 2011, 6:33 PM

Why I am a Hindu
In Personal Narrative on May 19, 2011 at 12:10 am

Rama Srinivasan responds to Inside The Hindu Part 2
( and reflects on
how she is marked by religious and caste identity despite professing

Malar's rant about inside jokes rattled me. Yes, there are inside
jokes and I enjoy them. If I can't make fun of my community I would
lose one of my most important sources of joy. I know this is
exclusionary but I have been born in a community and there is nothing
I can do about it. If I shed my tambrahmness I am denying the
privileges I have received since I was born. I would rather live in
guilt, torture myself for my identity than live a falsehood – that I
have transcended caste. I know that is not possible. I live in it, I
have lived it and I have enjoyed the benefits (I still do) and I
should own up rather than pretend that I have moved on. I can't wish
it away. Saying caste doesn't mean anything is like saying race
doesn't exist. It is worse to invisibalise and hence ignore oppression
than to acknowledge that it exists.
My ruminations on caste and religion come from Kancha Ilaiah and
Bhagat Singh. I remember being in awe of Ilaiah when he was lecturing
my class in journalism school – it was amazing how this man stood in
front of a roomful of predominantly high caste students, he was oozing
resentment and I think he could, in turn, sense the derision in the
air. I couldn't make up my mind whether I liked him or not but that is
beside the point. What I understood of Ilaiah is that Hindus cannot
come out of the blue and start owning Dalits, whom they had kept
outside the social system until contemporary politics necessitated a
change in the stand.
Bhagat Singh is at the other end of the spectrum. Why does the
right-wing majoritarian politics appropriate a communist non-believer?
Singh distanced himself from the very issues the right-wing
politicians stand for. I felt a great connect when I read his Why I am
an Atheist?
I have been an atheist since the time I remember myself but I would
insist I am a Hindu – I am not Kancha Illiah, I am just what he
resents. Nobody owned me, but I have been part of the system from the
time I didn't exist. I have reaped the benefits of being the
great-great granddaughter of a great Sanskrit scholar and a 'Rao
Bahadur' of Education under the British Raj. Hence, I believe the use
of the term 'merit' in the reservation debate is revolting since the
social capital I carried forward makes it impossible for me to project
myself as the victim.
Being a Hindu is about these things, it is more than faith itself. I
have no faith but I was brought up as a Hindu and I will always remain
My Tambrahmness has handicapped the way I see myself. I have always
been a rebel without a cause. I would fit in better outside the system
than inside. But the system has included (indeed embraced) me despite
my rebellion while it would still exclude (indeed deride) a conformist

I still enjoy the jokes on my community – it is my way of rebelling
against the absurdity of my community.


Rama Srinivasan is a former journalist and is currently a PhD student.
She blogs at

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