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periyar 364In India, there are two classes of people ‘Working class’ and ‘Cosseted class’. These two classes manipulate itself into poor and rich communities respectively. Hence anyone striving to establish real egalitarianism in India should be mindful of this scenario.

If one works towards egalitarianism, he should consider a fact as the basis of his work. He should first eradicate the concept of a class keep working and another class exploiting their work and enjoy the benefits of their hard work by sheer virtue of birth. This should be the founding premises. Those who wish economic egalitarianism should reign, need to realise that without this, no economic egalitarianism program would remain alive for half a second. Despite knowing the socio-economic conditions of our nation, if the egalitarianism blames everything on affluence, it is just an envious egalitarianism.

Am saying so because, this society has created poor and rich, that is, worker and cosset respectively by virtue of their birth. For instance, one can clearly see all the cossets are from upper castes, and working people are from the lower castes. Let us imagine either through revolution or through a dictator, economic egalitarianism is declared in this country. Let us also imagine through the declaration all the assets of the nation are distributed equally among the citizens. Just guess what will happen next. None can object that slowly things will wind back to the original state, and economic inequality will regain its stature within a few years. Because, despite economic egalitarianism, social differences would not change overnight. It will continue to stay, and slowly keep functioning as an undercurrent in any model of economic egalitarianism.

Especially in a society that is built upon caste and religion, where the common man is deprived of education and drowned deeply in superstitions unless the concept of ‘privilege by birth’ is totally eradicated, economic egalitarianism could never bring in an iota of change. Moreover, those lower caste people among non-Brahmins who manage to earn money couldn’t sustain the social status due to the caste and religious rituals of society. They are still considered lower in society. Despite their affluence, they continue to remain as low caste people.

Brahmins, in spite of being indolent and lazy, some of them who are considered to be paupers lead a much better life than the life of average Indian and regarded as a member of the higher tier of the society. That is why Brahmins despise and disgust the social egalitarianism and try to conspire against the social egalitarian movements. In the meanwhile, they disguise to project they are progressive and welcome economic egalitarianism because just economic egalitarianism would not question the supremacy of Brahmins. On the other hand, it would turn advantageous to them. If there are ten people to give away alms now, in the new scenario that number would become 100. In that scenario, apart from their bestowed share by economic egalitarianism, they will earn more alms by performing religious rituals. Soon we will witness every Brahmin having their own Mutts and becoming Shankaracharya. This is will pretty soon lead to inequality, which is the current status.

A socialist need to realise that in this country, as long as religion and caste, especially caste, are there, egalitarianism has no chance to survive. I would like to reiterate this again. For social egalitarianism, affluent people will join hands. Because at present, 97 out of 100 affluent people are affected by the caste system. But Brahmins would not join hands to eradicate rich people. Even if someone joins, he would be joining with the ulterior agenda of recreating rich people through the caste system.

If someone wishes to do something good for the people of this nation, should first understand the prevailing dynamics, instead of blindly following a model that worked in some foreign country. Those bookworms could only live in their utopian world. The socialists who strive to establish egalitarianism in this country should stop blaming everything on the affluent people for a while. They should instigate a social revolution, eradicate caste and try to bring social egalitarianism first. When conditions become conducive due to the unexpected turn of events, they can start thinking about economic egalitarianism. Annihilation of caste by obliteration of Brahmins, who remain the root cause of caste, is the first and foremost duty of every socialist of the nation.

('Unmai' Magazine, 14-03-1973)

Written by Periyar E.V.R.

Translated by Ramu. Palaniappan

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