The headline for one of the interview articles on rediff goes by “Brahmins dominate all modern professions” – for one I was not very surprised, since the Brahmin caste (community) were a privileged class of the society in not too distant past. However, in the near part – it hasn’t been the case – at least not to the generalized extent of the headline.
This is what Dr.P.Radhakrishnan (of Madrash Institute of Development Studies) (the interviewee) had to say.
The term ‘Tamil Brahmin’ sounds a bit parochial and casteist. On the basis of three prizes, which are too small in number, it is difficult to judge its linkage with a community. What is seen as a co-relation may be sheer coincidence.
We also see a co-relation between the Nobel Prize and Jews as most of the Nobel Prize winners are from a Jewish background. Nevertheless, we cannot overlook the crucial importance of cultural capital in intellectual achievements; and virtually all the Nobel Prize winners possessed cultural capital.
In one sense, you can use the genes theory — genetically some groups are advanced. But that may not happen in a hierarchical society, and ours has always been a hierarchical society.
Infact even the article doesn’t ever mention about them dominating in all modern professions, it only says the Brahmins have moved on from their traditional jobs to the latest money making machine (till about a year back) – the IT.
And the funny case is the interviewer picking on the Indian Nobel Prize winners in Science – saying all these were Brahmins, more so from the South (Tamil Nadu in particular) – why is it not so with people from other castes? I like the answers provided by Dr.P.Radhakrishnan (from Madras Institute of Development Studies). He has got his facts right – and more so his analysis.
I know of quite a good number of friends – who happen to be Tamil Brahmins – who have had to relocate from Tamil Nadu due to the politics played out by the Dravida Kazhagham’s of pre-independence (nothing much can be done about that) and post-independence India (but how about this). The DKs get their history wrong, they get their facts wrong on India (about Dravidian and Aryan – race???). They probably believed in the concept of a lie shouted zillion times at the loudest noise would be accepted as true, well I admire their dedication in shouting out a zillion times – and they have succeeded to a large extent. (But yeah, I must say they had some of their ideals right in terms of providing equal opportunity to the entire society – though the implementation is flawed).
And the whole irony is – DK was supposed to fight against Brahmanism, specifically for the upliftment of the oppressed class of the society – the Dalits. But, how much of a difference has it made?? Tha Dalits have been bulldozed over by these political parties with flexible and inconsistent ideologies.
You don’t give justice to an oppressed community by oppressing the oppressors (who are not quite – it was their ancestors who were the oppressors in majority of the cases) – instead provide them true justice and opportunities.
I once asked my “Tamil Brahmin” friend whose family had relocated to another state, on why they had relocated to their current place, and his response was – “My father took the right decision then, he saw what was happening in the state of Tamil Nadu to the Brahmins. They were being looked down upon, they were being accused of all problems (a community size of 3%, huh) – the reservations and quotas which were eating into the pie of deserving candidates, some from Brahmin caste. So dad had no option but to move out of there to ensure we got decent opportunities elsewhere” (and sure he has done well in life).
The reservation in Tamil Nadu in educational institutions is 69% – and this reservation is based on “caste” (like in rest of the country) – it has nothing to do with the individuals class in the society – two of the “C’s” – Class and Caste that are very different in terms of acceptance in our society.