February 12, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
San Francisco, United States (February 12, 2013): It is learnt that a new petition to the Obama administration says Gandhi spent his life spreading racial hatred and praising the “fundamental divisions” of the caste system. Sponsors hope to gather 100,000 online signatures by March 12 to compel the White House to reassess the upper-caste Hindu leader, who President Obama has called “an inspiration.”
“Gandhi spewed racism against Africans, promoted segregation in pre-apartheid South Africa, fought in a colonial British war to kill blacks, and then returned to India to spread caste division among his own people,” said Arvin Valmuci, Communications Director of Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI), a group sponsoring the petition. “Foundational to his anti-human philosophy was commitment to varnashrama, the system that has poisoned Indian culture with division and discrimination for thousands of years.”
Obama has frequently adored Gandhi. In 2008, when asked with whom he would like to dine, dead or alive, he chose Gandhi. Later, he claimed Gandhi’s “spirit and example… extinguished apartheid in South Africa.” The petition offers a completely opposite perspective, insisting Gandhi perpetrated apartheid first in South Africa and then in his home country of India.
“Gandhi was a staunch believer in Varnashrama Dharma, the religious caste system of the Hindus,” said Dr. Muni Subramani, International Human Rights Relations Advisor to OFMI. “Every action he took to oppress blacks in Africa, Dalits in India, and divide the societies of the world sprung from his love for the violence of the caste system. This system is thousands of years old, it is ten thousand times worse than segregation in America ever was, and it still stands strong. Gandhi’s absurd defense of caste as ‘scientific’ was an unsurpassed evil against the most vulnerable people in South Asia, so we ask President Obama to reject Gandhi as a charlatan.”
Dr. Subramani and Valmuci pointed to Gandhi’s own words as proof he was devoted to caste. In 1921, for instance, he declared: “I am certainly against any attempt at destroying the fundamental divisions. The caste system is not based on inequality.” Then, in 1920, he said: “I believe that one acquires one’s caste by birth. One who is born in a Brahmin family dies a Brahmin.”
One of Gandhi’s strongest statements defending caste was in 1933, when he said: “The caste system, in my opinion, has a scientific basis. Reason does not revolt against it…. Caste creates a social and moral restraint — I can find no reason for their abolition. To abolish caste is to demolish Hinduism. There is nothing to fight against the Varnasharma. I don’t believe the caste system to be an odious and vicious dogma…. There is nothing sinful about it.”
“By defending the caste system, Gandhi practiced untouchability,” said Dr. Subramani. “It is only logical. If you say there are four levels of human beings, then one level will always be at the top and one will always be at the bottom. Caste system teaches that men are born unequal and pits one group against another to create a chaotic, discriminatory society. Gandhi tried to hoodwink Indians to think you can have caste without untouchability, but the truth is one can’t eat his cake and have it too. If we are too eliminate untouchability, we must first eliminate caste, and President Obama can play a part.”
India has 1.2 billion people and at least 20% — or 250 million — are Dalit. Known by this name which means “broken” or “oppressed,” the Dalit are the largest and most historically oppressed group in history. They reject the caste system, so Hindus consider them outside the four levels of caste. Hindus call them outcaste and treat them as untouchables.
Cultural discrimination against Dalits is everywhere in India. Most live in poverty. They are forbidden to eat or drink with caste Hindus and are often abused or beaten for violating religious and cultural practices that segregate them from the rest of society. Many are enslaved or forced into prostitution. Stories of Dalit rapes and the Indian state’s failure to prosecute the abusers are rampant.
Explaining the modern history of caste, Valmuci said: “Laws prohibiting untouchability were enshrined in India’s Constitution by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the country’s first Law Minister and a renowned humanitarian, but caste discrimination remains an ingrained cultural practice. Dr. Ambedkar, in his attempts to liberate the Dalit, was often undermined by Gandhi, especially at the Round Table Conference in London. Gandhi seized every opportunity to uphold caste. This is why Dr. Ambedkar said: ‘If a man with God’s name on his tongue and sword under his armpit deserved the appellation of a Mahatma, then Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a Mahatma.’”
“The caste system creates apartheid but this apartheid has lasted 2,500 years and has not been erased at all by the outlawing of its practice,” said Bhajan Singh, an OFMI director. “Gandhi helped foster apartheid in South Africa decades before it was officially established in 1948. After he poisoned South African culture with this lifestyle of hatred, he helped to preserve it in India.”
“There is immeasurable psychological harm to Dalits,” noted Dr. Subramani, “of being treated as subhuman for countless generations. But the arrogance of Gandhi was boundless, so he told even the lowest caste not to desire any advancement. This quote was made in 1927; it is why President Obama has a moral duty to turn his back on Gandhi. If the USA followed in Gandhi’s footsteps, Obama would never have been elected to any office, let alone become president.”
In the 1927 quote, published in Young India, Gandhi said: “A Shudra can’t be called a Brahmin even if he possesses all the qualities of a Brahmin by inheritance. He should never claim his right other than the Varna in which he was born. This is an evidence of his being humble.”
As per information the “Organization for Minorities of India” (OFMI) was founded in 2006 to promote the individual rights of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and other minorities of South Asian origin, particularly those marginalized by the Hindu caste system. OFMI seeks to encourage secularism, the liberation of oppressed peoples, preservation of human rights, and the equality of all humanity.
A release by OMFI has urged people to view and sign petition at: http://wh.gov/pSLY
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