Navya Shastra Apology to Dalits

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We, at Navya Shastra, deeply regret and apologise for the atrocities committed on the sons and daughters of the depressed communities of India, including the tribals, the “untouchables” and all of the castes deemed as low.

We shamefully acknowledge that the ideals of varna and its practical manifestation in castes (jÃtis), promoted and encouraged the notions of inequality, lesser and greater, high and low, superior and inferior among human beings. An ideal that does not aspire for equality of human beings is not worthy of being an ideal.

Caste and varna have relegated many to a degradingly low status. This was a divisive, inhumane and a ruinous social construct. Navya Shastra fully recognises this and rejects unequivocally as heinous and despicable varna and caste together with all Shastras and theories that endorse them or support the unjust and demeaning social hierarchy that these imposed on the Indian society. Navya Shastra understands that all Hindus cannot be equals when such theories are still amidst us.

We ask for forgiveness for what our forefathers did in the past to directly and indirectly contribute to any and all indignities heaped by one human being upon another in the name of Dharma and God, and which some among us continue to do even in this enlightened era.

The depressed and lowest castes have been the keepers and protectors of our oldest and most ancient traditions and wisdom. They have kept in practice the traditions that have become foundational to what we call “mainstream” Hinduism today. Some of the tribal languages, spoken even today, have provided the substratum for many of the spoken and classical languages of India. Most of our mainstream indigenous medicinal, agricultural, craftsmanship and other knowledge systems owe their origins to the knowledge and practices that have been propagated and retained within these castes over millennia. The folk performing arts were and are the main sources of input into the classical and popular art forms.

We want to celebrate and fete all these traditions on this day, and pay homage to them. These traditions form the very foundation on which the Indian civilisation stands today.

We welcome all Indians to join our apology by co-signing the statement.

Reactions and Endorsements

Column by Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta

Hinduism Today’s coverage of the statement

Article by Shantanu in Desicritic

Blog by Arun Venugopal in Saja Forum

Published in: on February 12, 2007 at 8:09 pm  Comments (78)