brahmin convention and purist

Attending All India Brahmin convention for coverage and putting a post on blog wasn’t on my program list two days before. But given that my earlier post on Chitpavan convention drew maximum hits, I thought its better to write once again.

I have always believed Brahmins are second most castiest after Marathas. And within the community, sub-caste identified as Konkanasthas lead the chart. Opinion may vary person to person.

But when around two lakh Brahmins from across the country converged for the community convention, what happened was not so anticipated. Most of the Puneites Brahmins stayed away from the convention. Those very few who joined from the city were mostly Deshasthas.

So what forced Konkanasthas not to participate in the All India Multi Lingual Brahmin Convention, which according to my friend saw participation of around three lakh Brahmins in two days?

“Konkanasthas do not like to be part of herd”, said another friend.

But if that was the case then how come more than one lakh people from the community gathered at one place, December last, I pointed out.

So what forced them stay aloof ?

One reason could be the heterorganic nature of gathering. Konkanasthas are widely considered to be purist and often prefer homogeneity (this is general perception and there are always some exceptions). Another is ruckus and chaos, which is an integral part of such big gathering.

No wonder that some unsavoury moments were witnessed when a lady participant commented that Brahmin do not necessarily has to perform sandhya (daily ritual) and wear Janave (sacred thread). The comments followed ruckus and the session eventually ended without further discussion, a scene akin to two year old convention when Kumar Ketkar’s speech drew similar response. This once again displayed the non-tolerant and criticism-wary tendencies among Brahmins.

But that was it. The convention saw some surprising proceeding. Says my news report appeared in HT:

“It was 'social engineering' message of sorts that came out of a two-day Brahmin community convention near Pune on Saturday. Making for such an impression on the opening day of two-day meet were socio-political resolutions in an effort to build bridges with other castes.

Among the resolutions passed was one condemning US researcher James Laine for his controversial writings on Chhatrapati Shivaji, founder of the Maratha empire. If that could be read as reaching out to politically powerful Maratha caste, there was also a resolution vote, irrespective of political ideology.

It was a move akin to Brahmins working with the pro-dalit Bahujan Samaj Party before the last year Uttar Pradesh Polls, a successful experiment that came to be called social engineering”.

Overall, the convention wasn’t worth to attend for the purpose with which I had gone there. But it provided me a good story and a post to increase my blog-count.



Hmm. Now You sound to be perfect deshastha. Whatsoever you guys do, but you will never be able to compete ko-bras. ;)

And by the way what was your purpose with which you had gone to attend the convention ?. :)

I am originally puneite but now live here in US. I can tell you dear, the struggle brahmins face elsewhere is quite bigger and severe than their Pune counterparts. So naturally, the urge to "be a part of herd" is not so present among Puneites brahmins. And this is why they did not join their brothers this time.

Contrary to what you have refereed as an example when chitpavans gathered in huge number last year, i think it was more to do with the curiosity to see each others brothers and sisters and feel like attending get-together.

Besides this i see no point in all.


Yogesh said...

“Get-together” ?

Shree, let me take the benefit of being at ground level and report to you that today Brahmins from Pune are concerned like never before. Post Bhandarkar vandalism has increased this feeling palpably. A sharp tilt towards caste-based politics from ruling parties- a small example of this is replacing the Shivaji’s Brahmin guru Dadoji Konddeo’s name from award given to sport teachers- has made Brahmins feel insecure.

And this insecurity only drove them conduct such a big convention in Pune when there were some other venues available.


P.S.: Btw, my purpose to attend the convention was what you have in your mind. You are Chitpavan and elaborating everything here would mean questioning your intelligence.