Tuesday, February 16, 2010
A Khaki Shudra To Our New Brahmins
I’m aware that I suffer from multiple handicaps as I stand to defend myself and my police force for planning and executing ‘Operation Green Hunt’ against the Maoist insurgents in the dense jungles of Bastar. I’m acutely aware of the truth of a metaphor I flippantly coined many years ago—that in India’s transformed caste system of today, a policeman is a Shudra, someone to be ridiculed, shouted at, spat upon. Over the years, I have expanded the Shudra label to include writers, poets, intellectuals, journalists and teachers from mofussil towns—what I mean is, those who essentially know and think in Hindi or other regional languages of India. And, by extension of that metaphor, who are the Brahmins? The Anglophile Indians are the Brahmins—those who write and think in English, those who teach in the colleges of Delhi and other big cities. And I, unfortunately being a Hindi poet, can only claim to be a counterfeit poet. Therefore, as policeman and Hindi poet, I’m a double Shudra.