Author Advaita Kala’s opinion — that ‘constant hitting out against Brahmins’ was akin to ‘what Nazis did to Jews’ — found echoes in Congress & across Twitter.
New Delhi: The Brahmins of Twitter feel discriminated against — as much as the Jews were during the Nazi holocaust, it seems.
Ever since an image of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey holding a placard that said ‘Smash Brahminical Patriarchy’ went viral on his own social media platform, a number of events were set in motion.
First, a significant number of influential Right-wing ideologues cried foul, claiming that the slogan promoted hate speech, targeted a minority community, and “exposed” Dorsey’s true political allegiances.
Soon after, Twitter India publicly distanced itself from the controversy, tweeting that the placard was a “private” gift from a Dalit participant to Dorsey at a Twitter roundtable with women journalists.
Meanwhile Dorsey, the man at the centre of this PR debacle, does not even know this is happening. Buzzfeed reported that he left India for a Vipassana silent retreat in Myanmar last Thursday. Any contact with the outside world is impossible during the retreat — all electronic devices are confiscated on arrival.
Most recently, however, critics of the placard and Dorsey’s implied endorsement of it have compared “this constant hitting out against Brahmins” to “what Nazis did to Jews”, as author Advaita Kala wrote in her opinion for ThePrint Tuesday.
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Kala condemned what she sees as a targeted campaign against a minority community, “who only make for 5 per cent of this country’s population”.
“A parallel could be drawn with what the Nazis did to the Jews. The latter were also a minority and were also touted to be privileged.”
This kind of violence, Kala stressed, was often depicted against Brahmins on Twitter.
For context, 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime’s ‘elite’ political soldiers, the SS, on the direct command of Adolf Hitler.
Hitler: Everyone’s go-to villain
The invocation of Hitler’s atrocities as a benchmark for the perceived injustice of a particular community or era is also not uncommon.
In June this year, union finance minister Arun Jaitley used the anniversary of Emergency to attack the Congress — he compared former PM Indira Gandhi to Hitler.
“There were striking parallels between the way Indira suspended fundamental rights and persecuted political opponents and the manner in which Hitler installed himself as the sole ruler in Germany,” Jaitley wrote in a post on Facebook.
On Wednesday, Manish Tewari, national spokesperson for the Congress, tweeted in agreement with Kala’s views.
“Why blame @CreatorOfTwitt,” Tewari wrote, tagging a fake account of Dorsey.
He argued that “Anti Bhrahmisam (sic) is the reality of Indian politics,” and that “we are the new Jews of India and we should just learn to live with it.”
Why blame @CreatorOfTwitt . Anti Bhrahmisam is the reality of Indian politics. Got accentuated in the North post Mandalisation of Indian politics . We are the new Jews of India and we should just learn to live with it . pic.twitter.com/mYXcgt9hx3
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) November 20, 2018
An article by Mayuresh Didolkar in Swarajya also asked whether “Jack (would) hold a Nazi sign in Germany without understanding the full context of it, just because it was gifted by an ‘activist’?”
Other Twitter users also capitalised on the comparison, using its apparent logic to argue against the other side:
No brother. Brahmins and Jews have a lot in common. Both of them are successful, hardworking and close-knit groups. Why don't you work hard like them? You are the Nazi of India trying to relive the Jewish genocide by blaming Brahmins.
— Babu Bhaiya (@BabuBha28901906) November 21, 2018
No Aarti ji it's not a simple joke , it's message against Brahmin like Nazi spreads against Jew and killed them. Try this joke with Islam and Christianity , you will face the music
— Er.Tarakant sinha (@tarakant_sinha) November 21, 2018
"..civility of public conversation…"!!! @jack , you should drown yourself in shame in a spoonful of water after what you did to spread hatred against Brahmins and Hindus while in India!!! You are a true inheritor of your colonial predecessors, a racist Nazi https://t.co/oF6E4ch5PH
— Dr Promode Kant (@PromodeKant) November 20, 2018
An old comparison
However, this isn’t the first time that such a comparison has been made. A 2008 Outlook article by researcher Jakob de Roover at Ghent University, Belgium, echoed Tewari’s tweet almost perfectly.
Calling Brahmins ‘The Indian Jews’, de Roover wrote that “To be against ‘Brahminism’ is part and parcel of the political correctness of progressive scholars in twenty-first-century India”.
He went on to list what he called the “striking similarities between the stereotypes about Brahmins in India and those about Jews in the West.” Jews, like Brahmins, Roover argued, were “described as devious connivers, who would do anything for personal gain”.
Further, Roover drew equivalence between the historical perception that Jews “exploited European societies”, and that “Brahmins plotted against the oppressed classes in Indian society.”
Also read: Why young Indians aren’t on Twitter
With inputs from Simrin Sirur.
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