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- BRAHMANISM, THE NEW COMMUNALISM OF MODERN INDIA
the Brahmins were the main oppressed community in India over the
last thousand years and the main target of Muslims and Christians
trying to control and convert the country. This historical
oppression of the Brahmins has been lost on modern Indians,
primarily because of anti-Brahmin propaganda of various types.
Somehow this oppressed group has been stereotyped as the ruling
As Brahmins are vilified as the oppressive ruling elite one would
expect that the Brahmins routinely ruled the country. Not only was
this not true in the period of foreign rule, it wasn't true in the
period of classical India either. In this regard it is important to
look at the social role traditionally held by Brahmins. In
traditional India Brahmins served as the priestly class, providing
teachers of all types as well performing religious sacraments and
The traditional Brahmin was given to a life of poverty, social
service, and spiritual practice. Brahmin families usually gave one
of their sons to become a monk and led lives of religious austerity.
The Brahmins therefore had neither economic nor political advantage.
Their status was on a religious and intellectual level. They were
praised as religious leaders, not as a political or economic elite.