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Anti-Brahminism, (sometimes Anti-Brahmanism), is the ideology that protests against the prejudice and discrimination directed towards lower caste individuals by the brahmanical system.
According to a British survey in 1912, though Brahmins represented only 3.2 percent of the male population of Tamil Nadu, they held 83.3 percent of the sub-judgeships (immediately under British personnel), 55 percent of the deputy collectorships and 72.6 percent of the district administrative posts. Sixty seven percent of those receiving baccauleaurate degrees from The Madras University were Brahmins. Of those receiving Law degrees Brahmins outnumbered all non-Brahmin Hindus 3.5 to 1 and Brahmins receiving teaching licentiates outnumbered non-Brahmin Hindus by more than 6.5 to 1. These realities created resentment among non-Brahmin Hindus of all stripes, who saw Brahmins hegemony. AntiBrahmin sentiment became organized in the formation of the Justice Party in late 1916. This party, composed of upper-class non-Brahmins was committed to enhancing the opportunities for non-Brahmins.
With the dawn of the 20th century, and the rapid penetration of western education and western ideas, there was a rise in consciousness amongst the lower castes who felt that rights which were legitimately theirs were being denied to them. This led the non-Brahmins to agitate and form the Justice Party in 1916, which later became the Dravidar Kazhagam. The Justice Party banked on vehement anti-Hindu and anti-Brahmin propaganda to ease Brahmins out of their privileged positions. Gradually, the non-Brahmin replaced the Brahmin in every sphere and destroyed the monopoly over education and the administrative services which the Brahmin had previously held.
However, with the destruction of Brahmin monopoly over the services and introduction of adequate representation for other communities, anti-Brahmin feelings did not subside. On the contrary, they were fully exploited by politicians, who often indulged in anti-Brahmin rhetoric primarily in order to get non-Brahmin votes. With the passage of time, they reached such a pitch that even individuals who had previously been a part of the Dravidian Movement began to cry foul. Deprived of opportunities, Tamil Brahmins began to migrate en masse to other states in India and foreign countries in search of livelihood.
Dalit leader and founder of political party Pudiya Tamizhagam, Dr.Krishnasamy admits that the Anti-Brahmin Movement had not succeeded up to the expectations and that there continues to be as much discrimination of Dalits as had been before.
So many movements have failed. In Tamil Nadu there was a movement in the name of anti-Brahmanism under the leadership of Periyar. It attracted Dalits, but after 30 years of power, the Dalits understand that they are as badly-off - or worse-off - as they were under the Brahmans. Under Dravidian rule, they have been attacked and killed, their due share in government service is not given, they are not allowed to rise.
In Indian states
All government schemes for socially and economically backward classes require a caste certificate in Karnataka. Even when poor, Brahmins can not get a caste certificate from the Tahsildar or the Taluk administrator. For example the Vidyasiri programme includes support for poor students from most sections including upper castes like Lingayats while Brahmins are excluded even if poor.
Tamil Nadu is home to one of the oldest anti-Brahmin movements in India. Tamil Brahmins (Iyers and Iyengars) are often held responsible by some sections of the Tamil politicians and media for alleged direct or indirect oppression of lower-caste people. The self-respect movement, a Dravidian Nationalist movement, was started by Periyar based on alleged of Brahmin oppression and resulted in innumerable verbal hate attacks on Brahmins. Alleged "Brahmin oppression" rationalized conspiracy theories and pointed to Brahmins as enemies against whom the radical movements pitted themselves. The legacy of the anti-Brahmanism of the self-respect movement was taken over by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). Growing anti-Brahmanism in Chennai provided a rationale for polarization of the lower castes in the DMK movement.
- Ritualizing on the Boundaries; by Fred W. Clothey;
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- Politics and Social Conflict in South India, the Non-Brahman Movement and Tamil Separatism, 1916-1929. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969. By Prof. Eugene Irschik
- Editorial by Francois Gautier on anti-Brahmanism
- Article by Pdt Vamadeva Shastri (formerly David Frawley) on anti-Brahmanism
- The Indian Jews _ Jakob De Roover
- Karnataka government planning to bring Brahmins and Vaishya into Backward Community _ ಹಿಂದುಳಿದ ವರ್ಗಕ್ಕೆ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ ಸಮುದಾಯ ಸೇರ್ಪಡೆ - Kannada Oneindia
- Mantras of Anti-Brahmanism: Colonial Experience of Indian Intellectuals - Raf Gelders and William Derde
- The Colonial Genesis of Anti-Brahminism by Ram Swarup, Hinduism Today Magazine, November 1997.
- ‘Sacred thread’ that matters in the ‘holy-Dravidian’ land! by B R Haran, News Today, November 10, 2008.
- Pune’s endless identity wars by Rakshit Sonawane, The Indian Express, January 6, 2011.
- Dalit activists protest anti-Brahmin remarks by author, Samachar: (Source IANS), June 13, 2011.