S. Anand’s (a.k.a Anand Navayana's) criticism of Aamir Khan’s television programme “Satyamev Jayate” in his opinion piece “Silence Eva Jayate” (Outlook, July 23, 2012) is untenable and biased. A television programme with limitations of time and which focused on the particular issues of untouchability and manual scavenging may not be able to dwell in detail about other related issues such as reservations (affirmative action). In a time limited television programme focusing on the bigoted evil of untouchability practices for the first time in the history of popular Indian television, the absence of biographical accounts of Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar may be excused. A time limited singular episode of a television talk show programme cannot be expected to comprehensively pack together all facets and facts about the evil of untouchability and related issues. Technical and editorial necessity editing out or conjuring up visuals in a television talk show does not amount to any ethical transgressions. Aamir Khan needs to be congratulated for highlighting the evil practices of untouchability and manual scavenging in a popular programme on national television for the first time in the popular commercial television history of India!
S. Anand’s lamentation at the exclusion of the so called “Dalit capitalists” and members of the “Dalit Indian chamber of commerce” in a television programme that sought to highlight the evil practices of untouchability and manual scavenging is like lamenting the lack of black African businessmen in a television programme about the racism of the erstwhile apartheid regime and shanty towns of South Africa. Aamir Khan was justified in excluding the so called “Dalit capitalists” who only serve the purpose of vested interests wanting to hide the abject poverty, segregation, illiteracy, disease and atrocities forced on the vast majority of Dalits due to the social exclusion caused by untouchability, by advertising a few rich Dalit businessmen.
S. Anand lacks the moral locus standi to criticise Aamir Khan and his television talk show. It is natural that the past history and journalistic record of a writer would be called into question, when the writer puts himself on a pedestal to criticise a ground breaking television programme which exposes the evil of untouchability practices in popular Indian television. Past journalistic record shows that writer / journalist S. Anand himself is guilty of exactly what he accuses Justice (retired) C.S. Dharmadhikari of (in his opinion piece criticising Aamir Khan’s talk show), which is being an apologist for “Brahmanness” and bigoted Brahmin supremacism. S. Anand himself belittled the suffering and oppression unleashed on Dalits by ludicrously equating Brahmins (who are at the summit of the caste system) with Dalits in a report filed by him in Outlook magazine a few years ago (“Dalits in reverse”, Outlook, April 11, 2005). In this report S. Anand falsely claimed that Brahmins in Tamil Nadu are being persecuted like Dalits, by atrociously branding Brahmins as “Dalits in Reverse”, on the pretext of a Brahmin pontiff’s (Kanchi Sankaracharya’s) arrest on charges of murder under the rule of a very Brahmin chief minister (Ms. J. Jayalalitha). Another news report of S. Anand filed in the Outlook magazine again ludicrously claimed that Brahmins in Tamil Nadu are being persecuted like the Jews during World War II (“We are like the Jews”, Outlook, April 11, 2005), again on the pretext of the arrest of a Brahman pontiff on charges of murder. It seems that S.Anand believes in the dictums of the bigoted code of “Manu” since “Manu’s Code” states that no Brahmin should be punished for committing the offence of murder thus explaining S. Anand’s series of reportage and writing which bigotedly and maliciously attempt to falsely misrepresent the arrest of a lone Brahman seer on charges of murder as an (imagined and non-existent) oppression of the socially privileged and bigotedly supremacist caste of Brahmins. (“Manusmrithi” or “Manu’s Code” is the Brahmin racist Hindu scripture written many centuries ago which codified the bigoted caste system and is still one of the scriptural basis for Hindu law). Anand also conspicuously fails to mention that it was a Brahmin chief minister called Ms. J. Jayalalitha who ordered the arrest and prosecution of the Kanchi Sankaracharya on charges of murder and hence arresting the Brahmin Pontiff on charges of murder has nothing to do with activism against Brahmin supremacist bigotry but was a routine Governmental act of asserting law and order against a murderous criminal. But since arresting a Brahmin Pontiff on charges of murder is unheard of, and since Brahmins in general and Brahmin pontiffs in particular are considered above punishment in the bigoted societal values of the caste system as codified by “Manusmiruthi”, S. Anand goes over the top with his apologia for Brahmin supremacist bigotry by exaggerating and falsely portraying a routine police duty of arresting a man (Brahmin Pontiff) on charges of murder as oppression of Brahmins when in reality Brahmins are the oppressing caste supremacist class at the summit of the caste system and are certainly not the oppressed. It is obvious that S. Anand would not have portrayed the arrest of a non-Brahmin Hindu Godman as an act of oppressing the entire caste to which the non-Brahmin Godman belonged to. It is abjectly ridiculous that S. Anand made delusional and ludicrous false claims that Brahmins of Tamil Nadu are being oppressed like “Dalits and Jews during World War II” under the rule of a Brahmin chief minister who is known for appeasing Orthodox Hindu religious Brahmanism, Brahmin supremacist agenda and harbouring Hindu nationalist extreme right wing Brahmin supremacist advisors such as “Cho” Ramasamy.
The vast majority of Dalits who are at the bottom of the bigoted caste system are bonded to inhumane and degrading labour, forced into insanitary segregated slums, and suffer from high levels of illiteracy, homelessness and ill health, along with being victims of various kinds of barbaric atrocities and killings unleashed on Dalits by all castes in Hindu religious society. Brahmins of Tamil Nadu (and India) have a critical and controlling presence in the mainstream media, government bureaucracy, corporate industry, computer software businesses, the arts, elite academia, higher judiciary, etc. I need not list all the media organs and corporate companies owned or controlled by Brahmins in Tamil Nadu and India. Similarly, it will be an unnecessary exercise to list the conspicuous presence of Brahmins in the bureaucracy, arts and the media in Tamil Nadu and India. Outlook magazine itself carried an article on the domination of Brahmins in the bureaucracy (“The Durbar Hall Pundits”, Outlook, June 04, 2007). In addition, Brahmins are also bigotedly feted as the “most superior caste” in the caste system while enjoying their bigoted monopoly in temple priesthood and sacramental performance of Hindu religious rituals to assert their Brahmin caste supremacy in socio-religious terms. Brahmins have never suffered any act of overt violence specifically directed against them in Tamil Nadu or India unlike the Dalit people who are victims of daily acts of violence, rapes, killings and atrocities due to caste bigotry, nor are Brahmins being persecuted or socio-economically discriminated against in India. On the contrary, some caste fanatic outfits associated with Brahmins such as the “Ranvir Sena” and other private armies of the “Bhumihars” (who are considered as Brahmins by caste) have been implicated in the whole sale mass murder, rapes and pillage of hundreds of Dalits in North Indian states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
This being the case, a journalist like S. Anand who belittled and trivialised the suffering, untouchability and violent oppression unleashed on Dalits through his apologia for Brahmin supremacy by peddling the blatant lie that Brahmins are being oppressed like Dalits and Jews during World War II, - has no moral standing to hypocritically criticise Aamir Khan for his talk show programme that highlighted the evil of untouchability in popular Indian television.
S. Anand’s critique of Aamir Khan and “Satyamev Jayate” is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black! S.Anand has acted against Dalit interests by attacking a movie star's show that specifically rallied public opinion against the bigotry of untouchability and manual scavenging by engaging mass television audiences.