Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How the Brahmins Got Screwed Over in Jajpur

A li'l bit of anarchy:
This was in the 13th century. 5 centuries had passed since Shankaracharya had plagiarised the Buddhist treatises on Nagarjuna's Madhyamika from his guru Gaudapa and had his forces turn the guns against the sanghas, monasteries and koumos of the Bhikkhus. Vijay Sen had risen from the Barracks of the last Pala kings of Bengal and had set everything on fire. The Brahmins established their rule over the feudal gentry. There was much blood.
The bhikkhus had to save their wisdom. Many took it with them and went to the hills. Tibetan Buddhism had kept the gods of Vajrayana that had, till the 10th century, prevailed in Bengal. A few of them became the Nath Sidhyacharyas, and a few wrote the Charya songs in crypted texts and in a misty language that was to become Bangla and Assamese of today. The ancestors of the adherents, and also many of the 'pa' wizards like Dombipa and Shabaripa were, before the advent of Bodhidharma, from the lower castes and the tribes. Their gods were all there too.
But the Brahmins were making fast inroads. The monasteries had to be converted to Maths. The monastery in the hills had fallen to them and had become the temple of Badri. The one by the Ganges had fallen and had become the temples of Kashi-Vishwanath. The one in Puri belonged to the Shabar (Soro) people. The wooden god of the Shabars was captured by ugly, powerful people who came to the sea with chariots. The thunder-scepter of Heruk was burning and so was the lyre of White Tara. The Hor people of the eastern wilderness, who are the Santhal people lost their king Adisur/Adur to Durga. Today the east has been tamed by 'civilization' almost in entirety
Nalanda stayed up for a while. Scholars like Tilopa, Naropa, Milerapa et al had managed to hold Nalanda for a while, aided by the heritage and legacy of Atish Dipankara, who had moved from the soft plains of Dhaka Bikrampur, had taken the long hard journey across snowy peaks and killer passes to Tibet with the words of Bodhidharma in the 10th century AD, and had stayed over as Chiyo Rimpoche - one of the initiators of Tibetan Buddhism. But, before long, Nalanda wore off. The Brahmins were mighty and scary.
Then came the 13th century. A period of anarchy, one demarcated as the 'Dark Ages' of Bengali Literature by all the Hindu Indian Nationalist Bengali post-partition scholars from West Bengal. Established scholars from East Pakistan like Mohd. Shahidulla had chosen to maintain stoic objectivity.
So, in the 13th century, the Brahmins kept getting stronger and stronger, and then, one day, Bakhtiyar Khalji rode down to Bengal. Suddenly, the people who were being browbeaten back to the caste system by the Kulin Brahmins found some hope in the anarchy. The poem Niranjan-er-Rooshma by Ramai Pundit tells a beautiful tale of resistance against the Brahminical exploitation by the people of Jajpur. He had to tell it in a tad cryptic form. Thank goodness for that, or else it would surely have been burned in course of the eight centuries that have followed!
Here's the poem:
The plaintiff is from Jajpur, Sol Shah’s family has read the Vedas
He asks, why this tax?
The harlot goes to the South, can’t find a home
She curses the earth to ashes
More taxes in district Malda, everyone has to pay
Nets can’t tie the sides up!
They are strong, they gather in handfuls
They destroy SadDharma
Vedas spelled out, flames circle up and gather thick
Saw and trembled in fear
Deep meanings held in mind, all say to keep Dharma
Who but you can be the salvation?
Thus the Brahmins wrecked everything
And injustice grew strong
Dharma, who stayed in paradise got the sign
and all darkness became Maya
Dharma turned Muslim, he donned a black cap,
He rode the three barreled cannon
and arrived – the three worlds began to quake
in the name of Khuda
Niranjan, formless, became Avesta-avatar
And spoke of the Dum, his words had the Dum
All the gods became one in mind
and got the Izar of Ananda
Brahma became Mohammad, Vishnu became Nooh
Adam became Shiva
Ganesh became Ghazi, Kartik became Quazi
All the sadhus became fakirs
Narad threw his disguise away and became Sheikh
Indra became Haji Malna
The other gods like Chandra and Surya became footsoldiers
And they all started making music!
Devi Chandika, herself she turned into Haya Bibi
Padmavati became Bibi Noor
All the gods became one in mind
And entered Jajpur!
And thus the war began
The temples were smashed, the prosceniums were looted
Sounds filled the sky: ‘catch ‘em bastards!’
Ramai Pundit holds the vessel of Dharma
and sings:
I don't know where the Jajpur mentioned here is situated. It must have been a site of incredible anarchic resistance against the upper-castes! Jajpur is also the name of a district in Odisha. Kalinganagar, where Tata had unleashed much bloodbath on the night between the 1st and the 2nd of January, 2006, is situated in Jajpur.
From Jajpur to Jajpur, it all seems like a bloody straight ramrod!

1 comment:

Soumi said...

Whoa! That was quite an experience! How did you chance upon this one?