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Ajit Anjum apologises for “chor chamar” slur: Read how British institutionalised caste discrimination through “Criminal Tribes Act”

The British passed “Criminal Tribes Act” during the 1870s, grouping several communities as habitual offenders. However, the left-leaning liberals continue to castigate Brahmins, turning a blind eye to the British treachery.

Earlier this week, YouTuber Ajit Anjum offered an apology after being rebuked by an Ambedkarite who took offence at his use of casteist slurs while talking to people of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh in one of his uploaded videos. 

Criminal Tribes Act by British rendered many communities criminals
Source: Twitter

In the video that is now going viral on the internet, Anjum uttered “chori-chamari” while conversing with locals in Sivalkhas, Meerut. But this did not sit well with self-described Ambedkarite Suraj Bauddh, who objected to Anjum’s casteist slurs and asked him to not use them under the pretext of proverbs. 

Before long, Anjum apologised for the remarks, saying that he uttered those words by mistake and had intended to speak “chori-chakari”, not “chori chamari”.

“I’m sorry @SurajKrBauddh, I wanted to speak “chori-chakari” but I do not know how it was said. I sincerely apologize. I hope you all will forgive me. I am neither like this nor think so I am also among the few journalists who may have gone among Dalits many times in the last 6 months,” Anjum tweeted. 

While Anjum apologised for his mistake, it is worth examining how such casteist slurs made it into the lexicon and who was responsible for it. Unfortunately, for the left-liberal intelligentsia, Brahmins and other upper castes are perennially to be blamed for racial inequities. Their facile analysis and existing prejudice inevitably leads them to place the burden of caste discrimination on the feet of Brahmins and upper caste. 

Since passing off opinions and conjectures as conviction is easier than taking efforts to dispassionately examine history and objectively arriving at the causes responsible for the perpetuation of caste discrimination, left-liberals prefer reinforcing their ‘confirmation bias’ that Brahmins are responsible for all the casteist inequities wracking the society. 

A cursory glance into country’s history links most of the evils bedevilling the country today to the colonialism it endured at the hands of her British rulers. Yet, the liberals, who believe that they are the brown sahibs and the legitimate inheritors of their British masters, try to airbrush atrocities committed by them. 

Historical records into brutalities perpetrated by the British lays bare the colonial treachery of changing statuses of some of groups that were avarnas and came to be known as “criminal tribes”. For instance, it was after several intervention from the British, the community of Chamars and Mahars were grouped under the category of “criminal tribes”. 

Chamars were people belonging to the leather industry, one of the most polluting industries in the world owing to the toxic waste like Chromium, Lead and Arsenic used in the tanning process. In addition to this, there are close to 15 steps involved in the entire leather-making process, which leads to emission of contaminants that pollute land, water, air in the surrounding. As a consequence, those into the business of making leather goods often suffered from serious ailments. 

And with the entry of the British colonisers, the monopoly over the leather-making shifted from indigenous natives to foreign rulers. In their bid to meet the exponential demands of the European markets, the British exploited the Chamars, often forcing them to work for longer durations with lower wages. 

Similarly, the Mahars, the caste that gave us one of the most foremost intellectuals of his time, Dr BR Ambedkar, were once a well-integrated community within the Maharashtra society. With the advent of the British, fissures started appearing in the society which was once close-knit and all-encompassing. 

British rulers passed “Criminal Tribes Act” to criminalise entire communities as habitual offenders

As conditions deteriorated and crimes proliferated, the Britishers passed various pieces of controversial legislations in 1870s, collectively called as the Criminal Tribes Act, which criminalised entire communities as habitual offenders. Under provisions of these legislations, communities were defined as “addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences” that included thefts, and were registered by the government. Adult male population of such groups were to mandated to report weekly to local police and restrictions were imposed on their movements.

By the dint of legislations, several communities, including Chamars, Lodhis, wandering tribes, vagrants, itinerants, nomads, gypsies and several tribes were categorised as “criminal tribes” and their subsequent generations were labelled a “law and order problem” for the state. Those belonging to aforementioned communities were considered “thieves”, “thugs” and “bandits” by the virtue of their birth under the contentious legislation. The British treachery could be gauged by the fact that even India won its independence in 1947, close to 127 communities were grouped as “criminal tribes”.

This played a big part in sowing seeds of discord within the society and the marginalisation of the communities already facing severe economic pressure. Gradually, the division and stigma seeped through the rest of the society, who come to associate them with the oppressive categorisation that the British actuated through the agency of the Criminal Tribes Act. 

For generations, their progenies had to suffer the indignity and stigma of being grouped into “Criminal Tribes Act” for not fault of theirs or their ancestors but purely because the Britishers presumed that they were involved in robberies and other petty crimes and deserved to be pigeonholed into a iniquitous group. Those belonging to the aforementioned communities were painted as criminals and treated with disrespect, often being scornfully called “thieves” by others. This, over time, unfortunately led to the mainstreaming of racial slur “chor chamars”. 

How liberals airbrush British culpability and hold Brahmins responsible for atrocities meted out on lower caste people

Yet, it is almost always the upper castes and Brahmins who are vilified for the historical wrongs committed against them. The British rulers, who are probably more responsible for sowing discord within the Indian society and dividing it into various sects, often escape the culpability since the left-leaning liberal continue to harp on blaming on the Brahmins and faulting the caste system for all the misery suffered by the downtrodden and lower castes.

The liberals, by blaming Brahmins and upper castes are simply perpetuating the British policy of ‘divide and rule’ through which they can carry on with their mission of preventing unification of the larger Hindu society lest it brings an end to their Islamist designs and objectives. As a part of this aim, they have even tried to put up the untenable construct of Muslim-Dalit unit, billed as Jai Meem-Jai Bhim, so as to keep the Dalits away from their religious brethren in Hindus. 

It is for these self-serving reasons and not altruistic concerns for the welfare of lower castes and the disadvantaged that the liberals hold Brahmins responsible for every historical wrong committed against the lower and marginalised castes while sweeping under the rug caste atrocities perpetrated by the British.

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Jinit Jain
Jinit Jain
Writer. Learner. Cricket Enthusiast

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