Friday, 16 November 2012

The Silence of the Dead- part 2

M.N. Srinivas has left us a piquant memoir on F.B. Steiner- which contains the following anecdote of a typical exchange between him and Prof. Radcliffe Brown.
Steiner's letter to Gandhi dwells upon his closeness to his murdered parents- he had told them about the Mahatma and they used to discuss Gandhi at home 'the way one talks about a father'- but Srinivas highlights another theme in Steiner's epistle- its bemoaning of his ancestors' decision to migrate to Europe rather than Casteist India where they would have enjoyed the benefits of fossilization and freedom from Thought in an exemplary manner. Sadly, the 2 Chief Rabbis of Jerusalem, some ten years prior to Steiner's letter, had forced the 'white' and 'brown' Jews of Cochin to give up their own color, or should I say 'Varna', based discrimination and to permit black Jews entry into their synagogues.
 Thus, it turns out, Gandhiji- who had been defeated in debate by the Vaikom Namboodris, Karma being the Silence of the vast horde of the Dead which out-shouts the slogans of the Satyagrahis ( though, as a British 'fair play' compromise, three roads were opened while Christian and Muslims were also banned from using the supposedly private fourth road from which 'low castes' had been illegally excluded by a previous High Court judicial review)- Gandhiji was quite right to condemn Zionism- it was already tampering with the caste system of the Indian Jews and, as Arjuna pointed out in Steiner's own beloved Gita, once that sort of thing starts happening, who knows where it will all end? St.Valentine's day and dating-shating? Chee, chee, it is all too unseemly and not Cricket or tickety-boo at all
It is in this context that 'Sanskritization' Srinivas slyly points up Steiner's own poetic attraction to dusky beauties- most notably a West Indian table tennis player- so that, as Gandhi was wont to say, 'all who run may read'.
Mind it kindly.
And murli Manohar Joshi.

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