Afterword on “Not a Brahmin”
I think it’s necessary to add an afterword to my earlier post “Not a Brahmin”. That was a shocking and painful incident, but also a rare occurrence that I experienced.
Most of the relatives on my mother’s side (especially subsequent generations) are now very emancipated and broad-minded, and hardly follow the old customs. They have been very nice and I’ve never felt discriminated against except in one or two rare cases. They’ve also been many inter-caste and inter-state marriages in the family that are now accepted without any issues.
Having said that, I’d also like to write about one recent intriguing case. One of my distant second cousins got married a few years ago and his parents decided to restrict the guest list to “pure Brahmins only”. That meant that all the families who had members with inter-caste connections were not invited to the marriage. It was quite a first in the family, as far as I know.
However, I don’t think one should have a problem with it because everyone has the right to decide their own guest list. But it’s amusing to note that the same family was one of the first guests to arrive at my brother’s wedding that took place some years ago, and they were also among the last ones to leave. They also didn’t seem to bother about “purity” when they visited Bangalore during vacations several times and stayed at our place. It’s a typical example of how selfish and narrow minded individuals down the ages misinterpreted and misused religion for their own advantage and ego.
Another related experience I have is connected to my grandfather. Like I mentioned before, he was a remarkably brilliant and well-read man who managed to impress everyone he met with his knowledge. Once, when he was travelling on the train from Vijayawada to Bangalore, his companion on the train turned out to be the editor of a magazine who was totally impressed by him. So, he asked my grandfather to write an essay on Gandhiji’s life and principles for his magazine. My grandfather agreed to this.
When he got to Bangalore, he asked me to help him write this article. He dictated to me and I wrote it down in a notebook and later typed it out for him. It was amazing that he could dictate 5000 words from memory alone, without having to look up a single book or paper even for dates (or search in Google 🙂 ). This article got published and was widely appreciated. However, I sometimes wondered how someone who was so acquainted with Gandhi’s life and times, could be so narrow minded in his own life!!