Pravartika Wankhede

India

17-a lot on my mind

Message to Readers

This is one of the stories I would pretend to forget, so Dad would repeat it again-and-again-and-again and I would relish it, swirl it around longer than is healthy and the taste wouldn't fade for a long time, until I again craved for it. Please point out my flaws/mistakes/errors. Every comment and like from you guys is worth more than any priceless thing on the face of the Earth. Show your love!!
xoxo,
P.W.

Great Warrior

June 25, 2020

PROMPT: Ancestors Speak

5
My ancestors were warriors. They came when the first wave of Muslim invasions hit India in 1001 AD, initiated by the Mehmood of Ghazni. They founded minor kingdoms in and around present day Indian state of Maharashtra. We are the  Mahars, literally meaning, Great Warrior, and Maharashtra is said to be, 'the nation of the Mahars', as affirmed by John Wilson, Alexander Robertson and historian Vishwanath Kashinath Rajwade. Heavily recruited during Colonial times and listed as a 'marital race', by the British, the Mahar Regiment is the only existing troop in the Indian Army, that hires a specific caste.

 We are told to take pride in ourselves, and above all- to deserve our name and be warriors. Our tale is as old as time itself and has passed down generation to generation, and our strength and boldness is what sets us apart. When in 1956, Dr. B.R. Amberdkar, the maker of the largest Constitution of the world- India's, converted to Buddhism, half a million Untouchables, including Mahars, followed cue. Legend says, we as a community are supposed to be, tall in stature, comparatively fairer in complexion and and psychologically and mentally brilliant, and in an average Mahar household, goals of excellence are set before the children. 

However, I do not take pride in being a Mahar and any Mahar in their right mind wouldn't. Under the poison of Hindu casteism, we were deemed Untouchables. We were castrated, humiliated, berated and cruelly tortured and suppressed. The Great Warriors were subjected to the harshest of conditions, until Dr. Ambedkar came along and freed us from the chains of Untouchability. Now, ninety percent of all Mahars are free, accomplished and revolutionary Buddhists. Baba, my father is a museologist and archeologist; he understands the importance of history, and he tells me these stories so that I may know where I come from and who I am and then free myself of it: but he strictly forbids romanticizing it in any way.
 
"I have accepted Buddhist doctrine.
‚Äč I am Buddhist now. I am not Mahar now, nor even Hindu. 
I have become a human being".

-Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

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  • June 25, 2020 - 9:46am (Now Viewing)

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2 Comments
  • spurtsofdarkness

    Replying: Absolutely! Thanks :)


    5 months ago
  • inanutshell

    thank you for writing this, i've learned something new from it! appreciate how this was told very matter-of-factly, it definitely fits the subject matter here. your message to readers really warmed my heart as well :)


    5 months ago