Social Scientist. v 6, no. 68 (March 1978) p. 77.


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Review Article

Towards An Understanding of the Non-Brahman Movement

CULTURAL RE VOLUTION IN COLONIAL SOCIETY—THE NON-BRAHMAN MOVEMENT IN WESTERN INDIA., 1873-1930, by Gail Omvedt, Scientific Socialist Education Trust, Bombay, 1976, Rs 40.

THE book is a slightly revised version ofaPh D dissertation accepted by the Department of Sociology of the Univeisity of California, Berkeley, in March 1973. The author say^ that the ultimate surplus which made this book possible was the labour of Indian peasants, as her field research was mainly financed from the American aid rupees of the PL 480 funds.

A scientific understanding of the non-Brahman movement, which had such a powerful ideological impact on Maharashtra, has to be welcomed. One learns from the achievements and mistakes of the past to avoid new pitfalls in the present and guard the purity and consistency of the revolutionary proletarian movement.

There have been two wrong approaches to the non-Brahman movement hitherto. There has been an uncritical condemnation of the movement as sectarian and communal at the hands of earlier Congress bourgeois leaders, ju$t as they have condemned everv independent movement of the masses which threatened to go out of their reach. The working class and Communist movement knew what it is to suffer at the hands of the bourgeois leadership. The other wrong approach has been an uncritica.1 glorification of the movement—a glorification which is easily accepted by present day Congress leaders because it does .not teach the masses th.e real lessons to be drawn for the contemporary times. Some of the erstwhile non-Brahman leaders arc loudest in their praise of th^ principles of the early movement, while m action they act as its worst opponents.

Jyotiba^s Revolt

Th^ author starts with the concept of cultural revolution—a vague non-class concept—which does not really grasp the full ambit ofjyotiba's



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