Brahmanism and Violence Busting the myth of Tolerance: Brahmanism and Violence in Early India

By D N Jha

Does India as a country has an uninterrupted, non-violent and tolerant past? Can this past be levelled as glorious history of tolerant Hindu civilization? Did all kinds of desecrations happen when ‘Muslim Invaders’ raided the land from outside? When and how did Hinduism got blended with Brahmanism? The proponents of Hindu revivalism, during the course of anti-colonial struggle, invented a glorious past of the Indian subcontinent ruled only by benevolent and peace-loving Hindu rulers. According to their narrative, this harmonious and peaceful ‘Golden Civilization’ was disrupted by the so-called ‘Muslim Invaders.’ In this lecture, D N Jha explores how the leaders of Hindu revivalism cherished this idea of undifferentiated Hindu past and merged the history of Brahmanism with that of Hinduism. However, the complex history of the subcontinent says that ‘Hindu’ was never a historical entity.  

Brahmanism on the other hand, has a long and violent history. It has been antagonistic towards other Indic religions like the Buddhism and Jainism right from the beginning. In this lecture Jha brings out the history of the persecution of the Buddhists and Jains at the hands of the patrons of Shaivism and Vaishnavism alike. The famous Buddhist establishment at Nalanda was vandalised many times. The followers of Jainism, who migrated on large scale in the peninsular part of the Indian subcontinent met with the same fate.