Brahma Kumarism: Colonialism or Imperialism based on slavery

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ex-l

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Brahma Kumarism: Colonialism or Imperialism based on slavery

Post20 Dec 2016

I am starting this topic to tie together discussions on two other topics (and take it beyond distracting race relationships); 'Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...' and 'Africa: Before Slavery'.

We started with a discussion of the place of Black and darker skinned (lower caste) individuals within Brahma Kumarism but having reading some of the sources that arose, such as Dr Walter Rodney's, it has clarified my views of Brahma Kumarism as a form of imperialism based, literally on slavery ... albeit done in a "nice" way.

Let's call it "Angelic slavery" or "Avyakt Imperialism", to use the BK terms.

I am hearing other authors about the impact of imperialism/colonialism on Africa (and, of course, we have to include Christian, Arab Muslim and Bantu in the equation, not just "White"). It strikes me from looking at it, all sorts of imperialism have similar a strategy. The game is all about knocking the head off local pyramidical power structures and replacing it with oneself as the king or emperor.

Even within Europe, the Greeks did to the Thebans, the Romans did it to everyone, I am presuming the Egyptians were actually one of the originators of the strategy of conquest and, latterly, I am reminded how the Maharish of TM™ fame described his ambitions in exactly the same way (he beat the BKs to the West).

Note well how wrapped up in the language and structure of imperialism early to mid-BKism is, and how it's core attitudes towards other/indigenous races still is to this day ... a "membership less structure within which followers have no rights, are financially exploited and act as unpaid labour, generally always with a Sindi/Indian zone or centre-in-charge.

A model adopted by a worldly-wise Sindi entrepreneur largely directly from the British ... right down to the employment of Patels (Gujeratis) as submissive administrators to be shipped around their empire.

From a British point of view, there are many who see the treatment of Gaeldom, or the Celtic societies, as the first “laboratory for the empire”. In short, what they did and learned from doing to the Gaels, the indigenous natives of the British Isles, they then practised on the indigenous natives of other continents, most noticeably Africa and the Americas.

Consequently, although the head count might have been higher, the cultural devastation was similar.

And religion, or rather pseudo-religion, was the tool of control.

As late as the 1850s, The Scotsman newspaper published an article about how “Collective emigration is, therefore, the removal of a diseased and damaged part of our population. It is a relief to the rest of the population to be rid of this part” with officials demanding “a national effort ... in order to rid the land of “the surviving Irish and Scotch Celts”, the exodus allowing the settlement of a "racially superior people of Teutonic stock ... less foreign to us than the Irish or Scotch Celt”.

Here we can relate the tools of such imperialism back to Brahma Kumarism ... and there are many connections between English colonial Imperialism in India and Brahma Kumarism ... for example, from an essay by an Irish commentator on the subject,
The English have established the simulacrum* of an education system. But its object is the precise contrary of the object of an education system. Education should foster; this education is meant to repress. Education should inspire; this education is meant to tame. Education should harden; this education is meant to enervate. The English are too wise a people to attempt to educate the Irish, in any worthy sense.

Let's paraphrase that and apply to BK Imperialism ... and "BK Imperialism" is no joke, it is their self-confessed ambition.
The Brahma Kumaris have established the simulacrum of an education system. But its object is the precise contrary of the object of an education system.
    Education should foster; this education is meant to repress.
    Education should inspire; this education is meant to tame.
    Education should harden; this education is meant to enervate.
The Brahma Kumaris are too worldly-wise a people to attempt to educate their following, in any worthy sense.

In truth, what is the best "education" you can get out of BKism ... to become a seller of snake oil to corporate executives?

In the case of the English, pseudoscientific racist ideas supported a belief that the Celtic “race” was inferior to the Anglo Saxon “race”, in exactly the same way it then did to Africans and native American. And treated them the same.

In the case of the Brahma Kumarism, pseudo-spiritual casteist ideas support a belief that their Brahmin “race” is superior to non-BK Shudra “race” ("crow race" in the old days) in exactly the same way. Indeed, in their early days, they were afraid to throw racist mud back at White people too ("cats" being equally derogatory) after they and their royalty reject "God" Lekhraj Kirpalani.

Extending the Imperial model for BKism, it's even noted these days how local peoples "prove to be essential determinants of imperial success or failure". Far from being mere victims, some peoples find ways to profit from imperial manoeuvrings through employment, profiting as allies, or directing the interests and energies of imperial powers against their traditional enemies. Indeed, Lekhraj Kirpalani did in his own professional life thereby acquiring the riches he used to fund his cult.

Lekhraj Kirpalani made a fortune from exploit native labour across India, Asia and perhaps even Africa buying rough materials from mining industries and selling them at a huge profit to the British and Indian aristocracies (is it ever noted that he did anything for the welfare of the workers in those gem stone mines ... some of the most dangerous and exploitive in the world?).

Therefore, I question how "enlightened" liberal White folk - and quite recently enslaved and exploited Black folk who have had to struggle within living memory for civil rights - can actually go along with Brahma Kumarism as it still drags its empire along on the foundations of slavery ... all those unpaid "chapati rollers", personal care attendants, and house servants.

Are they not nothing more than the "house niggers" of the plantations of old ... their lives perhaps not as harsh as the "field niggers", their surroundings rich, their clothing fine ... but are they still not slaves without rights?

They perform exactly the same functions on the large BK plantations and in large BK merchant houses in wealthy cities as they did in the America.

In fairness, I think this might be more of a retrospective criticism of BKism. A criticism of their core, their history and foundations rather how they are evolving around the comfortable edges, especially in the wealthy West. But I suspect it still goes on much the same in India, and I would not like anyone to be fooled to think how BKism has evolved within the West is how the majority of it is in India.

BK apologists prefer to pose their slaves as being like monks or nuns. The truth of that is another question to address ... at least in India, you might end up a centre-in-charge supported by donations. In the West, you have to pay for the privilege to be enslaved, and to work for them for free (there's not such a strong system of religious donations to support most centres and center-in-charges, never mind their retired servants).

I had to look up simulacrum and enervate. They mean,
    * Simulacrum

    an image or representation of someone or something, an unsatisfactory imitation or substitute.

    * Enervate

    make someone feel drained of energy or vitality.
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Re: Brahma Kumarism: Imperialism based on slavery

Post24 Dec 2016

The Dual Model of economics developed by Professor Sir Arthur Lewis can be applied to BKism and its climbing of the global power ladder, including the ladders of global economic power.

Sir Arthur, a St. Lucian was the Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and in the 1970's Chancellor of the University of Guyana. In 1979 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. Sir Arthur was also a professor at Princeton University and recently the London School of Economics created a special professorship in his name: The William Arthur Lewis Professorship in Economics.

Sir Arthur's economic theories might have been to radical for the BKs as perhaps the poems of Derick Walcott, another West Indian of African descent and a Nobel Laureate.
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Re: Brahma Kumarism: Imperialism based on slavery

Post24 Dec 2016

W. Arthur Lewis and the Birth of Development Economics, by Robert L. Tignor, is an excellent book on the life of Sir Arthur.
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Re: Brahma Kumarism: Imperialism based on slavery

Post25 Dec 2016

GuptaRati 6666 wrote:The Dual Model of economics developed by Professor Sir Arthur Lewis can be applied to BKism and its climbing of the global power ladder, including the ladders of global economic power.

Do you want to try to do so briefly?

I found a summary of Sir Arthur's life, here Caribbean-beat.com: The Arthur Lewis Model. Quite an inspiring character ... from one of 7 children of a single mother to a PhD, Nobel prize winner and Knight. That's quite a rise. (Walcott was St Lucia's second Nobel prize winner and only the 3 Black person to do so).

Something peculiar about the BKs' imperialist model is that, as a rule, they don't even offer loans, nevermind invest in their new terroritorial gains. Each new territory, each centre opened, basically has to be self-funded and self-funding. Even moreso, their colonies are expect to contribute back to the mother land (Mount Abu or zone center) and, generally, pay the expenses of any of their colonial masters - the Dadis and Didis - who visit them.

It's always been unclear to me how the inner circle within the UK survives as they are "not paid" by the UK based charity. However, the UK based charity does pay a heavy tax back to Mount Abu (£500,000 per year supposedly to pay for food up there). I suspect the UK leaders are then paid a commission back by Mount Abu ... "under the table" perhaps? ... to allow them to travel and survive.

Is not that a sort of feudual relationship? Is it how a traditional Indian fiefdom worked, e.g. if you were a feudal prince and a feudal king visited you, you had to pay their expenses, and each year pay them a commission on the taxes you had raised proving your loyalty and submission?
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Re: Brahma Kumarism: Imperialism based on slavery

Post26 Dec 2016

Something peculiar about the BKs' imperialist model is that, as a rule, they don't even offer loans, nevermind invest in their new terroritorial gains. Each new territory, each centre opened, basically has to be self-funded and self-funding. Even moreso, their colonies are expect to contribute back to the mother land (Mount Abu or zone center) and, generally, pay the expenses of any of their colonial masters - the Dadis and Didis - who visit them.
It is a franchise model, which is not really much different to a pyramid scheme. Once the contract is signed, it is in one’s best interests to create suckers downline to feed back up to you. If you are at the bottom of the heap, you work hardest and get least return.
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Re: Brahma Kumarism: Imperialism based on slavery

Post28 Jan 2017

I was reading a paper on the education of Africans within the British Empire and it made me think it was very similar to how BKism has developed, and been spread. It was entitled 'Dangerous education? The army as school in colonial East Africa' by Timothy Parsons, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri.

The case of Africa is interesting because the imperialists assumed a link between the introduction of Western education in South Asia and the rise of Indian political opposition (Independence Movement), therefore they sought to create a form of education that would limit the growth of African independence.

For us, that raises a question about how much awareness of its nature Lekhraj Kirpalani and Shiv Shakti Army had of it.

Since the end of British colonial rule in the 1960s, the consensus of most critics has been that
... colonial education was intended to make Africans subservient by teaching 'deference to foreign authority, unquestioned acceptance of hierarchy, the full embracement of Christianity ... and the acceptance of the cultural superiority of the metropolitan country'.

It was a system in which the primary function of colonial schools was to train Africans to be manual labourers (aka "sevadharis" in BK-speak). Britain's emphasis on indirect rule and good governance was a smoke screen to conceal the colonialists' fear of politically aware Africans.
Africans who sought more education were deemed dangerous by the colonial regime ... This depiction of colonial education has ... asserted that colonial officials restricted African education ... to reduce Africans to the status of perpetual drones through substandard education.

The colonial schools were instruments of social control which taught European conceptions of morality, loyalty, and citizenship.

They worried that the introduction of Western-style education would lead to foster individualism, creating dissatisfaction with rural life, and alienating students from their parents' social norms ...
... with the potential to create a politically unstable urban class of frustrated, unemployed Africans who would vainly seek non-existent positions commensurate with their educational backgrounds.
Thus, in official British eyes an underlying aim of colonial education was to facilitate contact between 'advanced and backward races' that would allow them to 'dwell together unmixed, each preserving its character'.

Now swop "Africans" for "Double Foreigners" or even just BK followers ... as we can see BKism, at its core, as a kind of 'Sindi Imperial' or colonialism firstly of Hindus and then of non-Indians ... and so on.

--
Therefore, we end up with something almost word for word like ...
... BK education is intended to make BKs followers subservient by teaching deference to their authority, unquestioned acceptance of the BK hierarchy, the full embracement of BKism ... and the acceptance of the cultural superiority of the BKs' Sindi mock-brahminn society'.

It is a system in which the primary function of their centres is to train non-BKs to be uneducated labourers with an emphasis on indirect rule and good governance as a smoke screen to conceal their fear of politically aware BK converts.

BK converts who seek more education are deemed dangerous by the regime whose education restricted converts' education, reduce them to the status of perpetual drones.

BK centres were instruments of social control which teach Sindi mock-brahmin conceptions of morality, loyalty, and citizenship.

They worry that the introduction of Western-style education would lead to foster individualism, creating dissatisfaction with BK life, and alienating followers from their social norms ... with the potential to create a politically unstable class of frustrated, adherents who would vainly seek non-existent positions commensurate with their educational backgrounds.

The paper goes on to say how the British saw an underlying aim of colonial education was to facilitate contact between "advanced and backward races" that would allow them to "dwell together unmixed, each preserving its character" and how "traditionalists believed conventional civil education undermined discipline".

The BKs see themselves as the "advanced race" and non-BK, especially Westerners, not just backwards but at the lowest level of spirituality amongst which they dwell unmixed, being "in the world but not of it". Ditto, BK traditionalists believe conventional civil education undermines BK discipline.

The paper goes on to look at how the system evolved due to several other influences, it looks at who "enjoy the trust of the colonial regime and therefore had greater opportunities for individual advancement", and it examines how well founded the imperial fears were.

As leading Western BKs consider the onging development of the BKWSU, it might be interesting to look at how BKism has evolved within this same light.
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Re: Brahma Kumarism: Imperialism based on slavery

Post28 Jan 2017

One really interesting but not surprising element of BKism is how the BKs have never systematically taught or encouraged non-Indians to read and speak their Hindi/Sindi/Urdu language, the language of their god spirit and his scriptures.

They might have argued that there was not sufficient time for non-Indian adherents to do so because of the immanence of Destruction, how it was a waste of time or was a "pull on the intellect" keeping adherents away from the all important job of "remembering Baba".

But, at the same time, the more obvious reason would be to hide the nature of the original teachings and maintain control. Both Catholics (Latin) and Vedantists (Sanskrit) have used language similarly. An educated Hindi speaking Western elite might have been a challenge to them.

As a "deal", the BKs literally offered Westerners a special karmic rate which increased the value of their efforts in comparison to Indians due to their not understanding the language. From memory, it was worth an extra added 20%! (No explanation of how, naturally). But, you know what they say, "there's no such thing as a free dinner" in life.
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Re: Brahma Kumarism: Colonialism or Imperialism based on sla

Post29 Jan 2017

Every age has its dominant paradigm which is accepted by most of those who inhabit that time, both the rulers and rhe ruled, the exploiters and the exploited, the slave owner and the slave. It takes generations for change to filter its way through the intergenerational conditioning and the inertia in society and education systems.

Many of us were drawn to BK as an alternative paradigm, the benign virtuous tyranny that many idealists insist is the best form of government, which could, and would, manifest in the forthcoming ideal world. That abstract ”ideal" is a hangover from the past too.

We replace the old boss with the new boss, unconscious that we are still surrendering our self-sovereignty; to use the BK term and to point out how hypocritical it is.

It is Orwellian doublethink - that by giving others the responsibility of deciding what is acceptable as my morality, my timetable, my thoughts, words, actions in ”this life” that somehow I am achieving self-sovereignty (a.k.a. independence from conditioning, liberation, whatever) in the future . If so, it’d only be as an equal and opposite "reaction” - and I think maybe it has been that catalyst for such a reaction for some ex-BKs !!!

Otherwise all anyone is doing by such surrender, in the terms of another part of the BK paradigm, is 'developing the sanskara' of letting others rule me. That of course suits the ”Brahmin” (or the wannabe topknot) social hierarchy model, where everyone knows their place, perfectly.
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Re: Brahma Kumarism: Colonialism or Imperialism based on sla

Post29 Jan 2017

What amazes me is how willing I was to go along with the idea that that "alternative paradigm" would be a rigid, hierarchical monarchy.

It's one of those issues that makes me ask, "did I really believe in it all?". And the conclusion I come to is, "absolutely not".

Then how or why did I go along with it for as long as I did ... the idea of a nice little paradisical anarchy in some quiet corner of their "Empire" where I wouldn't notice them and they me?
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Re: Brahma Kumarism: Colonialism or Imperialism based on sla

Post29 Jan 2017

Don’t blame yourself, it is largely the folly of youth to be so idealistic. Be grateful you had the honesty with yourself to see through it.

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