There is probably something to which we all strictly adhere to… and that is unity. What is the nature of unity? And how unity (among Kushwaha) can be acclaimed? These are the questions which make us think of our own understanding of culture. Some of the recent events compelled me to think of the relevancy of debate over what Kushwaha exactly means. In order to find the answer of such a question I’ve been looking for articles both on websites and Kushwaha magazines. One of the best analyses that I’ve read so far is an article by Nikhil Kushwaha in Kuchhawaha – Kushwaha Kshatriya Bandhu Magazine. He comments and clarifies the gender and etymological problems of the term Kushwaha (and Kushwahi). And that the titles like Verma, Mehta are basically awarded titles to Mauryan clan. The magazine is, however, published in Hindi, I’m translating one paragraph for the readers of this site (the following quotation is by Pandit Shri Saryu Prasad Shastri “Dwijendra” whom Mr. Nikhil Kushwaha has analyzed or rather has done samiksha):
…‘Kunsh Vahatiti Kushwaha’, that is, one who carries the burden of Kush, is called ‘Kushwaha’ or ‘Kushwahi’. Such a commentary qualifies only for “Kushwahi” or “Kushwah” but not for “Kushwaha”. Few critics are of view that “Kushwaha” is derivative of “Kuchhawaha” and again, this actually goes for Kucchawaha or Kuchhawahi but not for Kushwaha. Hence, in my view, Kushwaha in history has been thought of as an impure form and therefore, Kushvanshis should appropriately use “Kushwah” instead of “Kushwaha”.
– Pandit Shri Saryu Prasad Shastri “Dwijendra”
In response to Shastri ji’s take on grammar concerning Kushwaha, Mr. Nikhil Kushwaha strongly objects to the above view and suffix his argument with numerous illustrative examples (For more detail read magazine). The conclusion is— as is apparent— that Kushwaha is the person born in Kush vansh. In fact, this is what we all will agree to. But before I move on to the concept of unity, I would like to understand the relevancy of the topic been discussed. The above article by Shastri Ji was published in 1962. 1960… just thirteen years after the independence was a different timeline: in thinking, perceiving and therefore, in responding. Brahmanism was still problematic for many of the ‘Other’ castes in the society. It was logical that one caste would use numerous ways to be in mainstream, the way British colonizers did. They (British) intruded our minds by their grand project of education and made our thought process idiosyncratic which made us to think about them normally as our superior. The same goes for our Brahmins; they used the existing literature (Epics, Folktales) and sacred texts and their interpretations for claiming their own superiority over other castes. To sum up these lines in on word, I would say: HISTORY.
One of the most important aspects of history is that it is by nature archaic and analytical. Indeed, one can fully argue about the continual after-effects of both colonialism and Brahmanism but these arguments are propagating, interactive and dialogic by nature so that these can be used by future generations for good. I’m pointing to the intention with
which Mr. Nikhil responded to Shastri Ji’s accusations. He has indeed brought relief to the whole Kushwaha community about its actual position as such but we require serious considerations rather than blunt accusations. These historical evidences should be transitive instead of tackling with them single handedly. It will be profitable because then not only will we be able to put our thinking forward but also lessen the intensity of any such offended articles against community (as is the case here).
Let us return to the question of unity. Recent activities very extensively promoted the idea of Kushwaha as the only caste. If we do so or even compel anyone for doing so, we will fail in the attempt to unite the community itself. It is more about giving respect to one’s sentiments. The sentiment and faith are complementary. How can one hope to gain one’s faith without respecting one’s caste and sentiments? And both sentiments and faith differ spatially. If that is so, if we are so different culture wise then how is it that just for the name sake we are able to make our thing intelligible (i.e. understandable)? How is it that we are able to think almost the same for the community? It is because unconsciously we imagine our community from our “mind’s eye”. It is because we live in an advanced communicative society. It is because the communication has made it possible to think, view and imagine the person we have never met. The most live example is this site itself… we can very easily picturize because we know how today’s community works. So I think there is no need to unify the caste under the name of Kushwaha because every name has its own importance, has its own history and we are no one snatch that from anybody. Besides, it is not required also because we already are able to visualize our community from our mind’s eye and all that we need presently is to make this visualization more stronger and more close to the subject. That abstract unity is what in actual will turn out to be the concrete unity when required. All that we need to do is propagate our history more systematically and more enthusiastically in order to strengthen our own vivacious imagination.