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A web article on Adi Brahmo Samaj on caste in the evolution of modern Brahmoism.

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Adi Brahmo Samaj and caste

The consistent stand of the Adi Brahmo Samaj since it's inception has been that we (Brahmos) are not opposed to caste or creed etc per se but to the "irrational distinctions" consequent to such divisions. There is much to be said positively for the caste system and as a social institution - it is the perversions and distortions of the caste system including Brahminism Kulinism etc which our leaders like Rammohun etc. set out to reform and remove. It is a great pity that the consistent position of the Adi Brahmo Samaj on this issue is repeatedly questioned and distorted to project a false picture. It is immaterial to us if people have castes or not, (or creeds or not) - it is their private affair - and such matters are not to be raked up within Samaj premises especially for divisive ends.

Brahmos constitute a "clan". Being a minority, preservation of the distinctive identity of the clan is paramount. Caste within the clan is almost always patriachal, so a female Brahmo Brahmin who marries a Brahmo Kayasth becomes a Brahmo "Kayasth" . If somebody is admitted to the clan (say by marriage or adoption) then equivalency of caste enters the picture to safeguard the clan. An example could be "its OK for a Brahmo Brahmin to marry a Catholic Brahmin but not a Protestant Shudra". Which is also why Kulinism basically existed only amongst Bengali Brahmins and Kayasths, and why Brahmoism evolved against certain evils of Kulinism and not against Kulinism per se.

Who founded the Brahmo Samaj ?

Q: Excuse me, but I thought Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the Brahmo Samaj ?

A: Not really. Ram Mohan Roy started the *Brahma Sabha* (Association of Brahmins) along with Dwarkanath Tagore in 1828. The objectives of this association were to publicize the true Vedanta which had been corrupted by Buddhist and Brahmanical influences. The *Sabha* met every Wednesday at Kamal Basu's house in Chitpur and later moved to their own premises at Chitpur Road in 1830 (purchased by the munificence Dwarkanath Tagore) . After the death of Ram Mohan Roy in 1833, the Sabha became moribund

Q: But, were these Chitpur premises of 1830 not the Adi Brahmo Samaj ?

A: It is correct that the present Adi Brahmo Samaj premises are situated at the same 1830 location. However, the Adi Brahmo Samaj is only the name given by the common people to the Calcutta Bahmo Samaj when Keshub Chunder Sen and a few of his sympathisers were expelled from it.

Q: So, if the Calcutta Brahmo Samaj is the same as Adi Brahmo Samaj, when was it founded ?

A: The Calcutta Brahmo Samaj was so named in 1863, when after a cyclone the Chitpur Road premises were affected and *Brahma Sabha* (previously amalgamated with *Tattwabodhini Sabha*) was shifted to the Jorasako Thakurbari.

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