Thursday, 26 March 2020

Social Distancing and the Pandemic of Caste

Social Distancing and the Pandemic of Caste

Friday, 20 March 2020

What is Chandrashekhar Azad's politics?


What is Chandrashekhar Azad's politics?
- SR Darapuri, I.P.S.(Retd) and President, Save Democracy Campaign
On March 15, Chandrashekhar Azad announced the formation of a new political party called Azad Samaj Party (ASP) which is welcome as in a democracy every citizen has the right to form his own party. But no announcement has been made about the agenda or politics of this party yet. Prima facie, so far, there has been a belief among the common people that its main aim is to do politics of Dalit Muslim alliance as seen from the conference related to the formation of the party. If it is true, then it is natural to raise the question whether it is a new version of social engineering of Dalit-Muslim alliance or something else. It is known that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which has converted from Bahujan to Sarvajan, is now on the verge of collapse by using such a formula because BJP has used its very formula to take away a large part of its constituency and has  taken  it under the umbrella of Hindutva.
Since Chandrasekhar claims to follow Kanshi Ram's political ideology, it is pertinent to analyze the ideology and strategy of Kanshi Ram's Bahujan politics. It is known that Kanshi Ram mobilized the Dalits with the slogan "Baba tera mission adhura, Kanshi Ram karenge pura" (Incomplete Mission of Babasaheb will be completed by Kanshi Ram) but did he ever define the mission of Babasaheb's politics. Did he follow Babasaheb's ideological and agenda-based politics? Did he ever adopt Babasaheb's mass movement based politics? Did he launch any land movement for land allotment of land to landless Dalits whereas BSP came to power four times? Did BSP implement its slogan "The land which belongs to govt, that land is ours" when it was power? Mayawati’s government has done the biggest injustice in 2008 by not allocating land to Dalits and Adivasis under the Forest Rights Act, due to which millions of Dalit and Adivasis are facing the brunt of eviction.
Did Kanshi Ram ever create or issue a Dalit agenda? Did he use "political power is the key to all problems" for the development of Dalits as implied in the second part of Babasaheb's slogan, "It (political power) should be used for the development of society?” Did he, like Babasaheb's speech in Agra, identify the landlessness of the Dalits as the biggest weakness of the Dalits and like Babasaheb called to struggle for land for the Dalits for the remainder of his life? In my knowledge, the answer to all these questions is only in "No".
It is well known that Babasaheb never asked for votes in the name of caste. All his politics was based on class interest. Babasaheb himself had said, "Politics which does not talk of class interest is a fraud". Whatever parties Babasaheb had formed (Independent Labour Party, Scheduled Castes Federation of India and Republican Party of India) all had a wide radical agenda. In it, Dalits workers, farmers, land distribution, women, industrialization, education and health facilities were the main issues. There was also an announcement to make special arrangements for the upliftment of the historically deprived sections like Dalits, Adivasis and Backward Classes. All the parties of Babasaheb periodically launched the land movement for the allotment of land, the biggest all India movement was organized by the Republican Party from 6 December 1964 to January 1965. During this Land Movement, more than 3 lakh party workers had courted arrest and the then Congress government was compelled to accept the demands of land allocation, minimum wages and debt relief etc. Did BSP ever launch a mass movement on these issues?
 In fact, Kanshi Ram established opportunistic and bargaining politics by ending Babasaheb's mass movement and agenda based politics. Are the Dalits not suffering the expense of Kanshi Ram's unprincipled, agenda less and opportunistic politics today? Did not Kanshi Ram's BSP join hands with the anti-Dalit BJP three times due to the greed for power? Didn't Kanshi Ram's BSP give tickets to the anti-Dalit goons and mafias with whom the Dalits fought? Is it correct to say that Kanshi Ram's mission was correct but Mayawati has deviated from it? If to be fair, it is totally correct to say that Mayawati has carried forward the agenda of Kanshi Ram with all sincerity. Mayawati is accused of selling tickets, but Kanshi Ram started it by selling Rajya Sabha ticket to Jayant Malhotra, a capitalist in 1994. Kanshi Ram also accepted it before me. In the same conversation, Kanshi Ram told me that he did not launch a  mass movement on Dalit issues,  the reason being that Dalits are weak to face police. Similarly about the conversion to Buddhism he said that there is no benefit from it. That is probably why he did not accept Buddhism. (By the way, even Mayawati has not adopted Buddhism, but it is her personal matter.) Regarding Dalit agenda, Kanshi Ram told me that we have prepared it but it is  being kept under lock in Delhi because he was afraid that if opened out, other people will steal and implement it. Perhaps that is why he never released the election manifesto. He said that whatever we have to do, we will do it only after coming into power.
Now if Chandrashekhar talks about advancing the mission of Kanshi Ram, then what is new in this? That mission has so far been completely exposed. Have the consequences of Kanshi Ram-Mayawati's politics not been fully revealed? Can Kanshi Ram brand opportunistic, power hungry and dogmatic politics be an answer to BJP’s current Hindutva Corporate-backed politics? Has not the earlier Bahujan politics of caste and community indirectly strengthened the Hindutva politics of the BJP? It is conceivable that Chandrasekhar has announced the formation of a new party, but like Kanshi Ram, nothing has been said about its agenda. Is this not a reiteration of Kanshi Ram's agenda less and opportunistic politics? Will the politics of Dalit-Muslim alliance prima facie not strengthen the Hindu-Muslim politics of the BJP? Does ASP have any agenda in front of BJP-Corporate politics? Can any one individual based party challenge a big party like BJP? Can BJP's fascism be countered by the alliance of some communities? Probably NOT.
It is clear from the above discussion that till now Chandrashekhar has announced to pursue the politics of Kanshi Ram, the consequences of which have already come to the fore. Therefore, today there is a need for a radical agenda-based democratic politics that raises important questions like land, employment, agricultural development, education, health services, and social justice and creates alternative politics. A politics that responds to the politics of RSS-BJP with Hindutva and Corporate alliances and is democratically driven in its character and prohibits individual and family centred politics. A politics that builds democratic culture while respecting the right to dissent and establishing citizenship. I am sure that this politics can be the only way for Dalit emancipation against all kinds of feudal exploitation. We are trying to make this only, and for this purpose, Save Democracy Campaign been launched in the entire state. I request Babasaheb's true followers to join the Save Democracy Campaign.
 Jai Bheem!