Saturday, 19 January 2019
Dr Ambedkar and Politics of Caste - Mainstream Weekly: by S.R. Darapuri Dr Ambedkar is said to be the father of Dalit politics because he was the first person to fight for the political rights of (...)
Sunday, 9 December 2018
Caste and Communal Biases in Police
SR Darapuri I.P.S. (Retd)
Recently a video of a police officer from Maharashtra, Bhagyashree Navtake had gone viral wherein she is seen bragging about how she files false cases against Dalits and tortures them and Muslims. It represents a crude but true picture of social prejudices in India’s police force.
After all our police men come from the society, hence the police organisation is the true replica of our society. It is well known that our society is divided on caste, religion and regional lines. Therefore, when the people from the society enter the police organisation they carry all their biases and prejudices with them. Rather they become stronger when such persons come to occupy positions of power. Their personal likes and dislikes; caste and communal prejudices influence their actions very strongly. These biases are often displayed in their behaviour and actions in situations where persons of other castes or communities are involved.
A situation of blatant caste discrimination came to my notice when I was posted as Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Gorakhpur in 1976. As ASP I was in charge of Reserve Police Lines. On one Tuesday which was a Parade Day, while taking round of Police Mess I found that some persons were taking food sitting on the cemented tables and benches whereas some were sitting on the ground. It struck me as odd. I called one Head Constable and enquired about this dining situation. He told me that those sitting on the benches are high caste men and those sitting on the ground are low caste men. I was wonder struck to see this blatant display of caste discrimination in the Police Lines. I decided to end this discriminatory practice. Hence on the next occasion when I noticed the same situation I asked the police men sitting on the ground to get up and sit on the benches. I had to repeat it once or twice and was able to discontinue this discriminatory practice of segregated dining. Incidentally during that very period I was asked by my boss to give a report on the observations made by Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes which in its report of 1974 had mentioned that there was a practice of segregated messing in Police Lines of eastern U.P. and Bihar. I told my boss that it was true and I had abolished this practice only recently. He told me that I should just mention that it is not there now. I don’t know about other districts of eastern U.P. but it was abolished by me in Gorakhpur district.
It came into news reported sometimes back that even today the practice of not only segregated dining but there are separate barracks for high and low caste men in Bihar Police. It is shocking that it continues even today whereas Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had pointed out this discriminatory practice as back as 197. Actually the police force on account of its composition is dominated by high caste men and such discriminatory practices continue unabated. It is only due to reservation policy that some persons belonging to low castes especially Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs) have found a place in police force which has made the force more secular and representative. But still the caste biases are quite strong in police men.
As we know there have been very frequent complaints of communal bias against Provincial Armed Constabulary in U.P. I found it to be true when I was posted as Commandant of 34 Bn P.A.C. Varanasi in 1979. On noticing it I had to make lot of efforts to secularise my men. I always made it a point to sermonise them to be above caste and communal biases. I used to tell them that religion is your personal affair and you are only police men when you put on your uniform and are duty bound to act according to law. My constant briefing and debriefing had very salutary effect on them and I was able to secularise my men. It came very clear in 1991 during a communal riot situation in Varanasi. The occasion was the General election of 1991. One retired I.P.S. officer Shri Chand Dixit was contesting election from Varanasi city as a Vishav Hindu Parishad (VHP) candidate. As usual VHP engineered a communal riot to keep the Muslims away from voting. As a result curfew was imposed. News appeared in the papers that PAC men had resorted to looting and beating up in a Muslim locality. I immediately started making an enquiry. To my surprise I found that these were not PAC men but Border Security Force (BSF) men who had resorted to looting, destroying property and beating up of old men and women in the Muslim area. It shows that communal biases exist not only in PAC men but even among Central Para Military forces. No such complaint was received from the locality where men of my Battalion were posted.
I have experienced that the behaviour of lower ranks of police mainly depends on the behaviour and attitudes of the higher officers. If higher officers have caste and communal biases they are likely to accentuate the same among the men under them. I have personally seen many top ranking police officers openly displaying their caste and communal biases. What to talk of lower ranks even many I.P.S. officers do not show any change in their attitudes towards lower castes and other communities after such a rigorous training. Actually change of attitude of a person is the most difficult thing because it requires a lot of effort to relieve one of ingrained prejudices and biases. Communal biases are so often displayed in so called terror cases where there are lot of complaints of false implications of Muslims.
It is also my personal experience that role model of the higher officers plays a very important role in changing the attitudes and behaviour of lower ranks. As mentioned earlier, as Commandant of 34 Bn PAC I continuously briefed my men to be secular and free of caste and communal prejudices. My efforts gave a very good result during 1992 when Ram Mandir movement was in full swing. One day Bajrang Dal people had planned to have a demonstration. They were to collect in the premises of famous Hanuman Mandir of Varanasi city. The administration had planned to arrest them as soon as they came out of Mandir gate. They had put PAC men to surround the agitators and put them in the buses. S.P. City and City Magistrate were on the spot. When the agitators came out of gate the officers on duty ordered the PAC men to surround them and put them in the buses. But to their utter shock PAC men did not move at all and the agitators started moving towards the city. Then more PAC men had to be rushed to the spot from the City Control Room. As soon as they arrived they surrounded the agitators and put them in the buses. Thus a possible disturbance in the city could be avoided due to the prompt action of these PAC men. Happily these PAC men belonged to my Battalion. The other PAC men who had refused to act belonged to another Battalion which was notorious for indiscipline. This prompt action by my men was appreciated by district administration and the recalcitrant PAC men were removed from the duty. The point which I am trying to make is that leadership in a uniform force makes a lot of difference.
As seen from the video of the Beed I.P.S. officer Bhagyashree Navtake, it is obvious that if officers like her occupy a position of authority they are likely to act in a partial manner. A constant watch needs to be kept on such officers. They should not be put on such duties where they can display their prejudices. It is also necessary to change the composition of police force by recruiting more men from minorities in order to make it representative and secular. Training programmes for both officers and men should be organised to sensitise them about SC/ST, minorities and women issues.
Thursday, 15 November 2018
Dr. Ambedkar and Politics of Caste Identity
-SR Darapuri I.P.S.(Retd) and Organiser, Jan Manch
Dr. Ambedkar is said to be the father of Dalit politics because he was the first person to fight for the political rights of Dalits. He was the person who during the Round Table Conferences (1930-32), called in connection with the framing of future constitution of India, got the Dalits (Depressed Classes) recognised as a minority distinct from the Hindus and got the right to separate electorate just like Muslims, Sikhs and Anglo Indians. On the announcement of “Communal Representation Award” in 1932, whereby the Depressed Classes also got a right to separate electorate, Mahatma Gandhi declared to resort to fast unto death under the plea that it will break the Hindu society whereas he had no objection to the similar right given to Sikhs and Muslims. At last under great pressure and to save Gandhi’s life Dr. Ambedkar had to sign the Poona Pact whereby he had to sacrifice Dalit’s right to independent politics and agree to joint electorate with reserved seats.
As per decision taken in the Round Table Conference a new law named Government of India Act-1935 was enacted which came into force in 1936. Under this Act the first election was declared to be held in 1937. In order to participate in this election Dr. Ambedkar established Independent Labour Party in August, 1936 which contested election on 17 seats in Bombay Presidency and won 15 seats. After this on 19th July, 1942 he formed another party known as All India Scheduled Castes Federation (AISCF). This party contested election held in 1946 and 1952 but lost them under the adverse impact of Poona Pact. As a result of it Dr. Ambedkar himself lost the election in 1952 and 1954. At last Dr. Ambedkar dissolved AISCF on 14th October, 1956 at Nagpur and announced the formation of Republican Party of India (RPI). He himself drafted the constitution of this party. In reality this party came into existence on 3 October, 1957 after his death on 6th December, 1956. According to these details Dr. Ambedkar established three political parties during his life time. Out of these only RPI has survived but badly fragmented.
In the present context it is to be seen whether through these parties pursued the caste politics or politics based on issues of different classes. It requires an in-depth analysis of agendas of these parties established by Dr. Ambedkar.
Let us first of all see the agenda of Independent Labour Party. Dr. Ambedkar while enunciating the aims and objectives of this party had said,” Having regard to the fact that the present was no time for parties communally organised, he had in agreement with the wishes of the friends broadened the name and the programme of the party so as to permit political co-operation between other classes and the Depressed Classes. The nucleus of the party would still be the 15 members of the Depressed Classes. But the members of the other classes were free to join the party.” The manifesto of the Party included solution to the problems of landless, poor farmers, tenants and labourers, to re-establish old and set up new industries, consolidation of small land holdings, expansion of technical education, state management of industries, to stop
exploitation of tenants by landlords and expulsion there from, laws for the protection of workers, to punish every type of orthodoxy and reaction, expansion of education with donations, to re-plan village housing for cleanliness in order to change their mind set and establish library, hall and cinema house. The Party mainly emphasised on the welfare of workers and farmers. The main effort of the Party was to educate the people in democratic methods, to put correct ideology before them and to organise them through political actions. Thus it is clear that party’s politics was not based on caste lines rather it was based on common issues and Dalits were at the centre of this party. It was opposition party in Congress government of Bombay Presidency. During this period the party got many useful laws enacted. Due to opposition by this Party the Industrial Dispute Bill could not be passed.
Now let us have a look at the aims, objectives and agenda of AISCF established in 1942. By establishing this party Dr. Ambedkar had aimed at creating a balance between Congress and Socialist Parties. The main issues of its manifesto were: All the Indians are entitled to equality, in favour of political, religious and economic equality for all Indians, state responsibility to keep all Indians free from want and fear, to protect liberty, equality and fraternity, freedom from exploitation of man by man, class by class and nation by nation and duty of the state to protect democratic system and under economic programme: nationalization of insurance, compulsory insurance for all government employees and prohibition. Although under the adverse effect of Poona Pact this party could not show much electoral victories but still party agenda and peoples movements like land movements made the Untouchables to organise under one flag which instilled confidence in Dalits. From the programme of the AISCF it is clear that although Dalits were at the centre of the party but instead of caste politics the party pursued broad agenda based politics.
As mentioned earlier keeping in view the changed circumstances and needs of the people Dr. Ambedkar announced the formation of a new political party named “Republican Party of India’ (RPI) on 14th October, 1956 at Nagpur. He himself drafted its constitution. In establishing this party his objective was to have a party whose aims and objectives should be in accordance with the promises made in our constitution and to pursue their fulfilment. He did not want to it to be a party of the Untouchables only because a party formed in the name a caste and class cannot win power as at the most it can become a pressure group only. The main objectives behind the formation of RPI were: (1) The inequalities should be removed from the society so that there is no privileged and deprived section, (2) There should be two party system: one in power and one in opposition. (3) Equality before law and equal protection of law, (4) To establish moral values in society, (5) Equal treatment with minorities, (6) To develop a feeling of humanity which has been lacking in Indian society.
“In the preamble of the constitution of the party the main aims and objectives mentioned are: To realise liberty, equality and fraternity. The party programme was very broad. Dr. Ambedkar’s main idea behind formation of this party was to bring minorities, poor Muslims, poor Christians, poor and low caste Sikhs and poor class untouchables, backward class people, aborigines and all those people who want end of exploitation, justice and progress under one flag and protect their constitutional rights by confronting the capitalists.” (Dalit Politics and Organisations by Bhagwan Das).
RPI was officially established in 1957 after the parinirvaan of Babasaheb. The party contested General Elections of 1957 and 1962. In addition to Maharashtra RPI won many seats in other parts of India. In 1957 it won 12 Lok Sabha and 29 State Assembly seats. In 1962 it won 3 Lok Sabha and 20 State Assembly seats. In 1967 it won 1 Lok Sabha and 22 State Assembly seats. It also launched struggle for land distribution, reservation in services, minimum wages, reservation for neo-Buddhists. Persons from Muslims, Sikhs and Jains also joined the party. Among them Rajinder Singh Sparrow from Punjab, Dr. Abbas Malik from Delhi, Rahat Molayi, Dr. Chhedi Lal Saathi and Nasir Ahmad from Uttar Pradesh,S.H.Ghosh from West Bengal, Rao Bahadur N. Shivraj (Madras) wee prominent persons. The Party launched a nationwide land movement from 6th December, 1964 to February, 1965 and more than 3 lacs of people courted arrests. The Congress government under this pressure had to accept land distribution and all other demands. During this period RPI emerged as a strong party of Dalits, Muslims and Backward Classes but after 1962 the party started disintegrating. Its main reason was that by this time RPI had become a threat to the then ruling Congress Party. The main weakness of this party was that its membership was mostly confined to Maharas in Maharashtra and Chamars in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress leaders started exploiting this weakness to break it. To begin with they enticed Dadasaheb Gayakvad and made him a Member of the Rajya Sabha. On this point the party broke into two groups: Dadsaheb Gayakvad Group and B.D.Khobragade Group. After this the party fragmented into groups after the name of its leader. At present the party is divided into many factions who have become totally ineffective. Although these faction use the name of RPI but they have nothing to do with its agenda. Now and then they enter into alliances with different politic parties and gain a little sometime.
After the downfall of RPI, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) came up in northern India which promised to fulful
From the above analysis one thing becomes clear that Dr. Ambedkar never favoured politics of Identity because it strengthens casteism. It indirectly strengthens Hindutva. Dr. Ambedkar had aimed at destroying caste and make Indian society a castless and classless society. Whichever parties were formed by Dr. Ambedkar they were not caste parties because their aims, objectives and agendas were broad. It is true that Dalits were at their centre but their programmes were broad and case neutral. They were for the upliftment of all the poor classes. So long as RPI followed the principle of never making an alliance with orthodox Hindutva parties and stuck to its radical agenda it succeeded in uniting Dalits, Workers and Minorities. So long there was internal democracy in the party and it struggled for people’s issues, it flourished. But as soon as it fell into the trap of politics of individualism and casteism it declined.
Hence, if the present fragmented Dalit politics is to rescued and revived it has to come out of caste politics and adopt issue based politics. It will have to free itself from the clutches of selfish caste leaders. Dalits should know that caste politics gives sanction to hero worship and dictatorship. In caste politics individuals become primary and issues become secondary. The experience so far has proved that caste politics gives rise to caste confrontation and caste rivalry which is an obstacle in the unity of the castes. That is why many small sub-castes of Dalits have joined hands with BJP in reaction against bigger sub-castes which is a big danger for unity of Dalits. Hence in the face of this danger it is necessary that Dalits should revaluate their political parties and political leaders. They should get rid themselves of these divisive forces and adopt a pro-people, progressive and issue based politics. In fact our country now does not need casteist political parties but a united anti-caste alliance. Otherwise castes will get strengthened which nurtures politics of religion which is the biggest danger for democracy.
Wednesday, 7 November 2018
Sunday, 14 October 2018
A Brief History of Republican Party of India’s Success Journey
(RPI formed by Dr. Ambedkar was in second position in India from 1957-1967)· * Founder: Dr. Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar
* Date of establishment: 30th September, 1956 (Delhi)
· Open declaration: 3rd October, 1957 (Nagpur)
· National President: Rao Bahadur N. Shivraj (Madras)
· Working President: Barrister Rajabhau Khobragadhe (Maharashtra)
Members: B.K. Gaikwad, B.C. Kamble, H.D. Awle, R.D. Bhandare (Maharashtra), Dutta Katti, Armugam (Karnataka), Ishwaribai, Sunder Rajan (Andhra Pradesh), Channan Ram (Punjab), B.P. Maurya (Uttar Pradesh)
· People who were elected to Lok Sabha in 1957
· Total number of Members of Parliament- 12
· MPs on Reserve Seats: 1) Dutta Katti (Mysore) 2) Rao Bahadur N. Shivraj (Madras), 3) B.K. Gaikwad (Nasik) 4) B.C. Kamble (Ahmednagar) 5) B.G. Salunke (Poona) 6) Karsandas Pramar (Ahmadabad, Gujarat), 7) Harihar Rao Sonule (Nadedh), 8) S.K. Dighe (Kohlapur), 9) G.K. Mane (Bombay), 10) Kajrolkar (Bombay).
In addition to this two MPs were elected from General Seats.
· Vidhan Sabha Seats: Total 29 Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs).
Maharashtra: (16)- 1) R.D. Bhandare (Bombay), 2) G.B. Kamble (Ratnagiri), 3) J.T. Bhatankar (Bombay). 4) A.G. Ladhe (Poona), 5) P.T. Madhale (South Satara), 6) Dr. Bandisod (Satara), 7) R.D. Pawar (Ahmednagar), 8) Tanaji Gaikwad (Kolaba), 9) D.S. Shirke (kohlapur), 10) P.H. Boria (Bombay), 11) T.R. Kankal (Vidharbha), 12) A.G. Pawar, 13) Chaure, 14) Kamble, 15) Patne, 16) Shambharkar.
Punjab: (5)- 1) Karam Chand, 2) Babu Ram, 3) Bhagat Singh, 4) Ishwar Singh, 5) Indar Singh (General Caste).
Karanataka: (2)- 1) Adimulam, 2) R. Mugam
Andhra Pradesh: (1) - Anatiya
With the help of these MLAs, Barrister Rajabhau Khobragade was elected as Member of Rajya Sabha in 1958.
The total number of the votes scored was about 21, 73,000.
In 1962, the following representatives were elected:-
· Lok Sabha (3 MPs)- 1) B.P. Maurya (U.P.), 2) Sanghpriya Gautam (U.P.), 3) Muzaffar Hussein (U.P.)
· Vidhan Sabha (20 MLAs)-
Uttar Pradesh (10) - Dr. Chhedi Lal Saathi, 2) Dr. Prakash and others.
Maharashtra (3)- 1) D.P. Meshram, 2) Sangludhkar, 3) Shambharkar
Punjab (5), Madhya Pradesh (1), Andhra Pradesh (1)
Total votes secured in 1962 were 32,21,000.
RPI representatives elected in 1967
· Lok Sabha (1)- Ramji Ram (Uttar Pradesh).
· Vidhan Sabha (22)-
Uttar Pradesh (8) - 1) Asrad, 2) Ahmed 3) Shamim Alam and others
Maharasthra (5), Punjab (3), Haryana (2), Andhra Pradesh (2), Karnataka (1), Bihar (1)- Shri Lal
Total votes secured by RPI were 36, 76,000.
In this way RPI formed by Dr. Ambedkar was in second position in India from 1957-1967. Not only this, it was a powerful opposition party. In those days this party had major support from Samta Sainik Dal (SSD) which had people from SC, ST, OBCs and minority communities ‘karamcharis’ (workers).
During 1958-59 it was a united movement of farmers, agricultural labourers and educated youth. That is why this organization had actively taken part in united Maharashtra movement resulting in formation of Maharashtra state on 1st May, 1960.
On 6th December, 1964, RPI had organized a nationwide Satyagraha for land. In this more than 3,70,000 satyagrahis were arrested by the government and 13 died. As a result of this, Congress government was forced to distribute 2,00,000 acres of land to landless people. In 1972, Barrister Raja Bhau Khobragade, MP of RPI, had demanded in Lok Sabha the distribution of land to the landless by imposing a ceiling of 20 acres on agricultural land holding. As a result, PM Ms. Indira Gandhi passed Ceiling Act in the Parliament and land over the ceiling limit was distributed to landless.
During the famine in Maharashtra in 1971, RPI had organized ‘Dharna’ (Morcha) on the Government and administrative offices and forced the government to start work in the famine stricken areas. Not only this Mahatma Phule, Anna Bhau Sathe, Vasant Rao Naik ‘Maha Nigams’ were formed and forced government to start various projects for the farmers and landless labourers resulting in everybody (common man) getting right of living (support for living).
In 1977, recommendations were made by Mandal Aayog to implement reservations and scholarships for OBCs. And in the whole country Buddhists were to be given reservations also (part of recommendations). For these demands 1,00,000 members of RPI got themselves arrested as a result, during the period of V.P. Singh’s government in 1990. Central government gave acceptance to Mandal Commission’s Recommendations. And in 1999, during the time of BJP, Prime Minister Atal BIhari Vajpayee, a fascist circular was issued to start Sanskrit and Astronomy in the curriculum which was strongly opposed by RPI from Taluka level onwards. As a result BJP PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was forced to withdraw this ‘fatwa’. This effectively saved the future generation of India from falling prey to blind faith. In these days only BJP PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee has constituted ‘Venkatachaliah Commission’ to review the Constitution which was a non-constitutional committee and to oppose this RPI came on the streets and carried out demonstrations fiercely. A Samvidhan Jan Chetna Rally, a march on foot, was organized from Chaitya Bhoomi, Mumbai to Diksha Bhoomi, Nagpur (about 1500km distance) by National Governor of SSD Advocate Vimal Surya Chimankar to bring consciousness among people.
In case of any atrocities against Dalits and oppressed, minority communities, RPI workers came on roads, worked hard and at times even lost their lives in the struggle. Since RPI is an Ambedkarite ‘Jan Chetna’, whenever there were atrocities against the depressed classes they fought fearlessly like for the Riddles in Hinduism book issue in 1987, Reservation in 1977, Renaming of Marathwada University in 1988, Issue of Ghatkopkar in 1997 or Khairlanji in 2006. All these issues were fought by RPI and looking at this power of RPI, Congress was able to break RPI by showing ‘carrots’ to the leaders of RPI. Since then till now, Congress party which is a single family party continued to rule for a longer time. During this time, BJP started their efforts to bring Brahmanical order in government and they made Kanshi Ram, a Dalit Leader, to break RPI by sending BAMCEF. On 6th December, 1978, he was made the president of BAMCEF and in 1984 he established BSP and diverted RPI votes towards his party. That is how Mayawati became the CM of UP. Today Congress is conspiring to destroy Parliamentary democracy by bowing down before Anna Hazare and for this they are supported by BJP, BSP and SP. If they succeed in this, there are full chances of having a dictatorship in this country. This is the time, it is important for RPI to unite because the aims and objectives of RPI are best but it is beneficial for humanity. No constitution of any party includes the human values of Equality, Freedom, Fraternity and Justice included in the Preamble of the Constitution written by Dr. Ambedkar.
Similarly, the right to equal justice, self-discipline itself, equality, equal, equal opportunity,
freedom from slavery, hunger, fear is contained in the Constitution of
RPI party of Dr. Ambedkar only. Democracy remains intact due to these elements.
That is why; if we want to save the democracy we will have to strengthen RPI.
Adv. Vimalsurya Chimankar,
Samta Sainik Dal.