Monday, 26 March 2012

The Politics of Knowledge And Caste By Braj Ranjan Mani

The Politics of Knowledge And Caste By Braj Ranjan Mani

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Why Dalits have slammed Mayawati’s Sarvjan Rule? S.R.Darapuri

Why Dalits have slammed Mayawati’s Sarvjan Rule?
S.R.Darapuri

Recently on the declaration of the results of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) Assembly Election 2012 Mayawati claimed that although her party Bahujan samaj Party (BSP) has lost the election but her Dalit vote bank is in tact. But if we analyze the election results her claim is found to be false and misleading.
Let us first of all look at the total population of Dalits in U.P. and the votes secured by Mayawati . Dalit population in U.P. is about 21% of the total population and they are divided into 66 sub castes. Out of these sub castes Chamar/Jatavs – 56.3%, Pasis- 15.9% Dhobi, Kori, and Balmiki- 15.3% , Gond, Dhanuk and Khatik- 5%, 9 sub- castes e.g. Rawat, Bahelia, Kharwar and Kol- 4.5% and remaining 49 sub castes are about 3% in number.
Chamar/Jatavs are dominant in Azamgarh, Agra, Bijnor, Saharanpur, Gorakhpur and Muradabad districts. Pasis dominate in Sitapur, Rai Bareilly, Hardoi, and Allahabad districts. The remaining groups like Dhobi, Kori, and Balmiki are in good number in Bareilly, Sultanpur, Partapgarh, Behraich, Akbarpur and Faizabad districts.
Based on the population figures of Dalits in above districts it will be appropriate to analyze the number of reserved seats won by BSP. If we look at the results of 2007 Assembly Election it is seen that BSP had won 62 out of 89 reserved seats whereas Samajvadi Party (SP) - 13. Congress- 5 and BJP – 7 seats. In this election BSP had secured about 30% votes. During 2009 Lok Sabha election out of 17 reserved seats BSP had won 2, SP- 10 and Congresss-2. In this election BSP’s vote share had declined to 27% thereby showing a fall of 3% over 2007 election vote share. The main reason for this downfall in vote share was caused by the dislike of Mayawati’s Sarvjan formula by Dalits. It was a warning signal for Mayawati but she did not heed it.
Now if we look at the results of 2012 Assembly Elections the main reason for the fall of Mayawati appears to be the decline of her Dalit vote share in addition to the loss of Muslim, Most Backward Classes and general category votes. This time out of 85 reserved seats Mayawati could win 15 seats only whereas SP has grabbed as many as 55 seats. Among these 85 reserved seats winners 35 are Chamar/Jatavs and 25 Pasis. Out of these 21 Pasis belong to SP and only 2 belong to BSP. Among 15 reserved seats won by Mayawati 13 are Chamar/Jatvas and only 2 are Pasis. From the analysis of reserved seats it transpires that the factor responsible for Mayawati’s defeat is fall in dalit votes in reserved constituencies. The failure at general constituencies is also due to decline in dalit votes. This time Mayawati could garaner 26% vote share which was 4% less than 2007 vote share.
If we analyse the reserved seats won by BSP it transpires that she has got these seats mostly in western U.P. where her own sub caste Jatav is in majority. She won 7 reserved seats in western U. P. and only 8 from rest of U.P. Mayawati could win very few seats in Pasi and Kori dominated districts. In eastern, central and southern (Bundelkhand) U.P. where Chamar sub- caste dominates Mayawati’s share in seats has been very limited. From this election result it has become clear that whereas on the one side Mayawati’s Pasi, Kori, Dhobi, Khatik and Balmiki vote has shifted away, on the other side out of Chamar/Jatav vote bank which comprises of 70% Chamar and 30% Jatavs, the Chamar votes have also moved away from her. That is why Mayawati could win seats mostly in western U.P which is dominated by Jatavs, her own sub- caste.
The main factors responsible for decline in Mayawati’s Dalit vote bank are her corruption, misgovernance, lack of development, neglect of Dalit atrocities and her autocraticstance. Most of dalits have also not relished Mayawati’s excessive idolization by ignoring Dalit issues. In an attempt to keep her Sarvjan voters in good humour by neglecting dalit atrocities, Mayawati made the Dalits suffer doubly. In order to keep Dalit atrocity crime figures low, under the pretext of misuse of this Act (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989) she diluted it in writing in 2001 and later on through oral hints. This took a heavy toll of Dalits. The result was that neither the culprits were punished due to non registration of cases nor Dalits could get monetary compensation admissible under the rules of this Act.
A notion developed among dalits that all the benefits of her government have been grabbed by Chamar and Jatav community which is though not wholly true. This notion made the non Chamar/Jatav sub -castes to move away from BSP. Now if we look at the reality of this notion it comes out that only those Dalits have benefited from BSP rule who were a party to the personal corruption of Mayawati. It is seen that during her regime those Dalits were also persecuted who had not voted for BSP. Their atrocity cases were not registered at police stations. There is a general allegation that Mayawati has created a corrupt, lumpen and exploiter cadre who did not spare even the dalits. This very class is very vocal in justifying Mayawati’s corruption, opportunism and anti- dalit acts. Corruption of dalit cadre is the biggest disservice of Mayawati to the dalit movement.
An other factor responsible for Mayawati’s defeat is that she has been often boasting that her vote bank is transferable. With this confidence she has been selling Assembly and Lok Sabha election tickets to the highest bidder. As a result many dalit oppressors, mafias, criminals and moneyed persons were able to get BSP tickets and Mayawati ordered the Dalits to vote for them. But this time Dalits refused to obey Mayawati’s dictates and did not vote for BSP candidates. Secondly these MLAs and ministers of Mayawati did not do any thing for dalits and were involved in corruption and anti-dalit activities. Many of her MLAs and ministers were involved in rape, murder and corruption cases. Dalts were angry with BSP MLAs as they did not do any thing for dalits and hence this time they were determined to defeat them. Thirdly Mayawati centralized every thing in her hands and her MLAs became helpless creatures and were not in a position to do any thing. This also resulted in their defeat.
Mayawati’s opportunist and corrupt politics has resulted in blurring the vision of Dalits who are now unable to make a difference between their friends and foes. The fight against the so called Manuvaad (Brahmanism) and casteism has been weakened because BSP phenomenon has given birth to a corrupt and lumpen class who use caste label for personal gain only. They have no concern with Dalit issues. According to one analysis U.P. dalits are far behind the Dalits of all other states on development parameters. Only Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh Dalits are a bit backward than U.P. Dalits. About 60% of U.P. Dalits are below poverty line (BPL) and 60% of Dalit women suffer from malnutrition. According to a recent survey by CRY 70% of dalit children suffer from malnutrition. A majority of U.P. Dalits are agriculture labourers and they face unemployment and lack of means of production. In order to keep her Sarvjan partners in good humour Mayawati did not carry forward land reforms which would have been the best means of Dalit empowerment. Due to all pervadive corruption all the welfare schemes like MNREGA, Anganvadi scheme , Indira Avaas Yojna, various pension schemes for widows, old and Disabled persons fell victim to corruption and dalits along with others were deprived of their benefits.
Mayawati detached herself from the public and the people had no opportunity to tell their vows to her. On account of these reasons Dalits rejected Mayawati as is reflected in election results.
Some people, taking Mayawati as a sole representative of Dalit politics and Dalit movement, raise a question about the future of Dalit Politics and Dalit Movement. In this connection it should be clarified that Mayawati does not represent the whole Dalit Politics and Dalit Movement. Mayawati is just one Dalit politician whose influence is limitd to U.P. only. She does not have any significant following in other parts of the country. There various dalit outfits are carrying on political activity in their own way. Punjab has got the highest percentage of Dalit population but BSP has no place there.
As regards Dalit movement it has got social and religious facets. Mayawati has got no role in it. Conversion to Buddhism as initiated by Dr. Ambedkar is being carried out by Dalits themselves. Mayawati has got no role there. Dalits and some Buddhist organizations are carrying on this activity on their own. Mayawati herself is not a Buddhist. Even her mentor Kanshi Ram did not believe in the efficacy of religious conversion in Dalit emancipation. No doubt Mayawati has tried to allure the Dalits by constructing one Buddha Vihar in Lucknow. She has been using the Buddhist religious symbols for political purpose. Actually Mayawati and Kanshi Ram believed in using caste identity for political mobilization. They did not believe in breaking the caste. Dr. Ambedkar had said that establishment of a casteless and classless society is our national motto. But Kanshi Ram and Mayawati did not believe in it. Actually they stand for using caste against caste in politics and thereby perpetuating it.
From the above brief analysis it is clear that Mayawti’s claim of her Dalit vote bank remaining in tact is false and misleading. Perhaps Mayawati is still suffering from the illusion that her dalit vote bank is in tact. Mayawati seems to be following the Congress policy of claiming the Dalits and Muslims as her committed vote bank. Congress blackmailed the Muslims by giving out that only Congress can save them from the tyranny of Hindu majority and they should never think of moving away from it. Similarly Mayawati has been blackmailing the Dalits so that they don’t move away from her and other parties also should not try to allure them. She has cleverly distanced the Dalits from mainstream political parties and declared them to be fully committed to her. But now Dalits have freed themselves from Mayawati’s spell. It is now expected that Dalits will take a lesson from BSP experiment in U.P. and opt for a radical, Ambekarite, issue based political alternative and will move out of casteist, opportunistic and unprincipled politics. Only this approach can lead to their political, social and religious emancipation and empowerment.