Wednesday, January 20, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Dalit: Towards The Search For Alternative Strategies

Dalit: Towards The Search For Alternative Strategies

By Rajkumar

19 January, 2010

This paper argues for the need for some strategies that suits the
emerging scenario in the given context of democratic space available
in the Indian and the mass psychology. I try to portrait a frame of
analysis for this argument which needs further debate and refinement
at various circles and level.

1. State repression can be fought legally in a given democratic space
at any levels. However, non-state-repression unleashed upon one
community by another can not be fought so easily, as the former enjoys
a silent and subtle approval and sanction so called majority
community. This trend is explicitly reflected at various instances. To
illustrate few: When Indira Gandhi was assassinated there was a
systematic attack on the Sikh community. This undemocratic violence
was then legitimised by statements such as 'when big trees falls earth
shakes'. The pogroms in Gujarat, anti-Bihari violence in Maharashtra,
fall in the same category. Salwa Judam mode of repression is one of
the indicators of institutionalisation of the non-state-repression.

2. In India, indeed, there is a very thin line between the state
repression and the non-state repression. While the former faces many
limitations and constraints due to international human rights
instruments and the constitutional frame-work, the later constantly
attempts to grab whatever available spaces and factors (such as
cultural unification, nationalistic sentiments, revitalisation of the
symbols/codes of manuvadhi caste system, mass communication medias,
bureaucracy, juries prudence, expanding the support base beyond
borders and seas) to augment and expand it.

3. The above process of augmentation & consolidation of
non-state-repression could be understood through various instances in
this country; let us have a look at a set of two instances. One: The
73rd Amendment and the PRI movement that followed have been a hot
topic of the ruling elite citing it as a greater step forward in
expanding the democracy in India. This faulty propaganda had been
later exposed to the whole world that was one of the world's most
stupid conceptions, when the world came to know that the elected local
Dalits had been prevented by the local dominant caste groups from
ascending to the chair. This '(un)democratic reality' sustained for a
long period, and neither the Honourable juris prudence nor the
governance system of state apparatus could do anything. Neither there
has been any organised country level agitation against this by the
body of civil society. This reality is the clear pointer of the fact
that there is a very close, invisible and organic linkage between the
state repression and the non-state repression systems. Now let us see
the second instance: This took place in Karnataka state in December
2009. Mr. K.H.Muniyappa is a Dalit, and a Member of Parliament and
Central Railway Minister of States. He also enjoys the credit of being
elected as an MP from his constituency for five consecutive terms, as
a Congress party candidate. He holds every right to have a surprise
visit to any of the railway stations to review and monitor various
renovation and expansion projects going on. When he was engaged in
such a visit in one such railway stations in Bangalore, a local MLA
who belongs to a regional dominant community in the state got agitated
on the grounds that the Central Railway Minister had violated the
protocol! The issue allegedly was that the local MLA had not been
informed about the visit as the railway station was located in his
constituency. The poor Dalit Minister of the Centre faced the wrath…
he was chased out from the railway station vicinity by local thugs,
who belong to none other than the same political party. These two
instances expose one single truth that the dictum of the majoritarian
- repressive culture is getting shaped so fast as a de facto framework
for governance system; it can on the one hand block the constitutional
rights entitled for the Dalit by negating/violating all sort of
protocols, norms and democratic principles, and on the other hand
humiliate a high-profiled person if he/she is a Dalit with the
disguise of protecting the official protocol. There is a silent
blessing for this on the part of the mass psychology in this country.
This is the dangerous sign of the growth of the perilous design.

4. Manuvadhi lobby perpetrates this perilous design, corporate sponsor
it, the section of hidden-manuvadhi silently approve it, secular civil
groups murmur over it, and subaltern secular protagonist lack to
understand this intrinsic dynamics, and finally the subalterns bear
it. I prefer to identify this trend as, the 'hidden-representation of
non-state repression'. This hidden representation is a wider level
phenomenon in India, which is organically inherent in Manuvadhi
culture, and is invisible for which the Dalits and Adivasis are the
major victims in India. At least in the case of Adivsi there is some
security mechanisms such as 5th Schedule. Whereas for Dalits even what
is available is accommodative mechanism to get co-opted into the
system which is actively engaged in twining state repression and
non-state repression, and forced to remain as silent spectators.

5. The subtle twining of state-repression and non-state repression is
the underlying socio-political processes in India. This meticulous
twining is carried out by all possible ways by using all potential
factors as pointer out earlier. This trend is further speeded up in
the neo-liberal casino economy which India is subscribed to, as the
global and Indian corporate have found out that this twining-mode pays
them multiple dividends - gaining greater access to and control over
human/natural resources, consolidating their position in policy making
processes and augmenting their control over governance systems.
Consequently this lead into unbridled appropriation of human/natural
resources for capital accumulation. Those who have ample knowledge and
well-versed skills in this twining-business make leap-frog strides. It
is indisputable fact that US is professionally carrying-on this
twining-business at global level for their imperialist expansion. They
succeeded in victimising the Muslim community and other progressive
countries by way of branding them 'the axis of evil'. The world
started believing it and there is a silent consensus for the mass
killing. The UN body being reduced into simple impotent and mere
spectator body of this atrocity is the reflection of this reality. The
same pattern is being efficiently taken forward in India.

6. The expansion and taking this perilous trend forward, clearly
depend on thinning the line between state-repression and non-state
repression. Salwa Judam is nothing but the epitome of this
thinning/twining business. More the thinning greater the expansion.
There is an urgent need for the Human Rights defenders in India to
re-strategize their intervention on this perspective rather then
investing their valuable resources on the western mode of
rights-defending. Already National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights
(NCDHR) has rightly paved way in that direction. That effort needs
greater consolidation at national level integrating and drawing
potential actors and resources.

7. The narrowing down of the gap between state-repression and
non-state repression (or twining them subtly) not only leads towards
expansion of virtual imperialist market economy but also buttressing
some sort of institutional sustainability to the obfuscate design. The
pace in which the amorphous system becoming overt in India is a
dangerous factor. I consider it is right time that groups particularly
the subaltern and pro-subaltern forces take cognizance of this factor
while designing their strategies. The next step forward for such
forces mainly relies on having a critical understanding of this trend.

Rajkumar accompanies peoples' organisations and groups in voluntary
sectors. He recently founded Black Basin - a forum for rights based
intervention in water sector in south India.


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