Wednesday, December 8, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Fwd: Caste still a reality

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Vidya Bhushan Rawat <>
Date: Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM
Subject: Caste still a reality

Understanding Bihar's verdict

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Bihar polls have brought 'smile' to many faces on our TV channels. As
Nitish Kumar romp through a landslide victory along with his ally in
the NDA, the media started writing obituary of Lalu Yadav as well as
Ram Vilas Paswan. I still remember a statement from George Fernandez
not to make mistake of writing obituary of political leaders unless
they are buried or cremated as they can always bounce back. There is
no scientific methodology for people to vote. A middle class hero Man
Mohan Singh could be defeated easily from a constituency like South
Delhi which is considered to be 'educated and well off'. Hence it is
too much if we think that caste has been eliminated from the minds of
people in Bihar in particular and India in general since our TV
'experts' wants us to believe so without changing their own caste

Yes, Bihar's results need more analysis and in-depth reading. Did Lalu
and Ram Vilas's arrogance hurt the voters? Did they take their voters
for granted? Is corruption not an issue with the Dalit Bahujan
communities? I think one will have to analyse the whole issue. Has
Mandal failed or the forces of social justice let down the Mandal
revolution in India with their continuously opportunistic and unholy
alliances with the caste forces?

Coincidently, when Bihar's Nitish Kumar government assumes office for
second term, a new scenario has emerged for the forces of Social
Justice which need to be understood. And it is post modern Mandalism
now with most backward communities challenging the status quo and
asking for the accountability. That you can not rule over them in the
name of Dalit and backward without providing a space for them in the
governance structure. If the political class in the name of social
justice does not come out of the family business, they will be wiped
out as happened in Bihar. The forces of social justice can not have
Gandhi family as their idol.

However, these polls also show the inadequacy of political system
where a party just getting 39% of the popular votes has got nearly 89%
seats in the assembly. Most of the media termed that Bihar has now got
rid of caste identities but the fact is that the Maha Dalits and most
backward castes are seeking their space and Nitish Kumar should not
feel that he can put the upper caste agenda on Bihar to term it as a
'casteless' state. How many of them are ready to leave their caste
interest aside and speak for a casteless society. Will the forces of
Hindutva work for a casteless society? If yes then the annihilation of
caste is annihilation of Brahmanism in India which is not really the
agenda of Nitish Kumar and his allies.

Nitish Kumar failed in implementing the Bandhopadhyay Commission
report on land redistribution. Just a few days before the election
results we saw violence against Dalits by powerful Bhumihar community
which seemed to enjoy Nitish Kumar's rule in Bihar. The violence by
Bhumihars on the Dalits was because of the land issue in Pathua
village of district Lakhisarai in which about 900 bighas of land
declared surplus under Ceiling Act was being encroached by the goons
of a particular Bhumihar leader as they wanted to uproot the Dalits
and most backward communities living on the said land. Land will
remain one of the most contentious issue and if Nitish Kumar in the
din of the euphoria created by corporate media ignore this issue then
he will meet the same fate as Lalu and Ram Vilas Paswan have met with.
That the most backward communities and Dalits have signaled to Bihar
politicians which largely revolved around powerful OBCs, Bhumihars,
Brahmin, Kayasthas and Rajputs that they too are an important segment
of state. The Pasmanda Muslims also joined hand with these forces and
hence the expectations are high. However, an attempt is being made to
convert the entire verdict into so-called developmental frame work.
While it is true that people want accountability from their leaders
and they want participation in power. They will not be satisfied with
the rhetoric of development. We all know Bihar remain peaceful during
the past few years as no displacement took place because of so-called
industrialization as it did not happen. The first phase of Nitish's
rule was basically roads, electricity and water but big companies are
eyeing Bihar now. Nitish Kumar should be careful enough to understand
that he can not take away people's land in the name of development. An
image is being created for Nitish Kumar as if he is the replica of
Naveen Patnayak of Orissa. Nitish should be careful enough in dealing
people's issues s Bihar is definitely not Orissa and any such
displacement of people will come to haunt him and decimate him for
ever. We know the media is very happy with 'merit' winning in Bihar
because they want to push their own agenda and get land for a few
corporate houses.

As Nitish takes over the reins of tomorrow, he would probably remember
his colleague and senior leader V P Singh's effort for probity in
public life. It is important to understand the importance of VP Singh
today and how Nitish could further that agenda of Mandal. The result
in Bihar are not end of Mandal politics but as VP Singh often remarked
that the Mandal forces have to capture the opposition space also. It
is important for the forces of social justice to be free from
corruption and family business. Nitish Kumar could do it. Bihar's
voter was very clear this time when they defeated all the major
Bahubalis and those who thought politics as family domain. In the
realm of social justice politics there are very few who did not leave
behind any family legacy for the others.

We know it very well that the corporate run media is hell bent to undo
the historical change of the post Mandal era. They do it with all
their might. Using every thing under their belt to scuttle all the
voices of social justice. It is not for the unknown reasons that
V.P.Singh still remains one of the most hated politicians of the
country. Lalu and Ramvilas must understand. Nitish and Sharad may
understand it even when they are being glorified by the same upper
caste media which villainised them in 1990. Is not it a fact that
Sharad Yadav and

Ram Vilas Paswan were two most hated face along with V P Singh during
those tumultuous years that India faced just because a government
dutifully promised to implement the Mandal Commission Report.

It is time to revisit that. It is time for introspection. The
political forces of social justice actually betrayed themselves. The
issue of corruption may not look important to all those ideologues who
are in a comparative mode but it affects the common people. It does
not matter whether the corruption involve Karunanidhi, Lalu Yadav or
Rajiv Gandhi. It simply means loss of generation for poor in India. It
means denial of their right and basic facilities. And people today are
judging their political leaders. They understand that the political
class is corrupted by the power politics and that is why Lalu and
Rabri might not have thought that she will face such humiliating
defeat in her own den where Yadavas called the shot. The verdict is
clear that you can not take your own community for granted. May be
they could have learnt a few lesson from Kanshi Ram who had no family
to place over the people. He created a Mayawati and a committed cadre
in BAMSEF and among various Dalit communities and people accepted her
wholeheartedly. Ofcourse, Mayawati too, should take a few lessons from
Bihar verdict even when Bihar and Uttar-Pradesh are quite contrast yet
none should take their own community as for granted. Mayawati will
have to work for Sarvjan but not at the cost of the Dalits in
Uttar-Pradesh otherwise the most loyal voter will ditch her. There is
a limit to the people's patience. That is one big lesson we get from
the defeat of close relatives of both Ram Vilas Paswan as well as Lalu
Yadav. One can not term mere representation of one's family as the
'voice' of people. You will have to go beyond slogans and create a
movement. People are not going to believe in your hollow secularism
unless you launch an anti caste struggle. Unfortunately, anti caste
movement was never on the agenda of those who claimed the legacy of
social justice movement in India. Yes, we need people with clean image
and clear ideology to fight against the brahmanical forces who are
basking over the glory of Bihar's rejection to 'caste'. One hope
Nitish Kumar understand that caste is the real cause of poverty in
Bihar as well as in India. Mushahars, Dushadhs, Nishads, Chamars, Doms
are not poor because of their class only but because they were born in
these particular communities. So, he will have to reach them. He
formed Maha Dalit to break the greater Dalit alliance and
unfortunately none noticed it but the fact is these are the time of
alliance building. Nitish's alliance is still artificial as there can
not be any alliance between the exploiters and exploited. Nitish
Kumar's upper caste vote bank will still not want that land reform be
implemented and land be redistributed to poor. That Lalu too does not

It is important to break the myth of Bihar's revolution. Bihar
actually has little to offer to Dalits as the politics here is very
much a domain game of powerful upper castes verses neo powerful OBCs.
Dalits and Muslims are just an annexure to their broader agenda. It's
similar to what is happening in Tamilnadu in the name of social
justice. It is actually the biggest failure of Ramvilas Paswan and
Lalu Yadav as they failed to reach the poorest Dalit and economically
backward communities who were feeling marginalized and left out.
Nitish Kumar carefully cultivated them along with Muslims and
succeeded. Those pretending to lead anti caste forces must unite all
such forces victim of caste forces in Bihar in complete harmony and
not mere followers of a few individuals and their families.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat
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