WHIPLASH: Maya and her ilk drive Dalits to double despair
Last updated at 8:47 PM on 6th March 2012
One of the most reassuring outcomes of the assembly polls is the
comprehensive defeat of Mayawati and the obvious rejection of her
politics of ostentation.
The people's verdict also smashes the notion popularised by certain
intellectuals that Mayawati's self obsessive show of extravagance
actually gave the Dalits a sense of empowerment - and the vicarious
pleasure of seeing one of them turn the tables of elitism on the upper
She not only insulted aesthetic sensibilities with her choice of dumpy
clothes and oversized handbags, which in hindsight seem like symbols
of the corruption her government was infamous for, but also thumbed
her nose at the constituency that looked up to her for succour.
Dalits today are doubly disabled, for they are far from empowered and
yet do not have national leaders who can speak up for them with
The success of Mayawati in rising above her circumstances, and
evolving into a mass leader and chief minister of the politically most
significant state, could have become an opportunity for continuing
celebration, but she blew it away with her extravagance.
Mayawati is the Marie Antoinette of Dalit politics. But she's not
alone in letting her community down. From A. Raja, who was hailed as
the Dalit face of the DMK before he became the corruption benchmark,
to such puny politicians as the PMK's S.
Ramadoss in Tamil Nadu (who has slipped into oblivion), RPI's Ramdas
Athawale (who's hanging on to the coat tails of the BJP and Shiv
Sena), the eminently forgettable Buta Singh (who's forever in the
shadow of the misdeeds of his sons), and Prakash Ambedkar (who simply
hawks his famous family name, Dalits don't have to look far to figure
out who gave them a bad deal.
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