WHY INDIA NEEDS RESERVATION IN PROMOTION

Misinterpretation by Judiciary and conscious silence of ‘Civil Society’

Equality is inherent pre-requisite for any civilization or nation to be humane, progressive or even stable. We in India have been lucky and unlucky to witness both aspects of society from ancient times. The advent of varn vyvastha or caste system have been one of the most inhuman, long and surprisingly supported by many sections of Indian society throughout centuries especially the medieval ages. Today after the establishment of Republic of India, the Constitutionalism and Rule of Law is the way through which all the outstanding disputes between society, state and power centers are to be resolved. Not only it is frustrating and painful, it is quiet slow because of all sorts of Machiavellian tricks, hurdles and connivance of various dominating sections in politics, academia, judiciary and all other economic, political and social power wielding procedures and centers. In order to tackle this in a democratic way, our founding fathers founded one of the most unique and complex constitution in order to establish Rule of Law in this nation which is not only capable of propelling the society forward in its evolution but also it does have the potential to transform and heal old historical and social wounds that various sections of societies have inflicted against each other.

Supreme_Court_of_India_-_Retouched.jpg
Supreme Court of India

          Strengthening Rule of Law through Constitutionalism is order of the day. This is fundamentally essential in order to not only address social and other evils in India but also in order to uproot them completely. This struggle towards social justice through constitutional means in politics, in society, in academia and all other aspects is AMBEDKARISM in practice and we while identifying serious hurdles in the path of social justice and empowerment of oppressed believe that the path shown by founding fathers of this nation i.e. Dr. Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi etc along with other practitioners of politics and law like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther and Nelson Mandela is the best path to follow.

dr-ambedkar

Infact we, as ESYA, do have wide political and practical experience of the methods employed by other radical ideologies which are usually based on either some creed, race, religion or perhaps some political ideology (Stalinism/Maoism) which do prefer or perpetrate violence as the only tool against injustice. On the other hand not refuting completely the role of armed struggles in history we must understand that neither we are living in history nor this is some African dictatorship or Middle east theocratic State, we are Secular, Democratic, Socialist Republic of India and being that our responsibility to make it a successful democracy based on justice social and economic becomes much more important. The constitutional legal frameworks prepared by Dr. BR. Ambedkar, especially his vehement emphasis on the rights of oppressed and social justice has given Indian constitution a position much above esoterically and even in matters of constitutional jurisprudence much above the constitutions of Western Democracies whereby, their still awkward and backward attitude towards their own oppressed especially, the tribal people, the blacks, aboriginals etc. is quiet conspicuous. But on the other hand we would like to argue the superior potential of Indian constitution is expressed through its application in Article 16 and all the matters relating to reservation. Where, the spirit and intention of this particular article is derived from Ambedkar’s own philosophy that power sharing among all the sections of society is necessary in order to uplift the oppressed. Hence, the struggle and evolution of Article 16 commences in Indian political and legal scene, causing many dominating sections to often react violently and using all their tricks in order to do away with this provision. But various judgments of Supreme Court of India have infact strengthened this provision and also have highlighted the need of this provision to remain for long time and also to extend in certain more sectors.

Therefore, accepting Constitutionalism as basic tool and procedure of struggle we would like to discuss in details and point out the facts that have recently surfaced regarding the relevance, importance and extension of reservation especially reservation in promotion in government services. Even though it is clear that power sharing in all the power centers is essential in uplifting the oppressed, especially dalits of India, still somehow in academic circles and even among judiciary there is confusion and an uneasy reluctance to apply this principle fearlessly. We shall discuss the evolution of the concept of reservation in promotion and recent debates around it while supporting all the efforts, be it judicial or political in order to manifest the law regarding reservation in promotion and passage of 117th Amendment Bill.

On the last day of Indian parliament’s winter session in the year of 2012 due to ruckus created by member parliaments of BJP there was no meaningful discussion or debate on the issue of Reservation in Promotion which was introduced as 117th Amendment Bill. It is true that inadequacy of representation in higher echelons of administration has been quiet a fact yet no action has been taken. As per Article 16(4) of Constitution, reservations in direct recruitment and in promotions were admissible to SCs/STs in Centre/State government services in promotion to their population till 15/11/1992. On 16/11/1992 in the celebrated case of Indra Sawhney, a 9 judges bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court decided that Article 16(4) of Constitution did not provide for reservation in promotions to SCs/STs but ordered that since reservation in promotion were admissible to SCs/STs through various executive orders since 1954 , the same be continued for another period of 5 years only. This buffer period was provided to the executive to enable them to take appropriate measures to implement the Indra Sawhney order. In order to remove this anomaly, the parliament, through 77th amendment of the constitution, added a new clause 4(A) in Article 16 i.e. 16(4-A) and that the promotions must be given to the members of SC/ST from the back date of 17/06/1995.

BUT even after the parliament providing for reservation in promotion through the above mentioned amendment(77th ) with the aim of filling the gap in  the higher grade posts of Government Services because of the INADEQUATE REPRESETATION of SCs/STs; still the implementation of it went through considerable delay when Supreme Court itself introduced ‘CATCH UP PRINCIPLE’ and unfortunately gave its own definition of promotion by removing consequential seniority from it which prima facie goes against the principles of service jurisprudence and most importantly it devoid the 77th Amendment Bill from intended empowerment and giving administrative power  to historically deprived section i.e. SCs and STs.

  1. CATCH UP PRINCIPLE – On 10/10/1995 in the case of Virpal Singh Chauhan Supreme Court made a blunder. It introduced something called ‘catch up principle’ which means, that once a SC/ST candidate is given accelerated promotion (R.K. Sabharwal) in any government service he or she will not be able to maintain his/her Seniority on such promotions. That here it is evident that whole idea of giving accelerated promotion or of 77th Amendment is Empowerment of the deprived section through promoting them in higher echelons but what kind of empowerment is done when promotion is given without seniority ? It was gross violation of principle of equality, service jurisprudence and an act inconsistent with spirit of Indian constitution’s basic structure. Similarly same principle was upheld by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Ajit Janjua that if catch up principle is not applied then principle of equality is violated. Because of this principle hundreds of members of the SC/ST community were not given consequential seniority and were deprived from being adequately represented in higher echelons of administration.
  2. 85th and 117th AMENDMENT:- Hence in order to remove this inconsistency, to dilute and repeal the catch up principle parliament of India again amended the constitution of India where the term consequential seniority was introduced in Article 16(4)A. In the Object and Reasons of the 85th Amendment parliament of India agreed and accepted that “ The judgements of Supreme Court in the case of Union of India Vs Virpal Singh Chauhan and Ajit Singh Janjhua Vs State of Punjab, which lead to the issuance of OM dated 30/01/1997, have adversely affected the interest of Government Servants belonging to Schedule castes and Schedule Tribes category in the matter of seniority on promotion to the next higher grade.” Hence parliament made sure that along with promotions consequential seniority is also given and catch up principle is repealed. The following is the data published by National Commission for Schedule Castes in its Seventh Report showing the percentage of the inadequacy of SCs/STs in Higher Posts of Administration-
Group Total SC Percentage  ST Percentage
A 98066 10998 11.21 3382 3.45
B 144145 17915 12.43 5020 3.48
C 2377895 386142 16.24 154314 6.49
D (excluding Sweepers) 956947 167947 17.55 64865 6.78
Sweepers 132102 79850 60.45 6456 4.89
Total (Excluding Sweepers) 3577053 583002 16.30 227581 6.36

 

 

 

  1. NAGRAJ & OTHERS VS UNION OF INDIA & OTHERS:-

To the much heartburning of right wing minded population in the country the repealing of the catch up principle was a hammer blow of parliament on the supremacy of the privileged on the higher echelons of the administration. Hence they challenged all the related amendments of the constitution. The constitutionality of 77th, 81st,  82nd  and 85th Amendments were challenged in the above mentioned case where the petitioners contended that consequential seniority cannot be given to the members of SCs and STs once the accelerated promotion is granted. Even after upholding the constitutional validity of all the amendments Hon’ble Court was of the point of view –“ Para 123:- However, in this case, as stated above, the main issue concerns the extent of reservation. In this regard the State concerned will have to show in each case the existence of compelling reasons, namely, backwardness, inadequacy of representation and over all administrative efficiency before making provision for reservation. As stated above, the impugned provision is an enabling provision. The state is not bound to make reservation for SCs/STs in matter of promotion however if they wish to exercise their discretion and make such provision, the state has to collect quantifiable date showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of the representation of that class in public employment  in addition to compliance with article 335.

          Hence, the idea of quantifiable data, of every state proving the inadequacy of SCs/STs and backwardness is absurd, weird, bizarre as well as shockingly inconsistent with the spirit of the Amendments -77th, 81st, 82nd and 85th. . In opposition to this whole idea Parliament had introduced 85th Amendment and later on 117th Amendment as well.

  1. There is infact no need to collect data to show the inadequacy of representation of the communities in question especially when it is already established in Indra Sawhney’s case that it is not any empirical data which will show the backwardness but historical and sociological factors which are the reasons of backwardness of SCs/STs. This means that Judiciary must work in harmony with the social reality and political will of the people of India as is mentioned in the Objects and Reasons of the 85th and 117th Amendment Bill. The judgment of M.Nagraj in this respect is in contradiction with three major factors regarding the so called SCs/STs which has to be take into account are – 1. Backwardness 2. Inadequacy of representation 3.Administrative efficiency

Here we shall discuss these factors briefly to establish that no state is required to give some quantifiable data to prove the following –

  1. Backwardness of the SCs/STs for the purposes of reservation in promotion :-

There are large number of judicial findings to show that the backwardness of SCs/STs is not measured in individual cases but as a block or the community as a whole. A constitution bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court in E.V. chinnaiah Vs State of Andhra Pradesh and Others  in para 93 observed :-

 “ Schedule Castes; however is not a caste in terms of its definition as contained in Article 366(24) of the constitution. They are brought within the purview of the said category by reason of their abysmal backwardness. Schedule Castes consists of not only the people who belongs to some backward caste but also race or tribe or part of groups within castes, races or tribes.”

The judgment of Apex Court in M. Nagraj’s case asking for a basis for backwardness does not match with the provisions of Constitutions. As far as SCs and STs are concerned, it is clear that in terms of Article 341 and 342 of the constitution, ‘backwardness’ relates to castes and not persons but in the M. Nagraj case the Supreme Court has tried to define backwardness in relation to person/government servant, whereas in Indira Sawhney’s case the Apex Court in para 779 specifically observed that :-

Lowlier the occupation lowlier the social standing of the class in the graded hierarchy. In rural India occupation and caste nexus is true even today. A few members may have gone to cities and even abroad but when they return they barring a few exception go into the same fold again. It does  not matter if he has earned money. He may not follow a particular occupation but still the label remains. His identity is not changed for the purpose of marriage, death and all other social function. It is his social class that is still relevant.”

Further in para 788 in Indira Sawhney Vs Union of India Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy observed that :-

The Schedule Tribes and Schedule castes are without a doubt backward for the purpose of clause ; no one has suggested that they should satisfy the test of social and educational backwardness.”

          Again in para 796-797 it is observed that :-

It is not correct to say that the backward class contemplated by Article 16(4) is limited to the socially and educationally backward classes refered to in Article 15(4) and Article 340, it is much wider. The test of requirement of social and educational backwardness cannot be applied to SCs/STs, which indubitably falls within the expression ‘backward class citizens’.”

It is also very relevant to take note that Indira Sawheney case was decided by 9 judges Bench whereas M. Nagraj case was decided by 5 Judges bench only and, therefore, the decision in M. Nagraj case cannot supersede the decision taken in Indra Sawhney’s case. The decision was given as it was given in ignorance of earlier decisions taken by the larger bench which dealt with Indira Sawhney’s case. Therefore Indra Sawhney case is valid law of land which does not permit any further justification of backwardness of SCs and STs.

2. Inadequacy of Representation:- The idea of promotion in reservation stems from the idea of empowering a historically trampled community, it is more of an ideological application of the principle “ Unequals cannot be treated equally” an affirmative action in the purview of Article 16(4). And Article 16(4) clearly states that in the services of state, SCs are to be provided an opportunity where they are not adequately represented. Constitution commands the sate to make reservation for SCs. So far as education is concerned, reservation is provided to the members of SC/ST/OBC under the central educational institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act 2006 laying down 15% reservation for SCs, the same yardstick is applicable for the SCs in services under Article 16(4). Therefore, if the state makes reservation in the services as well as in promotions subsequently upto 15% by specifically mentioning in the Statement of Objects and Reasons of 77th Amendment Act that members of SCs and STs in opinion of the Government are NOT adequately represented it is wrong interpretation of the Hon’ble Supreme Court whereby by giving its erroneous decisions in Ajit Janjhua and M. Nagraj it has not only muddled in the findings of Mandal Commission which was upheld further by Indra Sawhney’s Judgement, it has violated the cardinal principles of constitutional jurisprudence and intention of founding fathers, spirit of Article 16(4) as well as opinion of the State.

Further, it is not out of place to mention here that 15% reservation has been provided for the SCs in the services since the advent of the constitution in 1950 through various executive instructions issued by the Government of India and by the different States, but still the minimum prescribed percentage of reservation even in the direct recruitment has not been achieved. If adequate representation in direct recruitment i.e. 15% have not been achieved after 7 decades of independence then how can there be over representation of SCs and STs if reservation in promotion is even allowed ! There are always back logs and vacancies meant for SCs which remain vacant.

Moreover, above the data has been produced which says and proves the inadequacy of representation of SCs and STs. ( For more study of the detailed empirical data regarding the inadequacy of representation please visit website of National Commission of Schedule Castes). Hence, it is absolutely clear that the representation of SCs and STs in states, central government services, UTs have not even reached the minimum required level. Keeping in the view the inadequacy of the representation in direct recruitment constitutional provision for reservation in promotion is a must.

3. Efficiency in Administration:- While considering the validity of constitutional (77th , 81st, 82nd and 85th ) Amendments, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in M.Nagraj Vs Union of India upheld constitutionality of the provision which was inserted by the aforementioned amendments, but impose certain conditions before the benefit is passed on to eligible members of SCs. It was made mandatory for the state to justify promotion in each case. This is a strange philosophy in which one has to give justification for the exercise of one’s fundamental rights.

V.T. Rajshekhar in his book “Merit my Foot”(A reply to Anti Reservation racists), 1996 published by Dalit Sahitya Academy, Bangalore has stated –“ Nowhere in the world ‘merit and efficiency’ are given so much importance as in India, which is now pushed to the 120th position virtually the last among different countries in the world.”

On the same point and while Ridiculing the right wing slogan of ‘efficiency’ Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy, in K.C. Vasanth Kumar VS State of Karnataka observes :-

Efficiency is very much on the lips of the privileged whenever reservation is mentioned. Efficiency it seems will be impaired if the total reservation exceeds 50%; efficiency, it seems, will suffer if the, ‘carry forward rule’ is adopted; efficiency it seems will be injured if the rule of reservation is extended to promotional posts, From the protests against reservation exceeding 50% or extending to the promotional posts or against the carry forward rule, one would think that civil service is a heavenly paradise into which only archangels, the chosen elite, the very best may enter and may be allowed to go higher up the ladder. But the truth is otherwise. The truth is that the Civil Services is not paradise and the upper echelons belonging to the chosen classes are not necessarily models of efficiency. The underlining assumption that those belonging to the upper casts and classes , who are appointed to the non reserved posts will, because of their pre-assumed merit, ‘naturally’ perform better than those who have been appointed to the reserve posts that the clear stream of efficiency will be polluted by the infiltration of the latter into the sacred precincts is a vicious assumption, typical of superior approach of the elitists classes.”

This ridiculing of that casteist mentality that consciously and unconsciously revolves in the collective consciousness of the people in India is apt and accurate. This phobia that reservation will somehow reduce the efficiency of the administration in itself is deliberately made and built up by certain sections of society for their ulterior motives or because of their undemocratic attitude. Hence further Justice Reddy writes –

“ ..Why not ask ourselves after 35 years of independence the position of SCs, etc has not greatly improved ? Is it not a legitimate question to ask whether things might have been different, had the district Administrators and the State and Central Bureaucrats drawing larger numbers from these classes? Courts are not equipped to answer these questions, but the courts may not interfere with the honest endeavours of the government to find the answer and solution.”

Hence, this is how the argument of M.Nagraj’s self made idea of collecting a ‘quantifiable data’ and Ajit Singh Janjua’s removing of consequential seniority from the concept of promotion in order to deny reservation in promotion fails miserably in view of Hon’ble Supreme Court’s earlier findings again and again. Moreover, how evident it is to observe that this attitude/notion that persons appointed or promoted through reservation will not be efficient, this in itself is a sophisticated form of castesim as well as the main reason and factor of maintaining the backwardness of the concerned communities in question. And in order to fight this notion reservation is given under Article 16(4) !

Need to consider change in the Statement of Objects and Reasons of 117th Amendment Bill :-

          We, in brief have tried to highlight the major aberrations and blunders in various interpretations made by Hon’ble Supreme Court. We are of the humble point of view that the efforts made by Parliament sooner or later are bound to be victorious. Yet, as we have expressed that there is already enough empirical proof regarding the inadequacy of the representation of SCs and STs in the Government services, moreover, conceptually and in accordance with the principles of Indian constitutional jurisprudence the demand of proof regarding the backwardness of already trampled and exploited community for hundreds of years is not justified. Hence, we are of opinion that changes must be made in the third paragraph of the Statement of Objects and Reasons of 117th Amendment Bill which is reproduced here as under:-

It has been observed that there is difficulty in collection of quantifiable date, showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that class in public employment. Moreover, here is uncertainty on the methodology of this exercise.”

          According to this paragraph mentioned in the bill the reason for not producing the empirical data is been mentioned as some practical problem and infact the real question at hand, the real philosophy and inherent mistake of the idea of proving the backwardness of SCs and STs is no dealt properly. Rather it seems it is been swept under carpet. We, on the other hand would like to deal the bull by its horns and the fact that the whole idea of proving the backwardness of the SC and ST community and proving its inadequacy is wrong interpretation of ‘equality before law’ (Article-14), it is individual specific, this is interpretation more in the light of Lockean individual equality than Indian version of equality which is only to be interpreted under the light of socialist character of our preamble.

Hence, we would propose that instead of shying away from the problem of collecting the quantifiable data it must be mentioned boldly that where class is backward as accepted again and again by Hon’ble Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney, individuals cannot be treated separately from that class in case of SCs and STs.

CONCLUSION:-

          It is quiet conspicuous and clear that struggle against all that is unconstitutional, undemocratic and non-progressive is duty of every enlightened citizen of India. The struggle of founding fathers and framers of Constitution in favour of the oppressed, deprived and destitute is self evident. Hence, it becomes imperative for us as students, as youth and as fellow citizens to sharpen the struggle inside and outside the parliament of India in favour of the passage of 117th Amendment Bill.

          We, Eklavya Sudents and Youth Association have made a humble effort and have tried to form an argument trying to cover the major principles of constitutional jurisprudence, interpretation of  our founding fathers and have tried to highlight the anomalies and aberrations in the judgments of Ajit Janjua, Virpal Singh Chauhan and eventually M. Nagraj which have adversely affected the interest of members of SC and ST communities.

          Therefore, we would like to present a powerful argument before the people of India in order to expose the conscious silence maintained by so called ‘progressive’ academicians, ‘secular’ media houses and especially the so called ‘liberal’ left. The fact that all these hegemonic sections of Indian society having deep roots in legislation, in judiciary and executive, they always brush aside these matters derailing the process of empowerment of the dalits of India affectively. We appeal to all sensitive and real progressive sections of India to favour and support the passage of 117th Amendment Bill while giving deep consideration on the changes in the language of 117th Amendment Bill so that it does not run again into some legal challenge as to its constitutionality, which has been done by various dominating sections from past 25 years. And we as ESYA also appeal to all the political parties of this nation to act unanimously and speedily in order pass this Bill.

-Advocate Sawinder Singh
Chairman ESYA

           

Citation & Credits:-

National Commission of SCs/STs

Indra Sawhney Vs Union of India

M.Nagraj Vs Union of India

117th Amendment Bill

 

JNU: Ambedkar Vs Left; but opposite in Panjab University, Why?

BAPSA (Birsa-Ambedkar-Phule Student Association) challenging the Left Unity in JNU

jnusu-759

JNU, the land of ideological battles, is well-known place for intellectual potential and dominance of Stalinist left. With the rise of right wing forces after Modi became P.M. in 2014, from Rohith Vemula to Una incident dalits are being attacked ruthlessly. Consequently, dalits who were cunningly communalized by RSS during Lok Sabha election are now coming out of Hindutva fold. After the march of cultural Hindutva of right wing conservative, the left politics which claims to be pro-dalits in its popular rhetoric of Bolshevik revolution, obviously has found some space in political discourse. Though, the JNU’s campus culture and its students’ verdict is not always the real reflection of society but the recent sedition row and overwhelming attempts of Modi government to haunt left hegemony have  pulled the attention of whole nation to link up with JNU. Interestingly, in present scenario, dalits are being lured by all political groups evidently under the banner of ‘annihilation of caste’. Even P.M. Modi warned his party to convince dalits and said that Nationalists are with us, let’s reach out to Dalits, backwards.

ambedkar_illus_20120423
Courtesy  Kractivism

Kractivism -Bridge the Gap Bring the Change

JNU campus has been a hub of Stalinist left and Marxist bastions since its foundation. AISA, a student wing of CPI (ML) Liberation had been winning mandate in student elections for many years. In 2015, Kanhiya, a leader of AISF (the student wing of CPI) fought against AISA and became president of JNUSU. And for now, the JNU bears very different kind of contest where the right wing ABVP has been completely swept away and BAPSA(Birsa-Ambedkar-Phule Student Association) came as strong contender against Left Unity (AISA-SFI). BAPSA, which started just two years ago, chased the Left Unity and lost with a small margin of 409 votes.  Aftermath, the political thinkers are forced to interpret the political contours of newly emerged scenario in JNU. Clearly, the mandate of JNU student election is a synthesis of national political environment and inherent Ambedkar-Marxian contradictions. The nature of right and left politics is complementary, unconstitutional and absolutely hegemonic. Right wing relies on cultural hegemony while spreading false version of history or endorsing hegemonic phase of Manu-Samriti and similarly Left considers its philosophy ultimate champion of all oppressed sections asserting its ‘intellectual’ hegemony while imposing economic interpretation of history.

B.R. Ambedkar, the icon of constitutional democracy, had always motivated downtrodden and socially oppressed people for education, saying knowledge as one of major premises in power sharing. In 1970s, the Naxalite movement under the slogan ‘land to tiller’ and big ill-literacy in dalits (landless) brought them in leftist outfits. Moreover, dalit intellectuals also became dependent on leftist ideology while being far away from Ambedkar’s constitutionalism. Later on, the Bahujanvad of Kanshiram and Janata Politics gave a new independent voice to dalits, minorities and backward classes of India strengthening constitutional democracy. The JNU’s mandate reflects that dalits who are the product Ambedkar’s reservation policy, now following his slogan of  Educate, Agitate, Organize are struggling for independent platform rejecting Left politics, understanding the real difference between the Ambedkarism and Leftism as suggested by Ambedkar :

my party would not align with Communist Party for the plain reason that I do not believe in Communism”.

Instead, the mandate of student election in Panajb University, Chandigarh is surprisingly different. Students preferred ‘non-political’ group PUSU over mainstream parties like NSUI,SOI,ABVP etc. Secondly, the election mandate also brings Marx-Ambedkar ties in question. The extreme left outfit, Students for Society (SFS) got 2494 votes with small margin of 11 votes from second contender SOI and scored third position. Ironically, the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) again lacked in representing dalits independently and overtly supported SFS. When will dalits, OBC and all the anti-casteism students of Panajb University understand that there cannot be ideological unity between Ambedkar and Marx?

                -Eklavya Editorial Committee

 

Punjab Election 2017: Congress, SAD-BJP or AAP

Analyzing current political situation in Punjab

– by Vikramjeet Vick

Today, Punjab is boiling hot in the electoral vessel held up in a tripod of uneven and unfriendly legs- Captain, Badal and Kejriwal. Many ‘private surveys’ and ‘exit polls’ are being coined in the public and many glamorous slogans are being shouted loudly on the social media. The parties whom these surveys favour quickly endorse them and others reject it. Previously, in 2012, PPP made a triangular tussle in Punjab, consequently, Parkash Singh Badal managed to win inspite of a big anti-incumbency. Now, Aam Admi Party has created paranoia among anti-Badal voters lest the Raj Krange Pachi Saal the slogan of Badal should become true. On the other hand, Captain Amarinder Singh took charge in his hands and has started many campaigns to interact with people while putting his political career on stake. Politics, a necessary evil, cannot be first but least choice of common people to discuss or think upon, because the poor, dalits, farmers, petty shopkeepers, youth and downtrodden have not get anything that had been promised to them in elections. Especially, the un-employed youth, declining peasantry and landless dalits have been living in a complete despair.  Many times, their anguish spilled over the roads in the forms dharnas or demonstrations but the government, behaving like bare-knuckle brawler, always bashed the people mercilessly.

bathinda-protesting-bathinda-disperse-saturday-resorted-lathicharge_fe691c34-35d4-11e6-b762-306eb096a216

In this chaotic politico-economic scenario, it will be pre-mature to comment whether this party will make government or the other in 2017. But, it is must to understand how the people of Punjab are receiving the issues, agendas, ideologies and slogans to make their minds and opinions. This article is not any opinion in the favour or against any political party rather it tries to be an unbiased comprehensive assimilation of various grounds, factors and issues which are shaking up the public opinion in Punjab.

A glimpse on history of Punjab:  After the reorganization of Punjab with division of Maha Punjab in 1967, the changed demographic equations fulfilled the very ‘objective’ of Punjabi Suba movement. Consequently, the Punjab has always remained in the hands of Sikh Chief-Ministers rather Jat Sikh Chief Ministers. Though, Punjab faced a great many president rules but whenever any government came, whether be it collation government or other, it was dominated with rural Jat-Sikh community. In 1972, after winning unambiguous majority, this was the Congress party in which Giani Zail Singh was elected Chief Minister. He was the only C.M. belonging to backward class who later on served as first Sikh president of India, in the same era when Golden temple had been attacked.

Initially, the Akali Dal emerged to ‘safeguard’ the Sikh religion and its interests. There were many factions in Akali fold, right from its beginning. Unfortunately, the partition of India took place on communal ground that made the minorities more insecure or conscious about their identities. Therefore, it triggered a struggle for power in Sikhs to bargain with center for more regional and communal interests which later on reflected in sharp political conflict, finally it resulted into radicalization of Sikhs during 1980 to 1990.  Some projects brought the water-sharing conflicts between Haryana and Punjab. The rising popularity of Indira Gandhi after a winning Indo-Pak war in 1971, swept the whole opposition by getting stupendous majority at center and the same was followed in Punjab in 1972.With the unrest of not getting stable government (1967 to 1971), president rules and having alienated from power (1972 to 1977), the peasantry and Sikhs (especially Jats) could not get satisfied. And also the status of Chandigarh, water-sharing issues and the demand of inclusion of some Punjabi speaking areas of Haryana back to Punjab were disputed.

Now, the fertile ground and grievances against the center had ripened to bring the state-center relation in open discussion followed by three Anandpur Sahib Resolutions. Today, the politics over these issues still prevail in Punjab, though no one knows what the fate of these demands would be. Some dhram yudh morchas were held and every time, Akali factionalism became more evident. Sikh nationalism got strengthened in some folds of Akalis, contrarily, the Akali group under the leadership of Mr.Parkash Singh Badal tried to adapt into reality and hence survived politically resulting into a little democratization of his faction. After having invited by Rajiv Gandhi, the Capt. Amarinder Singh joined the congress party in 1980 and resigned the party in 1984 as a protest against Congress when it had launched an attack on Golden Temple. After, working as one of stalwart leaders in Akali Dal, he broke away from Akalis in 1992 and finally remerged with congress in 1998. Simultaneously, Mr.Parkash Singh Badal diluted the Sikh Nationalism since he realized Akali could never make government alone, which is why he tied up with RSS/Bharti Jan Sangh upholding Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiyat on Moga declaration (1995). This changed stance led to make the first government of Akali Dal in 1997 which completed the five years office tenure. Subsequently, Punjab witnessed peace and stability, though the right wing patterns had existed harming the standard of social justice.

Being stick to present scenario, it is unaffordable to write in details about the all major conflicting players of Punjab polity that significantly reflect the Punjabi psyche. These  well known players are Leftism, Naxalism, Bhaujanwaad , Deras-Sikh conflicts, Dalit-Jatt conflicts  etc.

This is the same Punjab which accepted the two extreme opposite religious ideologies the Panthak and the Sangh which are still ruling the State. Paradoxically, this is the only Punjab which embraced two diametrically opposite militant movements- Naxalite and Khalistani movements in the same time period. One of which was based on religious sentiments and other had nothing to do with religion. In fact, both movements were originated from agrarian crisis that had begun with green revolution and more or less an outcome of identity crisis. It shows that how the Punjabis are enthusiastic and hyper-reflexive towards any new rhetoric of emotional extreme. Interestingly, they also throw out the same extremism very soon when/if they feel cheated, deceived or betrayed. Hence, it was only Punjab which resonated with the highly idealistic and high-flown narrative of Arvind Kejriwal to whom entire country had rejected in Lok Sabha election, 2014.

The above said story is just brief attempt to pinpoint the historical moments which are gone deep into collective memories of Punjabis, consciously or unconsciously affecting the political decisions of individuals. Let’s think of opinions critically to make a new one. Therefore, let your mind lapse into major points discussed below in a pragmatic manner.

Political ExperienceMr. Parkash Singh Badal is a stalwart Sikh leader who has abundant experience in panthik politics. He is the only leader in Akali fold who not only survived but also championed the Sikh mass support from rural to urban centers. He smartly chose and left the social classes or groups suiting his electoral gain in ever changing socio-economic dynamic of society. Also he is allegedly responsible in curbing the business and choking the economic growth of Punjab. Actually, it is said that for now he is a lesser a chief-minister but more a businessman who just believe in managing or arranging the voters. On the one side, he is supposed to make peace in the state, but on the other hand, he is also alleged to make communal-caste tensions / polarization when he fears to be out of power or when he is out of power. He has a huge experience of aggressive politics to administrative politics. He has been in resistance politics and also in parliamentary politics for many years thus having a good hold on Punjabi-Sikh psyche. Though, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal remains contentious among other Akali factions, yet one credit goes to him is that he has started the democratic process in Sikhs, cleverly derailing the militants.

amrinder3_022516090605

Captain Amarinder Singh with a unique political journey, from Maharaja to Captain to Chief Minister is full of adventure, patriotism having different kind of attachment with Punjab. He was the only, democratic Sikh leader in Akalis who challenged Mr. Parkash Badal in internal and external political affairs. He is the only leader in the Punjab for whom the people often say that they are the big fans of him. Capt. Amarinder Singh is supposed as Paniyan da rakha in a large chunk of rural folk. He is equally popular in all sub-regions of Punjab- Majha, Malwa and Doaba. Further extending the democratic process, the Captain crusaded and defeated his clever opponent Mr. Parkash Singh Badal in 2002 and became the Chief-Minister of Punjab. Infact, the opposition does not have something tangible against him to speak up in their campaigns except shouting Raja –Raja. Sometimes, it seems that Captain is not only a pure-politician but he possesses the qualities of  a  academic-intellectual and statesman attitude too. It will be unjust to forget the tenure of Captain’s regime. This was the Captain who had introduced/implemented properly merit system in recruitments, transparency in administration, provided adequate price to farmers for crop yields, attempted to raise the business in the state irrespective the resistance from within party and high command. It reminds the words of Mr. Bhagwant Mann that sakhatayi hogie while alerting scoundrel and corrupts in his comedy track Bhagwant Maan Full Speed.  Captain’s decisions are always stunning and surprising. He fought against Mr. Jaitley and thwarted him at the time when the entire Congress was out of order in whole country. Moreover, the Congress party has always been full of factionalism and elitism, beginning from the higher echelon to student groups, which many times hinders the grass root reality to reach sincere leadership who actually want to win elections.

AAP’s young politics of ‘changing the rules of politics’ and the anti-incumbency against both state & center governments helped it to enter into Punjab. Though, AAP is kind of a new born toddler in politics who harassed many overwhelming political leaders, yet as a an conspicuous expression of its overall political as well its leaders’ personal immaturity, it is evident that they always  become aggressive and furious whenever anyone questions AAP’s work style, agendas or party programme. Now days, Aam Aadmi Party which is a product of anti-corruption movement seems going for away from its ideology – transparency and Swaraj. AAP managed to win in Delhi because the local leadership was aware of multi-cultural nature of metropolitan city. But, Punjabi society is qualitatively different and integrated having different political culture. C.M. Arvind Kejriwal, being in Delhi and because of media sensationalism he always remains in news headlines, but rift between Kejriwal and Modi questions the administration of Kejriwal in public perception. So, in case of Punjab, AAP is completely lacking political and administrative experience. Even, Mr. Bhagwant Maan, the only old leader left in AAP seems to be more talkative but less a statesman.

aap-punjab-feb1-1_647_012116075808                               

Organizational Structure: After having been out of power for ten years, the Punjab Congress had lost the organizational hold within the party. Although, Congress had been in power at center, but it failed to organize the party structures, hence the laziness of higher leadership could not stop factionalism in Punjab. No doubt, Captain has revived many organizational outfits in last one year. But, the problem with Congress is that it is dominated with elite and higher class which constitutes advising and helping hands to Captain, unfortunately, does not understand the real objective picture at rural level, rather create a subjective wall around Captain Amrinder Singh to please him by false reporting. The political power resides in, not only the elected MLA’s but also in the persons having a strong position in party structure and organs. Though, there may be two or three SC/BC members in Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, but why the Congress is so shy to float its Dalit and OBC wings, on contrary, Captain himself makes Jat Maha Sabha. What kind of politics this is! But, Capt. Amarinder Singh is welcoming all petty-parties and groups like BSP, Communists etc to build wider front against Akalis & AAP, it shows his political maturity which may help him to succeed. He has already merged PPP in congress party reflecting the formation of Great alliance learning and trying to imitate the greatly successful experiment of Nitish-Lalu alliance in Bihar.

On the other side, Mr. Sukhbir Badal  is good at managing and organizing rural folk, youth and agricultural class by connecting their psyche to his party, by assigning them certain roles in various party organs. His Machiavellian-cunning approach of giving upper hand to the leaders of party and its affiliated organs, over the party MLAs is one of the unique instruments to empower the party structures. These are the alternate organs of Akali party which are operated for what the people say Akali are accessible whether they do work or not. It is only Akali Party who has brought SC/OBC fronts in Punjab that associates to various ‘lower caste’ communities. It does not mean that Akali Dal is empowering the ‘lower caste’ or fighting for caste annihilation but the political engagements are the first premise towards democratization of society especially in representative democracy. At present, while having power in hand, Akali Dal is peculiarly vigil to manage the voters. Ironically, after two consecutive plans, Akali Dal is still in race of making government. Obviously, the situation would be clear, if AAP were not there. AAP, being a new and immature is not well organized, rather seems to be self-destructive. After becoming Chief-minister, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal had become autocratic and started killing the dissent within the party. He expelled Mr.Yoginder Yadav and Parshant Bhushan-the co-founder of AAP party, by highly centralizing the party structure. It is pertinent to mention that Kejriwal, the super protagonist of Swaraj is alleged for killing internal democracy.

On the same pattern, He has also sidelined two winning MPs, Dhramvir Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa. The first convener of AAP, Punjab unit, Mr. Sumel Sidhu had to leave the party, just after victory of four MPs in 2014 and now the second convener Mr. Chhotepur is being expelled.  All the parties have the same stories but the party which had come to power in Delhi in the name of Swaraj (decentralization of power) should not have killed internal dissent and its own ideological principle. AAP has been relying on big rallies and gathering big crowd at staged programme since from beginning. But, scarcely, it has succeeded to create homogeneous and organic party structure. Mr.Chhotepur, having a background of Akali and Congress, has traditional experience of making and holding party organizations and institutions. That’s why he managed many things in the party, especially focusing on his own position in party. Because of inbuilt split in the party, AAP is suffering with severe group-ism, and this is only party which does not have a firm party constitution. Moreover, the central leadership Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak are not politically experienced and have failed to understand Punjabi-Sikh and rural psyche, and they are not able to control group-ism rather they are also blamed for enhancing it.

A strict Party Constitution is only method to refine and minimize opportunism in any party justifying the concept of Aam Aadmi. AAP has altered the concept of common man (Aam Aadmi). Who is Aam Aadmi in AAP? If AAP accepts any person irrespective of his class then what is merit to be called Aam Aadmi? In nutshell, the Aam Aadmi Party has a dynamic crowd and volunteers creating hype in the form of wave but not proper party structure that are most important to transform crowd into voters.

Wave: Often, the people talk of wave, a political wave. In Punjab, you can see many people saying whose wave is going on. What does the term wave mean? What kind of wave is going on in Punjab? Firstly, the people are confused between the electoral wave and the wave created by people’s movement. For example, when Anna and company were fighting for Lok Pal bill to combat corruption in country, then there was a wave, anti-corruption wave. But, when the splinter group under Kejriwal made a political party, though to manifest the same, yet political party is not connected with only one agenda, rather it focuses on electoral gains which involves many other aspects, hence, the core idea never gets manifested, rather makes the party politically corrupt on some issues. So, it is relevant to discuss electoral wave. Obviously, this wave is created by Party itself, its leaders and intellectuals while talking through one’s hat, the private T.V. media, print media, social media and most importantly the local youth. And it is not easy to gauge precisely this electoral wave as different classes of people are connected with different sources. For example, in case of Delhi’s election, no survey or exit poll could predict this so called wave of AAP, even Mr. Kejriwal himself got stunned by the final result. Similarly, in the recent Bihar assembly election, all survey agencies, T.V houses and electronic media predicted Modi Wave at the top but the same wave was smashed by under-cover Nitish-Lalu wave– the counter wave. Therefore, now the people of Punjab are aware of these so called waves based on fake surveys, privately owned media and the parties themselves.

Hot issues and Campaign mode: In Punjab, the issues and agendas which are being preached are the same as were in Lok Sabha Election, 2014. Akali Dal is held responsible to promote synthetic drugs and liquor, farmer suicides, unemployment, Bus-business mafia, nepotism, corruption in jobs, mis–use of scholarship fund meant for dalits and mis-governance, thus, creating high level anti-incumbency in the state. Interestingly, the same anguish was there in 2014, even then, Akali Dal  along with BJP succeeded in grabbing 35 percent vote share claiming 6 seats out of 13. SYL-water sharing conflict is also a key. Badal and Captain seems more vocal and firm in SYL issue, but AAP is very reluctant and confused on this matter. In the light of these agendas, both Congress and AAP are scuffling bravely against Akali Dal.

But, the campaign of AAP led by comedian turned politician, the outspoken orator Mr. Bhagwant Maan seems very aggressive, emotionally influencing (like the Communist groups) but devoid of constructive programme to handle the evils he only offers sarcasm in his speeches. Though, he connects to people easily because of his Malwai metaphor, but it is not going to work in Majha and Doab regions. Ironically, it seems that Bhagwant Maan is AAP and AAP is Bhagwant Maan. At the same time, the Captain’s campaigns appear very sincere, focused, decentralized and very constructive. The campaigns entitled Coffee with CaptainHalke vich Captain by Captain are inclusive, bilateral and different. Instead, AAP wishes to create a psychological wave in the people and regularly engage its workers in projecting each rally a mega show, so that the people and its worker cannot even think of anything else. This populism with the metaphor of accusing the parties “two peas in pod” sometime works well in getting power, but it can not necessarily deliver better future. See, what the wonders Mr Modi has delivered to the people of India!  It reminds words of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar that “…Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.” Also Mr. Paraskh Badal is working in traditional way of Sangat Darshan to woo the panthik  vote. But, Sukhbir Badal is more successfully reconstructing the youth outfits and rural folk. Also SAD-BJP alliance probably will be intact. Moreover, BJP used be a party with a highest strike rate in urban centers may decline in this coming election. Akali Dal is trying to emphasize on infrastructural development including roads, flyovers and bridges in their campaigns.

14102377_1074428985973437_6490851956833779844_n

Congress used to be divided house, but now it does not appear so. Recently at rakhad puniya rally, both Captain and Bajwa came to rally in one car, sat together and dined together to shatter the public perception. It is not any small development for Majha politics. Rajinder Kaur Bhatthal is working with Manpreet Badal in manifesto committee. Raja Warring, a popular orator, is campaigning in Majha and Partap Bajwa has been given responsibility of organizing farmers. A big credit must be given to Parshant Kishore (who has worked hard in making Nitish Kumar C.M. of Bihar) for his idea of decentralized campaigning.

It is unfortunate that Janata Dal (United) is absent in present arena. Janata Party had a great history in Punjab politics which, along with Akali Dal, made a first surplus majority government in Punjab, while leading anti-Indira front at national level in 1977. Today, if one observes current national scenario of untamed negative nationalism and shameful harassment of intellectuals, oppressed and minorities, then it becomes clear that in absence of strong INC at National level only JD(U) under Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav is leading a real political as well as ideological opposition against BJP, RSS and communal forces while organizing federal and secular forces. In General election, 2019, whether Nitish Kumar emerges a successful Prime Ministerial candidate or not, Janata Dal (United) & liberal intellectuals will be the real opposition against Anti-dalit and anti-minorties forces.

Reservation Policy, Dalits and Parties:  Punjab has witnessed many social boycotts of dalits and caste based discrimination. After decline of BSP, the entire dalit vote got scattered. The Ravidasis, doaba voters slipped back to congress fold when BSP made alliance with Akali in 1996. Whereas dalit sikh vote got consolidated in Akali fold as Badal started to give more representations and tickets to them. Besides, Badal’s slogan of Punjabiyat suppressed the dalit identity and hence the debate for welfare of dalit has withered away from political scenario of Punjab. Any party irrespective of ideology is bound to have certain inflow of Jat votes because still theory of faction works very well in rural Punjab. In Punjab, the Jat voter infact need not to be much worried because of it being a strong social and economic section, it is more power oriented, and hence it will naturally divide in three parties. Hence, dalit-OBC vote (approximately 55 percent of total population) and urban Hindu vote will prominently decide the fate.

Although, the Akalis and Congress could not deliver the governance with social justice yet they have worked well in agreement with Constitution of India in matters of reservation policy. But, in case of AAP, it is very against the idea of reservation for SCs/STs/OBCs and they support economic base reservation. National Spokesperson of AAP, Dr.Kumar Vishwas, often condemns caste based reservation, instead upholds the economy based reservations which any mature student of national politics knows that constitutionally it is not possible to do away with Article 16. Mr.Kejrival and company never condemn his Machiavellian trick to deprive downtrodden and historically oppressed communities. AAP seems very against the idea of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar to uplift dalits and women. Ironically, the opposition also did not raise the voice against Kejriwal and Kumar Vishwas with an exception of Lalu Prasad Yadav, categorically mentioning this fact while he was MP in UPA-2 during Lok Sabha debate on Lokpal bill.

Morevoer, Hardip Singh Kingra, a part splinter group, former AAP activist, revealed that Mr. Durgesh Pathak argued that Reservation has ruined the country while debating on the issues of formation of SC/BC wings. That’s why, AAP seems to be a sophisticated version of RSS.

Mr. Bhagwant Maan either seems politically illiterate or over-smart while branding all the problems of Punjab as the problems of  only one community i.e. Jats- a landed class. He should have known that two-third dalits are landless labourers, petty-shopkeepers do not own lands, and wage labourers are have-nots. So, why he is doing so?  How disgusting! If he had been in accordance with anti-caste principle of Sikhism, he should have not quoted surname Maan, instead Singh, behind his name, not only he mentions caste which is prohibited among Sikhs but he also subtracts ‘Singh’ from the name and mentions only caste! It raises the question that even after being an outstanding rhetorician what is his identity? An Indian, a Sikh or merely a representative of just one caste? What is he but his caste.

Screenshot_20160719_183410

In view of dalit issues, all the parties appear hand in glove. No one talks of land reforms which are very necessary for uplifting socio-economic status of dalits and raising the level of business. Why all are silent on the issues of education quality in government school? Reason being, 95 percent dalit children join government school, because of poverty and social alienation. Scholarship funds are misused, then why any party does not speak a word for that? Does any party have guts to support such politics of change in public campaign? In the same way, the issues for betterment of women’s condition are out of political scene of Punjab.        

Ticket distribution:  Ticket distribution is a turning point in electoral politics. Ticket distribution plays major role in assembly election. The factors that play in ticket distribution are candidate image, economic status, religion, caste and gender. Also the high command culture in national parties influences the process of ticket distribution.  History tells that Punjab Congress has worse record in ticket distribution, as it has been discussed above that for being improper as well as elite dominated structure, a true ground report does not go to Punjab high command.

Now,the problem, Mr.Badal is facing is that the serious anti-incumbency. So, he may include and project new or fresh candidates to encounter such tight anti-incumbency situation. AAP is very quick and the first party in case of tickets distribution. The Kejriwal team and their trustworthy, Bhagwant Mann while anticipating the rebellion in Punjab committee are deliberately announcing tickets in small installments to avoid a big split in party. AAP could have done the best if it had stopped the unnatural factionalism and money bags in ticket distribution. Also it could have professed wider involvement of volunteers in candidate selection if only AAP had good organic structure based on strict party constitution and democracy from below. A rift that has started inside the party, after announcement of two lists of candidates is not going to stop till final phase. The volunteers have started to condemn the candidates on social media. According to them, almost all candidates are parachute and discarded stuff of Congress-Akalis or of filthy backgrounds having criminal, corrupt image. Simultaneously, these angry and segregated volunteers may accelerate the formation of fourth front which is being floated by the chief rebels of AAP. It is fact that the whole national leadership of AAP is from Hindu upper caste, so minorities and dalits are naturally and deliberately being alienated. Moreover, the Delhi-Punjab contradictions which are often visible in Punjabi proverbs are again catching fire. Apart from Bhawant Mann’s catchy oratory, the major reason of big crowd rallies was the strong cyber brigade working on social media day and night. But, now these volunteers are divided into two groups, debating over the functioning of mainstream AAP. It is the first time in the history of Punjab when middle class which was vehemently influenced by AAP’s propaganda, believing in a radical change, got a severe psychological setback in the politics. The way AAP is using sting operation as a popular instrument to expel its leaders, is surprising and may damage the remaining democracy inside the party and promote culture of Stalinist parties. Punjabi Diaspora who has a major role in establishing AAP in Punjab looks baffled and doubtful watching the power hungry intentions of leaderships while ticket distribution.

Chief-Ministerial face: Captain Amarinder Singh is the only C.M. candidate from Congress, and there is no open tussle about it now, as other contenders have accepted his leadership long time ago. After Bathinda rally, Captain Amarinder Singh has strategically chosen to stay away from media sensationalism and is working towards gathering anti Akali forces in the state. Moreover, Akali Dal seems to be fighting under the C.M. Parkash Singh Badal but who will be next Chief Mister remains scheme of future if SAD gets majority.

AAP has got stuck in an awkward condition. If it projects Bhagwant Maan or H.S.Phollka as C.M. candidate before election poll, then many claimants of C.M. chair may slip away. If Mr. Kejriwal declares himself or his wife, a C.M. candidate of Punjab, then it may lead to a sharp divide on the basis of outsider-insider against Punjabi. In that scenario, it will be like Bihar election where in the absence of strong leaders, Modi face was projected against Nitish Kumar after having anticipated a fragmentation in party’s senior leadership and what happened there in the form of – Bihari against Bahri? Consequently, a big swing of voters happened in favour of regionalism. Now in case of AAP in Punjab it is evident, that during the formation and development of AAP in Punjab, contribution was made more by ticket seekers than sincere followers of AAP’s original principles and its promise of change in political culture rather these are being ignored. AAP also may use the trick to appease all the remaining top leadership with luring and tempting them to declare each and every one of them as C.M. so that they would remain intact with party till election’s victory as was done in Haryana by BJP.

All the queries are in the womb of future. Whether, Akali Dal will save itself by taking the advantage of vote division between Congress and AAP? Is Punjab again ready for new political adventure in the form of AAP? Will Captain succeed in this political war as once he had done by rejoining Army leaving his royal lifestyle in 1965? Or Punjab may perhaps recall the same black days of President Rule?

Vikramjeet Vick

Special thanks to Amandeep Singh,Sawinder Singh and Apkirat Singh for sharing their valuable thoughts and ideas.

PAKISTAN: A Medieval State in 21st Century

Dilemma of Pakistani intellectuals after 70 years

12SM_JG_1173944g

“ If I were a dictator, religion and state would be separate. I swear by my religion. I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The state has nothing to do with it. The state would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody’s personal concern! ”― Mahatma Gandhi

“The sovereignty of scriptures of all religions must come to an end if we want to have a united integrated modern India.”-  B. R. Ambedkar

0159

..there was no civilization, nothing before we came to India, there was no architecture, the structure of dome, there was no calligraphic painting infact there was no biryani before we came to India. What they had?  Triangular shaped temples and a very rudimentary civilization”. These were the words of a guest speaker in one of the discussions in a national Pakistani channel whose topic was how Indian culture through Bollywood is influencing ‘Pakistani culture’ as if there is some huge distinction between the two! By ‘we’ he meant Muslims and in whole discussion like majority of Pakistani speakers he wore a blanket of infinite cultural superiority (showing Indian culture inferior) as if Pakistanis are direct heirs of Turks or Arabs or Persians. This small statement sums up lot of aspects regarding Pakistani psyche, the dilemma of identity, the ongoing struggle inside Pakistan to invent false history (to murder history) so that it can be proved to young generations that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was inevitable. For me it expresses the hollowness of whole idea of any nation state whose basis is religion. Because the consciousness where biryani is considered as ultimate linchpin of cultural superiority can only be maintained in a medieval state based on religion.

peshawar-school-attack-live

The first pre-requisite, the most basic litmus test of a modern nation state is separation of state from religion. If a nation state has to be a modern nation state it essentially cannot and must not claim to belong to a race, religion or ideology. This is the first thing a student of 10th standard in India learns and I find it quiet peculiar that many so called intellectuals of Pakistan are not only reluctant to hit the bulls eye but sometimes altogether put the blame of all that has gone wrong in Pakistan on later military dictators. Whole of ire falls on poor Ayub Khan, Zulfikar Bhutto, America or perhaps Zionist-RAW conspiracy. I seriously have my sympathies with all those sophisticated Pakistani intellectuals who live in US or Australia or England. Perhaps like many, they are unable to question the whole rationale of their nation state’s birth. Pakistan born out of medieval sentiments of hatred, born out of the idea that two communities (Hindus and Muslims) cannot live together, that a nation has to be forged to safeguard a particular religion, that the very meaning of Pakistan is propagation of that particular religion. These and many more reasons of Pakistan’s existence today which essentially is quiet backward and undemocratic (not to forget the special blessings of British and west’s motive for creating a buffer state between India and Soviet Union’s frontier) are hard to accept by most ‘enlightened’ in Pakistan.

There may be exceptional scholarly works by many experts settled in foreign lands yet the core of the problem is not hit at. The fact is that Pakistan was to be a religious state, a medieval, feudal and 12th century idea upheld by a person who never had anything to do with religion-Mohammad Ali Jinnah the Jefferson Davis of South Asia. Consequently, today, Pakistan is nation of most blatant lies because it has to manufacture false history of Medieval India, it has to make claims of culture which essentially is Indian. To add to these problems all of these false histories and narratives are thrown at overwhelming population with overwhelming velocity and overwhelming hatred towards non-Muslims, especially against ‘foxy Hindus’ through media, print media and most effective have been the state owned and managed history and cultural curriculum taught to children in Pakistan. Consequently, one example today of the major difference in collective consciousness between the two nations born in 1947 can be measured through the fact that when a right wing government is formed in India under BJP in 2014, people of India after experiencing two years of attempted polarization reject RSS’s ideology through a shameful defeat of BJP in State Assembly elections in Delhi, Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, Pondicherry and most probably in near future now in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and paradoxically in Gujrat as well.  Whereas, Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of Governor of Pakistani Punjab- Salman Taseer, since Taseer was a liberal and wanted to reform the Blasphemy Laws, is when executed by State of Pakistan,  after his execution, he i.e. Mumtaz Qadri becomes national hero of most in Pakistan. Under siege comes Islamabad stormed by his supporters, almost jammed in protest against this insane terrorist’s execution.

Then the question here is that how come almost the same people, the same society, with same levels of social and political consciousness in 1947, after partition behave in such opposite manners when confronted with same kind of situations? The answer lays in the difference in the nature of two nation states and resultant evolution of societies within those two frameworks of nation states i.e. a secular republic and a religious republic.

Two Nation theory and reluctance of Pakistani intellectual:

State of denial is perhaps the biggest enemy of any society or nation and most serious hurdle to overcome in order to evolve out of hatred and euphoria of Middle Ages. But when this denial come from the hands of intellectuals of society, the sheer facts of history and truth are when denied or avoided by those who by the virtue of their placed position in society or nation were suppose to make efforts in lifting people out of the mess of false histories and faulted notions, when they keep dancing around the bushes but do not hit bulls eye, then it becomes very difficult for that particular society to evolve out of manufactured narrative and hence it is danger first of all to itself and then to rest of the world. Perhaps, there are many Pakistani intellectuals who avoid expressing their honest explication on the idea of a nation based on religion. I refuse to believe that many imminent Pakistani personalities are unaware of that fact that where the real fault is, that the whole idea of merging state with religion is Medieval. Many other progressive commentators in Pakistan may have realized that it is not Ayub Khan or some other Pakistani General who messed things along, it is the very idea of Pakistan (idea of state based on religion) which is nothing but a Medieval – Fascist state and that it is not a modern democracy if it can be identified as some Hindu-Republic or a Christian Republic or Islamic-Republic. A modern democracy essentially has to be a Secular Democratic Republic. Yet time and again we see that even after publication of immense literature on Pakistan the basic justification built is that perhaps Mohammad Ali Jinnah formed a ‘good Islamic Republic’ but military foiled it! That perhaps Mohammad Ali Jinnah wanted a secular nation but something along the way went wrong!

For reference of this outrageous denial by influential Pakistani intellectuals I shall take an example of Farahnaz Ispahani, a very well known commentator, in 2013-2104 she served as Public Policy Scholar Woodrow Wilson International Centre of Scholars. In 2012 she was listed among Foreign Policy magazines top 100 Global Thinkers and she authored a book – Purifying the land of the pure: Pakistan’s Religious minorities. An International online journal called The Diplomat published an interview of Farahnaz Ispahani on March 10, 2016 regarding her above mentioned book. I will be discussing some interesting excerpts from her interview in order to illustrate this pathetic justification built by Pakistanis regarding a theocratic state –

Q- What do you mean by purifying the land of the pure?

A-  Pakistan was originally conceived of as a homeland for South Asia’s Muslims. Pakistan’s purpose was to protect the subcontinent’s largest religious minorities. Overtime, however, religious and political leaders declared the objective of Pakistan’s creation to be the setting up of an Islamic state. Much of the prejudice against religious minorities can be traced to the effort by Islamists to make Pakistan ‘purer’ in what they conceive of as Islamic terms.”

Well, it is amazing the way they try to add sophistication to the idea of Pakistan/state based on religion and the way whole ‘progressive narrative’ is built against the extremist forces. The blame is laid again and again on army and on right wing for all the wrong that is done in Pakistan but the truth is these forces-Islamists as mentioned above in this case- in any nation state are only able to grasp unprecedented power in state machinery and unprecedented influence over society only and only when the nature of state allows it. She (as many other Pakistani intellectuals do) accepted in above statement that Pakistan was formed for one particular community. First of all, a modern nation state is never formed for one community (this infact is a pre-requisite of a medieval or fascist state), it always embraces plurality, encourages plurality and takes proud in it. And this capacity to accept and propagate plurality can only be inculcated in society if the nature of nation state is essentially a secular republic not religious republic. But this is not acknowledged by many Pakistani intellectuals. Further she declares that reason that Pakistan came into existence is ‘protection’ of Muslims in South Asia. Again in 1947 the idea of plural democracies was quiet 250 years old, the idea of constitutional protections, fundamental rights and all the tenets were discussed vehemently and in the end under the auspices of Dr. BR Ambedkar a miracle – constitution of India- was carved out and applied on equally challenging situations- Indian society. Jinnah as a much more successful lawyer than Ambedkar himself, I believe, was much more aware and well entrenched in these concepts of British common law and western constitutional principles yet instead of choosing a modern approach to deal with a religious divide in sub-continent, he on the contrary chose to push for a Medieval idea, an idea dividing a three thousand year old civilization and putting these two nations in a painful and perpetual bloody contest, an act whereby Jinnah stabbed in the back of the likes of Jefferson, Lincoln, Mandela and ofcourse Gandhi and stood in the lines of traitors trying to pull civilization and democracy two steps backward. And yet our Pakistani friends justify and claim that Pakistan was made by some secular people and then subsequently Islamists in order to make Pakistan pure made it an Islamic state! On the other hand these same Pakistani intellectuals, like many Indians (including me), will call those people who want to create a Hindu-Nation as Hindu-fascists but the people who created a Muslim-Nation (Pakistan) are declared so boldly by these same intellectuals as secular! I would argue vehemently that the idea of Pakistan is medieval and nature of Pakistani state is Fascist through and through.

These efforts of Pakistani intellectuals in complicating the whole idea of Two Nation Theory (Pakistan a Muslim country and India a ‘Hindu’ country) in order to make the division of subcontinent on basis of religion appear as modern and progressive and somehow inevitable is in itself a great disillusionment. The idea of dividing civilizations, peoples and nations on the basis of religion or race is and can never be termed as modern or democratic no matter what the historical conditions were. This attempt of sophisticating otherwise a very rudimentary sentiment of religious division in South Asia and then justifying it reminds me of Lincoln-Douglas debates in the year of 1858, where if any prudent person observes this debate closely she(or he) will observe that Mr. Douglas who under the garb of people’s rights as ‘popular sovereignty’ advocated for Kansas-Nebraska Act whereby if Act was to be passed then it would allow people to decide whether the newly formed states of Kansas and Nebraska will have slavery or not. During this famous debate no matter in how sophisticated manner Douglas in order to justify his argument invoked democracy or Rousseau, Abraham Lincoln came back every time with simple myth busting speeches explaining that how this very statute-Kansas Nebraska Act- is nothing but a sinister scheme of southern slave holders in order to transform whole of United States of America as a slave state, a Nation not for liberty and plurality but a nation only for one race.  And how easily it will become apparent that perhaps arguments made by Muslim League leaders in 1940’s in favour of making  Pakistan- a nation for one community which they put  as  Nation in order to ‘safeguard’ Muslims and arguments of Pakistani Intellectuals as mentioned above are similar to the arguments made in the favor of America being the country of only one race (White race). These two episodes in History, American Civil War and partition of India represent the soul of plural democracies fighting against the idea that two communities (whites- blacks or Hindus- Muslims) can never live together in perpetual peace as equals, that whether America/India was going to be a nation of one race/religion or nation of all races and religions. Hence, Pakistani intellectuals today can make all sorts of sophisticated arguments in favour of a nation state based on one ideology/religion/community but the fact of the matter remains that a modern nation state is conceived in liberty and perpetuates plurality as understood by likes Lincolns, Sewards, Gandhis and Ambedkars and founding fathers of Indian secular democratic republic and this principle cannot be diluted at any cost. There is no justification of building a medieval fascist state and then producing arguments that something went wrong subsequently. No, no, from the seeds of a cactus you cannot expect a mango tree.

 Further in the interview Farahnaz Ispahani says- “When Pakistan was founded in 1947, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, clearly stated that non-Muslims would be equal citizens in the new country…………. Unfortunately, as part of the gradual Islamisation of Pakistan, the average Pakistani is not taught Jinnah’s true version of a pluralistic and inclusive society.

So if Jinnah’s version was pluralistic and inclusive then why the need of separate nation on the basis of religion (idea absolutely hostile to any notion of secularism) in order to save a minority which was quiet possible through rule of law and constitutional means? How many outrageous contradictions can be found in this statement? According to the speaker above first of all, Jinnah made a nation because he was sure that minority will not be safe in India but then he was sure that the country he will make on the basis of irreconcilability between Hindus and Muslims will be able to provide dignity and safety to minorities! This is an amazing and a shameful self contradiction. If Hindus and Muslims cannot live in India peacefully, according to Muslim league and Jinnah, then how could they live peacefully in Pakistan? Why all the local languages were murdered and trampled upon and a one exclusive language- Urdu was superimposed on otherwise linguistically plural population in newly born Pakistan under Jinnah? Was this plural and inclusive vision of Jinnah? The truth is once you have dwelt and acted on the idea that communities cannot co-exist peacefully, that you will have to divide a civilization or a nation but not press for better rule of law and constitutional means for protection of minorities, that once you are convinced and   formed a nation where you will have to murder all the local languages and cultures and impose one foreign language violently (the act which ultimately caused liberation of Bangladesh) then you are not a democratic secular person and you certainly do not have ‘version of pluralistic and inclusive society’, but you are basically fascist or perhaps opportunist at the most. May I ask that can you divide an ancient and essentially plural civilization on the basis of race or religion and then be termed as pluralistic and inclusive? Perhaps for many of them Jinnah was a secular and modern person because he loved Shakespeare, guess what, Hitler loved French paintings and allegedly Stalin loved American movies, does that make one of them not a fascist and another a compassionate dictator?

Many of these Pakistani intellectuals dwell upon the idea of gradual Islamisation of Pakistan as root cause of all problems. I believe they need some basic lessons in secular and plural nation state constitutionalism. They can blame Liaqat Ali Khan or Ayub Khan or try to find fault in formation of making of constitution of Pakistan, but the truth is that a nation state is built on the very basis of set of ideas that it was conceived with in the first place and in this case the premise on which Pakistan was born and built upon is Nation for one community with poisonous narratives of historical supremacy. The Muslim league was nothing but a band of aristocratic, feudal leaders with fascist leanings or as Javed Akhtar will put it aptly RSS is but mirror image of Muslim League, fundamentalist and fascist to the very core. Can we expect a nation made by RSS leaders a secular Hindu republic? It is just like stating – Oh sorry, Lenin died early and power came in hands of Stalin that is why such a mess, in case it was Trotsky then it would have been something different. Oh sorry, power came in hands of Hitler and he killed all the internal resistance in his party and gradually in whole of Germany if it was someone else, say Goering, then things would have been different. Oh sorry Jinnah died early and power came in hands of military dictators like Ayub Khan or Islamists and things went wrong otherwise the story would have been different! It is never about Stalins or Hitlers or Jinnahs or any individual, nation states take the shape of what they are eventually according to the most basic intentions and set of ideas, principles and narratives they are conceived with in the first place. It was the bolshevism  which killed millions in purges not merely one individual- Stalin, it was NAZI ideology of Aryan myth that lead to such slaughter not just Hitler, it was the very idea of Pakistan that has lead to inevitable Islamisation of Pakistan not just the military or Islamists. The Pakistani intellectuals have just got it all wrong, gradual radicalization as root cause of all problems in Pakistan is merely effect of the cause – nature of Pakistan’s nation state.

Opposite evolution of two nations and consequential Pakistani narrative:

Logically, then from Liaqat Ali Khan onwards the idea of what kind of state Pakistan is or what version of Islamic faith it must adopt started as the major discussion in Pakistan. On the contrary, in India, where founding fathers were clear that what kind of state India will be, constituted a committee headed by Dr. BR Ambedkar in order to write this huge, unique, inherently secular and democratic constitution which in essence was to be inclusive of all the unfathomable variety and infinite diversity of remaining Indian nation. One of the major pre-occupation of national legal debates in India in its early decades was how to assert constitutional supremacy over all the wings of state machinery and nature of constitution of Indian union in a very plural society. Right from Golakhnath Vs. Union of India to Keshavnanda Bharti, the evolution of Indian establishment towards a sturdier democratic secular republic has been unprecedented. Especially the debates regarding basic structure of constitution and ever present prevalence of fundamental rights, the idea of social justice for the oppressed sections in Indian society through Article 16 and its intensive application. Whereas, as mentioned above, one of the first acts of newly formed Pakistani state was to debate who Muslims are and who are not, consequently in 1974 constitution of Pakistan is amended whereby Ahmadiyyas legally are considered to be non-Muslims. Ironically, at the same time a country in neighbourhood is busy in embracing all castes, creeds, religions as one plural ancient civilisation, it boldly adopted number of languages as national languages, effectively defeating the Two Nation theory in theory and practice. The assertion of Pakistani leaders, especially Jinnah before anybody else, that Pakistan is for Muslims and India for Hindus was a farce from day one, Pakistan may be was made for one community but India was from beginning a secular, plural and inclusive of all that there is. So how could Pakistani establishment maintain the lie of century that India is for ‘only Hindu’? The only trick was systematic propagation of manufactured versions of history of subcontinent. Again, this was not problem in itself but a natural outcome of state of Pakistan trying to provide any sane rationale and justification for idea of Pakistan in 20th century.

Therefore, understandably, the ancient history of Indian subcontinent, the Nandas, Mauryas, Guptas or the Kushans and other pre-Islamic cultures and histories of Indian sub-continent were last seen in the year of 1961 in the text books of Pakistan neither Pakistani kids are taught story of India after the independence. The only part they are taught effectively is those 800 years of Islamic invaders from Turkey, Arabia and Iran and all of them being the national heroes of Pakistan. For example, there is not a single mention of a medieval Afgani invader Ghazni in official Afghanistan’s narrative or even in Afghanistan’s text books but he is hero in Pakistani narrative because Ghazni defeated his Hindu counterpart and broke a lot more temples especially historical temple of Somnath. Usually in a 21st century such an act is taught to children as shameful and medieval but in Pakistan he is a hero for doing these heinous crimes and children learn of him and many others as part of their national culture and identity, to take this further Pakistani  ballistic missiles are named after Ghazni and Abdali. Consequently today, the Pakistani narrative essentially is anti- India or to be precise and unfortunately anti- democratic. This development of a false and equally stupid narrative which, just like NAZIs, draw inspiration from some imagined past is not just a coincidence, it is but a natural outgrowth of all those nations which were (or will be) inherently conceived as a fortress of a particular race/faith/ideology. These kinds of narratives are always the result when a nation state is built out of some kind of revenge sentiment and superiority complex. Soviet Union could have never produced Abraham Lincoln but Stalin, Pakistan could have never produced Nelson Mandela but Zia Ul Haq and jokers like Musharraff.

In lieu of conclusion:

General Akbar khan, the one who invaded Kashmir in 1948, after when he retired, in his autobiography claimed that they are the real warriors, Pakistanis are sons of Mohammad Bin Qasim and Ahmed Shah Abdali, they are descendants of great Abbasids and as they conquered half of the world in medieval times so will they do now, that as was Alexander The Great so was Mohammad Ghori! Infact every that invader and barbaric who has been successful in plundering and looting India is made hero in Pakistan, irrespective that whether that invader came from Mongolia or Turkey, Persia or Arabia, fuelling anti-India sentiment has become the centre point of whole Pakistani Narrative, its reason of existence, its foreign policy and perhaps now we see Pakistani intellectuals trying subvert the obvious truths. The hawkish in Pakistan have set lofty goals of waging war against India for thousand years and unfortunately this mentality and people carrying this mentality are in majority and are well entrenched in all the braches of Pakistani establishments which again is not some Zionist conspiracy but natural outcome of idea of Pakistan.

And on 70th anniversary of our independence I would like to ask our dear Orphans of Jinnah –that  you have wasted all these decades in manufacturing not schools and hospitals but false narratives of inferiority of Indian civilization and urgency of its annihilation through Jihad, then tell me, where are your heroic Macedonians now? Where is your Greek civillisation? Where is your Rome? Where is Mighty Egyptian Civillisation? Where are Akkadians, Sumerians, where are great Aztecs and Incas? Where have gone Persia? ALL LAY BUT IN DUST. We, the humble Indians were there centuries before these civilizations were even born and we are still here centuries after those civillisations have gone. It mattered nothing to this civilization, Hinduism came India absorbed it, Jainism came India absorbed it, Buddhism came India absorbed, Islam came we absorbed it, Christianity and Sikhism came India absorbed them, didn’t even burped. Then came the modern Isms, the so called Socialism and Communism and Maoism, the Capitalism and Imperialism none could destroy, or even change India! Not because people are better warriors or bigger tyrants or had better horses, stronger swords or a crossbow! No, they all couldn’t do it because of India’s acceptance of plurality, its inherent secular nature, its unconditional acceptance of all faiths and ideologies. And the bad news is that this nation is here to stay from ETERNITY to ETERNITY.

We are not sons of Taimurs and Babars, but of Maharaj Bharat and Vikramaditya. If we won’t allow desecration of Babri Masjid at the hands of Hindu fascists, then we won’t allow Jehadis/Fascists to be our heroes. Maqbool Bhat or Burhan Wani can be heroes in Islamabad but not in Delhi and neither in any democratic nation or culture embracing plurality.

Therefore, I will argue that Pakistani intellectuals maybe are the voice of sanity in an insane environment of Pakistan yet we need to have courage to call spade a spade i.e. idea of Pakistan was never a modern idea and Pakistan does not need another military dictator or a general elections but, as M.J. Akbar would put, it needs a Constituent Assembly to re-imagine and manifest a Modern Secular Democratic Republic of Pakistan.

On the other hand, I understand Pakistani paranoia that India and Indians never accepted the partition and perhaps want to usurp Pakistan again. A very common notion perpetuated in Pakistan by its establishment. Perhaps it is true that Pakistan is a reality and what is done cannot be undone and of course Pakistan cannot be asked to commit suicide. But in order to shake off shackles of separation, hatred and fundamentalism, it is a long journey for Pakistan’s civil society, intellectuals and youth starting from the resolve which will get themselves rid of the proxy militant groups they have created till re-inventing the idea and ideology of Pakistan, the ideology which is more in adept to 21st century because clearly a 12th century idea will not work in 21st century.

         – Sawinder Singh

The Unholy Politics of Gau-Mata

The Unholy Politics of Gau-Mata – written by Apkirat Singh

24-cow-slaughter-bjp-ban-haryana

‘Ends justifies means’ in Politics, as Machiavelli, the father of amoral politics put it. One wouldn’t be doubtful why the harmless innocent animal from whom the hindu gotras and rituals have originated in vedic times is used as means to achieve political ends. Politics of gau-mata had been an interesting element of electoral politics of hindi heartland; the land encompassing the river Ganga and its tributaries, with Guajrat and Rajasthan as extensions of it. This region could also be considered as a virtual model for hypothetical Hindu Rashtra of RSS.

Obviously, BJP and RSS has nothing to do with unhealthy conditions of cows, specially when abandoned, but this chant works alike Rambaan  in highly diverse states of hindi heartland. It is a carefully crafted polarization strategy which BJP is actively deploying in connivance with the electronic media and its paid goons, against muslims, dalits, congress, communists, socialists, backward castes, minorities, secular and liberal groups of Indian democracy. This strategic symbolism had been in use since times of M.S. Golwalkar, the cunning ideologue of RSS, and it worked fairly in advantage of Jan Sangh and now would work for BJP and its vote bank.

Cow slaughtering and banning beef have wider angles than usually considered. While it is a dietary preference for Muslims, it is an economic issue for dalits, a political tool against congress, communists, socialists and backward castes, a constitutional challenge for liberal and secular groups and an issue of self-preservation for ethnic minorities (who could be targeted next in the course of events).

This craft of RSS and BJP in extracting oil out of mud, reminds about various tools of control the government apply for managing its power, which are as follows;

Sam- conciliation

Dam- reward

Dand- punishment

Bhed- dissension

Maya- active deception

Indrajaal- passive deception

Upeskha- silent observation

It won’t be difficult for anyone to understand how the propaganda by the government is created by applying various known tools, resulting in absolute control. The statement by PM criticizing cow vigilantes, is also a part of the same game.

This is not the governance model for which the India voted for Modi and his party in 2014, this is not the form of development for which people voted whole heartedly for him. This is not the kind of India the aspired youth was seeking from Modi. This is not the modern India which was envisioned by Nehru, Gandhi, Tagore, Ambedkar, Phule, Patel, Kalam and other founders.

It appears that the ‘holy’ men of RSS has taken the slogan of ‘back to vedas’  too literally, and they really want to take India through time travel and rewrite history, but they forget the timeless wisdom of Gita, that “time is the insurmountable killer”. 

Modi’s silence on Una Incident: A tribute to M.S.Golwalkar

dalits-una

India Caste Protests

Dalit Community protest

 

On the name of ‘Cow-protection’, the Una incident of beating and humiliating Dalit boys by the ‘Gau-Rakshak Dal’ has shocked the whole nation. It reminds the era of classical caste oppression, rather it seems more aggressive manifestation of Manusamriti. From Rohith Vemula to Una the PM Narendra Modi or RSS never even condemned the shameful action of their leaders (MLAs, Cabinet Minister, MPs) and affiliated organizations like Shiv Sena, Vishwa Hindu Prashid, Bajrang Dal etc.

una-dalit-beating

For Rohith Vemula, when the anger and rage among students and liberal intellectuals had spilled over the roads, only then BJP was forced to take some actions. Similarly, now when a group of conservative orthodox upper caste ‘Hindu’ goons have beaten mercilessly the Dalit youths (from leather tanning caste) in public with metallic rods, no FIR was lodged, until dalits started to gather in a big mob. Having been pressurized by Dalit community, Police registered an FIR and invoked some relevant sections against accused persons. What the issue was, just a rumor of slaughtering the cows! Instead, they (Dalit youths) were only removing the skin of dead cows, doing their same job which they have been doing from hundreds of years. Again, PM Modi remains silent on this brutal episode which happened in the ‘Vibrant’ Gujarat Model- his own homeland.Why dalits are targeted every times? Why dalits have to protest even to register FIR?

It is true that this is not just a single event of oppression against Dalits. No doubt, India has been a witness of such episodes against so called lower castes and untouchables on daily basis for thousands years. But today this is the manifestation of ever degrading vulgar social order existing in India- the caste hierarchy.

Some BJP/RSS supporters argue that it would be false to blame BJP/RSS for such mis-happenings. They blame this on opposition, the political parties for seeking vote mileage from Dalits in UP or Punjab elections. Is it justified? They also blame Congress party for not destroying caste disparities and discriminations in its 50 years regime. Some stupid sympathizers of BJP, while defending BJP say that it is not the BJP who has created the casteism. Another class of morons is the liberal right wing who thinks that this is just a problem of Law & Order in the state since casteism according to them does not exists in India!  Politics as art of manipulating facts and crafting new arguments to hide the truth and reality does not always work. The huge protests in case of Rohit Vemula and upsurge of dalits in Una have proved the same. But, it is unfortunate that the saffron brigade has to give big a lip service because their eloquent and outspoken leader Narendra Modi is again silent.

Everyone knows, once PM Modi suddenly changed his category from O.B.C. to dalit while declaring him a son of dalit mother in Bihar election. Wasn’t this for vote politics? Though, it couldn’t work and he failed in doing so yet he played the same dalit card very well. Wasn’t it?  Anyone can see the statistics how the crimes against dalits, especially gang-rapes of dalit women have gone up a manifold, after Modi came in power. BJP supporters should also know that the atrocities against dalits, especially victims of ‘Gau-Raksha Dal’ have been increasing since Modi came in center which never happened before.

una

Did the opposition ask Dayashankar (BJP leaders) to compare BSP supremo Mayawati with a prostitute? No, It is only the real philosophy and attitude which is preached in RSS and other affiliated groups. Though BJP had to suspend the Dayashankar seeing the rise of dalit’s aversion for BJP in Uttar Pradesh yet it charged criminal case against some BSP leaders accusing them of sloganeering derogatory remarks for Dayashankar’s wife. Why BJP did not invoke the same sections for Dayashankar, when he compared a dalit woman with a prostitute? Rather he should have also been charged with Prevention of Atrocities Act. But there happened just opposite. What kind of politics this is?

Indian society is full of caste disparities and discrimination which will always remain the matter of national shame.  The question who has created casteism is not an issue. The thing that matters is who advocates for caste society?  Who advocates for cultural nationalism?  Who is against the idea of plural India? Who are against the dream of freedom fighters? Who are against the Indian Constitution? Who want to pursue the ideology of Hindutva? Are they Congress, Janata Parties or BSP ? Ofcourse not. They are only Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and BJP-ian ideologues- the founder of Hindutva Mr. K. B. Hedgewar and M.S. Golwalkar. Moreover, it is only this BJP regime which has attempted to glorify cow politics. While the Cow Protection Act, 1955 was already in existence and the Congress party had been ruling in center for many years but Indian society never faced such ‘cow slaughtering’ and violence in the name of cows. Suddenly, what happened to India since Modi came in power? Have Indians turned into some kind of ‘predators’ and started killing the cows after Modi becomes a P.M.? Is it so? How funny it is! Let’s suppose people have become more ‘cruel’ towards Cows in Modi regime. Hence, the ‘cow slaughtering’ is rising rapidly so the vigilante ‘Gau-Rakshak’ groups are also increasing following the RSS agenda. The followers of BJP as ‘intelligent’ as they are, are confused and thinking that what is wrong with ‘protecting cows’? Well, friends, then why they are creating havoc and not invoking the law- the Cow Protection Act? Why these ‘Gau-Rakshaks’ are breaking the laws? Don’t they believe in Indian Judicial system? It is obvious these anti-social organized goons have political connections. This organized violence is manifestation of certain ideological agenda. Consequently, Muslim and Dalits are soft targets of this cow & beef politics.

No one forgets the Mirchpur incident where a dalit village of Haryana was burnt in 2011. Many were burnt alive and killed brutally. This was the worse incident happened during Congress rule. But the Congress High Command had openly condemned the action and Rahul Gandhi also visited the victims. Casteism/Caste system has caused chaos there but the attitude of ruling party was different. Now, the situation is worst and character of assault is chain like organized campaign (rumor based) supported by the political ideology of BJP/RSS government. Moreover, the party president Amit Shah and PM Modi are silent on this scheme of assaults on dalits &minorities, which shows the silent support of Modi to such violence. The BJP MLA Raja Singh openly supported the humiliation of dalit youths and praised the ‘Gau-Rakshaks’ of Gujrat. He also used derogatory language to dalits which clearly manifest the mindsets of BJP. It is not new for BJP to have story of assaults on dalits on the name of ‘cow protection’.  In 2002, five Dalits were skinning a dead cow to sell its hide in Haryana. Local Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena spread rumors of cow slaughter. The five Dalits were murdered. Instead of condemning the action a senior leader of the VHP Giriraj Kishor supported this lynching and said that the life of a cow was more important than the lives of any number of people. Again the RSS remained silent.

PM Narendra Modi never deplored such incidents that would have surprised some people. But after tracing the ideological origin of BJP one may find the answer why Modi is silent rather why should Modi be silent on atrocities against dalits?

PM Modi was the then General Secretary of RSS when LK Advani marched on his Ram Rath Yatara in 1990. Modi has emotional and psychic attachment to the ideology of RSS. Mr. Narendra Modi has written a book “Jyotipunj” glorifying the M.S.Golwalkar- the second  Sarsanghchalak (Supreme Leader) of RSS. He mentioned that M.S. Golwalkar is the source of inspiration for him. Golwalkar is one of Parcharaks who institutionalized the idea of Hindutva through books “We-or-Our-Nationhood defined” in 1939 and “Bunch of Thoughts”. These Golwalkar’s writings are totally against Indian constitution and he has also tried to exclude Hindu from the We(….) mentioned in preamble of Indian Constitution.

Golwalkar in his Bunch of Thoughts said that

“Our Constitution too is just a cumbersome and heterogeneous piecing together of various articles from various Constitutions of the Western countries. It has nothing which can be called our own. Is there a single word of reference in its guiding principles as to what our National Mission is, what our keynote in life is?” No!

The National Mission he meant for is the Hindu Nationalism- a cultural chauvinism and fascism more or less a theocratic state. Also Golwalkar boldly praised Nazi Fascism based on cultural and racist ‘purity’ and said that

“German national pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up purity of the nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races, the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into a united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.” (We…, 1938, p.37)

The ideology which praises Hitler how can be tolerant to the very Idea of plural India. Golwalkar also provides the definition of Hindutva. He stabbed the back of freedom fighters and said that

“From the standpoint sanctioned by the experience of shrewd nations, the non-Hindu people in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but the glorification of Hindu nation i.e. they must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ingratitude towards this land and its age long traditions, but must also cultivate the positive attitude of love and devotion instead; in one word, they must cease to be foreigners or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, for less any preferential treatment, not even the citizen’s rights.” (Ibid p.52).

V.D. Savarkar (another Hindutva stalwart), the ideal of Modi had adhered strongly to Manusmriti. He high-lightened the smriti and said that “Manusmriti is that scripture which is most worship-able after Vedas for our Hindu Nation and which from ancient times has become the basis of our culture-customs, thought and practice. This book for centuries has codified the spiritual and divine march of our nation. Even today the rules, which are followed, by crores of Hindus in their lives and practice are based on Manusmriti. Today Manusmriti is Hindu Law”. This is the same smriti which was burnt by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. This smriti asserts anti-dalits and anti-women notions. It enshrines that

“Killing of a woman, a Shudra or an atheist is not sinful. Woman is an embodiment of the worst desires, hatred, deceit, jealousy and bad character. Women should never be given freedom”. (Manu IX. 17 and V. 47, 147)

On February, 1950 Organiser the mouth-piece of RSS published an article “Manu Rules Our Hearts” written by retired High Court Judge Shankar Subha Aiyar. He writes that

“Even though Dr. Ambedkar is reported to have recently stated in Bombay that the days of Manu have ended, it is nevertheless a fact that the daily lives of Hindus are even in the present day affected by the principles and injunctions contained in the Manusmriti and other Smritis. Even an unorthodox Hindu feels himself bound at least in some matters by the rules contained in the Smritis and he feels powerless to give up altogether his adherence to them.”

How can the person of high morals and democratic norms stand with the one who endorses the pre-medieval codes and laws of Manu. You can see Mr.Modi claiming himself several times the true follower of Golwalkar, Savarkar and the RSS- conservative right wing fascists. Actually, this is the kind of cultural Hinduism, the BJP/RSS seeks in India. Once, PM Modi had called the Dr. BR Ambedkar the ‘Manu’ of modern times. How disgusting! Dr. Ambedkar was giant intellectual and jurist who had assimilated the true culture of ancient India-the ancient Republics known as gan-raj and the non-violence of King Ashoka with modern needs of development, making the nation visible in world map- the world’s largest democracy. Unfortunately, PM Modi/RSS believes Savarkar and Golwalkar both of whom stood in opposition to B.R.Ambedkar. Hence, they are dividing the nation by enforcing Hindutva agenda while  harassing the minorities and dalits in name of ‘cow protection’.

2015-09-16-1442408087-7388761-article26257971DC1C8FD00000578304_634x455.jpg

Everyone knows the fact that Sangh members had refused to remove the ‘sacred’ thread (Janeu) when Jayprakash Narayan gave a call to do the same for undermining the supremacy of so called upper caste. RSS had even backed the anti-reservation rallies when Mandal Commission report was being implemented. BJP withdrew the support and the V.P Singh government fell. Isn’t it? What will ‘upper caste’ do if dalits give up skinning the dead cows/animals? Do the BJP supporters want 100% reservation in same profession of removing the skin of dead animals?

PM Modi had to appease the dalits in 2014 Lok Sabha Election. Now, Modi and RSS want to profess the same agenda of Hindutva. Hence, It is not surprising why the PM Modi is silent on atrocities against dalits. If you see through the prism of RSS’s ideology, you can watch the PM giving a real tribute to ‘Guruji’ M.S.Golwalkar while being silent on Dalit issues.

-Amandeep Singh

.

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO STUDENTS [Celebrating International Women’s Day, 8 March 2015]

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

मैं वो हूँ जिसने जब देश पर बन आई तो बिना कुछ परवाह किए हाथों में तलवार उठा ली (रानी लक्ष्मी बाई )! मैं वो हूँ जिसके साम्राज्य  में कभी सूरज नहीं डूबा (रानी विक्टोरिया)! मैं वो हूँ जिसकी एक खोज ने विज्ञान का नया मार्ग खोल दिया (मेरी क्यूरी )! मैं वो  हूँ जिसकी शहादत को आज भी फ़्रांसीसी नमन करते हैं (जोन ऑफ़ आर्क)! मैं वो हूँ जिसने धरती क्या अंतरिक्ष को भी भेद डाला (सुनीता विलियम्स,कल्पना चावला )! मेरे अनेक रूप अनेक नाम हैं | मुझे अक्सर लोगों ने किसी की माँ,किसी की बहन,किसी की पत्नी और भी ना जाने कितने रूपों में देखा है |इस पुरुष प्रधान समाज में अपने अस्तित्व के लिए लडती मैं एक नारी हूँ |

इतिहास गवाह है कि मैंने पुरुषों के साथ सदा कंधों से कंधा मिला के चलने की कोशिश की है | परंतु यहाँ तक पहुँचते पहुँचते मैंने न जाने कितनी प्रताड़नाएं सही है | कभी मुझे जिंदा अपने पति के शव के साथ जलाया जाता था,कभी मुझे अपवित्र कह कर दुत्कारा जाता था | मेरे बचपन को भी विवाह की सूली पर चढ़ा दिया जाता था| मैं फिर भी थकी नहीं | जब भरी सभा में मेरा चीर खींचा,मैंने तब भी हार नहीं मानी | मैं लड़ती रही पुनःपुनः | मैं लडती रही अपने अधिकार के लिए | वो अधिकार जो मुझे प्रक्रति ने दिए|

मैंने झेला है दंश किसी का जूठन खाने का | मैंने गरीबी की आड़ में अपनी इज्जत बिकते देखी है | मैंने मर्दानगी के नाम पर कितनी ही चोटें खाई हैं | लाखों करोड़ो का व्यपार चलता है मेरे दहेज के नाम पर | मैं वो हूँ जिसे दुनिया में आने का मौका नही दिया जाता और अगर दिया भी जाये तो कुछ जानवर मुझे अपना शिकार बना लेते हैं |

मैं वो हूँ जिसकी आज़ादी पर पाबंदी है | मैं वो हूँ जो रात को अकेले कहीं नही जा सकती | क्यूंकि पता नही फिर किस बर्बरता का शिकार हो जाऊ | मैं वो हूँ जिसे आज भी शिक्षा का अधिकार पाने के लिए अपने सीने पर गोली खानी पड़ती है ! मैं वो हूँ जिसका जीवन साथी दुनिया में ना रहे तो, उस पर लांछन लगाने से कोई बाज नहीं आता | मेरे कपड़ों से मेरा चरित्र आंका जाता है | ये पुरुष प्रधान समाज अपने नियम मुझ पर थोपता है | एक ‘स्वयं सेवक महान इंसान’ ने तो यह तक कह दिया ‘Women should be just housewives’| इतनी संकीर्ण सोच वाले को ये ज्ञात होना चाहिए कि मानवता को आगे बढ़ाने का कार्य जितना उनका है उससे कहीं ज्यादा मेरा है | इन्हें यह सवीकार करना होगा कि इनका ये समाज मेरे बिना अधुरा है | मुझे कितने वर्ष लग गए इन्हें यह समझाते समझाते , बस एक सुधार की अपेक्षा में मैं इतना लड़ी इस समाज से | कितने ही आंदोलन मेरी आज़ादी की लड़ाई के गवाह रहे हैं| अपने अधिकारों की मांग करनी पड़ी मुझे ,वो अधिकार जो मुझे स्वत: मिल जाने चाहिए थे | इस संविधान ने मेरे लिए कई कानून बनाए हैं | कई अधिकार दिए हैं मुझे | पर कहाँ है यह सब? मुझे अभी भी पूरी जागरूकता कहीं नज़र नहीं आई | मुझे शिक्षा का अधिकार है ,पर आज भी ना जाने कितने गाँव, कितने शहर हैं जो मुझ से यह अधिकार छीन लेते हैं क्यूंकि मैं एक लड़की हूँ |

मुझे मतदान का अधिकार है परंतु ये पुरुष वर्ग इस अधिकार का भी हनन कर  लेता है | मुझे संपति का अधिकार मिला परंतु अपने आपको मुझसे ज्यादा योग्य, मजबूत कहने वाला ये वर्ग मेरा ये हक भी मांग लेता है | मुझे जब जब मौका मिला ,मैंने अपने आपको हर क्षेत्र में बेहतर साबित किया | यकीनन सुधार हुआ मेरी दशा में पर क्या ये सुधार काफी है? क्या पश्च्मिी परिधान पहन लेना ही सुधार है ?  क्या सिर्फ सत्ता में कोटा मिलना ही सुधार है ? चंद कानूनों के साथ जिंदगी जीना ही सुधार है ? अगर सिर्फ यही सुधार हैं तो फिर हम ‘बधाई’ के पात्र हैं और अगर  नहीं तो  देखना है की,  किस आन्दोलन की जरूरत है ,किस चेतना की जरूरत है ? मुझे पढने वालो मैं आप लोगों के बीच में से ही एक हूँ ! मैं इस university का वो 70% हिस्सा हूँ जिसने यहाँ तक पहुँचने के लिए बहुत मेहनत की है | मैं इस सुधार का मूर्त रूप हूँ | पर यह सुधार अधुरा है अभी | यदि किसी ने मेरे आंदोलन में मेरा साथ दिया है तो वो है “शिक्षा”| शिक्षा के  बलबूते ही हम इतना सुधार ला पाएं हैं | यहाँ भी मैं कभी अपने गुरु दुवारा शोषण का शिकार होती हूँ तो कभी किसी विधार्थी दुवारा |  एक इज्जत के लिए मुझे हर बार चुप करा दिया जाता है | मेरी दुर्दशा में मैंने खुद भी बराबर का साथ दिया है | मेरी जाति को ये समझना होगा कि अगर दूसरों से सम्मान पाना है तो पहले खुद का सम्मान करें | हमें खुद  को अबला ,बेचारी, दुखियारी  वाली मानसिकता से बाहर लाना होगा |  यहाँ के हलात बेहतर जरुर हैं, लेकिन पूरी तरह से मेरे  पक्ष में नहीं | यहाँ भी मुझे बाहर निकलते हुए डर लगता है कि कहीं  किसी छेड़खानी का शिकार ना हो जाऊ | और जब भी मैंने सुरक्षा का हक मांगा तो मुझे होस्टल के अंदर ठूस डाला और अपनी मर्जी से समय सीमा बाँध दी | और यहाँ भी सुरखा के नाम पर मेरे अधिकारों का शोषण ही हो रहा है | सम्य की सीमा में बांधकर मुझे कैद कर दिया जाता है | ‘लड़का लड़की की एक समान’ बस कहने भर की बात है,  मैं वो हूँ जो इस कथनी और करनी के अंतर का स्पष्ट उदाहरन हूँ |

अपने आप को विधार्थियों का प्रतिनिधि कहने वाली पार्टियाँ सिर्फ VOTES के लिए मेरे नाम का खूब इस्तेमाल करती है | बहुत से दावे करती हैं की हॉस्टल की समय सीमा बढ़ा देंगे, सुरक्षा बढ़ा देंगे और भी बहुत कुछ|

जब 70% में बसी मैं इन्हें जीत दिलाती हूँ तो ये भी मुझे जिम्मेदारी का पाठ पढ़ा कर अपना पल्ला झाड लेते हैं | बस  अब मैं उब चुकी हूँ | इस OPEN LETTER के माध्यम से मैं STUDENTS और P.U. AUTHORITIES को बताना चाहती हूँ की अब हमारी समस्याओं पर गुप-चुप कार्यवाही नहीं होगी बल्कि सभी फैसले हम  (girls and female staff) खुद  women cell  के साथ मिलकर लेंगे | चाहे मुद्दा eve-teasing का हो, harassment  का हो या hostel timing  का| इस पूरे संघर्ष को इंजाम देने के लिए पूरी University मे चेतना लाने के लिए एक awareness campaign होनी चाहिए | और यह campaign हमारे education system और curriculum  का एक स्थाई हिस्सा होना चाहिए | women rights, women empowerment  के विषय हमारे curriculum  में प्रतेक विधार्थी के लिए compulsory  हों | इस कार्य की पूर्ती के लिए  ESYA और HSA  के  platform  से मैं सभी दोस्तों को  appeal  करती हूँ की आओ मिलकर  gender equality  के लिए संघर्ष करें|  

आखिर में, मैं  ESYA और HSA का धन्यवाद करती हूँ जिन्होंने मुझे अपनी बात कहने का मौका दिया |  सभी दोस्तों को  International Women Day की बहुत बहुत बधाई | 

By – Vinam (Department of Physics, Panjab University, Chandigarh) 

March 8, 2015


A Message on occasion of “International Women Day”

-by ESYA and HSA

Our society has been undergoing in dilemma on the very issue of gender equality for many years since after Independence. No doubt, today we are free from very inhuman traditions like sati, devdasi or child marriages etc. But, Is this sufficient cure to heal historically perpetuated suffering? Is this enough effort to meet our goal of gender equality? Many ill doings like dowry, deprivation of right to property and right to choose partner, sexual harassments, rapes and domestic violence are still part of our social scenario. Casteism and communalism add more fuel to this fire of gender discrimination and prejudices. No one can forget the struggles of women for right to vote in western countries. Moreover, in our political arena, women have contributed very much and given strong leadership for development of country. Although our constitutional democracy provides many legal rights and efforts to assure women dignity and gender equality, but a backward social consciousness and patriarchal mentality try to hinder their implementations. But the power that resides in spirit of our constitution is so immense cannot be stopped. Education is one of that spirits which have been spreading a strong wave among youth brigade of India to stand and strive for gender equality. In North India, Panjab University campus is only one such educational platform which doubtlessly provides a comparatively healthy and alternative environment in opposition to gender prejudices in our society. Thats why we believe that Panjab University can be considered as a role model for other educational institutions and colleges especially in rural regions in order to promote this democratic and lively culture all over India.

No doubt this campus is not all alike that we want to make it. Absolute freedom is mere an imaginary concept. We cannot have full liberty till our whole society does not try to reject all evils existing in it. The very evolving and debated concept of freedom in our campus relates to equality of female students. Freedom and responsibility are two sides of same coin. Freedom also imposes some responsibilities on all elements of society. In our campus, students and authorities are two major traits which are supposed to be responsible for assuring gender equality and more freedom to girls. The high count of girls in university indicates that our society has achieved a stage where considerable benefits of education and academic have been snatched by girls from patriarchs and conservative sections. We ESYA and HSA have agreed with Swami Vivekananda’s view that “Educate your women first and leave them to themselves; then they will tell you what reforms are necessary for them. In matters concerning them, who are you? Liberty is first condition of growth….”   We believe in strength of women and uphold that university’s female students are much conscious for their rights, needs and liabilities. PU authorities cannot deny their issues of hostel timing and freedom on the name of security and safety. The hostel timings must be reasonable and decided by all girl students through wider discussions and voting conducted by P.U. Women cell. Moreover, 50% female security guards and staff must be appointed to provide safe and balanced environment. It is very unjust to talk about safety while ignoring the awareness level for gender equality and its need among students. Through this open letter, We ESYA and HSA request PU authorities to make “Women Empowerment” as compulsory subject (like environment) of our curriculum for every student. It will definitely raise the collective consciousness of our campus preventing danger of eve-teasing and sexual harassment. No reforms or “Women cell” can function unless awareness lacks.  Today, there are some conservative right wings elements who try to reverse the wheel of history by putting women just back to kitchens and by rejecting her right to life with dignity. On the other hand, the phony “left wing extreme feminism” that is being preached everyday in campus defame culture of university by imposing dress code on boys and girls and by misinterpreting life style of all boys with patriarchal and lustful phraseology to project them anti-women which incites anger, insecurities and fear among girls restricting their growth. We appeal the students of Panjab University to condemn these right conservative and left wing feminist forces which are a great threat to gender equality and democratic mentality. We congratulate to all students and administration on this “International Women Day”.

A STEP AHEAD TOWARDS “GENDER EQUALITY”

On this International women day, we resolve that now time is not all about talking on problems related to girls’ issues but it is time to take feasible and practical steps towards gender equality in our campus. We strive to fight for:

  1. Hostel timings are very irrational and discriminatory. If girls go to study in library in late evening or at night and cannot find any seat there, they cannot come back to hostel after 10:30pm. If they want to enter in hostel, they have to pay fine. This is very unjust and shameful. Hence some seats (according to number proportion of girls) must be fixed for girls and hostel timing must be reasonable. We will fight for this issue and noble cause.
  2. We uphold that hostel timing is one such issue which completely shows discriminatory attitude of authorities who manipulate this issue on the name of security. This is fully responsibility of management to provide security (especially female security guards) at night. And HOSTEL TIMINGS must be decided by girls through debates, discussions or even through voting conducted by Women Cell. We ESYA and HSA pledge that we will struggle to build a pressure on authorities to act upon this suggestion.
  3. Women Cell is very passive and unable to ensure eve-teasing free environment. It is truth to very extent that boys are very civil and social in our campus but still many incidents of eve-teasing and harassment happen in university. We will fight to make Women Cell functional properly so that female students can rise against eve-teasing and get justice with dignity.
  4. Awareness is only instrument to raise collective consciousness of society. We will fight to include “Women Empowerment” subject in curriculum as compulsory part for each student. It will work as permanent campaign for awareness among students. Through this letter, we request authorities to make this campaign successful.

                   Vinam – 8559018195  Vikramjeet Vick – 9988846069  Visit us at: www.esyaeklavya.wordpress.com    


ALL SUGGESTION AND LITERARY WORKS ARE WELCOMED

 

STUPID yet not SEDITIOUS !

        STUPID yet not SEDITIOUS !

 (by Sawinder Singh on 14 feb, 2016)

 Showdown of Godses Vs. Stalins

jnu_650x400_71455502881              463583-kanhaiyakumar

    jnu-protests_650x400_71455281490New Delhi: Students affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) protest outside the office of the vice chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi on Wednesday to vent their ire over a programme describing the execution of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru as 'judicial killing'. PTI Photo (PTI2_10_2016_000236B)

New Delhi: ABVP activists protest against an event at JNU supporting Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo by Kamal Singh(PTI2_12_2016_000107A)

DSU ( Democratic Students Union) organized an event to glorify Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt in JNU (Jawahar Lal Nehru University) Delhi and shouts – “Bharat ki barbaadi tak jung rahegi jaari

Well, from my experience the first thing I can observe or conclude after watching a video of the fanatic shouting of DSU members-‘Bharat ki barbaadi’ is that, I am not sure whether they will be able to accomplish this but the people shouting will soon have a soar throat and if not taken care of it may quickly transform into serious throat infection which can well develop into a life long allergy!

I was appalled to see  poverty of the arguments made by either party to the debate of this JNU event, even a very upset Arnab Goswami in his show –The Newshour was full on and he asked one of the student leader involved that whether he knows Section 124-A of Indian penal Code (Sedition)? But the funny part was that neither those who were leveling the allegations of sedition knew what and how this section is invoked and nor those against whom it was being leveled. This episode is a classic case of X-Right wing Vs. Y-Right wing and neither of the party is able to develop a secular & democratic argument because actually no party to this debate is  Secular or Democratic. Its actually like all the Nathu Ram Godses Vs Joseph Stalins! I am discussing some of its aspects, you are more than welcome to differ because I am neither of these!

Firstly, about all the non-sense that is claimed by media and Hindu right wing that this event and shouting amounts to being ‘Anti-National’ or ‘Sedition’. Well, simple as it is, it is neither of the above mentioned. Though to a lay man at first reading of Section 124-A of IPC it can be perceived that mere shouting anti- India slogans is sedition but it is not. In an elaborated explanation of applicability of this section and so that it does not became tool in the hands of government Supreme Court of India have laid down certain ingredients of this Section which when are proven in actus reas and mens rea only then it is applied. Shouting ‘Khalistan Zindaabad’ or ‘Bharat ki Baraadi’ is shameful yet not seditious! This is huge heart of Indian Democracy and Rule of Law! Imagine pro Chechenya Sloganeering in Moscow University or Event glorifying Osama-bin Laden in some American University! It is not simply possible but in India everything is. Perhaps couple of weeks ago a Pakistani fan of Virat Kohli waved Indian Flag at the top of his house is already sentenced 10 years in Jail! I wonder for all the Lashkar leaders Pakistan needs proofs and for this poor fellow waving of tricolor was enough!

I am more than happy to get involve in exploring legal and political definitions and scope of sedition under common law, for now this is not the place. But suffice to say this does not amount to Sedition under Section 124-A IPC.

Secondly, About the aims and nature of protest whose permission was taken under the garb of cultural event. There are those people in or against the argument of hanging of Afzal Guru who shout at the top of their voice and consider themselves the best interpreters of the Supreme Court’s judgement sentencing him to capital punishment. The interesting thing is all these people i.e. X- Right Wingers willing to desecrate Babri masjid and Y-Right Wingers willing to destroy India have never read the Afzal Guru’s judgement but will make their argument as if they themselves are Sherlock Holmes. Any of these idiots have never even seen a court, much less a criminal trial, if you will ask them to write a representation to a Tehsildar then they will come to you and say “yaar yeh kaise likhte hain?”!

With such sorry state of affairs, I shall first mention that I am in favour of the Supreme Court’s Judgement regarding Afzal Guru but it is perfectly Ok to differ with Supreme Court. For example I think in M. Nagraj Vs Union of India Supreme Court has not only decisively harmed the interest of SCs and STs of the country but have pushed back the efforts made by Supreme Court in 1991 in Indra Sawhney Vs Union of India for atleast 20 Years! It is a huge loss. So what shall I do? Start shouting ‘India ki barbaadi’?

If anybody thinks that Afzal Guru was wrongly hanged then please protest, agitate to best of your capacity but what should be the natural aims of the protest in case protest is sincerely against Afzal Guru’s hanging and not politically motivated by extremists?  Whether to ensure that in political trails, investigation should be more transparent and whether how can judicial proceedings be made more transparent and fair (in case of political trails)? Or ‘Bharat ki barbaadi tak jung rahegi jaari?

Further, yes you can say that as well and certain other things also. But my question is absolutely not regarding the Afzal Guru, I don’t care if whole of India is protesting against Afzal Guru’s hanging because to certain extent in such acts and protests democratic values are evolved. But my question is regarding MAQBOOL BHATT! Who is Maqbool Bhatt? If protest was against ‘unfair’ judicial proceedings regarding Afzal Guru then from where Maqbool Bhatt got swooped in? If Maqbool Bhatt is a hero then nothing is bad in argument of Khalistan and Bhindrawala is also a hero! And so is Mullah Omar and our all time favorite Al- Baghdadi ! What were and are the real intentions of these protests in JNU, who are involved in it? Is it a genuine out cry of people wanting a solution to Kashmir issue or a well crafted, politically motivated act by a shrewd extreme left wing facing ideological bankrupcy?

Therefore, thirdly,  I once asked a self styled comrade who has embarked himself on a ‘nobel’ cause of the proletariat of India- even though they believe that relations of production in India are semi-feudal and there are no proper proletariat in country hence in order to fight with feudal political order in the nation, armed revolution is inevitable!- that, “Comrade, you always are glorifying and trying to repeat Mao’s Long March in India whereas all those things that those Chinese did a century ago, none of those circumstances exist in India and perhaps without material conditions you wont be able to repeat what Mao did because India is a Union, with perfectly centralized government, Rule of Law increasing at snails’ pace but surely it is and there aren’t much geographically divorced regions in India where government of India’s reach is minimum for you to create ‘base areas’. So how you imagine yourself to follow Mao?” He obviously had no clue what I was asking or how to answer such questions because they usually come across empty headed, impatient and innocent rural youth who are trained to follow than to question ! But in the end I was dumbfounded when I collected and tried to make sense of his answers which concluded that they shall ally themselves iwith separatists in order to create the conditions congenial for a Maoist Style armed revolution known as NDR (New Democratic Revolution)! And the first reaction that I had in my mind was “Hor kehre moorkhan de singh hunde ne”!

Infact, DSU the ‘Democratic’ Students Union is a hard core Maoist organization with its agenda of creating an armed revolution. Now, the situation after the demise of Soviet Union has become more and more clear that the ideological concepts of Communism have lost their ground miserably. I will not say communist organizations are totally irrelevant, nothing is irrelevant in a plural culture and certainly political parties like CPI or CPM shall always add colour to India’s political spectrum. But my point being that these aimless protests are less of a public outcry but a desperate attempts by remnants of radical left wing extremists whose basic agenda is failing very rapidly ! It is a very expression of rotten left politics. The facts that-

  1. Theoretical debates on which the very Maoist politics(and perhaps the justification of violence based politics) rests, like nature of Production -Relations of Indian country side being Semi-Feudal or Capitalist have gone out of relevance what so ever!
  1. Whether the Indian Capitalist class is National Bourgeoisie or Comprador Bourgeoisie? Is more or less meaningless.
  1. Whether ‘Socialist State’ exists or not, Since according to Marx it is only a transition phase but for Stalin it is a proper totalitarian regime capable of committing horrors of unimaginable magnitude in the name of proletariat and class struggle.

Nobody in left phalanxes wants to answer these questions and many  more because sincere answer to these questions will bring the truth on surface! Hence, if you question, then either you are a Trotskyite or a selfish activist with petty bourgeoisie tendencies! Then what is to be done? In the scenario where their own political justifications and ideological pillars are crumbling they needed to find political allies with violent anti-state ideologies so that a fresh lease of oxygen is fused in their ranks. And the Politburo must have concluded – Comrade, this is what Mao did when he joined hands with Chiang kai-Shek ! Do anybody in national media or participating in this debate even understand this?

 For me two important questions arise –

  1. Whether even if a Maoist Organisation behind the scenes collaborates with students having extremist and anti-democratic ideologies and they try to stage their politics in University campuses, should a vibrant and strong democracy like ours simply allege sedition(which is not viable legally) and brush them aside Or inculcate some discipline, some character and fight back the irrelevant anti-human, anti-democratic, extremist ideologies in the realm of ideology and politics ?
  1. Where is a genuine, intelligent, principally Secular and Democratic students’ political force which can put forward its argument, which can without falling into a trap of political necessity of opposing the government even at the cost of allying themselves with anti-democratic forces?

Right now the very people who consider Nathuram Godse a hero are opposing people who consider Maqbool Bhatt a hero!  What is the difference between these forces except the difference in their religions?

Question of Kashmir:

          And then finally comes the burning question of Kashmir. The charge of invading princely state of Kashmir was taken up by General Akbar Khan in 1948 even without the knowledge of Army Chief of Staff of Pakistan who happened to be a British. Having miserably failed in that endeavour then he later invaded Balochistan and State of Kallat whose King by the way was more than interested to join Indian Union, requested Pandit Nehru but he was not interested!

          I am not an expert on Kashmir and certainly not a ‘Nationalist’ who in the fit of nationalism will sing praises of India without rhyme and reason. But I do understand the consequences whenever an armed force occupies hostile population centres or atleast when either party, the occupying or occupied consider the other party hostile. Be it Vietnam or Balochistan or Tibet, story remains the same.

          So is the solution – ‘Bharat ki barbaadi tak jung rahegi jaari’?

                                                              Or

                                          ‘Annihilation of Pakistan’?

          While on the show of Arnab Goswami one of the JNU student leader said that Nehru promised plebiscite in Kashmir and almost every person in favour of Kashmir separation parrots the same argument! I wonder to whom Nehru promised this? Or was this in Nehru’s power? I wonder if any single one of these persons making argument for or against the plebiscite ever -ever read the UN resolution and the pre-conditions of plebiscite in Kashmir? The first most important pre-condition of this was complete demilitarisation of Kashmir. The Indian and Pakistani occupied. Which never happened. Moreover, there are other political and cultural pre-requisites to a plebiscite or to exercise of Right to Self- Determination. A plebiscite is next generation Human Right, it is an expression of increasing degrees of liberty and democracy. But can there be a plebiscite if one community ethnically is cleansed and then the remaining dominant community says lets go for plebiscite? JKLF cannot force one community, Kashmiri pundits/hindus, out of their homes they have been living for centuries, perhaps more than a millennia and then claim to have a plebiscite? Plebiscite is not facilitation of ethnic cleansing but quiet opposite to it.

          Kashmir belongs to hindus and sikhs and muslims alike as every province and region of Indian sub-continent belong to every community, caste and creed without doubt. Then how come some Pakistani backed jehadis claim it to be their territory? Is religion a bigger determinant than nationality based on pluralism? If not, then sorry Maqbool Bhatt is NOT our hero.

          Kashmir problem is not a territorial dispute, it is not a misunderstanding of two nations, it certainly cannot be reduced as military tussle between two countries. The Kashmir issue is essentially an outcome of a Civilisational War that Pakistan and its ideology has waged on India. There is no solution to Kashmir problem because it is not the problem, it is merely a reflection of a problem called ideology of Pakistan! Or as Amrullah Saleh, the ex Intelligence Chief of Afghanistan under the Karzai government (He was the first person to point to Musharaff that Osama is in Abottabad and Musharaff mocked him.) recently said in an interview to Danish Royal College of Military regarding Taliban seizure of a Afghan city Kunduz that, “ If the whole world is one body, then Syria is kidney, you can well live without one kidney but Pakistan is a cancer…”

          And he is not wrong because the very base of Two-Nation theory is Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Well, I am sorry India is not Hindu it is secular! The very idea of Pakistan was laid by Muslim league that muslims and hindus cannot live together. Muslims must make their homeland to safeguard their religion and faith against the foxy hindus and sikhs! My first question is who does that to their own motherland? Divide it in the name of religion but Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Jefferson Davis of South Asia but perhaps we didn’t had Lincoln. Hence, a medieval State is born.

          Kashmir is not an isolated issue, it is inter-dependent with Balochistan and kallat, it is reflection of ideology that one community cannot live with the other in peace. There is no solution in isolation to Kashmir unless the ideology of Pakistan is not defeated. Unless there is secularization of Indian subcontinent there cannot be and must be a solution to Kashmir. I am more than happy to discuss on this topic at length at some other occasion. Here it suffices to say that Pakistan is a Fascist country, if we will never compromise with ideology of a Hindu Rashtra or Khalistan, then we cannot compromise with ideology of an Islamic-Republic as well.

          Hence, there is no question of us accepting Maqbool Bhat or Nathuram Godse our hero. Other than making an effort or slogans against India or Pakistan the effort of students and left in particular should have been a cross-continental drive of secularizing Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Shri-Lanka and Burma as a solution of Kashmir and Balochistan, as a solution of nuclear proliferation, as a solution of wars and unending poverty in the subcontinent. But to the contrary, what can we accept from the followers of Stalin but a staged drama?

Finally, an answer to ‘bharat ki barbadi tak jung rahegi jaari 

I ask question to these people that since you have set yourself a lofty goal of destruction of India, I see that you are unlikely to succeed. There have been numerous mighty empires and civilizations all gone and perished. General Akbar khan after when he retired, in his autobiography claimed that they are the real warriors, Pakistanis are sons of Mohammad Bin Qasim and Ahmed Shah Abdali, they are descendants of great Abbasids and as they conquered half of the world in medieval times so will they do now, that as was Alexander The Great  so was Mohammad Ghori !

          Well, dear comrade-jehadis, Bastards of Abdali and Orphans of Jinnah -tell me, where are your Macedonians now? Where is your Greek civillisation? Where is your Rome? Where is Mighty Egyptian Civillisation? Where are Akkadians, Sumerians, where are great Aztecs and Incas? Where have gone Persia? ALL LAY BUT IN DUST. We, the humble Indians were there centuries before these civilizations were even born and we are still here centuries after those civillisations have gone. It mattered nothing to this civilization, Hinduism came India absorbed it, Jainism came India absorbed it, Buddhism came India absorbed, Islam came we absorbed it, Christianity and Sikhism came India absorbed them, didn’t even burped. Then came the modern Isms, the so called Socialism and Communism and Maoism, the Capitalism and Imperialism none could destroy destroy India! Not because people are better warriors or bigger tyrants or had better horses, stronger swords or a crossbow! No, they all couldn’t do it because of India’s acceptance of plurality, its inherent secular nature, its unconditional acceptance of all faiths and ideologies.

          We are not sons of Taimurs and Babars, but of Maharaj Bharat and Vikramaditya. If we won’t allow desecration of Babri Masjid at the hands of Hindu fascists, then we won’t allow Jehadis/Maoists to be our heroes. Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru could have been hero in Damascus or Tehran but not in Delhi and neither in any democratic culture.

Hence, maybe for now DSU’s actions are not seditious but surely DSU’s ideology is one huge stupidity.

– Sawinder Singh

Navkaran’s suicide and Left-wing Casteism

2016_5$largeimg14_Saturday_2016_235106387

 Navkaran’s suicide and Left wing Casteism

1

23456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536.PNG373839404142434445464748495051525354555657585960 2016_5$largeimg14_Saturday_2016_235119093gallery

2016_5$largeimg14_Saturday_2016_235106387

61
62

Rise of AAP in Punjab: A Challenge to the trend of pre-election alliances and bipolar tendencies (by Amandeep Singh on Oct 7, 2015)

[Despite the exclusionism of Dalits/Backward classes in AAP, just for being a young alternate it may be the first choice of electorates in Malwa region]


kejiwal-k08C--621x414@LiveMint

Though, politics as a concept of power many times becomes a major cause of instability and turmoil in society. But, politics as a concept of administration is considered as means to resolve the contradictions that arise by the market economy and so called economic development, often, violating ideas of social equity and justice.  Ironically, all over country, the ‘development model’ and ‘economic growth’ has always been promised with tall claims of ‘Welfare for all’ and ‘Sabh ka Saath aur Sabh ka vikaas’ but India has always witnessed the exclusionism of subalterns and poor every time. In present context, the BJP’s blurred communal lines are now becoming very clear and sharp along with Jobless development and rise of inflation and resentment in peasantry whereas the governance through transparent institutional mechanisms has never been practiced. Mr. Modi advocating semi-fascist party BJP preached ‘Hindu civilization symbolisms’ with sugar coated development agenda. This symbolism helped ‘Modi Wave’ to touch all communities wooing the voters translating them into a big majority in 2014 Lok Sabha election.

Punjab is one such example where ‘Wefare for all’ has been practiced since 1995 (Moga declaration) by Badal-BJP alliance. Also, it is very unique to observe the least impact of Modi Wave in Punjab when whole country was resonating with the same wave. However, Lok Sabha elections generally incorporate more national interests or nationalized regional issues. But still the rise of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab points out little weakening of regional command on politics. The sharp anti-incumbency against eight years Badal rule in Punjab and against ten year congress regime at center opened a window for AAP in political trajectory of Punjab, for being it a national platform centered at Delhi. Anti-corruption narrative with promise of secular-democratic governance empowering the common man through Swaraj (decentralization of power) and transparency worked well in urban, semi-urban and rural regions, attracting the people at large. Consequently, AAP won four seats in first stroke and became equally competent to Akali Dal leaving congress and BJP behind. This impressive beginning of AAP in Punjab significantly challenged the trend of pre-election alliances and bipolar hegemony. For last two decade under the garb of ‘Punjabiyat’, politics has attained bipolarity in history of Punjab. The debacle of left and decline of BSP lent the appropriate space for emergence of bipolarity in Punjab with reciprocative turn of SAD and Congress. Now, AAP is trying to continue its own potential that has created perplexity in political arithmetic of Punjab. After, the acceptance of national perception of AAP in Punjab, and Mr. Modi being PM, BJP seems to be enthusiastic to expand its existing strong capability of translating votes into seats by claiming more candidatures in Assembly election 2017. Hence, bipolarity and trend of pre-election alliances seems to be challenged.

_e4bebd12-acc1-11e5-bc4d-302034fae57a

Now, Mr. Parkash Badal would perhaps be recalling those days of radical memories, and cunningly seeking transformation of ‘Punajbiyat’ back to ‘Panthic agenda’. It seems very difficult for CM Badal to pursue same secular Punjabi Nationalism. Furthermore, CM Badal is also looking towards Bihar election for defeat of BJP to tackle diametrically opposite ideology and expansionist attitude of BJP by pursuing same framework of Punjabi nationalism.

Recent form of alliances, Subaltern and concept of Punjabiyat:

Screenshot_20160719_183410

Although, political representations from common man, dalits and women did not perform well in improving economic aspect of subaltern yet these representations helped them transforming their social life to some extent. Socialism in terms of social justice and empowering lower castes has always been missing in the manifestos of SAD and BJP. Many times CM Parkash Singh Badal has been alleged for denial of scholarships to dalit students and misuse of funds that were meant for their welfare. Dalits are in worst condition as compared to any other social groups in Punjab.  In 2014 Lok Sabha election, AAP got considerable votes from dalits especially dalit Sikhs in Malwa region breaking up Akalis dalit vote base because of failure of delivering social justice to dalits and backward classes by Badal government. Like other parties, despite the exclusionism of Dalits/Backward classes in AAP, just for being a young alternate it may be the first choice of electorates. It is also very fact that the ‘Punjabi Nationalism’ (under ‘co-operative federalism’) instead of ‘Sikh nationalism’ (Khalistan or Sikh rule or separatism) provided an appropriate platform for people to easily resonate with Indian nationalism. Consequently, AAP entered into political life of Punjab underlining formation of some unbound voters.

Modern form of alliances generally SAD-BJP and congress-left can been traced through the evolution of relio-caste demographic features, forming minority-majority persecutions and social divisions. A faction of Akalis, Akali Dal (Badal) started to find its stronghold over Sikh masses (especially Jat Sikh rural peasantry) by controlling Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee’s electoral dynamics in late 1980s. Often, Akali Dal (Badal) changed its allies to fulfill the need of challenging political hegemony of congress. But sometimes it did alliances with Janta party (JNP) and Bahujan Smaj Party (BSP) which suited the national political scenario or to handle expansion of Hindutva forces (BJS/BJP). A bitter experience of Akali Dal with post-coalition governments  and choosing electoral partners, initially BJS and some-times CPI,CPM, Janta Party according to need of political survival, made SAD chief Parkash Badal to realize about unfeasibility of winning independently alone with notion of Sikh nationalism. Hence the era of pre-election alliances has started with the beginning of 1990s. Akali Dal Badal tried to expand its vote base around the core of Jat Sikh support base through a formal shift of beloved ‘Sikh nationalism’ to ‘Secular regional nationalism’ overtly emphasizing on Punjab, Punjabi and  Punjabiyat.

Obviously, this scheme of ‘welfare for all’ based on the ‘inclusive accommodation’ and new electoral matrix (mix up of various flavors of regional, linguistic and religions – Panthic or Hindutva) facilitated the declining of Sikh militancy and terrorism after two decades’ upheaval. But it also thwarted the people’s struggle for survival and social justice. This ‘catch-all approach’ in contemporary electoral politics served the electoral gains but reduced the scope of actual transformation of social conditions in favour of subalterns. Consequently, the estrangement of dalits in Punjab has been increased significantly. Interestingly, Punjab has highest number of dalits about 30%, but still Backward classes (SCs & OBCs about 60%) are facing political marginalization in contrast to Uttar Pradesh where the dalit population is less than half of Punjab’s dalits. Total 3.2 percent land is in hands of dalits. Nearly 55% of dalits are involved in agricultural labour and dependent on landowning class.

Under the umbrella of so called Punjabi identity, the rise of dalits assertions in the form of various relgio-cultural outfits like Deras are witness of the exclusionism of dalits in mainstream Sikhism and Hinduism. The post-terrorism period embraces many Dalit-Akali, Dalit-Jat, and Dera-Sikh conflicts that are blots on the face of manufactured Punjabiyat of SAD-BJP (Panthic& Hindutwa forces). However, many conflicts are cheap instruments for electoral mobilizations but these are also the reflections of denial of equal social status to dalits and a little rise of capacities of dalits, in term of education or alternative livelihood over the bounded labour practice in villages. The dalits of Punjab are much improved in comparison to rest of Indian subaltern. The ideological doctrine of Islam (pre-Independence) and Sikhism which influenced the Punjab do not approve casteism or brahaminism. Paradoxically, caste mentality as social custom or sense of superiority controls social divisions avoiding the social relationship/inter-marriages in social life of communities. But, un-touchability has been almost dismantled (with exceptions) as a consequence of the religious tradition of inter-dining.

Like, Sikhs constitute minority in India, Hindu also make the same in Punjab. Therefore, it is unjust to imagine only minority-majority persecutions in Sikhs rather Hindu also feels same in Punjab. Subsequently, SAD and BJP are equally responsible for communal expressions of their opposite theo-ideologies and for electoral unity in power sharing. But, both are not concerned with subaltern and poor. On the other hand, congress which is usually famous for populist politics obviously made polices in the favour of dalits but those could not be implemented properly due social divisions and caste mentality prevailing in administrative structures. As social matrix also plays a vital role in political history of Punjab, therefore, it is must to understand the importance of social justice and social equality that cannot be assured without political participation of dalits/backward classes in parties’ top leadership. Also, since long, Punjabi identity with equal status to all religio-caste groups (manas ki jaat sabh ek pehchaanbo), with the fulfillment of spirit of sarbat da bhala (that is core of Sikhism) is not achieved in true sense, the social justice would not prevail. Thus, it is necessary to grasp the historical journey of formation of identity politics in Punjab.

article-vdtjqpkiwj-1444549479

Historical trajectory of Punjab Politics:

Identity politics remains a soul of Punjab politics. The partition of country across the religious lines invoked the religious sentiments in Indian society that played a central role in restructuring of nation, especially in the formation of center-state relations. This emergence of religo-polity shaped new identities in Punjab giving birth to ‘theo-politcal ideology’ in the psyche of Akali leaderships. Religion, Culture and Language combinations in different demographic environments have materialized itself into different identities. The notion of Raj Karega Khalsa found space in core ideology of Akali Politics. However, Akalis expressed this notion openly during Punjabi Suba movement but the formation of Pakistan (latter on, which proudly declared itself Islamic Republic) also inspired the Akalis for establishing ‘Sikh rule’. Akali Dal started a new chapter of ‘regional nationalism’ that sometime turned to ‘Sikh nationalism’ or ‘Punjabi nationalism’ especially after 1965 it has shaped into Indian Nationalism then again culminated  to ‘Sikh nationalism’ while operation Blue-Star.

The Akali politics have undergone with much factionalism especially because of vacillation of religio-culture demography and ever emerging or changing regional issues be it linguistic matter, Punjabi Suba demand, Nirankari-Akali conflicts, Anandpur Resolution (1973,1978,1981), SYL project (1982),  Rise of Bhindranwale, Blue Star operation(1984), Delhi Riots after Smt. Indra’s assassination,  Rajiv-Longowal pact (1985), beginning of  Dalit assertions finding neo-religious outfits (1970s, 2000 onwards), River-Water distribution dispute, Moga declaration 1995 etc. Akali Dal has undergone through various phases in electoral journey – mergers with congress (in 1948 & 1956), Agitational phase (1956- 1967), post-coalition phase with tussle against center (1967-1992) and burden of pre-election alliance with BJP (1992 onwards).  Finally, Punjab has entered in the transitional phase of peace and stability, obviously bearing right wing patterns in regime of Akali Dal Badal and lesser accountability towards social justice.   Simultaneously, the congress party that was much dominant till division of Maha-Punjab experienced severe opposition by first United Front- a force with diverging ideological bodies- marking end of one party dominance in 1967 assembly election. Although, this United Front Government collapsed in very short span but it was the beginning of anti-congressism in Punjab.

                 After the reorganization of Punjab, the introduction of Green Revolution Strategy changed the socio-economic composition in Punjab. The era from 1967 to 1980 witnessed the attempts by Akalis to infiltrate anti-centerism doctrine (minority-majority persecutions) and over emphasized on communalization of secular demands, so as anti-congress (which was in power at center) mentality could prevail. Akali Dal who advocated for language based division of Maha Punjab and led many struggles for Punjabi Suba, again cunningly communalized the this secular demand to seek power by appeasing Sikh-Majority in Punjab. Both Bharti Jan Sangh (BJS) and Congress opposed the Punjabi Suba demand. Akali Dal organizational structures were dominant with Jat Sikh leadership especially from rural peasantry. Therefore, Dalits and Urban Hindus were not in favour of Punajbi Suba demand as dalits perceived that Punjabi Suba formation would lead to dominance of Jat Sikh community, on the other hand the Hindus were afraid of communal prejudice. Then, Giani Zail Singh won with unanimous majority in 1972 and became first Chief Minister of Punjab belonging to backward classes. Interestingly, Both Akalis and Bhartiya Jan Sangh, two diametrically opposite ideologies, and sometimes CPI,CPM, Jan Sangh and  Akalis existed together in post election coalitions-Akalis, BJS, JNP &left (1967,1969);  Akalis, BJS & JNP(1970-71,1977-80);  Akalis,CPI & CPM(1980) –  to keep Congress out of power.  Communalization of every regional secular demand by Akalis, Minority- Majority persecutions and assertion of Sikh identity governed number of breakdowns of post-election coalitions of Akalis and BJS/BJP. The issues of Hindi language, center-state relation and status of Chandigarh were much disputed among BJS and Akali Dal. The 1977 election as an anti-emergency election was uniquely fought under the banner of Janta Party (led by Mr. Parkash Singh Badal in Punjab) to win Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabha elections. The credit goes to Janta Party whose revolutionary potential made a first surplus majority coalition government in Punjab otherwise Akali could never do same. And this Akali Dal Badal government faced failure because of Akali-Nirankari conflicts and clash of interests between the BJS and the Akali Dal.

The time period 1980 to 1990, is phase of rising militancy in Sikhs and violence became the only instrument to articulate grievances. This is an actual time span when Congress run center turned to monstrous and allowed the situation to drift in communalization. To tackle the opposition and protest of four party alliance ( Akalis, CPI, CPM and Janta Party)  against SYL project, the ruling congress party started to gain a support from a hardliner Sikh-Akali faction (led by Bhindranwale) who openly questioned the SGPC and Akalis. This strategy of congress succeeded in managing immediate political circumstances but finally resulted in disastrous consequences. It reminds the statement of Master Tara Singh, one of the torch bearers of Akali Dal that ‘everyone got justice, Muslim got Pakistan that they wanted but Sikhs got nothing’. No doubt, many injustices would have been ensued to Punjab or Sikh minority by center while nation building process. But, this statement clearly shows the pre-grievances in the minds of Akali leaders during independence which latter on reflected in separatist ideology in Akali factions. Obviously, rising resentment in middle and small peasantry due to green revolution policy added fuel to fire burning in political clash between congress and Akalis. This Sikh identity strengthened multifold during this time period followed by the factionalism in Akali Dal. Apart from Bhindranwale, Badal group and Talwandi- Tohra group were major factions representing different social classes in mainstream. Badal inclined to represent the agrarian class of middle to rich peasantry and business class whereas Talwandi-Tohra group tilted towards middle to lower peasantry. Therefore, it facilitated the pre-election alliances, Badal became close to BJP and Talwandi-Tohra tried to tilt towards left-CPM/CPI who had better ally of congress at center and finally shifted towards congress in Punjab. In 1992, BSP entered in Punjab with remarkable beginning but started to lose its dalits support base very soon. Thereafter, Akali Dal Badal left BJP and formed an alliance with the BSP for the 1996 parliamentary elections and the alliance won 11 seats out of 13. And this alliance could not sustain till 1997 assembly election as BSP made the government with the support of congress in UP. Badal again chose BJP as partner with promise of implementation of the Moga declaration (1995). But, in practice Badal neither could satisfy the BJP nor deliver social justice to dalits. Subsequently, Congress revived back and won 62 seats in 2002. However, Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh penetrated in rural Jat Sikh peasantry votes with his bold action on the issues of water-distribution in the favour of Punjab but lost the dalits Sikh vote bank due to interference in the internal classification of quota among schedule castes. Now, Punjab has been under Akali Dal Badal since 2007. In 2012, despite being much anti-incumbency, Badal(with 34%) managed to win as PPP’ chief Manpreet Badal acts as spoiler for congress(with 40%) by scoring 5% share. Now, AAP has been changing the scenario of Punjab, hence it is necessary to examine the result of 2014 parliamentary election in light of future of Punjab. And another facet of examination is to trace the disappearance of dalit identity in generic sense of political narrative of Punjab resulting to political marginalization of subaltern, though they constitute highest population percentage in state.

Dalits/Backward classes and Punjab polity:

Before independence, Dalit mobilizations around the communal ethos emerged in various movements –Ahmadiya movement (by Muslims), Arya Samaj (by Hindus), Ad-Dharm and conversions to Christianity (by Scheduled castes), Singh Sabha movement (by Sikhs) – that clearly surfaced the existing caste differentiations in all religions and also carved out new consciousness about dalits in Punjab. Consequently, these efforts also produced some leaders among dalits. After 1947, the congress party was dominated till division of Maha-Punjab in 1967. Although, there was no such high political consciousness in dalits, yet they used to support congress party for being its Gandhian Secular lines and co-option of main leaders from Ad-Dharmis (Chamars) within party. Congress party at national level wanted to form a new socio-economic base to tackle the rich peasantry leaderships (from regional parties), therefore, it emphasized on Garibi, un-touchability and  provision of reserved constituencies etc that created its pro-dalit perception. On the contrary, Akali Dal (dominated with Jat Sikh rich peasantry) aimed at communalization to target Sikh majority especially after the re-organization of Punjabi Suba. Even, at the peak of Sikh militancy and Sikh separatism, Congress appointed Giani Zail Singh, of non-Jat background as its leader who introduced a classification among the scheduled castes for reserved jobs strengthening the quota system. And Congress relied on ‘theory of faction’ for natural inflow of Jat Sikh votes. Here, Congress exploited the feudal-family structures prevailed in village economy which are equally undergoing in present scenario. But, left parties like CPI and CPM did not capture the imagination of dalits. As leftists relied on abstract philosophical discourse devoid of spiritual and cultural symbolism which could not associate with dalits for being lesser educated. Moreover, leftist leaders lacked lower caste leadership within their parties and they belonged to Jat Sikh caste whose origin was in Singh Sabha movement and Akali Dal.

Nearly 58% Sikhs, 38% Hindus and 4% other religious groups live in Punjab. Dalits constitutes approximately 30% of total population.  As per 2001 caste census, five castes Mazhabi, Chamar, Ad Dharmi, Balmiki and Bazigar together form 86.8 per cent of the total SC population. Mazhabi is numerically the largest SC, having 31.6 per cent of the total SC population, followed by Chamar (26.2 %), Ad Dharmi (14.9 %), Balmiki (11.2 %) and Bazigar (3.0 %). Remaining thirty two SCs constitute the residual 13.2 per cent of the total SC. Jat Sikh constitute nearly 30-35% of total population which is also dominant majority in Sikhs. This demographic data clearly shows that why Akali Dal and Congress try to target different socio-economic and religious groups. The fruit of green-revolution benefited Ad-Dharmis and Chamars who constitute a large part in Doaba region. On the other hand, the Mazhabhis living in Malwa and Majha regions gained least from green revolution as they were based on agricultural labour. The emergence of BSP in 1984 started to make impact in state after 1985, wooing the Dalits especially Chamars, Ad-dharmis in political mobilization. Dalit vote base of Ad-Dharmis and Ramdasis Chamars shifted from congress to BSP seeking the political representation of their own which were lacking in congress. On contrary, a large chunk of Mazhabhis Sikh withdrew their support from BSP and turned to Akali Dal (only Sikh outfit) with the consolidation of Sikh identity under the violent attack by center, after assignation of Smt. Indra Gandhi. Moreover the ideological discourse of Manuwad/Brahminism could not find association with Mazhabhi Sikhs that connected more to Hindu SCs. Secondly, Akali Dal started to give more tickets to Sikh SCs. Thirdly, BSP could not carry on movements against caste-ism or social injustice at ground level rather it directly went into electoral management. Similarly, AAP leadership is not interested in building movements against corruption or communal politics of SAD and social injustice in Punjab that it practiced earlier in Delhi before coming in Power. Aftermath, Akali Dal Badal feared that it would be hard task to win if BSP managed to do alliance with congress. Therefore, Akali Dal Badal became successful in making alliance with BSP during parliamentary election in 1996, changing the electoral dynamics of Punjab. It advantaged to Akali Dal in winning many seats (in 1997 assembly election) and gradually damaged BSP’s core vote base of Chamars who turned back to congress party. This was the major reason that’s why Congress won 62 seats in 2002 and made government under CM Capt. Amarinder Singh marking the end of scope of BSP politics in Punjab. But, it is interesting to see the assertions of dalits in the form ‘neo-religious identities’ like Deras- Radha Soami, Sacha Sauda, Nirankari, Ravi Dasis Dera Ballan etc.

No doubt, Deras are older than even Sikhism but it challenged mainstream Sikhism when the size of Deras’ followers had increased due to routine denial of dignity to SCs in Sikh outfits. With the march of ‘Punjabi identity’ and decline of pro-dalit political line of BSP, the expression of political marginalization of Dalits has been reflecting through increasing Dera-Alaki/Dera-Sikh/Dalit- Jat conflicts. Following the decline of BSP, Tahlan incident (2003), Bhaniaranwala kand (2004), Sacha Sauda conflicts (2007), Riots in Jallandhar after killing of Ravidasis leader in Vienna (2009), Dalit Boycott in Taran-Taaran (2012) and in Sangrur (2014) are few episodes through which dalits assertions manifested against Jat Sikh dominance in mainstream Sikhism. This phenomenon of rising Deras/separate Gurdwaras (like Bhai Jeevan Singh or Ravidasis Gurdwara) or clash between Dalits and Jat Sikhs indicates the religio-political hegemony of Jat Sikh community in all walks of life and rising educational and certain economic access among dalits.

Now, in present context, the introduction of AAP phenomenon in Punjab supported by dalits in Malwa region damaging the Akali Dal’s dalit Sikh vote bank created a new hope in the BJP heads to encourage dalits outfits (like SC Morcha) in its political mobilization so as new equation of dalits and Hindu urban combination can stand BJP as independent party in Punjab or at least push SAD on back foot. Contrarily, AAP is trying to rely on ‘theory of faction’ like congress to impress Jat factions in villages but ignoring the dalits. AAP for being claimant of structural administrative transparency lacking doctrine of social justice seems not much aware of social realities. Moreover, AAP as movement against corruption has neither found any expression in Punjab nor started any concrete efforts to consolidate lower caste cadres and leadership in party structures, though a good vote base of dalits (from SAD) shifted to AAP in Malwa region.

Reviewing Electoral verdict of Punjab in 2014 election:-

The appearance of AAP on the political map of Punjab pulled in votes of all the sections of society like rural, urban, or semi-rural from every religio-caste groups. AAP became successful to carve out a vote share of 24.47% claiming four MPs in parliament. On the other hand, both Congress and BJP-SAD suffered with decline in vote share. Interestingly, Congress lost bigger share in every region rural, semi-urban and urban by 9.5%, 16% and 13% respectively. But, Congress suffered loss of 16% in semi-urban region whereas SAD got set back of 9% in urban areas.

Party SAD(B) Congress BJP BSP AAP
Change in vote share

2009 to 2014 (%)

-7.5 -12.0 -1.3 -3.8 +24.47
2009 (% share)

Parliamentary election

33.85 45.23 10.06 5.75
2014 (%share)

Parliamentary election

26.37 33.19 8.77 1.91 24.47
2012 (% share)

Assembly election

34.73 40.09 7.18 4.49

    Source: Source: Election Commission of India Reports 2009-2014.

  Vote share (%) transformed to AAP in 2014 as compared to 2009 Lok Sabha

Election

  SAD(B) Congress BJP BSP total=SAD+

Congress

+BJP+BSP

AAP
Rural -8.2 -9.5 -0.45 -3.96 -22.11 +22.3
Semi-Urban -6.5 -16 -1.0 -4.32 -27.87 +29.8
Urban -9.0 -13 -2.3 -1.62 -25.92 +25.6
Total -7.5 -12 -1.3 -3.80 -24.60 +24.4

Source:  Article “Decoding Electoral Verdict in Punjab: Future of Regional Parties?”  By Pramod Kumar

Now, it is worth to observe that dalits votes went away from Akali Dal in rural region of Malwa that comprised significant a part in 8.2% of lost rural vote share. Similarly, Congress faced some damage of dalits votes in rural areas of Malwa region but it also experienced more loss of  Hindu upper caste vote in urban centers with overall loss of 13% share. No doubt, AAP cut into vote share of SAD in semi-urban area but it took a good amount of vote nearly 29.8% in semi-urban regions against congress. Obviously, AAP pulled in the votes from congress party, giving it a strong shock of 16% votes in semi-urban sectors. Therefore, petty-bourgeoisie shopkeepers generally from Khatri-Sikh, Banias and Khatri-Hindu chose AAP instead of SAD-BJP or Congress.

Reserved Assembly Constituencies (34) won by Parties in assembly election 2012 and parliamentary election 2014

 

Party SAD Congress AAP BJP BSP Total
2012 (117) 21 10 3 0 34
2014 (13 adjusted over 117) 6 12 14 2 0 34

After the decline of BSP, congress has restored its Hindu-dalit vote base whereas Sikh dalits dragged into SAD as they could not find a proper space in BSP against Hindu-dalits. As if the reserved 34 constituencies of winning candidates are compared to 2009 assembly election, then in 2014, a big swing of 15 seats (that was won by SAD in 2009) has undergone in the favour of AAP. This indicates that dalits who were vacillating between SAD and Congress, shifted towards AAP leaving SAD in Malwa region. However, congress somehow successfully continued its vote base in dalits (Hindu dalits) especially in Doaba region and some parts of Majha region. Therefore, it necessary for AAP to mobilize dalits and fight for social justice so that it can carry on the support of dalits in the regime of Badal with increasing atrocities on dalits. Only political force with the banner of social justice and transparent governance empowering the common man and subaltern can survive long term. And this is century of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in Gandhain Secular democracy that can lead the peace and pluralism in the South-Asia region of the Globe.