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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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“ 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

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..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.

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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

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‘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

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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.

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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.

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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’.

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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

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Navkaran’s suicide and Left-wing Casteism

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 Navkaran’s suicide and Left wing Casteism

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MARCH OF DEMOCRACY: ANNIHILATION OF MAOISM/NAXALISM (By Amandeep Singh on 22 April, 2015)

[A reply to Maoist/Stalinist leader Chemkuri Azad on his statement “Your Constitution is a piece of paper that does not even have the value of toilet paper for vast majority of India” in a letter to B.G. Verghese ]

maoisn vs democracyINTRODUCTION:–  Fourty Six years ago, on 22nd April 1969, a political party called CPI(ML)  under the leadership of Charu Majumdar was founded after a spontaneous peasant rebellion in village – Naxalbari in West Bengal (1967) with sole aim of overthrowing Indian Democracy and Constitution through means of arms. Today it becomes essential to look back into history and to find how democracy survived and developed after the India’s Independence in 1947. It is also very important to observe where and how Indian political class committed serious mistakes in understanding and not including tribal people into the mainstream economic and social development and hence risked the degradation of constitutional values. The CPI (ML) party was based on an organized armed approach relying upon Charu’s Eight Documents as sacred mission. After a short time, this party got scattered into various groups primarily because of ‘internal contradictions’ and strategic failure of Charu’s “Class Annihilation” (to murder so called landlords/ rich farmers, businessmen, public officials etc.).

In all these years no doubt strict attitude of the Indian State to maintain law and order in the Naxal affected areas compelled many left wing armed groups to review the line of class annihilation. Although this inherent inhuman, anti-democratic and un-Marxist approach of Charu Majumdar (i.e. line of class annihilation) is now diluted to some extent but few dogmatic groups like MCCI, PW etc. carried the same line of violence. In late 1980’s many groups left the violent path to fulfill political agenda of ‘land to tillers’ finding the democratic space in modern democracy. The self-critical attitude of these armed groups made them realize that land reforms can be accomplished through legislative means facilitating the abolishment of the ‘semi-feudal’ relations. However, these groups may give excuse for adopting parliamentarism/electoral politics as part of their ‘revolutionary tactics’ but in fact their so called revolutionary path does nothing but  toes the line of CPI/CPM. Two or three banned groups like Party Unity, MCCI and PW merged to make CPI (Maoist) party in 2005. However, much research and facts have shown that this merger is not ideological but is a union of remaining violent armed groups only to survive in different territories of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.

Today the time has changed, Naxalism/Maosim (or any such 15th century styled violent effort) is dying its own death under the pressure of democracy and people’s need of living in prosperity and waging peace not violence. Rightfully, every citizen must question the social responsibility of State Governments towards affected areas and tribal community. What has Indian state done to our people? What was inhuman Operation Green Hunt or Salwa Judum? Why did state try to acquire lands/minerals for Vedanta, POSCOs, Tatas and Mittals in unconstitutional and illegal manner? Is this a way of inclusive and rational growth?  It is only Supreme Court of India which openly addressed the above questions while condemning the State with harsh manner in Nandini Sunder Vs State of Chhattisgarh judgment that “Predatory forms of capitalism, supported and promoted by the State in direct contravention of constitutional norms and values, often take deep roots around the extractive industries”

Now, Let us examine the problems in tribal areas. What is Maoism?  Why does it exist in India? Why, Adivasis got indulged with Maoism? We will also take ideological and political failures of Maoism into account.

NO POLITICAL REPRESENTATION OF TRIBALS IN DEMOCRATIC GROWTH OF COUNTRY:-

It is estimated that 85 million Indians are officially classified as scheduled tribes. Roughly 70 million tribal people who live in the heart of India reside in remote hilly areas and forest belts across the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and West Bengal. The state machinery has been unable to prevent the loss of forest lands traditionally belonging to tribal people in the favour of outsiders without properly rehabilitating the so displaced adivasis/tribals or to check the exploitative activities of moneylenders and contractors. Meanwhile, the major power projects and steel plants set in motion by the Five-Year Plans have resulted in a substantial displacement of the tribal people. Already, by the 1960s, reports commissioned by the government of India have demonstrated the utter failure of the state in providing a life of dignity and honour to its tribal citizens. The major problems faced by tribals are still land alienation, restrictions on their use of forest lands in traditional ways and displacement by dams and other large projects.

It is commonly acknowledged that dalits and tribals are the two most disadvantaged sections of Indian society. But why have only dalits created an adequate space in the formal political system and not tribals? This contrast can be explained by aspects of history, geography. The tribals of central India usually live in tribal villages, in hills and valleys and no where they constitute a majority.  The dalits have been represented and inspired historically at national level by Dr. B R Ambedkar – a man of towering intellect who successfully breached the caste mentality. On the contrary and quiet unfortunately, the tribals have never had a leader who could inspire admiration across the boundaries of state and language. Birsa Munda, for example, is revered in parts of Jharkhand; but he is scarcely known or remembered in the adivasi areas of Andhra Pradesh or Maharashtra. The Mahatma’s claim that the Congress represented all of India was strongly challenged by M.A. Jinnah, presuming to speak on behalf of the Muslims, and by B.R. Ambedkar representing the so called lower castes. BUT the Congress has never really understood the distinctive nature of the tribal predicament. Hence, unfortunately tribals faced ignorance and exploitation in independent India.

The colonial period incorporates many tribal revolts like Kol and Bhumj revolts of the early 19th century, the Santhal ‘hool’ of 1855, the Birsa Munda-led ‘ulugulan’ in the 1890s, the uprising in Bastar in 1911, the protests in Gudem-Rampa in the 1920s, and the Warli revolt of 1945-46. Most often, these protests had to do with the alienation of land or the expropriation of forests. They were crushed by British Raj only with the use of force and violence. Indian political class knowingly or unknowingly followed the same violent attitude and often unconstitutional means towards tribals because of ignorance, lack of political will, experience, and sadly many times greed petty leaders and local bureaucracy as well.

MAOISM – A GEO-PARASITE ON POVERTY IN THE DARKNESS OF LAWLESSNESS:- 

Maoism in India is more or less a geo-political phenomenon. Since firstly, Indian State failed to provide adequate and proper political representation to tribals furthermore in the central parts of India where tribal population resides there was real absence of state machinery, administration, infrastructure of education, medical facilties etc. In the remote upland areas, public officials (doctors, teachers, magistrates etc) were unwilling to work and often willing to come back in plains. Hence, there was extreme resentment in the local people because of this blatant ignorance of state and central government who infact were already struggling against land grabs, displacement and no rehabilitation, lack of basic facilities, poverty etc. It was this power vacuum, which was supposed to be filled by the Indian State but unfortunately later on this vacuum was filled ultimately by Maoists who claimed the local people’s support as their ideological victory but infact their movement was only result of mistakes of Indian state and ignorance of local people to understand the real nature of Maoist Politics.

In earlier days Maoists glorified the ‘land to tiller’ as central slogan of their armed movement. After applying this misconception about nature and character of Indian agricultural classes (blended with casteism), they failed to address the very aim of ‘mass line and class line’, ‘masses to masses’ or otherwise NDR (so called ‘New Democratic Revolution’). Indian government delivered land reforms to some extent, though these reforms were not implemented in constitutional spirit but still these land reforms were able to destroy any logical and ideological grounds of left wing extremism. State’s reply, unfavourable people’s attitude, total ideological bankruptcy compelled this armed romanticism to retreat and hide in forests of Andhra Pradesh and other inaccessible parts of central India.. Consequently, Maoists occupied this vacuum in the absence of Law and Order and started to rehearse the tribal slogan of “Jal, Jungle aur Zamin hmara hai” for which Adivasis were already fighting against forest mafia and private contractors. Latter on the MoUs signed with Business Houses/Companies by State Government enhanced the rift between local tribes and state. Arundhati Roy settled this matter with unique critical remarks that the tribal forestlands should be called a “MoUist Corridor” instead of the “Maoist Corridor” as the people of these tribal forest lands have been wrestling with “Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) of the mining companies.

It becomes quite clear from here that ever since the formation of first Maoist armed groups these people have been facing extreme hatred from common masses, ideological bankruptcy while retreating geographically. Now very cunningly in order to hide their ideological and political failures they have changed their political slogan from ‘land to tiller’ to “Jal, Jungle aur Zamin” with their retreat from plains to forests. Hence, Maoism in Indian context is not an ideology but a geo- parasite which survives over poverty in the deep dark forests. It is historical fact that the Adivasis have gained least and lost most from 69 years of political independence. No one can deny the problems of poor or landless people, dalits, tribals and women especially in rural India. But, such mindless extremism is not solution rather a severe problem.

IDEOLOGICAL FAILURES OF MAOISM:-

Maoism as continuation of Stalinism

Russian revolution is an event that can be supposed in continuity of French revolution (Liberty, Fraternity and Equality) whereas Chinese revolution was synthesis of contradiction of ‘Semi-colony’ and ‘Semi-feudal’ overcoming the drawbacks in Stalinist Socialism (which led to extreme power concentration). Mao criticized Stalin’s mechanical attitude of analyzing classes and class struggles in Russia. He rejected Stalin’s notion that classes were abolished (economic equality has reached!) and private property has been snatched. Stalin’s declaration that “Socialism in one country is possible” (where classes were abolished but State got consolidated!) was contrary to Marxist theory of Stateless and classless society. In the name of Dictatorship of Proletariat, Stalinism became totalitarian state which resulted into one of the most horrible and murderous regimes in the whole history of Humanity.

Like, Leninism is defined as era of Imperialism; Stalinism is era of totalitarianism and authoritarianism in practice as outcome of ‘socialism in one country’ and static conception of Institution of State in theory, not followed by withering away of State but destruction of democratic principles of Liberty and Fraternity.  Many dissents within Bolshevik party, among party workers and millions residing in USSR were brutally suppressed. The episode of Kronsdatt (1921) is one of major incident which led to killing of thousands of workers by Stalinist State. Mao’s critique was only about mechanical aspect of Stalin’s approach of Dialectics of base and Superstructure but he could not understand Stalinism (in theory and practice). Mao gave his own solution against problems of Stalinism as so called – Proletariat Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Which aimed to eliminate ‘bourgeoisie class consciousnesses’. But infact this so called cultural revolution aimed at destroying the most basic human instincts of Liberty and Fraternity irrespective of class or creed !

 Look at Maoism what happened to it in China! Why same repressive bureaucracy emerged in Communist Party of China (CPC) as in USSR under Stalin? Why forced collectivization of land and Cultural Revolution failed to impress peasant masses and working class? Who would assure that a Proletarian Dictatorship or a Single party regime will transform itself into a proper democracy? Material conditions? Nature of State or Power? Their concept of abstract philosophical Proletariat? OR Self-proclaimed very conscious Maoist/Stalinist groups? All the above historic ideological discourse is highlighted to people with extremely violent narrative of revolution. We the students and youth of India question Maoist/Stalinist Azad’s followers, what would you say about above issues?

The Maoists in India are even against basic principles of Marxist theory- the Industrial development as precondition and road to Socialism. Why don’t Maoists fight for minimum wages of workers? Why don’t they argue for pro-adavasis and inclusive development of Industry? Why don’t they cooperate with government to bridge cultural gap and represent tribal in mainstream? Why don’t they even stand for construction of Hospitals and Schools for adivasis and poor people? Why are they trying to deprive tribal community to meet their basic rights and needs which Indian State is trying hard to provide? Undoubtedly, the principal aim of the Maoists is not the social or economic advancement of the adivasis, but the capture of power in Delhi through a process of mindless bloodshed. Isn’t it?

Can Maoism/armed bloodshed survive in Indian democracy?-

History has witnessed many examples of armed rebellions lead by common masses against tyranny, against backward and dictatorial regimes. But, No one can find any single account of the armed revolt which has smashed a multiparty parliamentary democracy with universal suffrage (by the people for the people) to establish “single party dictatorship” ! Don’t confuse it with “End of History.” All the tyrannical, monarchal, autocratic, authoritarian and military states may be the center of armed movement where peoples’ voice is suppressed and no rule of law exists. But in Democratic, Republic, State Welfare like India it can’t.

Mao Zedong himself analyzed China as Semi-feudal (pre-democracy) where no proper democratic state was found. Chinese society was composed of provinces (warlords) and even smaller districts under independent military control having large peasant masses bounded over the land. Simultaneously, the whole country was suffering the direct interference of Britain, Japan and Westerner missionaries resulting into huge poverty, vagabondage and backwardness. The destruction of semi-feudalism and warlords required an armed violence in the absence of democracy.

Now again, We the students and youth of India question Maoist/Stalinist Azad’s followers – Is Union of India a group of warlords/provinces?  Is Indian democracy is mere a ‘Game of Votes’? Did India show no growth in 69 years? Does India have any need of ‘Mao’s unification of India’ that already has taken place with more peaceful ways?  Why are you Maoists trying to reverse the wheel of history back?

The shrinkage of Maoists in forest terrain shows their ‘political agenda’ got reduced to guerilla agenda or geo-politics. The power of Representative System over Armed Mobilization has already established its might. The drama of making equalitarian society with lot of bloodshed and failure of Maoism to build up socialism in China ended up while losing the promise of proper democracy .Since there cannot be liberty in any meaningful sense without equality so there also cannot be equality without liberty. Only a constitutional democracy is first premise to have radical democracy through democratic opposition without use of any armed force. And any force like Maoism/Naxalism/Terrorism is bound to die with strengthening of democracy in deep roots of society.

NEED OF POLITICAL WILL TO DESTROY POVERTY & MAOISM :-

Corruption at the delivery level has severely curtailed the impact of all government welfare programmes in affected areas. This needs to be addressed urgently because a nexus has been formed between the corrupt officials and the Maoist/Naxals and the public money meant for development is ultimately going in to the hands of Maoist/Naxals who in the name of underdevelopment are waging a war against the state and common people of India. Transparency is one of more viable weapon than ‘AK 47’ to check corruption and suppress structural violence. All the MoUs with private/public companies must be displayed in public domain. Every citizen must have right to know all business deals/corporate accounts and details, funds of Public as well Private projects. It is not the issue of only tribal people but whole country is demanding the accountability of government towards Corporates. Swaraj as a decentralization of political power and wealth is one such instrument to involve the Adivasis in democracy and to mould their opinions towards rational and inclusive Industrial growth. As per guidance of Nandini Sunder Vs State of Chhattisgarh judgment, State must reduce the dependence on SPO’s (Special Police Officers) and appoint SPO’s who meet specific qualification and training standards. All the security force must act primarily to protect the Social Infrastructure (Hospitals, School and post office etc) and maintain law and order in affected region. It is well known reality that Maoists carry some serious rifles, INSAS, SLR and AK 47s. From where this advanced ammunitions come? A retired CRPF DG Dilip Trivedi questioned the seriousness of State governments “Why is that the explosives have not been stopped from reaching the Naxals? There is free availability of explosives (to Naxals). Why is the state government not doing its job? To reduce the violence and to destroy Maoists with relatively peaceful ways a vigilant check over the supply of weaponry to left Wing extremists is must. The 5th Schedule under Article 244 of the Indian Constitution is an enabling provision which unfortunately remains unfulfilled. Ensuring the implementation of Article 244 will do much to remove tribal grievances and reduce the support base of the Maoists. The Panchayats Act (PESA) is another practical provision which puts the powers of managing the forests in the hands of the Panchayats run by the tribes who reside there. The tribal people have become like sandwich between State police and Maoists. Maoists murder many innocent people by branding them “police informers” whereas police arrest or kill the people in anticipation of being Maoists. Again underlying the recommendation of Supreme Court, state police should not even arrest any person without showing strong evidence or report.

Although, Maoism as an ideology is obsolete but it’s violent tactical remnants surviving in remote forest belt need a more political will to eliminate.  If the Industry/Market can sell something to middle-class which is of no big use for them, then why can’t government or companies realize that hungry and poor people are actually in hunger and poverty? Why doesn’t State provide education to Adivasis on priority basis? It is quite obvious India is lacking political will towards common people and marginalized section which infact now is been properly and ever increasingly addressed by all the agencies of state as well as civil society of the country.

A REPLY TO MAOIST/STALINIST LEADER AZAD’s STATEMENT:-

Chemkuri Azad was a leader and spokesperson of Maoist Party who wrote a reply to Verghese’s article which was published in a national magazine – Outlook.  In this reply letter, Maoist/Stalinist Mr. Azad disgraced Indian Constitution by saying that Indian constitution is even less worthy than a piece of toilet paper for vast majority of people. While making this rubbish statement, he seems to be very insane and prejudice. We condemn his hollow claims and firmly challenge his statement. Mr. Maoist, how dare you disrespect constitutional sanctity and legitimacy in India?  Are your 20,000 armed guerrillas a vast majority of India? How many leaders of minorities you have in your Central Committee (C.C) for whom you advocate?  The leadership of the Maoist movement is largely from the upper castes and classes and to a large extent is Andhra Pradesh centric. ( Katoch, CLAWS Journal, 2012). If you were really pro-oppressed why couldn’t your 40 years movement impress and gain popularity among dalits and other oppressed sections and create dalit leaders in your top leadership? Why don’t you have any Women leadership in your top most committee? Why couldn’t you break the so called patriarchal structure in small local area irrespective of high degree of female guerillas? You are cursing the Indian Constitution and do not look over into your own sins around the globe? Our Constitution has produced many leaders in dalits and women and all oppressed sections of the country who constantly become Member Parliaments, some of them rising upto becoming Chief Ministers and much more.

Why do you seek judicial favours of same Indian Constitution when your Maoists fellows are arrested or charged? Why don’t you condemn this Constitution at that time? Are you not a hypocrite? If Indian Constitution has failed to reach vast majority, why couldn’t your ideology mobilize peasantry and dalits to destroy Dr. Ambedkar’s Constitution? Why have you been hiding in forests and hills for last 40 years? Is Dr. Ambedkar’s democracy too weak to represent downtrodden and destitute of India? Is really parliament a pigsty house? Obviously, it is not.

Even though in the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler the holocaust he unleashed and the wars he provoked cost some 30 million lives. But you feel proud on mass murderers like Stalin and Mao whose ‘revolutionary’ wars and extremism/totalitarianism have claimed even more human lives than fascism and the extremist ideologies of the right? How shameful! Why don’t you feel proud on this world’s largest plural democracy which makes India unique especially in South Asian region? See, what is happening in Middle East where no proper democracy exists? This multiparty democracy may not be the best, certainly is the least harmful political system devised by humans. Humanity will make this democracy more humane and more decentralized over the globe expressing its ever evolutionary essence to combat violence, wars and poverty.

-By Aman Singh, Chairman ESYA
Amandeep Singh, Chairmain ESYA

22 April, 2015

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Swami Vivekananda raised voice for Indian Subaltern (Dalits)

 

-Swami Vivekananda deserving Bharat Ratana for serving subaltern-

swami-vivekananda-quote-youth-day

Let men have the light of liberty. That is only condition of growth…  – Swami Vivekananda

Some time society needs more of a spiritual ideals and ideology to evolve and progress besides numerous political struggles and efforts. The birth of Great spiritual leader and philosopher Swami Vivekananda is the manifestation of such need of Indian land when India was suffering from communal forces and casteism along with British regime. In pre-colonial India, on 12 January 1863, this unique Hindu leader was born to weaken and defeat the dark forces. In 1984, Indian Government announced birthday of Swami Vivekananda as National Youth Day to grant him a special tribute. Swami Vivekananda ji embraced many sects, religious schools and world outlooks. He influenced large Indian masses and foreigners with his intellect and became a great social reformer, true nationalist and bold internationalist. Throughout his life, he always insisted on the very inherent spiritual nature of Indian society and gave a message of its inevitability to conquer the world. He also enforced Indian masses to come out of superstitions and understand the deep philosophy of spiritualism and religion. Vivekananda with his vast horizon of mind always established spirituality as tool and love as an instrument of human evolution and social development.

Like English philosopher Johan Locke, Vivekananda considered nature of man as eternal or divine that became departed due to external subjugation, worldly deviations and alienation which he can discover through wisdom, self-knowledge and actions for humanity. After Kabir Sahib, he was one of first person in India who condemned Casteism and Untouchabilty within domains of Hinduism. Vivekananda was passionate philanthropist who strongly advocated the oppressed, lower castes or outcastes and poor people. He remarked many time that

“Love makes no distinction between man and man, between an Aryan and Mlechcha, between Brahmin and a Pariah, nor even between man and woman. Love makes the whole universe as one’s own home.”

He projected Vedas composed of eternal and spiritual contents and Simrits or Purana as temporary texts infused with political motives. Vivekananda announced bravely that

“We must remember that for all periods the Vedas are the final goal and authority, and if the Puranas differ in any respect from the Vedas, that part of the Puranas is to be rejected without mercy…. As time rolls on, more and more of the Smritis will go, sages will come and they will change and direct society into better channels, into duties and into paths according to the necessity of age, and without which it is impossible that society can live.. ”

This was intention that right wing forces could not accept and are always keen to defame image of  S. Vevekanada. He was very against the privileges based on caste hierarchy which becomes clear in subsequent statement that

“The enjoyment of advantages over another is privilege; and throughout ages, the aim of morality has been its destruction. This is the work that tends towards unity, without destroying variety”.

Vivekananda also tagged Shudras or Parihas as proletariats of India and envisaged that Indian socialism can be conceived primarily in terms of their betterment.      

The work of Swami ji for subaltern (oppressed, lower caste and poor people) is unbelievable and recommendable. In fact the spirit of basic idea of education system that was proposed by Swami ji, seems to became a prime objective of Indian constitution and of first education commission – education system should strive to build character by cultivating moral, social and spiritual values…should strengthen national and social integration to create more egalitarian social order. Vivekananda always emphasized on education that

“…taking some university degrees, you consider yourself educated. Is this education? What is the goal of your education? Either Clerkship, or being a lawyer, or at the most a Deputy Magistrate, which is another form of clerkship – isn’t that all? What good will it do to you or to the country at large? Open your eyes and see what a piteous cry for food is rising in the land Bharata, proverbial for its food. Will your education fulfill this want? The education that does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy and the courage of a lion – is it worth name?..The end of all education, all training should be man making.”

Vivekananda was first who supported the lower castes, lower class subaltern people in different way by proposing such education system that also seems to be ideological basis for reservation in modern time. Vivekananda elucidated very firmly that

“If the Brahmin has more aptitude for learning on the ground of heredity than the Pariah, spend no more money on the Brahmin’s education; but spend all on the Pariah. Give to the weak, `for there all the gift is needed… If there is inequality in nature, still there must be equal chance for all — or if greater for some and for some less — the weaker should be given more chance than the strong. If the son of a Brahmin needs one teacher, that of a Chandala needs ten…Our poor people, these downtrodden masses of India, therefore, require to hear and to know what they really are…”

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s concept of reservation and education was the legal and political manifestations of this above mentioned truthful thoughts of Vivekananda. Hence Vivekananda’s understating about Indian society seems to be correct and venerable.

On the eve of National Youth Day, it is worth to say that Vivekananda’s approach for education and uplifting status of subaltern is practical. His attacks on orthodox Hinduism enfolding casteism, idea of spiritual society and internationalism seek more interpretations and exposure. Hence it is necessary to defeat extreme wing communal forces who manipulate pious ideas of subaltern sympathizer Swami Vivekananda to perpetuate casteism and irrational condemning of constitutional right of reservation. Also it is duty of students and youth to eliminate extremist left wing forces which try to hijack subaltern ideals like Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to mobilize dalits/lower-castes/tribes for their undemocratic interests and violent means. If Malaviya and Vajpayee ji can be nominated for Bharat Ratnas, why not Vivekananda, Guru Nanak, Kabir ji, Phule were considered for same. ESYA demands that Vivekananda ji should be given honor of Bharat Ratana as were awarded to B.R Ambedkar for serving subaltern and our country. ESYA congratulates every student and citizen on the eve of National Youth Day.

President ESYA (PU unit): Vikramjeet Vick

12 January, 2015

 

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar & Nelson Mandela: The Heroes of Subaltern across the world

“Political tyranny is nothing compared to the social tyranny and a reformer who defies society is a more courageous man than a politician who defies Government” – Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

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“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is no tended.” ― Nelson Mandela

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Introduction :-History conceals sacrifices and struggles of many people and personalities but the potential and works of a Great leader are inevitable to manifest their might and glory. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Nelson Mandela were such leaders who fought for justice and dignity of historically oppressed communities particularly blacks and lower castes. As Mandela was popular leader of majority black people of South Africa in post-colonial era, similarly Dr. Ambedkar was deeply dedicated to Indian oppressed classes and castes before and after independence. The sacrifices and patience of these remarkable political leaders can never be forgotten which shaped these personalities to be loved and celebrated. The Apartheid system and Caste system or untouchability both were system of discrimination among human beings. In India, Caste system guards social hierarchy and deny equality and dignity of human being. And Apartheid was ethnical order that perpetuated the racial discrimination in South Africa. The political and ideological discourse of Dr. Ambedkar and Nelson Mandela kindled a new hope for subaltern masses and oppressed communities across the globe.  The subaltern classes are those classes that suffered exploitation and oppression of ruling political classes and experienced general attribute of subordination or ‘of inferior rank’ over thousands of years in all histories. Subaltern classes may include peasants, workers and other groups denied access to ‘hegemonic’ power. Gramsci tried to conceive historiography of the subaltern classes and history of the ruling classes that is realized in the state. The subaltern are not just identified along class line but also based on historical suppression of particular sections along cultural, linguistics, ethnics, racial and caste lines depriving them from political rights and property rights.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956):-  The birth of such thinker with tremendous and broader vision like Dr. Ambedkar is bright destiny of our country and particularly of deprived castes and untouchables. Caste custom in India is ancient practice that became more intensified in medieval period of Indian history. Many social reformers and spiritual leaders like Kabir ji, Ravidas ji, Dadu ji and Nanak ji and Vivekananda ji attempted to uproot this bloody casteism. The Bhakti Lehar or Sant-mat, Sikhism and Buddhism were ideological idioms that attacked on caste-system and upper caste privileges prevailing in Hindu society. The very sacred and pious ancient Textual Hinduism and Vedic culture was manipulated, misinterpreted and vulgarised by ruling classes with shame and impunity in many Smritis particularly in ‘Manu Smriti’ at different historical epochs to perpetuate ‘casteism’ and ‘untouch-ability’ to extract surplus labour of toiling masses and to have psychological control over lower caste . Dr. Ambedkar correctly argued that

Caste system is not merely a division of  labour. It is also a division of laborers.

The ‘Aryan and non- Aryan’, ‘native habitants’ and ‘foreigner’, ‘purity and impurity’, ‘occupations, birth and sense of superiority’, ‘patriarchy and privileges’ were enough notions sanctioned by orthodox Hinduism to divide humanity across social hierarchy. The British Raj in India somewhat distorted caste system but not tried to abolish it rather sometime carried it to serve their own interests. In this scenario, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was born in colonial India and struggled with Imperial force as well domestic ‘upper caste’ mentality or Brahaminism but died in free India unfortunately not in caste free India.

           It is highly unfortunate that the real work and depth of the social and political contributions of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar has gone unnoticed. He is not only colossal figure in 20th century political theater of India but can easily be recognized as a theoretical and intellectual leader of all subaltern classes across the globe. His understanding of a backward society such as of India and application of a advanced concept such as Rule of Law , affirmative action in favour of socially weak sections, formation of an electoral system based on written constitution etc. is work no less than any western celebrated thinker such as John Locke. His political contributions may be silent but their affect in uniting this ancient and divided country through law and peaceful way surpasses the likes of Abraham Lincoln.

           Hence we as students and youth must acknowledge, accept his tremendous effort from the very beginning of his life. At that time in colonial India while belonging to such humble background he was the MOST educated personality in 20th Century India. He understood the political, social, cultural as well as structural anatomy of this country. He was the first Law minister of India and delivered the constitution which is comprehensive as well as flexible in adapting. He was of the view, “Democracy is not merely a form of Government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellowmen”.

Nelson Mandela (18 july, 1918 – 5 December, 2013):- Nelson Mandela with his visionary and missionary attitude impressed not only blacks but also multiracial culture and communities including white minorities in South Africa. He lived a life of an activist, philanthropist, political leader and a lawyer. It is much painful that on 5 December, 2013 a Great subaltern leader Nelson Mandela left this world for ever. But his brilliant political and social works are milestone for all politicians and philanthropists. The main contribution of Nelson Mandela was that of his struggle for eliminating the racial discrimination and segregation in South Africa. This struggle was intensified and became famous with the name of Sabotage plans (1961-1963). Mandela was not only worried about Blacks but also with human lives. That’s why he was very concerned about Violent and Non-violent modes of struggle against apartheid.

In seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Dutch trading companies started to plunder African colonies and continents. Some Dutch families had been settled in South Africa and traditionally dominated South Africa’s politics. These “minority white people” used to speak local Afrikaans language as first language. Historically, the black people were suppressed by whites and thrown to live in dehumanized conditions in South Africa. Whole of this process made them deprived of all basic political rights of democratic life. This political regime was laced with Apartheid system or government.

Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944 and established ANC Youth League. In 1952, Mandela and Oliver Tambo established South Africa’s first black law firm when he started to practice law as lawyer. The Treason Trial (1956), Sabotage plans (1961-1963), Rivonia Trial (1963) were the major incidents that proved to be roadmap for 1st Presidency of Blacks in South Africa challenging the hegemony of white supremacy. After general strike for black liberation that was called in May 1960 and failed to mobilize vast masses, Mandela proposed and convinced to ANC for the undertaking of an armed effort against the South African government putting a reason that “The attacks of the wild beast cannot be averted with only bare hands”. Hence a military organ of ANC, Umkhonto weSizwe, or Spear of the Nation” was established to force government to call national constitutional convention for multiracial democracy. This sabotage attacked on many Apartheid government posts, machines and facilities. In 1962, Mandela was arrested by government official on his return to South Africa and accused of leaving country without passport, waging sabotage movement and getting help from foreign nations. Standing in the dock at the Palace of Justice in Pretoria, Mandela announced that

“the ideal of a democratic and free society” is one “for which I am prepared to die.

This was just beginning of rise of multiracial democracy.  The rest 28 year of life imprisonment and trials was the span of political changes and debates for multicultural and multiracial democracy in South Africa forcing government to negotiate and compromise. During this time period the speech of Mandela that

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities”

became conscience of South African people. In February 1990, President F. W. de Klerk announced the release of Nelson Mandela. In April 1994, South Africans of all races went to the polls.  The ANC won and Nelson Mandela became the first black President of South Africa. In 1991, many times the violence of “black -on- black” was perpetuated by state intelligence to damage the reputation of Mandela in which thousands died. Mandela recognized this “third force” and settled this issue through negotiations with black ethnic Inkatha (right wing) leaders and de Klerk (State President) signing peace accord. Mandela was very wise and diplomatic to expose the right wing parties and white supremacist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging and white minority’s National Party in every tough situation. He was well equipped to tackle communists and left wing extremism and he was successful to project ANC as broadly social democratic in outlook. The Communist leader Joe Slovo recognized that Stalinism had failed in Eastern Europe and could not be regarded as a model for the South African Communist Party. Hence he found a special place as minister in ANC government formation. During militant sabotage campaign some left extremists joined the struggle to gain popularity. But in his autobiography, Nelson Mandela wisely remarked:

“There will always be those who say that the Communists were using us. But who is to say that we were not using them?”

The Subalternity that is supposed to be consequence of exercise of hegemony over subaltern classes can better be observed in history of South Africa. “National Reconciliation” Commission was the policy that had been adopted to ensure racial harmony in which Mandela assured to white population that they would be protected and represented in “Rainbow Nation”  .Nelson Mandela marked and challenged the hegemony of white race to create multiracial democracy and racial harmony.

Mandela is celebrated as Hero of subaltern across the world as equivalent to Dr. B.R.Ambedkar-the first law minister and architect of constitution of India- who fought for Caste-free society.        

What the students and youth of India should derive:-

  • It must be extracted from the life of above people heroes that any struggle for liberation and advancements of society or particular oppressed community can be achieved through the Parliamentary democracy. And parliamentary democracy is the height of political structure in Human society.
  • Like Mandela, “National Reconciliation Commissions” should be appointed in our country to build cultural, religious and social harmony.
  • All armed struggles are bound to end in parliamentary democracy. Nelson Mandela is ultimate example of mobilization of masses while leading them from a bizzare armed struggle into an immediately democratic set up and he represented whole issue through electoral process on similar lines Dr B.R. Ambedkar gave this country a concept of ‘Rule of Law’ annihilating the discrimination of any sort from law hence officially banned discrimination by legislative changes and measurements. Mandela’s as well as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s life proved that “Ballots are more effective than bullets”. Hence, few irrational, irresponsible, immature people and political forces conspiring against this huge people’s democracy and people’s Constitution must learn from these examples and it is duty of the students to lead these democratic principles in their lives in whatever fields they work.
  • In Indian context, Dr. Ambedkar did more theoretical and political work and presented biggest written constitution in world showing the potential and talent of Great Subaltern leader. And some right and left extreme forces  that deny the democratic constitution, consciously or unconsciously feel challenged their brahamnical ‘intellectual hegemony’ of thousand years. Hence it is necessary to accept the democratic principle that was enshrined in Article 14 and 16 of our Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar.
  • B.R. Ambedkar is symbol of progressive society, one that is always evolving on the base of education , social harmony and cultural absorption. Today it becomes the duty of students to push the collective cultural consciousness of whole country in context of 21st century by shunning all anti-democratic forces, backward traditions. Globalization is one such opportunity to unite the subaltern across the globe and hence it must not be allowed to slip away.

ESYA stands with spirit of social harmony and give an international tribute to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Nelson Mandela on the eve of their death anniversaries.

President: Vikramjeet Vick