Is present the golden age of Dalit politics?

azad ravan helicopter

In a recent interview, Chandrashekhar Azad alias Ravana has said that the present is the golden age of Dalit politics. By the way, if we look at the tenor and direction of Dalit politics, then it does not show its golden age from anywhere but it is its downfall. While Dalit leaders have taken refuge in anti-Dalit parties, the remaining Dalit parties have become so weak that they are not able to make any effective intervention in politics. Here the Dalit parties who adopted caste politics have been defeated badly at the hands of BJP because their caste politics has only served to strengthen the fascist Hindutva politics of BJP. As a result, the total impact of the totalitarian corporate politics of the BJP that has emerged from it has adversely affected Dalits, Adivasis, laborers, farmers and the most backward classes. Due to privatization, reservation of Dalits in government jobs has almost ended. All the protection given to the labourers has almost ended by the relaxation of labour laws.

Dalits / Tribals are being oppressed by the present government. Social activists, intellectuals, writers, who have voiced and advocated for the human rights of these sections have been jailed as Maoists / anti-nationals. The feudal and monied forces are attacking the common people badly. The government stands completely with these anti-people forces. The government is bent upon suppressing every anti-government voice. The democratic rights of the people are being badly suppressed. Black laws are being misused and current laws are being made more vicious. People are being put in jails by putting false cases on them.

Now, if we look at the tenor and direction of Dalit politics, then it appears in its downfall. Most of the Dalit leaders have either gone to the ruling party or are in alliance with it. Those who are left have become so weak that they are afraid to speak on any Dalit issue as Dalit issues are not part of their politics. The Dalit politics which started in the name of Bahujan in North India had turned into Sarvajan during the life of its founder Kanshi Ram, which was pure power politics and had nothing to do with Dalit issues. Prior to this, the Republican Party of India (RPI), founded by Dr. Ambedkar, has fallen into such pieces that it is difficult to be counted as a victim of the greed of opportunists and individualist leaders. It is worth mentioning that after Independence, this RPI was the second largest opposition party in the country after Congress as long as it pursued mass movement-based politics on Dalit issues. But as soon as the Congress co-opted  its biggest leader, Dadasaheb Gaikwad, by luring him to a big post, this party became a pocket party of a few and got divided into several factions. Ramdas Athawale is also the leader of a similar faction who is enjoying power in alliance with BJP. Ram Vilas Paswan has always been in alliance with the ruling party and attained the rank of minister. Kanshi Ram’s BSP party got the chief minister’s post thrice for Mayawati by tying up with BJP, the most anti-Dalit party. Chandrasekhar is also talking about pursuing the same politics of Kanshi Ram.

Perhaps the politics that Chandra Shekhar is pursuing right now is calling it the golden period of Dalit politics. According to him, he is pursuing the mission of Kanshi Ram. It is not hidden from anyone that Kanshi Ram’s politics was a caste / communal and opportunistic politics of power which neither had any Dalit agenda nor any theory. He was proud to be opportunistic and unprincipled. He started with the slogan of change of the establishment  but later himself became a part of the same system. There was no improvement in the condition of Dalits of Uttar Pradesh even after Mayawati became the Chief Minister four times, while many Dalit and non-Dalit leaders used the power for their development in their name. Is Chandrashekhar’s alliance with Pappu Yadav in Bihar’s election this time in the interest of Dalits? Pappu Yadav is not so Dalit friendly at all. Who does not know for whose  benefit he is working in this election.

Therefore, it is worth considering in how much Dalit interest Chandrashekhar is fighting election in Bihar? At present, Dalit politics needs to carry the radical agenda of change and not Kanshi Ram brand opportunistic and unprincipled politics. Can Dalit politics be carried forward only by raising an army and showing a fighter attitude. Many such types of armies have been raised and used before. In fact, to save the citizenship and fundamental rights of the weaker sections and minorities including Dalits, there is a need for a mass class based democratic politics rather than the present totalitarian and exploitative politics. Therefore, the tragedy of the present Dalit politics, which is the victim of degeneration, scattering, opportunism and irrationality, cannot  be called as a golden age but a joke.

SR Darpuri, National Spokesperson, All India People’s Front



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