Uttarakhand is in the news for all the wrong reasons at the moment. The video of a meeting of the so-called ‘dharmsansad’ in Hardwar have gone viral on social media where the speakers masquerading as leaders concerned for ‘Hindus’ have used absolutely filthy, gutter level, genocidal language against minorities particularly the Muslims. It is not that these people spoke such filth for the first time. They have been doing it for past so many years but during the last 7 odd years or we can since our ‘independence’ in May 2014, they have ‘truly’ ‘enjoyed’ their ‘freedom of expression’ which is using the vulgar, intimidatory language against Muslims and getting away with it. Contrary to this, look at the track record of the government, any one utter anything against such criminal acts, face the wrath. UAPA, sedition laws have been used against activists, intellectuals for opposing illegal and unconstitutional methods of the government. The brutality and insensitivity of the authorities against people speaking truth to power remained the hall mark of the current regime which is using absolute control to damage democratic institutions. It is not democracy but electoral system which has allowed them to manipulate polity and mandate against India’s own people who they wish to convert into a second-class citizen depending on the ‘mercy’ of the caste Hindus. Intellectuals have been left to rot in the jail while the goons shouting and threatening genocide have perfect freedom as police ‘investigate’ the matter and filed FIR against the one who has just ‘joined’ the Hindu dharma leaving Islam.
Agenda setting for Uttar Pradesh Polls
The Hardwar’s ‘dharm sansad’ is nothing but a purely Brahmanical agenda to control the non-brahmins in the country particularly the Bahujan Samaj. These kinds of Sansad are nothing but desperate attempt to get media attention as they know it well that even the ‘negative’ publicity is a great publicity for them. For all those who show allegiance to the ruling party and its thoughts are one hundred percent sure that nothing would happen to them. They have only one quality and that is to shout loud against Muslims and minorities of India. A majority of them don’t even respect and accept the Constitution of India but then they don’t care as they know well that those who have to take action against them are actually with them and blessing them.
The modus operandi of the ruling party is well known to be described here. With Uttar Pradesh going to poll soon, they want to back to Hindu Muslim agenda. Frankly, they never moved away from that and all the bogus talks about ‘Gujarat Model’ of ‘development’ has now been forgotten and Uttar Pradesh only saw for the last five years the Hindutva model of intimidation, threat and misuse of state power to promote divisive agenda.
However, Hindutva anti Muslim pitch will never pay all the time. The brahmins have realised it in Uttar Pradesh as they enjoyed both communal-secular-liberal politics of the state. None of these Brahmanical ‘liberals’ ever question why the Prime Minister’s office has the largest number of brahmins or why our ministries, bureaucracy, media, judiciary and academia have disproportionate presence of brahmins. Have the brahmins in Uttar Pradesh really changed and thrown ‘Hindutva’ ? Who can deny the fact that except for Brahmin Banias none of the other communities are represented in the ‘National Committee’ to build the Ram Temple? Why are the brahmin journalists-intellectuals so upset with Yogi Adityanath? Are they upset with BJP too ? Are they disappointed with Narendra Modi and his policies too? Will they support any other leader if the party replace Adityanath? With in the Hindutva fold there are numerous caste groups and ambitious leaders fighting for the top position hence all those who disagree with Yogi Adityanath do not become champion of social justice or socialism. One can not ignore the example of recent recruitment at the GB Pant Institute in Allahabad where not a single recruitment from OBC community took place under the pretext of ‘suitable candidate not found’.
Long ago, Vivekananda said, for a stronger India, we need the confluence of two great civilisations. Vedantik Brain and Islamic Body but today one has to understand the dynamics of the Hindutva politics which revolve around brahmanical ‘brain’ and ‘Bahujan’ ‘body’. So anti Muslim propaganda is actually not that much against Muslims even when they are direct target but aimed at controlling the Bahujan masses who seek their share and representation in all walks of life. We should not forget that the Ram Temple Yatra launched by Lal Krishna Advani from Somnath to Ayodhya, in September October 1990 was essentially aimed at countering the impact of Mandala Commission report whose recommendations were accepted by the then prime minister V P Singh in the Parliament.
Why quiet on discrimination against Dalits
We need to ask a few questions to these champions of Hindu dharma. A report appeared in the media of boycott of Bhojanmata, the cook who prepare mid-day meal for the school children, in district Champawat, Uttarakhand, just because she happened to be a Dalit. So far, we did not hear any condemnation or campaign against caste system and untouchability. They won’t even like to speak about this. In fact, the person who work against caste system and untouchability are abhorred by the Manuwadis. You call it Devbhumi and yet not ready to condemn such incidents where Dalits are not allowed to enter the temple or sit with other children. What kind of religious seers are they who keep their eye and mouth shut on the issues that exposes the varna dharma. The fact is that the root of such violence and contempt towards Dalit is part of the varnashrama dharma sourced from Manusmriti. A majority of these champions have never spoken against such foul practices rather they have justified caste system as very ‘scientific’ and not really ‘birth based’ but based on your ‘personality’ and ‘quality’.
A few years back, we had seen the murder of a Dalit man in a wedding party simply because he did not sit separately and ate food along with others. In the Jaunsar region, adjacent to state capital, Dehradun, Dalits still face severe discrimination and yet the goons get away with the law because the entire region has been ‘categorised’ as Scheduled Tribe zone resulting in nullification of the SC-ST prevention of atrocities act. Even today, the Dalits are the lowly paid drum beaters in villages used not only in the marriages but also in all the traditional and religious functions. Without them, no work is complete yet they are ostracised and lowly paid. In the movement for separate Uttarakhand, they were in the forefront for many many months beating drums in front of the massive crowds and leading it many times yet were not ‘acknowledged’ as ‘rajya andolankari’ who are now getting pensions by the state.
Real targets are the asserting voices of Dalit Bahujans in Uttar Pradesh
Let me categorical here. These Babas and shouting brigade might have assembled in Haridwar but very little impact in Uttarakhand polity where BJP is actually facing severe crisis. Frankly speaking, except for the few urban pockets of the plains, Ram Temple movement and Hindu Muslim binary does not work much in Uttarakhand and there is a significant dissatisfaction against the BJP in the state. The Haridwar gathering is actually aimed at the politics in Uttar Pradesh where the Dalit-OBC-minorities are asserting their identities and seeking their space in the political sphere. Truly dedicated government to Bahujan identities in UP and Bihar can ultimately prove disaster for those trying to maintain their caste hegemonies through war cries against the minorities in the name of ‘Indian culture’ as if they are not part of Indian culture and have not contributed anything.
The roots of political democracy are still strong in India even if we say that are a highly undemocratic society. Baba Saheb Ambedkar suggested that without social democracy our political democracy will be peril. The current dispensation has now tested enormous power and is not ready to cede with it. It can’t imagine a day without power which it has enjoyed just on the basis of absolute polarisation. The Savarna power came back to them through Hindutva but now there is bound to be a crisis among them too for the top positions. The brahmin opposition to Yogi Adityanath is not ideological but purely opportunistic. With growing influence of Banias on Indian polity through Gujarat model, the Brahmins are playing the second fiddle to them which may not be acceptable to many in the cow belt. So, it is purely ‘grapes turning sour’ as majority of the Savarna elite is still with BJP despite all the failure of the party to deliver at the governance level. The thing is people know it well how the government has diluted reservation, how our universities are denying representation to SC-ST-OBCs and remained the fiefdom of brahmin Banias. Media is still dominated by the same class and castes and yet not a single sentence about it.
Look at the campaign the prime minister and UP chief minister have launched. Ayodhya and Kashi have been ‘delivered’ with millions of rupees expenditure. Now, they are focussing on Mathura too. They know it well that common person in Uttar Pradesh and any other state will ask question about governance, about job, employment and security but here we are being given the full dozes of ‘religion’ all the time. Never in the history of India, a government used resources at its hand to promote its religious agenda.
So, what happened in Haridwar should not surprise us because these ‘liberals’ too enjoyed the Hindu Muslim binary wrestling. To understand the dynamics of Brahmanism, one need to go through the life time and analysis of Jotiba Phule, Baba Saheb Ambedkar and EVR Periyar. Thankfully, with the growth of Ambedkarite movement world over, youngsters are raising these issues, developing their own media, bringing out their own narratives. The more this family of Ambedkarism, Periyarism, Bhagat Singhism, humanism grow, the bigger will be the worries of the religious lunatics of all varieties. Uttar Pradesh has seen growth of Ambedkarite movement and it will succeed in setting the agenda of social justice, political participation and proportional representation everywhere for the coming elections. The more the Dalit Bahujan leaders emerge stronger in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the bigger will be these war cries against the minorities by those blessed by the ruling party.
Ambedkarism will challenge the Brahmanical hegemony
Amidst all this depression is sign of hope and fight back. The Dalit students in Champawat districts have decided to boycott the food being cooked by the brahmin woman which is a good sign. While the Delhi government has ‘offered’ a job to the Bhojanmata, we all know it is not that easy for the woman to come to Delhi to do the cooking job. These ‘offers’ are more political than real in nature. Kejriwal was first to offer job to Rohit Vemula’s brother too but he rejected it. There are various other issues before a person can a move to come out of his or her town. Rather than addressing the issue there, politicians are actually doing more dramas and nautankis. The question is what is the stand of Aam Adami Party in Uttarakhand on the issue and whether it is just the issue of a job or caste discrimination or both. I wish to congratulate these Dalit students from Uttarakhand for this bold step which reflect that they are not ready to accept any more insult in the name of culture and traditions. India has to be run on the principles of our constitutions as framed by Baba Saheb Ambedkar and that annihilation of castes must be made part of the curriculum from the primary level till the graduation level. Can our school inculcate the spirit in the students that caste system is bad, inequality is unconstitutional, untouchability is a crime as per our constitution ? Will they start teaching the values of Equality, liberty and Fraternity in the classroom on a serious note ? We all know this will be hard for the system which thrive on double speak and hence it is for the Ambedkarites, humanists and all those who believe in equality and constitutionalism to start a big campaign against untouchability and caste discrimination. A 21st century India can be strengthened only on the constitutional values of secularism, equality, freedom of expression and belief, and not through the imposition of theocratic values of Varnashram dharma that glorify the iniquitous past and justify the hierarchical system based on birth.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social activist. Twitter @freetohumanity