Swamy Prasad Maurya, the Brutus of Hindi heartland politics, turns 70

Swamy Prasad Maurya

Swamy Prasad Maurya, a veteran socialist leader and general secretary of the Samajwadi Party, turned 70 on 2nd January. 

About Swamy Prasad Maurya and his commitment to social justice and equality for marginalised communities, one Shakespeare character he can be compared to is Brutus from the play Julius Caesar. 

A protégé of eminent political theorist and founder of BSP Kanshiram, Maurya strengthened Behen Mayawati but when he left her citing “Ticket for Cash” scam, the BSP fell by the wayside. 

 Like Brutus, Maurya firmly believes in standing up for his political ideals of equality and social justice, even if it means going against powerful political leaders and parties at times.

 Brutus assassinated Caesar because he felt Caesar’s ambition would undermine Rome’s republican principles. In a similar vein, Maurya has been outspoken against any leaders or parties compromising on social justice issues.

Both are depicted as honourable and pragmatic men who prioritise ideological causes over personal gain or loyalty to any single leader. 

Brutus founded his own political movement after falling out with Mark Antony, much like Maurya joining and creating alternative narratives within different parties.  

 Their charismatic personalities attract followers and challenge the status quo in pursuing their visions of an equitable system.

 Ultimately both are tragedies – even if their intentions were just, the outcomes did not honour their objectives fully due to the complex realities of power dynamics.

Both men identified with the plight of the common people and those facing injustice and discrimination. While respected for their convictions, they have also ruffled feathers and been labeled as too radical by critics within their own ideological camps.

 Despite facing setbacks and switching affiliations at times, they persevered in advocating for their visions relentlessly through difficult circumstances.

 Skilled orators and strategists, they inspired many supporters but also evoked visceral reactions from political opponents. Questions remain about how much they were truly able to impact systemic change or whether they catalyzed more incremental progress.  

 There is a note of tragic heroism to their stories – personally upright figures who challenged predominant powers through unconventional means.Their legacies continue to be debated, but undeniably they gave voice to the marginalised and expanded public discourse on equality and justice.

Even in defeat or coalition-building with former rivals, they pushed adversaries to address common people’s concerns more substantively.

So in spirit, Brutus offers insightful parallels to Swamy Prasad Maurya as a principled protagonist determined to stir the socio-political order.

Of course, there are limits to any character comparison. But in spirit, Brutus captures Maurya’s principled stance for marginalised groups.

Swamy Prasad Maurya is presently a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council as a revered representative of Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party. 

Generally speaking, Mr Maurya enjoys a huge support of the Maurya, Kuswaha, Shakya  and other sections of the rainbow society across Uttar Pradesh for his combative advocacy on both streets and the floor of the Assembly of social reform, justice and diversity. 

After graduating in Law from the prestigious Allahabad University, Maurya had the privilege of launching his political journey in the close proximity of socialist legend Mulayam Singh Yadav in mid 1980s when he served as the general secretary of Lok Dal Youth Wing and later in the Janta Dal. 

However, his moment of political reckoning arrived in 1996 when he joined the Bahujan Samaj Party where he would rise through the ranks in his inimitable way. Especially inspired by ManyavarK anshiRam, Swamy Prasad Maurya raised the bar of subaltern politics and played a pivotal role in pulling Most Backward Classes in the favour of the BSP. As a consequence of Maurya’s influence, BSP became a formidable political outfit that grabbed power on at least four occasions. 

In 2016, the Diminutive Dynamo of the BSP accused Behen Mayawati of practicing immoral politics, “Money For Ticket” scam and ended his 20 years old association with the BSP. Many at the time had speculated about his joining the Samajwadi Party under the young leadership of then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.

 However, Maurya being an experienced weather vane in the heartland politics chose to align with the BJP against the basic principles of his secular and socialist politics. When the BJP returned to government he was made a cabinet minister, in charge of the Labour and Employment ministry. 

 In the jumbled world of Hindutva regime, Maurya was a lone voice of sanity over the issues of the downtrodden people. His conscience was in cage and he had the courage to wriggle out of the Yogi Adityanath led BJP government last year in mid-January ahead of the 2022 #UttarPradeshElections2022 

Before joining hands with Samajwadi Party, Maurya had accused the Adityanath govt of prejudices against the OBC, SC and Muslim community. 

Akhilesh Yadav welcomed Swamy Prasad Maurya with his open arms. He was accorded a star campaigner status too.

If it were not for injustice, man would not know justice. It is a denial of justice not to stretch out a helping hand to the fallen; that is the common right of humanity.

Maurya, a staunch student of Buddha and #mbedkar, had always been of the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. His presence in the Samajwadi Party has brought more strength to the organization.

Howevet, of late, his sorry plight of within the Samajwadi Party has also become a talk of the Uttar Pradesh. 

As a prominent OBC leader, Swamy Prasad Maurya has been passionately advocating for social justice and speaking against caste discrimination. He has cited Supreme Court orders and even RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat  comments to rationally argue against the unjust caste system perpetuated by Brahmanical traditions.

By questioning prejudiced verses in the Ramcharit Manas, he has taken a progressive ideological stand on reforming religious texts.

 However, instead of supporting his fight, several SP leaders are criticizing him and distancing the party from his views.

Top leaders have given statements denoting his opinions as personal, not reflecting the party line. 

Even demands have been made by several members to sack him, showing factionalism within SP. However, SP national president Akhilesh Yadav hitherto has not spoken anything against Swamiy Prasad Maurya

While Maurya is setting an ideal agenda, the party is unable or unwilling to back a frontline OBC figure. This gives an impression of SP moving towards soft Hindutva, ceding ideological ground to BJP ahead of crucial #LoksabhaElection2024.

It is unfortunate that Maurya’s rational campaign is not backed in full by his own party, betraying lack of ideological clarity and unity at a time it is needed the most.

Frank Huzur is an author and journalist.

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