The UP political situation have brought sharp differences between yesterday’s friend who have now becoming bitter foes. People are posting things on Facebook and whatsApp abusing their former comrades just because one is on the side of Samajwadi Party while other on the Bahujan Samaj Party. I will make certain observations with my own understanding of the two and the legacies they claim to inherit. BSP emerged from a big movement that late Kanshiram started by mobilising the grassroot Bahujan masses, though it was existed earlier too in the form of splintered Ambedkarite followers all over the country. BAMSCEF that time was more an organisation for social change which look the society from very understanding of an Ambedkarite thought. The Samajwadi Party inherited or claim to inherit Lohia legacy which talks of caste identities and their participation in political structure but also glamorised village economy. At the end of the day Lohia remained a staunch Gandhian and countered Nehru for his ‘western’ thought.
Both SP and BSP were the parties of late eighties in technical terms though Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav was leader of opposition in Uttar Pradesh and built up his party from the ground. Kanshiram Ji’s work was more of developing a staunch cader on Ambedkarite political philosophy. He was able to give voice to all those people and communities which remained hitherto unrepresented in political structure. Unlike RPI in Maharastra which Baba Saheb wanted to be party of diverse groups, BSP was able to attract diverse Bahujan communities even though opponent blamed it party of one community. There may be some truth in it but then every party has a core constituency which is important to nurture and on the basis of that strength, you can build better alliances with like minded groups.
When Samajwadi Party came to power in UP in the last term, one of the jokes that they started was related to Ambedkar Park which was definitely not a good taste. Akhilesh Yadav changed the names of all the district that Ms Mayawati has done in the name of great saints and Bahujan leaders. That was the worst decision on his part. In fact Akhilesh threatened to demolish Ambedkar Part too. Akhilesh with all good intention has limited social understanding but probably he feels that in politics you need to be goody to all but why that goody not extended to Dalits. It was under Akhilesh government that the state government openly encouraged the anti reservationists to campaign against reservation in Promotion. It was a sad spectacle. When thousands of OBC students had conversed in Allahabad for their genuine demands, they were called to Lucknow and when the talks failed, they were chased by the police and brutally lathicharged.
As a person who has followed Mulayam Singh Yadav’s politics, I had only described the alliance between SP-BSP in 1992 bemel as Mr Kanshiram came from radical Ambedkarite movement while Mulayam Singh Yadav’s emerged from mainstream socialist politics which actually legitimised RSS in 1975, the first time when Janata experiment happened.. The faith in social justice is essential for any alliance and I personally feel that even the Mandal Report in Uttar Pradesh was not implemented properly. There are many OBCs who are absolutely landless and Mandal recommendations are not just for job quota but for land reforms too. What happened ? Nothing.
When Akhilesh broke away from his father and allied with Congress, I termed it pragmatic decision. Political decisions are pragmatic and for survival too. Akhilesh is young and he will need to invest more time in the politics of social justice too rather than commenting on BSP and Ms Mayawati in contemptuous way.
Intellectuals should speak openly. They can’t be devotees. They have to speak up for society and inform those in power where they lack. The battle today in UP is of a great national importance. I would always wish Uttar Pradesh to go Tamilnadu way where two ‘national” brahmanical parties become redundant but at the same point of time, it is essential that we learn from Tamilnadu where the Dravidian politics actually marginalised the Dalits further.
Let me make it clear that Ram Mamanohar Lohia was a great political leader but whenever India’s Bahujan masses look for socio cultural emancipation they will have to go to Ambedkar Phule and Periyar. It is here, I wish Akhilesh could have invested time to understand all these revolutionaries. When I am reading comments here on facebook, it pains me. Some say, we are Phulewadis and not Ambedkarites. How is this possible ? Every Ambedkarite is a Phulewadi too. Every Ambedkarite is essentially a Buddhist too, not just in term of religion but in terms of philosophy. Some days back many çommentators” wrote that Periyar, Phule and others are OBC icons and not Dalit warriors which may be technically true but who is carrying them further ? Who brought them to political discourse in Uttar Pradesh. The Janata Dal or the Samajwadis ? It is the BSP which brought to them in political discourse and that is essential. Uttar Pradesh need Ambedkar Phule and Periyar otherwise the brahmanical elite will always distort the political changes here.
Almost all the political parties somewhere allied with RSS and perhaps we have to differentiate when Congress was the main brahmanical party. But in today’s context, it is essential to be unambiguous about our relationship with Hindutva when the Hindutva forces are up in arm using their ‘saam-daam-dand-bheda” to bring the manuwadi varna system. Akhilesh Yadav rarely spoke on violence against Dalits. He did not speak on Una incident. He had not time to see what was happening in JNU. It is important now for the Samajwadi Party, if it wish to look sincere to broaden its social base.
Miss Mayawati in recent years have been very vocal on these issues and was a welcome step from her earlier polity of isolation. She made it clear that in no way she is going to ally with BJP. Let us not bring history as every one has a history including Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, the founder of Hindu Maha Sabha, being member of Nehru cabinet and prior to that part of Muslim League Ministry, in Bengal under Fazal-ul Haq. So politics many time need associations and links but in today’s time you can not be an opportunist in the name of running the government when the country has seen Hindutva’s hate propaganda and anti people activities.
The attempt to put Lohia against Ambedkar must be condemned as done by many. I met many of those who knew it that Dr Lohia was in constant touch with Dr Ambedkar. It is open secret that Lohia Admired Ambedkar a lot and wanted him the leader of opposition and both were working for building up a party that represent India’s wider oppressed masses. In fact, I am told, Dr Lohia was supposed to be joining the Republican Party of India when it was to be formed. Unfortunately, the demise of Dr Ambedkar left the entire legacy in bad hands and RPI became one community party which Baba Saheb never wanted. On December 5th, 1956 Dr Ambedkar had written two letters to veteran socialist leader N G Gore and Atre. He was in touch with Mr S M Joshi too to form a bigger alliance against the Congress Party which was the main political party during those years. Obviously, if Baba Saheb and Lohia were alive today, they would have joined hand to defeat the communal fascist forces represented by the Hindutva forces. The anti congressism of 1950s and 1960s is not valid today when the Hindutva’s brahmanical forces have unleashed their anti people propaganda so ruthlessly.
Friends, political parties will not implement the socio cultural agenda that we wish. They have to be part of the political structure and we can only use their good will in propagating things and also getting things done.It is the social movement which force them to do so. Be part of these movements that compel political leaders to listen to them. While there is no doubt that BSP will have to improve its working and Ms Mayawati will have to be more accessible to people, it is time we understand that SP and BSP are rivals in Uttar Pradesh hence there is bound to happen some bitterness among their fans but those who call themselves íntellectuals’ and activists have to come out of this fan mania and think of a larger perspective. I hope the rivalry does not give the brahmanical manipulators chance to blackmail them in the aftermath of the elections. People in constituencies know who is better and who is not. Uttar Pradesh will vote on community lines as it is happening and I must say, there is only one wave in Uttar Pradesh which is against #notebandi and Narendra Modi. We hope people give the BJP a good lesson.
Uttar Pradesh can bring huge political change in political history of India. That time has come now. Can the Bahujan forces respond to it positively ? Remember 21st century is that of Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s enlightened vision which is meant for all Indian across diverse communities as it has ways and means to overcome hurdles and built an egalitarian society. Those who want to put Ambedkar into a particular category do a great damage to his tremendous work to unite India and its havenots. Hope people will understand it in the greater interest of strengthening Bahujan movement in India
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter @freetohumanity Email: email@example.com