- The Search & Need
By Goldy M. George
17 November, 2003
history has remained the chronology of struggles between master and
servant, have and have nots, between capitalists and proletariats, exploiter
and exploited. The irony of the world history turns everything upside
down. How to evaluate this historical process? It is quite a difficult
task, but when we try to understand from the people's viewpoint, the
picture is clearer. How to explain such theoretical sterility and sclerosis
of praxis in spite of much unquestioned commitment to the cause of a
classless and just society? Any search for an answer must begin with
a critical appraisal of the historical practice of Indian politics over
the past many years along with the ancient system of local governance.
One of the outstanding
developments in Indian politics was the participation of the common
man in the freedom struggle. Congress, initially was a forum of the
common man, rather a platform which took up the brunt to emancipate
Indians from the clutches of British imperialism. Although the bourgeois
funded Congress, it had a set of agendas for these struggles. Subsequently
in the post-independence period, the Congress turned to be a bunch of
bourgeoisie. Gandhi's dream of "Gram-Swaraj" went into oblivion.
Eventually the kind of independence that the people got was only a transfer
of power from a cluster of exploiters to another.
role was of the Communist movement in India. Organising the working
class was their major program, through trade union. Indeed, many of
the early leaders were committed to the cause of the proletarian class.
Particularly, from late 30s till early 60s it could be derived as the
era of mass left movements apart from the freedom struggle. Hundreds
of struggles were initiated during this period, especially by the working
sector. These proletarian struggles were mainly centred in Kerala, West
Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh, in some parts of Bihar and in the North-Eastern
states. This range from participating in the parliamentary politics
to the extreme end of armed guerrilla warfare. The experiment of land
reforms among the communist Governments seemed to be successful, which
turned as a debacle at the end of the day.
But slowly, in the
course of time the proletarian agenda of the communist parties is also
diffusing rapidly. Their structure has moreover shifted to capital orientedness
than people's power. Also the democratic process was terribly demoralised.
As a part of this they candidly invite the multinational corporation,
whose one and only agenda is to exploit every thing on earth to the
maximum extend. Although the isolated armed struggles headed by the
marxist-leninist groups had gained very little, they still continue
with the hope of prosperity in future.
Sangh Parivar with
the ideology of violent nationalism had attained the utmost support
from the middle class elite. Hindutva catalogue had widely gained a
space due to the sentimental loyalty towards Hinduism. Subsequently
the definition and identity of nationalism was also given a renewed
shape. Also this had substantially led to the emergence of consumerism.
However the most
significant political development of the last one and half century is
the growth of a socio-political consciousness among the Dalits and of
course among the Adivasis. This has brought in a new dynamics to the
overall political process, particularly with the struggle of Dalits
for their Dignity. Dalits are the lowest strata of people according
to the Hindu social structure, who were once slaves to the upper caste
people known as Shudras and Atishudras. They are one of the long persecuted
humanities anywhere in the world.
What has happened
in the last few decades is a gradual, sensible and rationale growth
in the level of awareness among the Dalits. Various questions relating
to caste issue has been challenged that intimidates the very existence
of the upper caste segment, which is also the ruling class, despite
the insignificance of party affiliation. Strengthening of upper caste
is a felt need to the Hindutva catalogue since casteism is the corner
stone of Hinduism itself. Without casteism or strengthening of the upper
caste there is no existence of Hinduism as such. Ambekdarite movement
has checked this to greater extend. However this continues as the root
of all social dilemmas in India.
So far the rustic
poor are concerned, one thing that is very vivid from this is that all
the present political factions have turned to be a bunch of caste elite
having seldom interest in the masses and any sort of change. In some
parts of India, the oppressed sector had expressed their opposition
to the power holders in many different ways, some through peaceful means
and other through violent ways. Many others are yet to realise the exploitative
In the past, many
of the violent movements, basically enrolled by the working class were
born as a part of the ongoing invasion of imperialistic forces on their
basic rights. To them it is the only way to express their wrath and
thus they considered the ruling class as their birth foe. Apparently,
the growth of people's organisations in different parts is an indicator
of people's rise. Verily there is the genesis of the search for alternatives
to the present politics.
is hardly any role of the common man in this process than casting votes.
Another tragic scene of this trend is the systematic and strategic alienation
of the common man from this process. This purely explains the ignoble
surrender before the multinational onslaught in the name of globalisation
and liberalisation without even a whimper, nay, with dubious declarations
of glorious exploits.
Turning back to
the people the concept of decentralisation of power is the only way
for a redemption - rather the one and only alternative. But before that
a wave of cultural change has to be brought into, turning from capital
oriented social political and economic structures to a more socialist
and egalitarian one based on equality and dignity.
Gram Swaraj can
be one possible way in this approach. But the concept of Gram Swaraj,
which I mean, is not the current craved advertisement by the Congress.
Even the ancient Indian Gram Sabhas were entirely the monopoly of a
few feudal upper caste landlords or the local rich. This cannot be the
true spirit of decentralisation of power. The dalits, women and other
deprived sectors had no say in such panchayats. Such a system will be
an absurd than an asset fabricating more problems to the poor strata.
Essentially the need of the hour is the balance between the casteless
and classless society.
Rustic revolt particularly
of the poor and working sector will definitely storm the existing citadels
of power, thus emerging the new era of power, a cohesive outburst of
This is from where
one has to initiate a serious debate on search of alternatives - people's
power. It is not the spontaneous emergence of masses, but a slow and
steady evolution that transfers the complete power - social, political,
and economic from the clutches of a few to the hands of the battered
strata, which is also the need of the hour.
Today when Congress
stands at the crossroad, BJP stands with its Hindutava agenda, Communists
had diluted its working class agenda, and Socialists striving to find
space among the people; can we rewrite our future, and emancipate people
from the vulgar clutches of party politics?
Goldy M. George
is a Dalit-Adivasi activist in Chhattisgarh. He is currently the convener
of Dalit Study Circle.
Goldy M. George
Convener, Dalit Study Circle
Karbala Para, Behind State Bank of India,
G.E. Road, Raipur-492001, Chhattisgarh, India