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Remembering V.P. Singh: A Gladiator Of Social Justice

By Anoop Patel

27 November, 2015

Vishwanath Pratap Singh (25 June 1931 – 27 November 2008), the prophet of social justice in South Asia is regarded one of the great political and social emancipators after Jyotirao Phule, Babasaheb Ambedkar and Periyar. India has seen many changes through his inclusive policies. He implemented long-awaited Mandal commission’s 13 recommendations for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes where his predecessor Mrs. Gandhi and Rajeev Gandhi were not so concerned for this Report. As Prime Ministers the Gandhis encouraged notables/professionals, rich businessmen and land owning castes and garner support for their governments. But Raja Manda alias VP Singh was never worried about his politics and government.

It is very important to note Singh’s address on Independence Day, August 15, 1990:

"because the tear in the eyes of poor person remains a tear for some time but later it becomes ACID. He tears the page of history to build his own heaven on earth. So long as the tears in the eyes of poor keep wet, it is alright; but after it gets dried HIS EYES SPIT FIRE. It is the lesson of history that when the eyes of poor turn fiery the palaces of gold melt and go down the drain. It is not enough to ponder over; we have to act. Therefore we have made reservation for backward classes, gave statutory status to the SC/ST Commission and brought forward a law to ensure workers' participation in management to protect their rights and to ensure that LABOUR HAVE A SHARE IN THE MANAGEMENT OF THE COUNTRY."

He earned defame among notables/professionals, rich businessmen and land owning castes and India has experienced many anti-Mandal, anti-masses policies related to polity, society, industry and welfare state. The reactionary forces open industries, universities, hospitals to anti-Mandal forces to counter VP Singh's come-to-be an egalitarian India. Singh always believed in inclusive India and he proudly replied to opponents, ""you can see that my every action before MANDAL was great, excellent, and everything I did after amounted to the greatest disservice to India…..Though my leg was broken, i hit the goal.” Singh gave a befitting reply to anti-Mandal forces, " there is certain price tag to everything, and you have to be prepared to pay that price. You can not get the thing and then regret paying. The price.....maal liya to dena padega. Mandal implement kiya to uska daam bhi dena para... And then why should I be seeking approval of others all the time, why? that is one basic questions. For instance today I feel that forces for social justice should not preach hatred and I know when I say this, I invite the anger of some extreme sections. So does that mean I should not say what I believe? "(excerpt from Seema Mustafa’s The Lonely Prophet). He was an iconoclast for fundamentalist and feudal forces.

He was a true leader of shoshits/peasants and he restructured Jan Morcha after his retirement from active politics to make a platform for landless masses and non-notables. He fought against corruption and exposed India's ugly Boforce Scam. He was a true secularist. He stood against religious extremists, the Hindutva and Jamat forces. He warned many times that communal and divisive forces are opponent of social justice and egalitarian society. He introduced 'ration card' for masses under BPL. The Dalit Sikhs and Nav Bauddhs indentified as SCs in his tenure. His government awarded Bharat Ratna to Babasahb Bhimrao Ambedkar and Nelson Mandela for their emancipatory and revolutionary role both respective countries, India and South Africa. Now It is high time to allot a 'just space' for his memorial park in New Delhi and award Bharat Ratna to him for his emancipatory role for the upliftment of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes, more than 50 percent India's population.

The sole Prime Minister who launched a fight against corruption, implement Mandal Commission, Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Nelson Mandela got Bharat Ratna during his tenure, give BPL Cards to proletaians and what not he did in his short term just less than one year. He empowered oppressed sections of this nation. And we and our lofty leaders never remember him. He should be remembered by proletarians atleast. He should be awarded BHARAT RATNA.

Anoop Patel, Ph. D. Scholar at SIS/JNU, working on “Inclusive Policies of South Africa and India: A Comparative Study between Affirmative Action and Reservation Policy”.



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