Contemporary issues

The elections of 2009 will go in the history of Indian politics as the unprecedented one. This is the outcome of the politics that or socio-political dynamics triggered in the past by the great leaders like Phule and his worthy successor, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. The concern for more equal society led these men (and many more men and women) into public life. They devoted their lives to the creation of equal society, and they were very clear about their goals and how they can be achieved through humane and non violent way. Using surgical tools, they performed autopsy of the diseased Indian society to free it from the great disease- the caste system. The social movement in India has no parallel. The plights of the people discriminated by the caste system has no parallel. In each social group, humanity is divided on various grounds. The caste system divided humanity on the ground not intelligible to rational mind. It is difficult to discern the ground on which the humanity is divided into 6000 conflicting castes. The principles of division; purity and accident of birth, the former more abstract and later more concrete, in practice led to straightforward classification of Indians into three major classes. These are Brahmins, non-Brahmins and Bahishkrit, besides the religious minorities, more or less divided into the same the classes.

The cornerstone of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life was to gain humanity for the Bahishkrit (the Obstracised Indians/boycotted Indians). His politics was shaping in the context of changing political situation in India. He formulated his strategies based on the real time need of the time and its future implications. The strategies that he formulated worked and triggered movements and organisations, which are acting as an instrument to realise his vision. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is one of instruments or, as it were, an organ evolved out of churning that took place within the Bahishkrit Indians, since the advent of Babasaheb Ambedkar. BSP is not only evolved, but kicking as more advanced political species in the game of struggle for survival. This is not at all Darwinian struggle for the survival of the fittest. This is the struggle for the survival of the values to ensure the survival of all. The value that will ensure the survival of all is the value of fraternity; is the value of equality and value of liberty. Edmund Burke remarked liberty, without wisdom and virtue, is dangerous, when he criticised French revolution, and by all means all revolutions, that are sudden and bloody. Babasaheb Ambedkar realised this very early on, and never guided his people on the track of violence (sadly, some of his followers are praising the violent ways in his name). This does not mean that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was political pacifist, far from that, he politically and legally very aggressive, and participated in the political and social reforms, to change the dynamics of the society.

The Government of India Act 1935 was the outcome of debates following Round Table Conference during 1930-1933, in which Babasaheb Ambedkar participated and contributed in evolving the principles of transfer and distribution of powers amongst the Indians. Though political groups like Indian National Congress wanted power to be transferred to them, they opposed any distribution of it to Bahishkrits. The post 1917 struggle in India is nothing but the discussion on distribution of power, as it was made clear that power will be eventually transferred to Indians. Power is transferred to Indians in 1947, and then began the process of creation of a nation state. Our Republic is the creation of the constitution that came into force in 1950. Lot of content of the Government of India Act was mainstreamed into the present constitution. The distribution of power to all Indians, and to the Depressed Classes (Scheduled castes of today) is therefore not only important in the historic light, but also in the light of our Nation. Our nation is not just founded on the principle of sovereignty over land, but on liberty, equality and fraternity and much needed social harmony. Social harmony is unattainable in the unjust and unequal society.

In the present circumstances, the power is not distributed equally in India and tilts heavily in favour of certain classes. BSP is the great leveller of the power following on the principles and strategies that Babasaheb Ambedkar developed. Even if we take the state wise survey of the distribution of power post-constitutional era, it is largely concentrated in the hands of dominant castes. Marathas in Maharashtra, Kammas and Reddys in Andhra, Vokkalingas in Karnataka, Chettiyars in Tamil Nadu, to cite a few cases of unequal distribution of power. South India is totally hijacked by a few castes, and the dominant castes not only perpetuate the atrocities, but divide the other fragile castes to further their political goals, to cite an example, Sharad Pawar in Maharashtra.

BSP is not only upsetting the dominant castes, but the dominant political rhetoric of the political parties. Congress party has no issue, their only issue is to retain the power, and eventually control the administration. There is no commitment to constitutional goal and furtherance of it. BJP has issue of Hindutva (to state it clearly, Brahminatva), and its commitment to Brahminatva is clear. Only BSP has the clearly led program of annihilation of the caste system and hence program for the realisation of our constitutional goal and hence of realisation of the nation state as the ground for liberty, equality, fraternity and harmony. The success of BSP lies in building on the political consciousness that Babasaheb Ambedkar cultivated throughout his struggle. In Indian political scenario, only BSP has and will have the strong national core group of the voters. Congress party is benefitting from its structures and experiences in manipulating caste groups and its history of 128 years. BJP benefitted by its educated executives. The BSP benefits from the strong core of voters (and possibility of further consolidation in all the states over time) belonging to Bahishkrit Samaj fighting for creation of values for all. No political party commands such a strong core of voters in India. This is going to make BSP a central player in the coming years. The consolidated power of the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar will attract other castes cheated and exploited over years by other dominant castes and parties they represent.

The success of BSP depends on two factors: strong core of committed voters and all inclusive alliances. Strong core of committed voters will lead to people ready for alliances from all over. Non transferable vote bank and consolidation of it is the key to success of the political process in India and levelling of power. In great sweep, power was snatched away from Scheduled Castes in 1932, but reworking on important issues and several areas, Babasaheb Ambedkar ensured that India will be ushered into a great nation. The election of 2009 is a call for change and democracy and potentially an important stepping stone in creating just and harmonious India. To compare Indian politics with the American politics is stretching the imaginations too far, as the nature of the politics is widely different. BSP’s rise to power will have unprecedented impact on the world polity.

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