Bhimrao Ambedkar

Now that Hindu-Dalit divide is closing, a few are having loose motions

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

We are at a seminal moment in India’s history. The divide between Hindus and Dalits is closing. Once Muslims also join the flank, the pincer attack of Break-India forces would finally meet its wall.

These forces face existential danger.  Hence, their attacks have grown sharper. I would place two articles in the Indian Express and The Hindu for readers’ attention. One is from the known-baiters Christophe Jaffrelot and Gilles Verniers. The other is a survey by The Hindu. Both articles work on the caste equations, fudging data to show only if Dalits had closed the ranks, BJP would’ve met its fate in 2019 General Elections.  In essence, it’s a roadmap how to polarize Indian society in preparation for 2024 elections and beyond. Both articles have taken refuge under the umbrella of scientific surveys and peddled their agenda.

Jaffrelot-Verniers combine in Indian Express fire from the shoulders of SPINNER (Social Profile of the Indian National and Provincial Election Representatives) Project, undertaken by Trivedi Center for Political Data- Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI). It concentrates on the “cow belt” or Hindi-belt which makes up nearly half of the MPs in our Parliament.

Jaffrelot and Verniers bemoan the erosion of Other Backward Classes (OBC) and consolidation of “suvaran” (Upper) caste. That the religious mobilization (read Hindus) has swamped OBC (read Dalits). The thrust of the article is:  BJP and its upper caste are weighing down heavily and that Dalits are being divided into “jaatis (sub-castes).”  The message: Dalits, watch out or you would be swallowed by Upper Castes. The agenda is the twain – Upper castes and Dalits—should never meet. INDIA MUST SINK.

The two sides are described thus: Upper caste (Brahmins, Rajputs) vs lower castes (Yadavs, Kurmis, Koeris, Jatavs).  BJP has upper caste in its fold. Jatavs are with Mayawati and Yadavs with Akhilesh-Tejaswi fold in UP-Bihar.  BJP has prevailed because it has worked on the layers of “jaatis” among the BSP-SP-RJD votebanks.

So BJP divided the Jatavs by working on the non-jatavs. It countered Yadavs by giving seats to “other OBCs”—non-Yadavs, non-Kurmis, non-Koeris, non-Lodhis, non-Gujjars–and still smaller OBC jaatis.  I mean is it some kind of video game?

Let me explain the absurdity of Jaffrelot-Verniers agenda. I mean all politicial parties, including Left, have upper caste leaders. Haven’t they heard of Namboodripad and Jyoti Basu? Don’t they know that Narendra Modi himself is OBC? That Mamata Banerjee casts herself as a “Bengali-brahmin”? That Rahul Gandhi is a “Shiv-bhakt” what if he ran away to Wayanad in Kerala and sought a sanctuary among Muslim votes? Is BJP more communal than SP, BSP, RJD etc who harvest on the communal and casteist fields, hopefully no longer fertile? That Modi has been overwhelmingly voted for by Scheduled Castes (SC)  and Scheduled Tribes (ST) -46 out of 84 SC seats; 31 out of 47 ST seats.

Not a word on Modi’s connect with the masses, cutting across caste and communal lines (why, even Muslims voted in larger number for BJP than in 2014). Not a word if GST, Demonetization, jobs and agrarian distress could have been drummed up issues. Not a word that Ujjawala, Ayushman, toilets, houses, loans, Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) etc might have been massive factors. So much so that no less than 91 per cent of Jat votes went to BJP and not to Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), for instance.  But Jaffrelot-Verniers must stick to the agenda of looking at things from the Upper Caste vs Dalits prism.

The Hindu piece is termed as CSDS-Lok Niti-Post Poll Survey. It repeats more or less the same agenda. Their initial survey had highlighted the dissatisfaction with the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh. That people are unhappy with its MPs and MLAs, that the stray-cattle issue is epidemic. Now the upper caste-“jaati” social engineering has worked for the BJP. Easy isn’t it.

The fact is these forces wouldn’t like the country to go back to pro-Mandal days or pre-1990s era. Mandal Commission brought job reservations into vogue in 1990. It shifted the power equations, a new crop of backward class netas—Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Kanshi Ram etc—spawned all over the Hindi belt. Hindu-Dalit rift was put on steroids, Bhimrao Ambedkar was dusted off the shelf, and these leaders and parties held the country on ransom.

Now Modi Magic is threatening to bridge the divide. A young and “New India”—most of them in their 20s—couldn’t care less on caste and communal lines. The mandate is as big as Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s (364 out of 489 seats) in the first General Elections in 1952! It should tell us all about the enormity and possibility of 2019 results.  Modi himself has given a new definition of caste identity: “There are only two castes: One of the poor and the other of those who want to alleviate poverty.”

That’s why it’s an existential crisis to a few. The Hindu gives its game away when it states in the last sentence: “The two parties (BSP-SP) need to rework their understanding of caste equations.” Shame that they are putting castes above the country.

(Post script: In the same edition, in its’ editorial page, The Hindu has a piece which berates Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad for concentrating on Yadav-centric politics which allowed lesser OBCs to fall in BJP’s lap. I mean these guys are something).

But then Sanyal, how do we keep 21st Century issues firmly in our gaze?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Sanjeev Sanyal posted a twitter thread on Saturday where he implored discussions on the 21st Century issues rather than being mired in historical characters like Veer Savarkar, Bhimrao Ambedkar and Mohandas K. Gandhi.

Sanjeev Sanyal is much admired for his books, certainly among young readers, and that he is also an accomplished banker/economist, he has been sought out by the Indian government to roll out the roadmap (I know he loves maps) for the economy.

So what are the 21st Century issues? Howsoever we define them, I presume Sanyal certainly doesn’t have in mind the political/ideological issues which keep us grounded. When we need to fight water, food, health, pollution, population, jobs, education, terrorism etc on a warscale, when survival is at stake, how winning or losing debates are going to help?

But then how do we fight the 21st Century issues when water is dragged down to Narmada-Kaveri disputes; food to loan-waivers for farmers; pollution to Deepawali but not Bakrid; population to South feeding the teeming millions of BIMARU states, jobs to turf wars on data, education to midday meal scams and terrorism to human rights issue against “stone-pelters”?

The truth is Sanyal has a composite India in mind but there are 100s of India within the geographical combine. Everyone’s idea of India is different from others (Remember, the odes which were written for Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on the 50th year of independence in 1997? Would the same be feasible when India hits 75 in 2022?).

India is a political entity which has a different culture, tradition, rituals language, food, clothes, caste, colour,creed every 100 kilometres. These mini-Indias soon enough acquire a local leader who, in order to protect his turf, takes his captive audience on a trip—often fake–of its’ past glory, its heroes, and the injusticesits’ seminal breakthroughs. The sharper the distinction these leaders can draw for their constituents, better are the prospects of their longevity. That’s how Sikhs, who only saw themselves as protectors of Hindus till the 19th century—just count the numbers of temples Maharaja Ranjit Singh built–now talk of Khalistan.

Our founding fathers knew of these issues. They drew a brilliant Constitution. They recognized India could only function as a federal entity. States, but for a few matters, are almost autonomous. Everyone is allowed to have a voice; stifling it would be the end of India we know. So 100s of India are embedded in our Constitution.

Now Sanyal, how do we solve this dichotomy? The first one of course is education. Education brings aspirations, aspirations in turn progress. A critical mind is better suited to break the matrix of false history and false narrative spun by our politicians and media, clearly hand in gloves.  But then how do we get this unbiased education when our schools which prepare us for our jobs, won’t allow it? When “Veer” Savarkar is demonized; mentioning Godse is a slide to oblivion? Why should we look for Savarkar when chanting Nehru is more practical?

It’s clear we made mistakes in 1947. The foremost was to lock our heritage in a closet. To hug ideas, policies and a foreign language which were alien to our ethos. To subdue Hindus so that Muslims remain appeased. It was only a matter of time before a majority makes its presence felt in a room, as it always does. How long it would always be about Ghazni and Ghouri; Babar and Aurangzeb; and not about Brahmagupta and Varahamihira; Sushruta and Bhaskaracharya? How long Vijaynagar empire would remain eclipsed by Mughal dynasty?

The inherent culture asserts. And the resultant turmoil keeps Sanyal exasperated.

Sanyal is not alone in knowing the real dangers India has ahead. But like Sanyal, they too can’t set a narrative. When our front pages are only reserved for politicians, what hope people have? When our school textbooks are only an outreach for our “Deep State”, how does India connect with its soul?

It’s clear out institutions are failing us. Judiciary, bureaucracy, Media, Election Commission, Enforcement agencies etc. Or why a country as corrupt as India has so few persecutions? Who knows if India of old, god forbids, returns with vengeance after Modi?

So Godse and Savarkar in a way are good when narratives other than Gandhi-Nehru are not permissible. Even if Sanyal and I don’t want it, people with their buttons on social media would press. And they must too—we have seen how RSS reluctance to take on Left-Liberal’s quest for our minds has allowed the latter a suffocating hold.

It’s for those who are officially tasked about water, food, health, education etc—policy-makers like Sanyal himself and bureaucrats—who should keep India ahead of selves. Let India rumble in a cacophony. For haven’t we paid enough price for our silence?

Has Rahul Gandhi replied to MHA’s letter on British citizenship?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred)

There are some discourses you hear. Then there are others which are kept out of your sight. Out of sight, out of mind is a time-tested strategy.

So, let’s begin with what you see and hear. Kamal Haasan and Rahul Gandhi. One is an actor turned politician; the other is a politician turning actor. Both fluff their lines but as we would see it has its own merit.

Kamal Haasan calls Nathuram Godse independent India’s “first Hindu terrorist” for killing Mohandas Gandhi. Pragya Sadhvi, BJP’s candidate from Bhopal, joins the fray by terming Godse as “deshbhakt (patriot).” Uproar is immense on either side. So who were real Godse and Gandhi?

Gandhi was great—even Godse said he folded his hands in front of Gandhi before firing from his country-made pistol. But Hindus, throughout Gandhi’s political life in India, felt shortchanged by him. Godse, a microcosm of such feelings, felt cheated when Gandhi appeased Muslims in Khilafat movement in 1920s (who in turn massacred thousands of Hindus in Malabar riots as a return gift); when Gandhi kept his silence on a matter as grave as Assembly seats being reserved only for Muslim candidates on communal lines;  when Gandhi and Congress hardly muttered as thousands of Hindus were raped and murdered under the call of Direct Action Day given by Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Bengal. Godse like many other Hindus, was anguished at butchering and rape of tens of thousands of Hindus in West of India, in what is now Pakistan, in migrations just before the Partition. He was absolutely horrified at the Razakars’ violence against Hindus in Hyderabad which is little discussed in your history books.

One could say that Gandhi, the great soul, was looking for Hindu-Muslim unity. But his appeasement, ironically, turned out to be the most violent pacifism of human history. This is a fact. As is the fact that Justice Khosla, presiding over the Godse trial, said if the assembled courtroom was asked to pronounce their verdict on Godse, the overwhelming word would have been: NOT GUILTY. This is also a fact. As is the fact that Godse’ testimony in court—he was his own lawyer—was so powerful that the Congress kept it banned for 20 years. You of course can now buy this testimony in the form of a book, Why I assassinated Gandhi.  As you absolutely must read Manohar Molgaonkar’s book  “The men who killed Gandhi.” This classic would leave you spellbound and hugely educated.

Now I want you to guess who said this:

“My own view is…Mr Gandhi had become a positive danger to this country. He had choked all the thoughts…As the Bible says that sometimes good cometh out of evil, so also I think good will come out of the death of Mr Gandhi.”

Pragya Sadhvi? Nah. It’s Bhimrao Ambedkar. Now please go and ask Congis to dare and criticize Bhimrao Ambedkar.  Neither his progeny Prakash nor Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi would ever mention it.  So, nothing is sacred or gospel. Read and read and form your opinion. This is the first good which has come out of Godse storm around us.

Now let’s look at Rahul Gandhi who has mocked Veer Savarkar no end up for “begging” British to release him from the dreaded Cellular Jail in Port Blair, the  “Kaala Paani.” Now guess who said this on the death of Veer Savarkar in 1966: “It removes from our midst a great figure of contemporary India. His name was a byword for daring and patriotism. Mr Savarkar was cast in the role of a classical revolutionary and countless people drew inspiration from him.” No, not any RSS sanghachalak. Indira Gandhi said so. So Mr Rahul Gandhi, would you say your grandma, even though she was a contemporary of Savarkar, knew nothing about the great man?

Incidentally, The Ashok Gehlot Congress government in Rajasthan has removed “Veer” from Savarkar’s name from its’ educational school textbooks. You would have found this news in none of your Lutyens Media. This is how you stop a generation from knowing and being inspired by one of India’s true legend. You can find a lot about Veer Savarkar in an old piece of mine.  Vikram Sampath, who is writing a biography on Veer Savarkar, has a brilliant edit piece in today’s Hindustan Times (May 17, 2019). The newspaper though seems to have developed cold feet since the article is nowhere to be found online.

Now let’s look at what you neither see nor hear.

It’s important for readers to know that they are victims of selective curriculum and biased discourse.  While our newspapers jump up and down on Godse, and lap up Rahul Gandhi on his poison against Veer Savarkar, they would never question the Congress scion: Sir, aren’t you past the date (May 16) by which you had to reply to Ministry of Human Affairs (MHA) about your alleged British citizenship? Whatever is happening in the contempt of court case pending against Rahul Gandhi? Or the lawyer who has presented evidence that there is a plot against Chief Justice of India? How many of you know that Rajeev Kumar, the controversial West Bengal cop against whom Supreme Court has found allegations to be “very, very serious,” could be arrested today? Could  “very, very serious” concern be about national security, terrorists hideouts? Shouldn’t our media be training all their resources on this man rather than on US immigration on their front pages? Do you know that the “apology” of Pragya Sharma was never a “pre-conditon” for her release by Supreme Court as your newspapers have tried to project to you? And what’s happening on “Chidambaran and son” case?

Question, question and question. And then draw your own conclusion. Don’t be a sitting duck for your newspaper who would even come free as long as you are the chicken they can feed their agenda.