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Mayawati's victory - social engineering or social transformation?



Mayawati

VARIED REACTIONS: Many reactions are expressed by many people, some had frivolous views of judging Mayawati's work on her ability to clean Jamuna and Ganga. These must, I am afraid, be called stupid, to use a mild word and ignore.

There are others, who are sworn enemies of BSP. Their views also should be ignored. But even some true Ambedkarites have expressed doubts, which need some clarification. A healthy discussion of such views must always be welcome.

I am trying to put forward my views, for whatever worth they are. I am not very euphoric about her victory, but I am definitely happy about it and I believe the steps taken by her are in right direction and it is the very first step. The uphill task is further ahead in front of all of us. I do not think that it is a Social Revolution; that stage is yet to come. But I do believe that it is a Social Transformation.

Mayawati did not use any short cuts. Those who know the working of BSP cadres would know that the BSP workers use the most grassroots level and reach all voters. Is Mayawati likely to work under pressure of Brahmins? This is very unlikely, if we remember her past actions. In 2003, she resigned instead of submitting to pressure of giving 80% seats to BJP.

Let us not forget that Mayawati is not a religious leader, she is a political leader. Those who wish to propagate religion are most welcome to do so. Mayawati has never objected to workers who wish to propagate Buddhism. She had in past helped such workers and would do in future whatever is possible for her to do.

Dr. Ambedkar had advised that his followers should see that the chariot of his movement, if could not be taken forward, must not be allowed to slip backward. Everybody in the movement knows this and everybody believes that what he is doing, he is helping to push the chariot of Ambedkars movement upward against the uphill task.

At the same time, he thinks that others are trying to let it slip backwards. Therefore, he opposes all others, whom he considers as others. Unfortunately whom he considers as others outnumber many times than his own supporters. This is the cause of fracturing of Ambedkarite movement in India, and especially in Maharashtra.

Dr. Ambedkar, during the days of conversion in Nagpur had advised future action to his follower workers in a special tea party meeting held in Shyam Hotel. Entry was with passes. I had the privilege of attending that meeting, being a student worker.

In that meeting, Dr. Ambedkar, speaking in Hindi, perhaps for the first time, advised his workers to develop mindset to work with other castes in tandem. That was the idea behind the formation of RPI.

Unfortunately, that advice was not followed during and after the formation of RPI next year after his parinirvan. As a result, the party remained one caste party. When there was the rise of Kanshiram in Northern India, people in Maharashtra ignored his rise.

They wanted the Sun to rise; there is no doubt about that, but they wished that the Sun should rise after hearing the sound of their cock. As the Sun rose in Uttar Pradesh, without hearing the voice of cock from Maharashtra, the people from Maharashtra pretended that there is no sunrise. That gave rise to fractured politics in the region.

Mixing politics and religion defeats both causes In earlier times, the meetings of RPI used to start with Buddha Vandana. And religious meetings were addressed by the political leaders. May be it was necessary at that time.

Later it dawned on the people that religious movement must be kept separate from the political movement. When people from other political parties wish to adopt Buddhism but still keep working in their previous non-RPI political party, felt disadvantageous. And those who were not Buddhists but wished to join RPI, were labelled by their own caste men as untouchable. This disadvantage was either less or negligible with BSP as compared to RPI, especially in Maharashtra.

So the point is, if the religious movement and political movement are not kept separate, neither grows and both suffer. Those who want to mix religion and politics do justice neither to religion nor to politics.

In spite of this, time and again, some people keep on saying that RPI and Buddha Mahasabha are both the wheels of the same chariot of Ambedkars movement and they should work in tandem. I have time and again stressed the danger in keeping both the organisations dependent on each other. I think, they must be both independent of each other and work independently for their own aims.

Chariot of Ambedkar has multiple wheels, not only religious and political, others being cultural, educational, economic, co-operative and many more. All must work in cooperation, no doubt, but still be entirely independent. This is especially true and more important now that there are many new entrants to Buddhism in Maharashtra and we must not ask them to join this or that political party. Otherwise both politics, as well as religion, would suffer.

Babasaheb did give 22 vows, in which there were injunction of not having any faith in Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, Gauri and Ganpati should not be worshipped. Mayawati has asked her Hindu followers to see their favourite god Ganesh in the BSP election symbol elephant. What is wrong in that? She did not denigrate Buddhism in saying that in any way.

Those who criticise Mayawati on this ground have forgotten that these vows given by Babasaheb are meant for the Buddhist converts. Not for Hindus. These were the religious injunctions for the Buddhists. He gave advice to the Political leaders of Scheduled Caste Federation, the very next day in Tea Party at Shyam Hotel, wherein he asked his workers to work with other caste leaders, and that is what Mayawati is doing.

Did Babasaheb, anytime, say that Hindus should be kept away from the Ambedkarite political party? As a matter of fact, he always wanted people from all religions to join his political parties, he formed from time to time. His Independent Labor Party was for all castes and religions. Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh was its president of the province.

He had to start Scheduled castes Federation only under some restrictions put by the British, the history of which is well known to Ambedkarites. But even in that party, there was admission of non-scheduled caste sympathizers. This I know because I heard Babasaheb saying so in Shyam Hotel Tea Party.

When Republican Party of India was envisaged, he told in the speech that, he had already contacted leaders from other political parties. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, Pralhad Keshav Atre, S. M. Joshi, Nanasaheb Gore and Madhu Limaye were already contacted.

If RPI was formed during his life time, all these dignitaries would have been among the leaders of the party of Dr. Ambedkar, and all the old leaders of SCF, now converted to Buddhist faith, were ordered by him to work along with them. That was the main item in Babasahebs speech at the tea party of Shyam Hotel.

If he was alive for some more time, and if the party of his vision had come in effect during his lifetime, all these Hindu leaders would have been the members of the Babasahebs Party.

Those who object to Mayawati's admitting Brahmins to her Party should try and understand, what the Babasahebs vision of his Political Party was. Does this mean Babasahebs views about Buddhism were clouded by political thoughts? Let us remember these were his thoughts about political party during the days of conversion, when he expressed these in Shyam Hotel.

Babasaheb never shunned away the Brahmins. Right from the days of Manu Smruti Dahan Day in 1927, till the formation of Peoples' Education Society, Brahmins were associated with him.

One may remember that he had fought a case for Dinkarrao Jawalkar and got him acquitted from charges of defamation of Lokmanya Tilak. Jawalkar put a condition that, if Babasaheb kept away the Brahmins from his movement, he would join Ambedkars movement. Babasaheb refused to accept this saying he was against the Barhmanya and not against Brahmins.

One would also remember Babasaheb was friendly with the son of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and had common interests and organisations. Even during the earlier days of RPI, I remember entertaining and honouring Brahmin leaders like Sriram Lagu and Anant Kanekar, who were invited for a function in local Siddharth High School, and also sharing a platform with Brahmin leaders like Dwadashiwar on many occasions like Ambedkar Jayanti and even in political meetings.

So why object to Mayawati admitting Brahmins to her Party? Let us remember that BSP, right from the times of BAMCEF and DS4 was Never a Dalit Party, it has Always been a Bahujan Party. Now only upper castes are admitted and made it a Sarvajana Party.

Mayawati and Reservations is a subject not understood by many. Those who heard Kanshiram would remember that he never wanted to be beneficiary of Reservations.

He always said that we must become the givers of reservations and not the receivers. That status, of giver of reservations, Mayawati has now achieved. For those who have a mindset of becoming the picchlaggu (in Kanshirams words), it would be difficult to understand this sentiment.

The Brahminic authors and journalists have termed this change of political power as Social Engineering, thereby implying that there is some element of trickery, dishonesty, deception, or deceit in her victory. This is because they are not digesting her victory. Unfortunately, our own people are using that term.

It is not Social Engineering but is Social Transformation, which has always been the aim of BSP and which was always elucidated by Kanshiram. Kanshiram, referring to Andhra, had said that giving rice for two rupees a kilo may be social justice, but enabling people to buy rice at market price of Rs. Seven is the Social Transformation, and that BSP always stood for Social Transformation and Economic emancipation of all.

Those not acquainted with BSP rhetoric taught in BSP cadre camps may think what Mayawati is trying to do is a new thing.

But there is nothing new in what Mayawati is doing. What was taught by Babasaheb was perfected for practical purposes by Kanshiram. That is only being implemented by Mayawati. Therefore, I have always said that teach Ambedkar to the Hindus and teach Kanshiram to the Buddhists. Let our intelligentsia be not misguided.

Mayawati has set new goals for herself - to rule India some day and build a "casteless society". This is reported in Brahminic press with some sense of implied ridicule.

This is not a new goal. It has always been the goal of BSP, and always declared in public meetings, private sittings and cadre camps. As the Brahminic press never does proper reporting the general public may not know this, but those attending Kanshirams meetings know it well. Will she succeed in this? It is difficult to say, but surely she is on the right path.

Dr. Ambedkar envisaged the ideal society in the Constitution, to make it a socialistic, democratic, secular republic with equal rights to all. What he dreamed was the unity of all varied castes and creeds, religions and regions, varied cultures and taboos, thus forming a casteless society.

What are the means of achieving such a unity in multicultural environment? Scholars have laid down that there are three stages through which such a process has to go. The main points are, first, the political unity, where people try to live by the same rules and follow same laws; next the religious unity where people follow same faith; and ultimate unity is cultural unity where people unite by matrimonial alliances that would be the formation of casteless society. Babasaheb has given the constitution and paved the way of political unity; but his dream of bringing various creeds under one political party could not be fulfilled. Mayawati is trying to fulfil that aim.

Let us remember that casteless society cannot be created by annihilating people of any particular caste. It certainly does not mean society devoid of Brahmins. Let us all try and strengthen her hands instead of expressing any doubts.

Will Mayawati become the Prime Minister of India? Why not? I see no reason why this cannot be accomplished. Not failure but low aim is crime. We must aspire to become the supreme in each and every field.

If Devegauda, Gujral, Chandrashekhar (and may be Devilal) could aspire even when their scope was limited, why not Mayawati, when she is the leader of an All Indian National Party of number three stature? Let us not forget that BSP is the National party and not a Dalit party, and not a party of Buddhists alone, it is equally a party of Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and all others, who like to follow Phule, Shahu, Ambedkar, Periyar and ideals and idols of BSP.

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