Watch the Al Jazeera show on ‘Reservation’ where one of the community member, Jayant Ramteke rocked!
In the recent debates on reservation some people have suggested that let us now give reservation to so-called upper castes according to percentage of their population. I do not agree with this argument. I think those who are mooting this idea are doing in frustration or out of their ignorance about the logic and basis of reservation. By even mooting this idea we dilute the principles of reservation and spread the idea that reservation can be granted to anyone. One should not forget and misunderstand the logic of reservation. There are very significant, fundamental and structural principles on the basis of which this reservation was conceded to SC, STs and to some OBCs after intense debates in the constituent assembly and centuries of movements by SCs, STs, and OBCs. Few of them were:
This exclusion and discrimination of thousands of years was cumulative in nature, that is, it was not in one aspect of life but it was in most of the spheres, for instance in social, economic, political, educational, religious, residential, occupational, etc.
The founding fathers of the Indian nation thought that even after these people were accorded human rights enshrined in the democratic constitution of India and there will be penal provisions according to Indian Penal Code one will not be able to obliterate this exclusion and discrimination against these people and there should be some special provisions for them in the realm of Politics, Bureaucracy, and Education.
There is an element of social justice in the reservation of SCs, STs, and OBCs. It involves historical corrective of injustices done to SCs and STS.
There was no time limit fixed for reservation for SC and STs in Bureaucratic Jobs and in Educational Institutions. Only political reservation under article 330 and 332 of Indian Constitution, which reserves seats in Lok Sabha and in Vidhan Sabhas of different States were for 10 years. However, these reservations have been given new life with different amendments.
The most important point is ‘Reservation for SCs and STs’ is directly connected with the issue of representation. It was because they did not have any representation in any sphere of life, that is, in social, economic, political, educational, etc. sphere for thousands of years and therefore they were supposed to get representation in these Institutions.
Therefore, reservation is not poverty alleviation programme. The founding fathers of nation did not think to remove poverty of scheduled caste persons through reservations. In fact there are so many poverty alleviation programmes begin run in India. One such programme is MNREGA, the other is Prime Minister’s Rojgar Yojna etc. They always thought to grant SCs and STs Self-representation through reservation.
In the light of the above we cannot concede reservation to Upper Castes. Second we cannot concede reservations on economic basis.
By – Prof. Vivek Kumar, JNU
Q 1: What is reservation?
The word reservation is a misnomer. The appropriate word for it used in the Indian Constitution is Representation. It is not given to anyone in his individual capacity. It is given to individual as a representative of the underprivileged community. The beneficiaries of reservations are in turn expected to help their communities to come up.
Q 2: Why reservation?
The policy of reservations is being used as a strategy to overcome discrimination and act as a compensatory exercise. A large section of the society was historically denied right to property, education, business and civil rights because of the practice of untouchability. In order to compensate for the historical denial and have safeguards against discrimination, we have the reservation policy.
Q 3: Were Reservations incorporated by the founding fathers of the constitution only for first 10 years?
Only the political reservations (seats reserved in Loksabha, Vidhansabha, etc) were to be reserved for 10 years and the policy review was to be made after that. That is why after every 10 years the parliament extends political reservations.
The 10 year limit for reservations is not true for the reservations in education and employment. The reservations in educational institutions and in employment are never given extension as it is given for the political reservations.
Q 4: Why give reservations on basis of caste?
To answer this question we must first understand why the need for the reservations has arisen. The cause for the various types of disabilities that the underprivileged castes in India face / have faced, is the systemic historical subjugation of a massive magnitude based on caste system having a religious sanction. Therefore if the caste system was the prime cause of all the disabilities, injustice and inequalities that the Dalit-Bahujans suffered, then to overcome these disabilities the solution has to be designed on basis of caste only.
Q 5: Why not on basis of economic criterion?
Reservations should never be based on economic status for various reasons as follows:
1. The poverty prevailing among the Dalit-Bahujans has its genesis in the social-religious deprivations based on caste system. Therefore poverty is an effect and caste system a cause. The solution should strike at the cause and not the effect
2. An individual’s Economic status can change. Low income may be taken to mean poverty. But the purchasing value of money, in India, depends upon caste. For example a Dalit can not buy a cup of tea even in some places.
3. Practical difficulties in proving economic status of individual to the state machinery are many. The weak may suffer.
4. In caste ridden India infested with rampant corruption, even for an unchangeable status like caste, the false “Caste Certificate” can be purchased. How much easier will it be to purchase a false “Income Certificate”? So income based reservation is impractical. It is no use arguing when both certificates can be bought, why caste only should form basis of reservation. It is certainly more difficult to buy a false caste certificate than a false income certificate.
5. Reservation is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end. The main aim is to achieve the active participation and sharing by the “socially excluded” humanity in all the fields of the affairs of the society. It is not panacea for all ills, neither it is permanent. It would be a temporary measure till such time the matrimonial advertisements in newspaper columns continue to contain the mention of caste.
Q 6: Should there be a creamy layer criterion or not?
The demand from anti-reservationists for introduction of creamy layer is ploy to scuttle the whole effectiveness of reservations. Even now out of all seats meant for SC/STs in IITs , 25-40 % seats remain vacant because it seems IITs do not find suitable candidates. Just imagine what would happen if by applying creamy layer criterion the SC/ST middle class, lower middle class people who are in position to take decent education are excluded from reservations benefit ! Will the poor among SC/STs be able to compete with these ‘privileged ‘students’ trained under Ramaiah and at various IIT-JEE training centers at Kota ?
Of course Not.
This will lead to 100 % seats in IITs for SC/STs going vacant.
Q 7: How long should the reservations continue?
The answer to this question lies with the anti-reservationists. It depends on how sincerely and effectively the policy makers which constitute “privileged castes” people in executive, judiciary and legislature, implement the reservations policy.
Is it just on part of “privileged castes” people who have enjoyed undeclared exclusive reservations for past 3000 years and continue to enjoy the same even in 21st century in all religious institutions and places of worship, to ask for the timelines for reservations policy?
Why do not they ask, how long the exclusive reservations for particular community in the religious institutions and places of worship are going to continue?
The people who have acquired disabilities due to inhuman subjugation for 3000 years will need substantial time to come over those disabilities. 50 years of affirmative action is nothing as compared to 3000 years of subjugation.
Q 8: Will not the reservations based on castes lead to divisions in the society?
There are apprehensions that reservations will lead to the divisions in the society. These apprehensions are totally irrational. The society is already divided into different castes. On the contrary reservations will help in annihilating the caste system. There are around 5000 castes among the SC/ST and OBCs. By grouping these various castes under 3 broad categories of SC, ST and OBC, the differences among 5000 separate castes can be abridged. This is a best way of annihilation of castes. Therefore rather than making rhetoric about reservations leading to divisions in the society the anti-reservationists should make honest and sincere efforts to annihilate castes. Have these people made any efforts towards this direction? In most of the cases the answer is NO. The people making these anti-reservations rhetoric, all this time have been enjoying all the privileges that the Indian caste system offers to the “Privileged Castes”. As long as they enjoy the privileges of the caste system they do not have any qualms regarding it. But when it comes to making castes as basis for achieving social equality by providing representations these same people make noises. These are the double standards of highest order practiced by the ‘privileged’ people.
Q 9: Will not reservations affect the Merit?
As regards to how Merit is defined in a very narrow sense and what it actually means, following is the quote from an article by Prof Rahul Barman of IIT Kanpur.
Reservations of more than 60 % have existed in the 4 states of southern India and around 40 % in Maharashtra since last 50 years. On other hand in the north Indian states the 15 % ‘privileged castes’ have been enjoying 77 % of the seats in educational institutions and in employment (assuming that 23 % reservations for SC/STs are totally filled, which is not the case). The World Bank study has found that all the 4 south Indian states are much ahead of north Indian states in terms of their human development index. It is a common knowledge that all the southern states and Maharashtra are much ahead in fields of education, health, industrial development, in implementing poverty alleviation schemes, etc. than the north Indian states. This shows that reservations have indeed helped the southern Indian states in making progress on various fronts. Whereas lack of adequate reservations is responsible for the lack of development in most of the north Indian states.
Q 10: Have existing reservations for SC/STs been effective or not?
The reservation policy in the public sector has benefited a lot of people. The Central government alone has 14 lakh employees. The proportion of Scheduled castes in class III and IV is well above the quota of 16 per cent and in class I and II, the proportion is around 8–12 per cent. So, the middle and the lower middle class that we see today from the Dalit community is because of reservation.
Rare speech of Saheb Kanshi Ram Ji at 1st World Dalit Convention, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,10th-11th October, 1998
|By Bahujan Sanghatak , New Delhi, Dt. 16 November, 1998
Malaysia (10-11 October , 98 ) : Addressing the First International Dalit Conference at Kuala Lumpur as a Chief Guest in the inaugural session, Manyawar Kanshiramji said,- “ My heartiest congratulations to you all for organizing this international conference which is a big step towards our supreme goal of forming a casteless society in India”.
1) I will not merely sit quite in anticipation that some day or the other caste will be annihilated automatically ; but as long as the “caste” is alive , I will continue to use it in the interest of my society.
2) What is more important ? To become MLA/MP or to run the movement of Babasaheb? According to me it was more important to run the movement of Babasaheb than to become MLA/MP. Therefore I chose to run the movement. For a moment a thought came to my mind that to run the movement effectively we should make our people MLAs/MPs. But the important question was which is the party that will give us MLAs/MPs who will also run the movement of Babasahab. After a lot of thought I reached to a conclusion that such MLAs/MPs can be elected only through our own party.
3) I have learned a lot from the people from Maharashtra. I have learned my half lesson for running the Ambedkarite movement from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. The other half lesson I have learnt from the Mahars of Maharashtra. I have learnt from Babasahab how to run the movement. And from Mahars of Maharashtra I have learned how not to run the movement. To successfully run any movement it is not only sufficient to know how to run the movement but also it is necessary to know how not to run the movement. If you do not know how not to run the movement then you will never be able to know how to run it.
4) I do not like to talk much even though I have to talk very frequently. I do not like to tell about my work in words but I want my work and the results emanating from that work to speak for themselves. I want to tell all those fellow activists in the movement who do not agree to my work – “ I may be wrong, but why don’t you analyze the results that I have achieved, what you have to say about those results ?”.
5) Our intellectuals often think that the solution to all our problems is in Marxism, Socialism and Communism. I strongly believe that in the country where Manuvad is present no other ism can become successful. The reason being no other ism is ready to accept the reality of the caste.
6) Who is capable of giving reservations ? Only the ruling class of people can give reservations to others. Even to make your own society capable of reaping the benefits and to protect your interests , you have to become a ruling class. Therefore we have to prepare ourselves in the direction of becoming a ruling class in India. We have to become the rulers ……. It is the solution on most of our problems.
Annihilation of Caste
Kanshiramji said – In 1936 Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar was invited by the “Jat Pat Todak Mandal, Lahore” to present his essay on the subject of caste. But the organizers of the conference did not allow Babasaheb to present the essay. Later on Babasaheb published the essay in a form of book titled as “Annihilation of Caste”. When I first read this book in 1962-63, I felt that annihilation of caste is certainly possible. But later on when I started thinking deeply and began to study the subject of castes, caste system and behavioural patterns associated with the caste system, my understanding of caste began to change. My study of Caste is not merely based on reading books but it has emanated from my real life experience with the castes. There are millions of people who leave their villages and migrate to metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and other big cities. These people do not bring anything else with them; the only thing they bring with them is their caste. They leave behind in their villages their small huts, small plot of land, etc. But they can not leave behind their caste in the village, the caste invariably accompanies them to the cities where they begin to stay in dirty shanties along the side of railway tracks and nallahs. If the caste is so dear to the people then how can we annihilate the caste ? Therefore I have stopped thinking in the direction of annihilation of caste.
You have organized this convention as a precursor to march ahead in the direction of forming a casteless society. Even my aim is to form a casteless society. But caste is not something that can be annihilated just by your noble thoughts about annihilation of caste . Annihilation of caste is almost impossible. Then what should we do to form a casteless society ?
There is a specific purpose behind formation of castes.
The castes were not born without any purpose. There is a specific purpose and selfish interests hidden behind the formation of castes. As long as this specific purpose and the selfish interests exist , the caste can not be annihilated. You will never find Bramhins and other Savarna caste people organizing such conventions for “reformation of casteless society”. This is because the castes were formed by these same people with an ill intention to secure their self interests. Formation of castes has brought benefits to minuscule few savarna castes but on other hand the generations after generations of the 85 % Bahujan Samaj have been at the receiving end of this oppressive caste system. The Bahujan Samaj has been subjugated to the beastly oppression and inhuman humiliations. If the caste system has been beneficial to the Savarna Caste people then why would they vouch for it’s annihilation ? The debates, convention and conferences of these kind can be organized only by we people who have been victims of the oppressive caste system. The beneficiaries of the caste system would never be interested in the annihilation of caste. On the contrary they would work towards strengthening the caste system so that they continue to reap the benefits arising from caste system for the ages to come.
The audience sitting in this conference hall may not have been direct victims of the caste system but we have certainly been born among the people or society that has been victim of the caste system and therefore we all need to necessarily think towards formation of casteless society. But when we talk of annihilation of caste then first of all we need to accept the existence of caste system. We can never annihilate the caste by ignoring it’s presence or by undermining it’s relevance in the contemporary India.
It may be true that lot of us still nurture a feeling of formation of a casteless society but simultaneously it is also true that the urge for forming a casteless society is dwindling by passage of time. So what do we do till the time the caste is not annihilated completely ? I believe that until the time we are not able to form a casteless society, we need to use caste to annihilate caste. If Bramhins can use caste for the benefit of their society then why can not we use it for the benefit of our society ?
Caste – Two edged sword
Caste is like a sword with two edges which can attack from both sides. If you use it from one side it cuts enemy from that side; if you use it from other side it cuts from the other side. Therefore I have began to use this two edged sword of caste system in such a way that it benefits the people of Bahujan Samaj and it takes away the benefits that the savarna castes have been reaping from caste system. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar has given the political and social rights to the Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes based on the castes. He has used the very basis of caste to secure the political rights of separate electorate from the Britishers. But he had to forgo those hard earned rights on the adamant insistence of Mohandas Gandhi who used his cheap tactics of fast unto death to blackmail Babasahab.
Many people ask me as to why I do not start an agitation for separate electorate just like what Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar did. So far I have never wasted even single minute on the issue of separate electorate. If the right to separate electorate could not be obtained during the time when Britishers were in rule in India then how can I secure those rights when the Manuwadis are the rulers of India. Today this is totally impossible.
Specialist on Caste
Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar taught the SC/STs how to make use of the weapon of caste. Therefore he was able to secure many constitutional rights for our people from the Britishers. But after the departure of Britishers there are just three people who succeeded in using the weapon of caste. The first person was Jawaharlal Nehru, second was Indira Gandhi and third person is Kanshiram.
Nehru applied the weapon of caste like a skilled warrior and succeeded in it. Nehru was an expert in the art of using castes for maintaining the Manuvadi dominance and Bramhnical hegemony. After him Indira Gandhi became expert in exploiting the weapon of caste so that the Bramhnical Social Order is continuously benefited. But today if you ask any Congressman in Delhi whether he receives any benefits from the caste, he will answer in negative. He will say that he does not know how to get benefited from the caste and that only Kanshiram knows how to make use of caste for the benefits of his people ( Laughter ).
If you can stop Bramhins from using caste for their own selfish interests then he will think twice before he uses the sword of caste against us. I have learned how to make use of this two wedged sword of caste in the interest of my society. Castes which today to us seem to be a problem, can become ,if used tactically, a solution to our problems. The thing which is today our problem can become an opportunity for us provided we learn to make appropriate use of it for our own benefits.
We must always be ready to learn a lesson from history. We have to accelerate our work of taking ahead the Ambedkarite movement. In 1932 Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar asked for separate electorate for Dalit/Adivasis. But in 1942 he raised a demand for separate settlements because he wanted that the Dalits should not be dependent on the hindus in any way. They should live their lives with full independence. But what is the real picture in India today ? Today there is 45 lakh hectare tilled agricultural land. Our people toil in the fields and produce crops. But in the field they toil they do not have any property rights. They become victims of exploitation and injustice of Manuvadi landlords. To escape from the exploitation and oppression of the land lords our people leave villages and migrate to big cities in search of respectable life. In the process they end up living in the dirty shanties , under the bridges , along side of railway tracks ,on bank of nallahs and at many other dirty places where they are forced to live a life which is worse than that of animals. Such Distress Migration has resulted into nearly 10 Cr people leaving behind their villages, their tiny plots of land , their small huts and their meager belongings , to leave in cities. Ten years ago the number of people who stayed in cities was 5 Crores. Today this number has risen to 16 Cr. 10 Cr people in big cities stay in dirty slums, on roads and at other filthy places. I call these people “Indian Refugees”. Who will address the problems faced by these people ? The Rural development Ministry and Urban development Ministry of Government of India should be addressing the multitude of problems faced by the Indian refugees. Barring these 10 Cr Indian refugees, the Government of India makes some plan or the other for the development of the other people. But no one looks into the problems faced by these Indian refugees. No budgetary provisions are made in our annual budget for these 10 Cr people. There is no separate department or ministry for such a large number of people. The Indian government has formed separate department and ministry for the Pakistani refugees who came to India in 1947 , the refugees from Kashmir and refugees from other places. Government of India spends Crores of rupees on the welfare of such foreign refugees ; but no government ever has paid attention to the problems of these 10 Cr Indian refugees.
Since these 10 Cr Indian refugees have left behind their villages, land and other belongings , bringing only their castes to the cities, my work has become very easy. These 10 Cr refugees are considered as a big problem by the Manuvadi rulers. But for us these Indian refugees are a big strength, they are the vehicles of our empowerment. The very “caste”on the basis of which Crores of such people have been living a degraded , humiliated lives and thrown in the gallows of backwardness, we will use the same “caste” to free these crores of people from the injustice and exploitation meted out to them. After the forthcoming state assembly elections in Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, we will carry out a “ Indian refugees’ agitation”. I will not merely sit quite in anticipation that some day or the other caste will be annihilated automatically ; but as long as the “caste” is alive , I will continue to use it in the interest of my society.
Let me now tell you about my experience of using the caste in the interest of our society. Today by organizing the people who have been the victims of the draconian caste system( Bahujan Samaj), I am training these people to make use of caste for the betterment of our society. I am inspiring them to carry forward the mission of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. I am preparing and enabling my society which comprises of the victims of the “caste” to make use of this double edged sword of “caste” in their own interests. Today every Manuvadi party and their leaders are afraid of my use of “caste”. All these Manuvadi parties are trying to stop this “ Kanshiram magic”. First Rajiv Gandhi tried then V.P. Singh , Narsimharao, etc tried to stop me. Today the similar efforts are being made by the BJP. But all these people are playing their own games and I am playing my own ( claps).
Bahujan Samaj Party has to get recognition throughout India.
The Manuvadis beneficiaries of the ‘caste’ have formed ‘caste’ so that they can perpetually rule over Bahujan Samaj. They have been protectors and saviours of ‘caste system’ to ensure their perpetual monopolistic rule over Bahujan Samaj. The creation of any system is more difficult than it’s retention. Once you build a system , keeping the system up and running is not very difficult task.
If you want to annihilate ‘caste’ then you have to prevent the Manuvadis from reaping the benefits of ‘caste’. As long as the Manuvadi beneficiaries of ‘caste’ are left scot-free to use the ‘caste’ to their own benefits , the Bahujan victims of ‘caste’ will continue to suffer from ‘caste’. Therefore you will have to learn to use ‘caste’ in the interest of the Bahujan Samaj and you will have to prevent the Manuvadis from reaping the benefits of ‘caste’. You should not ignore the presence of the ‘caste’ in the Indian society; whereas you should accept the existence of ‘caste’ as a naked truth. BSP has emerged has 4th largest national party in India by successfully making use of ‘caste’. In India there are about 70 recognized political parties. We are ahead of 66 of these political parties. Today only Congress, BJP and CPI(M) are ahead of us. When we formed BSP in the year 1984 , the other parties used to say that BSP would remain as a regional party within UP. But today BSP has secured recognition not only in UP but also in MP, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana. Seeing this success of BSP all the savarna hindu castes ( Manuvadi samaj) has become very sad. And even I am also not happy. They are sad because BSP is speedily gaining strong ground in other states; whereas I am sad because BSP has not been able to become a recognized party in all the states of India. I want BSP to become recognized party in all the states, and even in Maharashtra.
Why is Bahujan Samaj dependent in independent India ?
In the year 1997 , the manuvadi ruling class in India decided to celebrate the golden jubilee of India’s independence. There may be many reasons for them to celebrate ; but the 85 % Bahujan Samaj which continues to remain dependent on others even after 50 years of independence, has no reason to celebrate. Even today our people in the villages do not possess their own land, they work as farm labours in the land of manuvadi landlords. 10 Cr people have migrated to cities because in the villages they were dependent on others. When we established Bahujan Samaj Party, the Dalits, backwards were dependent on manuvadi parties for tickets. They used to run behind these parties for getting tickets. The political parties, if not anything else are the tickets printing machines. We thought as to why we should not possess one such machine and therefore we established Bahujan Samaj Party on 14th April, 1984.
Not just a platform ticket
In March 1985 we distributed 237 tickets for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. That time I told all our candidates that our tickets are merely platform tickets and that you will not be able to reach Lucknow with help of these tickets. That time there wasn’t any quarrel for getting our ticket. But today our tickets are in great demand. Today in UP every BSP candidate secures more than 1 lac of votes. Today our tickets are no more just the platform tickets but one can reach not just Lucknow but also Delhi with the help of our tickets. Today why are our tickets in so much demand ?
Congress made BSP popular.
On basis of 1984 Loksabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, Congress had won 410 assembly seats out of 425. But in the 1985 assembly elections they won just 265 seats. Congress had to lose 145 seats because of the presence of BSP. Congress got frustrated because of these losses and they carried out a campaign calling BSP a “party of Chamars”. This campaign indeed helped BSP to consolidate our ground in UP. Our party became very popular among the Chamar community of Uttar Pradesh. In 1985 election we secured merely 2 % votes. Our vote percentage went on rising in every subsequent elections. In 1989 it went on to 9%, in 1991 – 11%, in 1993 – 20. 6 %. In 1996 Loksabha elections we got 29% votes. We achieved this success not by ignoring the ‘caste’ but by accepting the existence of ‘caste’ and by utilizing it in our interests. Today Congress is unable to get benefited by making use of ‘caste’ whereas we have increased our strength manifold by appropriately using the caste reality; we will continue to strengthen ourselves in future to come.
Lesson from Maharashtra
Today here many people from Maharashtra are present. I have learned a lot from the people from Maharashtra. I have learned a half lesson for running the Ambedkari movement from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. The other half lesson I have learnt from the Mahars of Maharashtra. I have learnt from Babasahab how to run the movement. And from Mahars of Maharashtra I have learned how not to run the movement. To successfully run any movement it is not only sufficient to know how to run the movement but also it is necessary to know how not to run the movement. If you do not know how not to run the movement then you will never be able to know how to run it.
Mahars have not been able to appropriately use the double edged sword of caste. They say that now they have become Buddhists and they are no more Mahars. But simultaneously they kept on fighting for the benefits of reservations in capacity of being Mahars. They began to demand reservations for the people who have become Buddhists. . Mahars carried the ‘caste’- a bad breath of Hinduism to Buddhism. ‘Caste’ is that bad breath of Hinduism which has polluted the whole world.
100 years of Reservations
On 26th July 1902, the Maharaja of Kolhapur- Chatrapati Shahuji Maharaj implemented reservations in jobs in his kingdom for the Dalits and backwards. On 26th July 2002 we will complete 100 years of reservations. 100 years of reservations is sufficient. Now I consider it my responsibility to empower my people so that they will not ask for reservations but they will become capable to give reservations to others. It is easy to understand and say this thing but it is not easy to make it happen.
Who is capable of giving reservations ? Only the ruling class of people can give reservations to others. Even to enable your own society capable of reaping the benefits and to protect their interests , you have to become a ruling class. Therefore we have to prepare ourselves in the direction of becoming a ruling class in India. We have to become the rulers ……. It is the solution on most of our problems.
But the question is how the victims of the ‘caste’ can become the rulers ? Should we become MLA/MP or should we run the Ambedkar movement ? I have nither seen Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar nor have I heard him when he was alive. I have learned Ambedkarism from the leaders of Maharashtra. Mr Bajirao Kamble who was wearing a blue cap and sitting in front of me was one of those people who gave me lessons in Ambedkarism. When the Ambedkarite leaders from Maharashtra began to crawl behind the Congress for tickets, it resulted into many skirmishes between me and them. They were saying that if they stick to Ambedkarism then they can not become MLAs and MPs. I asked them what is more important ? To become MLA/MP or to run the movement of Babasaheb? According to me it was more important to run the movement of Babasaheb than to become MLA/MP. Therefore I chose to run the movement. For a moment a thought came to my mind that to run the movement effectively we should make our people MLAs/MPs. But the important question was which is the party that will give us MLAs/MPs who will also run the movement of Babasahab. After a lot of thought I reached to a conclusion that such MLAs/MPs can be elected only through our own party. And therefore I left Mumbai and came back to Lucknow.
Which all castes supported Babasaheb ?
I have studied deeply the ‘caste’ as reality in the Indian society. I studied those castes which had supported Babasaheb. Babasaheb’s movement was supported by the Mahars of Maharashtra, Pariahs of Tamilnadu, Malas of Andhra Pradesh, Jatavs of Uttar Pradesh and Chandals( Namo shudras) of Bengal. But when Babasaheb himself could not win the election in 1952 and 1954 , his supporters began to think if Babasaheb himself can not win then how can we win and become MLAs/MPs ?
After that I even delved into electoral victories of Babasaheb. In 1946 Babasaheb had won from the Jaisor and Khulna seats from Bengal. How did this happen ?In both these constituencies the population of Chandals was 52%. They thought rather than sending any one else , it is better to send Babasaheb to the constituent assembly. Babasaheb was able to win because the Chandals has majority votes with them. Mahar, Pariah, Jatav, Mala, etc castes did not have numbers as large as the Chandals and therefore these castes did not win elections and thus they began to leave the movement of Babasaheb.
The fight of Babasaheb was for all the castes that were victims of the ‘caste system’. But were only Mahars, Pariahs, Malas, Jatavs, etc.castes, the victims of the ‘caste’ ? Were only these castes the victims of the Manuvadi social order ? The answer is No. These castes were not the only victims of ‘caste’. 6000 castes are the victims of ‘caste’.
According to Mandal Commission report, there are nearly 1500 castes among the SCs, 1000 castes among the STs and 3743 castes among the OBCs. The number of such castes is more than 6000. These are all such castes which have been victims of the Manuvadi social order. Some of them have been victimized less and some have been victimized more. But the truth is that all these 6000 castes have been victims of the manuvadi social order. Should not all these castes organize together to fight against the exploitative ‘caste system’ ? Among these castes some castes are bigger and some are smaller in terms of population. If all these castes remain divided among themselves then they will remain as minorities. But if these castes organize among themselves by creating a feeling of fraternity, they can become a majority – Bahujans. These people are 85 % of country’s population and thus they constitute of a very big strength in the country.
Creation of fraternity among the Bahujans castes is a necessity of time
When Bahujan Samaj Party was established in 1984, at that time Bahujan Samaj had not been formed in the country. Bahujan Samaj Party can become successful only if the Bahujan Samaj is formed. Therefore we have began to organize the 6000 Bahujan Castes by creating a fraternity among them in order to form a Bahujan Samaj. In last 10 years we have been able to connect together just 600 castes which forms just 10 % of the total number of castes that we want to reach to.
Just by bringing together 600 castes, our party has become 4th largest party in India. If we add 400 more castes then the number of castes that we have brought together will go up to 1000. And if we succeed in adding 400 more castes in our fold then we will become the number one party in the country. I do not like to talk much even though I am compelled to talk very frequently. I do not like to tell in my words but I want my work and the results emanating from that work to speak for themselves. I want to tell all those fellow activists in the movement who do not agree to my work – “ I may be wrong, but why don’t you analyze the results that I have achieved, what you have to say about those results ?”.
Bringing together so many castes on one platform was a mammoth task in itself. Lot of people have been engaged in making severe criticism of those people who have been instrumental in bringing the 600 castes together. Many have advised not to undertake such an impossible task in hand. But when the people who started the noble work of bringing together the divided castes, no force in the world was able to stop them from doing so. The people that carried out the task of joining together people from different castes ; did their work with all the sincerity and dedication at their command. If we have succeeded in bringing together 600 castes then why won’t we succeed in bringing many more castes together ? We will certainly succeed. By bringing together all the victim castes, we can capture the political power and become the ruling class.
Capturing the Master Key
Babasaheb has said that “political power is the master key using which you can open all the doors of your progress and self respect”.
Our friends from Maharashtra had been fighting since 25 years for changing the name of Marathwada university. They had to do this because they do not have the political master key. In 1989 Rajiv Gandhi came to Lucknow and he laid down the foundation stone for the Dr Ambedkar University. On one hand the Congress party is refusing to change the name of Marathwada university in Maharashtra and on the other hand the same Congress party is laying down a stone for the Dr Ambedkar University at Lucknow. Why this has happened ? The people of Uttar Pradesh have never raised a demand for Dr Ambedkar Univesity at Lucknow. This was the demand of people from Maharashtra.Then why is this demand of people from Maharashtra being fulfilled in Uttar Pradesh ? Why was congress so eager to start a Dr Ambedkar University at Lucknow ? This had happened because the people of Uttar Pradesh were extending their hand towards the political master key. Therefore the ruling class wanted to hide the master key in guise of the university.
By capturing the power in UP we have formed not just one university but many universities for which the people from Maharashtra have been fighting for long time. In 1994 we laid a foundation stone for Shahu Maharaj university at Kanpur. In 1996 we formed Mahatma Phule university and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar university. Apart from this we acquired 200 acre land at Noida for Gautam Buddha Univesity. We created 17 new districts to fasten the process of development and more importantly to honour our heroes by giving their names to these newly formed districts. It becomes very clear from this that you can use ‘caste’ to acquire political master key and make use of this master key to secure a life of self respect and take them along the path of progress.
Our society has to shed away their “Dalit mentality”
I have so far talked at length about the ‘caste’. Now I want to talk something about the Dalits. I rarely go out of India. My party men and other friends were thinking that I may not go to attend the convention at Kuala Lumpur because I am so much overburdened by the vows of Dalits in India. But I get more upset by looking at the Dalit mentality of the people. Dalit mentality is the biggest weakness of the dalits. Dalit mentality has become a sort of a feeling of destitution. A person with a mentality of a beggar can never become a ruler. Similarly without shedding away the Dalit mentality, no society can become a ruling class. The hands which are used to ask/beg have to strive to become the ones which will give, i.e. they have to become a ruling race. If we can not become the ruling class then there can not be any other shorter and easier solution to all our problems. So how you can become ruling class without shedding away your Dalit mentality ? Therefore you have to shed away your Dalit mentality. If you become rulers then you yourselves can find the solution to all your problems.
Manuvad can destroy all other isms.
Our intellectuals often think that the solution to all our problems is in Marxism, Socialism and Communism. I strongly believe that in the country where Manuvad is present no other ism can become successful. The reason being no other ism is ready to accept the reality of the caste.
It is the responsibility of these intellectuals as well as mine that we evolve our own ism keeping in mind the presence of Manuvad and accepting the ‘caste’ as reality of Indian society. Manuvadis often talk about the problem of unemployment in India. They are worried about the unemployment of 1 Cr unemployed youth belonging to the “upper” castes. But these people have no worries about the multiple problems faced by the 10 Cr Indian refugees who are illiterate and unskilled.
No party is worried about the plight of these 10 Cr people. But these 10 Cr people are our people. Therefore only our party is worried about the plight of these 10 Cr people. Only our party can find a solution on the problems of these people. We can easily solve the problems of the Bahujan Samaj by becoming the ruling class.
We have become 4th largest party in India by bringing together 600 castes and by creating a fraternity among these castes. By reaching to 1000 castes and by bringing them in our fold we can become the ruling class in this country. I have a strong belief that in next 3 years we will become the rulers and the political master key will be in our hands.
I do not support the idea of imposing my thoughts on others. I am just narrating my experience to you. It is up to you whether you want to take advantage of it or not.
By becoming rulers you can march ahead effectively towards formation of a casteless society. I can tell this one solution to all your problems. Why would the beneficiaries of ‘caste’ want to destroy it ? The people who are victims of ‘caste’ and who have suffered because of it will have to take this task of destroying the ‘caste’. The caste system can be destroyed only by the rulers themselves provided they have a will to do.
You will think that I am talking about some impossible and unachievable things. But in my life I have always taken seemingly impossible tasks in my hand and have achieved a success in those tasks. This is what is called ‘Kanshiram magic’. Today this ‘Kanshiram magic’ has began to occupy a national form.
Therefore my only message to you all is that you should march ahead in the direction of formation of casteless society by means of right thinking . At the end I would like to tell you that you can form a casteless society by capturing the political master key because only the ruling class can form a new social order.
Jai Bheem, Jai Bharat.
( Bahujan Sanghatak , New Delhi, Dt. 16 November, 1998).
Roshan Ground, Hoshiarpur, Punjab, Lok Sabha Elections, 16th Jan 1998
You can listen the speech (in Punjabi) from here..