Written by – Nijam Gara
We observed Dr Ambedkar’s 59th death anniversary on December 6th 2015. Coincidentally, also the 23rd anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition. Pertinently, in the midst of a debate in the parliament about secularism and the broader intolerance debate raging in the country. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is shamelessly trying to confiscate the legacy of Bhim Rao.
What should the mulnivasis (tribals, dalits and likeminded shudras i.e. OBCs and true ‘forward’ thinking caste members) do?
The events that played out on the national stage in the last few weeks shine a bright light in this context. The Bihar election results have shown the path and our inimitable Lalu Prasad Yadav has led by example. The mainstream media will not say this but he alone is responsible for the spectacular polarization of the backward and downtrodden vote against the rightwing, upper caste BJP. He succinctly described his move when he said he is drinking poison for the common good referring to his alliance with Nitish. It is worth noting here that Nitish is no Lalu when it comes to secular credentials. Lalu holds the distinction of being the only politician in India today that has steadfastly opposed hindu rightwing politics at every step of the way, be it in putting the thrishul-wielding Lalkrishna Advani behind bars in 1992 or thunderously denouncing Modi in 2002 or in tabling the first detailed inquiry report on behalf of the Central government on the Godhra train carnage. He has never wavered to support the Congress on the national stage to keep BJP at bay in spite of the constant battering the mainstream media subjected him to of his own Prime Ministerial ambitions. Nitish happily supported the NDA government through the dark days of post-Godhra mayhem in Gujarat. Much like Chandrababu naidu. Still, the need of the hour in 2015 in the Modi era India was such that Lalu had to bury the hatchet and come together with the not-so-perfect Nitish to stop the Modi-Shah juggernaut from rolling. The result was the stunning defeat of the avowed pro-‘development’ BJP. It is also worth mentioning here that ‘development’ is not a pet project of BJP. In fact, their concept of ‘development’ is cosmetic and has no intention of uplifting the downtrodden either socially or economically. In essence, Lalu has proved to the nation that the people of the land (mulnivasis as described above) should make winning alliances with ideologically similar sections if they even dream of keeping the rightwing forces checked.