Whenever Uttar Pradesh and/or Bihar go to polls, the media is agog with the term ‘identity politics’. The shrill campaign coverage of mainstream media paints identity politics as being inimical to egalitarian society and destructive to the supposed holy-cow of Indian democracy. A well-known Gandhian has recently written in a National English newspaper that the “U” in Uttar Pradesh stands for ungovernable mainly because it is ridden with the scourge of identity politics. He longs for the glorious past of Uttar Pradesh in an eerie similarity to the ‘Make America great again’ slogan that we are all too familiar with now. Thus he equates the rise of bahujan leaders of Uttar Pradesh with regression of the prospects of the state.
This narrative needs to be dissected to comprehend the ire of such Gandhians and other media pundits. First, how about a counter-narrative? Today, in 2017, almost 70 years after the birth of a nation called India, but more importantly, more than three thousand years after Vedic ‘civilization’ spread over this land, Uttar Pradesh is the only state in the Union of India where a freestanding dalit political party stands a chance at the hustings to rule the state. And Uttar Pradesh is only one of 2 states (the other being Bihar) where OBCs have taken center-stage in ruling unopposed for the past 2 decades. Leaders from the bottom of the Vedic step-ladder such as Mayawathi (dalit), Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav (all OBCs) became forces to reckon with only as a result of assertion of their backward identity. It is only because they raised their banners in the name of their oppressed background that even the National parties today are forced to sing OBC and dalit tune. While it is easy for self-proclaimed political pundits to brush off bahujan parties with the deprecating label of ‘identity politics’, millions of people from all over India that hail from these sections can vouch for the dignity that a Lalu Prasad, a Mayawathi or a Kanshi Ram brought to them by standing up to oppression and bringing them in to the mainstream of political discourse. There is no means to measure the confidence that these leaders and parties instill in the bahujans across the country. In fact, it is a travesty that other states have not seen such an upsurge in bahujan assertion. To put things in historical context, not too long ago, the castes that they represent were banished to menial jobs that savarna hindus would abhor to even dream of, never had the right to own land or even stand next to a savarna but today have risen to rule themselves and the savarnas too.
Many of you might have listened “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech by Malcolm X but how many of you have heard Saheb Kanshi Ram’s similar speech? Now I see even more clearly why there was no conflict between Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Saheb Kanshi Ram, both lived and worked around the same time period and there was never a conflict between both. Here is what Saheb Kanshi Ram had to say about Ballot or the Bullet, speech delivered in Nagpur, date unknown to me!
~ If you think only with Ballot you can become a governing class then you are keeping yourself in the dark. We have to become rulers through ballot but we have to prepare and be ready for the bullet also. We took charge of the UP with ballot but when elected upper caste MLAs from opposition parties came to assembly they started chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and creating the ruckus in the assembly by jumping on the chairs and tables and throwing various devices in the air. They thought Bahujan Samaj people are afraid now and for around 20 minutes there was a backlash. It was already coming in the newspapers that Savarana Hindus have lost the power now there will be a backlash but I was saying in response to backlash there will be a strong frontlash! We won with the ballot and we have to prepare ourselves our community to win with the ballot, but if after winning the election with ballot they don’t let you run the government properly you need to do something. Though we didn’t felt the need to use the bullet but no matter how small weapon came to our hands, we used it and they went out with bloody noses! Those who didn’t accept the verdict of ballot so we replied them in their language. So, friends we have to bring change and rule through ballot but if a few people use bullet or pather-lathi or use unconstitutional powers to suppress us for that we have to make our community ready to fight them also.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) or Majority People’s Party is one of the only five prominent national political parties of India, which is the largest democracy in the world.
Brief Introduction :
The ideology of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is “Social Transformation and Economic Emancipation” of the “Bahujan Samaj “, which comprises of the Scheduled Castes (SCs), the Scheduled Tribes (STs), the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Religious Minorities such as Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Buddhists and account for over 85 percent of the country’s total population.
The people belonging to all these classes have been the victims of the “Manuwadi” system in the country for thousands of years, under which they have been vanquished, trampled upon and forced to languish in all spheres of life. In other words, these people were deprived even of all those human rights, which had been secured for the upper caste Hindus under the age-old “Manuwadi Social System“.
Among the great persons (Mahapurush) belonging to “Bahujan Samaj”, who fought courageously and with commitment against the brutal and oppressive Manuwadi system, for providing a level playing field to the downtrodden to help move forward in their lives with “self-respect” and at par with the upper castes Hindus, especially Baba Saheb Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar’s socio-political campaign later proved to be very effective in this direction.
Though the contributions of leaders of the downtrodden communities like Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj, Narayana Guru and Periyar E. V. Ramaswami have been immense in the fight against the obnoxious Manuwadi system, but the struggle of Baba Saheb Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, who was born in Scheduled Caste community, and that of Manyawar Kanshi Ram Ji later proved to be greatly effective and pregnant with far-reaching consequences.
BSP Ki Kiya Pahchan Neela Jha da, Hathi Nishan What Does This Slogan Really Mean?
“Elephant”, the election symbol of BSP
……There is an inherent great meaning in the election symbol of BSP. The “Elephant”. This election symbol of BSP represents the large and giant population of the”Bahujan Samaj” like the elephant. And the “Blue Flag” of the party represents the soothing blue sky. It shows that then sky does not discriminate anybody on the basis of caste, creed, rich, poor and treat people with full equality. It also signifies peace and tranquillity, which is certainly not available to mankind on this earth planet. That’s why the BSP wants to create an atmosphere of justice and peace here and now on this earth, like the sky. The BSP thereby means that it wants to see a just, humanistic and equality-based social and economic order, which would serve the interest of all the sections of the Society. Considering all these, the BSP had chosen “Elephant” as its election symbol and “Blue” colour as its flag.