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Top Gandhi baiter Arundhati Roy 'supports' Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj concept

By Our Representative
Is prominent social activist Arundhati Roy following the footsteps of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati and its late founder Kanshi Ram, at least in theory if not in practice? In an interesting move, top Indian English writer and one who recently converted into a Gandhi baiter, Roy has given her support to efforts to propagate the term "Bahujan" for bringing together oppressed communities in order to overcome a "caste-ridden society."
Participating in an event at the Constitution Club in Delhi, Roy, who is a Magsasay award winner for her well-known novel "God of Small Things", Roy, who once invited controversy by calling Naxalites Gandhians with firearms in hand, said casteism is "worse than a society of slavery, and even apartheid."
One who recently again invited controversy for declaring that Gandhi supported apartheid during his stay in South Africa, and casteism in India, Roy presided over the function to mark the sixth anniversary of what was characterized as "India’s first fully Hindi-English bilingual magazine", Forward Press. The theme of function was the "Future of Bahujan Politics and Literature”.
“We are on to an important idea,” said Roy, after releasing Forward Press' fourth Bahujan Literature Annual. "She was referring to the idea of Bahujan literature, the idea of fighting casteism with anger at the injustice while holding in our hearts the idea of justice, love, beauty, music, literature, without being reduced to a bitter, small people”, said a statement issued by the organizers at the end of the ceremony.
Among those graced the occasion and pledged support to the idea of calling the oppressed sections as Bahujan included Anupriya Patel, Ramdas Athawale, Ali Anwar, Ramnika Gupta, Braj Ranjan Mani, Sheoraj Singh Bechain, Jaiprakash Kardam and Arvind Jain, all of whom spoke on the occasion.
Ali Anwar, who heads the All-India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz, said Pasmandas are Bahujan first and then Muslims. “We don’t want to be called minorities. We are Bahujans”, he said. He was surprised by Ramdas Athawale’s proposal of reservations for the economically backward among the upper castes. He said "we are not mentally prepared” for such a move. The only criteria, he added, should be social and educational backwardness.
Braj Ranjan Mani, author of "Debrahmanising History", mooted the idea of “social democracy” and the stressed the need for an “emancipatory unity” among "Bahujans". Sujata Parmita said, the Dalit-Bahujans have been the creators of culture throughout history, but religion has been used to enslave them and seize their culture from them.
Anupriya Patel shared the view that once the oppressed masses are educated, their leaders will stop making compromises.
Sheoraj Singh Bechain recalled a conversation with Kanshiram shortly before his BSP formed its first government in Uttar Pradesh in alliance with the BJP. Instead of eyeing power, he should have started a magazine, Bechain had advised Kanshiram – for it is “social power, cultural power, intellectual power” that brings real empowerment to the Bahujans.
On the occasion, the second Mahatma Jotiba and Krantijyoit Savitribai Phule Balijan Ratna awards were presented to Braj Ranjan Mani, AR Akela (poet, folk singer, author and publisher) and Dr Hiralal Alawa (senior resident doctor at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and founder of Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti).

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