Skip to main content

In UP elections solidarity aversive Dalit middle class met its ultimate deadlock

By Chittibabu Padavala*
One of the worst hit in Uttar Pradesh elections is a loud rhetorical section that speaks in the name of all Dalits. And, it seems to be, happily, dumb-founded.
The very small Dalit middle class/ employee strata or even tiny elites, drawn almost exclusively from the relatively advanced and reservations-monopolising, Ambedkar-worshipping single castes in their respective regions (Mala, Pariah, Mahar etc.) from the very big Dalit populace (forming one-quarter of the Indian population) is curious in many ways.
Particularly, the second and third generation among them is even unique in its uniformity of conduct and public pronouncements.
This Dalit middle class's structural position is worth considering. This minuscule section takes away all the 16.5 plus 7.5% reservations in jobs and education in public sector. It has a self-interest in not letting the benefits reach beyond their own caste to include other Dalit castes, or at least, no particular interest in such a thing. Its position not dissimilar to five or so percent of upper castes (UC) grabbing 50% of all seats and jobs in the name of 'general' quota or 'open' competition.
However, unlike the upper castes who, with their all-round advantage produce more candidates in hoping for education and jobs than already disproportionate numbers effectively reserved for them, this Dalit strata eliminated competition not only from others (the very idea of reserving seats) but also minimized the possibility of it coming from their own majority Dalits (escapes almost everyone's attention), this section gets whatever little it does without much competition and almost always without competence where it is required. Negligible competition also results in the perverse fact of handing the public positions/jobs etc. to the ineligible.
Though a lot of antagonism, jealousy, backbiting and prejudices they encounter in the public places, institutions is squarely due to the uppercaste aversion to Untouchables, not all of it is only such. Nowhere is this strata's performance is as unsavory as in social movement realm.
This section believes in no solidarity, behaves like a gang of thugs in eliminating criticism and self-criticism and persistent in turning every discussion a fight, debate into one of ad hominem, with no sense any more between a friend and foe and all the shades in between, the cynicism and ungratefulness are the hallmarks of this welfare-dependent but actually welfare-monopolising Dalit section.
It is not exactly a 'class' but a combination of caste, networking, Ambedkar 'rituals', unifying symbols and even sensibilities and a strong sense of mutual help.
Additional and no less important features of this stratum is its lack of any property (but protected by income from the jobs or scholarships) and also any attachment with the hard labor, though still discriminated and subject to daily humiliations and exclusions, though mostly spared of the atrocities that happen to other Dalits elsewhere. However, this is also a section which is pampered by the upper caste establishment.
(This collaboration between the always UC-baiting and resentful Dalit Middle class advanced castes and happily entertaining UCs is a complex and curious story that requires a detailed post of its own. But one telling example can give the flavor of it. Almost always the left/liberal interview panels, with a mind-bending cynicism only leftist Brahminicals are capable of, select candidates for the English professor posts in central universities in Dalit quota such candidates who cannot speak or write in the language they are supposed to teach.)
This section has remarkably committed in two important ways that cannot be explained by their class position fully. Whenever there is an atrocity committed against their more vulnerable and less protected members, it springs to action with a professional revolutionary's seriousness and even selflessness. Another is its absolute and instinctual aversion to Hindu practices, beliefs and by extension, its current Hindu Nazist version.
Always alert to any slight, suspicious of any gesture of solidarity yet paranoic about ever perceived threat of the encroachments, this is the only section among Dalits that returns the typical Muslim antipathy towards Dalits with matching apathy directed back to them. This Dalit section is a hurdle to much delayed yet much-needed Dalit-Muslim cooperation. Rohith Vemula could fight against peresecution of Muslims partly because he is not from this section of Dalits in class or generation terms.
In Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, this solidarity-aversive, anti-educational and equally anti-Hindu Nazist Dalit middle class met its ultimate deadlock. Like UC leftists, the Dalit middle 'class' is against Modi's Hindu Nazists due to its principles (or ideology) rather than any material need for it. It is unlikely to surrender to Hindu Nazists in any big way anytime soon, but it is unlikely to adapt to the new reality that demands larger accommodating alliances.
---
*With Kuriakose Mathew and 2 others. Source: https://www.facebook.com/chittibabu.padavala/posts/10158184471105315

Comments

TRENDING

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Global Hunger Index: Govt of India response pathetic, 'lacks' scientific empirical evidence

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Come 16 October – and the world once again focused on the most basic need for a person’s survival: food! The first World Food Day was observed in 1994, to mark the launch of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Ever since, the day is marked to highlight the need and importance of food security across the world. The significance is accentuated especially in these difficult times like the C-19 povidandemic. The theme for 2021 is ‘Safe Food Now for a Healthier Tomorrow’, emphasising on the various immediate and long-term benefits of consuming safe and healthy food.

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.