Skip to main content

Obnoxious generalisations "rampant" for rejecting Kanhaiya Kumar in Begusarai

By Nalini Taneja*
From the vociferous political discourse in the media – both social media and channels – it seems Begusarai results will decide the fate of the nation, or at least the fate of social justice in this country. And, by this logic, if Kanhaiya Kumar somehow wins, it's the victory for upper castes and defeat of all marginalised, including the Muslims who constitute a sizeable section of the population in Begusarai.
Added to this arsenal is the argument that even if he stands for the marginalised, he is not of the marginalised, and ideally, especially for this contest, the baton should be in the hands of the marginalised, in this case a Muslim. And Tanveer Hasan fits the bill, while Kanhaiya does not. Besides, Tanveer Hasan is a leader of standing, and Kanhaiya is kind of an upstart.
Let us not go into the motivations of those who are arguing all of this, as this derails the debate to matters of sincerity. We assume, with due respect to all, that all actors in the contest and in the debate are credible and have some credible things to say.
Most importantly, generalisations have validity and gain strength only if exceptions are taken care of. No generalisation holds true without the concrete situation on the ground. For starters, there is absolutely no doubt that Kanhaiya would be a good parliamentarian.
For the past three years he has shown courage, consistency, force of argument and facts, and a much above average capability of communication, in varied forums and with different audiences, the huge public gatherings, seminars and workshops. He certainly does not lack skill, motivation, or capability in putting forward a people’s agenda or intervening with the democratic standpoint in Parliament.
It is to his credit that he has remained with the Communist party he was member of since before he became president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students Union, through phases when any political party would have welcomed him.
If it were not Begusarai, one could say he is standing from one of the weakest national parties and is managing to gain support of people much larger than around his party. On many occasions he has taken public stands far more radical than that of the parties, like those of many activists and individuals who are on the list of this government for being punished. We know who they are.
It is true that Communist parties continue to be dominated by, and have by and large, an upper caste leadership, and this needs to be changed. However, using the example of Kanhaiya at this point and occasion is wrong.
He has neither come to the Communist party or to mass politics with a silver spoon. If democratic politics implies leadership of the marginalised themselves, it also implies the overcoming of the sectional differences among the marginalised and a declassing, or de-casting in this case, of the privileged. He has only shown promise so far, in this regard. In any case, he can’t be seen as the organic spokesman of the Bhumihar interests or of the opportunistic middle strata of any caste.
The spectacular success in crowdfunding – a first time for a few candidates in this elections – the questions and answers seen in his election meetings and sincerely responded to, the content, nature and form of campaigns are a positive in these elections.
That Kanhaiya is not a Muslim and Tanveer Hasan is, can gainfully be ignored in this context. Not because of Kanhaiya, but because again a generalisation cannot be made absolute. We know of Muslims the BJP has been able to lure and the many non-Muslims who are staking their lives for justice and equality for Muslims.
Let us have more and more Muslim representation, but let us not make a fetish of it. Kanhaiya is no obstacle or danger to Dalit or Muslim representation, or even to Yadav/OBC representation. He is a strong ally. And he has obviously chosen Begusarai because he is born and brought up there and belongs there. He is a child of Begusarai.
It is heartening that neither Kanhaiya nor Tanveer Hasan have attacked each other. Wish the followers of Tanveer Hasan would also go by that. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has not thought it fit to support a young emerging leader, but at least he can be spared the attacks. Have hardly seen a word against Giriraj Singh from the detractors of Kanhaiya. I, like many, find this stance misplaced and unfortunate.
Nalini Taneja
I don't know what Kanhaiya would do in the future, but I am surely elated that Begusarai, once a bastion of the left, today again resounds with left slogans and left graffiti. Should they not be given a chance in a country where hatred and strife are being promoted?
I don't know Kanhaiya personally, nor do I expect the heavens from him – some people are putting a huge burden on individual and young man at that – but I would still say: Please vote Kanhaiya in Begusarai!
---
*Worked at Delhi University, graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Source: Author's Facebook timeline

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

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".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.

Narmada Valley's fossil evidence: Ground for 'nationalists' to argue primates' India roots?

By Saurav Sarkar*  In December 1982, a geologist digging in India’s Central Narmada Valley found something he did not expect. Arun Sonakia, who at the time worked for the Geological Survey of India, unearthed a hominid fossil skullcap from the Pleistocene era. The discovery sent shockwaves through the field of paleoanthropology and put South Asia on the map of human prehistory. Some experts concluded that the skull likely belonged to a member of a predecessor species of ours, Homo heidelbergensis , or perhaps was a hybrid of homo species, while Sonakia himself suggested “ an affinity… to Homo erectus .”