Skip to main content

What do Gujarat cadre civil servants, retired and serving, think of UP gangrape outrage?

Manisha, Dalit Valmiki girl, whose body was forcibly cremated
By Rajiv Shah
I was talking to a senior Gujarat cadre IAS official the other day. He had just phoned up to find out how things were, and slowly went ahead and started discussing Hathras – the gangrape of a teenaged Dalit girl, who died a fortnight later in hospital. What he told me was interesting: That there was considerable flutter on an IAS WhatsApp group, in which he also happened to be a member, around the horrendous event. 
“Most of those who have been commenting are quite critical of the Uttar Pradesh government”, he informed me as I got curious. He particularly identified a few retired Dalit IAS officials who, according him, appeared to be “quite worked up.”
From whatever I learned from the conversation, which lasted for nearly 20 minutes, was, Dalit IAS officials, were, however, not alone in pointing out how anti-Dalit casteism has become the mainstay of politics now. Others, especially from those among the retired, too, joined in to point out that caste and patriarchy were two factors which appeared to rule supreme out there.
I am not naming either the official who was talking to me, nor those whom he identified by name. However, I specifically asked him about one IAS bureaucrat, RM Patel, who happened to be a Marxist during his youthful days, but resigned and joined BJP ahead of the Gujarat state assembly polls in 2012.
Pround to be a Dalit with (whatever I came to know of him), considerable insight into Gujarat’s culture and society, I don’t know what made him join politics. He fought for the assembly seat from a reserved constituency in Ahmedabad, and won hands down. Five years later, he wasn’t offered a ticket. “No. He has not offered any comments”, was the reply I got.
The official further told me two instances which he wanted to particularly bring to my notice: One, that a relatively young IAS bureaucrat who seemed to be to be pretty close to the powers-that-be when I covered Sachivalaya till early 2013, made an interesting comment – a typically of the “Marxists” when I was part of a Communist-backed students’ association. According to this relatively young babu, it is not caste but class conflict which one is finding reflected in Uttar Pradesh politics!
Another instance was of a bureaucrat, who, I was told, forwarded quotes from Manu Smriti to point towards how so-called lower caste and women were the main targets of attack in this ancient Indian legal treatise, hated by Dalits ever since Dr BR Ambedkar burned the book, an event which has now become an annual event for several Dalit organizations. I searched google and I found this link – I am not sure if he took the quotes from here. The site, nirmukta.com, carries 40 such quotes from Manu Smriti.
Meanwhile, I looked into a report which we published in Counterview, quoting a statement signed by 92 former civil servants who have protested against the manner in which the UP administration has bowed to the political diktat of chief minister Yogi Adityanath. I was scanning through the names, but I could not find a single Gujarat cadre IAS official.
The list, however has a top Gujarat cadre IPS official, belonging to the 1964 batch, PGJ Nampoothiri, former Director General of Police,Gujarat, who is pretty well known for being active during post-2002 Gujarat riots – if I remember correctly, he was appointed as a member of the two-person monitoring group set up the National Human Rights Commission on the riots. The other member was Gagan Sethi, a human rights activist based in Ahmedabad.
The other person in the list of 92 ex-civil servants is Ashok Kumar Sharma, an Indian Forest Service official, who served as managing director of the Gujarat State Forest Development Corporation. I must have met him a couple of times (I remember having done a story on mafia ruling the roost in Banni grassland in Kutch after talking to him), and always found him found to be pretty scathing on the way in which the forests were being managed in Gujarat.

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.

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.

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. 

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)

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".

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”.

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.

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.