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Fear of 'losing' OBC-Dalits grips dominant castes: Dharma Sansad's anti-Muslim posture

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* 

Uttarakhand is in the news for all the wrong reasons. The video of a meeting of the so-called Dharma Sansad in Hardwar has gone viral on social media, where the speakers, masquerading as leaders, showing concern for “Hindus”, used absolutely filthy, gutter level, genocidal language against minorities, particularly Muslims.
It is not that these people spoke such filth for the first time. They have been doing it for the past so many years. But during the last seven odd years, after the alleged ‘independence’ in May 2014, they are truly enjoying their freedom of expression in order to use vulgar and intimidatory language against Muslims and getting away with it.
The Hardwar Dharm Sansad is nothing but part of a typical Brahminical agenda to control the non-Brahmins, particularly the Bahujan samaj. These kinds of sansads are a desperate attempt to get media attention, as they know it well that even the ‘negative’ publicity is a great publicity for them.
Showing allegiance to the ruling party and its thoughts, they are sure that nothing would happen to them even if they speak the way they did at the so-called Sansad. They have only one quality, which is to shout loud against Muslims and minorities. They don’t respect and accept the Constitution of India, and don’t care for it, as they know that they enjoy the blessings of the authorities.
The Sansad comes against the backdrop of Uttar Pradesh going to the polls, with the ruling party wanting to return to the Hindu-Muslim agenda. They never moved away from it, but they have surely shed all the bogus talk about the Gujarat model of development, which appears to have been forgotten. What one has now in Uttar Pradesh is the Hindutva model of intimidation, threat and misuse of state power to promote divisive agenda.
Hindutva isn’t just confined to its anti-Muslim pitch. Its votaries know that they need such a pitch in order to ensure that the dominant castes, especially Brahmins and Banias, continue to enjoy power. The Prime Minister’s office has the largest number of Brahmins. His ministries, bureaucracy, media, judiciary and academia too have disproportionate presence of Brahmins. And who can deny the fact that except for the Brahmin and Banias none of other communities are represented in the national committee set up to build the Ram Temple.
No doubt, within the Hindutva fold there are numerous caste groups and ambitious leaders fighting for top positions. Yet, it is a fact that during the recent recruitment at the GB Pant Institute in Allahabad, there was not a single recruitment from the OBC communities under the pretext ‘suitable candidates were not found’.
Long ago, Swami Vivekanand said, for a stronger India, we need the confluence of two great civilisations, Vedantik brain and Islamic body. However, those who swear by Vivekanand today know that the dominant castes cannot hold on to power without the ‘Bahujans body’. Their anti-Muslim propaganda is not that much against Muslims even when they are the direct target, but is aimed at “controlling” the Bahujan masses, who are seeking their share and representation in all walks of life.
One should not forget that the Ram Temple yatra launched by Lal Krishna Advani from Somnath to Ayodhya in September-October 1990 was essentially aimed at countering the impact of the Mandal Commission report, whose recommendations were accepted by the then prime minister VP Singh in Parliament.
Meanwhile, one needs to ask a few questions to these champions of Hindu dharma. A report appeared in the media of the boycott of Bhojanmata, the cook who prepared mid-day meal for school children, in Champawat district, Uttarakhand, just because she happened to be a Dalit. So far, we have not heard any condemnation or campaign against caste system and untouchability.
They won’t even like to speak about this. In fact, those who work against caste system and untouchability are abhorred by them, as they are essentially Manuwadis. They call India Devbhumi, but refuse to condemn the incidents where Dalits are not allowed to enter the temple or Dalit children cannot sit with the dominant caste children.
What kind of religious seers are they who keep their eyes and mouth shut on the issues that expose the varnashram dharma, which is sourced from Manusmriti. A majority of these champions have never spoken against the foul practices of untouchability. Rather, they have justified caste system as very scientific, claiming that it is not really ‘birth based’ but based on personality and quality.
A few years back, we had seen the murder of a Dalit man in a wedding party simply because he did not sit separately and ate food along with others. In the Jaunsar region, adjacent to the Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, Dalits still face severe discrimination, and yet goons get away with law because the entire region has been ‘categorised’ as the scheduled tribe (ST) zone, resulting in nullification of the SC-ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
Here, even today, the Dalits are the lowly paid drumbeaters in villages, whose services are used in marriages as also in other traditional and religious functions. Without them, no work is complete, yet they are ostracised and lowly paid. In the movement for separate Uttarakhand, they were in the forefront for many months, beating drums in front of the massive crowds, yet they have not been acknowledged as ‘rajya andolankaris’ for getting state pension.
The babas and the shouting brigade might have assembled in Hardwar, but they have little impact on Uttarakhand polity, where BJP is actually facing a severe crisis. Except for a few urban pockets, the Ram Temple movement and the Hindu-Muslim binary do not work much in Uttarakhand. Already, there is a significant dissatisfaction with the BJP in the State.
The Hardwar gathering was actually aimed at Uttar Pradesh polls, where the Dalit-OBC-minorities are asserting their identities
The Hardwar gathering was actually aimed at Uttar Pradesh, where the Dalit-OBC-minorities are asserting their identities and seeking their space in the political sphere. A truly dedicated government to Bahujan identities in UP and Bihar can prove to be a disaster for those trying to maintain caste hegemony through war cries against the minorities in the name of ‘Indian culture’.
The roots of political democracy are still strong in India, even if we say that we are fast becoming a highly undemocratic society. Baba Saheb Ambedkar suggested that without social democracy our political democracy will be in peril. The current dispensation has now tasted enormous power and is desperate not to concede to a Bahujan dispensation. It can’t imagine a day without power, which it has enjoyed just on the basis of absolute polarisation.
One has only to see the campaign the Prime Minister and the UP chief minister have launched to see their real agenda. Ayodhya and Kashi have been ‘delivered’ with millions of rupees of expenditure. Now, they are focusing on Mathura. They know it well that common people in Uttar Pradesh, or any other State, will ask questions about governance, about job, employment and security. Hence, they go about giving full dozes of ‘religion’ all the time.
Amidst such depression signs, a new hope to fight back is emerging. The Dalit students in the Champawat district have decided to boycott the food being cooked by Brahmin women. While the Delhi government has ‘offered’ a job to the Bhojanmata, we all know it is not that easy for women to come all the way to Delhi to do a cooking job. These ‘offers’ are more political than real in nature.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was first to offer job to Rohit Vemula’s brother too, but he rejected it. Rather than addressing the real issues, politicians are actually doing more dramas and nautankis. The question is what is the stand of the Aam Adami Party in Uttarakhand on the issue and whether it is just the issue of job or caste discrimination, or both.
The real issue is: Can our schools inculcate the spirit in the students that caste system is bad, inequality is unconstitutional, untouchability is a crime as per our Constitution? Will they start teaching the values of equality, liberty and fraternity in the classroom on a serious note?
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*Human rights defender. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vbrawat. Twitter: @freetohumanity

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