Skip to main content

Amidst climate of hate, none cares to remember VP Singh, not even his family

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* 

 It was former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh's birthday on June 25. He would have turned 93 on this day. A man of great idealism and conviction, VP changed the politics of power in India that became more inclusive in terms of participation and representation of the marginalised in our highest decision making bodies. 
Humble and polite, he was a man easily accessible to all. In today's political climate of hatred, bigotry and mistrust, he would have been an ideal person to bring all forces of social justice and secularism together. Political leaders should go through his old speeches and the vilification campaign he went through when he resigned from the Rajiv Gandhi's' cabinet and later expelled from the Congress.
Bigger vilification happened when he got the Mandal Commission Report accepted in Parliament. He was a victim of hatred and yet it never expressed any sign of anger  in his speeches and behaviour. He was exceptionally measured and articulate in his responses and never targeted anyone personally.
The Brahmanical middle classes of India hated him to the core because he remained committed to the idealism of social justice. Even when we saw 2024 elections and the agenda of social justice being spoken by all, Congress and Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, the irony is, both these parties despised him. 
The man who dedicated his huge land to the landless, who gave Baba Saheb Ambedkar along with Nelson Mandela Bharat Ratna, who installed Baba Saheb's' life size portrait in Parliament, who allowed reservation for scheduled caste converts to Buddhism and who ultimately sacrificed his life to protect Babari Masjid in October 1991, hardly finds any mention. 
VP fought against corruption at the higher level. He was the person who proposed the name of Dr KR Narayanan , first as Vice President and then as President of India. None remembers his contribution in working for slum dwellers and ensuring they get ration cards and other facilities. 
It is also rarely remembered that as a finance minister of India, he started operation clean up in the financial sector, and that resulted in arrest and notices of various industrialists. We all remember him for providing a 27% quota for the OBCs.
There is not a single memorial, lane or museum, school or college in VP's name in India. Last year, Tamilnadu Chief Minister MK Stalin organised a big programme in the memory of VP Singh to unveil his life size statue in Chennai but that apart none of social justice parties bother to remember him in North India.
V P's conts has not been fully recognised. His writings, poetry and political actions should be studied and taught in the schools and colleges. There are very few good books on him. 
I got an opportunity to visit his Manda Fort recently (video). I was saddened to see that a beautiful heritage building was allowed to be ruined by his own family. He belonged to two places, Dahiya and Manda. We can complain that the Brahmanical elite, insensitive governments are not bothered about his contribution, but why can't his family develop a memorial at Manda?
How is it possible for any political party to ignore VP Singh and his enormous contribution in social and political life in Uttar Pradesh, when social justice is going to be an important slogan of political parties in the coming days. Will they wake up and speak up for the man who did not impose his children and family in politics ? 
Can Manda Fort be developed into a Memorial of VP Singh and his idealism of social justice and humanism? Let us hope family, friends and admirers of VP Singh will think about this and act to keep his memory alive.
---
*Human rights defender

Comments

TRENDING

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

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. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

August 9 to be observed as Corporates Quit India day: Top farmers' group

By Our Representative A recent general body meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the top farmers' organisation, stated hat "there is no need for any illusion of change in the pro-corporate policies of the BJP-NDA government" following the recent elections in which BJP failed to achieve even simple majority. It insisted,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi "is hell bent" to continue 'business as usual' policies.

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.

Belgian report alleges MNC Etex responsible for asbestos pollution in Madhya Pradesh town Kymore: COP's Geneva meet

By Our Representative A comprehensive Belgian report has held MNC Etex , into construction business and one of the richest, responsible for asbestos pollution in Kymore, an industrial town in in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh. The report provides evidence from the ground on how Kymore’s dust even today is “annoying… it creeps into your clothes, you have to cough it”, saying “It can be deadly.”

Maharashtra govt's proposed bill may be used against 'dissenting' journalists, writers, filmmakers, artists

Counterview Desk  The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, strongly objecting to what it calls “repressive and unconstitutional” Maharashtra Special Public Security Bill 2024, has demanded the proposed law be scrapped in its entirety. In its Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Bill, PUCL noted,  the broad and non-descript label of ‘urban naxal’ has been used, which is actually a “common slur used for any citizen who expresses their opposition to state policy or is not aligned with right-wing majoritarian views."