Bangaru and BJP's get-real policy
The Pioneer, 22nd August 2000
ChandraBhan Prasad

Dalits firmly believe that the monster of varna, with an in-built system of division and exclusion, is the fundamental malady of Indian society. Driven by this reality, Dalit movements have always targetted this social order.

But those who have vested interests in perpetuating the social status quo without a sense of shame or regret, insist religious division is a fundamental crisis and the nation must work for communal harmony.

Many non-Dalit intellectuals have been expecting Dalits to fall in line and fight communalism, or to be more specific Hindutva. However, what is hidden in this mischievous theorisation is to avoid confronting varna/caste divisions and discuss Dalit exclusion. The Sangh Parivar, after preaching and experimenting with the Hindutva doctrine for about seven decades, seems to have reconciled to the fact that Varnashram dharma is fundamentally a social organisation and not a religious order. Brahmans are Brahmans first and Hindus last. The same holds true for the other three Varnas. The Sangh also knows Dalits were never Hindus and will never become Hindus.

Since every community exists fundamentally with its varna/caste identities, they cannot be mobilised under the Hindutva slogan. The varna/caste-based mobilisation is the final truth and this enlightenment has occurred to the BJP after practising Hindutva for over 70 years. The Congress, the oldest party of Dvijas, knew the grammar of the Indian social organisation rather too well. Under Dvija dominance, it authored a social coalition of three Minorities Dvijas, Dalits and Muslims. The party appointed D Sajivayya, a Dalit as president in 1962 and re-appointed him in 1971. In 1970, another great Dalit leader, Babu Jagjeevan Ram, presided over the Congress. The RSS, since the formation of the Jan Sangh, has been accusing the Congress of being indifferent to the Hindu cause and hostile to the idea of India being a Hindu Rashtra.

The Sangh has the largest number of trained cadres, is never short of funds and has never witnessed splits. Its political arm, the Jan Sangh, re-christened BJP in 1980, has a host of leaders at the all-India level. Notwithstanding all these advantages, the Sangh Parivar s thesis of Hindutva neither gained social acceptance nor did it put the party in power. The Jan Sangh/BJP remained identified as a Brahman baniya outfit despite proclamations of being a Hindu platform.

For about a decade, the BJP has fumbled for reasons why the Babri demolition, the high point of Hindutva mobilisation, could not give it a majority in Parliament. Vajpayee s 13- Day Wonder left Hindutva theorists shattered and they harped on stability etc. The recent parliamentary elections proved that had every Dvija voted for the BJP, a nationalistic temper in post-Kargil India prevailed and presided by a person like Vajpayee, it could not gain a mandate to rule the country on its own.

The BJP thinktank knows Upper Shudra parties TDP, DMK, Samata, JD cannot remain Dvija s partners on a long-term basis. And there is the threat of Upper Shudras, who have established political supremacy in the South and could blow up Dvijas political dominance. After the collapse of its social coalition, the Congress is seeking to evolve into a United Front, hoping Shudras will embrace it. But neither Dvijas nor Dalits can go along with Upper Shudras who seek to overthrow the Dvijas and treat Dalits as their subjects. Realising that varna is the final truth, the BJP has dropped the falsehood of Hindutva doctrine. The appointment of Bangaru Laxman, a Dalit fully qualified to become the president of the BJP or even the PM, is a move towards forging a coalition with Dalits.

But there is no guarantee that it can win the hearts of Dalits which still bleed due to the Dvija-scripted Chaturvarna order. Kanshi Ram s Dalits want their hissedari in land, private industry, quality education, public institutions, media, and above all, in the political power structure. Bangaru Laxman alone cannot rescue the Dvijas sinking political boat.

The BJP must move in the direction it had twice stepped on in UP. Remember that what it is doing today was attempted by the Congress thrice in the past. And yet it collapsed.

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