20 Dalits injured in mob attack
Dr. K. Jamanadas,
This has reference to letter of Shri S.M.Mir (DV April 16-30,98). Mr. Mir calls himself a 'staunch supporter of Dalit-Muslim Unity' and had joined BSP but 'left it soon as Kanshiram joined hands with BJP for vote politics'
Kanshiram is not a leader known for Dalit-Muslim Unity. It was Haji Mastan who had formed some organization for the purpose. Kanshiram is known for Bahujan Unity. As Mr. Mir left it 'soon', he could not understand Kanshiram fully. One fails to understand why Mr. Mir gets worried, when Mayawati formed a Bahujan Government by BJP help and ran a successful period of six months for achieving goals of six years within six months. Does anybody feel that she worked under BJP pressure? Did she carry out BJP policies? Did she abandoned Ambekarite policies? Was she a sttoge of BJP? Not even her enemies would label her that way. Why then such an apprehension, so that Mr. could not wait and see the results of her rein?
Kanshiram does not stand for mere social service, he stands for social change. He does not merely want to protect the minorities, he wants to make them rulers so that they protect themselves. He does not merely want to give state support to Adivasis, for example in M.P. by welfare activities through state funds, but make an Adivasi a Chief Minister so that he can monitor their development. These things take time. Those who join BSP in hurry and leave it in hurry, fail to grasp what is BSP and what is Kanshiram.
But I do not blame Mr. Mir or any body else who hurriedly join and leave BSP. That is because very few outside BSP circles know about BSP, thanks to our 'unbiased' press. How many activities of Mayawati in those six months have been covered by our press? No wonder, our editor calls them 'toilet papers'.
Kanshiram is known to the world in various stages. It will not be an exaceration to say that his thoughts and ideas are not known to outside world in its entirety. What ever is known is through the hostile and antagonistic press, which prints only the derogatory news and views. That is the reason why Kanshiram and Mayawati talk bitterly about the manuvadi press. Same thing had happened in the case of Phuley, Shahu and Ambedkar in the past.
Thoughts of Kanshiram are not the thoughts of one person alone, but thoughts of a group of people with the understanding and awakening under a certain oppressive situations. His thoughts are gift of that social organization where people like him were grinded for centuries.
Views of Kanshiram are centered around struggle against oppressive Brahmanic social order (BSO). He wishes to take this struggle to the grass root level, to the peasant in a village, which up till now was only restricted to an urban dalit. He wishes to ignite the feeling of yearning to achieve equality in him. The sense of human equality, belief in Indian Constitution and parliamentary democracy, belief in secularism are some of the features which are common to all erstwhile Dalit movements. But Kanshiram's movement has some added features. He believes that untouchables only are not dalits (depressed) but all those who are avarnas are equally oppressed. The vision here is broad, and for him formal religion has no meaning. All those from backwards are Dalits, whether they are hindus, or muslims, or sikhs, or buddhists, or christians. The compass is vast. All are cosufferers and all need to fight together to slacken the fetters of slavery of BSO. He believes only a depressed person can liberate himself. Therefore he addresses not Dalits but Bahujans, which comprise all those who are not savarnas, though the media likes to portray him as a leader of dalits alone.
He believes bahujans are divided among themselves, thanks to the caste system. Manu has divided the masses into 6000 castes, and each is opposed to other. There is a feeling of depression, and slavery among them. It is Kanshiram's endeavor to unite them into one as far as is possible. Dr. Ambedkar's "Annihilation of Castes" had a tremendous impact on Kanshiram, and all his efforts are the result of principles enunciated by Dr. Ambedkar in that book. And rightly so, that book should be the bible of all bahujans.
Ideology of BSP
BSP based its ideology on the old ancient tradition of struggle against Brahmanism by the dignitaries in the past. It is based on the old experiences of great thinkers, who are the ideals (and idols) of BSP, like Phuley, Shahu, Periyar and Ambedkar and many others who spent their lives fighting against the tyranny of BSO. The ideology is diverse and varied. It starts from nineteenth century but has roots in hoary past. Kanshiram takes help of all principles and arguments which emanated from Phuley and his followers of the last 150 years. There is denial of graded inequality brought down by the chaturvarna system of Hinduism. The bahujans are about 85 percent population in this country. But they are under impression that they are hindus. The recent propaganda of manuvadi forces has succeeded in inculcating in them the feeling of "hindu" identity. Though they are equally oppressed and tortured by the BSO, they enjoy their slavery. Dr. Ambedkar had said, create an awareness in a slave about his slavery and he will prepare himself to fight against it. Kanshiram is just doing that.
Bridge between educated and uneducated Bahujans
Work of Kanshiram though started among the educated employed youth from the bahujans, has ignited the poor gullible peasant gentry from the remote villages, who assemble from all corners of the country for his mass rallies every now and them. During his last days, Dr. Ambedkar had complained bitterly about the educated people who had let him down. Kanshiram created understanding of social and political situations, imparted them an identity of bahujan, and instilled in them an awakening among those educated people and motivated them for upliftment of the masses by his slogan "Pay back to the society". The educated mob which was getting away from the rest of the masses was brought together. He organized them, made them cooperate with each other and disciplined them to realize the importance of power of vote in democratic setup, taught them how to protect their votes and the widening gap among the educated and the multitude of the rest was bridged again.
Self help is the best help
Kanshiram not only made them fit and alive to protect their own rights but made them fit to struggle against the system which was responsible for their low and depressed condition. Today a hindu feels insecure in his own mind and feels his traditional caste status is in jeopardy because of bahujan upliftment, which is seen by the violent reaction against the Mandal Commission. It is Kanshiram who is responsible for creating such a situation. To oppose Brahmanism is the main essence of his teachings which has led to weakening of brahmnical social forces. Before Kanshiram, the hindus used to govern the psyche and conduct of bahujans in social, religious, and economic fields and decide their priorities, their rights and their mental attitude. Now the bahujans govern themselves.
Who is called Bahujan
The word bahujan was introduced for the first time in Indian subcontinent by Lord Buddha himself and denoted all except brahmins. Today, SCs, STs, OBCs as well as those converted from these categories to Islam, Christianity, Shikhism or Buddhism and who now form minorities and are about 85 percent in population, are all termed as bahujans by Kanshiram. He feels all are equally oppressed under the tyranny of BSO. This is group of about six thousand castes and was created not by itself but due to the atrocities of the caste system of hindus. They are all deprived of sharing of any power, and are ruled by a minority of 15 percent. They are all divided among themselves. To unite them in one bond is the mission of formation of "bahujan samaj", a task which is very difficult, which Kanshiram endeavors to achieve by "jati todo samaj jodo" movement. Kanshiram believes that, in spite of these divisions of castes, the oppressed bahujans can have common political loyalties.
What is democracy?
Democracy implies rule of many. Here in India, we find a minority is ruling the majority for centuries. The real democracy, Kanshiram believes, would be the rule by Bahujans. Therefore, not only the social upliftment and economic emancipation, but sharing of political power is the aim of BSP. This sharing of power is again not for personal gains of few individuals, but for spreading the benefits of civilization to the masses through the state machinery.
Welfare of bahujans does not lie only in dissenting from the government, but lies in also opposing the government. The question is of social and economic emancipation but now it becomes political also. So the establishment of "Bahujan rule" is also the aim of BSP. The rule of bahujans is the essence of democracy in India.
BSP stands for Justice. It aims at dissolving all differences in social, economical and political fields, and to establish equality among all men. It does not like the hegemony of savarnas. Kanshiram believes that the root cause of all evil in India is brahmanism, which he thinks, is a conspiracy against bahujans. He thinks brahmanism is inhuman and aims at putting an end to it. To snatch all powers from savarnas becomes necessary because you cannot get anything by begging. You have to make them accept your participation and force them to give up the practice of discrimination.
Kanshiram believes in total change. He wants basic transformation. All beings must be socially equal, that is what he wants. Our society is based on caste. Caste is like a pyramid, on the top of which sits a brahmin and controls the society. Whole system is based on inequality. Some are higher and some are lower. This society has got religious sanction which divides the society into innumerable divisions, each having its own identity and loyalty. Here every caste has its own culture and religion is supported by caste. Whereas in other countries, religion is personal and culture is common. Caste has made Hindu society a diseased society. It is a great problem for other people. Therefore, India needs a cultural revolution. As all the resources are controlled by those who are beneficiaries of the system, it is difficult task to achieve this change.
Who is responsible for Caste
Caste breaks the society. Kanshiram believes, it is the creation of brahmins. He says, they call us castiest, but caste is not created by our forefathers. It is created by their forefathers. He avers that he is organizing the society by uniting many castes into one concept of bahujan. When we come to power we will well treat all castes on the basis of equality and castes will be abolished.
How to achieve these aims?
For achieving the "Bahujan Rule", Kanshiram's struggle has gone through various stages. He, in 1973, started by organizing the educated employed and motivated them to "Pay back to the society". He then, in 1978, formally announced the formation of "BAMCEF" - Backward and Minorities Communities Employees Federa- tion, "BRC" - Buddhist Research Center. In 1981, he established "DS4" - Dalit Shoshit Sangharsh Samitee, and lastly, in 1984, "B.S.P." - Bahujan Samaj Party. Kanshiram has got in his memory very many bitter experiences during these old days of his strug- gle. The history of these organizations is the history of Bahujan movement.
For any serious worker who wishes to understand the social contradictions in Indian society, it is necesary that he makes himself conversant with he history of these organizations formed by Kanshiram to understand what Kanshiram is and what he can do in future.