(Asian independent) Dr Mama Deshmukh is a veteran Bahujan historian. In a conversation with me he informed me that only Ambedkarite Buddhists are capable to lead the Bahujan movement and asked them to get united. An interesting part of his discussion was the advise to Ambedkarites to be sensitive towards the ‘egos’ of the Marathas, Kunbis and other Bahujan communities. This is a wonderful idea but there is a fact that no leadership can be imposed on people without the attempt by the leadership to reach the communities and people. Egos are part of political culture these days and many time but some time they are created and some time we over react to a situation. It is essential for us to get into political realism and not to judge people just because their tweets or statement have offended us. The said ‘offense’ may not be against the people but may be it shows the ignorance of the person or his advisers.
I am writing this with a tweet by Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav that called April 14th to be celebrated as #dalitdiwali. Akhilesh Yadav’s tweet does not have the negative intents against Dalits but definitely show lack of understanding of the entire Bahujan perspective. If this was his father’s tweet, I would have some how felt the mischief but I personally feel that Akhilesh Yadav has been making efforts to reach to all the communities but as happened with a majority of the #bahujanleaders depending on the ‘professional’ advisers, public relation officers who have very little understanding of the Bahujan movement and icons who shaped our destiny.
Calling for April 14th as #dalit Diwali is insulting to the memory of Dr Ambedkar as it mischievously limit Dr Ambedkar, his struggles and achievements to Dalit community. As a political leader, Akhilesh Yadav should have been careful with the words and utterings. World over, #AmbedkarJayanti is being celebrated as #knowledge day or Social Justice Day but our Bahujan leader want him to confine to #dalits alone. That is where I say, important for us to the point being raised by Dr Mama Deshmukh that unless Bahujan leaders and social movement embrace Ambedkar-Phule-Periyar’s basic principles about debrahminsation of society, they will not succeed. There are examples in front of us why the Mahars in Maharastra and Jatavs and Chamars in Uttar Pradesh have shown the world that change has to come from with in and the success stories are unprecedented whether in business or education or self employment. Dr Deshmukh himself says that most of his books are actually read by the Mahars and not by his own community. Dr Ambedkar Phule and Periyar’s vision is inclusive for all and it will strengthen the ideological frame work of the Bahujan communities and make them understand the culture of dominance and appropriation.
Why dont our leaders understand how the RSS and Narendra Modi use Dr Ambedkar. They are working regularly on the issues and have team which provide them inputs. It is not merely professional but also community leaders. It is essential for Akhilesh and other leaders hailing from Bahujan communities to give spaces to Bahujan intellectuals and activists, atleast listen to them. Keep some professionals in your team who have understanding of these issues and shape the proper tweets so that people dont get offended.
I have issues with those who started campaign against Akhilesh Yadav. I dont think he has bad intention. His intentions were right. At the time when Modi is speaking about Ambedkar and vaccination festival, he wanted a big celebration like Diwali but yes he must be careful about the usage of symbolism but to start a campaign against him is deeply distressing. It is the same kind of people who were lauding him when Samajwadi Party had alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party. We all know that the role of SP-BSP important in the coming elections in Uttar Pradesh. Both the parties represent fairly large number of Bahujan Samaj and that is why they need to come together. Even if they are not, they should not do things where the future alliance is impossible.
The Bahujan intellectuals have bigger responsibility at the moment. Please dont demonise leaders who can be your ally in future. Keep the option open for negotiations. Whether Tejasvi Yadav or Akhilesh Yadav, both of them can not be ignored in the Bihar-Uttar Pradesh politics in the coming days. Both of them need to have more and more Bahujan orientation and understanding of social justice which does not mean antagonising the other groups. Important to keep everyone with you still the basic preamble of Bahujan Politics should be social justice and fair representation. Bahujan politics in the north India need to go beyond Lohiaism and need to embrace Ambedkar-Phule-Periyar as cultural ideology and only then they will be able to counter the brahmanical hegemony of the Sangh Parivar and BJP. Fighting against Sangh forces will need strong intellectual strength of the great Bahujan movement and our liberators. It is time for introspection from all so that we do not damage the existing political leadership. The RSS-Savarna narrative is clearly against established political leadership such as Ms Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and Tejasvi Yadav so that they can create an impression that these leaders are non existence and hence they can promote their own people as Bahujan leaders. Speak to the leaders, ask uncomfortable questions but be careful and dont demonise them unless they have categorical intent to hurt the movement. This is not the right time to deepen the ‘contradictions’ but to look for meeting points with a futuristic vision.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat
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