By Vidya Bhushan Rawat for Twocircles.net
The historical verdict of the Bihar 2015 has send shock waves in the Hindutva camp while gladdening the heart of every Indian who believed in inclusive secularism and protecting the idea of India as enshrined in our republican constitution. The hero of this verdict is Lalu Prasad Yadav, a man mocked by the urban elite, even of the ‘secular’ variety. The nation remains thankful to this earthy man for what he has done in Bihar by repeating what he did on October 23, 1990 at Samastipur where Lal Krishna Advani was arrested during his Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya. Today, Advani’s charioteer is the prime minister of India and Lalu and his ‘Mahagathbandhan’ has given an unforgettable ‘gift’ to Lal Krishna Advani on his birthday. One does not know whether Advani is happy with the verdict in Bihar or remembering the happening of the things exactly 25 years ago. There are so many similarities here 25 years later and lesson learnt politically. Mulayam ditched the grand alliance exactly showing the same traits as he did betraying the forces of Mandal and allying with those who had no interest in protecting the political and social interest of the Dalits and marginalised. Lalu put a break to the great designs of Lal Krishna Advaniand standing rock like with the then prime minister V P Singh whose government was voted out in Parliament for protecting India’s constitution and providing rights to India’s Bahujan masses.
It is for the first time in political history that a government fell for fulfilling its constitution obligation to the nation that time when the entire nation faced the worst ever threat from the exclusivism of Hindutva which thrive for a theocratic state.
The importance of this victory of the secular alliance is enormous for the country and needs replications. Lalu and Nitish showed greater statesmanship by coming together ignoring all their minor differences and egos. Adding Congress to their side was another important factor which gave them strength to widen their base and the grand old party of India also needed to be ‘Mandalised’ if it wanted to strengthen its base.
The message from Bihar is clear: forces of social justice will reject all kinds of religious fanaticism and would want their share in power structure. Ironically, none remembered VP Singh during this campaign not even his old friends including Lalu and Nitish even when they lost know time in ‘claiming’ the ‘legacy’ of Jai Prakash Narayan. It was not shocking to hear because none wanted to antagonise the ‘upper caste’ votes and therefore V P Singh remained unwanted during the ‘campaign’. The caste media would immediately tag all these people as Mandalites and casteists and therefore Jai Prakash became the most uttered word by not just Nitish and other Samajwadi leaders. However, BJP’s Bihar results show that it is VP Singh whose Mandal legacy work and will remain more relevant than ever despite our aversion to the man. The forces of Social Justice must revive his legacy to make their presence felt everywhere and JP’s legacy would not work as it only strengthend the SanghParivar.
Bihar showed that secularism is essentially inclusive and has to include the most marginalised. It cannot be merely discussed philosophically but in pure terms of participation and representation of communities. These elections clearly showed that BJP can only fight with Congress using Communal-secular divide but can not really take on when the question of social justice and caste identities emerge. Everywhere BJP’s track record has been using the caste identities and then imposing a leadership of different community. Example of Chhattishgarh, Jharkhand and Haryana are well known and people feel deceived of it.
Bihar’s victory is the revival of Mandal forces who were definitely feeling isolated and outdated. During the elections Lalu Yadav raised issues of caste discrimination, reservation of the Dalits and OBCs, issue of beef and communalism. Narendra Modi and his team tried to polarize the elections in different way by unleashing lies everywhere. Never in the history of India had we seen a prime minister stooping so low in debate when he said that Lalu and Nitish were trying to ‘steal’ quota of SC-OBCs and give it to Muslims.
How can a Prime Minister speak such a language which has blatantly communal tone? It is not surprising for Narendra Modi as has used ‘Pakistan’ to polarize the voters and presenting him and his party as the sole champion of Hindus and Hindu India and any one voting others means celebration in Pakistan. And such shameless rhetoric did not stop as Amit Shah, the chief commander of Modi who spoke the same language, suggesting that if the BJP lost there will be celebrations in Pakistan.
There is no denial of fact that BJP used money, media and mafia power to influence the voters. The enormous finance it has in its disposal is threatening democracy and it has emboldened those forces who feel they can buy people and circumvent democracy. During the last general elections we have seen the power of money, media and mafia as late Kanshiram would always warn his cadres to be careful about, as they are engaged in distorting and misinterpreting information. It is also true that people may be illiterate but know well as that ‘king’ can ‘do’ ‘wrong’ and therefore need to be punished severely. ‘Yeh public hai sab janati hai’. People know everything about their leaders.
The country is watching regularly how the Hindutva’s rabble-rousers abusing the ordinary citizens, dictating us how we should live, eat and behave. Everywhere we see their moral policing and worst kind of violent behavior. It was wonderful when Lalu countered them vociferously that Hindus too eat beef and that the Sangh Parivar was anti Dalit and anti poor. A number of cases have been filed against Lalu Yadav and we know it well how the Hindutva’s trolls have been threatening secular human rights activists everywhere from social media to public life. It is not just threat of physical intimidation but also ‘legal action’.
BJP tried to break the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ of Lalu with taking away Mulayam Singh Yadav. It is the defeat of Mulayam’s opportunistic politics which he always did and remained on the wrong side of history. In 1990, Mulayam sided with anti mandal forces led byChandrashekhar and this time he tried to hobnob with the BJP even speaking openly that it was the BJP wave everywhere. History has repeated itself. Modi and all the samajwadis spoke of Jai PrakashNaraian but none of them uttered a word in the name of VP Singh. Frankly speaking Nitish and Lalu are not the product of JP but of VP. They might have been there during JP’s movement but who cared for them? When did JP raise the issue of the most marginalised, Pasmandas and Adivasis? It is the Mandal revolution that brought leaders like Lalu Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan to the fore and saw their voices become powerful. Of course, there was party like BSP and Ambedkarites who had been fighting this battle for long but not strong enough to influence the parliamentary politics. So VP Singh’s Mandal decision is the most historical action of a political leader in independent India and it created a huge lot of talented leader from the hitherto unrepresented sections. VP Singh put his life to risk fighting against Hindutva forces and perhaps it is time for the leaders of Mandal movement to carry forward that legacy and spread it across the country.
The massive mandate to Lalu-Nitish shows that Mandal will always remain more powerful than Kamandal if used properly. If the secular forces try to become B or A team of BJP they will be wiped out. This is a warning to Mualayam Singh to mend his ways and stop flirting with Hindutva. There is a message for Mayawati too to make proper alliance in UP and any attempt to hobnob with the Hindutva will throw her permanently out of state.
For Congress it is time to revisit those events exactly 25 years ago when they brought down a government for fulfilling its constitutional mandate to protect a religious place in Ayodhya. Yes, on November 7th, 1990, VP Singh government was brought down by the combine strength of BJP and Congress just because it stopped Advani’s hate yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya. Advani was requested to stop the yatra as it had unleashed a death train everywhere and Lalu Yadav, the then chief minister of Bihar stopped it and got Advani arrested in Samastipur on October 23rd, 1990. Interestingly, the District Magistrate that time who arrested Advani was R.K Singh, who is now the Member of Parliament of the BJP. On November 7, 1990 Congress played the dirtiest card in its history by allowing the fall of the VP Singh government as BJP has withdrawn the support. Congress betrayed not just Muslims but also the OBCs as it clandestinely supported anti Mandal forces. This time too Congress tried to dissociate with Lalu in the name of his being ‘tainted’ ignoring his full-fledged support to Manmohan Singh government in Delhi.
Congress paid heavy price since 1990. It is not BJP but VP Singh who brought the Congress to the current level. The Congress needs to change its party structure and current leadership of the caste Hindus and soft Hindutva people and create new young leaders of Dalits, OBCs, Muslims and Adivasis. We acknowledge its wide base all over the country but it needs strong ideological strength and dedication to social justice and secularism which unfortunately is questionable as it always played the Brahmanical secularism or purely ‘multiculturalism’ strengthening the soft Hindutva line and got decimated. They made right choices in Bihar and now looking for revival in the state now but if they still look for the same social space as earlier the party will remain on the periphery in both Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Bihar has given a huge sigh of relief to all of us. It has also taught a lesson to those Dalit leaders who shifted their loyalties so easily. People like Jeetan Ram Manjhi have no future as they betrayed the cause. Sitting with corporate Hindutva these discredited people can’t do justice to their own communities who are suffering because of the government politics. Ram Vilas Paswan will be used in Uttar Pradesh against Mayawati and so will be other leaders.
There will be efforts by the corrupt casteist media to deviate from the real issues of Bihar but the fact is that Mandal has shown its strength now and it is time to unleash those forces all over the country. Secondly, need to challenge Hindutva at all level by exposing them thoroughly as Lalu could do quoting extensively from Golwalkar’s ‘Bunch of thoughts’ and ‘we and our nationhood’.
Frankly more than BJP, it is the Indian corporate thugs who got defeated today. If you had watched the elections analysis and prior to that the exit polls etc, you will realise how media played different games. In IBN-CNN exit polls actually JDU lead Mahagathbandhan was given over 175 seats but that poll was not broadcast for the fear of antagonising Amit Shah and other leaders of the party. Times Now’s C voter had predicted a massive victory for BJP. Arnab Goswami was actually behaving as lynch man in the studio on behalf of the Sangh Parivar. NDTV did not lag behind in showing its ‘impartiality’ when Pranoy Roy, the guru of psephology in India declared at 9 am in the morning that BJP and the allies are going to get absolute majority.
One needs to ask basic question as why all the TV channels create such ruckus during the counting of votes this time. Why was it that every channel was reporting differently and the gap was too high? How can channel be so wrong on the actual thing was happening? These are important aspect and thought for others. Was it because paid media was trying to hide facts from people? Was it because it was creating ground for BJP to come to power and in case there is a coalition government, it could use division of perception and impose its own agenda?
Learning from Bihar, it is time all secular parties must learn that their time has come to Mandalise themselves and provide representations to all the Dalits, Adivasis, OBCs and Pasmandas at all level. It is equally important to expose the corporate Hindutva nexus and that the Muslims are being made scapegoat but the real target of these regressive forces is to stop the rising assertion of the Bahujan Samaj.
The secular polity will only succeed if they include all the Pasmanda communities in its network and provide them space and representation. If they fail, the Hindutva will rise again. VP Singh’s government fell for this purpose when Congress and BJP joined hand but 25 years later Lalu-Nitish-Congress combine have defeated BJP in Bihar and they must confess that it is Mandal who brought them biggest mandate in Bihar. It is Mandal alone, which will defeat the Kamandal forces and bring social justice secularism in India. Mandal forces had bitten dust during the past 10 years because of the egos of politicians and division among them giving rise to Hindutva’s Brahmanical forces hence it is time for celebration for the revival of Mandal which decimated Hindutva’s agenda in Bihar and has potential to do so in the entire country.