Posted by Dona Biswas
“Jur jar mulluk tar”, is a popular saying in Bengali meaning that only the people who are strong and powerful should rule the country. This cruel manifesto dictates the basis of politics in India, where the powerful communities dominate the powerless larger masses. Dominant communities are carrying the reign of the rule in India because of their privilege.
It was only in the 1970’s when we saw Bahujan politics aspiring to bring political transformation. Kanshi Ram, a scientist who left his career and turned full-time activist and conceived The All India Backward And Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF) in 1973. After rigorous mobilisation activities they set up their political front, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which articulates Bahujan interests and aims to fight the inequalities in society.
Kanshi Ram who took inspiration from Dr. Ambedkar, Phule and Budhha envisioned a political front with an objective that ‘the majority population should rule the country’ unlike only a few privileged sections to hold power in society and rule the country. The ‘Bahujan’ which stands for ‘Dalits, Adivasis, backward castes and other religious minorities’ is inspired from Budhha’s preachings ‘Bahujana Hitaya; Bahujana Sukhaya’.
Dominant communities are carrying the reign of the rule in India because of their privilege.
The struggle of a Bahujan political party is long and took more than four decades in independent India. Kanshi Ram mentored Kumari Mayawati as his successor to lead Bahujan politics. She got elected four times. In 2007, it was able to get its referendum with an absolute majority and formed a government of its own and Mayawati completed her 5 year term.
Mayawati has been identified as a strong voice of the Bahujans, the iron lady who could resist and fight against the caste system and patriarchy. She has become the symbol of Bahujan politics after Kanshi Ram.
Mayawati in her tenure took many programs for the marginalised sections, she worked for land redistribution, tried to bring in more Bahujans into the political domain, which earlier was at a very dismissible level. She tried to promote equal distribution and setup special schools for the socially marginalised sections.
She built Ambedkar parks in the state, where she erected idols of Bahujan leaders who resisted caste based structures and fought for the equality. To memorize and inscribe the struggles led by them for the Bahujan society, which otherwise was marginalized in the history chapters of India.
Mayawati has become the symbol of Bahujan politics after Kanshi Ram.
Leaving the ideological understanding of her and Bahujan politics, we give currency to what the right wing and opposition’s propaganda machines throw at us. The media is the clear enemy when it comes to Bahujan politics and Bahujan leaders. The media is mostly controlled by dominant sections and they have either no coverage of Bahujan politics and leadership or prefer a victim subject.
The media cheaply circulates or adds to the narratives which are sanctioned by dominant sections. As a Bahujan leader and as a woman, she acclaimed a lot of negativity as she does not try to fit in certain norms: she keeps a bobbed haircut, wears a salwar kameez and carries a handbag.
Women politicians face a lot of sexist remarks and this only increases with women from oppressed sections of society. They face casteist remarks too and sometimes from other women. The feminists would do well to teach their stand-up-comedians about their casteist humour as well.
As a society, we are losing empathy. We don’t stand with the oppressed to understand his/her struggle. Let’s stand with the oppressed in their struggle for justice and to reclaim human dignity. Let’s celebrate Bahujan leaders and Bahujan struggle. We wish Behen Mayawathi more power and strength, and a happy birthday. Jai Bhim!
Also Read: Dalit Panthers: A Radical Resistance
Dona Biswas is pursuing her PhD in Women and Gender Studies from Ambedkar University Delhi. Her research interests include gender, caste and migration, women’s movement and women in movement and North-East Studies.
Featured Image Credit: Catch News