By Haider Abbas
The political analysts, with a sense of objectivity, have always peddled that the entire movement of BJP, which rose to prominence from the construction of Lord Ram Temple on the now demolished site of Babri Masjid, was necessitated in order to thwart the implementation of the Mandal Commission in 1990. The immediate outcome of the 1990s has been the galvanized and rejuvenated biggest chunk of Indian society-the around 52 % of the Backward Classes. The rest of the population rests upon Upper Castes Hindus, Dalits and Minorities, inside which the overwhelming majority is what makes of Muslims.
It may also be however remembered that BJP snatched the Ram Temple issue from Congress party, which had been involved in its movement since 1984, when Congress MP Dau Dayal Khann and Nirmal Das Khatri were campaigning for it, and a Rath Yatra, an idea inherited by BJP LK Advani later, was carried out, ands which, had to be halted as Congress PM Indira Gandhi was murdered in 1984. Congress and later BJP, had always been a Brahmin centric party-the Upper Caste Hindu (Brahmin/Thakur/Vaish) monopoly party, and Backwards anywhere in India, had always been uncomfortable, with this equation, since a long time, and it is just no wonder, that post-1990’s polity has numerous Backward Classes leaders on the national windscreen i.e. Sharad Pawar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Sharad Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Vinay Katiyar, Dev Gowda, Uma Bharti etc in all parties across the board.
BJP wanted to forge, this backward segment against Muslims, who sit ‘nursing-the-wounds’ since 1947, when Congress orchestrated the partition of Punjab and Bengal and heaped it instead on Muslims. There has been more than a Lakh, riots in India, since independence, a phenomenon which never halts, and which had got more aggravated ‘before and after’ the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. For Muslims, all across India, since 1992, India has been totally different, as hundreds and thousands of families have been wrecked, due to the deaths of their kith-and-kin in riots or police firing etc, billions of worth properties gutted, and later by life-tern sentences, after NSA, TADA, POTA, UAPA, Gangster Act, fake encounters etc was meted by the ever day-to-day anti-Muslim attitude of the police. Muslims are now well below the margins, living inside ghettoes, with no the wherewithal of any life standards, yet BJP, from what all it inherited from Congress, wants Muslims be consigned to the darkness.
The Lord Ram temple movement is now to be succeeded by Kashi and Mathura sites, and later to be followed by the movement for the liberation of 40,000 mosques in the country, as a grandiose plan to put Hindu ( Brahmin/Thakur/ Vaish Upper Caste) supremacy on the Muslims, with the only stumbling block of social-justice movement, which tends to halt this march of Hindutva ( anti-Dalits and anti-Backwards and anti-Muslims) to some extent. But, this love-hate of Backwards within and outside BJP will continue until the light of social-justice is to illuminate in full. It is also in the same vein to be reiterated that thousands and thousands of Upper Caste Hindus also ascribe to the social-secular ideologies in the country, and therefore, are totally juxtaposed to the divisive and hateful ideology of BJP which has been espouced, with the same vehemence, by its earlier avatar-the Bhartiya Jana Sangh.
As politics would have had it, there is now an exodus of Backwards from within the BJP fold, and what triggered this landslide in the first place was the ‘walking-off’ of OP Rajbhar, who had been Backwards Welfare Minister within the UP BJP government. He had formed Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, in the name of a Rajbhar icon who fought a war against Syed Salar Masood Ghazi a 1000 years back, but that war cannot be articulated as an alibi against Muslims, though RSS has tried its best to communalize that war on religious lines. RSS does the same in context to the Sikh-Mughals wars too.
There have been thousands of wars, down the history, between Muslims alone, between Muslims and Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs, and Muslims and Christians too, but they were all a part of the power struggle, and cannot be contextualized in today’s polity on communal/sectarian and religious lines, the way Britishers did, as a part of their education policy, and what has been identically followed by the RSS down for a century now. RSS is the ideological father of BJS and now BJP. It stands for Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh (RSS).
OP Rajbhar set stage for trigger. But, it was he who had given a shot-in-the-arm of BJP in 2017, and had given a severe jolt to secular politics, but perhaps wisdom prevailed on him sooner rather than later, that within the framework of BJP governance, he could not have any sense of pride owing to the centuries of prejudices which the Upper Caste Hindu dominated BJP always reflected with. After his ouster from BJP, he spoke as to how BJP was always languid into its approach for any social-justice towards the Backwards.
In Caravan magazine on August 1, 2021, he spoke that a “committee was constituted under the leadership of Raghavendra Kumar, a retired judge. I was the minister, so I got that report prepared in six months. [Seventy-nine castes were divided into] three categories: backward, more backward and most backward classes. The first category got seven percent reservation, the second got nine percent and the third got eleven percent. Seven percent was assigned to the category that gets more benefit than the rest of the population. The ones who comparatively get less benefit were assigned nine percent. Those who don’t get any benefit were assigned eleven percent. Now, this report came out in 2018. The pressure to implement it started building. So, (Amit) Shah said that “we will implement it six months before the Lok Sabha elections.” I thought that if he is saying this, it is possible that it is implemented. But they kept dilly-dallying.” Amit Shah is right now the Union Home Minister.
He continued, “when the 2019 Lok Sabha election was close, I started adding pressure. Shah said, “See, we will not be able to implement the report.” When I asked why, he said that Yadavs would be angry, Patels would be angry, Jats would be angry. [The three communities are listed in the first category in the social-justice committee report.] Then I asked, “If the other section becomes angry, what then?” He said, “That section has alcohol, chicken. It can be bought. Don’t worry about them, just stay with us.” I said, “This is not done, you should implement it.” He said it will not happen. Then I tendered my resignation.” His words reflect the reality as to what BJP is made-off, on the lines of what was once Congress, but now Backwards are all-out-in-the-open to stake a share in-the-pie, as Rajbhar echoed the Backwards sentiment, which make Swami Prasad Maurya, once the Cabinet Minister of BJP, and other Backward leaders to walk-out of BJP. SP Maurya, too once flirted with Samajwadi Party in 2017, before he left his parent party (BSP), and he was once referred as a person of ‘great utility’ by Muhammed Azam Khan but Maurya made a somersault towards BJP instead. His daughter is MP and still enjoys the power within BJP. Will she also follow her father’s foot-steps ? Only time would tell.
The bigger question, however, which hovers around is in context to Keshav Prasad Maurya, the Deputy CM of BJP, as there is a long list as to how he has been castigated into ignominy, by the BJP establishment, as he was once made to sit on a stool, between the Upper Caste BJP CM Ajay Singh Bisht and another Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma. The other well know feature came when Rajasthan Upper Caste BJP Governor Kalraj Mishra had “shaken-off” Maurya’s extended hand on stage! But, Maurya is too neck deep into the communalistic politics of BJP and his coming out ‘off-stage’ from inside BJP is a far-off preposition.
Let’s see what happens after March 2022 and also to the mission of social-and-secular justice, as all these years, without exception Muslims have borne the brunt, of the still very powerful hegemonistic and monopolistic Brahmin oriented Hindutva agenda. 22 Muslims lay dead in the anti-CAA/NRC/NPR agitation and SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav accorded Rs 5 Lakhs to those who were killed. Of course, there was no FIR!
The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and a political analyst.