September 30, 2023 | By Kumar Sanjay Singh
Recitation of Shri Omprakash Balmiki’s iconoclastic verse from the floor of the Upper House of the Parliament has roiled politics in Bihar.
The verse was rendered by a senior member of the RJD was verbally assaulted by a father-son duo who are recognized as important leaders of a powerful caste faction.
The public spat throws a very harsh light on the metamorphosis of the social justice movement as it transformed itself into an electoral party.
Evidently, the verbal vitriol of the father-son duo stems from within the dynamics of upper caste politics in Bihar. Of the strategies that powerful castes have adopted to retain their socio-economic and political clout, when confronted with an ascendant social justice movement. Especially, in the aftermath of the Mandal Commission when the social justice movement acquired political power through electoral means.
Understandably, electoral politics has it’s compulsions. The need to secure a majority of popular votes and seats opened the social justice based electoral parties to caste potentates. Hence, the significance of upper caste leaders and their feudal mentality even in a social justice based political party. A situation most aptly summed by Asrar ul Haq ‘Majaz’
कुछ तुम्हारी निगाह काफ़िर थी
कुछ मुझे भी ख़राब होना था
This is the story of how feudal coteries acquired a hold within social justice based electoral parties. Equally interesting is the role of turn coats in sneaking into social justice movement.
Many of us were introduced to the social justice movement during the agitations around the Mandal Commission. It will a fair assessment to say that the controversy around the Mandal Commission was a movement of reckoning for liberal and left educated class, at least for those who were borne in upper caste families. Some of us stood by the Mandal Commission recommendations, while a majority of our liberal and left colleagues refused to betray their caste origins.
Many such intellectual, who protested the implementation of Mandal Commission are now at the helm of social justice based political parties..
The story of such turn-coats is very poignantly told by Uberto Solas. But to know what Solas has to say of these turn-coats you will have to see “A Successful Man”.
Kumar Sanjay Singh
Department of History
Swami Shraddhanand College, Delhi University.
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