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Monday 19 March 2012

Parkash Singh Badal rewards Dalit politicos with three cabinet berths

Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 16.03.12
Parkash Singh Badal rewards Dalit politicos with three cabinet berths - Mail Online India
The relevance of Mayawati - Asian Age
Mail Online India
Parkash Singh Badal rewards Dalit politicos with three cabinet berths
PUBLISHED: 21:53 GMT, 15 March 2012 | UPDATED: 21:53 GMT, 15 March 2012
After the SAD-BJP alliance's successful social engineering which helped it bag 24 of the 34 reserved seats in Punjab, the newly elected Punjab government has rewarded the Dalit representatives with cabinet berths.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has inducted three Dalit leaders.
The last cabinet had only one Dalit representative.
Among those inducted are BJP leader Bhagat Chunni Lal, Swaran Singh Phillaur and Gulzar Singh Ranike both from the SAD. Akali Dal sources said the ruling alliance has succeeded in making inroads into the Dalit bastions in the state.
'The Dalits deserved due representation in the cabinet,' a minister said.
The sources said election results indicate that the Dalits are asserting their identity in the state and were responsible for the defeat of the Congress.
Paramjit Singh Kainth, president of Chamar Mahan Sabha, a Dalit organisation, said the Dalit vote bank slipped away from Congress since the party did not promote the second line of leadership among the Dalits.
'The political parties can't ignore Dalits who behave in a different manner in Punjab than in Uttar Pradesh,' said Dr Pramod Kumar, who heads the Institute of Development Communication in Chandigarh.
Asian Age
The relevance of Mayawati
Mar 16, 2012
In Ambdedkarite tradition, Ms Mayawati is a leader of courage, confidence and self-respect. But in practising that politics, she overshot certain rules.
Mayawa-ti's electoral defeat cannot be seen as the end of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), just as the Samajwadi Party's victory does not mean the emergence of a new, unassailable social force onto Uttar Pradesh's political horizon. Both parties have their bases intact, issues they hold dear, and the will to take the fight forward. Though it is premature to say how the future will unfold, clearly, history is being made.
The BSP is more ideology driven than its main rival, the SP. The former is holding on to Ambedkarism as the sheet anchor of its social outlook and political philosophy, while the latter's political ideology is based on Lohiaite socialism. But beyond the isms, the new factor in the state's politics is the emergence of Akhilesh Yadav, a politician and now chief minister who appears to be the antidote to the "Dhotiwad Hindu Socialism" of his father and his political guru Ram Manohar Lohia.
The difference between Ambedkarism and Dhotiwad Lohiaism should not be lost sight of. Ambedkarism stands for modernism with a spiritual and social ideology wedded to the cause of an anti-casteist society and the upward mobility of the untouchables and other oppressed castes. Lohiawad, or Lohiaite socialism, stands for the socialism of the peasantry, cutting across the differences of castes and communities.
But for the fact that she could not get anywhere near English, the language of the upwardly mobile, the intellectuals and the scientific community, Ms Mayawati is educated and modernist in her outlook. By her grit and determination, and by upholding the Ambedkarite cause, Ms Mayawati inspired millions of dalit-Bahujan youth across the country. Her five-year rule did not disappoint the dalit masses, though that by itself didn't help her coast to victory.
It is wrong to think that Ms Mayawati would have won another term in office if she had toed the all-encompassing development line advocated by the media, as against the pro-dalit cause that she chose to pursue. The Andhra Pradesh example is before us. In the South, the leader who held aloft the development agenda — Chandrababu Naidu — lost the 2004 elections, pitted as he was against the slogan of farmer's welfare raised by Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. In the East, West Bengal's "dhoti socialism", i.e. 36 years of the CPI(M) rule, did not help modernise the state, nor did it amount to any substantial progress.
Yet, the Indian media was sympathetic to the Left, but against Ms Mayawati's rule, or misrule as they often branded it. She was seen through the statues she erected in every nook and corner of the state, or through her maverick ways — buying shoes, getting her men to garland her at public meetings.
Ms Mayawati's good works in the dalitwadas, and her efficiency in controlling law and order and checking communal riots, were mostly, if not fully, played down by the same media that wrote untiringly about the positive aspects of the West Bengal model — a model, as it now turns out, that only made the people more poor, while the rest of the country made faster strides.
In this context, one might be tempted to believe that Ms Mayawati's Ambedkarism was far better than the Communists' Bhadralok Brahminism, a political pursuit that kept Bengal's faceless dalits and tribals unidentifiable, wrapped as they were under the blanket of socialism. Identity politics was out of the realm of the Bhadralok politics. Yet, one would have to keep one's fingers rossed as to whether the Lohia model of Hindi socialism would do any better in Uttar Pradesh.
Akhilesh Yadav, on whom much hope is pinned, may choose his own line of governance. He has gone on record to say that there would be no discrimination on the basis of caste or religion.
ood enough. He would do well to get out of the mould of socialism and work out a new model of development where the aspirations of the Other Backward Castes and minorities, who too voted the SP to power in full faith, are fulfilled without neglecting the cause of the dalits. On the law and order front, the SP has a problem with the cover it once provided to musclemen, both overtly and covertly. These forces are still there, but must be controlled, so as also to ensure that they do not indulge in vindictive attacks on dalits and their symbols.
Ms Mayawati is not a failed a leader as Bengal's Communists are. She has combined the cause of Buddhist religious reconstruction with that of Ambedkarite political and economic development. This is where her Brahmin allies got disappointed and broke the coalition of Sarvajan Samaj.
Leaving her idiosyncrasies aside, she remains a woman who created history, and her performance in power is worthy of serious study.
In Ambdedkarite tradition, Ms Mayawati is a leader of courage, confidence and self-respect. But in practising that politics, she overshot certain rules. To be fair, she has not committed any major mistake in installing dalit icons per se, but she should have been well advised against putting herself in the centre of that pursuit.
She may be a maverick and may have made money thinking that riches would enhance the dalit pride. Making money through wrong means sends wrong signals. In this respect, one wishes Ms Mayawati had learnt a lesson or two from Kanshi Ram, her guru, who died penniless and yet
continued to provide moral strength to the dalit cause.
What is also undeniable is that Ms Mayawati lost her moral stamina. Possibly, she lost her oratorical skills, too; for, at public meetings in recent times, she reads from prepared speeches.
Ms Mayawati's shortcomings apart, she has taken Uttar Pradesh to a place of no return. Ambedkarite Buddhism (Navayana) has now spread across the Hindu heartland. After her five years of rule, Uttar Pradesh has become a post-Hindu region. The challenge before the Mulayam-Akhilesh leadership is that they should guard against playing the "soft Hindu card" in the garb of Lohia socialist agenda.
Yadavs in Uttar Pradesh are "soft Hindus". They do not have an alternative cultural-spiritual agenda and that is where the rub lies: clashes between the OBC forces around the SP and the dalit forces around the BSP. By all reckoning, it was in a hard-edged and an uncompromising way that Ms Mayawati pushed the dalits' alternative cultural and spiritual agenda forward. If the SP tries to reverse that process, the chances of clashes between the two sides are real.
The writer is director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

.Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and  intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC.  

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