Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Kurukshetra II: Dynasty VS Dalit power in UP

The stage is set. The battle of 2014 for UP is going to be one of the most spectacular sight ever seen in India politics. On the one hand, you have a puppet-down-the string, Akhilesh Yadav, a symbol of youth force, with his nada (string) tied to his father/uncles who are the players from behind the wings, although he vehemently denies it. His cabinet is full of criminals, inherited from his father’s times as CM of India’s largest state Uttar Pradesh. He may be resisting the influx of goondas to his cabinet, but there is nothing he can do, about his lineage. Bare little, I would say, if they are his father’s best friends, trusted allies, even blood brothers, cousins and the like.

The Yadavs are from a place called Saifai, in the heartland of goondaland, Etawah. Ever since, his father entered politics, the goondas too followed to join public life, even reaching the Rajya Sabha! There they found others like them from Jharkhand, Bihar and other states, to make merry and rake hell with public funds. In UP, indeed, all the goondas are in some way or the other related to the Yadavs. Goondagiri, is their parampara, their inheritance and culture.

But Alkhilesh Yadav is made of different ether. He wanted to join corporate life, maybe, because, he did his Masters on Environmental Engineering from Australia. Throughout his life as a student, in Dholpur Military School, or Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, Mysore, he kept a low profile and in fact, no one knew he was the son of Mulayam Singh, CM of Uttar Pradesh. It is while holidaying in Dehradun, when he received a call from his father saying, he had to return to file his nomination.

Akhilesh was never a disobedient child, not a rebellious one either. In fact, the real Akhilesh is demure and shy and if a goonda happens to be his uncle, he will touch his feet in public even.

Now, take his major opponent, Mayawati. Four times Chief Minister of UP, Mayawati is a phenomenon, few Indian politicians can match. Rising from a poor Chamar background, Mayawati, born on 15th January, 1956 in Delhi, is the daughter of Prabhu Das, a post office employee in Badalpur, Gautam Buddh Nagar. In 1975 she passed BA and went on to do LLB, at Kalini Women’s College, under Law campus (Delhi University). Her aim, like many from depressed classes in Delhi, was to join the IAS, because that was the ultimate seat of power, as perceived by most people. In 1976 having completed her B.ED, she joined Inderpuri JJ Colony as a teacher. In the following year, 1977, Dalit politician, Kanshi Ram visited their home and changed her destiny – "I can make you such a big leader one day that not one but a whole row of IAS officers will line up for your orders." Kanshi Ram included her as a member of his team when he founded the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 1984.

After that, the growth tangent has only gone up. She is the first female Dalit Chief Minister in India. In the true sense of the word, she is of the people, by the people and for the people. The Dalits love her, trust her and call her their Behenji. She has the unfailing support from Dalit women, across the country. And no matter what her report card may show vis-à-vis corruption and amassing wealth, it can’t be worse than what the goondas posing as politicians across India have managed to siphon off from public funds, in the numerous ‘deals’, scams, and what have you.

About Mayawati, one can say, that when she is in, the goondas are out; about Akhilesh Yadav one can definitely say, when he is in, goondas are in. As an administrator with a tough hand, he fails because, the inheritance from his birthplace, although his parentage was from farmers, his father Mulayam Singh Yadav being a Socialist even, highly influenced by Dr Ram Manohar Lohia. Yet, the ancestral homeland was plagued by men who lead a life by killing, snatching, threatening, in short, goondagiri. As long as Mayawati was in power the goondas were in hiding, as soon as the Yadav scion came in, so did the ruffians.
Faced with these facts, the real battle in UP, is not only about the Yadav dynasty, it is also about what is Akhilesh going to do with this khaandaan?

“Now Arjun saw stationed there in both the armies, his uncles, grand-uncles and teachers, even great grand-uncles, maternal uncles, brothers and cousins, sons and nephews, and grand-nephews, even so friends, farther-in-law, and well – wishers as well.” (Bhagavadgita: Verse 26 and first half of 27)

If the Arjun in Akhilesh Yadav trembles and he is not able to raise the bow to destroy the past which continue to rise its ugly head, then, it is better that the scepter is won by the first female Dalit Chief Minister of the country, who knows how to eradicate the ravanas from her Ministry and push Dalit issues to the forefront in UP. So the real battle, the Kurukshetra is between dynasty and Dalit power.

Even if her obsession with PMO, must wait in the wings, for only a few months post the 2014 elections, she can clean up her house in Uttar Pradesh, to be dirt-free, once again.

(1)There is no reference made of congress here, who in my opinion, have lost their pie in any case, in UP and no matter how many times, Rahul Baba, dines at Dalit homes or claims to adopt a Dalit girl child, the much enlightened and aware Dalit population of today can see through his guile.
(2) All thoughts presented here are my own.

Picture creditCourtsey: http://milagroroots.com/tag/bhagavad-gita/

Recommended readings: Behenji - the biography of Mayawati by Ajoy Bose and Akhilesh Yadav - Winds of Change by Sunita Aron

Vidya Subrahmaniam,Deputy Editor, The Hindu, 2008

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