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Anatomy of a prejudice

May 6, 2009

The BSP’s politics may trouble the popular conception of Indianness, among English speaking middle classes, who understand India as one whole, where the ‘Indian’ identity dominates and the rest, which reflect real India (inequality and conflicts) are hushed up. On the other hand, the BSP’s politics reiterates that India is a country of various minorities (castes, religions, regions) who may be victimised by fellow Indians in different contexts. Emphasising the BSP or Mayawati’s Dalitness ignores the complexity of caste society and associated politics. Kanshiram in the past and Mayawati now raise issues of caste not to sustain inequality but to challenge them. What Mayawati and BSP’s growth represents is the deepening of democracy in India. [Suryakant Waghmore]

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rohit permalink
    May 7, 2009 4:56 AM

    I saw Waghmore having to deal with the likes of Gurcharan Das on We the People this week, perhaps this is a response.

    I agree that the outcry agains statue building has to be seen alongside the invisibility of statues and places named after members of the Nehru-Gandhi family(but only the deceased ones). Is then decision to build her own statues instead of Ambedkar or Phule or Savitribai Phule or Jhalkaribai strategic move incomprehensible to the babalog?

    Just to get facts on board Waghmore’s assertion that “The secular Congress failed to produce a single Muslim chief minister in its long celebrated rule. Such secularism can best be termed as unequal secularism that sustained political inequality. ”

    This is factually incorrect, apart from Kashmir, A.R Antulay was Congress Chief Minister in Maharasthra, Anwara Taimur was in Assam and Abdul Gafoor in Bihar. The UDF supported H. Mohammad Koya as Chief Minister in Kerala. Outside of Kashmir these are the only Muslim Chief Ministers of any political formation.

    The charge the Congress Muslim’s/backward classes/dalits (but noticably not women) are showboys without their own powerbases is a charge going back to the days of the Muslim League, and one that has been often contested. One could similiarly argue that almost all of BSP’s candidates are show-millionaires with little credibility without Maywati’s support. The Congress formula is thus built from the bottom up but I am not sure if it necessarily promises an emancipatory future to those not in charge.

  2. Rohit permalink
    May 7, 2009 5:04 AM

    The Indian Express Op Ed section stands out. Vinay Sitapati argues that Behenji , compared to the RSS and the Naxalites, is the best guarantor of the liberal Indian constitution.

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/reading-behenji-in-dandakaranya/455539/0

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