India suffered by making Gandhi “father of the nation”


[Speech delivered at the IT Seva Federation National Conference of the All-India Income Tax SC/ST Employees and Officers, on April 22, 2010 at the Birla Matushri Bhawan, New Marine Lines, Bombay, as part of the Dr. Ambedkar birth anniversary celebration.]

Jai Bhim,

I have made it clear to the organisers that I am not a political leader or film star. Nor do I belong to any VIP category. As the Editor of Dalit Voice for the past 30 years, I am essentially a journalist and writer and as such my assessment of Babasaheb will be like that of a surgeon who has to do merciless cutting with his knife to save the life of his patient.

So, as a writer specialised in the life and mission of Babasaheb — the only such person produced in this country after the so-called independence of India in 1947 — we have to examine the history — past and present — and mercilessly use the knife like the surgeon.

In the course of my speech I will have to pass some harsh judgements and make some critical remarks which traditional enemies of Babasaheb may not relish. But as a socio-cultural surgeon I cannot help it.


However, as the children of Babasaheb, I am sure you will appreciate my critical remarks on this historic occasion.

History is the best judge of men, matters and events. And history has already given its verdict. The verdict is Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is the “Father of India”. Highest position.

Somebody asked us: “What about Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi?” What is often repeated in the “national” toilet papers, speeches of politicians and Brahminical history books is Gandhi is the “Father of the Nation”. To this our reply is like this: Did not Dr. Ambedkar famously say that “India is not a nation” but a subcontinent of several nations?

But the Hindus, our oppressors, go on calling Gandhi as the “Father of the Nation”. Fine. We have no objection. That is their opinion.


But we have a question. Gandhi is the Father of which nation?

Not our nation. Our nation, called the Moolnivasi Bahujan Samaj, comprises six sections.

Please take down the population figures of these sections.

SC 20% Muslim 15%
ST 10% Christians 2.5%
BCs 35% Sikhs 2.5%
Total 65% Total 20%
Total 85%.

This 85%, the overwhelming majority people of India, have said Gandhi is not the father of their nation. They say only Babasaheb fought and died for their liberation.


Gandhi helped only our oppressors — the 15% upper castes — and made them the rulers of India.

Brahmins constitute less than 3% of the country’s population. They form the cream of this ruthless Indian ruling class. But the wonder of all wonders is the Brahmins always hated Gandhi because he was not a Brahmin but a Bania born out of papa yoni.

Besides it is the Brahmin, Nathuram Godse, who killed Gandhi and RSS Brahmins distributed sweets all over the country and celebrated the death of Gandhi.

If these are the facts of history, which none can challenge, Gandhi is the father of which nation? None.

Yet the Brahminical national toilet papers go on calling him the “Father of the nation” — day in day out.


Look at China. I led two delegations to China where Mao Tse-tung is called the Father of their nation. Yes. He was truly the father of its 1,500 million people.

He made China a super power. Today, China is next only to USA. Japan which was No.2 is demoted and China has taken its place.

The World Bank has said that in a couple of years China will become the No.1 power in the world.

Where does India stand? Of the 187 countries in the world, India is somewhere at 134. See the world of difference. China is No.2 in the world whereas India is 134. Year after year India is going down.

Mao gets the credit for taking China to the top of the world and Gandhi also gets the credit for taking India to the bottom of the world — because the ruling upper castes call him the “Father of the Nation”.


Some critics asked me:

“If you want to praise Dr. Ambedkar, do it. Why do you want to abuse Gandhi?”

Our reply is: History is like a weighing machine. If you put a weighty stuff on one scale the other scale must go up. Dr. Ambedkar is a weighty personality. Gandhi was a bogus fellow.

When the two are put on the weighting machine, called history, this is the judgement. Gandhi has proved to be bogus. This is the verdict of history.

This country ruled by the Brahmins and Banias— the two together do not form even 3% of the population— has become the “Sick man of the world”. And we see no chance of this Brahmin-Bania Dalal Street-ruled India ever recovering from this incurable disease.

Babasaheb had predicted all this. He had given us the clear road map but the Brahmin-Bania cut-throat gang rejected Babasaheb’s road map and converted India into a failed state. I don’t think India will recover. The children of Gandhi are doing their duty of killing India. Because they don’t love India.


That is why the history has pronounced its verdict saying that Babasaheb is the “Father of India”. Not one nation inside India is ready to accept the Gujarat Bania as its “father”. Not even the Brahmins. They anyway hate him.

Yet the hypocritical Brahmin-Bania rulers with their Manuwadi monopoly media go on calling Gandhi the “Father of the nation”.

Let them get the pleasure by twisting the verdict of history.

Let this mere 3% micro-minority Brahmin-Bania rulers go on keeping this “Father of the Nation”. But our Father is different.

What is going on today in India is a violent clash between the “Father of India” and the “Father of the nation”. This clash is becoming more and more violent as days pass.

The verdict of history accepted by over 85% of India’s oppressed nationalities is Babasaheb is the “Father of India”.

I will now tell you how this verdict of history has proved correct.

Gandhi’s birthday comes on Oct.2 — called “Gandhi Jayanti” which is a national holiday. But the birthday of such a great man is dismissed with a one-hour celebration by holding bhajan. The singers of the song, Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram, have to be paid to sing the song. Not more than 100 to 200 gather at such a ceremony attended by the so-called VIPs. Common people don’t attend Gandhi Jayanti official function. It is a purely upper caste tamasha.


But look at Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti. It begins on April 14 and the celebrations go on and on for 5-6 months in every corner of the country, every village of the country.

Even a small man like me will attend at least a dozen “Ambedkar Jayanti” functions. I have already attended three functions in Bangalore.

Kanshi Ram once told me after touring the Saurashtra region of Gujarat that he found more statues of Babasaheb than that of Gandhi. In Rajkot itself, the birth place of Gandhi, he did not see a single statue of Gandhi but plenty of Babasahebs. That means Gandhi is rejected by his own birth place.

“Gandhi Jayanti” is the one and the only event that the “Father of the nation” has.

But the “Father of India”, Babasaheb Ambedkar, is remembered by the poor, oppressed people of India on three occasions every year.

(1) Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14, (2) Babasaheb’s conversion to Budhism (3) His death anniversary.

A fourth event is getting ready when the bungalow on the No.26- Alipore Road, in Old Delhi, is turned into Delhi’s most famous monument. This is the place where Babasaheb died — killed by his own Brahmin wife, according to his biographers. When this gets ready it will be the capital city’s most important national monument, dwarfing the Raj Ghat.


Once I was coming from Delhi to Bombay and the taximan said Cadell Rd., which touches the Shivaji Park Chowpatty, was blocked by the police as lakhs of people were squatting on the road. I asked him the reason. He said it was the day on which Babasaheb was cremated on the Chowpatty. At least 5 to 10 lakh would come to Bombay every year to pay homage.

I will tell you another interesting incident. Babasaheb is remembered on three occasions by millions of people but Gandhi is remembered by only a few as a ritual. That also once a year.

Once I went to Delhi’s Raj Ghat where Gandhi was cremated. This place is called a national monument and every VIP visiting India is compulsorily taken there. When I went there was a steady stream of visitors. But when I asked the gatekeeper of the Raj Ghat, why so many people came, he said:

“Sir, the govt. by an order has compelled all the tourist buses coming to Delhi to stop at the Raj Ghat. If the tourist buses stop coming there would be no visitors”.

Look at the difference between our “Father of India” and their “Father of the nation”. The millions who pour into the Deeksha Bhoomi at Nagpur and the Dadar Chowpatty every year do it voluntarily. They are all poor, unlettered people carrying their own chapatis. They come out of devotion, affection, respect.

Why? Because Babasaheb brought light into the dark dungeon of their heart. They consider him their liberator. They see in Babasaheb their own Father.

That is why history, has rightly called him the “Father of India”.

The Gujarati Bania is only the “Father of the nation” but nobody knows which is this nation.

This is the verdict of history.

Yet another important difference between Gandhi and Babasaheb.

Do you know that Gandhi wrote only one book, My Experiments with Truth, which is his own autobiography? Even this bok is collection of articles. That means Gandhi did not write a single book.


But Babasaheb had no time to write his autobiography. He wrote books after books, may be about 50 solid books, all world famous. The Maharashtra Govt. has published 21 volumes of his Writings and Speeches so far.

I will tell you one interesting experience I had at the world famous British Library in London, 3 years ago.

At the very entrance to the Library I found a portrait of Babasaheb and his two books on display. On seeing it, I went straight to the Chief Librarian. I introduced my self and asked him the rationale of keeping the picture and the books of Dr. Ambedkar at the very entrance. “Why you did not give the same honour to M.K. Gandhi?” I asked. The Librarian was taken aback by my question. He said:

“You must know that this is a library where we display the books of great writers and scholars. Dr. Ambedkar was a great scholar. Give me the name of one book written by Gandhi?”

Babasaheb is held in very high esteem even in Pakistan.


I am leading a delegation of Dalit writers and poets to Pakistan in May for the celebration by the govt. itself.

But in this Hindu India, Babasaheb is not given his proper place. The ruling class hates him because he was an Untouchable.

What is the reason for that?

This less than 15% ruling class of India is suppressing all of us and riding roughshod over us guided by their fake Gandhian doctrine that “India is a nation”.

No. This is a big lie. India is not a nation. And was never a nation.

Babasaheb was the first person to say that India is not a nation but a vast subcontinent of many warring nations — divided by numerous castes, subcastes, languages, customs, territories, religions, traditions, races etc.

Gandhi and his grand children are killing us by not admitting this historical fact and sociological truth which Dr. Ambedkar has propounded.


By ignoring — if not rejecting —Babasaheb’s concept that India is not a nation, the Brahmin rulers have created a serious situation in which different contradictory forces are constantly at war with each other — killing each other.

So much so, the governance of the country itself has come to a standstill.

The mere 15% upper caste rulers, who have looted all our wealth by sucking our blood, may go on shouting that India is a nation.

All other persecuted nationalities — children of Babasaheb — are shouting back saying that India is not a nation but a country at war with itself.

In this process India is sinking. Not only sinking. But stinking.

Even 3,000 years after entering India as nomads and barbarians these Aryan Brahmins are refusing to merge and mix with us — advancing their obnoxious theory of “merit”.


What is this “Brahmin merit” that has converted India into a beggar nation?

To hell with this Brahmin merit. I have written a book called, “Merit, My Foot”. All our books are kept outside for sale.

Now I will come to another “controversial” point.

The words that you so far heard from me must have made you proud and cheerful.

But what I am going to speak now may not be palatable to you.


Babasaheb is hailed as “one among the 7 best brains of the world”. India has not produced a person of his calibre after the Budha. He is our second Budha. We are his children. Over 85% of this country’s 1,300 million people — called the Moolnivasi Bahujan Samaj — are his children. A very big family.

Babasaheb never hated even the 15% upper caste rulers. Not even the Brahmins. His second wife was a Brahmin. In spite of the fact the Brahmins made his life miserable and he died a sad man, he hated none. It is the upper castes who hated him. Gandhi cheated him by going on his fake “fast unto death” on the issue of “separate electorate”.

Gandhi brought living death to our people, and the country as whole became a “sick nation”. This sickman is becoming more and more serious as days pass.

In the place of “separate electorate”, which would have automatically made Babasaheb our first Prime Minister, the Brahmin-Bania conspirators made the Gujarati Bania to go on his fake fast and blackmailed him to agree to his mischievous formula of “reservations” which killed us permanently and made us permanent beggars outside the doors of Brahmins and Banias.


The “Poona Pact”, which Gandhi forced Babasaheb to sign, not only killed the Dalits but killed the country itself.

The “Poona Pact” must be publicly burnt— on Ambedkar Jayanti. Next year if you invite I will burn it.

Only when you behave like a tiger, roar like a lion, the vegetarian Brahmins and Banias will be scared to touch you.

What sort of animals are sacrificed at yagnas and yagas? Only tame animals like the sheep, goat, buffalo etc. Have you heard of people killing ferocious animals like lion, tiger? No. Why? Because if anybody goes near, these ferocious animals will kill them.

In other words, our Brahmin, Bania upper caste oppressors will persecute us only if we behave like the tame animals. The moment they know we are like tigers and lions they dare not come near us. Look at me. To this day no Brahmin had the courage to touch me. He will not go alive.

You people sitting here are the products of this “Poona Pact” that brought reservations — the Hindu charity or the discarded, thrown out crumbs of bread.

By eating this discarded crumbs of bread, you have achieved this position.

Daily you are insulted, kicked, punished by the Brahminical officers. But you silently swallow all the insults and suffer as second, if not third-grade, citizens. Am I right?

Why you are silently suffering?


A Dalit Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court was beaten up in his Court Hall No.1 itself by the Brahmin and other upper caste lawyers in Bangalore.

An unprecedented, shocking event in the history of India.

But the Dalits of Bangalore did not get angry. The upper caste charge is that Chief Justice Dinakaran is corrupt. Which Supreme Court or High Court judge is above corruption? Only when a Dalit is elevated to Supreme Court they find corruption.


Why are you silently suffering this step-motherly treatment? Why do you lack the courage and the strength to protest even to demand your legitimate constitutional rights?

The reason is simple: Because you the children of Babasaheb have forgotten your father.

It is because of our Father, all of you are here — drawing thousands of rupees salary every month but completely forgetting your own unfortunate blood brothers outside.

Not only you forgot your Father but you also violated every ground rule he set for us. Many of our highly paid Dalit employees have become Hindu — though our Father has told us that “Dalits are not Hindu and were never Hindu”. Our people worship Hindu gods, visit Hindu temples and become obedient slaves of Hindus. This is the beginning of your downfall.

Not only that. Quite a number of our people have married Brahmin girls —deceived by their fair skin. Those who got converted to Budhism have been trapped by the Marwari Goenka’s Vipassana fraud.

The SC/ST reservations are not implemented even to the extent of 10%.

That means over 90% of SC/ST, the children of Babasaheb, have not been touched by the reservations.

They are still uneducated, living in villages and urban slums and daily kicked, killed, burnt, raped, made beggars and prostitutes. About 50% of the prostitutes in the Bombay’s Red Light Area are Dalits and Tribals. Not a single Brahmin women is found there.


But you the educated and employed SC/STs, having been benefitted by Babasaheb’s sweat and blood, have forgotten your unfortunate blood brothers and sisters.

How can they forget and forgive your sins? Will the “Father of India” and our Father forget and forgive your sins?

Dalit movement is dead all over India. I am telling this as the Editor of Dalit Voice with circulation all over India and having travelled every part of India many times. In Maharashtra, Bombay in particular, where the Dalit Panthers was born everything is dead. The Maharashtra Govt. has stopped publishing Babasaheb’s books. Dalit political leaders are busy fighting with each other. They have all become corrupt. Many of them have married Brahmin girls.

Our Dalit professors, teachers are a big disappointment. We have no media of our own except Dalit Voice.

The Brahmin-Bania rulers hate the reservations. They have violated the constitution itself. The Supreme Court, packed with upper caste judges, is against the reservation.

Our MPs have no guts. Their powers have been drastically curtailed.

The power to rule has passed into the hands of the Brahminical bureaucracy, judiciary, media, Hindu religious crooks.

A mere, less than 15% of the population comprising the Brahmins, Banias and upper shudra castes are ruling India.

But the cream of the Scheduled Castes like those of you who are sitting here are not getting angry — though you are all silently suffering.

Our IAS, IPs officers are so scared of the Big Cat that they don’t like to associate with Dalit Voice. But when they are in trouble they rush to Dalit Voice with their complaint.

We have no pity on these cowards who have betrayed their own father and the Father of India.

All these betrayers will have to face the wrath of the 95% of the SC/ST people outside this charmed circle of beggars.


We don’t have a single media in the country to support the human rights need of SC/STs sanctioned by the constitution.

Only the Dalit Voice makes all the noise — for which we were badly punished. I was arrested half-dozen times, once put in jail in Punjab. Passport impounded, two attempts on life.

There are thousands of Dalit officers who have not even heard of Dalit Voice which is 30 years old and having India-wide circulation. Your president assured me that he will enroll lots of subscribers.

The Brahmin-Bania media has ruled that my name and that of my paper should not appear in any media. We don’t care. That is why you have not heard of the name of Dalit Voice or my name. We don’t care.

But what brings us so much sorrow is that our own blood brothers, the educated, employed Dalits, holding important positions, have forgotten their own Father.

For having committed this unpardonable sin, you are suffering today.

But you can certainly recover and make up for the lost time.

You are the architect of yourself.

But if you want to remain as the slaves of Brahmin, who love loyal servants, we have no objection. But remember even a loyal servant of Brahmins like Jagjivan Ram was finally kicked.

Please remember the fate of Jagjivan Ram.

Thank you for your patient hearing.


“Statues of liberty” – Shobhaa De


Shobhaa De

I swear I am not joking. After a vroom vroom visit to Mayaland to watch India’s virgin Formula One at the world-class Buddh International Circuit (BIC), I am ready to personally carve a brand new, larger-than-lifesize statue of Mayawati and erect it at a prominent junction in Mumbai. That lady is something else!

Ms Mayawati is my babe-of-the-moment. After pulling off that coup (F1), Ms Mayawati’s stock has zoomed at a speed faster than Sebastian Vettel’s mean machine could rev up. Suddenly, all those snotty F1 fans from Delhi, Mumbai and other cities have had to suck in their breaths and say, “Wow! How did she do it? How?” Mind you, no matter who else was involved (yes, Shri Jaiprakash Gaur, we know it’s you!), it was Ms Mayawati who walked away with all the credit. And hello! Nobody wants to get into the nitty-gritty. A few legal eagles, in on the myriad contracts, whispered not everything was all that kosher and that there were several wheels within wheels and deals within deals, with a whole lot of “black in the lentils”. Does anybody really care? Naah! With stories galore about Ms Mayawati’s family members allegedly getting pretty juicy prime cuts on virtually every brick and bag of cement used, nobody blinked or minded. The reaction has been cool and blasé. “Let them also make money, yaar. But at least India delivered big time for a change. Look at what happened with Commonwealth Games. Paisa khaaya aur kuch bhi nahin kiya. It was such a disgrace.” Point.

We are very sweet and considerate that way. We expect our leaders to keep their family members khush. It’s a given. If Asif Ali Zardari was known in Pakistan as Mr 10 Per Cent, Ms Mayawati’s gang falls into the Messrs 30 Per Cent. Janey do. At least Ms Mayawati fixed the Doubting Thomases who had predicted she’d fall flat on her face with the F1. Advantage Behenji. As anybody who made a pit stop at the Buddh Circuit will readily confirm, this was an absolute coup. And the response (even from sceptics) has been an unconditional thumbs up. Let’s not get ethics and values into the picture. Nor the staggering cost of getting the track and infrastructure off the ground. Point is, Buddh took fans by surprise. But more importantly, it took the motor-racing world’s breath away.
The most interesting aspect of attending the historic Indian F1 was the long drive to the distant venue. A drive that took people past the famous `3,000 crore park with “those” statues that have generated so much criticism and scorn. I passed the park four times. At one point our car was stuck right opposite the notorious elephants, lining the gigantic Dalit Prerna Hall. The first reaction to the elephants and the imposing Stupa-style structure was very positive. The design was pleasing, aesthetic and wonderfully conceived. What had I expected? I’ll be candid and tell you — I had imagined the much-discussed park to be a totally hideous complex crammed with ugly statues. Instead, what I saw was a magnificent ground dotted with handsome monuments made out of local stone and built in a holistic style devoid of any ostentation. Ms Mayawati certainly got this right, as well! As to why she is “wasting” so much money on those statues. Because she is smart! She has vision. What she has cleverly invested in (the park) reflects the aspirations and hopes of dalits. It’s a beautiful space dalits can finally call their own. A space they have never had. Never! A space that provides a strong sense of identity… that they can feel proud of. Intuitively and instinctively, Ms Mayawati must have known that if she wants to leave behind a worthwhile, memorable legacy for future generations to enjoy, it had to be on this scale and on these terms. Good for her.

When one looks around India (a country obsessed by symbols of power in the form of statues), whose figures do we see? Here’s a rough checklist: topping it is, of course, Mahatma Gandhi. Followed by Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji, Shivaji and the odd Maharaja. You may find a Jhansi Ki Rani, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Rabindranath Tagore and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. B.R. Ambedkar stands tall in more and more cities these days. Then on to countless Indira and Rajiv Gandhi representations. Nearly every important, modern landmark is named after one or the other member of the Gandhi family — the mother, son or grandfather. Airports and other public buildings are all taken by the trio. What about Mumbai’s Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link, which should have legitimately been named after Ambedkar, who was born in Worli, where it is located… but wasn’t? What about the acres and acres of land in Delhi devoted to various “sthals”? How come nobody finds all of this “wasteful, extravagant, meaningless”?

Ms Mayawati is no fool. It is all about those numbers. She is looking ahead at the big picture, and what she’s seeing is obviously good. She is not waiting for anyone to erect her statues… she’s doing the job herself. She is shrewd enough to realise the power of the statue-politics. The more you erect, the stronger the positioning. Why wait till you are dead and gone for followers to get those statues up?

Ms Mayawati is assiduously building her own personality cult. Let’s just hope her statues don’t suffer the same fate as those of others who did the same. Till then, let her bask in her international fame, posing with the handsome and young F1 champions. She’s finally in the fast track… who can stop her now?

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Mayawati’s statues of liberty


The UP chief minister has been on a memorial-building spree for eight years now, the last being the recently inaugurated park in Noida. Are they the indulgence of a megalomaniac or do they serve a purpose?

Diwakar Tripathi, former chairman of the Lucknow Development Authority, remembers the day vividly. It was January 15, 2003, a cold but sunny day. Mayawati, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, had inaugurated the Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, a memorial for the Dalit leader and architect of the Indian Constitution spread over 125 acres on the banks of the Gomti. The function had gone off well, and Tripathi and his colleagues were unwinding at the park. All of a sudden, there was a great uproar from the gates. The crowds, held back by the police, broke through the barricades and rushed in. Many of them, Tripathi remembers, took off their clothes, shouted Jai Bhim (victory to Bhimrao Ambedkar) and jumped into the canal around their leader’s statue — just like high-caste Hindus who cleanse their bodies of sin by bathing in the Ganga at Haridwar or Banaras. Some of them had come with their lota, the inimitable Indian personal pot, and filled it in the canal. Some washed the statue’s feet with the water, while others took the “holy” water home. Tripathi knew in an instant that the memorial would trigger social change — the meek and the voiceless finally had a place of pilgrimage.

The park has got several makeovers since then and the canal has been covered. Mayawati has built many more such parks and museums. The latest of these is the Rashtriya Dalit Smarak at Noida near Delhi. Spread on 33.45 acres on the banks of the Yamuna, it has cost the state Rs 685 crore. There are 24 elephants (the election symbol of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party) in pink sandstone. And there are 12 statues of Ambedkar, BSP founder Kanshi Ram and Mayawati. Each elephant has cost Rs 70 lakh, while the statues cost over Rs 6 crore apiece. No fewer than 2,500 masons and workers were employed here.

It was a park before the state government decided to convert it into a Dalit memorial. Residents of Noida were horrified when the trees at the park were cut to make way for the memorial. Mayawati’s government did a midcourse correction and planted 7,600 trees and 150,000 shrubs there.

It was inaugurated by Mayawati on October 14, days before she gave away the prizes at the first Formula One Indian Grand Prix at Greater Noida on October 30. The park was supposed to open for all on November 1. A security guard posted on the gate tells you that it’s still closed because “some construction is still left and workers have to clean up the place”. He asks you to wait till “the next order”.

* * * * *

Mayawati has drawn severe criticism for these parks. The money (over Rs 4,500 crore) could have been spent, her critics say, on laying roads, building schools and hospitals, and generating power — all sectors where Uttar Pradesh lags the national average. Epidemics happen with alarming regularity in the eastern districts of the state. No new investments have happened in Uttar Pradesh, thanks to the state of its infrastructure.

For Mayawati’s detractors, the parks, and the statues inside, are nothing but unproductive assets, the indulgence of a megalomaniac. Mayawati’s bureaucrats say that the stone used in these parks has been sourced from the districts of Sonbhadra and Chandauli. These districts, which are located on the border with Madhya Pradesh, could have come under Naxal influence had it not been for this economic activity. The economy that takes shape around these parks is not insignificant, and the biggest beneficiaries are masons, artisans and workers who are, more often than not, from the Dalit community.

The bigger impact is perhaps social and political. Why just parks, Mayawati has renamed districts after Dalit icons like Jyotiba Phule and Gautam Buddh (Ambedkar had renounced Hinduism to embrace Buddhism). Social scientists and Dalit activists see her grand design. Sociologist Shiv Viisvanathan says that Mayawati realises that the Dalit community needs to create an alternate idea of history — one that cannot be easily erased. And she has done just that in her parks.

Vivek Kumar, assistant professor of sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, feels that the Dalit community has reason to feel empowered now. “That is the impact the parks will have. For years, they were told not to go to or enter certain places. Now they have something of their own,” says he.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Anoop Mishra finds distasteful the whole talk of taxpayers’ money being misused in these memorials because “the parks and the museums at the end of the day are for the citizens”. The controversy, he says, often hides the good work the Mayawati government has done in the last four years: Uttar Pradesh is one of the few revenue-surplus states in the country, its public debt has come down from 42.7 per cent of the gross state domestic product in 2007-08 to 38 per cent in 2010-11, its fiscal deficit for 2010-11 was a healthy 2.7 per cent of GSDP, it has utilised over 95 per cent of the Plan expenditure in each of the last four years, and it has taken short-term loans from the Reserve Bank of India for all of 16 days in the last four years.

* * * * *

But has the Dalit community really gained under Mayawati? A recent study by Devesh Kapur of the Centre for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) in the University of Pennsylvania, along with Chandra Bhan Prasad, Lant Pritchett and D Shyam Babu, done in 20,000 Dalit households of Uttar Pradesh found that there has been a significant improvement in their socio-economic condition between 1990 and 2008. Thus, they were found to (1) live in better houses, (2) eat better food, and (3) own more consumer goods. The material markers, says Prasad, have overtaken the social markers in rural India. The study also showed that there has been a sharp fall in the number of Dalits working as farm labour, while there has been a perceptible rise in the number of Dalits running businesses. The period covered in the study is also the age of economic reform; so it’s not certain if the change has been brought about by the free market forces or as a result of the intervention from the state government.

In the last four years, Mayawati has done a lot to keep Dalits happy. She has raised the development expenditure on the Schedule Castes and Tribes from 17.9 per cent of the total in 2007-08 to 21.7 per cent in 2010-11. It now matches their population of 21.2 per cent in the state. In the last four years, each of the 2,500 Ambedkar villages (those where Schedule Castes and Tribes are a majority) has received Rs 2 crore for public works. The plan is to cover another 2,500 villages in the second phase. For 2.2 million ultra-poor families (not just the Schedule Castes and Tribes), a pension of Rs 400 per month, payable to the lady of the house, has been instituted. There are liberal financial grants for the girl child in poor households. About 150,000 houses (two rooms, kitchen and bathroom) have been distributed to the urban poor free of cost. And, Uttar Pradesh has in the last four years appointed 88,000 teachers (28,000 in madrasas), over 100,000 safai karmacharis (sweepers) and 35,000 policemen over and above the normal recruitment. This has swollen the state’s rolls by almost 15 per cent to 1.5 million. As the Schedule Castes and Tribes are also often the poorest in villages as well as cities, it is reasonable to assume they have benefitted the most from this largesse.

The debate on whether the parks are wasteful expenditure or not will continue for a long time. But then Lucknow had discovered the benefits of public works to revive a stagnant economy much before Keynes. Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Oudh from 1775 to 1797, built all the magnificent Lucknow buildings during a severe famine, which gave employment to thousands from the villages around the city. Till date, in Lucknow, those ignored by fate often console themselves and say: “Jisko na de Maula, usko de Asaf-ud-Daula (those ignored by God are taken care of by Asaf-ud-Daula).” Does a similar legacy await Mayawati?

(Virendra Singh Rawat contributed to this article from Lucknow)



OU students observe ‘Narakasura Vardhanti’


Osmania University, the nerve centre for Telangana movement, has also become a centre for crazy or perhaps dangerous thoughts these days. In a bid to show their utter contempt for the ruling party or the ruling classes, a section of OU students have started denouncing the Hindu festivals and worshipping demons. This trend was never before in the university and it started only this year. During the Dasara festival, these OU students boycotted the Bathukamma festival as well as Vijayadasami; and instead mourned the killing of Mahishasura. They put up a big portrait of Mahisasura in the Arts College premises and worshipped him, saying he was killed by the so-called upper class Durga only because he was a Dalit.

Now on the eve of Diwali, the OU students observed “Narakasura Vardhanti,” the death anniversary of demon Narakasura, who was supposedly killed by Lord Krishna and Satyabhama. They made a similar allegation saying Narakasura was a Dalit and hence, the Brahminical character Krishna killed him to suppress the revolt by Dalits against upper castes. They said in a bid to cover up the killing, the Brahmin sections portrayed him as “Asura.” So, the students called him as “Naraka Shura” rather than Narakaasura.

Well, if Telangana state is given, the entire mythological characters may undergo a change: gods will become demons and demons will become gods!


King Narakasura is Dalit hero for Diwali


After terming Mahishasura a hero during Dasara festivities, Dalit scholars of Osmania University have now outraged orthodox Hindus by lionising Narakasura, whose killing by Lord Krishna is celebrated as Diwali.

These scholars contend that Narakasura, the son of the earth goddess Bhudevi, was no demon but a king who was defeated in battle by Lord Krishna and Satyabhama in a deceitful manner.

As people celebrated Naraka Chaturdasi on Thursday, a group of Dalits in the Osmania University observed it as vardhanti (death anniversary).

They also offered floral tributes to a picture of Narakasura in the Arts College Campus raising hackles among conservative Hindus.

The scholars asked people not to celebrate Diwali and claimed that Dalits belonged to the lineage of Narakasura and other so called “demon” kings who they say have been portrayed as evil by upper castes.

OU SC, ST, BC and minorities students also organised a seminar ‘Narakasurudu — Raakshasuda (demon) or Rakshasuda (protector)?” wherein participants claimed that history has been distorted to project all those who lost wars as demons.

“We are observing Narakachardashi as vardhanti (death anniversary),” said Mr Visarvardhan, a research scholar. “It is not an occasion to celebrate. We are trying to set right the facts. Narakasura is amaraveerdu (martyr) and not a womaniser.”

“Nowhere in the world does anyone celebrate a death,” said the Dalit scholar, Prof. Kancha Ilaiah. “Nowhere in the world have Gods killed people except in India.”

However, the BJP spokesperson, Mr N.V.S.S. Prabhakar, disagreed with Dalit views and said Diwali symbolised the victory of good over evil and was not related to the death of any individual

India and the ‘Grammar of Anarchy’


The Wall Street Journal

The antics of an anticorruption guru flout the constitution.

Indian police prevented anticorruption activist Anna Hazare from holding a protest in New Delhi on Tuesday, arrested him and detained 2,600 of his followers for a few hours. He was released yesterdaym, after police let him begin a 15-day hunger strike. The uproar over Mr. Hazare has Indian elites tweeting that the country faces a constitutional crisis, but the real cause of this debacle is a lack of government will and direction.

Mr. Hazare’s supporters encourage comparisons to the emergency rule in 1975, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi suspended constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties. But if anyone wants to undermine India’s constitution today, it is Mr. Hazare. He demands that parliament create the unelected post of ombudsman, chosen by a panel of worthies, with sweeping powers to haul up any public official on graft charges.

Other countries have benefited from special graft-busting bodies, but they are always politically accountable in some way. Mr. Hazare wants to bypass the hard work of institution-building and put ultimate power in one person’s hands. But India got into its corruption mess by vesting too much power in public officials in the first place. Who will guard the guardian who engages in politically motivated prosecutions?

India Today Group/Getty ImagesGovernment critic Anna Hazare.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could have avoided this confrontation had he acted forcefully when a spate of graft scandals, including an estimated loss of some $40 billion from the allegedly corrupt sale of telecom airwaves, made headlines last year. The public’s outrage was an invitation to push through economic and administrative reforms to curtail the power of politicians and bureaucrats. Instead, the government put a few ministers behind bars and went back to business as usual.

Self-anointed leaders of civil society have stepped into this vacuum—and led the debate astray. Amid much fanfare, Mr. Hazare, who says he is inspired by Mohandas Gandhi, went on a hunger strike in April to push for the national ombudsman. The government should have resisted this idea of an inquisitor in Gandhian clothing from the start, but it succumbed to Mr. Hazare’s blackmail. At least the government later had the sense to insist that the prime minister be exempt from the ombudsman’s purview.

Such compromises riled Mr. Hazare, who sought to protest in Delhi again. He was thwarted in the past month by police regulations. His NGO finally secured a permit but refused to accept police conditions on the size and duration of the protest. These rules may be too onerous, but that’s for the courts to decide.

Meantime, Prime Minister Singh has allowed his opponents to shift the debate to the right to protest. The real issue should be Mr. Hazare’s demagogic tactics. An open political system like India’s resolves differences through the ballot box, but Mr. Hazare is intent on forcing the issue by threatening to fast to the death. On Tuesday, a day after the country’s 64th anniversary of independence, he called for a “second freedom struggle.” He repeated that call yesterday, leading a procession in New Delhi after emerging from prison.

Democratically elected officials shouldn’t bow to Mr. Hazare’s antics, which are the kind that the architect of India’s constitution B.R. Ambedkar called in 1949 “nothing but the grammar of anarchy.” Whether or not Mr. Hazare desists, Mr. Singh can propose an agenda that combats corruption and abides by India’s constitution. That’s the best way to check the country’s slide into disorder.

Courtesy: WSJ