Vegetarianism is anti-nationalism, says Kancha Ilaiah


LUCKNOW: Known for his immensely controversial book, `Why I am not a Hindu’, Kancha Ilaiah, on Thursday said that vegetarianism is anti-nationalism.

“For me, my nation starts with eating beef. Unfortunately, we gave up eating beef and our brains are not growing now. There is no enough protein,” said Ilaiah while speaking on Dr BR Ambedkar’s political empowerment in a function held at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University to celebrate 125th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar.

Currently, the director of the Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University and former associate professor at the department of political science in Osmania University, Ilaiah said that though he is not very tall and strong but his brain is working because he ate a lot of goat brain in his childhood.

“Vegetarianism will destroy the brain capacity. You cannot compete with vegetarian nationalism with China, Korea, Japan and America who are full scale `beefarians’, `porkians’, fisharians and even `frogarians’. Whatever is now poison they are eating, there brain is growing,” sais Ilaiah getting a round of applause from the audience, mainly consisting of dalits, who make 50% of the university’s population.

However, Ilaiah’s 10-minute speech on the importance of beef left the upper caste audience sulking.

“The whole steel industry is collapsing from here to England because China is producing steel in such a manner that all our economists are in doldrums, nothing is being understood by Indian economists. This is because, the Chinese brain has gone so sharp, our economists vegetarians brains are not working.”

From Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swach Bharat campaign to Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati’s latest remark that women entering temples will increase rape, Ilaiah had salvo ready for all.

“We didn’t know whether he was guiding or misguding us. His speech was more destructive and less constructive, giving students ideas on how to create discrimination,” said a political science student.

“At times, the PM sweeps the road. I said when you were a shudra you were doing that. What are you doing now. Ask Arun Jaitely or Arun Shourie to sweep the roads. I am very happy to know that PM is learning English. At least a Shudra is trying. The only problem is vegetarianism doesn’t have a quick learning. He should eat good food,” said Ilaiah.

 Slamming the upper castes, particularly Brahmins, Ilaiah said at a time when Socrates and Plato were writing about justice and republic, scholars here were busy writing about Kamasutras.
“Do we need to write a book about that (kamasutras)? Animals know how to live a sexual life, why are you teaching it at 1st century AD,” said Ilaiah who coined a new slogan, `Bhim Bhoomi ki Jai’ for India, which according to Ilaiah will reflect the land of tilling, aspirational shoemaker, pot-maker.

Vegetarianism is anti-nationalism: Kancha Ilaiah on Ambedkar’s food democracy

Known for his seminal but immensely controversial book, Why I am not a Hindu (1996), Kancha Ilaiah, does not mollify his audience — an experience I have lived firsthand, having attended Ilaiah’s lecture series at the Asian College of Journalism. Currently, the Director of the Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University and former associate professor at the Department of Political Science in Osmania University, Ilaiah’s works have often been described by his critics as “cheap rhetoric”, provocative, while some others point to the inconsistencies in methodology, lack of academic rigour. He acknowledges that he has been told be “mild” and that he “should not be writing what he does” by many in his lifetime.

Perhaps that is true for most writers who write on Hinduism, Hindu Culture and Brahminism: Wendy Doniger’s Hinduism: An Alternate Historydrew ire from the religious right wing outfits, Perumal Murugan’s book about ritual, One Part Woman was not accepted by right wing groups and the author decided to withdraw books from sale.  Late MM Kalburgi, noted scholar on Vachana literature was shot dead; he found that the worship of Ganesha was not prescribed in texts, but a myth. Last year, a case was filed against Ilaiah by the VHP for hurting religious sentiments over his article published in a Telugu daily titled — Devudu Prajasamya Vada Kada (Is God a democrat?); around the time IIT Madras clamped down hard upon Ambedkar Periyar Circle, a student group that engages in socio-political discussions. More recently, Rohith Vemula’s suicide exposed the seedy cracks in the walls of higher education, where caste discrimination is bona fide.

Ilaiah circles around a miscellany of topics when he speaks — he has examples, stories and tales, ready for your eager consumption. Ilaiah also keeps his ears to the ground and reacts whenever there is a need. Soon after Rohith Vemula’s suicide, Ilaiahwrote in an op-ed that dalit students like Vemula were creating a “new cultural idiom” and by that he meant engaging in a quest for transformation. Ilaiah is quick to correct me when I drop the word, identity: The struggles at JNU, University of Hyderabad, Jadavpur University, IIT-Madras’s issue with Ambedkar Periyar Circle, beef festivals in Osmania or EFLU are “not a struggle for identity” according to Ilaiah — these are about “transformative, political, ideological issues.”

The eating of beef, exercising the right to freedom of speech and being a human without the politics of caste, is the “transformation” he means. “I am more bothered about transformation of society where equality is the goal. These are not identity issues, but equality issues, these are issues of Indian democracy becoming mature. Identity is just a low grade of that, transformation is the next level,” he asserts.

A conversation with Ilaiah is never linear, but one that meanders. Elaborating upon Ambedkarism, Ilaiah decides to make a point about democratic food culture being a pertinent aspect of the doctrine. To illustrate this point, however, Ilaiah resorts to grand rhetoric that unabashedly trespasses into the absurd — “vegetarianism is anti-nationalism…if a whole (sic) nation becomes vegetarian, its protein levels will go down. You know why West Indies won all the games? It is because they eat protein rich food.”

Kancha Ilaiah says things how they are. Image Courtesy: Facebook/Kancha Ilaiah

Despite such digressions, Ilaiah tells me, “everyone should be free to consume what they want, pork or beef,” — an appropriate critique of the State that is currently obsessed with regulating its citizens’ lunches and dinners.

As far as Ambedkarism is concerned, it is hard to miss that political parties across all leanings have embraced Ambedkar in the recent past, including the RSS. Most posters have his image and speeches are not made without invoking his name. How does Ilaiah understand this? “Ethicality of equality is missing in Hinduism” and the RSS cannot pick and choose ideas.

The Congress, Ilaiah feels is on the heels of repositioning itself into importance by deploying Ambedkar’s thoughts into their political strategy. “Rahul Gandhi has taken a radical position, he likely to become a reformist politician.”

Ilaiah’s beef with most parties is with their dilly-dallying on aspects of Indian history and not taking a solid stand on any of those aspects, especially Buddha and Ambedkar’s relationship with Buddhism. Again, always one to poke the grizzly, he makes statements about how the RSS must embrace Buddhism.

Ilaiah is also not particularly enthused by Communism’s tepid treatment of ancient Indian history — “they want to take everything combined from (sic) Hinduism is good, Vedas are also good…Socialism is good and Vivekananda is also good or that Shankaracharya is also good…no! This doesn’t work. This puts them in a confused status.”

Caste politics are updating across the country, protests have sparked in various regions over gaining the ‘Backward Caste’ tag — Jats, Harayana’s farming community members sought to be included in the OBC list in 2008, Kapus from Andhra Pradesh, Gujjars from Rajasthan, Patels from Gujarat, Marathas from Maharashtra also demanded the reservation tags. This renewed interest in claiming the backward caste tag, according to Ilaiah is “dalitisation” — a term he coined in his 1996 book, he had ideated that a time would emerge when people would look for spiritual equality — “Dalitised mode of thinking, God has made all humans equal,” he explains. “Today the caste which did not want want reservations, Jat, Gujjars, Patels and Kapus are asking for reservations,” and the solution he says is to give them their position in society, in the community. “What is an open quota? In essence it is a Brahmin quota,” he slickly pronounces. The Dalitisation process “will happen more and more, labour will be respected” he says.

When I ask him about how things have changed since Independence, he says that while there has been gradual progress, the oppressed are still oppressed. “There is a quantitative change, but there is no qualitative change,” says Ilaiah, his disenchantment is manifest. He attributes positives to the Constitutional provisions, such as the right to vote, employment and education but strongly espouses the idea that the caste system is “rigid” and benefits those in the upper echelons: Brahmins.

The Shudras, according to Ilaiah have been kept away from the spiritual and intellectual domain — Brahmins still have a tight grip on areas of “policy formulation and transformation.”  He says in an exasperated tone, “change is very little,” and explains that if men and women are burnt alive for marrying into other castes, there is no change; “Shankaracharya saying women entering temples will increase rape is not Ambedkar’s India,” he adds. Often understood as a staunch anti-Brahmin or one that is looking to annihilate an entire race through his “venomous” writings, Ilaiah addresses these with ease, “We are not saying that there Brahmins should have no place in this country or that we should be violent. In our religion, as Ambedkar has given, equality in every sphere.” The envelope needs to pushed — “where we are free equal human beings.”

First Published On : Apr 14, 2016 16:42 IST


Fight against Corruption: Are we Serious?


<abbr title=" by Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Those were the years when the people in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar thought that now the change was about to come. The crowd at his gathering was increasing regularly. The speeches were laced with new adjectives of ‘future of India’. Rajiv’s clean image had taken a beating. The exposé had jolted his government. As the Finance Minister, he ordered that the corruption charges against prominent industrialists be probed. Many of them had to go to jail. He selected his officers on the basis of their probity and personal strength. They gave him results. Soon, the ‘best Finance Minister’ was shunted out of the Ministry to ‘defend’ the country. The industrialists wanted him out. He ordered an inquiry against corrupt politicians too and they also wanted his exit. No industrial house in India can survive without corruption. Tax evasions were rampant and he was trying to find out the big fishes without understanding that these sharks would connive together and throw him out.

He was sent to the Defence Ministry ignoring the big public opinion against his ouster. The govern-ment of that the day was habitual of such things. Rajiv was surrounded by the coterie and completely ignored saner advices. As he moved to the Defence Ministry, he found that there was a commission paid in the HDW Howitzer deal ordered from Germany. The Bofors report also came out and it became difficult for the Congress to hide its face. This ‘he’ that time was V.P. Singh whom we all love to hate despite his personal integrity and honesty in political life.

Yes, V.P. Singh was dismissed from the primary membership of the Congress Party for his fight against corruption. Yet, the successful thing was that he became the symbol of the fight against corruption in India in the late eighties. The students, middle classes jumped up and joined hands. His personal image remained clean all the time. The government of the day started a personal vendetta and fictitious reports were planted. Editors were hired to write in papers. Some of the biggest names of the Indian media jumped into the fray and allowed themselves to be used in a vicious propaganda against Singh. A fake account was opened under his son Ajeya Singh’s name in St. Kitts Island which later turned out to be fictitious. His ancestral property issue also cropped up. Yet, V.P. Singh could survive because he was simply a man of integrity and his life was open for probe.

The upper-caste middle classes were first to jump on his bandwagon when they realise that he was now ready to overthrow the government. The Brahmins of Varanasi anointed him with title ‘Rajarshi’ and he developed tremendous goodwill of the people, that is, the upper castes.

V.P. Singh came to power in 1989. He ensured that people with integrity take charge of the Ministry. The government was functioning well. It started allowing freedom to Doordarshan and All India Radio. It was refreshing to see news that time. It was working on labour and election reforms. A lot of other issues, including the Lokpal, was under consideration then. That apart, the Janata Dal as a political party had promised to fulfil 27 per cent quota for the OBCs.

On August 7, 1990, V.P. Singh announced the acceptance of the Mandal Commission recommen-dations in Parliament. For one month nothing happened and slowly the upper castes realised that their control over power is slipping and unless a slanderous campaign is started, they will be completely out of power. So, not only slander but everything that was available in the dictionary was used to defame the Dalits and OBCs. The middle class Hindus were in the streets against the OBC quota. V.P. Singh became one of the most hated politicians of our time. So much that none of the Hindu journalists ever want to say good things about him. Today, when we are fighting against corruption, none of these leaders bother to even mention his name. Why?

The answer lies in the upper-caste hatred against anything that provides connection of power to the Dalits and marginalised. V.P. Singh was the greatest person as long as he was talking about corruption and but he became the worst man once he started talking about the Dalits and OBCs. His government not only ensured the OBC quota but it also provided reservation for neo-Buddhists at the centenary celebrations of Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar and honoured him with Bharat Ratna. Similarly, Mayawati is not corrupt as long as she placates the upper castes but as soon as she erected those monuments of the Dalit Bahujan icons in the city of Lucknow, we are angry because we feel that the natural inheritor of our roundabouts in the city centre are the Gandhis, Nehrus, and our so many gods and goddesses. The upper caste-middle class feeling is that the Dalit Bahujan icons should remain in the bastis and dalitwadas.

WHEN we talk about corruption, how can we ignore the illicit land deals in our country? How can Anna and his team just feel that corruption is only in terms of money? The biggest corruption in today’s India is the sale of our natural resources, our land, forest and water. What is their stand on it? What will they do that powerful and well-connected people do not buy land just because they have money? Will we put a ceiling on land in India despite the people’s purchasing power? When the civil society wants to judge everyone, who will judge the civil society? What is this civil society? Did Anna and his team follow any principle of democracy in forming his team? How does democracy survive with such black-mailing tactics of Gandhi who used it to foil the separate electorate of Dalits?’

The issue of corruption is not a minor one but then those who want to fight against it should also remain clean. Yes, for people like us, they should not only be clean but also have faith in our secular pluralistic values and cannot be hate-preachers. How are these multi-billionaires, who have acquired their property in each State and even outside India, interested in the fight against corruption? Doesn’t Anna and his team know about the Baba and his games, his property and money? Is it a fight among those who say you have grabbed over one hundred million rupees and it is now our term to do so? How are we going to talk about individuals? Democracy will have to come out of such individualism and work. Yes, corruption affects us all. So why not we start to work developing a movement from the ground involving those whose lands have been grabbed by the local elites who may be donating huge sums to these anti-corruption crusaders? Should we not see who these forces we want to project as alternative are?

Just because there is a crowd does not mean that it has the right to do anything. Crowd does not provide legitimacy. Many of our friends actually feel that anyone who brings out the crowd is great. Yes, the Baba’s crowd was not a crowd for social justice. Anna’s crowd is similar. The stupidity of the Sangh’s propaganda is that the Ramlila Ground incident is being portrayed as Jalianwalla Bagh massacre. And see their gleeful faces at Rajghat. Sushma was dancing while Advani was comparing this incident to Jalianwalla Bagh. None ever questioned about the fictitious land deals of Ram Dev and other Babas. If we ignore the vital corruption in terms of land in the name of mutts, temples, gurudwaras and mosques, we cannot fight against corruption. In fact, we provide legitimacy. We cannot start a movement in which a majority of the population feels isolated, and fearful. The concern of 20 per cent Indian Muslims and other minorities are important and cannot be ignored. It is not just corruption but also their place in India and partnership in decision-making. How do we allow Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and others partnership in our movement if we allow the entire reactionary forces in our decision-making? Just because you want to eliminate the Congress Party does not mean you can ally with anyone.

Yes, if the government and those who claim to work for us, are serious, then they must talk about corruption of all kinds, in all forms, anywhere. And not talk what is suitable to the middle classes who started corruption and want to lead the movement against it too. We want the government to release all the land papers of temples, mutts, gurudwaras, churches and mosques. Let the people know how much money is lying there and who is using that for what purpose. Anna Hazare and his team would do great harm if they do not consider this as corruption. Will they speak on it? Will they take on the religious thugs sitting on our land and water and preaching of austerity to us?

The Hindutva forces are working overnight on their agenda. They will use all the platforms which bring back power to the bramanical social order. After Ramdev, they want to bring back Uma Bharati to fight against Mayawati. While the Congress is shamelessly sticking to the Brahmin elite in Uttar Pradesh, the Hindutva forces are busy experimenting and who else can they use better than the Shudras? It is time we understand the dangers of such a fight against corruption and expose them tooth and nail. None can be a bigger threat to India than the ascendancy of the Hindutva forces to power. Let us fight against corruption and expose the very source of it.

Original Article:

Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar : Ruler Mysore Princeley State


ಮರೆಯೋದುಂಟೆ ಮೈಸೂರು ದೊರೆಯ: ಶ್ರೀ ನಾಲ್ವಡಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯ


ಇತಿಹಾಸ ಮರೆತವರು ಇತಿಹಾಸ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಸಲಾರರು ಇದು ಬಾಬಾ ಸಾಹೇಬ್ ಡಾ. ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ರವರ’ ಸುಪ್ರಸಿದ್ದ ನಾಣ್ಣುಡಿ. ಅದರಲ್ಲೂ ಹಳೆ ಮೈಸೂರು ಭಾಗದವರು ತಮ್ಮ ಭವ್ಯ ಇತಿಹಾಸವನ್ನು ಮರೆಯಲೇಬಾರದು. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಇತರೆ ಪ್ರದೇಶಗಳಿಗೆ ಹೋಲಿಸಿದರೆ ಹಳೆ ಮೈಸೂರು ಭಾಗ ಅಭಿವೃದ್ಧಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮಂಚೂಣಿಯಲ್ಲಿದೆ ಎಂದರೆ ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾರಣ ಅದರ ಭವ್ಯ ಇತಿಹಾಸ. ಇಂತಹ ಭವ್ಯ ಇತಿಹಾಸದ ನಿಮರ್ಾತೃವಾಗಿ ತನ್ಮೂಲಕ ಮಾದರಿ ಮೈಸೂರಿಗೆ ಮುನ್ನುಡಿ ಬರೆದ ಧೃವತಾರೆ ರಾಜಷರ್ಿ ನಾಲ್ವಡಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯರ್. ಆಳರಸರಿಗೆ ಮಾದರಿಯಾದ ರಾಜಯೋಗಿ. ನಾಲ್ವಡಿಯವರು ಜನಿಸಿದ್ದು 1884 ರ ಜೂನ್ 4ರಂದು. ತಂದೆ ಶ್ರೀ ಚಾಮರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯರ್, ತಾಯಿ ಕೆಂಪನಂಜಮ್ಮಣ್ಣಿ (ವಾಣಿ ವಿಲಾಸ ಸನ್ನಿಧಾನ). ಬಾಲಕ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜರ ಪ್ರಾಥಮಿಕ ವಿದ್ಯಾಭ್ಯಾಸ ನಡೆದದ್ದು ಮೈಸೂರಿನಲ್ಲೇ. ರಾಯಲ್ ಸ್ಕೂಲ್ ಎಂಬ ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ಶಾಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಇವರ ಸಹಪಾಠಿಗಳಾಗಿದ್ದವರು ಮಿಜರ್ಾ ಇಸ್ಮಾಯಿಲ್, ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮೀಕಾಂತರಾಜ್ ಅರಸ್, ಮುಂತಾದವರು.

1894 ರಲ್ಲಿ ತಂದೆ ಚಾಮರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯರ್ರವರ ನಿಧನದಿಂದಾಗಿ ಬಾಲಕ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜನಿಗೆ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಹೊಣೆ ಬಿದ್ದಾಗ ಅವರಿಗೆ ಕೇವಲ 10 ವರ್ಷ. ಪೆಬ್ರವರಿ 1, 1895 ರಲ್ಲಿ ಯುವರಾಜ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜರಿಗೆ ಪಟ್ಟಾಭಿಷೇಕ ಮಹೋತ್ಸವ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಈ ಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷ್ ರಿಜೆನ್ಸಿ ಆಳ್ವಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೈಸೂರಿನ ಗೌರ್ನರ್ ಮತ್ತು ಮಹಾರಾಜರ ಟ್ಯೂಟರ್ ಆಗಿ ನೇಮಿಸಲ್ಪಟವರು ಸರ್. ಫ್ರೇಜರ್ರವರು. ಮುಂದೆ 1902 ಆಗಸ್ಟ್ 8ರಂದು ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷ್ ರಿಜೆನ್ಸಿಯಿಂದ ಅಧಿಕಾರ ಸ್ವೀಕರಿಸುತ್ತಾ, ಯುವರಾಜ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜರು ತಮ್ಮ ಮುಂದಿನ ಆಳ್ವಿಕೆ ಹೇಗಿರುತ್ತದೆ ಂಬುದಕ್ಕೆ ಹೀಗೆ ನುಡಿಯುತ್ತಾರೆ, ನನ್ನ ಮೇಲೆ ಹೊರಿಸಲ್ಪಟ್ಟಿರುವ ಭಾರವು ಎಷ್ಟು ಮಹತ್ತರವಾದುದು ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ನಾನು ಸಂಪೂರ್ಣವಾಗಿ ತಿಳಿದಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಇದನ್ನು ಮಾತಿನಿಂದಲ್ಲ ಕೃತಿಯಿಂದ ಸಾಬೀತುಪಡಿಸಬೇಕೆಂದು ನಿಶ್ಚಯಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದೇನೆ, ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಜೆಗಳ ಸುಖ ಸಂತೋಷಗಳಿಗೆ ಎಂದೂ ಕುಂದುಂಟಾಗದಂತೆ ನೋಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದು ನನ್ನ ಕರ್ತವ್ಯವಾಗಿದೆ. ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನದ ಸ್ಥಿತಿಯು ಇನ್ನೂ ಉತ್ತಮವಾಗುವಂತೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತೇನೆ. ಯಾರ ಭಯವಾಗಲಿ, ದಾಕ್ಷಿಣ್ಯವಾಗಲಿ ಇಲ್ಲದೇ ಯಾರ ತಂತ್ರಕ್ಕೂ ಹಿಂಜರಿಯದೇ, ಯಾವ ಮಂತ್ರಕ್ಕೂ ಒಳಗಾಗದೇ ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಜೆಗಳ ನಿರಂತರ ಹಿತ ರಕ್ಷಣೆಗಾಗಿ ರಾಜ್ಯ ಭಾರ ನಿರ್ವಹಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಹಾಗಿದ್ದರೆ ಮಹಾರಾಜರು ನುಡಿದಂತೆ ನಡೆದರೆ? ತಮ್ಮ ಮಾತನ್ನು ಜೀವನದುದ್ದಕ್ಕೂ ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಡರೆ? ಖಂಡಿತ 38 ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಅವರ ಭವ್ಯ ನಿದರ್ಾಕ್ಷಿಣ್ಯ ಆಡಳಿತ ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಸಾಕ್ಷೀಭೂತವಾಗಿದೆ. ಆಡಳಿತ ಚುಕ್ಕಾಣಿ ಹಿಡಿದ ಮಹಾರಾಜರು ತಾನ್ನೊಬ್ಬ ರಾಜ ಇಡೀ ರಾಜ್ಯವೇ ನನ್ನ ಬಿಗಿ ಮುಷ್ಠಿಯಲ್ಲಿರಬೇಕು ಎಂದುಕೊಳ್ಳಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಬದಲಾಗಿ ತಾನ್ನೊಬ್ಬ ಜನ ಸೇವಕ ಜನ ಸೇವೆಯೇ ತನ್ನ ನೈಜ ಗುರಿಯೆಂದು ಪ್ರತಿಪಾದಿಸಿ ಅಪ್ಪಟ ಪ್ರಜಾಪ್ರಭುತ್ವವಾದಿ ಅರಸು ಎನ್ನಿಸಿಕೊಂಡರು. ಅದಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಪ್ರಜಾಪ್ರತಿನಿಧಿ ಸಭೆ ಯನ್ನು ಬಲಗೊಳಿಸಿ 1907ರಲ್ಲಿ ನ್ಯಾಯಾವಿಧಾಯಕ ಸಭೆಯನ್ನು ಸ್ಥಾಪಿಸಿ ಸರ್ವರಿಗೂ ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಾತಿನಿದ್ಯ ನೀಡಿ ಸಮಾನತೆ ಮೆರೆದರು. ಇಡೀ ರಾಜ್ಯವನ್ನೇ ತಮ್ಮ ಆಸ್ತಿಯೆಂದು ಪರಿಗಣಿಸದೆ ತಮ್ಮ ಸಂಸಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಎಷ್ಟು ಹಣ ಬೇಕೆಂಬುದನ್ನು ಕೂಡ ಅಯ-ವ್ಯಯದ ಮೂಲಕ ಪ್ರಜಾಪ್ರತಿನಿಧಿ ಸಭೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅನುಮೊದನೆ ಪಡೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಪ್ರಾರಂಭಿಸಿದರು. ಪ್ರಾಯಶಃ ಮಹಾರಾಜರ ಈ ಕ್ರಮ ಇಡೀ ಭರತ ಖಂಡದಲ್ಲೆಯೇ ಅಪರೂಪದ್ದು.

 ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ನ್ಯಾಯದ ಪರ ಮಹಾರಾಜರ ನಿಲುವು ಮೀಸಲಾತಿ ಚಳುವಳಿಯ ಇತಿಹಾಸದಲ್ಲೆ ಸುವಣರ್ಾಕ್ಷರಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದಿಡುವಂತಹದ್ದು. 1902ರಲ್ಲಿ ಕೊಲ್ಲಪುರ ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿಯ ಅರಸು ಶಾಹು ಮಹಾರಾಜರು ಹಿಂದುಳಿದ ವರ್ಗಗಳಿಗೆ ಶೇ. 50 ಮೀಸಲಾತಿ ನೀಡಿದ ನಂತರ ಅದರಿಂದ ಸ್ಪೂತರ್ಿಗೊಂಡ ಅವರು 1927ರಲ್ಲಿ ಮಿಲ್ಲರ್ (Miller) ಆಯೋಗದ ಶಿಫಾರಸ್ಸಿನಂತೆ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣೇತರರಿಗೆ (Non-Brahmin Reservation in Mysore State) ಶೇ 75% ಮೀಸಲಾತಿ ನೀಡುತ್ತಾರೆ (Backward Catse Reservation in Mysore State). ತನ್ಮೂಲಕ ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ನ್ಯಾಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊಸ ಶಕೆಗೆ ನಾಂದಿಹಾಡುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಮಹಾರಾಜರ ಈ ನಿಧರ್ಾರದ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಅಂದಿನ ದಿವಾನರಾಗಿದ್ದ ಸರ್. ಎಂ ವೀಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯನವರು (Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya) ಜಾತಿ ಆಧಾರಿತ ಮೀಸಲಾತಿ ನೀಡುವುದರಿಂದ ಪ್ರತಿಭೆಗೆ ದಕ್ಕೆ ಉಂಟಾಗುತ್ತದೆ ಆಡಳಿತದಲ್ಲಿ ದಕ್ಷತೆ ಹಾಳಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದಕ್ಕೆ ಅವಕಾಶ ಕೊಡಬಾರದು ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ.


ಅಚ್ಚರಿ ಎಂದರೆ ಮಹಾರಾಜರು ಇದರಿಂದ ವಿಚಲಿತರಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಬದಲಿಗೆ ಬೇಸತ್ತ ವೀಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯನವರು ನೀಡುವ ರಾಜೀನಾಮೆಯನ್ನು ಯಾವುದೇ ಗತ್ಯಂತರವಿಲ್ಲದೆ ಸ್ವೀಕರಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ!. ಇರಲಿ, ತಮ್ಮ 38 ವರ್ಷಗಳ ದೀರ್ಘ ಆಳ್ವಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮಹಾರಾಜರು ಸಾಧನೆಯ ಸುರಿಮಳೆಯನ್ನೆ ಸುರಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ದೇವದಾಸಿ ಪದ್ದತಿಯನ್ನು ನಿಮರ್ೂಲನೆಗೊಳಿಸಿದ್ದು ಗೆಜ್ಜೆಪೂಜೆ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮವನ್ನು ನಿಷೇಧಿಸಿದ್ದು, ವಿಧವಾ ಶಿಕ್ಷಣಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರೋತ್ಸಾಹಿಸಿದ್ದು, ಮಹಿಳೆಯರಿಗೂ ಪಿತ್ರಾಜರ್ಿತ ಆಸ್ತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾಲು ನೀಡಲು ಕಾನೂನು ರೂಪಿಸಿದ್ದು ಮಹಾರಾಜರ ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಕಳಕಳಿಯ ಬಿಂಬಗಳಾಗಿವೆ. ಜಾತಿ ಆಧಾರದ ಮೇಲೆ ಯಾರನ್ನು ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ಶಾಲೆಗಳಿಂದ ದೂರವಿಡುವ ಪ್ರವೃತ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ಸಕರ್ಾರವು ಎತ್ತಿಹಿಡಿಯಲಾರದು ಎಂಬ ಗೆಜೆಟ್ ಪ್ರಕಟಣೆಯ ಮೂಲಕ ಅಸ್ಷೃಶ್ಯರ ಶಿಕ್ಷಣಕ್ಕೆ ಅವಕಾಶ ಕಲ್ಪಿಸುವ ಅವರು ಶಿಕ್ಷಣವೇ ಎಲ್ಲ ಅಭಿವದ್ಧಿಗೂ ಮೂಲ ಎಂದು ಶಿಕ್ಷಣಕ್ಕೆ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಒತ್ತುಕೊಡುತ್ತಾರೆ.

1916 ರಲ್ಲಿ ಮೈಸೂರು ವಿಶ್ವ ವಿದ್ಯಾನಿಲಯ ಪ್ರಾರಂಬಿಸಿದ್ದು, ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಕೃಷಿ ವಿ.ವಿ ಸ್ಥಾಪಿಸಿದ್ದು, 1911 ರಲ್ಲಿ ಎಸ್.ಎಸ್.ಎಲ್.ಸಿ. ಪರೀಕ್ಷೆ ಆರಂಭಿಸಿದ್ದು, ಕಡ್ಡಾಯ ಪ್ರಾಥಮಿಕ ಶಿಕ್ಷಣ ಕಾಯಿದೆ ಜಾರಿಗೊಳಿಸಿದ್ದು ಮತ್ತು ವಯಸ್ಕರಿಗಾಗಿ 7000 ವಯಸ್ಕರ ಶಾಲೆಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರಾರಂಭಿಸಿದ್ದು ಶಿಕ್ಷಣದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಹಾರಾಜರ ಆದ್ಯತೆಯನ್ನು ತೋರಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಹಾಗಂತ ಅವರು ಕೃಷಿ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರವನ್ನು ಕಡೆಗಣಿಸುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ವಿಶ್ವ ವಿಖ್ಯಾತ ಕೃಷ್ಣ ರಾಜ ಸಾಗರ ನಿಮರ್ಾಣಗೊಂಡದ್ದು ಇವರ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲೇ ಇದರ ಮೂಲಕ ಆ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲೇ 1,20,000 ಎಕರೆ ಭೂಮಿಗೆ ನೀರಾವರಿ ಕಲ್ಪಿಸಲಾಯಿತು. ಏಷ್ಯಾ ಖಂಡದಲ್ಲೇ ಮೊದಲ ಬಾರಿಗೆ ಜಲ ವಿದ್ಯುತ್ ಯೋಜನೆ ಪ್ರಾರಂಭವಾದದ್ದು ಕೂಡ ಇವರ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲೇ. 1902ರಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾವೇರಿ ನದಿಗೆ ಶಿವನಸಮುದ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಡ್ಡಲಾಗಿ ಜಲ ವಿದ್ಯುತ್ ಉತ್ಪಾದನಾ ಕಾರ್ಯ ಪ್ರಾರಂಭವಾಗಿದ್ದು, 30,000 ವೋಲ್ಟ್ ವಿದ್ಯುತ್ತನ್ನು ಕೋಲಾರ ಚಿನ್ನದ ಗಣಿಗೆ ವಗರ್ಾಯಿಸಿದ್ದು ಅಚ್ಚರಿಯೆನಿಸಿದರೂ ಸತ್ಯ ಈ ಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಜನರು ಮಹಾರಾಜರನ್ನು ಕೃಷ್ಣ ರಾಜ ಭೂಪ ಮನೆ ಮನೆ ದೀಪ ಎಂದದ್ದು. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಇಡೀ ಭಾರತದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಪ್ರಥಮವಾಗಿ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ನಗರದಲ್ಲಿ ವಿದ್ಯುತ್ ದೀಪಗಳು ಬೆಳಗಿದ್ದು, ಮೈಸೂರು ಸೇರಿದಂತೆ ಇತರ ನಗರ, ಹಳ್ಳಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ವಿದ್ಯುತ್ ದೀಪ ಬೆಳಗಿದ್ದು ಇವರ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲೇ ಅದಕ್ಕೆ. ಹೀಗೆ ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಂದು ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ಮಹಾರಾಜ ನಾಲ್ವಡಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಒಡೆಯರ್ ಸಾಧನೆ ಅನನ್ಯ. ಈ ಕಾರಣದಿಂದಲೇ ಒಂದೆಡೆ ಡಿ.ವಿ.ಜಿಯವರು ನನ್ನ ತಿಳುವಳಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ 1881ರಿಂದ 1940ರ ಅವಧಿಯ ವರ್ಷಗಳು ಮೈಸೂರಿನ ಸುವರ್ಣ ಯುಗ ಎಂದಿರುವುದು.

 ಹಾಗೇಯೇ 1938ರ ಎನ್ಸೈಕ್ಲೋಪಿಡಿಯಾ ಬ್ರಿಟಾನಿಕಾ ಭರತ ಖಂಡದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಮೈಸೂರು ಮಾದರಿ ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನ ಎಂದು ದಾಖಲಿಸಿರುವುದು. ಹಾಗಿದ್ದರೆ ಇಷ್ಟೆಲ್ಲ ಸಾಧನೆಗೈದ ನಾಲ್ವಡಿಯವರಿಗೆ ಸಮಸ್ಯೆಗಳು ಕಾಡಲಿಲ್ಲವೇ? ಎನ್ನುವುದಾದರೆ ಉತ್ತರ ಹೌದು. ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣೇತರರಿಗೆ ಶೇ. 75 ಮಿಸಲಾತಿ ಜಾರಿ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದರಿಂದ ಕುದ್ದು ಹೋದ ಪಟ್ಟಭದ್ರರು 1938 ರಲ್ಲಿ ಶಿವಪುರ ಧ್ವಜ ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹ ಮಾಡಿ ಮಹಾರಾಜರ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಪಿತೂರಿ ನಡೆಸುತ್ತವೆ ಮತ್ತು ಇಂತಹದೇ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಘಟನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಧುರಾಶ್ವಥ್ಥ ಎಂಬಲ್ಲಿ ಧ್ವಜಾರೋಹಣ ನಡೆದು ಗೋಲಿಬಾರ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ದುರಂತವೆಂದರೆ ಈ ಗೋಲಿಬಾರ್ಗೆ ಮಹಾರಾಜರು ಮತ್ತು ದಿವಾನರು ಕಾರಣ ಎಂದು ಅಪಪ್ರಚಾರ ಮಾಡಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದರಿಂದ ಮಹಾರಾಜರು ತೀವ್ರವಾಗಿ ಘಾಸಿಗೊಳಗಾಗುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಗೊಂದಲಗಳ ನಡುವೆ ಅವರ ಬೆನ್ನೆಲುಬಂತಿದ್ದ ಅವರ ಸಹೋದರ ಕಂಠೀರವ ನರಸಿಂಹರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯರ್ರವರು ಆಕಾಲಿಕ ಮರಣಕ್ಕೀಡಾಗುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇದು ಮಹಾರಾಜರನ್ನು ಇನ್ನಷ್ಟು ಆಘಾತಕ್ಕೀಡುಮಾಡುತ್ತದೆ, ಇಂತಹ ಆಘಾತ ಒತ್ತಡಗಳು ಅಂತಿಮವಾಗಿ ಬಲಿತೆಗೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದು ಸ್ವತಃ ಮಹಾರಾಜರನ್ನೇ, ಜುಲೈ 31, 1940 ರಂದು ತೀವ್ರ ಹೃದಯಾಘಾತಕ್ಕೆ ಒಳಗಾದ ರಾಜಷರ್ಿ, ಪ್ರಜಾ ಚಿಂತಕ, ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಪರಿವರ್ತನೆಯ ರೂವಾರಿ ನಾಲ್ವಡಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣ ರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯರ್ರ ಪವಿತ್ರ ಚೇತನವು ಆಗಸ್ಟ್ 03 1940 ರಂದು ಅವರ ದೇಹವನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಆಗಲುತ್ತದೆ, ತನ್ಮೂಲಕ ತನ್ನ ಲಕ್ಷಾಂತರ ದೇಶವಾಸಿಗಳನ್ನು ತಬ್ಬಲಿ ಮಾಡುತ್ತದೆ.

ಆಡಳಿತ ಪ್ರಭೃತಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಭ್ರಷ್ಟಚಾರವೇ ಸದಾಚಾರವಾಗಿ, ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಕಳಕಳಿ, ಜನ ಸೇವೆ ಕಡಿಮೆಯಾಗುತ್ತಿರುವ ಈ ದಿನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ನಾಲ್ವಡಿಯವರಂತಹ ಮಾಹಾಚೇತನಗಳ ಅಗತ್ಯ ಈಗ ತುಂಬಾ ಇದೆ. ಇಂತಹ ಮಹಾಚೇತನ ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರ ಎದೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ತುಂಬಲಿ. ಅವರ ಉಜ್ವಲ ಇತಿಹಾಸ ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರ ಮನದಲ್ಲಿ ಅನುರಣಿಸಲಿ ಎಂಬುದಷ್ಟೇ ಸದ್ಯದ ಕಳಕಳಿ. ಕಡೆಯದಾಗಿ ಕವಿ ಹನಸೋಗೆ ಸೋಮಶೇಖರ್ರವರ ಕವನದ ಒಂದು ಸಾಲು ಮರೆಯೋದುಂಟೆ ಮೈಸೂರು ದೊರೆಯ ಶ್ರೀ ನಾಲ್ವಡಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯ…

ರಘೋತ್ತಮ ಹೊ.ಬ., ಚಾಮರಾಜನಗರ

Ho Ba Raghothama

ಮೊ: 9481189116

A Neglected Message From Dr. Ambedkar TO OBCs


An article was published recently in Marathi local magazine by Suhas Sonwane based on daily Loksatta. The following is a gist of it, translated from Marathi.

Mr. Babasaheb Gawande, the founder president of an Organization of Marathas from Bombay called “Maratha Mandir” was a close friend of Dr. Ambedkar. Mr. Gawande asked Dr. Ambedkar, who was then a Law Minister in Nehru Cabinet in 1947, for a message for the Maratha people to be published in the Souvenir of “Maratha Mandir”. Ambedkar declined saying that he had no relation with the Organization or the Marathas, but on persistent insistence, a message was given and published in the souvenir on 23rd March 1947. But unfortunately that special issue is not available in the office of the Organization today. But it was made available by Shri Vijay Survade recently and was undocumented till now.

Dr. Ambedkar said:


“This principle will apply not only to Marathas but all Backward Castes. If they do not wish to be under the thumb of others they should concentrate on two things, one is politics and the other is education.”


“One thing I like to impress on you is that the community can live in peace only when it has enough moral but indirect pressure over the rulers. Even if a community is numerically weak, it can keep its pressure over the rulers and create its dominance as is seen by the example of status of present day Brahmins in India. It is essential that such a pressure is maintained, as without it, the aims and policies of the state can not have proper direction, on which depends the development and progress of the state.”

“At the same time, it must not be forgotten that education is also important. Not only elementary education but higher education is most essential to keep ahead in competition of communities in their progress.”

“Higher education, in my opinion, means that education, which can enable you to occupy the strategically important places in State administration. Brahmins had to face a lot of opposition and obstacles, but they are overcoming these and progressing ahead.”

“I can not forget, rather I am sad, that many people do not realize that the Caste system is existing in India for centuries because of inequality and a wide gulf of difference in education, and they have forgotten that it is likely to continue for some centuries to come. This gulf between the education of Brahmins and non-Brahmins will not end just by primary and secondary education. The difference in status between these can only be reduced by higher education. Some non-Brahmins must get highly educated and occupy the strategically important places, which has remained the monopoly of Brahmins since long. I think this is the duty of the State. If the Govt. can not do it, institutions like “Maratha Mandir” must undertake this task.”

“I must emphasize one point here that middle class tries to compare itself with the highly educated and well placed and well to do community, whereas lower class all over the world has same fault. The middle class is not as liberal as upper one, and has no ideology as lower one, which makes it enemy of both the classes. The middle class Marathas of Maharashtra also have this fault. They have only two ways out, either to join hands with upper classes and prevent the lower classes from progress, and the other is to join hands with lower classes and both together destroy the upper class power coming against the progress of both. There was a time, they used to be with lower classes, now they seem to be with the upper class. It is for them to decide which way to go. The future of not only Indian masses but also their own future depends upon what decision the Maratha leaders take. As a matter of fact it all should be left to the skill and wisdom of the leaders of Marathas. But there seems to be a lack of such wise leadership among the Marathas.”

What he said about Marathas, equally applies to all OBCs, and still holds true after half a century. Dr. Ambedkar wrote much to educate the OBCs. It is only now that OBCs are awakening gradually. It must not be forgotten that the future of this country depends on them.

Dr. K. Jamanadas,

Dalits and English : Prof. Kancha Ilaiah

Kancha Ilaiah

The democratic nation proved that the fears of lower castes were wrong. They enrolled into regional language education in a big way.

One bright morning in 1960, when I was about eight, a newly appointed single teacher came to my house. My mother had already cleaned our courtyard called ‘vaakili’ and was sprinkling the dung water all around the courtyard. I was about to assist my elder brother in untying the cattle and go along with them for grazing. The teacher asked my mother to send me and my elder brother, who was about 10, to school. What she told him shocks every one of us in retrospect: “Ayyaa — if we send our children to school to read and write devil Saraswathi will kill them. That devil wants only brahmins and baniyas to be in that business.”



For centuries the so called goddess of education was against the dalit learning, reading and writing in any language. She was the goddess of education of only the high castes — mainly of the brahmins and baniayas. But the lower castes, who were denied of education treated her as a devil that would kill their children if they go to school.

The notion that she kills us was so deep that my grandmother fought with my mother for she was terrified of our imminent death, after I and my brother — not my sisters in any case — were sent to school. She used to pray Pochamma — our village goddess — that she should protect us from Saraswathi. Within a few months after we were sent to school my grandmother died of a future shock that we would not survive at all.

The democratic nation proved that those fears of lower castes were wrong. They got into regional language education in a big way. The goddess of Sanskrit education was adopted by lower castes as their goddess of regional language education too. Several school teachers across the country — many of them were OBC teachers — installed Saraswathi photo even in government schools, ignoring the fact there could be a muslim or a christian or any other minority students in the schools.

It is a known fact that there were several hindu teachers who made humiliating remarks about muslims and christians that they do not have goddess of education like Saraswathi and hence inferior in educational values. Saraswathi Shishumandirs have cropped up all over the country. In the ’70s and ’80s the aggressive ownership of ‘matru bhasha’ (mother tongue) theory and adoption of Saraswathi as goddess of Indian education had acquired a nationalist overtone. So militant was that nationalism that any opposition to installing Saraswathi’s portrait in the schools and colleges would only invite fist blows.

The right wing student organisations started installing her portrait in the university departments. The regional language departments made Saraswathi an educational-cultural symbol. Unmindful of the secular constitution of the nation even the university teachers — mainly of regional language departments sporting a visible saffron tilak on the forehead, began to treat others who operate outside that cultural norm as inferior.

A walking goddess

With the increase of women teachers in schools, colleges and universities Saraswathi was made almost a walking goddess in the nation. Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Guru Nanak whose life though revolved around education to all humans never appeared on the nationalist map of education.

While the majority OBCs, some dalits and tribals began to worship Saraswathi in regional educational centres — of course on the real pooja day the priest talked to her only in Sankrit, in spite of the fact, that under her sharp and well decorated nose that language died to a point no return, except that soliloquous priest nobody understands the slokas, she has become goddess of all Indian languages.

While the historical backwards were enjoying their new status of proximity to mythical Saraswathi, the living Saraswathi in the company of her cousin Laxmi shifted her real operative base to the other world, called colonial English world. The backward class people of India, as of now, have no entry so far.

The recent decision of the Central government to introduce English teaching from class one in all government schools will enable all the lower castes of India are going to enter into a new phase of English education. Though this method of English teaching does not take the dalit-bahujan and minority community children to the level of convent educated upper castes, it makes a new beginning of dreaming for egalitarian education in future.

English education is the key for adopting the modernist approach suitable to the globalised India. The upper castes have handled the contradiction between English and their native culture quite carefully. But when it comes to teaching English to the lower castes they have been proposing a theory that English will destroy the ‘culture of the soil’. Having realised the importance of English the Central government has taken a right decision.

However, the next stage should be moving towards total abolition of the gap between the private English medium schools and the government schools in terms of both infrastructure and teaching methods. Even about the language both the public and private schools must be brought under two language formula of teaching 50 per cent syllabus in English and the other half of the syllabus in the regional language across the country.

(The writer is D.Director, CSSEIP,  Maulana Azad National University, Hyderabad)

OBC-Why Marathas want reservation?


While Dalits take to the streets to demand the pulling down of an anti-Ambedkar page on Facebook, a far more serious threat to the community is on the rise as the dominant political caste, the Marathas, has reiterated its demand for reservation.

Though the Marathas (including the economically weaker Kunbi sub-caste) comprise only about 30% of Maharashtra’s population, their representation in the state assembly averages about 43%. The community also has a stranglehold on local political institutions like the panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads, which is further consolidated by its control over credit and sugar cooperatives and educational institutions.

Why then is the Maratha Arakshan Sangharsha Samiti (Mass), an umbrella organisation of 15 Maratha bodies, demanding reservation for Marathas? A closer look reveals that though the community is seeking quotas in education and employment, its main aim is to gain political reservation in due course.
Maratha leaders have sought 25% reservation in schools, colleges and jobs in the first phase, and later intend to demand political reservation and promotions in government service on caste basis.

Though a section of the community, mainly the one which depends on agriculture for sustenance, has been economically backward for many years, and its condition is deteriorating, socially and in terms of political clout, the caste is has been ascendant. Before the implementation of the panchayati raj system, and even afterwards, Marathas have been the only rulers in villages. It might be true that power is in the hands of a few community elite, but it is also true that all the power centres in the state are controlled by the Marathas.

Not only gram panchayats, but the entire co-operative movement in the state, from cooperative sugar factories to weaving mills, is dominated by the Marathas.

The Maratha demand took root after the lower castes were granted reservation in politics. Some say the community could not digest that a person from a lower caste can wield the power which has been its sole prerogative for generations.

Given the size of the Maratha vote bank, no political party can afford to ignore its demand, but due to its overbearing nature, none can publicly support it either. The parties, however, did try to lend implicit support in the hope that it would bring them extra votes, but the move backfired by creating a real threat of polarisation of non-Maratha communities. The political parties are now thus a proxy in the issue, preferring instead to work behind the facade of organisations like the Maratha Mahasangh and others.

The Dalit leaders, though wary, are not openly objecting to the demand. Their key contention is that the reservation should be given from a separate quota without affecting the reservation offered to the other backward classes (OBCs).

Senior Dalit leader and Dalit litterateur Arjun Dangale agrees that a section of the Maratha community is poor and doesn’t have land to cultivate. “The demand may be sound, but the existing reservation of other castes should not be curtailed,” he says.

“Since the chairmanships of local self-government arms, from the gram panchayat to zilla parishad, are reserved for each caste on rotation basis, the Maratha community will be able to wrest power for longer periods if it is denoted an OBC. Political reservation may be their hidden agenda,” Dangale says.

Another Dalit activist, professor Avinash Mahatekar, said that if the Marathas want reservation, it should be on the basis of economic backwardness. “The reservation allotted to OBCs is based on the Census of 1930, and is only 27%. However, the Mandal Commission’s finding is that 52% of the state’s population belongs to OBCs. If we consider the commission’s findings, the reservation for OBCs is not sufficient,” Mahatekar said. “But we still support the reservation for Marathas as many among them are backward,” he added.

On their part, Maratha leaders refute they are ultimately angling for political reservation. “The Marathas have been economically backward for many years and there are just a handful of families, about 150 to 200, who have all the power,” said Purushottam Khedekar, chief of Maratha Seva Sangh.

“The situation has changed in the last few years and the Marathas are not the rulers anymore. In fact, the community is not even interested in that role and wants to educate itself and get better jobs instead,” Khedekar said. “We don’t want reservation in politics. But our demand for reservation in education and government jobs stands,” he reiterated.

However, Vinayak Mete, MLC of the Nationalist Congress Party and a prominent Maratha leader, said, “The Marathas are backward in education which resulted in them having no face in the administration. There is opposition from various sections, but we are not for curtailing anyone else’s reservation. We want to be treated as a separate community in the reservation category,” said Mete.

Ultimately, Maratha leaders concede they have let their community down. “Though most of the educational institutions are controlled by Marathas, the leaders haven’t bothered about the community,” Mete says, and adds, “They never tried to think for the upliftment of the community, and that is why we are pushing for reservation.”
Though there is little to refute that this admission lies at the heart of the problem, what makes the plot more sinister is that these very leaders are now exploiting the backwardness of their community to tighten their grip on power.


Obc Reservation:Chiranjeevi-Congress tango makes OBCs happy


NEW DELHI: The prospect of Chiranjeevi embracing Congress has stirred party’s backward lobby which has been chaffing at the overwhelming Reddy dominance in recent years.

Ahead of the Praja Rajyam Party founder’s meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday, Congress was abuzz that Jaganmohan Reddy’s rebellion has forced the party to recalibrate its strategy of staking all on one social group.

It has stoked the ‘Reddy vs others’ debate in Congress with backward groups the most enthused. They feel readjustment of Reddy clout would inevitably drive up the OBC influence.

The actor’s appeal across caste groups in Coastal region and his grip over the Kapu caste gives him the muscle to emerge a satrap in AP Congress, many say at the cost of Reddys.

The OBC lobby sees it as a legup for itself. The optimism is unmistakable as Kapus across the party are identifying with Chiru as if it was a monolith. The fact is that Kapus in the Coastal are forward castes as against their brethern in Telangana.

In a Congress-PRP merger, the megastar’s symbolism would be of non-Reddy muscle in the party. Chiru’s undenied appeal, backed by a strong caste spread across the Coastal region and, in a broad sense outside, shores up his political significance.

The Congress attempt at balancing Reddys with others follows the rebellion by YSR’s son. Congress feels that after installing a Reddy as CM, it can afford to consolidate support outside. A similar bid earlier would have been a red rag to the Reddys.

It has even forced a rethink in the OBC-heavy Telangana lobby which viewed party’s warming up to Chiru as a vote against statehood. Apart from Venkataswamy who attacked Sonia Gandhi, the region gave a silent welcome to the party’s partnership with PRP.

The Chiru-Congress tango has provoked Jaganmohan. The Reddy rebel slammed Congress MP V Arun Kumar as a traitor for making public a post-Lok Sabha letter in which his father YSR asked Sonia Gandhi to make Chiru a minister at the Centre.

Kumar on Saturday retaliated telling Jaganmohan, “I never imagined there would develop a deep distrust between us just because you plan to float a new party leaving Congress and I continue in the same.”

Congress too dismissed suggestions that exploring ties with PRP betrayed nerves over Jagan. AICC spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said, “The state government stands strong and talking to allies is not a sign of weakness but a mark of maturity of government.”

Read more: Chiranjeevi-Congress tango makes OBCs happy – The Times of India