Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan. So said US President John F. Kennedy following the 1961 Bay of Pigs (Cuba) fiasco. Following the Modi-led BJP’s decisive victory there are of course the usual claimants of paternity rights but we shall leave that to the Sangh Parivar and the political pundits to sort out. On the side of the defeated, particularly the bahujan parties, there has been a deafening silence. This
is where FORWARD Press steps in from this issue onwards.
Our regular columnist Prem Kumar Mani begins by analysing where the bahujan parties went wrong and then goes on to plot the outlines of what truly bahujan politics should and could look like. In his assessment of both the victory of the Modi-led BJP as well as of the defeat of the bahujan parties he refuses to wear any tinted goggles – neither saffron nor green nor any shade of red – just an unwavering Phule-Ambedkar perspective. He certainly does not spare the Dalitbahujan political leaders. This is in keeping with what JNU professor Vivek Kumar wrote: FP is unique in the Bahujan media space in critically evaluating even these leaders. Then again you might not agree with Mani’s qualified hopes for the Modi-led BJP – “If it rises above the ideology of Savarkar-Hedgewar and associates itself with the Phule- Ambedkarite ideology, that will not only benefit it but also the nation.” – but in the months to come FP will carry diverse analyses and proposals for a new, improved Bahujan politics.
In his Cover Story, Mani frames the last elections against “the heady Indira hatao days of 1971”. I would frame Mayawati’s visit to the families of the two Bahujan (MBC) cousin sisters gang raped and left hanging in Badaun, UP, with another episode in Indira Gandhi’s long political innings: Belchi 1977. In that year, following her resounding defeat after the Emergency of 1975-77, she bounced back from the political wilderness by going out of her way to visit the families of the nine Dalits burnt alive by an upper caste mob. She flew to Patna, then was driven first by jeep, then by tractor and, finally, when the roads were impassable (because of the rains), she rode on elephant back into Belchi village. Today, when the defeated Rahul Gandhi rushes to visit the Badaun “Dalit” (as originally reported) families, it is not news; it is expected of him. When her imperial Bahujan majesty, Mayawati, knocked off her high elephant, helicopters in the following day, it is news. Whether it will mark a Belchi moment in her political career history only can tell.
Whatever the political future of leaders like Mulayam Singh or Laloo Prasad or Mayawati or even Modi, what matters most to us is the future of the nation of India. In our ongoing series ‘Making India A Great Nation’ this time Vishal Mangalwadi answers the question How the Bible made India a Developing Nation, showing how the roots of our republic go beyond and deeper than the Constitution. At a time when the new Modi government has already signalled its intent to rewrite history (through saffron lens) we all the more need to know the truth of the history of modern India outside the Congress sanitized version or the Hindutva version in the making.
Published in the July 2014 issue of the Forward Press magazine
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