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Fateh Bahadur Singh: ‘Ringing bells in temples won’t help Bahujan become engineers, doctors, IAS, IPS’

RJD MLA Fateh Bahadur Singh says, ‘The very idea and concept of infusing life into a stone idol smacks of superstition. The Manuvadi forces and society have been using superstition as an instrument to exploit the Bahujan’

Fateh Bahadur Singh, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA from the Dehri Assembly Constituency in Rohtas district of Bihar, has taken a vow to take copies of Gulamgiri and Sachhi Ramayan to every home and has been working to fulfil it. On 7 January, he held a well-attended event in Dehri to mark the birth anniversary of Savitribai Phule. Massive publicity was given to the programme in the run-up.  

Fateh Bahadur had also got a banner printed with quotes from Savitribai Phule, strung outside the government accommodation of former chief minister Rabri Devi in Patna. The banner caused ripples in Bihar media and was likened to voicing opposition to the Ram temple. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders used the issue to attack the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).  

Fateh Bahadur Singh said that the thinking of Emperor Ashoka, Gautam Buddha and Jotirao-Savitribai Phule were part of his DNA and he has been disseminating it since 2005. “All these great personalities laid emphasis on education and believed that education paves the way to progress and change. Education opens the door to opportunities.” 

RJD MLA Fateh Bahadur Singh pays floral tributes to Savitribai Phule on her birth anniversary on 3 January 2024

He says that temples and mutts are the biggest roadblocks in the path to progress and change. “They are the purveyors of superstition and discrimination. The Bahujan, who form 90 per cent of the people, can progress only after they break free from temples and mutts.”  

Fateh Bahadur Singh says, “The very idea and concept of infusing life into a stone idol smacks of superstition. The Manuvadi forces and society have been using superstition as an instrument to exploit the Bahujan. India has a Constitution of its own that mandates how the country will be run. This Constitution defines the rights and duties of all the citizens. But the [the author of] Manusmriti does not believe in equality. It prescribes caste-based discrimination. It declares some castes as high and others as low. The Bahujan are no longer ready to put up with this situation. Practising discrimination and peddling superstition are crimes and prison is the proper place for those involved in them. But Manusmriti accords respected positions in temples and mutts to such people. This amounts to killing the soul of the Indian Constitution and no aware citizen would tolerate this.” 

A banner outside former chief minister Rabri Devi’s official residence in Patna. Fateh Bahadur Singh quotes Savitribai Phule, “Temple means the path to mental slavery and school means the path to light. When the temple bell rings, it tells us that we are marching towards superstition, hypocrisy, idiocy and ignorance. When the school bell rings, it tells us that we are marching towards logic, knowledge, scientific thinking and light. You have to decide which road you want to take.”

He says, “The Uttar Pradesh government had banned Periyar Lalai Singh Yadav’s book Sachchi Ramayan but the Supreme Court lifted the ban arguing that all the characters of the Ramayana are fictional. Jotirao Phule’s Gulamgiri exposes the pain and distress of Indian society and the discrimination that informs it. Reading it inspires one to work for annihilating the Manuvadi social order. It gives an individual the confidence to break the societal chains.”   

He says, “The donation boxes kept in temples are ATMs of Brahmins. Driven by superstition, people put their money into these boxes and that money is used by Brahmins for their own comfort and wellbeing. The Brahmins insulted India’s indigenous inhabitants by describing them as demons. The original inhabitants formed ‘ganas’ to protect themselves and their communities. They were protectors. But the Brahmins insulted and despised them.” 

The MLA says, “The Bahujan won’t become engineers and doctors or join the IAS or the IPS by ringing bells in temples. Only higher and quality education can help them. Emperor Ashoka, Gautam Buddha and the Phules – all talked of the need for education and for opening educational institutions. But the custodians of temples want every person to become superstitious. Superstitions and campaigns to promote superstitions are undermining our democracy and democratic values.”  

Fateh Bahadur Singh is doing his best to ensure that books like Sachchi Ramayan and Gulamgiri are read in every home. He is also distributing copies of these books himself. He says that his endeavours have brought about positive results and people are becoming aware of their rightful place in society and the respect due to them.

 (Translation from the original Hindi in Amrish Herdenia)

Forward Press also publishes books on Bahujan issues. Forward Press Books sheds light on the widespread problems as well as the finer aspects of Bahujan (Dalit, OBC, Adivasi, Nomadic, Pasmanda) society, culture, literature and politics. Contact us for a list of FP Books’ titles and to order. Mobile: +917827427311, Email: info@forwardmagazine.in)

About The Author

Birendra Yadav

Birendra Yadav is a senior journalist who has held key positions at Hindustan, Prabhat Khabar and several other dailies. These days, he publishes “Birendra Yadav News”, a sought-after weekly in Patna’s political circles

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