India’s sociopolitical scenario is at crossroads. Many reason ranging from historical context to contemporary situation form its base. Our nation will enter its 70th year of independence but in this independent nation aazadi from few discriminatory inhumane stigma still remains a dream to be achieved. There has been deep tectonic shift in functioning of Democratic Republic of India ruled by a Government which enjoys majority in Parliament but has been unleashing its Majoritarian character of rule via policies which is pushing the marginalized section to periphery of development. In this scenario, a concrete model of “Participatory Politics” is need of the hour against the idea of One Culture-One Leader-One Nation. JAI BHIM- LAL SALAAM is one such idea which came into limelight after the JNU incident. The movement saw slogan like- “Marx-Ambedkar-Bhagat Singh, We shall fight We shall win” In common man’s view this may be considered merely as a slogan but it’s an idea which has it’s own historical significance and currently demands broader alliance with its application in nation’s sociopolitical sphere.
RIFT BETWEEN CASTE AND CLASS CONCEPT There has been severe and vigorous clash among two sections of Indian politics i.e., the Indian Left and the Ambedkarite Movement. The former sticked to class struggle and the later remained confined to caste oppression. Ambedkar had deep contradictions with Communist leaders of Maharashtra as most of them had Brahminical background. According to Historian Gail Omvedt, In 1930’s Baba Saheb did work closely with Communists rallying 20,000 peasants across Maharashtra against Khoti system. He considered “Caste as an Enclosed Class”. http://www.countercurrents.org/teltumbde160812.htm Ambedkar had reservations with Communists but was not against Marxism as he went forward to compare his Guru Gautam Buddha with Karl Marx. He also expressed his happiness when Joseph Stalin took over as head of USSR stating, “Communist regime could accept a son of a Cobbler as head of the state”. He always used class or “VARG” in Marathi while referring to caste. In 1952, he wrote to Dadasaheb Gaikwad, his close associate, “I am inclined to think that our people may join the Communists if they think that can give immediate relief.” Indian Left too had bitter understanding about Ambedkar of not being anti-imperial, being a reformist and not a revolutionary. Ambedkar’s effort to form Independent Labour Party was ridiculed by Communists. Communists were anti-imperial whereas Ambedkar had an anti-caste stand. We should understand, “Imperialism in India did not have history of centuries/thousands years but casteism was ingrained and was culturally rooted. British rulers used the brahminical base to deliver fruits of exploitation which did create a big misunderstanding among nation’s political class. Nation’s internal imperialism of Caste hierarchy was overlooked. B.R Ambedkar’s analysis is much more realistic when compared to contemporary conditions which clearly depict casteism as primary opponent and capitalism/imperialism as next. Presently India is becoming bed of inequality mainly based on caste as a recognizing factor.
JAI BHIM–LAL SALAAM, NATURAL ALLIES –Despite bitterness with Ambedkerite perception politics and policies of Left Parties when voted to power in states of Kerala, West Bengal, and Tripura have benefitted the lower sections of society which were both Caste and Class wise were vulnerable and far for idea of egalitarian society. This gets proved when there were land reforms in these two states. Over 30.1 lakh farmers got benefited from the land reforms programme, 55% of whom belong to dalit or adivasi households. http://www.cpimwb.org.in/upload_all_docs/pdf/lf_govt/L.F._Govt._and_Economic_Development_of_W.B..pdf In Kerala the LDF government did justice to SC, STs by empowering them in overall manner which included health benefits, education, housing and land scheme, etc. https://medium.com/@CMOKerala/dalit-adivasi-development-policy-kerala-communist-marxist-left-government-36cfb981c9a2 In Tripura, the literacy rate of SC doubled in span of 10 years. Scholarships to pre matric SC students were in action to educate the community. https://cpim.org/problems-of-dalits The atrocities on Dalit in these states were the least with an urgent appeal, struggle against Caste oppression. In 1940s in Thanjavur, Communists did touch the caste dynamics but it was not enough to tackle the issue. Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradiation Front (TNUEF) in Tamil Nadu played an optimistic role in favour of the oppressed. CPI(M) in Karnataka confronted discrimination against untouchability in a bold manner. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/150805/nation-current-affairs/article/untouchability-prevails-karnataka-temples-g-v-srirama-reddy Above mentioned political will has a lacuna and sustainability when it comes to historical context. The idea of “LAND TO THE TILLER” originally has been acted upon by Indian Marxists in nation’s political landscape via land reforms though much awaits from their side in favour of the most exploited. Unfortunately Dalit leaders like Ramvilas Paswan, Ramdas Athawle feel privileged by sitting in lap of BJP and RSS.
FOR INDIAN LEFT CASTEISM MUST BE FIRST, IMPERIALISM NEXT Mainstream Communist parties must understand a concept, in India’s socio-economic structure the Dalits (Tribals, Umtouchables and Sudras along with a section of minorities) form the Proletariat or Servile class. They are the lowest paid and even unpaid work-force in every sector be it agriculture, cottage industry, leather industry or in organized sector of production or service. Their surplus-labour is exploited by ruling class to add shine to lavish life of upper section of society. The basic understanding of Indian Marxists was flawed one. Considering India as a Capitalist state with proletarian revolution at its door, Communists made trade union as subject of emphasis with Industrial workers as tool of revolution ignoring the peasantry in an agrarian economy. In 1979, EMS Nambodiripad placed concrete views on caste oppression considering it as part of class struggle. Practically it took more than four decades for Marxists to understand caste issue. This kept Marxists aloof from rural part of nation where caste was the most dominant factor.
QUESTIONS AND CORRECTIONS – Many regions which demographically possess SCs and STs in majority do not have Marxists as a major political force. Why? Above mentioned analysis is the most fundamental reason for Communist parties’ failure to expand its reach beyond three states. Oppressed section of society belongs to lower Caste and lower Class needs an acceptance. The hindi-heartland remains far from reach of Indian left and will tend to be so until and unless Caste factor is just considered as Identity Politics, until and unless the Caste question is taken as a social problem. Economic condition and Caste oppression need to be correlated. Why there is no Dalit representative in Politburo of nation’s largest left party? Why its Bengal leadership is comprised of leaders with high caste? These mistakes demand correction. In organizational structure of Left parties, inclusion of Dalit community is need of the hour. This step will empower them with a feeling of dignity and social respect. The Brahminical set up in party must end to establish a social cohesiveness. In this context, Indian Marxists must recollect and enact on speech by V.I.Lenin in 1919 in which he said, “In this respect you are confronted with a task which has not previously confronted the Communists of the world: relying upon the general theory and practice of communism, you must adapt yourselves to specific conditions such as do not exist in the European countries; you must be able to apply that theory and practice to conditions in which the bulk of the population are peasants, and in which the task is to wage a struggle against medieval survivals and not against capitalism”. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/nov/22.htm Even the Chinese Communist Party advised Indian Communists to give a head to head fight against Caste system. Communist must shed their bitter analysis on Ambedkar accepting dynamics of Caste and Class. Why there is feeling of visceral animosity from side of Ambedkarite organizations towards Indian Left despite successful implementation of Land reforms? Ambedkarite movement need to follow the template move of what B.R.Ambedkar’s grandson, Prakash Ambedkar did try to do in Maharashtra politics. That very attempt deserves replication. Hate against Indian Communists should be sidelined to confront results of Communalism and Capitalism. Ambedkarite movement need to recognize the visionary potential of the Indian Marxists. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Material-issues-are-at-the-heart-of-Dalit-politics-says-Jignesh-Mewani/article14995352.ece Marxists polity has given concrete result in emancipation of SCs, STs, though a lot remains to be done socially.
It’s high time to realize the reality of our nation which solely targets the working class section who also are victims of caste oppression. Ambedkarite movement and Left Movement with their respective slogans of JAI BHIM-LAL SALAAM need to act together against the hate regime of Hindutva brigade which has unleashed economic terrorism hand in hand with physical atrocities against the “Indian Proletariat”. https://www.telegraphindia.com/1160917/jsp/nation/story_108717.jsp
India awaits a new spectrum of “POLITICS OF-FOR-BY-THE UNDERPRIVILEDGED” whose bed will be having infusion of principles of Marxism with methodology of Ambedkar against insane inhuman tradition of chaturvarna. JAI BHIM-LAL SALAAM deserves to be a decisive element in nation’s sociopolitical condition going beyond the electoral logic leading to mass upsurge. The only force which can counter and confront the right wing politics is the Indian Left hand in hand with B.R. Ambedkar’s fight against social discrimination that too with proper application of both Caste oppression & Class Struggle dynamics. Genuine and Complete independence from casteism, untouchability with liberation from bonded labour, economic distability can surely be achieved with idea of Jai Bhim and Lal Salaam. I conclude with optimistic words of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar- “If the socialists wish to make socialism a definite reality, then they must recognize that the problem of social reform is fundamental and that for them there is no escape from it” – 1936, Annhiliation of Caste.