By Prof Shrawan Deore
Test of Kanshi Ramji’s Jati Jodo (Caste Unification) Pattern,
Lohia’s Socialist Pattern and Periyar’s Phuleist Non-Brahmin Pattern
Against the Brahmin-Non-Brahmin Ideology
The present times demand answers to the question, ‘Eradication of caste or revival of the caste system of a higher level?’ The responsibility for answering this question lies with the left, communist-socialist, progressive and Phule-Ambedkarites of this country. The Left (Communist) parties never accepted the challenge of the caste system, they always kept themselves away from the caste annihilation camp. Therefore, they would never be able to shoulder the responsibility of answering the above question. Among the socialists, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia had made great strides in the anti-caste camp.
Dr Lohia, in alliance with erstwhile veteran OBC leader and sacrificial idol Chandapuri, had successfully formulated a theoretical framework for the unification of class struggle and caste struggle. His slogan “Pichda Pave Sau Mein Saath”, which means the “Backwards would have 60% out of 100%”, was the bugle of the fight towards the eradication of caste. It was from this battle in 1967, that the first political battle was successful. Then, under the leadership of the Samajwadi Party, Ram Naresh Yadav became the first OBC Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh. Karpuri Thakur became the second OBC Chief Minister in Bihar in 1970. Jawaharlal Nehru had wrapped up the Kalelkar Commission in 1955 and tried to suppress the possible caste-led struggle led by OBCs. However, Lohia, in alliance with Chandapuri, gave impetus to the fight against caste under the leadership of OBC. This struggle led to the formation of OBC leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav, who brought the Mandal era to reality and led OBC-centric politics in the country.
However, as the era of the Mandal Commission was approaching, the Brahmin counter-revolutionary camp opposing Mandal Commission brought up a cultural conflict in the Ram Temple. The Socialist OBC leaders could not counter this cultural conflict, as Lohia himself was a devotee of Ram-Krishna. The Mandala yug, which emerged only from social and political struggle, stood on a fragile ground without a cultural struggle. The Brahmin camp took full advantage of this situation and a counter-revolution took place in 2014. We have seen that the sooner social and political struggles succeed, the sooner it fails. The cultural struggle lengthy route but it strengthens the anti-caste camp from the ground up and paves the way for socio-political struggle.
Hon’ble Kanshi Ram Saheb had the historic responsibility of creating such a counter-cultural struggle in North India, as he was calling himself a Phule Ambedkarite. Phule and Ambedkar gave great symbols like Baliraja, Shambuk, Karna, and Eklavya to fight against the Brahmin symbols like Ram-Krishna. Kanshi Ram Saheb could take out processions of such ‘non-Brahmin symbols’ through Delhi to Lucknow in North India. Through this, the one-sided Brahminization of Bahujans in the name of Rama could have been stopped to some extent, but Kanshi Ram Saheb was neither a Phuleite nor an Ambedkarite! He aimed to gain political power by allying to only two or three castes. For this, he sometimes made a one-sided alliance with the Congress, sometimes with the BJP and sometimes straightway with the Brahmin caste. We are already witnessing the after-effects of that today.
However, during that period, we had attempted to build cultural struggle in the Dhule-Nandurbar district of Maharashtra to the best of our capabilities. Under the leadership of a well-known intellectual of Oriental Studies, the great Indologist Comrade Sharad Patil’s Satyashodhak Communist Party, processions of Sita, Shambuk and Eklavya symbols were taken out in Dhule city and slogans were announced in their honour.
Mahatma Jyoti Rao Phule was the first one to propose the theory of the cultural struggle for the annihilation of caste! Using the theory of historical materialism, he proved that, after the fall of Baliraja, the history of this country is a history of Brahmin and non-Brahmin struggles. He made a scientific analysis of Dashavatara for this and promulgated the cultural struggle of Shambuk-Ravan against Rama and Karna-Eklavya against Krishna. The Brahmin camp has been consistently victorious for the last 5,000 years, in this one-sided cultural struggle, but in absence of this cultural struggle, the non-Brahmin camp has been living a life of defeat/humiliation.
However, Tamil Nadu is an exception to this. The cultural movement started in 1924 under the leadership of Sami Periyar and was successfully realized in the political revolution of 1967. As a result of this, in 1967, Anna Durai became the first OBC Chief Minister in Tamil Nadu. From there, the reservation limit was increased and taken up to 69 per cent.
The first revolutionary Constitutional Amendment was brought in 1951, to preserve reservations and the second amendment for putting the reservation obtained in the ninth schedule. These two revolutionary provisions were possible only because of Tamil Nadu. Because Tamil Nadu had been brought to be a ‘non-Brahmin nation state’ through a long cultural struggle. It is unknown whether Sami Periyar had read Mahatma Phule, but he tied atheism to Phule’s ideology and put forth a distinct ‘Brahmin-non-Brahmin ideology’.
Mahatma Phule’s followers fell short in making Maharashtra a ‘non-Brahmin nation state’, because at a very crucial moment they fell for Gandhi-ism, and surrendered to Congress’ Brahminism. But around the very same time, in 1925, Sami Periyar kicked Brahmin Congress and declared war on Brahmin culture. As a result, the (Madras) province of Tamil Nadu became a ‘non-Brahmin nation state’. The first and last abode of Brahmin is a temple. Tamil Nadu is the only state to legally expel Brahmins from places of worship. One such piece of evidence proves that Tamil Nadu is a ‘non-Brahmin nation state’.
However, this does not mean that the caste system in Tamil Nadu has been destroyed. It is not possible to eradicate the caste system from Tamil Nadu alone by keeping it intact in the rest of India. For that, the OBC leadership of Tamil Nadu will have to come forward and lead the fight against caste at the national level. The OBC leadership from Tamil Nadu will have to take immediate further action at the national level.
- Although Brahminism has completely taken over in North India, ‘non-Brahminism’ is still alive to some extent, in the southern states. To make it stand firm and gain ground the “Sita, Shambuk, Ravana and Baliraja Pride Marches” should be started in southern states under the leadership of OBC leadership of Tamil Nadu.
- Books and other materials based on the thoughts and works of Sami Periyar must be translated into all the other Indian languages and sent to the respective states at the earliest.
- In Maharashtra we have established ‘Phule Ambedkar University, and have been conducting state-level examinations on progressive writings from Maharashtra. On similar grounds, by establishing “Sami Periyar Phule Ambedkar University”, if such state-level examinations are conducted in different languages across the country the younger generation would come to know the thoughts and works of Sami Periyar.
- In every state some honest OBC workers are working hard. But the OBC leaders from various political parties are obstructing their work. To encourage such activists, the Tamil Nadu government should honour them and stand with them in solidarity.
- A new ‘non-Brahmin Party’ can be formed at the national level under the leadership of OBCs by bringing together sincere OBC activists from each state.
- Due to the language barrier the rest of the country was cut off from Tamil Nadu. Now, by making good use of the Hindi language, Tamil Nadu should be connected with the rest of the country and lead the anti-caste non-Brahmin revolution.
The above action plan/program should be taken up immediately to lead the anti-caste movement at the national level to establish a truly egalitarian ‘Bali Rashtra’ in the country. Thanks!
(Summary of the Speech delivered by Prof. Shrawan Deore at Social Justice Conference held on 1st May 2022 in Chennai, Tamil Nādu)
Speaker – Prof. Shrawan Deore,
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