Counter revolution, the Judiciary and the Left
Counter revolution has begun and sadly the official Left, the CPI, the CPM and often times the CPI-ML as well, wily nily appear party to the machinations of counter revolutionaries. In India it is the upper caste Indian judiciary which is leading the counter revolution.
Counter revolution, by its very nature is an attempt, whether it succeeds or eventually fails, to undo the revolution. The awakening of the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) and the Dalits, and their consequent assertion and eventual take over of state power in the traditionally regressive states of the Indo-Gangetic plains, namely UP and Bihar, following the implementation of the Mandal Commission report granting 27 per cent reservation to the OBCs by the V P Singh government, in August 1990, was a defining moment in the country’s social and political history. Lalu Prasad Yadav, who grew up rearing his family cattle, but had succeeded in becoming the Bihar chief minister just a little before V P Singh’s momentous decision, understood the importance of Mandal announcement best and launched a kind of social and political revolution in Bihar, involving all the socially disadvantaged sections of Bihar’s highly casteised feudal society. Admittedly he squandered it later through his complacence and by narrowing his appeal to his Yadav community and the Muslims.
Nevertheless in those early years, Lalu would go out to the villages at night, sit with the poor villagers and share their concerns. He would summon fire brigade to give a bath to the poor living on the pavements of Patna, he expedited the construction of houses for the poor under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) primarily a central government scheme. But he was also considerably lax in governance and even while publicly humiliating the upper caste officers, who resented a Yadav come to rule them, trying hard to resist his authority, he paid little attention to the officialese, which is what he is paying a price for today, no doubt.
Lalu apart, neighbouring UP has also seen a social churning whereby if it is not a Mulayam Singh Yadav, it has to be a Mayawati. Even Kalyan Singh would do, for despite his BJP moorings, he is a strong votary of OBC reassertion. The OBC effect has quietly spread to MP and Rajasthan as well where no Sunderalal Patwa, no V K Saklecha or the son-in-law of Rajput Bhairon Singh Shekhawat can aspire to occupy the chief minister’s chair anymore, resulting in the ruling castes of India thronging our cities, clenching their fists and gnashing their teeth, to undo this revolution.
But how do they do it? They don’t have the numbers. When Mandal came, the RSS, the vanguard of counter revolution immediately thought up a brilliant idea, of fuelling the Ram Janambhoomi movement, lying dormant for a while during the National Front Government supported from one side by the BJP. This had an immediate desired impact in sofar as large sections of backwards and even Dalits were temporarily convinced that the Mussalman “Babur ki auladon” was the real enemy and to fight him and to extricate the holy birthplace of Lord Rama, it was necessary for all Hindus to unite. It worked for a while in UP and other parts of North-West India, including Gujarat, Maharshtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where the counter revolutionary forces already had some influence, but not for long. In Bihar, though since Lalu had activated the social churning, counter revolutionaries were totally routed, despite Advani’s famous Rath Yatra.
However the counter revolution has found a new leader in the form of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, ironically himself a Ghanchi OBC. After long years the RSS has discovered a OBC, whose coat tails it can hold to lead the armies of counter revolutionaries, a Ziaul Haq or a Suharto for India through whom it hopes to successfully defeat the Mandal revolution. This OBC is also so different from former saffron backward mascots like Kalyan Singh and Uma Bharti, who wore their OBC status on their sleeve and were proudly committed to the OBC cause. After all they had been projected at a time when Lalu, Mulayam and Mayawati were at the crest of their popularity. On the other hand, Modi’s USP lies in screaming from the rooftops against identity politics. Now suddenly the BJP leaders are whispering in our ears that Modi is also an OBC. Earlier, unlike Kalyan and Uma, he was far too embarrassed to ever mention it publicly.
The forces of counter revolution have been trying to subvert the revolution for over two decades now, but while they did not quite succeed in overturning the revolution, they have been consistently working at it and slowly nibbling at the very basis of the revolution. Also the fault lay with the mascots of Mandal revolution who lacked the imagination to grow beyond the job reservation issue. In effect they lacked the intellectual input to counter the counter revolution. Yet every time there is a move by any government, even for its narrow political ends, to spread the benefits to other deprived sections, there is an uproar by the people who have been enjoying the benefits of their caste superiority through serfdom and feudalism for thousands of years. And where do they go? To the courts! Thus our courts are behaving as the active instruments of counter revolution in undoing all that has been achieved by the disadvantaged sections in these last two decades or more. The latest is the apex court diktat to the Central Government to set aside within three months, three per cent quota for the disabled. A very noble gesture indeed, except two riders. First, it clearly states that it would not affect the
50 per cent ceiling for reservation by the Supreme Court when it conceded in 1991-92 the Centre’s prerogative to give 27.5 per cent reservation to the OBCs in Central employment. Thus in effect the Supreme Court judgment implies that the three per cent for the disabled be taken away from the 27.5 per cent OBC quota, and reduce the OBC quota to 24.5 per cent thereby. You have reservation for the disabled and many others, but remove the 50 per cent ceiling.
More importantly the Supreme Court has taken upon itself the task of legislatures and the executive, which are the only competent bodies under our Constitution to frame laws and implement them. Not the courts, not even the Supreme Court. But then in these last few years, with Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Baba Ramdev, Asaram Bapu and such others whipping up a frenzy through their followers, belonging largely to the same urban upper caste upwardly mobile classes, against this rather bumbling and indecisive government, it has lost the will and the popular support to take on the blatantly unconstitutional diktats.
Questions are already being raised about the caste prejudice of the courts in convicting Lalu Yadav and Rasheed Masood, while providing relief to Jayalalitha and even a confirmed hard core criminal and rogue like Sushil Sharma of the Naina Sahni murder case fame. The latest assault is from the Patna High Court which has let off all the 26 Bhumihar Ranvir Sena accused in the Laxmanpur Bathe killing of 58 Dalits in Bihar on December 1, 1997, confirming the apprehension that the forces of counter revolution are led with impunity by our courts, who are out with a vengeance to set the clock back in time. The two judge bench of Justice V N Sinha and A K Lal absolving all the 26 accused stated in their judgment, “We are of the view that the prosecution witnesses are not reliable and so all the convicted persons are entitled for benefit of doubt.”
But what is the role of the Left? It is currently planning a rally in the Capital ostensibly to mobilize “secular” forces against RSS/BJP/Modi. It has invited Mulayam Singh Yadav for the rally, whose inaction and implicit collusion with the BJP in recent Muzaffarnagar riots, is responsible for thousands of hapless Muslims still languishing in camps away from their homes. The list of invitees also includes Naveen Patnaik who led a BJP-BJD coalition government for close to a decade, before he discarded the BJP as a spent force and may embrace the saffron brigade any day again. It is hoping that N Chandrababu Naidu will also attend, before he goes over again to the Modicamp. But most of all it has invited Nitish Kumar, who was with the BJP till only the other day and may again go back after the polls, if need be. The only one who has been deliberately and consciously kept out by the Left is Lalu Yadav’s party the RJD, the only party, apart from Left which has never compromised on secularism. What is this but a naked display of upper caste bias of the so-called communists? How can the official Left fight counter revolution. If anything, this way it is only aiding counter revolution.