Often, there are many small and big Charges of Corrupt Practices against some of the prominent SC&ST Dalit Leaders. The Accusation of Corruption, includes –

1. By-Passing the Rules;
2. Violating the Laws of the Land;
3. Not following the Norms and Procedures;
4. Indulging in general Corrupt Practices;
5. Taking Bribes in Cash and Kind;
6. Patronising the Rich;
7. Purchasing Cars;
8. Accumulating Wealth;
9. Acquiring Lands and Homes;
10. Educating Children in Big or Exclusive Schools and Colleges Abroad;
11. Developing a big Taste to Dress Nicely;
12. Frequent Shopping in big upmarket Places;
13. Fancy for Good Comfortable Luxurious Life;
14. Patronising big Clubs, and eating out in costly Restaurants and Five Star Hotels;
15. Visits or Holidaying Abroad;
16. Accepting the Hospitality of Business Individuals, Industrial Houses, Diplomats, NRIs, Foreigners, MNCs, other Famous and Wealthy Individuals, Smugglers, Mafia, and Individuals of Dubious Character and Suspect Reputation;
17. Seeking different Women, or Men.

Many SC&ST Dalit Leaders, often get accused of Corruption and Corrupt Practices. Some get involved in Dubious Deals and Suspected Favouritisms, causing immense Losses to the Govt, and Damages to the Public and Society.

In a few cases, some dominant caste hindu individuals, political activists, party leaders, and even the Govts, Police and particularly CBI, appear to be systematically going against SC&ST Leaders. Some Ministers and Chief Ministers, are being so harassed from different directions, with endless complaints and acquisitions, series of court cases against them challenging their actions and decisions etc, to prevent them working, and even in discharging their duties. Every decision of theirs are questioned, adversely commented upon, and colourfully written in News Papers, Magazines and Journals. These only reflect the intolerance of the dominant caste hindus, officials, Govts, courts, press, media and society.

The biggest victims, of these fishing expeditions by the caste hindus, are the SC&ST Dalit BC and Minority Leaders. At times, even dominant caste hindu leaders also get into big Problems, and are immensely harassed, when they go against the brahmin and dominant caste hindu interests. Some classic examples are – 

1. VP Singh, as PM, for trying to Implement the Mandal Commission Recommendations,

2. Arjun Singh, as HRD Minister, for trying to make Higher and Professional Education available to SC&ST Dalits, Backwards and Minorities,

3. Anbumani Ramadoss, as the Union Minister of Health and Family Planning, for trying to reign in anti-SC&ST, anti-BC, anti-Minority, anti-Reservation, anti-Govt Medical Students, Doctors and Directors of Medical Institutions.

Often harassed amongst the SC&ST Dalit Leaders are –

1. Kum Mayawati, BSP Supremo

2. Sardar Buta Singh, when he was the Governor of Bihar.

3. Ram Vilas Paswan, just for dressing decently; for pushing Reservations for BCs, as per the Mandal Recommendations, when he was Labour and Welfare Minister; and as Railway Minister, for giving opportunities to SC&ST Officers also as per the already existing Govt Policies to go for Foreign Trainings, Visits Abroad, Postings and Deputations Abroad, Foreign Assignments etc; and most importantly for Protecting SC&ST Officers from Denial of Promotions to Higher Posts, Superseding them Unnecessarily and Unreasonably; and Blocking their Promotions when they become due and eligible in their turn on the first year, or second year, and also on the third year, just to bring them down in seniority, to ensure that they don’t become the Principal Heads of Departments – PHODs, Additional GMs, GMs, Members and Chairman of the Railway Board;

4. Sibu Soren, as Union Minister, and also as the CM of Jharkhand.
Amongst all, the Targeting, and constant continuous and relentless witch-hunting of Kum Mayawati, as CM of UP, and the way she is being chased harassed and persecuted, is unbelievable.

As for the Accusation against Mayawati, about Accumulation of Large dispro­portionate Assets and Huge Wealth, her supporters argue that, the charges of dispro­portionate assets, are clearly a big Conspiracy, deliberately hoisted by the dominant caste hindus.

The common SC&ST Dalits Question and Ask, as to how different is their Bahenji’s case, from the slew of Cases and Charges against the dominant caste politicians, who have accumulated, much more unaccount­ed wealth. Why strangely the media does not even Speak about them, when they shriek from Roof Tops against Mayawati? Why the Govts, CBI, Courts, Media, and even their declared and known rivals don’t even breathe out or open their mouth? Why they keep quiet and accept others building palatial huge bungalows, lined with imported Italian marbles, inlayed with big Precious Stones, and virtually lit­tered with Silver and Gold? Why everyone keeps mum, while so many Industrialists, Business Houses and Politicians book entire star hotels, for their Wives and chil­dren’s birthdays?

Why no one comments when the Wives and Children are presented with huge exclusive private Jet Aicrafts, Helicopters or huge Mansions are bought, multi-storied condomiums are built, and loads of gold and diamonds are gifted? Why all such cases are quietly winked at with smiling faces, and approving looks, even by Tax Departments, CBI and all State/UT and Central Govts? Why then is Mayawati’s birthday Bash, singled out for criticisms, comments and censure?

Very Justified and Persuasive arguments. But, somewhere our own conscience Pricks, to hear about these imperfect considerations or Calculations of our Friends. A system, steeped in cor­ruption, cannot ever really turn out to be a justification, for individual self-aggrandisement of anyone, or any leader at anytime. It should be so, even if it is by any of our own Family Members. In fact, it reveals the basic flaw, in the whole Approach to all the Corruption, Moral Values, and in fighting Injustices. These, also indicate the absence of the Concept of Crime and Punishment, Jurisprudence of Proportionate Penalties; as well as Equality of all before Law. These reveal and expose the serious gaps and weaknesses in our mental make-up.

Corruption is a basically a big crime, even if it has occurred by some mistake, a wrong and an Injustice. And our SC&ST Leaders Liberators Officials Teachers and NGOs, should always be carefully free from these. All our socio-political revolutionaries, those from Schools of Socialistic Thoughts, Communist Movements, Civil Right Activists, Human Right Groups, Social Reforms, Social Justice, Self-Respect and Dalit movements, must be above board. They should ensure that not a speck of Dust fall on them. There should be no room, for Complaints and Accusations. None should even raise a finger of accusation against them ever. There should not be any failings on their part, or family members, their personal staff, office functionaries, and others associated with them. class and caste bias, can not come with us as Defence. 

Being a victim of an inherently unjust system, is an attractive ideological construct, and not untrue. But, sadly it has been used too often, and can not generally stand by us, and come in our Defence. Making caste hatred, the basis for their predicament, does not help us in anyway.

tragically, the real vic­tims of caste bias, are not that much the politi­cal leadership of SC&ST Dalits, but the vast silent multitudes of poor helpless People. It is they who will suffer more and more, by any excesses by Official and political leadership of SC&ST Dalits. Mind you, they have all actually been Living with, hopeless hopes for days, years, decades, generations after generations, and over many long Centuries and Millenniums. One can see, now in their eyes, a big sense of hope, that somehow, their leaders will fail them not, and deliver them all surely, from their life of Marginalisation, Humiliation and Deprivations.

This hope, has been interpreted by ideological Dreamers and supporters of SC&ST Dalit Cause, as the real sign of a bold New Voice, asking for genuine empowerment, of those who have been discriminated against for centuries. The fact and reality though is that, the voices have a false ring to them. The hopeful eyes of the Poor, are only witnessing a political Charade, being played out at their expense; one in which the only real beneficiaries, are rabble-rousing leaders. For, all the parties are like the Congress. voters have become only a fertile catchment area, not the harbingers of change, indicating a robust coming of age of a new order. To that extent, even SC&ST Dalit politicians, represent the strengths and limitations of Identity Politics of the poor and the weaker sections. What perhaps started off, as genuine movements for empower­ment of SC&ST Dalits, are often ending up as palace coups that has struggled to go beyond the Speeches Stages Writings Books Posters Parties Elections, and new Govt Formations. And No One seem to be Questioning anyone, ever. That is a real and great pity!
– Pr TS Kalanjali*

Links Between Caste and Political Corruption Aren't Based on Concrete Evidence

The belief that there is a higher probability of lower caste leaders acquiring disproportionate assets is more likely a myth than a reality.

Ashwini Deshpande
Ashwini Deshpande
Women members of the Dalit community carry a portrait of B.R. Ambedkar as they block the traffic during a protest in Ahmedabad. Credit: PTI
Is there a caste angle to corruption, wondered senior journalist Shekhar Gupta recently, citing a series of instances where high-profile legislators or politicians, predominantly from lower-ranked caste groups (Scheduled Castes or Tribes, or Other Backward Classes), were convicted on corruption charges. This deliberately provocative piece asks what these convictions signal – whether lower-caste politicians are more likely to be corrupt, or more likely to be caught, compared to upper-caste politicians whose social position allows them to go scot-free with impunity for equal or more serious crimes. Ashis Nandy, the well-known political psychologist, unleashed a virtual tornado a few years back by claiming that it is the former – that SC-ST politicians are more likely to be corrupt – and suggested that this fact makes the polity more democratic.
Both these opinions are based on casual empiricism on the part of their authors. Given that the only instances of publicly-known corruption of politicians would be those that result in convictions, the question of whether lower caste politicians are more corrupt, or get convicted more often, will remain up in the air. The widespread mainstream imagination will most likely confirm its prior belief that they are more corrupt and bemoan another instance of the worsening of public culture due to the rise of lower castes in politics.

This is a good time to pause and see if there is any systematic evidence that allows us to assess the performance of politicians, both inside and outside houses to which they are elected. Have there been serious academic studies that compare SC politicians with upper caste politicians? Marc Galanter, assessing the changing perceptions about the performance of SC politicians over the 1960s and ‘70s, found that perceptions had become more favourable over the two decades, in that SC MLAs were increasingly viewed as ‘effective’ and ‘articulate’ inside assemblies.

This is not just a matter of perception. If SC MLAs are systematically ineffective (or less effective than their upper caste counterparts) either inside assemblies or outside, it will show up in an objective assessment. However, this appraisal would need to be rigorous and not based on casual empiricism or anecdotal evidence. A recent book by Francesca R. Jensenius does precisely that. The author uses publicly-available data (combining detailed data from the 1971-2001 censuses of India on both reserved and non-reserved constituencies), and a clever empirical strategy to produce a nuanced, in-depth and solid treatise on the effect of electoral quotas at the constituency level over three decades. What adds value to her work is the fact that she supplements her study with more than 100 in-depth interviews with Indian politicians, civil servants, activists and voters from four Indian states (Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka) as a part of her qualitative fieldwork in order to understand the mechanisms that produce the results that her data reveal.

As she shows, politicians in India spend most of their time in their constituencies, with a very small amount of their time taken up by assembly meetings. If SC politicians are “weak” or “inefficient”, we should expect to see less overall development in constituencies reserved for SCs. Also, if SC politicians systematically try to benefit the SC community within their constituencies, we should expect to see more redistribution to SCs in reserved constituencies than in comparable general (non-reserved) constituencies.
A Bahujan Samaj Party supporter waves a flag featuring the party’s chief Mayawati during an election campaign rally in Lucknow. Credit: Reuters/Pawan Kumar
She examines both – changes in the overall level of development, as well as the distribution of resources between SCs and others – in each constituency. Her dataset includes estimates of development indicators for more than 3,100 state assembly constituencies from the 15 largest Indian states between 1971 and 2001, making it possible to examine development patterns in reserved and general constituencies over a 30-year period.

She finds no negative developmental effects of electoral quotas, i.e. development indicators are no worse in reserved constituencies, compared to non-reserved constituencies, controlling for other factors. Additionally, there have been several positive outcomes as a result of quotas, going beyond standard development indicators. She finds that quotas have contributed to breaking social boundaries by bringing a marginalised and stigmatised community into positions of power – a group that most likely would have been elected in smaller numbers had it not been for these quotas. This has also contributed to a reduction in caste-based discrimination in reserved constituencies.

Where is corruption in this picture? We don’t know and, most likely, will never know. Given that corruption, both petty and big-ticket, is all-pervasive in the entire country, it would be difficult to empirically sustain the case that it is predominantly due to lower castes. Also, what is missing in the popular discussion on corruption is the other side of the picture. If politicians are caught with ‘assets disproportionate to their known sources of income’, it is because some deep pockets finance them in return for all kinds of favours. Just as bribe-takers are corrupt, bribe-givers are corrupt too. And, we know for a fact, that SCs are seriously under-represented among the deep pockets, the rich and the elite.

This is not to suggest that mainstream opinion will wake up one day and realise that its preconceptions about SC politicians being more corrupt lack empirical validity and offer mea culpa. The point simply is that the belief about greater lower caste culpability in acquiring disproportionate assets is more likely a myth than a reality. This is analogous to the myth about the decline in “merit” or “efficiency” as a result of affirmative action, which persists despite lack of empirical evidence, because it feeds neatly into the public antipathy towards any policy of compensatory discrimination.

To the extent corruption lowers the quality of development, if SC politicians were indeed more corrupt, we should have seen some manifestation in development indicators in their constituencies. But factors affecting development are unrelated to whether the elected representatives are SC or upper caste. While the development indicators in reserved constituencies have been no worse, reservations, which have resulted in a substantial group of elected politicians from the so-called lower castes, have produced a range of other positive benefits outside the narrow prism of development. This can lead to one of two conclusions: either that far from lowering the quality of public culture, the presence of lower caste politicians has actually infused it with critical missing elements, vital to the strengthening of democracy. Or, if we do find a worsening, the caste of elected representatives has nothing to do with it.

Ashwini Deshpande is a professor of economics at the University of Delhi.

National Interest: The caste of corruption

Why is there a preponderance of this underclass among those charged with corruption, or even targeted in media sting operations? Here is a roll call: A. Raja and Mayawati (Dalit), Madhu Koda and Shibu Soren (tribal), Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav (OBC), are all caught in corruption or disproportionate assets cases. Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ashok Argal and Mahavir Singh Bhagora, caught in the cash-for-votes sting, are all SC/ST; among the BSP MPs in the cash-for-queries sting, Narendra Kushwaha and Raja Ram Pal (who is now in the Congress) are OBC, and Lalchandra Kol a Dalit. Of course, there are also some illustrious upper-caste representatives in the net: Sukh Ram, Jayalalithaa, Suresh Kalmadi. But there are far fewer of them. Could it be that the upper crust tends to be "cleaner" as a rule, or could it be that the system is loaded against those in the lower half of the social pyramid? The Sachar Committee report on the condition of Muslims also tells us that the only place where our Muslims have numbers disproportionately high in comparison to their population is jails. So, face the question once again: do Muslims tend to be more criminal than Hindus, or is the system loaded against them?

For another example, look at the BJP. Two of its senior leaders were caught on camera accepting cash. One, Dilip Singh Judeo, caught taking Rs 9 lakh, was a mere MP, but of a high caste, and was happily rehabilitated in the party, fielded in the election, and is now back in Parliament. The other, Bangaru Laxman, caught taking just Rs 1 lakh, was ranked much higher in the party; he was, in fact, the president, but much lower on the caste pyramid, a Dalit. He has been banished and isolated and is fighting the charges in that Tehelka sting case by himself. I am sorry to use this expression, but the party treated him as an utter outcast even as it continued to defend Judeo. What is the difference between the two except caste? You want to take this argument to the judiciary? It has been loosely insinuated by many prominent people, including by some notable members of Team Anna, that a large number of our former chief justices have been corrupt. But who is the only one targeted by name (however unsubstantiated the charges)? It is Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, currently chairman of the National Human Rights Commission and, more importantly, India's first Dalit chief justice.

These questions are inconvenient, but can never be brushed aside in a diverse democracy. These have become even more important now as the political class has responded to Team Anna's Lokpal campaign by bringing in 50 per cent reservation for lower castes and minorities. You can say this is a cynical political ploy to counter what is, after all, an upper-class, upper-caste, urban movement so far. But facts are facts and there is no hiding from them. The system is much too prejudiced, much too loaded against the underclass. Reservations may not be the perfect solution. But how else do you ensure equity? How do you convince this vast majority of Indians below the very top of the social pyramid that this new all-powerful institution will be fair to them? Or, you can flip this very same question in the context of Team Anna. Why has this vast majority of socially and economically vulnerable Indians been so distant from their movement? Why are the leaders who represent them, from Lalu to Mulayam to Mayawati, so strongly critical of the institution of Lokpal? Because the minorities, the weaker sections, are always afraid of mass movements, particularly when these are led by the dominant upper classes. In these movements they see the threat of majoritarian excesses. And that is exactly the apprehension that the political class, particularly the UPA, has now gotten hold of.

The upper caste, creamy layer of our society is the most prejudiced, and yet the most dominant minority in any democracy in the world. That is why even the person representing Mayawati on otherwise brilliant funny-man Cyrus Broacha's show on CNN-IBN always has a blackened face (Dalits are supposed to be dark-skinned, no?).

An interesting new turn has meanwhile taken place in the discourse over the Lokpal bill. Whenever asked to comment on the UPA's ploy of reservations, members of Team Anna simply say they are happy to leave that entirely to the government. Leave something entirely to the government? When was the last time you heard Team Anna say that?

They are doing so because the caste card, howsoever cynical, has thrown them entirely off-balance. They are now paying for having built such an unrepresentative upper-crust leadership, deluded perhaps by the belief that this battle was theirs to win on Twitter, Facebook and television channels where their interlocutors were trumpeters or fellow travellers. They forgot that the battle for power and ideas is fought in a democracy's parliament and within its institutions. They started to believe their own mythology of being apolitical. They did not realise that politics, in a democracy as diverse as ours, needs two essential pre-requisites: ideology and inclusiveness. Abhorrence of corruption is a universal virtue but not an ideology.

If there was an underlying ideological impulse to this movement, it was anti-politicianism, underlined by that slogan from the early, heady days — Mera Neta Chor Hai.

It was probably because of that philosophical abhorrence of politics, and the give-and-take, the unending deal-making it involves, that Anna did not set up a truly diverse and representative "Team" to begin with. They had the wisdom and the sincerity, they thought, and Indians, cutting across barriers of caste and religion, would be smart enough to see it. Representative inclusiveness, they probably believed, was part of our cynical electoral politics though that did not stop them from having a Dalit and a Muslim girl help Anna break his fast, making it the first time that a child was described as "Dalit" on a public stage in a mass rally.

Leaders of Team Anna now rightly say that theirs indeed is a political movement. But even if they assert that it is above electoral politics, they have erred gravely in not learning from the political class and building a representative leadership. It could have come from both their abhorrence and ignorance of politics, from a lack of respect for the political class, and an inability to appreciate that you need politics to create a sense of fairness, balance and empowerment in such a diverse society. That is the difference between Anna on the one hand, and Gandhi and JP on the other. Both of the latter made inclusive politics the vehicle of their revolutions. Team Anna, instead, tried to circumvent politics, and now finds itself right in the thick of it.

How does the corruption charges against Dalit leaders effects the movement for reservation and caste equality in India?

This question previously had details. They are now in a comment.

Mohan Vanamalai
This is the equivalent of the Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird. This time the trial is by the media and a biased judiciary. The lack of diversity in the media houses and judiciary paints a picture of horror of any crimes committed by lower category, while the heinous crimes of massacres, honor killings and naked parades by the upper-castes are dealt casually like shit-happens.
Even Lalu Prasad Yadav's children and grandchildren are dragged into anti-reservation politics. Even though, being an OBC above creamy layer, makes him a general category - they are targets of hate questions falsely accusing them of taking reservations. Leave alone asking questions about committed crimes by upper-castes, the question is about a hypothetical, imagined crime committed and drags the family of Lalu Prasad Yadav as an example. That is fair game.
If it is crimes against dalits the attitude is...
  • Rampant acts of untouchability - shit happens
  • Rampant acts of housing discriminations - shit happens
  • Rampant acts of job discriminations - shit happens
  • Rampant acts of discrimination in schools - shit happens
  • Rampant acts of honor killings - shit happens
  • Rampant acts of naked parades - shit happens
If the crimes are committed by rich, privileged castes
  • Black money hoarding by rich castes - we are investigating for 5 years
  • Loan defaults by the rich castes - there is no reason to block passport
  • Unknown source of incomes for upper-castes - make a math error and release them
  • Medical negligence causing death by rich castes - no action
  • Corruption by business leaders from rich castes - cover up
  • Corruption by political leaders from rich castes - make them governors to escape prosecution
  • Ranvir Sena massacres - acquitted for lack of evidence
  • Benami transactions, fake companies from rich castes - no action
  • Stings showing the rich castes taking cash - no raids
  • Medical exam admission scam - scuttle investigation, mysterious deaths
If the crimes are committed by lower castes - find a scapegoat and blame them.
  • Statues for lower caste leaders - term it waste of exchequer, other upper-castes are national leaders
  • Fodder scam happening for years - pick only the lower caste politician even though many, many others did the same.
  • Mining scams - blame it on the lower caste, leave the private party that profiteers out.
What is the impact of the 'attitude' of dalit leaders on reservation and caste politics?
Those castes that enjoyed the patronage of rulers for 3000 years complaining about reservation and castes is ironical. Dalits and their leaders see this irony. Increasing literacy among them, unites them to fight for their rights.
Shout all you want, there is no looking back. No amount reservation shaming by those who practice untouchability and discrimination will stop the Dalits from asserting their rights.
Blame all you want, Dalits will take their seats and jobs. India is not just for catering to the needs of the privileged castes. India develops only if Dalits develop.
Threaten all you want, 300 million of them will not be afraid. They are no longer illiterate or  alone.
Demean all you want, they will brush it aside and march forward.
Gaslight all you want, they know the truth.
This is their attitude.


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