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CORRUPTION CHARGES – DALIT LEADERS





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.

To Be or Not to Be a 'Dalit'?

The I&B ministry's recent dictate not to use the term 'Dalit' has opened a very full and much-agitated can of worms, forcing us to question the words we use to consider the welfare and happiness of the individual and the society.
Vruttant and Krittika
Vruttant and Krittika
Sabad sabad sab koi kahe, sabad ka karo vichaar
Ek sabad seetal kare, ek sabad de jaar
– Kabir

Words are what make our world. They help us convey our thoughts. They help us connect to people. We establish our society- literature, culture, politics, ideology, philosophy- through the words we choose. Words help shape our thinking as much as our thoughts shape our words. In short, words play a vital role in human society.

Kabir therefore suggests that we choose our words with utmost thought, because they can both cure and curse. In a larger frame, when politics is seen as the science of associating with people and governing society, words need to be selected with care. Our identities, our polities, our worlds are shaped by the words we choose to give them.

This issue of words has become very relevant recently. The word of the moment is ‘Dalit’, and mystifying it is the cloud of confusion regarding its usage, its users, its connotation, its symbolism, and most importantly, its political implications. The I&B ministry on August 7 issued an advisory to media houses to avoid using the term Dalit and opt for the more constitutional ‘scheduled castes’, giving six weeks to discuss and reach a conclusion. This opened a very full and much-agitated can of worms, forcing us to question the words we use, in order to consider the welfare and happiness of the individual and the society. It raises the issue of a progressive perspective for the society, and the world at large, based on the principles of liberty, equality, justice and fraternity.
The term Dalit has had a history of debate. It is found written earliest in the Vedas wherein it connoted something that is crushed or broken. From then till recent times, the meaning has hardly changed much with many progressive poets, authors and academics still using it to connote the peoples who have been crushed and oppressed. Come 20th century, and the word starts to gain a slightly different connotation, in a more assertive sense. In the mid 1900s, the term entered literature as a field, allowing the subaltern to become vocal. It created space for the views from the marginalised and spoke either against or different from the mainstream. The 1960s saw the evolution of the term politically, its highest evolution seen in the formation of the Dalit Panther movement in the 1970s. The movement gave it a more comprehensive identity, encompassing all marginalised sections of the society and not only a caste – an identity which still resonates with many even today, albeit in a highly romantic way.

However, at around the same time, the term Dalit also started to gather dissent, giving rise to rejection and contradictions. Noted Ambedkarite thinker Yashwant Manohar recalls, “After Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism in 1956, the erstwhile untouchables and Dalits became Buddhists. Hence, the prevailing ideology since 1960-61 was that those who became Buddhists because of Babasaheb Ambedkar would not call their literature as Dalit Literature.” A very clear example of this contradiction is seen through the Maharashtra Dalit Sahitya Sangha. The organisation held its first conference, titled Dalit Sahitya Sammelan, in Mumbai in 1958 under the leadership of Annabhau Sathe. It held its second conference, again in Mumbai, in 1959 and the third conference in Pune in 1961.
A Dalit Panther poster.
The Dalit Panther movement in the 1970s gave ‘Dalit’ a more comprehensive identity, encompassing all marginalised sections of the society and not only a caste. A Dalit Panthers poster.
By the third conference, the tide had changed, with many prominent members including T. P. Adsul, Vijay Sonawane and Raja Dhale starting to reject the use of the term Dalit, in light of Ambedkar’s decision to embrace Buddhism. The general consensus was that Ambedkar did not want the oppressed to remain ‘dalits’, and had asked them to embrace a new identity, that of Buddhists. The Maharashtra Dalit Sahitya Sangh was thus dissolved and took the new identity of Maharashtra Baudhha Sahitya Sangh in 1961 itself, and continued its journey onward. Interestingly, Raja Dhale, who was very vocal in his advocacy of the Buddhist identity, was one of the founding members of the Dalit Panthers. Since 1976, he publicly started advocating the term ‘Ambedkarite’ as a political and social identity.

This was not an off-hand occurrence, as many such activists, academics, authors and thinkers had started taking this argument forward in Maharashtra. The dialectic between Dalit and Ambedkarite or Buddhist has been prevalent for a long time, both in Maharashtra and outside. But, because Ambedkar passed away before he could take Buddhism to the other states, his religious contributions did not gain as much momentum. Thus, Dalit Literature as a term moved out of Maharashtra, but his Buddhist perspective, unfortunately, did not. This issue only became a hot-topic a couple of years back when activist Pankaj Meshram approached the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court against the term Dalit, on the claim that it was derogatory and not empowering at all. His petition also challenged the legality of the using the term Dalit as opposed to the constitutional terms scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The case finally saw Meshram win the petition, in March this year, with the court declaring Dalit to be a unconstitutional term.
In a similar verdict in January this year, the Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court advised against the use of the term Dalit for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. These cases brought out the dialectic being played out in Maharashtra all these years. Notably, in 2005, at a conference at Ulhasnagar, several Ambedkarite, Dalit, and progressive intellectuals like Baburao Bagul, Yashwant Manohar, Nagnath Kotapalli, Ramnika Gupta, Geeta Manjrekar, Ratanlal Sonagra and Pragya Pawar among others unanimously passed a proposal suggesting that they consciously replace the word Dalit with another word which indicated ‘self-respect’.

In fact, this has been the major bone of contention all along. The question of self-respect, in being called a name that was given by the oppressors to indicate something that was lowly, was being raised vis-à-vis a term that could show empowerment. On one hand, there was the connotation of being filthy, demeaned, degraded and humiliating . On the other hand, there was a move to accept terms which would not only not be demeaning but also showcase power. In such a context, the linguistic construct becomes of prime importance, helping shape our imaginations into reality. Dr. Ambedkar himself was a big proponent of an identity which would enable self-respect amongst the people. He stressed on the reclamation of the human personality, focusing the intellectual cultivation of the human mind rather than asserting its victimhood for political gains. Moreover, Dr. Ambedkar, gave a big reason to his opponents and doubters. In his historic speech of Dadar in 1936 — ‘Emancipation What Way?’, he proclaimed that emancipation is only possible through a change in name, easily achievable through conversion. He asked the masses to choose a name that will have no “filth” attached to it, and pinned it as the responsibility of the “untouchable class” to annihilate caste, even though it was propagated by the caste-Hindus.

Ambedkar never propagated the use of the term Dalit even though he may have used it in a few speeches. Unlike contemporary ‘Dalits’ who assert the identity as a socio-political category, he used it as the Hindi or Marathi equivalent of ‘depressed’ to indicate only the socio-political condition. He never meant to use it as a political category and hence did not use it at all in his English speeches or writings, very unlike the use of the term today. He, rather, stressed on creating a more progressive name for this society, and he worked tirelessly to achieve it. He wanted to be absolutely sure of the new identity he was assuming, knowing full well the repercussions such a massive change could bring about in the society. He answered the opposition and doubters of conversion by claiming that “nothing but spirituality is at the base of my conversion,” stressing on the human mind as the tool for emancipation. He asked his followers to convert “to become human,” addressing the inhuman status that society had given them. He struggled for decades, read endlessly, took great pains to show the path that would emancipate the ‘depressed classes’. Such was his scholarly conviction which emphasised the need of name (category) change, and he finally did it in the conversion after a rigorous labour of 21 years.

Today’s scholars seem to have completely missed Ambedkar’s point. After the Dalit Panthers, academic engagement has been the biggest disseminator of the use of the term Dalit as a ‘unifying force’. Unfortunately, the term has now been seen as emancipatory and revolutionary. Those who imagine Dalit to be revolutionary are, in fact, playing to the oppressor’s court, because even though the ‘oppressed classes’ may have subverted the term to their own interest, the oppressor’s views about the term does not change. This is forced imagination and also a forced romanticism of struggle by a glorification of victimhood.

But doesn’t such a forced romanticism of struggle fail to recognise Ambedkar’s struggle as revolutionary? In their glorification of victimhood, do they discount Ambedkar’s courage to take the bold step of conversion? In a country where religion is the prima facie factor in society, wasn’t Ambedkar’s step to replace that very religion to introduce a more egalitarian, just and fraternal religion revolutionary? Do they then belittle his conviction, hard-work, foresight, determination and courage by equating Dalitism (victimhood) with revolution? Do they fail to recognise Ambedkar’s spirit of revolution in the act of conversion? Do they fail to see that the very essence of Ambedkar is nothing but a revolution?

Such scholars and activists largely see Dalit as a ‘unifying category’ – of struggle and revolution, of all marginalised classes. But is it really so? Ambedkar is being appropriated by the entire political spectrum from the Left to the Right. But is his ideology being accepted by all? What makes the thinkers think Dalit to be a unifying term, particularly at the juncture when it is evident that Ambedkar is emerging as the sole unifying factor of the marginalised sections of India? Why is his revolution not taken as important as that of the Dalit Panthers who apparently attempted to follow him? In this context, is it the category – Dalit – or the name – Ambedkar – which is the prime unifying force of the depressed classes and progressives?
The assertion of Dalit identity negates Ambedkar’s constructive struggle for emancipation of the ‘depressed classes’. Credit: Reuters
The term Dalit is a linguistic construction based on the spiritual and material reality of a long, oppressive history. Nonetheless, such conditions do not validate the naming of a certain class on such oppressed conditions only. Particularly, when an identity claims assertion, the assertion of weakness and filth negates the power of a constructive struggle. The assertion of Dalit identity negates Ambedkar’s constructive struggle for emancipation of the ‘depressed classes’.

This is the case not only in the followers of Ambedkar, but also in the followers of Kanshiram. Kanshi Ram gave a new identity to the people by bringing about a political revolution. He rejected the old filthy political categories and gave the new identity of Bahujan – a political identity which could unify an even larger mass. Ambedkar wrote in Bahushkrit Baharat in 1935 that one needs to change the shetji-bhatji rajya (Baniya-Brahmin rule) and give power to 80% marginalised people to gain equality. Kanshi Ram helped realise this through a new Bahujan identity. By rejecting the name Dalit, he worked extensively to show Bahujan as a powerful force. The positive connotation of a positive nomenclature was very much in tandem with the samyak wisdom of the Buddha: “Bahujan hitay, bahujan sukhay.” Kanshi Ram converted Buddha’s social, material and spiritual philosophy into a political identity.

Another co-founder of the Dalit Panthers, J.V. Pawar, said in a recent artice, “We established Dalit Panthers keeping in mind that today we are dalits (neglected) but one day our status will change. Dalitism is nothing but a status. We have changed that status. Backwardness should not be our identification. We are not dalits now.” It is commendable how Pawar has, in spite of being a founding member, not shied away from accepting the flaw of using the term Dalit.

We salute his vision of samata and conviction for justice which, in all wise minds, is accepting of the change brought about by the emerging emancipatory social conditions. The struggle of the elimination of social-human-barriers and the establishment of a just-egalitarian society must not compromise with human self-respect. The progressives need to really progress by recognising Ambedkar’s revolution of 1956. They must not regress to the days where the people of the depressed classes were named connoting weakness and filth like that of bhangi, dalit and the popularly known ‘Lagaan’s Kachra’.

Vruttant and Krittika are PhD researc

''Are only lower caste politicians corrupt?'



December 28, 2017 11:30 IST
'(Upper caste) leaders talk against the Constitution, reservations and the nation and still get away.'
IMAGE: Lalu Prasad Yadav being escorted by police officers after his conviction in a fodder scam case. His son Tejashwi Yadav is to his left. Photograph: PTI Photo
After being convicted in yet another case related to the fodder scam, Rashtriya Janata Dal President Lalu Prasad Yadav tweeted (external link): 'Powerful people and powerful classes always managed to divide society into ruling and the ruled classes. And whenever anyone from the lower hierarchy challenged this unjust order, they would be deliberately punished.'
Lalu's tweet resulted in a furious online debate whether only politicians belonging to the lower castes are punished.
"The administrative structure is headed by forces who don't like lower caste politicians," Professor Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, author and social activist, tells Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf in an interview.
How true is Lalu Yadav's statement that only OBC and Dalit leaders are being 'targeted by the system' once they rise to power?
If you look at the incidents of major arrests on corruption charges in the political domain you get names like Lalu Yadav, Mayawati and DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) leader A Raja.
Raja actually liberated the telecom sector from the elite and middle class down to every labourer. He too was targeted. And look at the accusation against him and what happened.
I don't know what kind of official traps are possibly laid for these politicians.
The administrative structure is headed by forces who don't like lower caste politicians. So naturally, one does not know how these politicians get trapped into it.
The amount of money which was involved in Lalu's case was not huge. It was only Rs 86 lakh.
But corruption is corruption, isn't it?
Yes, but why are only SCs, STs and OBCs caught?

Take, for example, BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) leader Anant Kumar Hegde. His language is anti-constitutional and anti-national.
Even in the Congress, Mani Shankar Aiyar, (for example), comes from a particular caste.
Basically, these leaders love the Manu Dharma system and not the Indian Constitution.
They come from that end and they project that Dalit and OBCs who come to rule are corrupt, as if others are not corrupt.
Even (Nationalist Congress Party leader) Chhagan Bhujbal, who is in jail, is a known OBC leader. (Former Jharkhand chief minister) Madhu Koda (who was convicted in a coal scam case), I think, is a tribal.
But we also have instances like the late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, a Brahmin, being convicted.
She is the only Brahmin (leader who was convicted). Tell me about a second one. I need numbers.
(Upper caste) leaders talk against the Constitution, reservations and the nation and still get away. No arrests are made and no action is taken against such leaders.
On the contrary, Dalit (politicians) get arrested (on minor charges).
Look at Chandrashekhar (founder of the Bhim Army), a Dalit leader from Uttar Pradesh. He was arrested in a small case.
The same was true for Jignesh Mewani, the Dalit leader from Gujarat.
So our system is designed in a way where crores are spent in hiring SC/STs and OBCs, but political power is not in their hands.
Money and power are with the upper castes, but the corruption of only lower caste (politicians) is highlighted.
The likes of Lalu Yadav and Mayawati who are against the caste which has been ruling historically are in trouble.
Mayawati has said she will convert to Buddhism.
India gives equal opportunities to everyone. SCs, STs, OBCs get reservations.
Reservation is not an equal opportunity. Where is the equal opportunity in education?
You establish English medium schools for the rich and the upper class.
Earlier, they used to establish Sanskrit gurukuls for themselves. Now only government schools are run in regional languages. So where is the equal opportunity for them?
Look at case after case of corruption and you will find only one section (of politicians) is getting caught.
Now, how could the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India), who accused Raja of Rs 1.76 lakh crore scam, say such things?
Raja had to spend time in jail. His entire political career was over.
In the BJP too, its first Dalit president Bangaru Laxman was caught taking a bribe. No one from other castes was caught.
Why was Laxman alone caught? Does it mean that no other people in the BJP take money? Are there no funds coming to the party? Laxman died a sad man.
BJP leader Dilip Singh Judeo resigned as a minister of state in the Vajpayee government after being accused of allegedly taking a bribe. He was not a Dalit.
Maybe it wasn't a major case. I don't know.
Corruption, according to Pandit (Jawaharlal) Nehru, is like greasing oil in Indian politics.
Since 1947, Dalits, tribals and OBCs constituted only four per cent of the ruling class. But the number of people held under corruption charges has the highest proportion of such politicians. Why?
Corrupt people are corrupt. Why cite their caste?
If that is the case, what about Vijay Mallya?
What about industrial corruption which completely ruined the banks?
Talk about the industrial sector, 90.6 per cent of which is controlled by Banias and Brahmins -- 46 per cent by the Banias and 44.6 per cent by the Brahmins.
The Shudras account for just 3.8 per cent. So why is India so poor?
Why is India not like China? Which is the main ruling class? They are the Banias and Brahmins.
It is a market economy. Those who are good, get jobs.
Why is China not like us? Why are they innovating? The answer is the working class has become the rulers.
The feudal system has gone out of China. Now, these people compare India with Pakistan, but I want to compare it with China.
Where has China reached in social equality and economic equality? And where are we? Why?
Who should be blamed -- only the SC/STs and 'their corruption'?
Have you ever found...
(Interrupts) My question is that they say if SC/STs come to power, they will become corrupt, they aren't meritorious.
But the moment the SC/STs ask for English education they (the ruling class) refuse by stating they (the lower castes) want to become Christians.
What is this? Brahmins and Banias who are running industries and education centres in India are English educated. Have they become Christians?
Why target OBCs, SCs, STs?
Lalu Yadav is making such statements to target (Prime Minister Narendra D) Modi on caste lines, isn't he?
When Amit Shah called Gandhiji a 'chatur bania', journalists didn't speak against it.
Modi said since he was an OBC, Mani Shankar Aiyar was attacking him.
So, if Mani Shankar Aiyar is referring to a caste, so is Modi.
If an OBC like Modi can become prime minister, what is the point of saying such things?
Modi is not a Shudra. He is not from a land tilling background or a production background. He is from the business community.
(Note: The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government included (external link) Modi's ghanchi community into the OBC list in 1999.)
Caste and culture are an inherent institutional factor in India.
Whether in higher or lower politics, the upper castes ruled India for 2,000 years and they can escape from any problem.
Indian rulers, by and large, were corrupt for centuries. It is not that only one group is corrupt.
But the lower (castes) gets caught and gets punished, the higher caste escapes through various mechanisms. This is a fact.
Don't you think it is wrong to speak in such a manner? Is it good for the country?
Untouchability is there in the country. Do you mean to say we should not talk about such things?
In every sphere of our society, there is caste. It is like cancer in our body.
Without discussing, how do you operate or remove it?
How do you find a solution or medicine to this cancer?
Even during the times of the Buddha, there was untouchability and he spoke about its removal.

Syed Firdaus Ashraf / Rediff.com


Are leaders from ‘lower’ castes and subaltern groups more corrupt?




Are leaders from ‘lower’ castes and subaltern groups more corrupt?


Illustration by PealiDezine

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An inconvenient question two days after A. Raja and Kanimozhi are acquitted, and on the day Lalu Prasad Yadav is convicted and Jagannath Mishra is acquitted.
I
s there a caste or communal link to corruption and crime? Or, are your chances of being involved (and getting caught) in corruption cases higher as you go down the caste ladder? Let’s examine the facts.

Here is a roll call: A. Raja, just acquitted after a six-year trial and 15 months in jail as an undertrial, is Dalit. His party colleague and now acquitted co-accused Kanimozhi is from a backward caste too. Madhu Koda (recently convicted in a coal case) and Shibu Soren (charged with bribery and murder and finally acquitted), both tribals; Mayawati, a Dalit; and Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav, OBCs, are all caught in corruption or disproportionate assets cases.
These cases ebb and rise depending on the politics of the day. Any time the big boys in power want their silence or compliance, a headline-making new move is made in the cases. It dies out just as predictably once the political purpose is served. The man serving the longest sentence (10 years) in a corruption case, former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, is a Jat, not a backward caste yet, but way lower than the Savarnas in the caste hierarchy.

Today, Lalu has been convicted in his second fodder scam case while another former Bihar chief minister, Jagannath Mishra, a Brahmin, has been acquitted in the same case.
Look back at the cash-for-votes scandal in Parliament in 2008. Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ashok Argal and Mahavir Singh Bhagora — all caught in the sting in which Rajdeep Sardesai’s then channel CNN-IBN, and Sudheendra Kulkarni (then close to Advani), were involved — are all SCs/STs. Among the BSP MPs in an even earlier cash-for-questions sting — 11 MPs were terminated from Parliament in 2005; six from BJP, three from BSP, one from Congress, one from RJD –Narendra Kushwaha and Rajaram Pal were OBCs, and Lal Chandra Kol a Dalit.
Of course, there are also some illustrious upper-caste representatives in the net: Sukh Ram, Jayalalithaa and Suresh Kalmadi. But there are far fewer of them. And they also have a better chance of escaping. Or their cases just drag on. Fact: despite cash having been found under his bed, trial and conviction, Sukh Ram never had to serve a jail sentence. He was a life-long Congressman. He has now, at 90, been embraced and rehabilitated in the BJP. He defected on election eve with son Anil, now a BJP MLA and likely to be a minister in Himachal Pradesh.
Do you expect A. Raja or his children having any such luck going ahead with the BJP?
Please note four facts before you start outraging over my indulging in pop-sociology and “casteist” view of corruption.
First, Sukh Ram and Raja were charged with corruption during their tenure as telecom ministers. Second, Sukh Ram was convicted while Raja has been acquitted. Third, one had cash found under his bed; in the case of the other the trial judge mockingly asks where is the money? And if there’s no money, where is the corruption? So, pronounced innocent.
Now the fourth fact, and the most important one: Sukh Ram is a Brahmin. May be he strayed just that one time, people like that aren’t usually corrupt. And Raja, a Dalit. Can you expect any better? They just can’t handle power and responsibility. Usual suspects.
L
et’s explore an interesting case in the BJP. Two of its senior leaders were caught on camera accepting cash at different points of time. One, Dilip Singh Judeo, caught taking Rs 9 lakh in 2003 was of a high caste, and was happily rehabilitated, fielded in an election again, and returned to Parliament. He was, in fact, caught on camera speaking that immortal line a Bollywood script-writer will someday copy for his mafioso: “Paisa khuda toh nahin, lekin khuda ki kasam khuda se kam bhi nahin (cash isn’t’ God, but by God, it is no less than God). He was a junior minister in the Vajpayee government then and said this while killing a bottle of Black Label with the bribe-giver. All on camera.

The other, Bangaru Laxman was caught taking just Rs 1 lakh in the Tehelka sting (2001). Compared to Judeo who was a mere junior minister, Bangaru was the BJP’s national president. It’s just that he was a Dalit, the first—and until now the only—Dalit to rise that high in BJP. He was disowned, condemned, banished and isolated. He went to jail and died fighting the charges in that Tehelka sting case all by himself. Of course, he was the only politician to go to jail in the Tehelka sting.
It’s an unfortunate description but it must be used: the party treated him as an utter outcast even as it continued to defend Judeo. That is the caste differential of corruption.
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 in the heydays of their anti-corruption movement, that a large number of our former chief justices have been corrupt. But who was the only one targeted by name? It was Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, a Dalit. Nothing has been found against him in more than a decade now. Just two weeks back the Supreme Court asked why all ongoing probes against him should now not be dropped.
Explore further. The only high court judge to go to jail for a professional misdemeanour — contempt of higher judiciary, Justice C.S. Karnan, is a Dalit. Three other worthies, with sexual harassment complaints against them, have got away without a blot. One has his signature on the supposedly landmark 2G judgment cancelling Raja’s 122 telecom licences. The cases have all been buried. In the case of one, a high court has gone so far as to issue a gag order on the media not to even talk about the allegations. Let me just say that two of these three rose to the Supreme Court, and one was in an all-powerful post-retirement position. Finally, let us just say that none is from a lower caste, and therefore a usual suspect.
C
ould it be that the upper crust tends to be “cleaner” as a rule, or is it 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 told us that our Muslims feature in disproportionately low numbers in most places, especially government jobs. The only place where their numbers are 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?

Taking the same point further, in one of their most popular stage shows, the dark political comedy group ‘Aisi Taisi Democracy’ reminds us that a majority of those hanged for murder in India are minorities or from lower castes. For a Brahmin to hang, they turn the knife, he has to assassinate no less than a Mahatma Gandhi.
Some important questions therefore arise. Is there an element of genetics to corruption and crime? Or is the system—from the police and judges, to the media and public opinion, loaded against the underprivileged or subaltern sections across the world? Check out the numbers of police shootings of African-Americans or their disproportionate numbers in jails. Just that what race is in some places, caste is in India. It gets complicated in our country with some minorities and tribes also consigned to the same bracket.
That prejudice lives on. It ensures Brahmin Sukh Ram is spared jail time even though convicted and A. Raja continues to be seen as a thief although acquitted. It also means a Judeo can be rehabilitated while Bangaru Laxman is left to rot and die alone. I am sorry if I ruin your Christmas weekend with such dark thoughts. There is no perfect time for a reality check.



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


Mohan Vanamalai
Mohan Vanamalai, a humble Indian





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 paradesby 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.


CORRUPTION CHARGES ON  DALIT LEADERS

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*
www.dalitindia.com ssc@dalitindia.com


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
10/JAN/2018
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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Origin of Chamar

चमार मुक्त ज्ञानकोश विकिपीडिया से
चमार कुल जनसंख्या१.१ % ख़ास आवास क्षेत्रभारत • पाकिस्तान भाषाएँहिन्दी, बंगाली, मराठी, पंजाबी, उर्दू आदिअन्य सम्बंधित समूहरामदासिया, रविदासिया, जुलाहा, आदिचमार अथवा चर्मकार भारतीय उपमहाद्वीप में पाई जाने वाली जाति समूह है। वर्तमान समय में यह जाति अनुसूचित जातियों की श्रेणी में आती है। यह जाति अस्पृश्यता की कुप्रथा का शिकार भी रही है। इस जाति के लोग परंपरागत रूप से चमड़े के व्यवसाय से जुड़े रहे हैं। संपूर्ण भारत में चमार जाति अनुसूचित जातियों में अधिक संख्या में पाई जाने वाली जाति है, जिनका मुख्य व्यवसाय, चमड़े की वस्‍तु बनाना था । संविधान बनने से पूर्व तक इनकोअछूतों की श्रेणी में रखा जाता था। अंग्रेजों के आने से पहले तक भारत में चमार जाति के लोग बहुत धनवान थे परन्तु चमड़े का कार्य करने से छूआछूत के शिकार थे । आजादी के बाद इनके साथ हो रहे छूआछूत को रोकने के लिए इनको भारत के संविधान में अनुसूचित जाति की श्रेणी में रखा गया तथा सभी तरह के ज़ुल्‍मों तथा छूआछूत को प्रतिबंधित कर दिया गया। इसके बावजूद भी देश में कुछ जगहों पर इन जातियों तथा अन्‍य अनु…

Dalit in Cricket

क्रिकेट











लेख सूचनाक्रिकेट पुस्तक नाम हिन्दी विश्वकोश खण्ड 3 पृष्ठ संख्या 200 भाषा हिन्दी देवनागरी संपादक सुधाकर पांडेय प्रकाशक नागरी प्रचारणी सभा वाराणसी मुद्रक नागरी मुद्रण वाराणसी संस्करण सन्‌ 1976 ईसवी उपलब्ध भारतडिस्कवरी पुस्तकालय कॉपीराइट सूचना नागरी प्रचारणी सभा वाराणसी लेख सम्पादक परमेश्वरीलाल गुप्त क्रिकेट एक अति प्रसिद्ध अंग्रेजी खेल। इस खेल का प्रचार 13 वीं शती में भी था, यह उस समय के एक चित्र को देखने से ज्ञात होता है। उसमें लड़के क्रिकेट खेल रहे हैं। 16वीं शताब्दी से तो निरंतर पुस्तकों में क्रिकेट की चर्चा प्राप्त होती है। कहा जाता है, इंग्लैंड का प्रसिद्ध शासक ऑलिवर क्रॉमवेल बचपन में क्रिकेट का खिलाड़ी था।
क्रिकेट का पुराना खेल आधुनिक खेल से भिन्न था। प्रारंभ में भेंड चरानेवाले लड़के क्रिकेट खेला करते थे। वे पेड़ की एक शाखा काटकर उसका बल्ला बना लेते थे, जो आजकल की हॉकी स्टिक से मिलता जुलता था। वे कटे हुए किसी पेड़ के तने (stump) के सामने खड़े होकर खेलते थे या अपने घर के छोटे फाटक (wicket gate) को आउट बना लेते थे। आजकल के क्रिकेट में न तो पेड़ के तने (stump) हैं और…

Dalit Officers

Case of an IAS Topper


Fate of a Scheduled Caste Candidate
A.K.BISWAS


The Union Public Service Commission under the Constitution of free India started functioning from January 26, 1950. The The Union Public Service Commission Commission conducted its first examination to recruit personnel for the IAS and Central Services the same year. There were 3,647 candidates for this examination. The First Report of the UPSC does not mention the number of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe candidates. But it discloses that Achyutananda Das was the country's first SC to make it to the IAS in 1950 itself. He was, in fact, the topper of his batch in the written examination.


Achyutananda Das, from West Bengal, secured 613 (58.38 per cent) out of 1050 marks in written examination whearas N. Krishnan from Madras secured 602 (57.33 per cent). But in the interview, Krishnan secured 260 (86.66 per cent) out of 300 as against 110 (36.66 per cent) by Achyutananda Das. Thus Achyutananda was left miles behin…