Sociological realities of rural India!
Please don’t play caste politics! In the name of OBC quotas!
These are old hats. The politics of OBC castes. Right now, the Modi government has come out with a much more narrow mindset than what was prevalent in the Mandal report days.
Now, castes are dissolving owing to several new socio-economic changes in the rural areas. Even in such an advanced state like TN, where the original sin of caste-based quotas came into prominence, the talks now turned to more liberal or call it more populist politics. The poor and the weak, the SCs and STs have gone over to the populist politics. They voted solidly for the Dravidian parties without thinking about issues in terms of castes.
So, please this time, we request the Centre not to stoke the caste flames by creating sub quotas within the dominant castes like the Yadavs and the farmer’s community!
How many of us, the leaders and thinkers and businessmen and others living in the urban areas think of farmers as producers of food and wealth?
Or, do we always see the famers in terms of their numbers, in terms of their castes, caste groups, backward or forward, SC, ST and vote-banks?
You have to see the political and election issues in terms of the castes and sub-castes only. So, this is, in our opinion, the significance and relevance of the Modi-Sha duo’s new OBC politics and a revival of the old wounds for the new situations. More so, in terms of how the two major dominant caste leaders, the Yadav knight, Mulayam Singh Yadav and the redoubtable Lalu Prasad Yadav!
Narendra Modi- led union cabinet has suddenly setting up a commission to examine whether sub-quotas within the existing Mandal led quota in government services, including education quotas would pay electorally? In the coming next Lok Sabha elections!
It is evident that the while issue arise out of the anxiety of the government whether in the next elections the UP and Bihar-centric Yadav dominance in politics, more in particular, the two unbending leaders, namely, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad Yadav domination can be broken and subdued by creating sub quotas for the so-called marginalised castes in the central list?
What else is there to speculate beyond this narrow mindset?
Is this one more attempt to further intensify the existing caste oppression in the existing Hindu society’s traditional hold on the mindset of the Indian people, with all their existing superstitions and caste and other ritual prejudices. Political parties too keen only playing caste and electoral politics!
You have to see the many coincidences and other unstated moves and speeches and the actors in evolved in this game. Also, raising the creamy layer ceiling to Rs.8 lakh! Even this new emphasis on creamy layer, allows the castes to stay on, almost forever. This is not liberalism nor enlightenment. Let us look ahead, outside the country, at the world and learn to learn with the international trends.
These are very narrow mindset’s considerations, we feel.
Of course there is much that we need to do if we want to open up the villagers’ mindsets. For this we have to try measures like raising the democratic rights of the villagers, the powers of the panchayat authority and allowing the villagers too jointly to do things under the various Pradhan Mantri schemes.
Including doing many community works like digging and deepening the community tanks that were once the sure security for droughts in India. We just now read that India has an abundant village water tanks in TN alone something like 16,000 PWD tanks, the TN government for instance has allotted Rs.100 crores to rejuvenate the tanks.
But then who would actually take steps, given the large scale corruption in administration. The sociological realities in the rural hinterland are such that none in the villages these days, either the old or the younger generation is willing to join any community effort to change things. Take the PM’s sanitation programme.
We, in our own village couldn’t succeed to abolish the misuse of the latrines. No one uses the government ones!
The panchayat raj authorities too couldn’t do more even at our own enlightened efforts, if we can say so. The point here is that no serious attempt to eradicate castes and corruption in election politics. So, we see in the current buzz about OBC reforms is only an eye-wash and any attempt to further subdivide the castes would only encourage much more smaller and more number of new caste parties!
Caste is a highly complex subject.
Better you reform the election-related issues like more stringent election-funding laws. Also the EC much be reformed so that it can further consolidate the powers to strictly monitor how funds are collected and also accumulated and therefore there is no incentive for the political parties to become more internally accountable. See the major parties today.
Do they want to conduct internal elections? More dynasts would become more attached to the parties where more number of heirs is a sure way of continuing the dynastic politics. So too at the grassroots level.
You have to also account for the existing inequities and inequalities in the traditional privileges for the landowning classes and other intermediary and landless classes. Can anyone leader raise his or her hand and say the inequities and inequalities can be abolished in a day?
No, no, no!
Actually the urbanisation process is doing that task much more economically and more rationally. The educated rural youth don’t want to stick to the traditional occupations of their own forefathers.
This is effecting a new rational equalisation of opportunities and creates new social status group. Also, the trend to migration to the US shores has also played or still playing a role in bringing a new sense of belonging in the depleted current rural li8fe scene.
The more likely recurring drought conditions would also further expedite the land consolidating process and more and more small land holders to abandon farming altogether and migrate to the nearby urban areas.
So, what we say here is that Mr.Modi and his colleagues must start thinking about politics in a more open-minded manner. More liberalisation of the political structure, be it parties or policies that would encourage the villages to get more powers, be it panchayats or elections to the state Assemblies that would encourage villagers to come forward to have a say in the selection of the candidates also not based on castes but on the public recognition of the candidates for elections based on their public record of service.
Sociological realities would prevail as long as the democratic politics is seen only through the narrow prism of the exisiting corrupt political system.