Saturday, 3 June 2017

In the Teeth of Decay of Bourgeois Democracy, Reactionary Casteist Violence Haunts Saharanpur

- Ritansh Azad/ 4.6.2017


Saharanpur region in Uttar Pradesh breathed heavy in the throes of the casteist violence and prevailing tension as it geared up for upcoming municipal polls.

For long, Saharanpur has been the venue for communal violence and riots engineered by the stakeholders in the political establishment. However, the caste based feuds are a bit new to the region.

The malignant violence is part of the horrors of capitalism, the one generated out of its putrefaction.

Escalating cut-throat rivalries among bourgeois leaders and parties vying against each other to capture the power by hook or by crook, lurk as ever, behind the fresh spate of sectarian violence.

Ruling capitalists, divided from inside, into innumerable sections contending for power against each other, remain organically incapable to unite the society and instead have become the biggest obstacle in the way of this unity, a virtual fountain-head of social discords, conflicts and disharmony.

Notwithstanding the rival claims as to the real immediate cause of factional feud that has resulted in the death of three and injury to dozens apart from arson and loot, one aspect has emerged beyond doubt that it were the elite political leaders that had played critical part in eliciting the partisan strife to polarize the votes on narrow lines.

The caste violence is sequel to a failed attempt to foist a large scale communal riot between Hindu-Muslim communities, last month. Raghav Lakhanpal, MP of Hindu Supremacist BJP alongwith his goons, forced his way through the Muslim dominated village ‘Sadak Dudhli’ on April 20 to take out a “Shobha Yatra” on Ambedkar Jayanti, despite denial of permission by the police. This resulted in communal clashes that took their toll in deaths and injury to many. Despite resistance by dalit community, who warned the police in advance that Yatra was a ploy to spoil communal harmony between dalits and muslims, the administration permitted the Yatra, which resulted in communal feud.

Even before taking out the Yatra, Lakhanpal and his saffron gang attacked the office of the SSP and smashed the CCTV and a vehicle. Lakhanpal, his brother Brijesh Singh, MLA from Deoband, and several others were booked for the act under different sections of IPC.

Raghav Lakhanpal did it with full support of his party leadership, which instead of condemning or controlling Lakhanpal, transferred the SSP, City Love Kumar, who had refused permission to Lakhanpal’s Yatra and had booked him for the offences.

Needless to say, that the elite leaders and parties of different hues, like SP, Congress and BSP, expecting to gain from the gambit, were complacent to it. Amidst blame game against each other, these leaders and parties continued to fan the tensions instead of dousing them.

However, despite all malicious efforts by Lakhanpal and his Party, sane intervention of locals succeeded in preventing the communal riots from spreading over on large scale.

The same notorious Raghav Lakhanpal, struck again. He led another ‘Shobha Yatra’, on May 5, this time on the anniversary of Maharana Pratap, a medieval Rajput ruler, through whom the ‘Thakurs’, themselves a backward caste in UP, claim their heritance and heritage. Lakhanpal deliberately directed the Yatra through the streets of Village Shabbirpur, thickly habited by dalits. Swords and spears wielding crowd chanted slogans offensive to dalits.

This had allegiance to another incident in close vicinity in the near past in March 2016, when some miscreants from Rajput community had damaged the statue of Ambedkar and defaced a signboard inscribed on it ‘The Great Chamar’, in village Gharkoli. The Bhim Army, the lumpen youth wing among the dalit community, emerged in reaction to upper caste lumpens.

The ‘Shobha Yatra’ of May 5 was drowned in blood after death of a Thakur allegedly in the clash that erupted during the Yatra. The caste riots spread and took toll upon three lives while injuring and maiming dozens.

The Uttar Pradesh government and the administration under it did nothing to stop the riots. While parties like BJP and BSP took active part in fanning the flames of violence, others like Congress and SP hoped to gain by default in the dirty game of caste polarization.

Caste, a hangout of ancient past, continues to plague the present. As the ruling bourgeoisie utterly failed to dissociate itself and the society under it, from baggage of the past, rather adapted it to itself, the society is burdened with double yoke of past and present.

Far from being eliminated, caste and caste oppression is perpetuated under capitalism converging into ever new forms of sectarian conflicts and rivalries.

These caste conflicts are reactionary in their essence and nature and have no progressive edge from any side. The lumpen ventures like Bhim Army are no answer to the caste prejudices and caste based social injustice.

Both Ambedkar and Rana Pratap are icons of the elite rulers, which they are passing-off, alongside their class politics, to billions of workers and toilers, mobilising them on caste lines against each other. This is a ruling class maneuver to subjugate the working class to its political establishment through caste chauvinism and identity politics.

The unjustifiable allocation of resources and unequal distribution of the wealth and property among castes, is the root cause of perpetuation of social inequality and injustice that fuels the identity movements that play counter-revolutionary role. In turn, all these injustice and inequality are rooted in the system of private property and the capitalism based on it.

The grossly unequal development of castes, communities, races and nations is carried forward from distant past of mankind and further perpetuated under capitalism. Peripheries of the world present more stark picture of this unequal development becoming hotbeds for reactionary violence and bloodshed, as compared to metro centres of the world.

Caste based conflicts present no way out of this jumble as they pose no threat or challenge to the regime of capitalists. On the contrary, the ruling elite conveniently uses the caste and communal equations to foster reactionary conflicts to divide the working class, puncture its unity and fritter its ranks, weakening its potential to challenge and overthrow the unjust system of capitalism.

Survival of the caste in India is direct offshoot of the victory of counter-revolution and abortion of the revolution in 1947. This counter-revolution was led by Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah and Ambedkar as against the anti-colonial revolution under Bhagat Singh and his comrades.The failed revolution put the power in the hands of the Indian bourgeoisie, firmly tied up with Imperialists abroad and landlords at home. It is this ruling bourgeoisie that has perpetuated medievalism.

As the weakling bourgeoisie failed to dominate the old society and culture, the city under it failed to acquire radical values and impart them to the village.

Notwithstanding their reactionary role, the caste conflicts represent the rot at the helm of the bourgeois order of the society reeling under complete decay. They are proof of the organic incapability of the ruling bourgeoisie to unite the society on any secular and progressive basis.

The spearhead of the fight against caste would thus lie in the fight against the ruling bourgeoisie and its political regime. The caste based oppression, inequality and injustice would find its resolution not in reactionary caste conflicts but in the class struggle of the proletariat against the whole regime of ruling bourgeoisie.

This historic task can be accomplished only by the working class, being the only social class that has an international character and is thus formed and destined to transcend the narrow and sectarian barricades of caste, community, race and nation. Through a forcible overthrow of all ossified social relations and the economic system based on private property upon which these relations are founded, only the working class would create conditions for a social revolution that would liquidate economic and social basis of caste injustice and the conflicts ensuing from it. 

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