On the death anniversary of Bahujan Nayak Sahab Kanshiram, the Bahujans across country who understand the importance of the work and contributions of Sahab Kanshiram for building the Bahujan movement are paying rich tributes to his memories and his work. However, the real homage to Sahab Kanshiram will be to work towards strengthening the movement built by him.
It doesn’t require a mind of a political scientist or a political analyst to evaluate the current state of the Bahujan movement initiated by Sahab Kanshiram. The caravan of Bahujan movement led by Sahab Kanshiram was based on the strong foundation of philosophy and lifelong work of Babasaheb, Mahatma Phule and many other Bahujan revolutionaries. Sahab Kanshiram put together a very ambitious plan of uniting the 85% Bahujan Samaj divided into 6000+ castes and to free them from the social, political, cultural and economic hegemony of the ruling 15% Savarna Hindu castes.
This whole project of formation of Bahujan Samaj and to enable the Bahujans capture master key of political power was not just a political movement. It was to be a combination of social, political and cultural revolution. It is true that a political power can facilitate and accelerate the change process of social, economic and cultural transformation. However, to achieve the political power itself, the pre-requisite is to bring about a certain level of social and cultural change, as a process of formation of Bahujan Samaj.
Unless a critical mass of Bahujans is awakened and united, the political success can never be achieved. And to bring about this socio-cultural change, to unite and awaken the Bahujan masses is not a work of a political party. It is the work of an organization which is non-political, socio-cultural organization.
Why has the Bahujan movement gone astray? Why has it lost its momentum and its direction? The reasons are simple and as follows –
- Undermining of the importance of non-political, socio-cultural organization, to bring about socio-cultural changes and to unite the Bahujan Samaj divided into numerous castes.
- Inability to create its own Bahujan media, closure of the existing weekly, fortnightly like Bahujan Nayak, Bahujan Sanghatak, etc. thus limiting the reach of the movement
- Inability to develop intra-party democracy and a system of accountability
- Halting of the process of caderisation through cadre camps. This has halted the training of the activists and leaders at various levels in the organization, thus has stopped the growth of the cadre.
- Complete focus on political maneuvering few months before and during elections. Neglecting the common people’s day to day problems, no agitations against the anti-people policies of the governments of the day. This has led to alienation of common people from the party
- Over-reliance on so-called “social engineering” which means the strategic distribution of tickets based on the castes. Social engineering in distribution of tickets doesn’t help in winning elections if it is not preceded by the movement for socio-cultural change and unity of Bahujan Samaj
- A complete breakdown of communication between the party activists and the top leadership. The leadership of no party in the world communicates with its activists through the media conferences.
- Dilution of core values of the Bahujan movement. Moving away from Bahujanwad to Sarvajanwad
- Malpractices during distribution of tickets has created trust deficit in minds of people, raising question marks about the integrity of the leadership
- Failure of leadership to create an environment in the organization wherein people are given respect, activists are appreciated for good work and are motivated.
- Lack of grievance redressal mechanism. The activists do not have any platform or channels to convey their concerns to the leadership. This has led to the exodus of good activists from the organization
- Concentration of organizational activities only in one state, at the cost of rest of India, has stopped the growth of organization throughout the country
Unless and until the above issues are addressed by the top leadership with full sincerity and willpower to regain the lost ground, there is no way the caravan of Bahujan movement can regain its lost momentum.
Author – Jayant Pathri