The protests today by the Dalits in the commercial capital brought the entire city to a halt. The Dalit leaders of Maharashtra, backed by various Dalit representative fronts took to the streets. These protests in the author’s opinion do not relate themselves to the Maratha-Dalit divide, but is another catalyst trying to tap into a vote-bank.
The last year saw a Bhim Army led by a man not very famously known in the city of Saharanpur that gave some traction to the receding BSP votes in the municipal elections in UP. Now the last year saw the Marathas staging a Dharna, demanding abolition of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, and scrapping of the reservation for Dalits in educational institutes and government jobs.
The incident that was witnessed in the commercial capital of the nation was one that loomed into a wildfire due to an intrusion in a rally of a Dalit community Mahar, that was observing their yearly felicitation of the martyrs in the British war against the Peshwas. The intrusion was allegedly, made by two bike borne persons who were waving saffron flags.
The felicitation had gained much traction in the recent years as the Peshwas were believed to be casteist Brahmins who made Mahars tie brooms to their ankles in order to erase any foot marks they made while walking as they were untouchables. Amazingly, though, the Peshwas endorsed the warfare abilities of the Mahars, and there was a military general in the army of Shivaji.
The Mahrashtra government led by Devendra Fadanavis immediately took action and ordered a judicial committee to look into the incident. The government also assured the Mumbaikars that they may peacefully carry on their routine activities as the situation is under control, yet the Dalit squads enforced a Bandh. The leaders who are catching the spotlight in the turmoil are Gujarat’s newly elected Jignesh Mewani, and Dr. Ambedkar’s never heard of grandson.
These people were also there in Bhima-Koregaon before the felicitation function took place, and along with them was Umar Khalid as well.
The meaning is nothing so far, but only a hint, while the rest of the country is trying to respond to the call of Hinduism in danger, there are other forces at play who are trying to tear into the consolidated Hindu vote bank which will create an imbalance in the BJPs vote share.
The idea is, one orchestrated effort to further divide the masses on the lines of caste and religion for very obvious ends of parties that see it tough to come to power. The voters here, yet are smart, and they don’t easily dig into anybody’s promises.
Arvind Kejriwal won the Delhi elections, and faces an anti-incumbency wave in the upcoming elections, while there are many other people who see the BJP loosing Madhya Pradesh.
While the political narrative finds new routes to fetch the crown for someone or the other, the reader must think very openly, whether or not there exists a nexus between the Bhim Army event, and the Bhima-Koregaon, where the direct outcome may be caste-polarisation,
Only if the people in the political circles had a better level of intellect that advised them to play better tricks, India would not have shamed itself in the world to wake up to a violent bandh organised by the Dalits, that too after so many years of practicing reform measures and beneficial policies for the protection and advancement of the Dalits.