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Kanshiram- Leader of the Dalits- A Critical Review

Kanshiram- Leader of the Dalits- A Critical Review

By Akshay Khobragade

Edited by Michelle Cherian, Associate Editor, The Indian Economist

Kanshiram was unknown for many during his struggle for Dalit’s of India.  No one evenrecogised him during 70s to 90s. The author has tried to do some justification to him and his movement by writing this book. But when we see a particular person we need to understand both side of him and his movement.

Though author has tried to capture his earlier life but most of the information is still hidden in the history. To begin with, it’s known fact that Kanshiram came into circle of other Dalit leaders of India after formation of BAMCEF. BAMCEF was known to be the employee’s organization. Author has done justification in his book with his earlier life before BAMCEF but there is much more to be included after the formation of BAMCEF.

Examining Kanshiram as a leader then, it was justified by author that he was the person with extra ordinary skills and was visionary that separates him from other leaders of Dalit movement.  No person in the history of Dalit’s ofIndia after Dr. Ambedkar has leaded this kind of movement and captured the political power in India. But that doesn’t justify that he was next to Dr. Ambedkar in Dalit history though it may have been project by Author and several others, who have researched on his movement.It may be biased to say that, he has not tried to gain second position after Ambedkar because he tried to accomplish the dream of Ambedkar, and implemented the blue print prepared by the Ambedkar, wherein RPI and other Dalit organizations failed to do so, that is the reason he stated that, “Ambedkar gather books and I gather the people”. Before establishing BAMCEF, he was introduced to Ambedkar ideology by D.K. Khaparde, his colleague and later became his comrade in BAMCEF.Kanshiram not only read Annihilation of Caste written by Dr. Ambedkar but studied Ambedkar & his ideology by various mean and source available with him at that time.

On the critic part, Author had wrongly mentioned that Khaparde Trust was started by him, though fact is, it is established by the Khaparde faction of BAMCEF. And even wrong year of split of BAMCEF is mentioned in book i.e., instead of 1990 split happened in 1986.

The author has done research on the means available to him for this book, but when we talk about the personality like Kanshiram, there is a need of extensive advanced research and dip stick analysis to bring the fact and figures out in the public domain. Author has not emphasized much on the BAMCEF activity, as it has laid down the base and foundation for the movement. It is the known fact that Kanshiram alone would have not done it; it was BAMCEF which worked and the people within it, who were known as think–tank. They financed and operated the BAMCEF & DS-4 organizations on pan India. The Author though has done justification by recognizing the name old comrade of Kanshiram but it would have been a tribute to them if their work would get small space in the book. The author also didn’t recogised the close associate of Kanshiram, Ram Khobragade, a colleague & Comrade of Kanshiram, who introduced Mayawati to Kanshiram in year 1977, he saw her skills and was first to give her chance make a speech in RavidasiJayanthi Rally in Delhi, where she made her first debut in rally organized by BAMCEF, thereafter, as a result of  her performance and impact on the rally, Ram Khobragade gave her second chance in Birth Convention of BAMCEF 1978, where she came into the eyes of BAMCEF &Public.   Even Ajay Bose the author of the book Behenjiwho wrote exclusive book on Mayawati did not recognised this fact of the movement.

Today, the authors are relied on the material available to them, the true journey of Kanshiram from BAMCEF to BSP is known to his close associates, who still remain in isolation/darkness carrying the important facts of the history. It is suggested to Authors or any researcher to explore such hidden history. Author has though capture raise of Mayawati and her political carrier, but fail to analysis the critical part of her first election wherein she leaded the BSP after Kanshiramin U.P. State Election wherein the Social Engineering propaganda was made though it failed in subsequent State election and recent General Election.  Actually, there was no Social Engineering at all; the ‘Social-engineering’ of Brahmins and Dalit was the media creation to continue hammeringMayawati to oblige Brahmins so that she always remains under pressure of the so-called Brahmin. The reality in 2007 UP Assembly election was that only 12% of total 10% Brahmins of U.P. voted for BSP and that too, where Brahmins were the candidates. On other hand 86% Dalit’s, 66%, MBCs and 26% Muslims voted for BSP. And it is this combination of Bahujans – Dalit’s – Muslims – Most Back Communities (D-M2) that made 2007 UP election grand success for BSP.

Author may need to make more research in the history of the Movement as many fact are still to unrevealed. The book symbolized Kanshiram as a Leader of Dalit and success of his Movement. No doubt Kanshiram was genius personality; the critical part of him should have been included in the book. Kanshiram limited his movement in north India, critic part of it whether he has done it intentionally? Though, he stated that,“first I would take North and then I will turn to South India” but that turn never came, spilt in BAMCEF in 1986 broke the spinal cord of his movement.Another critic is disbanding of BAMCEF and DS-4 was a wrong decision on his part, and it was also considered one of the reasons of split of BAMCEF in 1986. If, three of the organizations BAMCEF, DS-4 and BSP would have worked together as team the result of General Election 2014 would have been different.

Acritical part of him was, he never let his others colleagues of him to become public figure apart from Mayawati. The reason best known to him or in other word, whether he has given chance to  Mayawati to decide on it. Can it be considered failure? Today after Mayawati, BSP doesn’t have any second tire leaders within its circle or any other old colleagues of Kanshiramin BSP after Mayawati to lead the BSP and thebahujan movement? This question is stillunanswered to the Dalit mass of India.

Another aspect is the death of Kanshiram, which is still considered as mystery. The book also lack with photographs of his movement and publications related to movement. Overall Book generates the enthusiasm in mind of the readers.

When we examine the public personality or figure, it should be examined in two fold with constructive as well as pessimistic way.

In the contemporary situation of BSP, it would be appropriate to quote that Kanshiram, always warned his comrade & also stated in his Speech in BAMCEF Conventions that, we should not give a chance to anti-dalits(so called manuwadi’s) because once they enter in the organization or movement they will destroy the movement, and his forecast has come true.

Kanshiram was a Social cum political Leader, though on other hand Mayawati is limited her-self to political leadership, and that’s why she lost the recent General Election, where BSP failed to capture single seat with vote bank of 4.1 % on pan India. Lastly, to quote Kanshiram, he stated, “To be strong in politics, the social root should be strong”.

She still needs to recollect the learning of her mentor and call in his old comrades once again in the service of BSP. Will she do this, is the question?


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