No Lokpal, says Kancha Ilaiah

[ A Round Table India report]

August 30: At a public meeting at the Hyderabad Press Club today, Kancha Ilaiah emphasized that the Team Anna sponsored Jan Lokpal bill was a direct attack on representative democracy and the constitution and it should be opposed vigorously. 'No Lokpal' should be the Dalit-Bahujan demand, he said.

The well attended meeting, organized by the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes Welfare Association and Andhra Pradesh Ambedkar Yuvajana Sangham, to discuss 'Caste, Corruption, Constitution' threw up a wide range of dissenting views on the proposed Lokpal bill, particularly the Jan Lokpal version. Bojja Tharakam, senior advocate, human rights activist and Dalit intellectual, G. Shankar and Bharat Bhushan of the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes Welfare Association, D.C.Rosaiah, retired IAS officer, Asifuddin Mohammed of the Islamic Academy for Comparative Religion (IACR) apart from Prof.Kancha Ilaiah, were among the key speakers at the meeting. Present at the meeting were many activists, students, employees and others.IMG_2457_copy

G.Shankar, General Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes Welfare Association, questioned the rationale behind the proposal of the Lokpal legislation, and analysed the many ways in which it could be employed to target and victimise SC/ST employees in the government and various public sector undertakings. Pointing out that Dalits and Adivasis already form the overwhelming majority of employees in government who face charges of graft, he added that the new legislation could possibly aggravate the situation further.

It's Ekpal, not Lokpal

Expressing sharp criticism about the way in which Team Anna tried to impose Jan Lokpal on the parliament; Bojja Tharakam cautioned the Dalitbahujans that they need to prepare themselves to launch a movement to protect the constitution and representative democracy.

Bojja Tharakam said the intention behind the whole Hazare led movement against corruption was to install an 'Ekpal', a single supreme authority that reigned over the parliament, the executive and the judiciary, answerable to no one but itself. He said it was an old ploy, a much used tactic in Hindu history to invoke and invent an avatar, vest him with a divine aura and use that invention to serve their narrow parochial interests.

He said the campaign to project Hazare as an ultra-clean new Gandhi, a superhuman personality of impeachable integrity and honesty, was part of the plan to produce a new Vishnu, an Ekpal who would decimate the forces of corruption, which in the eyes of the Hindus means only SCs, STs, OBCs and  Muslims.IMG_2471

He asked what exactly was wrong with the existing laws and institutions that such unreasonable new demands are being made. He said that laws and regulations such as the Prevention of Corruption Act, the CCA rules, and institutions such as the ACBs and Vigilance departments and the CBI etc are quite adequate to handle all kinds of graft and misconduct, so where was the need for a new legislation and framework.

He outlined the partisan application of anti-corruption law and machinery until now: while at the level of the bureaucracy and in the PSUs, thousands of employees of Dalit, Adivasi and other marginalized backgrounds have become almost exclusive targets of investigations and inquiries, more often than not, on questionable grounds, politicians of lower caste backgrounds weren't spared either. When A.Raja, the former Telecom Minister, followed the same procedure in granting licenses to telecom companies as his predecessors, Dayanidhi Maran and Arun Shourie, why was only he in jail, and not the other two?

Raja had made it very clear that he had kept the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Finance Minister P.Chidambaram informed on all his decisions, Tharakam pointed out, so why are the Prime Minister and Chidambaram not being touched? Similarly, why was only Mayawati's decision to expand or widen the road from Delhi to Agra, known as the Taj Corridor, being questioned while similar decisions were taken by many chief ministers and state governments across the country in the recent past?

In the Judiciary, he asked, why were only K.G. Balakrishnan and Dinakaran being targeted when key members of Team Anna themselves, the Bhushans, had raised questions about the integrity of 16 justices? Why was Justice Anand spared when senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani had produced evidence that the judge had submitted a false birth certificate to get his job?

He questioned the undemocratic, coercive methods employed by Team Anna and their contempt for the principle of representation: from the drafting panel to the proposed Jan Lokpal, was there any place in their vision for any Dalitbahujan representation? How can two persons from one family be chosen for the drafting panel? Why doesn't Hazare question that kind of nepotism, he asked. Doesn't he see all the plush arrangements made for his fast—from the pandal to the tents to food— and the funds that went into making all that possible, as corruption?

He raised some very fundamental questions about the probity of the self-appointed anti-corruption crusaders: when Dalits and other marginalized groups find it so hard to mobilize even a few thousand rupees—for even the most basic expenses as hiring charges for the venue, loudspeakers and lighting, for handbills-- to hold a public meeting and still attract large crowds but ultimately get only paltry media attention, how did Team Anna manage to find the resources for such lavish arrangements and bag the attention of hundreds of cameras and reporters, for 13 whole days?

'Who paid for the 24x13 media coverage of the Anna Hazare fast?' Isn't that corruption, he asked.

He commended Bahujan political leaders like Laloo Yadav and Sharad Yadav for upholding the idea of the 'supremacy of parliament', and its credibility as the foremost legitimate public forum in the country. He said meetings such as this should be held in every district, village and town in the state and country, on the same subject ('Caste-Corruption-Constitution') so that awareness about the issues involved could be raised, and Dalitbahujans be prepared to protect the constitution and their rights.

Have Dalits ever been treated with anything but corruption?

IMG_2475

Retired IAS officer, D.C.Rosaiah wanted to know if the Dalits in the country have ever been treated with anything but 'aviniiti' (immorality or corruption)? If there was any community that had a legitimate right to raise a banner against corruption in the country, it was the Dalits, he said.

He warned that the Dalits, Adivasis and after them the Backward Classes and minorities would be the primary targets of the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill.

Bharat Bhushan asked: what would the Dalits, the great majority of whom who earn less than Rs.100 a day, know about corruption? The only issue that's relevant for them is social justice, he emphasized.

'No Lokpal'

Prof.Kancha Ilaiah called upon all the Dalitbahujans to oppose Jan Lokpal in one voice. 'No Lokpal should be our demand', he said.

He said two recent events underlined the need for Dalitbahujans to become more aware of concerted assaults being planned on their rights. The first, the release of the film 'Aarakshan', was an attack on the 'right to life' of the Dalitbahujans and the second, the Jan Lokpal tamasha, was a direct, more comprehensive attack on the constitution and parliamentary democracy.

He said the first assault was being defended on the grounds of 'right to expression' and the second was being hyped-up as a nation-wide crusade against corruption. He said the media had a big role to play in lending credibility and support to both arguments. He said the national media features many 'intellectual thugs' on debates and talk shows to oppose Dalitbahujan points of view, and tries to present highly exaggerated accounts of upper caste led movements and crusades.

The familiar tactic of using slick camerawork to present 'tens as hundreds and hundreds as thousands and thousands as lakhs' was being used by the media to once again project the India Against Corruption (IAC) sponsored Hazare agitation as a nationwide, people's movement. He said the media had perfected this art since the 2007 anti-Mandal agitation led by 'Youth For Equality', of which Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi were great sympathizers.

Apart from the fact that it was an attack on representative democracy, his opposition to the Hazare movement was based on very simple grounds, he said: what was corruption for the upper castes was non-corruption for the Dalitbahujans, and what was corruption for the Dalitbahujans was non-corruption for the upper castes.

IMG_2490_copy

The RSS and Sangh parivar were also key promoters of the Hazare movement, he felt. All the saffronites had come out in Gandhi topis to support the movement, he remarked, and if the BJP had the courage, it should contest the next elections on the issue of Jan Lokpal and corruption and see if it would win more than 25 seats across the country.

He said though the Dalitbahujan politicians had stood up against the bullying tactics of Team Anna, the masses too should gear themselves up for a prolonged battle. No Lokpal should be the goal, or the Bill should be put to sleep in the same way as the Women's Reservations Bill, he said. If Team Anna wanted the Bill to be passed, he suggested, they should contest the 2014 elections and try to convince the people of its need, as is the usual democratic practice and not try to dictate to parliament what it needs to do.

Brother Asifuddin Muhammad of the Islamic Academy of Comparative Religion said the proposed Jan Lokpal had some fundamental loopholes. One major problem was with: who would select the Lokpal? The selection process and committee proposed overruled or left no space for SC/ST/OBC and minorities representation, and was hence undemocratic because it also ignored the parliament. Next major problem was: to whom would the Lokpal be accountable?

IMG_2492

He said it was obvious that the Sangh parivar was supporting the Hazare movement and this posed a threat to the minorities in the country. He said he was very glad that the Dalits and Muslims thought alike on this issue.

Other Related Articles

Bheel Intellectual Forum: Heartbeat of Dalit Activism in Pakistan
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
  Sufi Ghulam Hussain On 26th of March, the Bheel Intellectual Forum (BIF) organized a Scheduled Caste Jagarta Rally, the first ever rally that saw the participation of all major Dalit... Read More...
जे.एन.यू. में ब्राह्मणवाद की खेती: जितेन्द्र सुना
Monday, 27 March 2017
  जितेन्द्र सुना मुथुकृष्ण्न की संस्थानिक हत्या के विरोध में 16 मार्च,... Read More...
Dr. Khatumal Jeewan on the Rise of Meghwars in local Politics of lower Sindh
Saturday, 25 March 2017
  Dr Khatumal Jeewan Dr Khatumal Jeewan (Khatu) is the most celebrated Dalit leader of Pakistan. He has been senator, four times MNA (Member of National Assembly)  and two times MPA (Member... Read More...
Slaves of Manu
Friday, 24 March 2017
  Nitin Dhaktode Some peopleBorn in the socially marginalised community,Forget their rootsSpend their life practising slaveryThe bootlickers of the oppressor casteOppressors from Right, Left,... Read More...
Vayalar Rebellion: A Rethought
Thursday, 23 March 2017
  Anilkumar PV There is no other grand claim about history as that of Hegel's inimitable remark: "God is God only in so far as he knows himself." It was Marx who liberated thought from the... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Brahminical Patriarchy and Social Media
Friday, 27 January 2017
 Bhagyesha Kurane Social media has become an integral part of our lives these days. There are various notions prevalent about whether one should use social media, and if at all it is to be used,... Read More...

Recent Articles in Hindi

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

  संजय जोठे  इस देश में भेदभाव और शोषण से भरी परम्पराओं का विरोध करने वाले अनेक विचारक और क्रांतिकारी हुए हैं जिनके बारे में हमें बार-बार पढ़ना और समझना चाहिए. दुर्भाग्य से इस देश के शोषक वर्गों के षड्यंत्र के कारण इन क्रांतिकारियों का जीवन परिचय और समग्र कर्तृत्व छुपाकर रखा जाता है. हमारी अनेकों पीढियां इसी षड्यंत्र में जीती आयीं हैं. किसी देश के उद्भट विचारकों और क्रान्तिकारियों को इस...

Read more

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

(कृष्ण की लोक लुभावन छवि का पुनर्पाठ!)मानुषी आखिर ये मिथकीय कहानियां किस तरह की परवरिश और शिक्षा देती हैं, जहां पुरुषों को सारे अधिकार हैं, चाहे वह स्त्री को अपमानित करे या दंडित, उसे स्त्री पलट कर कुछ नहीं कहती। फिर आज हम रोना रोते हैं कि हमारे बच्चे इतने हिंसक और कुंठित क्यों हो रहे हैं। सारा दोष हम इंटरनेट और टेलीविजन को देकर मुक्त होना चाहते हैं। जबकि स्त्री...

Read more

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

संजय जोठे धर्म जो काम शास्त्र लिखकर करता है वही काम राष्ट्र अब फ़िल्में और विडिओ गेम्स बनाकर बनाकर करते हैं. इसी के साथ सुविधाभोगी पीढ़ी को मौत से बचाने के लिए टेक्नालाजी पर भयानक खर्च भी करना पड़ता है ताकि दूर बैठकर ही देशों का सफाया किया जा सके, और यही असल में उस तथाकथित “स्पेस रिसर्च” और “अक्षय ऊर्जा की खोज” की मूल प्रेरणा है, यूं तो सबको...

Read more