[This document elucidates the political programme of the Shoshit Samaj Dal, which is working chiefly to promote the cause of social justice, with specific emphasis on representation for the pasmanda sections, dalits and backward castes, among Muslims- Round Table India]
Translation by Khalid Anis Ansari
Shoshit Samaj Dal
Campaign for Pasmanda Revolution
Everyone utters what is written in the gospels, I utter what I see with my eyes!!!
If we have to put an end to communalism, the idea of two-nation theory should be buried. RSS and Jana Sangh are the largest banner bearers of Jinnah's two-nation theory in this country. So I have been emphasising on the matter that all parties, functioning on communal ground, should be legally banned whether these are RSS, Jana Sangh, Jamaat-e-Islami or Muslim League. But I do not think that mere legal ban on communal parties will solve the problem....a country-wide movement is needed along with ban on communal parties.
~Fakhr-e-Qaum Abdul Qaiyum Ansari
Ninety out of hundred are the oppressed, Ninety is our share,
The rule of ten over ninety will have to go, will have to go!!!
~Amar Shaheed Jagdeo Prasad Kushwaha
1. Shoshit Samaj Dal (SSD) has a glorious history of incessant struggle against savarna (upper caste) capitalism. In this respect SSD has openly protested against poverty which is associated with capitalism and the humiliation of lower castes which can be attributed to the caste system in India.
2. SSD is sensitive to the problems faced by the pasmanda society. The pasmanda movement has forcefully articulated that the Indian Muslim society too is dominated by the savarna/ashraf Muslims along the lines of Hindu society and that they treat the pasmanda (dalit and backward) Muslims with utter contempt.
3. Muslim society too is marked by inequality and discrimination on the lines of caste (biradaris). While on the one hand the ashraf Muslims (Syeds, Sheikhs, Mughals, Pathans, etc.) consider themselves superior to other Muslims, on the other hand castes like kunjra (vegetable sellers), dhunia (cotton carders), kalal (alcohol distillers), julaha (weavers), etc., have ceased to be innocuous caste names but have turned into derogatory swearwords in Muslim society.
4. Apart from this widespread feeling of humiliation faced by pasmanda muslims the ashraf Muslims have cornered all the share of pasmanda muslims in the name of minority politics. Although pasmanda muslims constitute about 85% of Indian Muslim population but as far as their share in power is concerned—whether it is judiciary, executive and the legislature, or the community institutions run in the name of Muslims—it is almost negligible. In striking contrast, the ashraf Muslims, who constitute merely 15% of Muslim population, are able to secure adequate representation for themselves. Even in sectors like education, health, employment, etc., the condition of ashrafs is far better than the pasmanda muslims.
5. Similarly, if we take the case of political representation, then out of 7,500 members from the first to fourteenth Lok Sabha (lower house of the Parliament) only about 400 members belonged to the Muslim community. Out of these 400 Muslim members about 340 have been ashraf Muslims and only 60 have belonged to the pasmanda community. If the population of Muslims in India is 13.4% (Census 2001) then the population of ashraf Muslims is about 2.1% (15% of Muslim population) and the population of pasmanda muslims turns out to be 11.4% (85% of Muslim population). Hence, the representation of ashraf Muslims in Lok Sabha works out to be 4.5% that is way beyond their population percentage of 2.1%. Even here they are not only adequately represented but rather are doubly represented. On the contrary the representation of pasmanda muslims with a population of 11.4% has been about 0.8% (less than 1 percent) in Lok Sabha. It is quite clear which section of Muslims is benefitting from Muslim/Minority politics!!!
6. It can be stated reasonably that the savarna section of Muslims is not a deprived group but rather is a powerful group which serves its interests at the expense of the pasmanda sections.
7. It is evident enough that in all the religious communities in India it is the upper castes which monopolize all power. All the religious institutions are controlled and dominated by savarna Hindus-Muslims-Sikhs-Christians. That is why the politics of solidarity on religious lines is the politics of upper castes. Consequently, the benefits of the discourse of communalism ultimately accrue to upper caste sections of all religions. ‘All Muslims are one!’ or ‘Say with pride that we are Hindus!’ are slogans of savarna Muslim-Hindu sections. The politics of religious unity has never benefitted dalit-bahujan-pasmanda sections and they are living in a fool’s paradise if they think it ever will.
8. That is why we believe that the fundamental identity of Indians is caste and not religion, and, moreover, there is no single caste in India with significantly large numbers that it can claim itself to be the majority community. In India there are about 3000 castes out of which only 15-20 caste groups have managed to monopolize all power and dominate the society. It is interesting that all these 3000 castes are clearly minority communities. The hegemonic castes cut across religions and have scripted the game of communalism to serve their interests. We have therefore reached the conclusion that just like Hindu politics does not benefit the dalit-bahujans, similarly Muslim politics will never benefit the pasmanda sections.
9. The politics around religious identity by dividing the subordinated castes on religious lines only goes on to secure the interests of the upper castes of all religions. That is why the politics of religious identity will have to be rejected and by relaxing the unity on religious lines a broader unity of lower castes across religious groups will have to be worked out.
10. The demand of reservations for all Muslims is a faulty one as not all Muslim groups can be said to be deprived and excluded. Since the savarna Hindus cannot be granted reservations, similarly the ashraf Muslims too cannot be brought within the ambit of reservations. Only dalit and backward Muslims can be granted reservations.
11. The slogan of SSD is dalit-pichda ek saman, Hindu ho ya Musalman!!! (All dalit-backwards are alike, whether they are Hindu or Muslim). It is only by fomenting the unity between dalits-backward communities, across religious affiliations, that an environment in favor of genuine secularism, democracy and social justice can be created.
12. That is why SSD declares that it will field all its Muslim candidates, in large numbers, from pasmanda communities only. In doing so it will take cognizance of internal balance of all castes within the pasmanda block.
Shoshit Samaj Dal promises that on gaining power it will:
a) Implement reservations for Most Backward Classes (MBCs) within OBC quota in Uttar Pradesh in accordance with Karpoori Thakur Formula being followed in the state of Bihar. Moreover, it will club all pasmanda muslim castes with similarly placed Hindu backward castes in the MBC list.
b) Pressurize the Central Government to include dalit Muslims/Christians in the SC list by scrapping the Presidential Order, 1950 (Para 3).
c) Increase the overall quota by taking the necessary steps to terminate the arbitrary Supreme Court ceiling of 50% for reservations.
d) Craft policies and pay adequate attention to the negative aftereffects of globalization and neo-liberal policies on the pasmanda crafts-persons/artisans/laborers/peasants and small-scale industries belonging to pasmanda communities.
Released by Akhilesh Katiyar, President (Working), Shoshit Samaj Dal; Ph: 91-9871744002