Dr Manisha Bangar
JNU elections 2016 and Mulniwasi Bahujan Students' Organizations: What's your Direction? What's your Action plan for 2017 and beyond???
Jai Bhim! Jai Mulniwasi!
We are listening to inputs of members of Mulniwasi Bahujan samaj and students organizations like Mulniwasi Vidhyarthi Sangh and many more in the background of the JNU elections results of 2016. Though the facets are many, slowly but steadily the blur is disappearing, and we are able to see a lot many things with a lot more clarity.
The new entrants in refurbished palaces
So yes! in the campus of JNU whose territorial limits extend much beyond its geographical limits ....here we are faced with three main student wings of JNUSU, the BJP backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) the Left parties' two major organizations, the All India Students Association (AISA) and Students Federation of India (SFI) forming an alliance, and the Congress party backed National Students' Union of India (NSUI). The BAPSA Birsa-Ambedkar-Phule Students' Association )BAPSA) is a rather new entrant on the block. And it's all on its own. No backing, no mentor party or Organization (at least not overtly).
The Mulniwasi Vidhyarthi Sangh has just about forayed into the JNU campus but its presence was palpable for last two years as Mulniwasi Sangh is the frontal offshoot Organization of BAMCEF. If BAPSA kept the issue of Rohith Vemula vibrant by visiting and revisiting its dimensions from the Phuley Ambedkarite lens, the Mulniwasi Sangh was instrumental in taking the Rohith Vemula upsurge across the country through its network of committed cadres. It did not contest the election and did not field any independent candidates.
BAPSA's impressive show -A blow to Right Wing and Left Wing politics in JNU and beyond
BAPSA's impressive performance in JNU elections 2016 is being read in myriad ways by Mulniwasi Bahujans and various Mulniwasi Bahujan Students' Organizations like the Mulniwasi Vidhyarthi Sangh, ASA etc .
On one hand, there are celebratory statements of BAPSA, "..igniting the hope of Mulniwasi Bahujans students for a strong independent presence in campuses" and on the other, there are statements of caution like, "all that glitters is not gold", and that we "should not take all at its face value ".
Reason to cheer for now, and for more caution in the future.
Agree with both opinions, in that we have a good reason to cheer and also that a critical analysis should go on. The concerns for Mulniwasi Bahujans Students are many . They are real and they are not unfounded.
The questions floating are ...Will our Students' Organizations be able to stand on their own feet and withstand the weathering by Left assimilations and hijackings of our students? Will they be able to expand their support amidst strong Leftists environment of University campuses? Will they be able to sustain themselves without the backing of any political party, and if they do decide to have a political party's/organization's backing, then which party /organization it would be?
These are the few questions that will keep bothering BAPSA also.
The choices that they have to make are not so much about the Right as much as they are about Left and the Middle ( i.e Mulniwasi Bahujan Organizations).
BAPSA has come on the radar
....and it will be observed in more than one dimension.
Will BAPSA be able to keep in check the recurring leftist leanings of a few of its members, will it be able to resist its usurpation by Leftists and whether it will be able to expand its support base by remaining true to Birsa Munda Phuley Ambedkarite Ideology and the Phule Ambedkarite movement currents?These areas of concerns will continue to boggle us all.
And ....Is the Left, a changed Left???
Sadly it doesn't seem so. After all, the many demonstrations ever since the Rohith Vemula issue steamed up and all the sloganeering of *Lal Salam Neela Salam* including the calls for *Azaadi from Brahmanvaad and Jativaad*, the candidates who were fielded by the AISA-SFI alliance were Upper Castes, Hindus, Brahmins and Ashrafs.
AISA student leaders who were seen collaborating and sharing public platforms on Atrocities in Una etc with so-called Dalit organization under the unifying salutation of Jai Bhim were seen caught in a conflict of interests and seen lacking in giving clear-cut opinions on their allegiances.
And if in this background, the Left Organizations in JNU continue to draw accusations by the Bahujans of being part of the unholy alliance of SFi and AISA, and that alliance is controlled by all Brahmin top leaders (well, little better than ABVP though, hence lesser of two evils).
And also that as Rohith's sacrifice has been hijacked by left organizations - then are they wrong in positing these very grave doubts? No, it doesn't seem they are erring as much in these accusations as they are said to be...I feel.
As the Left have been acting and showing that they are a changed Left, embracing "Neela Salam", if they are not true to it, they will go down as ABVP.
It's for the same fear that there has been no concrete reciprocation by the Bahujans of this newly founded call for unity of Neela and Lal Salaam.
What's the direction, What's the action plan for 2016- 2017 for Mulniwasi Bahujan Students' Organizations
However and whichever way it unfolds, the solution for making the Phule Ambedkarite based thought churning strong in Universities is by strengthening the organizational framework, both outside and inside the Campus. And it remains to be seen how the Students Organizations of Mulniwasi Bahujans - whether ASA, BAPSA or Mulniwasi Vidhyarthi Sangh - stand upto this challenge.
I do agree BAPSA has its own limitations. And that is exactly where we the Mulniwasi Bahujans Students' Organizations have to labour and plug the loopholes.
The scenario where in Students Organizations (but all of Mulniwasi Bahujans) contest with each other to prove that they represent the Mulniwasi Bahujans in the best possible way and are ready to take the enemy head on, will be a scenario that will keep the Mulniwasi Students in the forefront, regardless of election results.
Hamara Mudda Hamari Ladhayi,
Hamari Ladhayi Hamari Aguwahi
But whatever the scenario may be, the principle has to be self-reliance.
Working under above principles of Self-reliance and Non-dependency is what is required at this point in time by each and every student and Faculty member of the Mulniwasi Bahujans in University campuses.
Jubilations have challenges as their accomplices --- For BAPSA
Since BAPSA has emerged as single largest group they will have a challenging time ahead. They will have to face a strong counter from ABVP and competition for students support from Left Organizations. Amidst all this, they also will be watched closely by Mulniwasi Bahujans if they are being true to Phuley Ambedkarite values.
Nevertheless, whichever way we may take the election results, the coming times are going to decide a whole lot of things in favour or against the Mulniwasi Bahujan youth all over the campuses and the country.
Mulniwasi Vidhyarthi Sangh has to be ready for challenges from all fronts and has to know its friends and foes well. It depends on how Mulniwasi Vidhyarthi Sangh makes good moves swiftly and takes up challenges in Universities by its continued presence And for now, let us rejoice in the echoing sounds of the resounding slap that ABVP has got on its ugly face.
Jai Bhim! Jai Mulniwasi! Jai Bharat!!!
Dr Manisha Bangar is a leading organizer of Mulniwasi Bahujans of India (the Indigenous majority population).
Currently serving as National Vice President of BAMCEF (Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation), she is former National Vice President of Mulniwasi Sangh and National President of Mulniwasi Mahila Sangh the mass based offshoot wings of BAMCEF.
A good orator, freelance writer and poetess she has continued to speak for more than a decade at Universities, Civil/Human Rights and Phule Ambedkarite Organizations, both Nationally and Internationally (USA, UK, Europe and Middle East) including the United Nations on issues of Caste, Gender Equality, Health and Education rights, Comparative Religious thought and Phuley Periyaar Ambedkar Ideology.
She is also a super specialised, practising Hepatologist and serves as Associate Professor in Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division of Deccan Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana, India.