Politics of power and artificial ideologies

by Chandrabhan Prasad

Has any political scientist ever called the Communist Party of India's (CPI) 1957 victory in Kerala a political triumph of the Ezhavas, Nadars and Thiyyas - major upper Shudra castes - but one which was headed by a communist-Brahman, EMS Namboodiripad? Read More Can the Left Front or Congress-led fronts win elections in Kerala without the support of these Shudra castes? Left or Congress governments, it is the Ezhvas, Nadars and Thiyyas - the Dalits' main tormentors - who rule Kerala. What is the ideology then?

Did any political scientist describe Charan Singh's quitting of the Congress in 1967, and his formation of a coalition government in Uttar Pradesh, as the beginning of the political triumph of the upper caste Shudras in UP? Any non-Congress, non-BJP government in UP is headed by an upper Shudra? Likewise, any BJP or Congress-led government in UP, is headed by a Dvija. What is the ideology then?

Did any political scientist describe the Janata Dal's triumph in Bihar in 1989 as the stabilisation of upper caste Shudra politics? That Laloo's continued hold over the power structure is a result of an over all OBC mobilisation and not because of any "secular" agenda? What is the ideology then?

Or, did any political scientist theorise that the Left Front's 1977 triumph in "casteless" West Bengal was a replica of the anti-Brahman movement of Tamil Nadu, where Shudra castes camouflaged their intent under Tamil chauvinism. That in the same way, Vaidyas, Kayasthas, Sadgops etc, in Bengali society, camouflaged their true intent under Marxism? Did any commentator try to explore the proposition that the same non-Brahman castes in the just concluded Assembly elections may have thought that a co-opted Brahman like Buddhadeo Bhattacharya was a better bet than Mamata Banerjee - a Brahman again but a woman who is destined to be an ally of the Brahman dominated-Congress or BJP? What is the ideology then?

Did any political scientist describe NTR's victory in Andhra Pradesh, in the early 1980s, as the political triumph of Kammas and other Shudra castes against the dominance of Reddys and Brahmans? Whether the Congress or the TDP, it is either the Kammas or the Reddys -Dalits' main tormentors - who rule Andhra? Where is the ideology then?

Did any political scientist theorise that the Congress or Janata Dal governments - the Dalits' main tormentors - rule Karnataka and that the Siv Sena/BJP or Congress governments - Marathas and Kunbies - the Dalits' main tormentors again, rule Maharashtra. Where is the ideology then? And Gujarat? The Congress or BJP - Patels and Patidars, the Dalits' main tormentors - rule the state. Where is the ideology then?

Ideology in political alliances? Were the Samajwadis, Jan Sangh, RSS, Left and the Gandhians ideologically closer to each other in 1977, when they came together to defeat the Congress? Again, were all these ideologically closer to each other in 1989, when they got together to defeat the Congress ? Were Chandrababu Naidu, Karunanidhi, Sharad Yadav, Nitish Kumar, George Fernandes, Ram Vilas Pasvan really progressives when they formed important constituents of the United Front but became ideologically incorrect when they joined the BJP-led NDA? Or, were the Left and BJP ideologically closer to each other when they both supported the VP Singh Government?

About leadership. Is it necessary that the Congress or BJP governments at the Centre be headed by Brahmans alone? Yes, Lal Bahadur Shastri was an exception and so was Morarji Desai. But, why is it that all the other non-Congress Prime Ministers - Charan Singh, VP Singh, Chandrashekhar, HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral - happened to be non-Brahmans? Where is the ideology then? Yes, the ideology was indeed there - of the Chatur-Varna order, where different caste groups were mobilised under different platforms.

Within the Congress, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas have asserted themselves and sometimes even joined hands with the Shudras to take on the Brahmans. Wasn't the Jan Sangh, till 1977, identified more with the Vaishyas than the Brahmans? And didn't the Jan Sangh join hands with a Shudra-Kshatriya combine to snatch power from the Brahmans in 1977 - and repeat the same act in 1989?

As a matter of fact, it is only the Dalits who do not camouflage their identity or hide under different ideological shades. All the other social categories, with no exception at all, camouflage their identities under different ideological shades - Marxism, Liberalism, Socialism, Secularism and so on and so on.