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?


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.


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?


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

Atrocity on Dalits in Ramojipeta, Telangana: A fact-finding report
Sunday, 29 November 2020
  On the day of Dussehra, Ramojipeta, a village in Illanthakunta Mandal of Sircilla district from where the Chief Minister's son, Mr. K Tarakarama Rao (KTR), was elected, witnessed a tragic... Read More...
The Indian State during the Pandemic: Serving the Savarna, Invisibilising the Bahujan
Thursday, 26 November 2020
  Raina Singh, Theresa Joseph & Shafiullah Anis  Ambedkar Reading Group met online on 10th May 2020 with the motive to read, understand, discuss and debate from an anti-caste... Read More...
The fence-sitter of Tamil Nadu politics: Superstar Rajinikanth
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
Keerthi Nathan Tamil Nadu has a long history where Dravidian politics is associated with the Tamil cinema industry and they both go hand in hand because the Tamil film industry has produced three... Read More...
Jharkhand: The Curse of Development and Displacement
Monday, 23 November 2020
  Dr. Md Afroz & Md Tabrez   Introduction The formation of Jharkhand on the pretext of development and change in the life of local people was actually a political gimmick to encash the... Read More...
After a series of dismal performances, what is the future of Congress?
Wednesday, 18 November 2020
Keerthi Nathan The Mahagatbandhan alliance comprising of RJD, Congress and the Left parties have given a tough fight to the ruling NDA in the recently held elections in Bihar. Although the RJD has... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

My journey towards understanding men in society!
Tuesday, 30 June 2020
  Harshali Nagrale Every girl dreams about something or the other to be in life. But, in the journey from being a little girl to growing up into a woman, her dreams' wings are cut in different... Read More...
Poverty of Philosophy within Liberals in Understanding Anti-Caste Politics
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
  Omprakash Mahato There are social scientists who develop their views on caste through textual means, attending conferences and seminars, observing society from a distance etc. While reading... Read More...
Can you unlove your stars?
Wednesday, 19 August 2020
  Amarnath Sandipamu  Please read the previous part of this article here. Manufacturing a star A film is a cultural product that takes shape through the labours of over 24 departments... Read More...
Kashi-Mathura Baki Hai: A Glimpse of Hindu Nationalism in Ayodhya
Saturday, 13 June 2020
  Ratnesh Katulkar The decade of 90s had witnessed two landmark political movements, Mandal and Kamandal. The Mandal movement was based on social justice while the Ram Mandir roused majoritarian... Read More...
The incompatibility of RSS-BJP’s agenda with the idea of India: A Zero Hour prognosis
Wednesday, 10 June 2020
Salman Farissi In 2019, when BJP won with a bigger majority than ever before, the minorities of the country, especially religious minorities, were not only disappointed but deeply distressed. While... Read More...