The Bharat Bandh on 5th March - A Report

Pavan S Khadse

pavan khadseMarch 05, 2019 was a historical & revolutionary day for Bahujans because, for the first time in the country's history a unity was noticed amongst Bahujans beyond political motives. When I am using the term ‘Bahujan’, it  includes SC/ST/OBC and converted religious minorities. Bahujan have always revolted against the brahmanical ideology and their malpractices. But in the last many years unity was the missing thing in the Bahujan movement but the Bharat Bandh of 5th March was a great attempt in that direction as it was supported by various student organizations, political parties and organizations working for the Bahujan interests.

Central issues against which the Bharat Bandh was called, are as follows :

  1. 13 point roster judgement from the Supreme Court which was against the interests of SC/ST/OBCs.
  2. Jan 13 Supreme Court order for eviction of lakhs of Adivasis and Forest Dwellers across the country.
  3. Passage of the 124th amendment bill by Parliament for the benefit of economically weaker sections among non-reserved categories.

bharath bandh 5th marchOn 29th Jan 2019, a meeting was held at Delhi which was attended by social activists, academicians and students. In the meeting, one common agenda was formulated/decided for 5th March Bharat Bandh. A committee named 'Samvidhan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (SBSS)' was formed. Notable people who had actively participated in the protest were Waman Meshram (BAMCEF), Prof. Ratan Lal, Prof. Sandip Yadav, Prof. Suraj Mandal, Ex-MP Ali Anwar Ansari, Dilip Mandal, Anil Jayhind, Urmilesh and later Tejaswi Yadav also joined it.

Teachers' organisations like DUTA & PROTON and student organisations like Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Associaton (BAPSA), Bhartiya Vidyarthi Morcha (BVM), RJD Chhatra Sangh, ASA (HCU), BSF (HCU) supported this protest. Social organisations like BAMCEF, Bharat Mukti Morcha, Adivasi Adhikar Andolan, Bhim Army (Bihar) and political organisations are Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD), Bahujan Mukti Party (BMP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Janta Congress Chhatisgarh (JCC), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) were also involved. Then tribal organisations and groups across different states also came forward and joined the bandh.

Issues of Bharat Bandh

bharath bandh 5thmarch1) Against the implementation of the 13 Point Roster system by eliminating the 200 Point Roster system which is a conspiracy against SC/ST/OBCs to end their faculty representation from Central Universities.

2) Against the decision of the Supreme Court  for eviction of 1 million Tribals from their land and forest as well as the non-implementation of safegurads for Tribals provided under the fifth and sixth schedules of constitution.

3) Against the anti-constitutional 10% EWS reservation for the upper castes.

4) To publish caste based census report - Reservation should be given to castes proportionate to their population.

5) To legislate communal violence prevention act for the safety of religious minorities like Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists.

6) Against the privatisation of Government sector. Stop Privatisation!

7) For proper implementation of the Supreme Court  Judgment in Subramanian Swamy vs ECI regarding counting of VVPAT slips to ensure free and fair election.


bharath bandh 5thmarchUnder the banner of SBSS protests were planned in four phases. 1st phase involved one day district level protest on 27th Jan 2019. In 2nd phase they organised one day tahsil level protest which was on 3rd Feb 2019. 3rd phase was on 17 Feb 2019 with one day block level protests and the last phase was the Bharat Bandh of 5th March. These phases made the environment warm for a successful Bharat Bandh. All the leaders mentioned above worked hard on the ground as well as on Social Media for a successful bandh. With support of the different organizations spread across states the effect of the bandh was seen in UP, Bihar, Odisha, MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat from morning around 10:00 Am. During afternoon, most of the North Indian areas participated in the bandh.

Brahmanical media

The media failed to perform its duty and did not do proper reporting of the bandh. All the TV-news channels refrained from reporting any kind of news related to bandh. Some newspaper and web portals reported the news but ended up doing limited coverage. Some of the print media published the news where they mentioned that the bandh saw participation of Scheduled Castes and Tribal Organizations only but that the bandh was inclusive of people from different religions and castes. The OBCs and Muslims participated in large number which is evident from the list of organisation already mentioned.

The day before the bandh the trending hashtag on twitter was #5marchbharatbandh but media which generally reports such hashtags, had not reported this one. Next day, some media reports associated the whole protest with Tribal displacement issue and 13 point roster system but that were not the only issues raised in the bandh. Media tried to hide other issues like EWS reservation issue, EVM safeguards issue, Minority protection act, Caste census etc. The corrupt media did not dare to show issues which would create problems for the political and social ruling class.


As a result of the Bandh, on 5th March, Prakash Javadekar (Human Resource Development Minister of India) released a statement that ‘Government will bring ordinance for 13 point roster’. On 7th March the cabinet approved ordinance. It shows the strong impact the Bharat bandh of 5th March had on the government. The coming Loksabha elction also would had compelled them to bring ordinance. Here two thing are to be noted. First, the government had just brought ordinance and not law. Secondly it had ignored the other demands which were raised in protest.

University students seems happy as government agreed on roster issue but non-university community who stood against issues of EWS, EVMs, Tribal displacement, Caste census and Minority act are not satisfied with the limited government response. Professors and student community should hold this thing in mind before celebrating their success that this protest is the result of a common minimum program formed with the help of many Bahujan organizations and the government had just reacted on the issue, otherwise the government does not even care to react.

Government has tricked the public. It knows that all the unfulfilled issues are very dangerous to their interest. It seems that government and media had acted with mutual understanding in silencing the pertinent issues.

Some observations

I observed that in South India there are only two states like Karnataka and Telangana which had participated in the bandh protesting at limited places. BSF and ASA (HCU) had released a statement about Bharat Bandh. It was lack of communication between South Indian and North Indian groups due to which less participation was seen in the South.

I observed that the University students were more concerned with the roster but not so much with the other issues of community interest. This is not a good practice on the part of the students. Some political leader had just made tweets as their contribution but this contribution is not sufficient. I think, they should have come on the ground to stand with us.

Bahujans came up with a common set of demands and worked with unity. This is definitely a victory for them. Hope all protesters will persist with demands on the other six issues which are still not addressed.



Pavan S Khadse is a student of Political science (Hon.) at Pondicherry Central University.


Other Related Articles

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...
Deifying the Migrant Mother and Kolkata’s erasure of Caste
Sunday, 15 November 2020
Aatika Singh Pallab Bhowmick, an artist, has come up with the concept of portraying Goddess Durga as a migrant mother for this year's Durga Pujo in Kolkata's Barisha club. The finely carved and... Read More...
How to look 'Dalit' in the Savarna imagination
Wednesday, 04 November 2020
  Bobby Kunhu  When I first watched the classic 1972 Luis Bunuel comedy, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeouise, in 1994 or 95, I could not have imagined that it was possible to adapt the... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

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...
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...
When Chiranjeevi cannot sanitise 'Aaj ka Goonda Raaj'
Tuesday, 14 July 2020
  Amarnath Sandipamu In 1991, Chiranjeevi acted in a film called Gang Leader. The summer release was a box office sensation in Telugu cinema. Within a year, it got remade in Hindi as Aaj ka... Read More...
Why desi celebs or even savarna intellectuals will never say “Dalit lives matter”
Tuesday, 09 June 2020
  Or why Dalits need to seize pop culture! Anurag Minus Verma American cities are exploding. For long they have tried to subdue it, but now the frustration and anger has reached the tipping... Read More...
A painting for Banabhatta
Thursday, 02 July 2020
  Anu Ramdas Sometime back, I was looking for the translation of the Oriya Mahabharata written by the Shudra saint-poet Saraladasa. Eager to post an excerpt centered on Sarala's Ganga on The... Read More...