NEW DELHI: Maharashtra’s Dalit politics is moving in a different direction on the lines of the Triveni Sangh experiment in Bihar where the backward communities consolidated their power against upper castes, say dalit intellectuals and activists in reaction to the developments at Koregaon Bhima on Monday.
Right-wing and dalit historians have their own versions of the Koregaon Bhima battle. For Dalits, it was a battle against casteist Peshwa rulers, while for the right wing historians, it pitted the British against indigenous rulers.
“Koregaon Bhima must be seen from two angles — the British fulfilled their agenda to gain power and the oppressed communities, comprising agricultural workers, found a way to fight oppressors,” Paul Divakar, Dalit intellectual with New Delhi-based National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, said. “A Triveni Sangh is happening in Maharashtra and Koregaon Bhima developments might be a new beginning,” he added.
Triveni Sangh was formed by Yadav-Koeri-Kurmi communities as a front to fight upper castes’ domination in Bihar in 1930s. It changed the socio-political discourse of the region. Divakar added that as of now the BJP and Shiv Sena have succeeded in getting the support of Matang and Mahar communities, respectively, while the Congress is confused about its stand on caste politics. ” I don’t see these developments as against one caste. It is more than that,” Divakar added.
Dalit activists in Maharashtra said there is a vacuum in dalit politics. “Ramdas Athavale has aligned with the BJP and Prakash Ambedkar’s party has not succeeded in garnering a mass base. Jignesh Mevani and Prakash Ambedkar coming together and other backward parties joining the move is the beginning of new dalit politics after the Dalit Panther era,” dalit leader R S Kamble said.
The socialist and left parties in Maharashtra are eager to join the bandwagon. Veteran activist Bhai Vaidya said all parties that believe in secularism must join hands. “It is not a fight against the BJP, but about saving the Constitution and the nation,” he added.
The RSS leadership is cautious and concerned. RSS veteran from Pune, Aniruddha Deshpande, said, “It is a complicated situation. The British took control of Shaniwarwada and the dalits were part of their army. I don’t think it is appropriate to comment on these developments.”
Source : timesofindia