Monday, April 20, 2009

BSP that Backs Devendrars to the Front: A Dream Came True

Only the fittest can survive in this world, or to simply put in Darwin’s words “survival of the fittest”. I, of course, don’t have any contradictions on this idea, as this is the fact. We Devendrars are physically, financially, professionally, and above all, culturally fit, yet we couldn’t survive in this world, as we were in the past as Mallars. As the previous two essays of mine discusses, we need to be politically fit and to have political ground to fight the battle for our rights, if we really want to survive.

I am not unsure that the title itself of the essay might surprise – and even for some shock – Devendrars. Now I can understand the murmuring of many that what is the fate of Devendrars to support a party that is born in Uttar Pradesh, and why should we act under the leadership of a lady who is not a Devendrar. These questions are natural, logical and not without a reason. But, we are the sons of the soil and what we have achieved so far in this land. Now it is time to look at which party put Devendrars in the front, and no matter it is where the part was originated and from which community she comes. We can’t also here deny the fact that she also belonged to scheduled caste.

India is a country comprising 28 states – of which Uttar Pradesh is a geographically big state with largest population and with enormous share of both parliamentary and legislative constituencies or seats. Such a state is now ruled by a Dalit, Mayawati, and should we not take pride in that! I was even surprised to know and finally attracted with Bhahujan Samaj Party (BSP) principles (in a meeting that I happened to attend), the foremost among them is putting a Dalit in front in all the leading positions, even if it comes the chief minister of a state or prime minister of the nation. Of the several hundred (political) parties in India, which party has the courage to announce this as, at least, one of the principles of their parties. BSP’s principle is not just for purpose of doing politics and parliamentary election. Devendrars were and are appointed for the leading positions in the southern parts of Tamil Nadu, where are the dominant one. Jeevan Kumar, a Devendrar, has been the organizing secretary for southern Tamil Nadu.

Well-started is half done. Of course, Devendrars started well with their entry into BSP. Remember, we Devendrars need power both in the central and the state government to pass laws and to make amendments as we wish in the existing ones for the upliftment of us. Mayawati ruling the state with the share of 80 MPs has the dream of ruling the nation, and, of course, there is no harm in that and is logic in that. The ex-prime minister Chandrasekhar ruled the nation with just 59 MPs for his share with majority in the parliament from support from others – both within and outside. In fact, it becomes our duty to make her dream realized, so that we can reap a good harvest of benefits and get things that are favourable to Devendrars fulfilled.

BSP is grown to become a national party of importance and to be inevitable, without whose support it is almost impossible for any party to form any government in the national level. It is because the past has proved this. Started as a political party in 1984 by Kanshi Ram, it managed to be in power in Uttar Pradesh within just 11 years. The four-time chief minister in 1995, 1997, 2002 and 2007, Mayawati has set her mind in ruling the nation. Starting the count with just five MPs in 1998, it is having 19 MPs today in the present Lok Saba, increasing the percentage of votes from 463 to 5.33. With 27% of votes from Dalits, along with 18.5%, 13.82% and 3.91% of votes of Muslims, Brahmins and Vaish, respectively, she is sure to win at leas the half of the total of 80 Lok Saba constituencies. Having worked as a teacher, she is going to teach a good lesson for the opposition party and parties in opposition alike.

The next question that may rise is how we can expect complete privileges from them when they are with the view of supporting the lower-end people from all communities. Nothing harm occurs when it happens. While Devendrars claim to have the second largest population with around more than one crore people, what, as I have already asked, have we achieved? And as already noted, it is BSP’s political agenda to put a Dalit to all the front positions.

Lok Saba election is approaching and we Devendrars are going to cast our votes on 13th
May, 2009, remember, casted the vote should not be a wasted one. It is also time for us to prove our strength in Tamil Nadu. Scattering the votes to several political parties will directly make us “to be ruled”, as it happens now, rather than “to rule”.

Are we going to suffer the fate by our voting to Krishnasamy and other parties or to rule the state by voting to BSP? Above all, I put the simple saying before all Devendrars: “United we stand, divided we fall”. To unite or divide is left to you, Devendrars.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stop being ladders and start becoming leaders

We need a ground to fight the battle for our rights – politically. No doubt or second thought about that. We have been victims for decades together for politicians of any party without discrimination. While we are the majority of the people in Tamil Nadu on the whole, the fact that is frightening and embarrassing is that no power is vested in Devendrar community. And what every Devendrar takes to their hearts and remember is that wee need a political party that organises our scattered community, fights for our rights, and voices our indomitable presence, and that we have to grab the political power without which we remain to be what are now. Until or unless we make our voice heard and our presence and influence felt in the political arena, our neglected keeps on being a neglected one. Then what is to be done? Stop being ladders and start becoming leaders, and what should be done now must be done now.

It becomes inevitable to have at least a slight idea about the political parties to understand which party on the whole is really is for Dalits, particularly for Devendrars. Congress and Bharatiya Janata party in the national level and DMK and ADMK in the state level have been the prominent and omnipotent parties, ruling alternatively and respectively. Communist parties – both Marxist and Indian, otherwise simply known as right and left – ‘seemed’ to have grown the third largest national level party, and DMDK in the state level. Nothing harm in that. But what we Devendrars should know – and of course it is time to know – is what are the political privileges we Devendrars are given and are enjoying. The answer will be a simple” no or nothing”.

Coming first to national-level parties, congress knows the art of exploiting the Dalits for its sake and continues to caste the impression of a party that strives to the rights of Dalits and minorities. A century-old party started by an English man names A.O.Hume under the leadership of an Italian women, Sonia Gandhi, it indirectly involves in anti-Dalit campaign, but under the banner of the only sole supporting party of Dalits and minorities. Let us leave this as the congress disguises to be. But how many of us know that the congress-led government presented an act in the parliament to be passed in the last December, which, though under the pretext of providing Dalits quota in employment, really prevents us from enjoying the existing ones. [For more details, read the article written by Ravi Kumar MLA in Junior Vikatan under the title “New Untouchability of congress Government.] How many Devendrars or Dalits on the whole are the central ministers in the present Congress government? Above all, does the Congress have the courage to announce a Dalit for the prime ministerial candidature?

Next national party of importance is Bharathiya Janatha Party, which is synonymous with Brahmins Janata party. It is because everyone with a little knowledge about politics knows that it is a party for Brahmins. Thought it seems to work with the intention of uniting all Hindus without discrimination of castes, it is pellucid from the facts of the past that it is the putting upper-caste Hindus alone, notable Brahmins, in the political forefront. Bangaru Lakshman might be an exception for this, and this is because to get rid of the image of Brahmins’ party. Above all, the fact that it bears the stamp of a party that supports upper-caste Hindus, particularly Brahmins, is not without a valid reason. Who can forget the voices during its regime between 1999 and 2004 for repealing the acts such PCR that alone serves as a fort to all Dalits of every corner of the nation to at least protect from the upper-caste Hindus. Such is the stand of BJP at the national level. Does it have the gut to at least utter a name with Dalit background for the prime ministerial candidate?

Communist party of India and Marxist deserves not that much mention as the above-discussed two parties, as it with its chameleon-like characters does everything just for its political identity and business. Taking the issues that are sometimes not concerned with them, coming to streets for agitations and blowing them out of proportion are what their meanings of doing politics. What they have achieved with issues in places like Utthapuram? No doubt, they will be at wherever there are problems for Dalits) and sometimes creating and/or being the problems themselves) and take them at their hands for agitations, but just for making into votes. We Devendrars should awake, arise and stop being victims for such parties.

Of the total six parties at the national level so far, I have discussed in brief the three parties in the news often. Next to the national-level parties gaining importance are the state-level parties, particularly the three – DMK, ADMK and DMDK – which except DMDK are ruling the state alternatively from 1967. DMK supermo Kalaigner K. Karunanidhi is indeed the Chanakya of the second half of the 20th and the 21the centuries. Personified himself as the saver of Tamil race all over the world, he knows the art of dividing the people and ruling the state. Apart from becoming the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for five times, what he has done for the welfare of Devendrars so far. Being famous as the builder of memorials (Manimandapams), why he has not even thought of erecting one for Immanuel Sekaran yet. M.K.Stalin, the chief ministerial candidate of DMK, has visited Sivaganga to pay homage Muthuramalinga Devar at Devar Jeyanthi, but not to Immanuel Sekaran. Paramakudi is not located within the demarcation of Tamil Nadu. And why it is so? Of the total 96 MLAs representing DMK, how many Devendrars are being the ministers under the regime of Karunanidhi. Let us leave the number in the ministry and come to at least how many Devendrars are holding the post of district secretaryship. What and why happens this so despite the fact we are the majority of people in Tamil Nadu? Simply this is because not of the fate, but of the fact we are divided politically, geographically (by geographically, I mean we are scattered in several parts) and other factors, and because of the lack of efficient leadership among us.

There is no need to give much importance to AIADMK, as it is, as everyone knows, a Brahmin-led party with the background of Devars. Be that as it may be. Owing to the fact that AIADMK is a party of/for Devar community, it is embarrassing to note that of the total 41 constituencies reserved for Dalits, 23 have been won by the AIADMK. But what is the representation the party has given for Dalits in general and Devendrars in particular? Casting a single vote from our race to AIADMK is wittingly wasting it.

Another party of growing importance is DMDK, owned by the actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth, his Premalatha and his nephew L.K.Sutheesh. A nayakkar party under the guise of the party for all, it is all the way to grab the power. It is vivid form the recent events in certain districts like Nagercoil that it becomes the party dominated by the people belonged to its supermo’s caste. Above all, Vijayakanth could find time and energy to pay flowery homage Muthuramlinga Devar at his party office, but for Immanuel Sekaran, he couldn’t. To nip such party in the bud is prevention better than cure.

The rest of the state-level parties that deserve mentioning in a line are the Vanniyar-led PMK under the head of Dr. Ramadoss and the nayakkar Vaiko’s MDMK, a party that is in all the way to exist only in name without men.

Then the question may rise naturally in the minds of us that why should not take Puthiya Tamizhagam headed by a Devendrar Dr.Krishnasamy into our consideration. The answer for it is to seek and to be in a party that at any cost should not loose, instead voice, our identity. How can a Devendrar of the bear Dr.Krishnasamy’s speech praising the fasting of the Devar’s party supermo, Jeyalalitha on 9 March, 2009 on Tamil’s issue in Srilanka? What has the party sacrificed for the upliftment and benefits of Devendrars so far? Switching over parties for electoral alliance just for the sake of seats will not do any particular good to Devendrars. Krishnasamy should no longer be an icon of representing Devendrars and must not be too. It is no use blaming other political parties, if the party that calls itself the representation of Devendrars in the political arena continues to fail to fight for our rights and begs parties for seats. No wonder, he himself and his party lost the elections of 2001.

I am clear that you will get confused at the end of reading this essay about what party, then, should Devendrars be in and vote, which, considering the length of the essay, I intend to discuss in the next.

The power that we should have

“How do you expect us to travel in a bus named after a Dalit”, this had been the voice of the so-called upper-caste Hindus (Devars), when the government of Tamilnadu in 1997 decided the Virudhunagar transport corporation to be called after a Devendrar’s name, Veeran Sundaralingam. And how long should we live behind the caste wall (though the wall was broken in existence) in villages like Utthapuram in Madurai district, serving to those who in the past, as Deva Aasirvatham penned in his famous book “Moovendar Yaar” (Who is Moovendar?) took pride in calling themselves the “pillais” (sons) of Devendrars? What about Kandadevi in Sivaganga district? [No such place as this should not be in our age.] How many lives are we going to sacrifice simply for the reason that we are Devendrars, in place like Kodiyankulam? And how long do we continue to be ‘slaves’, as our ancestors used to be to the upper-caste Hindus form the past few centuries? [Our generation must not.] Above all, how long should we degrade ourselves by calling “Pallars” instead of “Mallars”, connotating “mannars” (kings). The posterity of Devendrars to come should no longer feel hesitated to say that they are Devendrars. Then what is to be done? Nothing happens if we fail to make our voice heard among those who used to avoid us, nor are there any magic wands to bring forth the likely results simply by waving it. The only thing that changes everything is the “power” that we should have to become what we once used to be – physical, educational, professional, financial, social and political.

Agriculture and war had long been the two eyes of Devendrars. The present-day Devendrars’s state can’t just be confined within few words. Once the owners of lands are now made to labourers and earn in wages, and it happens in the several parts of Tamilnadu to Devendrars to lead a hand-to-mouth existence. Should we not own the lands that we owned once, and what should be done to be what we were in the past? The history itself is a witness as it has witnesses our valiant fights with the so-called caste Hindus and the rigorous retaliations when we were made to be the subject of unutterable assaults by them. Though it happened, we should be yet more aggressive to fight for our rights and strong enough to strive to get all once we owned and should not reap the harvest as labourers any longer. For this is the world where “only the fittest can survive”, which we [should] know.

How good it will be for a Devendrar to see another Devendrar sitting in the chair of an IAS officer, administering the district or an IPS officer controlling the law and order. Probably, we had and have, but, I am sure, not in huge number, as one expects. “A few” should be elevated to “in multitudes”, and we can make this possible with educating the Devendrars. We cannot simply deny the fact we are provided with much more schemes, facilities and others that involve educating scheduled caste, and instead of asking what the governments – central and state - are going to do for, simply ask ourselves how many of us know what they are. Making the school-and-college-going Devendrars and their parents know about the governmental schemes, and letting them use them to uplift themselves is one of the foremost duties to be focused. Also, starting or identifying NGOs that dedicate themselves in working for the upliftment of scheduled caste in general and Devendrars in particular – through which we must do to our people whatever we can – can’t just be ignored. Keep in mind that education can change the fate of people and lays the way for the financial empowerment through professionally – governmental, non-governmental, self-employed or whatever they are – being sound and better.

The current social status of Devendrars is ever worse than the worst with some exception in certain areas in Tamil Nadu. The fact that can’t be just denied is Dalits always have been the target of victims all over India, and we Devendrars were and are the subject of unaccountable miseries, especially in the southern part of Tamil Nadu. As having mentioned earlier in this essay, Devendrars are refused even to take part in religious festivals. Kandadevi is Sivaganga district in an instance for this. Caste wall was built in villages like Utthapuram in Madurai district. In the brutal attacks targeting Devendrars by the Devars in the 1990s, we sacrificed innumerable lives, though we fought the battle well against them. What is most unbearable is that we have been denied justice during the attacks. All the governmental authorities and the governmental itself did all that they can do against us. The fact that is yet painstaking is that though we managed to get some of our people educated, we are still in a position of fighting for our rights. To be respected in the society, we need to have “political power” or to be “politically powered”.

The words within quotes ask, no doubt, for confusion. By political power, I mean the power to make legislations and amendments for Devendrars, and by politically powered, we must be in a position of usurping power in political parties, through which utilising our influence in ruling parties to get our agendas and expectations fulfilled.

Coming next for my discussion is the political power that we should have, which in my standpoint needs to be detailed in a separate essay.

In short, “to be ruled” or “to rule” is the only question left before devendrars. “To be ruled” and to continue to be what we are now simply need nothing, but “to rule” and to be what we used to (as Mallars) in the past, we must have to have all the powers that we should have. It is possible only when we are ready to “strive, to seek and to find and not to yield”, as Tennyson’s Ulysses told to his crew. DO WE?