Obed Manwatkar is an Indian-American warrior of social justice movement. The gentleman is a Truth-seeker, who like an eternal optimist fancies himself as ‘Always Hopeful’ of the return of the kingdom of Baliraja and end of the misery of Bharat. Like tens of millions of suppressed and depressed class of Indians, Manwatkar had been quite vocal in America for the struggle and sacrifice of fellow-crusaders back in India. His cry of social justice revolution is simple and easy to relate: Long live Prabuddha Bharat, Balijan Bharat and Balwan Bharat. All he desires is the annihilation of Brahmanical hegemony, which he believes has reached nauseating level in the rule of Narendra Modi-led BJP-RSS.
Is it easy to accomplish the bottom-up revolution in modern India? How difficult the terrain is and who can be the trailblazer of the campaign. Because enormity of the challenge warrant the unconditional unity of the opposition forces, who had been in total disarray for quite some time.
Sharad Yadav, veteran socialist Parliamentarian and once a blue-eyed boy of the BJP-RSS during his NDA’s convener days in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee era, is being seen as a countrywide “alternative” to the far-right Hindutva narrative. In the past month or so laden with some shocking betrayal of people’s expectation, illustrated by Nitishesque confidence trick in Bihar, the needles of hope for saving the constitutional democracy of India is swinging in some direction. Sharad Yadav at 70, by and large, shines through the dark clouds to cast the light on the piling pillars of masses aspiration.
Can Sharad do the VP Singh in 2019? Remember the year of 1989, the tectonic year in history of Independent India! Thirty years later, the groundswell of public yearning for change is peaking up. Modimania is on the wane after hysterical highs in the past four years. New Delhi of 2019 would be breathing freely with the new Prime Minister hoisting the tricolor from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort.
Or for that matter, can Sharad simply scintillate like the JP of mid ‘70s in the campus of Indian universities? Going by the mass influx of university students and scholars around his 7, Tughlak Road residence in Lutyen’s Zone of New Delhi, there appear to be a glaring possibility. The grizzly bearded old man is smiling like an assassin and walking with spring in his diminutive frame.
In democracy, people are both the ruling and the opposition. When people are swinging with you, you are the ruler with their mandate. And when the people have turned against you, you have become the pauper. In 2003-04, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was ruling the roost. Buyoed by the extremely expensive advertising blitzkrieg called ‘India Shining’ under the oarsman named Pramod Mahajan, Vajpayee and his shenanigans were fluttering around the country poking their guffaws into the eyes and faces of common people, asking, “Ain’t you all feeling good?” The Feel Good Factor was the BJP-RSS war-cry in hallucination.
All the wars in the world are falsely presented as Good Vs Evil. In reality, all the wars are for Varchasva-hegemony or primacy over others. Sharad Yadav is ‘The Little Colonel’ of Indian politics today. A devout student of Ambedkar, Phule, Lohia and Mandal, the man is not prospecting for gold today. Which is why he will not have the pain of failure even if he lost everything in the prospecting venture, that is, Opposition Unity to fight the monsters of the time.
Little Colonel, in many ways, is a Midnight Child as he was born barely a month-and-half ago on 1 July 1947 in Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh. Destiny pitched him in a rollercoaster ride from Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh to Bihar, three populous provinces comprising one third of 1.20 billion people. The seven-time Lok Sabha Member of Parliament and two-time Rajya Sabha MP is exhorting the people of India to unite to save the composite culture of the country.
He was elected first time from Jabalpur (MP) constituency of Lok Sabha in 1974. It was the time when JP Movement was at peak and he was the first candidate chosen by Jai Prakash Narayan for political battle on election symbol of Haldar Kisan. Again, he was elected from the same constituency in 1977. He was elected from Badaun (UP) in the year 1989. Thereafter, he has been contesting from Madhepura, Bihar.
Sharad was elected to the 13th Lok Sabha from Madhepura, bastion of Yadavas-led OBC and most literate constituency, in 1999 Lok Sabha elections by defeating none other than the very ‘Lion-heart of social justice’ Lalu Prasad. It was not a mean feat. Rather it was quite a shocker for people of Bihar and rest of India because charismatic persona of Lalu Prasad was considered a top-notch invincibility in Bihar.
Narendra Modi won the absolute mandate on the back of his ‘Camel-Back’ promises of ‘Moon and Sun’ to each and every deprived and dispossessed citizen of the land. But he and his stooges began to make mockery of the same mountain of promises before the very people. Failure after failure in the past 1,000 days coupled with ‘Emergency measures like Demonetisation and several other draconian measures have turned ‘Modiphilia into Modiphobia’ amongst the masses.
People are angry over many things, including Modi and Shah’s political stunts, rhetoric, lie factory and false symbol politics. Economic blockade of OBCs and Dalits (Principal animal husbandry community of India and the largest population bloc, 85 per cent of total population) in the guise of ‘Cow politics’ and witch-hunting of Muslims has eroded the edifice of economic security and social fabric, to say the least. People, OBC, SC/ST, Adivasis, Muslim and Christian, are, undoubtedly, living in fear. Who will fight tooth and nail to give them hope in their own homeland?
A galaxy of young intellectuals are helping Sharad Yadav chart out the future vision of ‘Composite Culture’ India. Prominent among those are India’s Noam Chomsky, Dilip C Mandal and a horde of scholars from different universities, chiefly JNU, Delhi University and Jamia Milia Islamia, not to forget the long line of private and public centres of learning. Research scholars and teachers like Dileep Yadav of JNU and Ratan Lal of Hindu College, Delhi University, are pitching in with their painful struggle and sacrifice pickled in social justice to hold on to apron strings of the guide, friend and philosopher in Sharad Yadav.
The Old Man in the Sea has become, actually, a guide, friend and philosopher to tens of thousands of youth scholars today. In the same league, I was conversant with social justice crusader analysts like Jayant Jigyasu, Mulayam Singh (He was born few days after socialist patriarch Mulayam Singh became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the first time in December first week of 1989) Amit Kumar, Mahesh Rathi, Rahul Rao, Ashima Kumari, Shreemant Jainendra, Kunal Suman, Pradeep Narwal and others, including ‘Good Samaritan’ business tycoon Sudesh Yadav of Delhi.
The Constitution Club is witness to many revolutionary discourses in history of Independent India. The sprawling complex, beginning from VP House to Malwankar Hall and beyond the confines witnessed another epochal chapter. Rooted and solidarity leaders of 16 political parties on 17th August pledged to save India’s “composite culture” under the leadership of Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav. Sharad is not a rebel in the camp. He is, in fact, the founder member of the Janta Dal. The party belongs to him, not Nitish Kumar who is synonym for cheat and betrayal in Indian politics today. Nitish’s party Samta Party had actually merged with the Sharad’s Janta Dal.
The Umbrella by the name of ‘Sanjhi Virasat Bachao’ (save the composite culture), was the first step by opposition parties to come together. Rahul Gandhi, Congress Vice President turned out with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Gulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel to set the agenda of the larger Opposition Unity. Youth Icon charismatic socialist leader and national president of Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh Yadav sent Professor Ramgopal Yadav, Rajya Sabha MP, to set the tone. Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), D Raja of CPI, Kunwar Danish Ali of JD(S), Jayant Chaudhary of Lok Dal, Veer Singh of the BSP, Tariq Anwar of NCP were very much in the attendance along with others to force the agenda of the forthcoming battle.
Sharad was beside himself with joy and pride. He announced that the Opposition will hold ‘Sajha Virasat Bachao’ (Save Composite Culture) conferences across the country — to be coordinated by him.
Apart from leaders of all Opposition parties, intellectuals, farmers, unemployed youth, Dalits and tribals from all parts of the country participated in this convention where big cut-out of Babasaheb Ambedkar was placed at the vantage point to drive home the message of ‘Annihilation of Caste’ and war of ‘Subaltern over Manuwadi forces’ in the 21st century.
In the background was the bold-letter signage of the preamble of the Constitution reminding citizens of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. It was designed by renowned artiste Dr Lal Ratnakar whose heart beats for the victory of marginalized and poor. It was one of the finest exhibitions of classic art works in solidarity with the affirmative action programme.
Obed Manwatkar in America was excited about the grand success of the Unity programme. He couldn’t hold back his heartfelt emotions when he dashed these emotions for us all.
As India’s progressive thinkers, writers, activists and politicians Like Advocate Prakash Ambedkar and Mandal Messiah Sharad Yadav have joined hands together, let’s look Back at brief summary of what J.P Movement was about.
“AUSTERITY- MORALITY-SACRIFICE! Say YES to Mass Movement and NO to power politics” was the MOTTO of JP MOVEMENT back in 1974 at the times of EMERGENCY.
Equipped with the virtues of saintly legacy of Indian politics, Mr. Jai Prakash Narayan launched a mass movement against Indira Gandhi’s government in 1974. Jailed during the Emergency, he defeated the Congress party in 1977 for the first time.
Although he was the architect of the Janta Party government, JP stayed away from power politics. He inspired an entire generation of youth to participate and march against corrupt governments in Gujarat and Bihar, and encouraged students to fight against caste and class injustice. Byt, the Janta government collapsed half way through its term and with it JP’s idea of “total revolution”.
But now India has another chance, Majority of India is living in the condition of UNDECLARED EMERGENCY. BJP has become Pure Congress. It’s time to repeat such mass movement again to save India from the clutches of Brahminical/Hindutva forces and march towards destroying the monster CASTE, once and for all. Positively thinking, being a follower of Phule- Ambedkar-Mandal, I will never lose hope.