By SF Bureau
Efforts to bring together the two social justice forces failed in1995 and again in 2019
In spite of his experience with BSP, Akhilesh is trying hard to mobilize Dalits and OBCs
The SP chief’s efforts are bound to bring success to social justice forces in UP polls
Akhilesh Yadav explained the importance of following both Ambedkar and Dr.Lohia.
Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav wrote an article in Indian Express, giving call to fulfil the dream of BR Ambedkar and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia on 18 August 2018. He explained the grave situation in India, “People are leaving villages for the cities and the pressure on cities is increasing. Seventy per cent of our population lives in rural India. We must remember that agriculture is India’s soul. Indeed, the dreams of smart cities will be incomplete without smart villages. At such a juncture, the salience of samajwad (socialism) becomes even more important because it is not just a political affiliation but a state of mind. The strength and future of the country lies in economic equality, social justice and unity. This is the dream that Ambedkar and Lohia had when they wrote letters to each other in 1956 vowing to work together. Sadly, Ambedkar died in December 1956 but I feel that today we have the opportunity to fulfill their dream. A return to these values across the world will help us tackle global issues, such as the environment, which are no longer local or national problems.” Akhilesh expressed this opinion six months before he clinched an electoral alliance with BSP in the 2019 parliament polls. In spite of the failure of the great political experiment in the election, the SP still believes in the words and teachings of both Ambedkar and Lohia.
Akhilesh learnt a lot from his father and started learning more about Dr.Ambedkar
The SP founder and patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav is staunch Lohiate and did a lot for the propagation of the Lohia ideology. But, he did not openly praise the role of Ambedkar even on the occasion of his birth and death anniversaries. But, his son Akhilesh studied the teachings and contribution of Ambedkar in laying foundation to parliamentary democracy in India. The coming together of the SP and the BSP in the 1993 UP assembly polls and its success and subsequent parting of ways impacted the Dalit-Bahujan forces in the state. The fall of the Mulayam government in 1995 June after the withdrawal of support by the BSP led by Kanshiram and Mayawati made things difficult for the social justice forces headed by the SP and BSP to join hands again. It was only during 2017-2019 the leaders of the two parties Mayawati and Akhilesh buried hatchet and formed an alliance for the Lok Sabha election in 2019. In spite of the unilateral decision of Mayawati to cancel the alliance with the SP, Akhilesh continue to have goodwill and warm feelings for the Ambedkarite political outfits and concern for the uplift of scheduled castes in Uttar Pradesh. Now, a few months before UP assembly polls-2022 he met the Bhim Army founder Chandrasekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ and had talks on the possible electoral understanding with his party Azad Samaj Party. In the same manner Akhilesh is able to accommodate many smaller parties with the base in the subaltern sections with Ambedkaratie ideology.
Ambedkar and Lohia held similar views on caste and social justice
Anurag Bhaskar, who studied LLM in Harvard Law School wrote an article in the news website, The Print under the headline, “ If Ambedkar & Lohia met: How history missed a crucial moment in social justice politics” Like Ambedkar, in Lohia’s assessment, caste and nation are contradictory to each other. Lohia identified that there exist three strategies to end caste discrimination: “One (is) wordy, the second low-level and mixed, and the third, real.” Wordy opposition, Lohia explained, leaves the existing social structure almost intact, while condemning the caste system as wholly evil; it would “equally condemn those who resort to active steps to destroy the system”. Elaborating on the second strategy, Lohia said the castes with numerical strength were most sought after in elections. This kind of politics is bound to fail, Lohia stated, as it tends to abandon the “myriad lower castes”, which are numerically weak, “but who together form the bulk of the population”. Therefore, Lohia called for a “war on caste”, which must “necessarily mean an elevation of all, and not merely of any one large section”. Lohia himself preferred the third method of “true struggle” against caste, which Ambedkar also advocated, in which “the five downgraded groups of society, women, Shudras, Harijans, Muslims and Adivasis” are brought into leadership positions… irrespective of their merit as it stands”.
Akhilesh of late realized the need for coming together of the social and political forces that admire and wish to follow the teachings of Ambedkar and Lohia
The SP national president Akhilesh Yadav revived the efforts to unite the subaltern groups according to the teachings of Ambedkar and Lohia. The occasion was the constitution day celebrations programme in Lucknow. The event was organized by former BJP MP Savitri Bai Phule, grandsons of Dr.BR Ambedkar-Prakash and Bhimrao Yashwant Rao Ambedkar, BSP founder Kanshiram’s sister Swaran Kaur, SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar and Apna Dal (K) leader Pallavi Patel. Speaking on the occasion, Akhilesh Yadav said Ambedkarites and Samajwadis will defeat the BJP in next year’s Uttar Pradesh polls, fulfilling socialist leader Dr Ram Manohar Lohia’s wish of working together with followers of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar. The former chief minister also asserted that people have made up their mind to oust the BJP, saying people make their oppressors pay when the time comes.