‘In the milk of OBCs and Dalits, Muslims have added sugar’

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Back to the Post. I was thinking that usually Jinnah (I prefer to use QeA but this time I’ll dispense with honorifics) is contrasted with Nehru or Mahatma Gandhi. Nevertheless a better basis of comparison would be Ambedkar.

When All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi, MP, and Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh leader Prakash Ambedkar addressed a rally in Aurangabad on Gandhi Jayanti, it marked a milestone in contemporary Indian politics.

It was the first time a Dalit party has tied up with a Muslim outfit.

In pre-Partition India, Muslim League leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah understood the power of this vote bank and quickly latched on to the idea of separate electorates when the British proposed it.

But the plan came a cropper when the more astute Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi convinced Dr B R Ambedkar that separate electorates were not the way forward and sealed the Poona Pact.

Then in the 1980s, Kanshi Ram realised the potential of Dalit votes and went on to form the Bahujan Samaj Party. It reached its zenith under his chosen successor Mayawati, a four time chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh.

See Also: Pakistan’s Forgotten Dalit Minority

(1.) Both were representing minority communities in the newly independent India. The Muslim community was 3x larger than the Dalit community (30% vs. 10%).

(2.) The Muslim community was similarly spread throughout India however it had a clear demographic majority in the periperheries of India (Greater Punjab and Bengal). The Dalit did not seem overwhelmingly concentrated in any one part of India.

(3.) While the Muslim community was able to rely on a pan-Muslim movement; it garnered some 75% of the national vote in 1946, I’m not able to find out if Dalit were able to vote in the limited franchise election.

(4.) While Jinnah opted for full separation (and immediate gratification), Ambedkar seemed to become increasingly disillusioned (he became a Buddhist in 1956).

(5.) While Pakistan (and Bangladesh) are immediate wins, they deeply disenfranchise the India Muslim population who otherwise would have been KingMakers in Indian national election.

(6.) Jinnah was probably the “best tactician” in the run-up to 1947 (he got what he wanted for the most part) but an exceptionally poor strategist. He doomed his country from the start by leaving it with contradictory messages. At one go he advocated secularism and on the other hand he was inciting riots (if not inciting, allowing them).

(7.) Ambedkar was probably the exact opposite by losing to Gandhi in the Poona Pact; he reinforced the Hindu Nature of the Dalit community. While this was initially extremely disadvantageous (Brahmin Patriarchy and all that); a more “awakened” Dalit community has started to manoeuvre the Indian political process.

(8.) The Dalits and other allied OBCs will now be KingMakers in several Indian states in a Rising and Prosperous India. Congress may have the aristocratic Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty as figureheads and BJP may have to put OBC (Modi etc) but it will be the opposite castes that vote for such parties.

(9.) While Jinnah won the initial battle he lost the Great War and the inverse for Ambedkar.

I could be wrong!

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5 years ago

Some successes bring more misery than many failures. Jinnah is aggrandized at the cost of South Asia Muslims. Ce la vie.

5 years ago

Dalit-Muslim is an unnatural alliance. Looks good on paper as a coalition of the oppressed or whatever but their interests might be very divergent.

Reservations for Muslims will cut into seats for Dalits. Laws with minority exemptions like RTE harm the Dalit.

IMO Dalit-upper caste will be the way to go. As Mayawati has demonstrated.

5 years ago

(5.) While Pakistan (and Bangladesh) are immediate wins, they deeply disenfranchise the India Muslim population who otherwise would have been KingMakers in Indian national election.

This is a wrong view. What would have essentially happened was the Muslim League winning in Pakistan areas while Congress winning in Indian areas. Considering Muslims would have been 30 percent , you are underestimating the counter effect it would have been on Hindus(including the dalits) . Also dont forget Congress of that time was a genuine secular party and it could theoretically got a higher percentage of muslim votes once the hysteria over Pakistan would have died a bit and the British left. While the muslim league would had no such support from hindus, not from dalits as well.

“It was the first time a Dalit party has tied up with a Muslim outfit.”

Again this is a bit wrong, Jogindernath Mondal( On whose seat Ambedkar was elected) had a alliance with the Muslim League in 1946 and ML won dalits support in Bengal as well. For this he was suitably rewarded by being thrown out of Pakistan , LOL. The only sad part was that he was given asylum in India, while we should have made an example of what happens to “Dalit-Muslim” alliance, by forcing him to stay in Pakistan(India ‘s biggest mistake was always giving asylum to many of Pakistani movement sympathizers and leaders, )

This would be the fate of Prakash Ambedkar as well. If anyone has any doubts on what Ambedkar thought about ML and muslims in general he should not look not anything apart from “My thoughts on Pakistan” . It might have as well written by Savarkar.

5 years ago

The Dalit parties in the various RPI forms have existed for 60 years; the Muslim league has existed for 100; but, between them, they have held zero power, in spite of holding 30% of the population (another 7% ST). However, this population is distributed equally and the populations think somewhat similar to general population.

The Muslims and the Dalits in the reverse order, are the poorest, most backward segments, having been completely destroyed by the Congress party. The root of Indian politics is money. Zero+Zero is still zero, and this will only catalyze a Hindu coalition opposed to these poor people, headed by Rahul or Modi. I do not see the Dalit-Muslim coalition hold any power, unless, power is further decentralized. Politics is local; except for UP, Dalits and Muslims tend to vote similar to other people in most states. That is because they are not concentrated in one particular district or state.

The only way out is stronger local governments where the poorer communities can hold power; under the guise of nation forming, successive central governments have destroyed the ability of people to make decisions that impact them.

Brown Pundits