Afternoon Voice

Brahmin reservation a new saviour for Congress

During the Gujarat and Karnataka elections, we all have seen Rahul Gandhi becoming janeu-dhari (the one who wears Brahminical thread) Hindu. There was a huge debate about his ancestry, BJP made a lot of fun circulating various pictures of him sporting skullcap, worshipping fire, and much more. Congress party is a typical secular. But in the recent past, they have changed their stand and tried to bridge the gap between the Hindu upper caste and the Congress politics. Recently, Randeep Singh Surjewala while addressing a Brahmin seminar in Haryana’s Kurukshetra, appealed to the Brahmin community, claiming that Brahmin Samaj’s DNA is present in the blood of Congress party. In a move that comes ahead of the 2019 elections, he also stated that after coming to power in the state, Congress would provide 10 per cent reservation to the poor, and set up Brahmin Kalyan Board. The board would provide Rs 100 crore soft loan and scholarships to the needy Brahmin youths for setting up business and students to take up higher education at 4 per cent interest rate. He announced that three chairs in the name of Pandit Parshuram, Pandit Lakhmi Chand and Pt Bhagwat Dayal Sharma would be set up in Maharshi Dayanand University, Kurukshetra University, and Chaudhary Devi Lal University respectively. Surjewala also referred to the sacrifices and offerings of freedom fighters Mangal Pandey, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Pandit Moti Lal Nehru, and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, saying that the Congress is the party that has ‘since the first struggle for Independence till today given such leadership that has shown the way forward to society.’

Well to my surprise, while announcing so much for the forward community, Congress was not scared of their traditional vote bank that is minority and Dalits? These days Brahmins are termed as Manuwadi by these communities and there is a hate war among the people. Haryana and Punjab Congress has its share of followers and voters, whereas, in Uttar Pradesh, Congress has not been in power for the last 27 years. The Samajwadi Party can depend on the Yadavs who constitute around 9 per cent of the population, while the Bahujan Samaj Party has a committed vote base of close to 20 per cent, a majority of the Dalits in Uttar Pradesh belong to the Jatav community, to which BSP supremo Mayawati belongs. Since 2014, the BJP has been successfully wooing non-Yadav OBCs; add to this, the Banias, who have been the traditional voters of the party. The Congress, on the other hand, had become dependent on the vote-pulling power of individual candidates; it has a paltry 28 MLAs in the U.P Assembly. The Congress’s calculation in fielding around 100 Brahmins, therefore, capitalising on the Brahmins by creating natural identification is their need.

N.D. Tiwari, the last Brahmin Chief Minister lost power in 1989, and his caste fellows. Brahmins in UP account for around 11 per cent: their position at the top of the caste hierarchy has meant that their capacity to influence others has always been greater than their numbers would suggest. Indeed, as recently as 2007, when the BSP won a majority in the state, Mayawati’s successful wooing of Brahmins had ensured her not just a sizeable share of their votes – the community leaders had used their position in society to influence other castes too, to back the BSP. If the Congress, therefore, succeeds in convincing Brahmins that it is worth backing, then, Muslims – who constitute about 15 per cent of the population in UP – may throw their weight behind it.

Meanwhile, after the Patidars in Gujarat and Jats in Haryana, Brahmins have now begun demanding reservations for the caste in the government institutions and jobs. Around 2,500 Brahmins from across Delhi-NCR, under the banner of the All India Brahman Jagruti Sanstha demanded reservations. Members of the Sanstha, a five-year-old non-political organisation that aims to raise issues concerning the fraternity at the national level, have been demanding for long that the “unfair treatment” meted out to the Brahmins by society at large should be stopped.

All these while, Brahmins never went on the streets to fight for reservations, and they knew where to get their bread and butter. Brahmins always looked for respect, power, and recognition. As a Brahmin, I don’t support Reservations because there is no merit in this system. Coming to the Brahmin reservations, we are just 2 per cent of the population and there is no chance for the political appeasement as we are not a political vote bank, parties will not show any interest in us. Already most Brahmins lost interest in applying for the government jobs, since there are less number of General category posts. Political parties and some section of the media are against Brahmins and Brahminism. Most of the Brahmins are poor and they are not getting any financial support in education and because of this they are unable to get admission in Elite institutions. Still, they continued to maintain the same type of living status. In Mumbai, most of the Brahmins, such as Tiwari, Mishra, and Pandit are either taxi drivers or security guards. Some of them are vegetable vendors or street cooks. They are Brahmin by birth but economically backward. None of the political party ever gave any thought to elevate their standard of living. We, as a country, need to progress and go forward, but then everyone is fighting to prove themselves as ‘backwards’ and underprivileged.

Brahmin is a pretty small community, maybe a couple of lakhs all over the world. As a Brahmin, I am not against the reservation for the downtrodden SC/ST/OBC communities. History and present say, they were and are still being discriminated and that aspect needs a redressal. That’s just fine with me. They need to be brought up into the mainstream strata and as the reservation system helps them in raising their bar, so be it. But looking at the present scenario, one feels why not seek some benefits? Economically, there are both wealthy and extremely poor Brahmins in our community as that happens with any community. But then as a community, irrespective of our economic situation, we feel, we have the courage, tenacity, determination to compete and slog it out to prove our mettle and come on top. Many of us may not be financially strong but we are a gifted community to come out with flying colours in our endeavours.

To sum up, the erstwhile Manuwadi-hating political parties are making all efforts to woo Brahmin voters. This topical love for the Brahmin caste is their need; it’s another gimmick to fool voters. Brahmins, who constitute a good percentage of the population, are a necessary factor for any party to win the elections with a clear mandate. The upper caste needs to understand the cunningness of the politicians. Under the current circumstances, it is the Brahmins that seem to be the best bet for politics. Political parties have played its cards right so far. My personal opinion is that No Brahmin should fall into the trap of reservation; it’s another jumla by different political parties to gain votes.

 

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on feedback@afternoonvoice.com)