Remembering Manyawar Kanshiram

By – Vidya Bhushan Rawat
He was the man who revitalized the Ambedkarite movement in North India. Travelling through the nook and corner of the country on cycle, he created a new generation of dedicated caders which was assertive and articulative. The term Bahujan might have been used long back but the fact of the matter is that it became a household name only after the Birth of the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Today we remember the founder of Bahujan Samaj Party Manyawar Kanshiram ji on his 12th death anniversary. At the time when the brahmanical Manuwadi forces are dominating the political discourse, trying to distort history, threatening the Bahujan Samaj with social-cultural and political violence, the assertive Ambedkarites are the need of the hour.
Kanshiram Saheb’s politics was that of inclusion and his experiment in Uttar Pradesh as well as other states proved that. He brought diverse Bahujan communities together resulting in amazing social cultural mobilisation. The rise of BSP in Uttar Pradesh is not merely a political phenomena but prior to that the dedicated work of late Kanshiram ji which created social consciousness in those communities who were always ruled and dominated.
In the Brahmanical capitalist system, it would be difficult for any other party to survive unless they develop a brand and build up internal democracy. That is why, it has been my humble view point that parties like BSP, SP, DMK, RJD must survive and provide space and representation to the largest sections of our people. I would not count likes of TRS, Akali Dal, NCP, Trinamul Congress in this because they are essentially upper caste parties and some time more dangerous than the congress party.
The biggest lesson that we can remember from the life of late Kanshiram Saheb is to remain humble, honest and committed to the cause of people. Why he could not get corrupted was because he did not have a big family to include in the party. Most of the Bahujan Parties are becoming victim of the family partnership and therefore bound to get into turmoil soon. But that is not merely a Bahujan problem but India’s basic cultural crisis. What we wish from the Bahujan parties that they should be more democratic and better equipped than the brahmanical parties. Let them raise the issues of people, make space for the youth which today is restive, give them direction and platform. Equally, important is to work for socio-cultural changes without which we cant have political success.
Another lesson that today’s leaders can have is to respect the dedicated caders of their parties. The power of the leaders was their encouraging young leaders and giving them opportunity and respect. Kanshiram ji had that quality of recognising people, respecting them and developing a very personal relationship with them, very unlikely in today’s time. That personal touch actually gave him so many thousands dedicated caders which even today is the strength of BSP.
Also like Baba Saheb, he too warned his caders from being Chamchas. His chamchayug is a very down to earth analysis of the brahmanical politics but it is important for us to understand whether this problem has not entered into other parties too, and perhaps more than the brahmanical parties.
We salute the work of Manyawar Kanshiram to awaken the society and bringing out radical changes in the Indian politics on his 12th death anniversary. His ideas and work have become more relevant today. Only assertive Ambedkarite Bahujan Youths can counter the brahmanical dominant politics and their cultural narratives.