Caste, State and Society: Degrees of Democracy in North India 9780367359843

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Caste, State and Society: Degrees of Democracy in North India
 9780367359843

Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tables
Preface
List of Abbreviations
Introduction
1 Situating Castes: Changing Patterns of Power Relations
2 Caste-Based Public Intellectuals (CBPIs)
3 Quest for Recognition: Social and Cultural Assertion
4 Political Parties and Castes: Politics of Accommodation
5 Castes, Party Preferences and Politics of Recognition
6 Public Action, Castes, and the State
Conclusion
Appendix I: A Select CBPIs: Biographical Notes
Appendix II: Caste Specific Policies/Programmes of Regimes In Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan (1989–2015)
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

CAST E , STAT E A N D SOCIET Y

This book examines the politics of social, cultural and political recognition of caste groups in North India. It explores the factors that make some castes politically influential, while others continue to remain socially and economically marginalized. The author situates these groups within democracy and utilizes a multicultural framework to understand why and when various castes have sought to achieve recognition and redistributive justice; to what extent different castes have been able to achieve these goals; and how civil society has engaged with these issues. Unlike dominant discourses on caste and democracy, which give primacy to electoral/procedural democracy over the substantive one, this book views the relationship between castes and the state in both dimensions of democracy. An important addition to the study of caste politics in India, the volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of social exclusion, development studies, minority studies, sociology and social policy, politics and South Asian studies. It will also be of importance to politicians, policy makers and civil society activists. Jagpal Singh is Professor of Political Science at Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, India. He was previously affiliated with Dayal Singh College, Delhi University, and the North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, India. His areas of specialization are democracy and development, identity politics, politics of recognition and rural politics. He has taught various courses such as Government and Politics in India, State Politics in India, Social Movements and Politics in India, India: Democracy and Development, and India: State and Society.

CASTE , STATE AN D SOCIET Y Degrees of Democracy in North India

Jagpal Singh

First published 2021 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2021 Jagpal Singh The right of Jagpal Singh to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Singh, Jagpal, author. Title: Caste, state and society : degrees of democracy in North India / Jagpal Singh. Description: Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2021. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2020018938 (print) | LCCN 2020018939 (ebook) | ISBN 9780367359843 (hardback) | ISBN 9780429343063 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Caste—India, North. | Power (Social sciences)— India, North. | Social classes—Political activity—India, North. | Democracy—India, North. | India, North—Social conditions. | India, North—Politics and government. Classification: LCC HT720 .S466 2021 (print) | LCC HT720 (ebook) | DDC 305.5/1220954—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020018938 LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020018939 ISBN: 978-0-367-35984-3 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-34306-3 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by codeMantra

I N T H E M E M O RY O F M Y M O T H E R - I N - L AW, M S . B I T H I D U T T (1 9 3 3 – 2 0 0 2 )

CON T EN TS

ix xi xiii

List of figures and tables Preface List of abbreviations Introduction

1

1 Situating castes: changing patterns of power relations

29

2 Caste-Based Public Intellectuals (CBPIs)

77

3 Quest for recognition: social and cultural assertion

101

4 Political parties and castes: politics of accommodation

143

5 Castes, party preferences and politics of recognition

174

6 Public action, castes, and the state

212

Conclusion

260

Appendix I: A select CBPIs: biographical notes Appendix II: Caste specific policies/programmes of regimes in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan (1989–2015) Bibliography Index

vii

271 280 285 303

FIGU R ES A N D TABLES

Figures ­ ­

Tables 0.1 Factors That Determine Position of Castes in Democracy 0.2 Constant Factors, Agencies and General Responses to Castes’ Demands 0.3 Impact of Contingent Factors on Politically Influential Castes (PICs) and Politically Marginalized Castes (PMCs) 1.1 Percentage of Castes in Western UP 1.2 Percentage of Castes in Marwar and Shekhawati Regions, (WNE) Rajasthan 4.1 Caste Profiles of the BJP Office Bearers and Executive Members, Rajasthan ix

12 13 14 34 35 163

F ig u r e s a n d Ta bl e s

4.2 Caste Profiles of the Congress Working Committee Members, rajasthan 4.3 Caste Profiles of the bJP district Presidents, rajasthan 4.4 Caste Profiles of the Congress district president, rajasthan 5.1 Caste Profiles of Mlas (1990–2013): rajasthan (in Percentage) Year of Vidhan sabha elections 5.2 Jats’ Party Preference (%) in Vidhan sabha election (1996, 2007 and 2012): Western uP 5.3 Castes and Party Preferences (%) in rajasthan, lok sabha elections 1999, 2004 and 2009 6.1 Castes and Council of Ministers (1989–2015): uttar Pradesh (in Percentage) 6.2 Castes and Council of Ministers (1990–2013): rajasthan (in Percentage)

x

164 165 166 180 191 191 218 220

PR EFACE

Work on this study virtually began in the late 1980s when slogans and posters of one of the MBCs (Most Backward Classes) pasted on the walls between Delhi and Meerut prompted me to collect information about that caste from the proceedings of its meetings, pamphlets and interaction with its activists. The coming period witnessed many changes in my career as well as in the role of castes in Indian politics. The regions of this study, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, became special arena of the caste politics – UP saw the BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) heading the governments four times; in both states Jats got themselves officially recognized as OBC (Other Backward Class); in Rajasthan, the Gujars launched a violent agitation for their inclusion in the ST (Scheduled Tribe) category, supported by their caste fellows in other parts of North India including UP and Delhi and opposed by the Meenas, a Scheduled Tribe of Rajasthan. In Rajasthan, the non-Jats reacted sharply to Jats’ inclusion in the OBC category and the MBCs and ati-Dalits (along with the Dalits) complained of their exclusion from empowerment. In both states, various castes/caste groups – Dalits, MBCs, OBCs and high castes, have been engaged in competition in the social and cultural, and political fields. I continued to collect data intermittently and reflect on these issues during the past quarter of a century. From the 1980s onwards I have incurred the debts of so many people and institutions in developing this work that it is practically impossible to cite all their names here. There are nonetheless a large number of them who share the collective responsibility of this book coming to fruition and I wish to express my gratitude to some of them. I wish to put on record my thanks to my University, the Indira Gandhi National Open University, for granting me one year’s sabbatical (February 2006–January 2007) which enabled systematic work on the study. The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), Teen Murti House, New Delhi, was generous in providing me affiliation during my sabbatical leave with its up-to-date and well-maintained library, helpful staff and intellectually stimulating ambience. The NMML Director Mridula Mukherjee and its Deputy Director Balakrishna were always helpful. I would have been unable to complete this study without the xi

P reface

cooperation of my respondents in Delhi, UP and Rajasthan, who on innumerable occasions gave me the liberty, without a prior appointment, to disturb them, interview them; allowed me access to their private records; and provided me with all manner of support. I thank Ram Kiran for helping during the fieldwork over the years. I thank Sanjay Kumar, Director, Centre of the study of Developing Societies (CSDS), for sharing the CSDS survey data with me. My arguments matured and got streamlined by constant interaction over several years, almost on a daily basis, with my colleagues, especially Salil Mishra, Shashi Bhushan Upadhyay, Dolly Mathew, Abha Singh, Nita Mathur, Tribhuvan Kapoor, Gopinath Pradhan, Saugato Sen, B. Prakash, Ajay Mahorkar, S. Vijayashekhar Reddy, D. Gopal, S. Venketash and Anurag Joshi. Bhupendra Yadav, Subrat Rout, G.P. Bairwa and Jawaid Alam have been inspiring not only fellow readers within the Teen Murti library but also fellow discussants in the canteen. Ch. Ajit Singh was kind enough to grant me permission to consult the private papers of his father Ch. Charan Singh, the former Prime Minister of India, preserved in the NMML. I am beholden to the Department of Political Science, Panjab University, the Social Sciences Discussion Forum IGNOU, the Centre for Political Studies, JNU, the NMML, New Delhi, the ML Sukhadia University, Udaipur and North Eastern Hill University, Shillong for providing opportunities to test my ideas in the seminars, discussions and lectures over the years. The constructive criticism and suggestions of friends like Rahul Choudhury, Saugato Sen, R.K. Barik, G.R. Malik, S.N. Malakar and Ovinder Pal kept me on toes checking and rechecking my arguments. Comments of Niraja Jayal, Patrick Heller, late Javeed Alam, Nita Mathur and J.L. Dawar helped me immensely. I express gratitude to Rakesh Chand Joshi for formatting the draft of the book. I am beholden to the anonymous reviewer of the manuscript. I wish to thank Bhupinder Brar, Ashutosh Kumar and Ronki Ram for allowing me to use a chapter written by me in a book edited by them (Brar et al. (eds.) 2008). The phrase ‘Degrees of Democracy’ in the title of the book is borrowed from Heller (2000). My brothers Sohanpal and Jagbir, and my mother were always alert in keeping me posted with the latest developments in the villages of western UP. Discussions with my father-in-law, K.C. Dutt, gave me insight into a comparative perspective. The mother-son duo, Nandini and Pradipta, not only provided a comfortable atmosphere at home and but also bore with equanimity the inconvenience caused by my frequent and often protracted absences from home on fieldwork. Nandini read through the entire manuscript. Pradipta was always curious to know about my progress with questions, suggestions and of course criticism. Jagpal Singh

xii

ABBR EV I AT IONS

ABBM ABJASS ABKM ABKRS ABKS ABPVM ABRM ABSB ABSBT ABSKPS ABSS ABM ABNBM ABNM ABNS ABNVSS ABPKM ABPM ABPKBS ABPKS ABPVM ABSM ABSS AC AIBAM AIBM AIDMK AIDWA AIJM AIKKBPS AIKM AKS

Akhil Bharatiya Bairawa Mahasabha Akhil Bharatiya Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti Akhil Bharatiya Kushwah Mahasabha Akhil Bharatiya Kashyap Rajput Sabha Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha Akhil Bharaiya Pichhda Varg Mahasangh Akhil Bharatiya Raigar Mahasabha Akhil Bharatiya Sain Bhaktipeeth Akhil Bharatiya Sain Bhaktipeeth Trust Akhil Bharatiya Sri Kanyakubj Pratinidhi Sabha Akhil Bharatiya Sain Samaj Arakshan Bachao Morcha Akhil Bharatiya Nai Brahmin Mahasabha Akhil Bharatiya Nai Mahasabha Akhil Bharatiya Nai Samaj Akhil Bharatiya Nai Vikas Sanghthan Sabha Akhil Bharatiya Pal Kshatriya Mahasabha Akhil Bharatiya Pal Mahasabha Akhil Bharatiya Prajapati Kumbhkar Sangh Akhik Bharatiya Kumhar Sangh Akhil Bharaitya Picchda Varg Mahasangh Akhil Bharatiya Shakya Mahasabha Akhil Bharatiya Sain Samaj Ambedkar Committee All India Bairwa Mahasabha All India Brahmin Mahasabha All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam All India Democratic Women’s Association All India Jat Mahasabha All India Kanyakubj Brahmin Pratinidhi Sabha All India Kshatriya Mahasabha Ambedkar Kalyan Samiti xiii

A bbreviations

AS BAM BAMCEF BCSU BHSP BJP BKD BKP BKU BLD BMU BS BSP CBPIs CDR CDHR CECOEDCON CEE CSJ CMP CSDS CSOs CUTS DK DLF DMK DMKP DS DS4 DSS DU DSV EBCs FFTs GOI GOUP ICDS IDS IGNOU ILMs JD

Ambedkar Samiti Brahmin Arakshan Manch The All India Backward (SC, ST, OBC) and Minority Communities Employees’ Federation Backward Classes Students Union Bharatiya Samaj Party Bharatiya Janata Party Bharatiya Kranti Dal Bahujan Kisan Party Bharatiya Kisan Union Bharatiya Lok Dal Bharatiya Mazdoor Union Bhoomi Sena Bahujan Samaj Party Caste-Based Public Intellectuals Centre for Dalit Rights Centre for Dalit Human Rights Centre for Community and Economic and Development Consultants’ Society Comparative Ethnographies of Elections Committee for Social Justice Communist Party of India (Marxist) Centre of the Study of Developing Societies Civil Society Organizations Consumer Unity and Trust Society Dravida Kazhagam Delhi Land & Finance Limited Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Dalit Mazdoor Kisan Party Dalit Sena Dalit Soshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti Dalit Sangharsh Samiti Delhi University Dalit Sangharsh Vahini Economically Backward Classes Fact-Finding Teams Government of India Government of Uttar Pradesh Integrated Child Development Scheme Institute of Development Studies Indira Gandhi National Open University Informal Labour Markets Janata Dal

xiv

A bbreviations

JM JNU JP JKM JMS JRY JTM KEP KM KS KSHM KVM KVP LD LP LP LPSP MAVJA MDMK MBBS MBCs MBCF MD MKS MLA MKSS MMVS MGNREGA MSS MES NCDHR NDA NDHR NES NMML NSUI NUBC OBCs PGNSS PICs PKEM PMCs

Jat Mahasabha Jawaharlal Nehru University Janata Party Jat Kshatriya Mahasabha Janwadi Mahila Samiti Jawahar Rozgar Yojna Jat Mahasabha Kashyap Ekta Parishad Kshatriya Mahasabha Kashyap Samaj Kshatriya Mahasabha Kumhar Vikas Manch Kisan Vikas Party Lok Dal (B) Labour Party (Bharat) (S) Labour Party (Secular) Lok Priya Samaj Party Mahila Atyachar Virodhi Jan Andolan Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Bachelor of Medicine, and Bachelor of Surgery Most Backward Classes Most Backward Classes Federation Doctor of Medicine Marwar Kisan Sabha Members of Legislative Assembly Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangthan Magra Mewar Vikas Sansthan Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act Mahila Sain Samaj Military Engineering Service National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights National Democratic Alliance National Dalit Human Rights National Election Surveys Nehru Memorial Museum and Library National Students’ Union of India National Union of Backward Classes Other Backward Classes Prajapati Grah Nirman Sehkari Samiti Politically Influential Castes Prajapati Kumhar Ekta Manch Politically Marginalized Castes

xv

A bbreviations

PMK PSP PUCL RASS RJM RKP RLD RLP ROBCF RPI RKP RPM RPP RRF RRP RSD RSJF RSMN RSS RUWA SBCs SCs SDF SEZ SFI SJC SP SRS3 STP STs UP UPA UPPM VDCs VLW VSD WDP WNE YFE

Pattali Makkal Katchi Pragatisheel Manav Samaj Party People’s Union of Civil Liberties Rajasthan Aviksit Samaj Sabha Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha Rashtriya Kranti Party Rashtriya Lok Dal Rashtriya Labour Party Rajasthan Other Backward Classes Federation Republican Party of India Rashtriya Kranti Party Rashtrya Prajapati Mahasangh Rashtriya Parivatan Party Right to Reservation Forum Ram Rajya Parishad Rashtriya Samata Dal Rajasthan Social Justice Forum Rajasthan Samajik Nyaya Manch Rashtriya Swam Sewak Sangh Rajasthan University Women’s Association Special Backward Classes Scheduled Castes School for Democracy Special Economic Zone Students Federation of India Social Justice Commission Samajwadi Party Shri Rajasthan Sain Siksha Sansthan Swatantra Party Scheduled Tribes Uttar Pradesh United Progressive Alliance Uttar Pradeshiya Prajapati Mahasangh Village Development Councils Village Level Worker Vanchit Samaj Dal Women’s Development Programme Western & North-East Youth for Equality

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I N TRODUCT ION

This book is about relationships between castes, and their relationship with democracy and the state. These relationships are studied in a comparative perspective with the cases of multiple castes in two regions of North India from 1989 till 2015: the western part of Uttar Pradesh (western UP) and the Marwar and Shekhawati regions of Rajasthan (western and northeastern regions of Rajasthan: henceforth WNE Rajasthan). These castes include low castes  – Dalits (Jatavs/Meghwals/Bairwas) and MBCs (Nais (barbers), Kumhars (potters), Sainis/Malis (peasants/gardeners), Gadarias (shepherds), and Dhinwars (water carriers)), intermediary caste/upper OBC (Jats) and high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs). Specifically, the book deals with the politics of social, cultural and political recognition of these castes in relation to issues such as reservation in government jobs (redistributive/ social justice), the castes’ cultural legacies/rights/symbols, human rights (dignity, liberty and security) and right to represent through allotment of tickets to contest elections by major political parties. Since 1989 in western UP and WNE Rajasthan these castes are engaged in competitive politics of social, cultural and political recognition, and in redistributive justice through self-mobilization by three types of agencies, i.e., caste organizations, Caste-Based Public Intellectuals (CBPIs) and political parties. Mobilization of castes and responses of the caste organizations/ CBPIs/civil society organizations, state and major political parties to their demands show the following patterns: (i) with regard to self-mobilization of castes for social and cultural assertion through caste organizations, the CBPIs and caste associations (single caste organizations) are more active in western UP than in WNE Rajasthan, whereas caste federations (alliances of caste associations) are more active in WNE Rajasthan than in western UP; particularly, caste organizations of Dalit are more active in western UP than in Rajasthan, and in the latter more vocal section of Dalit movement is part of broad democratic movement along with non-Dalit organizations; Jat organizations are more active in WNE Rajasthan than in western UP; and activities of the high castes are more regular and extensive in WNE

1

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Rajasthan than in western UP; (ii) about democratic civil society organizations, they have been quite active in WNE Rajasthan but they have almost been absent in western UP; (iii) with regard to the party systems and their relationships to castes, in western UP there has been a proliferation of political parties, indicating the presence of multi-party system but inversely in Rajasthan, by and large, the two-party system continues; in western UP, several single- caste parties of the MBCs have emerged but they are almost absent in Rajasthan; (iv) among the low castes, the Dalits are culturally and politically more active in UP than in Rajasthan; the MBCs are politically more active in UP but culturally active in both UP and Rajasthan; (v) movements for caste-based reservation for jobs in public institutions have been more visible in Rajasthan than in UP and (vi) in Rajasthan the high castes have reacted more vociferously to the Jats’ demand for inclusion in the state OBC list, while in UP their reaction to reservation for the OBCs has been muted. The main political parties in both states (BJP and Congress in Rajasthan, BJP, BSP, SP, RLD and Congress in western UP) generally give political recognition, i.e., allotment of tickets to contest Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections, accommodation in important party positions, and in the ministry formation to politically influential castes such as Jats, Rajputs and Brahmins, Jatavs/Meghwals/Bairwas (among Dalits) and/or Sainis (Malis among the MBCs), even as they do not accord similar recognition to a large number of the marginalized castes (mostly MBCs and Ati-Dalits). The state has responded more positively to the demands of politically influential castes such as Jats for their inclusion in ministry formation or reservation to them as OBCs than to the demands of the marginalized castes such as MBCs for sub-division of the OBC quota. Regarding the demand of the MBCs for sub-division of quota, in UP during the period covered in the study the parties other than the BJP have been indifferent or opposed to the issue. In UP, the state has been more responsive to the cultural demands of different castes such as declaration of holidays in the name of caste icons/ symbols, installing their pictures in the public offices, removing from the school text books/movies the ‘uncharitable’ or ‘insulting’ words, etc., than in Rajasthan. The local state shows different patterns of behaviour towards the politically marginalized castes; it is less democratic about them and less autonomous of the locally dominant groups in some cases than in the others.

The central question The central question I address in the book is to explain why, when and to what extent Dalits, MBCs, intermediary caste/upper OBCs and high castes have sought to achieve social, cultural and political recognition, and redistributive justice, and how the state has responded to them, and to what 2

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extent different castes have been able to achieve these goals. Specifically, it seeks to explain different patterns of relationships between these castes and democratic politics, the electoral and non-electoral, and the state: why the self-assertion of castes through caste associations (single caste organizations) is stronger in western UP than in WNE Rajasthan, and why caste federations (alliances of caste associations) are more assertive in WNE Rajasthan than in western UP; why exclusively Dalit organizations are more active in western UP than in Rajasthan where they are part of broad democratic movement along with non-Dalit organizations; why Jat caste organizations are more active in WNE Rajasthan than in western UP; how regime policies have influenced caste mobilization in western UP and WNE Rajasthan; why in western UP there has been a proliferation of political parties, indicating the presence of multi-party system but inversely in Rajasthan the two-party system continues; why in western UP several single caste parties of the MBCs have emerged but they are almost absent in Rajasthan; why political parties have generally given political recognition (allotment of tickets to contest Vidhan Sabha elections, accommodation in important party positions and in the ministry formation) to politically influential castes such as Brahmins, Rajputs, Jats and Jatavs/Meghwals/ Bairwas (among Dalits) and Sainis (Malis among the MBCs), and why they have not accorded such political recognition to a large number of the marginalized castes (mostly MBCs); why in WNE Rajasthan, democratic civil society organizations have been quite active but they are almost absent in western UP; why the Dalits are culturally and politically more active in UP than in Rajasthan; why the MBCs are politically more active in UP than in Rajasthan but culturally (equally) active in both UP and Rajasthan or why the MBCs in western UP have been able to develop their cultural assertion into formation of MBC parties but they have not been able to do so in Rajasthan; why movements for caste-based reservation have been more visible in Rajasthan than in UP; why in Rajasthan the high castes have reacted more vociferously to the Jats’ demand for inclusion in the state OBC list than in UP; why the state responds more favourably to some castes but not to others and why the local state shows dual character in terms of its autonomy from the locally dominant castes with proportionate repercussions on its attitude towards the democratic rights of politically marginalized castes.

The departure Scholarship about the relationship between caste and democracy – political institutions and processes – is largely concerned with the relationship of a single caste or caste group to procedural or substantive democracy. What it does not tell us is how differentially various castes as discrete units or groups are placed in the democratic paradigm.1 Even though election studies do concern themselves with choices of different castes for political 3

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parties in elections, representation of castes in legislative bodies, ministries and political parties, as I shall discuss in Chapters 4–6, their focus has been limited. The book departs from the dominant literature in the sense that it deals with the multiple castes’ relationships with democracy – in its both dimensions, substantive and procedural/electoral/ party politics, in India rather than those of single caste/caste groups. Indeed, caste has been a favourite subject of studies in India by the political scientists and sociologists, and its relationship to democracy has primarily been informed predominantly by the modernization framework, which has had the most profound impact on the study of politics of ‘developing areas’ over the past half a century (since the 1950s). Within the modernization framework, studies over the years have attempted to explain nature of relationship between politics and society in terms of interaction between modernity and tradition, i.e., politics and political institutions (state, political parties, etc.) and society and social institutions such as caste (organizations, customs, traditions, etc.). In their attempt to explain the relationship between modernity and tradition, political scientists focussed on the study of political systems and sub-systems, and sociologists focussed on sociological institutions such as caste and kinship. Such relationship between caste and politics was explained in three ways: first, viewing the one-sided impact of politics on caste; second, explaining the impact of politics on caste and vice-versa2 and third, focussing on the capacity of the caste system to cope with challenges from within, i.e., the low caste’s attitude to the attributes of the high castes, their values, culture, and customs. Following the third way, i.e., low castes’ attitude towards the values and culture of the high castes, M.N. Srinivas attempted to show that low castes were keen to adopt the customs and lifestyles of the higher castes through a process of Sanskritization (Srinivas 2002), and Louis Dumont emphasized the inevitability of the replication of hierarchy in castes, including the lower castes, in a graded manner.3 The first and second ways form the most important aspect of the debate on the relationship between tradition and modernity. Despite their differences, overall, both these methods sought to explain the adaptability of caste to politics.4 During the last quarter of the twentieth century, a tradition which combined the features of the functionalist – a version of modernization framework and Marxian frameworks – also appeared (see Frankel 1989: 17–18).5 Frankel targets both Marxian and non-Marxian versions of modernization in her critique of it, and offers an alternative framework that seeks to achieve ‘the shared objective of moving towards an empirical theory of the relationship between the introduction of social change in society and the transformation of that society’. This is possible by ‘an interactional framework that treats caste, class, and ethnicity as process and social formation which examines their linkages with the state level power to explain changing patterns of dominance’ (18). The contributions in the two volumes edited by Frankel and Rao (1989, 1990) adopt such an interactional approach. 4

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Despite having been subjected to criticism, the modernization framework continues to exert influence on studies of caste politics. Generations of scholars continue to follow this paradigm uncritically, and those who follow it appear to outnumber those critical of it. Analysing different trajectories of social change among the low castes  – non-Brahmins in West and South India, and Yadavs and Chamars of North India, Jaffrelot argues that ‘ethnicization’ that provided an ‘alternative nonhierarchical social imaginaries – an egalitarian alternative identity’ to hierarchical caste denomination had occurred among the low castes in West and South India (Jaffrelot 2000: 758). But in North India, Yadav’s ‘ethnicization was embedded in the Sanskritizatin logic’ (ibid: 763), implying that the Sanskritization had positive impact in consolidating their social position, and the impact of Adi/ Bhakti – like movement did not let the Chamars be free from ‘Sanskritizatin ethos’ (ibid: 765). Indeed, Jaffrelot’s argument relates to the pre-Independence period (see also Jaffrelot 2003: 144–213). But in the extant context, the low castes, especially MBCs and the dominant sections among Dalits (Jatavs/Chamars), are rejecting Sanskritization to a considerable extent. As the discussion in Chapters 2 and 3 shows, a process of de-Sanskritization is taking place among the low castes in western UP and WNE Rajasthan. Undoubtedly, studies influenced by the modernization tradition have enriched our understanding of caste dynamics in India. Their dominant section has not however given due consideration to the recognition of autonomy and independence of marginalized groups or castes. My reservations about the modernization framework should not be confused with a negative connotation or of being anti-modern. The focus should change from the totality to its constituents, and due consideration be given to the fragments that constitute the whole. It is not Brahmanical hegemonic values or the caste system as such but the discrete castes including the low and high castes interacting with one another that should receive attention. In the recent past, however, departing from this framework, the need to accord due space to the smaller components of the whole in India has been felt (Chatterjee 1997; Pandey 1998).6 The disciplines of political science and sociology have reluctantly realized this reality only too late.7

‘Recontextualizing’ multiculturism I use multicultural framework in this book. It is an alternative framework to the usually preferred framework in the literature  – the modernization framework, which I have critiqued in the preceding paragraphs. With its focus on the respect, recognition, and autonomy of the discrete identity groups, the multicultural framework opens up vistas for the recognition of the vulnerable and marginal groups such as Dalits, MBCs and OBCs. Multiculturalism shares with post-modernism a distrust of ‘universalism 5

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and foundationalism of traditional theory-construction and exclusionary and hierarchical impulses of normativity. In its more productive moments, however, multiculturalism marks a progressive stage beyond the negativism of postmodern critique’ (Willet 1998: 2). Pioneered by philosophers like Charles Taylor and Will Kymlicka, a multicultural framework provides sufficient room for the recognition of different social groups of society (Taylor 1992; Kymlicka 1995). Drawing on Hegel’s dialectic and Rousseau, Taylor argues that recognition indicates the existence of a reciprocal and equal relationship between different groups. This relationship entails mutual respect, based on principles of equality. All individuals and groups are a potential repository of respect, and that is why all deserve to be recognized and respected. Respect is contrary to honour, which is an attribute of a hierarchical order. Unlike respect, honour is the privilege of the select few who get it by virtue of a hierarchical order of relation. An absence of reciprocity in a relationship or equality in a relationship means a ‘mis-recognition’/‘unrecognition’, which results in oppression and harm to those mis-recognized or un-recognized. Taylor’s multicultural framework has not gone unchallenged. The Taylorian notion of multiculturalism/recognition has been criticized for essentializing culture and neglecting the economic and political basis of community formation, for neglecting gender issues and individual rights within the community (see Phillips 1993; Young 1997; Fraser 1998, 2000; Mayaram 1999; Parekh 2000). Fraser (1998, 2000) especially critiques the ‘Hegelian dialectic’ which is the basis for the Taylorian conceptualization of multiculturalism which accounts for a dissociation of the politics of recognition (‘the problem of displacement’) from that of redistribution (‘the problem of reification’) or ‘the redistribution-recognition dilemma’. Besides these limitations, in my opinion, the multicultural framework does not explain why the groups are placed in differential political and social positions: why there are variations in the extent of accommodation, recognition and representation of different groups by political parties, the state and society; and why there are varying patterns in their mobilization by political parties and civil society organizations. However, Mahajan (2002: 58–59) does raise the question of the differential/discriminatory attitude of the state towards minorities. But she attributes this differential/discriminatory attitude to liberalism and suggests that multiculturalism/communitarianism resolves this problem. To me that location of the cause of the discriminatory attitude of the state towards minorities in liberalism is misplaced. The minorities could be discriminated against even in the communitarian/multicultural system. Indeed, as I shall argue in this book the reasons for the differential attitude of the state and political parties about their social and political recognition, and their own levels of self-mobilization lie in the impact of the constant and contingent factors, mentioned later (Tables  0.1–0.3), irrespective of whether the state is governed by liberal or communitarian principles. The positive feature of multiculturalism/communitarianism, unlike liberalism, 6

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is that it pleads for equal and due recognition to all groups/communities in the society, and that is all. Following the tradition of Western discourse on multiculturalism, that in India focusses on the religious minorities (see Mahajan 1998, 451–520, 2002; Sheth and Mahajan 1999; Ali 2000); it revolves around the bipolarity/dichotomy of majority and minority communities. Indeed, the multicultural discourse in India privileges religion as the basis of minority or majority community formation, overlooking the politics that revolves around caste identities. The religious definition is exclusive to the caste basis of community formation or categorization of the communities as minorities or majorities. Again, as pointed out by Mahajan (2002: 202–3), the Western discourse on multiculturalism emphasizes that the nation-state is the single source of discrimination and overlooks other sources of discrimination existing outside the nation-state, i.e., in other groups in the society who discriminate against the minorities in connivance with government officials. Notwithstanding these limitations, the multicultural framework provides sufficient space to enable us to study different castes as discrete entities8 in relation to one another and democracy. Indeed, the applicability of a multicultural framework to groups and individuals has been suggested by Bhargava (2002), Rodrigues (2002) and Mahajan (2002: 63–64). Bhargava suggests that Taylor and Kymlicka’s framework can be adapted to India. For this purpose, however, it is imperative to ‘decontextualize’ it from the Western context and ‘recontextualize’ it to an Indian one. My attempt in this book will be to ‘recontextualize’ the multicultural framework in the context of caste politics. I approach caste politics in terms of multiple castes’ relations in the light of what Parekh (2000: 13) addresses as ‘several cultures or cultural communities with their distinct systems of meaning and significance’. I apply this framework to analyse the caste politics in two areas of India: western UP and the Western and North Eastern (WNE) parts of Rajasthan known as the Marwar and Shekhawati regions. The book adopts a comparative framework, attempting to study how castes placed in a different social hierarchy and social and political conditions behave in the context of change in time and space. The multiple castes with which I deal, as mentioned earlier, are: low castes – Dalits (Jatavs/Meghwals/Bairwas) and MBCs (Nais, Kumhars, Sainis/Malis, Gadarias, and Dhinwars); intermediary caste/upper OBCs (Jats); and high castes, i.e., Rajputs and Brahmins. I apply the multicultural framework to study relationship between castes and democracy (substantive and electoral) in this book. However, unlike other studies in India conducted on the basis of the multicultural framework, which have in the main centred on religious communities, this book focusses on different castes as discrete entities. It, in fact, seeks, as Bhargava (2002) suggests, to ‘recontextualize’ the framework in relation to castes in India. For applying the multicultural framework in this study, I ‘recontextualize’ it to explain caste politics. When I ‘recontextualize’ the multicultural 7

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framework to study the politics of multiple castes, each striving to get cultural and social recognition, redistributive justice, its contours include the following: (a) social and cultural dimensions: change in the social positions and economic conditions of castes following the impact of the state policies after Independence, and changing patterns of power relations in the villages (Chapter 1); attempts by the low castes Dalits and MBCs, and intermediate caste such as Jats to challenge the hierarchical social order/ symbols, and invent/discover alternative symbols; counter-attempts by the high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) to reinforce/discover/justify their symbols (Chapters  2 and 3); (b) political recognition: attempts by the disadvantaged castes, such as the MBCs, who feel politically neglected by the established political parties to set up their ‘own political parties’, choice of political parties by the castes, strategies of parties/regimes about policies vis-à-vis different castes (Chapters 4 and 5) and (c) attempts by different castes to approach the state through different forms of collective action on their demands for social, cultural and political recognition, and redistributive justice, and state responses to them, and attitudes of different castes/ caste groups’ to the rights of their individual members, especially women (Chapter 6). ­

Explaining relationship between caste and democracy While I shall comment on the literature in the relevant sections of the book, here I underline the principal issues of the related discourse on the relationship between castes and democracy. It is tilted more towards electoral democracy than the substantive one. It principally deals with the participation of different castes in elections and party strategies to mobilize them. The marginalized groups – Dalits, villagers, OBCs, and women have become the special focus of the discourse since the 1990s. The common issue that emerges from this discourse is that it is the masses who contribute to the deepening of Indian democracy through increased participation in the elections than the élite.9 The literature on the non- electoral or the substantive dimension of relationship between caste and democracy is quite limited. It basically deals with the attempt on the part of the marginalized castes like Dalits and OBCs to receive social justice/reservation and equality/self-respect/against caste oppression. Such attempt occurs in the social movements of these castes (Omvedt 1993, 1994a; Weiner 2001; Shah 2004; see also Shah 2002). Building on this literature, I look at the relative connections of different castes to democracy or look at the differential locations of different castes in democracy, how they are engaged in the politics of recognition, and social and redistributive justice, and how differently castes react to one another’s politics/claims/activities and how differently they are placed in

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electoral politics beyond casting votes. I do so by taking into consideration the changing context of time and space while studying the relationships of different castes with democracy/politics. While comparing the politics of different castes, I disaggregate the institution of the state and vertical levels of politics.10 I seek to address relationship of castes with both institutional/ procedural aspect (electoral and party politics) and the substantive aspects of democracy. I seek to give enough space to the politics of marginalized castes, and parallel politics of other castes. I do so by connecting the activities of various castes. To gain a more comprehensive view of the location of different castes in Indian democracy or to understand the degrees of democracy in relation to castes, it is imperative to compare the relationships of different castes to democracy. In order to achieve that we need to do the following: give due space to the place of every caste/caste group, not only those that have become politically more assertive or visible; address the question of how different castes are located in the Indian democratic framework in comparison to one another and understand how the castes that are neglected or perceive themselves to be so by the state or dominant political formations react to their neglect. I apply multicultural framework to explain the relationships of castes in my sample with democracy, procedural and substantive.

Terms and concepts Here, I explain the meaning of some important terms and concepts which I shall be alluding to in this book: Politically Influential Castes (PICs) Politically Influential Castes (PICs) are those castes which have considerable influence in politics and society. They are capable of mobilizing themselves into effective and sustained collective action with potential to create law and order problems for political regimes. They and their interests are fairly accommodated by political parties and regimes/state. Politically Marginalized Castes (PMCs) Politically Marginalized Castes (PMCs) except in certain situations usually do not have considerable influence in politics and society. They are not capable of mobilizing themselves into effective and sustained collective action with the potential to adversely affect the law and order situation. They and their interests are generally not accommodated or are partially accommodated by political parties and regimes/state.

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Space and time As the relationship between castes and democracy in this book has been considered in the context of space and time, it is imperative to cite what is meant here by space and time. The regions in the state of UP and Rajasthan, i.e., western UP and WNE Rajasthan (Marwar and Shekhawati regions), signify the context of space in this study. The context of time is a broader concept, denoting the phase of the rise and decline of social forces, or castes in our case, as well as the political regimes corresponding to this phase. Core caste(s) and supporting/allied castes as support bases of a party The support base of a party is a coalition of castes: core caste (s) and supporting castes/caste groups or the allied castes. A caste can be identified as core caste supporting a political party if the majority of its members generally/traditionally/most of the time/in the normal situations support it.11 A party’s core caste support base lies in distinct caste (s)/caste group(s) (and in case of the caste/ethnic party especially the caste of its present leader or that of its founder), irrespective of the fact whether the allied castes/caste groups continue to support it or not. The allied support base does not form an enduring support base of a party. Original party and new party Exit of politicians from a party is quite common, generally to join or form another party. In this context, I shall allude to a party as original party to which a leader belonged before joining or forming another party; the latter will be used as a new party. Caste politics, identity politics and politics of recognition and redistribution Caste politics denotes a generic concept of politics in which different castes are involved. It consists of mainly three aspects, namely, politics of social and cultural recognition, politics of political recognition and politics of redistributive justice. The aspect about politics of social and cultural recognition implies identity politics, i.e., construction or discovery of identity by using social and cultural symbols (Chapter 3). The aspect about political recognition has three parts: accommodation of castes in political parties (Chapter 4), their representation in legislatures and castes’ preferences of parties in elections (Chapter 5), and their representation in the political regimes/ministries, mobilization on their issues/demands and response of the 10

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state (Chapter 6). Politics of redistribution is about claims that castes make to get their share in economic opportunities through policies such as reservation in public institutions and the state response (Chapter 6). Although I have discussed these conceptual categories distinctly in different chapters, they are interconnected and cross- connected. The concept of mobilization The concept of mobilization denotes a process of articulation of demands into a movement (collective action) of different castes. Such mobilization can be done by political parties or civil society organizations. As we shall notice during the discussion in this book, formation of political parties is linked to political mobilization of castes. We can analyse the relationship between the mobilization of castes by civil society organizations and political parties in terms of following indicators: timings, agencies, elections (during and between them). In this book, I distinguish different kinds of mobilization in terms of these indicators: between those which predate the emergence of political parties resulting in the emergence of the latter and the ones which take place simultaneously by civil society organizations along with those by political parties; the ones which are initiated by the already established political parties and those which have been done by civil society organizations of different caste-based or non- caste-based civil society organizations; and those mobilization which occur during and between elections.

Determinants of caste politics Indian democracy does not regard different castes  – Dalits, MBCs, intermediary castes/upper OBCs and high castes equally: degrees of democracy exist. The differences in castes’ relationships with both kinds of democracy – substantive and minimal – are linked to the differences in the political economy of castes. The political economy of castes is indicated by multiple factors. These factors are of two types: constant factors and contingent factors. The constant factors are: one, a caste’s numerical strength; two, its political consolidation in a political unit (village, district, region, constituency, state or nation), i.e., its potential to exert political pressure, affect the electoral outcome, and create public nuisance, law and order problem, etc. and, three, its economic conditions in a region.12 The contingent factors are: one, inter-caste/ ­ ​­ inter-caste ­ ​­ group or intra-caste/intra­ ​­ ­ ​ caste group competition; two, inter-party or intra-party competition; three, presence of the civil society organizations; four, cultural and economic background (history) of the region and positions of the castes within it; five, political context; six, castes’ relationship with political regimes; seven, ideologies and policies of parties/regimes and eight, others (social capital/ 11

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Table 0.1 Factors That Determine Position of Castes in Democracy Constant Factors

Contingent Factors

1 Numerical strength of castes 2 Political consolidation in an area 3 Economic conditions in an area

1 Inter-caste/intra-caste conflict and competition 2 Inter-party/intra-party competition 3 Presence of civil society organizations 4 Cultural and economic legacies 5 Political context 6 Castes’ relations with political regimes 7 Ideologies and policies of parties/ regimes 8 Others (social capital/networking/ contacts, crime-capital, economic capital and protective constitutional provisions for SCs/STs, etc.).

Source: Prepared by the author.

networking/contacts, crime- capital and money power of a candidate/caste, and protective constitutional provisions for the SCs and STs, etc.)13 (see Table 0.1). ­ Constant factors are more significant than the contingent factors: generally, the most important factors which count in any effective political action, whether electoral or non- electoral, are the constant factors; the contingent factors count only to strengthen or weaken the impact of the constant factors. The castes which have positive relations with the constant factors are Politically Influential Castes (PICs), and those which have inverse relations with them are Politically Marginalized Castes (PMCs). Usually, it is the constant factors which determine a caste’s relationship with democracy, i.e., its cultural and social recognition, political recognition and redistributive justice. However, contingent factors can disturb the general patterns of relationships between castes and democracy caused by the constant factors, resulting in variations in patterns of castes’ relations to democracy resulting in formation of cross- caste alliances: even PMCs can be placed in an advantageous position in respect to recognition and redistributive justice. However, presence or absence of the constant factors decides overall location of castes in Indian democracy. In my sample, the PICs are intermediary caste/upper OBCs (Jats), Jatavs/Meghwals/Bairwas (Dalits), Sainis/Malis (MBCs), Brahmins and Rajputs (high castes) and the PMCs are MBCs (Nais, Gadarias, Dhinwars and Kumhars) Differences in the extent of relations of various castes  – Dalits, MBCs intermediary castes/ upper OBCs and high castes with democracy are reflected in the partisan behaviour of the most important institutions, i.e., the state (political regimes, the police, bureaucracy, court and the like) 12

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and political parties, which become sites for the operation of democracy or agencies that respond to the demands of different castes. They are also reflected in the range of responses of the castes themselves (caste organizations and CBPIs); levels of their ability to self-mobilize into collective action with the potential to exert political pressure/affect electoral outcome or create public nuisance/ law and problem, etc., and formation of castebased parties. Normally, the state and political parties are more positively disposed towards the demands of the PICs than to those of PMCs: the state generally accommodates the PICs in ministries, and not the PMCs; political parties give them tickets to contest Vidhan Sabha or Lok Sabha elections and accommodate them in important party positions, and not the PMCs (they can only vote). Also, the PICs are more assertive in self-mobilization than the PMC (see Table 0.2). However, due to the impact of contingent factors on the normal patterns of castes’ location in democracy, as mentioned above, cross- caste alliances can take place in electoral and non- electoral mobilization. In such situation, even the PMCs can get favourable treatment from the state and political parties; this can also result in more effective mobilization of the PMCs (see Table 0.3). This is demonstrated in Chapters 3–6. The political strength of a caste is not the same in all spaces and times. As mentioned earlier, the space is reflected by the region and the level of Table 0.2 Constant Factors, Agencies and General Responses to Castes’ Demands State

Political Parties

Castes’ Self-Assertion

Impact of Constant Factors on agencies’ responses to PICs • • Given political recognition • Given political (berth in ministry formation) recognition • Favoured in disputes, (important • Favoured in redistributive justice party positions, allotment of tickets)

Able to selfmobilize/assert on issues of social-cultural and political recognition and redistributive justice • Can cause law and order problem

Impact of Constant Factors on agencies’ responses to PMCs • Denied political recognition (no • Denied political • ministerial berths) recognition (no • Discriminated in local disputes important party • Discriminated in redistributive positions, no justice allotment of tickets) Source: Prepared by the author.

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Unable to build political pressure through self-mobilization

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Table 0.3 Impact of Contingent Factors on Politically Influential Castes (PICs) and Politically Marginalized Castes (PMCs) Agencies and Responses Contingent Factors

PICs and PMCs

State

Political Parties

Castes’ Overall Self Assertion

1 Inter-caste/ Formation of Gives political Even PMCs In alliance PICs intra-caste cross-caste recognition can get with dominate conflict and alliances to all castes/ important PICs politics, competition between caste groups; party even the especially 2 Inter-party/ intermediate positions, PMCs about intra-party caste/ Upper Can accept and be can allotment competition OBCs (Jats), allotted build of tickets cultural 3 Presence of high castes tickets political demands of civil society (Brahmins pressure PMCs; organizations and 4 Cultural and Rajputs), Can help PMCs economic Dalits also in legacies (Jatavs/ redistributive 5 Political Meghwals/ justice context Bairwas, 6 Castes’ relation Balmikis) with political and MBCs regime (Nais, 7 Ideologies and Kumhars, policies of Gadarias, parties/regimes Dhinwars, 8 Others (social Sainis) capital/ networking/ contacts, crime-capital, economic capital, and protective constitutional provisions for SCs/STs, etc.) Source: Prepared by the author.

the political unit (village/town, district, state or country), the time is indicated by the political regimes, and phase of rise and decline of social forces/political generations. If a caste is influential at one point in time and in a region, its position may be the reverse at another time and in another region. Similarly, certain areas have seen a rise of the socially backward groups such as Dalits, while in others the trend has been completely the opposite. Even the decline of erstwhile dominant social groups has not shown 14

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a uniform pattern. For instance, with reference to the context of region in my sample, Jats are politically influential in both states (Chapters  4–6); Dalits (Jatavs) are more assertive in western UP than in WNE Rajasthan (Chapters 2–5); high castes are more active in Rajasthan than in western UP (Chapters 4 and 5); and only Sainis/Malis among the MBCs are politically more assertive than other MBCs in both regions (Chapters 1, 2, 4–6). In context of time, the Jats have been influential in western UP both before and after Independence; Dalits and a section of MBCs (Sainis/Malis) have been politically more influential only since the 1980s; high castes have been active in Rajasthan both during and after Independence; in western UP the extent of change in their influence over time depends on the nature of their relationship with the constant and contingent factors (Chapters 1–6). The difference in the behaviour of the state and society towards a caste also varies in the vertical division of space. Generally, as the state and society at local level overlap, the state agencies are less autonomous of society (more caste-oriented and undemocratic) than at regional and national levels of state. However, it is not always the case. Again, the social hierarchy of the community does not necessarily determine the response of the state or society towards a caste; it does not matter whether a community is Dalit, MBC, intermediate caste/ upper OBC or high caste. What matters is how the constant and contingent factors play their roles. Due to the impact of some contingent factors such ­as  – ­inter-party/intra-party competition, ​­ ­ ​­ inter- caste/intra- caste conflicts and alliances, change in voter alignments, composition of the state functionaries and the effective presence of the civil society organizations, including the mass media even the state at local level can behave more independently of the local societal forces, consequently positively towards PMCs. For instance, in western UP, Mayawati could arrest Mahendra Singh Tikait, who was not only vested with the authority of Khap (traditional caste panchayat of Jats) but was also a powerful leader of farmers’ organization the BKU, or in a conflict between non-Jatavs (Brahmins, and Rajputs) and Jatavs, the local state sided with the latter (Chapter 1). Similarly, in Rajasthan, the state has responded positively to civil society organizations’ collective action to criminalize Sati (Chapter 6). ­ Indeed, the caste-based competitive politics has become more prominent since the 1980s. Two reasons account for this development: one, by this time the differential impact of state policies  – land reforms, green revolution (western UP), welfare schemes on different castes in both states  – has been realized; this could be symbolized by erosion in traditional caste ties and decline in role of traditional caste-based occupations, emergence of castes as discrete units (Gupta 1991), decline of old social classes and emergence of new ones, leading to the change in patterns of local power relations, differential erosion in traditional symbols of dominance and discrimination, sharpening ­inter-caste/intra-caste ​­ ­ ​­ conflicts and competitions (Chapter 1); and two, realization14 on the part of the new generation CBPIs 15

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which emerged during the post-Independence period for the need to get recognition (Chapter  2). Variations of impact on different castes in two different regions are reflected in different levels of relations between castes and democracy, and the state (Chapter 3–6). The involvement of the low castes – Dalits and MBCs in politics of social and cultural recognition – has not been of equal level in the both regions – western UP and WNE Rajasthan. Again, more specifically, Dalits have been more active in establishing their social and cultural identity in western UP than in WNE Rajasthan. But the MBCs have been active in such endeavour in both regions (Chapters 2 and 3). The reasons for different levels of social and cultural assertion of Dalits, and for near similarities in the social and cultural movements of MBCs in both areas lie in the differences in agrarian histories (bhaiachara and zamindari in western UP, and Jagirdari and bhumidhari in WNE Rajasthan), economic and cultural legacies (cultural symbols of discrimination, and the memories of discrimination) (Chapter 1), and differences in social and cultural movements in both areas (Chapter  3). These legacies continue to impact the caste mobilization in the contemporary period; for instance, Jats’ mobilization on reservation in Rajasthan, in the politics of low castes’ demand for social and cultural recognition (Chapters 2 and 3), and redistributive justice (sub-division of the OBC quota by MBCs, Chapter 6). Social and cultural movements and emergence of low caste political parties are inter-linked: the social and cultural movements predate low caste political parties. Indeed, formation of the low castes’ political parties is culmination of the politics of social and cultural recognition. Proliferation of parties, especially those of Dalits and MBCs, is related to one aspect of recognition, i.e., political recognition, its other aspects being social and cultural recognition. For instance, rise of BSP in UP was culmination of a social and cultural movement, i.e., Ambedkarization (Singh 1998); absence of such movement in WNE Rajasthan (Chapter 3) foreclosed the possibility of the rise of a Dalit party (Chapter 4). The MBCs in UP also formed a component of support base of BSP. Apart from the legacy of social and cultural movement, other contingent factors which account for rise of low caste parties such as those of the MBCs include lack of their accommodation in the principal political parties or intra-party competition. In western UP, many MBC intellectuals who were involved in alternative social and cultural movements (Chapter  2), also joined the BSP. But in due course, they came out of the BSP to form their ‘own’ parties because of the contingent factors. But in Rajasthan the low castes (Dalits and MBCs) did not attempt to form separate parties – they divided their support between the Congress and the BJP (Chapters 4 and 5). Principal reasons for this are the impact of historical legacies, their weak economic conditions and absence of an independent Dalit movement; Dalit movement has been part of broad democratic movement in Rajasthan (Chapter  6). Similarly, the MBCs in 16

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WNE Rajasthan, unlike those in western UP, could not form separate parties despite the fact, like the latter, they also have been involved in social and cultural mobilization: reasons for this are their poor economic conditions and lack of party of the low castes like the BSP. The contingent factors such as inter- caste/intra- caste conflict and competition, and inter-party/intra-party competition have enabled forma­ ​­ ­ ​­ tion of inter- caste alliances in the non- electoral mobilizational politics (Chapter  6) and electoral politics (Chapter  5). This, in turn, has enabled the PMCs to have more effective participation than in general pattern. For instance in Rajasthan, the non-Jats (MBCs, Rajputs and Brahmins) formed an alliance – RSJF (the Rajasthan Social Justice Forum) – to oppose Jats’ inclusion in the OBC list, and again, during ‘second Mandal’15 when the central government sought to extend reservation for the OBC to the central government educational institutions, all castes entitled for reservation, SCs, STs, MBCs and OBCs (including Jats), formed an inter- caste/community alliance, i.e., SC/ST/OBC Arakshan Adhikar Manch or Right to Reservation Forum (RRF) against the high castes who were opposed to the extension (Chapter 6). While devising their electoral strategies, even though the political parties consider numerical strength of a caste in a constituency (the constant factor) as the most important criterion to allot tickets, they also consider contingent factors  ­ – inter-caste/inter-caste ­ ​­ ­ ​­ group or intra­ ​ caste/intra- caste group conflicts and competition by forming alliance across castes. Political parties seek to balance out the interests of conflicting/rival castes/caste groups and not only allot tickets and give party positions and ministerial berths to the PICs but also give some symbolic recognition and redistributive justice to the PMCs. This, in turn, results in inter- caste alliances in support or opposition to a party (Chapter 5). Even as political accommodation of the PICs and continuation of support of the core castes to their parties remain a constant feature of Indian democracy, the supporting (allied) castes keep changing their political preferences of parties, thus affecting composition of caste alliances, having implications for state’s policies about castes. Sometimes, even the core support base of a party changes (support to the BJP by core supporting castes of different political parties in the 2014 Lok Sabha election). Why do the supporting castes (as well as core castes) shuttle between different parties over a period of time. Changes in castes’ preferences to political parties occur mainly because of the contingent factors: inter- caste/intra- caste group conflict and competition, intra-party and inter-party competition and policies of the regime (as a proxy of the parties) towards their issues – social and cultural recognition, political recognition (accommodation and representation), redistributive justice (Chapter 5). In 2014 Lok Sabha election, the caste conflicts were replaced by communal polarization (Singh 2016), bolstering an alliance of Hindus irrespective of castes vis-à-vis Muslims; they preferred BJP over other parties (Chapter 5). Generally, the allied castes supporting a 17

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party shift their support to new preference due to following reasons: dissatisfaction with the existing preference because of lack of social- cultural and political recognition, and redistributive justice, hope from the new alternative that it would fulfil their needs, and competition/conflict within the allied supporting castes. These factors which affect the core and allied castes can result in formation of cross- caste alliances, which have repercussions in their choice of political parties in elections (Chapter 5). There are caste-based parties in western UP, but democratic civil society mobilization is absent; in WNE Rajasthan, there is civil society mobilization (of both democratic and undemocratic), but caste-based parties are absent (Chapters 4 and 6). Thus, there is a mismatch between relationships between political parties and caste-based mobilization in both areas. The nature of relationships between parties and civil society mobilization varies issue-wise: in western UP, it is generally inverse with mobilization for caste-based reservation the but positive about cultural mobilization; in WNE Rajasthan, the relationship between parties and mobilization on caste-based reservation is positive but it is inverse relationship about cultural mobilization (Chapters 4 and 6). The PICs (high castes and intermediary castes) in Rajasthan did not form separate parties because they did not need to have them; their members were incorporated in structures of principal parties and legislatures in both state. The PMCs such as MBCs and Dalits in WNE Rajasthan do not have their caste-based parties unlike those in western UP due to several contingent factors: absence of the legacy of sustained and vocal/limited nature of social and cultural movement and absence of realization on their part to ​­ ­ form ­caste-based parties (Chapter 4). The absence of (democratic) civil society organizations in western UP can be accounted for the following reasons: absence of a tradition of civil society mobilization and lack of relative feudal culture (unlike in Rajasthan); in Rajasthan, the reasons for the presence of civil society organizations can be attributed to: the efforts of conscientious citizens against the legacy of feudal culture of exploitation that continued until after the Independence, and impact of an ‘ethos of rendering collective social service in Marwari (Rajasthani) communities’. Not only the democratic civil society organizations, even the undemocratic civil society organizations are active in Rajasthan. It is unlike western UP, where undemocratic civil society organizations are more active (Chapter 6). Dalits and MBCs have got empowered partially in terms of achieving goals with respect to recognition, representation and redistribution. Regarding their political recognition, they generally enjoy freedom to exercise voting rights but they are not able to achieve gains about other aspects of political recognition: political parties generally do not allot them tickets to contest elections; nor do they accommodate them in important party positions or in ministerial berth: political parties generally favour the PICs (Chapters 4–6). About the redistributive justice (reservation), even as 18

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political parties and the state have been more accommodating to such demands by PICs, i.e., Jats’ demands for inclusion in the OBC list, they have either remained divided, indifferent or opposed to such demands by PMCs, e.g., sub-division of OBC quota or inclusion of some MBCs in the SC/ST list in UP (Chapter 6). However, due to the contingent factors: inter-party competition, inter- caste competition, and strategies of a party to broaden the coalition of castes for support in elections, sometime even the PMCs get political accommodation and representation. But such instances are rare (Chapters 4 and 5). So far as cultural and social recognition is concerned, three kinds of agencies are involved in it: one, political parties; two, the state and three, castes themselves. Political parties and state have been more egalitarian in recognition of cultural rights in UP (it is not a political issue in Rajasthan) than political rights and distributive demands of both the low and high castes. The low castes in western UP have been able to assert themselves for recognition of their alternative social and cultural identities (Chapter 2 and 3); the caste-based parties – the BSP and the SP, and by extension political regimes led by them have recognized cultural symbols of the low castes – declaring in holidays on birth days/death anniversaries of caste heroes/icons, naming institutions, organizations after them; indeed, in order to balance this act for the low castes, these parties have also sought to recognize cultural symbols of high caste – Brahmins and Rajputs (in UP, not a major political issue in Rajasthan) (Chapter 6). As they are not able to collectively mobilize themselves into an effective mobilization, the MBCs sometime use following strategy to strike a bargain with the leaders of other castes: exploit conflicts among the PICs to their advantage, lobby through personal contacts and loyalties with the leaders of PICs, symbolically mobilize caste fellow to convey their demands to leaders of PICs/parties led by them. Political economy of castes is reflected in economic implications for castes, but it is associated with the question of getting them self-respect (Chapter 6). ­ ​­ ­

Logic of case choice As mentioned earlier, I have chosen two Hindi-speaking areas of India – western UP and WNE Rajasthan, and castes inhabiting them from different strata – Dalits (Jatavs/Meghwals/Bairwas), MBCs (Nais, Kumhars, Sainis/ Malis, Gadarias and Dhinwars), intermediate caste/upper OBCs (Jats) and high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) for this study. The logic of selecting the cases of study has been informed by the principal questions driving this book: why, when and to what degrees different castes in these regions have sought to achieve social, cultural and political recognition, and redistributive justice; how the state has responded to their demands; and to what extent different castes have been able to achieve their demands. Despite the fact that these regions have almost similar caste compositions (almost all 19

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the castes in my sample inhabit these areas), except Dhinwars and Gadarias who are found in western UP (generally not in WNE Rajasthan), these regions have been witness to various levels involvement of all these castes in competitive politics of social, cultural and political recognition, and redistributive justice; in party politics and elections; and differentiated responses of the state and society to their demands. The choice of the areas and the castes in my sample will help to explain the patterns about differences (and similarities) in the levels of their social, cultural and political recognition and redistributive justice. As I shall discuss in Chapter 1, both regions of the study have inherited some social, cultural, economic and administrative legacies: in both regions, there were different types of agrarian systems – western UP had a predominantly bhaiachara agrarian system during British rule marked by a predominance of the self- cultivating peasant-proprietors belonging largely to the middle peasant/intermediary castes; Rajasthan, known as Rajputana in the pre-Independence era, consisting of 22 princely states prior to their merger into the Indian Union had a jagirdari system with tenants working for Rajput landlords. The nature of caste and class relations, the pattern of landownership, and the relationships between the cultivators and the state varied in the bhaiachara and the jagirdari systems. Following the merger of princely states after Independence, like in the entire country the Constitution of India became equally applicable to all castes both in UP and in Rajasthan. However, the differences which had existed within the two regions had their repercussions in the post-I ndependence period on the politics of different castes, on power relations among them, on different levels of their politicization and on policy responses of the state: impact of state policies such as land reforms of the 1950s–1960s, consequent impact of caste positions and patterns of power relations (Chapter 1); memories related to experiences of discrimination/unequal relations in the past impact the extent of articulation of social, cultural or redistributive demands by Dalits and MBCs in Rajasthan (Chapters 2, 3 and 6); the legacies of contradictions between Jats and Rajputs get reflected in their political preferences (Chapter  5); the impact of feudal historical legacies is also reflected in the lack of formation of Dalits’ political parties in Rajast16 han (Chapter 4). ­ The differences in historical/agrarian backgrounds are reflected in differences in the extent of caste empowerment/mobilization/ politicization in western UP and WNE Rajasthan. Indeed, the repercussion of these legacies is one of the reasons that makes the choice of case crucial. I have selected specific districts from these areas: Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Baghpat, Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar in western UP, and Jodhpur, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Sikar and Jaipur in WNE Rajasthan. These districts have specifically been witness to different levels of politicization of the castes selected for the study. The period of over two decades (1989–2015) covered in this study is crucial to understand politics of multiple castes in UP and Rajasthan. During 20

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this period, in both states, the political regimes have been different in terms of the caste profiles of the chief ministers, ideologies and the social bases of the parties, governance, as also the thrust of policy orientation. In UP, virtually all the caste groups: Dalits, OBCs (not MBCs) and the high castes (for shorter duration which can be considered an exception to the trend) have led 12 governments. By contrasts, in Rajasthan out of six governments/ regimes during the same period four governments have been led by high castes and two by an MBC (which is an exception to the general pattern).17

Sources and data collection The book is a political-sociological, anthropological study. Apart from the secondary sources (books and articles), the data for the book have been collected from caste literature and through simple ethnographic surveys and field work, discussions and interviews. The details are given below. The caste literature, sample size and interviews Apart from pamphlets and gazetteers, the literature published by different castes formed the sources of material for the book. The principal literature included the following: Badalta Vaqt (Changing Times), an MBC fortnightly; Nais’ caste literature: Smarika and Visheshank (Souvenir and Special Issues) (1976, 1978), proceedings of the first and second conferences of Nais, held in Jodhpur; Samajik Sandesh (Social Message); and Rajat Jayanti Visheshank (Silver Jubilee Special Issues),1977, SRS3; Gadarias’: Pal Kshatriya Samachar (Pal Kshatriya News), Pal Samaj (Pal Society), Shepherd Times (in English), and Directory 1974, ABPM (in Hindi); Sainis’/ Kushwahs’ magazine: Kushwah Darshan; and Rajputs’: Kshatriya Jyoti (Kshatriya Light). Besides, over the past 15 years, I have interacted with 410 persons in the process of gathering material for this book in different ways: interviews, surveys, discussions. The total number of castes in my sample, which are the focus of this study, is 9: one caste among Dalits (Jatavs/ Meghwals/ Bairwas), five castes among the MBCs (Nais, Kumhars, Malis/ Sainis, Dhinwars (UP)) and Gadarias (UP), one intermediary caste/upper OBC (Jats) and two high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) inhabiting western UP and WNE Rajasthan. Apart from discussion with 23 political activists and leaders of BSP, RLD, Congress, BJP, RSS, CPI(M) and trade union leaders in Meerut, Delhi, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu and Churu, I conducted semistructured interviews at different times in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2015 and 2017 with four categories of respondents. The first category of interviewees included 39 CBPIs (Caste-Based Public Intellectuals) from different castes of my sample: 5 Dalits (1 Balmiki, 1 Bairwa and 3 Chamars), 22 MBCs (4 Nais, 4 Dhinwars/Kashyaps, 5 Sainis/Kushwahs, 5 Kumhars 21

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and 4 Gadarias), 5 intermediary caste/upper OBC (Jats) and 7 high castes (5 Brahmins and 2 Rajputs). These interviews with the caste intellectuals (CBPIs) were conducted in the cities: Jodhpur, Jaipur and Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan; Ghaziabad, Meerut and Muzaffarnagar in UP; and Delhi. Besides, some of them were interviewed in the villages of the Meerut district (Govindpur Ghasauli) and Shobapur. It is important to underline that as I shall discuss in Chapter  2, the CBPIs among castes are mostly firstand second-generation settlers in the cities, who maintain relations with the caste fellows in villages, as well as in cities. These interviewees also included the office-bearers of their caste associations or federations, and/ or their founders. Some of these interviewees are also editors or founders/ owners of their caste magazines (monthly, fortnightly): Babu Ram Advocate (editor and founder of the Badalta Vaqt (Changing Times)); Kanhayya Lal Khawas (the publisher of Smarika and Visheshank 1976, 1983); Surendra Kushwah (editor, Kushwah Darshan) and Dr Ramesh Pal (editor, Shepherd Times). They were asked questions about the need to start publication of caste literature and the issues they highlighted. The questions which I posed to the respondents in the interviews covered the following aspects: their family backgrounds, initiation into caste-related activities, reasons for setting up/joining caste organizations, opinions on their previous leaders, issues which form the agenda of their caste associations, and their views on the main political parties. I asked an additional question to the editors or founders of their caste magazines as to why they felt the need to publish them. Some of them, especially MBCs in western UP have set up their ‘own political parties’. I asked them about the need to set up their ‘own parties’ and their policies and programmes (agenda). The second category included the village respondents who were interviewed during the field work. In western UP, my village field work was conducted in various phases (June 2000, May 2006, October 2009 and January–March 2011). An ethnographic survey was conducted in seven villages of western UP: Khanauda (June 2000 and May 2009), Govindpuri Ghasauli (May 2006); and in October 2009 in the following villages: Meethapur (Meerut district); Sakurpur Kalan (Baghpat district); Rankhandi (Saharanpur district); and Mandawali Bangar and Bamnagar (Muzaffarnagar district). During the field work of October 2009, I was assisted by a school teacher, Ram Kiran of Khanauda village. The selection of the villages was done on the basis of the presence of one or two of the most influential castes: village Meethapur of the Sainis (MBC); Rankhandi of the Rajputs; Khanauda of the Dalits (Jatavs); Ghasauli and Mandawali Bangar of the Brahmins; Sakurpur Kalan of Jats; and Bam Nagar of the Rajputs, Gadarias (MBCs) and Jatavs as three most influential castes. The questions in the field work focussed on the following: the most influential caste/castes in each village and its surrounding villages; caste-wise occupations, issues about gender-based discrimination/violence, disputes within 22

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the families and between persons of same or different castes, and changes in caste profiles of the arbitrators of dispute (high castes, Jats, MBCs and Dalits). Besides, general information about the ethnographic profile of the village were collected through discussions, village khatauni (for village Khanauda), and voters’ lists (the castes of the voters were identified with the help of knowledgeable persons in the villages). After having collected general information on the profiles of the villages, I conducted focussed interviews with the selected respondents (38): Brahmins (8), MBCs (11); Dalits (12) and Jats (7). As I noticed during the village survey, a large section of village society, especially the one belonging to MBCs and Dalits commute almost on daily basis from their villages to the neighbouring cities for nonfarm occupations. In the cities, they gather every morning at Informal Labour Markets (ILMs) in order to get whatever casual work they can find. As the occupational status of a caste is one of the factors which inform the power relations in the villages, I conducted a survey from January to March 2011 on 316 respondents. The caste-wise break-up of these respondents: Dalits (292 Jatavs), Hindu MBCs (11), Muslim MBCs (9), Christian (1), Brahmin (1), and Jats (2). They were asked questions about the reasons for doing non-agrarian jobs, and not working as farm labourers, and average numbers of months in a year when they get non-farm work. In Rajasthan, I conducted field work in December 2015 in Khansauli village of Churu district. It is a Jat-dominated village (40% household): I interviewed 20 persons in this village (three Brahmins, five Jats, five Meghwals, two Sainis, one Rajput, one Nai, two Kumhars and one Khati). The interviews centred of the following aspects: Besides, in September 2015 I interviewed in Delhi 21 migrants from Rajasthan: (2 Jats, 4 Brahmins, 1 Nai, 16 Dalits (5 Bairwa, 11 Khatiks and 1 Koli)). They have migrated to Rajasthan for purposes of jobs or education and have regular links with their villages in Rajasthan. For conducting these interviews, I was helped by Girija Prasad Bairwa, a lecturer in Political Science, Delhi University, who hails from Rajasthan and maintains contacts in his village. The third category of interviewees included leaders of civil society organizations – one in Jodhpur, and four in Jaipur including office-bearers of CDR (Centre of Dalit Rights) and PUCL (People’s Union of Civil Liberties). Besides, I also participated as a participant observer in two seminars on Jats, which were held by Surajmal Society in Delhi. The broad themes of these seminars were: the role of Jats in the history of North India, the challenges to their identity (social and cultural), and their economic and political problems. Though open to all, these seminars were predominantly attended by Jats academicians, and political and social activists from Haryana, western UP and Rajasthan. The fourth category of respondents were contacted in May–June 2017 in Delhi, Meerut and Jaipur. They included office-bearers of the BJP and Congress in the offices of these parties in Jaipur, non-office-bearers/core 23

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supporters of these parties in the city, district-level office-bearers of the BJP and BSP and core supporters of these parties along with those of the RLD in Meerut. I collected information and data on the caste profiles of the state- and district-level office-bearers of the BJP and the Congress from the offices of these parties in Jaipur. I also held discussion with respondents about relative significance of recognition, representation and redistributive justice; and about the preferences of different castes for different parties and impact of the regime policies on their mobilization in the two states. Unequal treatment of the issues It is necessary to clarify that all issues have not received equal treatment when comparing them in the two states discussed in this book. Some issues have been given larger space regarding UP, while others have received more space about Rajasthan. The space given to the issues has been in proportion to their occurrence in an area, and the availability of information about them. For instance, as mentioned earlier, in UP several single caste parties have emerged but they are almost absent in Rajasthan; in Rajasthan, democratic civil society organizations have been quite active but they have almost been absent in UP; the Dalits are culturally and politically more active in UP than in Rajasthan; the MBCs (Most Backward Classes) are politically more active in UP but culturally active in both UP and Rajasthan; movements for caste-based reservation have been more visible in Rajasthan than in UP; in Rajasthan the high castes have reacted more vociferously to the Jats’ demand for inclusion in the state OBC list, in UP their reaction has been muted; election studies have focussed more on UP than on Rajasthan. As it will be clear in different chapters, these issues have occupied space in discussions about these states in accordance with the extent of their presence there.

Scheme of the book The six chapters that follow elaborate upon different aspects of the broad question and the central argument of the book. Chapter 1 identifies differences in the characteristics of PICs (Politically Influential Castes) and PMCs (Politically Marginalized Castes) in my sample from western UP and WNE Rajasthan. It explains how transformation in castes’ political economy changed patterns of relations of dominance among them, which will have implications on arguments in the subsequent chapters. Chapter 2 deals with the Caste-Based Public Intellectuals (CBPIs) or intellectuals of castes/caste groups, which work as one of the agencies in caste politics, along with other two agencies, i.e., caste organizations and caste based-parties. It discusses the factors that have shaped their personalities, social, educational, and family backgrounds; the ideological or other influences on them; and their 24

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role in providing intellectual vision for politics of their caste. Chapter  3 explains how different castes quest and compete for social and cultural recognition by setting up organizations, by investigating and constructing their histories, critiquing their predecessors, adopting caste titles based on the names or ideologies of the caste icons/heroes, inventing cultural institutions, caste icons/heroes, temples and places of worship, launching caste magazines and newspapers, etc. The chapter contests the tendency on the part of several scholars to encompass the social and cultural processes in the hegemonic Sanskritization framework. It also seeks to make some generalizations about differences in the role of different caste organizations. Chapters  4 and 5 extend the scope of politics of recognition to political aspects, i.e., political recognition. Chapter  4 explains how the extent of accommodation of castes in political parties is associated with multiplication of parties in western UP and the existence of a t wo-party system in Rajasthan. Chapter 5 is about strategies of political parties to mobilize different castes to win support, to enable them to get representation in Vidhan Sabaha by allotment of tickets to contest elections, and castes’ preferences for parties. Chapter 6 deals with the relationships between castes and the state: collective action of castes to articulate their demands, i.e., reservation (redistributive justice), cultural recognition, human rights (dignity, liberty and security), and the state response of the state. Conclusion seeks to weave together different aspects of the arguments elaborated upon across different chapters in the book; explores the question if castes are ‘justice friendly’ or ‘morally suspect’; and whether identity politics has plateaued or become irrelevant; and whether a process in which low castes started critiquing dominant cultural codes through deSanskritization during the post-Independence period is getting reversed in the recent past with the rise of the Hindu right in India.

Notes 1 For a representative literature that has appeared over the past two decades: on Dalits see Shah (Ch. 4, 2004) and Book Review (2008). The most significant works by professional academics include Omvedt (1993; 1994a), Singh (1998), Pai (2002), Chandra (2004), Mendelsohn and Vicziany (1998), Narayan (2009), Shah (2002), Tiwari (2006), Shyamlal (1997, 2006); on the MBCs, Pai and Singh (1997), Jassal (2001), Hasan (1989); on Jats/upper/landed OBCs/intermediate caste, see Chowdhry (1980, 1984, 1986, 1991, 1994, 2007, 2009a, 2011), Datta (1999), Singh (1992), Brass (1984, 1985), Hasan (1989, 1989a, 1998), Duncan (1979), Lieten (1996), Leiten and Srivastav (1999), Jeffrey (2000), Gupta (1997). 2 For consequences of interaction between caste (tradition) and democratic politics (modern) see Rudolph and Rudolph (1967), Khare (1970), Kothari (1970)). Disagreeing with the Rudolph and Rudolph, who only view the one-side of the impact of politics on caste, which consequently plays a democratic role, Kothari underlines the need to discard the dichotomous approach in favour of the synthetic one emphasizing the mutual impact of caste and politics on each

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3 4

5 6

7

8 9

10

other. Khare, however, emphasizes that the modern caste associations like the Akhil Bharatiya Sri K anya- Kubja Pratinidhi Sabha, and several other pratindhi sabhas in several districts of North India are neither completely modern nor traditional. Depending upon the requirement of the situation, they could behave either like traditional or modern institutions. Because of mutual interaction between caste and politics, caste begins playing its non-traditional role and gets de-ritualized, denoting a process of secularization (Kothari 1970; Sheth 1999). Highlighting the secular aspect of caste – adaptability of caste, Javeed Alam argues that using caste in politics is not casteism as the oppressed castes are concerned with equality rather than with the Hindu rituals (Alam 1999: For a critique of Alam, see Bhambri 1999). See Moffat (1979) and Milner (1994) for an uncritical application of Dumont’s framework; Khare (2006) for an Indian critique, and, for a critique of Srinivas’s framework (Poonacha 2005). However, regarding adaptability there are two opposite views: one, which believes that castes have become adaptive and resilient (Rudolph and Rudolph 1967) and another, which sees its complete functional demise (Fox 1967). Indeed, the latter point of view is repeated in different ways (see Gupta 1999; Krishna 2003). Gupta argues that in electoral politics it is not the caste arithmetic but caste chemistry that matters, and Krishna argues that a new generation of leadership which has emerged in some villages of some North Indian states does not operate on caste considerations. It is important to note that modernization is basically a non-Marxian framework that ran parallel to the Marxian. In comparison to the latter, the former has had far greater influence. In the 1980s the subaltern studies series, especially Guha (1982: 4–8) was a major breakthrough which underlined the need to focus on the study of the marginalized groups as distinct entities. With reference to the attempt by the subaltern historians Inden (1986: 445) notes: ‘Indians are, for perhaps the first time since colonization, showing sustained signs of reappropriating the capacity to represent themselves’. If at all the low castes were the subject of studies in politics, especially voting in the elections, they were viewed as the clients of their high caste patrons (for a critique of patron – client relationship see Breman 1979). In fact, as far back as the 1960s, some political scientists advocated the need to keep people in check and develop the habit of obedience and respect for authority (see Shah 2002: 14, 2004: 25, for discussions on this issue). Castes as discrete entities denote that each of them exists as a separate unit with reference to the other (see Gupta 1991). The literature on electoral politics is massive. Some of this literature uses participation of the Dalits and OBCs as an indicator of their attempt to garner social justice, dignity, and equity. The general trends in the literature on electoral politics have been discussed in Chapter 4 of this book. However, for a representative literature on the relationship between caste and electoral democracy, see Alam (2004); Gupta and Kumar (2007); Varshney (2013); Jaffrelot and Kumar (2009); Yadav (2000); Yadav and Palshikar (2003); Kumar (2002); Pushpendra (2002); Shah (2002); and a large number of commentaries in several issues of the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) over two decades. There is some literature that differentiates responses of the state or regime types (Kohli 1987; Jayal 1999; Heller 2000; Lakshman 2011). They do not however consider the issue that is the principal focus of this book, i.e. the relationship of different vertical levels of the state to multiple castes. Two of these

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11 12

13

14

15

16

(Jayal 1999; Heller 2000) are specifically more relevant to my concern, Jayal for viewing inter alia the differentiated response of three vertical levels of the state: national, regional and local, and Heller, for attempting to disaggregate democracy. Although my framework draws on both Jayal and Heller, the issues addressed by me are different from theirs. While following Jayal, unlike her I disaggregate the state into its vertical levels, focussing on the relationship between castes and democracy. Heller’s concern is different from mine in the following way: One, he compares the degrees of democracy in the state of Kerala with rest of India, in contrast to my attempt to compare the relationship between castes and democracy at vertical and horizontal levels of the state: local (village/town)/districts, in UP and Rajasthan, i.e. two states; and a comparison of one level in a state with the same level in another state. Two, it essentializes social divisions to class divisions only, ignoring caste, religion, etc. Jaffrelot and Verniers (2012: 92) have used the term “core support group” to indicate parties enduring support base. It is essential to clarify that one of the aspects of economic conditions of different castes is the extent of their economic dependence on each other. Especially, with reference to the low castes (the Dalits and the MBCs), absence of their economic dependence on the intermediate or the high castes does not mean that they are essentially economically better off. What it means is that such absence enables them to become relatively free from the influence of the latter in terms of enjoying political autonomy and civil rights. Research on western UP has shown that level and nature of dependence of the low castes (“rural poor”) on the intermediate castes (“rural rich”) has repercussion on social and political autonomy of the latter; the former are politically and socially more autonomous in the villages where they do not depend on the latter (for a discussion on concept of relationships of dependence and their repercussions, see Singh 1992: Ch. IV). Christophe Jaffrelot underlines the role of some factors – historical background of agrarian systems, ideologies, realization on the part of low castes to organize themselves, and demographic weight of castes to explain differences in the extent of politicization castes in north and west, and North India (Jaffrelot 2003: 6–9). One these factors – demographic weight or numerical strength has been included by me in the constant factors. But Jaffrelot uses this factor in the context of the ‘first age of democracy’ in India (1930s to 1960s–1970s); he does not use it in the context of the “second age of Indian democracy” (from the late 1960s). Unlike him I look at the role of numerical strength of castes, along with other factors for the period beyond the first age of democracy. Christophe Jaffrelot argues that the low castes caught up with their counterparts in south and west India when they realized the need to mobilize themselves since the 1960s into “quota politics” and “kisan politics” (Jaffrelot 2003: 9–10). With reference to this study, such realization has occurred to the CBPIs from all castes since the 1990s, as I shall discuss later (Chapter 2). As I shall explain in Chapter 6, introduction of reservation for the OBCs in central educational institutions was popularly called “Second Mandal” because it was the second attempt to introduce reservation for the OBCs in the central government after implementation of Mandal Commission Report in 1990 by the V.P. Singh government. This is contrary to the contention of Chandra (2004: 252) who discounts the role of “longer history of caste-based mobilization” in greater politicization of scheduled castes in South India than those in North India. In fact, the impact of historical legacies on contemporary social, economic and political relations

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has been noticed in some studies. Regions where proprietary rights in land were given to landlords attracted significantly lower investment than the areas where such rights were given to cultivators (see Banerjee and Iyer 2005). One of the reasons why inclusion in the political system of low castes in North India lagged those in south and west India was differences in agrarian systems  – zamindari in north and raiyatwari in south (Jaffrelot 2003: 7–8). Political conflict between Jats and Rajputs in Rajasthan could be traced as a traditional pattern of land ownership (Sisson 1972: 27–28). Kanta Murali traces roots of economic deprivation of Bihar to colonial legacies (Murali 2017: 186–87). 17 In UP, four regimes were led by the SP (three by Mulayam Singh: (December 5, 1989–June 24, 1991; December 4, 1933–June 3, 1995 in alliance with the BSP; and August 29, 2003–May 13, 2007); and one by Akhilesh Yadav (March 15, 2012–March 18, 2017)); four were controlled by Mayawati-led BSP (June 3, 1995–October 18, 1995; March 21, 1997–September 21, 1997; May 3, 2002– August 29, 2003; and May 13, 2007–March 1, 2012), except the last one, three regimes were formed with the help of BJP, and four were led by the BJP (two by Kalyan Singh (June 24, 1990–December 6, 1992, and September 21, 1997– November 12, 1999); one by Ram Prakash (November 12, 1999– October 28, 2000), and one by Rajnath Singh (October 28, 2000–March 8, 2002)). One of the BJP-led regimes was formed in coalition with the BSP. In Rajasthan, four regimes were led by the BJP (two by Bhairon Singh Shaikhawat (March 4, 1990–December 15, 1992, and December 4, 1993–November 29, 1998); and two were led by Vasundhara Raje (December 8, 2003–December 11, 2008, and December 13, 2013–December 11, 2018)), three were led by Congress (one by Haridev Joshi (December 4, 1989)–March 4, 1990), and two were led by Ashok Gehlot (December 1, 1998–December 8, 2003; and December 12, 2008–December 13, 2013). In UP, the non-BJP regimes have generally invoked the ideologies which professed social justice, i.e., those of Ram Manohar Lohia and Charan Singh (the SP), and those of B.R. Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule, and Bhakti Saints (the BSP). Both in UP and Rajasthan, as will be discussed in Chapter 6, the BJP regimes have largely been influenced by the Hindutva ideology, the Congress regimes in Rajasthan have generally invoked life and ideas of Jawaharlal Nehru and M.K. Gandhi – secularism and social welfare. Drawn on several issues of Frontline and newspapers since 1989, and in particular for UP on Gupta (2007: 116; Dube n.d.; Singh 2014).

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1 SI T UAT I NG CAST ES Changing patterns of power relations

Introduction The central argument of the book suggests that position of a caste in democracy is decided by nature of its relationship with constant and contingent factors (Introduction, Tables 0.1–0.3). Since various layers of this argument run through different chapters of the book, it is imperative to understand the relationships between the castes in my sample and these factors. These relationships have been impacted due to transformation of the rural political economy in western UP and WNE Rajasthan during the mid1970s–1990s. The transformation is indicated by changes in occupational profile of castes, emergence of new social classes and loosening of the hold of traditional occupations on power relations among castes. These developments have occurred primarily due to the impact of state policies initiated after Independence such as land reforms, green revolution and social welfare policies. The primary site of these developments is local, i.e.,  villagelevel power relations which have implications for power relations at all levels – village, district, regional state among castes in the regions of this study, western UP and WNE Rajasthan. Patterns of power relations among castes in both the regions have undergone changes in the light of these developments. The manifestation of the local power relations among castes occur in the following ways: level of castes’ participation in the arbitration of disputes; nature of obeying a collective decision of the village decisionmaking bodies (non- elected panchayats); exercise of coercion by one caste/ caste group over others in relation to free choice of franchise in elections, to women; social behaviour; marriage procession; economic exploitation (to do begar/forced labour); visits to caste/caste group/resourceful persons in the village by the personnel of local administration – patwari, VLW, police, election officials, education officials, etc. At the village level, there are four patterns about these changes: first, complete shift of the power from the erstwhile dominant castes to the lower castes; second, partial erosion in the dominance of traditionally influential castes; third, continuation of dominance of the erstwhile dominant castes or marginal shift in it and, 29

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fourth, replacement of traditional dominant castes by the state agencies – police and court in arbitration of caste disputes. In my sample, the first three patterns exist in western UP, while all the four patterns exist in WNE Rajasthan. Regarding the first pattern, in some villages of western UP, Jatavs (Dalits), Sainis (MBCs) or several low castes collectively have completely replaced or challenged the dominance of traditional dominant castes (Jats and Rajputs); in Rajasthan, Jats (intermediary caste) have replaced the dominance of Rajputs. About the second pattern, in the villages of western UP, a partial shift is reflected in the fact that the traditional dominant caste such as Rajput shares power-space with the MBC and Dalits – in the earlier period, this space was monopolized by Rajputs; in some villages of Rajasthan, the dominance of traditional dominant castes – Jats has been partially challenged by Dalits. Regarding the third pattern, dominance of Jats and Rajputs in western UP, and that of Rajputs in WNE Rajasthan continues in several villages without or with marginal erosion in it. About the fourth pattern, in Rajasthan, the dominance of traditional caste, Rajputs has been replaced by the state machinery – police and court or civil society organizations. The chapter seeks to explain the nature of relationships between castes in my sample and the constant and contingent factors and their implications for the patterns of power relations among castes: why in some villages of western UP low castes, Jatavs (Dalits) and Sainis, and MBC have emerged as influential castes in local power relations replacing the erstwhile dominant castes such as Jats or Muslim high castes (erstwhile landlords); why in some areas of Rajasthan Jats have emerged as a new dominant caste replacing the Rajput’s dominance; why there is change in power relations between Dalits (Meghwals or Bairwas) and Jats or erosion in power of the latter in some villages; why in some areas of WNE Rajasthan, there is no change in power relations between low castes and traditional high castes (Rajputs) or why the state agencies have replaced the local communities as arbitrators. In line with the central argument of the book, the chapter argues that complete or partial change in favour of lower castes (MBCs, Dalits, Jats in Rajasthan as intermediary castes in relation to high castes) has occurred in those villages where a positive relationship exists between these castes and the contingent factors: the lower castes in such villages have substantial numerical strength, have formed effective political community, and are economically independent of the erstwhile dominant castes. In such areas, the position of the lower castes has further been strengthened due to the impact of all or some of the contingent factors – impact of historical legacies, loosening of traditional ties, emergence of new social groups, impact of ideas of Ambedkar, intra/inter- caste conflicts and cross- caste alliances. In these villages, such factors cumulatively dilute the influence of the erstwhile dominant castes. The power relations have not changed the villages where constant and contingent factors are positively related to erstwhile dominant 30

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castes, and contingent factors have not adversely affected the impact of constant factors. And the state agencies police and court, have replaced the traditional dominant castes as arbitrators of disputes in a village because here one party in the dispute approached the state, and the influential castes are no longer interested to arbitrate. The chapter also seeks to situate the position of caste/caste groups in power relations in the context changes in time and space. The context of time is reflected in social transformation which has taken place in the society since the mid-1970s in terms of occupational diversification, rise of new social classes and the loosening of traditional bonds. The context of space is indicated by the areas/villages inhabited by castes. Each PIC (Politically Influential Caste) has substantial population in a particular area/group of villages generally known as the ‘caste belt’ or ‘caste bastion’ of such castes, i.e., such as ‘Jat belt’, ‘Jat Bastion’, ‘Dalit belt’, ‘Dalit bastion’, ‘Rajput belts’, ‘Rajput bastion’, etc. In such areas, the power relations are generally tilted in favour of a caste in its ‘belt’ or ‘bastion’, and the influential castes have positive relations with the constant and contingent factors. Other castes, especially Dalits and MBCs residing in the ‘belts’ or ‘bastion’ of an influential caste generally live under the dominance of the latter. The chapter has been divided into seven sections. Section I concerns itself with the definitions and characteristics of the caste groups and the caste profiles of the study areas. Section II deals with castes’ relationships with constant factors, explains what makes some castes Politically Influential Castes (PICs) and others as Politically Marginalized Castes (PIMs) and situates them in the regional contexts. Sections III–V discuss the contingent factors: Section III discusses historical legacies of agrarian relations, i.e., the placement of different castes in the agrarian structures of the two regions, and the unequal nature of the cultural codes that existed among different castes; Section IV is about the changes in the political economy since the last decade of the twentieth century and their impact on the occupational patterns of castes in western UP and the Marwar and Shekhawati regions of Rajasthan/WNE Rajasthan. Section V focusses on the nature of conflicts and competition between different castes (inter- caste/caste groups and intra- caste/caste groups). Section VI discusses the socio-economic conditions of the MBCs. Section VII explains the changes in patterns of power relations among castes in villages of western UP and WNE Rajasthan.

I Meanings and characteristics of castes/caste groups Before I proceed, it will be useful to clarify the meanings and definitions of the terms used: high castes, Dalits/SCs, intermediary castes/upper OBCs, and MBCs. The Scheduled castes and the MBCs, which are clubbed into 31

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the caste groups, consist of the several single castes of my sample which are in fact vulnerable castes. Grouping these castes collectively is indeed a sociological exercise, because they have not yet become a politically assertive/ influential group in the sense of a single caste unlike the Jats, Rajputs or Brahmins. However, as I shall discuss in Chapter 3, on certain occasions these castes, especially MBCs, have tended to form federations of their caste associations. This is, however, only one dimension of their politics; most of them still operate as single- caste units. Here, I shall explain how constant and/or contingent factors make the castes in my sample – Dalits (Jatavs) in western UP; one of the MBCs (Sainis), Jats, high castes (Rajputs and Brahmins) both in western UP and WNE Rajasthan as PICs; and Dalits in WNE Rajasthan, and the MBCs other than Sainis, as PMCs in both regions. It is well known that Brahmins and Rajputs are known as the high castes in the social and ritualistic hierarchy. Therefore, there is no need here to explicate them further. Regarding Dalits, there is now almost a general acceptance that the caste groups which have suffered untouchability and are now placed in the category of the Scheduled Castes are alluded to as Dalits. However, there is need for clarification of the terms intermediary castes/ upper OBCs and MBCs. Indeed, both these categories are part of the generic term OBCs (Other Backward Classes). It is important to note that the SCs, STs, MBCs and OBCs as juridical categories are not always, especially in case of the intermediary castes/upper OBCs, in congruence with social and economic reality. According to the Constitution of I ndia, OBCs are identified on the basis of the educational and social backwardness of a caste/ community. The generic category OBC consists of a large number of castes placed in the unequal and hierarchical social and economic structures: the landowning middle castes/intermediary castes/middle peasants/‘kulak’/ rich peasant, as well as castes providing services in the traditional jajmani system (the service castes and artisans, marginal/small peasants, traditional agricultural labourers). Since the mid-1970s the demand for the identification of OBCs in different states, especially UP, Bihar and Karnataka, arose leading to the setting up of the Mandal Commission at the national level (see Blair 1980; Manor 1980; Hasan 1998). With the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report in 1990 by the V.P. Singh’s government, several castes were identified as OBCs at the national level. The identification of OBCs in the 1970s and implementation of the policies of affirmative action for them brought to the fore the question of heterogeneity within this group, and the need arose to identify the most deprived castes within the OBC category to enable affirmative action on their behalf and in order to prevent the appropriation of welfare policies by those OBCs not requiring them. This group of castes came to be alluded to as Most Backward Classes or the MBCs. The term is most used in three states: UP, Bihar1 and Tamil Nadu; in Rajasthan, as will be discussed in Chapter 6, these groups address 32

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themselves as ‘Mool/Asli’ (original/real) OBCs. I shall elaborate upon the socio-economic status of the MBCs in Section VI of this chapter.

II Caste composition and constant factors: western UP and WNE Rajasthan There are several heterogeneous castes in both UP and Rajasthan. Some of these are there in both states and some only in one. The castes that inhabit both areas of this study are Jats, Gujars, Rajputs, Brahmins, Dalits (Jatavs/ Chamars also known as Meghwals, Bairwas and Raigars in Rajasthan, and Balimikis), Nais, Kumhars and Sainis/Malis, and the castes which inhabit western UP but not Rajasthan (north-west) are Tyagis, and Kahars/ Dhinwars/Kashyaps and Gadarias (found only in limited areas) (The 1931 Census of India, UP (see Turner 1933); The 1931 Census of Rajasthan (see Cole 1932)). 2 As discussed in Introduction, I have placed these castes in the following categories: intermediary castes/upper OBCs (Jats); MBCs (Nais, Kumhars, Sainis/Malis, Gadarias and Dhinwars); and the high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs). In the introduction, I identified Jatavs/Meghwals/Raigars/Chamars/Bairwas (among Dalits), (Jats, an intermediary caste, upper OBC), Rajputs and Brahmins (high castes) and Sainis/Malis (among MBCs) as the PICs in both regions (western UP and WNE Rajasthan) of the study; and Nais and Kumhars (in both regions) and Gadarias and Dhinwars in western UP – the MBCs, as PMCs. The single castes, which are the PICs in both regions of this study, forming a numerically substantial population in both western UP and WNR Rajasthan are Jats (10% and 23%), Brahmins (11% and 14%) and Rajputs (11% and 12%) respectively; the single Dalit caste which forms numerically larger population only in western UP are Jatavs/Chamars (23%) in comparison to Rajasthan where (known by different names in different areas of Rajasthan – Chamars/Meghwals/Raigars/Bairwas3 together) it forms 10% of population; the single caste among MBCs (who also are the PMCs) in my sample in both regions forms a smaller section of population: 2–4% in western UP and 3–7% in WNR Rajasthan. However, as a single group different castes among MBCs in my sample together constitute a larger population: 12% in western UP and around 16% in WNE Rajasthan (see Tables 1.1 and 1.2). Even within the same region the castes are not evenly spread. The area-wise distribution of castes of substantial strength in the districts of western UP is as follows: Jats in Meerut, which included present-day districts of Baghpat, most of Ghazhibad and Gautam Buddh Nagar (15%), Muzaffarnagar (7.24%), Aligarh (7.20%), Mathura (10%) and Agra (4%); Brahmins in Mathura (5%) and Aligarh (7%); Rajputs in Saharanpur (2%) and Bulandshahr (5%); Jatavs/Chamars form a substantial population in 33

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Table 1.1 Percentage of Castes in Western UP S.N.

Castes

% of West UP Population

A

High castes

1 2 3 4 Total

Brahmins Tagas Rajputs Banias/Vaishyas

B 1 2 3 4 Total

OBCs Jats Gujars Lodhs Yadavs

C 1 2 3 4 5 Total

MBCs Kahars Sainis Nais Kumhars Gadarias

D 1 2 3 4 Total

Dalits Balmikis/Bhangis Chamars Dhobis Khatiks

Total (A, B, C & D)

% of Caste Category

11.18 2.60 10.76 5.49 30.03

37.23 8.67 35.83 18.27 100.00

10.15 3.49 13.33 2.35 29.31

34.62 11.89 45.48 8.01 100.00

2.18 2.38 2.14 2.01 3.70 12.41

17.57 19.18 17.27 16.19 29.80 100.00

3.34 22.69 1.11 1.10 28.24

11.82 80.34 3.93 3.90 100.00

100.00

Source: Census of India, 1931, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, Vol. XVIII, Part II, Tables (Turner 1933a). Note: The percentages are about those western UP districts that are included in my sample: Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Baghpat, Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar.

almost every district (5–13%). Sainis/Malis in Saharanpur (6%) and Muzaffarnagar (3%); Gadarias in Aligarh (5%) and Agra (4%);Kahars/Dhinwars/ Kashyaps form 5% in each of Saharanpur and Meerut, 6% in Muzaffarnagar and 4% in Agra; Nais and Kumhars form between less than 1% and 3% population in western UP districts (drawn on Turner 1933, 500–19 and 543–45). With regard to their geographical spread in the specific areas of this study in Rajasthan – Marwar and Shekhawati, while the castes such as 34

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Table 1.2 Percentage of Castes in Marwar and Shekhawati Regions, (WNE) Rajasthan S.N.

Caste

A 1 2 Total

High castes Brahmins Rajputs

B 1 2 3

OBCs Jats Gujars Bishnois Ahirs

% in WNE % in Region Each Category

Total C 1 2 3 4 Total

MBCs Kahars Malis Nais Kumhars

D 1 2 3 4

Dalits Balai Bhambhis Bhangis Chamars/Meghwals/ Raigars Dhobis

5 Total Total (A,B,C &D)

% in Total Population of Rajasthan

14.09 12.06 26.15

53.89 46.11 100.00

7.61 5.65

22.80 8.22 1.81 2.85 35.68

63.90 23.03 5.08 7.99 100.00

9.28 4.69 0.62 1.62

0.13 3.29 1.48 3.19

7.24 2.59 6.61 16.45

44.00 15.78 40.22 100.00

4.34 5.80 1.41 9.69

19.97 26.70 6.50 44.64

1.95 1.45 0.83 8.20

0.48 21.72

2.19

0.35

100.00

100.00

Source: Census of India, 1931, Vol. XXXII, Rajputana Agency (Cole 1932).

Nais, Kumhars and Chamars/Bairwas/Meghwals of my sample are found everywhere in the region, Sainis are largely found in Jodhpur and Sikar; Jats constitute a formidable caste in Jodhpur, Nagaur, Sikar and Jhunjhunu districts; Brahmins form a substantial part of population in Jaipur and Jodhpur districts; and Rajputs form an influential caste in Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur and Sikar (see Cole 1932, specially 129). As I shall discuss later, all castes in my sample have diversified into noncaste-based occupations, leaving those that were defined by the tradition of 35

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Jajmani system and agrarian structure. This has loosened traditional bonds, which also constitute economic relations. In a sense, though there are class variations between and within castes, relatively they have become economically independent of each other. Even as intermediate castes/upper OBCs (Jats), high castes (Rajputs and Brahmins) had been enjoying economic independence from other castes since before, the loosening of traditional bonds has made even the low castes (Dalits and MBCs) economically independent of high castes. It is important to note that though the Dalits and MBCs (except Sainis) largely belong to economically poorer sections, some of them  – Jatavs/Meghwals/ Bairwas/Chamars (Dalits), Sainis (MBCs) like Jats or Rajputs and Brahmins – have become PICs, even as MBCs largely remain as PMCs. Overall, in terms of their relationship with three constant factors, i.e., numerical strength, political consolidation and economic independence, the high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs), Jats (intermediary caste), Sainis (MBCs) in both regions – western UP and WNE Rajasthan and Jatavs (Dalits) in western UP are PICs; and MBCs (other than Sainis, i.e., Nais, Kumhars, etc.) in both regions and Chamars/ Meghwals/Bairwas (Dalits) in WNE Rajasthan are PMCs.

III Different legacies As mentioned earlier, the different socio-economic and cultural legacies of western UP and Rajasthan (Marwar and Shekhawati regions) work as contingent factors in shaping power relations between castes. Some of the legacies have now almost become obsolete, but as I shall discuss in subsequent chapters, they are still used together by the caste intellectuals, political parties and leaderships of civil society organizations in political articulation and mobilization. The differences in legacies in the two regions are reflected in the levels of castes’ mobilization, representation and accommodation in political institutions. These differences can be attributed to the fact that prior to Independence most parts of western UP (with exception of Rampur) were governed by a single authority, the British colonial state, and Rajputana (the extant Rajasthan) consisted, as mentioned earlier, of 22 princely states each of it with different set of rulers. Nineteen of them were ruled by Rajputs (Rudolph and Rudolph 2011: 120, fn. 13). It was only after the integration of the latter into the Indian Union (1945–50) that UP and Rajasthan (Rajputana) were governed by the common rule: the Constitution of India. I shall discuss below the socio-economic and cultural legacies in areas of my study. ­ Agrarian history embodies the socio-economic legacies of western UP and Rajasthan (Marwar and Shekhawati regions). Both had different types of 36

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agrarian systems till the introduction of land reforms during the 1950s and 1960s respectively. Excluding the princely state of Rampur, western UP had a blend of all the agrarian systems that were prevalent in UP during the colonial period: taluqudari, zamindari and bhaiachara. The predominance of these systems existed in the following descending order: bhaiachara, zamindari and taluqudari. Even though a particular area was identified with a specific system, other systems also existed simultaneously in some villages. A comparison of bhaiachara, zamindari and taluqdari4 reveals the existence of different forms of relations within them. Bhaiachara was distinct from the other two systems, marked by an absence of an intermediary class of revenue collectors between the peasants and the state; zamindari was marked by the presence of the zamindar between the peasants and the state, and in the taluqdari system there were more intermediary layers between the peasants and the state. In the bhaiachara system the cultivators were not the tenants of a zamindar but self-cultivating peasant-proprietors from high or middle castes: Tyagis, Jats and Gujars. The high/intermediate caste peasant – proprietors were independent of any intermediary between them and the state but exercised control over the non-peasant classes: MBCs, Dalits, and minority high castes like Brahmins. The non-peasant classes were the riayas (subjects) of the peasant-cultivators/dominant castes. Thus, while they were independent of the control of an intermediary between them and the state, they exercised control over the non-peasant classes. The non-peasant classes did not own land or cultivate it as proprietors, nor did they own their dwellings. The bhaiachara was also marked by the prevalence of the traditional panchayat system or clan council known as khap. A khap was generally headed by a hereditary chief. Though khaps of all castes were autonomous in relation to inter-caste affairs, for all practical purposes, especially regarding inter-caste relations, it was the leader of the dominant/ high castes – Jats, Gujars or Tyagis – in a village who played the dominant role. The khaps of the dominant castes functioned as a juridical institution exercising social control over the non-peasant classes: Dalits, MBCs, and minority high castes, the Brahmins. The khaps of different castes in a region formed a sort of federation or union known as sarva khap (see Singh 1992: 9–14). In the late 1980s, the khaps played a political role in mobilizing farmers under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) in western UP (see ibid:100). During the first decade of this century, the khaps have also awarded judicial judgements including death sentences to the violators of traditional codes, especially with references to the same caste/sub-caste marriages in Haryana (see Chowdhry 2007). By contrast, in the zamindari system, the cultivators were not independent peasant-proprietors; there existed an intermediary between them and the state as they were strictly tenants of the landlords. Nor did they belong only to the high or middle castes but could belong to any caste: high, intermediate or low castes; Jat, Gujar, Brahmin, Tyagi, Rajput, Dalits and MBC. The high caste/intermediate caste 37

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tenants, like those from the low castes were the subjects of the zamindars and could not exercise control over the low castes; like the latter they were also subjects of a single master, the zamindar. Zamindars could also be from any caste: Banias, Brahmins, Tyagis, Jats, Gujars, excluding Dalits and the MBCs. However, in some villages even the MBCs could hold the position of revenue collector or patwari. In the event of complaints of harassment of the MBCs and Dalits by the high castes/intermediate castes, the landlord could intervene and negate high caste dominance. In the taluqdari areas the taluqdars indirectly exercised control over the peasants in, i.e., through the zamindars, thus placing the zamindars in a subordinate position. The bhaiachara system was more prominent in the Jat-dominated areas of Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat and some areas of Aligarh (Iglas, Khair, Tappal). In most other areas, the zamindari system was more prevalent, and the zamindar was usually from among Banias, Brahmins, Muslim high castes, and Rajputs. In Saharanpur district, there was no distinction between the rent-paying tenant and the revenue-paying proprietor. Here, the upper caste zamindars had no inhibitions about cultivating the land themselves with family labour (see Hasan 1989: 38). Socio-economic legacies in Rajasthan ­ ​­ Rajasthan too had two types of agrarian systems: jagirdari and bhomichara. Even as the agrarian systems in UP (except in the princely states) largely operated under the regulation of the same ruler, i.e., the colonial state, those in Rajasthan were governed by jagirdars or bhomias governed by rulers of different princely states, 19 of whom were Rajputs. The jagirdari and bhomichara systems symbolized the dominance of the Rajputs in the power structure in the princely states of the Rajputana.5 There were some differences between the jagirdari and bhomichara; in the former the rights in the land were enjoyed by a single jagirdar but in the latter it was divided equally among different members known as bhomias from the Rajput clan of the maharaja (see Chakravarti 1975: 37–38). Unless specified, I shall use the terms jagirdari and bhomichara interchangeably in the discussion. Both these systems signified the presence of intermediary classes between the state and the village society. The intermediary classes belonged to the clan of the Rajput maharaja. The jagirdars/bhomias had enjoyed heritable rights over the estate/land that fell under their jagirdari/bhomichara. The land was cultivated by non-Rajput tenants: artisan/service castes, Jats, Gujars, MBCs and Dalits. Besides, the service castes too had to perform traditional occupations under the jajmani system. The jagirdars/bhomias had to pay tribute to the maharaja in return for exercise of power/authority over the ­ ​­ non-Rajputs. Unlike in the bhaiachara system of western UP, the non-Rajput high/intermediate castes like Jats/ (except the Jats of Dholpur and Bharatpur where the Jats were rulers) and Gujars did not enjoy the social status of 38

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­

39

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met with severe punishment. Dalits were the worst sufferers of these disabilities, and the Brahmins the least. In addition, Dalits suffered from other typical disabilities. They were not allowed to eat from metal vessels and build brick-houses; their huts had to be built without windows with only an aperture for ventilation; their marriage and funeral processions had to avoid the main village streets; sweets and music were banned during all ceremonial occasions; dhoti (loin cloth) had to be folded well above the knees; they could not approach the houses of Rajputs with their shoes on and their womenfolk could wear only brass ornaments (see Chakravarti 1975: 50–52).

IV Changing political economy and castes: occupational profiles Changes in rural political economy: a comparison (Western UP and WNE Rajasthan) In the beginning of this chapter, I have identified some significant features of transformation in rural economy/society/political economy, i.e., occupational profile of castes, emergence of new social classes, loosening of the hold of traditional occupations on power relations among castes. This transformation was culmination of a process that started following the Independence. Prior to these changes, the occupational profiles of different castes and power relations among them were defined by the kinds of agrarian system (intertwined with the caste-based occupations) which prevailed in an area. And it was, indeed, disruption in the pattern of relations among castes in the agrarian systems that loosened the hold of traditional occupations on power relations. It will, therefore, be relevant to see how rural political economy, especially its agrarian structures, has undergone changes following the intervention of the state leading to these changes. I shall briefly discuss the differential impact the state policies had on different castes. The changes in the agrarian political economy were preceded by two major interventions in the agrarian system: the land reforms in western UP and Rajasthan, and the green revolution in the former, which had a wideranging impact on the agrarian economy and caste relations. The impact of land reforms has not been uniform in different types of agrarian systems: bhaiachara, zamindari and taluqdari of western UP (see Singh 1992: 18–20), and jagirdari/bhomiachara in Rajasthan. In western UP, notwithstanding the differential impact of land reforms in the bhaiachara and zamindari areas, overall, by the 1950s, the intermediary castes, the Jats and Gujars, and high castes such as Rajputs and Tyagis, emerged as the principal landowning castes in the villages with bhaiachara 40

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background. If such villages did not have bhaiachara of Brahmins, like the MBCs and Dalits, even the Brahmins remained landless after the land reforms. And in the villages where zamindari had existed, along with the peasant castes, even the lower castes, the MBCs and Dalits, had become landowners. That is why in villages that have a bhaiachara background MBCs and Dalits remain landless to this day. In Rajasthan, the principal beneficiaries of the land reforms have been Jats, Ahirs, Kumavats, Rajputs and Brahmins (see Chauhan 1967; Chakravati 1975; Narain and Mathur 1990; Kishore 1995; Sharma 1998; Bhatia 2006).8 In fact, these studies show that the rise of the Jats as one of the most dominant castes has been the most remarkable development of post-Independence Rajasthan. The worst sufferers of the land reforms have been Dalits as the grant of proprietorship to the intermediate caste peasants strengthened their dominance over the Dalits. With respect to the next intervention of the state in the agrarian structure, i.e., the green revolution in the two areas covered in this book, it was western UP’s agrarian economy that developed in consequence. By contrast, deprived of such state intervention, Rajasthan’s agrarian economy remained largely underdeveloped. The differences between western UP and WNE Rajasthan, because of the green revolution in the former and its lack in the latter, are indicated by the nature of issues on which the farmers are mobilized in both states/regions. While in western UP farmers’ mobilization has been related to the capitalist agrarian economy or issues that emanated from the negative impact of the green revolution, in Rajasthan the mobilization of farmers has largely been around the basic needs of the farmers: canal water and seeds, electricity tariff or compensation for the loss of crop due to draught. On 8 June 2010, there was a clash between the farmers and police in Jodhpur. The cause was that the farmers, encouraged by a change in the weather which was conducive to sowing improved varieties of seeds, found that the seeds were not available which led to farmers’ protest resulting in police firing (for western UP, see Singh 1992; Hasan 1998; for Rajasthan, see The Hindu, 9 June 2010). Castes and occupational change This part of the chapter elaborates upon the claim that occupational changes resulted in the loosening of traditional bonds between different castes enabling them to operate as discrete units. The most visible feature which is common to all castes has been their aversion to the traditional occupations which they had followed for centuries: the agrarian castes’ such as Jats’ and Rajputs’ to agriculture; Brahmins’ to performing rituals; the MBCs’ and Dalits’ to whatever occupations they had been traditionally following. This aversion is occurring when the traditional occupations practised by every caste are not enough to engage all eligible members of the castes. 41

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As  I  shall  discuss later, these changes have relevance for power relations among castes, party and civil society mobilization, and state-society engagements. The MBCs and Dalits generally do not find their traditional occupations sufficiently dignified. There are examples of protests against the continuation of traditional occupations by some MBCs and Dalits of Rajasthan and western UP. In response to the ruling of their traditional caste councils, some Bhambhis (leather workers) in a village of western Rajasthan district, Barmer, abandoned their traditional occupation which they considered unclean work (Bose and Jodha 1965). Another Dalit caste, Bairwas opted to migrate to Delhi and elsewhere in protest against the continuation of demeaning traditional occupations. Their refusal to continue the traditional occupation was violently resisted by the high castes.9 In some villages of Rajasthan Nais protested the continuation of traditional occupations (see Chakravarti 1975; Mendelsohn 2002). In western UP, Dalit agitations have not been directed at the traditional occupations but at behavioural harassment. However, there are cases of protest of other low castes such as Nais against certain customary practices under jajmani system which they considered demeaning. In the 1970s the Nais in some villages of western UP had struck serving the Jat patrons. Though that strike was unable to yield any immediate positive result for the Nais, the jajmani system is undergoing erosion in several villages, especially near the cities.10 Occupational changes and new social classes: western UP and WNE Rajasthan The occupational changes are accompanied by the emergence of new social classes among all castes in my sample: entrepreneurs/petty contractors,11 self-employed persons, small but vocal groups of educated, predominantly rural-urban middle- class teachers, lawyers and different levels of government employees (clerks, security guards and transport conductors), some of them employed outside the village in the cities/ towns, footloose labour or CBPIs. The self-employment varies from ‘business’12 to what Jan Breman terms as footloose labour (Breman 1996). The footloose labour involve varieties of odd jobs such as plumbing, building/repairing houses, repairing broken items, ferrying something from one place to another, as street/ pavement venders, pavement tailors, rickshaw­ pullers, taxi drivers or performing any other form of wage labour (see also Singh 1992: 42). A recent survey in Meerut and Muzaffarnagar districts show the distribution of occupations among 211 persons as follows: entrepreneurs (12), middle classes (45), footloose labourers (43), self-employed (32), unemployed (62) and only agriculturists (17) (see Singh 2016, Table  5). It must be noted that while most of these odd jobs are dominated by the MBCs and SCs, a large section of the high castes has joined them. However, there is gradation of nature of

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the work in which different caste groups are engaged. Even as intermediate castes/the upper OBCs (Jats) and high castes (Rajputs and Brahmins) perform relatively more respectable informal work (‘business’), those from the Dalit castes are engaged in relatively less respectable work. The relatively less respectable nature of work is indicated by the involvement of labourers in the informal labour markets (ILMs). The ILMs are some locations in the cities where people come in the mornings to find some work. Every morning one can witness a scene in cities of western UP or Delhi where a large number of scantily clad people, including migrants from UP, gather at some particular locations (ILMs) in search of someone desirous of buying their labour power for any kind of manual odd jobs mentioned above. The people, mainly the urban upper middle classes who require their services, come and strike a bargain with them usually at their terms and conditions. Some of them get some work, others do not. In comparison to western UP, in WNE Rajasthan, gathering of villagers at some places (the ILMs) is less common. The more common trend among them is either to migrate to places outside Rajasthan such as Delhi or Shillong (see Rani 2013 for Delhi; Singh 1998 for Shillong), the work in enterprises such as ready-made garments, mettle work or oil mills in Jaipur (see Singh 1997) or in quarry industry. Though most of them are Dalits and MBCs, their smaller proportion belong to high castes – Brahmins and Rajputs.13 Indeed, it is noteworthy that the footloose labour which gathers in the ILMs in Delhi also consists of labourers from WNE Rajasthan. It is important to note that traditional stereotyping of a caste in relation to its engagement in an occupation is no longer true. The high/intermediate castes are now doing jobs which they earlier found demeaning such as wage labour in factories, helpers in tempos or trucks, tailoring, waiters in hotels (Rajasthan) or construction workers. The low castes (MBCs and Dalits) are now entering occupations to which they hitherto had no access, though their number in such occupations is much lower than their engagement in footloose labour. In fact, no caste finds a single economic sector adequate. Almost all castes are involved in more economic activities than one. However, Jats, Rajputs and Brahmins together have a greater share in land-ownership, and a larger proportion of Dalits and MBCs are in the occupations involving manual labour (in western UP) or selling milk (bhainsias). It is important to note that for Dalits of Rajasthan, unlike those of western UP, milk selling does not form a part of their economy. The principal reason for this, as I learnt from interviews with Jats and Dalits, is the practice of untouchability. I shall discuss below the extent of the changes that have occurred in relation to the occupational changes in relation to the castes of my sample – Dalits, Jats and high castes, and in relation to the MBCs in Section VI of this chapter.

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New occupational groups have emerged among Dalits like they have emerged among other castes. For brevity of discussion, these can be broadly grouped as follows: footloose (casual/informal) labour (in western UP), migrant labour (in WNE Rajasthan), middle-class occupations, and entrepreneurs (contractors, businessmen). I shall focus on these occupations as indicators of the changing occupational profiles of Dalits one by one in both regions. Dalits and footloose/informal labour In western UP the Dalits form the largest number of those involved in footloose labour. My survey conducted in 2011 at four ILMs (Informal Labour Markets) in Meerut city where labourers from the villages located within the range of 20 km from Meerut city gather every morning to find some work showed that out of 316, a total of 292 (92%) are from the Jatav caste of Dalits. It is also confirmed by another study on western UP: out of 28  Dalits, 11 are involved in footloose labour; 3 are self- employed, and 8 belong to middle classes (see Singh 2016, Table 5: 97). The footloose labour in which Dalits are largely engaged include informal/construction activities in buildings and roads and in the sports industry.14 They also engage in seasonal agricultural labour, especially lai (harvesting of wheat); in fact, even this activity also forms part of footloose labour. Unlike Jan Breman’s argument that informalization of labour is accompanied by social insecurity in terms of the assistance provided by the state is true (Breman 2013), in western UP the informalization of labour provides them with an escape from traditional social and economic bondage. It thus makes them independent of economic dependence on the rural rich (the upper OBCs and high castes); the social insecurity brought about by the informalization of labour is preferable to dependence on the traditional agrarian and social system. The informalization of labour, in turn, enables them to participate in politics as an autonomous social force. In comparison to western UP, in WNE Rajasthan footloose labour/informal labour in the local labour market is less prevalent. Migration is a significant feature of WNE Rajasthan’s Dalit’s economy, and they become part of footloose labour in the areas they migrate to. Indeed, my field work in a village of Churu district and Delhi shows that from every caste, though mostly from Dalits, people migrate in search of employment to Delhi, northeast India and West Asia. The survey in Delhi conducted through snowball method on 21 migrants to Delhi from Rajasthan shows that 16 of them are Dalits who hail from the villages of Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Churu or Jaipur districts.15 In fact, among the Dalits immigrants into four localities of Delhi those from Rajasthan constitute 40%, second to Dalit immigrants from UP (see Rani 2013, Table 6: 38). 44

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Rise of the Dalit middle class in some villages By the 1960s, a middle class among Dalits has emerged in villages in both areas of study. By this time a generation born after Independence had emerged having benefitted from reservation in the public educational institutions and government jobs. In western UP, such class has emerged in the villages which are located near the cities. Indeed, the location of the villages near cities has enabled them to avail of the educational facilities in the city. For example, in Shobhapur village of Meerut district, there are 20 such persons including doctors with the MBBS and MS degrees, magistrates, Gazetted-officers, and clerks. A group of Dalit writer falls within this section of the Dalit middle class. Inspired by the life and ideas of B.R. Ambedkar some of them also constitute Dalit ‘intellectuals’. In WNE Rajasthan, compared to western UP, the Dalit middle class is less visible. For example, in Khansauli village of Churu district, Rajasthan, some persons from Dalit (Meghwal families) are engaged in government jobs as clerks and peons. In the villages which are in daily or weekly transmutable distance from Jaipur city, an articulate section of Dalit middle class is emergent. One Dalit (Bairwa) research scholar, Jaipur University, in a discussion with me narrated his own example. Hailing from a village in Dausa district, he is a second-generation educated person from his family. Four members of his family  – his uncles and his father – have retired from higher-level jobs, including that of a university Associate Professor. He said that it was possible due to the enthusiasm of his grandfather, who had worked in a factory and educated his children, and government’s reservation policy in education and job. His father is now the elected sarpanch of his village. Rise of Dalit entrepreneurs In the recent past a section of Dalit entrepreneurs (including Dalit millionaires) has emerged in some parts of India, including western UP and WNE Rajasthan (Jodhka 2010; Guru 2012; Varshney 2013; Kapur et al. 2014; Prakash 2015). However, in relation to the Dalit population, their number is very scanty while the OBCs have higher representation as entrepreneurs in proportion to their population (see Varshney 2013).16 Though limited in number, the rise of Dalit entrepreneurs is indicative of a social transformation in India. Some of them play an influential role in Dalit politics and society. In western UP, among the Dalit entrepreneurs, contractors in the construction sector (informal) have emerged as the single most influential and the largest group. A section of the literature (Kapur et al. 2010) traces improvement in the condition of Dalits to the impact of the economic reforms introduced in 1990. In fact, in western UP, the origin and growth of this class can be traced to the 1950s, much before the adoption of new economic policies. The following is one of the samples of the growth of a class of contractors in western UP villages. Solhu Chamar (real name withdrawn) and two of his brothers joined the MES (Military Engineering 45

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Service) as masons in Meerut Cantonment in the 1950s. In course of time, he became a sub- contractor employing SC and MBC labourers from village Khanauda. For his family, being contractors became a family profession passing through three generations; the entire family became adept at this skill. Their SC status helped them to garner government contracts. Two of his contractor sons have bought land from the poor and small peasants and emerged as the nouveau-riche in the village. In some villages, Dalits have also bought land from non-Dalits, including Jats. Taking advantage of belonging to a numerically large caste in Khanauda, one of them has joined village politics and occupied positions in village and block levels of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) (Singh, J. 2011). In another category of example, immediately after the Independence the government sought to encourage entrepreneurship among Dalits in western UP. Indeed, as far back as 1952, the government of UP attempted to encourage the foundation of a cooperative society of the tanners in Rohta and Shobhapur villages by setting up a tanners’ cooperative society. Its membership was opened to those whose traditional occupation was tanning. However, the dominant families controlled the society and destroyed the cooperative movement in both villages.17 The central NDA government has renewed efforts to encourage the Dalit entrepreneurs in India under its ‘Stand Up’ scheme. WNE Rajasthan has also its share of Dalit entrepreneurs. Sanjiv Dangi and Kishan Lal Singla are such examples. An IITian (the one who studied in an Indian Institute of Technology), Sanjiv Dangi, whose ‘host of business’ includes solar power plant, is a second-generation entrepreneur from his family. A first-generation entrepreneur, Kishan Lal Singla, is Director of ­multi-crore ​­ manufacturing company Singla Steel Tubes Pvt. Ltd. (for details see Kapur et al. 2014; see also Prakash 2015: 71–72). J A T S A N D O C C U PA T I O N A L C H A N G E S I N W E S T E R N U P A N D W N E R AJA S T H A N

In western UP, the post-green revolution period is marked by emergence of new social groups and associated new types of non-agricultural occupations among Jats: entrepreneurs (brick kiln owners), jaggery merchants, khandsari producers (unrefined sugar), kolhu owners (those who own cane crushers and produce variants of jaggery), milk traders, building material traders,18 self-employed people (‘business’ though few of them have become footloose labourers), rurban middle classes – teachers, lawyers, police and army personnel, bus conductors, drivers, etc. (see also Singh 2016, Table 6: 97; for rurban middle class, see Jeffrey 2010). Lack of opportunities in agricultural sector for employment, especially fragmentation of landholdings is among the principal reasons for the shift to new types of occupations by Jats (see Singh, J. 1992, 2016; Singh, A.K. 2003, 2011). The fragmentation of 46

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landholdings has become more spectacular due to their division over threefour generations among siblings in a family after Independence. Two studies conducted over a gap of two decades show this: according to a study conducted in eight villages of Meerut in the 1980s, a Jat household owned on an average 9.86 acres land (see Singh 1992, Table 12: 47), but my survey conducted in June 2000 among the Jats of Khanauda show that the actual average size of landholding of a Jat household was 4.18 acres. In Khanauda, this reduction in the average size of landholding has occurred due to division of landholdings (from an average land size of 7.27 acres) in three/four generations after Independence. Unlike four or five years prior to the 2000 survey, seven persons from the Jat families with smaller landholdings, e.g., below three acres, supplemented their income with working as wage labourers in factory, on tempo (assistants), truck drivers, tailors, construction workers, quacks or commission agents of property dealers. Finding agriculture to be an unattractive vocation, some sold land19 and invested in small-scale transport business, etc., became entrepreneurs – contractors in the informal construction sector, or entered the milk business as Dudhias (milkmen). Ajit Kumar Singh’s study of five districts from western UP  – Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahar, Mathura and Badaun – confirms this trend. Consisting of 409 Jat households in a sample of 2,000 households of different castes, this study records an average size of landholding of Jats as 3.4 acres, which is subject to hereditary sub-division (Singh 2011; see also Singh 2003). Even though agrarian economy of WNE Rajasthan is less developed in comparison to that of western UP with its rain-fed agriculture, lacking irrigation facilities, and harvesting a single crop in a year, Jats have been an earlier entrant into non-agrarian social group, such as salaried middle classes. My survey in December 2015 in Khansauli village of Churu district of Rajasthan shows that out of 254 Jat households (40% of village households) can be divided into the following groups: (1) Farmers (16%) owning between 20 and 40 acres of land employing salaried servants throughout a year; (2) those (80%) who mainly cultivate land themselves, some only occasionally employing labour from outside and (3) the rest (4%) migrants to West Asian countries as workers. It is noteworthy that simultaneously cultivating their land most Jat farmers are engaged in non-agrarian occupations such as police, army, Rajasthan state government administrative service, and teaching or in business  – animal husbandry/dairy farming, running private schools. One Jat from this village, a farmer and entrepreneur, Harlal Saharan, is Pramukh (elected head) of Churu District Parishad (the third highest layer in the Panchayat Raj Institution in Rajasthan). He is also an office bearer in the BJP unit of Churu district and he unsuccessfully contested 2013 Vidhan Sabha election. My discussion with several Jats  – teachers, students and government employees from Jodhpur, Sikar and Nagaur, some of whom are now settled in Delhi – shows that social classification which I have noticed in Khansauli is not an isolated trend. 47

SI T UAT I NG C A S T E S B R A H M I N S A N D O C C U PA T I O N A L C H A N G E S I N W E S T E R N U P A N D W N E R AJA S T H A N

Brahmins in western UP are engaged in predominantly following nontraditional occupations: (rurban) middle- class occupations as teachers, lawyers, doctors, and clerks, and in informal employment, which includes footloose labour. Indeed, diversification into non- conventional occupations or formation of new social classes among the Brahmins of western UP is linked to the agrarian system that existed before the land reforms  – the bhaiachara or zamindari of Brahmins (where they were either peasantproprietors or landlords with land being tilled by other castes), and zamindari or Bhaiachara of other castes (where they either engaged as tenants tilling land or performed rituals). They have emerged as middle classes (rurban) in the former. In such villages, they combine middle- class occupations with farming. The Cases of three villages of Meerut district (Rohta block) – Arnavli, Govindpuri Ghasauli, and Dabka present such examples. In these villages, Brahamins constitute a substantial number as the single most influential caste. Prior to the implementation of land reforms there, the Brahmins were both self- cultivating peasant – proprietors and zamindars with tenants from other castes. For example, in Govindpur Ghasauli (where Brahmins were both peasant-proprietors and zamindars), Jats and Sainis were their tenants. It is important to note that unlike the Brahmins of some other areas in the country, self- cultivation has never been a taboo for the Brahmins of western UP. The middle class which has emerged in these villages is indeed a rurban middle class, which gets its land cultivated on hire and by tractors. The Brahmins who are involved in self-employment/ footloose labour generally hail from the villages which had bhaiachara of other castes, especially Jats. In such villages, they relied principally on the traditional occupations – performing rituals and did not own land. In face of a declining role of the rituals and increase in the Brahmin population and in the absence of alternative means of livelihood the Brahmins were forced to join the footloose labour force like the MBCs/service castes such as Nais or Kumhars. A similar trend could be observed in WNE Rajasthan as well. In Khansauli village, out of 110 Brahmin households (17.32% of village households), only two are involved in traditional occupations – performing puja and rituals. Rest have diversified into non-hereditary occupations: teachers, Rajasthan government employees, running private schools, footloose labour, migrant workers in West Asian countries, and those who combine farming with non-farming occupations. In comparison to Brahmins of western UP, those of Rajasthan including the Jat-dominated areas have been better-placed in the agrarian structure. In his study of Rajasthan villages, K.L. Sharma observed that in Khoor village of Sikar district prior to the introduction of land reforms, Brahmins enjoyed better social and economic status than the Jats; the latter had not only to pay respect to the

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Brahmins but had also to cultivate their land. It was only after land reforms that the Jats got land rights (see Sharma 1998). In such villages, though the dominance of Brahmins has been eroded due to the rise of Jats, the former still enjoy influential and social position with emergence of middle classes and entrepreneurs among them. 20

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In western UP, observations from the Rajput-dominated villages of Meerut – Dulhera, Palhera, Dorli and Mataur – which are located along the Grand Trunk Road, reveal that the Rajputs are now moving to non-agricultural occupations21: self-employed-shopkeepers, agents of property dealers, etc. In Palhera village located near Meerut city some farmers who have become landless have begun renting houses to the people who work in Meerut city. In Dulhera village, Bahadur (Rajput) is left with a small landholding of around two acres after its division into` equal shares with his two brothers. In Rali Chauhan village located near Meerut with 40% Rajputs and 50% Dalits (Chamars), the economy of the Rajputs as well as of others is undergoing rapid changes. Some Rajputs belong to the economically better-off groups who do not cultivate the land personally. A few of them have joined the ranks of manual labourers: rickshaw-pullers and factory workers. The high castes, however, prefer to work in factories rather than as construction workers, and the like. Expansion of the real estate market with builders purchasing farmers’ land and setting up malls, restaurants, and small factories have motivated a large number of the farmers, especially those located along the highways to sell off their land. There has also emerged a class of entrepreneurs of Rajputs – brick kiln owners, exporters. Indeed, some prominent Rajput politicians belong to this section. For instance, a Rajput politician allegedly involved in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal violence is a meat exporter. Village-level studies on Rajasthan show that affected adversely by the land reforms in the 1960s some Rajputs were engaged in economic activities that they had hitherto avoided: ploughing, sowing, irrigating land, harvesting and winnowing, wage labour (see Chakravarti 1975: 53–54, 66, 71, 98). Chauhan (1967) notes that some had to do odd jobs outside the village. Indeed, change in Rajput’s occupational profile has taken place in two opposite ways: one section of them has either retained its economic profile or has further elevated it, and another has seen decline in its occupational profile. For example, in Khansauli village of Churu district, Rajputs who form 0.15% (two households in the village) own largest landholding in the village (40 acres each). They employ fulltime servants throughout the year to work on their land. Two persons from these families are also

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retired government employees. In another village located in Jhunjhunu district, which has the majority (45% households out of 1,800 households of different castes), while some Rajputs still remain resourceful, who combine agriculture (some with landholding up to 100 acres) with government jobs, business and local politics, the conditions of some of them have declined. Giving his personal example in an interview with me, one Rajput waiter in a hotel in Churu in WNE Rajasthan explained the reasons for the decline in the condition of his once powerful family in the village. He attributed it to ‘Rajput pride’; comparing his case with that of Jat families, he said Jat women are free to move out of their family confines, which included working along men in the land. Contrarily, his wife or other women of his family do not move out of their homes. Unable to meet his family needs, he is forced to work as a waiter. He, however, prefers to work as a waiter than let the women of his family move out of home.

V Caste conflicts and competition (inter-caste/caste group ​­ and ­intra-caste/caste group) Caste politics cannot be understood without understanding the caste conflicts and competition. As mentioned earlier, as a contingent factor, conflicts and competition among castes play a prominent role in politics in the areas of my study. As will be noticed in the discussion later, the conflicts and competition have political implications in emergence of CBPIs (Chapter 2), formation of caste associations and construction of caste identities (Chapter 3), accommodation of castes in parties, choice of political parties, and representation in legislature and ministries (Chapters 4–6). The conflicts and competition among castes are of two types: inter- caste/intercaste groups and intra- caste/intra- caste groups. It is relevant to underscore that within every caste/caste group a generation of politically ambitious persons has emerged since the 1970s. There are differences within this generation in terms of the nature of leadership (personal traits, political ambitions, party differences). These are all reflected in caste politics: intercaste and intra- caste competition. Almost all members of this generation wish to gain political positions; compete to be accommodated in the power structure. However, given the limited number of such positions in proportion to their numbers, everyone cannot be accommodated in a single party/ organization. Therefore, if one leader from a caste gets accommodated in one party, his rival within his caste or other caste will join alternative political party. The inter- caste/inter- caste group conflicts and competition between the castes can broadly be divided into four types: first, the conflicts and competition between intermediary caste/ upper OBC such as Jats and high castes like Rajputs and Brahmins together, on the one hand, and 50

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low castes, Dalits and the MBCs, on the other22; second, the conflicts and competition between intermediary caste/upper OBCs such as Jats and high castes Rajputs and Brahmins; third, the conflicts and competition between the low castes, i.e., Dalits and MBCs and fourth, conflicts and competition between castes which are entitled for reservation of jobs in the public institutions), upper intermediary castes/ OBCs such as Jats, MBCs and SCs/STs, on the one hand, and the non-reserved categories, high castes, on the other. The intra- caste/intra- caste group conflicts and competition include those within the same caste or same caste groups: examples of conflicts and competition within the same caste are those of the conflicts and competition within Jats, Brahmins, Rajputs, Jatavs, Nais, Sainis, Gadarias, Kumhars or Dhinwars, and the examples of conflicts and competition within same caste groups are those of the conflicts and competition within the OBCs, Dalits, 23 or within the high castes. Political or cultural expressions of these conflicts and competition manifest themselves in accordance with the specific location of these castes in the economic, social and political structures in particular regions. In my sample from western UP, the inter- caste/inter- caste group conflicts and competition exist between: Jats and Rajputs, Jats and Jatavs, Rajputs and Jatavs, Jatavs and individual MBC castes. In this region, during the past two decades, especially along with the assertion of Dalits in several areas the focus of the principal rivalry has shifted from Jat and non-Jats (especially Dalits, MBCs and Brahmins/Rajputs) to the one between Dalits and non-Dalits, ­ ​­ i.e., Jatavs/Chamars and non-Jatavs/non-Chamars. ­ ​­ ­ ​­ Dalits have challenged the dominance of traditionally dominant castes. This has been particularly so after the formation of BSP-led governments. The most common expression of the conflicts and competition in this region has been the rivalry between Jats and Chamars/Jatavs. Besides the caste conflicts and contradictions which exist within the villages, the rural-urban contradiction have formed an important part of political economy in western UP. In caste terms, it was more specifically reflected in the conflict between Jats as the peasant rural class and Banias as the urban merchant class. On several occasions, this would lead to conflicts between these two castes. One example of the conflict between the Jats and Banias occurred in 1978 in Baraut town of Meerut (now Baghpat) district (see Sinha 1978). In the recent past, however, the rural-urban or Jat-Bania contradictions have been eroded enabling overlap of rural-urban boundaries. This has made possible an alliance between the Jats and Banias in terms of supporting the BJP (Singh 1992: 183–84). The Muzaffarnagar riot was the outcome of such alliance and change in caste competition (Singh 2016). In my sample from Rajasthan, inter- caste conflicts and competition exist between Jats and Rajputs, between Jats and Brahmins, between Jats and Sainis/Malis, and between Jats and Jatavs/Meghwals/Bairwas/ Raigars. There, the principal expression of conflicts and competition has been between Jats 51

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and Rajputs. Giving an example of such conflict, Anand Chakravarti explains how a Jat school teacher tried to organize Jats to boycott the Rajputs of Devisar village (see Chakravarti 1975: 208–9). The legacy of this rivalry can be traced back to the era preceding the merger of several princely states into a single state of Rajasthan, when the Jats were the tenants of the Rajput jagirdars, bhomias and thikandars. As mentioned earlier, the former were not only victims of economic exploitation but also faced social discrimination and humiliation at the hands of the Rajputs. Even the JatDalit (Bairwas/Jatavs/Chamars) conflicts in Rajasthan had existed prior to the merger of the princely states into the state of Rajasthan. This conflict was further accentuated in the post-I ndependence period with Jats having benefited from land reforms and Dalits being deprived of land reform benefits. The continuation of legacy of cultural discriminations against Dalits could be noticed in the contemporary period. Bela Bhatia (2006: 34–36) quotes Ambedkar to show how the Dalits in Chakwada village were attacked by Jats when the former had organized a feast after their return from a pilgrimage. In the contemporary period too, Jats oppose bathing by Dalits (Bairwas/Jatavs/ Chamars) in the ghats (pond beaches) intended for non-Dalits. Dalits’ act of bathing in the ghat resulted in the Chakawada episode in September 2002 (see ibid: 29–61). Jats opposed the bathing rights of Dalits in Chakwada even though the Bairwas had 70 households out of 525 (Jats have 261). Bairwas with their semi-pakka houses are better​­ placed than their counterparts in many parts of the state. Bhatia argues that ‘advancement in social status does not necessarily follow from an improvement in economic circumstances’ (34). It is not always true; as noticed earlier and will be noticed in Section VII, there are some areas of western UP where improvement in economic conditions has also resulted in the advancement of the social status of Dalits. The principal intra- caste/intra- caste group conflicts and competition in Rajasthan in my sample include: those within every discrete caste: Jats, Brahmins, Rajputs, within Jatavs/Bairwas/Meghwals/Raigars, and within every caste group such as OBCs (between upper OBCs like Jats and MBCs) and Dalits (between Jatavs/Meghwals/Bairwas/Raigars and Balmikis).

VI The socio-economic status of the MBCs Since the single castes that constitute MBCs are among the marginalized castes, they constitute important castes/caste groups in my sample and literature on them is inadequate (Pai and Singh 1997; Jassal 2001; Singh J. 2006, 2012; Doron 2013, 2014; Khanam 2013; Kumar 2014); in this section, I shall discuss the socio-economic status of MBCs in the regions covered in the book. 52

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Decoupling of traditional socio- economic structures The ­socio-economic ​­ status The socio-economic status of a caste can be defined by the place it occupies in social and economic structures, which are intertwined. But a caste’s relationships with social and economic structures are changeable. A change in traditional relations among castes can show transformation in their socio-economic relations. MBCs, as an acronym for Most Backward Classes, generally refers to a group of castes placed above the Dalits and below the upper sections of the OBCs in the social hierarchy. It refers to those backward castes which are more disadvantaged than the landowning intermediary castes/middle castes/upper OBCs. The MBC castes in my sample that have been engaged in traditional and specialized occupations under the jajmani system include such as Nais (haircutting, and rituals), Sutars (carpentry), Lohars (blacksmiths making iron tools, etc.), Kumhars ­ ​­ ​­ (pot-making), Dhinwars/Kahars (involved in ­water-related occupations), Gadarias (shepherds), Malis/Sainis (vegetable growers, small/marginal or poor peasants), etc. Traditionally, the relations of the MBCs with upper/ landed OBCs (Jats) and high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) were defined by the jajmani system. In this system, the caste-based occupations of the MBCs were accorded lower social status than those practised by the castes above them in social hierarchy – Jats, Rajputs and Brahmins in my sample. An indication of the low socio-economic status associated with traditional occupation was the protest of some MBCs and Dalits against traditional occupations. As discussed in sub-section ‘Castes and occupational change’ of this chapter, the Nais in both UP and Rajasthan, and Dalits (Bhambhis) in Rajasthan protested the traditional occupations as they found them to be socially degrading and economically unrewarding. In the post-Independence period, the traditional social and economic structures (Jajmani system) got disintegrated giving rise of new social classes (identified in the sub-section ‘Occupational changes and new social classes: western UP and WNE Rajasthan’ of this chapter) making the MBCs free from the regulation of jajmani system. Each caste became a discrete identity (see Gupta 1991), and started playing a secular role signifying de-ritualization of castes’ roles and their shift to non-traditional occupations (Kothari 1970; Sheth 1999). The decline of the jajmani system and the consequent loosening of traditional bonds changed the parameters of socio- economic status: from the intertwined social and economic structures of jajmani system to political empowerment of a caste depending on its relationship with the constant and multiple factors. Against this background, the contemporary socio- economic status of the MBCs, i.e., for the period covered in this book – from the late 1980s, can properly be understood in the light of the extent of changes which have taken place in 53

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their traditional occupations of the MBCs and their share in composition of new social classes and non-traditional occupations. The loosening of traditional bonds has made the MBCs (like the Dalits) economically independent of the higher caste/caste groups (Jats, and high castes), but as mentioned in the Introduction, it does not mean that they have become economically resourceful: what it means is that they are now free from the traditional social and economic bonds. The extent of their empowerment depends on their relationship with the several factors (economy is one of these factors) – the constant and the contingent. It is noteworthy, that although all caste/caste groups in my sample belong to new social classes and are engaged in more occupations than others, the MBCs largely belong to poorer social classes  – footloose labour (which includes a wide range of activities such as plumbing, building/house repairing, masonry, ferrying items from one place to another, cleaning houses, rickshaw pulling, etc.), self- employed, and (lower) middle classes. Their share in class of entrepreneurs is negligible/smaller as compared to other caste groups – Jats, Dalits (Jatavs) and high castes. Studies done in the 1990s and afterwards and my surveys confirm the changes in occupations or rise of new social classes among the MBCs (Pai and Singh 1997; Singh 2006; 2012; for a single MBC caste Mallahs, Jassal 2001, Doron 2013, 2014; see for the Muslim backward classes including MBCs Khanam 2013; Kumar 2014). Conducted in the 1980s, a study covering more than eight villages of Meerut district in western UP noticed the MBCs had only 4.18% share (out of 8.36% traditional occupations in the sample), while they had around 15% share in non-traditional occupations such as wage labour in non-agrarian sectors (footloose labour) and seasonal agriculture labour. They also have 30% share in miscellaneous occupations/self- employment occupations such as drivers, bus conductors, shopkeepers, electricians, cycle mechanics, etc. (see Singh 1992, Table  11: 46). Pai and Singh (1997, Tables  1–2: 1357) focussing on the MBCs-Dalits relationship in four Ambedkar villages24 in Meerut district in a sample of 167 respondents (55 MBCs and 112 Dalits) show that out of 167 respondents, only three are involved in tannery (a traditional occupation of Dalits): other main occupations include wage labour, business and others (mechanics, tailors, shop keepers, etc.). Based on field work during 2015–16 in more districts, i.e., Meerut, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, and Saharanpur than other studies, Singh (2016) confirms the dominance of trends observed by other studies alluded to above. In a sample of 211 households, 16 belong to the MBCs: 13 of them are selfemployed and are engaged in footloose labour and 3 belong to middle class (2 teachers and 1 retired army personnel); none of them is involved in traditional occupations (Singh 2016, Table 5: 97). Although it became a prominent feature since the 1990s, the disruption of traditional occupations in villages of the MBCs began prior to this period. Until then, the MBCs largely followed dual economy, combining hereditary 54

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occupations with farming small pieces of land in some villages. The disruption was caused by several factors: an increase in the MBC population – all members of the service castes like Nais, Sutars or Lohars were not able to be absorbed in the declining traditional jajmani services (their surplus population needed to seek occupations in non-traditional sectors); the disenchantment against the traditional occupations among these castes; lack of availability of land for clay to make pots has squeezed the Kumhars out of their traditional occupations of pot-making; shrinkage in water sources, such as ponds, has deprived the Dhinwers of their hereditary occupation relating to water supply and basket making respectively; and, changes in the cropping pattern, i.e., shrinkage in the cultivation of the mustard crop and abandonment of the cultivation of cotton in western UP, have marginalized the Telis (oilmen) and the Dhunas (cotton-spinners). In the 1970s, the Sathi Commission Report on the MBCs in UP noticed 95% Gadarias had stopped rearing sheep or producing wool, their traditional occupation (GOUP 1977: 41). In comparison to UP, the secondary literature on castes in relation to Rajasthan (including the MBCs) is rather limited. Thus, the discussion on Rajasthan on the socio-economic status of the MBCs is based on limited secondary literature, the caste literature, interviews with the MBC intellectuals and my surveys. In addition to being engaged the dual economy – combining traditional occupations with cultivation of land as small or poor peasants, a feature of MBCs’ economy in UP, some of MBCs in WNE Rajasthan rendered services to the princely families prior to the merger of princely states with the Union of India. For instance, in cities like Jodhpur and Jaipur some members of the Nai and Mali castes worked in the palaces of maharaja performing traditional occupations. An indication of occupational change in Rajasthan is the growth of a middle class among the MBCs. The composition of the middle- class MBCs includes teachers, government servants and lawyers, who are playing important roles as the intellectuals of their castes (Chapter 2). The caste literature of some MBCs gives details about the profiles of their important members. For example, the Smarikas and Visheshanks (1976, 1983) of Nais mention that out of 192 delegates who attended their first adhiveshan (conference) in 1976, and out of 339 who attended their second conference majority were engaged in ‘service’ and ‘teaching’. However, along with the growth of middle class among the castes in Rajasthan, there is also diversification of occupations into non-traditional occupations, mostly in the non-farm sectors. In his study of diversification of occupations of several MBC castes in Jaipur, Surjit Singh shows that the villagers from these communities commute daily between their villages and Jaipur to engage in the non-farm occupations. They are involved in the following occupation: pottery (Kumhars), iron-related/mettle work (Lohars) and Telis (oil millers); and tailoring in ready-made garments (Darzis) (Singh 1997). It is important to note that these occupations require special skills, 55

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and the castes engaged in them have learnt these skills through their traditional occupations. But there is a difference. These occupations are delinked from traditional bondage and are part of modern market economy; they are not traditional occupations. My survey in December 2015 in Khansauli village Churu district show that the MBCs such as Nais and Kumhars like other castes no longer carry out traditional occupations. In this village, persons from all castes have migrated to West Asia, Delhi or other states for purpose of employment. Indeed, unlike my observation from western UP, migration from Rajasthan of persons from all castes is common (see Shoba Rani for Delhi; for Shillong Singh 2011a). MBC occupations and their commercialization ​­ In the post-jajmani era indicating the end of tradition-regulated occupations, in both areas of this study – western UP and WNE Rajasthan, several activities related to the hereditary occupations performed by various MBC castes have now been modernized and commercialized, especially in the urban areas. While the modern infrastructures relating to these occupations are now controlled by businessmen from the high castes (generally urban) such as Banias or Khatris, their employees are MBCs. The latter have linkages in their villages, some migrating temporarily or permanently to the urban areas (for such migration see S. Singh 1997;J. 2016). The salons and beauty parlours, and laundry and dry- cleaning services are examples of this process. The former occupations are related to the hereditary occupations of the Nai community, and the latter to that of Dhobi (Hindu Dhobis are categorized as SCs but Muslim Dhobis are categorized as OBCs). Some castes among the MBCs complain that modernization of their traditional occupations has deprived them of means of livelihood: this is despite their aversion to traditional occupations. As I shall discuss in Chapter 3, some caste associations of the MBCs demand that: the young men (not women) from their castes should be trained so that they can undertake jobs in the modernized form of traditional occupations, and they should be provided resources to set up business establishment relating to these jobs; the MBCs should have monopoly on the modernized jobs traditionally associated with the respective caste. For instance, different castes demand training and resources to start enterprises associated with the modernized forms of traditional occupations: Nais demand training of the boys in IITs and resources to set salons; Gadarias demand training and resources to start woollen and textile factories as their traditional occupation of sheep rearing has become extinct; Kumhars ask financial help and training to run the craft of pottery, etc.; Dhinwers (whose traditional occupations were linked with water) ask for proper arrangements to be made for ponds for waterbased occupations – for farming singhara (water-chestnuts) ­ ​­ kamaltash and fishing (see also Jassal 2001: 320; Doron 2014: 195). 56

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How are the MBCs different from other caste groups? Aspects of differences The MBCs are different from other caste groups, Dalits (Jatavs), upper/ landed OBCs (Jats) and high caste (Brahmins and Rajputs), in the following aspects – social hierarchy, economic status and political empowerment, and the inability to form a consolidated political force in a constituency. S O C I A L H I E R A RC H Y

About social hierarchy, they are placed in the middle of the other caste groups: below the Jats, Brahmins and Rajputs, and above the Jatavs. Underlining the lack of special rules to protect them from caste-based humiliation, some MBC intellectuals told me that unlike the SCs and STs, the MBCs are not protected by laws such as the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989: even though the MBCs have not been subjected to untouchability, they are often subjected to caste-based humiliation. The MBCs argue that after Independence, the MBCs have lagged the Dalits and have become more marginalized economically, educationally and politically (Chapter 2). Comparing status of the SCs and the MBCs in UP, the Sathi commission report mentions: Most backward classes are in no way better than the Scheduled castes. As a matter of fact, since the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have reservation in jobs there has been some improvement in their condition, while MBCs have been denied any facilities. Hence their education, social, economic and commercial employment conditions have worsened. This is most strikingly reflected in the virtual absence of representation of the OBCs in government services. In the 45 districts of UP there was only one person from MBC in class I and approximately the same situation existed for class II officers. (Hasan 1998: 145) ECONOM IC DI F F ER ENCE S

About the differences in economic aspects, although all caste groups in my sample form the new social classes, identified earlier, and are engaged in non-traditional occupations, MBCs’ share is more in the poorer classes – footloose, self-employed, lower middle classes than those of the Jats and high castes. It is noteworthy, while the MBCs and the Dalits have larger share in poorer classes than the Jats and high castes, when we compare the Dalits and the MBCs, the MBCs have larger share than the Dalits in the 57

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poorer classes: in fact, increasing literature on the Dalit entrepreneurs, in the absence of such literature on MBCs, is testimony to class differences among the Dalits and the MBCs. According one survey in western UP, the MBCs consisted of nine self-employed and unemployed; Dalits eight middle classes, one entrepreneur, eight self-employed and unemployed (Singh 2016, Table 5: 97). Indeed, in some Ambedkar villages, in Meerut district, the Dalits are entrepreneurs, contractors, government employees, middle and rich farmers. They have replaced traditional dominant castes such as Jats, Rajputs or Gujars or have emerged as one of the dominant castes vis-à-vis the MBCs; they not only (occasionally) coerce the MBCs, they also arbitrate disputes involving the MBCs and provide them loans (informally) on interests, buy their land. A similar pattern is visible in Jats’, Brahmins’ and Rajputs’ dominance over the MBCs in certain villages (discussed in Section VII of this chapter). It is important to note that the dominance of the PICs over the PMCs (MBCs, except Sainis) is not absolute, it depicts a dominant trend: in the villages where non-Dalits are PICs, along with MBCs, the non-Jatav Dalits (such a Balmikis) are also placed in marginalized social, economic and political position, and in certain villages, the MBCs have got free (partially or fully) from the dominance of erstwhile dominant castes. T HE POLIT ICAL DIFFERENCES

The most substantial difference between the MBCs and other caste groups lies in political aspects: their accommodation in political parties, nomination by the parties to contest elections, representation in the ministries, capacity to self-mobilize into political action and response of the state to the castes’ demands. As discussion in Chapters 4–6 will show, in my sample, in UP, the MBCs are PMCs (Politically Marginalized Castes), while Jatavs (Dalits), Jats and high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) are PICs (Politically Influential Castes) in relation to all the aspects depicting their political differences. Regarding the difference in accommodation in parties, in western UP, the principal political parties are controlled by/have representation of the principal PICs in the region: BSP, Jatavs’; RLD, Jats’; SP, Yadavs’, but representation of the MBCs in these parties is negligible. Indeed, as I will explain in Chapter  4, the formation of single-caste parties by the MBCs is a response to their neglect by the principal parties. In Rajasthan, both main parties, the Congress and the BJP, in their state level leadership have larger representation of PICs – the high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs in my sample) along with Banias. The MBCs (10.93%) have smaller representation than the Dalits (12.5%) in the BJP; similarly, Dalits (10.42%) have larger representation than the MBCs (3.64%) in the Congress; high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) have 28.13% and Jats 17.19% in the BJP and 30.73% and 17.71% in the Congress respectively (Chapter 4, Tables 4.1–4.2). The same 58

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pattern is repeated (with MBCs getting more share than Dalits in the BJP) in representation in the positions of district-level office bearers also: MBCs (5.88%), Dalits (2.94%), high castes – Brahmins and Rajputs (41.17%), and Jats (8.82%) in the BJP, and in the Congress, 5.13% (only Sainis), 15.38%, 25.64%, and 10.26% respectively (Chapter  4, Tables  4.3–4.4). The individual MBC castes in my sample such as Nais, Kumhars and Gadarias generally are not allotted tickets by the principal political parties to contest elections; they only vote. Contrarily, it is only candidates from castes such as Jats, Brahmins, Rajputs, Jatavs, (and Sainis, in limited constituencies) who are generally given tickets: the MBCs other than Sainis vote in the elections but do not represent (they are represented), while other castes/caste groups both represent (nominated by the parties) and vote in elections (Chapter 5). About the representation in ministries, as the discussion in Chapter  6 will show, in comparison to the Dalits, Jats and high castes, the MBCs’ representation in the ministries formed between the 1990s and the mid2010s has been much smaller in UP and Rajasthan. Aggregated representation in ministries in UP (1989–2015) of some MBCs of western UP as Sainis and their equivalent castes from eastern UP such as Sakya, Kushwahs, Mauryas and Koeries got between 0 and 7.15% representation in the ministries; Gadarias and their equivalent from other parts of UP such as Pals and Baghels got between 0 and 8.70% representation in ministries; Dhinwars and their equivalent castes from other parts of UP got between 0 and 6.8% representation in ministries. If we disaggregate this data into individual MBC castes and regions (western and eastern), the share of individual caste would be marginal. Other MBCs in my sample – Nais and Kumhars remained either unpresented in the ministries or got only marginal representation: Kumhars (between 1.33% and 3.13%) in all three kinds of ministries, SP’s, BSP’s and BJP’s: in 1991–92, Nais got 2.08% representation in one ministry, i.e., Kalyan Singh-led regime, 1991–92. Dalits (Jatavs) got between 2.27% and 25.93%, and high caste – Brahmins and Rajputs got between 3.70% and 54.17% representation in different ministries formed under three types of political regimes – led the SP, BSP and the BJP in UP (1989–2015) (Chapter 6, Table 6.1). A clarification is in order: that the extent of representation of the PICs in the various ministries fluctuated from being minimal to maximum does not mean that when a PIC got minimum representation in a ministry its political influence also declined. What it shows is the intensity of inter- caste/caste groups competition among the PICs: the Dalits got higher representation in the B SP-led governments, and minimum in the SP-led government with slightly higher than the SP government in a BJP-led government; the high caste got higher representation in the ­BJP-led, ​­ ­BJP-BSP-led, ​­ Janata ­Dal-BJP-led ​­ (1989–91) governments and least in a Mayawati and a little more in a Mulayam Singh-led government; Jats got no representation in Mulayam Singh and Mayawatiled governments (1993–95, 1995) but higher BJP regimes (including one 59

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by Mulayam Singh/SP-R LD’s regime: 2003–7); with smaller representation to PICs among the MBCs (such as Sainis in my sample), other MBCs either got symbolic or no representations in the governments. Viewed in totality of various aspects, the PICs remain empowered, while the MBCs remain marginalized. In Rajasthan, in the political regimes formed during 1990–2013, Except the Sainis (3.3% to highest 8.33% in Ashok Gahlot government), no other MBC got representation in either governments, led by the BJP and the Congress. In contrast, the high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) got from 16.66 to 23.33% representation in the Congress-led governments, and 24–33% in the BJP governments in the BJP-led governments; Jats got between 23.3 and 25% representation in the Congressled governments and between 16 and 25.1% representation in the BJP-led governments; Dalits got between 8.33 and 16.7% representation in the Congress-led governments and between 11.1 and 14.9% representation in the BJP-led ministries (Chapter 6, Table 6.2). As I shall discuss in Chapter  6, in my sample, the MBCs, unlike the PICs, are not able to launch a vociferous, sustained and effective collective action/political mobilization. Instead, they adopt modus operandi which is different from the one adopted by PICs – unstained dharna, hunger strike, writing pamphlets, creating awareness through messages in the castemagazines, petition in the court, giving memoranda to the authorities, etc. It is different from the vociferous, occasionally violent, more sustained agitations of Jats for getting OBC status in Haryana in 2009, in Rajasthan in 1999 or Gujars’ agitation for ST status (2010). The state response to demands of the MBCs such as sub-division of OBC quota or any other demand is often met with the indifferent attitude of political regimes, while the PICs have got positive response from the state: grant of OBCs status to Jats of Rajasthan, along with those of UP and Delhi; declaring Gujars as SBCs (Special Backward Classes). In fact, the regime did not take any legal action in connection with the violence related to Jat agitation in Haryana in 2009. S M A L L N U M B E R S A N D S C AT T E R E D H A B I TAT

Regarding the last aspect of difference, although the MBCs consist of a larger number of discrete castes than the other caste groups, in comparison to the latter they do not form consolidated political force in a constituency/an area and they remain scattered in several villages each forming numerical minority. It is noteworthy that different castes forming the MBC group together constitute around 12% in western UP and around 16% in WNE Rajasthan, but individually each of them has small and politically ineffective strength, unlike the other castes/caste groups. They exist as discrete individual units with their differences lacking a coherence. In

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contrast, the other caste groups not only singly form effective numerical strength, but they are also concentrated in a particular area each having its ‘caste bastion/belt’: unlike the Sainis, no other caste among MBCs has its caste bastion. As mentioned earlier, in my sample, the MBCs form 2–4% in western UP and 3–7% in WNE Rajasthan, while the Dalits (Chamars/ Jatavs) constitute 23% in western UP, and Chamars/Meghwals/Raigar/ Bairwas form 10% in WNE Rajasthan; the upper/landed OBCs (Jats) constitute 10% in western UP and 23% in WNE Rajasthan; the high castes (Brahmins) form 11% in western UP and 14% in WNE Rajasthan, and Rajputs constitute 11% in western UP and 12% in WNE Rajasthan (see Tables 1.1–1.2). What makes them less powerful groups? In the Introduction, I have argued that different castes have different placements in Indian democracy – some are marginalized, and some are empowered. This difference depends on the castes’ relationships with two types of factors  – constant and contingent (Introduction, Table  0.1). Constant factors – castes’ numerical strength, its political consolidation in a constituency/village/area and its economic independence are more significant than the contingent factors. Indeed, inverse relationship of a caste/caste group with the constant factors makes it marginalized caste/caste group; contrarily, positive relationship of caste/caste groups with them makes it politically empowered (Tables 0.2–0.3). However, the intervention of contingent factors can make the PICs vulnerable and PMCs relatively/symbolically empowered (Table  0.3). In applying this argument to the MBCs, it can be said that they are less powerful because they have inverse relationship with the constant factors: as mentioned above (discussing socio-economic status of the MBCs), they form smaller percentages of population – they do not have political consolidation or do not have MBC single- caste bastion as they are dispersed across the areas covered in the study, except the Sainis, and most of them belong to poorer economic classes such as footloose labour, self-employed with only subsistence income, migrants (Rajasthan) and unemployed. The MBCs’ inverse relationships with these (constant factors) account for their less powerful position than the other caste groups in various aspects: insignificant/inadequate accommodation in political parties (Chapter 4); neglect in party strategies: allotment of tickets to contest Vidhan Sabha elections (Chapter  5); in symbolic or no representation in ministries, inability to self-mobilize into vociferous, effective and sustained collective action; usually indifference attitude of the state towards the MBCs’ issues (Chapter 6); and in the village-level power relations, being in vulnerable economic and political positions in villages dominated by PICs such as Jats, Brahmins, Rajputs and Jatavs (Section VII of this chapter).

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VII Shifts in power relations: western UP and WNE Rajasthan This section elaborates upon the argument of the chapter that different patterns in power relations are dependent on the nature of relations between castes and two types of factors, constant and contingent. Western UP My observations from fieldwork in the villages of Meerut, Saharanpur, Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar districts in western UP show that power relations exist between dominant castes such as Jats, Rajputs and Brahmins and MBCs in the sphere of arbitration of disputes. The principal causes of disputes among castes needing arbitration are largely related to theft, women, land and exercise of franchise. I shall explain below with empirical observations from some villages the three broad patterns in power relations mentioned earlier: one, the first pattern indicating complete shift in the power relations from the erstwhile dominant castes in favour of low castes Jatavs (Dalits) and Sainis (MBCs), who arbitrate disputes to complete exclusion of the former; two, partial erosion in the traditional power relations; and the third pattern, showing no change or marginal change in these relations between traditional influential castes – Jats and Rajputs and low castes, especially the MBCs, exist in western UP. The first pattern: complete shift in power relations Unlike earlier (till the 1980s), the inter/intra-caste disputes (among Dalits/ MBCs) are now resolved through family members involved in disputes or caste fellows, and rarely persons from the erstwhile dominant castes are invited. The complete shift in power relations from traditionally dominant castes to the traditionally marginalized caste Jatavs (Dalits), Sainis (MBCs) or any other such caste has taken place in the villages where positive relationships exist between the low castes and the constant factors  – their numerical strength, their political consolidation in the concerned villages and economic independence from erstwhile dominant castes. In addition, in these villages, the contingent factors  – legacy of the zamindari agrarian system where unlike in the villages which had bhaiachara agrarian system the low castes could avail of land reforms, rise of new classes/change of traditional occupations, loosening of traditional social and economic bonds, impact of Ambedkarism, intra/inter- caste conflicts and cross-caste alliances have contributed to the change in power relations in favour of the low castes. It is important to note that not all contingent factors operate together in all cases: in some cases some factors matter; in some, the other. 62

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Such villages also represent caste ‘bastion’/caste ‘belts’ of the low castes – ‘Saini bastion’ or ‘Dalit bastion’. In some villages, it is generally one low caste – Jatavs or Sainis (MBCs), and in the other villages different castes collectively – Jatavs, Sainis, Jats, Rajputs or Brahmins that arbitrate in the disputes. However, if ever the traditional dominant castes arbitrate cases of inter- caste disputes between two low castes (either within the MBCs or between an MBC and a Dalit), they do so only after the invitation, and unlike earlier the issues in such cases are resolved with the participation of all the concerned castes. In my sample, in village Khanauda, a single caste – Jatavs, and in Villages – Meethapur and Bam Nagar – different castes now arbitrate disputes collectively. In some villages, unlike earlier, the government officials could be seen visiting the emergent Politically Influential Caste such as Jatavs (Dalits). I shall discuss below the observations from these villages. Khanauda: Jatavs as the most influential caste (Meerut district) In a cluster of villages in Meerut district Jatavs (Dalits) have emerged as the principal arbitrators of disputes. Even as Dalits have replaced the traditional dominant castes, Jats in village like Khanauda, they have emerged as a dominant caste parallel to the Rajputs in villages such as Miathana Inder Singh, and Uldeypur. This has eroded the dominant position of the Jats and Rajputs, who had traditionally enjoyed dominance. Among these villages, Khanauda is a good example of emergence of Jatavs as an influential caste. Here Dalits (Jatavs) have emerged as a politically most influential caste since the mid1980s. In this village, five caste groups can be identified to understand the relations of domination and subordination, i.e., intermediary caste / upper OBCs (Jats), Dalits (Jatavs), and the MBCs (Nais, Dhinwars, Gadarias and Kumhars), Muslim low castes, and the Bania and Brahmin minority high castes. The Jatavs form almost three quarters of the village population and control most of the land followed by the Jats (Singh, J. 2011). What makes the Jatavs so effective as to arbitrate disputes between castes? It is their positive relations with constant factors – their numerical strength, their concentration in an area, economic independence from the traditional dominant castes, and the role of the contingent factors – legacy of zamindari system (where unlike in the bhaiachara low castes could benefit from land reforms), emergence of footloose labour among the poor (free from dependence on Jats), emergence of a middle class and entrepreneurs among Dalits, and impact of the ideas and life of Ambedkar – Ambedkarization (Singh 1998). Meethapur: MBCs/Sainis as one of the most influential castes (Meerut district) Located in the Saini and the Gujar ‘bastions’, Meethapur is a village which has a substantial population of Gujars, Sainis, Muslim Banjaras, other 63

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Muslim low castes, Dalits and a few Muslim high castes (55% Hindus and 45% Muslims). This village fell under the zamindari of Muslim landlords prior to land reforms. While Gujars and Sainis worked as tenants of the landlords, Dalits and the Muslim Banjaras worked as agricultural labourers on the landlord’s land. The land reforms changed the patterns of power relations (dominance) in the village, from high caste Muslim families to Gujars and Sainis, who have emerged as the most influential castes; other castes joined the ranks of footloose labour or petty business. The Muslim landed families that remained influential till the 1960s, ceased to be so. In 2008, a dispute that arose between two boys from a Dalit (Jatav) and Gujar (upper OBC) household during a cricket match in the village was resolved in a meeting of the village Pradhan (a Muslim woman from the Banjara family), representatives of the concerned castes, Dalits and Gujars, and others (not party to the dispute). This is a case showing participation of different castes in dispute resolution. Earlier, such disputes could be resolved only through the arbitration of a Muslim high caste – the Meer. There are two important points to note here: one, unlike until the 1960s, when only erstwhile Muslim dominant caste could arbitrate disputes, now different castes participate in collective arbitration. This indicates a shift in power relations from a single caste (Meer) to the MBCs (Sainis), OBCs (Gujars), Dalits and Muslim low castes. Though there are internal differentiation between these castes, together they form a bloc which has positive relations with the constant factors  – their numerical strength, their concentration in a group of villages so as to form an effective political constituency and their economic independence from any dominant castes. In addition, their position has been strengthened by the role of contingent factors: advantage of legacy of land system (zamindari, where unlike in the bhaiachara the low castes could benefit from land reforms), loosening of traditional bonds (economic, social and political among all castes), diversification into non-traditional occupations involving footloose labour, petty business or a nascent rurban middle class (Registered Medical Practice, lower level government jobs), leading to emergence of all castes as discrete units. This makes each of them free from traditional economic dependence on the erstwhile dominant groups. The second pattern: partial erosion in the traditional power relations Ban Nagar: Rajputs (high castes), Gadarias (MBCs), and Chamars (Dalits) as influential castes (Muzaffarnagar district) Ban Nagar village also presents a case of multi- caste participation in dispute resolution, in which three castes – Rajputs (high caste), Jatavs (Dalits), and Gadarias (MBCs) – play the most decisive role. Till the 1970s, this role 64

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was monopolized by Rajputs who had zamindari in the village, where other castes worked as tenants or performed their respective traditional occupations. Unlike earlier times when the power relations were monopolized by Rajputs, now different castes share these relations. Changes in the political economy, especially loosening of traditional bonds helped other castes to emerge as discrete units. The relations of low castes with the contingent factors – their numerical strength, political decisiveness due to their consolidation in the village and economic independence from the Rajputs – have enabled them to participate in dispute resolution. Therefore, the disputes are resolved through the joint participation of these castes. In a land dispute involving two persons, one a Jatav and another a Rajput, the matter was resolved through the arbitration of a Jatav (ex-village pradhan) and Gadarias. In a dispute over a plot of land between one Brahmin and two Gadarias, the arbitration of Mithlesh Pal, 25 Jatav leaders and Rajputs resulted in a resolution of the dispute. The third pattern: no or marginal shift in power relations In the villages which show the third pattern, there exists positive relationship between the traditional dominant castes such as Jats or Brahmins and the constant factors – their numerical strength, their consolidation in their respective villages/areas, and economic independence, in addition these villages have the legacy of bhaiachara background where the land reforms did not benefit the non- cultivating classes especially, Dalits and MBCs. Or in these villages negative relationships exist between the low castes and the constant factors, and the contingent factors generally do not disturb the existing patterns so as to favour them. These areas also form caste bastions of PICs castes – ‘the Jat bastion’ and the ‘Brahmin bastion’. These are also villages with bhaiachara background. These are also villages with bhaiachara background. ­ ​­ As mentioned earlier because of the bhaiachara legacy, the non-peasant castes mostly have remained PMCs. However, in these villages generally such PMCs are non-Jatav Dalits (Balmikis), and MBCs, not Jatavs, a politically influential Dalit caste. Unlike the latter, the non-Jatav Dalits such as Balmikis and MBCs have not come out of the dominance of dominant castes. This is so even though Balmikis are also protected by the legal provisions, like the Jatavs. It is important to note that since the late 1980s, even in such villages Jatavs among Dalits, unlike other Dalit castes, have become politically independent/autonomous community, not requiring arbitration of the non-Jatavs, Jats, Rajputs or Brahmins. Apart from Jatavs’ positive relationship with the constant factors, the contingent factors like impact of ideas of life and ideas of Ambedkar, and rise of Dalit activists and intellectuals, and most importantly presence of their ‘own’ party led by their own caste, which formed government four times since 1995–2012, 65

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has provided them confidence. Apprehension of reprisal at national/state level, and of being tried under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989, dissuades the high castes/intermediary castes from arbitrating the disputes involving Jatavs. The non-Jatav PMCs (Balmikis and MBCs) in such villages remain in vulnerable positions due to their marginal social, economic and political positions, and their conflict and contradictions with the Dalits; they feel if they ally with the Jatavs at village level, not only they would subject themselves to the dominance to Jatavs (dominant Dalits), they would also annoy the dominant castes, Jats. In such a situation, they prefer arbitration of their disputes by the latter than the former. Jat Bastion The position (social, economic, and political) of Jats varies in both the vertical and horizontal contexts of spaces, i.e., village, regional and state levels. In western UP generally Jats have been considered superior to other castes in the villages (especially in the villages with a bhaiachara background) and at the regional level consisting of several villages. They have, however, been socially treated as backward classes at the state (UP) and at the national levels by the high castes even prior to their being designated as OBCs in 2000. In the Jat-dominated villages or ‘the Jat bastion’, Jats remain a dominant caste. In such villages, according to the 1901 census in Haryana, a state neighbouring western UP, ‘there was no caste above Jats’ (see Chowdhry 1982: 328). The Arya Samaj movement has contributed to the creation of such an image. It not only consolidated Jat identity, but also made them conscious that they were not only a superior, Aryan, and martial race but also above all other castes: Brahmins, Banias, Khatris, Nais, Kumhars, Chamars, etc. (see Chowdhry 1984: 120–21; Datta 1999). The contemporary Jat literature portrays such an image of the Jats in western UP whose dominance remains intact in Jat-dominated villages (with a bhaiachara background) (see Singh 1992; Gupta 1997; Jeffrey 2000; Sahay 2015). However, unlike the MBCs or the non-Jatav Dalits, Jatavs have challenged the Jat dominance in some of these villages (see Singh 1992: 103–9). The fact that Mayawati as the chief minister of UP had once arrested the powerful farmer and Jat leader Mahendra Singh Tikait for his allegedly derogatory remarks is indicative of growing assertion of Dalits. One Congress Dalit leader from Muzaffarnagar, who was once a communist, and was a member of the UP Vidhan Sabha, attributed this change to the leadership qualities of Mayawati. He said: ‘Just like “dictatorship of proletariat” was good for the poor in Stalin’s Russia, the “dictatorship of Mayawati” is good for Dalits. It is because of this dictatorship that dominant castes are controlled for the good of Dalits’.26

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The village Sakarpur Kalan of Baghpat district represents a typical case where the pattern of dominance over the low castes – MBCs, minority high castes, Dalits (Balmikis or non-Jatavs, excepting Jatavs) – has remained unchanged. Here, Jats’ relationship with the contingent factors is positive. This village has 65% Jat population, 35% Muslims and rest are Dhinwars, Jatavs and Dhanaks (weavers); and Jats are economically better off than other castes, generally engaged in agriculture and service (generally in the police). The non-Jats are landless. Jats form such dominant position in several villages of this area, known as ‘Jat bastion’ or ‘Jat belt’. The legacy of bhaiachara system has contributed to continuation of their control on land, and social dominance. An instance of rivalry between a Kumhar (MBCs) and a Jat is relevant here. To ‘teach’ the former a lesson, the Jat claimed that the Kumhar had illicit sexual relations with a minor, the daughter of a neighbour from the Nai caste (MBC) (a case of moral policing). The Jats of the village punished the Kumhar: blackened his face and made him sit astride a donkey and paraded him, and allegedly urinated into his mouth; they also threatened to force him to leave the village. In another case a Balmiki was evicted by Jats for not having repaid a compound interest loan he had taken from the latter. 27 Rankhandi: Rajputs as the most influential caste (Saharanpur district) Observations from Rankhandi village situated in Deoband Tehsil of Saharanpur district (one of the three Rajput villages visited in that tehsil) show that the power relations remain tilted in favour of Rajputs, the traditional dominant caste in several villages in this area, known as the ‘Rajput bastion’ or ‘Rajput belt’: however, the Rajputs, despite being a dominant caste here, do not arbitrate disputes, if one of the caste involved in the disputes is Jatav. The reason, mentioned earlier, for this is that the high castes are wary: they are indicted under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Protection of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Rankhandi is populated by 80% Rajputs, followed by Dalits and other castes. The Rajputs are engaged in agriculture and services. A Jatav (Dalit) boy was beaten up by a Gadaria (MBC) boy. The matter was resolved through the arbitration of a representative each from the Gadaria and Jatav castes, to the exclusion of the Rajput dominant caste. The situation is very different from the past when the Rajput dominant caste could not be ignored, even if Jatavs were party to the dispute. But if Rajputs are a party to the dispute involving a Dalit or any low caste, it is the writ of the Rajputs that prevails. In a case concerning a dispute over a 2.5-acre piece of land between Dalits (Jatav) and Rajputs, the Dalit respondent claims to have won the case in court (Dalits in this village were given land with pattas by the Congress government during emergency). However, due to the connivance

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of the police, Dalits have yet not been allowed to claim it. But, the Rajput dominance over the MBCs remains intact. In another village (Lalwala), in a dispute between two persons from the Dhinwar (MBC) over the outlet of water from a drain, it was a Rajput who resolved the matter. However, a change can be noted even in power relations between the Rajputs and the MBCs since the 1980s. Earlier, such arbitration by the Rajputs was suomoto/uninvited, now it is only at the MBCs’ invitation. Brahmin Bastion The status of Brahmins of western UP presents a contradictory picture. They do not enjoy a superior social status to and economic condition independent of the intermediate castes such as Jats, Gujars or Rajputs in those villages where the latter were the peasant-proprietors under the bhaiachara system. However, in villages with a bhaiachara legacy (contingent factor) where Brahmins were the peasant-proprietors, and where the constant factors are positively related to them they do constitute a dominant and influential caste. Brahmins in villages such as Ghasauli, Dabka and Arnavali constitute a dominant caste; they not only control the land, but until the introduction of reservations for SCs and OBCs in the village panchayats, they also controlled them. They generally combine agriculture with middleclass professions – teachers and government servants. WNE Rajasthan In Rajasthan the principal issues in power relations centre around feudal remnants, i.e., the low castes’ adherence to certain cultural code of behaviour. Such behaviour includes low castes’ obligation to pay obeisance to the high castes such as Rajputs or intermediate castes (Jats), to not approach the state agencies (police or court) rather accept the arbitration of the traditionally influential castes, to not fetch water from or bathe in common village pond or other public sources, serving tea to the Dalits in separate (plastic cups) manipulation/distribution of help under government schemes, etc. After merger of the princely states with the Union of India and the formation of Rajasthan state, all four patterns of power relations mentioned earlier could be visible in the villages in my sample area: one, the first pattern showing shift in power relations from the traditional dominant caste (Rajputs) to the emergent one (Jats); two. showing erosion in the dominance of Jats over the lower castes such as Meghwals; third, showing perpetuation of the dominance of the traditionally dominant caste (Rajputs) and, fourth, replacement of the traditional castes as arbiters in the disputes with the state. The first pattern existed till the 1990s. The power relations in this pattern were marked by the shift in power to arbitrate village disputes from Rajputs 68

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to Jats in the Jat-dominated villages of Nagaur, Sikar and Jhunjhunu districts. During this period, unlike in the preceding one when the Rajputs arbitrated the village disputes, these were the Jats who used to arbitrate the disputes, and their views prevailed. It was so even though such meetings were attended by all castes. The Jats could occupy such positions because of the changes which took place in their social and economic conditions: even as the land reforms made them independent (as discussed earlier, Jats were among the principal beneficiaries of land reforms) of the dominance of Rajput jagirdars and bhomias, their effective numerical strength and emergence of new social classes such as middle classes or entrepreneurs, their growing political clout further added to their capacity to arbitrate. The second pattern, i.e., erosion in the power of Jats to arbitrate village disputes, especially those involving Jats and Dalits emerged in the 1990s. 28 The erosion in the dominance of the Jats was established following the abolition of jagirdari and bhomichara. Prior to the erosion in traditional power relations, the meeting for arbitration was attended by all castes, but it was largely opinion of Jats which had prevailed/their arbitration was accepted. The erosion was expressed through the defiance by the low castes, especially the Meghwals. However, unlike in some villages of western UP, Dalits in Rajasthan (Jatavs/Meghwals/ Bairwas) are not able to replace to the dominance of the intermediary caste (Jats); what they do is to resist the Jats’ attempt to dominate them. But the defiance of certain traditional codes, resistance to the dominance of the traditionally influential caste or not inviting the latter to arbitrate their disputes, building their own temples, using of common water resources, taking out marriage processions, etc., are indicative of erosion in power of the traditionally influential castes. Such behaviour resisted by the traditional dominant castes sometime results in caste clashes. This pattern is more common than the other three patterns in Rajasthan. A case about the land dispute which took place in 2015 in Dangawas village of Nagaur district is relevant here. Located in the ‘Jat bastion’, village Dangawas has 25,000 households, which consist of 12,000 (72%) Jats and 130 Meghwals/Dalit (5.20%) households. In March 2015, a clash took place between Meghwals resulting in the murder of one Jat and five Meghwals with several of the latter injured. The source of dispute was a piece of 3.77-hectare land. The dispute originated in 1964 when the land was either sold or mortgaged by a Meghwal (Dalit) to a Jat. 29 Since then the land was tilled by the Jat. After a few years, the descendants of the Meghwal claimed that as per Section 42 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955, which prohibits sale or transfer of property owned by a Scheduled Caste (Dalit) person to a non-Scheduled person, the sale of land did not happen. This led to a legal dispute between the Meghwal and the Jat. And the court ruled in favour of the former. Jats convened a meeting (panchayat in the village) and summoned the Meghwal to the Panchayat (see Rajalakshmi 2015). The Meghwal instead of attending the meeting allegedly opened fire 69

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killing one Jat. The Jats in retaliation chased Meghwals, who were fleeing fearing the reprisal from Jats. As Jats were chasing the Meghwals on tractors, five Meghwals died after being hit by the tractors, and several were injured.30 The first pattern discussed above continued so long as the traditional social and economic relations between the Jats and Meghwals remained intact, where the former were generally land owners and the latter were agricultural labourers. This pattern was disturbed within three to four decades following the merger of the princely states with the Union of India. The principal reasons for the disturbance of traditional relations and emergence of the second pattern lie in maturation by the 1990s of the changes that had taken place in the village political economy in the preceding decades. These changes in Rajasthan, as discussed earlier, are the emergence of new social classes among castes, diversification of occupations and loosening of traditional economic and social bonds between Jats and Dalits. In addition, rise in the consciousness among Dalits about their rights and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, activities of democratic civil society organizations including CDR (discussed in Chapter 5) and lack of interest among the high/intermediate caste to arbitrate disputes unless they are party to it caused disruption in the traditional patterns of relations between Jats and Meghwals. Consequently, the Meghwals defy the traditional code of behaviour and refuse to accept the arbitration in disputes by the Jats; they also resist attempts by the Jats to dominate them. This often results in clashes between Jats and the Meghwals. It is important to note that these changes have not resulted in absolute erosion in the powers of influential castes such as Jats and have not led to shift of power in favour of the low castes (unlike some villages in western UP); they, however, have eroded the power of the former, including their role to arbitrate village disputes. In the Dangawas case, the person from the Meghwal caste used his awareness about the legal provision which bans sale or transfer of the land from a SC (Dalit) to the non- SC (Jat). Having failed to get a favourable court verdict in the case, the Jat sought to take recourse to the traditional way of arbitration – calling a meeting of (Jat) Panchayat and summoning the Meghwal to the meeting, in which the Meghwal allegedly shot dead a Jat provoking the Jats to crush three Meghwals under tractors and injure several others. The example of the third pattern of power relations in my sample, i.e., continuance of dominance of traditionally influential caste such as Rajputs without erosion, is available from Koleli village of Jhunjhunu district. In this village, they not only dominate economic and social affairs of the village but also arbitrate disputes among different castes in the village. As mentioned earlier, Rajputs constitute around 45% of households in this village. Unlike in the Jat-dominated villages, the land reforms in this village 70

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have not eroded the influence of the Rajputs. However, their class differentiation within the Rajputs have widened, Rajputs as a caste continued to wield influence in the village. The principal factors that enable Rajputs to continue hold influence on power relations in this village lie in their positive relations with the constant and contingent factors: numerical strength, their consolidation in the ‘Rajput Bastion’ of Jhunjunu district and control on larger part of village economy (which is supplemented with government jobs and business), their connections with political and administrative power structures at the district or higher levels, and impact of historical legacy which was marked by their control on social and economic systems in the villages. However, in extreme cases it is the state/police/court which is approached to intervene. Such cases generally are related to disputes among the Rajputs. Regarding the fourth pattern, the space for arbitration vacated by the village traditional influential castes in several areas of Rajasthan is being occupied by the state (mentioned in the fourth pattern below) and the civil society organizations (both caste associations and democratic civil society organizations in the state; as will be discussed in Chapter 6, civil society organizations mobilize Dalits or other social groups). About the replacement of the village-level dominant castes by the state, my observations in Khansauli village of Churu district are relevant. In this village, the role of the traditional influential castes – Jats and Brahmins as arbitrators of disputes has been replaced by the state machinery  – police or court. This Jat- dominated village has 16 castes with 635 households: Jats (40%); Brahmins (17.32%); Rajputs (0.15%); Sainis (18.27%); Kumhars (4.25%); Nais (0.79%); Meghwals (11.81%) and others (8.2% households belonging to several castes or caste groups  – Banias Swamis, Meenas, Naiks, Charan, Khatis and Muslims). It was after a dispute between Charan caste and Muslims relating land could not be resolved by the arbitrators consisting of Jats and Brahmins that one of the parties in dispute had filed a First Information Report (FIR) with the police against its rival in the dispute. Since then disputing groups no longer approach the village community: they approach the state. As mentioned earlier, the political economy of this village has witnessed significant changes including new social classes – middle classes, entrepreneurs and migrant workers to west Asia. This has loosened the traditional bonds. In such a situation, the influential persons in the village are no longer interested in arbitrating disputes in the villages. One lawyer in Churu who deals with village disputes attributed this to the rising consciousness among people about rights and role of the state. About the arbitration by civil society organizations, in a dispute about sharing of water between two politically influential farming castes  – Jats (upper OBCs) and the Sainis (MBCs), in a village of Sikar district, the Jats approached the president of the Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha rather than the village-level caste groups for arbitration in the dispute. 71

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The president of the Mahasabha advised them to move cautiously, as the Sainis belonged to the castes of the opposition leader, Ashok Gehlot in the state assembly. 31 The supra-local ­ ​­ caste dominance The positive change in the patterns of power relations at the village level in favour of low castes, Dalits and MBCs in western UP is visible only in the context of specific villages. It gives a disaggregated local picture, where the Dalits or MBCs such as Sainis have positive relationships with the contingent factors: where they form larger population, are politically effective because of their consolidation and are economically independent of the intermediary castes (Jats) or high castes, and where contingent factors have also been positively linked to them – legacy of zamindari in which land reforms benefited them; emergence of new social groups and associated non-traditional occupations, strong impact of the ideas and life of Ambedkar. But if we aggregate the picture of different villages into a supra-local region/group of villages, the dominance of the low castes such as Jatavs or Sainis in specific villages gets subordinated to the influence of traditional dominant castes in a region such as Jats in Meerut, Muzaffarnagar or Bagphat districts. Unlike these villages, in the region that constitutes several villages with different profiles, the constant and contingent factors are positively related to the intermediary castes/upper OBCs such as Jats or high castes (Rajputs and Brahmins), not the Jatavs or Sainis. In addition, they also have nexus with criminals and patronage of the main political parties in the state. For example, pradhans in some villages (where their castes – Jatavs or Sainis (MBCs) form influential castes) prior to 73rd Constitutional Amendment were subjected to coercion in the election to the post of block pramukh (who was indirectly elected by village pradhans) by the rival candidates contesting for the post. The latter belonged to the traditionally dominant castes such as Jats. The coercion included kidnapping the village pradhans to some unknown tourist resorts; the rival candidates for block pramukh’s post competed with each other to control the votes of village pradhans. They were kept in the confinement till the block pramukh’s election was over. They were threatened with murder, in case they attempted to escape from the confinement. Two village pradhans, one Saini (MBC) and another Jatav (Dalit) shared their experiences with me. After the introduction of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment, the block pramukhs are elected indirectly by the members of the BDC (Block Development Committees), not by the village pradhans unlike before. Some BDC members were also coerced in the election for block pramuk. To sum up, power relations between different castes of my sample  – Dalits, MBCs, intermediary caste (Jats), and high castes – have undergone significant changes since the 1950s. The most prominent indicator of these 72

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changes is changing occupational profiles of castes, especially diversification of castes traditional occupations: emergence of footloose labour, entrepreneurs, rise of ‘rural-urban middle class’, and migration (WNE Rajasthan). This has loosened the hold of traditional occupations on power relations among castes. In some villages of western UP, Dalits (Jatavs) and Sainis (MBCs) have become influential castes, even as other MBCs (Nais, Kumhars, Gadarias, Kahars) remain uninfluential. There, however, are variations in these changes regarding the same castes located in different areas, and between different castes. These variations occur due to the differences in relationships that various castes have with the constant and contingent factors in western UP and WNE in Rajasthan. The issues discussed in this chapter will be alluded to explain the politics of social, cultural and politics recognition of different castes in the following chapters.

Notes

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from eating with Rajput students (Interview with Tejpal Singh, whose father, a Jat CPI leader from Meerut, had experienced such discrimination in Rajasthan, 1985, Meerut). Not even the Maharaja of Bharatpur was spared from such indignities. He was prevented by the Rajput maharaja to bathe in a ghat prohibited for Jats and other non-Rajputs (see Datta 1999). To protest this restriction on them, Jats held a Prajapati Maha Yagna in January 1934; this was a huge yagna in which Jats rode elephant in defiance of the Sikar thikana (Sisson 1969: 952, fn.21); see also (Chakravarti 1975: 50–55). As the Rajputs were not a homogenous group, land reforms did not have a uniform impact on them. Anand Chakravarti (1975: 53–54) noted that in Devisar village of Rajasthan in the first half of the twentieth century, the time when the Rajput bhomias/Jagirdars reigned supreme in the villages, some Rajput bhomias were indebted to persons of low caste like the Sonar and Dhobi, and some of them were forced to undertake manual work (Chakravarti 1975: 53–54, 66, 71). On heterogeneity of the Rajputs see also H. Singh (2014). Interview: Ishwar Lal Bairwa, Jaipur, 16 October 2006, Jaipur. The Nais’ families, including women and children, had to render services to the patrons in addition to cutting hair linked to the traditional jajmani system. The entire family of a Nai had to render services to the patrons, apart from being party to the rituals, etc., and the women were required to undertake daily ­jhadu-pochha ​­ (sweeping and mopping), remove the louse from the hair of the patron women, and wash utensils daily. Besides, they had to render services to the patron’s family on occasions such as marriage, death, birth, etc. They were usually paid in kind. The Nais felt that such services of the Nai’s family, apart from cutting hair, were demeaning and obnoxious. While they wished to continue cutting hair, they did not want their women to do the daily ­jhadu – pochha. When they put their proposal to the patrons, the latter opposed it. The Nais resorted to a strike and stopped cutting hair and providing other services. The Jats resisted this move through physical assault on the striking Nais, imposing sanctions, forcing them to leave the villages, etc. In one village, the poor Nais’ families were denied water from Jats’ tube-well. Finding it difficult to withstand the sanctions, the Nais were forced to withdraw the strike, and surrender to the patrons’ conditions. With reference to change in the social profiles of the India’s new capitalists, Harish Damodaran notices an entry of peasant castes of North India (Punjab) into the class of new capitalists, though in comparison to South and West India the business class in North India largely belongs to the traditional castes – Bania Marwari or Khatris. A section of persons with an agriculturist background in north (Punjab) have invested ‘agriculture surpluses’ into ‘petty business’ such as ‘transport, petrol pumps, shopping complexes, cinema theatres, marriage halls in Chandigarh and Ludhiana’ (Damodaran 2008). ‘Business’ is, in fact, a misleading category. In these cases, it is virtually a camouflage for un/under employment, involving a non-agrarian activity relating to buying and selling things. Some from the peasant families, especially the educated ones, have opened medical stores, tea shops and dhabas. It also involves an informal form of arrangement for self- employment. I am thankful to Mohan Kumar, Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur, and to Santosh Kumar Saini, an Advocate and leader of an unorganized labourers’ union, Churu for sharing their insights with me. They were in fact enterprising Punjabi refugees, who migrated from Pakistan after the partition of India, engaged Dalits to supply animal hide and labour to sports factories which they had set up after the Partition. I am grateful to

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15 16 17 18 19

20

21 22

23

24 25

Ovinder Pal for providing information about the Dalits in his village and his relatives who have been involved in the hide trade and production of sports goods. For conducting these interviews, I was helped by Girraj Prasad Bairwa, a lecturer in Political Science, Delhi University, who hails from Rajasthan and maintains contacts in his village. A section of India Inc. (Tata and Godrej Groups) recognizes the emergence of Dalit entrepreneurs and has entered into collaboration with them (The ­Economic Times, 17 December 2011). I am again grateful to Ovinder Pal for providing information about Dalits of his village. K.P Singh, a Jat from western UP, founder and CEO of the DLF (Delhi Land & Finance) Limited has emerged as one of India’s leading realtors (see Singh, K.P. 2011). It is important to underline that in western UP, there is the collapse of a taboo, i.e., prohibition of the sale/transfer of land by the agrarian castes, especially high/middle castes, Jats/Rajputs to the low castes, Dalits or MBCs. Doing so was usually considered a taboo almost till the 1970s. Now however the situation has completely changed and there are many instances of these castes having sold land to the lower castes, including Dalits. This statement is based on my discussion with Vasudev Sharma, a Brahmin and communist leader, and Laxman Sain, a government employee hailing from a village which has substantial Brahmin population in Jhunjhunu district held in Jaipur respectively on 25 December 2015 and 23 June 2017. Dube (1958: 28) observed that in Rankhandi village (Saharanpur), a few years after Independence, some persons from high castes were involved in occupations such as ‘tailoring’. In an instance of conflict between backward classes and Dalits, and within the backward classes, the party of the MBCs, Vanniyars in Tamil Nadu, sought to unite the intermediate castes by preventing the alleged misuse of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, opposing the inter- caste marriages. But reflecting conflict within the backward classes, this move was criticized by another Backward Class party, the DMK, and the left parties (see Kolappan 2012). In UP, the competition between the OBCs and Dalits was visible in the former’s opposition to the BSP proposal to give reservation to SCs in promotions (see Chapter 6). The differences within Dalits are visible in several states: e.g., between Malas and Madigas in Andhra Pradesh. Non-Jatav intellectuals among Dalits, those relating to the Balmikis said during my conversations or interviews with them that Jatavs in North India have appropriated the legacy of Ambedkar; the converts to Buddhism believe that it is their prerogative to be Buddhists; Ambedkarims and Ambedkar have become their bapauti (“inheritance”). Another Balmiki respondent, a joint registrar in a Central University, told me that Ambedkar belonged to their caste, as the occupation of Mahars like theirs was also to skin the carcasses. But, he further alleged that the Jatavs of UP have appropriated him and deprived the Balmikis of their claim to the legacy of Baba Saheb, as Ambedkar is reverentially called. Villages with substantial Dalit population were identified as Ambedkar villages by Mayawati governments and Mulayam Singh-led SP-BSP government for introducing welfare schemes (see also Pai 2002; Singh 2006). Hailing from this village, she is a Gadaria woman politician who was first a member of the BSP and unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections on

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26 27 28

29

30

31

a ticket from that party. She later joined the RLD and was elected to the UP Vidhan Sabha from the Ramraj constituency on its ticket in a by- election. Personal discussion, name withdrawn, 10 Sept. 2010, Muzaffarnagar. Gaurang R. Sahay’s study also confirms continuation of Jats’ dominance in villages of Baghpat district (see Sahay 2015). Based upon my discussion with Ram Bux Jat, formerly a professor in Jawharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, who hails from a neighbouring village in Nagaur, 15 May 2018; interviews: P.L. Mimorth and Chandalal Bairwa, 24, June 2017, Jaipur. There are two versions about the dispute; one by (Rajalakshmi 2015) and Jat discussants, and another by the unpublished report of FFT (Fact-Finding Team) of the CDR (Centre for Dalit Rights), which I received from the CDR office in Jaipur. The former says the land was sold to a Jat by a Dalit; the latter version states that the land was not sold but was mortgaged to the Jat by the Dalit against money borrowed from the former, which the Jat attempted to usurp. The versions of the violence are disputed: one, given by Jats mentioned that it was the Meghwal, who opened fire killing a Jat in the panchayat; another, given by the Dalit activists who said these were the Jats who attacked the Dalits first in which a Jat got killed. Notably, while the Dalit version did not mention that the fire was opened by the Dalit killing a Jat, the Jats did not mention that the tractors hit Dalits. Personal observation in the office of Jat Mahasabha, 16 October 2006, Jaipur.

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2 ­­CAST E-BASED ​­­ PU BLIC I N T ELLECT UALS (CBPIS)

Introduction In the previous chapter, I have discussed the transformation that has taken place in political economy of castes – the decoupling of traditional social and political structures associated with the jajmani system, changes in occupational profiles of castes, the loosening of traditional bonds and emergence of new social classes. One consequence of this transformation has been the rise of the Caste-Based Public Intellectuals (CBPIs). As I have mentioned in the Introduction, the CBPIs are among three agencies involved in the competitive politics of the castes in my sample, the other two agencies being caste organizations (Chapter 3) ­ and ­­caste-based ​­­ parties (Chapter 4). ­ This chapter is about the CBPIs. Discussion on the CBPIs in a chapter is relevant because they play a crucial role in almost all issues that are concerns of the book. Indeed, as it will become obvious in the narrative of this chapter, the CBPIs are engaged in competitive efforts to seek social and cultural recognition of their respective castes by creating awareness about them – their ‘glorious’ past and virtues, sacrifices made and discrimination suffered by them, significance of their cultural symbols; by launching caste literature, holding ‘minds meet’ (brainstorming sessions), conferences, seminars, etc., conceiving of programmes and strategies to be followed by the respective castes or the state. Besides, the caste intellectuals also establish caste associations and federations, and caste-based parties (in western UP). And the ideas and perceptions conceived by them shape programmes of the caste organizations, caste-based parties and help in the formation of caste identities; the CBPIs also provide leadership to the caste organizations and caste-based parties (Chapters 3 and 4), and caste mobilization in the community affairs (Chapter 3) and in political aspects (Chapters 5 and 6). In this chapter, I shall deal with the CBPIs from Dalits, MBCs, Jats and high castes in my sample in western UP and WNE Rajasthan. The CBPIs are those public intellectuals who are concerned with the issues of specific groups such as castes. Public intellectuals are persons who ‘frequently concern themselves with issues related to human rights and to the functioning 77

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of society, such that it ensures the primary social justice’ (Thapar 2015: 1). The latter covers several issues, which inter alia includes questioning ‘well established authorities’ of ‘religion, state or anything else’ (see ibid: 1–2). The public intellectuals belonging to different castes, especially the MBCs and Dalits are competing to question the established caste-based hierarchy or to prove that the symbols related to their caste are not inferior to those of anybody else. I use the term CBPIs for what the respondents of different castes allude to as ‘intellectuals of society’ (Samaj Ke Buddhijivi). They refer to such people as ‘intellectuals of society’ who are concerned about their castes, and work for them in some form or other. They use the concept samaj as synonymous with caste. It is not necessary that the CBPIs possess formal qualifications or other visible material attributes. The primary criterion to qualify as a CBPI should be to feel concerned about the welfare of her/his caste and work towards it. The CBPIs speak in terms of social justice, self-respect, equity, justice, empowerment and recognition for their castes/societies. This chapter addresses the following questions: how is the role of CBPIs in politics of cultural recognition related to the larger argument of the book, i.e., the nature of relationship between castes and constant and contingent factors determines the former’s positions in Indian democracy; what factors have shaped the personalities of the CBPIs of the castes in my sample  – those from the MBCs, Dalits, Jats and high castes: their social, educational and family background, and impact of ideologies and of government policies such as reservation for jobs in public institutions on them? How are differences in levels of their activities related to the change in the nature/ extent of relationships between the CBPIs and constant and contingent factors? How affective are the Dalit and MBC intellectuals in public debates? What are the differences in the levels of activization of Dalit intellectuals in western UP and WNE Rajasthan in the politics of cultural recognition or what are the attitudes of Dalits and MBCs towards the high caste values and alternative cultural codes such as Sanskritization, Ambedkarization or de-Sanskritization? How do the high caste intellectuals get involved in politics of cultural recognition or how do they react to self-mobilization of Dalit and MBC intellectuals for the recognition of cultural rights? The chapter argues that through their CBPIs different castes as discrete units are involved in competitive politics of social and cultural recognition, and contribute to generate consciousness about the rights in their respective castes. However, there are differences in the levels of their activities: (i) a generational gap exists among the low castes/CBPIs (especially Dalits and MBCs) between those born before and after Independence about their attitude towards the cultural symbols/customs of the high castes, the former following the high caste values (Sanskritization), the latter abandoning them (de-Sanskritization); (ii) the ideologies play an important role in influencing the outlook of CBPIs; the low castes and intermediate castes/ 78

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upper OBC intellectuals generally following ideologies of social justice and change, and those of high caste follow the ideologies of status quo or social conservatism; (iii) in both areas of the study, in comparison to the CBPIs from the low castes (Dalits and MBCs) and intermediate caste/upper OBCs (Jats), the high caste CBPIs are less active; (iv) Dalit intellectuals are more active in western UP than in WNE Rajasthan; MBC intellectuals are active in both areas and (v) their role in public debate is limited: unlike the non- CBPIs, public intellectuals who participate in public debate through newspapers or television debates, with few exceptions,1 the space of public debate of the CBPIs among Dalits and MBCs is confined to their caste literature (caste magazines, journals), informal and word-of-mouth discussions, castes’ brainstorming sessions (‘Minds Meet’), coordination-meetings of different MBC and Dalit CBPIs. How to explain these patterns? The central argument of the book elaborated upon in the Introduction mentions that the extent of castes’ participation and accommodation in democratic processes and institutions depends on the nature of their relations with the constant and contingent factors, and it varies in the context of time and space. This argument is also true about the extent and differences in the levels of roles of the CBPIs in the politics of social and cultural recognition. As mentioned in the central argument generally contingent factors  – numerical strength, political consolidation of castes in an area and economic conditions of castes – determine the extent of castes’ political mobilization (by political parties and civil societies), representation and accommodation in political organizations or public institutions (discussed in Chapters 4–6), but with reference to the social and cultural activities of the low caste (Dalits and MBCs), it is generally the lack of their exposure to the formal educational institutions, 2 and contingent factors such as intracaste intellectual conflict and competition which account for their limited participation in public debate. The main reason why the MBC intellectuals are socially and culturally more active in both states is the fact that they have a legacy (a contingent factor) of cooperation and coordination which the previous generation of MBC intellectuals had in both states, and the contemporary generation continues to maintain it; the Dalit intellectuals in UP like the MBCs also have a legacy of intellectual movement there, which those in Rajasthan conversely lack; besides, in the post-I ndependence period the most articulate Dalit intellectuals in Rajasthan have been part of broad democratic movement adversely affecting the growth of exclusively caste-based Dalit movement; for them protection of extant rights rather than search for an alternative culture have been the main priority, and impact of Ambedkarism, ideology of alternative cultural movement, has been less effective in Rajasthan than in UP. Regarding attempts of high castes for social and cultural recognition, it is argued that they do not question caste-based symbols/social hierarchy in the way the low castes do because the social hierarchy is favourably inclined towards them. If at all they do 79

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get involved in cultural politics of recognition they do through politics of inverse cultural recognition in reaction to the low castes because of fear of being culturally marginalized by the low caste assertion; there is an attempt on the part of the high castes to prove that they also have a cultural legacy which is not less significant than those of Dalits and MBCs. The chapter has three sections. Section I distinguishes concept of CBPIs from other social classes/groups such as middle classes or politicians. Section II situates the CBPIs in a historical context and discusses the role of ideology and reservation in the making of the MBC and Dalit CBPIs. Section III seeks to explain the differences in the roles of CBPIs by dividing them into two phases and by showing generational gaps in the attitudes of intellectuals from low caste and intermediary castes about high caste values and customs: Sanskritization phase and de-Sanskritization phase, and it explains the differences in the role of intellectuals of the MBCs, Dalits and Upper OBCs, and that of the high caste CBPIs in the light of the central argument of the book.

I The CBPIs, the middle classes and the political élite, fixers/intermediaries The CBPIs should not be confused with the middle classes, the political élite such as politicians in a community or intermediaries between society/caste/ community and the state. Generally, the concern of the CBPIs is focussed and limited: as mentioned above – social justice, self-respect, equity, justice, empowerment and recognition for their castes/societies. Unlike the CBPIs, the interests of the other groups are much broader; politicians’ interest to gain power; intermediaries’ power; money/commission and networking. However, some of the CBPIs may also graduate into becoming politicians, bargain for their share of power by trading on their weight of caste or become fixers (see also Reddy and Haragopal 1985; Jeffrey 2010). Middle class is more a professional term that denotes the position of a person in terms of occupation, income group, etc. A middle- class person may belong to a particular caste and yet not be active about issues relating to the caste, but may however respond to the appeals of the CBPIs of his/ her community. The concept of CBPIs also needs to be distinguished from that of élite. The élite of a community may possess attributes to justify being categorized as the élite: education, economic means and even political power, but may still not qualify to be recognized as the CBPIs of a community. However, if a CBPI also belongs to the middle class or the élite within the community, s/he is in a better position to play an effective role in the affairs of the community. Indeed, specialists in various professions are not same as public intellectuals, though sometimes the former replace the latter 80

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(see Thapar 2015: 18–19). As will be discussed in different sections of this chapter the CBPIs of my sample consist of middle- class persons: teachers, lawyers, government employees and politicians. But the principal criterion which defines the CBPIs is not their position as a professional; rather it is their concern for the social justice to their community. Thus, not all élites or the middle- class persons are the CBPIs. Sometimes the distinctions among the CBPIs, élite and middle classes belonging to different castes are blurred or overlap. This blurring is more prominent in case of Dalit politicians, CBPIs and a section of their middle class than in those from the MBCs or other castes/caste groups. Though the politicians among them are ruled by the general ideological orientation of their respective political parties, they also continue to work as CBPIs of their caste/caste group, in the sense that the issues relating to their castes dominate their agenda. It is, however, a different matter how effective or active they are in articulating this agenda. It is important to note here that those who have joined a party that does not give priority to the Dalit agenda and have even backtracked from their radicalism or have compromised with the forces of status quo and conservatism, as I shall mention later had been initiated into public life through Ambedkarism, Marxism or Socialism. A large number of them began as Ambedkarites and subsequently ended up joining the forces of Hindutva against which Ambedkar had revolted. Some even question the relevance of Ambedkarism. Many of these ideologues float organizations with the claim that they are apolitical, but in the course of time they emerge as the affiliates of political parties or give birth to political parties. It must be noted that all of them, including those in the conservative or communist political formations, both critical of Ambedkarism for different reasons, swear by B.R. Ambedkar. The fixers are also different from the CBPIs; the primary aim of the former is personal aggrandizement, and that of the latter is to safeguard the cause of their caste/caste group. However, some of CBPIs nurse political ambitions, and also work as middlemen/fixers between people and power structure, etc. Generally, the CBPIs turned middlemen’s range of operation is confined to their caste/caste groups. And in such cases they have no compunction even in harming the interests of their caste/caste group fellows in order to satisfy their personal interests. In my sample, the CBPIs exist at all vertical levels of the spaces: villages/towns, district headquarters and states. The most effective of them are the original inhabitants of the cities or prominent immigrants into the cities, especially the district headquarters and Delhi in search of diverse occupations: teaching, quackery, practising law, doctors, other white- collar jobs, businessmen/contractors, retired government employees, service providers, working in barber’s salons, wage labourers and litterateurs (Dalits), caste ‘historians’ or hagiographers. Not all of them are holders of high 81

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educational degrees (Dalits); many drop out before reaching universities or colleges. They are very effective links between the community, society and the state. Not all of them participate in the public arena, but contribute to caste mobilization in informal ways.

II The book focusses on the role of the CBPIs in the post-Independence period, especially since the 1990s. The CBPIs in this period, especially among the MBCs, represent a departure in that they provide an alternative leadership to the CBPIs of their castes from preceding generation  – period (1930s–1940s). Indeed, they are critical of ­­­­­pre-Independence ​­­ their predecessors; the latter largely sought to follow high caste values signifying Sanskritization, the former discarded Sanskritization signifying de- Sanskritization. Therefore, I shall discuss the role CBPIs in the post-I ndependence period by referring to the role of the CBPIs in the preIndependence period. The reference to the latter is important as vision of the former grew out of the critique of the latter (discussed in the next section). This will provide a historical context to the growth of the CBPIs born in the post-Independence period. Indeed, four contingent factors have played a decisive role in shaping the visions of the CBPIs among the Dalits and MBCs in the post-Independence periods – an intellectual legacy from the pre-I ndependence period, role of ideologies, the state policies, especially reservation in government jobs, and realization on their part to get social, cultural and political recognition.

Situating the CBPIs A ground for the role of the CBPIs in the post-Independence period had already been laid by the caste magazines and journals in the first half of the twentieth century. Indeed, the caste-media had been the most effective tool in their growth and emergence. By the 1930s, there was no caste or caste group in my sample – the high castes, intermediary caste (Jats), Dalits or MBCs which did not have its intellectuals. One reason for this was the spread of education. The high castes – Brahmins and Rajputs, and the intermediary castes (Jats) had already opened their caste-managed educational institutions. Accordingly, they were better-placed to breed intellectuals in the pre-Independence period. It needs to be noted however that although the Dalits and MBCs did not have their own caste-managed educational institutions, their wards could be admitted into the high caste and middle ­­caste-managed ​­­ institutions.3 Notwithstanding the financial hardship and social discrimination they faced, a generation of low caste CBPIs, Dalits and MBCs, had emerged by the first half of the twentieth century, and this trend continues to this day.4 82

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It was virtually in the post-Independence period that Dalits had an opportunity to receive education (earlier, education, including that of B.R. Ambedkar, was rare and fraught with many hardships). Besides, they have also set up a large number of Ambedkar schools and colleges, especially in western UP. Some of these are unaided and unrecognized schools (see Singh 2006). This has resulted in the emergence of a middle class and intellectuals among Dalits and the low castes.5 Even OBCs have set up educational institutions named after their icons. It needs to be noted that many MBC intellectuals, as stated later, were not fortunate to receive formal education and generally studied as private candidates or correspondence students.

Ideologies and caste politics Ideologies have always defined the place of castes in power relations, social/cultural, economic and political aspects. They have also inspired the castes to strive to get for themselves appropriate recognition. In India, there have simultaneously existed multiple cultural and ideological traditions: dominant Hindu values, reformist Arya Samaj values, Bhakti traditions, socialism/Marxism and Ambedkarism. These have both been acquiesced in and contested at the same time. One ideological trend played a dominant role at one point of time, while others have been less dominant but never been entirely absent. As discussed later, the high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) have shown a propensity towards the ideologies of status quo or even reforms. Although Dalits, MBCs and the intermediary castes/upper OBCs like the Jats have shown a preference to all these ideologies at one or another point of time, it is especially, an ideology that professes social justice – equity, self-respect, dignity, social change, which attracted Dalits and MBCs more. These could be Marxism/Naxalism, socialism/Lohiaism, Ambedkarism, the ideas of Phule or Periyar, or in a specific context even the Arya Samaj and Hindutva. Indeed, generally the ideologies which are against any form of discrimination/exploitation, exclusion attracted them. However, their acceptance changed in relation to the context of time and space. There is a popular belief that ideology in Indian politics has become irrelevant. Such belief is based on a narrow definition of politics: institutional politics (electoral politics/government formations) or opportunism in politics. In view of this, politicians are more concerned with their own interests or with the question of how to acquire power and how to retain it. They have no ideology or they compromise it. In the ultimate analysis, there is no difference in the nature of the values of politicians or political parties. Coalition politics is the most explicit form of the erosion of ideology. This view is not universally tenable. If politics is viewed in wider context, beyond elections and formations of governments, ideology is the most effective factor in Indian politics. This is reflected in the rise of the 83

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Dalits and MBCs, the upper OBCs and the BSP. As I have noted above, the ideologies of change that have impacted the Dalits have been wide and varied. These ideologies attracted different castes in different times and places. Despite their internal differences, they had one thing in common: the message of equity and recognition to all. As will be discussed later, it is due to the inspiration of ideologies of change that we witness the rise of low castes in India: Ambedkarism accounted for the emergence of Dalits; ideologies of Lohia and Phule contributed to the emergence of the OBCs, especially an upper section; the bhakti tradition inspired the MBCs to discover/invent alternative traditions. Even some Dalit and OBC intellectuals got initiated into the public life through the influence of Marxism (through the student wings of the CPM (SFI) or through Naxalism, though subsequently they abandoned Marxism in favour of Ambedkarism or combined Marxism with caste ideology). Indeed, it has been the cumulative impact of the legacies of Ambedkar, Charan Singh and Lohia, notwithstanding their contradictions, that has resulted in the rise of Dalits and backward classes in the Hindi belt (see Singh 1998, 2014). However, after having emerged as a political and social force, many of Dalit/MBC intellectuals/political élite took recourse to the manipulative or opportunist means in order to enter institutional politics. This does not mean that ideologies have become irrelevant. On the contrary, ideologies have proven to be a powerful instrument in the empowerment of the Dalits and backward classes.

Reservation and the CBPIs As mentioned earlier, the CBPIs are different from the middle classes and political élite, though in some cases they may overlap each other. Even as the Dalit CBPIs are beneficiaries of reservation policies, those among the MBCs are not. In my sample, out of 39 CBPIs, 29 (7 Dalits and 22 MBCs) are entitled to get reservation benefit. But an analysis of their profiles shows that none of the CBPIs among the MBCs has been a beneficiary of the reservation in jobs or educational institutions. Indeed, unlike in the case of the Dalits (SCs) for whom the reservation policy was introduced in the 1940s, for the OBCs (which constituted the MBCs) it was not introduced before 1970s in the Hindi-speaking states. And the MBC intellectuals had already arisen by then. Though some of the MBC intellectuals, as will be mentioned below, were highly qualified and held important positions – school headmasters/principals, government employees, advocates, they got these positions not because of reservation policies. They got them before reservations for OBCs were introduced. The more contributory factors to the growth of MBC intellectuals than the reservation were the factors which have been discussed in the previous chapter, especially disintegration of traditional ­­jajmani-based occupations and loosening of traditional caste bonds. In fact, as will be discussed in Chapter 6, these are the MBC intellectuals (along 84

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with their caste organizations) who demand sub-division of the OBC quota between the upper OBCs and MBCs. All seven Dalit CBPIs in my sample have been beneficiary of reservation policy as government employees; one of them left government job to become a lawyer, and devoted full time to the Dalits’ issues, and another started working in the caste association after retiring as peon in a government. The only Balmiki (Ati-Dalit) CBPI is an illiterate person, and he works in the sanitation office, Rajasthan. Undoubtedly, a section of Dalits benefited from reservation policy in getting government jobs. But my observations from western UP show that the impact of reservation on Dalits or rise of middle class among Dalits was a gradual process. Though a few individuals from some villages near Meerut city could get government jobs in the 1950s in the reserved category, it was in the late 1960s that a nascent middle class could emerge among them, generally as clerics or school teachers. For example, the first Dalit boy from village Khanauda to get a job (a clerk in the bank) was in the mid-1970s. But now there are more than 50 of them who have government jobs – police, army, clerks as beneficiaries of reservation policy. As discussed in Chapter 1, in village Shobhapur 20 Dalit beneficiaries of reservation policy are doctors, magistrates and clerks. My field work in Khansauli village of Rajasthan, interviews and discussions with ten Dalit teachers and research scholars hailing from the state and residing in Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur show that they belong to the third-generation beneficiaries of the reservation policy. One of them emphasized that his grandfather, who served as a worker in a factory made it a point to educate his father and uncles; they joined higherlevel government jobs benefiting from the reservation policy.

III Phases of intellectual growth The role of Dalit and MBC intellectuals belonging to the post-Independence generation in the politics for the recognition of cultural rights can better be understood with reference to their intellectuals born in the pre-Independence period. The former are engaged in creating alternative symbols of cultural recognition after having abandoned the cultural symbols which their predecessors had followed; the Dalit and MBC intellectuals in the pre-Independence period sought to follow Sanskritization, while those from the postIndependence period gave it up, marking a process of de-Sanskritization.6 In this context, I have divided the discussion on the CBPIs into two phases: one, the CBPIs of the Sanskritization phase (1920s–1950s), and two, the CBPIs of the de-Sanskritization phase (1950s onwards). Sanskritization has been one of the most significant features of social processes in India. It signifies a process in which the low castes seek to follow the habits, traditions and customs of the high castes; it is expressed by the low castes in terms of tracing descent 85

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to Brahmin or Kshatriya traditions by adding the suffix Kshatriya/Rajput, or Brahmin to the names of their caste organizations, magazines and the like.7 This is not of course invariably true. The low castes contest the notion of Sanskritization and seek to invent an alternative notion of self and their relationships. This process may be termed de-Sanskritization, the second phase. This phase has been marked by attempts on the part of MBC and Dalit CBPIs to carve out a separate identity and achieve recognition through different means: rejection of the homogenizing impact of Sanskritization, taking recourse to de-Sanskritization, inventing alternative symbols and institutions, constructing selective memories and founding their own newspapers and magazines. It, however, must be noted that though during the first phase when Sanskritization was a dominant process, de-Sanskritization had started among some sections of the Dalits and MBCs. A significant expression of deSanskritization can be seen in the impact of Ambedkarism, Bhakti traditions and a quest for alternative historical symbols not necessarily explained in terms of some established traditions. These alternative ideologies have given rise to the processes like Ambedkarization among Dalits (see Singh 1998), Sainization (the impact of Sain, a contemporary of Kabir) among Nais and impact of Daksh Prajapati among Kumhars (see Chapter 3). Dalits, MBCs and the intermediary castes had shown a propensity to Sanskritization as the dominant ideology until the 1950s and a rejection of Sanskritization in favour of de-Sanskritization in the following period. As will be mentioned in Chapter  3, even Jats’ reverence for the Arya Samaj is not indicative of Sanskritization among them, and is more akin to de-Sanskritization (see Majumdar 1958; Pimpley and Sharma 1985); this cannot be viewed as Sanskritization even though they claim Kshatriya descent. Phase I (1920s–1950s): Sanskritization CBPIs: the MBCs and Dalits The MBCs and Dalit intellectuals in UP underwent the process of Sanskritization during the pre-I ndependence period. They not only claimed high caste descent but also joined the Arya Samaj movement. Prominent MBC intellectuals of the Sanskritization phase who provided leadership to different discrete castes included: 11 Nais and 17 Gadarias, Kumhars, Dhinwars and Sainis. Their areas of activity fell principally in North India (UP and Punjab which included present-day Haryana) and Rajasthan, and they coordinated the activities of each other across these states. They consisted mainly of teachers and government employees, headmasters and principals in educational institutions, some holding high educational qualifications.8 This explains the question raised earlier, i.e., why in the contemporary period the MBCs are culturally active in both areas: they have inherited a legacy of cooperation and coordination of intellectuals across 86

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some Hindi-speaking areas, UP, Rajasthan and Haryana. However, the MBCs in WNE Rajasthan, unlike those in western UP, could not convert their social and cultural movements into single- caste parties: I shall explain this in Chapter 4. The Sanskritization among the MBCs during the pre-Independence period occurred under the influence of the Arya Samaj ideology. They took to wearing the sacred thread, janeu and initiated a large number of people into wearing it, fought against the consumption of alcohol and other social evils, opposed cow slaughter and supported the addition of the high caste suffix such as Purohit or Sharma to their names, and Brahman to the names of their caste organizations. For example, the Nais named their organization as Akhil Bharatiya Nai Brahman Mahasabha. The principles which Akhil Bharatiya Nai Brahman Mahasabha was supposed to follow were termed ‘nai Brahman siddhant’. They sought to trace their lineage in the Brahmin varna system by joining the Arya Samaj. Similarly, the Dhinwars rechristened their caste as Kashyap Rajput, the high caste Kshatriyas, and founded an organization called Akhil Bharatiya Kashyap Rajput Sabha (The Directory 1974; Smarika and Visheshank, 1976, 1983). Dalits in UP, however, unlike the MBCs, soon became critical of the Arya Samaj within a few years of joining it. They abandoned the Arya Samaj and its ideology and hegemonic Sanskritization and fell back upon alternative theories of their origin (for the relationship of Dalits with the Arya Samaj, see Gooptu 2001: 155–57). Achhutanand imbued them with confidence and a sense of recognition by propounding the thesis that Dalits were Adi-Hindus, or the original inhabitants of India, and not the high castes. In Punjab, Mangoo Ram argued that Dalits were Adi-dharmies (see Ram 2004). These alternative theories which questioned the hegemonic Arya Samaj or the Sanatani Hindu philosophy sought to give the Dalits of UP and Punjab a sense of their own identity and recognition. These alternative movements by Dalit intellectuals questioned the Sanskritization thesis and initiated a process of de-Sanskritization among them. As we shall notice in sub-section ­­ ​­­ ‘The MBC and Dalit CBPIs’, the de-Sanskritization ­­ ​­­ among the Dalits like the MBCs became a dominant feature in the post­­Independence period. In Rajasthan, origin of the pre-I ndependence period Dalit intellectuals can be traced to the emergence of the ‘dharmgurus’ in the late nineteenth century. Influenced by the multiple ideologies of Arya Samaj, bhakti traditions represented by Kabir and Ram Dev, the satnami traditions and Hindutva, the Raigar (a Dalit caste of Rajasthan) leadership founded caste organizations (see Shyamlal 2006: 53–54). However, unlike the Dalit intellectuals of UP, who established a separate identity by founding the Adi Hindu movement and rejecting the Arya Samaj within a few years of joining it, the Dalit leadership of Rajasthan of the same period did not carve out a separate identity. Rather, they showed a preference for Sanskritization 87

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by inventing a Kshatriya origin (see ibid). In Rajasthan, Dalits also did not come out of Arya Samaj fold unlike the Dalits in UP during the Sanskritization phase because of hold of feudal culture, lack of a Dalit movement seeking alternative cultural identity and existence of several princely states with varying levels of self-mobilization of Dalits.9 Unlike Dalit intellectuals during the Sanskritization phase in UP, who soon disassociated themselves from the Arya Samaj and sought to establish an autonomous identity, why did the MBC intellectuals in both areas generally continue to remain under the spell of the Arya Samaj and high caste ideology? The contemporary MBC intellectuals (post-Independence generation) explained the lack of efforts to carve out an alternative cultural identity/to quit Arya Samaj by their predecessors due to the fact that unlike Dalits of UP, the MBCs there were closely associated with the high castes through Jajmani customs, did not face untouchability and lacked cultural movement as the Dalits had through ­­Adi-Hindu or Adi-Dharam move​­­ ­­ ​­­ ment. Explaining the compulsions and contributions of the intellectuals of the Sanskritization phase, Kanhayya Lal Khawas, a Nai intellectual of the phase, wrote: ­­post-Sanskritization ​­­ That age (Sanskritization phase) was such that when all backward castes – Sutars, Kumhars, Darjis, Darogas, etc, were busy proving that they were themselves the descendants of the high castes. All backward castes, were competing with each other. This was the limitation of that work (of the intellectuals of the Sanskritization phase). Thus, Panditji (a Nai intellectual of the Sanskritization phase) also had to work under this limitation. The feeling of the self-respect among the backward castes had not woken up. – Under such circumstances this (Sanskritization) was the only way through which we could have got our identity/autonomy (swayatta), recognition and strength. – He (Pandit ji) did whatever he could under those circumstances. (Smarika and Visheshank 1976: 64–65), (translation mine) As we shall notice later, it was loosening of traditional bonds of Jajmani, and realization on the part of MBC intellectuals born after Independence that made them question the inherited dominant culture and seek for cultural alternatives. JAT CBPIs During the first half of the twentieth century the CBPIs in the Jat community in all the three areas where they form a significant community – Haryana, Rajasthan and western UP – did not constitute an exclusive category. They formed significant sections of their middle class which consisted of the 88

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moral pundits, itinerant informers, popular scholars/historians, lawyers, jailers, teachers, poets, Arya Samaj preachers, bhajnis and others (Datta 1999: 2).10 They shared certain common characteristics of being influenced by the Arya Samaj movement.11 The impact of the Arya Samaj ideology on the Jats has been viewed in terms of Sanskritization, i.e., their claim to be a martial race or to have Kshatriya decent (Datta 1999). Three Jat leaders, Chhotu Ram, Baldev Ram Mirdha and Charan Singh, played the most decisive roles in giving the Jats of North India a distinct identity both as a caste and an agricultural community. The first two operated during the pre-I ndependence period, and Charan Singh’s activities cut across the pre- and post-I ndependence periods. Indeed, it was in the postIndependence period when Charan Singh played a dominant role in mobilizing the farmers and intermediate castes of North India. I shall therefore deal with Charan Singh’s role in mobilizing the farming communities in the post-Independence period in the sub-section ‘JAT CBPIs’. Here, I shall ­­ ​­­ ­­ ​­­ confine my discussion on Charan Singh only while comparing him with his contemporary Jat CBPIs during the pre-Independence period. Chhotu Ram and Baldev Ram Mirdha can be termed the CBPIs of Jat caste. Unlike theirs’, Charan Singh’s appeal, as I shall discuss in the subsection ‘JAT CBPIs’, was much broader. Neither of them attempted to bring the Jats and non-Jats together; indeed, Chhotu Ram contributed to distancing Jats from both the high and low castes. In Rajasthan, the credit for infusing a sense of self-respect among Jats of Jodhpur and organizing them goes to Baldev Ram Mirdha who, by virtue of his proximity to the maharaja of Jodhpur, was in a position to obtain benefits for his community. While Mirdha’s influence and area of operation were confined to Jodhpur and other Jat-dominated belts in Rajputana, the influence of the other two (Charan Singh and Chhotu Ram) broadly covered Haryana (east Punjab), Delhi, UP and Rajasthan. As discussed in Chapter 1, Jats had faced social discrimination in Rajasthan (except in Bharatpur and Dholpur regions), and such experiences of casteism in the state impacted their political and ideological perceptions/orientations (see Sisson 1972 for Baldev Ram Mirdha; Chowdhry 1984 for Chhotu Ram). Despite having been influenced by the Arya Samaj ideology, both Chhotu Ram and Charan Singh were critical of the Arya Samaj. Charan Singh lamented that the ‘reforming zeal of an organization like [the] Arya Samaj and individuals like Swami Dayanand and Mahatma Gandhi burst against the rock of the caste system and has spent its fury or vehemence, leaving the problem practically unresolved’.12 Similarly, Chhotu Ram criticized the Arya Samaj as an ‘urban-dominated’ movement, a ‘communal organization’, of having utilized the Jat Mahasabha and Jat educational institutions for the purpose of propaganda and divided the Jats (see Chowdhry 1984: 126, 128–29, 135). He gradually withdrew from the Arya Samaj, though he did not formally resign.13 His leaving the Arya Samaj is comparable to 89

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a similar move of Dalit leaders but for different reasons; he left it because of its urban orientation, Dalit leaders left it because of experiencing caste discrimination by the high caste Arya Samajists (see Gooptu 2001; also see Chowdhry 1984). Phase II (1956 onwards): ­­De-Sanskritization ​­­ towards an alternative culture In an attempt to ‘recontextualise’ multicultural framework that I have claimed in the Introduction to the book, this section seeks to elaborate upon how the Dalits, MBCs and the intermediary castes seek to carve out an alternative cultural identity through the process of De-Sanskritization. The discussion in this section narrates how intellectuals of different intermediate and low castes in the de-Sanskritization phase have used their caste literature, a medium to discover or (re)invent/(re)discover their alternative cultures by rejecting the dominant high caste culture, which their predecessors followed through Sanskritization. It elaborates upon the argument I have mentioned earlier about differences in politics of different castes in western UP and WNE Rajasthan: why Dalit intellectuals are more active in western UP than in Rajasthan, MBC intellectuals are more active to politics of social and cultural recognition in both areas and high caste intellectuals, initially indifferent got involved in it in due course. I do so in the light of the central argument of the book, i.e., differences in castes’ position in democracy depends on the nature of their relationship with the constant and contingent factors. The de-Sanskritization phase formed the dominant feature of social processes among the MBC and Dalit CBPIs in the post-Independence period, as mentioned earlier; it had started among Dalits of UP even during the dominant phase of Sanskritization in the pre-I ndependence period. This section is about the CBPIs of MBCs and Dalits, Jats and the high castes during the de-Sanskritization phase. Indeed, CBPIs of all castes – Dalits, MBCs, upper OBCs (Jats) and high castes, allege political discrimination and inadequate representation in proportion to their population. In fact, they seek to outbid each other in a competitive process in order to prove the discreteness of their castes. The MBC and Dalit CBPIs An articulate section of the CBPIs among the MBCs and Dalits emerged during this phase in western UP and WNE Rajasthan. Indeed, the intellectuals of this phase were harbingers of an alternative cultural trend, which can be conceptualized as the process of de-Sanskritization. In western UP, the MBC intellectuals of the de-Sanskritization phase come largely from first-generation settlers in the cities who still have connections with their 90

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villages. In Rajasthan, they are descendants of urban dwellers, some having provided services to the royal families of Jodhpur and Jaipur.14 In both regions of this study, this generation of MBC intellectuals attributed their extant backwardness to the failure of the earlier generation of intellectuals. They argued that the earlier leadership were unable to assert their separate identity from that of the higher castes. Under the influence of the Arya Samaj and high caste leaders, the MBC intellectuals were unable to establish their distinct identity. Contrary to this, they argue that Dalit leaders like Ambedkar, Achhutanand and Mangoo Ram strove to carve a separate identity for their community. Had the MBC leadership also disassociated itself from the process of Sanskritization in the pre-I ndependence period and sought an autonomous identity, they would not have remained as backward as they now were. The first editorial of the Badalta Vaqt (Changing Times) (16–31 December 1997), a fortnightly of the MBCs, entitled Avashyakta Avishkar Ki Janani Hai: Badalta Vaqt Hi Kyon? (Necessity is the mother of invention: Why only Badalta Vaqt (Changing Times)?, commented: At the time of the Independence of the country, the social, educational, political, administrative, Zamindari, and cultural conditions of the Most Backward Classes were similar to those of the Scheduled Castes; the only difference between them was that the MBCs were the touchable castes while the Dalits were the untouchables. The leaders of the MBCs of that time, like those of the Scheduled Castes, should have taken/demanded a share [reservation/ hissedari] for the MBCs in education, service, and politics. The backward classes of that time have become the Most Backward Classes; the MBCs have lagged behind so much that even after 50 years of Independence they are forced to conceal their identity out of shame (‘mu chhipa kar, sir jhuka kar mazboor’). (Translation mine) The editorial expressed the views: the MBCs are deprived of six powers (‘social, educational, political, administrative, zamindar and cultural’), their leaders of the Sanskritization phase failed them, and there was a need for their political empowerment. The contemporary MBC intellectuals believe that their leaders of the Sanskritization phase were under the undue influence of the high caste Congress leaders like Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Not enjoying independent status, they were the lackeys of the high caste Congress leadership. The latter dissuaded them from staking a claim for concessions based on caste, i.e., reservation. Critiquing the erstwhile leadership of his caste, Surendra Kushwah said: In order to prove that we are Kshatriyas, a lot of time has been lost. If caste leadership (of the pre-independence period) had focused on 91

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projecting the true identity of the caste, the situation today would have been different. From 1912 [the year when his caste association was first set up] till now – during 90 years period – the caste lost lot of time in [an] attempt to prove that we are Kshatriyas. Had we considered ourselves to be the Shudras, our condition would have improved by now.15 Thus, the contemporary MBC leadership believes that due to the influence of high caste leaders and Arya Samaj, the autonomy of their caste identity was submerged in identity of the high castes. They did not represent their case before the statutory commission (Simon Commission) for reservation in the public institutions, and there was no one to represent them in the Constituent Assembly.16 The critique of their earlier generation of leaders by the contemporary leaders is like Kanshi Ram’s opinion on his predecessors, terming them chamchas (Ram 1982). The contemporary MBC intellectuals contend that had the MBC leadership in the pre-Independence period also disassociated itself from the Sanskritization process like the Dalit leadership did by not imitating the high castes and sought to establish autonomy of their caste identities, in the post-Independence periods, like Dalits, they could have been recognized as a separate category, Scheduled Castes, for the affirmative policies of the state. The critique of Sanskritization and their intellectuals of this phase resulted in a reversal of this process by contemporary intellectuals, i.e., de-Sanskritization. This triggered a debate between the supporters of Sanskritization and those of de-Sanskritization. In this process they replaced the high caste suffix with the names of their organizations and their title names, renamed their educational and other caste related institutions after the names of their caste icons and invented/discovered alternative cultural traditions/icons (Chapter  3). The most important example of reversal of Sanskritization included deletion of the suffix Brahman from the name of the Akhil Bharatiya Nai Brahman Mahasabha (ABNBM) in its adhiveshan held in Ajmer, Rajasthan, in 1956. As mentioned earlier, the suffix ‘Brahmin’ in the name of the ABNNM was inserted during the Sanskritization phase. Similarly, the name of Akhil Bharatiya Pal Mahasabha, an organization of Pals/Gadarias, an MBC, does not carry Kshatriya any longer as is clear from various issues of Pal Kshatriya Samachar and the Shepherd Times. A Gadaria intellectual explained the philosophy and purpose behind launching their caste magazine the Shepherd Times in the following way: Shepherd Times is the product of the ideology which challenges the trend to follow the titles, etc. of the high castes. To make the Gadarias aware of the fact that we are Gadarias, Shepherd Times was started. There is no gainsaying that by becoming a jhutha (fake) Khatriya. Since by adding Singh to their names and concealing our 92

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own identity like many others of our caste, who have reached some positions (naukari) does not show the pura (complete) output of the samaj (caste) to the country. Because of this the Gadarias are not able to say proudly (seena tan kar) that “we are Gadarias”. That is so, despite the fact that there are 10 crore Gadarias in the country. But they are not known to each other. That is why we have started the Shepherd Times in February 2003 to make the community feel (ahsas) proud of their community.17 Interestingly, an advocate from an MBC caste of Dhinwars in western UP named Jai Prakash Kashyap deleted the suffix Rajput from his name which had been added by his parents under the influence of Sanskritization. Born in the era of de-Sanskritization, he deleted the suffix after realizing that it had submerged the identity of his caste to the constructed Rajput one.18 Among Dalits of western UP, though de-Sanskritization became an independent and powerful movement in the post-I ndependence period in the form of Ambedkarization,19 it started during the Sanskritization phase. Indeed, Dalits in UP began questioning Hinduism or high caste superiority even while Ambedkar was alive (Rawat 2003). The examples of the most important Dalit politicians as intellectuals of the post-I ndependence period who have had a profound impact or have contributed to Dalit consciousness/empowerment through their writings or other in other forms of expression in western UP include B.P. Maurya, Kanshi Ram, Mayawati, Udit Raj and Chandra Bhan Prasad in UP. In WNE Rajasthan they include S.N. Jodha, Prof. Shyamlal, Than Singh and P.L. Mimroth. The writers among them include Om Prakash Balmiki (the writer of autobiography Juthan), besides a large number of middle class and ordinary people.20 Perhaps in no other castes have the intellectuals been so numerous and effective as among Dalits as a group and the discrete castes constituting Dalits. As stated earlier, three sets of ideas professing change influenced Dalit intellectuals of the post-Independence period, i.e., the ideas and life of B.R. Ambedkar or Ambedkarism, Marxism and socialism. Of the three, Ambedkarism has had the most profound impact, and Ambekarization (alluded to earlier) is the consequence of this. However, despite the emergence of some Dalit intellectuals in Rajasthan in the post-Independence period, in contrast to UP, an independent Dalit movement has been unable to develop there. The reasons for the absence of an independent Dalit movement in Rajasthan are as follows: as will be discussed in Chapter 6, in contrast to UP, the most vocal and articulate section of Dalit movement in Rajasthan is an ally of the broad democratic and civil society movement; for them protection of extant Dalit rights rather than search for an alternative culture have been the main priority. Ambedkar never visited Rajasthan; his proposed visit to Ajmer to address a meeting did not materialize. The Dalits of Rajasthan were impressed by the 93

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debate between Ambedkar and Gandhi on the Poona Pact and the young Chamars (‘Young Turks’) within the Congress accepted Ambedkar as their role model but however were unable to break out of Gandhi’s fold. The Congress leaders propagated among the Balmikis that Ambedkar ‘was a leader of Mahars, not Balmikis’. Besides, there was no unified movement of Dalits in Rajasthan, but rather separate movements of Raigars, Balmikis, Bairwas and others. The Congress adopted welfare measures to ameliorate the condition of Dalits and coopted prominent Dalit leaders like Amrit Lal Yadav, a follower of Jagjivan Ram. 21 Also, unlike their counterparts in UP, Rajasthan’s contemporary Dalit intellectuals did not have the advantage of inheritance of independent predecessors of the pre-I ndependence period, who could question high caste values and customs. Largely, their marginal ­­socio-economic ​­­ ­conditions  – ­small numerical strength, lack of political weight and poor economic conditions, can be accounted for the ineffectiveness of the low caste CBPIs, especially those among the MBCs in public debate. As first- or second-generation educated persons hailing from poor social and economic background, most of them were engaged in ­­self-employment/low-paid ​­­ ­­ ​­­ jobs, simultaneously pursuing their studies through private/correspondence education system, and were deprived of an adequate exposure in an educational institution. Generally, unable to participate in public debate in popular media, such as newspapers or television programmes, they have a limited site of public debate in the caste literature or within their castes – through informal interaction or within caste meetings. Due to the financial constraints they are not able to sustain publication of the caste literature. For instance, Babu Ram Advocate, an MBC intellectual, founder and editor of the MBC fortnightly, Badalta Vaqt (Changing Times), told me that he had to discontinue its publication several times because of financial constraints.22 Besides, the CBPIs remain faction-ridden. They also compete with one another, each projecting himself to be the lone champion of his caste. Often the differences among them are marked by intolerance, mutual dislike, sometimes at a personal level, and lack of appreciation of one another’s contributions. The limited participation of the low caste intellectuals in public debates does not mean lack of efforts on their part to get recognition of their alternative cultural symbols. As I shall discuss in Chapter 3, they influence the agenda of their caste organizations, and generate consciousness among the caste fellows through circulation of caste literature and informal campaign. As mentioned earlier, unlike Dalits who are more active in western UP than in Rajasthan, the MBCs are active in cultural politics in both regions, western UP and WNE Rajasthan, the principal reason for this being that the MBC intellectuals in both states have maintained coordination and cooperation. However, as I shall explain in Chapters 4 and 5, the MBCs of WNE Rajasthan unlike those in western UP have not been able to transform the cultural movement into single caste parties. 94

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JAT CBPIs Many Jat intellectuals who became active from the 1970s were born in the pre-I ndependence period and became active either during the middle of their careers or after their retirement as lecturers, army/police personnel, from the judiciary, or government employment. The principal motivating factor of these intellectuals and activists was the cause of the caste. And they did not spurn the support of any force that supported the cause of their castes. The president of the Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha made these points clear to me.23 Sometimes even a person belonging to their caste who has become a celebrity was approached by the caste to lead their organization, even if the individual concerned did not subscribe to any ideology. Dara Singh, the former wrestling champion, Bollywood actor and the President (at the time of interview) of the All India Jat Mahasabha, is one such example. 24 Since Jats as a community represented both caste and farming class, the Jat intellectuals took up both kinds of issues. At one particular point of time however one issue dominated the other. The positive relationship of their caste with the constant factors – their numerical strength, consolidation in both western UP and WNE Rajasthan, and hold on the local economy enables the Jat intellectuals (like Jat politicians) to mobilize their caste into public action. The post-I ndependence Jat CBPIs have been influenced by multiple ideologies: the Arya Samaj ideology (like those of the Sanskritization phase), individual personalities like Charan Singh (a mix of agrarianism and Gandhism), Chhotu Ram or the Raja Suarajmal, socialism and communism, pragmatism or a commitment to the cause of the caste without apparently adhering to a particular ideology or philosophy, Vedanta philosophy, and following the Ayodhya movement, even being influenced by the ideology of Hindutva. They also evoke the names of other historical figures, cultural heroes such as Jhar, Guga and Dadu (see Datta 1999). In Rajasthan, especially in Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Churu, Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts, Marxism or communism has influenced a large number of intellectuals from the Jat caste. However, communism among the Jats of Rajasthan entered via the Arya Samaj; the first generation of Jat communists in Rajasthan first became Arya Samajists, and subsequently switched over to communism. 25 Charan Singh was an organic intellectual who was ideologically closer to the Chayanovian School of economic thought (Byres 1988). He had the most profound impact on farmers’ politics in North India. He, unlike other Jat intellectuals such as Chhotu Ram and Baldev Ram Mirdha (mentioned earlier), did not only focus on mobilization of his caste but also took up the cause of several farming castes such as Yadavs, Kurmis and Jats. His most significant political contribution was to end the monopoly of high castes  – Rajputs, Brahmins, Bhumihars, Kayasthas and Vaishyas in politics of North India, and to promote the cause of the intermediary farming 95

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castes. Charan Singh adopted two-pronged strategy to build his support base in the countryside: one, he articulated the interests of self- cultivating backward class peasant communities by coalescing their caste and class interests; during the 1950s–1960s he frequently visited villages in eastern UP propagating among the backward class peasants the benefits of Congress’ land reforms policies, in which he had played a decisive role; and second, he gave preference to these groups as backward classes/farming communities in party organization and distribution of tickets in elections (see Johnson 1975; Brass 1984, 2011, 2013, 2014; Byres 1988; Hasan 1989; Singh, J. 1992: 125–29, 2014: 98–99). The positive relationship of these castes with the constant factors – their numerical strength, political consolidation in larger swathe of areas in western UP and WNE Rajasthan along with eastern UP and Bihar, and control on the agrarian economy ensured formidable support base for Charan Singh. Support of these castes enabled Charan Singh to emerge as the tallest leader of the farming communities in some North Indian states. Indeed, the increasing participation of these forces in electoral politics in India came to be alluded to as the ‘first democratic upsurge’ (see Yadav 2000). Having already created a support base for him through the two-pronged strategy while being a Congress member for over two decades, Charan Singh left the Congress at an opportune time  – end of the Congress dominance following its defeat in eight states in 1967 Vidhan Sabha elections. Merger of his party BKD (the Bharatiya Kranti Dal) with the SSP (Samyukta Socialist Party) in 1974 extended his support base to Bihar. With already a strong support base among the Jat farmers of Haryana and western UP, addition of backward class farmers  – Yadav, Kurmis, Koeris  – in eastern UP and Bihar catapulted Charan Singh to the position of a formidable backward class and peasant leader in North India. By the time the Janata governments were formed in the Centre and states (1977–80), he had support of three leaders with strong support base among backward classes and middle peasants/intermediary castes – Ram Naresh Yadav, Karpoori Thakur26 and Devi Lal in UP, Bihar and Haryana respectively (Singh 1992). As a Union Home Minister during the Janata Party regime he was able to guide the Janata government’s policies in favour of agriculture and rural industries. Later, as the Deputy Prime Minister he implemented two measures to benefit the peasantry – reduction by 50% excise duty on artificial fertilizers, and transfer of excise duty on tobacco from farmers to manufacturers, and as a caretaker prime minister he supported ‘very high’ sugarcane price for farmers in North India. Backward class chief ministers in Bihar and UP, belonging to his group within the Janata Party, introduced reservation for the backward classes in their states. He, however, remained dissatisfied with the Janata Party regarding its stance on the peasantry and rural society (see Brass 1985: 172–73). Bolstered by Charan Singh’s strategy, and later with socialists as his allies, a new generation of backward class leadership emerged in North 96

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cultural politics is different: while the former questioned the caste-based social hierarchy and symbols and project their alternative symbols, the latter did not question caste-based hierarchy. What they did was to underline the fact that their cultural icons and symbols signified good values and virtues, which were not less important than those of the low castes. For this, like the low castes, they also founded/revived their caste magazines (and organizations: Chapter 3); it was much later (the late 1990s) than the efforts of the low castes. Rajputs also began publishing caste magazines such as Kshatriya Jyoti (though Brahmins have yet to do so). They have installed statues of their icons and organized cultural programmes commemorating them. Indeed, in both the areas, Brahmin and Rajput intellectuals virtually emerged in the wake of the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report. In comparison to the CBPIs from the Dalits and MBCs those from the high castes are more educated. The Kshatriya Jyoti cites the names of its patrons, office bearers and editors. Their background, on the basis of information provided to me by the general secretary of the Kshatriya Mahasabha, Shomeshwer Singh Pundeer, reveals that 9 out of 11 of them include a contractor and builder in Military Engineering Service (MES), a retired army major, a government employee, a businessman, a retired principal, a retired teacher, a block pramukh, an advocate, a principal and a bank manager. They have settled in Meerut city and own land in the villages of neighbouring districts, especially Meerut, Bulandshahar, Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar. They maintain their bases and relations in the cities as well as villages, where some members of the families tend to their land. Unlike the intellectuals of the low castes, who are largely inspired by the ideologies of social change, the high caste CBPIs, Brahmins and Rajputs, have been largely influenced by conservative ideologies like Gandhism, the Arya Samaj, the Hindutva ideology, the RSS’ ideology, the karma theory, philosophy of the Vedas and the Gita, with undercurrents of anti-Muslim sentiments. The Rajput CBPIs mourn the falling social values among them in the recent times. They argue that a revival of traditional cultural values can liberate their castes in particular and society as a whole. To sum up the ‘intellectuals of the societies’ or the Caste-Based Public Intellectuals (CBPIs) are ideally a distinct social group which plays a decisive role in shaping the cultural and political identities – thus in politics of recognition in relation to their respective castes. We have seen in this chapter how CBPIs provide visions for shaping the social and cultural identities of their castes: the Dalit and MBC intellectuals not only question social hierarchy and symbols which their predecessors appreciated, they also provide alternative vision to their communities. In response, high caste CBPIs compete with them to shape their social and cultural politics, but do not question the social hierarchy. Instead, they highlight the significance of their cultural symbols. I shall discuss the role of CBPIs in politics of 98

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caste organizations which is related to the politics of social and cultural recognition (Chapter 3), in the politics of political recognition (Chapters 4 and 5) and in their collective mobilization and effectiveness or lack of it in impacting the state policies (Chapter 6).

Notes

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3 QU EST FOR R ECOGN I T ION Social and cultural assertion

Introduction In the previous chapter, I have discussed that through its CBPIs (CasteBased Public Intellectuals) each caste in my sample – Dalits, MBCs, Jats, Brahmins and Rajputs attempt to seek social and cultural recognition for themselves by investigating, discovering and constructing their history, critiquing their predecessors, adopting caste titles based on the names or ideologies of the caste icons/heroes, setting up socio- cultural and independent political organizations and institutions, building temples and places of worship, launching caste magazines and newspapers, highlighting certain virtues of their castes, and the like. As mentioned earlier, the CBPIs are one of the three agencies that articulate castes’ politics of social and cultural recognition; the other two are caste organizations and single- caste parties. In this chapter, I discuss the role of another agency, i.e., the caste organizations (the role of the third agency – the single- caste parties will be discussed in Chapter 4) in the politics of social and cultural recognition. Ideas conceived and developed about their castes by the CBPIs through caste literature, etc., shape programmes of caste organizations and singlecaste parties. Indeed, the differences in ideas and perceptions about political and cultural recognition between low castes and high castes are reflected in the programmes of caste organizations. Caste organizations are engaged in politics of recognition by demanding protection of their rights – dignity/self-respect, freedom to vote; by seeking eradication of caste oppression; by seeking recognition from other castes/society/state/scholars of their history, cultural, icons; and by seeking recognition from the state of the status of OBCs or sub-division of the OBC/Dalit quota as a SC/ST category, etc. Attempts to set up caste organizations by the intellectuals of different castes in western UP and WNE Rajasthan to seek social and cultural recognition have become far more conspicuous during the last decade of the twentieth century than earlier. All of them compete with one another in their quest for such recognition. However, as we shall notice in this chapter, 101

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recent attempts by castes to seek recognition are in some ways different from earlier attempts. The formation of caste associations and their activities earlier were triggered by the policies of the colonial state and in the absence of universal adult franchise, which led to inter- caste competition to form them. But the contemporary attempts have been triggered by the self-assertion of the Dalits, OBCs, and the MBCs, provoking the high castes to reinvent themselves in reaction. The lower castes, as mentioned in Chapter 2, critique not only the dominant/high caste cultural codes but also their own caste predecessors and their ideologies which they believe blindly aped the high caste leaders; they propose alternative cultural codes of their own castes which differ from those of the dominant/high castes. This chapter seeks to discuss the politics of social and cultural recognition of different castes and make some generalizations about the differences in such politics between the low (Dalits and MBCs) and high castes. Specifically, it addresses the following questions. What is the extant context of the politics of recognition? Why have the low castes got involved in the politics of recognition, and what do they do when they feel neglected or mis-recognized? Why do the high castes – Brahmins and Rajputs, or the intermediary castes like Jats, also involve themselves in such politics? Is it their sense of neglect/mis-recognition in the context of the assertiveness of the low castes? What has been the effectiveness of caste organizations in reformulating caste identities? What generalizations can be made about differences among different castes on politics of social and cultural recognition? What are the explanations for different patterns of politics of social and cultural recognition through self-mobilization by caste organizations which I have identified as a contingent factor in the introduction to the book: for more activities of the low caste organizations in western UP  – MBCs and Dalits than in WNE Rajasthan, and those of the high castes (Rajputs and Brahmins) and Jats in WNE Rajasthan than in western UP? Extending the discussion of the preceding chapter, this chapter argues that there are differences in politics of different castes (played through their caste organizations), and some generalizations can be made about these differences. The caste organization largely reflects the agenda, programmes and activities of CBPIs of their respective castes. Indeed, as I discuss in this chapter, the CBPIs play a leading role in the activities of their caste organizations. Like through their intellectuals, through their caste organization also, the low castes (MBCs and Dalits) during the post-I ndependence period, especially since the 1990s, are involved in politics of social and cultural recognition in a sustained way; they reject Sanskritization and prefer de-Sanskritization by naming their organizations and institutions after their own caste icons, inventing, reconstructing or tracing their cultural roots to historical legacies (after having rejected the dominant/high caste icons which their forefathers followed in the Sanskritization phase), organizing cultural functions commemorating their cultural symbols/icons/glorious 102

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past, popularizing/spreading, generating consciousness among the caste fellows about the significance of alternative culture/against or parallel to that of the high castes; lobbying with the state agencies for getting their cultural demands fulfilled/attracting attention of the state agencies; constructing of single identities from different discrete castes sharing lowly occupations and social status; and reforming castes from within/doing away with some social evils. In comparison, unlike the low castes, the involvement of high castes in politics of cultural recognition has been less sustained and vociferous; it has been in reaction to low castes’ politics of social and cultural recognition; unlike low castes’ attempts to critique the dominant high caste values/social hierarchy and provide alternatives, the high castes have sought to protect, preserve their cultural legacies and project good virtues of their castes and caste icons. Regarding different patterns of caste mobilization in the two regions, the chapter argues that the variations in levels of cultural mobilization are dependent on the nature of relations which every caste in my sample has with the constant and contingent factors which I have discussed in the central argument of the book (Introduction). I shall substantiate this argument while dealing with the relevant caste in the chapter. The sections that follow substantiate different aspects of the argument of this chapter. The chapter is divided into four sections. Section I provides a general background of the activities of the different castes in my sample. Section II deals with the caste organizations: single- caste associations and inter- caste organizations known as federations. Section II aggregates the issues/demands raised by especially MBCs and high castes. Section IV concerns with the attempts of different castes to construct their caste identities.

I1 The context When we look at the politics of recognition involving different castes, we notice that it is relational. Attempts on the part of one caste to demand recognition from the state or from other castes provoke similar actions by other castes. Since the 1990s in western UP and WNE Rajasthan, the various castes in my sample have been involved in this. The recent trigger to it has been provided by the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report in 1990 promising reservation for the OBCs in the government employment. It encouraged intermediary castes like the Jats in Rajasthan to demand OBC status; the MBCs in both states to demand a sub-quota for them within that for the OBCs as a whole; some of them demanded to be included in the SCs and the STs Lists. It also encouraged the high castes of Rajasthan to demand OBC or the EBC status for themselves. Lately, it also provoked Gujars, an OBC caste in Rajasthan, to be declared as ST, resulting in opposition to this from the Meenas who already enjoy ST status in the 103

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state. In response to the demand of the Gujars, the Rajasthan government has included them in a newly created category: Special Backward Classes (the SBCs). While the Jats, MBCs, and Dalits justify their claim based on historical and extant discrimination by the high castes, the latter, in turn, allege that they are being marginalized by the rise of the low castes. In the cultural dimension too, either as single discrete units or in alliance with other castes, different castes have made claims for recognition of their social, cultural, and political rights and redistribution of economic opportunities to them. While these developments indicated the empowerment and assertion of the hitherto marginalized castes, they also evoked an adverse reaction from the high castes which have been excluded from the benefits of reservation. All castes perceive themselves to have been discriminated against and marginalized and accuse others of having benefited through the policies and partisan attitude of the state/governments/political class. Even as the Dalits, the MBCs, and the intermediary castes/ upper OBCs allege a continuation of their historical marginalization by the high castes, the latter accuse the former of the vindictiveness and stridency. In such a context all castes are involved in constructing their distinct identities. As mentioned earlier, they are all involved in competitive politics of cultural and political recognition. All complain of being marginalized or being discriminated against in relation to other castes. While the low castes allege continuation of their centuries-old denial of recognition, the high castes point out that the social, political and economic changes have resulted in their marginalization; the intermediary castes emphasize that the community is facing a multiple agrarian and social crises and have not received due social and cultural (in case of Rajasthan political) recognition. In Chapters 1 and 2, I have explained how changes in political economy have loosened traditional bonds among castes, with each caste acting as discrete units, and new social groups, especially the CBPIs articulating the interests of their respective castes. These provide a context to understand roles of different caste organizations and make some generalizations about them. Various ideological moorings are contributing to the generational urge for recognition in various castes. These, as mentioned in Chapter 2, are socialism, Marxism/Naxalism, Ambedkarism, the Bhakti tradition, the ideology of Arya Samaj, Hinduism or communalism. Operating simultaneously, these ideologies are impacting the castes to varying degrees. The ideologies that propound social change – socialism, Marxism/Naxalism, Ambedkarism, the Bhakti tradition, in the main attract Dalits, MBCs, and OBCs. In the post-I ndependence period they have had a profound impact on the identity politics of these castes. All castes also boast of possessing certain virtues of intelligence, self-sacrifice, generosity, having had a glorious past or traditions, tolerance, honesty, knowledge (power: Rajput), representing the Indian nation and sentiments (Brahmins), non-violence and the like. There is a convergence of mechanisms of the CBPIs (discussed in the last 104

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chapter) and caste associations. They hold sammelans, organize functions for the welfare of their castes, publish caste magazines (with the exceptions of Brahmins who intend to do so in near future), pamphlets, posters and weekly/monthly newspapers and operate through informal networking to raise the consciousness of their respective castes. The caste organizations generally claim to be All India-based organizations, with the branches in the states and at the district level. However, some of them do not operate beyond a district or even locality or village in the district, though they add ‘Akhil Bharatiya’ (All India) suffix to their names. Apart from taking independent initiatives on local issues, these organizations have some common concerns and organize some activities.

II Caste organizations (caste associations and caste federations) In this section, I attempt to substantiate the argument of the chapter mentioned earlier: there exist differences in politics of different castes played out through caste organizations, and some generalizations can be made about these differences. For this purpose, it is relevant to compare the organizations of the low castes (MBCs and Dalits), intermediary caste (Jats) and high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) between two periods  ­ – pre-Independence ­­­ ​­­ (Sanskritization phase) and ­­post-Independence ​­­ (de-Sanskritization ­­ ​­­ phase). In the pre-Independence period, there were no major differences between them so far as their attitudes towards the high caste values are concern: low castes and intermediary castes sought to follow the high castes (Sanskritization); it was in the post-Independence period that the differences between low caste organizations and high caste organizations became starker with the low castes questioning icons, symbols and customs of high castes symbolizing social hierarchy (De-Sanskritization), and providing their own alternative, and high caste in reaction seeking to protect and preserve their cultural icons and legacies, projecting good virtues of them. In the areas covered in this book there are two types of caste organizations: ­­single-caste ​­­ organizations and ­­inter-caste ​­­ (intra-varna) ­­ ​­­ organizations. In the light of Kothari’s categorization, the former can be termed caste associations and the latter caste federations (see Kothari 1970/1986). The most common inter- caste federations are generally formed by different discrete castes of the same varna, which together form the MBCs (Shudras) and Dalits. Sometimes the MBCs, upper OBCs, and Dalits also come together to form caste federations, but these do not last long; the conflicts and competition among them, especially those between the low castes (MBCs and Dalits) and the intermediary castes/upper OBCs (Jats), adversely affect their alliances. The high castes, Brahmins and Rajputs, generally form caste 105

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associations, i.e., associations of Brahmins and Rajputs, not federations of these associations; they come together on certain issues of common concern to them, primarily those involving their conflicts and competition with, intermediary castes/upper OBCs, the MBCs and Dalits. The reservation for OBCs in the employment and academic institutions is one such issue. Periodization of caste organizations Almost all castes in my sample – Dalits, MBCs (Nais, Gadarias, Dhinwars/ Mallahs, Kumhars, Sainis/Kushwahs), Jats, Brahmins and Rajputs  – had set up their respective caste organizations, especially in UP, during the late nineteenth century and the third decade of the twentieth. We can divide the non-high caste associations, i.e., those of Jats, Dalits, and MBCs, into the ­­pre-Independence ​­­ and ­­post-Independence ​­­ phases, in terms of their relations to high castes. I have elaborated the notions of Sanskritization and deSanskritization in Chapter 2. I have therefore divided the caste associations of the two phases as those from the pre-I ndependence period (roughly from 1920s to 1950s) or Sanskritization phase, and from the post-I ndependence period (1950s–1980s and 1990s onwards) or de-Sanskritization phase. The associations of the pre-I ndependence period endorsed Sanskritization; during this period almost all the non-dvija ​­­ castes – Dalits, MBCs, and intermediary castes like Jats  – claimed khartiya or Brahmin descent. This may be termed the Sanskritization phase. The post-Independence period of the caste associations can be termed the de-Sanskritization phase. In this phase, the new leadership of the non-high castes, especially MBCs, questioned Sanskritization which was endorsed by their preceding leadership. Since the contemporary high caste associations are largely formed in reaction to those of low castes, I have also periodized them accordingly. In this section, I will discuss the caste associations and caste federations of my sample in terms of two periods – pre-I ndependence period (Sanskritization phase) and post-Independence period (de-Sanskritization phase). ­­ ​­­ ­­ ​­­ Caste organizations in the pre-Independence period/ ­­ ​­­ Sanskritization phase (Roughly the 1920s–1950s) This section has two ­­sub-sections, ​­­ ‘Single-caste ­­ ​­­ associations of the MBCs’ and ‘Jats’ which are about the single- caste associations of the MBCs, and those of Jats respectively. ­­Single-caste ​­­ associations of the MBCs The UP Census of 1931 reported that the MBCs (with a few exceptions) did not have caste sabhas (see Turner, Part I Report 1933: 528). However, negating that report, almost all the MBCs of my sample had separate caste 106

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associations during the pre-Independence period. Indeed, intellectuals of several MBCs had set up caste associations of their respective castes during this period. Influenced by one of the most effective ideologies of the twentieth century, the Arya Samaj movement, they added the suffix ‘Brahmin’, ‘Kshatriya’, or ‘Rajputs’ to the names of these associations. Below, I discuss the caste associations of the different MBCs such as Nais, Gadarias and Sainis in my sample set up during the pre-Independence period. The Nai intellectuals of the Sanskritization phase founded an organization (caste association) called Kulin Brahman Mahasabha, Bharat at Etawah at a sammelan (meeting) of the Naikul Sabha, Etawah, on 20 April 1921. In the last week of December 1921, an Akhil Bharatiya Nai Mahasammelan was held in Agra. At this sammelan, Pandit Rewati Prasad Sharma2 was chosen as the pradhanmantri (prime minister). The Kulin Brahman Mahasabha was renamed Nai-Brahman Mahasabha, Bharat in 1922, which was again renamed Akhil Bharatiya Nai Brahman Mahasabha, Bharat in December 1922. Pandit Rewati Prasad Sharma set up branches of the ABNBM in various parts of India, especially in UP, Bihar and MP. Branches of ABNBM were also opened in Burma, Africa, British Guiana and Dutch Guiana. The Mahasabha motivated a large number of people of the community to follow the tenets of the Arya Samaj, including wearing of jenau. In order to provide guidelines to branches of the organization, Rewati Prasad Sharma began publishing a monthly magazine entitled Nai Brahman. Like the Nais, the Gadaria/Baghel3 intellectuals resolved that the community be referred to as ‘Pali Rajput’ by inserting Pal Kshatriya into the associations on 28 February 1934 when it was registered.4 Before the registration of the All India Pal Kshatriya Mahasabha the leadership of the Gadaria community organized a meeting in Mathura on 14 August 1911. The Gadarias first set up an organization known as Akhil Bharatiya Pal Mahasabha (All India Pal Khatriya Mahasabha) in 1914.5 The nomenclature of this mahasabha before its registration was followed by the debate within the caste about adding the suffix Kshatriya to the community and its organization. The Akhil Bharatiya Pal Kshatriya Mahasabha is the oldest and the largest organization of the Gadaria caste. One of its branches was set up in Lucknow by Babu Chitawan Lal and another in Allahabad by Babu Mangal Ram. Around that time a caste delegation under the leadership of Rai Bahadur Deenanth of Jhansi met Rajadhiraj Rajrajeshwer Tukoji Rao Holker in Indore. Insult to the community members by a Brahmin at a function of Satyanayan katha (a mythological story narrative) provoked some ‘self-respecting’ persons to found Akhil Bharatiya Pal Mahasabha organization. On the invitation of Baghel Kshatriya Sabha, Agra, the first adhiveshan of the Gadarias/Baghels was held in Agra in 1912. A Mahasammelan of the caste was held in 1934 in Lahore for two days only to decide the name that the caste should adopt. The meeting of the 107

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castes which later became Kashyap was attended by people from all over the country. The name Kashyap did not exist prior to the Lahore meeting, but there the caste adopted the name as Kashyap Rajput, and the ABKRS was set up.6 In my interviews with Saini intellectuals of western UP and Kushwahs (Koeris) of eastern UP who have migrated and settled in western UP and Delhi, I found that they were using the denominations Sainis and Kushwahs interchangeably and had overlapping memberships in the organizations named after the Saini and Kushwah castes. Kushwahs claim to be the same as Sainis but it was the Kushwahs (Koeris) who first established a caste association, the ABKM, in 1908 at the initiative of Hari Prasad.7 The first association of the Sainis of Delhi and western UP was set up in 1965 known as All India Saini Sabha, of the rechristened Delhi Prem Sabha.8 According to Surendra Kushwah, the ABKM was founded at a sammelan in 1912 in Chunar, a village near Mirzapur, which was a sequel to a meeting of the Kushwahs at the same place in 1911. Its principal aim was to elevate the social status of the Kushwahs/Koeris by wearing a janew, thus endorsing Sanskritization.9 As has been mentioned in Chapter 2, the post-I ndependence generation of the MBC intellectuals discarded Sanskritization heralding a phase of ­­de-Sanskritization. ​­­ I will discuss the de-Sanskritization phase of caste organizations more specifically in sub-section ‘The MBC organizations’. In 1956, the Nais decided to delete the suffix ‘Brahmin’ from the name of their organization at their Ajmer conference. None of the most active Nais’ organizations  – Akhil Bharatiya Sain Samaj, Akhil Bharatiya Nai Mahasabha, or Akhil Bharatiya Nai Vikas Sangathan Sabha  – has since then borne this suffix. It needs to be noted that one of them is named after Sain, the icon of their caste. As among the Gadarias, among the Kushwahs too, the attempt to Sanskritize by the leaders of the ABKM was challenged by Dr L B ‘Anant’ (Philosophy teacher in Ghaziabad), who also became its secretary, and initiated the de-Sanskritization process among the 10 ­ In a protest, he left the ABKM and joined the ABSM. Kushwahs/Koeris. Having claimed to have traced their descent to the Buddha, Ashoka, and Maurya dynasty whom they consider to be their forefathers, some of them (Kushwahs) have converted to Buddhism; even if some have not converted, they consider Buddhists to be their forefathers. Dr B.L. Anant had converted to Buddhism a year before B.R. Ambedkar did, he asserted that he took this stand in opposition to the Brahmaninization/Sanskritization process, which was being advocated by the ABKM.11 Jats The various Jat Mahasabhas that emerged in the early twentieth century were offshoots of the Arya Samaj (see, for details, Datta 1999: 76). The 108

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Arya Samaj contributed to the formation of a distinct identity for the Jats of Rajputana, Ajmer, and south-east Punjab, of their being Kshatriya or the martial castes. As mentioned in Chapter 2, this also contributed to Jats’ distancing themselves from other castes such as Nais, Telis, Kumhars, Dalits, Brahmins, and Banias as well as from the Muslims, and to instilling within them a sense of superiority to the non-Jats (see ibid: 71–72, 74–75; Chowdhry 1984: 61–62). Even the Kisan Sabhas of Rajasthan were actually Jat caste organizations (Sisson 1969: 948). Their claim to Kshatriya status was more an attempt to assert an independent identity than follow high caste values or the Sanskritization process. ​­­ Caste organizations in the ­­post-Independence period (the ­­de-​ ­­Sanskritization phase) This section is about the caste organizations (both single- caste associations and multi- caste federations) of castes in my sample during the postIndependence ­­ period (de-Sanskritization ­­ ​­­ phase). Different ­­sub-sections ​­­ deal with different castes: ‘The MBC organizations’, ‘Dalit organizations in the post-Independence period’, ‘Jats’ associations or Jat Mahasabhas’ and ‘Associations of high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs)’ with MBCs, Dalits, Jats and high castes respectively. The MBC organizations During the last quarter of the twentieth century, the MBCs of North India have made attempts to set up both types of caste organizations: discrete caste organizations or caste associations and caste federations. While the discrete castes made such attempts even earlier, the foundation of joint caste organizations is a recent phenomenon. This apart, as the discussion will show, the nature of the earlier discrete caste organizations was different from that of the recent ones. Unlike their predecessors, which sought to follow the high castes, these organizations strive for recognition which is independent of the hegemony of high caste values. WNE Rajasthan and western UP have different patterns of MBC organizational formations and discrete caste mobilization. In the former, the MBCs are more corporate in terms of organizational formation of federations than in the latter, where the MBCs’ attempts at mobilization are still in terms of discrete castes or discrete caste associations. This section deals with both kinds of caste organizations of the MBCs in the post-Independence period – ­­­single-caste ​­­ associations and caste federations. The sub-section ­­ ​­­ ‘(Single) caste associations of the MBCs in western UP and WNE Rajasthan: DeSanskritization (second phase)’ discusses the single-caste associations of the MBCs. The sub-section ‘The caste federations of the MBCs’ is about the MBCs’ caste federations in WNE Rajasthan and western UP. 109

QUEST FOR RECOGNITION (S I N G L E) C A S T E A S S O C I AT I ON S O F T H E M B C S I N W E S T E R N U P A N D W N E R A J A S T H A N : ­­D E -​­­S A N S K R I T I Z A T I O N ( S E C O N D P H A S E )

Since the 1980s there was a spurt of caste organizations of all discrete castes in my sample at the district and state levels in UP and Rajasthan. It is important to note that though these organizations have offices in certain cities in western UP and Rajasthan like Ghaziabad, Meerut and Bulandshahr and Jodhpur, Jaipur and Jhunjhunu, respectively, as their leaders have settled in these cities from neighbouring districts, and simultaneously maintain contacts with their places of origin, they can appeal to their castes beyond these specific cities. The founders of these organizations, as mentioned earlier, belong to the CBPIs of their castes. Some organizations of the same caste have overlapping membership with porous boundaries, though opened only for caste fellows. The maximum number of these associations relate to the MBCs as they comprise the largest number of the discrete castes. Establishment of a caste association in the de-Sanskritization phase was a revival, continuation of associations founded during the pre-Independence period, or a fresh attempt. Unlike their predecessors, these organizations sought to challenge the cultural symbols identified with the high castes and rejected Sanskritization in favour of ­­de-Sanskritization. I discuss below the caste as​­­ sociations of some discrete MBC castes in our sample, i.e., Nais, Gadarias/ Pals, Dhinwars/Kashyaps, Kumhars It is important to note that caste associations (single- caste organizations) are more active and numerous in western UP than in WNE Rajasthan. The reasons for this difference lie in the difference in the role of contingent factors in the two regions: the legacies of uniform pattern of governance in western UP and variations in the governance of princely states in Rajasthan, of presence of the history of Dalit mobilization in western UP and its lack in Rajasthan; strong impact of Ambedkarization in western UP and its relative weakness in Rajasthan; and presence of a larger number of low caste intellectuals in western UP than in Rajasthan. About the MBCs of my sample, two castes among them, Nais and Kumhars, have associations in both the states. Unlike in WNE Rajasthan, in western UP, apart from these two castes, other MBCs such as Gadarias and Dhinwars have also set up their caste associations.12 Here I focus on the caste associations of Nais and Kumhars in western UP and WNE ­Rajasthan.13 Among the large number of Nais’ associations in UP during the 1980s, the most active were two: ABNM and ABNVSS. The former has branches in most parts of UP, and it is the most active and effective of them. Its president is Dhruv Narayan from Gorakhpur district, and its secretary is Nirvan from Meerut district. The ABNVSS, UP was founded by Babu Ram Advocate and Dhruv Narain Sharma, a member of the CPI from A zamgarh, and was registered in 1979.14 It had branches in 47 districts of UP. Two Nais’ associations, the ABNVSS and ABNS, organized

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in Lucknow their respective mahasammelans in October 1983 and in November 1983, and issued 16-point demand charters separately. The former presented it to the chief minister of UP. The ABNS, UP, also organized a symbolic hunger strike on 26–27 May 1984 at the district levels and on 1–2 June 1984 in front of the Vidhan Sabha in support of their demands.15 In Rajasthan the most important Nais’ organization is SRS3, named after Sain, who, as will be discussed later in this chapter, was a companion of the Bhakti poet Kabir and a member of the Nai caste.16 It seems that unlike their caste fellows in UP, Nais in Rajasthan had not set up a separate organization in the name of caste. Rather, they concentrated more on the institutionalization of the ideas of Sain. The SRS3 was set up by Kanhayya Lal Khawas, a lecturer of Humanities in Jodhpur University on 23 July 1968 in the name of Sain at Shri Sain Ji Maharaj Mandir, Gulabsagar, in Jodhpur.17 Khawas, one of the ‘intellectuals of the society’ was already working among the Dalits with the Ambedkar Mission, which he had set up with a Dalit friend in 1962. While working here he observed in 1967: ‘Since I was working among the Scheduled Castes, why not work within my own caste; then I started working within my caste’ and for this purpose he set up the SRS3 and got it registered. Then he persuaded three groups of Nais to come together and forget their differences. This attempt ‘was very successful, so successful that the entire élite group of the Nai community came on a common platform (manch). The SRS3 established contacts with Nais in Delhi and elsewhere. Some members of the SRS3 are also members of the all-I ndia-level organization of Nais, ABSS. One member of the SRS3, who also its secretary, B.L. Pawar, became a Rajya Sabha member, and another, Govindi Pawar, became chief of the MSS. Kumhar caste associations are of two types  – one, the newly founded organizations set up at local levels (in the villages and cities of western UP, especially Meerut); and two, units of the all-India-level organizations revived at the local levels in the recent past. In western UP (Meerut) the newly formed associations are KMV and PKEM.18 These were established in the late 1990s in some districts of western UP, especially Meerut and Ghaziabad. The PKEM held its Zila Sammelan in Meerut in 1995 and felicitated an MLA, Daya Ram Prajapati of Etawah. The revived units of the All-India-level organizations of Kumhars, which have recently been established in North India (UP, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Haryana), are in the main two: UPPM (Uttar Pradeshiya Prajapati19 Mahasangh) – it was revived from an all-I ndia-level organization, Rashtriya Prajapati Mahasangh; and, Akhil Bharatiya Prajapati Kumbhkar Sangh (ABPKS). The former was revived in UP and the latter in Rajasthan. Although these organizations were separately founded in UP and Rajasthan, their branches exist across these states. Let me now discuss these two Kumhar organizations. The UPPM came into existence in 1990 at the initiative of Firey Ram Prajapati, who became 111

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its national president. 20 It was initially set up in 1924 with a different name, i.e., Rashtriya Prajapati Mahasangh. 21 It is the most popular organization among the Kumhars and has branches in western UP and Delhi. The need to protect his caste’s interests following a dispute with the Nai caste over a piece of land in Modinagar provided him reasons for founding this caste organization. It is important to note that unlike other caste associations that claim to be apolitical, the UPPM has close relations with the SP. In fact, its national president, Firey Ram Prajapati (at the time of interview) was also the western UP prabhari (in charge) of the SP. In 1994, the SP president Mulayam Singh donated INR 5,000 for the construction of a bhawan for this organization. The UPPM has been playing a leading role in popularizing the Kumhars’ caste icon Daksh Prajapati in UP. Inspired by the Maharaja Daksh Jayanti of Haryana, the UPPM organized the first ever Maharaja Daksh Prajapati Jayanti on 13 July 2003 in Noida (Gautam Budhh Nagar district), and later in Meerut on 2 July 2004. Commemorating Daksh Prajapati, the UPPM held celebrations in some cities of western UP involving following activities: the shobha yatras of Maharaja Daksh Prajapati, gathering at a particular place, speeches by caste leaders, refreshments, abir, gulal, etc. They also highlight the principal problems confronting the Kumhar caste. The UPPM has sought to popularize Daksh Prajapati among Kumhars in villages of western UP. For example, Kumhars of Sikheda village in Meerut district constructed a temple in the name of Daksh Prajapati, with his statue installed within it. In Rajasthan, an ­­all-India-level organization, ABPKS22 was founded ​­­ in 1979–80 at the initiative of a Kumhar leader of Jodhpur, Loon Chand Sinowadia and Surendra Verma, a journalist from Delhi. The foundation of the organization had its origin in an incident related to Kumhars of Jodhpur. During the Emergency, under a beautification plan conceived by Sanjay Gandhi a locality inhabited by Kumhars was to be demolished. As ​­­ the land belonged to the ­­ex-maharaja of Jodhpur, he was paid its price by Jai Marwar Construction Company, the developer. Maharaja paid compensation to the Kumhars who were displaced due to the demolition. But the compensation the maharaja paid to the Kumhars was grossly insufficient to enable the Kumhars to buy alternative land for them to live on. The Kumhars set up a cooperative society, PGNSS to mobilize finances to buy an alternative piece of land, and meanwhile got in touch with Loon Chand Sinowadi’s father to complain that the compensation was inadequate for them to purchase alternative land. The Kumhars then approached the court against the demolition and they won the case but the state government took a stay order from the High Court. The Kumhars exerted pressure on Loon Chand Sinowadia’s father to make arrangements for the money they had paid in order to buy land at an alternative site. This gave rise to a great deal of tension in the Sinowadia family. Under such circumstances, Loon Chand Sinowadia along with a caste fellow, Surendra Kumar, set up 112

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an organization for their caste, the ABPKS. The ABPKS could succeed in persuading Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi to intervene in the matter and get it resolved. T H E C A S T E F E DE R AT I ON S O F T H E M B C S

The attempts to set up MBC federations have generally been made at local levels, covering one or more districts. As mentioned earlier, though the founders of such organizations claim it to be all-India-level organizations, their activities remain confined to a single or two or three cities. While the (single) caste associations of the MBCs are concerned with the problems relating to the issues of a specific discrete caste, the caste federations of the MBCs are concerned with their common problems shared by the various MBC castes. Though caste associations and caste federations raise different sets of issues, on certain occasions these issues converge. The issues raised by caste associations and caste federations will be discussed in Section III of this chapter. I will be discussing the formation of caste federations in WNE Rajasthan and western UP below: Rajasthan Other Backward Classes Federation, Jodhpur (ROBCF), and the Most Backward Classes Federations/Ati Pichhda Varg Mahasangh in western Uttar Pradesh respectively. Rajasthan Other Backward Classes Federation, Jodhpur (ROBCF) The Rajasthan Anya Pichhda Varg Mahasangh (Rajasthan Other Backward Classes Federation) or ROBCF was founded under a different name, Rajasthan Aviksit Samaj Sabha (RASS), or Society for Rajasthan’s Underdeveloped Communities. On Janmasthmi day in 1975 Achal Singh Bhati, a Mali by caste, on the advice of Sajjan Singh Borana ‘Rajot’ (a Ravana Rajput, an MBC), founded this organization.23 Its central aim was t wo-fold: to organize the backward castes and to attract the government’s attention to their problems. At that time, it was a district level organization without a proper constitution and un-registered. It represented the main backward castes (MBCs): Malis, Ravana Rajputs, Sutars, Kumhars, Nais, and other such castes/ sub- caste groups of Jodhpur whose members served either as ​­­ the ­­office-bearers or principal functionaries. In 1978 RASS was registered as ROBCF. Its jurisdiction was also expanded from Jodhpur to other districts of Rajasthan. It is important to note that ROBCF emerged at a time when there was a general rise of OBCs in North India. It was epitomized by the rise of Karpoori Thakur in Bihar, Ram Naresh Yadav in UP, Devi Lal in Haryana, and Charan Singh at an all India level. 24 The classes that later became known as MBCs were mobilized by the Marwar Kisan Sabha, much before the foundation of ROBCF to struggle against the maharaja of Marwar. The MKS was set up on 22 March 1941 113

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as an apolitical organization, in that it was not affiliated to any political party; its members were however, expected to declare loyalty to the ruler of Marwar. The MKS had its base in the rural areas comprising the principal backward classes, including Jats and Malis. It is important to underline that the demands of the MKS were couched in class and caste terms. Of special significance was the fact that the class demands related to fee concessions and scholarships to students from farming communities, their participation in various bodies, and reservations in government jobs for farming communities in proportion to their population. The caste-specific demands included recruitment of castes other than Jats and Rajputs in the Jodhpur armed forces and proportional representation to various castes in membership of panchayats. The MKS also demanded the opening up of more schools in the Khalsa areas. 25 Politics in Rajasthan, especially since the 1970s, has been Jat- centric. If the inclusion of Jats among the OBCs in 1999 widened the gap between Jats and the MBCs, on the one hand, and Rajputs and Brahmins, on the other, the domination of Jats in the MKS distanced the non-Jats (who later came to be known as MBCs) from the organization. In the years following the merger of Marwar state with the Union of India, the nonJat backward class members of the MKS realized that the generic term ‘Kisan’ in the name of the MKS was deceptive; in the name of kisans the Jats had hijacked the MKS. While the organization was used for the sole benefit of the Jats, it ignored the interests of other backward classes. The non-Jat backward classes realized that in order to protect their interests they needed to have an organization of their own, excluding the Jats (who till then had not been declared OBCs). They began making efforts to set up a separate organization in 1969–70, which resulted in the foundation of the RASS. After the RASS was registered as ROBCF, its jurisdiction was also expanded from the district of Jodhpur to the entire state (pradeshik). 26 Since its establishment in 1975 as RASS till 1982, the ROBCF conducted several activities to organize the OBCs, generate consciousness among them and draw the government’s attention to their problems. The principal issues it focussed included those related to representation in public institutions and redistributive justice: introduction of a 33% reservation for OBCs in public institutions, boards, commissions, educational institutions and the judiciary; reservation of constituencies for the OBCs where they formed a majority; carrying out a caste census; allocation of welfare grants to MBCs in proportion to their population; appointment of a Backward Class Commission in Rajasthan like that in UP. Following the submission of Mandal Commission Report in 1981, the ROBCF also demanded its implementation and organized fasts, rallies, group discussions, etc., to generate support for the achievement of this goal. In order to highlight the problems of the backward classes of Rajasthan at the national level, ROBCF extended its 114

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contacts with the Akhil Bharatiya Pichhda Varg Mahasangh (ABPVM)/ National Union of Backward Classes (NUBC) in 1979. 27 The Most Backward Classes Federation/Ati Pichda Varg Mahasangh (MBCF) in western Uttar Pradesh In comparison to Rajasthan, the formation of the MBCs’ federations in (western) UP began much later, and no concerted attempts were made to form them. They were made at the district level in both formal and informal ways. The leadership of several (single) caste associations of the MBCs realized the need to bring them together under different federations (Maha Sangh). Several MBC federations were formed since the 1990s in various districts of western UP. Some of these federations had an ephemeral existence of few months. Some examples of these organizations are: Rastriya Pichhda Varg Sangh in Bulandshahr, Ati Pichhda Varg Mahasangh, Ghaziabad, and Ati Pichhdi Jati Utthan Maha Sangh, Meerut. I will discuss one of these organizations which has been the most active and enduring, i.e., the Most Backward Classes Federation (MBCF). In order to generate consciousness and bring together various discrete and scattered component castes of the MBCs and their social and cultural organizations, Babu Ram Advocate and a CBPI of the Nai caste took the lead and launched an MBC weekly paper Badalta Vaqt on 16 December 1997; on the same day he also set up an organization and christened it Ati Pichhda Varg Mahasangh or Most Backward Classes Federation (MBCF). Babu Ram Advocate realizes that although the MBCs belong to different discrete castes and are engaged in a variety of occupations, generally with low social status, they belong to the same class (varg). Welcoming the launch of Badalta Vaqt and the foundation of the Most Backward Classes Federation (MBCF), leaders representing 16 MBC organizations of discrete MBC castes (both Hindus and Muslims), i.e., Sutars, Lohars, Gadarias (Pals), Kumhars, Sainis, Audh Rajputs, Dhinwars, Jogis, Nais (Hindus), Seikh Siddiquis, Saifia, Nat-Badi, Salmani Samaj and Darzis (Muslims) endorsed the views expressed by Badalta Vaqt and its editor in its first issue. In several issues with occasional discontinuations due to the financial constraints, Badalta Vaqt raised the problem of the MBCs and provided a forum to express their views to the representatives of various castes constituting the MBCs. Interviews with the ‘intellectuals of the society’ of the MBCs, carried in various columns of the Badalta Vaqt, ­­write-ups ​­­ and editorials provide a wealth of information relating to MBC community formation. As the printer, publisher and editor of the Badalta Vaqt, Babu Ram Advocate wrote editorials and commentaries on the conditions of the MBCs. The editorial of the first issue of the Badalta Vaqt (16–31 December 1997) entitled ‘Avashyakta Avishkar Ki Janani Hai’ (Necessity is the mother of invention) outlines the need to establish MBCF (Atiphichhda Varg 115

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It is unfortunate that even after the introduction of a democratic system in India for 50 years the largest section of society, the MBCs, remains deprived of a share in five ‘powers’: political, economic, administrative, samantishahi (feudal)/zamindari (ownership of land) and ­­religio-cultural/education. ​­­ The MBCs have lagged behind due to a lack of efforts by the MBCs’ leadership dating to the pre-I ndependence period, prior to the Simon Commission, who failed to demand their share in all the powers of society due to their ‘chaplusipun sevakari mansikta’ (sycophantic and servile mentality). Babu Ram Advocate places political power above religio- cultural power and redistributive justice (economic issues). He argues that if the MBCs capture political power they will naturally achieve religio-cultural power and redistributive justice. ­­ ​­­ He further elaborated this point in an interview with me28: the MBCs leadership was misguided by the high caste Congress leadership since the days of the national movement. Unlike the past leadership of Dalits like Ambedkar who asserted their independent identity and fought for the SCs’ share of power, the MBC leadership remained uncritical followers of high caste Congress leaders. Real social service (sachhi samaj seva) is to prepare the MBCs to get their share in ‘powers’ of the society in proportion to their population. Bringing all MBCs into a single organization is one of the mechanisms for their empowerment.

The Establishment of the Most Backward Classes Federation (MBCF) is the fulfilment of a need to bring all the MBCs into a single organization. The MBCF declared itself to be an apolitical and social organization which did not aim at participating in electoral politics (but enabling MBCs to gain their share in all ‘powers’ (taquats): political, economic, administrative, land (samantshahi/zamindari) and religio-cultural). Such empowerment is possible with the fulfilment of the central aim of the MBCF: to get leaders of the MBCs elected as MPs and MLAs and garner their share in India’s ‘political power’ in proportion to their population. Badalta Vaqt claims to be committed to generate consciousness among the MBCs to enable them to rid themselves of a mentality of ‘chaplusi and sevakari’ (‘sycophancy and servility’) and living with ‘Mu chhupa kar sirjhuka kar’ (‘hiding the face and bowing the head’); to bring the scattered castes (samaj) on a common platform to enable them to garner their share in power in proportion to their population. Babu Ram Advocate had even attempted to mobilize MBC students when he was a law student in Meerut College. He formed the first Backward 116

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Classes Students Union (BCSU) in 1978 and became its president. Babu Ram Advocate said that Ram Naresh Yadav’s decision to introduce scholarships and concessions in hostel charges for MBC students was the most significant development for the MBCs. This helped him to realize the need for a separate organization of MBC students, as in the case of those of the SCs, Jats, and upper OBCs. 29 This organization was intended to help MBC students to obtain the scholarships introduced for them by the Ram Naresh Yadav government. There also had come into existence another organization of backward class students in Meerut College, at that time under the leadership of a Yadav student leader, 30 who claimed to be the leader of all backward classes, objecting to Babu Ram Advocate’s claim to be the leader of the backward class students and asked the latter to relinquish the claim. On his refusal to do so, the former fired on Babu Ram Advocate. Following this, Babu Ram Advocate discontinued his studies as a student of the LLM and focussed on the mobilization of MBCs and simultaneously got initiated into the BAMCEF/DS4/BSP.31 Dalit organizations in the ­­post-Independence ​­­ period DA L I T O RG A N I Z AT I O N S I N W E S T E R N U P

Dalit caste organizations exist in the name of a single caste as well as in the name of a generic category of Dalits.32 Dalits have a legacy of alternative cultural movement prior to other castes of my sample. Attempts by Dalits of UP to discover/invent their alternative traditions began in the early twentieth century. As discussed in Chapter 2, even as the MBCs continued to remain loyal to the ideals of the Arya Samaj, they rejected it as soon as they found its leadership and ideology were not giving them proper respect and equality (see Gooptu 2001). Their search for an alternative tradition and interpretation of their history and culture sought to challenge the dominant prevalent high caste notion that Dalits were inferior to or followers of the former. The Adi Hindu movement in UP and Adi-dharm in Punjab sought to establish their alternative reading of history; in Punjab they also challenged the Sanskritization process (see Omvedt 1993, 1994a; Ram 2004). Such attempts at rewriting/reinventing history giving recognition to the roles played by Dalit leaders and icons are being made in various parts of UP and India as a whole.33 Indeed, in most cases Dalit organizations in the post-I ndependence period may have been founded by a single caste but are termed generic Dalit organizations rather than single- caste organizations and may even be named after Ambedkar. These are not solely caste organizations as such but also cultural and social organizations, i.e., DSV (Dalit Sangharsh Vahini)/ DS (Dalit Sena)/DSS (Dalit Sangharsh Samiti)/BMU (Bharatiya Mazdoor Union)/AKS (Ambedkar Kalyan Samiti)/ AC (Ambedkar Committee)/JM 117

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(Jatav Mahasabha) and others. In western UP such organizations are generally set up by Jatavs or Chamars. The organizations of other Dalits than Jatavs are more caste specific, and are set up in a specific context: a conflict between a Dalit caste and other castes, a case of harassment or discrimination. Once that case is resolved or loses its topicality, such organizations also cease to exist. Indeed, several organizations exist at the same time at different places in western UP. Their number has grown exponentially since the 1970s. It is noteworthy that apart from a short period of RPI movement, issues relating to Dalits from the 1950s to early 1970s were raised in the main by non-Dalit professional politicians with broader political agendas in mind. The situation assumed a different turn from the late 1970s: then the Dalits themselves took the initiative to raise issues concerning them either through various organizations or at an individual level and seem to be exclusivist in nature. If at all non-Dalits or political forces intervene, they do so at the later stage. Jatav Mahasabha is the most common name given to their caste associations by the Jatavs. One such caste association which I have been following for several years is the JM set up in western UP. Founded in 1982, its founder, Jagdish Prasad, claims that it has branches in Bulandshahr, Agra, Lucknow and some other districts of UP. Jagdish Prasad was a pradhan of his village when he was inspired to set up Jatav Mahasabha, taking a cue from the Gujar Mahasabha which drew his attention when he visited a village near Shahadra. The Jatav Mahasabha became very active on the issue of the Maithana episode in 1984.34 This Jatav Mahasabha is different from the Jatav Mahasabha which was set up in Aligarh in 1928. The latter was a successor to Jatav Men’s Association, an Agra-based organization of the 1920s. It was in the main a city-based organization, concerned primarily with two issues: one, change of the name of the Chamar caste to Jatav, and two, nomination of its founder-member Paras Ram (its other foundermember was Inder Man), to the district board (see Duncan 1979: 165). The Mahasabha held panchayats in several villages. Its membership is open only to Jatavs irrespective of their political affiliations. The rules and regulations of JM set out that five Jatavs from every village elect their president, and each Jatav household donates one rupee. There is a mukhiya for eight villages, a president for a district, a chief to work in over 51 villages, and one regional president (adhyaksha). The aims of the Mahasabha are: protection of Jatavs from atrocities, eradication of social evils, abolition of dowry, combating harassment of women, setting up educational institutions and technical service centres. To give an instance, the Mahasabha intervened in a case of unilateral divorce. The family of the groom was required to pay INR 20,000 to the bride’s family and the groom was socially boycotted for divorcing his wife unilaterally. The groom accepted the decision of the Mahasabha and after a few months his social boycott was lifted. 118

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In contrast to UP, Rajasthan not only has exclusively caste-oriented Dalit organizations but also organizations embracing broad democratic issues including those of the non-Dalits, like the Centre for Dalit Rights (CDR) which is part of a broad democratic and human rights movement. Located in Rajasthan, the CDR is a member of National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), also known as the National Dalit Human Rights (NCDR) which is concerned not only with the democratic rights of Dalits but other sections of the society as well. The NCDR is a member of the network of ‘human rights NGOs’ from different states of India. It principally takes up the issues of discrimination against Dalits in the state. The NCDR/ CDR which has office in Jaipur is the most active and articulate among the Dalit organizations in Rajasthan. Its leadership and membership overlap with those of the PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties). Than Singh an office bearer of the NCDR simultaneously held an important position in the PUCL of Jaipur/Rajasthan. Though NCDR is a part of the broader civil rights movement in Rajasthan, it has its autonomy. The NCDR was formally launched on 10 December 1998.35 Its branch was set up in Rajasthan later. Prior to establishment of the NCDR branch in Rajasthan, the Dalit issues were taken up by the democratic civil society organizations which were led by non-Dalits. They did not give specific emphasis to the Dalit cause; it was part of their general agenda. This diluted the focus of Dalit agenda. The Dalit leaders in the PUCL felt the need to set up a separate organization, with the focus on the Dalit issues within the broad democratic movement. Indeed, the experience in the Chakwada case36 led to setting up the CDR in Rajasthan. In order to highlight the Dalit cause within the broad democratic movement, the Dalit intellectuals founded the NCDR/CDR in Rajasthan.37 With its participation in the World Conference against racism which was held in Durban (henceforth Durban Conference) 2001, the Dalit movement of Rajasthan became part of international movement on democratic right/ against discrimination. The CDR attended Durban Conference with its 180 delegates. The Durban Conference was held against the racial discrimination, and the NCDR/CDR considered the caste-based reservation akin to racial discrimination. This attempt to equate caste with race triggered a debate if caste and race could be equated. While the NDA government opposed participation of the NCDR/CDR in the Durban conference, some sociologists argued that caste and race could not be equated. The NCDR/ CDR, for its part argued that though caste and race are not equal in literal sense of the term, they are equated on the moral and political ground, not biological grounds. However, in the face of resistance from the Government of India, and due to the efforts of NCDR/CDR, race- and caste-based discrimination was replaced by a common denominator – discrimination based on ‘work and decent’.38

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Among the Dalit organizations which exclusively deal with the Dalit issues, two caste associations, the Akhil Bharatiya Raigar Mahasabha (ABRM) and AKhil Bharatiya Bairwa Mahasabha (ABBM) are the most important caste associations operating in Rajasthan. The ABRM was founded in 1944 at ‘a big sammelan of [the] Raigar caste’ held at Dausa in Rajasthan. The foundation of ABRM was, in fact, a culmination of a process that had begun a decade and a half earlier. The Raigar leadership and organizations operated within the broad framework of Hinduism. The ABRM and other Raigar organizations in various states held sammelans at varying intervals and raised virtually similar kinds of issues: the necessity for unity between the different Raigar sub- castes; eradication of social evils prevalent within the caste such as child marriage, un-matching marriages, death feast, eating meat, consumption of alcohol, disposal of dead animals and tanning and dyeing their hide; the need to educate children; and combating untouchability. The Raigar organizations in UP, Gujarat and Maharashtra in particular also discussed the need to get the Raigars included in the Scheduled Caste category in those states (see Shyamlal 2006). The ABBM is concerned with the self-respect and dignity of the Bairwa caste. Apart from issues relating to social discrimination of their caste fellows, administrative apathy or police harassment, it also deals with the internal disputes within the caste. It launched a movement within the caste urging its members to give up their traditional occupations, which it felt were demeaning. This move provoked the high caste to unleash violence in several villages of Rajasthan. The Bairwas chose to migrate to Delhi and other cities rather than to continue with their traditional occupation.39 Jats’ associations or Jat Mahasabhas I will discuss below the Jat Mahasabhas, as they exist in (west) UP and Rajasthan in the present context. There are more than one All India Jat Mahasabhas headed by different leaders in different states unrelated to one another. These organizations were given the name ‘Jat Mahasabha’ (JM) because the issues they espoused predominantly or exclusively concerned Jats. For example, the Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha was formed with specific purpose of demanding OBC status for Jats in Rajasthan. The Jats of Delhi also named their organization Jat Mahasabha which they formed in the 1950s to protest against the acquisition of land in South Delhi for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.).40 These organizations were established with a specific purpose only and disappeared after their purpose had been served. However, there is also the All India Jat Mahasabha (founded in the early twentieth century) which had become virtually defunct after Independence but was later revived by the former ruler of Bharatpur, Raja Mahendra Singh, who continued to remain its president till his death in 1979. It was headed from 1981, till his death in 120

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1995 by a retired IAS officer Col. Bhagwan Singh who was also India’s High Commissioner to Fiji. Its incumbent president is Captain Amarinder Singh, a prominent Congress politician in Punjab; his predecessor was the wrestler and film actor Dara Singh who held this position till his death (2012). The general body meetings of the AIJM (All India Jat Mahasabha) confined primarily to its office-bearers are poorly attended.41 In comparison to UP, the JM in Rajasthan has in the recent past been more active. As mentioned above, the JM in Rajasthan was set up with the specific purpose of obtaining OBCs status for Jats in the state. As will be discussed in Chapter  6, the Rajasthan government accorded OBC status to the Jats of Rajasthan in 1999 in response to the demand of the JM.42 According to Gyan Prakash Pilania, the JM was formed in Rajasthan in 1993 but came into prominence in 1998 (December) when the Jats of Rajasthan were upset with the Congress at the appointment of a non-Jat, Ashok Gehlot as the chief minister of the state, overlooking the claim of Jats to this post. The Congress is said to have promised the Jats that if the Congress won the 1998 Vidhan Sabha election, a Jat would be nominated as the chief minister of the state. Besides, it had promised in its manifestoes for the 1993 and 1998 Vidhan Sabha elections to include the Jats of Rajasthan in the state OBCs list if elected to form the government. Apart from being neglected in their claim to chief-ministership, the denial of OBC status to Jats gave them a sense of having been ‘cheated’ by the Congress.43 As will be discussed in Chapter 6, within a short period following the appointment of Ashok Gehlot as chief minister in 1998, the Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha launched a successful agitation for their inclusion in the Rajasthan OBC list. After the Mahasabha’s principal demand had been met the question of what to do next arose. The JM raised issues about discrimination against the Jats. Two examples are relevant here: one, the murder of the president of the JM in Sikar, and second, the treatment meted out to Natwar Singh indicted in the Volcker Report, a report of the UN Inquiry Committee headed by Paul Volcker relating to a case of illegal payoffs. The Rajasthan and Haryana Jat Mahasabhas viewed the treatment of Natwar Singh by the Congress as an insult to Jat dignity and honour, and humiliation of person from their caste, it was seen as reflection of the party’s general attitude to other leaders like Charan Singh, Devi Lal, Prof. Sher Singh, Virendra Verma, Hardwari Lal and Bansi Lal, who, the Jats believed, were forced to leave Congress. The other issue related to the murder of the district president of the JM, Gopal Phogawat, a male nurse of Sikar district in Rajasthan and formerly a RSS worker. The murder was reported to be the fallout of rivalry between two groups of liquor contractors. His murder was also said to be in retaliation to the murder (a week earlier) of a person named Sisram, who also belonged to the rival group. The murder evoked sharp reaction among the followers of Gopal Phogawat. They pulled out passengers from buses and autorickshaws and beat them up, caused damage to the 121

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private buses and those belonging to the Rajasthan Transport Corporation. They refused to accept the body of Phogawat from Sri Kalayan Hospital (The Hindu, 6 April 2006). Associations of high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) I will now elaborate upon the general patterns in differences about politics of social and cultural recognition which the high castes have with the low castes’ politics discussed in the preceding sub-sections. As we shall notice, unlike the activities of the low caste organizations, those of the high caste organizations have been less active, vociferous, sustained and organized, and began late; indeed, their emergence is a response to the emergence and revival of such organizations of other castes – Dalits, OBCs, MBCs; rather than to reject the symbols of social hierarchy, their attempts have been to highlight, protect and preserve the virtues of their own icons/legacies. Prior to the rise of extant caste organizations of Brahmins, there had existed two of these: All India Brahman Mahasabha (AIBM) and Akhil Bharatiya Sri Kanya Kubja Brahman Pratinidhi Sabha (ABSKPS). The former was founded by Madan Mohan Malaviya in 1939 and was an inclusive organization of all Brahmins, though it was confined only to a few North Indian states. It remained defunct for several decades and has been revived once more. The Akhil Bharatiya Sri Kanya Kubja Pratinidhi Sabha (ABSKPS) was exclusively an association of those Brahmins who had their roots in Kannauj (Khare 1970). I will now discuss the caste associations of the Brahmins and Rajputs as they exist in the contemporary period in western UP and WNE Rajasthan. A LL I N DI A BR A H M A N M A H ASA BH A (A I BM)44

The Brahmins of western UP also established a caste association in 1984 at a meeting of the caste fellows at Nanakchand Anglo-Sanskrit (NAS) college of Meerut which they named All India Brahmin Mahasabha (AIBM) and claimed that it was a revival of the AIBM founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya in1939. The revival of the AIBM in western UP is interesting because its progenitor (in the pre-Independence period) existed not in western UP but other parts of the state. According to Dr Mahesh Chand Sharma, president of AIBM, Madan Mohan Malaviya made no effort to extend the organization beyond Allahabad, Benaras, Punjab and Delhi. It should be noted that even the well-organized All India Kanyakubja Brahmin Pratinidhi Sabha (AIKBPS), founded in the 1880s, had declined by 1964, having been in its peak in the 1930s, and declining thereafter (Khare 1970). The revived unit of the AIBM, however, remained confined to the cities till the late 1990s, when branches were set up in some villages. The immediate provocation for this was the emergence of the caste associations of other 122

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castes. For example, in Govidpuri Ghasauli village which has a substantial number of Brahmins, it was the establishment of an association of Sainis in their village that prompted the Brahmins there to set up a unit of the AIBM. The AIBM played a significant role in mobilizing Brahmins for the bhaiachara rallies organized prior to the 2007 election to the UP Vidhan Sabha. It should be noted that the office-bearers of the Akhil Bharatiya Brahmin Mahasabha (ABBM) and All India Kshatriya Mahasabha (AIKM) in western UP and Rajasthan are also office bearers of the BJP, RSS, or its affiliates. Even in the villages of Meerut district which I visited during the fieldwork a large number of members of the AIBM are members and activists of the RSS and/or the BJP. As I will discuss later, they sought to revive and preserve the memories of Brahmin icons/heroes such as Parshuram and Madan Mohan Malaviya, and highlight the virtues of their caste. K S H A T R I YA O R G A N I Z A T I O N S I N M E E R U T45

The All India Kshatriya Mahasabha (AIKM), which had been set up during the pre-Independence period, organized an all India rally of Rajputs in Delhi sometime in the 1990s, in which the Rajputs of western UP also participated in large numbers. The Rajput intellectuals of western UP realized that although the AIKM coordinated with Rajput organizations in various parts of UP, it neglected the problems of its caste fellows at the grassroots level. Such a realization motivated them to set up the Kshatriya Mahasabha (KM) in Meerut in 1995 which, unlike the AIKM, sought to focus on the caste’s local-level problems. The general secretary and president of the KM, Shomeshwer Singh Pundeer and Thakur Manbir Singh Tomar respectively, emphasized that the KM founded by them was not a branch of the AIKM but an independent organization focussing on local issues. The purpose of establishing KM was to ameliorate the caste from several evils which it had been beset with for many years: the increasing consumption of liquor, prevalence of the dowry system, jealousies and factionalism within the caste, division of the caste into different groups such as Rajputs and Chauhans, and cleansing the image of the caste which has been portrayed as exploitative, oppressive, violent, and imbued with several other such negative traits in the mass media, films, and books. However, the immediate provocation for the foundation of the KM in Meerut district seemed to be instances of clashes between the Rajputs/Chauhans, and Jatavs in some villages such as Uldeypur and Sikheda, especially in the latter; clashes between the Chamars and Rajputs of that village concerned a dispute over the installation of Ambedkar’s statue on school land in the village. This incident came to be known as Sikheda kand (episode).46 The Sikheda kand had led to the mobilization of Dalits by various forces representing them and mobilization of the Rajputs by the All India Kshatriya Mahasabha (AIKM). Thousands of Rajputs of Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, and other neighbouring areas had 123

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taken out a massive procession in 1995 in tractors and trolleys and gathered at Maharana Pratap Chauk in Meerut and presented a memorandum to the authorities against harassment by Dalits. It is in this context that the Kshatriya Mahasabha (KM) was established in Meerut in 1995. The organization maintains contacts with its Rajput brethren in other states too. The KM organized Sanyukta Kshatriya Mahasammelan on 3 January 2003 in auditorium of Ch. Charan Singh University, Meerut, in which Rajputs from the several parts of India were invited. Among the issues about which the Kshatriya organizations show concern, two are significant: – bringing back the ashes of Maharana Pratap from Afghanistan and shedding the growing sense of hierarchy arising within their caste. Like Jats, Rajputs too have shown concern about the erosion of Rajput values in their caste. In order to spread these values, they have begun publishing a caste magazine Kshatriya Jyoti from Meerut and invoking historical figures like Maharana Pratap, considered a symbol of Rajput pride and independence. The KM set up a statue of Maharana Pratap on 30 May 1990 at road crossing (chauk) at Bachha Park and the statue has become the centre of Rajput political activities at Maharana Pratap Park/Chauk. There, they stage dharnas/rallies and a small library has been set up beneath the statue of Maharana Pratap. One member of the Roorkee unit of the Kshatriya Mahasabha (not related to that in Meerut) has been convicted of killing Phoolan Devi to avenge the murder of Rajputs in UP in 1981.

III The demands/issues of caste organizations: caste federations and associations Though inter- caste organizations known as caste federations and singlecaste organizations known as castes associations raise the caste-related demands, yet there are differences between them in terms of priority of demands. The caste federations address common issues concerning the associations of different castes. However, sometimes the issues raised by the associations and federations overlap. This section attempts to aggregate demand/issues of the low caste organizations and those of the high castes, and highlight the general differences between them. The issues that are addressed by the caste federations of the low castes, especially MBCs include uniting different castes and establishing mutual cooperation between them. They aim to generate political consciousness among the MBCs about the need to draw up a strategy on how to tackle discrimination/challenge of the forward castes unitedly and achieve social equality. The representatives of the MBC federations meet frequently to discuss their issues and to draw up a strategy to resolve them. The high caste organizations however focus on preserving and protecting their caste 124

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icons and highlight the virtues of their castes. The demands/issues of the high castes are generally raised by single-caste associations, unlike the MBCs whose demands/issues are aggregated by caste federations. For the sake of brevity, the differences in nature of principal issues raised by the MBC ­organizations47 and the high castes can be categorized as follows: The demands/issues of the MBC organizations 1

2

3

Establishment of caste unity: the discrete caste associations lament that their respective castes are divided into different sub- castes, which generally do not intermarry and engage in one-upmanship in their claims to the superiority of one sub- caste over another. The organizations emphasize the need to dissolve these differences by encouraging intra­­sub-caste or ­­intra-gotra ​­­ marriages48 establishing ‘roti-beti ­­ ​­­ ka rista (dining and marrying within different castes sharing same social status). CBPIs of the MBCs argue since their different castes (and gotras within the same caste) share low caste status and are engaged in near similar occupations, they should dissolve their differences to make a common effective community. They further contend that they may be minority castes in a particular area but if the numerical strength of their caste fellows across different areas is taken into account, the members of their respective castes are more numerous than several other castes. They suggest that such castes have different names but, they belong to the same caste. Such examples abound across several castes. The Sainis and Malis of western UP, Kushwahs, Koeris, Mauryas, and Shakyas of eastern UP claim that they are the same. The Dhinwars, Kahars of west UP, and Mallahs, Kewats and Dushads of eastern UP claim that they are the same caste. The Gadaria, Pals of western UP and Baghels of other parts of the UP and other states claim that they are the same. Demand for due recognition and acknowledgement of caste icons/leaders: the state should declare public holidays on the birthdays of the icons/leaders belonging to the different castes; should name public institutions, and other public places after the caste icons/saints/leaders; should award them Bharat Ratna to caste icons or hang their photos in the Parliament. In my sample specifically, such leaders/icons and demands relating to them include: Bharat Ratna for Ch. Charan Singh and Chhotu Ram by Jats, for Karpoori Thakur by Nais, for Ambedkar (awarded Bharat Ratna) by Dalits, and others; public holidays on birth days of the Bhakti saint Kabir’s companion Sain (April 20) by Nais, of Kanshi Ram by Dalits, and of Maharaja Daksh Prajapati by Kumhars (July 2/ashad Purnima). Besides, Sainis/Malis demand the installation of a statue of Jyotirao Phule in the Parliament House. Efforts to fight the violation of human rights: protection of women, especially those suffering from humiliating and undignified treatment 125

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4

5

6

7

by the police or the dominant castes, etc. Struggle against the misrepresentation of the caste through humiliating images. The Nais demanded removal of ‘Nai aur Lakadhara’, a story about a Nai and a woodcutter which the Nais found hurtful to the honour and selfrespect of their caste, from the Part 3 of a Gyan Bharati book published by the UP government. Recognition of the caste as a category by the state which would help it to receive the support of the government or reaction to the demands by other castes either for such recognition to them too or opposing it (Rajputs’, Brahmins’, and other high castes’ reaction to the reservation for OBCs, SCs, STs in public institutions); demand for sub-division of the OBC quota between the upper OBCs and the MBCs or by some marginalized castes among the SCs to sub-divide the reservation quota meant for the SCs; demand by some of MBCs like Prajapatis/Kumhars and Dhinwers/Kahars to be recognized as Scheduled Castes, and the by Gadarias/Pals for seeking to be recognized as the Scheduled Tribes; demand of Jats of Rajasthan, UP and Delhi to be recognized as OBCs (which was granted to them in 1999 and 2000) and a demand for their ­­de-recognition ​­­ ­­ ​­­ as OBCs by some non-Jats; and demand by the MBCs for proportional reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, for proportional representation in the legislative bodies (Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad), for appointment/nominations in different commissions, boards and corporations, vice chancellors of universities/chairmen or members of various public bodies, and for allotment of tickets by the political parties in the Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections. Helping the needy and encouraging deserving members of the caste: children who perform well in studies should be given scholarships by the castes, should be encouraged, the government should also provide them free education and other facilities, and the like. The castes directly associated with the jamani system feel the need to abolish certain practices that they feel are undignified. Fighting social evils/bad practices: caste associations seek to eliminate social evils like dowry, mratyu bhoj or feast at the time of death, child marriage, prohibition of liquor, gender issues (not very common and a central concern), settlement of disputes, especially relating to the desertion of wife by the husband or divorce, helping the poor widows of the community, helping those who are oppressed by the dominant castes, approaching the administration in cases of the oppression of the low casts caste by the influential castes, etc. Demand about certain occupations like fisheries, water-related occupations, hair cutting, etc., which were traditionally practised by some castes from among the MBCs, and have been taken over by entrepreneurs

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from other castes such as Banias, Brahmins or Khatri Punjabis in the process of modernization and commercialization, in establishments where the MBCs are working as employees: the MBCs are not trained to undertake these modern jobs and therefore they demand that young men from among the MBCs should be trained to undertake these. For example, Nai’s demand that the boys from their caste should be given training in the ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes) and resources be made available to them to set up salons; Gadarias, whose traditional occupation was to rear sheep and produce wool, demand that they should be given resources and training to set up woollen goods factories, and Kumhars demand that should be trained and financially helped in the craft of pottery, etc. The Dhinwers’ principal issues relate to the traditional occupation of the community: making proper arrangement for ponds (kamaltash). They also complain that the introduction of licences for making khandsari (unrefined sugar) had deprived the community of the opportunity to make jaggery.49 Notably, while MBCs oppose the continuation of the traditional occupations in line with the jajmani traditions, they hanker for a monopoly of such occupations in the modern sector. The demands/issues of the high castes The demands/issues of the high caste associations are: Projection of the good virtues of the caste: this issue specifically concerns the high castes, which is about projecting, protecting and preserving high caste symbols/icons. For example, one of the purposes articulated by the Rajput association in western UP in the caste magazine Kshatriya Jyoti, and in the interviews with me of the office bearers of Kshatriya Mahasabha, has been to prepare their caste members to follow the Kshatriya dharma: to imbibe a sense of nationalism, to inspire Kshatriyas to maintain harmonious and cordial relations with other castes, to coordinate with Kshatriya organizations in other parts of the country, and to restore declining Kshatriya values in their caste fellows, i.e., to be proud of Indian culture, believe in honesty, sacrifice, etc.; to work towards correcting the false image of the community which has been created by the mass media, films, incorrect history, as stated earlier, in which the Rajputs have been depicted in a negative light as oppressors, egoists, violent, exploitative, etc. Likewise, Brahmins claim to possess intelligence, self-respect, a sense of sacrifice and be imbued with an urge to help others. They also claim to be an embodiment (swaroop) of Indian culture. Brahmins have been a self-respecting, self-sacrificing, generous community. As I will discuss later, similar concern was expressed in a seminar held at Surajmal society in Delhi about the erosion of the Jat identity and the need to restore it. Indeed, the high

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castes are not only attempting to project, protect and preserve their cultural icons, they even seem to be competing with the low castes on some issues; for instance, demand for declaration of public holidays in names of their castes’ historical/mythological icons, Parshuram or for award of Bharat Ratna to Madan Mohan Malaviya (awarded Bharat Ratna) by Brahmins and to Maharana Pratap by Rajputs or demands by Brahmins of west UP for proportional representation in politics, education and other social and economic sectors. Even like the MBCs, some high castes such as Brahmins and Tyagis which have close proximity in the varna system often express the need to merge by adopting a common caste name rather than having different titles of gotras or sub- castes. But, in comparison to low castes, such instances among the high castes are rare.

IV Construction of identity Apart from establishing caste organizations, different castes of my sample also have sought to construct their identities by discovering or inventing the icons/pantheons of their castes. These include not only imagined or real historical figures but also any person belonging to the contemporary period who has achieved fame, and in the perception of their caste fellows have brought honour to the caste. Each of the castes seems to be involved in a competitive bid to establish its authenticity and to prove that it is no way inferior to other castes so far as its history/icons/heroes (real or imagined) are concerned. As discussed in Chapter 2, the low castes challenge the dominant notion of Sanskritization by inventing/discovering their alternative culture and initiating a process of de-Sanskritization. In this section, I will discuss how different castes have sought to construct their identities through caste symbols – how low castes, Dalits and OBCs, reject the dominant value system and invent alternative cultures, and how the high castes, in turn, seek to preserve, protect and discover their caste icons/heroes/histories, and highlight the virtues of their icons and castes. The MBCs Among the MBCs, Nais have discovered/invented the Bhakti saint Sain and other icons such as Panna Dai, Ma Naraini and Savita; Dhinwars have discovered Eklavya and Kalu Baba (a mythological figure); Gadarias have discovered/invented Sant Kanak Pal of Karnataka (a saint during the Maratha empire), queen Ahilya Bai Holkar and king Chandragupta 50 ­ of the Mauryan dynasty; and, Kumhars have discovered Daksh Maurya Prajapati. The icons/heroes of the contemporary period include Phoolan Devi and Karpoori Tahkur among Dhinwars and Nais respectively. 128

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Invention of cultural identity among the MBCs The intellectuals of the MBCs are aware that none of their icons may have actually existed and that they may just be mythological. It is a matter of belief, they concede, and may even be a myth in the same way as Ram or Krishna is for the high castes. The construction of icons generates a sense of pride and recognition, so when it comes to choosing and imagining an icon, why not choose one from one’s own caste? The following statement of the president of the Kumhar’s organization Uttar Pradeshiya Prajapati Mahasabha (UPPM) is noteworthy in this context: The people of our samaj (caste) believe that Daksh Prajapati is the kulguru, or we are his descendants. If you ask me about his history, these Brahmins do not have the capacity to tell the history of Ram Chandra ji or Krishnaji nor even Valmiki. All these granths [epics] I believe are imaginary. I do not think they were real. They all are fiction. The writers of these fictions have written them so well that the people of the Most Backward Classes were trapped by this fiction; they allowed themselves to be exploited in the past as well as today. Mahraja Daksh had his sultanate in Kankhal [Hardwar]. The older people or those who are more learned believe that the Prajapati samaj is the santan [child] of Maharaj Daksh. We were kumhars [potters); Prajapati nomenclature came much later. As soon as they became more conscious, kumhars started calling them Prajapati. We are trying to popularize Maharaja Daksh (jan jan tak panhuchane ka pryas kar rahe hein). (Translation mine)51 Dhinwars/Kashyaps/Nishads/Turhas/Kahars trace the claim of their origin to the descendants of an icon, Kalu Baba. An intellectual of the Dhinwar caste recounted an episode.52 According to the Dhinwars, there had been one Kalu Baba, who was so known because of his dark complexion. He had a vichlit pravravarti (ascetic nature) and would listen to debates among Brahmins. One day the subject of the debate concerned was ‘what was the most difficult type of work in the world?’. Rishi Muni asked Kalu Baba to tell them what it was as he listened to them every day without uttering a word. Kalu Baba replied that the ‘Seva Karya [rendering service] was the most difficult type of work’. To this, Vishnu responded that he would like him to take an avatar to perform seva karya. After the discussion, the Rishi Muni bestowed the title (padvi) Dhinwar (dhin/budhi means brain) + war (best) or best brain, to Kalu Baba; this is the origin of the word Dhinwar. The Kashyap/Dhinwar caste has constructed temples of Kalu Baba at various places. 129

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The process of Nais becoming influenced by the life and ideas of Sain can be conceptualized as Sainization, alluded to earlier, depicted through deification of Sain by setting up a cultural organization Shri Rajasthan Sain Sikhsha Sansthan (SRS3), which is different from the caste organizations discussed earlier, and by setting up an institution – the Sainacharya. In a bid to emerge from the hegemonic mould of Sanskritization, Nais seek to gain recognition by invoking their past caste icons, especially of Panna Dai,53 Naraini,54 Savita and Sain. Sain, a contemporary of Kabir (Habib 1999: 381), the Bhakti poet who had challenged the hegemonic values and hierarchy of the caste system, has become the most revered symbol of the pride and identity of the Nais, especially from the 1960s, in several parts of India, principally UP, Delhi, Rajasthan, MP and Maharashtra, and they have named a majority of their organizations and institutions after him. Although the process of deifying Sain began in Rajasthan and MP in the 1960s, the first effort to spread Sain’s views across India, to revere him, to name organizations and institutions after him, and to espouse his views and ideas, was made at an all-I ndia-level meeting of the intellectuals of the community at a function known as ‘Minds Meet’ (Brainstorming Session) held in Delhi in 1974. Accordingly, as against the Akhil Bharatiya Nai Brahman Mahasabha (ABNBM), the organization was named Akhil Bharatiya Sain Samaj (ABSS). A 16-member delegation under the leadership of Kanhayya Lal Khawas of Jodhpur represented Rajasthan in the ‘Minds Meet’. The first and second ­­all-India ​­­ sammelans of the ABSS were held on 11–12 October 1976 and 24–25 October 1983 respectively, in Jodhpur. Representatives from Punjab, UP, Haryana, MP and Rajasthan participated in these sammelans. Following the conclusion of the first sammelan in 1976, units of the ABSS were set up in various parts of Rajasthan. It is worth noting that the second sammelan was inaugurated by Ashok Gehlot, a prominent leader of an MBC Mali caste in the state who comes from Jodhpur, and later thrice became the chief minister of Rajasthan. Since then, the ABSS has coordinated and participated in the activities of the caste in various parts of India. Sain’s popularity in Rajasthan can be traced to the context of the cultural background of the state, especially the districts of Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Naguar and Pali. This region is pervaded with the tradition of the Bhakti movement, and people frequently refer to the Bhakti saints in their discourses here: the Ramanandis, Kabir, Sain Nai, Dadu (the village cotton- carder), Mira, Haridas Jat, Ravidas Chamar, Pipa, Dhanna (Jat) and others. The Bhakti tradition was encouraged by Nam Dev, a Rajput ruler of Bandavgarh who stood for social equity and was opposed to casteism. Given his reformist approach he is much revered by both the lower and

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upper castes. In fact, one of the stories about him is that he had accepted a Dalit woman as his sister.55 Apart from being respected for his ideas as a representative of the Bhakti tradition, Sain has also been revered in the myth that has been constructed around him. The most popular legend prevalent, that enhances their reverence for him, is the following: ‘Saint Sain Maharaj’ used to shave the king in accordance with his caste occupation. One day he was unable to provide services to the king on time because he was engaged in serving the saints (santon ki seva). This annoyed the king but meanwhile God himself came disguised as Sain and shaved the king. The king, who was suffering from leprosy was cured by God. After a while Sain himself came to the king, scared and began apologizing for the delay on his part. The king however responded that Sain had already provided his daily services to him. Sain said that it had not been him which led to the king realizing that it was Sain’s divine qualities that had caused God to come to him in disguise; and indeed, had not only served the king but also cured him of his leprosy. Following this ‘miracle’, the king became a devotee of Sain, and the incident contributed to Sain’s popularity.56 There are different claims about the place of birth of ‘Sainji Maharaj’: Punjab, Maharashtra and MP. His followers from Punjab claim that he was born there, those from Maharashtra claim that he was born there and the ones from Rajasthan, MP, UP and Delhi believe that he was born in Bandavgarh in Rewa in MP.

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In order to assert their cultural autonomy, the Nais of Jodhpur instituted the position of a Sainacharya named after Sain and set up the Akhil Bharatiya Sain Bhaktipith Trust (ABSBT) in 1992 on the occasion of the Ujjain Mahakumbh Mela. Achlanandji Maharaj was appointed the first Sainacharya or the Pithadish of the Bharatiya Sain Bhaktipith Trust. The ­­ ​­­ trust publishes a tri-monthly magazine, Sain Bhaktipith Sandesh. Pushkar was selected as the headquarters of the Trust and its registered office was Baba Ram Dev temple, 57 Jodhpur. The SRS3’s president, Kanhayya Lal Khawas, who was also president of the Akhil Bharatiya Sain Samaj (ABSS) played a leading role in setting up the ABSBT and creating the institution of Sainacharya.58 However, the original idea for this was advanced by Ram Kumar Marothia of Mansoor, Madhya Pradesh (known to Khawas when both were studying in Indore), who contacted Kanhayya Lal Khawas and broached the idea to him. Initially, Khawas had been reluctant to set up the ABSBT and the institution of a Sainacharya, arguing that he did not believe in religious activities and ‘did not want to throw the Sain Samaj into superstition’. However, eventually

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he agreed when Marothia convinced him on the grounds that ‘if we set up a religious organization, it will attract people in the name of religion and later on we can convert their energy to the social causes’. The question then arose as to who should be appointed as the first Sainacharya. Marothia suggested the name of Achalanand, who was from their caste and was already heading the Baba Ram Dev temple in Raika Bag, Jodhpur. The fact that Achalanadji headed a temple named after Ram Dev ruled out Khawas’ objection to his name, as Ram Dev was sympathetic to the low castes even though he was a Rajput. Achalanad himself was reluctant to become the Sainacharya, arguing against being the head of a particular caste as he had followers among all castes. However, after much effort and persuasion, Achalanandji Maharaj agreed to head the ABSBT and become the first Sainacharya. His baptism as such was undertaken by Vibhushit Jagatguru Ramandacharya Shree Ramaneshwaracharya ji of Haridwar in Ujjain on 15 April 1992. The Nais did not however have an office of their own for the Sainacharya; the office initially used was at the Ram Dev temple, headed by Achalanand in Jodhpur and was dominated by the Rajputs who considered the temple theirs, and therefore viewed the Nais’ attempts to set up an office there with resentment. The Nais for their part wanted to set up the headquarters which they could call their own. Space for the office could be made available at Pushkar (Ajmer); several years earlier a person known as Mohan Lal, who was from the Nai caste, had set up an ashram there. Mohan Lal was suffering from some ailment, and at someone’s recommendation he came to Achalanand (who had already become very popular) in the Ram Dev temple at Raika Bagh, Jodhpur, and the latter is believed to have cured Mohan Lal. In return for the treatment, Mohan Lal donated his ashram to the ABSBT, and thus Pushkar became its headquarters. Although the principal activities of the trust are conducted at the Ram Dev Mandir office, Jodhpur, those related to the trust go to the Puskar mela every year, and Achalanand also spends one or two weeks there. Ram Dev temple was founded with the patronage of the ­­ex-maharani ​­­ of Jodhpur, who gave money and land to Achalanandji Maharaj for its construction. Achalanandji Maharaj became its priest and, as mentioned earlier, he is also the Sainacharya. The story relating to the foundation of the temple and the background of Achalanandji Maharaj, the Sainacharya, is quite interesting. The original name of Achalanand was Achla Ram. He was born on 30 April 1955 in Sindakaur village, Osian tehsil, Jodhpur district. He was inspired by religion at the young age of 17.59 His relatives were traditionally related to the family of the Jodhpur’s ­­ex-maharaja ​­­ as his servants and they lived near the palace of the maharaja. As a school drop-out he began selling tea in a thela (hand-pulled cart) in front of a girls’ college. Achala Ram’s family were unhappy with him and ‘they even manhandled him for his lack of interest in education and dignified work’. This caused 132

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him to run away from home. When he returned after four/five years, he was a changed man,60 becoming a sadhu and is said to have helped people in solving their problems.61 The news of his popularity also reached the ­­ex-maharani ​­­ of Jodhpur. Impressed with the sadhu, the maharani’s family donated land and money and constructed a temple named Ram Dev temple, and appointed Achalanand as its head.62 Dalits: Ambedkarization as ­­de-Sanskritization ​­­ Ambedkarization in western UP Ambedkarization has been the most eloquent rejection of dominant culture of the Sanskritization process among Dalits and is indicative of the reversal of it in the form of de-Sanskritization.63 From the late 1970s, there has been a tremendous growth in the consciousness among Dalits about the ideas and life of B.R. Ambedkar, a process which for the sake of brevity can be termed Ambedkarization. In many villages, committees, schools and libraries named after Ambedkar have been set up, and his statues have been installed. Ambedkar’s birthday, 14 April, is celebrated with fervour and gaiety: plays exposing the discriminatory caste system/ Hindu religion/ culture are staged; prabhat pheries (early morning marches) and processions to the accompaniment of songs and slogans in praise of Ambedkar are taken out. Through the processions Dalits are exhorted to read Ambedkar’s literature, not to compromise on dignity, to greet each other with ‘Jai Bhim’ rather than with ‘Ram Ram’ or ‘Namaste’. Children who excel in studies or sports are awarded prizes. As the impact of Ambedkar’s ideas continued to grow from the late 1950s, so did the process or need for conversion to Buddhism. Rather than to follow the habits, values and customs of the high castes, i.e., Sanskritization, they are rejecting and reversing this process. Begun immediately after the death of Ambedkar, Ambedkarization has passed through various stages of development over the past six decades, culminating in the emergence of Dalits as a political force. In the process a large number of Dalits have been critical of high caste culture and the Hindu religion and have even renounced the Hindu religion, especially in favour of Buddhism or other religions like Sikhism or Islam. Indeed, many of those who have not converted to any religion do not follow the Hindu religion in everyday life and some even plan to convert to another religion at some point in the future. Of course, many Dalits still continue to adhere to the Hindu code of life, especially non-Chamars, but ­­de-Sanskritization has ­­ ​­­ ​­­ become a powerful force. The Dalit protest against the dominant culture can also be observed in their search for an alternative mode of idol worship and construction of temples. Dalits setting up their ‘own’ temples named after Balmiki, Ambedkar, and Ravi Das is not uncommon. For example, in one village, first a temple in the name of Ravi Das was constructed on 133

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the premises of the house of a Dalit, and some months later in Ambedkar’s. The construction of such temples by Dalits and their observance of Hindu rituals in marriages, celebration of Holi and Diwali prompts some critics to point out that the protesting Dalits are not different from those they criticize: that Dalits too believe in temples and idol worship and have not discarded Hindu rituals. Such criticism takes Ambedkarization or sociocultural protest as an absolute phenomenon, and not a process which is reflection of protest. Ambedkarization in Rajasthan Ambedkarization has, however, not had as much of an impact in Rajasthan as in UP. It has also not shown a uniform pattern in different parts of the state. Unlike in UP, the impact Ambedkarization in Rajasthan has by and large remained symbolic, though the process has been taking place: naming of institutions, places, roads, etc. in the name of Ambedkar; installation of his statues and busts. Its ideological impact in terms of rejecting Hinduism unlike in UP or Maharashtra, was limited, with some cases of conversion to Buddhism in Ajmer and Jodhpur.64 An important example of the impact of Ambedkar’s ideas and personality was the construction of Bodh Vihar and the conversion to Buddhism of some Balmikis in Mansooria colony of Jodhpur. The initiative for spreading Ambedkar’s ideas was taken in the 1960s by Kanhayya Lal Khawas who, as noted in Chapter 2, was a Nai intellectual (who later led alternative cultural movement among Nais) and a Dalit scientist S.N. Jodha who had himself converted to Buddhism. The movement was however short-lived and collapsed when Khawas, shifted his focus to issues within his own caste.65 Unlike in UP, in Rajasthan it has not led to the emergence of Dalits as an independent political force. According to Prof. Shyamlal, a Dalit sociologist, these were mostly the young Chamars whom he categorized as the ‘Young Turks’ in the Congress in the 1960s who accepted Ambedkar as their ideal.66 They can be compared to the first generation of the Ambedkarites of UP (see Singh 1998 for such categorization). As in UP, this generation of Dalits was dissatisfied with the Congress because the party was led by the high castes; Dalits were merely the voters. However, while the process of Ambedkarization in UP continued well into the next generation of Ambedkarites, eventually resulting in the rise of the BSP, in Rajasthan it did not extend beyond the first generation, here remaining largely symbolic. Prof. Shyamlal attributed the limited growth of Ambedkarization in Rajasthan to the following67: (1) The sustained strategy of the ‘Congress- Gandhians’ (both Dalits and high castes) since the pre-Independence days to dissuade Dalits from following Ambedkar’s ideology, persuading them instead to follow Gandhi who was projected as the true liberator of Dalits. It did not permit Ambedkarism to ‘let Ambedkar falne aur phoolne (flourish)’ and campaigned among the 134

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Balmikis (Sweepers) that ‘Ambedkar was a leader of the Mahars alone, and, not of the V[B]almikis’. Even before the Congress and the Gandhians began campaigning in Dalit bastis, the Arya Samaj dissuaded them from seeking an alternative politics. (2) An absence of effective Dalit leadership in Rajasthan in contrast to UP and Maharashtra. (3) A relative lack of active involvement of Ambedkar in Rajasthan. (4) The lack of a united Dalit movement in the state, in Rajasthan the discrete Dalit castes have launched separate movements of their own: the Raigars, Balmikis, Bairwas and others. One of the principal reasons for the limitation of Ambedkarization in Rajasthan could also be linked to the diverse legacies in Rajasthan; as mentioned earlier, there were 22 princely states with varying patterns of governance before they could be united to make the state of Rajasthan. Jats: a quest for alternative idioms Indeed, Jats’ penchant to criticize Brahminical rituals under the influence of the Arya Samaj (mentioned earlier) has been termed as de-Sanskritization by Pimpley and Sharma (1985; Majumdar 1958). My use of the concept differs from theirs: Pimpley and Sharma term disapproval of Hindu ritualism and idol worship, as envisaged by Arya Samaj, as de-Sanskritization; it does not question the basic tenets and hegemony of Hinduism/Brahminism on the non-low castes, while I deem it to be a quest for alternative cultural idioms, rather Sanskritization as M.N. Srinivas envisaged. Jats were already in a dominant position, even above the Brahmins and Banias in Haryana and Punjab, especially in the villages (not in Rajasthan), and had already abandoned rigid Brahminical rituals; then, why did they respond to the appeal of the Arya Samaj? The explanations could be two-fold: one, the Arya Samaj’s principles coincided to a large degree with their non-ritualistic traditions,68 Jats found the movement appealing; and two, although Jats were the dominant caste (in UP, Punjab, and Haryana) in the village community, this position was not recognized by the non-agriculturist castes beyond the village community, especially by the Bania traders and money lenders (see Datta 1999: 87). Their economic dependence on the moneylenders and traders further compounded their condition outside the village. In fact, the grounds for the Arya Samaj’s impact on Jats were far better in Rajasthan than in other regions/states. As discussed in Chapter 1, in Rajasthan they also suffered caste discrimination and social humiliation and economic exploitation at the hands of their Rajput landlords. In the recent past, concern has been shown among a section of Jats on the erosion of the Jat identity and the need to revive Jat values/identity. At a seminar held in Delhi on the role of Jats in the History of North and North-west India, which I attended, a lady teacher from a university in Haryana expressed such concerns, and her views were shared by a large number of Jats present at the seminar. She emphasized the need to revive 135

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the Jat identity, their culture and customs. She lamented that the new generation of Jats was concealing its Jat identity. She stated that the children in the age group 6–12 do not know that they are Jats. The children come to know about their castes from bus drivers, and ask the parents ‘Who am I? Who are Jats?’. Students are scared to reveal that they are Jats lest they be disqualified in interviews. She claimed to base her views on a survey she conducted on the Jat boys in Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak. She added that the ‘Jat Brand’ should be projected; Jats should feel proud of their culture, and stop fighting among themselves. She expressed happiness that a website of Jat boys, www.jatland.com has been opened. She emphasized at the same time that Jats should adapt to the requirements of the globalization. A large number of the Jats have expressed their concern on the general image of Jats as ‘impolite, rude, and aggressive’. In their opinion, such behaviour leads to their isolation. Some of them attribute this image of Jats to their self-image. They maintain that even though their economic conditions are deteriorating, the Jat boys conceal their difficult conditions of life behind a veneer of aggressive behaviour.69 The high castes: not to be left behind In this section, I will substantiate that part of the argument which claims that the high castes have sought to preserve and protect their caste icons, and underline virtues of their castes and icons without attacking the social hierarchy, unlike the low castes who not only seek alternative but also attack social hierarchy. As stated earlier, the contemporary high caste organizations emerged in reaction to the activities of low caste organizations. In the recent past the high castes, Brahmins and Rajputs, have also sought to assert their caste identity. The emergence of Brahmin caste associations and revival of the All India Brahmin Mahasabha (AIBM) and Kshatriya Mahasabhas (KM), and evocations of their cultural history, specific caste values, and symbols is a manifestation of this. High caste leaders and associations seek to resurrect their caste heroes, hold parichaya sammelans (acquaintance meetings), in order to win recognition of their identity and protect the honour of their icons. They observe anniversaries of the birth of their icons, name institutions and places after them, install statues of them, organize functions and community marriages in their names, assist deserving persons of the community and resolve caste disputes. Two personalities among the Brahmins, the mythological/historical figure Parshuram and the freedom fighter and founder of the All India Brahmin Mahasabha (AIBM), Madan Mohan Malaviya and among Rajputs Maharana Pratap have inspired their identity politics. Although the Brahmins of western UP have organized some functions in the name of Madan Mohan Malaviya, it is Parshuram who has been the most prominent symbol of Brahmin identity in UP and Haryana in the recent past. The president of the AIBM argued: 136

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Because of the conspiracy against the Brahmins, which was encouraged by the British, the Brahmin legends like Parshuram have been defamed by the non-Brahmins; the allegation that Parshuram had attacked Ram/Rajputs 21 times is a falsehood spread against the Brahmins; in fact, he had helped to reform the children of the Rajputs so that they could run their affairs well when they grew up; but there is no single example where Parshuram put the Brahmins on the throne after destroying the Kshatriyas; he destroyed only those Kshatriyas in whose reign nobody was secure – women, wealth, poor, etc.; he did not set up his reigns, ashrams exclusively for Brahmins.70 In the opinion of the president of the AIBM, Parshuram is alive; he never died unlike Ram, Krishna, the Buddha. He was born when satyug was vanishing and Kalyug impending. He further refuted as false the charge that Parshuram had killed his mother. Defending Parshuram, he contended that if we presume that he did kill his mother (though this is not true), he did so as an obedient son of his father; but he also loved his mother because when his father asked him what he wanted as reward for killing his mother, Parshuram asked for the lives of his mother and brothers. He was also able to have his mother revived. The president of the AIBM suggested that Parshuram embodied Brahmin values of self-sacrifice and generosity. Echoing a similar point, a Brahmin leader in Rajasthan emphasized that: Brahmins have never been the rulers but they have helped others to become rulers. For example, Ram was not a Brahmin but a Kshatriya, yet the Brahmins decreed he should be worshipped. Ravana was a Brahmin but as he was not a good man, Brahmins do not revere him. By contrast, Parshuram who was a Brahmin was never given such status by the Brahmins; there were temples dedicated to Ram but not Parshuram; it is quite recently that Parshuram temples are also being set up. Krishna was a Yadav, yet the Brahmins declared him to be a God; they also viewed the Buddha as a God but not Parshuram who was a Brahmin. The reason is that a Brahmin does not work for Brahmins but for the welfare of society.71 In western UP, the AIBM has been very active in the affairs of Brahmins over the past few years. It has held meetings and organized the Brahmins principally in Meerut, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Jyotiba Pule Nagar, Moradabad, Khurja and Baghapt. It has organized parichaya sammelans of families to introduce girls and boys (pairs) with marriage in view. It has set up a Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya Mission in order to spread awareness about him to areas beyond Benaras and Allahabad, to which 137

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it had been confined earlier. It organized the birth anniversary (janma din samaroh) of its founder, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya for the first time on 25 December 2004 in Meerut. Around 2–2.5 thousand Brahmins from several districts of western UP – Meerut, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat – participated in this programme. Since then, 25 December is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya.72 The AIBM also has begun celebrating the birth anniversary of Parshuram. One such celebration in Meerut organized in April 2005 entailed an eightday celebration of Parshuram Jayanti. On the last day of the programme a Shobha Yatra was taken out commemorating Parshuram and his statue was installed in the city. Brahmin leaders across party affiliations or without any party affiliation and religious leaders took the lead and initiative in the celebrations. Some of the leaders who participated in the procession were Murli Manohar Joshi, the BJP leader, Ram Veer Singh Upadhyay, and the BSP (ex-minister and MLA from Hathras). The Brahmins of western UP were supposed to observe the Parshuram Jayanti in April 2006 but cancelled it due to the Victoria Park fire tragedy.73 However, some of them attended the rally to observe Parshuram Jayanti in Lucknow on 30 April 2006. The rally was convened by the Uttar Pradesh Entertainment Minister in the SP-led government, Harishankar Tiwari. It was also attended by several Brahmin politicians from across political parties and religious leaders (See The Hindu, 1 May 2006). The Lucknow rally resolved: (1) to set up a Brahma Sansad, Parshuram temple and Vedic schools in every district of UP; (2) to demand proportionate representation to Brahmins in politics, education and other social and economic sectors. Regarding their demand for the construction of Parshuram Temple, they have coined a new slogan ‘Brahmanon Ki Mazboori Hai, Parshuram Mandir Zaroori Hai’, roughly translated as ‘Brahmins are compelled to demand construction of Parshuram temple’ (written in public places/walls all along GT road from Meerut to Delhi). Similarly, as stated earlier, the Kshatriya Mahasabha in western UP is engaged in highlighting the virtues of Rajput caste, and popularizing the Rajput icons such as Maharana Pratap. To sum up, different castes are involved in a competition through the caste organizations in the politics of social and cultural recognition. When we join the threads of arguments of discussion in different sections of this chapter, we can make some generalizations in differences that emerge in politics of social and cultural recognition of different castes: low castes (Dalits and MBCs), on the one hand, and high castes, on the other hand. The low castes challenge the dominant cultural values and social hierarchy and look for their own alternatives; reacting to the former, the high castes are also engaged in similar politics but with a difference, i.e., they do not question the social hierarchy but seek to preserve and protect their cultural symbols. As will be noticed in subsequent chapters, differences in general 138

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patterns in social and cultural politics of different castes are reflected in their mobilization, and have implication for substantive democracy and state responses.

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13 14 15 16

17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

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26 27 28 29 30 31 32

and the latter by D.D. Kashyap in 1990. They sought to unite all the subcastes of Dhinwers in order to generate consciousness among his caste fellows and to improve the conditions of the community. Within a few years of their establishment these organizations became virtually defunct (Based on interviews: Gadaria intellectuals – A mar Singh Pal and Mahar Singh Pal (father and son), 23 November 2003, Nagla Tashi Quasimpur village, Meerut; Leelpat, the first president, Pal Samaj, Amar Singh Pal of Nagla Tashi Quasimpur, and the third, Harpal Singh; Dhinwar/Kashyap intellectuals – Kishan Pal Kashyap, 18 July 2004, Meerut; Engineer D.D. Kashyap, 18 July 2004, Meerut; Jai Prakash Kashyap Advocate, 10 January 2003, Meerut; Momraj Kashyap, 9 January 2003, Ghaziabad. The information in this section has been culled from handbills, pamphlets, posters, the proceedings of caste organizations, caste papers/magazines and interviews. Interview: Babu Ram Advocate, 12 October 2003, Ghaziabad. As will be discussed later, he also had set up the MBCF (Most Backward Classes Federation). Information on the ABNS, UP, is based on Samajik Sandesh (a Nais’’ fortnightly published from Kanpur) 26 May 1985. Discussion in this section is based on interviews: Kanhayya Lal Khawas 4 January 2004, Govindi Pawar 3 January 2004, Dr Devi Lal Pawars 3 January 2004, Jodhpur, and Smarikas and Visheshansj, ABSS, Pratham Adhiveshan, 11–12 October 1976, and second Adhiveshan, 24–5 October 1983, published by Kanhayya Lal Khwas, Mahamantri ABSS and president, SRS3, Jodhpur. Rajat Jayanti Visheshank, 1977, SRS3. Based on an interview: Virendra Kumar Prajapati (treasurer of the UPPM and also an office bearer of the Prajapati Kumhar Ekta Manch), 26 June 2004, Meerut. Kumhars are also known as Prajapati. The new generation of the caste prefers to be address as Prajapatis rather than Kumhars. This account is based on an interview: Firay Ram, 12 June 2004, Modinagar. Akhil Bhartiya Kumhar Sangh, which had existed in Agra organized community marriages; a practice which used to be prevalent in Rajasthan, MP, UP, and Delhi (interview: Ramjilal, 5 June 2004, New Delhi). This section is based on an interview with Loon Chand Sinowadia, 4 January 2004, Jodhpur. Interview: Achal Singh Bhati; 3 January 2004, Jodhpur. Devi Lal and Charan Singh, especially the latter, were identified with the Backward Class leadership in Indian politics, though Jat, the caste from which they came, was recognized as an OBC much later, in 1999 and 2000. (See, for a discussion on Charan Singh’s identification with the backward classes, Singh 2001: 2965–66.) The discussion in this section is based on interviews held in Jodhpur between 2 and 5 January 2004, and the Smarika and Visheshank (1983), and a printed document by Baldev Singh ‘Azad’ of Jaipur, publication details could not be ascertained. Based on an interview: Achal Singh Bhati, 3 January 2004, Jodhpur. Smarika and Visheshank (1983: 6). Interview: Babu Ram Advocate, 12 October 2003, Ghaziabad. Interview: Babu Ram Advocate, 12 October 2003, Ghaziabad. The name of the leader has been withdrawn. Interview: Babu Ram Advocate, 12 October 2003, Ghaziabad. This discussion largely draws upon Singh (1998).

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4 POLI T ICAL PART IES A N D CAST ES Politics of accommodation

Introduction As mentioned in the Introduction, relationship between castes, castes and democracy and castes and state can be viewed in terms of politics of recognition and redistributive justice. And politics of recognition can be discerned in two aspects of caste politics: one, social and cultural; two, political (party politics and elections – mobilization of different castes by political parties during and between elections, civil society organizations and state response to demands of different castes/caste groups). Both aspects are distinct but inter-related. I have already discussed the social and cultural dimensions of politics of recognition (Chapters 2 and 3). In this chapter, I discuss the politics of accommodation of castes and their interests, and in subsequent chapters, other aspects of political recognition (politics of representation in legislature and party preferences, Chapter 5) and castes’ representation in government, castes’ self-mobilization and state response (Chapter 6). I will explain the politics of accommodation in a comparative perspective during a period of a little over two decades, i.e., 1989 and 2014 through the prism of party systems or presence of political parties, i.e., multi-party system in western UP and two-party system in Rajasthan, and by relating the presence of parties to the question of exclusion or inclusion of castes and interests in the parties. In discussing these issues, I will use multicultural framework mapped out in the Introduction for the following reasons: focussing on reciprocity of relationship between PICs and PMCs, the multicultural framework addresses the question of inclusion or exclusion of these castes with equal concern. Unlike the dominant framework which ignores the role of small or single- caste parties such as the MBCs’ parties because of their inability to win elections (see, Section “Discourse on political parties, castes, and elections” in this chapter), the multicultural framework gives dues consideration to the role of such parties in party politics. This framework helps us to explain: why in (western) UP there emerged political parties with core support base among low castes  – BSP among Dalits (Jatavs), single- caste

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parties among the MBCs, and RLD among intermediate caste (Jats), but not in Rajasthan: why the PICs such as Brahmins, Rajputs and Jats did not form separate parties in Rajasthan; and why there is multiparty system in western UP, and a two-party system in Rajasthan. The central argument of the book underlines that the differences in castes’ relation to democracy generally depend on the nature of their relationship with two kinds of factors: the constant (castes’ numerical strength, political consolidation, economic independence in an area) and the con­­ ​­­ ­­ ​­­ tingent (inter-caste/intra-caste conflict and competition; presence of civil society organizations; inter/intra-party competition; cultural and economic legacies; political context; castes’ relation with political regimes; ideologies and policies of parties/regimes; presence of the CBPIs (Caste-Based Public Intellectuals) and other factors such as social capital of castes/networking, criminal capital, economic capital; and protective constitutional provisions of the SCs/STs). Applying this argument to the concerns of this chapter – accommodation of castes and their interests in political parties, this chapter argues that the main political parties generally accord political recognition by giving party positions and addressing their interests to the Politically Influential Castes (PICs) such as Jats, Brahmins and Rajputs in western UP and WNE Rajasthan, to Dalits (Jatavs, Meghwals/Bairwas) in western UP (also in party positions in BSP) and WNE Rajasthan; but they generally exclude Politically Marginalized Castes (PMCs) – the MBCs (except Sainis). The principal reasons for the accommodation and representation of the PICs by the main political parties lie in their positive relationships with the constant factors, which the PMCs lack. Since the PICs are not only effective in influencing the electoral results but they also have potential to self-mobilize through collective action and create administrative (law and order) problems, and because the MBCs are not able to do so, the main political parties do not ignore the former as they ignore the latter. Displeasing the PICs can result in losing their votes to political parties, it may also provoke them to resort to public action affecting adversely the ruling party and providing the opposition parties to take advantage. The PMCs do not pose such a challenge to the parties; they can only refuse to vote but not afford to involve themselves in effective public action. However, some time the contingent factors can disturb the general pattern of relationship which favours the PICs to the advantage of the PMCs providing them political, social and cultural recognition, redistributive justice (Tables 0.1–0.3). Existence of t wo-party system in Rajasthan and formation of several parties in western UP depend on the roles which contingent factors singly or jointly with some or all of them play in castes’ relationship with political parties. Most important among these factors are: extent of representation of castes’ members in party structures; and, prevalence of suitable context for disintegration of existing parties marked by realization on the part of the leaders of the neglected castes within such parties to form new parties. 144

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Extent of incorporation of caste members and demands, and legacies of mobilization of castes are linked to castes’ attempts to form political parties. There are two types of mobilization of castes: first, social and cultural striving for social justice, self-respect and dignity (social and cultural recognition) which is inspired by icons associated with them (mostly low castes) (Chapters 2 and 3), and second caste-based mobilization directed at the state or other castes/communities, involving the high castes, Jats and MBCs around politics of reservation (Chapter 6). Both states – Rajasthan and UP – have witnessed caste-based mobilization through parties, caste associations and the CBPIs, but with a mismatch: in western UP there has also been growth of low caste/single- caste parties along with the caste mobilization for social and cultural recognition, but in Rajasthan the growth of caste mobilization on reservation has not been accompanied by formation of low caste/single- caste parties. The reasons for this mismatch can be found in differences in the types of mobilization and the role of some contingent factors such as realization on the part of leaders from marginalized caste to form their ‘own parties’. The first type of mobilization, i.e., social and cultural, is related to the rise of the caste-based parties: indeed, the BSP and MBC parties in UP are culmination of social and cultural movements (as mentioned earlier, they are social and cultural dimension of recognition; political parties form another dimension of recognition). The second type of mobilization does not necessarily result in formation of parties; in fact, it is not related/does always not necessarily precede the formation of parties. The period of little over two decades, i.e., 1989–2014, covered in this chapter is of special significance for a comparison. During this period, in (western) UP there has been a proliferation of political parties,1 indicating the presence of a multi-party system but inversely in Rajasthan, by and large, the two-party system continues. This period has also seen the emergence of small and single- caste MBC parties in (western) UP but there is no evidence of this in Rajasthan for most of the period covered in this study. The entry of smaller parties in Rajasthan has been quite late and ephemeral. Besides, smaller parties in Rajasthan, unlike those in UP have not been single caste based. The RSJF, as will be discussed later, was a multi- caste party. Sections in this chapter explain different aspects of the principal arguments of the chapter with reference to politics of accommodation of castes and interests. This chapter has two sections. Section I deals with the discourse about the party system and electoral politics that prevailed during the period of this study, i.e., from 1989 to 2014. It situates the discourse on UP and Rajasthan in the overall Indian context. Section II concerns the party systems in western UP and Rajasthan, or multiplication/proliferation of parties in western UP and its near absence in Rajasthan and electoral preferences about the MBC political parties. 145

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I Discourse on political parties, castes and elections A large body of literature has appeared over more than the past two decades on such issues. The increasing frequency of elections during this period has contributed to the enormity of the discourse. Apart from popular newspaper commentaries, several issues of the Economic and Political Weekly, Asian Survey, Journal of Asian Studies and surveys by the Centre for the Studies of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, several books and articles have appeared on these themes relating to different states in India. 2 All the major issues of party politics: the disintegration and marginalization of the mainstream political parties/fragmentation of political parties/bipolar or multi-party system, the profiles of the electorates and their elected representatives, the emergence of caste-based or small parties (or their categorization)/relationship between social cleavages and the political parties, and the strategies of political parties or the alliances of the castebased parties before and after the elections are all explained with reference to minimal democracy in terms of electoral politics. Though some of these issues have been dealt with independent of one another, electoral politics has been the principal reference point of the discourse. The principal focus of these studies is to explain the processes relating to party politics and elections. Yogendra Yadav has categorized the period between 1989 and 1999 as that of the ‘first phase of the “third electoral system”’.3 The most significant features of the ‘first phase of the “third electoral system”’ have been an increase in the participation of the people in the electoral process, especially Dalits, OBCs, women, and other underprivileged sections of the society or the bahujans; the beginning of the ‘Post-Congress ­­ ​­­ Polity’4; ‘proliferation’ of political parties and the emergence of ‘multiple bipolarities’ of parties, a phenomenon endorsing Duverger’s law of a two-party system at the state-level party system in India. The increased participation of the bahujans in the elections has led Yadav (2000) to term it as a ‘second democratic upsurge’ of the bahujans, the first being the increased participation of middle- caste OBCs since the late 1960s. Similarly, for Varshney (2013), the increased participation of the disadvantaged sections in the elections has made India more democratic. The Lok Sabha election of 2004, which happened in the wake of the ‘first phase of “third election system”’ signified the completion of the process that began in 1989. It has seen the containment and domestication of the democratic upsurge. The ‘participatory upsurge of the socially marginalized also reached a point of stagnation’ (see Yadav 2009: 12). Increased participation of the underprivileged has also been adduced to counter the notion of essentializing democracy to the advanced countries, to denote a rise of plebeians in Indian democracy or to the firmness of the faith of the masses in democratic institutions despite their lack of

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trust in the political leadership (see Alam 2004; Michelutti 2008; Jaffrelot and Kumar 2009). It is noteworthy that among the two states discussed in this book, UP has attracted greater academic engagement than Rajasthan. Even two special volumes of the Economic and Political Weekly (13–20 January 1996 and 21–8 August 1999) dealing with party politics and elections do not carry any article about Rajasthan but have four articles on UP (see Singh 1996; Srivastava 1996; Kumar 1999; Rai 1999). Kumar’s article is on Uttarakhand and dealt almost exclusively with UP, as the former was part of UP at the time of the article’s publication.5 Even Wallace (ed.) (2015) which deals with the 2014 Lok Sabha election has one chapter on UP (Pai and Kumar 2015), none on Rajasthan. People’s relationships to political parties have generally been studied in relation to their choice of political parties in elections. Three methodological approaches have largely been used for election analysis: survey research, ‘ecological analysis’, and fieldwork or ethnography. Survey research was pioneered by Rajni Kothari and Myron Wiener, the ethnographic approach by A.M. Shah and M.N. Srinivas, and ‘ecological analysis’ by Paul R. Brass (see Brass 1985; Shah 2007; Banerjee 2014). Their common concern has been to explain ‘who voted for whom and why’. Of these, the survey-based research encapsulates the greatest time and space, and the field-based research became popular during 1967–71 (see Shah 2007) but was shortlived. The most popular of the approaches, survey-based research, also passed through phases of lows and highs since the 1960s. After a lull of around two decades, with exception of its revival for a single election, the 1984 Lok Sabha election (by David Butler and Prannoy Roy, alluded to by Brass 1985: 3), and the survey method has become popular again since the mid-1990s under the aegis of Lok Niti/CSDS/NES.6 The publication in 2007 of a large number of fieldwork-based studies which were conducted in 1967 and 1971 underlined the significance of field studies and the hiatus between the two approaches (see Shah 2007). Recently Banerjee (2014) has sought to revive the ethnographic approach to study elections through what she terms as ‘Comparative Ethnographies of Elections (CEE)’ but she paraphrases as ‘Why India Votes?’ which is one of the questions raised in the elections surveys of Lok Niti – CSDS. The survey method has dominated the studies of elections for around two decades. The election studies based on surveys, no doubt, have enriched our understanding of procedural democracy. However, in order to have a broader view of democracy, there is a need to supplement studies of electoral democracy with substantive democracy.7 This chapter on castes and the party politics and the next chapter on party strategies and caste preferences of political parties seeks to supplement study on electoral democracy with the substantive dimensions of democracy which have been discussed in other chapters (1–3, 6). The discourse on party politics and elections has, however, one major constraint: the way it has dealt with smaller political parties. It has given 147

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due recognition to the mainstream political parties, especially those which perform better in elections but the general reaction to the emergence of several parties (single caste, small parties, etc.) have been dismissive of them as insignificant, spoilers, not effective, non-serious: ‘a disturbing trend’, ‘others’, or ineffective (see, e.g., Dutta 2009). Categorization of the smaller parties in this way is resented by their leaders and followers. Smaller parties do not receive adequate attention in the discourse perhaps because they are viewed solely in terms of their ability to win elections, not in terms of their attempt to seek political recognition. Several MBC leaders and members in interviews with me expressed their resentment that political parties, leaders, political commentators and journalists in India do not recognize their significance. They are ‘contemptuously’ referred to as ‘others’, unlike other parties mentioned by name. Even the parties which form ‘multiple bipolarities’ as conceptualized by Sridharan and alluded to by Yogendra Yadav include only the ‘effective parties’ (see Yadav 1999: 2396). They ignore the small parties, like the single- caste parties of (western) UP, perhaps as ineffective or insignificant. Yadav, however, has taken note, albeit in passing, of the smaller parties in his later commentary (see The Hindu, 4 May 2009). Such stereotyping of these parties, whether single caste or small, may be true in the case of some parties but many of them, particularly the castebased ones do need serious consideration for analysis. As will be discussed in Section III of this chapter, many political parties have emerged since the late 1990s (1997–2007) in western UP which have been founded and led by individual castes among MBCs. It is important to clarify that the singlecaste parties are different from the parties set up by certain individual politicians; the former are mainly founded by caste intellectuals as discussed in Chapter 2, the latter by professional politicians. Field-based/election-focussed ­­ ​­­ ­­ ​­­ ethnographic approach also overlooks the broad sociological processes that occur before and after the election; the field-based approach does not relate the sociological processes to the electoral process. Indeed, ‘[S]urvey research seldom situates the act of voting within the larger multiple processes’ and ‘both methods need not be competitive but complementary to each other’ (Palshikar 2007: 26). A way out could be, as Brass (1985: 5) underlined, to supplement ‘ecological analysis’ with survey research, but subsequently Brass was dissatisfied even with this (see Brass 1998: xii). Indeed, by banking on ‘ecological analysis’ alone would again be to ignore the processes that occur when elections are not happening, i.e., between two or more elections. The lacuna can be filled by following the methodology Brass used to study violence in UP (see Brass 1998, 2003). Paul R. Brass shows dissatisfaction with political scientists’ predominant methods: survey research, ecological analyses and comparative studies of political institutions. Instead, he prefers ethnographic research as more challenging and rewarding but with some changes; rather than following the traditional way of conducting ethnographic research in 148

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a relatively small and local area he preferred to move around interviewing people over a period (see Brass 1998: xii). In his study of communal violence in Aligarh district of UP, he uses a ‘discursive framework of communalism’ which combines anthropological fieldwork, structured interviews, and visits and conversation/discussion with respondents (see Brass 2003). I have supplemented the survey-based research of CSDS with ethnographic work in western UP and WNR Rajasthan. Apart from consulting CSDS survey data, election commission reports, UP/Rajasthan government reports, I held group discussions, interviews with ordinary persons, and MBC singlecaste party leaders along with the leaders of main political parties  – the BJP, the BSP, the RLD and the SP belonging to Dalits, MBCs, Jats and high castes, observed electoral/party politics as a participant observer, been witness to panchayat elections in western UP and verified castes of different levels of leadership. Focus of my discussion/interviews/interaction has been on politics of recognition, accommodation and redistributive justice.

II Party systems in western UP and Rajasthan Till the 1980s in UP and Rajasthan, as in most Indian states, the Congress party was the principal ruling party except for 1967–9 and 1977–80 in UP and for 1977–80 in Rajasthan. Since 1989 there has been in varying degrees a rise in the number of political parties in India: some states saw the emergence of several parties or the multi-party system. In other states only two parties remained most effective representing two-party system or bipolarity of the party system.8 This pattern is also visible in western UP and WNE Rajasthan: there exists multi-party system in the former and bipolar system in the latter. In this section, I will explain why there is multi-party system in western UP – why different castes have formed their ‘own’ political parties, and why in Rajasthan there still exists two-party system – why different castes have not formed their ‘own’ political parties. ­­ ​­­ ‘Multiparty system’/‘post-congress polity’ in western UP I will elaborate upon here the argument about the reasons for multiplication of political parties in western UP. Before I do this, a brief account of the narrative of several parties in western UP is in order. In (western) UP, apart from major national and regional political parties  – the Congress, BJP, SP, RLD, and several small parties emerged since the late 1980s. Most of them had an ephemeral existence. Important examples of such parties from (western) UP include two parties with same name, i.e., Kisan Vikas Patry, Jan Morcha, Bahujan Kisan Party, the Rashtriya Parivartan Party founded by D.P. Yadav. In addition, there were two other parties, the 149

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Rashtriya Kranti Party (1999–2004) and the Jan Kranti Party (established on 5 January 2010–13) by Kalyan Singh, which he has merged with the BJP (see The Hindu, 24 February 2013). One of the two Kisan Vikas Parties (KVP) was founded by Om Singh Tomar in 1996 with the sole purpose of having a separate state of Harit Pradesh established in western UP (see Singh 2001). It contested the 1996 and 1998 Vidhan Sabha elections and ceased to exist after that. Another KVP was set up by Rasheed Masood after he was expelled from the RLD. After his expulsion from the SP, Raj Babbar along with VP Singh formed the Jan Morcha in 2006 and mobilized farmers of western UP against the SEZ in Dardi, Gautam Buddha Nagar. The Jana Morcha contested the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election and ceased to exist after Raj Babbar joined Congress in 2008 just prior to the Vidhan Sabha elections in Delhi, Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh, and it was merged with the Congress. The farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait formed the Bahujan Kisan Party, which was later headed by his son, Rakesh Tikait, and contested the election Vidhan Sabha of 2002 and the Lok Sabha elections of 2004 and 2009. Rakesh Tikait merged the BKP with the RLD on the eve of the 2014 Lok Sabha election, which he contested unsuccessfully. D.P Yadav’s Rashtriya Parivartan Party contested the Vidhan Sabha election of 2007. He merged his party with the BSP after its landslide victory in the Vidhan Sabha election. Besides these parties, between 1997 and 2007 there has also been a spurt of single- caste parties of the marginalized castes (MBCs) such as Labour Party, Bharat (Nais), Labour Party (Secular) (Gadarias’/Pals’/Baghels’), Lok Priya Samaj Party (Kumhars’), Jan Sangharsh Party (Dhinwars’/Kashyap’), and Rashtriya Samata Dal (Sainis’/ Kushwahs’). As mentioned earlier, the formation of multiple parties depends on the role of all or some of the contingent factors: extent of accommodation of caste members and their demands within the original parties (parties to which a member belongs before defecting to another party or forming a new party)/lack of representation/intra-party competition; legacy of social and cultural movement within a caste/caste group before formation of a new party; prevalence of suitable context (loosening of traditional bonds and emergence of discrete castes as competing units; and realization on the part of caste members/CBPIs to form new parties; and weakening of the original parties). The intra-party competition between leaders occurs mainly on issues of political recognition  – getting important position in the parties, getting tickets to contest Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections, getting ministerial berths; personality clashes (ego, jealousy); refusal of the original party to defend the exiting leader in case of his involvement in corruption/indictment, to become more popular among the people, etc. Even as these are common grounds for competition between leaders of politically influential and marginalized castes, there are some additional reasons which prompt the leaders of the marginalized castes, especially the MBCs to form 150

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separate parties. These additional factors include giving them menial works such as organizing rallies, pasting posters, making arrangements for party programmes, serving water and spreading mattresses there, thus denying social respect to them in the original parties. The formation of new parties is expected to ensure them political recognition and accommodation or social justice. The emergence of different parties identified with specific caste/ caste groups in western UP can, as I will discuss below, happen on account of some or all of these contingent factors: RLD (Jats), the BSP (Dalits), the MBC parties (Labour Party (Nais), Lok Priya Samaj Party (Kumhars), Jan Sangharsh Party (Dhinwars/Kahars/ Kashyaps/Mallahs), and Rashtriya Samata Party (Sainis/Kushwahs)). Each of these parties is identified with a core caste/caste group – caste/caste group whose majority of members support a party generally/most of the time. I will explain below the process of formation of parties with support of some core caste/caste groups: the RLD (Jats), the BSP (Dalits) and single- caste parties of the MBCs. RLD and its progenitors: Jats as its core caste support base The process of multiplication of political parties in UP began with the exit of Charan Singh from the Congress in 1969 and formation of separate political party by him with different nomenclatures over the years – BKD/ BLD/LD/JD (as a component of the JD). In North India, Charan Sing-led party (with different monikers) has been identified with the intermediate castes/ upper OBCs such as Jats, Yadavs and Kurmis. In the post- Charan Singh era, the JD was split into the RLD and SP, with the Jats in western UP forming the core support base of the former, and Yadavs of the latter in eastern and central UP. Both the exit of Charan Singh from the Congress and formation of separate parties by him (first in 1969, and later split in the Janata Party 1979, and in post- Charan Singh era split in the JD between the RLD led by Ajit Singh and SP by Mulayam Singh) can be explained in the light of the contingent factors as argued earlier: inter- caste competition and intra-party competition within the Congress, i.e., stiff opposition during the 1950s–1960s by the high caste leadership within the Congress to Charan Singh’s attempt to extend his support base among the intermediate backward class farming communities beyond western UP into eastern and central UP; suitable context of the 1960s, general resentment in public against the Congress resulting in its defeat in several states in 1967; having already consolidated his position as a member of the Congress party within the intermediate/upper OBCs – Yadavs and Kurmis in eastern and central UP, and Jats in western UP, Charan Singh came out of Congress in this suitable context, formed his own party with support base among Jats in western UP, and other such castes in other parts of UP (for details see Brass 2011, 2012, 2014). Similarly, he left the Janata Party to form his separate party Janata Dal (S), due to his competition within the Janata Party 151

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between Charan Singh and Morarji Desai. This enabled him to become Prime Minister of India for six months (Brass 1993). Following similar pattern, the competition between leaders of two intermediate castes/‘backward castes’ – Ajit Singh (Jat) and Mulayam Singh (Yadav) split the JD, which was founded by the efforts of VP Singh in 1989 by merging several parties including the one formed by Charan Singh, into RLD and the SP (see Ficket 1993); with the former having strong support base among the Jats in western UP, and Mulayam Singh among the Yadavs of eastern and central UP. The split in the JD into the RLD and the SP can be explained more in terms of competition between Ajit singh and Mulayam Singh banking principally on their core caste constituencies, Jats and Yadavs, and personality clashes, than any differences in their ideology of peasant welfare (see also Singh 2001).9 The BSP: Dalits as its core support base Even the emergence of the BSP, a Dalit-led party can be explained with reference to some of the contingent factors: emergence of Dalit intellectuals/ leadership; loosening of traditional bond of economic and social relations (Chapter  1); realization on their part that the principal political party, the Congress had used them to get their votes but without giving them leadership, need to have their political autonomy; legacy of social and cultural movement in the post-I ndependence period such as Ambedkarization (Chapter  3); and legacy of Dalits’ mobilization in the pre-Independence period in UP (Gooptu 2001; Rawat 2003). Indeed, after Jats, it was the Dalits of UP to quit Congress since the 1980s opting for the BSP as a long-term alternative. The preference of the most Dalits (from 60% to more than 80%) for the BSP (see Chapter 5, figures 5.7 and 5.8) can be explained in terms of their desire for political recognition. A feeling had started growing among Dalits, especially Jatavs that the Congress, a high caste party, used them for political gains; political party led by the upper castes would not give them political recognition (leadership, party positions, political autonomy). Therefore, they should have a political alternative of their own (search for political recognition – own party, leadership, power to distribute patronage, tickets, etc., not being just voters). Indeed, such realization occurred to them as early as the late 1950s even when they had formed a strong support base of the Congress. Since then whenever they got alternatives to the party led by the high castes, they shifted their support to such alternatives; but these alternatives, unlike the BSP later, had not been durable. As soon as these alternatives ceased to exist or lost the trust of the Dalits, they swung back to the best alternative available to them, i.e., the Congress. In the 1960s, Dalits had left the Congress to support the RPI but returned to Congress in 1971 when the RPI leader like B P Maurya joined Congress; in 1977 they found an alternative to the 152

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Congress in the Janata Party as the famous Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram had left Congress to join the Janata Party. The Janata Party regime in UP became unpopular among Dalits due to the increase in number of atrocities on them, especially land owning middle peasant castes. The latter forcibly took back the land which was allotted to Dalits during the emergency period (see Singh 1992: 95).10 But they reverted their support to the Congress in 1980 after the Janata Party lost its credibility. Again, in 1985 some of them supported Congress (J/Jagjivan Ram) (Singh 1992: 135), and in 1989 they supported the Janata Dal as now the national-level Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan had joined the Janata Dal. Since the late 1980s, they have been largely supporting the BSP, which is their ‘own party’ and is led by their own leader. In fact, the desire among Dalits for having their ‘own party’ during 1950s–1980s ran parallel to their attempt for seeking social and cultural autonomy through the process of Ambedkarization (see Singh 1998). As I have clarified in Introduction, some social and cultural movements predate formation of political parties. This is true about the rise of the BSP. The BSP is culmination of the social and cultural movement  – Ambedkarization which preceded it; it is the political manifestation of political recognition of Dalits. The MBCs’ political parties: a response to political neglect 11 As mentioned earlier, the MBCs in my sample formed their parties since the late 1990s. Kanchan Chandra argues that lack of intra-party competition or ‘representational blockage’ within a party leads to the exit of leaders who either form or join new parties (Chandra 2004). But Narendra Subramanian (2002) gives just a reverse argument: it is the autonomy given to the cadre and flexibility in Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu which resulted in their splits leading to formation of new parties – DMK’s sequential splits into the ADMK, PMK, and MDMK since the 1970s (Subramanian 2002). In partial concurrence with Chandra’s argument and contrary to Subramanian’s argument, I argue that in western UP it was the lack of freedom, lack of intra-party competition or ‘representational blockage’ within the BSP to the leaders especially those from the MBCs that prompted them to quit the BSP and to establish ‘their own’/single- caste parties. However, unlike Chandra’s argument, it is essential to underscore that ‘representational blockage’ or lack of inner- party competition was the not the sole reason for split within the BSP leading to formation of new parties. In addition to this factor, there were also other factors (contingent) that caused the split and formation of new parties: determination of the caste leaders/caste intellectuals to establish parties committed to the cause of their castes; realization on their part to form their own parties/get organized; and their background of having been involved in social- cultural movements (Chapter  2) before forming a new party or coming out of the original party. 153

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The MBCs feel politically neglected by the main political parties. What do they do as the neglected castes? They realize that to get political recognition, accommodation in the political parties, ministerial berths in government, and to get redistributive justice they need to have decisive share in the power structure. And this is possible only if a party led by their caste comes to power; other parties can not represent their interests. They argue that the panacea to their problems lies in capturing powers with their own parties, policies, leadership, flag, publicity agency and muscle/coercive power (danda); it will enable them to have all round development of their castes. Their own parties can enable them in bargain for power positions; allot tickets to contest Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections, hold positions with the party structures, and ministerial berths. And in alliance with some dominant castes, the MBCs can become winning political force. Experience of ‘discrimination and humiliation’ by many MBC leaders in the political parties led by the politically influential castes (especially the BSP) is given as the most important factor for the foundation of their own parties. Initially, the MBC leaders joined whichever political party provided forum to them as activists or district-level office bearers of the parties. But in due course, unable to get proper recognition and accommodation in such a party they quit it in order to found either their own political party or joined other party which gave them due recognition. Thus, establishment of single- caste parties by the MBC leaders is a form response to their political neglect by the principal political. It is an attempt to get political recognition by them. Indeed, multiplication of parties, especially the emergence of single- caste parties, represents politics of political recognition of the PMCs. The MBCs’ parties in UP have not yet attempted to form a front of all MBCs; they remain single- caste parties. In actual practice, they are the parties of the castes, to which their leaders belong. Indeed, formation of MBC parties in western UP is indicative of such pattern of eastern UP, where along with the MBC parties even those of the Muslims have emerged in the recent part.12 The MBC parties in eastern UP are as follows: Pragatisheel Manav Samaj Party (PSP) led by Rajesh Bind is identified with Binds and Mallahs; the Bharatiya Samaj Party (BHSP), renamed as Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) led by Om Prakash Rajbhar is identified with Rajbhars; Rashtriya Samanta Dal (RSD) led by Hemant Kushwah is identified with Koeries; and Vanchit Samaj Dal (VSD) led by Chatar Singh Kashyap is identified with Kashayaps/Mallahs. Some parties of eastern UP (the BHSP) realize that they can become a strong political force if a separate state of Poorvanchal is carved out of eastern UP (see Khan 2007; SG 1999 for Apna Dal).13 From 2008, UP also saw the emergence and disappearance of some small Muslim parties such as the Peace Party, Muslim Majlis Party, United Democratic Front, and Quami Ekta Dal.14 These parties existed between periods varying from one to four years. Three of these have been founded by 154

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the leaders from the Muslim backward classes: the Peace Party has been the most important among these. It was founded by Dr Ayub Khan, Ansari (a backward class Muslim), in 2008. The Peace Party won four seats in the 2012 UP Vidhan Sabha election with 2.35% votes. In the 2009 Lok Sabha election, it contested 21 out 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. It performed better in the electoral politics than the single- caste MBC parties; their performance is discussed later. Although Muslims parties are not able to sustain themselves for longer, their emergence is an indicator of attempts on the parts of the marginal section to get political recognition and redistributive justice like the MBCs in the state. The MBCs parties are both registered and un-registered. Their agendas/ programmes consist of two types of issues – the issues concerning a specific caste among the MBCs and the general issues concerning the MBCs, especially sub-division of the OBC quota in public institutions between the MBCs and the upper OBCs. In fact, programmes and policies of the MBC parties converge with those of their caste organizations (Chapter 3). I will discuss below the example of MBC parties in western U P – circumstance which led to their formation, their programmes/agendas and ideological influences on them15: 1

2

3

4

Nais’ Party: after feeling humiliated and discriminated against within the BSP, Babu Ram Advocate, a Nai, founded the Labour Party, Bharat on 17 September 2000. Among ten ‘vishesh nitians (specific policies)’ of this party, two included the proportional representation of the MBCs in the ‘powers’16 and to bring the MBCs to the forefront in all aspects of society. The party was christened as the Labour Party because its leadership felt that though the MBCs consist of different castes, they belong to the same class – the labour. However, its supporters by and large are Nais; it can be categorized as Nais’ party. Kumhars’ Party: Lok Priya Samaj Party (LPSP) of Kumhars was set up by Jai Ram Singh Jai, a Kumhar, after he was ‘forced to leave’ the BSP by its chief Kanshi Ram.17 The main goals of this party are to empower the 40% ati- pichhde (the most backward) and 10% ­­ati-Dalit ​­­ (the most Dalit), providing them employment. Dhinwars/Kahars/Kashyaps/Mallahs’ parties: DD Kashyap, a Dhinwar, retired engineer set up the Jan Sangharsh Party (JSP) on the suggestion of his caste’s leaders including Phoolan Devi, Bishambar Prashad and Jai Narain Nishad. Its purpose was to give tickets to caste fellows to contest elections (political recognition). A unit of the Eklavya Sena which was founded by Phoolan Devi was also set up in some parts of western UP. Sainis/Kushwahs also set up in 2002 their own party known as Rashtriya Samata Dal (RSD).18 However, as mentioned earlier, among the MBCs of western UP, the Sainis have been allotted tickets in some 155

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constituencies of western UP. But the leaders of this party felt their caste was not given tickets adequately. The MBCs’ parties are influenced by the ideologies and personalities of Ram Manohar Lohia, Karpoori Thakur, Jyotirao Phule, Periyar, B.R. Ambedkar or Bhakti Saints: ideologies which profess equality, self-respect and dignity; social and cultural recognition of the vulnerable sections and their empowerment. Their leaders are generally lawyers, teachers or retired government employees and revered ‘intellectuals of their societies or CBPIs’.19 The MBCs believe that the mainstream parties use them as party workers to paste posters, to make arrangements for the meetings, rallies and dharnas; as ‘dari bichhava, pani pilava (those who spread the mattresses and serve water in the meetings)’; for shouting ­­zindabad-murdabad; ​­­ for mobilizing crowd, etc. The political parties discriminate against the MBC leaders and in several instances, humiliate them. But when it comes to the allotment of the tickets in the Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections MBCs are excluded. They are also not given important positions in the party organizations. The MBC leaders believe that the political parties discriminate against them because these parties are led by the non-M BCs  – the high castes, intermediary caste/upper OBCs or Dalits. The MBC leaders, however, concede that sometimes political parties nominate some persons from the MBCs either to the Vidhan Parishad or to the Rajya Sabha. Sometimes they even appoint MBCs in party positions. But the leaders of the single-caste parties generally consider leaders of their castes in other parties as ‘chamchas’ (‘the sycophants’), ‘mohras’ (‘stooges’) and ‘pichhlaggus’ (‘blind camp followers’) who do not contribute to the policy formulations or deliberations on the issues relating to the MBCs. Indeed, it is interesting to note that these views are reminiscent of what Jat leader Chhotu Ram thought of the Jat Congress politicians or what Kanshi Ram thought of Dalit leaders who were in the parties led by non-Dalits like the BJP or Congress.20 In my discussions and interviews with them the MBC leaders argued that while the political parties across the board have neglected the MBCs, the BSP presents the most relevant case here as most of the founders of the single- caste MBC parties in my sample have felt neglected and humiliated at the hands of Kanshi Ram or Mayawati. 21 In fact, responding to the mobilization of the BSP several MBCs in the 1980s had also joined the BSP or its predecessor organizations like the BAMCEF and DS4 as members of the Bahujan Samaj. They contributed to the activities of the BSP and its fraternal organizations through whatever assignments were given to them by the party leadership. In due course, many the MBCs leaders deserted the BSP. The most common reasons given by the MBCs leaders for their estrangement from the BSP are the intolerant and dictatorial attitude of the BSP leadership to the dissent. 22 Leaders/activists from all MBCs in my sample recounted their experience within the BSP or other parties. Narrating 156

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the ‘exploitation’ by the Jatav BSP leaders, the MBC leaders recounted their experiences in the following way: A Nai leader said: I was recruited into politics through the BAMCEF, DS4 and the BSP. I worked as the first president of the BSP unit of the Ghaziabad district, and also worked as tutor for the Scheduled Caste government employees on behalf of the BAMCEF. But when it came to the allotment of tickets to the candidates for the assembly elections in 1985 (till then Kanshi Ram thought that I was a Chamar), I was denied ticket by Kanshi Ram because I belong to the Nai caste; the ticket was given to a Chamar. Since then I have no contact with the BSP. (Interview with Babu Ram Advocate, 12 October, Ghaziabad 2003) A Dhinwar leader said: I have selflessly worked for the BSP since its inception. I was the first person to contest the parliamentary election in 1984 on behalf of the BSP as an independent candidate at a time when nobody knew the BSP. Before the 2002 UP Vidhan Sabha election, Bahen ji (Mayawati) summoned me to Delhi and asked to me prepare myself to contest from Barnawa constituency (in Meerut district), which has a large number of the Dhinwars. Accordingly, I worked hard in the constituency. But I was ditched at the last moment and the ticket was allotted to a Jat because he had money and his caste is dominant. I felt discriminated against and helpless. 23 (Jai Prakash Kashyap, a BSP office bearer, 23 November 2003, Meerut) A Gadaria leader said: On the eve of last assembly election (2002) I along with other representatives of my caste met Mayawati asking for the ticket to Gadarias. I had talked to her personally. She almost finalized five tickets to Gadarias. But she changed her opinion and allotted these tickets to Jats, who paid more money. (Interview with Amar Singh Pal; 23 November 2003, village Nagla Tashi Quasimpur, Meerut) A Kumhar leader said: We were used by (Kanshi Ram) to organize functions, but we were not given positions in the party organization. But when it came to 157

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projection in the public, Mayawati was projected. – I was following Ranshi Ram like a swami bhakt (devotee of the Lord). – U ltimately he asked me to return the key of the office, stopped my food, stopped papers, disconnected telephon: to sum up, he disarmed me (nihatta kar diya). I left with the suitcase (attachi) with which I had come. 24 He attributed change in Kanshi Ram’s attitude to him primarily to his caste background, personal intolerance of Kanshi Ram to the way he dressed up and in order to project leaders from his caste. MBC parties in the elections The discrete caste MBC political parties fielded candidates in some constituencies in the recent past either in the names of these parties or as independent candidates, who mostly belong to the castes of the founder of these parties. They, however, did not perform well in the elections but they did provide a symbolic forum of their own to the caste fellows. The fact that the MBC parties did not perform well in the elections should not deter us from analysing the processes related to the search for their recognition through establishing their ‘own parties’. The caste fellows, who otherwise vote for the parties led by other castes, find their own alternatives in the candidates, parties and leaders of their caste. This certainly provides a sense of recognition and confidence to the MBCs. We face problems in analysing the performance of these parties in the elections due to the absence of data on them. However, a perusal of data reported by the MBC leaders in interviews or mentioned in their caste journals/magazines does provide some clue into their political strength as independent castes. Some examples of the MBC parties’ participation in the elections are given below: The Rashtriya Samata Dal (RSD) a party of the Kushwahs/Sainis fielded candidates in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections in several states, and two of its candidates became MLAs in Madhya Pradesh in 2003 Vidhan Sabha elections. 25 The Labour Party (Secular), a party of the Gadarias/Baghels, led by the Dr. Bhagat Singh Baghel fielded candidates in 9 seats in the Vidhan Sabha elections in Delhi in 2003 and in 20 Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in 2004. Eight of its candidates fielded in the Vidhan Sabha election, and 19 in the Lok Sabha elections belonged to Gadaria/Baghel caste. 26 The emergence of the single- caste parties synchronized with the efforts of the respective caste associations to get share of their castes in legislative bodies 158

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(Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Vidhan Sabha/Vidhan Parishad (mentioned in Chapter  3). Since the 1990s the meetings or panchayats of the discrete MBC castes like those of the Dalits have become more frequent in western UP than before. The most prominent resolution of panchayats has been to support that party which would allot tickets in the elections to their caste; would take up the cause of these castes; and in case no party fielded candidate from a caste, to support the independent candidates. Notably, in some instances such demands of the caste meetings replicate the resolutions of their respective caste associations. For example, in the first mahasammelan of Nai Mahasabha held in Lucknow in 1983 it was decided to field 20 candidates from the Nai caste as independent or as candidates of some parties. 27 On the eve of 1989, 1991 and 1996 Vidhan Sabha elections the Saini panchayats were held in which representatives from 150 villages in western UP deliberated upon as to whom the caste should vote. In 1989 the Saini Panchayat resolved to support the BJP because it fielded a Saini candidate from Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha constituency. But contrarily in the 1996 Lok Sabha election it decided to vote against the BJP because it did not field a Saini. Similar meetings were held in Sardhana by Gadarias during 1996 Lok Sabha and 2002 Vidhan Sabha elections. 28 While the rise of the MBC parties in western UP remains unnoticed, the presence of MBC parties or single- caste parties has already been observed in eastern UP. In the context of the 2007 Lok Sabha election Congress, Jan Morcha and the NCP opened negotiations with the single- caste parties, i.e., BHSP led by Om Prakash Rajbhar, RSD by Hemant Kushwah, VSD by Chatar Singh Kashyap, and Rashtriya Labour Party for an electoral alliance with them in eastern UP. These negotiations, however, could not fructify due to differences on some issues, most importantly the sub-division of OBC quota between the MBCs and the upper OBCs and recognition of Rajbhars and Bhars as the SC/ST (see Khan 2006). As mentioned earlier, the BJP contested 2014 election in alliance with the Apna Dal, the singlecaste party of the Kurmis. The Apna Dal won two seats; Narendra Modi nominated its leader Anupriya Patel as the minister of state. 29 The bipolar party system in Rajasthan In my sample, neither the PICs – Jats, Brahmins and Rajputs nor the PMCs – Dalits and the MBCs have formed their parties signifying continuation of t wo-party system in Rajasthan. Why did different castes not form separate parties there, unlike in UP? Were members and demands of different castes in the state accommodated in the Congress and the BJP limiting the scope for formation of separate parties? This section seeks to substantiate arguments about reasons for not forming caste-parties by PICs and PMCs in Rajasthan. The reasons as to why PICs in this state did not form separate parties are: these castes and their interests have been accommodated 159

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in both main parties  – the BJP and the Congress (they have adequate representation in party positions, they have been given tickets to contest elections/have effective representation in the Vidhan Sabha, and as I will discuss in Chapter 6, Table 6.2, have adequate representation in the ministries). The MBCs and Dalits have not formed separate parties (despite the fact they had only partial accommodation): even as their partial accommodation diluted the need for them to form separate parties, additional role of some contingent factors further blunted the need for their separate parties. Indeed, absence of the factors in Rajasthan which motivated the Dalits and MBCs in western UP to form separate parties/‘their own parties’ are the principal reasons for the absence of low caste parties in the state. These factors are: limited, sporadic and localized nature of social and cultural movement such as Ambedkarization among Dalits in Rajasthan (Chapter  3); differentiated historical legacies with several princely states with different set of rules of governance; lack of efforts for mobilization on the part of Rajasthan Dalits during pre-Independence period unlike of those of UP (as discussed in Chapter 3); major part of Dalit movement in Rajasthan being part of broad democratic movement, unlike UP where it is exclusively Dalit movement (Chapter 6), diluting the need for a separate party of Dalits; lack of realization for the need to form party among Dalits of Rajasthan unlike those in UP; the principal reasons why the MBCs in Rajasthan did not form separate parties/own parties lie in the fact that unlike in UP, Dalit parties like BSP (which provided a forum to low castes including MBCs), a low caste party, did not emerge in Rajasthan; here unlike in UP, the social and cultural movement of MBCs (Chapters 2 and 3) did not develop into political parties – social and cultural processes did not develop into political parties. The RSJF which developed into a political party was not exclusively MBCs party as it represented a coalition of nonJats – Rajputs, Brahmins and MBCs (Chapter 6). The MBC intellectuals in Rajasthan did not attempt to transcend social and cultural movement into political party. Besides, during 2013–17, BJP’s attempt to accommodate them in party positions, and to address some of their demands has further blunted the need for formation of the MBC parties in the state. Before elaborating upon these arguments, I will briefly give an account of the party system in Rajasthan. Unlike in states which were part of the British India such as UP, the party system in Rajasthan is virtually a post 1947–51 phenomenon because, here unlike in UP, princely states did not allow emergence of party system prior to 1947. Like in the earlier period, even after 1989 Rajasthan has shown a propensity towards a t wo-party system represented, on the one hand, by the BJP (earlier other right-wing parties such as Jan Sangh, Ram Rajya Parishad and the Swatantra Party) and, on the other, the Congress, with the marginal presence of smaller parties like the CPM or JD (1989–93).

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Unlike UP, Rajasthan has not entered the phase of ‘Post- Congress Polity’; in Rajasthan, the Congress Party does not get only residual or anti-BJP votes. Overwhelming victory of the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha election should not lead to a hasty conclusion that it has heralded a ‘Post- Congress Polity’ phase in the state. The Congress is a major party in the state after the BJP. Again, unlike (western) UP, there has not been the rise of single- caste or low caste parties (BSP or MBC parties) in Rajasthan. And whenever such parties emerged, they had a short life, and were not free from the influence of politically influential castes in the state. Here are some instances of this: BSP, RSJF and Rajasthan Muslim Forum. The character of the BSP in Rajasthan has been different from that in UP. While in UP the BSP gave tickets both to Dalits and non-Dalits in elections, in Rajasthan, in 2008 Vidhan Sabha election, the BSP gave tickets only to nonDalits: four BSP MLAs who were elected in this election in Rajasthan were non-Dalits and they defected to the Congress within some months of their election resulting in the virtual demise of the BSP in the state. Some of them were appointed ministers in the cabinet reshuffle by the chief minister Ashok Gehlot (The Hindu 11 December 2009). This virtually/effectively/ practically ended the existence of the BSP shortly after it made its entry into the state. Its performance in the elections in Rajasthan has also been dismal: it got 3.97% and 7.60% votes in the 2003 and 2008 Vidhan Sabha elections respectively, and 3.37% votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha election (see Lodha 2014: 125–29). The RSJF provides the second example of shortlived small political party in Rajasthan. It was not a party initially. As I will discuss in Chapter 6, the RSJF was founded in 1999 as a non-party organization by the leaders of three different non-Jat castes, Rajputs, MBCs, and some Brahmins, with the purpose of opposing inclusion of Jats in the OBC category. It was converted into a party with the same name in 2003 to contest the imminent Vidhan Sabha election. It fielded 90 candidates in 2003 Vidhan Sabha election, as against its original plan of 10 candidates. It got only 4% votes in Rajasthan. 30 Ratan Lal Morwal, a lawyer from Kumhar caste, and Satyanarayan Singh Saini from Mali caste and former member of the Rajasthan Backward Class Commission, who unsuccessfully contested this election as the candidates of the RSJF explained the reasons for the failure of the RSJF as: conversion of the RSJF from an apolitical organization after the inclusion of Jats in the OBC category into a political party; fielding a large number of such candidates who were denied tickets by the BJP or the Congress, and lack of commitment to the aims of the RSJF; lack of resources and cadre with it; and, due to their background Devi Singh Bhati and Kalyan Singh Kalvi, prominent Rajput leaders, were under the influence of the BJP. Recounting his personal defeat Satyanarayan Singh Saini added that his closeness to Ashok Gehlot

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dissuaded the government employees, who were annoyed because of nonimplementation of the Vth  Pay Commission which recommended higher pay fixation for the government employees, from voting him. The Jats also were unhappy with him as they perceived Satyanarayan Singh Saini to be close to their ‘bete noir’, Ashok Gehlot. The votes he got were largely from the MBCs and other low castes.31 Almost immediately after its defeat in the 2003 election the RSJF ceased to exist. Emergence of smaller parties in 2003 elections has prompted Mrug to surmise that it signalled the end of t wo-party state in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In fact, the relatively better performance of such parties in 2003 election was a temporary phenomenon discounting the end of the two-party system in the state; it ceased to exist sometime after the Lok Sabha election of 2004. The third such example was emergence of a Muslim party, Rajasthan Muslim Forum, in the 2009 Lok Sabha election adding to the number of parties in Rajasthan. It aimed at keeping the antiBJP votes united and appealed the voters not to vote for the non- Congress candidates even if they were Muslims. In its perception, voting for them would be a waste of votes and would help divide the anti-BJP votes. Let me return to the question: unlike in western UP, why different castes in Rajasthan did not form caste-based/separate parties blocking the multiplication of political parties. I will elaborate upon the argument that in my sample the PICs – Brahmins, Rajputs and Jats did not form separate parties because these castes along with their demands were incorporated in the BJP and the Congress, limiting the space to form their ‘own parties’, and the PMCs – Dalits and MBCs did not form them because of two reasons – the limited accommodation to them by the BJP and Congress slighted the need to form their ‘own parties’ which further decreased due to the inverse impact of some constant factors. Why did the PICs in Rajasthan (Brahmins, Rajputs and Jats) not form separate parties? The PICs – high castes like Rajputs and Brahmins or intermediary caste Jats in my sample, and their demands were incorporated in the two main parties, the Congress and the BJP. This limited the space for these caste parties to form caste-based parties. In Rajasthan, main parties, the Congress and BJP or its rightist predecessor such as Jana Sangh, RRP, Kshatirya Mahasabha, Bhoomi Sena or the Swatantra Party have been competing to win over these PICs; both parties have traditionally given them preference over other castes. The PICs in my sample  – Brahmins, Rajputs and Jats have larger share in the state-level party positions – office bearers and executive members in the BJP and working committee members in the Congress: 45.32% in the BJP (Table  4.1) and 48.44% in the

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­Table 4.1  Caste Profiles of the BJP Office Bearers and Executive Members, Rajasthan Absolute Numbers Castes

Secretaries Executive Others President ­­Vice-​ Gen (Mantries) Members (Prabhari, ­­Presidents Secretaries Spokesperson (Mahasachiv) & Treasurer)

High castes Brahmins Rajputs Banias/ Jains Others* 1

1 1 1

1

Intermediate castes/upper OBCs Jats 1 1 Gujars 1 Others* MBCs Malis Others* Dalits STs Muslims Total

1 1 1

1 2

1

(N=9)

1 4

(N=2)

(N=9)

15 (11.72) 21 (16.41) 18 (14.06)

2

3 (2.34)

19 4 7

22 (17.19) 5 (3.91) 9 (7.03)



3 (2.34) 11 (8.59) 16 (12.5) 3 (2.34) 2 (1.56)

2 (SBCs)** 1

3

(N=1)

11 19 12

Total (Figures in Bracket Are %)

(N=102)

(N=5)

(N=128) (99.99%)

Source: Author’s field work, Rajasthan BJP Office, Jaipur. * Others among the high castes include Punjabis; Jats also include one Jat Sikh; SBCs stands for Special Backward Classes. ** SBCs: Special Backward Classes.

Congress (Table  4.2). The fact that different members of politically influential castes  – Jats, Brahmins and Rajputs  – are incorporated in two different parties signifies the role of intra- caste competition (a contingent factor) within each of these castes. Though these castes are split into two parties, in absolute terms these castes control these parties, making either of them unnecessary to form separate caste-based parties. As I will discuss later, this pattern is also repeated about castes’ accommodation in parties at the district level (Tables 4.3 and 4.4). It is important to note that though data in the Tables 4.1–4.4 is about the post-2013 period as they could not be available in the state-level offices of the BJP and Congress in Jaipur, in my interviews with knowledgeable persons there, I was told that this has been a general pattern of caste accommodation in these parties even in the earlier period. The names of the

163

164 (N=38)

2 1 7 2 2

6 2 3

5 4 3 1

2

2

2 2 1

5 1 2

(N=12)

1 1

1

4 1

4

(N=19)

1 2 2

6

3 3 2

(N=3)

1

1 1

Executive Permanent Special Others Invitees (Spokesperson Members Invitees & Treasurer)

(N=78) out (N=17) of 79



12 3 8

14 11 5 2

Secretaries Gen Secretaries (Mahasachiv)

Sourc e: Author’s field work, R ajasthan Cong ress Of fice, Jaipu r. * Others among the hig h castes include Kayasthas, P u njabis and Sind his; Jats also include one Jat Sik h.

(N= 21)

(N=3)

Total

(N=1)

1 2 2 1

1

MBCs Malis Others Dalits STs Muslims Christians

2

1 1

7

4

1

­­Vice-​ President Senior ­­ ­­Presidents Vice­­Presidents

Intermediate castes/upper OBCs Jats 1 Gujars 1 Others*

High castes Brahmins Rajputs Banias/Jains Others*

Castes

Absolute Numbers

­Table 4. 2  Caste Profi les of the Congress Working Com mit tee Members, Rajasthan

192 (99.99)

4 (2.08) 3 (1.56) 20 (10.42) 11 (5.73) 17 (8.85) 1 (0.52)

34 (17.71) 9 (4.69) 16 (8.33)

38 (19.79) 21 (10.94) 14 (7.29) 4 (2.08)

Total (Figures in Bracket Are %)

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­Table 4.3  Caste Profiles of the BJP District Presidents, Rajasthan Absolute Numbers Castes

Nos of District Presidents

High castes Brahmins Rajputs Banias/Jains Others*

10 (29.41) 4 (11.76) 7 (20.59) 3 (8.82)

Intermediate castes/landed OBCs Jats Gujars Others MBCs Dalits Sts Muslims

3 (8.82) – 4 (11.76) 2 (5.88) 1 (2.94) – –

Total

34 (99.98)

Source: Author’s field work, Rajasthan State BJP Office, Jaipur. Note: The data in the table are about the BJP district presidents of 28 out 33 districts in Rajasthan. * Others among the high castes include Punjabis and Kayasthas; Jats also include one Jat Sikh.

persons accommodated might have changed but their caste profiles largely remained the same. Jats, Rajputs and Brahmins, along with urban high castes such as Banias got incorporated in the Congress and rightist parties (BJP’s progenitors) since the emergence of party system in the state. However, as I will elaborate upon in sub-section ‘Why did the MBCs in Rajasthan not form their “own” parties?’, in the recent past the BJP has become more accommodative of the MBCs than the Congress following its strategy to extend its base to larger number of Hindu castes. Unlike Jats of UP led by Charan Singh, why did the Jats of Rajasthan not come out of the Congress and form an enduring party of their ‘own’. As mentioned earlier/above, the principal reason for this was: they were already incorporated within the Congress and the BJP. Besides, the Jat leaders of Rajasthan were better placed in the Congress than those of UP; as mentioned earlier, Charan Singh had to come out of Congress and form his own party with several monikers over the years to rally backward classes and peasants in the in 1960s because of the resistance of high caste Congress leaders to his attempts to consolidate his position within the Congress. The RLD (the latest moniker of the party founded by Charan Singh) is now headed by Ajit Singh, his son, and is identified with Jats. During the past more than a decade, many Jats were incorporated within the BJP (and as I 165

P O L I T I C A L PA RT I E S A N D C A S T E S Table 4.4 Caste Profiles of the Congress District President, Rajasthan

Absolute Numbers Castes

Nos of District Presidents

High castes Brahmins Rajputs Banias/Jains Others*

5 (12.82) 5 (12.82) 5 (12.82) –

Intermediate castes/landed OBCs Jats Gujars Others MBCs (Malis) Dalits Sts Muslims

4 (10.26) 2 (5.13) 5 (12.82) 2 (5.13) 6 (15.38) 2 (5.13) 3 (7.69)

Total

39 (100)

Source: Author’s field work, Rajasthan State Congress Office, Jaipur. Note: The data in the table are about the Congress district presidents of 28 out of 33 districts in Rajasthan. * Others among the high castes include Punjabis and Kayasthas; Jats also include one Jat Sikh.

will discuss in Chapter 5, they were given tickets by BJP in some elections) following its strategy to woo them in Rajasthan, with many of them being incorporated within the Congress. Why did the Dalits not form their ‘own’ parties in Rajasthan? During the past few years, Dalits have got 12.5% and 10.42% state-level party positions in Rajasthan, the BJP and Congress respectively (Tables 4.1 and 4.2). In the district-level positions, their share was larger in Congress (15.38%: Table  4.4) than in the BJP (2.94%: Table  4.3). Indeed, Dalits in Rajasthan became politically active much later, i.e., on the eve of second general election held in 1957. But their mobilization into politics resulted more from the Congress’ strategy to give them tickets in the reserved seats or to seek their votes rather than from social and cultural movements. In fact, they even made no demand ‘for extensive political participation’ (see Sisson 1970: 202). Dalits in Rajasthan did not attempt to form their ‘own party’ unlike the Dalits in UP. Why? Reasons for this can be identified as follows: (i) unlike in UP, the Dalit movement in Rajasthan does not have a legacy of political mobilization in the pre-Independence period; whatever legacy of socialcultural movement they had, unlike in UP it did not come out of influence of 166

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Sanskritization (Chapter 2); (ii) historical legacies: unlike UP, Dalits like other castes in Rajasthan were under the governance of multiple princely states prior to the integration into the Indian Union, which hampered growth of a unified Dalit movement in the post-Independence period; (iii) as discussed in Chapters 3 and 6, an influential section of Dalit movement in Rajasthan, unlike UP, has been part of a broad democratic and human rights movements and (iv) in certain areas of this study such as Jhunjhunu and Sikar, a section of Dalits had been a part of left movement. As stated earlier, Ambedkar did not visit Rajasthan. This was a common regret which Dalit activists in Rajasthan expressed to me in my interviews and discussion with them.32 Why did the MBCs in Rajasthan not form their ‘own’ parties? Let me now take up argument about the extent of recruitment of members and demands of the MBCs in the Congress and the BJP in Rajasthan, and the resultant lack of the formation of the MBC parties in the state.33 In the recent past, the MBCs have got share in party positions: they have got 10.93% and 3.64% share in state-level party positions in the BJP and the Congress respectively (Tables  4.1 and 4.2).34 As Tables  4.1 and 4.2 show, the BJP is more inclusive of all MBCs, while the Congress is more favourable to the more effective caste among the MBCs, i.e., Sainis. This trend is reflected in their share in the district-level presidents’ positions: Tables 4.3 and 4.4 show that representation in the BJP (5.88%) includes different MBCs, and that in the Congress (5.13%) includes only Sainis/ Malis. It is important to note that among the MBCs, it is politically influential caste – the Sainis/Malis who have got better accommodation (especially in the Congress) than the other MBCs. It is important to mention that the extension of representation to the MBCs in BJP is a recent phenomenon (2013–17). In my interviews and discussions, representatives of MBCs told me that till this time the approaches of the Congress and the BJP towards them have been the same; both excluded them from accommodating in the party position. Why did BJP incorporate the members and demands of the MBCs in their party structure? The reasons for BJP’s incorporation of the MBCs in the party positions and its fraternal organization like the RSS, and symbolically allotting tickets or giving them non-official positions (status of state minister) are following: (i) Congress’ failure to give positive response to some of their demands (discussed below) and consequent displeasure of the MBCs with the Congress; (ii) BJP’s strategy to extend its support base to all Hindu castes including the marginalized castes such as MBCs (this strategy also includes cashing in on the failure of the Congress); holding Congress (especially Nehru) responsible for the current dismal conditions of the MBCs (including usage of rumours)35; generating a sense of being recognized as politically important caste(s), which has been provided to them by the BJP, against their neglect 167

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by the Congress, generating a sense of Hindu nationalism which can be protected by the BJP; using its organizational machinery to woo these castes (members of this machinery belong to the Sangh Parivar); identifying potential supporters among the MBCs; (iii) accessibility of the BJP leaders to the ordinary persons, unlike the Congress where the accessibility to the leader is denied to the ordinary persons36 and (iv) accommodating them in the party positions (Tables 4.1 and 4.3). The BJP responded to some demands of the MBCs. For instance, among such demands raised by the Nais were: one, persons from their caste should be given tickets in the 2013Vidhan Sabha election; two, a Keshkala Board should be set up for the welfare of the barbers (to be headed by a person from their caste with the rank of a state minister); three, Nais should be included in the SBC (Special Backward Class) category in the state; four, 90% work in the salons (which are owned by the high castes) should be reserved for barbers only; hostels should be set up in every district of Rajasthan exclusively for students from Nai caste, etc. If we take a cue from western UP about who among the MBCs, why and when formed their caste part parties (discussed earlier), we can better explain the reasons for the absence of MBC parties in Rajasthan. In western UP, the MBC parties were set up by CBPIs, and MBC middle members. Many of whom were members of the BSP before forming their ‘own’ caste parties: Babu Ram Advocate, the founder of the Nia’s party, Labour Party, Bharat and founder editor of the MBC fortnightly, Badlta Waqt is a lawyer, and was in BSP before he founded his party; Jai Ram Singh Jai, founder of the Kumhars’ party, Lok Priya Samaj Party (LPSP) was a central government employee before he was asked by Kanshi Ram to join the BSP; and DD Kashyap was a retired engineer before he set up his caste party, Jan Sangharsh Party (JSP). As mentioned in Chapter 2, some of them were also involved along with Dalits in the social and cultural process of Ambedkarization, popularizing the ideas of B.R. Ambedkar. And from this movement also emerged a section of MBC leadership in western UP; some of these leaders were also simultaneously involved in alternative socialcultural movements in their castes. Thus, emergence of the MBC parties in western UP has a political and cultural legacy. In Rajasthan also, it were some CBPIs who initiated cultural movements either exclusively within their castes or along with the Dalits confined their activities to cultural and social movements; but unlike their counterparts in western UP they did not involve in party politics. For instance, Kanhayya Lal Khawas (Nai) lecturer and S.N. Jodha, (a Dalit) Scientist initiated the process of Ambedkarization in Jodhpur. But unlike in UP, this process could not be sustained for longer. Again, Kanhayya Lal Khwas who initiated the alternative cultural movement, Sainization within his caste (Chapter 3) did not join party politics. Unlike the MBC intellectuals/leaders in western UP, the low caste leaders (MBCs and Dalits) in Rajasthan did not realize the need and resolve to 168

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form a new party; (their involvement in social and cultural movement in comparison to those in western UP has been limited and insulated from other low castes); and nor were they members of a low caste party like BSP. Besides, as mentioned earlier due to fact that in the recent past the main political parties, especially the BJP has given some representation to the MBCs in its party structures (Tables 4.1 and 4.3) the need for them to set up their ‘own parties’ has declined. Overall, as Tables 4.1 and 4.2 show, all castes/caste groups in my sample in Rajasthan have got their shares in the state-level party positions: there is a different pattern of caste accommodation in both parties, the BJP and the Congress. The BJP is more inclusive about different castes (Hindus) in my sample than the Congress: the PICs have lower share in the BJP than they have in the Congress, but the PMCs such as MBCs have larger share in the BJP than in the Congress, and even as there is only slight difference in the share of Dalits in both parties. Even about representation of different castes among the MBCs, the BJP’s state-level office bearers include different castes which form the MBCs while the Congress is dominated by only one MBC, i.e., Sainis/Malis. However, Muslims have got 8.85% share in the party position within the Congress (Table 4.2), while their share in the BJP ­­state-level ​­­ ­ party positions is insignificant, 1.56% (Table 4.1). To sum up, different castes have got varying levels of the political recognition in terms of their recruitment in the party positions, and nature of party systems. Broad generalizations emerge about the differences of different castes in terms of recruitment/accommodation in party positions the PMCs generally remain neglected in its most aspects except when some contingent factors work in their favour. Multiplication of parties including formation of single- caste parties (in western UP) largely occurs because of efforts on the part of different castes, especially low castes (Dalits, MBCs) to seek the political recognition. The latter is denied to them because of nature of their inverse relationship with the constant factors – numerical strength, political consolidation and economic conditions. Lack of competition and ‘representational blockage’ within the main parties and realization on the part of the low caste intellectuals lead to split in their original parties and formation of new parties such as BSP or the single- caste MBC parties in UP. Indeed, formation of separate parties by the low castes, especially MBCs is a response to their neglect by the main political parties. Lack of emergence of multi-party system, like in Rajasthan, shows that the PICs do not need to form separate parties as they remain politically recognized in the t wo-party system, and though the low castes (Dalits and MBCs) largely remain neglected or face ‘representational blockage’ within the main parties (Congress and the BJP), they do not form their ‘own’ parties. The latter do not do so because of their inverse relationship with the contingent factors: lack of realization to form their ‘own parties’, sporadic and limited nature of social and cultural movements, lack of political mobilization in 169

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the pre-I ndependence period, and (in case of Dalits in Rajasthan) their being part of broad democratic movement.

Notes

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6 7 8

9

10

11

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14 15

principal works on Rajasthan include Jaffrelot and Robin (2009), Jenkins (1994), Jenkins (1998), Lodha (1999, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2009a), Mrug (2004). For details about the Lok Niti/CSDS/NES, see Shastri et al. (2009), Palshikar et al. (2014). The significance of what happens ‘between two elections’ has recently been acknowledged (Varshney 2013: 39). Yadav and Palshiker (2009: 60) arrange the bipolarities of the party system into four types, i.e., bipolar convergence, multi-party ­­ ​­­ bipolarity, stable multi-polar ­­ ​­­ convergence and fluid multi-polarity. They typecast (western) UP as a stable multi-polar convergence and the Rajasthan party system as bipolar convergence. High castes within the BJP resented the presence of a large number of OBCs in Kalyan Singh’s cabinet in 1997. His differences with high caste leaders resulted in his expulsion from the BJP (Basu 2017: 213–14); following the expulsion, he founded the Rashtriya Kranti Party (1994–2004) and Jan Kranti Party (2010–13). Dalits got disenchanted with the Janata Party during the period of its rule, which they had supported because of Jagjivan Ram, a renowned Dalit leader who formed CFD (Congress for Democracy) along with H N Bahuguna and joined the Janata Party after the Emergency was lifted. Repenting the decision to support the Janata Party in 1977, one Dalit village Pradhan told me in the 1985 field work which I did for my PhD that because of ‘Jagjivam Ram’s finger’ (a poster which showed Jagjivan Ram raising a finger, urging the people to vote for the Janata Party in 1977) that Dalits voted for the Janata Party. As a result Dalits shifted back to support the Congress in 1980. It is based on the interviews of the MBC leaders: Babu Ram Advocate, 12 October 2003, Ghaziabad; Dr Ramesh Pal, 25 April 2004, New Delhi; Jai Ram Singh Jai, 30 May 2004, New Delhi; Surendra Kushwah, 23 October 2004, New Delhi; D. D. Kashyap, 30 January 2003, Meerut. Fragmentation of political parties – split in one party resulting in the formation of another and a further split in the new party leading to the creation of yet new party and so on – is not unique to UP. Nor is the establishment of caste-based parties specific to the state. Indeed, Tamil Nadu provides an example that is comparable to that of UP (see Subramanian 2002; Corrainge 2005; Wyatt 2009; Karthikeyan et al. 2012). There, as in UP, every party can be identified with a core caste/caste group. In Tamil Nadu, the phenomenon of formation of parties led and established by different low caste leaders, including those from the MBCs (DK, DMK, MDMK, PMK) took place much earlier than that of the MBC parties which we witness in UP since the late 1990s. Apna Dal was founded by Sonelal Patel and is identified with Kurmis, the castes which its founder belonged. It should, however, not be confused with a party of the MBCs. It is a single- caste party, not a party of the MBCs as is generally believed. The Kurmis who form its support base and the leadership of this party in UP are not categorized as the MBCs. They are, in fact, much closer to the Yadavs in terms of the social, economic and political parameters of development. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election Apna Dal allied with the BJP as a member of the NDA and got two seats. This discussion on the Muslim Parties draws upon: eci.nic_main Statistical Reports/AE2012/Starts_UP2012.pdf, accessed on December 21, 1915; Gupta (2009). The discussion on the MBC parties is based on my interviews with their founders, who are also the chiefs of these parties or with the ‘intellectuals of society (caste)’: Babu Ram Advocate, 12 October 2003, Ghaziabad; Dr Ramesh Pal,

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16 17 18 19 20

21 22 23

24 25 26

27 28 29 30 31 32

25  April 2004, New Delhi; Jai Ram Singh Jai, 30 May 2004, New Delhi; Surendra Kushwah, 23 October 2004, New Delhi; D. D. Kashyap, 30 January 2003, Meerut. These ‘powers’ have been identified in Chapter 2. Interview: Jairam Singh Jai, 30 May 2004, New Delhi. Based on Saini (2004). For ‘intellectuals of societies or CBPIs’, see Chapter 2. For Kanshi Ram’s view see Omvedt (1994). Indeed, in similar vein, Chhotu Ram ridiculed the Jats Congress volunteers of the colonial southeast Punjab (contemporary Haryana) as mazdoors, who did all menial jobs, setting up pandals and prepared food for other Congressmen. He alleged that despite a large following among Jats, no Jat occupied ‘respectable position’ in the party (see Chowdhry 1991: 817). Based on personal interviews with the MBC leaders/intellectuals belonging to some castes – Nais, Kumhars, Gadarias, Dhinwers, Sainis in Ghaziabad, Delhi, Meerut and the caste politicians (Saini 2004). This was confirmed by the MBCs experience at the hands of the BSP supporters in some Dalit-dominated villages of western UP (Pai and Singh 1997; Singh 2002). He, however, continued to remain in the BSP till he left it to join the RLD in 2006. He explained the reasons for not quitting the BSP for a long period despite his disappointing experience with the BSP leadership: if he had quit the BSP it would have been more disastrous than being in the BSP. Since he belongs to a minority MBC caste, which has no network, no government official would bother to care for him in case he approached him/her for some work. But Chamars with which the BSP is identified possess networks and are politically powerful, can influence the administration. If he approaches a government official, the latter will care to listen to him. Besides, unlike the MBCs, the Dalit officials who are found in every office will listen to him since he belongs to their party. He, however, quit the BSP to join the RLD after some time. But he underwent similar experience in the RLD as well. This person lamented that it was on the advice of Kanshi Ram that he resigned his permanent central government job in order to work for the cause of the bahujan samaj (Interview: Jai Ram Singh Jai, 30 May 2004 New Delhi). Based on Saini (2004); Interview: Surendra Kushwah, 23 October 2004, New Delhi. Information about the castes of the candidates who were fielded in the 2003 Vidhan Sabha election are based on the Shepherd Times (a magazine of the Gadaria caste), December, 2003, and those for the 2004 Lok Sabha election are based on a pamphlet prepared by Awadh Narayan Pal, co- editor of the Shepherd Times. Samajik Sandesh, a Nais’ magazine, 26 May 1985. Based on the interviews: Ram Kiran, 29 September 1996, village Khanauda; 23 November 2003 in Modipuram, Meerut, and discussion with him again on 20 July 2009. For a discussion on the Apna Dal (see SG 1999). Lodha (2009: 181) drawing upon Mrug (2004) mentions that RSNM (also known as RSJF) along with other smaller parties got 9% votes. Based on interviews: Satyanarayan Singh Saini, 19 October 2006, Jaipur; and Ratan Lal Morwal, 18 October 2006, Jhunjhunu. Another study has also attributed the absence of a Dalit party in some areas due to some factors: presence of Ambedkarization in western UP is linked to

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33

34

35

36

the emergence of BSP, and its absence to the lack of a Dalit party in Haryana and Rajasthan; availability of a Dalit party to Dalits like RPI in Maharashtra, convergence of Dalit and left movement/Naxalites in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, and existence of non-Dalit parties, left in Tripura or West Bengal (see Singh 2002: 243–44). This narrative on the MBCs is drawn upon my discussions with members of PMCs (MBCs: Nais, Special Backward Classes ((SBCs): Gadia Lohars)) which included three members of the BJP state executive, one RSS member, the editor of a caste magazine, Sain Vikas: June 26, 2017, Jaipur. Discussion with a NSUI leader (an MBC) June 5, 2017, Delhi. I have included among the MBCs in Rajasthan along with other lower sections of the officially recognized OBCs – those castes which are extremely backward such as Gadia Lohars and have not been included in any official category such as SCs, STs or OBCs for getting entitled to benefits of state policies. Traditionally, these castes did not have permanent residences; they kept moving from place to places. However, some of them have now settled down in some places, alongside the roads or on some public place. But they remain among the most marginalized sections of the society. The BJP government in Rajasthan has included them in the category of Special Backward Classes (SBCs), entitled for 5% reservation in public employment. The SBCs category was created as a response to the Gujar agitation in Rajasthan; as there was already around 50 (49.5% reservation for various categories in the state) for accommodating the Gujars in reservation category, the BJP government in Rajasthan created SBCs. Along with the Gujars, some other castes such as Banjaras/Baldias/Labanas, Gadia Lohars/Gadalias, Raikas/Rebaris and Gadarias (Gadris) were also included in this list. However, the Rajasthan court struck down the decision since it violated the upper limit of 50% reservation in public institutions (see The Hindu, 10 December 2016). One such rumour was this: in Jaipur, I was told by Nais in a group discussion, which included some RSS and BJP members that Jawaharlal Nehru was responsible for their caste not being included in the SC category depriving them of benefits accrued to the SCs. Had they been included in the SC category, like the castes which were recognized as SCs, their conditions could have improved. They claimed to have documentary proof for Nehru’s discriminatory attitude towards them, which they could not show to me. The RSS and BJP members of the castes were more emphatic on Nehru’s discriminatory attitude. Contrasting their experience with Congress from the one they had with the BJP, the MBC respondents narrated that when they visited the Congress office or the leaders in Jaipur, they did not have easy access to them. But inversely, the BJP leaders and activists not only warmly welcomed them, but also gave them a patient hearing. This attracted some MBCs to the BJP.

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5 CAST ES, PART Y PR EFER ENCES A N D POLI T ICS OF R ECOGN I T ION

Introduction This chapter extends the discussion on politics of political recognition  – accommodation of the castes in my sample and their interests in political parties (Chapter 4) to another aspect of this politics, i.e., strategies of political parties about allotment of tickets to the castes to contest elections for representation in the Vidhan Sabha elections held in UP and Rajasthan between 1989 and 2015, mobilization of castes on their issues, and their impact on castes’ preferences of political parties in the Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections. In view of the broad framework of this study, I have used multicultural framework to address these issues in this chapter. The reasons for using this framework lie in its scope to cover questions which have usually been ignored in election studies: as the discussion in this chapter will reveal, the contest in elections is basically one among a limited number of PICs (Jatavs, Jats, Brahmins and Rajputs, in an area because the main political parties generally field candidates from such castes to the exclusion of a large number of the PMCs (mostly MBCs with Sainis as exception). The multicultural framework enables us to address both questions as to why only some PICs are given tickets to contest elections and why the PMCs are not. Besides, the chapter explains to what extent the lower castes are achieving their recognition in terms of getting tickets to Vidhan Sabha elections in western UP and WNE Rajasthan; When and why the allied castes (which normally do not form a core support base of a party) shift their support base to other parties than their original preference; how state policies under different regimes influenced castes’ preferences for political parties; what strategies the political parties in the both areas have adopted to mobilize various castes in terms of allotting tickets to contest Vidhan Sabha elections and mobilize them between elections, i.e., when elections do not take place. It also seeks to explain why there is support to the BJP across different castes since the 2014 Lok Sabha election. In view of the central argument of the book, the chapter substantiates the argument that the main political parties generally accord political 174

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recognition, i.e., allot tickets to contest Vidhan Sabha elections to the Politically Influential Castes (PICs) such as Jats, Brahmins and Rajputs in western UP and WNE Rajasthan, to Dalits (Jatavs, Meghwals/Bairwas) in western UP and WNE Rajasthan in reserved constituencies, and, by responding to their concerns; but they generally exclude Politically Marginalized Castes (PMCs) – MBCs (except Sainis) from such recognition. The principal reasons for representation (allotment of tickets) of the PICs by the main political parties lie in their positive relationships with the constant factors  – their numerical strength, political consolidation in an area and their economic independence, which the PMCs lack. However, due to the ​­­ ­­ ​­­ impact of some contingent ­factors  – ­­­inter-party competition, intra-party competition, intra- caste competition, power money /criminal strength, social contacts of the candidate within the party, personal/criminal background of the candidate, even the PMCs, occasionally or as a symbolic gesture in constituencies where the main parties are not in winning positions get tickets to contest elections. Since the PICs are not only effective in influencing the electoral results and they also have potential to self-mobilize through collective action and create administrative (law and order) problems, and because the MBCs are not able to do so, the main political parties do not ignore the former as they ignore the latter. A caste’s preferences for political parties are impacted by the nature of its relationship with the political parties in the following ways: identification of castes with the political parties on caste lines/policies of political regimes headed by the parties/political parties, accommodation of castes and their interests in political parties, and the role of the contingent factors such as ­­inter-caste ​­­ and intra-caste/caste ­­ ​­­ groups conflicts and competition. Especially, with reference to the reasons for the support of castes that form core support base of a party to it, of the allied castes’ support to it, the chapter argues that: generally the core castes/caste groups support the parties largely because of their identification with political parties, in addition, they feel that such parties address issues concerning them (social, cultural and political recognition, and redistributive justice); and the allied castes support a party because they share some common concerns with the core caste/caste groups, i.e., their inter-caste conflicts which the core supporters of such parties have with those supporting its rival parties/principal rival party, and some policies of such parties supporting the allied castes. The reasons for shift in support of a core caste/caste group to a new party lie in the contingent factors: intra-caste conflict within the core caste/caste group; dissatisfaction within the core caste/caste group against the leader/their original party, i.e., a party to which a leader or caste belonged before shifting its allegiance (because of internal conflict, not solving their problems/adverse policies; and alliance of the leader of the original party with another party). Shift in the support of the allied castes occur due to their conflict with the core support base of parties, discrimination in policy support or strategies of parties. 175

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The period covered in this study (1989–2015) is also significant from the point of party strategies and castes’ party preference. During this period, apart from local elections (panchayat and civic elections), there have been 29 elections in both states. Eight Lok Sabha elections in each of them, in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014, and seven Vidhan Sabha elections in UP, in 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2007 and 2012, and six Vidhan Sabha elections in Rajasthan, in 1990, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013. UP has shown a propensity towards instability and Rajasthan towards stability.1 As stated earlier, during the same period there were 12 regimes in UP and 7 in Rajasthan; in UP 10 of the 12 regimes have been headed by the OBC or Dalit leaders and 2 by those from high castes (Rajput and Bania), and in Rajasthan, out of 7 regimes during the same period, 2 have been headed by an MBC, 2 by a woman of princely background who is married to a Jat (Intermediary Caste/ upper OBC), and 3 by the high castes. Even as UP now shares a similar trait with several other states where OBCs are concerned, and is an exception where Dalits play a dominant role in politics, Rajasthan is distinctive in that the high castes still dominate politics. The fact that Ashok Gehlot, an MBC (a Mali) became the chief minister of Rajasthan twice during the period of this study does not place Rajasthan in the position of UP where Dalits and OBCs (not MBCs, who have made their presence felt in eastern UP, but not in western UP) have emerged as politically assertive communities. In Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot became chief minister more due to the intervention of the Congress (I) president, Sonia Gandhi, rather than as the choice of the MBCs or other low castes. In fact, his appointment as chief minister was informed by the Congress president’s strategy to balance different caste factions within the Congress. The factionalism also included intra-Jat factionalism and competition. In UP, out of 12 regimes 10 (from 1989 to 2007) have been multiparty coalition regimes, and in Rajasthan, with two exceptions, there have been five single-party regimes; even the period after the elections in UP was often marked by hard political bargains for the formation of governments, resulting in delays in government formation; in Rajasthan, government formation has been a smooth and relatively quick affair. In UP, between 1989 and 2007 no regime was able to complete its five-year terms but in Rajasthan, out of seven regimes six have completed ­­five-year terms. ​­­ The chapter has four sections. Section I identifies general features of the strategies of political parties to mobilize castes between and during elections. Section II focusses on the party strategies to mobilize specific caste groups: Dalits, MBCs, Jats (OBCs), and the high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs). Section III narrates the castes’ party preferences in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections between 1989 and 2014. Section IV provides explanations to castes preferences of political parties.

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I Party strategies and castes: general features How the support of castes can be enlisted has been the principal focus of the strategies of political parties to carve out social bases for themselves and gain support in the elections. As mentioned earlier, a complete understanding of this relationship or the support bases of the parties can only be gained if we extend our analysis beyond elections to the period between and during elections. Notably their strategies are largely informed by the constant, and some or all contingent factors identified earlier. Strategies adopted at both times, between and during elections, have a cumulative impact on the support bases of the parties. Political parties’ strategies during elections and between elections include as follows. During elections they include allotment of tickets generally to the PICs, campaigning on issues/ policies relating to castes (politics of recognition and redistributive justice) ​­­ ​­­ to garner their support, exploiting the ­­intra-caste and ­­inter-caste conflicts and competition to their political advantage, striking a balance of castes combination/forming caste alliances (allotting tickets to the Politically Influential Castes and taking up social and cultural issues of the Politically Marginalized Castes, and campaigning on issues of redistributive justice/ populist policies), and cashing on the failure of political rivals (those in the opposition highlight the failure of the ruling party, expanding their support bases to various castes, and a party in government justifies the policies of its government). Their strategies between elections include popularizing policies of the government (parties in power), and criticizing the policies of government (parties in opposition) and providing alternatives (not always) to the government’s policies; organizing public functions such as rallies, demonstration, and other political activities to mobilize support of various castes on issues concerning their social, cultural and political recognition or redistributive justice. Notably, excepting allotment of tickets to contest elections, strategies about other issues overlap in both periods, i.e., during and between elections. Passport to enter the legislature The numerical strength of a caste (a constant factor) is a passport to enter the legislature as candidates of the main parties because it is the most important criterion for allotment of tickets to contest election by different parties. There are several heterogeneous castes in western UP and WNE Rajasthan (Chapter 1); but out of these only four to eight get tickets to represent in legislature; rest of them only vote, but do not represent. In western UP, former include the Rajputs, Brahmins, Jats, Gujars, Yadavs and Lodhas among the high castes and intermediary castes /upper OBCs, and

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Jatavs among the Dalits. In Rajasthan, they include Rajputs and Brahmins among the high castes, and Gujars and Jats and among the intermediary castes/upper OBCs. As we will notice below, and in Chapter 6 (Tables 6.1 and 6.2), allotment of tickets enables a limited number of the PICs to become members of Vidhan Sabha or ministers in the states. Several castes remain excluded from these aspects in both UP and Rajasthan as they do not hold this passport, the weight of caste. These, indeed, are PMCs, who do not have effective numerical strength, do not form a consolidated block in an area and are economically poor castes. They generally are MBCs such as Nais, Gadarias, Kumhars and Dhinwars, and non-Jatav/non-​ Meghwal/non-Bairwa Dalits such as Balmikis, Khatiks and Dhanaks (see Zerinini 2009 for UP; Jaffrelot and Robin 2009 for Rajasthan). In fact, the party strategies of allotting tickets restrict the MBCs from sharing legislative and executive powers. The strategies adopted by different parties in relation to the MBCs and the regional dimensions of their accommodation need to be emphasized. In comparison to eastern UP, the MBCs of western UP have been less accommodated. While more MBCs from eastern UP  – Rajbhars, Binds, Kushwahs and others, have been accommodated, only those MBCs from western UP who are closer to the upper OBCs, like Sainis, are given preference. However, the service castes, which form important components of the MBCs in both eastern and western UP, remain neglected (in terms of allotment of tickets/thus getting elected to legislative bodies, and representation in ministry formation, not in terms of policy orientation). Zerinini (2009: 60–61) neglects this regional variation while discussing the BJP’s attitude towards the non-Yadav OBCs and the MBCs in UP. Thus, usually, it is the constant factors – numerical strength of a caste, its political consolidation of an area and its economic independence, which work as passport of a caste to enter the legislature or get tickets to contest ​­­ elections. However, the contingent ­factors – ­­­inter-party competition, ­­intra-​ party competition, criminal or financial background of a candidate, his personal popularity among people across castes, political/social political or political context (imminent elections), intra-Dalit competition and conflict between Jatavs and non-Jatavs (Balmikis, Khatiks or Dhobis) – in the reserved constituencies enable persons belonging to the Politically Margin​­­ alized Castes (MBCs or ­­Adi-Dalits) get tickets from main political parties. These are however exceptions. Here are some instances how contingent factors worked as exceptions favouring candidates from the MBCs. Sometimes they become scapegoat of a main party; such party fields them from a ‘risky constituency’ where it has least chances of winning/does not have an effective core support base. For example, the BSP gave ticket to Rajpal, a Nai (MBC) to contest the 2002 Vidhan Sabha election from the Jat-dominated Chhaprauli, a ‘risky’ constituency. The principal reason for fielding him was that he had criminal record and became a symbol of anti-Jat sentiments and rallying point for non-Jats. He was later murdered while being 178

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taken to court from the Meerut district jail. There are a few more examples of MBCs representing some constituencies in Muzaffarnagar district (one Gadaria, another Kumhar). It is important to note that Sainis/Malis in the both states belong to relatively demographically larger, economically better off, and Politically Influential Castes among the MBCs. There is therefore a restriction on the entry of vulnerable castes into the legislative bodies as candidates of the mainstream political parties or into important party positions. Their entry problem could be likened to a situation which barred them [untouchable Mahars] from entry ‘into [the] more highly paid weaving department’ of the textile mills of Bombay Presidency during the preI ndependence period, in comparison to the non-Untouchable workers (see Omvedt 1994a: 141). It however needs to be clarified here that the problem of Politically Marginalized Castes (MBCs, non-Jatav Dalits) in the contemporary context should not be confused with the restrictions on the Mahars in the pre-I ndependence period. At that time, it was due to the pollution factor; now it is largely due to the vulnerable political position of the MBCs and non-Jatav Dalits. Electoral competition is virtually one between politically influential/dominant castes. In such electoral competition, which is a contest between the candidates, the vulnerable castes usually are excluded.

II Party strategies in WNE Rajasthan and western UP Strategies of political parties during and between elections in western UP and WNE Rajasthan targeted their different core support bases for consolidating their support, and parties competed to win over the allied supporting castes/caste groups, which are prone to change their support to parties. Since the 1990s, the main competing parties in western UP have been the BSP, BJP, RLD and SP; in Rajasthan, these have been the BJP and the Congress with limited presence of the left parties in certain areas and occasional emergence of BSP or RSJF. Allotment of tickets during elections and mobilization between elections As the MLAs or the MPs (Lok Sabha) are generally elected on the party tickets, their caste profile are indicators of the political parties’ strategies about the allotment of tickets to contest elections. In normal situation in both states, Rajasthan and UP, it is the Politically Influential Castes (PICs) that have been allotted tickets. The caste profiles of the MLAs indicate this. As Table 5.1 shows, in Rajasthan, the legislature consisting members of both main parties the Congress and the BJP during 1990–2013 has been dominated by the PICs in my sample  – Jats, Rajputs and Brahmins; the 179

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­Table 5.1  Caste Profiles of MLAs (1990–2013): Rajasthan (in Percentage) Year of Vidhan Sabha Elections Castes High castes Brahmins Rajputs Banias/Jains Others

1990

1998

2003

2008

2013

11.5 14.0 10.0 1.0

9.1 12.2 7.6 2.0

10.0 12.5 9.0 1.5

7.5 9.5 6.0 2.0

7.36 11.04 8.59 3.68

Intermediate castes/landed OBCs Jats 18.7 21.0 Gujars 3.0 3.0 Others 2.0 1.0

18.8 2.0 4.0

18.5 5.0 1.0

18.0 4.0 4.0

19.02 6.75 8.59

MBCs Malis Others Dalits STs Muslims Sikhs Unidentified

2.0 1.5 16.0 12.0 6.0

* 11.5**

1.84 3.07 20.25 8.59 1.23 * 19.5**

100.00 (N=200)

100.01 (N=200)

Total

10.6 8.1 10.1 3.0

1993

3.0 2.0 18.2 14.2 4.0 2.0 1.0

1.0 1.0 18.0 13.5 2.5 1.5 1.0

0.5 3.5 17.8 14.2 6.1 1.0 1.0

1.0 1.5 16.5 15.0 2.5 0.5 5.5

99.9 (N=198)

100.0 (N=200)

99.8 (N=197)

100.0 (N=200)

Source: Figures for 1990–2003 are adapted from Jaffrelot and Robin (2009: Table 5.8), for 2008 and 2013: Author’s field work. * Since these Sikhs are Jat Sikhs, I have clubbed them with Jats as socially they identity themselves with each other. ** From the total of 200 MLAs in the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha, information about caste profiles of 177 (88.5%) and 163 (81.5%) for 2008 and 2013 Vidhan Sabha elections respectively could be collected. The MLAs whose castes remain unidentified belong to the tribe- dominated belt of south Rajasthan: 33 (11.5%) and 37 (18.5%) MLAs in the 2008 and 2013 Vidhan Sabha elections respectively.

MBCs have got the least representation in the Vidhan Sabha, while the representation of the Dalits (SCs) has been ensured by reservation of seats for them in the legislature. In this context, one MBC highly academically qualified Congress member from Rajasthan, who wished his name to remain anonymous stated that he was an applicant for ticket to contest an assembly election but he was denied ticket because he could not reply satisfactorily to the questions of the Congress Observer – did his caste have numerical strength?; would he be able to mobilize money from the industrialists?; and, did he have enough number of people to campaign for him?2 However, there is an example in which the BJP allotted ticket a candidate from a Politically Marginalized Caste one constituency: Kisana Ram, a Nai was 180

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fielded from Shri Dungargarh Vidhan Sabha seat. He was allotted ticket because of contingent factors: his old association with the Sangh Parivar (RSS and BJP membership); his personal popularity among the non-Jats (MBCs, Rajputs and a section of Jats), and BJP’s response to the demand of Nai community to allot him tickets (it was also part of its strategy to reach MBCs and other such marginalized castes).3 In Rajasthan, as stated earlier, since the appearance of parties following Independence/merger of princely states with the Union of India, the rightist parties/Ram Rajya Parishad/Jan Sangh/Swatantra Party and the Congress had been identified with different sets of Politically Influential Castes (PICs): Ram Rajya Parishad/Jan Sangh/Swatatra Party/BJP predominantly with the Rajputs, and Congress with Jats, Brahmins and Banias (along with a section of Rajputs). What was common to both parties was the neglect of the Politically Marginalized Castes (PMCs) – Dalits and the MBCs in relation to allotment of tickets to contest Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections. Regarding the Congress, Richard Sisson mentions ‘Within the capital city (Jodhpur) the vast majority of leadership and membership was recruited from Pushkarma Brahmin, Oswal, Kayasth and Maheshwari castes, while the representation from ritually ‘low’ castes was rather limited, though not by design’ (Sisson 1970: 178; see also Sisson 1972). Till the late 1960s, both the Congress and the BJP did not make special efforts to win over the Dalits; their support was taken for granted. However, in the late 1960s the Swatantra party succeeded in attracting Dalit support; second largest number (30.9%) of Swatantra Party MLAs were SCs (see Jaffrelot and Robin 2009: 170–71). A Dalit scholar and former vice chancellor, Jodhpur and Jaipur universities, attributed the reasons for support of Dalits to Swatantra Party to the impact of traditional feudal families on Dalits, to their loyalty to Gayatri Devi, ex-Maharani of Jaipur.4 ​­­ Indeed, since the late 1990s in Rajasthan, compared to the Congress the BJP has been more active in attempting to woo different castes, especially the ones which had predominantly been the core support base of the Congress such as Jats (a PIC) or the castes which were traditionally neglected both by the BJP and the Congress, i.e., MBCs (PMCs). For winning over Jats support, it supported reservation to Jats as OBCs in the state (see Chapter 6); and allotted tickets in elections to Jat popular cinema and sports personalities such as Dharmendra in Rajasthan, Navjaot Singh Siddhu in Punjab and ­­ ​­­ Hema Malini (‘Jat Bahu’: Jat Daughter-in-law) in UP. In western UP, during the phase of ‘Post- Congress Polity’, even as the BSP, the SP and the BJP have made systematic efforts to woo different castes both during and between elections, the RLD and the Congress generally focussed on elections, especially about allotment of tickets; (only occasionally have they been active between elections). On some occasions, parties representing different caste/caste groups have sought to form alliances as part of their mobilization strategy during elections. The most important of such 181

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examples constituted the alliance between Dalits and upper OBCs (SP-BSP alliance) in the 1993 Vidhan Sabha election, and the one between Dalits and locally dominant castes such as Jats, Gujars, Rajputs and Brahmins in the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election. The alliance of 2007 was generally alluded to as ‘Dalit-Brahmin alliance’. The alliance between the BSP and the SP in the 1993 Vidhan Sabha election was necessitated against the back drop of the high caste consolidation in the 1991 Vidhan Sabha election. Indeed, as Table 6.1 in Chapter 6 shows, in the Kalyan Singh-led BJP government (1991–92), the high castes formed 76% representation in the ministry. The dismissal of Kalyan Singh’s government in 1992 following the demolition of Babri Mosque provided an opportunity for the OBCs and Dalits to come together and formation of the SP-BSP alliance government (Singh 2014). However, due to the contradictions within the intermediate castes/ upper OBCs and Dalits represented by the SP and the BSP respectively, the government fell within a short span. The expansion of its strategy to include the high castes/locally other dominant castes along with the low castes resulted in the victory of the BSP with absolute majority in 2007 Vidhan Sabha election in UP. This victory was generally attributed to the ‘Dalit-Brahmin ­­ ​­­ alliance’. The ‘Dalit-Brahmin ­­ ​­­ alliance’ in election was indeed a result of the BSP’s mobilization strategy between Vidhan Sabha elections of 2002 and 2007, especially since 2003. As discussed in Chapter  3, the AIBM (All India Brahmin Mahasabha) mobilized Brahmins of several districts of western UP, especially Meerut, Moradabad, Bulandshahr and Aligarh to participate in the bhaichara rallies/parshuram jayanti organized by the BSP. The Brahmin BSP leader like Ramveer Upadhyay of Aligarh coordinated the Brahmin mobilization in the region.5 This has also further been possible due to the secularization of castes.6 Though the BSP made special efforts to mobilize Brahmins since two years prior to the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election through ‘Brahmin Sammelans’, ‘Bhaiachara Samitis’ and ‘Parshuram Jayantis’, its strategy to forge caste alliance was more than ‘Dalit-Brahmin’ alliance. It was indeed an alliance between Dalits and other Politically Influential Castes, Brahmins being one of them, in different constituencies. Such castes consisted not only of Brahmins but also of Jats, Gujars and Rajputs.7 Like the Congress leadership of the pre-1970s, its candidates belonged to influential castes in different constituencies.8 The alliance of Dalits and Brahmins/high castes (along with other social groups) in UP had existed even earlier as the base of the Congress party. What was new in this alliance is the reversal of the leadership and patronage from the Brahmins to Dalits. The ‘Dalit-Brahmin alliance’ was result of competition between the SP and BSP strategies to extend their support base beyond their core support base; both parties vied for the support of same castes  – generally locally dominant castes – Brahmins, Rajputs or Jats. One such example was competition between the BSP and the SP to woo high castes, especially Brahmins 182

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since 2003 (see also Pai 2007: 233–34). On these occasions political parties sought to extend their appeal beyond their core support bases – SP and BSP beyond the OBCs and Dalits to the high castes, and the BJP beyond the high castes/Brahmins to OBCs (see also Zerinini 2009: 59–60; Jaffrelot 9 and Zerinini-Brotel 2004), MBCs and Dalits (non-Jatav). ­­ ​­­ ­­ ​­­ The change in the strategies of the SP and BSP vis-à-vis Brahmins became more spectacular after break-up of the SP-BSP alliance in 1995. Indeed, BSP’s attitude towards high castes has seen a striking departure from its earlier phase which was marked by its tirade against the high castes. Emphasizing that caste has been a ‘chief variable’ in selection of candidates in the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election in UP, Christophe Jaffrelot and Gilles Varnier contend that political parties consider ‘local balance of power and relative number of each caste groups’. Indeed, during the elections held in the 2000s the BSP and the SP gave tickets to the high castes to whom they have been ‘initially opposed’, providing the ‘rainbow of coalitions’ of castes. They argue that despite the increase in representation of Dalits and OBCs, the proportion of high castes representation in UP remains higher than their numerical strength. The representation of high castes in the ‘rainbow coalitions’ is viewed to have happened at the cost of the MBCs (Most Backward Castes) (see Jaffrelot and Verniers 2012). BJP’s strategy about different castes in western UP has similarities with its strategy in Rajasthan (discussed earlier): in western UP also it sought to expand its base to intermediary castes / upper OBCs (Politically Influential Castes), MBCs and a section of Dalits which have traditionally been supporting to non-BJP parties. Like in Rajasthan, for gaining caste support in western UP also it used contingent factors such as the conflict and competition within the intermediary castes, i.e., between non-Yadavs (such as Jats, Gujars or Kurmis) and Yadavs; within Dalits, i.e., between non-Jatavs and Jatavs; within the high castes; and, within the upper OBCs/intermediary castes and the MBCs. Since the mid-1990s, the BJP in UP took caste more seriously than before following its defeat in 1993 the Vidhan Sabha election and victory of the SP-BSP alliance indicating a unity of the OBCs and Dalits. Realizing the weight of the OBCs’ clout, it sought to wean away their support from the SP and the BSP. In the following period, it gave more tickets to the OBCs in the elections and important positions to them in the party organization. The BJP’s strategy to accommodate the OBCs has been categorized as ‘relative Mandalisation’ by Jaffrelot and Zerini-Brotel (2004). Zerinini (2009: 54) observes that in 1991 and 1996 the BJP was the single largest party in the assembly with 27.1 and 24.8% OBC MLAs in UP. BJP’s ‘relative Mandalization’ in UP, however, alienated a section of the high castes from it. Over the past two decades in western UP it has even attempted to allot tickets to relatively more influential caste as among the MBCs, i.e., the Sainis. Indeed, BJP’s electoral strategy to win over the Sainis in western UP has evolved since 1980s. The BJP attempted to woo 183

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the Sainis first in 1984 Lok Sabha election in Muzaffarnagar constituency by allotting tickets to a Saini candidate. The Sainis voted for the BJP in this election just because the party had fielded a candidate from this caste. Since then there had been deviation in the preferences of Sainis between BJP or any other party. But a section of this caste became ardent supporter of Hindutva ideology marked by their dislike for the Muslims (see Singh 1992). BJP’s strategy to campaign on the Ayodhya issue during 1988–90, and on the alleged discrimination of Hindus and to favour Muslims by the SP- led regime in UP further expanded the base of the BJP among Sainis in 2014 Lok Sabha election, like most other Hindu castes. While other parties in western UP sought to woo different castes both during and between elections, as stated earlier, the RLD’s strategy was more 10 election-centred than ­­mobilization-oriented. ​­­ ­­ ​­­ Beyond the electoral strategy, as will be discussed in Chapter 6, the RLD raised mainly three issues to nurture its support base: formation of separate state of Harit Pradesh (see Singh 2001), inclusion of Jats in the OBC category, and economic/ agrarian issues of farmers. The RLD’s support base has been confined to those areas of western UP which have substantial Jat population – districts of Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bagphat, Aligarh and Agra. As allotment of tickets formed the major part of its strategy, it fielded candidates in the limited constituencies in such a way that this party would get votes of its core supporting castes – Jats along with others: e.g., in 2004 Lok Sabha election out of its five MPs two were Jats, one Balmiki, one Gujar and one Khatri. Ajit Singh, the RLD chief, used his limited but strategically favourable number in the context of coalition politics, to bargain with major parties which headed governments in both the centre and state, to get ministerial berths.

III Castes and party preferences (1989–2014) Castes and party preferences in western UP and WNE Rajasthan: a comparison Caste components of parties’ support bases: the core castes and the allied castes All parties in my sample get support from across different castes/caste groups but in varying degrees (see Figures 5.1–5.8 and Table 5.2 for western UP; Table 5.3 for Rajasthan). As explained earlier, since support base of a party consists of alliances of different castes/caste groups, it is imperative to unpack its components: the core caste/caste groups and supporting castes. In the introduction, I mentioned that a caste can be identified as a 184

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80 70 60 BJP

50

BSP

40

SP Congress

30

Others

20 10 0 1996

2002

2007

2012

­Figure 5.1  Brahmins’ Party Preferences in Vidhan Sabha (1996–2012): western UP Source: For 1996 and 2002, Verma (2003: 274); For 2007 and 2012, Beg et al. (2014, Table 10.3). Note: Data for 1996 and 2002 available in Verma (2003) are for high castes as a generic category, not a specific caste; Beg et al. (2014) uses specific castes such as Brahmins.

core caste supporting a political party if majority of its members generally/traditionally/most of the time/in the normal situations support it. The allied castes are not enduring support base of a party. With reference to the caste/ethnic parties, a party’s core support base lies in a distinct caste/ caste group, especially the caste of its present leader or that of its founder, irrespective of the fact whether the allied castes continue to support it or not. As mentioned earlier, in western UP multiple parties have been active during period covered in this study, i.e., since the 1990s the BJP, the BSP, the SP, the RLD and the Congress, in WNE Rajasthan main active parties have been the Congress and the BJP. Even as the core support base of the parties generally remains intact, their allied castes keep shifting their support to political parties. C A S T E S A N D PA R T Y P R E F E R E N C E S I N W E S T E R N U P

So long as Congress remained a ‘coalition of extremes’ (Brass 1985), in western UP, the non-Jats generally remained its supporters. It was only in the ‘post- Congress’ era, i.e., by the early 1990s that majority of each influential castes – Jatavs, Rajputs, Brahmins, Jats (they had already got Charan Singh’s party – BKD/BLD/JP/LD/DMKP after his exit from the Congress 185

C A S T E S , PA RT Y P R E F E R E N C E S A N D P O L I T I C S

90 80 70

60 BJP

50

BSP

40

SP

30

Congress

20 10 0 1996

1998

1999

2004

2009

2014

­F igure  5.2  Brahmins’ Party Preferences in Lok Sabha Elections (1996–2014): ­western UP Source: For 1996, 1998, 1999 (Verma 2003); for 2004 (Verma 2004); for 2009 Beg et  al. (2014), and for 2014 (Verma et al. 2014). Note: Verma (2003) uses generic category high castes, not specific caste. Beg et al. (2014) mention specific Brahmin caste for 2004; even for 2004, Verma does not mention any specific caste; he mentions generic ­­high-category ​­­ castes. Figures for 2014 represent entire UP.

in 1969) sought to identify with specific party: Dalits, especially Chamars/ Jatavs, with the BSP; Yadavs with SP; Jats with RLD with its changing nomenclatures; Hindus mainly the high castes and the MBCs with BJP. The following statements indicate the primacy of core caste support in relation to their preferences/support to political parties: Everyone has a party these days, the upper castes have BJP, the Yadavs the SP and Dalits the BSP, so we kurmis have the Apna Dal. (Radheyshyam Patel, a respondent, quoted in SG 1999: 2919) Everyone votes for their own community. So what is wrong if we vote for a fellow Brahmin? (A Brahmin respondent to Gupta 2007: 118) When Ajit Singh is there for Jats and Kalyan Singh for Lodhs, then why I cannot try and unite the Kshatriyas. (Amar Singh quoted in The Hindu, 25 March 2010)

186

C A S T E S , PA RT Y P R E F E R E N C E S A N D P O L I T I C S

80 70 60 50

BJP BSP

40

SP

30

Congress

20 10 0 1996

2002

2007

2012

­F igure  5.3  Rajputs’ Party Preference in Vidhan Sabha Election (1996–2012): ­western UP Source: For 1996 and 2002, Verma (2003: 274); For 2007 and 2012, Beg et  al. (2014, ­Table 10.3). Note: Data for 1996 and 2002 are available in Verma (2003) for high castes as a generic category, not a specific caste; Beg, et.al (2014) uses a specific caste, Rajputs.

If Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav only represent Yadavs and if Mayawati ji only represents Jatavs then Anurpiya Patel only represents Kurmis. (Anupriya Patel, Apna Dal, Member of Parliamnet, The Times of India, 22 August 2016) As Figures 5.1–5.8 for the Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections in western UP since the 1990s show, majority of people of a caste/caste group give first preference to a particular party.11 Indeed, such caste/caste groups are core caste/caste groups constituting the support base of the party of their first preference. If a caste/caste group has second or next levels of preference, it means that this caste/caste group becomes an allied caste/caste group for the party(ies) other than its first preference. In terms of preferences, the choice of a caste can be graded: first, second, third and fourth. I will provide explanations to castes’ party preferences in the next section of the chapter. The CSDS surveys do not provide data on Jats’ party preferences prior to 1996 Vidhan Sabha election. The CSDS data show that in Vidhan Sabha elections of 1996, 2007 and 2012, a large section of Jats had shown their

187

C A S T E S , PA RT Y P R E F E R E N C E S A N D P O L I T I C S

90 80 70 BJP

60

BSP

50

SP

40

Congress

30

RLD Others

20 10 0 1996

1998

1999

2004

2009

2014

­Figure 5.4  Rajputs’ Party Preferences in Lok Sabha Election (1996–2014): western UP Source: For 1996, 1998 and 1998 Verma (2003); for 2004 Verma (2004); for 2009, Beg et al. (2014), and for 2014 (Verma 2014). Note: Verma (2003) uses generic category High castes, not a specific caste. Beg et al. (2014) mention a specific caste Rajputs. Figures for 2014 represent entire UP.

50 45 40 35 BJP

30

BSP

25

SP

20

Congress

15

Others

10 5 0 1996

2002

2007

2012

­Figure 5.5  Other OBCs’ (MBCs’) Party Preferences in Vidhan Sabha (1996–2012): western UP Source: For 1996 and 2002 Verma (2003); for 2007 and 2012 Beg et al. (2014).

188

C A S T E S , PA RT Y P R E F E R E N C E S A N D P O L I T I C S

70 60 50 BJP 40

BSP SP

30

Congress Others

20

10 0 1996

1998

1999

2004

2009

2014

­Figure 5.6  Other OBCs’ (MBCs’) Party Preferences in Lok Sabha Elections (1996– 2014): western UP Source: For 1996, 1998 and 1998 Verma (2003); for 2004 Verma (2004); for 2009, Beg et al. (2014), and for 2014 (Verma et al. 2014). Note: The category of ‘Other OBCs’ used by Beg et al. (2014) is inclusive of the MBCs as well. Figures for 2014 represent entire UP.

100 90 80 70 BJP

60

BSP

50

SP

40

Congress

30

Others

20 10 0 1996

2002

2007

2012

­Figure 5.7  Jatavs’ (SCs’) Party Preferences in Vidhan Sabha (1996–2012): western UP Source: For 1996 and 2002, Verma (2003); for 2007 and 2012 Beg et al. (2014). Note: Verma (2003) uses generic term SCs for 1996 and 2002, Beg et al. (2014) use a specific caste ­category – ­Jatavs.

189

C A S T E S , PA RT Y P R E F E R E N C E S A N D P O L I T I C S

90 80 70 60

BJP

50

BSP

40

SP Congress

30

Others

20 10 0 1996

1998

1999

2004

2009

2014

­Figure  5.8  SCs’ (Jatavs’) party Preferences in Lok Sabha Elections (1996–2014): western UP Source: For 1996, 1998 and 1999, Verma (2003), For 2004 (Verma 2004), for 2009 (Beg et al. 2014), for 2014 (Verma et al. 2014). Note: (Verma 2003) uses generic category SCs for 1996, 1998 and 1999, and also for 2004 Verma (2004); Beg et al. (2014) use a specific caste, Jatavs. Figures for 2014 represent entire UP.

first preference for the parties other than the RLD, of which they formed cores support base: for Congress in 1996, for Congress and BJP equally in 2007, for BSP and others equally 2012 in the Vidhan Sabha elections (see Table 5.2). This preference for other parties has not been there because Jats became the core support base of these parties. They preferred these parties because these parties were alliance partners of the RLD in these elections: indeed, they preferred these parties as proxies of the RLD. The shift in Jats support to a party other than the RLD has been noticed in the Lok Sabha elections also. In the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the largest number of Jats (31%) supported BJP (as RLD ally) (see Beg et al. 2014: 250, Table 10.3). The 2014 NES (National Election Survey) of the Lokniti CSDS does not mention Jats’ political preference of political parties, even as it does for other castes (see Verma et al. 2014). However, my observations from the field show that Jats had almost as a community supported the BJP in this election. The shift in Jats’ party preference in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was a turning point from the earlier shifts: in earlier elections, they preferred other parties as proxies of the RLD since it had entered into electoral alliance with them, not as core support base of these parties. It seems that 190

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­Table 5.2  Jats’ Party Preference (%) in Vidhan Sabha Election (1996, 2007 and 2012): Western UP Party

1996

2007

2012

BJP BSP SP Congress Others

6.7 – – 32.8 24.4

18 10 8 18 2

7 16 7 7 16

Source: For 1996, Rai (1999); for 2007 and 2012 Beg et al. (2014).

­Table 5.3  Castes and Party Preferences (%) in Rajasthan, Lok Sabha Elections 1999, 2004 and 2009 Castes

Brahmins Rajputs Jats OBCs Dalits

1999*

2004

2009

Congress

BJP

Congress

BJP

Congress

BJP

38 2 35 44 59

62 98 65 56 41

25 15 52 37 50

61 82 48 54 26

26 36 41 37 66

74 55 59 42 21

Source: CSDS team, Frontline, 10 December 1999: 43; Lodha (2014: 135, Table 3.8). * Figures for 1999 show the percentage of vote swing over the 1998 Lok Sabha election. For this election, the CSDS team uses ‘SCs’ for Dalits and ‘Other OBCs’ for OBCs.

in the 2014 Lok Sabha election the BJP replaced the RLD as a party with its core support base among Jats. Data on non-Jatav Dalits (SCs) show that a section of them has become supporter of the BJP in the recent past. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, 45% non-Jatav SCs in UP voted for the BJP, even as 29% of them voted for the BSP and 10% for the SP (see Verma 2014, Table 2). Just a few years prior to the communal polarization, i.e., in the 2007 and 2012 Vidhan Sabha elections, only between 8 and 11% of them voted for the BJP (see Beg et al. 2014: Table 10.3), so too in the 2014 Lok Sabha election even a section of core supporters (Jatavs) of the BSP had supported the BJP. A study conducted in the villages affected by the communal riot of 2013 in Muzaffarnagar district observed that a section of Dalits, traditional supporters of the BSP, preferred to vote for a BJP Hindu candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha election over a Muslim BSP candidate (see Singh 2016:100). Indeed, the principal reason for some of them to support the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha election was their perception that it is a defender of Hindus/ Hinduism. 191

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As mentioned in Chapter 4, when compared with UP, the academic engagement on elections in Rajasthan is rather limited. The CSDS survey data (the most comprehensive data base on elections in India since 1996) cover every region and most caste groups of UP. But it does not provide data on castes’ relationship to political parties in all elections held in Rajasthan since 1996 unlike it does for UP: it covers only Lok Sabha elections of 1999, 2004 and 2009 (see Frontline 10 December 1999; Lodha 2009, 2014: 135, Table 3.8), and the Vidhan Sabha election of 2008 (see Lodha 2014: 135, ­Table 3.8). Nor does it give the ­­region-wise ​­­ ­­break-up ​­­ of castes’ preference of political parties. According to the CSDS data, three patterns emerge regarding castes’ preference for political parties over a decade (1999–2009 Lok Sabha elections): one, most high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) and the OBCs (which include MBCs: the CSDS data do not distinguish between the intermediary caste/upper OBCs and the MBCs) prefer the BJP over the Congress; two, most Dalits prefer Congress over the BJP and three, the majority of Jats shift their preference between the BJP and the Congress (see Table 5.3). The similar pattern emerged in the 2008 Vidhan Sabha election: more high castes (95%: 41% Brahmins and 54% Rajputs) preferred BJP than they (58%: 33% Brahmins and 25% Rajputs) preferred the Congress; almost equal number of Jats preferred the Congress and the BJP (36 and 35%); more OBCs supported the BJP (46%) than they supported the Congress (28%), and more Dalits supported the Congress (42%) than they supported the BJP (19%) (see Lodha 2014: 135, Table 3.8). Dalits in Rajasthan have traditionally been supporting the Congress. On several occasions, however, they also shifted their support from it. But the shift had been in favour of the feudal rightist and Hindutva forces. In the 1967 Vidhan Sabha election, they preferred the Swatantra Party to the Congress.12 Indeed, in this election the largest number of Dalits (30.9%) were elected on tickets of the Swatantra Party (see Jaffrelot and Robin 2009). During the Hindutva movement, many of them rallied behind the BJP and its fraternal organizations. In the 1990s the BJP exploited Jat-Dalit conflict, which is a critical part of social fabric in the state, to its advantage (Jenkins 1998: 116). Dalits of Jaipur were the main protagonist in the communal riot of 1993 which followed the demolition of Babri Mosque (see Mayaram 1993). Dalits’ support to the BJP was also reflected in the 1993 Vidhan Sabha and the 1996 Lok Sabha elections. But their preference to the BJP has not been consistent. Though there has been shift in favour of the rightist forces whenever they contested elections, majority of them supported the Congress. The CSDS data for three Lok Sabha elections, held in 1999, 2004 and 2009, confirm this (see Table 5.3). However, a section of Dalits again became supporters of the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2015 Panchayat elections. They have indeed been shifting their support between

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the Congress, the BJP (or occasionally BSP in some constituencies if the BSP fielded candidates, e.g., in six constituencies in the 2008 Vidhan Sabha election) over the years. It depended on who recognized them politically, especially allotment of tickets to persons from their caste. In my discussion, one Dalit student in Jaipur University explained that one of his relatives, who became the village Pradhan ‘was approached by the BJP in his home, while other party did not bother’. This in his opinion is how the BJP gave person from his caste a ‘political recognition’.

IV Explanations What is it that impacts castes preferences for political parties? Why do different castes in my sample form core support base of parties in western UP and WNE Rajasthan? To what extent do policies of regimes/programmes of parties controlling regimes influence caste mobilization of parties or castes’ preferences of political parties? To what extent does accommodation of demands and allotment of tickets to castes impact their party preferences? This part of the chapter substantiates the argument that the answers to these queries can be given if we relate the different castes’ preferences with extent of accommodation of their demands in the political parties: recruitment in important party positions, allotment of tickets to contest Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections, accommodation in ministerial berths, policies of these parties/the regimes controlled by them about their social- cultural and economic demands (social and cultural recognition and redistributive justice), and contingent factors such as inter-intra and party competition, inter and intra-caste competition, and ideological factors. Notably, regime policies which are among the factors that influence castes’ party preferences, are virtually programmes of party/parties which the control regimes, and they reflect overall approach and strategies of parties towards castes. Influence of state policies on caste mobilization can be viewed in two ways: mobilization in electoral politics and mobilization in nonelectoral politics or mobilization during elections/choice of parties in elections/preference of parties by castes and mobilization between elections. In western UP and WNE Rajasthan, caste mobilization is done through political parties and movements on several issues which can be divided into two kinds: common issues concerning all sections of society, and castespecific issues. The most important among the former include – price rise, inflation, farmers’ issues (remunerative price of their produce, loan waiver, subsidized inputs, etc.), unemployment, law and order (crime, security), corruption/governance and reservation for castes in public institutions, political accommodation and recognition of cultural symbols.13 Notably, even as political parties and regimes headed by them mobilize castes on a

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variety of issues, it is only some issues and regime policies which influence caste mobilization, both electoral and non- electoral. Indeed, only some of these issues get translated into policy measures (for caste-specific policies of regimes in UP and Rajasthan see App. II; Chapter 6). Kanchan Chandra argues that issues and ideologies do not matter for the ethnic group in their choice of ethnic parties in elections; ethnic head counts matter (Chandra 2004). While I agree with Chandra that head counts matter in choice of a party by a caste in elections, unlike her I argue that along with head counts, other factors such as ideologies of parties controlling regimes, regime policies, intra- caste competition and dissatisfaction among traditional supporters of a party on various accounts also influence caste mobilization. And the impact of each factor depends on political context. My differences with Chandra’s argument arise basically from the differences in foci of caste mobilization: her focus is on impact of issues on electoral results, to see if the issues affect success of an ethnic party in elections; my focus is on the impact of issues and regime policies to see why a caste prefers a party over other parties (irrespective of the fact whether a party wins or loses elections), on how state policies cause collective mobilization of different castes. In this section of the chapter, unlike Chandra, I elaborate upon this argument about the impact of state policies on caste mobilization in electoral politics, not in terms of winnability of parties in elections but in terms of castes showing preference to some parties over others; in Chapter 6, I will discuss the impact of state policies on non- electoral mobilization. High castes of western UP and WNE Rajasthan: Brahmins and Rajputs In western UP, the first and the second most preferences of high castes – Brahmins and Rajputs, in most elections especially since 1996 have been the BJP and the Congress respectively. Indeed, high castes – Brahmins and Rajputs – are the core caste support base of the BJP. Their third and fourth most preferences have been the SP or BSP (see Figures 5.1–5.4). In the 2004 Lok Sabha election the SP became the second most preferred choice of Rajputs pushing the Congress to the third and retaining the BSP as their last choice. In the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election more Brahmins preferred the BSP over the SP pushing Congress to their second preference, at the same time retaining first and second preference for the BJP and Congress respectively. In 2012 Vidhan Sabha election, a similar number of Brahmins preferred SP and BSP as second choice (pushing the Congress to their last preference) while retaining their first preference to the BJP (see Figures 5.1 and 5.2). In the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election more Rajputs supported SP than the BSP after the Congress; in the 2012 Vidhan Sabha election a similar number of Rajputs supported the SP and BSP giving them their secondary preference, relegating the Congress to their fourth preference (see Figures 5.3 and 5.4). 194

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Why have the high castes in UP since the mid-1990s been the core support base of the BJP, their first preference? Why did since mid-2000s, some high castes show their preference to the non-high caste parties? And why later (since 2014), they again preferred the BJP over the non-high parties? The principal reasons for the high castes to become core support base of the BJP have been ideological closeness of the CBPIs from Brahmins to the Hindutva/BJP (Chapter 2); BJP’s agenda to build Ayodhya temple/its idea of Hindu cultural nationalism; identification of the BSP and SP (rivals of the BJP) with the interests of the Dalits and OBCs/SP’s firing on the Kar Sevaks; and perception of the high castes that the low castes (supported by the SP and BSP) would marginalize them and only the BJP can protect their interests in such situation. Meanwhile, the BJP also changed its strategy; it saw ‘relative Mandalization’ as a limitation in retaining high caste support. In reaction, this pushed the high castes towards the BSP and the SP. The most important examples of high caste support to non-high caste parties included Vidhan Sabha elections of 2007 and 2012. Why did this swing take place in the high castes (core support base of the BJP), especially to the BSP in the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election or to the SP in the 2012 Vidhan Sabha election? High castes’ massive support to the BSP in 2007 in this election has been seen in three ways. One, as stated earlier, it has generally been viewed as a victory of two- caste alliance between Dalits and Brahmins. Two, it has been attributed to the common conflicts (inter- caste conflicts and contradictions) which Brahmins and Dalits have with the landed OBCs/intermediary castes such as Yadavs or Jats or their opposition to the implementation of Mandal Commission Report. Three, it has been viewed as a manipulation of Dalits by Brahmins’ cunning to their advantage.14 My discussion with the Brahmin respondents indicated that the ‘Dalit-Brahmin alliance’ in the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election was the result of mutual requirement of both Dalits and Brahmins. Among all castes in my sample Brahmins were the last to leave the Congress coinciding with the emergence of the BJP as an alternative to it in the 1990s. In fact, the period from 1989 till 2014 can be divided into three phases in terms of Brahmins’ support to the political parties: one, from 1989 till 2007; two, from 2007 via 2009 till 2012 and three, from 2012 till 2014. Like several other castes, they also responded to the BJP’s campaign for construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya. During the first phase which spanned around 18 years from 1989, most of them supported the BJP; in the second phase, they opted for the BSP in the Vidhan Sabha election of 2007 and the Congress and the SP in the Lok Sabha election of 2009. In the third phase, they again supported the BJP. The Brahmins’ dilemma of political recognition and accommodation was coeval with its arch rival BSP’s search for allies which would enable it to emerge as a strong political force in UP, especially in the wake of break-up of the BSP-SP alliance in 1995 symbolized as the ­­Dalit-OBC ​­­ alliance. 195

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Evolution of the BSP over 12 years since 1996 from being exclusively a bahujan party to the party of sarva ­samaj  – allotment of tickets to high castes including Brahmins in different elections since then and dilution of its anti-high rhetoric provided a space in the BSP to the high castes. By 2007 there was also a mutual change in the attitude of Brahmins and the BSP/ Dalits towards each other. My survey in some Brahmin-dominated villages of western UP confirmed this. Shobhit Mishra, the President of A I B M, Meerut, cited BSP’s discarding ‘Tilak, Taraju Aur Talwar, Inko Maro Jute Maro Chaar’ in favour of ‘Hathi Nahi Ganesh Hai, Brahma Vishnu Mahesh Hai’ is an indication of change in the BSP’s attitude. In the light of this change in the BSP’s attitude, he did not find anything wrong to support the BSP.15 Again, just after having supported the SP in the 2012 Vidhan Sabha election, they shifted their support back to the BJP during the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The support of the high castes (especially of the Brahmins, not so of Rajputs) to the SP and BJP (witnessed between 2003 and 2013) got dissipated. It coincided with aggressive campaign of the BJP on Hindutva plank. As this period was marked by the communal polarization following the Muzaffarnagar riots, like most other Hindus the Brahmins also extended their support to the BJP (see Singh 2016). The BJP again became their first preference, or the high castes remain the core support base of the BJP in western UP. Rajputs in western UP have largely supported the BJP since its inception. But they deviated from this trend in case a candidate of their caste has been allotted tickets by a party other than the BJP or BJP has given it to a non-Rajput. In case the BJP and other party also allotted tickets to Rajputs, they generally preferred a Rajput fielded by the BJP. Even as sometimes Brahmins had supported the SP or the BJP, the attitude of Rajputs towards these parties has not been warm; the SP’s and BSP’s strategies in relation to Rajputs alienated the latter from them, which, in turn, attracted them towards the BJP. In the absence of caste-specific policies (for instance about the high castes), what matters is allotment of tickets and competition with other castes in elections or reaction to policies which are meant to help other castes. Allotment of ticket by the SP to Phoolan Devi to contest Lok Sabha elections enabling her to become Member of Parliament from Mirzapur constituency twice (1996–98 and 1999–2001) annoyed the Rajputs with the party; Phoolan Devi was jailed for killing in the ‘Behmai episode’, where a large number of Rajputs were murdered by her. Indeed, the killing of Rajputs by Phoolan Devi was avenged by a Rajput youth from Roorki. Rajputs also got annoyed with Mayawati for the arrest of Rajput politicians – Raghuraj Singh (alias Raja Bhaiya) and his father under Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) (see Singh, UK 2006). Unlike the high castes of UP, those of Rajasthan in my sample did not have an option to opt for a regional and caste based-party such as the SP or the BJP. They swung their support between the BJP and the Congress. 196

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Majority of each of them had formed core support base of the Congress (the Brahmins) and BJP or its rightist progenitors such as Jana Sangh, Ram Rajya Parishad or Swatantra Party. Traditionally Rajputs of Rajasthan had been opposed to the Congress (see Chakravarti 1975: 204). However, due to the internal competition among Rajputs their support base was split between the Congress and the rightist parties (see Sisson 1970: 208–9). Indeed, following its rapprochement policy, the Congress was able to get support of a large section of Rajputs, especially from the younger gener​­­ ations, and subordinate status groups like ex-bhoomias and smaller ex­­Jagirdars (Sisson 1972; see also Rudolph and Rudolph 2011: 122). Why have Brahmins been the core support base of the Congress and the Rajputs of the BJP/rightist parties in Rajasthan?; why did they divide their support between these two parties? The principal reasons for their support to both parties are: incorporation of these castes and their interests in both parties, ministries and legislature, role of inter and intra-party competition between the Congress and the BJP and intra/inter- caste competition within Brahmins and Rajputs; historical legacies and policy-based reasons, i.e., the Brahmins association with the Congress from Praja Mandal days (its merger with the Congress after Independence, and their accommodation within the Congress organization) made them core support base of the Congress. Brahmins like other non-Rajputs have traditionally been supporting the Congress ever since the Congress was formed in Rajasthan. They remained supporters of the Congress till the rise of the BJP. As the Congress was formed out of merger of Praja Mandals and Kisan Sabhas after Independence, its support base consisted of the support bases of these organizations. And the Congress leadership in the villages belonged to respectively dominant peasant castes such as Jats, and in the cities to the high castes like Brahmins, Kayasthas and Vaishyas.16 In the past two decades, the Brahmins have divided their support between the BJP and Congress, most preferring the BJP. It is due to intra- caste competition, with some Brahmins supporting the Congress, and some the BJP. In Rajasthan, the regimes controlled both by the Congress and the BJP have introduced several policies. But these are some specific policies which impact the mobilization of castes or shape their attitude towards the parties. These policies have different, sometimes opposite impact on different castes, consequently impacting their party preferences. Two such issues had impacted Jats’ opinion about the Congress and the rightist parties (predecessors of the BJP  – the Jana Sangh/Swatantra Party): the land reforms of the 1960s, and recognition of Jats as OBCs in Rajasthan in 1999. The land reforms (initiated by the Congress) not only converted the status of Jats from being tenants of Rajput Jagirdars to the land owning independent peasants but also raised their social status. The reforms won Jats’ support to the Congress but pushed the Rajputs towards the rightist forces (see Sisson 1972). But, as discussed in Chapter 6, its support to the inclusion of Jats 197

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in the OBC category, and Congress’ ambivalent position on the issue won the Jats’ support to the BJP but annoyed Rajputs (along with Brahmins and MBCs) with the BJP. Besides, Congress also provided important positions to Jats in the party structure (Sisson 1972). Why were Rajputs generally annoyed with the Congress? As I will explain in the next section of this chapter, policies of a party targeting a caste pushed its rival castes to support the rival party. Displeased with the Congress for being averse to their interests and encouraging their rival castes, Jats, by abolishing jagirdari, introducing land reforms, Rajputs were driven to the rightist political parties from the beginning of party system in the state. Rajputs had organized counter mobilization in some villages against the land reform policies of the Congress. Annoyed with the land reform policies, Rajputs protested against the Congress (Chakravarti 1975: 204). They got representation in the rightist parties and continue to remain there. In fact, as mentioned earlier, though Rajputs/princes/jagirdars were opposed to the Congress, a large number of them had joined the Congress (Sisson 1972). Rajputs, indeed, as castes are represented in both parties – Congress and the BJP. Since the late 1980s the BJP has become the principal party of the Rajputs in Rajasthan replacing earlier rightist parties. Indeed, CSDS surveys for Lok Sabha elections show that the most Rajputs preferred the BJP over the Congress. Indeed, its growth in Rajasthan can be attributed to three factors; one, the leadership of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat for around two decades; two, strategy of the BJP, i.e., exploitation of Jat-Rajput contradictions and wooing the castes which have political capital; and, three, constructing a Rajput identity. Indeed, Shekhawat was able to keep aloof from the orthodoxy of the RSS (Lodha 2009). He can be likened with Charan Singh in some ways. Shekhawat was for the Rajputs of Rajasthan what Charan Singh was for the Jats of UP. Like Charan Singh, Shekhawat was also pragmatic in that when opposition to one issue suited him he opposed it, and when support to such issue suited him he supported it (for Charan Singh, see Singh 1992, 2014). Shekhawat did not join eight RSS MLAs who in 1953 had opposed the abolition of zagirdari system in Rajasthan assembly; this won him support beyond the Rajputs. But when he was the chief minister in 1992 he introduced amendment to the Land Revenue Act, which would have benefited the ex-jagirdars (see Jenkins 1998: 114–17). Both Shekhawat and Charan Singh sought to broaden their base by forging caste alliances, with Rajputs and Jats as the core supporting castes of their parties respectively. As mentioned earlier, the Jat-Rajput conflict and competition in Rajasthan has informed the strategies of the political parties vis-à-vis castes. Here, I will focus on how the rightist party, especially BJP, used Jat-Rajput conflict and competition to carve its base among the Rajputs. It also portrayed Rajasthan a region which had retained ‘Rajput ethos’ and projected itself 198

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as the saviour of this ethos, and Congress its destroyer.17 The BJP also projected Jats as supporters of Mandal Commission Report. As some of the prominent Jat leaders were in the Janata Dal at the time of its introduction, the BJP argued that it would benefit them excluding the Rajputs from it (see Jenkins 1998). The BJP, however, changed its stance later; as mentioned earlier, in 1999 it supported of Jats’ demand for the OBC status. Indeed, support to its political rival caste – the Jats – annoyed a section of Rajputs in 1999; consequently, they formed RSJF in alliance with Brahmins and the MBCs (discussed in Chapter 6). However, the intra- caste competition within the Brahmins, on the one hand, and within Rajputs, on the other, resulted in division of support of these castes across both parties – the Congress and the BJP. Both the parties accommodated Brahmins and Rajputs and their interests. Indeed, changes in the stances of these parties on issues relating to these castes and changing role of contingent factors determine the nature of relationships between high castes and the Congress and the BJP in Rajasthan. Jats’ preference of political parties in western UP and WNE Rajasthan Jats’ politics since the 1990s can be seen in terms of their politics in the post- Charan Singh era in North India. As long as Charan Singh was in the Congress, i.e., till the late 1960s, Jats in both states – UP and Rajasthan – were predominantly Congress supporters. Once they had left the Congress in order to follow Charan Singh after he formed the BKD in 1969, the Jats of western UP never supported it excepting for a short period when Ajit Singh had joined Congress in 1996, and later the U PA-I I finally becoming a cabinet minister or until finally they became the core supporting caste of the BJP in 2014. Why did Jats in western UP continue to remain the core supporting caste base of the RLD with occasional shifts in their support to other parties, the BJP in the 1999 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Congress in the 1996 Lok Sabha election and BSP in the 2012 Vidhan Sabha election? Why did they occasionally shift their support to the parties other than the RLD, finally becoming a strong support base of the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha election? To what extent are factors like identification of Jats with the RLD as a party of their caste and contingent factors such as ­­inter-caste ​­­ and ­­intra-caste ​­­ conflicts and competition between Jat and non-Jats and within Jats, and policies of the regimes/parties determine Jats’ preference for political parties? In explaining these questions, I will elaborate upon the argument mentioned earlier – Jats have been supporting the parties founded by Charan Singh and later led by his son because of caste factors, shifts in their preferences have occurred due to intra-Jat conflicts and contradictions, dissatisfaction among Jats with the RLD and emergent alternative in the BJP. Policies have played a marginal/occasional role in 199

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their caste preferences but have not been completely absent unlike Kanchan Chandra’s argument that it is only ethnic head counts that motivate people of a caste to vote for that party (Chandra 2004). Jats identified themselves with the RLD simply because it emerged from the JD, founded by Charan Singh, of which it was a component. The JD in UP was identified with intermediate castes including Jats and Yadavs among others. After the split of the JD into two parties, as stated earlier, the RLD led by Ajit Singh and SP led by Mulayam Singh, the former got identified with Jats, and the latter with Yadavs. Jats remained RLD’s enduring core support base for long (till the 2014 Lok Sabha election). However, as mentioned earlier, the RLD generally did not mobilize its supporters when elections did not happen; the RLD has been alternatively raising three kinds of issues: first of these concerned Jats as exclusively caste group (reservation for them as OBC category); second combined the demand of Jats’ empowerment with regional autonomy and third combined Jats’ economic demands as those of a farming community with their caste demands (Jats formed predominantly a farming community). Indeed, these issues were used as bargaining chip by Ajit Singh to have a share in power, generally getting ministerial berths for his party/himself in coalition governments. In comparison to Ajit Singh, Charan Singh’s appeal was much broader: the programmes of political parties led by the latter, of which the RLD is the latest incarnation or the policies of the political regimes led by Charan Singh, focused on the issues of middle and rich farming communities who mostly belonged to different intermediate castes such as Jats, Yadav and Kurmis (Singh 1992: 128–29, 2014; Hasan 1998). Unlike Ajit Singh, Charan Singh was not identified as a leader of specific caste. The process of disenchantment among Jats against Charan Singh-led party began in the mid-1980s itself. While conducting field work for another study in the mid-1980s, I observed that Jats in the Chhaprauli Vidhan Sabha constituency had resented allotment of ticket to Charan Singh’s daughter to contest from this constituency in the 1985 Vidhan Sabha election. They accused Charan Singh of practising nepotism which he himself has been opposed to. They, however, grumblingly supported the party out of respect for Charan Singh. In the post- Charan Singh period (since 1989), the intra-Jat competition, between Ajit Singh and some other Jat leaders got intensified. Some instances of this included: Ajit Singh- Mahendra Singh Tikait conflict; Som Pal Shastri-Ajit Singh conflict and Satya Pal Singh-Ajit ­­ ​­­ ­­ ​­­ Singh conflict.18 The intra- caste conflicts and competition is often articulated in terms of differences over programmes and policies about their caste/ community, blaming the rivals for not having done enough/failed to address these issues. For instance, in the post- Charan Singh period, the first major challenge to the leadership of Ajit Singh, was posed by the farmers’ leader Mahendra Singh Tikait. Filling up the vacuum in the farmers’ and Jats’ leadership after the death of Charan Singh, Tikait mobilized farmers  on 200

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their problems under the banner of the BKU (Bharatiya Kisan Union) (for details see Hasan 1989b; Singh 1992: 96–103). This period saw two prominent Jat leaders on the opposite sides – Ajit Singh a minister in the VP Singh government at the centre, and Tikait a farmers’ leader opposed to the state and central governments. The major differences between Tikait and Ajit Singh got articulated as: failure of the VP Singh government to respond positively to the farmers’ issues raised in the BKU movement, implementation of the Mandal Commission Report by the VP Singh government (Jats had opposed the Mandal Commission Report as at that time they were not OBCs, they were included in the OBC category later, in Chapter  6) and support to the Ayodhya movement by Jats. As a result, a sizable section of Jats had supported the BJP against their original party, the RLD (see Singh 1992: 180–86). Another instance of differences between Ajit Singh and his ­­ ​­­ ­­ ​­­ rivals within the Jat caste was related to non-economic/non-agrarian issues of the caste; saving izzat of a Jat (Hindu) girl from the Muslim boys by the traditional leadership, resulting in the Muzaffar communal riot of 2013 (Singh 2016). This led to almost complete eclipse of RLD (with Ajit Singh and his son losing Lok Sabha seats in 2014) and BJP emerging as the first choice of the Jats. Why did the Jats of Rajasthan predominantly support the Congress for several years after Independence? Why did majority of them support the BJP in some elections? Why did they revert to Congress from the BJP and vice-versa? Or why do the Jats of Rajasthan divide their preferences between these two parties? How did the caste factor and party/regime policies impact Jats’ preferences of parties in Rajasthan? This part of the chapter substantiate the argument that the Jats of Rajasthan have been supporting the Congress since the Independence, and the BJP since the late 1980s because of the following reasons: both the parties have accommodated them adequately in the party structures; allotted tickets to them to contest Vidhan Sabha elections (discussed earlier), and in the ministries (Chapter 6); whenever they shifted their support to other parties (from the Congress to the BJP or the vice-versa), it has been due to intra-Jat conflicts and competition, and stances/policies or programmes of these parties/governments run by them regarding some issues of Jats: in the 1950s–1960s, Congress policy to introduce land reforms benefiting Jats (Chapter 1); their inclusion in the state OBC list; making a Jat the chief minister of Rajasthan (Chapter 6) and strategies of parties (especially BJP to accommodate and represent them, and addressing their issues; Chapters 4–6), and the changing political context, a contingent factor. In Rajasthan, Jats continued predominantly to support the Congress from the late 1940s until the Congress in the 1998 Vidhan Sabha election, though a section of them or Jats as a community occasionally shifted its support to the non- Congress parties. Indeed, the first major shift in Jats’ support from the Congress to the BJP occurred in the 1998 Vidhan Sabha 201

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election. Why did the Jats stop supporting Congress in this election? Congress’ failure to meet the expectations of Jats to grant them OBC status which the party had promised in the previous election, and not to appoint a Jat as the chief minister of Rajasthan was the principal reason for this. About their disenchantment on the OBC status to them, the 1993 Vidhan Sabha election was especially significant in the Jat politics in Rajasthan. As discussed in Chapter 6, though the Rajasthan Jats had opposed the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report in 1990, in due course they also wished to be included in the OBC list of Rajasthan. And they supported Congress in the 1993 Vidhan Sabha election, expecting that if the Congress government was formed, it would include them in the state’s OBC list. But defying the general trend of other states where the BJP governments were dismissed following the demolition of Babri Mosque in 1992, Rajasthan became an exception by electing BJP to form the government in 1993. This put the Jats reservation issue on backburner: since the Congress government could not form the government, it could not be held accountable for not giving them OBC status then.19 But Jats got disappointed with the Congress in relation to both demands, i.e., anointing a Jat as the chief minister and according them the OBC status, following that victory in the 1998 Vidhan Sabha election: Ashok Gehlot, a Mali, not a Jat, became the chief minister of Rajasthan, and Congress government was not responding to their demand for the OBC status. However, as I will discuss in the next chapter, the Congress government had to accept the demand for Jats’ inclusion in the OBC list in Rajasthan following the announcement in an election rally in 1999 in Sikar by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. But the BJP succeeded in getting credit for this. With one of Jats’ demands – their inclusion in the state OBC list having been already accepted, they reiterated another old demand – nomination of Jat as the chief minister of the state. Harendra Mirdha, a prominent Jat politician said ‘The issue of Jat becoming chief minister is still there’. For Jats it was both an emotional and a political issue (The Hindu, 5 July 2006). A section of them have also been supporting the left, especially in Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Sri Ganganagar districts. 20 There have been instances in Rajasthan of shift in Jats’ support from the Congress even before. The earliest example of this shift took place in the late 1960s following the exit from the Congress of the Jat leader Kumbha Ram Arya with another Jat leader Nathu Ram Mirdha remaining in the Congress (see Kamal 1976). Jat leader Hirendra Mirdha identified the denial of chief minister’s post to a Jat by the Congress as the main reason for some Jat leaders to quit Congress (The Hindu, 5 July 2006). It is interesting to note the Jats leaders within the Congress, Charan Singh in his individual capacity in UP, and the Jat leaders collectively in Rajasthan were in constant conflict with the non-Jat leaders within the Congress party during the 1950s and 1960s. 21 Opposition which Charan Singh had faced from the high castes in UP was more formidable than the opposition of the high 202

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castes which the Rajasthan’s Jat leaders faced. Unlike him, Rajasthan’s Jat leaders did not attempt to carve out a social base of different peasant castes and backward classes. As mentioned in Chapter 2, Charan Singh was an organic intellectual who had some economic vision but two Jat Congress leaders in Rajasthan focussed on single- caste issues, i.e., Jats’ control on Congress or appointment of Jat as Rajasthan’s chief minister between 1993 and 1999, recognition of Jats as OBCs in the state. Indeed, they could take control of the Congress organization (at the district/tehsil levels in Jodhpur division) till the third general election of 1967 (see Session 1972). As shown in Tables 4.1–4.4, they are now adequately accommodated within both major parties in Rajasthan, the Congress and the BJP. In ­Chapter 1, I have identified some ­­inter-caste and ­­intra-caste conflicts ​­­ ​­­ and competition, which act as contingent factors (Tables  0.1–0.3) that also impact political preferences of castes. With reference to Jats’ political choice in Rajasthan (like Rajputs’ mentioned earlier), the nature of conflicts and competition between Jats and Rajputs and within Jats (intra-Jat conflicts and contradictions) influenced Jats’ political preferences. After having supported the BJP during the 1999 Lok Sabha and 2004 Vidhan Sabha elections, the Jats developed reservation about it. Consequently, they supported back the Congress in the 2008 Vidhan Sabha and 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The reversal of Jats’ preference to the BJP happened due to their perception that the BJP government sided with the Rajputs in the Jat-Rajput conflicts during its five years’ rule. The fissures between the two castes became visible following the dispute between them regarding two cases of alleged murder – one, of a Jat Sabha leader in July 2006 in Sikar district, and another of two Jat youths in Nagaur district. These cases became the rallying points for the Jats of Rajasthan. These also led to involvement of their respective caste associations – the Jat Mahasabha and the Rajput Mahasabha in mobilizing their respective castes (see Sebastian 2006). It is important to note that if the BJP capitalized on Jats’ resentment against Congress government in 1998–99 (on reservation and a Jat being chief minister), the Congress did so about the BJP government in 200622: Sonia Gandhi had visited the senior Jat politician Parasram Maderna (who had turned dissident Congress leader) at his residence on the sideline of her address to the party workers at Padampura, which had been appreciated as a good gesture to Jats. About the role of intra-Jat conflict and competition, the most recent example of the intra-Jat competition is the one between two prominent leaders of movement about getting the Jats of Rajasthan included in the state OBC list. The period following recognition of Jats as OBCs in the state in 1999 has seen widening of cleavages among the Jat leaders in the state. It disrupted their unity which was visible during the movement of getting OBC status to Jats. It also had political repercussion. Dr Gyan Prakash Pilania became a Rajya Sabha MP from the BJP and his son was given ticket in the 2003 Vidhan Sabha election by the party. Raja 203

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Ram Meel who was president of the Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha, his brother was given ticket by the Congress in the 2008 Vidhan Sabha election. Dalits: Jatavs/Meghwals/Bairwas and parties in western UP and WNE Rajasthan As mentioned earlier, in UP following the emergence of the BSP in the late 1980s the Dalits have got ‘a party of their own’ led by a Dalit, with welfare and empowerment of Dalits (as a component of Bahujan Samaj (majority of the population of society)) as its principal agenda, but those of Rajasthan do not have such option. They still have to choose between the parties led by non-Dalits, the Congress or the BJP. In western UP, the first preference of 63–86% Dalits in Vidhan Sabha elections held during 1996 and 2012, and that of 67–84% in the Lok Sabha elections from 1996 to 2014 have been the BSP. For the rest of them the BJP has been the last choice after the Congress and the SP in the Vidhan Sabha elections, but in the Lok Sabha elections their second preference has varied between the BJP, the Congress and the SP (see Figures 5.7 and 5.8). It is important to note that the CSDS survey, the main source of our information on castes’ preference for political parties, uses SCs as a generic category for Dalits about the elections held before the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election. We can thus see that overall during 1996–2012, the BJP has never been the first preference of Dalits across western UP, and the BSP had always been their first preference. Beg et al. (2014) provide the party preferences of the non-Jatav Dalits for 2007 and 2012 assembly elections. It shows that BSP remains their first preference, with the SP or Congress remaining their second, and BJP the last preference (see also Zerinini 2009). This section substantiates the argument that in western UP the Dalits are the core support base of the BSP because of caste affiliation (a party led by their own caste leader, inspired by ideas of Ambedkarism, incorporates them in party structure, allots them rickets and gives them ministerial positions, discussed earlier) and its policies targets the Dalits. However, due to the intra-Dalit differences (contingent factors) between Jatav and the nonJatavs, the latter have resentment against the BSP (resulting in the latters’ support to the BJP, especially since 2014). Indeed, the preference of the most Dalits to the BSP can be explained in terms of their desire for political recognition. As stated earlier, after Jats, it was the Dalits of UP to quit Congress since the 1980s opting for the BSP as a long-term alternative. The BSP emerged out of Dalits’ quest for political recognition. Dalits became BSP’s core support base not only because of caste affiliation to it but also because of ideological and policy-related reasons. It represented ideology of social justice (Ambedkarism, Chapter 2: Singh 1998), and the policies of the BSP targeted Dalits, especially its Ambedkar Village Programmes schemes (Advocate 2000; Pai 2002; Singh 204

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2012), besides accommodating them in party structure and ministries and allotting tickets to them. Though the Dalits, especially Jatavs in UP continued to remain the core support base of the BSP, within a decade of its formation, the non-Dalits became disenchanted with the BSP. The latter complained that the BSP does not give them due social and cultural recognition and political accommodation (allotment of tickets and important party positions), Jatavs behave arrogantly with them, and discriminated against them in distribution of Ambedkar village schemes (see Pai and Singh 1997). If they find a nonBSP party that gives them due recognition and/or political accommodation, they prefer it over the BSP. Unable to find a space in other parties, especially the BSP, and impacted by the strategy of the Sangh Parivar the BJP, RSS, VHP, etc., a section of non-Jatav Dalits prefers the BJP over the BSP. It is important to note that some non-Jatav Dalit leaders who had converted to Buddhism under the influence of Ambedkarism, questioning Hinduism (discussed in Chapter  1) have now become supporters of the BJP, which contrary to Ambedkarism, espouses Hindutva ideology. Especially in a situation of communal polarization, some of them like many other Hindu castes support the BJP. Besides, the BJP gave tickets to some prominent Dalit candidates attracting many ­­non-Jatav Dalits to the party. ­­non-Jatav ​­­ ​­­ For instance, one such leader Udit Raj, who had converted to Buddhism, became a Lok Sabha Member of Parliament in 2014 as a BJP candidate.23 Does it indicate a reversal of Ambedkarization process, discussed in Chapters 2–3? No, it does not show the reversal. What it does show is that joining or supporting BJP is just one of the dimensions of the efforts for political recognition by the Dalits; other dimensions are social and cultural (Introduction): shift in political preference represents political dimension of Dalits (need to be accommodated in power structure in a non-Dalit party, which is not possible in a Dalit Party such as the BSP due to intra-Dalit conflict and competition), their adherence to Ambedkarism and Buddhism shows that there is no reversal of process that questions social and cultural hierarchy. But in comparison to the impact of ideologies of social justice, the extent of reversal in political dimension is smaller. Even earlier, there have been such examples of shift in Dalits’ support from a Dalit party to non-Dalit party. B.P. Maurya, a Dalit leader of the Republican Party of India in the 1950s–1960s inspired by Ambedkarism had converted to Buddhism but had joined the Congress party later for realizing his political ambition. However, impact of Ambedkarism, i.e., process of Ambedkarization continued even afterwards (see Singh 1998). In Rajasthan, the options for Dalits’ the party preferences generally, as stated earlier, have been limited to the two major parties – the Congress and the BJP/rightist parties. Though political mobilization of Dalits in Rajasthan began later than those in UP, the Congress had started it earlier than the rightist parties. The Congress devised a two-pronged strategy: it dissuaded 205

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Dalits from following Ambedkarism, instead advised them to follow Gandhi; and it introduced welfare policies for the poor which included Dalits. The Congress was also seen to be a rival of rightist parties – the Jana Sangha/ Ram Rajya Parishad/Swatantra (the BJP’s predecessors) which were viewed as symbols of the traditional feudal order. However, the sections of Dalits which had preferred for the rightist parties have done so for varying reasons: in the 1960s they had ‘dumped Congress’ out of loyalty to ex-maharani of Jaipur in order to support the rightist party headed by her in Rajasthan – the Swatantra Party. However, their support to the BJP in the recent past can be viewed in terms of their search for political recognition and identity formation. As stated earlier, not only has the BJP attempted to woo a section of them by accommodating into a party structure, and RSS but has also initiated them into the Hindutva ideology. Even though some of them would prefer to opt for a party identified with Dalits, as they did by preferring the BSP candidates when they contested the 2013 Vidhan Sabha election even though they were non-Dalits. But, as discussed in Chapter 4, within a few months of being elected they left the BSP to join the Ashok Gahlot ministry. In such a situation, the choice of Rajasthan Dalits remains divided between the Congress and the BJP; they fluctuate between these two options depending on the extant political situation and the strategies of the parties.

The MBCs: MBCs’ preference of political parties in western UP and WNE Rajasthan Most of the MBCs in western UP have not shown consistency in their preference for political parties in the Vidhan Sabha elections over the years; their first, second or third preference has varied between BJP, SP and BSP with Congress remaining the fourth (see Figure 5.5). This implies that they do not form a core support base of any party; unlike other castes in my sample they do not have specific party led by or founded by an MBC leader to identify with. Inversely, in the Lok Sabha elections they have been more consistent by opting for BJP, SP and BSP as their first, second and third preferences (see Figure 5.6). In western UP, Congress’ populism of anti-poverty programmes could not keep the MBCs satisfied any longer, like Dalits. But unlike Dalits they lacked a leader, party or organization, which could project their independent identity. The MBCs are perhaps the only caste group which did not have a specific registered and recognized party to identify with. The Mandal Commission report also did not appeal to them in a significant way, unlike the upper sections of the OBCs such as Yadavs, Gujars, Lodhs, Kurmis, etc. In such a situation, their political preference has been impacted by the nature of relations which they have with the core support base of other parties, and the policies of such parties/regimes controlled by them about their social, cultural and political recognition and redistributive justice. During 206

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the ‘post- Congress’ phase in western UP they supported the BSP (as allies of the Dalits/or part of the Bahujan Samaj), and initially a section of them supported the BJP because of BJP’s plank of Hindutva, the policies of the BJP regime/appointment of Hukum Singh regime and later their identification with Modi as a backward class leader. Though many of them preferred the BSP, several MBC intellectuals playing important roles in its activities, resentment among the MBCs, grew about the party within a few years of its emergence. They became disenchanted with BSP because of discrimination in implementation of the policies in the Ambedkar Village Programmes by the BSP regimes and arrogant behaviour of the Jatavs (the BSP core support base) in the Jatav-dominated villages (Pai and Singh 1997; Singh 2012). Consequently, as I have discussed earlier, the MBC leaders formed separate parties. The BJP’s strategy to make special efforts to approach different sections of Hindus through the ideology of Hindutva made a section of MBCs its most ardent supporters. Indeed, the BJP seems to have become the first party which gave them a sense of recognition with a religious- cultural and political identity. They participated enthusiastically in BJP’s movement for construction of temple in Ayodhya. 24 The MBCs’ faith in the BJP as its sympathizer was reinforced by appointment of Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate in 2014 Lok Sabha election. And Modi did not miss any opportunity to flaunt his OBC/MBC background and humble origin in the election campaign. Several MBC intellectuals of UP held meetings to resolve to get the support of MBCs for Modi in the election; they carried out a word-of-mouth campaign to familiarize the MBCs about his caste background. They argued that BJP was the first party which had fielded an MBC for Prime Minister’s post. The very fact that Modi was an MBC was sufficient reason for them to support the BJP. In this context, one poor widow gave two reasons for the support of her family to the BJP: one, Modi government got the toilet built for her family, and two, Modi is an MBC like her. Notably, she told me that the toilet is dysfunctional, but she appreciated the fact that Modi at least had shown concern to the poor unlike other politicians or parties. It must be noted that, as discussed in Chapter 6, it was Rajnath Singh-led BJP government in UP which had appointed Hukum Singh Committee to suggest measures to allot sub-quota to the MBCs in reservation meant for the OBCs in the state. 25 In Rajasthan, as a part of general trend the MBCs have traditionally been Congress supporters: its rival of the rightist parties have traditionally been identified with the feudal order, and the Congress had been rallying force for the poor (which included the MBCs) and those who traditionally suffered during the reigns of princely states. However, resentment within the Congress had started brewing, especially since the 1993 Vidhan Sabha election; the Congress was the first party to include Jats in the state OBC list in its manifesto for the 1993 Vidhan Sabha election. It 207

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was perceived by the MBCs as an attempt to dilute their share of OBC quota hampering their interests. 26 As I will discuss in Chapter 6, though the Congress government included Jats in the state OBC list in 1999, credit for it was taken by the BJP. As mentioned earlier (Chapter 4, sub-section ‘Why did the MBCs in Rajasthan not form their “own” parties?’), a section of the PMCs such as MBCs and SBCs have become ardent supporters of the BJP in the recent past in Rajasthan due its strategy to give them representation in party structure, and acceptance of some of their demands. In comparison to Congress, the BJP has become more inclusive of them. My discussion in October, 2006 with the MBC intellectuals, in Jhunjhunu and Jaipur, Rajasthan, indicated that it is the Jat and non-Jat conflict and competition in the area which influences their political choice. Indeed, Jat-non-Jat conflict and competition is so strong that, as will be discussed in Chapter 6, while the latter had opposed the Rajasthan government’s decision to include Jats in the OBC category, they raised no objection to the inclusion of some other influential castes such as Vishnois in this. The MBCs along with Rajputs, Brahmins and a section of Dalits prefer BJP if Jats prefer Congress; and they support the Congress, if Jats support the BJP.27 To sum up, different castes have got varying levels of the political recognition in terms of their representation in legislature, responses to the issues concerning them, and preferences for political parties. These are parameters to measure the extent of the castes’ politics of their recognition in the electoral democracy. Broad generalizations emerge about the differences of different castes in the arena of electoral politics in the two areas of the study. In the normal situation, the scope of electoral democracy for the PMCs is limited: they can only vote, not represent; for the PICs, it is much wider; they can not only vote but also represent in party positions and legislature. Electoral contest is largely a contest between the elites from the PICs. The latter are recognized in all aspects of the electoral democracy; the PMCs generally remain neglected in its most aspects except when some contingent factors work in their favour. Some general points also emerge about differences among castes regarding ideological and policy orientations and caste preferences of political parties. Caste preferences generally are informed by ideological orientation of political parties, policies of parties/regimes controlled by the parties about castes and identification of castes with parties on caste/ethnic lines, accommodation of castes and their interests in political parties. High castes largely prefer parties pursuing conservative ideologies, and intermediary castes/OBCs, Dalits and MBCs prefer parties professing ideologies of change and social justice.

Notes

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2 3 4 5

6 7

8 9 10

11

it by its alliance partner the BSP; the withdrawal of support by the BJP in the same year to the ­­Mayawati-led ​­­ ­­BSP-BJP ​­­ coalition government within four and half months of its formation; the withdrawal of support by the BSP to Kalyan Singh-led ­­ ​­­ BJP-BSP ­­ ​­­ government, which was formed on the principle of rotation of a six-monthly chief minister’s post between the BJP and BSP in 1997; the appointment of three chief ministers of the governments led by the same party, the BJP, in a single term of the UP Vidhan Sabha from 1997 to 2002: Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash and Rajnath Singh; the formation of two governments, one led by Mayawati and another by Mulayam Singh within a single term of the UP Vidhan Sabha between 2002 and 2007. The period between 1992 and 2002 has also seen imposition of President’s Rule four times in UP, and the appointment of Jagdambika Pal as the chief minister of the state for three days, 21–23 February 1998 by Governor Romesh Bhandari after dislodging the Kalyan Singh government. Jagdambika Pal had to resign just two days after he was sworn in as the chief minister following the intervention of the Allahabad High Court which declared his nomination to the chief minister’s post as being null and void. In Rajasthan, however, during the period with which this book deals, the only signs of acrimony could be seen when some Jat leaders demanded on the occasions of formation of Congress governments in 1998 and 2008 that a person of their caste should be nominated to the chief minister’s post, not a non-Jat. On both occasions, a non-Jat Ashok Gehlot was nominated as the chief minister of the state. While the Congress High Command played a decisive role in favour of a non-Jat candidate, even some Jat leaders of Rajasthan (due to intra-Jat conflicts) were not in favour of a Jat being nominated to the chief minister’s post. Interview: 15 April 2006, Jaipur. This is based on my discussion with daughter of Kisana Ram, and representatives of Nai caste, which included some BJP and RSS members (24–25 June 2017, Jaipur). Interview: Prof. Shyamlal, 23 December 2005, Jaipur. Interview: Shobhit Mishra, 15 April 2006, Meerut, the president of Brahmin Mahasabha, Meerut city. Though he does not belong to any party, he is identified with the BJP and his family has been associated with the RSS. However, the President of AIBM, a member of the RSS and the BJP expressed his disapproval of Brahmins’ support to the BSP (Interview: Dr Mahesh Chand Sharma, 10 September 2006, New Delhi). See Sheth (1999) for the concept of secularization. The crisscrossing of preferences of castes to parties  – shifting from the parties which they usually prefer to those parties that have not been usually supporting  – has been conceptualized as ‘reverse social osmosis’ by Verma (2009). Verma’s account also does not explain the causes of ‘reverse social osmosis’. For the profile of pre-1970s Congress leadership see Brass (1984: 242). For the dilution in BSP’s attitude towards the high castes in 1996 (see Zerinini 2009: 44). In this sense it is truly a follower Charan Singh’s footpath, as the latter was opposed to politics of agitations. Charan Singh believed that there was no need to launch political agitation after Independence; instead of agitations, the demands of the people should be met by the elected government (see Singh 2014). The figures draw largely upon the data collected by the NES of the CSDS, the main surveys which give data on castes’ preferences of political parties. As the

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12 13

14

15 16 17

18

19 20 21 22

23

NESes provide caste data since the 1996 Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections, the figures here provide information since 1996. According to one observer it was the first time that the Dalits of Rajasthan ‘buried’ the Congress; interview: Prof. Shyamlal, 23 December 2005, Jaipur. I have collected data about the issues and regime policies and from various issues of Frontline and discussion and field work in Rajasthan; for UP in addition, I have drawn upon Singh (2012). Chandra (2004) identifies several issues which have influenced caste mobilization in elections. She categorizes them as issues of good governance, price rise, corruption, nationalism, social justice and others (App. C, Table C.1: 300–1, Table 9.4: 204, Table 9.5: 207). The first view has been articulated in the mass media, second view has been most eloquently articulated by Gupta (1999) and Gupta and Kumar (2007) and the third point of view is articulated by a section Dalits as well as high castes. In the third point of view, the former is unwelcoming to have any alliance between the high castes and Dalits, and the latter are too condescending or brahminical to accord equal or higher status to Dalit identity. Interview: Shobhit Mishra, 15 April 2006, Meerut. Based on (Sisson 1969, 1972); Interview: Dr Om Mehla 31 October 2009, Jaipur. Drawing on Rudolph and Rudolph, Jenkins (1998: 106) identifies the features of the ‘Rajput ethos’: it is symbolized by Ram, and it means ‘valour without regard to consequences’ or ‘The tolerance of social order under Rajput rule is a point that is stressed often by those sympathetic to Hindu nationalism in Rajasthan’ (109). Jenkins underlines that lauding of Sati in Rajasthan by Rajputs was seen as protection of Rajput ethos. In his words the ‘Ideology runs something like this: Rajputana, by maintaining the ideal norm of Kshatriya rule, has always been protector of Hindu values. Preserving these against foreign influence – especially from holders of power in Delhi – has been and will remain a priority’ (ibid: 106). Som Pal Shastri defeated Ajit Singh in the Baghpat seat in the 1998 Lok Sabha election. But when the BJP did not allot ticket to Shastri he unsuccessfully contested as a Congress candidate against Ajit Singh in 2009. Rakesh Tikait, the son of farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, fielded candidates in the 2009 Lok Sabha election in some constituencies in western UP from his party – Bahujan Kisan Party/Bahujan Kisan Dal. The BKP/BKD had lost miserably. Tikait accused Ajit Singh for his party’s defeat (interview: Rakesh Tikait, 20 September 2010, Muzaffarnagar). However, Rakesh Tikait merged his party BKP/BKD with the RLD and unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election as a RLD candidate. For more on Ajit Singh-Tikait competition (see Singh 1992, fn. 57: 114; Parsai 2009). In 2014 Lok Sabha election, Ajit Singh was defeated by the BJP candidate, Satya Pal Singh. Interview: Loon Chand Sinowadia, 4 January 2004, Jodhpur. Drawn upon discussion with the leaders and activists of the CPI(M) in Jaipur, 23 December 2015. Discussion about Charan Singh draws on Brass (1993, 2011, 2012, 2014); Byres (1988), and that about Jats of Rajasthan is based on Sisson (1972). Jenkins (1994) notices implications of conflicts between Jats and non-Jats in the 1993 Vidhan Sabha election: one of the reasons why the non-Jats voted for the BJP was the apprehension among the latter that the victory of the Congress would catapult a Jat as the chief minister of the state. In discussions with some Dalits who have now become supporters of the BJP, but were critical of it earlier, the following arguments emerge: it is party which

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24 25

26 27

has maximum number of the Dalit MPs, implying that it supports their cause; they will support any party (BJP here) which recognizes the contribution of B.R. Ambedkar; Congress and communists have always ignored Dalits; and the BSP is controlled only by Jatavs, neglecting other Dalit castes. I stayed overnight during the fieldwork in the house of a young MBC boy in village Daurala of Meerut district in 1988 who was in jail for being accused in violence related to the Hindutva movement. Based on the discussion with an MBC intellectual who had attended such meetings. Though Modi projected himself as belonging to the generic OBC category, the MBCs took him to be one of them, as his caste Ghanchi (known as Teli in UP) is one of the MBCs. Interview: Loonchand Sinowadia, 4 January 2004, Jodhpur. For similar argument  – how Jats’ and non-Jats’ contradictions mattered in the formation of the social bases of Congress and Charan Singh-led parties in western UP (see Singh 1992).

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Introduction In the preceding chapters, we have seen that different agencies, i.e., CBPIs, caste organizations and Caste-Based Political Parties, that mobilize castes articulate mainly three kinds of issues: one, social and cultural recognition, i.e., naming public institutions and places, etc., after caste symbols/leaders/ icons, declaring holidays for their birth or death anniversaries, building their statues, giving them national award such as Bharat Ratna; protection of human ­rights – ­­­self-respect, ​­­ dignity, against social discrimination/caste-based ­­­ ​­­ humiliations; two, political recognition, i.e., accommodation and representation of castes and their interests in political parties, in the ministries, in the legislative bodies/allotment of tickets to caste-candidates to contest elections, getting nominations to them to the Rajya Sabha, to the Vidhan Parishads or other public institutions/bodies/boards and, three, redistributive justice such as declaration of the Jats as OBCs, sub-division of the OBC quota for the MBCs, economic help to the students from the castes, scholarship, hostel facilities for them, etc. and share of the MBCs in the modernized form of traditional occupations. This chapter carries forward the discussion of the previous chapters and seeks to analyse the relationships between the castes and the state, a question identified in the Introduction for discussion in the book. It seeks to address the following questions: what are the patterns of mobilization by different castes in my sample on their respective issues/demands? Why are some castes such as Jats in both areas of study (western UP and WNE Rajasthan), Dalits (Jatavs) in western UP, high castes (Brahmins and Rajasthan) in WNE Rajasthan are able to mobilize themselves into collective action, and why Dalits in WNE Rajasthan, MBCs in both areas, and high castes in western UP are not? How do the PMCs (MBCs) try to politically bargain with other caste leaders? How have the state policies under different regimes influenced caste mobilization? How differently and why does the state respond to the demands of various castes? What are the factors that determine state’s policy responses to different castes? To what extent the demands raised by different castes are reflected in the policies of the state? 212

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One way to view the activities of castes and the state’s responses to them is the application of the concept of public action. Dreze and Sen (1989) define public action ‘not merely activities of the state, but also social action taken by public’ (vii). It also includes ‘many non-state activities’ (19), and ‘not just what is done for the public, but is done by the public for itself’ (61). In this chapter, I explain the nature of relationships between castes and the state in (western) UP and (WNE) Rajasthan by applying Dreze and Sen’s notion of public action, i.e., mobilization of castes on their demands and state responses to such demands. I use castes (CBPIs, caste organizations and caste-based parties) as proxies for the term ‘public’ used by Dreze and Sen, and ‘non-state activities’ for the activities of castes. For the sake of convenience of analysis, I have divided the public action into two categories: first, castes’ mobilization on their issues or the public action from below and, second, the state responses or the public action from above. Again, I identify two types of the first category of public action: (i), caste movements directed at the state and (ii) the movements directed by one caste at other castes. I have used the following indicators to identify the public actions of both the castes and the state. About the public action of the castes, the indicators used are: different patterns in self-mobilization of different castes in western UP and WNE Rajasthan on the issues – economic (reservation), social and cultural (recognition of symbols, self-respect/dignity, human rights), and political (accommodation, representation in political parties, ministries, legislatures and nomination to public institutions such as boards and universities). Regarding the public action of the state, the indicators are used at two levels of state (for levels of the state, see Figure 6.1): for the higher level, regimes’ policy (legislative) response to question of reservation and cultural demands of different castes; for the local state, its attitude aboubt issues concerning members of different castes, i.e., human rights, ­­ ​­­ ​­­ dignity/self-respect, against ­­caste-based humiliation/discrimination and ­­inter-caste ​­­ conflicts. This chapter elaborates upon the argument mentioned in the Introduction that the regimes in both (regional) states in my sample have generally responded positively to the demands of the politically and numerically powerful castes (PICs) and have been largely indifferent to the demands of Politically Marginalized Castes (PMCs). The responses of the regimes have been determined by the nature of relationships of castes with constant and contingent factors (Tables  0.1–0.3) and consequently by the extent of castes’ representation in the regimes. Sometimes the regimes tended to be favourably disposed towards the demands of the PICs, even if there was no apparent public action from them. However, due to the intervention of contingent factors, even some of demands of the PMCs get accepted. The extent of autonomy of the local state from the local PICs determines its behaviour towards different castes. The behaviour of the local state towards castes has two patterns: one, the local state is generally 213

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(1) Central State Political Regimes The Supreme Court

Ver

Ve

ls

rtic

eve

lL tica

al L

(2)

eve

ls

(2)

Regional State: Uttar Pradesh • Political Regimes • High Court • Police

Horizontal Level

Regional State: Rajasthan Political Regimes High Court Police Vertical Levels

Vertical Levels

(3) Local State (at the level of district /tehsil/ town/ village) • Police • Bureaucracy • Judiciary • Local Self Government Institutions

• • •

(3) Horizontal Level

Local State (at the level of district /tehsil/ town/ village) • Police • Bureaucracy • Judiciary • Local Self Government Institutions

­ Note: The idea to disaggregate state vertically and denoting the upper two vertical levels of state as the central state and the regional state has been borrowed from Sinha (2005). Source: Prepared by the author, based on Sinha (2005).

undemocratic and insensitive towards the PMCs and two, even the local state can be autonomous and free from the dominance of traditional dominant caste and democratic towards the PMCs. The first pattern operates in the areas where the constant factors are more favourable towards PICs, and contingent factors do not disturb their dominance in favour of the PMCs. The second pattern occurs in the areas where the first pattern is disturbed due to the intervention of some or all contingent factors: accommodation of the traditionally marginalized castes/PMCs in the regimes/ governments, their mobilization by the civil society organization/caste organizations (self-mobilization), ­­ ​­­ contacts/social capital/networking, ­­intra-​ ­­party/inter-party ­­ ​­­ or ­­intra-caste/inter-caste ​­­ ­­ ​­­ conflicts and competition, in

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addition to their positive relationship with constant factors, especially numerical strength. In this book, as clarified in the Introduction, the state is viewed in terms of political regimes, political class (ministers, legislators), police, judiciary and the government officials (bureaucracy). The relationships between castes and the state are viewed in a differentiated way. In India, the concept of state is used synonymously both for sovereign/national Indian state and for constituent units of Indian Union at the provincial/subnational levels – ‘State’ for provincial states and ‘state’ for the Indian sovereign state; it creates confusion. To avoid the confusion, following Sinha (2005) I will use regional state for the constituent units of Indian Union such as UP and Rajasthan, and the central state for sovereign Indian state. The differentiated responses of the state in both (western) UP and (WNE) Rajasthan are viewed in a comparative perspective both vertically and horizontally. The vertical comparison involves state institutions that stand in a vertical order – local state (public official at village/town/district) and regional states in UP and Rajasthan, and the central state. The horizontal comparison involves the levels of state which stand parallel to each other: comparison of the local-level state institutions at village/town/district level with the local-level state institutions within each regional state – UP and Rajasthan separately, and comparison of the regimes of UP with those of Rajasthan ­ (see Figure 6.1). The chapter has four sections. Section I deals with the vertical levels of state: nature of state at the regional state level and at the local level. Section II is about public action from below, i.e., differences in levels and patterns of mobilization of different castes. Section III is about the public action from the above, i.e., responses of political regimes (higher level of the state) to some issues, e.g., reservation and the cultural demands, and of the local state towards human rights – self- respect, dignity, caste-based humiliation and discrimination, and conflicts concerning the castes. Section IV deals with different levels of mediation of civil society organizations in roles of the castes and the state in both regions covered in the study, western UP and WNE Rajasthan.

I Nature of regimes in UP and Rajasthan: 1989–2015 This section is about vertical levels of state (see Figure  6.1) in UP and ­Rajasthan (1989–2015). It has two ­­sub-sections: ​­­ ­­sub-section ​­­ ‘The Nature of Regimes’ about the nature of higher level of the state – political regimes in UP and Rajasthan (1989–2015), and sub-section ‘The local state: two patterns (State-society overlap and State’s autonomy)’ about the local state.

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The nature of regimes In this chapter, I use regimes as representative of the state. The differences responses of the regimes depend on variations in their nature. And the nature of regimes is indicated by combination following factors: castes of the chief ministers, proportion of representation of different castes/caste groups in legislatures and ministries, ideological orientations of the ruling parties, their social bases/support bases and thrust of regime policies. The nature of regimes in UP and Rajasthan between 1989 and 2015 presents contrasting pictures. In both states, the regimes (12 in UP and 6 in Rajasthan, see Introduction: fn. 17: 26) during this period have been different in terms of chief ministers’ caste profiles, caste representations in ministries (Tables 6.1 and 6.2), ideologies and the social bases of political parties controlling them and thrust of policy orientation. Recently, it has been argued that it is the relative strength of different groups within the regimes and advocacy by them for specific policies combined with the pressure of the support bases of the parties which determine the nature of policies of different regimes, and variations within them (see Kohli 2012; Mahmood 2017; Murali 2017). However, the way I approach the diverse composition of the regimes and representations within them is different from that of Murali, Mahmood and Kohli. With the focus on the impact of economic reforms on performance of regimes in different states, they look at the composition of the regimes predominantly in terms of representation of classes, and address specifically economic issues: investment policies (Murali 2017), labour reforms (Mahmood 2017), poverty alleviation (Kohli 2012). Since my focus is on the states’/regimes’ policies about castes, unlike them I look at the caste composition of the regimes, and the social bases/support bases of the ruling parties: the impact of proportional representation of castes within the regimes, public action of different castes/ caste groups, and the regime responses in terms of policy formulations. The differences in the policies of the regimes about different castes have directly been proportionate to the pressure of castes – in terms of their representation in the ministries, legislatures, and their capacity to mobilize into public action, and also due to the impact of contingent factors. I will empirically substantiate both arguments in the discussion in this section. Representation of the castes in regimes In Chapter 5, I have already discussed the social bases of parties controlling political regimes in both states. Here, I will focus on the other aspects: caste representations in the ministries, ideological orientation and policy priorities. In UP, 10 out of 12 regimes have been led by OBCs and Dalits – Mulayam Singh, Mayawati and Kalyan Singh, excepting two high caste chief ministers  – Rajnath Singh and Ram Prakash (see Table  6.1). In contrast, the regimes in Rajasthan have mostly been led by the high 216

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­ ­­

​­­

­­

­­

​­­

­­

​­­

​­­

­­

217

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218

2.08 2.08 4.16 6.25 14.57

0 2.08 2.08 0 0 0 4.16

Intermediary castes/ OBCs Jats 4.55 Gujars 2.27 Yadavs 11.36 Others 6.82 Total 25.00

MBCs Kahars*** Sainis**** Nais Kumhars Gadarias***** Others Total

0 2.27 0 0 0 2.27 4.54

29.17 25.00 6.25 15.58 76.00

4.38 0 0 0 8.70 13.06 21.76

0 0 26.09 13.04 39.13

8.07 4.35 0 0 12.42

3.70 3.70 0 0 7.41 14.81 29.62

0 3.70 3.70 11.11 18.51

3.70 0 3.70 0 7.40

2.38 7.14 0 2.38 7.14 7.14 26.18

2.38 2.38 2.28 4.76 11.60

19.05 4.76 2.38 16.67 42.86

2.15 7.15 0 2.15 3.23 6.45 21.13

5.38 2.15 2.15 7.53 17.21

21.51 17.20 3.23 6.45 48.39

0 7.05 0 0 0 2.50 9.55

7.5 2.5 2.5 5.00 15.50

26.25 20.00 5.00 8.75 60.00

0 6.56 0 0 0 3.28 9.84

6.56 3.28 3.28 4.92 18.04

28.57 19.67 3.28 4.92 51.52

4.00 4.00 0 1.33 2.67 5.33 17.33

6.67 4.00 4.00 8.00 22.67

14.67 10.67 1.33 2.67 29.34

6.86 2.74 0 0 0 2.74 12.34

8.22 2.74 9.59 2.74 23.29

13.70 15.07 4.11 2.74 35.62

1.82 3.64 0 0 1.82 7.27 14.55

3.64 5.45 3.64 1.82 14.55

18.18 10.91 10.91 3.64 43.64

0 0 0 3.13 3.13 0 6.26

3.13 6.25 15.63 12.50 37.51

9.38 6.25 0 0 15.63

1989–91 1991–92 1993–95 1995 1997 1997–99 1999– 2000–2 2002–3 2003–7 2007–12 2012–15 MR* KSR MR Maya R Maya R KSR 2000 RPR RSR Maya R MR Maya R AYR**

25.00 13.64 0 6.82 45.46

Brahmins Rajputs Banias Others Total

High castes

Castes

T ­ able 6 .1  Castes and Council of M inisters (1989 –2015): Ut tar Pradesh (in Percentage)

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0 2.27 2.27 4.54 20.45 99.99

48

0 6.25 0 6.25 0 99.98 23

0 8.70 0 8.70 13.04 100.04 27

3.70 25.93 0 29.63 14.81 99.97 42

0 7.14 2.38 9.52 9.52 99.98 93

2.15 2.15 6.45 10.75 2.86 100.34 80

1.25 3.75 5.00 10.00 2.5 99.55 61

1.64 3.28 6.56 11.48 3.28 99.08 75

73

55

0 1.37 0 16 1.37 14.55 0 2.74 1.82 16 2.74 16.37 14.67 23.29 10.91 100.01 100.01 100.02

32

0 6.25 0 6.25 34.38 100.03

Abbreviations: M R : Mulayam Sing h Reg ime; K SR : K alyan Sing h Reg ime; M aya R : M ayawati Reg ime; R PR : R am Prakash Reg ime; R SR : R ajnath Sing h Reg ime; and, AY R : A k hilesh Yadav Reg i me. ** T houg h A k hilesh Yadav Reg ime (AY R) completed its five-year term (2012 –17), the data about the caste composition covers period till 2015; it does not include the changes which took place in the reshuf fle of the m inistr y af ter that period. *** K ahars include sim ilar castes k now n by different names such as Dhinwars, M allahs, Nishads and Kashyaps. **** Sainis include sim ilar castes k now n by different names in U P such as M alis, Shakyas, M au r ya and Kushwahs. ***** Gadarias include similar castes known by different names in U P such as Pals and Baghels.

*

Sourc e: For list of m inisters, Dube (nd); for their caste profi les, Author’s field work.

No of 44 ministers about whom data could be available

Dalits Valmikis Jatavs Others Total Muslims Total all

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­Table 6.2  Castes and Council of Ministers (1990–2013): Rajasthan (in Percentage) Castes

1990–92 1993–98 1998– BSSR* BSSR 2003 AGR

2003–8 VRR

2008–13 2013 AGR VRR**

High castes Brahmins Rajputs Banias/Jains Others Total

13.3 10.0 10.0 0 33.3

11.1 18.5 7.4 3.7 40.7

8.33 8.33 4.17 4.17 25.0

8.0 16.0 12.0 8 44.0

Intermediate castes/landed OBCs Jats 25.1 20.03 Gujars 2.1 3.3 Others 8.5 3.3 Total 36.1 26.33

23.3 0 3.3 26.6

22.2 7.4 0 29.6

25.0 4.17 0 29.17

16.0 4.0 8 28.0

MBCs Malis/Sainis Others Total Dalits STs Muslims Nos

14.9 10.6 8.5 2.1 36.1

13.3 20.0 10.0 0 43.3

0 0 0 14.9 8.6 4.3

0 0 0 20.0 6.7 3.3

3.3 0 3.3 16.7 10.0 10.0

3.7 0 3.7 11.1 11.1 3.7

8.33 0 8.33 8.33 16.67 12.5

4.0 4.0 8.0 12.0 4.0 4.0

100.0 (N=47)

99.9 (N=30)

99.9 (N=30)

99.9 (N=27)

100.0 (N=24)

100.0 (N=25)

Source: Figures for 1990–92, 1993–98 and 1998–2003 are adapted from Jaffrelot and Robin (2009, Table 5.12: 185–86), for 2008–13 and 2013 are based upon Author’s field work. Note: I have included Jat Sikhs among Jats. * Abbreviations: BSSR: Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Regime; AGR: Ashok Gehlot Regime; and, VRR: Vasundhara Raje Regime. ** ThoughVasundhara Raje Regime completed its five-year term (2013–18), data about caste composition of the ministry is about the initial phase of the ministry formation in 2013.

by simultaneous rise of three competing castes – Yadavs, Lodhs and Dalits, symbolized by three leaders from these castes, Mulayam Singh, Kalyan Singh and Mayawati. Notably, the ministries formed in first seven years of this century were coalition governments each led by different principal parties in UP – the BJP, the BSP and SP. Jats’ high proportion in the composition of ministries occurred due to the coalition nature of governments in which these parties needed support of as many parties or castes as they could to form the government. And Jats – in RLD whose support base they formed, and in BJP, BSP or SP were placed in more advantageous position even though they did not have adequate numbers in the legislature. Indeed, 220

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in such a situation the main parties competed to accommodate Jats in ministries led by them. This enabled their Jats’ bargaining power and who got high representation in ministries: this was reflected in the ministries of coalition governments led by all three major parties in UP, the BJP, the BSP and the SP between 2002 and 2007 (Table 6.1). The MBCs in sample as single castes have been the least represented in the ministries. Among them, Kumhars, Nais, generally remained unrepresented in the ministries. But occasionally some individuals from these castes were given symbolic representation in the ministries: Kumhars (between 1.33 and 3.13%) in the ministries of all three kinds of regimes (SP’s, BSP’s and BJP’s); Nai’s got representation only in Kalyan Singh’s ministry (2.08% in 1991–92). The symbolic representation was given to them to accommodate some loyal party workers/leaders who had good relations with main parties heading governments – SP, BSP or BJP (such workers/leaders help the parties in mobilizing support from the caste fellows whenever required); and especially, the BJP has given symbolic representation to such marginal castes as a part of its strategy, i.e., to extend it support base to all Hindus including neglected among the MBCs. However, Sainis of western UP along with their equivalent castes such as Sakyas, Kushwahs, Maurya and Koeris in other parts of UP got between 0 and 7.15% representation in different ministries. Similarly, Gadarias of western UP along with their equivalent castes such as Pals, Baghels, in other parts of UP got between 0 and 8.70% representation, and Dhinwars along with their caste equivalent in other parts of UP such as Kahars, Mallahs and Nishads got between 0 and 6.8% representation in the ministries (Table 6.1) With regards to Dalits’ representation in the ministries in three kinds of regimes, the one led by Mayawati gave them maximum representation (varying between 9.52 and 29.63%), followed by different BJP-led regimes (between 8.70 and 11.48%), and SP-led regimes (between 4.45 and 6.25%) in an order. Among them the BSP has been the most exclusivist, giving maximum representation to Jatavs, considering the non-Jatavs’ representation only marginally. Indeed, Dalits’ representation in the BJP regimes has been much wider, accommodating both Jatvas and non-Jatavs in three out of four BJP ministries. The SP regimes have been more inclusive of different castes among Dalits than the BSP but less accommodative than the BJP; two of its four regimes did not give representation to non-Jatav Dalits (BJP did not give them in one ministry out of four) (see Tables 6.1). Differences in the extent of representations of various castes among Dalits in different ministries are reflection of inter-party competition between SP, BSP and BJP on accommodation of Dalits and their attempt to strike a balance by accommodating different castes (who have their internal contradictions): the BSP made a balance between Jatavs and PICs; the SP sought to balance between non-Jatavs and different PICs (including its core support base); the BJP attempted to incorporate ­­non-Jatav ​­­ Dalits, non-Yadav ­­ ​­­ OBCs and different kinds of MBCs. 221

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In Rajasthan, unlike UP, high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs) had consistently high representation in both the Congress and BJP ministries. And the BJP ministries gave them more representation than the Congress ministries: in two Ashok G ehlot-led Congress ministries they had 16.66% (2008–13) and 23.3% (1998–2003) representation, and in four BJP ministries they got representation between 24 (Vasundhara Raje government in 2013) and around 33.33% (Shekhawat government, 1993–1998) (Table 6.2). In five of six ministries during 1990–2013 headed by both the BJP and the Congress in Rajasthan, the Jats got between 20 and 25% representation; in one BJP ministry (2013), their shared in the ministries declined to 16% (though they remain a caste with larger share in the ministry). The high level of representation of three PICs – Brahmins, Rajputs and Jats – in ministries in Rajasthan can be explained in terms of their control of the party system, which is largely a t wo-party system; other castes do not have their own parties. This is unlike UP, where multiple parties exist, each identified with specific caste/caste group resulting in more diverse representation of castes in ministries. It is important to note that the decline in Jats representation in the ministry headed by the Vasundhara Raje government (2013) saw the simultaneous increase in the share of some non-Jat intermediate castes. This ministry also divided representation to MBCs between Malis/Sainis, and non-Saini/Mali MBCs, who have been traditionally excluded from ministries (see Table 6.2). The share of Dalits (Jatavs/Chamars/Meghwals, Bairwas or Khatiks) in the ministries headed by the Congress and the BJP in Rajasthan varied between 8.33 (Ashok Gehlot regime, 2008–13) and 20% (Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Regime, 1993–98). Notably, the ministries in which Dalits had minimum and maximum representation belonged to the Congress and the BJP respectively. Overall, Dalits had larger share in the BJP ministries than in the Congress ministries (see Table 6.2). The BJP’s approach towards the MBCs and Dalits shows a change in BJP’s strategy to become more inclusive. On a balance, in Rajasthan, the BJP seems to be more inclusive than the Congress so far as their approach to diverse castes is concerned. Ideological orientation of regimes (and caste in regimes/thrust policy area of the regimes) Like they impacted the CBPIs, caste organizations and political parties (Chapters 2 and 3), in UP, ideologies relating to lives and ideas of thinkers professing social justice Dalits, and the OBCs – B.R. Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule and Ram Manohar Lohia and Bhakti traditions have impacted the regimes led by the BSP and SP, and Hindutva ideology has influenced the BJP regimes. In Rajasthan, the Hindutva ideology/cultural nationalism has impacted the BJP regimes, and that of the liberal/accommodation/ social welfarism (left of the centre) have impacted the Congress regimes. 222

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In my partial agreement with Chandra, I stated that along with the ethnic considerations, other factors also inform castes’ preferences for political parties (Chapter 5). As we will notice later (sub-section ‘State responses and cultural issues’), differences in the ideological orientations of the regimes have been reflected in their cultural agenda/policies, and of the political parties heading these regimes. It is important to emphasize that though almost all regimes in UP claimed to espouse the cause of all sections of society, each of them had given priority to the issues of the castes /caste groups with which it has been identified, to which its principal leadership belongs or where its social base lies (see Appendix II for regime policies). Indeed, priorities of policy agendas have also undergone changes with the corresponding changes in regimes favouring castes/caste groups which are core support base of the parties controlling regimes. It means that the regimes have largely adopted a partisan attitude towards different castes.2 The partisan attitude of the regimes is reflected not only in policies favouring their respective support bases (castes), but also in the sphere of appointments to the Boards, vice- chancellors or even resolving the local disputes. The regimes, however, sometimes tried to formulate policies even for the groups that usually do not form priority of their agenda. But the reasons for such consideration are borne out of political and populist considerations or ­political competition. The local state: two patterns (state-society overlap and state’s autonomy) The state at local level, as mentioned earlier, has patterns: one, generally the local state is undemocratic and is dominated by the PICs and two, if some favourable situation exists, the local state can become independent of the locally dominant societal groups and democratic enabling even the traditional PMCs to enjoy democratic rights. The first pattern is discussed in a section of literature. Prem Chowdhry observes ‘the danger to Indian democracy stems from the grassroots levels’ (Chowdhry 2011: 368). The personnel of the local state  – police constables, inspectors, government functionaries and judiciary are more rooted in the local caste and community. The personnel of the local state share cultural values with the local dominant social groups. The boundaries of the local state and society blur and overlap (Gupta, A. 2006). Paul R. Brass observes that in western UP villages the police are perceived to be partisan to the landed Brahmins and Lodhas (Brass 1998: 274–75; see also Gupta, D. 1997). Indicating an embeddedness of local state in society, a study on Bihar observes ‘in Vaishali district – the local state had more or less been captured by the dominant castes, in this locality, Yadavs’ (see Corbridge et  al. 2013: 2385). In this perspective, the local state generally favours those castes that can exert the social and political influence. Unlike the first pattern, the literature on 223

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second pattern is rather limited (for increasing influence of Dalits, see Pai and Singh 1997; Singh 1998, 2011). In this pattern, the local state has not always been averse to the interests of the PMCs such as Dalits because of the impact of some contingent factors. I will discuss later in this chapter, there are empirical examples from western UP where the autonomy of the local state is not constrained by the influence of traditional dominant caste such as Rajputs or Jats: it is constrained by the fact which party controls the political regime. When BSP ruled the state, the local state colluded with Dalits, and in the same village it colluded with Rajputs when BJP was in power in UP.

II Public action from below: varying patterns of caste mobilization Mobilization of castes or public action from below takes place on the issues before they become policies, and after the issues get translated into policies by regimes. Though several issues are raised in castes’ mobilization, it is only some of them that become part of different policies of different regimes. As caste politics is reactive, activities of one caste/group on an issue or conversion of such issue into policy provokes action by competing castes/caste groups and vice versa. As I have discussed in Chapters 2 and 3, different castes raise cultural issues, in comparison to political mobilization of castes on question of reservation, which on cultural issues has been done in the form of their articulation in programmes, proceedings, memoranda, resolutions and caste literature with occasional activities such as dharna, hunger strike, etc. Mobilization by the SP and BSP in UP during the second half of the first decade of this century was informed by political competetion between them and political context (Chapter 5). Therefore, in order to avoid repetition, I will address caste mobilization on cultural issues while discussing regime responses to cultural issues along with other issues in the next section: here I shall confine the caste mobilization on the question of reservation in UP and Rajasthan. How have the state policies (such as reservation and cultural recognition)/ under different regimes in UP and Rajasthan influenced caste mobilization in movement or public action from below of castes? How do the PMCs such as MBCs bargain with leaders of other castes on such issues? State policies on these issues have led to mobilization and ­­­­counter-mobilization of various castes, shifting party strategies ​­­​­­ to balance caste reactions and shifts in formation of inter- caste alliances. And caste mobilization is done in specific timings: the electoral context. The modus operandi of mobilization by the MBCs has been different from that of the PICs such as Jats. Castes’ levels of mobilization have also varied according to their political strength – more sustained and vociferous 224

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for the Politically Influential Castes (PICs), and weak or ineffective for the Politically Marginalized Castes (PMCs) such as the MBCs. The most common modus operandi of the MBCs has generally been to hold separate meetings of the discrete castes or sometimes even of the MBCs as a group; as mentioned earlier, printing pamphlets about their issues; generating consciousness among the caste fellows through the magazines/journals; establishing contacts among the caste fellows/caste groups; giving representations to/deposing before the backward class commissions; and, sometime sending memoranda to the authorities with follow-up action like hunger strike, petitions in the court of law, making appeal to the government, organizing dharna (sit-ins) and rallies at the local government headquarters in the districts, Delhi or any other city (goes unnoticed by the print and electronic media) and lobbying for recognition of cultural symbols, for appointment of caste fellows as vice chancellors of universities or holding seminars to discuss these issues. There, however, have been rare instances of collective mobilization of the MBCs in Rajasthan. For instance, Nais of Rajasthan sought to convey two demands – establishment of Keshkala Board and allotment of tickets to the caste fellows to contest the 2013 Vidhan Sabha to the main political parties: by holding a rally in support of the ruling Congress in February, and after finding no response from the Congress, by mobilizing caste fellows to participate in the BJP rally in November.3 Politics of reservation Almost all castes in my sample both in UP and Rajasthan have been involved in the politics of reservation since 1990. This politics is concerned with the following aspects: demand for the OBC status by Jats, for either the OBC or the Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) status by the high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs), for sub-division of the OBC quota between the MBCs and the upper OBCs or implementation of the Karpoori Thakur Formula4 by the MBCs, and for recognition as the Scheduled Castes by some MBCs castes such as Kumhars, Dhinwars and Gadarias/Pals (Narayan 2013), and for de-recognition of certain castes as OBCs. Such mobilization has resulted in formulation of regime policies both in Rajasthan and in UP respectively – inclusion of Jats’ in state OBC lists in 1999 in Rajasthan and 2000 in UP; appointment of Hukum Singh Committee to recommend the sub-division of OBC quota in UP in 2001; and inclusion of some MBCs in the SC/ST list by Mulayam regime in 2005 (struck down by the court), and recommendation by the Akhilesh Yadav government in 2016 of the proposal again to the centre for approval (also struck down by court). This section deals with movements for reservation in public institutions by politically influential groups such as Jats in Rajasthan and UP and reaction of the non-Jats to the policy which included them in the OBC category. Literature on reservation has generally focussed on criteria for inclusion of 225

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a social group in reservation category – merit, caste or deprivation index; on its adverse impact on relations among castes; on support or opposition to such demands and the state’s responses to them. It has generally not addressed the question as to why the state has adopted differential attitudes towards reservation demands by different castes/caste groups.5 This seeks to provide narrative of reservation politics and explains why Jats’ mobilization in UP has been less sustained and vocal than in Rajasthan, and why the non-Jats (MBCs and high castes) have reacted mutely in UP to Jats’ inclusion in the state OBC list. Politics of reservation: Rajasthan Unlike in UP or Bihar, the caste-based reservation did not form political agenda in Rajasthan until the 1990s.6 It became a political issue there in the post-Mandal period, i.e., from the 1993 Vidhan Sabha election. Politics of reservation in Rajasthan has four aspects: one, Jats’ agitation for successfully getting policy formulated for their inclusion in the state OBC list; two, reaction to this policy of the non-Jats, especially the MBCs/‘Mool/Asli’ (MBCs/‘Original/Real’) backward classes and the high castes; three, reaction to introduction of reservation policy for the OBCs in the central educational institutions, ‘Second Mandal’ (2006) (popularly known so because it was the second attempt to introduce reservation in central government-run institutions after the first which was made through implementation of the Mandal Commission Report by the V.P. Singh government in 1990) by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Arjun Singh and four, Gujars’ agitation for getting ST status in the state. I shall exclude the fourth aspect from the discussion as Gujars are not included in my sample. J AT S ’ MOB I L I Z AT I ON F OR OB C S TAT U S

When the Mandal Commission Report was introduced in 1990 declaring reservation for the OBCs in the central government jobs, Jats of UP, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi were among its opponents. Prominent Jat leaders  – BKU chief Mahendra Singh Tikait and former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal had addressed anti-reservationist rally at the Boat Club, Delhi on 2  October 1990, which included a large number of Jats from UP, Rajasthan and Haryana.7 But within a few years of their opposition to the Mandal Commission Report Jats, especially those of Rajasthan demanded that they should also be included in the OBC list of their state. They supported the demand on the following grounds: denial of OBC status to Jats which was given to other castes such as Yadavs, Lodhas, Gujars sharing similar socio-economic status with them is discriminatory; being politically and economically dominant caste did not disqualify them from being recognized as an OBC – as per the constitutional requirement they 226

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were socially and educationally backward caste and thus qualify to become OBCs; agriculture, their traditional occupation was no longer economically viable; legacy of social indignities which Jats faced as tenants of the Rajput landlords in the past continued to affect them; and despite substantial representation in the Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha from Rajasthan, no Jat ever became a chief minister of the state.8 In response, the Congress Party in Rajasthan promised to include Jats in the OBC list of the state and included it in its manifesto for the 1993 Vidhan Sabha election. But its defeat in the election ‘saved the Congress from its onus to include Jats in the OBC list in Rajasthan’.9 However, the demand was revived after the Congress formed government following its victory in the 1998 election. And as I will discuss later, in November 1999 the Jats of Rajasthan were declared as OBCs. Interestingly in 2000 the governments of UP and Delhi, headed by the BJP and the Congress respectively also declared the Jats as OBCs in their states. The appointment of Ashok Gehlot as the chief minister of Rajasthan10 who did not fulfil the mandatory requirement of being a member of the Vidhan Sabha or Vidhan Parishad, was taken by the Jats as a betrayal by the Congress of promises made to them in the 1993 and 1998 Vidhan Sabha elections, one of them being making a Jat as the chief minister of the state. Jats felt ‘cheated’ and neglected by the Congress.11 This provoked Jat ‘intellectuals’/leadership in Rajasthan mainly retired police officers and Raja Ram Meel, president of the Jat Mahasabha of Rajasthan (as discussed in Chapter 3, it was different from All India Jat Mahasabha, formed for a specific purpose) to launch a movement – ‘Dharm Yudh’, ‘Jihad (people’s movement)’ in support of their demands. The mandatory election of Ashok Gehlot to the state legislature within six months of being sworn in as the chief minister and the general election to the Lok Sabha which were to be held in 1999 provided an opportunity to Jats to press their demands – getting the OBC status and nomination of a Jat as chief minister. The Jat Mahasabha vowed to ‘save the honour’ of the community by removing the Congress from government. It gave the slogan ‘Izzat Bachao, Congress Hatao’ (‘Save Honour, Remove Congress’) and vowed to ‘save the honour’ of the community by removing the Congress government. The Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha also held a rally on 2 August 1999 seeking to defeat the Congress in 1999 Lok Sabha election (The Indian Express, 3 August 1999). The Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha launched a month-long agitation on the issue. Its leadership bargained with the BJP that it would extend support to the BJP in the 1999 Lok Sabha election if it supported inclusion of the OBC in the list in Rajasthan. Taking advantage of Jats’ resentment against the Congress, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister and a BJP leader, announced in a rally held in the Jat-dominated Sikar on 25 August 1999 that if BJP won the November 1999 Lok Sabha election, it would support inclusion of the Rajasthan Jats in the OBC category. Fulfilling the promise made at the Sikar rally, the BJP-led central government issued an Executive 227

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Order on 27 October 1999 to include Jats (excluding those belonging to Dholpur and Bharatpur) among the OBCs of Rajasthan. Within one week of the central government’s Executive Order, the Congress government in Rajasthan also issued an executive order on 3 November 1999 recommending Jats’ inclusion in Rajasthan’s OBC list. It paid dividends to the party in the 1999 Lok Sabha election enabling the BJP to get 16 out of 25 seats in the state. The Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha, for its part, bargained with the BJP on the issue of OBC status to Jats. In this context, the following statement of Raja Ram Meel, the president of the Jat Mahasabha of Rajasthan is relevant: I started the movement and took along Pilania ji and others. (We) launched a powerful movement. When the Congress did not accede to our demand we bargained with the BJP. Vajpayee promised that if Congress got less than ten (Lok Sabha) seats and BJP got around 15–16 seats and BJP formed the government in Centre, the BJP would give reservation to Jats. We brought about that position: the BJP formed the government in the Centre and gave us the reservation.12 T H E R AJA S T H A N S O C I A L J U S T IC E FORU M ( R SJ F): N O N -​­­J A T S ’ R E A C T I O N

Jats’ inclusion in Rajasthan’s OBC list evoked a sharp reaction among the non-Jats – high castes (Rajputs and Brahmins) and the MBCs. It caused a feeling of dismay, discrimination and apprehension among them that this would result in marginalization of the non-Jats in the public institutions. In the non-Jats’ perceptions, Jats were resourceful enough not to be included in the OBC category. As mentioned earlier, the MBCs of Rajasthan, especially argued that Jats were not the original (Mool) and real (Asli) OBCs as they were not included in the original list of the OBCs of Rajasthan. According to them the former were the real and original OBCs. So, they coined a category for them as Mool/Asli (Real/Original) Backward Classes to differentiate themselves from Jats. They demanded sub-division of the OBC quota in proportion to their population. It is worth noting that, along with Jats, some other relatively better off castes such as Charans and Vishnois were also included in the OBC list of Rajasthan, but it is the Jats’ inclusion that the MBCs were especially opposed to. The latter consider Jats as the most assertive and hostile towards the low castes. Different non-Jat castes put forth demands varying from granting reservation to them, removal of Jats from OBC category, sub-division of OBC quota/implementation of the Karpoori Thakur Formula, inclusion of some MBCs in the SCs/STs category, and opposition to caste-based reservation in favour of merit (by the high castes) to the extension of reservation by the SCs and STs into the 228

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private sectors, judiciary and army. Even while the high castes in general opposed the caste-based reservation, a section of them demanded that they should also be included in the OBC list. The Brahmins formed Brahmin Arakshan Manch (Brahmin Reservation front) in 1999 to press for their inclusion also in this category, and for conducting economic survey for all castes. Pawan Pujari District president of the Brahman Arakshan Manch, Jhunjhunu, appreciated the reservation for the SCs as the fulfilment of the constitutional obligation but was critical of inclusion of Jats in the OBC category. Agreeing that the reservation policy of the Rajasthan government has included some sub- castes among Brahmins in the OBC category, he argued that many of them continue to remain excluded. The Brahmin Arakshan Manch held rallies in Sikar, Jodhpur, Alwar and Bhilwara where lakhs of people participated.13 Among the opponents of Jats’ inclusion in the OBC category, the MBCs apprehended that they would be most adversely affected by the move. But unable to involve in effective, sustained and vociferous movement, how do the MBCs politically negotiate and bargain with other castes? As stated earlier, they adopt the following strategies: use personal contacts with leaders of other castes to lobby, mobilize their castes to participate in political rallies organized by leaders of other castes; cash in on contradictions within the PICs. For instance, Nais in Rajasthan could get established Keshkala board and a fellow Nai appointed as its chairman due to their personal contact with Vashundhra Raje and for mobilizing caste fellows for a rally addressed by her. In western UP, a Kumhar could get a caste temple constructed due to support of Mulayam Singh when he was the chief minister because of his personal contacts with the latter. With reference to their opposition to Jats’ inclusion in the OBC category, the MBCs made use of contradictions within the PICs – the Jats and the high castes, a contingent factor identified in the Introduction. The MBC leaders such as – Satyanarayan Singh Saini (a Mali), ex-member of the Rajasthan Backward Class Commission, and Basant Kumar Morwal (a Kumhar), a lawyer, allied with two prominent Rajput leaders Devi Singh Bhati and Kalyan Singh Kalvi and Brahmin leaders like Pawan Pujari to oppose declaration of Jats as OBC in the state. They floated Rajasthan Social Justice Forum (RSJF) in 1999.14 RSJF’s main purpose was ‘protecting the original backwards and seeking justice to the poor of all castes’ and preventing monopolization of the OBC reservation by the Jats. The RSJF gave the slogan ‘Arakshit ko Sanrakshan aur Upekshit ko Arakshan’ (‘protection to the reserved castes and reservation to the neglected’).15 As discussed in Chapter 4, the RSJF mobilized the non-Jats to oppose the BJP and the Congress in the Lok Sabha election of 1999 for supporting extension of OBC quota to the Jats. Before 2004 Lok Sabha election, the RSJF converted itself into a political party. But it disappeared after the 2004 Lok Sabha election following its dismal performance in the election. 229

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In another case, the MBCs allied with leaders of the castes which were entitled for different kinds of reservation – the SCs, STs, newly recognized OBCs such as Jats landed OBCs. It was in connection with introduction of OBC reservation on 20 April 2006 in the central educational institutions. The ‘Second Mandal’ triggered off a 19-day agitation in April–May 2006 against it, dividing its supporters and opponents of the reservation into two rival groups. The opponents of the ‘Second Mandal’ formed Youth for Equality (YFE) in different educational institutions of North Indian states, but later continued to exist only in Delhi, especially Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Delhi University (DU). Epicentre of YFE agitation was the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi. It even contested elections for Delhi Vidhan Sabha election (2008) and students Union elections in JNU and DU. Formation of the YFE provoked the supporters of the ‘Second Mandal’ to counter it. Its supporters founded SC/ST/OBC Arakshan Adhikar Manch Or Right to Reservation Forum (RRF). In Rajasthan, all castes which have been entitled to reservation: the OBCs (including Jats who got the OBC status in 1999), MBCs, SCs and STs formed SC/ST/OBC Arakshan Adhikar Manch Or Right to Reservation Forum (RRF) overlooking their internal socio-economic and political contradictions. The principal demands of the RRF included protection of existing reservation to various categories and its extension to private sector and judiciary. Its principal activities included holding of the meetings of its representatives, intellectuals and office bearers and deliberating about the mobilization strategies to achieve their goals, holding rallies and taking out vehicle procession in main areas of Jaipur, and issuing press releases. Politics of reservation: UP Even as in Rajasthan recognition of Jats as OBCs for reservation benefits became an important political issue for almost seven years (1993–2000), in western UP it took almost two decades after the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report for the Jats to demand reservation in central educational institutions. Indeed, except some opposition to the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report by Jats and some high castes, reservation in jobs and recruitment into public institutions did not form major issue in collective mobilization in western UP till the end of the first decade of this century. As we will notice in the section of the public action from above, i.e., state response to the castes’ demands, Jats of UP along with those of Delhi were included in 2000 in the state OBC lists by the BJP and the Congress governments respectively. This discounted a need for a movement on the issue by Jats in these areas. However, almost a decade after having got the OBC status in UP’s OBC list, the Jats of UP and Haryana 230

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launched a movement in 2009–10 demanding their inclusion in the central OBC list (the Haryana Jats, in addition, demanded their inclusion in the state OBC list as the Jats in Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir remain are excluded from the state OBC list, the status which the Jats in UP and Delhi got in 2000). They also floated the Akhil Bharatiya Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS) and held rallies in Haryana, western UP and Delhi. On 13 June 2010, the ABJASS cut off the water supply to Delhi from Muradnagar water canal in western UP depriving some parts of Delhi of water for some hours. The supply was restored after an agreement between Jats’ delegation and central government was reached. As per the agreement their demand would be met, and if it was not, the Jats would resume the agitation (see Rajalakshmi 2010; The Times of India, 14 June 2010). Why did the Jats become active on reservation politics in 2009–10, not earlier? Two contingent factors largely accounted for it: first, political context, i.e., Lok Sabha election (2009) and more than two years after the Vidhan Sabha election (2012); and second, intra-Jat conflict and competition among different Jat leaders on this issue. Reflecting the second factor, apart from the ­­first-generation ​­­ ­­middle-class ​­­ Jats and students, the political aspirants took a leading role in the movement.17 Indeed, the rise of a politically ambitious section among the Jats like other castes has intensified competition among different Jat politicians. In this, each one of them has been raising one or more issues from time to time – demand for separate state of western UP/ Harit Pradesh, which might enable Jats to dominate the politics of a state (Singh 2001), farmers’ issues (Singh 1992), and from the end of the first decade of this century their inclusion in the Central OBC list. Depending on the situation, they keep shifting these issues. Besides, in the post- Charan Singh Jat politics, there was no charismatic leader among Jats of UP. This also coincided with the erosion of their trust in the leadership of Charan Singh’s son Ajit Singh. In such a situation, he faced stiff competition from within Jats. The competing Jat leaders have been raising these demands according to the requirement of the situation. Introduction of reservation (‘the Second Mandal’) in the central educational institutions was a trigger for some Jat leaders to mobilize them on the reservation issues. Since then, occasionally a section of Jat leaders in UP mobilizes them to demand reservation in the central government educational institutions. Sometimes they work in coordination with such mobilization in Haryana.18 However, overall, the mobilization of reservation in western UP has been less sustained and organized than the one in Rajasthan. A comparison of factors in Jats’ mobilization in Rajasthan with those in UP can help us explain the difference: why did the Jats in UP take around two decades after Jats of Rajasthan to mobilize themselves on this issue? Why has the Jats’ mobilization in UP been less sustained and organized than the one in Rajasthan? In the most part of the 1990s, unlike in Rajasthan, in UP the intra-Jat competition was less intense than in Rajasthan, which diluted the possibility of 231

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their collective mobilization on the reservation issue at that time. In fact by the late 1990s, the RLD, the party traditionally identified with the Jats, had become a marginal player in UP politics, the competition from rival caste fellows had not become intense diminishing the need to a launch movement, except raising them symbolically and occasionally. R E AC T I O N O F T H E N O N -J AT S TO J AT S ’ I N C L U S I O N I N T H E S TAT E O B C L I S T ( C O M PA R I S I O N W I T H S I M I L A R I S S U E I N R A J A S T H A N : R S J F )

The reaction of the non-Jats in UP to Jats’ inclusion in the state OBC list in 2000, unlike Rajasthan in 1999, was rather muted. For example, what the non-Jats, especially Rajputs did was to express their opposition to reservation in principle and discussed the issue in the meetings of the Kshatriya Mahasabha. They also sent memorandum to the authorities opposing the caste-based reservation in favour of economic basis.19 Why was the reaction of non-Jats (high castes and the MBCs) so muted to Jats’ inclusion in the OBC list in western UP, unlike in Rajasthan? A comparison of nonJat’s reaction in UP to Jats’ inclusion in the state OBC list in UP in 2000 with the non-Jats reaction to Jats’ inclusion in the Rajasthan OBC list in 1999 can better explain this. In Rajasthan, conflicts and competition between the Jats and non-Jats played the most decisive role. The vociferous and sustained nature of Jats’ mobilization evoked reaction from the nonJats (through RSJF). But in western UP, since Jats were given OBC status on a platter (discussed in the next section) without a movement, there was no provocation in the form of Jat mobilization for a sustained and vociferous counter-movement. Besides, the principal political rivals of Jats have not been Rajputs or MBCs, they have been Dalits; as the latter were not affected by OBC reservation issue, they did not react to it.

III Public action from above: state responses Though several issues are raised in castes’ mobilization, it is only some of these issues that become part of state policies in different regimes. Conversion of an issue/demand into a policy aimed to benefit one caste/caste group leads to reactive mobilization by the competing castes/caste groups, just as it can lead to mobilization and counter-mobilization of castes (during and between elections) even before the issue/demand gets converted into a policy. The state responses to the issues conveyed to it through the collective action of the castes can be viewed as legislative, executive and judicial. As stated earlier, the legislative responses of the state are confined to its higher levels – the regional and central ones, and the local state is represented by government functionaries involved in executive functions (implementing 232

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government policies), police, and Panchayati Raj Institutions, lower judiciary (adjudicating law). Therefore, I will discuss legislative responses of the state only at its one vertical level: the regional state, not at local level: as the local state is not involved in legislation of policies, discussion on its legislative response will be omitted. An MBC woman leader emphasized that the local bodies such as Panchayati Raj Institutions do not have any legislative power, are virtually of no use, especially in the formulation of reservation policies. 20 I will confine the discussion on the local state to its executive role/response in implementing the policies at the local level. About the regional level of the state, I will focus on the factors that determine the formulation of reservation policies and recognition of cultural symbols of different castes. Regarding the local level of state, I will discuss its response to the issues of human rights, dignity/ ­­self-respect and inter-caste conflicts. ​­­ ­­ ​­­ This section seeks to elaborate upon the argument: (i) the state at higher level (regional state/regimes) has responded positively to the demands of PICs; the kind of state/regime response to castes’ demands is determined by the proportion of their representation in the legislative and executive bodies (representations in the government); and impact of civil society (or caste) mobilizations; (ii) the behaviour of the local state is generally determined by the extent of autonomy it enjoys from the local PICs and (iii) the state at both levels – higher and local, generally favours the PICs. And about the behaviour of the local state, as stated earlier, there are two patterns: the pattern I, the local state has generally not been autonomous of the influence of PICs; and pattern II, it enjoys relative autonomy from the PICs. In the former, the constant factors are more determinant; in the latter, sometime due to the intervention of some or all contingent factors, the local state acts autonomous of the PICs. This section has been divided into two sub-sections: ­­ ​­­ sub-section ­­ ​­­ ‘Regimes’ ­ responses’ dealing with the regime responses in terms policies in relation to reservation and cultural issues and sub-section ‘The local sate: response to ​­­ ­­ ​­­ the issues of human rights, dignity/ ­­self-respect, and inter-caste conflicts’ about the executive and judicial response at the local levels to the issues ​­­ ​­­ concerning human rights, ­­self-respect, dignity, ­­caste-gender-based humilia​­­ tion and ­­inter-caste conflicts. Regimes’ responses Responses to reservation In the preceding section, I have discussed that the BJP and the Congress governments in UP and Delhi respectively offered Jats the OBC status on a platter, though in Rajasthan the government gave them this status after an agitation. Why did the regimes in both states, Rajasthan and UP respond positively to the demands of Jats for inclusion in the OBC list even without 233

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a collective action by them in the latter? In UP, why did the BJP regimes in 2001 and the Congress regime earlier in 1975 in appoint to Hukum Committee and Sathi Commission 21 respectively to consider the sub-division of the OBC quota to help the MBCs even though unlike Jats they did not form an effective caste group, and there was likelihood of the recommendations being struck down by the court? And Why did they give the OBC status to Jats at one point of time (1999 in Rajasthan and 2000 in UP), and not earlier? The states responded favourably to the Jats’ demand because they belong to a PIC. It is the positive relationship which they have with constant factors – their numerical strength, political consolidation in several areas in WNE Rajasthan and western UP and relatively better economic conditions, along with some contingent factors – inter-party competition between the BJP and Congress in Rajasthan and between BJP and RLD/BSP/SP in UP, and ­­intra-Jat/Jatand ­­non-Jat conflicts and competition, and timings of ​­­ ​­­ elections that largely determined state’ policy response to Jats’ demands for the OBC status. Since Jats, especially in Rajasthan are well accommodated in political parties, legislature and ministries (see Tables 4.1–4.4, 5.1, 5.3, 6.2), and have potential to engage in sustained collective action, the regimes respond to them favourably. Even as their accommodation in political parties and institutions enables Jat representatives to pursue their agendas there, their capability to self-mobilize has potential to affect the electoral results. These factors motivate the political parties and regimes led by them to respond positively to the Jats. Regarding the MBCs’ demand for sub-division of the OBC quota, normally the regimes (except one BJP regime) did not respond positively to this demand of the MBCs because they belong to PMCs. Unlike Jats, the MBCs do not have positive relation with the constant factors, resulting in their exclusion from political parties and institutions. In addition, they lack capacity for sustained collective mobilization, unworthy of being taken note of by major political parties. However, as mentioned in the Introduction, sometime due to the impact of contingent factors, the political system/regimes/political parties work in their favour. Such contingent factors include inter- caste competition between the intermediate castes/upper OBCs such as Yadavs or Jats and the high castes, impact of which gets reflected in competition between political parties, the BSP and the SP on the one hand, and the BJP on the other; the former opposing the sub-division and the latter supporting it. That the sub-division of the OBC quota would adversely affect the monopoly of the upper OBCs over the benefits meant for all OBCs, the BSP or the SP would not like to annoy them by supporting this issue. Indeed, political parties’ strategies are informed by the consideration as to what impact it will have on their electoral prospects (Chapter 5). This is also true about the stance of political parties/regimes controlled by them on sub-division of the OBC quota. However, inversely, there were exceptions to this general pattern: competition between the BJP and the SP in 234

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2001, and between the Congress party and socialist parties and BLD in 1975 resulted in setting up of Hukum Singh Committee by the NDA/BJP government and the Sathi Commission by the Congress respectively. The move of the BJP regime in 2001 to support the sub-quota for the MBCs was an attempt to balance the support base among different castes, as this move was preceded by including Jats in the OBC category in Rajasthan and UP. Thus, the regimes controlled by the SP and BSP opposed the demand for sub-division of the OBC quota, while those controlled by the BJP and earlier the Congress supported it. Thus, in the competition among political parties on certain occasions, the MBCs’ issue, i.e., sub-division of OBC quota received favourable treatment from the regimes, though their recommendations to sub-divide OBC quota were struck down by the court.22 In the politics of reservation for the OBCs, the MBCs have been caught in the competitive politics between the upper OBCs/intermediary castes such as Jats, Yadavs, Lodhs, Kurmis and Gujars, on the one hand, and the high castes, on the other. Whenever the upper OBCs as a collective group or single caste among them raised demand for reservation for themselves, the high castes attempted to browbeat them with extending support to the MBCs, i.e., sub-division of the OBC quota between the upper OBCs and the MBCs. In support of the sub-division of OBC quota, generally the argument has been put forward that the upper OBCs do not let the MBCs get their share in quotas reserved for the OBCs. In UP, the significance of the MBCs was first realized with the appointment of the Most Backward Classes Commission, also known as the Sathi Commission, named after its chairman, Cheddi Lal Sathi in 1975 by the Congress government led by Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna. Indeed, several state governments had appointed the backward class commissions, especially following the rejection of Kaka Kalelkar Commission Report by the central government, and its suggestion to the states to appoint such commissions (see Jaffrelot 2003: ch. 7). But unlike some South Indian states, it took several years after rejection of the Kaka Kalelkar Report by the Centre, for the state government in UP (like the one in Bihar which had appointed Mungeri Lal Commission in 1971) to set up a backward class commission.23 The timing for appointment of the MBC commission in UP was perhaps informed by the desperation of the Congress to win over the backward classes, which had rallied behind Charan Singh’s Bharatiya Kranti Dal after his departure from Congress. It sought to cash in on the differences within the backward classes – between the MBCs and the intermediary castes/upper OBCs. In this context, it is interesting to note that in UP it was the OBCs as a generic group which had demanded reservation without any specific consideration for the marginalized groups among them such as the MBCs. But the Congress appointed the Sathi Commission, exclusively for the MBCs instead for the OBCs as a generic category. The main reasons for this act 235

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did not lie in a genuine concern of the Congress regime for the MBCs but in its move to counter the more powerful intermediary castes/upper OBCs. The chairman of the MBC commission blamed the ‘Brahminical ideology’ for excluding the better off backward classes from the purview of the commission. It was also an attempt to mollify the criticism that the better off OBCs would get  all the benefit (Hasan 1998: 143–44). However, in an interview with Jaffrelot, Sathi claimed that by recommending reservation for the MBCs he wanted that ‘at least something should be given to the MBCs’ (see Jaffrelot 2003: 251). Indeed, a section of the Jat intellectuals and leaders is opposed to the special consideration of reservation for the MBCs. Their views echoed those of Charan Singh on this issue. Charan Singh wrote: My critics may say when you propose for the reservation in the government services for the cultivators (halwahon), why silent for carpenters, weavers, etc? This criticism is ridiculous (hasyaspad). – In reality, Kisan only is the symbol of the society (samaj ka pratik), not the people related to above-mentioned occupations. (Translation mine)24 The Janata Party government in UP, headed by the OBC-dominated BLD with Ram Naresh Yadav as the chief minister, undid what was proposed by the Sathi Commission Report. In contravention to the Sathi Commission’s recommendation it reduced the OBCs’ percentage of the reservation, i. e, from 29.5 to 15%. The UP High Court struck it down on ground that the MBCs were not clearly identified. The UP government appealed in the Supreme Court, which stayed the high court ruling till a period of ten years (see Hasan 1998: 145). 25 Expiry in 1989 of ten years’ High Court stay on the implementation of the OBC reservation in UP gave birth to the competition between the Congress and the SP (then the Janata Dal government headed by Mulayam Singh) to woo the OBCs in the state. The issue became topical in the light of the demand for the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report in India. In January 1990, the Congress government in UP promulgated an ordinance granting retrospective reservation to OBCs in the state (for details see ibid: 147–49). The issues of the OBCs (including those of the MBCs) got momentum again since the 1990s. Even the BJP government collected data on the backward classes in UP before the panchayat election held in June 2000. As if to follow the footsteps of the Congress-led Bahuguna regime which had set up the first MBC Commission in UP in 1975, the Rajnath Singh-led BJP government also attempted to woo the MBCs in the state. In July 2000, the latter set up the MBC cell to ‘sensitize’ the castes such as Nais and Kumhars who have been ignored by other political parties (The Times of India, 14 July 2000). It also set up on 28 June 2001 a Committee for Social 236

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Justice (CSJ) under the chairmanship of Hukum Singh to suggest measures to sub-divide the quota of the OBCs (see Verma 2001). The Panchayati Raj department of the SP-BSP government (1993–95) in UP conducted the rapid census to estimate the population of the OBCs in the state with the purpose of providing reservation to them in the local body election which were held in 1995 (see Hasan 1998, n.6: 166). The Rajnath Singh government’s move to appoint the CSJ can be explained like this. It was an attempt to placate the MBCs who had been angered by his government’s decision to include the Jats in the state OBC list; to weaken the opposition of the non-Jat upper OBCs to this decision; and, most importantly to create its support base among the MBCs. The CSJ in UP can be compared with the RSJF in Rajasthan, discussed earlier. The common points between them were that both were borne out of the contradictions between Jats and non-Jats, in UP especially between Jats and the MBCs, and in Rajasthan between Jats and MBCs along with Rajputs and Brahmins. Both the CSJ and the RSJF sought to divide the OBCs quota, especially between the upper OBCs and the MBCs in UP, and between OBCs (especially Jats) and non-Jats (MBCs and the high castes) in Rajasthan. There, however, were some basic differences between the two. The CSJ in UP was a move of the political regime; it was a public action from above. The RSJF in Rajasthan was set up by Rajput and MBC leaders; it was a public action from below. The BJP government’s (Rajnath Singh’s) move to placate the MBCs set off a competition among the SP, the BSP and the BJP to woo them. Mulayam Singh also addressed the MBCs during his third regime (2003–7). But unlike Rajnath Singh, he did not deal with the issue of sub-quota for the MBCs within the broad OBC reservation quota. What he did was to declare on 5 October 2005 16 MBC castes as the Scheduled Castes in UP (The Hindu, 6 October 2005). It is important to note that, as will be mentioned later, a move to declare some MBCs of UP as SCs or STs or sub-dividing OBC quota between the upper OBCs and the MBCs was struck down by the court. But whenever it suits politicians they address this issue in one or the other form. For example, Akhilesh Yadav’s government in run-up to the UP Vidhan Sabha election held in 2017 also declared 17 MBCs as SCs in the state (see The Hindu, 23 December 2016); without surprise, this decision was also stalled by the Allahabad High Court just after one month (see The Hindu, 25 January 2017). Why did first Mulayam Singh’s government, and later Akhilesh Yadav’s government declare some MBCs as the SCs but did not support division of the OBC into sub-quota between the MBCs and the upper OBCs? A move to sub-divide quota would have annoyed the upper OBCs as their monopoly over OBC quota would have got eroded. The move to declare some MBCs as SCs or STs would not sub-divide the OBC quota, which would not adversely affect the dominant sections of the OBCs; rather it would remove a section of claimants to the reservation 237

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meant for the OBCs, benefitting especially Yadavs the core support base of the SP, among other upper OBCs. The issue of inclusion of some MBCs in the SC/ST list became a bone of contention between the SP and the BSP. Like Mulayam Singh, Mayawati also did not want to annoy the upper OBCs. Support to inclusion of some MBCs in the SC/ST category would alienate the support of SC/STs to the BSP. Indeed, the BSP did not show any enthusiasm to support the subdivision of the OBC quota even when it was in the opposition. Mayawati opined that reservation to the MBCs would not serve any purpose unless they were given education. She dubbed the appointment of the CSJ by the Rajnath Singh government as a conspiracy to create caste conflict and demanded its scrapping. Instead of supporting reservation for the MBCs, following the formation of her government UP in 2007, Mayawati has been advocating amendment to the Constitution in this regard. She, however, demanded an increase in the reservation in proportion to the population of Dalits and OBCs; the MBCs should be given 15% reservation within the OBC quota. The BSP threatened to launch an agitation from 20 July 2001 to campaign on 11 issues, one of which included increase in the percentage of reservation for the OBCs and the MBCs (The Times of India, 10 June 2011). She termed the Singh government’s move to declare some MBCs as the Scheduled Castes in 2005 as ‘political conspiracy’ and violation of Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution; as per these Articles no state government has right to classify the Backward Classes as Scheduled Castes. (The Hindu, 10 October 2005). Conversely, she reversed her stand when she was in the government. T HE CON T EXT OF R EGIME R ESPONSES

The years 1999 and 2000 provided a political context for Jats’ inclusion in the state OBC lists in Rajasthan and UP respectively. As explained earlier, in the post-Mandal period, Jats of Rajasthan along with those of other North Indian states had opposed implementation of the Mandal Commission Report but within a few years of that they, especially in Rajasthan, realized that Jats should also get OBC status. The Jat leadership marked by intra- caste competition within the Congress pushed the agenda to within the Congress to get the Rajasthan’s Jats included in the state OBC list. And in 1993 Vidhan Sabha election became an immediate context for the Jats to push forth this demand within the Congress. But defeat of Congress in this election led to postponement of demand; they raised it again in 1998–99 in the 1998 Vidhan Sabha and 1999 Lok Sabha elections. The competition between the Congress and the BJP to get Jats’ support in these elections became immediate political context for Jats to press for their inclusion in the OBC list in Rajasthan. The year 2000 underlines the immediate context for inclusion of the Jats of UP in state OBC list by the BJP/NDA government 238

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headed by Ram Prakash Gupta. This decision of the Ram Prakash-led regime preempted any move of Jats of UP in the context Jats’ of Rajasthan having got OBC status. Such move of Jats would have adversely impacted BJP’s prospects in the Vidhan Sabha election which was just two years away. Similarly, it was just a few days before the announcement of 2014 Lok Sabha election that the UPA-II government included Jats of nine states  – UP, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan (Bharatpur and Dholpur), Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Bihar in the central OBC list, contrary to the recommendations of the National Commission for the Backward Classes. The Supreme Court, however, declared the government’s decision illegal on 17 March 2015 (The Hindu, 18 March 2015). The Supreme Court’s verdict to quash government’s decision was followed by a rare unanimity among politicians, major political parties, the Congress, the BJP and its NDA allies, several Jat khaps and Jat leaders across political parties. They underlined the need to appeal to the Supreme Court to review its decision. The NDA central government, for its part, filed a review petition in the Supreme Court regarding its decision (The Times of India, 2 April 2015). Perhaps, political regimes/class would not show the same concern if the issue was related to the PMCs. BJP/BJP regime responses to the MBCs in Rajasthan: reservation and other Issues Political regimes in Rajasthan have generally been indifferent to the demands of the MBCs because they remain marginally accommodated within political parties, legislature and ministries (Tables  4.1–4.4, 5.1, 6.2), and rarely engage in sustained and vociferous collective action. Unlike the Rajnath Singh-led BJP regime in 2001 or much earlier the Hemvati Nadan Bahuguna-led Congress regime in UP, which appointed a committee or commission to consider the MBCs’ demand for sub-division of the OBC quota, in Rajasthan both the BJP and Congress regimes were not concerned with such demand of the MBCs. The formation of the RSJF to demand sub-division of was not attempt of a regime in Rajasthan: as mentioned earlier, it was an alliance of non-Jats  – MBCs, Rajputs and Brahmins which was formed in opposition to inclusion of Jats in the OBC category in the state. Except in relation to the welfare schemes targeting the SCs/STs as per especial constitutional provisions or inclusion of PICs such as Jats in the OBC category, the regimes policies and party programmes in Rajasthan have not generally targeted specific caste groups, especially the MBCs. In the recent past, however, the BJP and the Vasundhara Raje regime controlled by it responded positively to some demands of the MBCs. Even as the Vasundhara Raje regime constituted Keshkala board on 16 November 2016, for 239

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Nais and appointed a caste fellow Mohan Morwal as its chairman (with the status of a minister of state) and the BJP appointed some MBCs (Nais, Gadia Lohars and Ravana Rajputs) as members of the BJP State Executive Committee (Table 4.1). Notably, though it gave representation in its party positions to some persons who were not affiliated to any political party, it mainly accommodated RSS or BJP members from these castes in the party positions. 26 Earlier, the Janata Party government (of which the Jan Sangh/ BJP was a constituent) headed by Bhairon Singh Shekhawat introduced on 21 October 1978 through an Executive Order certain welfare measures for the students belonging to the backward classes, i.e., free tuition fee for the backward class students; 50% concession in the students’ fund (Chhatra Nidhi), and, scholarships to the backward class students hailing from the bordering area. The decision for setting up of a welfare Board, however, could not be implemented due to the fall of the Janata Party government. It needs to be noticed that this Order was applicable to the Scheduled castes and the Scheduled Tribe Students as well, and even to those students who were getting such benefits from the central government. 27 Why did the BJP regime in Rajasthan concede to some demands of the MBCs such as setting up Keshkala board or accommodating some of them into party structure (Tables  4.1–4.4) even though they belong to PMCs, normally unable to influence the policy-making ­­ ​­­ process or self-mobilize ­­ ​­­ into a sustained and vociferous public action? And why did it do so in the first half of the 2010s, not earlier? Reasons for this lie in inter-party competition between the principal parties in Rajasthan (the Congress and the BJP) and change in the BJP’s strategy strategies to extend its strategy to woo the MBCs in the recent past. In this context, the BJP outshined the Congress which largely continued to be indifferent to the MBCs’ issues. In the MBCs’ perception, unlike the BJP, the ‘Congress leadership was arrogant and discourteous’.28 State responses and cultural issues As discussed in Chapter  3, almost all castes in my sample in UP have been involved in the politics of cultural symbolism. Since the politics of cultural symbolism has relatively been more vocal and sustained in UP than in Rajasthan, and regimes in UP have been more engaging in politics of cultural symbolism than in Rajasthan, here I will discuss state response to the cultural issues in UP and will omit Rajasthan. Though parties and regimes in UP have competed to accord significance to symbols of different castes, some of them have given more importance to some icons/symbols in comparison to others. The SP regimes have given more importance to Ram Manohar Lohia and Charan Singh (exceptionally to Karpoori Thakur because of his socialist background). Its second regime

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(headed by Mulayam Singh) had, as mentioned earlier, renamed Meerut University as Chaudhary Charan Singh University. In 2013, the Akhilesh Yadav government declared December 23, Chaudhary Charan Singh’s birth day as a public holiday. The BSP governments declared policies in the names saints/icons/symbols identified with Bhakti and Buddhist traditions, Dravidian movement and leaders which stood for social justice such as Phule and Ambedkar. Indeed, Mayawati governments renamed several old and christened newly created districts, and institutions after such icons/saints/leaders/ historical figures (see Advocate 2000). Under the politics of ‘sarva samaj’ the BSP regimes even attempted to appease Brahmins and Rajputs – by attending/patronizing the celebrations in the name of Parshu Ram, a Brahmin icon and responding to Rajputs’ demand to delete ‘derogatory remarks’ from a school text book. The BJP regimes have been more inclined towards the icons and cultural symbols identified with the high castes – Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Madan Mohan Malaviya and Maharana Pratap. Indeed, the Modi government conceded to the Brahmins’ demand by conferring Bharat Ratna on Madan Mohan Malaviya in 2015. Earlier, in 1990 V.P. Singh’s government had first conferred Bharat Ratna on Ambedkar. In some instances, division along the lines of caste symbols has resulted in caste clashes. A most recent example of this clash was the one between Dalits and Rajputs in April–May 2017 which took place in Saharanpur district on dispute over celebration of Ambedkar Jayanti and Maharana Pratap Jayanti to commemorate the caste icons revered by Dalits and Rajputs respectively. In the clash, the administration had played a partisan role. Even as the administration did not permit Bhim Sena, an organization of Dalits to hold a meeting to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti, it did not have objection to Rajputs holding similar programme to commemorate Rajput icon, Maharana Pratap. It arrested Dalit leader Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhim Sena chief under the National Security Act. Notably, the Rajputs in this area are largely supporters of the BJP and members of Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and other Hindu organization, and UP chief minister Yogi Aditya Nath belongs to the BJP and is a Rajput. These organizations had played a leading role in opposing the celebration of Ambedkar Jayanti and mobilizing Rajputs to celebrate M aharana Pratap Jayanti (Trivedi 2017). Parties and political regimes in UP have been prompter in recognizing castes’ cultural symbols – especially naming institutions, declaring holidays, honouring leaders belonging to castes than addressing the substantial (redistributive) issues. Indeed, in contrast to its engagement with cultural symbolism in UP, the state response to public provisioning  – health and education, has been marked by public apathy, resilient inertia (see Dreze and Gazdar 1996). The distributive policies which have been introduced have not been matched with the representation of Dalits and OBCs in UP (Hasan 2002a).

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Recognition or distribution?: a dilemma What are economic implications of political economy of castes, i.e., castes’ relations with the constant and the contingent factors? I view economic implications of caste politics through the prism of multicultural framework which I have followed in this book. Indeed, the caste agencies – CBPIs, caste organizations and caste-based parties generally give priority to social and cultural issues (recognition: self-respect and recognition of cultural symbols) over economic issues, although they raise both kinds of issues. That the castes raise mostly identity/social- cultural issues is reflected in policy priorities of political regimes in UP: the three different kinds of regimes in UP between 1989 and 2015 led by the SP, the BSP or the BJP. Policies of all these regimes focussed mostly on social and cultural symbolism: the SP and BSP regimes on symbolism associated with OBCs and Dalits, the BJP regimes with symbolism associated with Hindu identity and high castes. Occasionally, they focussed on economic issues or redistributive justice: the BSP-led government introduced special programmes for development of Ambedkar villages, the SP governments sought to include some MBCs in the SC or ST categories, and one BJP regime appointed Hukum Singh Committee to devise methods to sub-divide OBC quota (see Appendix II). As discussed earlier, the policies about the MBCs could not succeed as they were either mired in politics or were stayed due to litigation. However, the BJP regime headed by Ram Prakash in 2000 succeeded in according Jats of Rajasthan the OBC status, more because of political strategy than mobilization by Jats for it. Are recognition and redistribution complementary or contradictory as requirements of castes? The answer depends on the class of persons within a caste/caste group. For the poorer/less privileged persons within a caste, both recognition and distribution are complementary; for getting recognition they need redistributive justice, and for getting redistributive justice they need recognition. Some poor MBC widows in a western UP village in my discussion with them appreciated Narendra Modi because in their perception he provided them political recognition being an MBC like them, and he gave them redistributive justice through policies such as construction of toilets and widow pension. For the elite among the MBCs personally (CBPIs, political leaders/activists belonging to mainstream parties), self-respect is more important as their basic needs (redistributive justice in the form of professional practice – lawyers, teachers or salaried employees) have already been realized.29 Similarly, it was Jats’ place in political economy as a PIC that determined their attitude towards the reservation question. It has been informed by the complementarity and conflict between social recognition (self-respect and status) and redistributive justice (jobs and economic needs). Until the Mandal Commission Report was introduced in 1990 giving reservation to the OBCs in central government jobs, the Jats in North India considered themselves to be from the higher 242

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social status. They disliked any suggestion to include them in OBC category: they felt it would lower their social prestige/Kshatriya/marital status, though a section of them had raised the demand in the 1980s as well. In fact, opinion on the Mandal Commission Report among Jats was divided between two groups, one preferring to get reservation, another opposing it. The opponents who generally belonged to the older generation argued that their inclusion in the OBC list would socially downgrade them. It is relevant to note here that like the old generation of the Jats, a prominent Yadav leader, Rao Birendra Singh had opposed during the 1960s the demand for the inclusion of his caste in the list of OBCs on the ground Yadav were ‘a martial race’ and doing so was ‘“a sign of weakness”’ (see Jaffrelot 2003: 235). The supporters of the OBC status to Jats in both states belonged to new generation (emergent middle classes/educated youths and politicians) and defended their argument on the following grounds, stated earlier: practical (their lack of interests in agriculture, depleting job opportunities), their sense of discrimination in relation to the castes which have similar status (Yadavs, Gujars, Kurmis or Lodhs) which have become OBCs, and competition among Jat politicians to cash on any issue, reservation being one such issue. Besides, in Rajasthan, Jats revived the memories of their social and economic discrimination till the late 1940s by the high castes. In Rajasthan, such context prevailed during 1993–2000, which finally resulted in getting their included in the OBC list.30 The PMCs want that both demands for recognition and redistribution should be fulfilled at the same time. If not, they should be fulfilled one after the other. If they are forced to make a choice between self-respect (recognition) and redistributive justice, they would prefer the former to the latter. In an instance during my field work, wife of a poor MBC person performed daily chores in a high caste household. A member of the latter insisted that the former worked for them at their back and call. This resulted in the verbal duel between the husband of the woman and member of the patron’s family. The husband said ‘I shall not allow my wife to work in your house. I am ready to pay you more if your wife works in my house’. Though the husband is too poor to employ the wife of the pattern, his reaction signifies that for him self-respect is more important than economic needs in case the former is hurt. In Rajasthan’s Dausa district, the villagers were angry with government officials for pasting names of BPL (Below Poverty Line) beneficiaries (under Public Distribution Scheme/PDS) on the walls of their houses, who got help under NFSA (National Food Security Act) (see, Iqbal 2017). This benefit to them was given at the cost of their self-respect. In this context, it is noteworthy that the OBC leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, chief minister of Bihar for around a decade during the 1990s gave more importance to the question of recognition, i.e., self-respect over that of development or distribution (see Singh 2015: p. 58). Indeed, in their initial years, the backward classes-led regimes in Bihar, accorded higher place to the self-respect of the low castes than to development. 243

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The local sate: response to the issues of human rights, dignity/self-respect ­­ ​­­ and ­­inter-caste ​­­ conflicts Empirical examples of the two patterns mentioned earlier about the local state’s response, i.e., where the local state is embedded with and is not autonomous of the society and where it enjoys relative autonomy from the society are: pattern one – ‘Moral Policing’ in western UP, and the Bhanwari Devi case and Roop Kanwar case in Rajasthan; and pattern two includes Sikhaida Kand, an episode of clashes between the Dalits and the Rajputs, and Shobhapur Dalit-Brahmin clash in western UP. It is important to note that the examples collected from western UP fall in both patterns of the local state’s behaviour, whereas those from Rajasthan include only the cases falling in the pattern one. The reason for this has been unavailability of the cases about the second pattern in Rajasthan. It means that in western UP, the local state is both embedded in the society, and relatively free from the local societal forces. But in Rajasthan it is largely embedded in the local society, unfree from the control of the societal forces. The differences in the two states can be explained in the relative impact of the constant and contingent factors. Response of the local state: pattern one ‘ M O R A L P O L I C I N G ’: ­­S O C I E T Y- ​­­L O C A L S T A T E O V E R L A P

The ‘moral policing’ denotes meting out punishment to those whom some vigilante groups consider to be violating certain customs of society. The acts of ‘moral policing’ involve beatings, harassment, stripping of couples found together in public parks, restaurants or any other public places, and writing to/informing the parents of the couples (especially girls) about their ‘indecent behaviour’, violation of ‘traditions’. In several cases the police (especially at lower ranks) have assumed the role of self-appointed guardians of morality, often in collaboration with certain loosely organized groups including women, well organized forces such as Bajrang Dal, Ram Sene, Shiv Sena, and some women’s organizations, local units of certain political parties. The police justified their action on ground that they acted as per the wishes of people and performed their moral duty (The Times of India, 1 June 2006; The Hindu 26, 2008). Even as the examples of ‘moral policing’ implying the collaboration between the local state and society are related to gender question as a generic issue, it is regarding the caste that differences in state behaviour at various levels are more visible. Indeed, it is the PMCs that become victim of the complicity between the local state and dominant caste/PICs. Prem Chowdhary’s study which deals with ‘honour’ killings, physical beatings and humiliation of couples entering inter- caste marriages, often resorting to elopement, also brings out the 244

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collusion between dominant local community, traditional panchayats, the politicians, the state (police, judiciary and government officials) in North India, especially Haryana. The collusion between them stems from the convergence of values, i.e., protection of patriarchal customs, which is supposed to be opposed to inter- caste marriages. Though the punishment is given to both boys and girls entering such marriages, there is a difference: it is more humiliating and harsher to the girls from low castes, Dalits and MBCs than to the dominant caste such as Jats (see Chowdhry 2007). As I will discuss in the pattern two, however, it is not always the case. Due to the impact of contingent factors even the local state can be accommodative to the traditional PMCs. T H E B H A N WA R I D E V I C A S E

Bhanwari Devi, an MBC woman – Kumhar (potter), hails from Jaipur district of Rajasthan. She was sathin (village level worker) employed in the Women’s Development Programme (WDP), Government of Rajasthan. Introduced in 1984 for the development of women, WDP was a wholly state-funded programme. It aimed to disseminate information and generate consciousness and awareness about women’s rights (Sawhny and Dube 2001; Mathur 2004; Murthy 2013). The WDP covered a wide range of issues – right to equality, life, dignity, health, education, practice any profession, trade or business; safe working environment; protection from sexual harassment; prevention of child marriage and dowry; abolition of caste hierarchies (Murthy 2013: 17–18). Sathins/volunteers were recruited and trained to implement the programme. WDP was merged with Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). Imparting consciousness among the villagers, including prevention of child marriage, was a part of Bhanwari Devi’s job. In one such case of child marriage involving the dominant caste Gujars, she reported the matter to the police and the marriage was stopped. Enraged by the audacity of Bhanwari Devi, five Gujar men raped her and beat up her husband on 22 September 1992. The matter became litigated. The behaviour of the local judiciary was not democratic; it confirmed to the values of the dominant castes, showing overlapping the boundaries between the local state and the society. Indeed, personal beliefs matter more than the constitutional provisions to some of the judges, especially at the lower level of judiciary.31 It was the higher judiciary which nullified the decision of the lower court, showing freedom of the higher-level state from the societal forces that operate at the local level. Behaviour of the judiciary at two vertical levels shows its vertical differentiation. Indeed, the session court judge acquitted the accused on the following principal grounds: a woman of the low caste cannot be raped in front of her husband; since the alleged rapists belonged to the ‘upper caste’ they could not have raped women from the low caste; two of the accused could not have raped the same woman 245

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because they were uncle and nephew. Besides, there were procedural delay in conducting medical test on the victim, because of the ‘biased policemen’, who could not have acted without the complicity of the local dominant caste and politicians belonging to it (see for details Sawhny and Dube 2001; The Hindu, 4 March 2001; Murthy 2013; Sayeed 2013). T H E R O O P K A N WA R C A S E

Roop Kanwar, a Rajput married young woman died on the pyre of her husband in 1987 in Deorala village of Sikar district. The death of the woman was socially viewed as Sati, a tradition which advocated that the widow had no right to live: she should also volunteer to die in the pyre of her husband. Doing this would be upholding the tradition and her devotion to the husband. Not committing Sati would be tantamount to violating the tradition, and disrespect to the dead husband. Indeed, the practice of Sati involves infringement of women’s right’. Though popular among Rajputs, Sati has been practised by non-Rajputs as well. Roop Kanwar’s case raised debate on Sati between two opposite positions – one represented by Nandi (1988), and the other by Quadeer and Hasan (1987), and Kumar and Patel (1988). The debate revolved around three points: meaning of Sati, sources of its origin, role of the state and society. Complicity between the local state (police, judiciary, political leadership) and Rajputs was visible in the Roop Kanwar case. The Rajput landlords and rich peasants set up Dharam Raksha Samiti, which led the movement to glorify the Sati (Roop Kanwar case). The Rajasthan chief minister considered committing Sati as ‘religious rights’ of the people (Rajputs), and the state’s home minister denied need for the government to ‘encroach upon such rights of the citizen’. Rights of women were neglected by the state in the name of protecting the tradition (see Quadeer and Hasan 1987). The state failed to protect women’s right in deference of the discriminatory practices. The state (Chief Minister) compromised with the champions of the undemocratic tradition for the sake of political expedience (Quadeer and Hasan 1987). The death of Roop Kanwar was a ‘socially sanctioned murder’ which showed the culpability between state and society (see Kumar and Patel 1988). Indeed, lauding of Sati formed a part of ‘Rajput ethos’ (Jenkins 1998). Kanchan Mathur elaborates how the verdicts of the lower courts about the tradition of Sati in Rajasthan were tantamount to violation of human rights and how they boosted the morale of supporters of Sati. On 11 October 1996, the additional session judge in Neem Ka Thana, Sikar district in Rajasthan acquitted 32 persons accused in the Roop Kanwar Sati case. In July 2002, the Rajasthan High Court permitted worship in Rani Sati temple, and in Khemi and Dauli temples in Sikar and Jhunjhunu districts. Both in 1996 and 2002, the court verdicts bolstered the supporters of Sati 246

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tradition to celebrate it giving a setback to ­­anti-Sati ​­­ efforts. However, in August 2003 nine women’s organizations under MAVJA made concerted effort to end glorification of Sati. This resulted in the High Court’s direction to the Rajasthan government to strictly follow the Sati Act of 1987 for putting a stop to annual Sati melas that happened in the Sati temples in Jhunjhunu and Sikar (see Mathur 2004: 174–75). Response of the local state: pattern two Installation of a regime that is controlled by the party which is generally identified with a caste emboldens members of such castes to target those who are perceived to be its social and/or political rivals. In the 1960s–1970s, when Charan Singh became chief minister, Home Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or Prime Minister, there were reports of Jats behaving aggressively towards other castes, especially the Jatavs (Dalits).32 During the 1990s, I was told during my field work in some villages that Dalits behaved in aggressive manners towards non-Dalits, ­­ ​­­ especially MBCs and ­­Ati-Dalits; ​­­ in such villages the Jatavs formed substantial population. On several occasions, it results in a conflict between the followers of the ruling party and its rivals. In such conflicts, the local state is seen to be acting in a partisan way towards the castes which form the core support base of the ruling party, especially the one to which the chief minister belongs. For examples, installation of Mayawati’s and Kalyan Singh’s governments resulted in Dalit and non-Dalit conflicts. There are a large number of examples of the differential behaviour of the state involving its response regarding issues of human rights, dignity/self-respect ­­ ​­­ and inter-caste ­­ ​­­ conflict. Here I will discuss some of these examples. SI K H E DA K A N D: POL I T IC S OF R ECOGN I T ION VS . REDISTRIBU TI V E JUSTICE

Encouraged by the change in regime with Mayawati becoming the Chief Minister of UP, Dalits of the village Sikhaida of Meerut district installed on 10 October 1995 a statue of B.R. Ambedkar in the village school’s ground and lay claim to the land.33 On the occasion of installation of the statue, a large number of Dalits including those who did not belong to the village had gathered in the compound of the village. Management committee of the school, which mainly consisted of the Rajputs, resented this move of the Dalits. The Rajputs had donated land and money to start the school in 1952. At the time of installation of the statue 15–20 people of the Management Committee also reached the school premise and suggested to Dalits that they had no objection to installation of Ambedkar’s statue in the government land, but they should not install it on the land of the school. The Dalits rejected this suggestion in front of the SDM (Sub-Divisional 247

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Magistrate). Till then there was no statue. The Rajputs alleged that the Dalits threatened them that they would ‘play a game’. The alleged ‘game was played’ within three hours of rejection of the suggestion of the Management Committee: the Rajputs alleged that Dalits themselves burnt the thatches of their own houses; resorted to firing from the rooftops of their houses; and, the Dalit police officer allegedly along with 7-8 Dalit boys attacked the Rajputs, whose houses were situated in the Dalit neighbourhood. In the night of 10 October 1995, the in- charge of local police station informed the senior police officers that the Rajputs had burnt Dalit houses and were attacking them. In response to that the SSP (Senior Superintend of Police) allegedly reached village Sikheda with the force; after seeing the fire billowing out of the Dalit houses, he ordered the police to arrest whomever they happened to see; the police arrested 64 Rajputs including old and children and allegedly behaved rudely with them, and foisted charges on them under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The police station in- charge allegedly threatened Rajputs that he would teach such a lesson to them that they would not live with their heads up; nine charges (dharayen) including demolition of Ambedkar’s statue, were imposed on the Rajputs. There was a sequel to the 10 October incident: on 11 October 1995, Dalits allegedly took away the material which was lying there for the construction of the school/college; destroyed the fans; uprooted the foundation of the school and constructed Ambedkar Chabutara and installed Ambedkar’s statue there (Daink Jagran and Amar Ujala of 11 October 1995). The Kalyan Singh-led BJP government (1997–99), formed after around two years of Mayawati’s first regime (1995), bolstered the confidence of the Rajputs. They sought to remove the Ambedkar’s statue. It led to the retaliation by Dalits. The Sikheda Kand (the Sikheda incident) has special significance in the caste politics in Meerut. As discussed in Chapter 4, the revival of Kshatriya Mahasabha in Meerut was a response of Rajputs to Dalits’ involvement in the Sikheda Kand. T H E D A L I T- H I G H C A S T E C O N F L I C T S I N S H O B H A P U R V I L L A G E : C U LT U R A L I S S U E S

Anand Sharma, an Ayurveda doctor in village Shobhapur of Meerut district, narrated to me an incident which happened with him in 1988.34 Mayawati had come to his village and allegedly incited the Dalits against Brahmins that they had exploited Dalits in the past by giving the example from mythology – giving example of Sambhuka from Ramayana35; Dalits said that it was because of the Brahmins the Dalits had suffered in the past. The Dalits allegedly used abusive language for the Brahmin Gods and heroes, etc., on occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti, hurting the feelings of Brahmins. The respondent tried to reason with Dalits that all Brahmins were not same and there were examples in the history of Brahmins being 248

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liberals and helping Dalits  – name Ambedkar was given by a Brahmin teacher; Dayanand Saraswati was also a Brahmin. He alleged that in response to Mayawati’s incitement Dalits mob came to attack the Brahmins in their residences. Showing the marks of injuries on his body, which he claimed were inflicted by Dalits; and he had to fire in ‘self-defense’. The years following this incident saw the emergence of the BSP as one of the most influential parties in UP heading government four times. In this context, there emerged in Shobhapur several leaders and activists of the BSP among the Dalits. Whenever the BSP government was installed, the nonDalits told me that the Dalits behaved in an aggressive way towards the non-Dalits, and in instances of conflicts the local state was seen siding with the BSP supporters (Jatavs). However, following the formation of the nonBSP government, especially the BJP government (formed in 2017) led by a Rajput, Yogi Adityanath, the BSP activists and leaders (Jatavs) became the prime targets of police action; any incident of conflict between Jatavs and high castes, especially Rajputs, became a pretext for the local state (police) to arrest the Dalits indiscriminately. For instance, the police booked several Dalits of Shobhapur under some sections of IPC (Indian Penal Code) charging them of breaching peace, following their participation in all India Bandh on 2 April 2018 called by the Dalits against the Supreme Court ruling against the misuse of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. In the context of the bandh, a nonDalit BJP supporter allegedly murdered the son of Dalit BSP leader in Shobhapur (see Khan 2018).36

IV Varying patterns of democratic mobilization: western UP and WNE Rajasthan This section seeks to substantiate with some empirical evidence the claim that in Rajasthan democratic movement is stronger than that in western UP. Before dwelling upon this question, conceptual clarification on the notion of civil society and its relation to democracy is in order. Following Neera Chandhoke, I refer to civil society as a space between family and the state. She underlines that ‘within civil society, associations of every stripe and hue exist cheek by jowl’ (Chandhoke 2003: 64). Thus, the civil society as a space simultaneously accommodates all kinds of organizations, institutions, groups or individuals  – these can be both democratic and undemocratic/semi-democratic/anti-democratic/authoritarian/sectarian. ­­ ​­­ ­­ ​­­ Unless specified, I shall be using the space between the family and the state as civil society in my discussion.37 In western UP, civil society is monopolized by the forces which are inimical to democratic rights of women or any vulnerable section of society; in WNE Rajasthan, the public space is 249

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shared by both kinds of forces – those opposed to the rights of vulnerable sections and those who strive for democratic rights of women as individuals or members of castes. Indeed, there are frequent reports from western UP of some organizations/vigilante groups attacking people involved in the alleged cases of Love Jehad, cow slaughter; of murders based on individual enmity, etc. rarely there are reports of instances of attempts for community harmony; on the contrary, in Rajasthan the instances of violation of human right are countered through democratic mobilization by large number of civil society organization. Even attempts for collective action to provide basic need such setting up schools in western UP are mired in caste-based conflict (Singh 2006). The civil society in western UP is monopolized by convergence of all kinds of ­­anti-democratic forces/semi-quasi democratic ​­­ ­­ ​­­ organizations/traditional institution like Khap, unorganized amorphous masses and the local state. The undemocratic elements become more active in the times of caste or communal tension (Singh 2016). They are also more aggressive if a woman from within them (caste/community) become assertive about their rights (see Chowdhry 2007, for the role of khaps). There have also not been anti- corruption movements in UP unlike those of the ­­ ​­­ Anna Hazare-led Bharastachar Virodhi Jan Andolan (BVJA) and Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangthan (MKSS) movement in Rajasthan (see for Rajasthan, Jenkins 2004). Civil society organizations and democratic mobilization in Rajasthan Many civil society organizations exist in Rajasthan.38 These include both kinds of civil society organizations, those engaged in democratic mobilizations, and the ones that infringe upon the democratic rights of others. 39 The democratic civil society organizations in Rajasthan contribute to democratic mobilization in the following ways, all of which cumulatively contribute to strengthening of democracy: by contributing to ‘participatory democracy’ through such devise such as Jan Sunvai (public hearing), transparency in delivery of welfare schemes, helping in natural calamities such as drought or famine (Bhatia and Dreze 1998: 103), against child marriage, Sati, rape, social and economic discrimination of Dalits redistribution.40 The role of the MKSS, PUCL, RUWA and CDR is most noteworthy in democratic mobilization in Rajasthan. Each of the civil society organizations focusses on specific issues – rights of women, children or Dalits; and transparency in implementation of welfare schemes, help in natural calamities such as drought or universal human rights, but they work in cooperation with each other, and some coordinate with state agencies.41 There are five types of explanations as to why there are so many CSOs in Rajasthan: one, primordial (‘Marwari ethos’,42 ‘Rajput ethos’)43; two, geopolitical (draught and natural calamities in the past, especially in the Jodhpur/Marwar region); 250

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three, historical legacies/feudal past44; four, presence of a large number of concerned citizens (teachers, researchers, retired and serving bureaucrats, philanthropic businessmen) and five, availability of space for democratic activities in public institutions (Rajasthan University and the IDS). Growth of democratic civil society mobilization in Rajasthan can roughly be divided into three phases: one, pre- emergency period (up to the mid1970s); two, the later 1970s–1980s and three, the 1980s onward. Pradeep Bhargava, who has been associated with the civil society movement in Rajasthan, argues that ‘foundation for the secular voluntary action’ in Rajasthan was laid by the sarvodaya movement, the Khadi cooperatives and adult education movement in the 1960s and 1970s. The political developments of the 1970s provided opportunity for building the ‘democratic consciousness and mobilization for realizing human rights, social reform and social justice’. Among such developments included Jai Praksha Narain’s Sampurna Kranti Andolan (‘Total Revolution’), popularly known as the JP movement. In the 1980s, the activities of the NGOs proliferated in all ‘possible areas of welfare’ in Rajasthan due to the support of international agencies and donors – UN agencies, bilateral agencies, private foundations, international non-governmental organizations, youth organizations like Rajasthan Democratic Students Front or RDSF, All India Youth Federation, Democratic Youth Federation, All India Students Federation, which opposed emergency later joined ‘several professions like journalism, and acted as opinion leaders in civil society’ (see Bhargava 2007: 259–60). It was indeed due to the commitment and resolve of some committed individuals that the civil society movement in Rajasthan originated and flourished (see ibid; Bakshi 1998; Jenkins 2004). The latest phase of democratic civil society movement which coincides the period of this study (late 1980s–2015) was triggered off by two kinds of developments during 1987–92 in Rajasthan: first, the draught of 1987–88 which caused miseries to people45 (see also Ray and Sharma 2006); their livestock died due to the lack of fodder, their crop failed, people were at the verge of starvation; second, two cases of violation of rights of women, discussed earlier, i.e., Roop Kanwar case (1987) involving commitment of Sati by a Rajput woman46; another, Bhanwari Devi case (1992) about the rape of a Kumhar (MBC) woman. Dalits in broad democratic movement: the role of the CDR/NCDR I have discussed in Chapter  3 that unlike UP, Rajasthan has both kinds of Dalit organizations, exclusively caste-oriented and those which are part of broad democratic movement such as CDR (Centre for Dalit Rights)/ NCDR (National Campaign for Dalit Rights) (henceforth the CDR). Indeed, the CDR is the most active and articulate Dalit organization in Rajasthan. Though it works in collaboration with non-Dalit democratic 251

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organizations, it maintains its autonomy regarding the rights of Dalits. The issues about which it is specifically concerned cover broad range of rights of Dalits – social, cultural, political and economic: gender and caste-based discrimination, governance/transparency in implementing welfare policies; prevention of Dalits from entering temples, using public water resources for drinking; atrocities committed on Dalits in terms of physical violence; Begar (unpaid labour); and, prevention from exercising voting rights.47 The modus operandi of CDR include sending a FFT (Fact-Finding Teams) to the scene of incident involving the violation of Dalit rights; making recommendations to the government for acting against the guilty persons belonging to non-Dalit castes and government officials, filing petitions in the court of law, filing FIRs (First Information Reports) with police against the accused, organizing awareness programmes, sitting on dharna. The CDR publicizes the reports of FFTs and appeals to concerned public authorities to take appropriate action, especially under The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities), Act 1989. For monitoring electoral process, the CDR has appointed Dalit Election Watch. The Dalit Election Watch is a devise which works as a watchdog to ensure that Dalits are not prevented from exercising their vote by the dominant castes during the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections. CDR’s activities contribute to generating consciousness among the Dalits about their rights, sensitizing non-Dalits and administration about the rights of Dalits, and appealing to the administration/government to deliver justice to the victims.48 The FFTs of the CDR investigated a large number of cases from eight districts of Rajasthan, Nagaur, Jalore, Tonks, Ajmer, Pali, Jaipur, Sikar and Dausa during 2010–17. These cases involved corruption in implementing the welfare policies meant for Dalits, and prevention of temple entry to them by 49 the ­­non-Dalits. ​­­ Especially with reference to Dalit rights, any attempt to seek equality by Dalits is violently resisted by the high castes; sometimes the attack on them is also unprovoked. Some instances of the reports of the FFTs are narrated below. ​­­ CDR’s ­­anti-corruption mobilization A Dalit journalist and social workers employed in a Hindi newspapers Rashtradoot reported in February 2016 against illegal selling of the trees grown in the panchayati land by the woman (Jat) panchayat pradhan in village Daulatgarh, Ajmer district. Annoyed with the expose by the journalist, the husband of the pradhan beat up the journalist and hurled castebased abuses at him. In another case, the same pradhan falsely included the name of a Dalit woman as a worker in the MNERAGA programme who did not work in it, misappropriating the funds in her name. In the second case, the funds were raised by illegally selling trees in the Panchayat land, and the wages meant for the Dalit wage labourer were appropriated by the 252

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village pradhan. In the third case, a Dalit woman was beaten up by the dealer (Jain) who abused her. CDR and mobilization against discrimination in temples and public places In a village in September 2010, a religious programme (Dharmik Anushthan) was organized by one religious leader. As a part of this programme, a Kalash Yatra (a procession with sacred pot) was organized, in which girl students, except those belonging to the SC/ST categories from private and government schools, had participated. In this procession, one Dalit student (whose caste was not initially revealed) also participated. As soon as the girl’s caste identity was revealed she was humiliated and abused. In the second case, in April 2014, in district Ajmer, Hanuman Jayanti Samaroh was organized in Bhagwan Narsingh Temple. Dalit women gathered at the gate of temple to take saris, the priest called them inside, but non-Dalits present in the temple insulted the Dalit women for entering the temple. In the third case, in May 2017, the Dalits were attacked for entering the newly built temple in village Adwada, district Jalore. They were denied the entry despite the fact the Dalits also made financial contribution (INR 8,600/per family). In the fourth case, a Dalit woman (originally from Rajasthan and now settled in Delhi) donated land which she bought for construction of a school in district Dausa. The local administration rewarded her for the contribution. But during the reward-giving ceremony, she was not allowed to come to the podium to receive the reward by the local dominant social groups; it was given away to her from the ground. In the fifth case, in a village, Dalits sought to welcome the pilgrims who were going to visit Baba Ram Dev temple by serving food, tea, breakfast, etc. Non-Dalits objected to Dalits’ move, and socially boycotted them. In the sixth case, Dalit students were scolded for drinking water from a public water tank, while they were returning from their school. Acting upon the reports of FFTs, the CDR appealed to the administration to provide justice to the victims under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, filed FIRs against the guilty and asked the government for effective measures (‘thos kadam’) to provide security to them so that incidents of victimization of Dalits are not repeated, and recommended constitution of Samarastra Simitians (Harmony Committees) consisting of Dalit activists, representatives of police, community leaders and people who have humanistic thinking should be established to prevent atrocities on Dalits. The FFTs also suggested that the Samarastra Simitians should visit villages from time to time to sensitize people about Dalit rights. Though the contribution of the FFTs did not always yield tangible results, it helped to generate consciousness among people and sensitize administration to a considerable extent. 253

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Challenges before the democratic civil society movement in Rajasthan and its contribution Democratic civil society organizations in Rajasthan remain in constant conflict with the undemocratic sections of the civil society, i.e., feudal and casteist forces, corrupt panchayat leaders, contractors, politicians and bureaucrats, which uphold social evils such as child marriage and Sati (see Jenkins 2004; Ray and Sharma 2006; Bhargava 2007; Sahoo 2013).50 For instance, in 1987 the civil society organizations which protested commitment of Sati by Roop Kanwar were opposed by young Rajput youths who took out large procession in streets of Jaipur with swords in their hands to support Sati and protect ‘Rajput identity’ (Mathur 2004: 173). Even the Fact-Finding Teams of the CDR (Centre for Dalit Rights) faced constant opposition form the PICs, village pradhans and police. The police have been often reluctant to file FIRs against the accused in humiliation and harassment of Dalits by the dominant castes.51 Joint move of different civil society organizations against the violation of the traditional codes by Jatavs (Dalits) was met with the resistance from Jats in Chakwada village of Jaipur district.52 On account of the challenges, on several occasions, the democratic civil society mobilization does not yield tangible results. But the failure does not undermine its significance: it means that there is a constant struggle between democratic civil society and forces inimical to democratic mobilization in Rajasthan. The democratic civil society organizations through means such as effective participation of people in Jansunwai, legal means (RTI), Fact-Finding Teams Reports of the CDR, interaction/collaboration with people, CSOs and state functionaries, justice delivery/action against the guilty, publicity/media, etc., contribute to democratic movement in Rajasthan (see also, Bhatia and Dreze 1998; Dreze 2001; Dreze and Sen 2002: 367; Bhargava 2007: 261 fn. 9, 263–65; Roy 2018).53 In social auditing initiated by the civil society organizations during Jan Sunwais, some public servants/panchayat leaders were made to return the money which they had misappropriated from the funds meant for people’s welfare. The democratic civil society mobilization evoked policy response in some cases from the government in Rajasthan. The government recognized people’s right to access to public documents on nominal charges (Bhatia and Dreze 1998) and set up of Mahila Thanas (women police stations).54 In Marwar region, due to the efforts of the CSOs, the jewellery of the tribals which was usurped by the moneylenders was returned, and construction of a cement factory in Kotra tribal region was stopped (Sahoo 2013: 159). Among the contributions of democratic civil society in Rajasthan, the most important response was the passage of Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 providing stringent punishment including death for abetment to Sati (Mathur 2004). 254

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To sum up, some broad generalizations emerge about differences in castes’ collective mobilization and the state response to them. The PICs have generally been more sustaining, vociferous and effective than the PMCs in their mobilization. The principal reasons for the PICs’ capability to collectively and effectively mobilize themselves lie in their positive relationships with the constant factors; and inability of the PMCs to do so lie in their inverse relationships to these factors. The PICs receive positive response from the state due to their effective representation in the state (ministries), legislature and party structures and their ability to collectively and effectively mobilize themselves; the PMCs do not receive such response because they lack these capabilities. However, due to the impact of contingent factors sometime even the state responds to some demands of PMCs, and some individual MBCs get symbolic representation in the ministries.

Notes

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CONCLUSION

The quarter of a century since the 1990s, the period covered in this book, involves a stage in transformation of India. Among the most effective indicators of the transformation is the change in identity politics involving castes, religions and regions. This period has also coincided with process of economic reforms adding development to the agenda of political contestation. One dimension of the contestation is related to the distribution of development dividend among various castes, religions and regions. Though since the 1990s, caste, religion and region have been simultaneously operating as the markers of identity politics in India, at a specific time one of them seems to have become more important than the other two, at different times other factors become more important, and so on.1 In this context, some questions arise. A few of these include: one, are caste identities, as asked about identity groups by Gutmann (2003) ‘justice friendly’ or ‘morally suspect’ or what is the attitude of the castes, which strive for their collective democratic rights, towards such rights of individuals within them, especially women? Two, has identity plateaued or become irrelevant and replaced by development? Three, is there a reversal in political and cultural/social/ideological orientation of identities, especially Dalits and MBCs from being autonomous to being subsumed by the Hindutva identity, especially since the 2014 Lok Sabha election? Four, what is the position of the citizen in caste-based group politics? In this conclusion, I will address these questions in the light of the discussion in the book. Before doing so, I will weave together different aspects of the central argument elaborated upon in various chapters of this book: Indian democracy does not regard equally different castes in my sample – Dalits (Jatavs/Bairwas/Meghwals), MBCs (Nais, Kumhars, Sainis/Malis, Dhinwars and Gadarias), intermediary caste/upper OBCs (Jats) and high castes (Brahmins and Rajputs): degrees of democracy exist. The place of a caste in democracy  – both substantive and procedural, is indicated by its political economy. The caste’s political economy is determined by two kinds of factors: the constant and the contingent. The constant factors include a caste’s numerical strength, its political consolidation in a political 260

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unit (village, district, region, constituency, state or nation) and its economic conditions in a region. The contingent factors consist of inter- caste/ inter­­caste group or intra-caste/intra­­ ​­­ caste group competition; inter-party ­­ ​­­ or intra-party competition; role of the civil society organizations; cultural and economic legacies of the region and castes’ relationships with them; political context; castes’ relationship with political regimes; ideologies and policies of parties/regimes; and others (social capital/networking/contacts, crime- capital and money power of a candidate/caste, and protective constitutional provisions for the socially marginalized castes). The castes which have positive relationship with the constant factors are Politically Influential Castes (PICs), and those which have negative relationship with these factors are Politically Marginalized Castes (PMCs). Normally, because of their positive relationships with the constant factors, political parties and the state treat the PICs more favourably than the PMCs in terms of realization of their gains about recognition, representation and redistributive justice; and PMCs are not treated in the same manner because of their inverse relationship with these factors. However, the impact of the constant factors gets disturbed sometimes due to the intervention of some or all contingent factors to the advantage of the PMCs. In my sample, the PICs are intermediary caste/upper OBCs (Jats), Jatavs/Meghwals/Bairwas (Dalits), Sainis/ Malis (MBCs) and Brahmins and Rajputs (high castes), and the PMCs are the MBCs (Nais, Gadarias, Dhinwars and Kumhars). Different chapters demonstrate that the PICs are better placed than the PMCs in Indian democracy in terms of their capacity to self-mobilize themselves through CBPIs, caste organizations or caste-based parties, attitude of the main political parties and responses of the political regimes towards these castes and their interests. However, there are differences in the extent of positions of different castes when we compare them. These differences also occur with the change in context of time and space. If a caste is PIC in one area at one point of time; the same caste can be PMC in another area at another point of time (Chapters 1–6). The differences in politics of various castes in both states are reflected in the following aspects: levels of castes’ self-mobilization through caste organizations, in their sustainability, vociferousness and effectiveness (Chapter  5); search for alternative cultural politics (Chapters 2 and 3); their attempt to form caste-based parties, and preferences for political parties, and extent of representation, recognition and accommodation by political parties (Chapters  4 and 5); representation in the ministries, state responses and levels of democratic mobilization; and the mismatch about the mobilization by the parties and civil societies/ movements (in UP, political parties exist with weak mobilization on issues such as reservation; in Rajasthan caste-based parties are absent but castebased mobilization occurs on reservation: Chapters 4–6). The reasons for these differences across various castes and the two regions in my sample occur due to different extents of relationships of the castes with constant and 261

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contingent factors: the PICs (Jats, Brahmins and Rajputs), a single MBC (Sainis) and a single Dalit caste (Jatavs/Meghwals/Bairwas) in both states are comfortably placed in Indian democracy, even as several MBCs (Nais, Kumhars, Gadarias and Dhinwars: the latter are not generally found in Rajasthan) are placed in vulnerable position. Some broad generalizations emerge about the differences in caste politics in Rajasthan and UP regarding the extent of caste mobilization, and determinants of the state responses to them. Regarding generalization in differences in impacts of mobilization of castes, mobilization can be viewed in two aspects: one, self-mobilization for the social and cultural dimension by CBPIs and caste organizations for social and cultural recognition and two, collective action for reservation, protection of human rights, distributive justice, etc.. Both the low and high castes are involved in competitive politics for recognition of their social and cultural rights. There are differences in levels of involvement of different castes. In the politics of social and cultural recognition in both areas of study during the post-Independence period, the low castes are questioning the cultural symbols identified with the high castes/social hierarchy and are discovering and inventing alternative symbols of social and cultural identities symbolizing a process of deSanskritization; in reaction, the high castes also discover and highlight the social and cultural symbols associated with them. But there is a basic difference between the low castes’ and high castes’ politics of social and cultural recognition. Through their self-mobilization, the low castes challenge the dominant cultural values and social hierarchy and look for their own alternatives. Unlike the low castes, the high castes do not question the social hierarchy but seek to preserve and protect their cultural symbols and highlight virtues and significance of cultural symbols associated with them. Again, the low castes are generally inspired by bhakti traditions, B.R. Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule or Ram Manohar Lohia who question social hierarchies and profess social justice/social change; the high castes are largely inspired by ideologies associated with social conservatism or status quo Hindutva philosophy, RSS’s ideology, Gandhism, philosophy of the Vedas and the Gita. Under the influence of their respective ideologies, Dalits are more active in alternative social and cultural movement such as Ambedkarization in western UP than in Rajasthan, the MBCs more involved in cultural politics in both states. Since caste politics as identity politics is relational, reactive and competitive, mobilization of low castes provokes the high castes to mobilize themselves in reactions. The caste mobilizations which are initially reactive become simultaneous in due course (Chapter 6). The high castes in UP got mobilized to get recognition of their cultural symbols in UP but in Rajasthan such mobilization of the high castes has been rare. The mobilization of the PICs has been more sustained and vociferous than that of the PMCs. Determinants of state response to a caste/caste group mobilization are in proportion to its representation in the legislature and ministries, its 262

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capacity to influence electoral outcome, create law and order disturbance through collective mobilization by caste organizations, caste-based parties and/or CBPIs. In specific political context, especially elections to Vidhan Sabha or Lok Sabha, the state becomes specifically more considerate to the demands of different castes. But it is the demands of the PICs that the state is more positive about. Under the influence of such determinants the state has responded positively to the demands of PIC such as Jats to include them in the state OBC lists in Rajasthan and UP. Since the determinants are not favourably disposed to the MBCs, the political regimes have not been unanimous in their response to demands of the MBCs such as division of the OBC quota: while in Rajasthan, the BJP and Congress regimes have been indifferent to this demand, in UP, there were differences on the issue among three types of regimes: the SP and the BSP regimes opposed it, but the BJP regime (Rajnath Singh-led) appointed Hukum Singh Committee to recommend measures for subdivision of the OBC quota. The reasons for such divisions among three different sets of regimes were part of their mo​­­ ­­ ​­­ bilization strategies, which were influenced by ­­inter-caste/inter-caste group conflicts and competition. Generally, the scope for the PMCs (other than Jatavs in UP and Sainis in both states) in Rajasthan and western UP in electoral and party politics, i.e., representation in political parties, legislature and ministries, remains limited; unless some contingent factors disturb the general pattern, they can only vote but not represent. But the PICs are adequately represented, and their interests are accommodated; the scope of electoral democracy is much wider for them. The low castes in western UP can form their own parties but they do not do so in Rajasthan. The high castes are recognized in all aspects of the electoral democracy; the PMCs generally remain neglected in its most aspects except when some contingent factors work in their favour. Regarding the first question raised above, i.e., whether caste identities are ‘justice friendly’ or ‘morally suspect’, in the framework of Gutmann (2003), identities as caste groups can be both ‘justice friendly’ and ‘morally suspect’. Or to paraphrase it, they can be democratic and anti/undemocratic. In Gutmann’s formulations ‘justice friendly’ identity groups aid core principles of democratic justice – ‘civic equality’, liberty and opportunity; they have equal regard for democratic justice to identity groups as well as individuals. ‘Morally suspect’ identity groups impede democratic justice; they give priority to the group rights over individuals’ rights. The discussion in the chapters of the book shows that castes  – their organizations, CBPIs (Caste-Based ­­ ​­­ Public Intellectuals) and ­­single-caste ​­­ parties – ­ seem ­ to be ‘justice friendly’ about their collective group rights. But the caste organizations have either been indifferent or hostile to rights of women from their castes. Indeed, the attitudes of caste organizations towards their vulnerable members such as women or their democratic rights and caste identities are ‘morally suspect’ (anti/undemocratic). In case of women such democratic 263

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rights include: inheritance of property, freedom of choice to marry, to befriend men/date /meet them in the public spaces, life style (dress code), ban on usage of mobile phones, equality in relation to men in family or to go against the established social norms/customs (notwithstanding their anachronism and undemocratic nature), like Rajputs’ support to sati, practice of child marriage and Gujars’ support to their caste fellows accused of raping Bhanwari Devi in Rajasthan or caste groups’ collusion in ‘moral policing’ in western UP. In the dominant literature, there are two bi-polar views on the nature of caste’s relationship with democracy: one, it plays a democratic role in empowering the castes, especially the lower ones through their participation in elections/procedural democracy, and political mobilization (Rudolph and Rudolph 1960; Yadav 2000; Shah 2002; Alam 2004; Jaffrelot and Kumar 2009; Varshney 2013: 64–95) and two, it plays anti-democratic role (caste associations/ traditional caste panchayats such as khaps denying basic rights to their individual members to survive through the practice of ‘honour killing’, and enforcing customary codes on members of society) (see Chowdhry 2007, 2011) and Sati (see Chapter 6, this book) or participating in communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in 2013 (Singh 2016). Such bipolar approach ignores intrinsic traits of the caste identities: as stated above they play a democratic role in relation to one kind of issues in one context, but undemocratic in relation to another issue in another context. For being truly democratic, an identity must be democratic universally, in all times and spaces. The caste identities are neither democratic nor undemocratic exclusively, in all cases and contexts of time and space: they stand The caste identities are ­­semi-democratic implying that they are ­­mid-way. ​­­ ​­­ democratic with regard to their community/group rights but are generally un/anti-democratic about rights of their vulnerable members, especially women, their freedom and equality. Based on their attitude towards the universal democratic issues (in all times and spaces) the caste groups can be divided into three categories: (1) democratic; (2) un/anti-democratic and (3) ­­semi-democratic. There is a difference between the un/anti-democratic ​­­ ­­ ​­­ and semi-democratic groups. The former are opposed to democratic rights of ‘others’ who are different from these groups – religious and ethnic minorities, along with women. The latter are opposed to ‘others’ not because of ‘others’ qua ‘others’ (and their vulnerable members such as women) but because by nature, ideology or orientation they do not support the latter’s group rights. The anti/democratic groups are opposed to rights of minorities and dissenters and support unequal and hierarchical society; the semidemocratic are both democratic (vis-à-vis group rights) and undemocratic (vis-à-vis ­­ ​­­ their vulnerable members, especially women). ­­ ​­­ ​­­ Democratic, un/anti-democratic and ­­semi-democratic, all kinds of forces exist together in the civil society, if we consider it to be a space between the family and the state (Chandhoke 1995). Existing together with 264

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un/anti-democratic and semi-democratic forces, the democratic forces in ­­ ​­­ ­­ ​­­ western UP and WNE Rajasthan show uneven concerns towards democratic rights: in western UP democratic civil society forces are less active than those in WNE Rajasthan. For instance, in ‘moral policing’, though the lead is taken by some identifiable specific groups (Bajrang Dal, Ram Sene, Shiv Sena and some women’s organizations), in collaboration with the local state (police), the most caste organizations either remain silent spectators or extend tacit support to such acts. Caste identities (with exceptions such as CDR/NCDR (Centre for Dalit Rights/National Campaign for Dalit Rights), who work as allies of democratic organizations such as PUCL (People’s Union of Civil Liberties) in Rajasthan) are allies of anti/undemocratic forces in relation to universal democratic rights of vulnerable sections such as women, some by silence on violation of such rights, some by supporting the violation (Chapter 6). 2 Indeed, by and large, the caste groups, like the religious ones, expect their individual members, especially women to follow certain social behaviour. Deviation from the expected behaviour can result in social boycott, mental and physical torture or even murder. However, the caste organizations/intellectuals consider the women as embodiment of izzat (honour) of their caste. In this respect they consider it their dharma (religious duty) to protect what they view as caste’s women’s ­izzat  – ­‘bahu beti ki izzat (honour of daughters and daughters-in-law)’. It is important to note that whenever the caste organizations/intellectuals raise issues related to women’s rights, they do not do so out of concern for women qua women but to save izzat of their castes/caste groups. In the garb of providing security to them, the caste organizations and intellectuals in reality deny women of their castes/caste groups the basic democratic rights  – freedom, equality and equal opportunities. In this context, not only are women themselves expected to guard their izzat as the embodiment of family’s or caste’s izzat, the castes also work as vigilante; to punish the violator either themselves or in collaboration with like-minded sections of society and police. The preservation and protection of castes/caste groups’ izzat can be done by maintaining the traditions or customs of the castes/caste groups. In the times of communal polarization (on religious lines) of society, the izzat of women of a caste becomes the izzat of ­­bahu-betion ​­­ (daughters and ­­daughters-in-law) ​­­ of entire religious community (formed by dilution of contradictions among various castes). The religious community takes upon itself to protect the izzat of entire community overlooking the caste differences caste. This is what happened with respect of the communal riot which took place in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of western UP in September- October 2013. The izzat of women of a particular caste – Jat, symbolized the izzat of entire Hindu community. An incident of alleged teasing of a Jat girl by a Muslim boy, and alleged murder of the boy by Jats resulted in politicization of the issue, which included holding of rival Mahapanchayats (huge public 265

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rallies) of Hindus and Muslims. Notwithstanding the contested veracity of the eave teasing and its multiple interpretations, the issue was projected as violation of izzat of a Hindu girl: an issue which initially concerned only one caste – the Hindu Jat – became the izzat of entire Hindu community (Singh 2016). The second question, i.e., whether the identity has plateaued or become irrelevant or whether caste has got weakened in politics in India assumes significance, especially in the context of development agenda being projected with the rise of Narendra Modi. That several castes support the candidate a single caste in elections has promoted this thesis. In electoral politics, caste-based identity politics includes formation of alliances of several castes in order to support a candidate who belongs only to one caste. This does not depict the complete picture about the relevance or significance of caste in Indian politics. Indeed, if viewed together in relation to the various dimensions of politics, i.e., social and cultural as well as electoral, the identity politics has not reached a saturation point or become irrelevant. As discussed in Chapters  3–6, different castes in my sample are engaged in politics of recognition and redistributive justice. And the process of identity formation is a continuing phenomenon in the cultural and social aspect. In this aspect, identity politics may mature in case of one caste at one moment but no sooner than it matures, the process of identity politics begins in another caste, and so on. A nuanced view of the electoral politics shows that the entry point into electoral politics, i.e., allotment to tickets to contest elections, is generally determined by the caste profiles of the candidates. Since the entry-point to contest election or what I describe as ‘the passport to enter the legislature’ is generally determined by caste consideration, i.e., a caste’s relationship with constant factors – its numerical strength, consolidation in an area and economic conditions, the vulnerable castes like MBCs and ati-Dalits in western UP, and MBCs, Dalits (except in the reserved constituencies) and ati-Dalits in Rajasthan generally (except when contingent factors play out) remain excluded from entering the legislature, and indeed ministries. Since such castes do not have option of voting the candidates of their own castes, they opt for parties/candidates with which they identify themselves. And such identification is not constant; it changes as the situation demands. As soon as a caste finds a candidate from its stock, it opts for its ‘own’ candidate or castes (Chapter 5). Caste mobilization is impacted by issues which are caste-based, secular and ideological (Chapters 4–6). In the electoral politics, the effectiveness of caste or secular issues varies from context to context. In one context, an ascriptive identity becomes a predominant factor but in another, secular issues occupy the centre stage. Relegation of the identity into background in a situation or election, therefore, does not mean that the identity politics has reached a saturation point.

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Dalits and MBCs question the hierarchical values associated with caste system, Hinduism or Brahminism through the process of de-Sanskritization and Ambedkarization (Chapters  2 and 3). Attributing the social hierarchy to Hinduism, some of Dalits even converted to Buddhism. In UP, their choice of BSP in elections over other parties symbolized their dislike for parties which they identify with the high castes, i.e., the Congress or the BJP. Especially, the BJP has been viewed as an advocate of social hierarchy based on Hinduism. However, in the recent past, especially since the 2014 Lok Sabha election, a section of Dalit leaders, especially the non-Jatavs, have been accommodated in the BJP: some have got elected to legislative bodies as BJP candidates or have become members of advisory bodies of the government. Some of these have been ardent Ambedkarites and ardent critics of Hinduism/Brahminism. This has given rise to the third question mentioned earlier, i.e., has a reversal of the search for social- cultural and political alternative by Dalits started? Answer to this question in terms of yes or no will be too simplistic. It can be properly given only if we look at ­ ­­­ ​­­ multiple dimensions of politics – cultural-social recognition, political recognition and accommodation, and redistributive justice (Chapters  3–6). Therefore, there is need to segregate political (electoral and party politics) from social and cultural. Their preference for the BJP over BSP is an aspect of politics of political accommodation, which is different but related to the politics of social and cultural recognition: their preference for the BJP does not indicate a process of reversal of Dalits’ search for socio- cultural alternative. Such accommodation for all Dalits (Jatavs and non-Jatavs) is not possible in the BSP, which is already dominated by Politically Influential Castes among Dalits, the Jatavs. Besides, the absence of reversal remains intact in social and cultural field – a la de-Sanskritization and Ambedkarization. Indeed, unlike in the arena of political recognition and accommodation, an identity group such as Dalits is generally united in the process of cultural and social recognition (though there may be internal differences within that group). However, it is possible that in due course a particular aspect of politics (political recognition/electoral or party politics) may converge other aspects of politics (politics of social and cultural recognition). About the fourth question, i.e., regarding the position of the citizen in caste-based group politics, both practitioners of politics – political parties in domain of electoral and party politics (institutional/procedural democracy) and CBPIs in domain of social and cultural politics (substantive democracy), and discourse have focussed on group rights (Chapters 2 and  3). Even the response of the state is guided by group interests (Chapter 6). The citizen is missing. Indeed, the absence of citizen has a historical legacy in India. And the ‘subject- citizen’, that emerged since the nineteenth century was a ‘delusion’. In Independent India, the notion of citizenship as a relationship between the individual and the state has been

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mediated by the community informed by caste, class, religion or gender (Jayal 2013). Thus, in electoral and party politics, whether it is allotment of tickets, formation of ministries or occupation of important positions in the parties, caste/community is the basic consideration. Only persons belonging to four to eight Politically Influential Castes  – Jats, Rajputs, Brahmins, mostly Jatavs among Dalits (in the reserved seats) and Sainis (among MBCs) are accommodated in the legislative bodies and party positions: persons belonging to several castes, mostly MBCs (except by the ­­single-caste ​­­ ​­­ parties in western UP), ­­Ati-Dalits are generally ignored; they remain only voters unable to represent. Thus, out of several heterogeneous castes, only a few Politically Influential Castes control politics in both regions covered in this study (Chapters 4–5). Such ‘inauthenticity and unrepresentativeness’ remains a ‘shortcoming’ of Indian democracy (Jayal 1999: 255). The inclusion of a few and exclusion of many castes happen because the principal criterion of accommodation in the power structure is the political capability of a caste (its numerical strength, capability to influence the electoral outcome and popular mobilization, cause public inconvenience), not the citizen. Indeed, the PMCs, the MBCs and Dalits have gained partially in terms of their political recognition and redistributive justice (Chapters  4–6). If citizenship were to be the criterion for entry into power structure, person from all caste/castes groups, not only of those from influential castes could have been accommodated in the power structure. The discourse on democracy in India over the past more than two decades has largely been skewed in favour of party politics and elections or procedural democracy in comparison to substantive democracy. Its principal focus has been on what happens in elections rarely concerned with as to what happens between elections, when elections do not take place. For a broader view of democracy, there is a need to consider both dimensions of democracy, procedural and substantive. This is what this book has attempted to do regarding relationships between various castes, democracy and the state in two different regions of North India. As highlighted in the book, politics of castes remains focussed on caste groups, excluding the individuals as citizens; their worth to represent depends on which castes/ caste groups they belong to. While it is true that democracy in India becoming more participatory and inclusive, as literature on electoral democracy in India shows (Chapters 4 and 5), creation of ‘civic community’ remains an ‘unfinished project’ in India (Jayal 2013). In view of the transformation which India has undergone during the past few decades, it is now required that the scholarship took into consideration for further research the positions of politically ineffective social groups, castes or communities, and individuals as citizens, and to address the challenges in the direction of creating a ‘civic community’.

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Notes

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Appendix I A SELECT CBPIS: BIOGR A PH ICAL NOT ES Biographical backgrounds of some of the ‘intellectuals of societies’ or CBPIs (Caste-Based Public Intellectuals) from different castes – MBCs, Dalits, Jats, Brahmins and Rajputs, who have played decisive roles in the politics of recognition, distributive justice and in affairs of their respective castes are given below:

The MBCs Nais Pandit Rewati Prasad Sharma Born in 1893 at Rejuwa village of Jalesar tehsil of Etah district (Uttar Pradesh), Pandit Rewati Prasad Sharma was the senior most and perhaps the first intellectual of the Nais in the pre-I ndependence period. He was the second-generation educated member of his family. A teacher by profession, he was influenced by the philosophy of Arya Samaj and worked as its preacher. He wrote Varna Vyavastha (Sanskrit) and became the symbol of inspiration for the caste in the last century. He was elected pradhanmantri (prime minister) of the Akhil Bharatiya Nai Mahasabha in 1921. He advocated the insertion of ‘Brahman’ in the name of this organization and rechristening it as Akhil Bharatiya Nai Brahman Mahasabha. He died in 1981 (Smarika and Visheshank 1976, 1983), symbolizing adherence to Sanskritization. Daulal Rohiwal Born on 16 August 1924 in Jodhpur, Daulal Rohiwal was highly educated (M.A., L.L.B.). He worked as a teacher and practised as a lawyer in Jaipur after his retirement from government job. He was the founder of an alternative cultural movement among the Nais of North India. He challenged the notion that the Nais needed to follow the high castes for elevating their 271

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social status and prestige. He sought to de- Sanskritize the Sanskritization process which was started by Pandit Rewati Prasad Sharma, symbolized by the insertion ‘Brahman’ in the name of Akhil Bharatiya Nai Brahman ­Mahasabha. As a president of the Akhil Bharatiya Nai Brahman ­Mahasabha Rohiwal got a resolution passed in its Ajmer Adhiveashan in 1956, which sought to delete ‘Brahman’ from the Mahasabha’s name (Smarika and Visheshank 1976). Kanhayya Lal Khawas Kanhayya Lal Khawas was born on 12 December 1927 in a family which had a jagir in Mandalgaon, a rare feature for the Nais or the MBCs. The jagirdari right was granted to his forefather as a reward for his services by the Maharaja of Mewar He is the most leading member of the Nais, who took initiatives to set up caste organizations in western Rajasthan, the ROBCF (Rajasthan Other Backward Classes federation) being the important among them.1 He was also the leader of a 16-member delegation, which attended caste intellectuals’ ‘Minds Meet’ in Delhi in 1974. An MA in Economics and Hindi, and a law graduate, he taught in Mukangarh College of Nagpur University, and in the Engineering department (economics and social sciences) of the Jodhpur University. Before joining teaching, he also practised as a lawyer in Bhilwara. He started his public life in the 1950s by joining the Harijan Sewak Sangh, which was started by Mahatma Gandhi. This brought him into contact with the Dalits of Jodhpur. When he visited various colonies inhabited by the Dalits, he started reconsidering his views regarding the Hindu culture and religion. He developed a critical attitude towards Hindu religion. Though multiple ideologies such as Ambedkarism, Phule’s views, the Bhakti Saints’ life and ideas had influenced Khawas, it was Ambedkarism which had the most profound impact on him. He started Ambedkar ­Mission in Jodhpur to popularize the life and ideas of Ambedkar among the Dalits. He claimed ‘the credit to start the Ambedkar Mission in Jodhpur goes to me only. Nobody knew about Ambedkar here till then’. A group of four/five persons began organizing rallies in the Dalit localities and celebrating the birth anniversaries of Ambedkar. He played a leading role in popularizing the ideas of Bhakti saint Sain, a Nai by caste, who was a companion of Kabir. Babu Ram Advocate Born in village Bondra of Meerut district in 1953 to the illiterate peasant parents Babu Ram Advocate, who practises law in Ghaziabad district court, is among the most articulate intellectuals of the Nais who propounded the views on the conditions of the MBCs in general and, particularly in his own caste from the late 1970s onwards. He received his LLB degree from 272

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Meerut College, Chowdhary Charan Singh University, Meerut. He is the founder, publisher and editor of the MBC fortnightly Badalta Vaqt (Changing Times). He also formed a party for the MBCs – the Labour Party. 2 Gadarias Shankar Lal Pali Born in 1928 Shankar Lal Pali got interested in his caste’s affairs after reading the Rajpal Rajput as a student and attended the adhiveshan of the Akhil Bharatiya Pal Kshatriya Mahasabha held in Nagpur (then in MP) in 1933. He was the most active intellectual from his caste during 1947–71. He was the Mahamantri of the Akhil Bharatiya Pal Kshatriya Mahasabha for nine years from 1949 till 1958, and its President from 1965 till 1971. After retiring from the government job in 1972 he toured the entire country collecting information about the caste fellows for preparing the Directory of the caste, which was published in 1974. The period of his association with the Akhil Bharatiya Pal Kshatriya Mahasabha was marked with the deliberation upon the need of the community to send its representatives to the parliament and the state assemblies (Directory 1974). Ram Sevak Pal Ram Sevak Pal, a retired head master of a Delhi Government School, is one of the leading intellectuals of the Gadrias. He has been the editor of the Pal Ksahtriya Samchar since 1972 with a gap of few years. Born in Chhachiya village of Farrukhabad, UP, in 1929, he had come through a hard way. After completing schooling in his village, he earned a living by pulling rickshaw in Kanpur, and giving tuitions. He experienced caste discrimination by the Rajputs and Brahmins, especially in the village sports and studies. In response, he organized a team of the boys belonging to the backward classes since the high caste boys were organized on the caste lines against them. He resolved to do better than the high caste boys in every aspect of life – education, sports, wrestling, etc. A feeling which haunted him always was ‘when I am not less than the high castes in anything, why do they insult me? Whenever I am in a position to do something for my community I will do’. And he did it by striving to get ‘social recognition and justice to his caste’.3 Dr Ramesh Pal Dr Ramesh Pal, M.D., MBBS, a physician, was born in village Nangla Pipal of Aliganj tehsil of Etah district, UP. Son of an Intermediate college teacher, Ramesh Pal had been a witness to the social and economic exploitation of the MBCs in his village by the dabang castes – Rajputs and Brahmins. 273

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He resolved to take up the cause of the MBCs, including his caste when he would grow up. Accordingly, he got involved with the issues of the students belonging to the MBCs when he was studying in the Medical College Agra – became active in the doctors’ association, Secretary of the Resident Doctors’ Association.4 Kumhars Jai Ram Singh Jai Jai Ram Singh Jai, an MA in Geography, was born on 2 July 1940 in Nagri Gaon village of Nainital district of Uttar Pradesh, now in the Udham Singh Nagar of Uttaranchal. He has been inspired by Jyotirao Phule, whom he considers as the only intellectual of the MBCs. He worked as an Upper Division Clerk in the Central Defense Accounts (CDA) in Meerut. Since 1979 he remained associated with the BAMCEF, and its successor organizations DS4 and the BSP. Following the formation of the BSP, he said ‘Kanshi Ram compelled me to quit the job to contest the election’. He took the voluntary retirement from the government job to devote full time to the activities of the BSP. He contested election as a BSP candidate in the Lok Sabha elections from Kashipur and Outer Delhi constituencies in 1984 and 1989 respectively. In due course, Kashi Ram developed disliking for him and asked him to quit the party in 1991. Following his exit from the BSP, he set up his own party Lok Priya Samaj Party, which predominantly sought to mobilize his caste –Kumhars.5 Firay Ram Prajapati Born in the late 1940s, Firay Ram Prajapati, a Commerce graduate, is among the most influential and popular Kumhar leaders in Uttar Pradesh. He was born in village Dosa Banjarpur, Ghaziabad district. He is the founder President of the Uttar Pradesiya Prajapati Mahasangh (UPPM). He was also the prabhari (in charge) of the Samajwadi Party (western UP). Unable to get a job, he shifted to Modinagar from his village and started transport business. His father was involved in the traditional occupation in the jajmani system, apart from cultivating a small piece of land. Firay Ram has been influenced by Ambedkar, Phule and Periyar and Lohia. He is involved in the construction of alternative history of his caste by popularizing his caste icon kulguru Daksh Prajapati.6 Loon Chand Sinowadia Loonchand Sniwadia was born in the 1950s and educated up to 11th standard. He belongs to the second generation of the Kumhar elites of Jodhpur. 274

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He joined the business of his father who was a contractor in construction. An incident of displacement of persons of his caste from their residences by a construction company in the 1970s drew him into the public activities which led to his emergence of one of the backward class leaders, and a leader of his caste. He set up Akhil Bharatiya Kumbhkar Prajapati Sangh in 1979–80 along with his caste fellow Surendra Verma of Delhi.7 Dhinwars/Kashyaps D.D. Kashyap ­­Sixty-five-year-old ​­­ ­­ ​­­ Engineer D.D. Kashyap is a retired manager from the Steel Authority of India, a Government of India enterprise. Born to poor parents, who worked as peons in the D. N. and R. G. Colleges, Meerut, he joined the Hindustan Steel Limited as an overseer after completing diploma in engineering. He rose to the position of Manager Construction. He settled down in his home town Meerut in 1990 after seeking the voluntary retirement from the job. On persuasion of Kashayap Samaj of his locality, he held a meeting of the community and founded Kashyap Samaj.8

Dalits B.P. Maurya In the post-Independence era, the case of B.P. Maurya is one of the first and pioneering examples of having initiated the departure in the Dalit politics in the Hindi belt. Born into a poor agricultural labourer family in Aligarh district, he served as a lecturer of Law in Aligarh Muslim University. He challenged the patronage-based Congress politics and provided a new political alternative to the Dalits of western UP and was a leader of the Republican Party of India (RPI). But he got co-opted into the Congress, which he himself had opposed. This eroded his credibility among his followers. But the process initiated by him continued to grow slowly and continuously since the 1950s till date. It symbolized by the process of Ambedkarization – the impact of ideas and life of B.R. Ambedkar; under this process, Dalits not only rebelled against the hierarchical Hindu religion, they also searched for a political alternative to the high caste-led Congress (Singh 1998). As a part of Ambedkarization several Dalits including B.P. Maurya had converted to Buddhism. He can be credited with introducing the process of Ambedkarization in the 1950s and 1960s. The socio- cultural and political autonomy which Dalits of UP today have been experiencing in the contemporary period owes a great deal to B.P. Maurya. The rise of BSP or its leader Mayawati is in fact culmination of Ambedkarization process, which was initiated in UP by leaders like B.P. Maurya. 275

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P.L. Mimroth P.L. Mimroth is a different kind of Dalit intellectual. Unlike most of the Dalit intellectuals who exclusively focus on Dalit issues, he is a part of broad democratic movement, including non-Dalits’ movements such as PUCL. His father was an agricultural labourer in Rajasthan, who had migrated to Delhi for working as a construction worker. Mimroth completed his studies as a private student while doing job. He was influenced by B.R. Ambedkar. He met Justice Krishna Iyer, an eminent jurist, in a case related to reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the government jobs. The latter advised him to quit job and devote full time to democratic movement in the country. Accordingly, he set up Centre for Dalit Rights (CDR), which is part of NCDR, a network of civil society organizations which take up Dalit issues. Mimroth was one of the 180 delegates that attended the international conference against the racial discrimination held in Durban in 2001.9 The Durban Conference was held against the racial discrimination, and the ­­Mimroth-led ​­­ CDR considered the ­­caste-based ​­­ reservation synonymous to racial discrimination. This attempt to equate caste with race triggered a debate if caste and race could be equated.

Jats Ran Bir Singh Having got his primary education in his village Titawi of Muzaffarnagar district, Ran Bir Singh (born in 1926) holds a PhD degree from the Benaras Hindu University (1954) where he had joined a lecturer in Mathematics. He taught at Sagar University, and was principal of the Jat College Baraut in (1963–72). He was also the principal of Sri Aurobindo College (1972–83), University of Delhi. He was member of the Rajya Sabha (the BJP) from 1994 to 2000. Though he is not formal member of the Jat Mahasabha, he plays an important role in the affairs of the caste. As one of the founder members of the Maharaja Surajmal Educational Society, where he did ‘the maximum work’ along with Justice Mahabir Singh (on Justice Mahabir Singh, see Gupta 1997).10 Bal Bir Singh Bal Bir Singh (Ph.D. in Philosophy) had been an Executive member of the All India Jat Mahasabha and founding member and the General Secretary of the Maharaja Surajmal Memorial Education Society for three decades. He has been active in the affairs of his caste by propagating the ideas of Chhotu Ram, collecting books relating to the Jats for building his library. Born in 1930 in Hauz Khas village of south Delhi, Bal Bir Singh got his 276

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primary education in the villages of Munirka, Chirag Delhi and Mahrauli. He retired as lecturer of philosophy from the Hindu College, University of Delhi, in 1990. Inspired by Vivekananda he became active in affairs of Jats in 1969 after attending a meeting of All India Jat Mahasabha at the residence of Maharaja Mahendra Pratap, the President of the AIJM. The sole agenda of the meeting was building a memorial in the name of Maharaja ­Surajmal, a Jat King of the eighteenth century. Bal Bir Singh gave a speech in favour of building a memorial. Impressed by his speech and commitment, the Maharaja gave him the charge of the memorial. As a result, Maharaja Surajmal Memorial Educational Society was set up in 1972. He became the founding General Secretary of Memorial, a position he held for around three decades.11

Brahmins Shobhit Mishra Shobhit Mishra is President of the All India Brahmin Mahasabha (AIBM), Meerut city. Born in 1969 Shobhit Sharma originally hails from Hasanpur in Jyotibha Phule Nagar, earlier part of Dhanaura in Moradabad, western UP. He is a graduate and belongs to the family of agriculturists (with joint family holding of around 40-acre land) and the businessmen. Now settled in Meerut, his family has diversified its business into the clothing trade and tourism having outlets in Meerut, Moradabad and Lucknow. He claims to be the most active person in the affairs of Brahmins. In 2002, the national- and state-level Brahmin leaders held a meeting in Meerut and nominated him president of the Meerut city (Mahanagar) unit of the All India Brahmin Mahasabha. Having become the President of the Meerut city unit of the AIBM, he also got a realization (‘jagriti’) to do something for the samaj (caste). He expanded the AIBM by founding its units in nine mandals (geographical locations). He organized first function to celebrate the birth anniversary of Madan Mohan Malaviya, whom the Brahmins consider as a Brahmin icon and founder of the Benaras Hindu University, on 25 December 2004. Having seen the enthusiasm of Brahmins in the meeting, he realized that ‘Brahmans want (ed) to associate with us’. A fter this, the AIBM organized programmes in the memory of Parshuram. Ideologically his family has been influenced by the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). To fulfil his long- cherished wish, his father donated more than one-acre land to build a Brahmin Dharmasahala in the name of the ­­ ​­­ AIBM in his village. He prefers to support a Brahmin in the elections irrespective of his party affiliation. The change in the attitude of the BSP, prior to 2007 Vidhan Sabha election, towards the high caste and efforts of the BSP Brahmin leaders encouraged him to attend the BSP Brahmin rally and mobilize Brahmins for that. He claims to provide ‘complete leadership to 277

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Brahmins these days’. ‘In whole of Meerut I have interference (hastakshep) in everything. I am totally dedicated to the problems of the samaj (caste). I have become so famous in Meerut’.12 Yogesh Chand Sharma A resident of village Govindpur Ghasauli and prabhari (in charge) of the Rohta mandal of the AIBM, in his 40s Yogesh Chand Sharma belongs to the family of middle peasant, and he is a teacher in Dayanand Sarasawati School in Jangethi village. Theirs’ is a joint family consisting families of three brothers who together own 12–13-acre land. He first came to know about the AIBM when its meeting was held in NAS Inter College, Meerut in 1994. In the meeting he became a member of the AIBM, and later he was given charge of Rohta mandal of Meerut district. He has enrolled a large number of Brahmins as members of the AIBM in the villages of Rohta mandal.13 Mahesh Dutt Sharma Mahesh Dutt Sharma (born in 1928) is the national President of the All India Brahmin Mahasabha. He got this position in 2002 on the request of the ‘people of Brahaman Samaj’ who had approached him. His family hails from Khurja city of western UP which had been involved in the Ayurvedic medical profession; his father was a Viadh (traditional doctor) who had practised in UP, Delhi and Calcutta. He is also an Ayurvedic doctor. After completing his studies, he became a full-time RSS activist in 1941 and he did not get married in order to complete his assignment of the RSS. He has been active in the Jan Sangh after its formation, and presently he is associated with the BJP.14

Rajputs Someshwer Singh Pundeer Someshwer Singh Pundeer (born in 1941) is the General Secretary of the Kshatriya Mahasabha, Meerut district. After having completed his MA in Economics he worked as a cashier in the CDA (Central Defense Accounts). He is also the chairman of an intermediate college Sikheda village of Meerut district, which is associated with a clash between the Rajputs and Chamars, and their mobilization and counter-mobilization by their respective caste organizations. He belongs to the landed family which also owns gardens in village Roni, Muzaffarnagar district. His father was a school headmaster. His brothers have diversified into the non-agrarian sectors: one is a teacher; another is a contractor; his nephew is an engineer and two of his sons are advocates. One of the brothers looks after the agricultural 278

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activities in the land of the brothers who have shifted from the village.15 It is relevant to note here another observation which I made during the field work: two Rajput brothers whom I had visited in my earlier field trip are settled in Meerut city, have land in their village; one of them is in the BJP and another in the Congress and had been a block pramukh. They are also associated with the Kshatriya Jyoti. The day I visited their houses, one had gone to attend BJP meeting which was to discuss the candidatures for the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election, and another had gone to participate in the election to the local trading body in Meerut city. Th. Manbir Singh Tomar Th. Manbir Singh Tomar, in his 80s, is the president of the Kshatriya ­Mahasabha Meerut district since its foundation in 1995. Prior to this, he headed the Meerut unit of the All India Kshatriya Mahasabha. In fact, he said that he did not know anything about the Rajput history or the Kshatriyas till around ten years prior to my interview with him. But he was dismayed over the negative portrayal of the Rajputs as the oppressors, non-working parasites, egoist and proud, faction-ridden, etc., in the films, mass media and history books; such image was further boosted by the evils inflicting the caste such as dowry, death feast, liquor consumption, and the ‘false pride’ that they had the royal history as rai sahibs, zamindars, etc. This forced him to work for the betterment of his caste. He claimed that he read literature and history of Rajputs and realized the image thus projected was a distortion and decided to work for projecting the true image of the caste, and work for its improvement. The deterioration in the economic conditions of the Rajputs with fragmentation of the landholdings, and some members of the caste doing the manual labour strengthened his resolve to work for the community. Consequently, he joined the All India Kshatriya Mahasabha and founded the Kshatriya Mahasabha in Meerut. While as the president of the All India Kshatriya Mahasabha, Meerut unit he realized that this organization did not take up the grassroots level problems of the community; its activities were confined to lecturing by the leaders in the caste meetings held in Delhi. As soon he came to know that there was provision in the constitution of the All India Kshatriya Mahasabha (which he did not know till then), for setting up local and provincial units of the organization, he set up an independent unit of the Kshatriya Mahasabha in Meerut district. He has been a swam sewak of the RSS and had also been a member of the Arya Samaj. He believes that state apparatus – police, court and legislature need to be replaced by the caste associations. He is one of the most influential and resourceful persons of the Rajput caste in western UP. He studied up to BSc. He is settled in Meerut city and owns agricultural land in his village which is looked after by the sons of his younger brother. He had been a contractor in the MES (Military Engineering Service) and a builder.16 279

Appendix II CAST E SPECIFIC POLICIES/ PROGR A M MES OF R EGI MES* I N U T TAR PR A DESH A N D R AJAST H A N (1989 –2015) S.N. Items

Uttar Pradesh

Rajasthan

1.

8

6

12

7

SP’s four regimes (December 5, 1989–June 24, 1991; December 4, 1999– June 3, 1993 in alliance with the BSP; August 29, 2003– May 13, 2007; and March 15, 2012–March 18, 2017).

The political regimes in Rajasthan as compared to those in UP have been less pronounced on the ­­caste-specific ​­­ issues. Their concern has been about the issues of general nature, not focussing on specific caste. However, reservation for the intermediary castes – Jat and Gujar and some MBCs as SBCs was the main ­­caste-based ​­­ issue in Rajasthan politics. Unlike in UP, the regimes in Rajasthan did not take up the cultural issues of castes, even though some castes, especially MBCs are involved in politics of recognition (cultural politics).

2. 3.

Nos. of tenures* Total nos. of regimes Caste specific policies/ programmes of the regimes

For Dalits: No specific programme in the first regime; the second regime formed in alliance with the BSP: introduced Ambedkar Village Programmes; declared holidays for birth days of B.R. Ambedkar and Balmiki and reduced the work schedule for the sanitary workers by one and half hour in the morning; and (no specific programmes for Dalits) in the third and fourth regimes.

280

APPENDIX II

S.N. Items

Uttar Pradesh

Rajasthan

Below is a sketch For MBCs: of the regimes’ The third regime included caste- specific policy 17 MBC castes** in the SCs preferences since 1989: or STs categories. The fourth regime proposed to the Congress regimes centre for their inclusion in No specific ­­Dalit-​ the SC list. ­­focussed policies: Haridev Joshi’s one For upper OBCs (Jats): regime (December 4, Rechristened Meerut University 1989–March 4, 1990); as Chowdhary Charan Singh and University during its first Ashok Gehlot’s two regime, and declared 23rd regimes (December December as a holiday to 1, 1998–December 8, mark the birth anniversary 2003 & December 12, of Charan Singh, a political 2008–December 13, leader from Jat caste, in its 2013): fourth regime. For MBCs: No specific ­­MBC-​ For Brahmins ­­focussed policies were During the third regime, the SP introduced by the organized Parshuram Jayanti Congress regimes. while competing with the BSP which was also involved For intermediary caste (Jats): in organizing bhaiachara Haridev’s Joshi’s regime committees. (December 4, 1989– For Rajputs March 4, 1990): No specific programme for faced ­­anti-Mandal ​­­ Rajputs, except that making agitation introduced Raghu Raj Pratap Singh, by the central a Rajput politician, a government, in which minister (who was jailed by Jats had participated Mayawati’s government) overwhelmingly. Ashok Gehlot’s first BSP’s four regimes regime (December (June 3, 1995–October 18, 1995; 1, 1998–December March 21, 1997–September 8, 2003): reluctantly 21, 1997; May 3, 2002– recognized Jats as an August 29, 2003; and May 13, OBC in the state of 2007–March 1, 2012) Rajasthan in 1999. For Dalits: Ashok Gehlot’s second Continued and expanded regime (December 12, during its all four regimes 2008–December 13, the Ambedkar Village 2013): declared Gujars Programmes, which of Rajasthan as SBCs were introduced by the in the state. SP-BSP ​­­ government For high castes:

(Continued)

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APPENDIX II

S.N. Items

Uttar Pradesh

Rajasthan



For high castes: No specific ­­caste-​ ­­focussed policies were introduced for high castes

For MBCs: The BSP opposed the decision/proposal of the SP government include to 17 MBCs as SCs or STs but its fourth regime proposed to the centre to include 16 MBCs in the SCs or STs category along with the demand to increase the reservation quota for the SCs; None of the BSP regimes took initiative to OBC quota but ­­sub-divide ​­­ reacted to the BJP regimes’ proposal/Hukum Singh committee report as a conspiracy to create social conflict.

BJP regimes (Two by Bhairon Singh Shaikhawat (March 4, 1990–December 15, 1992, and December 4, 1993–November 29, 1998); and two led by Vasundhara Raje (December 8, 2003– December 11, 2008, and December 13, 2013–December 11, 2018 incumbent) For Dalits: No specific policies targeting Dalits were initiated by the BSP regimes

For MBCs: For Jats (Upper OBCs) Second Vasundhara Raje No specific programme/ regime included some policies for Jats; opposed MBCs in SBCs and Jats’ inclusion in the OBC list created of Kesh Kala by the Ram Prakash-led ­­ ​­­ BJP Board for Nais regime. For upper OBCs (Jats): For high castes: It was not the state The high castes became regime headed by the focus of the BSP regimes/ BJP in the state, which policies because of shift had identified Jats as in its focus from bahujan the OBCs in the state samaj to sarva samaj during but it was pressure of its third regime; the BSP the NDA government mobilized high castes, (through the promise especially Brahmins through by PM Vajpayee to get bhaiachara sammelans the OBC status for Jats and organizing Parshuram in Sikar rally in 1999 Jayanti and supported during the campaign reservation for the poor high for Lok Sabha castes before formation of elections) which forced fourth regime. the Ashok ­­Gehlot-led ​­­ state government to recognize Jats as the OBCs in the state.

282

APPENDIX II

S.N. Items

Uttar Pradesh

Rajasthan

For high castes (Rajputs BJP’s four regimes and Brahmins): (June 24, 1990–December The BJP regimes did not 6, 1992; September 21, focus on ­­caste-specific ​­­ 1997–November 12, 1999; policies for the high November 12, 1999– castes October 28, 2000; and October 28, 2000–March 8, 2002) Throughout its all four regimes, the BJP’s main focus has been on consolidation of Hindu identity across different castes. While the BJP first regime headed by Kalyan Singh gave priority to construction of the Ayodhya temple issue over other issues including caste, rest of the regimes adopted castespecific policies/programmes as given below: For Dalits: The BJP regimes did not have a policy/programme which focussed to benefit Dalits. For MBCs: The fourth regime headed by Rajnath Singh appointed Hukum Singh Committee to suggest measures to subdivide the OBC reservation quota to help the MBCs in the state. For upper OBCs (Jats): The third regime headed by Ram Prakash declared Jats as OBCs in the state of Uttar Pradesh. For high castes: Second regime of the BJP headed by Kalyan Singh sought to appease high castes by promising to act against the alleged misuse of the SC/ST (Prevention of the Atrocities) Act, 1989. (Continued)

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S.N. Items

Uttar Pradesh

Rajasthan

This regime also promised to give reservation to the poor among the high castes. Other two regimes did not have any ­­caste-specific ​­­ policies/ programmes for the high castes. * A regime implies the government(s) formed during the tenure of a legislative assembly, which means the duration for which an elected legislative assembly exists. ** These castes included Rajbhar, Nishad, Mallah, Manjhi, Kashyap, Kumhar, Prajapati, Dhinwar, Bhar, Bind, Biyar, Kewat, Batham, Kahar, Machhua, Turha and Gaur. Sources: Information relating to c aste- specific policies of UP regimes are drawn on Singh (2012), and on those relating to Rajasthan are drawn on several issues of Frontline, newspaper reports, and discussions.

Notes

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302

I N DEX

Note: Bold page numbers refer to tables, italic page numbers refer to figures and Page numbers followed by “n” denote endnotes ABKM 108 ABNBM 92, 107 ABNM 110 ABNVSS 110 Achalanandji Maharaj 132 Achhutanand 87, 91 Adhiveshan 55, 92, 107, 104n16 Adi Hindu movement 87, 117 Adi-Dalits 178 Adi-dharmies 87 Adityanath, Yogi 249 Advocate, Babu Ram 22, 94, 110, 115–17, 155, 157, 168 Ahirs 35, 41, 257n36 AIBM 100, 122–3, 136–8, 182, 209, 277 AIJM (All India Jat Mahasabha) 121 Akhil Bharatiya Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS) 231 Akhil Bhartiya Kumhar Sangh 140n21 Akhil Bharatiya Ambedkar Committee 141n31 AKhil Bharatiya Bairwa Mahasabha (ABBM) 120 Akhil Bharatiya Kashyap Rajput Sabha 87 Akhil Bharatiya Nai Brahman Mahasabha 87, 92, 107, 130, 271 Akhil Bharatiya Nai Vikas Sangathan Sabha 108 Akhil Bharatiya PichhdaVarg Mahasangh (ABPVM) 115 Akhil Bharatiya Prajapati Kumbhkar Sangh (ABPKS) 111

Akhil Bharatiya Raigar Mahasabha (ABRM) 120 Akhil Bharatiya Sain Samaj 108, 130–1 AKS (Ambedkar Kalyan Samiti) 117 All India Kshatriya Mahasabha 123 All India Pal Kshatriya Mahasabha 107 Allied Castes 10, 17–18, 174–5, 184–5 Alternative cultural movement 79, 117, 134, 168 Alternative traditions 84, 117 Ambedkar villages 24, 54, 58, 75n24, 205, 242 Ambedkar, B. R. 28, 30, 45, 52, 54, 58, 63, 65, 72, 75, 81, 83–4, 91, 93–4, 97, 108, 111, 116–17, 123, 125, 133–5, 141, 156, 167–8, 204–5, 207, 211, 222, 241–2, 247–9, 257, 259, 262 Ambedkarism 62, 79, 81, 83–4, 86, 93, 104, 134, 204–6, 257 Ambedkarites 81, 134, 267 Ambedkarization 16, 63, 78, 86, 93, 110, 133–5, 152–3, 160, 168, 172, 205, 262, 267 Anant, L. B. 108, 139 Apna Dal 154, 159, 186–7, 171n13 Arakshan Adhikar Manch 17, 230 Arbitration 17, 29–30, 62, 64–6, 68–71 Arya Samaj 66, 83, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 95, 98, 99n11, 99n13, 104, 107–9, 117, 135 Arya Samajists 73n2, 90, 95 Ati PichhdaVarg Mahasangh 113, 115 Ati Pichhdi Jati Utthan Maha Sangh 115

303

INDEX

Ati-Dalits 2, 85, 247, 266, 268 Ayodhya movement 95, 201 Azad, Chandra Shekhar 241 Backward Class Commission 114, 161, 225, 229, 235 Badalta Vaqt 21–2, 91, 94, 115–16 Baghel, Bhagat Singh 158 Baghels 59, 107, 125, 150, 158, 219, 221 Bagphat 20, 22, 33–4, 38, 51, 54, 62, 67, 138, 210n18 Bahujan Kisan Party 149–50, 210n18 Bai, Jhalkari 141 Bairwa, Chandalal 76n28, 258n47, 259n51, 259n53 Bairwas 1–3, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 30, 33, 35–6, 42, 51–2, 61, 73n3, 135, 144, 175, 204, 222 Balmiki, Om Prakash 93 Balmikis 14, 34, 52, 58, 65–7, 75, 94, 134–5, 178 BAMCEF 117, 156–7 Barbers see Nais Bhaiachara 16, 20, 37–41, 48, 62–8, 123 Bhaiachara Samitis 182 Bhakti 5 Bhakti saints 28, 156, 272 Bhakti traditions 83, 86–7, 222, 262 Bhambhis 35, 42, 53 Bhanwari Devi case 244–5, 251 Bharastachar Virodhi Jan Andolan (BVJA) 250 Bharatiya Samaj Party (BHSP) 154 Bhargava, Rajeev 7 Bhati, Achal Singh 113, 140n23, 140n26 Bhati, Devi Singh 161, 229 Bhim Sena 241 Bhomichara 38, 69 Bhumidhari 16 Bind, Rajesh 154 BJP: party strategies 179–84; caste-support bases 185–90, 191, 193 BKD 96, 151, 185, 199 BKU 15, 37, 201, 226 Brahman Arakshan Manch 229 Brahmin Sammelans 182 Brahmins: area-wise distribution of the caste 33–6; caste organizations

108–9, 120–2; occupational changes 48–9; respondents’ caste profiles 21–3 Brass P.R. 96, 147–52, 170, 185, 223 Breman, Jan 42, 44, 287 BSP: party strategies 179, 181–3; caste-support bases 185–90, 191, 193 Bulandshahr 20, 33–4, 110, 115, 118, 182 Byres, T.J. 95–6 castes: accommodation of castes 10, 25, 50, 143–5, 175, 208; as discrete units 3, 5, 15, 41, 60, 64–5, 78, 86, 93, 103–4, 109, 105, 110, 115, 150, 225; changing patterns of power relations 29–76; construction of identity 128–39; definitions 31–3; mis-recognition/un-recognition 6, 11; occupational profiles 40–50; political economy of 11, 40–50; political strength in spaces and times 13–16; relationship with democracy 1, 3–4, 8–9; relationships between castes 1, 30–1; representation in political regimes 179–84, 216–22; shifts in power relations 62–73 caste associations 1, 3, 22, 26, 32, 50, 56, 71, 77, 102, 105–12, 115, 120, 122–7, 136, 145, 158, 159, 203, 264, 279: of high castes 122–3; of MBCs 106–12; of Jats 120–2; see also caste organizations caste-based mobilization see caste mobilization caste-based parties 18–19, 77, 145, 149–59, 162–63, 171, 213, 242, 261, 263; in Western UP 149–59; with Dalit support 152–3; with Jat support base 151–2; with MBC support base 153–9; see also political parties Caste-Based Public Intellectuals see CBPIs caste-based reservation: dilemma of 242–3; Jats’ mobilization for 226–8; politics in Rajasthan 226–9; politics in UP 230–3; politics of reservation 225–32; state responses 232–49; responses of political regimes 233– 40; response of the local state 244–9 caste bastion 31, 61, 65: of Brahmins 65, 68; of Dalits 31, 63; of Jats 31, 66–7

304

INDEX

caste conflicts and competition 15, 50–2, 177, 199–200, 203, 214 caste federations 1, 3, 22, 32, 105–6, 109, 113, 124–5; demands of 124–5 caste groups 4, 8, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, 31–2, 43, 50–2, 54, 57–61, 63, 71, 81, 113, 143, 151, 169, 175–4, 179, 181, 183–4, 187, 192, 216, 223, 224–6, 232, 239, 263–5, 268; conflicts and competition 50–2; see also under specific caste groups caste icons 2, 25, 92, 101–3, 125, 128, 130, 136, 241 caste identities 7, 77, 92, 102–3, 263, 264–65 caste literature 21, 22, 55, 77, 79, 90, 94, 101, 105, 224 caste magazines and journals see caste literature caste-media 82 caste mobilization 3, 16, 77, 82, 103, 109, 145, 193–4, 210n13, 212, 224, 262; the concept 11; cultural aspects 102–3; for elections 179–84; for political and public action 79–80, 224–32; influences of state policies 193–4; non-electoral mobilization 13, 17, 194; patterns of 212–4, 224–32; political aspects 143–5 caste organizations 1, 22, 24–5, 77, 85, 94, 99, 101–3, 105–28, 130, 136, 138, 140, 155, 212–13, 261–3, 265; demands 124–8; of Brahmins 122–3; of Dalits 109, 117–20, 251; of high castes 122–4, 127–8; of Jats 108–9, 120–2; of Kshatriya 123–4; of MBCs 106–8, 109–17, 125–7 caste politics 5, 7, 11, 24, 50, 83, 143, 224, 242, 248, 262; definition 10–11; constant factors 11–19; contingent factors 11–19; for social, cultural and political recognition 2, 8, 13, 18, 19, 20, 82, 85, 104, 175, 177, 206; determinants of 11–19; ideologies 83–4; in relation to party system 149–70; in relation to state policies 15, 232–43 caste profiles 163, 164–6, 180 caste relationships: constant factors 30–1; contingent factors 30–1 castes in democracy: constant factors 11–14, 12, 13; contingent factors 11–14, 12, 14

castes’ representation in government see castes: representation in political regimes caste stereotyping 43 caste-wise party preferences 147, 200, 208, 175–208; in Western UP 184–91; in Rajasthan 192–3; of Dalits 204–6; of high castes 194–9; of Jats 199–204; of MBCs 206–8 CBPIs 1, 13, 15, 21–2, 101–2, 104, 110, 144–5, 261–3; biographical notes 271–9; the concept 77–80; Dalits 79, 80, 84–5, 86–8, 90–4, 99; middle classes and political elites 80–2; ideologies 83–4; intellectual growth 85–99; Jats 88–90, 95; MBCs 79, 80, 84–5, 86–8, 90–4; middle classes 80–2; political elites 80–2; reservation 84–5 CDR 23, 70, 76, 99, 119, 250, 251–4, 257–8, 265, 276 Central OBC list see OBC list Centre for Dalit Rights see CDR Centre for the Studies of Developing Societies see CSDS CFD 171 Chakawada 52, 119, 254 Chakravarti, Anand 38, 40, 42, 49, 52, 73, 74, 197, 198, 287 Chamars 5, 21, 33–6, 49, 51–2, 61, 64, 66, 73, 94, 118, 123, 133–4, 172, 186, 222 Chandhoke, Neera 249, 257, 264 Chandra, Kanchan 153, 194, 200 Chatterjee, Partha 5, 257, 287 Chauhan, B.R. 41, 49, 73 Chowdhry, Prem 25, 37, 66, 89, 90, 99, 141, 172, 223, 245, 250, 264 Churu 20–1, 23, 44–5, 47, 49, 50, 56, 71, 74, 95 civil rights movement 119 civil society organizations 1–3, 11, 23–4, 71, 261, 264–5, 269, 276; as contingent factor 12, 14, 15, 18; for mobilization 214–5, 233, 249–53; challenges for 254 coalition governments 176, 184, 200, 208n1, 209, 217, 220–1 coalition regimes see coalition governments code of behavior 68, 70 Committee for Social Justice see CSJ

305

INDEX

communal polarization 17, 191, 196, 205, 265 communal riots 191–2, 201, 265 Congress: party strategies 179–82; caste-support bases 185–90, 191, 193 Congress regimes 59, 176 contractors 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 58, 81, 121, 254 core caste support 10, 17, 151, 175, 184, 186, 194 CPI(M) 21, 84, 210; SFI 84 crime-capital 12, 14, 261 CSDS 146–7, 149, 171n6, 187, 190–2, 198, 204, 209n10 CSJ 237, 238 cultural and political recognition see caste politics cultural legacies 1, 12, 14, 16, 36, 39 to 40, 103 cultural and economic legacies 12, 14 cultural rights 19, 78, 85, 262 cultural symbolism 240–2; see also cultural symbols cultural symbolism, politics of 97, 240 cultural symbols 1, 10, 16, 19, 39, 77–8, 85, 94, 98, 102, 110, 138, 193, 225, 233, 241, 262 Dabka 48, 68 Daksh Prajapati 86, 112, 125, 128–9 Dalit agenda 81, 119 Dalit Bastion 31 Dalit Election Watch 252 Dalit entrepreneurs 45, 46, 58, 75n16 Dalit intellectuals 78, 79, 86–8, 90, 93–4, 100, 119, 152 Dalit middle class 45, 99n4 Dalit millionaires 45 Dalit movement 1, 16, 79, 88, 93, 119, 135, 160, 166, 167 Dalit party 16, 172n32–3, 205 Dalit Sena (DS ) 117 Dalits: Ambedkarization 133–5; areawise distribution of the caste 33–6; caste composition 33; CBPIs 79–80, 84–8, 90–4, 99; codes of conduct 39; conflicts and competition with other castes 50–2; cultural discriminations 52; definition of 31–2; empowerment 18–19; occupational changes 44–6; political recognition 18–19; redistributive justice 18–19;

relationships with other castes 30–1; respondents’ caste profiles 21–3 Damodaran, Harish 74 Dangawas village 69 Dangi, Sanjiv 46 Datta, Nonica 66, 89, 95, 135 Dayanand, Swami 89 democracy: degrees of 9, 27, 260; procedural democracy 147, 264, 267, 268; substantive democracy 3, 139, 268 democratic mobilization 249–50, 254, 261 de-Sanskritization 5, 25, 78, 80, 82, 85–7, 90, 92–3, 102, 128; Ambedkarization 133–5; phase in relation to caste organizations 105–6, 108–13 Devi, Gayatri 181 Devisar 52, 74 Dhanna (Jat) 130 discrete castes see castes DLF (Delhi Land & Finance) Limited 75n18 Doron, Assa 52, 54, 56, 141, 288 Dravidian movement 241 Dreze, Jean 213, 241, 250, 254, 258, 286, 289 DS see Dalit Sena DS4 117, 156, 157 Dulhera 49 Durban Conference 119 economic dependence 27n12, 44, 64, 135 Eklavya Sena 155 election studies 3, 24, 147, 174 electoral democracy 8, 147, 208, 263, 268 ethnicization 5 Fact-Finding Team see FFT FFTs 76n29, 252, 254, 258 footloose labour 42–4, 48, 54, 57, 61, 63–4, 73 Frankel, Francine R 4, 170, 289, 291, 295, 302 Fraser, Nancy 6, 290 Gadarias: area-wise distribution of the caste 33–6; caste literature 21; respondents/caste profiles 21–3

306

INDEX

Gandhi, Indira 113, 297 Gandhi, Sonia 176, 203 Gandhism 95, 98, 262 Gautam Buddh Nagar 33, 112 Gehlot, Ashok 28, 72, 121, 130, 161–2, 176, 202, 209, 217, 220, 222, 227 Gooptu, Nandini 87, 90, 117, 152, 290 government jobs 1, 45, 50, 64, 71, 82, 85, 114, 126, 226 Govindpuri Ghasauli 48, 100, 141 green revolution 15, 29, 40–1 Gujar Mahasabha 118 Gupta, Dipankar 15, 66 Guru, Gopal 45 Gutmann, Amy 260, 263, 290 Habib, Irfan 130, 290 Hanuman Jayanti Samaroh 253 Harit Pradesh 150, 184, 231, 299 Hasan, Zoya 32, 38, 41, 57, 96, 200–1, 236–7, 241, 246 Hegelian dialectic 6 high castes: caste composition 33–6; CBPIs 97–9; definition of 31–2 ideology 88 Hindutva 28n17, 81, 83, 87, 95, 98, 184, 192, 195–6, 205–7, 211, 222, 257n36, 260, 262 Honour killings 244, 264, 141n48 Hukum Singh Committee 207, 235, 242, 263, 283 human rights 1, 25, 77, 119, 125n3, 167, 213, 215, 233, 244, 246–7, 250–1, 258n41, 262 Identity politics 104, 136, 260, 262, 266; the concept 10 Illiah, Kancha 99n1 ILMs 23, 43, 44 Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) 245 intellectual growth: CBPIs 85–99 inter-caste conflict and competition: as contingent factor 11–18, 12, 14; the concept 50–2 inter-caste/caste groups: conflicts and competition 50–2 inter-party competition: as contingent factor 12, 14, 15, 17 intra-caste conflict and competition: as contingent factor 11–18, 12, 14; the concept 50–2

intermediary castes: caste composition 33–6; definition of 30–1; relationships with other castes 30–1 Jaffrelot, Christophe 5, 180, 181, 183, 192, 220, 235–6, 243, 264 jagirdari 16, 20, 38, 40, 69, 198 jagirdari and bhomichara: abolition of 69 jajmani 32, 36, 38, 42, 53, 55–6, 74, 77 Jan Kranti Party 150, 171n9 Jan Morcha 149, 150, 159 Jan Sangh 160, 181, 240 Jan Sangharsh Party see JSP Jan Sunvai 250 Janata Dal 59, 151, 153, 199, 236 Jassal, Smita Tewari 25n1, 52, 54, 56 Jat, Haridas 130 Jat Mahasabhas 71, 76, 89, 95, 108–9, 120–2, 203, 204, 227, 228, 256, 276, 277 Jat bastion 31, 66–7 Jat CBPIs 88–9, 95–7 Jat Sabha 203 Jatav Mahasabha 118 Jatav Men’s Association 118 Jatavs: 1–5, 7, 12, 14–15, 19, 21–33, 30, 32–3, 36, 51–2, 54, 57–9, 61–9, 72–3, 75, 118, 123, 143–4, 152, 174–5, 177–8, 183, 185–7, 189–91, 204–5, 207, 211–2, 219, 221–2, 247, 249, 254, 260–3, 267, 268 Jats: area-wise distribution of the caste 33–6; caste organizations 108–9, 120–2; CBPIs 88–90, 95; conflicts and competition with other castes 50–2; respondents/caste profiles 21–3; self-cultivating peasant proprietors 37–8; mobilization for reservation 226–8 Jeffrey, Craig 25n1, 46, 66, 80 Jhunjhunu 20–2, 35, 44, 50, 69–70, 75, 95, 100, 110, 142, 167, 172, 202, 208, 246–7 Jodha, S.N. 93, 134, 168 Jodhka, S.S. 45 Jodhpur 20–3, 35, 41, 47, 55, 85, 89, 91, 99, 110–4, 130–4, 140, 142, 168, 181, 203, 210, 211, 229, 250, 255–6, 258–9, 271–2, 274, 284 JSP 155n3, 168

307

INDEX

Kabir 86–7, 111, 125, 130, 272 Kahars 33, 34, 35, 53, 73, 125–6, 129, 141, 151, 155, 218, 219, 221 Kaka Kalelkar Commission 235 Kalu Baba 128–9 Kalvi, Kalyan Singh 229 Karpoori Thakur Formula 255–6 Kashwah, Rajendra 100 Kashyap Rajput 87, 108 Kashyap, Chatar Singh 154, 159 Kashyap, Jai Prakash 93, 100, 139, 140, 157 Kashyaps 21, 33, 34, 110, 129, 139, 141, 151, 155, 219 Keshkala Board 168, 225 Khanam 2013 52, 54, 293 Khanauda 22, 23, 46–7, 63, 85, 172 khandsari 46, 127 Khansauli 23, 45, 47–9, 56, 71, 85 Khap 15, 37, 239, 250, 264 Khatiks 23, 34, 178, 222 Khatis 71 Khawas, Kanhayya Lal 22, 88, 99, 111, 130–1, 134, 140, 142, 168 Khoor 48 Kisana Ram 180 Kishan Pal Kashyap 139–40 KMV 111 Kohli, Atul 26, 216, 293, 301 Koleli 70 Koli 23 Kothari, Rajni 25, 26, 53, 105, 147 Kshatriya 21, 86, 88–9, 92, 98, 100, 107, 109, 123–4, 127, 136–9, 142, 210, 232, 243, 248 Kshatriya dharma 127 Kshatriya Jyoti 21, 98, 124, 127, 279 Kshatriya Mahasabha 98, 100, 107, 123, 124, 127, 138, 139n4, 232, 248 Kshatriya orgnizations 123–4, 127 Kumar Ashram 99 Kumar, Nitish 97 Kumavats 41 Kumbha Ram Arya 202 Kumhars 1, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 23, 33, 34–6, 48, 51, 53, 55–6, 59, 63, 66, 71, 73, 86, 88, 99, 106, 109, 110–3, 115, 125, 126–8, 140, 150–1, 155, 168, 172, 178, 218, 221, 225, 236, 260–2 Kumhars’ Party 155 Kurmis 95–6, 151, 159, 171, 183, 187, 200, 206, 235, 243

Kushwah Darshan 21–2, 139, 297 Kushwah, Surendra 22, 91, 100, 108, 139, 171–2 Kushwahs 21, 106, 108, 125, 139, 150–1, 155, 158, 178, 219, 221 KVP 150 Kymlicka, Will 6, 7, 293 Labour Party (Secular) 150 Labour Party 150–1, 155, 15–9, 168, 273 Lal, Devi 96, 99, 113, 121, 140, 142, 226 Lalwala 68 land dispute 65, 69 land reforms 15, 20, 29, 37, 40–1, 48–9, 52, 62–5, 69–70, 72, 74, 96, 197–8, 201 Leelpat 140 legacies see cultural and socio-economic legacies local power relations/ local caste dominance 15, 29, 30, 72–3 Lodhs 34, 186, 206, 220, 235, 243 Lohars 53, 55, 115, 173, 240 Lohia, Ram Manohar 28, 84, 97, 156, 222, 240, 262 Lohiaism 83 Lok Niti 147, 171 Lok Priya Samaj Party (Kumhars) see LPSP Lok Sabha election 17, 146–7, 150, 155, 159, 161–2, 171–2, 174, 184, 190–1, 194–6, 199–200, 207, 210–29, 231, 239, 260, 267 Louis Dumont 4, 293 Love Jehad 250 low caste political parties 16 LPSP 150, 151, 155, 168, 274 Madan Mohan Malviya 122, 123, 128, 136–8, 277 Mahajan, Gurpreet 6, 7 Maharaja Daksh Prajapati Jayanti 112 Maharana Pratap 124, 128, 136, 138, 241 Maharana Pratap Chauk 124 Maharani of Jodhpur (ex) 132–3 Mahars 75, 94, 135, 179 Maithana Kand 141 Majhis see Mallahs Majumdar 135

308

INDEX

Malis 1, 2–3, 7, 12, 15, 19, 21, 33–5, 51, 53, 113–4, 125, 163–4, 166–7, 169, 179–80, 219–20, 222, 260–1 Mallahs 54, 106, 125, 139, 141, 151, 154–5, 219, 221 Mandal Commission Report 27, 32, 103, 114, 195, 199, 201–2, 226, 230, 236, 242–3, 255, 257 Mandalization 183, 195 Mandawali Bangar 22 marginalized castes 9, 12, 14, 24, 31, 58, 144, 177–9, 181, 213, 225, 261 marginalized groups 5, 26, 235 Marothia, Ram Kumar 131–2 Marwar Kisan Sabha see MKS Marwar region: caste composition 34–5; legacies 39 Marxian frameworks 4 Marxism 81, 83–4, 93, 95, 104 Mataur 49 Mathura 33, 47, 107, 255, 295 Maurya, B.P. 93, 205 Mauryas 59, 125 MAVJA 247, 258 Mayaram, Shail 6, 192 Mayawati 15, 28, 59, 66, 75n24, 93, 156–8, 187, 196, 209n1, 216–7, 219, 220–1, 238, 241 Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangthan (MKSS) 250, 258n41 MBC Federations 113, 115, 124 MBC intellectuals 16, 57, 78–9, 83–6, 88, 90–1, 94, 98, 108, 160, 168, 207, 208 MBC organizations 108–9, 115, 125 MBC political parties 145, 158 MBCF 115, 116, 140 MBCs: area-wise distribution of the caste group 33–6; caste composition 33–6; caste literature 21, 55, 94; CBPIs 79–80, 84–5, 86–8, 90–4; construction of identity 128–33; definition of 31–3; differences with other caste groups 57–61 MDMK 153, 171 MDMK 153, 171 Meel, Rajaram 100n23, 141n42, 227, 228, 255n8, 256n11–13, 16 Meenas 71, 103 Meer 64 Meerut city 44, 49, 85, 98, 209, 277, 279 Meethapur 22, 63

Meghwals 1–3, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 30, 33, 35–6, 51–2, 61, 68–70, 71, 144, 175, 204, 222, 260, 262 Mendelsoh, Oliver n 25, 42 MES (Military Engineering Service) 98, 279 Michelutti, Lucia 147 middle classes 42, 43, 44, 47, 48, 49, 54, 57, 58, 69, 71, 80, 81, 84, 243 migrant labour 23, 43–4, 47–8, 61, 71 Migration 44 Mimorth, P.L. 76n28, 93, 141, 258–9 Mirdha, Baldev Ram 89, 95 Mirdha, Harendra 202 Mirdha, Nathu Ram 202 Mishra, Shobhit 142, 196, 209–10, 277, 284 MKS 113–4 modernization framework 4, 5 Modi, Narendra 159, 207, 242, 266 Moral Policing 67, 244–5, 264–5 Morwal, Basant Kumar 229 Most Backward Class Commission 141 Most Backward Classes Federations (MBCF) 113, 115–16 multicultural framework 5–7, 9, 90, 143, 174, 242 multiculturalism 5; see also Multicultural framework Mungeri Lal Commission 235 Murli Manohar Joshi 138 Muslim backward classes 54 Muslim Majlis Party 154 Muslim parties 154 Muzaffarnagar 20, 22, 33–4, 38, 42, 49, 51, 54, 62, 64, 66, 72, 76, 123, 137–8, 159, 179, 184, 191 Muzaffarnagar riots 51, 196 Nagaur 35, 47, 69, 76, 203, 252 Nai-Brahman Mahasabha, Bharat 87, 92, 130, 271–2 Nais 1, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 33–6, 42, 48, 51, 53, 55–6, 59, 63, 66, 71, 73–4, 86–7, 106–11, 113, 115, 125–6, 128, 130–2, 134, 140, 150–1, 155, 168, 172–3, 178, 218, 221, 225, 229, 236, 240, 257, 260–2 Nandi, Ashis 246 Naraini Devi 142 National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights see NCDHR

309

INDEX

National Dalit Human Rights (NCDR) see NCDHR National Union of Backward Classes (NUBC) 115 Naxalism 83, 84, 104 NCDHR see NCDR NCDR 119, 251, 265, 276 NCP 159 Neem Ka Thana 246 Nehru, Jawaharlal 28, 91, 173, 230 NES 190 non-Jatav Dalits 205, 221 non-traditional occupations 53–5, 57, 64, 72 OBC list 2, 3, 17, 19, 24, 121, 201–3, 207–8, 226–33, 237–9, 243, 256 OBC quota 2, 16, 19, 60, 85, 126, 155, 159, 208, 212, 225, 228–9, 234–5, 237–9, 242, 263; subdivision of 16, 19, 60, 159, 225, 228, 235 OBCs: area-wise distribution of the caste group 33–6; caste composition 33–6; definition of 32–3; politics of reservation 225–32 occupational changes and new social classes 42–50 Omvedt, Gail 8, 25, 117, 172, 179 Other Backward Classes see OBCs Pai, Sudha 52, 54 Pal Kshatriya Samachar 21, 92, 142 Pal, Mithlesh 65 Pal, Ramesh 22, 100, 171, 273, 284 Palhera 49 Pals 59, 92, 110, 115, 125–6, 139, 142, 150, 219, 221, 225 Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) 46, 47, 233 Pandey, Gyanedra 5 Parekh, Bhikhu 6, 7 Parshuram 123, 128, 136–8, 182, 277 Paswan, Ram Vilas 157 Patel, Sonelal 171n3 Pawar, Devi Lal 99, 140, 142 Pawar, Govindi 99, 111, 140, 142, 256 People’s Union of Civil Liberties see PUCL Periyar 83, 156, 274 Philips, Anne 6 Phirey Ram Prajapati 142, 284

Phoolan Devi 124, 128, 155, 196 Phule, Jyotirao 28, 83, 156, 274 PICs: agencies’ responses to 13; impact of contingent factors 13, 14; relations with constant factors 12–13; definition 9, 12 Pilania, Gyan Prakash 121, 203 Pimpley and Sharma 86 PKEM 111 PMCs: agencies’ responses to 13; impact of contingent factors 13, 14; relations with constant factors 12–13; definition 9, 12 political economy of castes see castes political mobilization see caste mobilization political parties: bi-polar party system in Rajasthan 159–62; ideologies and policies 12; multi-party system in Western UP 149–51; see also caste wise party preferences; single caste parties political recognition 1–3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 16–19, 20, 25, 82, 99, 103, 143–4, 148–55, 169, 175, 177, 193, 195, 204–6, 212, 242, 268 Politically Influential Castes see PICs Politically Marginalized Castes see PMCs politics of cultural symbolism 97, 240 politics of recognition see political recognition politics of redistribution see redistributive justice politics of representation see castes Poona Pact 94 Poorvanchal 154 post-modern critique 6 Pragatisheel Manav Samaj Party see PSP Prajapati Kumhar Ekta Manch see PKEM Prajapati, Firey Ram 111–12 Prasad, Chandra Bhan 93, 99 procedural democracy 147, 264, 267–8 PSP 154 public action 95, 144, 212–17, 220–59; from above 213, 230, 232–3, 237; from below 213, 215, 224–31, 237 Public Distribution Scheme(PDS) 243 public intellectuals 78, 80, 82, 84, 86, 88, 90, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100

310

INDEX

PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties) 23, 119, 250, 258, 265, 276 Pundeer, Someshwer Singh 100, 141, 278 Quami Ekta Dal 154 Raigars 33, 35, 51–2, 94, 120, 135 Raika Bagh 132 Raj, Udit 93, 205 Raja Suarajmal 95 Rajasthan Aviksit Samaj Sabha (RASS) 113–4 Rajasthan Backward Class Commission 161, 229 Rajasthan Democratic Students Front or RDSF Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha 71, 76, 95, 120–1, 203–4, 227, 228 Rajasthan Other Backward Classes Federation, Jodhpur (ROBCF) Rajasthan, western and northeastern regions of see WNE Rajasthan Rajbhar, Om Prakash 154, 159 Raje, Vasundhara 28n17, 217, 220, 222, 239, 255n8 Rajput Bastion 31, 67, 71 Rajput intellectuals 98, 123 Rajput Maharaja 38, 74 Rajput Mahasabha 203 Rajput pride 50, 124 Rajputana 20, 35, 36, 38, 73, 89, 109, 210 Rajputs: area-wise distribution of the caste group 33–6; caste composition 33–6; cultural issues of 39–40, 240–1; occupational changes 49–50; respondents’ caste profiles 21–3; responses of local state 244–8; shift in power relations 31–2, 62–72 Ram Dev 87, 131–3, 142n57, 253 Ram Prakash 28 Ram Rajya Parishad 160, 181, 197, 206 Ram, Chhotu 89, 95, 99, 125, 156, 172 Ram, Jagjivan 94, 153, 171 Ram, Kanshi 92–3, 125, 155–8, 168, 172, 274, 295 Ram, Mangoo 87, 91 Ram, Nandu 99 Ram, Ronki 87 Rankhandi 22, 67, 75 Rashtriya Kranti Party 150, 171

Rashtriya Labour Party 159 Rashtriya Lok Dal see RLD Rashtriya Parivartan Party 149–50 Rashtriya Prajapati Mahasangh 111–2 Rashtriya Swam Sewak Sangh see RSS Rashtriya Samanta Dal see RSD Rashtriya Samata Party 151 RASS 113–4 Rastriya PichhdaVarg Sangh 115 Ravana Rajputs 113, 240 Ravi Das 133, 259n49 Rawat, Ramnarayan S. 93, 152 redistributive justice 1, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16, 20, 24–5, 114, 116, 143–4, 149, 154, 175, 177, 193, 206, 212, 242–3, 266–7 reservation see caste-based reservation; redistributive/social justice respondents’ caste profiles 21–3 Right to Reservation Forum (RRF) 17, 230 RLD 2, 21, 24, 58, 60, 144, 149–52, 165, 172n23, 179, 181, 184–6, 188, 190–1, 199–201, 210 n18, 220, 232, 234 Rodrigues, Valerian 7 Roop Kanwar case 244, 246, 251 Rousseau 6 RSD 154 RSJF 17, 145, 160–2, 172n30, 199, 229, 232, 237, 239 RSS 21 Rudolph, Lyod, I. and Rudolph, Susanne, Hoeber 36, 26n4, 25n2, 197, 210n17, 264 rural - urban middle class 73 rural political economy: comparison between Western UP and WNE Rajasthan 40–1 Saharan, Harlal 47 Saharanpur 20, 22, 33–4, 38, 54, 62, 67, 75n21, 241 Sainacharya 130–1 Saini, Satyanarayan Singh 99, 161, 162, 172, 229, 256 Sainis: as PICs 12, 14; in MBCs 32–3, 34, 35–6; as most influential caste in Meethapur 63–4; construction of identity 129–33; shifting power relations in Western UP 62–72 Sainization 86, 130–3, 168

311

INDEX

Sakya 59, 221 Samajik Sandesh 21 Samajwadi Party see SP Sampurna Kranti Andolan 251 Samyukta Socialist Party see SSP Sangh Parivar 205, 168, 181 Sanskritization 4–5, 25, 78, 80–2, 85–93, 99, 102, 105–10, 117, 128, 130, 133, 135, 167, 262, 267 Sant Kanak Pal 128 Sathi Commission Report 55, 57, 236 Sathi, Cheddi Lal 235 Sati 24; see also Roop Kanwar case Sati melas 247; see also Roop Kanwar case satnami traditions 87 SBCs see Special Backward Classes Scheduled Castes see SCs SCs 12, 14, 17, 31–2, 42, 51, 57–6, 68, 75n23, 84, 103, 117–16, 126, 144, 173n34–5, 181, 189, 191, 191, 204, 228–30, 237, 239 Second Mandal 27, 226, 230, 231 secularization 26, 182, 209 Sen, A.K. 213, 254, 258n40 Shah, A.M 8, 25–6, 147, 264 Shakyas 125, 139, 219 Sharma, Anand 100, 141 Sharma, K.L. 41, 49, 73n5 Sharma, Mahesh Chand 100, 122, 141, 142, 209 Sharma, Rewati Prasad 107 Sharma, Satish Chand 100, 141 Sharma, Yogesh Chand 100, 141, 278, 284 Shastri, Som Pal 200, 210n18 Shekhawat, Bhairon Singh 198, 220, 222, 240 Shekhawati region: caste composition 34–5; legacies 38–9 Shepherd Times, The 21–2, 92–3, 172 Sheth, D.L. 7, 26, 53, 209, 255, 298 Shiv Sena 241, 244, 265 16-point demand charters 111 Shobhapur 22, 45–6 Shri Sain Ji Maharaj Mandir, Gulabsagar 111 Shyamlal (Prof.) 93, 100, 134, 142, 209–10 Sikar 20, 35, 44, 47–8, 69, 71, 95, 121, 167, 202–3, 227, 229, 246–7 Sikheda Kand 123, 248

Singh, Ajit 151–2, 165, 184, 186, 199–201, 210n18, 231, 256n17 Singh, Balbir 100, 141 Singh, Charan 28, 84, 89, 95–7, 99, 113, 121, 124–5, 140, 151–2, 165, 185, 198–200, 202–3, 209–10, 217, 235–6, 240–1, 247, 256 Singh, Dara 95, 121 Singh, Kalyan 171n9, 182, 186, 209, 216–17, 219, 220–1, 229, 247–8 Singh, Miathana Inder 63 Singh, Mulayam 28n17, 59, 75, 97, 112, 151–2, 187, 200, 209, 217, 219, 220, 229, 236–8, 241 Singh, Raja Mahendra 120 Singh, Rajnath 28, 207, 209, 216–7, 219, 236–9, 242, 263, 283 Singh, Ranbir 1141n41, 142n69 Singh, Thakur Manbir 100, 123, 141 Singh, Than 93, 141 Singh, V. P. 27n15, 32, 226, 241 single caste parties 2, 58, 87, 94, 101, 143, 145, 148, 150–1, 153–4, 156, 158–9, 169, 263, 268 Sinowadia, Loon Chand 112 social and cultural movements 16, 18, 150, 153, 160, 169, 262 social justice 1, 8, 28, 78–81, 83, 145, 151, 204–5, 208; see also redistributive justice social welfare policies 29 social welfarism 222 Socialism 83, 93, 95, 104 SP: party strategies 179–84; castesupport bases 185–90, 191 Special Backward Classes 60, 104, 163, 173 Srinivas, M N 4, 99, 135, 147, 296, 300 SRS3 21, 111, 130–1 SSP 96, 248 ‘Stand Up’ scheme 46 state response 8, 11, 25, 60, 139, 143, 213, 223, 230, 232, 240–1, 255, 261–2 STs 12, 12, 14, 17, 32, 51, 57, 103, 126 sub-division of the OBC quota 19, 60, 159, 225, 228, 235 Subramanian, Narendra 153 substantive democracy 3, 139, 159, 225, 268 Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) 154

312

INDEX

Surajmal Society 23, 127 Sutars 53, 55, 88, 113, 115 Swatantra Party 160, 162, 192, 197, 206 taluqudari 37–8, 40, 73n4 Tamil Nadu 32, 75, 153, 171 tanners’ cooperative society 46 Taylor, Charles 6–7 Telis 55, 109 Thakur, Karpoori 100, 113, 125, 156, 228, 240, 255, 256 Thapar, Romila 81, 78 Tikait, Mahendra Singh 15, 66, 150, 200–1, 210, 226 Tikait, Rakesh 150, 210n18 Tomar, Om Singh 150 Tomar, Thakur Manbir Singh 123 traditional occupations 29, 38, 40–2, 48, 53–6, 62, 64–5, 73, 120, 127, 212 non-traditional occupations 53–4, 57, 72 traditional occupations: aversion to 56 Tyagis 33, 37–8, 40, 128 Uldeypur 63, 123 untouchability 32, 43, 57, 88, 120 Upadhayay, Deen Dayal 241 Upadhyay, Ram Veer Singh 138 UPPM 111–12, 129 Uttar Pradesh, western part of see Western UP Vajpayee, Atal Bihari 202, 227–8 Vanchit Samaj Dal (VSD) 154 Vanniyars 75 Varshney, Ashutosh 26, 45, 146, 171n7, 246 Vedanta philosophy 95 Victoria Park fire tragedy 138 Vidhan Sabha 2–3, 13, 47, 61, 66, 76, 96, 111, 121, 123, 126, 150, 154–61,

170, 172, 174–8, 180–3, 185, 187, 188–96, 199, 200–4, 206–7, 209–10, 225–7, 230–1, 237–9, 252, 263, 277, 279, 289 Vidhan Sabha election(s) 121, 150, 158–9, 174, 176, 180, 182, 187, 204, 227 Vishnois 228, 208 Weiner, Myron 8 welfare schemes 15, 75n24, 239, 250 Western UP: caste composition 33–4; cultural legacies 39–40; logic of case choice 19–21; socio-economic legacies 36–8 Willet, Cynthia 6 WNE Rajasthan: caste composition 33, 35–6; cultural legacies 39–40; logic of case choice 19–21; socio-economic legacies 38–9 Women’s Development Programme (WDP) 245 Yadav, Akhilesh 28n17, 219, 225, 237, 241 Yadav, Amrit Lal 94 Yadav, D.P. 149 Yadav, Lalu Prasad 97, 243 Yadav, Ram Naresh 96, 113, 117, 236 Yadav, Yogendra 26n9, 96, 146, 148, 255n5, 264, 170n2–4, 171n8 Young, Iris Marion 6 Young Turks 94, 134 zamindari 16, 28, 37–41, 48, 62–5, 72, 91, 116 Zerinini, Jasmine 170n5, 178, 183, 204, 209n9 Zerinini-Brotel, Jasmine 170n5, 180, 183

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