Third Force times of india 23 May, 2007 CHANDRA BHAN PRASAD
We must understand why Indian society is asking Dalits to lead, why UP rejected both BJP and Congress, and how the Dalit-Brahmin thesis works. By definition, the hierarchical Indian varnashram society is made up of two major social blocks -- Dwijas (Brahmin-Kshatriya-Vaishya) and Shudras (Mandal castes). Untouchables/outcastes or Dalits are at the margin of the varna order. Tribals are segregated even demographically. By tradition, the Brahmin-led Dwijas have ruled society. Every social movement targeted Dwijas as tormentors and identified Brahmins, quite justifiably, for all the ills of Indian society. After Independence, the hegemony of Dwijas started to crumble. Mandal implementation in 1991 was the final blow. While the desperate Dwijas fought Mandal, no other social class supported them. They lost the moral mandate to rule. Today, only two states of India, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, are ruled by Brahmins. Post-Mandal India was mesmerised by the slogan of social justice, and Shudras got an historic opportunity to restructure India on egalitarian lines. They got the moral mandate to rule society, with Dalits going along with them.But Shudras, instead of breaking social hierarchies, set out to replace Dwija hegemony with their own, emerging as a partisan social block. Under them, even core democratic institutions faced unprecedented threat. Dalits found their right to adult franchise under attack. Now, Shudras have lost the moral mandate to rule. Who would then rule India? Shudras rejected Dwijas, and vice versa. Dalits began rejecting both. The result was a hung Parliament and hung assemblies all these years. The decade-long social churning produced an unarticulated social consensus -- a third force with Dalits as social harmonisers...BSP will be instrumental in formation of the next government at the Centre. It will lay its claim on at least 140 Lok Sabha seats in the Hindi belt. The writer is a Dalit ideologue.