My friend, Kavita Chowdhury sends me an interview with Salman Khurshid taken by her from Uttar Pradesh. Salman Khurshid has promised a Muslim quota within the already existing reserved categories of backward classes. While this should have been read as an attempt to break the caste unity that has emerged as the support base of the incumbent BSP, Salman’s stormy rhetoric favouring the Muslim minority is being interpreted as a cry towards another Pakistan. UP has been a hot bed of communal riots, time and again riots have spilled blood and hate among communities otherwise united in similar states of economic marginalization. Besides, Salman Khurshid is a bit of a shocker because liberal Muslims hate nothing more than the Muslim quota, which can escalate into yet another rallying point for the Muslim masses to demand another Pakistan. Liberal Muslims know it only too well that the demand for Pakistan had deep roots in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh but due to the geographical anomalies such demands could not be granted. Now with Salman Khurshid’s tirades and in the context of virtual worlds taking over the concrete geography, resurgence of Pakistan is imminent in the quota politics. This is at least how the media wants us to understand things. But I see something different.
I am intrigued by Mayawati and her politics. While I have not exactly taken to her as a virgin in the same way I take Mamata but somewhere these “girls” help me see beyond what is merely apparent. Mayawati, like Mamata has found a new pulse beating in her constituency and has been quick to pick it up; she has matured and reaped that fruit in Dalit politics what Ambedkar had merely sown. It is the same politics as of Jinnah, the politics of Partition. Mayawati has sent out the right kind of cues to global greedy finance in her development of the real estate, in her formula one race, in her projects of megacities and even in her aides being held for graft. In all of this Mayawati is waving her handkerchief out of the window to tell international finance to fly in and settle on her sill. While the world may continue to occupy the Wall Street and its likes, the global finance with its Soros and his ilk will identify Uttar Pradesh despite its reek of dung and smoke of sugar cane husks that here is geography willing to get into the flesh trade of prostituting its natural and human resources. It is here that she is the diametric opposite of Mamata; for the latter holds on pristinely to her assets while the former, flaunts the same. It is the only way out for the Dalits; Dalits who have migrated the most, Dalits who have given their bodies for assault, the very same Dalit will now be pimps in trading out sovereignty, natural resources, land to drive out those very people who own them and by whose very ownership the entire category of marginalized Dalithood was created in the first place. Mayawati’s development model is thus dispossession; Dalits never owned anything and they never quite gained by economic production. Rather they had much to gain through migration into big cities; Maya thus makes mega cities, mega malls, mega marts, metro rails to create the Dalit jobs, sweeping, swapping, and cleaning and to accommodate them in cities that are bigger and better than the ones the Hindu mainstream could ever create.
Rahul Gandhi’s defense of farmers at Bhatta Parsul, perhaps in the manner of Mamata’s Singur politics only went to vindicate Maya’s stand that mainstream politics has always being on the side of the land owner. Dalits want land alienation and displacement because that is the only way the society can be leveled; the Dalit discourse is not one of participation, it can never be, because once Dalit elites get into the mainstream, they disown their lesser brethrens. The middle class model can only be alienating for the Dalit as a block; opportunities of reservation have been too located in a politics that has only condescended but never centralized the Dalit issue. Mayawati’s politics is a politics of hanky waving, sending off hints to those clever in the game of cues; the global finance who looks for politicians who can produce moles, who do not adhere to ideals of sovereignty or socialism, those who are clearly willing to create wedges in the national space by playing one constituency against the other. This is the very same politics of Jinnah, the politics of the Partition. The Congress must have realized this much later and all of a sudden one day, hence the launch of a new force in the form of Priyanka and hence the free hand to Salman Khurshid to revive once more the communal card of divisive politics and demand a separate constituency for the Muslim minorities a la the Muslim League.