TELANGANA: BLF is for Rebellion against Caste and Gender Oppression

S Veeraiah

CASTE dominance is a pest. It is the darling child of Manuvad. Manuvad suppressed not only dalits and weaker sections but also women.  Suppression of women was practised in Hinduism through Manuvad but male dominance is there in all religions. Male dominance is there within the caste system also. There is no equality for women.Women do not have an equal status in any class or social section. Dominant castes treat dalits as slaves. Capitalists exploit the labour by treating them as slaves. Surprisingly these ‘slaves’ treat their wives as their slaves. We find male dominance in every sphere and nerve of our society.  People understood the Manuvad mindset of Modi when he compared Renuka Choudhury with Shoorpanaka. Modi thinks that women, whether it is Shoorpanaka or Renuka or any other woman, should bow her head before men. Women should accept the dominance of men. It is the same arrogance which Modi displayed in the parliament. The comments of Modi were criticised by Renuka but we have to note that the Congress leadership didn’t take the words of Modi with the seriousness they deserve. One prominent Telugu film director told a woman activist, who opposed making of porn films, that she was beautiful and that he would make such a movie with her.  A BJP MLA from Telangana declared that women of the film industry change their husbands every day. The colour of Manuvad is same whether it is films, politics or any other field. It is dominance of men over women. There is no woman minister in the cabinet of Telangana government.
Even when women are elected as people's representatives, in many cases it is actually the husbands who control the real power and exercise authority.  Hyderabad hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Summit but the delegation from Telangana did not comprise of even one woman representative. The issue of triple talaq is being used for political benefits.

People hoped that social issues would be resolved in the new state of Telangana. But rulers belied their hopes.  Police welcomed the state of Telangana with sexual assault on Shruthi. The rulers simply blessed them.  The chief minister did not condemn the comments of Manuvadis when they declared that they will cut the nose of Deepika Padukone and announced rupees one crore for her head. Sexual harassment and domestic violence have increased in Telangana. The legacy of united Andhra Pradesh has continued in the state of Telangana. The rulers are not concerned about the security, empowerment, rights and self-respect of the women.  The BJP ruled states are in the forefront of murders and sexual harassment of women. The words of Supreme Court judge A Gopal Gouda on the condition of women in India reflect the actual situation prevailing in the country. He told that “The equality that is mentioned in the preamble of the constitution is not implemented. Equality should be implemented in politics, social and economic spheres. Women constitute 50 per cent of the population but only 5 per cent of women have property in their name”. RSS says that increased representation of women in legislative bodies will lead to disintegration of homes and families. RSS seriously wants to implement the maxim of Manu:           “na stree swatantra marhathi” (women are not eligible for freedom and liberty).

The liquor policy of the state government has become a curse for women. Most of the people who became slaves to liquor and die come from the poorest families. With the death of their husbands due to adverse effects of liquor consumption, it is the women who take the responsibility of running their families. But still the government is looking at the sale of liquor as an important source of income. The old age pension has been increased but only one member of the family will get this pension. As a result the wife who will normally be younger to her husband has lost her right to get pension. Thus she has lost whatever meager economic support she used to get earlier.

Women's position is very vulnerable in the caste system. Their position is pathetic both in upper castes and also in the socially oppressed classes. In all families women are in a very helpless situation. In the rural areas of Telangana, the landlord is the ‘dora’ (lord). But the wife of ‘dora’ is ‘dora sani. The respect that is given to ‘dora’ is not given to ‘dora sani’. In the family of dora also the position of women is restricted to the position of a sani (the woman who entertains and satisfies her husband). The same position prevails in the oppressed castes also. Though she has her own income, the dominance of husband continues in spite of her resistance. In Yadadri-Bhongir district of Telangana,  a youth obsessed with love killed a woman as she refused his overtures. This young man comes from a dalit family. Male dominance is present everywhere irrespective of caste and creed.

Education, property and political power are forbidden for dalits and women. People have skill in their work and every one, whether man or woman or a person belonging to any social class, has their own skill in their work.  All workers who are partners in the production process are skilled personnel. Their skill in a particular occupation is their legacy. New changes have come in the modern society with the advent of mechanisation and with the developments in science and technology. Democratic institutions have been formed. All the modern opportunities that have come through these changes have been used by those who already have control on education and property. The opportunities provided by modern constitution, law and justice are also exploited by them.  The ascendancy of the dominant castes extended to teaching, medicine and administration.  Men dominate these fields also. They got opportunities to study the national and international situation. They emerged as important politicians and economists. From among the shudra communities, only those who had control over land got the opportunity for education. After the brahmins, kshatriya and vysyas, these communities got opportunities with the spread of democracy. So development of oppressed classes is a social responsibility and in democracy, it is the responsibility of the government. Equality is not possible when there is reservation on property. It is because of this that reservations were given only in education and employment and for certain sections reservations are given in political field also. This is a temporary relief. But still some respite is given through reservations. These measures helped for the increase of educated sections and middle class in the oppressed classes. Giving 50 per cent reservation to women in the local body elections of Telangana is also a good development.

It is to be noted that those who attack reservations come from the dominant social forces only. It is surprising that these people talk about merit. For generations, they have dominance over land and they cannot answer when we question about the merit they have to engage in agriculture. They never tilled the land. They have neither sown the seeds nor reaped the harvest by cutting the crop. They never engaged in cultivation but reserved huge acres of land in their names. These are the people who pay huge capitation fees and secure seats in private colleges without any merit and good marks. They become doctors and engineers. They climb to high positions without any merit since wealth is reserved for them for generations. As political power is in their hands, they reach high positions by indulging in corruption and nepotism. They do not need merit. Merit is not needed for the capitalists and landlords. Property and money will ensure everything for them.  Political authority also does not need any merit. What is needed for them is that they should come from dominant and authoritarian castes. To become a hero in a cinema, there is no need to have acting skills. If you have caste and money then you will become a hero. For a cinema to be successful, women should be there in it. Otherwise women would not have been allowed to work in cinemas.  How many women are getting opportunities as directors? There are many efficient women to take up the job of a cine director but opportunities are not being given to women. Those who ruled the country all these days came from the upper caste dominant sections. But still they are not in a position to resolve the issues like economic inequalities, social problems, price rise and unemployment.  So what conclusions we should deduce on the merit of these people who are responsible for all these problems. We should note that they bring forward the issue of merit only in education and employment. Merit is not the real issue here. Arguments are being made against reservations but the real issue is who benefits from these kinds of arguments.  People are dissatisfied over the policies of the government and the strategy is to wean away people from the path of struggle against the ruling classes. They will oppose reservations in the first place and when that is not feasible, they demand reservations for themselves too.  In reality, there is no difference between the above two arguments.  Both are part of the political maneuvers of the ruling classes.

The immediate task is to achieve reservations in private sector. The vacancies in government departments are being reduced. There is increase in contractorisation of jobs. There is privatisation of public sector units. So the present reservations have no relevance. Reservations in private sector for dalits, tribals, women and backward sections should be secured. Some feel as if they are the owners of the private sector units and ask the question why reservations should be given in private sector. But how much of private sector is private and they have to give an answer to this question. Ninety per cent of the capital in the private sector comes from the loans given by the public sector banks. Big corporates are not repaying these loans. They are enjoying reservations on property for many centuries. And now they are questioning reservations while enjoying the public money and the various concessions and facilities provided by the government. While enjoying all these facilities, they  are now questioning reservations in private sector for their own benefit. But we should understand that reservations in private sector should be introduced for the benefit of the society as a whole. That is the reason why Bahujan Left Front questions dominance whether it is on the issue of women or on the issue of reservations in private sector.

The people of Telangana have a legacy of struggle. The armed struggle of Telangana paved way for the entry of women into politics. The armed struggle affirmed the equality of men and women. Women took active part in the movement against landlords and imperialism. Those who bowed their heads before the landlords took arms in rebellion.  This was because people were inspired by the armed struggle. The spirit of the armed struggle motivated people to rebel against bonded labour. The red flag led the dalits, tribal and oppressed classes on this glorious struggle path. This legacy of rebellion of the people is the ideal for the Bahujan Left Front (BLF). Struggle against economic exploitation and social oppression is the path to be taken and the task of BLF is to secure political power in the state of Telangana.

 

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