As many as nine apolitical and social organisations working for the rights of backwards and deprived classes are coming together on one platform in Patna on 30 June to discuss militant “communalism and confused Opposition” and what could the way forward. The forum would also demand the Bihar government conduct caste census in a “rational” way so that it did not have errors like the “abortive” national socio-economic caste census.
Organisations taking part in the discussion are All India Pasmanda Muslim Mehaz (AIPMM), Rashtriya Ati Pichhda Sangharsh Morcha, Samajik Nyay Andolan, Bihar, Bahujan Bhagidari Andolan, Bihar, Bahujan Choupal, Jankranti Morcha, Safaikarmi Jankranti Parishad, Ek Koum Foundation and Picchda-Pasmanda Manch, Bihar. Prominent speakers who would address a gathering include public speaker and author Kanch Ilaiah Shepherd, former Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari, Professor Tanvir Aeijaz from Delhi University, Harikeshwar Ram, a Dalit thinker and Tapendra Kushwaha, a retired IAS officer besides Dr Helal Ahmed from CSDS.
Former MP and head of AIPMM Ali Anwar Ansari told The Indian Express: “We have come together amidst the backdrop of bulldozer model of communalism in which people are targeted for questioning the government. We also have to ask some questions to Socialist parties, which look confused and are losing sight of their ideology. Our core agenda from here would be to move around districts of Bihar to create awareness on caste survey being done”.
Former JD (U) MP added that once the caste survey would reveal the socio-economic and educational status of families, cutting across their religions, the “communalism would have to take a back seat”. “We want an error-free census in which enumerators are also held accountable for wrong entry. Even though state caste survey is not acknowledged by Centre, it would create an atmosphere in which people could focus on ways to improve their economic and educational condition rather than fall into the trap of any divisive agenda”.
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Ansari said all the nine social groups had planned a series of meetings, starting from Bihar in the coming months. “We have chosen Bihar because it has been conducting caste census”, said Ansari adding that they had been looking to create an ambience of alternative politics from “fatigue of caste and religion” politics.
Professor Tanvir Aeijaz, also director of Forum for Pasmanda Srudies, said: “If one wants to understand Muslim society, one has to start from below, particularly the Pasmanda community. Pasmanda means” those who are left out” and such people could be both Hindus and Muslims. Pasmanda community are gripped with fear and low confidence that they would not be able to empower themselves. But they are marginalised, nation-building could come to a halt”.
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