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Could BAMCEF be the needed answer to RSS?

Suraj Yengde writes: Will the liberal, progressive centrists, Leftists, unionists and LGBTIQ+ trust in a social organisation that can rival the RSS?

Written by Suraj Yengde |
Updated: August 23, 2021 7:39:32 am
Rights-based organisations and liberal Left viewpoints have just scratched the surface in taking on the RSS — a style that perfectly suits the Sangh. (File)

People across the political spectrum and ideology have started to wonder about the future of post-Modi India. The inept rule of the current government has dismayed opponents and some supporters as well. Partymen as well as allies of the BJP have voiced their dramatically changed opinion on the shortcomings of the government. However, almost everyone has kept their criticism to only two people — Narendra Modi and Amit Shah — while largely accepting with frustration the RSS and its growing appeal.

“There is no getting around the RSS,” is the common consensus.

What is the RSS and how much influence does it hold? A personal secretary of a senior BJP minister who is a Dalit tells me the government is unable to bring desired changes in policies, with every part of its apparatus manned by an RSS handler.

This was further proved by several encounters I had with the BJP government in Maharashtra. A senior strategist who had helped the BJP come to power and now finds it incompatible with his liberal Gandhian standards told me the RSS has long-term plans.

So how does one take on an organisation that boosts the abusive traditional norms of Varnashrama Dharma? Is it possible to invent a new model that can challenge a behemoth like it? Or is the RSS dilutable, even open to reform?

Rights-based organisations and liberal Left viewpoints have just scratched the surface in taking on the RSS — a style that perfectly suits the Sangh. The usual clamour against the RSS is on its stand against Muslims and for a Hindu nation. This political minoritisation has granted fresh life to the values of the RSS. That is why, whenever anyone critiques it with elite textbook definitions, they add to the support base of the RSS.

To counter the RSS, we need an organisation that is as sophisticated, much sharper in vision, astute in political manoeuvring, and grassroots-based. It needs octopus-like organs that are extendable and malleable, with a firm head.

The idea of Hindu, Hindustan and Vedic Brahmanism does not need to be defeated but simply reinterpreted. This work has been in progress since the times of Charvak, the Buddha, to the modern-era humanitarians such as Jyotiba Phule, Babasaheb Ambedkar, and Kanshi Ram.

The BAMCEF (Backward and Minority Community Employees’ Federation) was formed in 1978 particularly for the purpose of ushering a democracy of the Bahujan — or the majority — rather than a theocracy of the minority of Brahmins and allied castes. But the appeasers of identity politics failed to understand the clear-eyed vision of the BAMCEF and reduced it to being just a Dalit body.

Years of work by the admirers of Phule and Ambedkar had led to the body that is much like the Satyashodhak Samaj, Samata Sainik Dal, Independent Labour Party, and Scheduled Caste Federation. Lessons from the past and consideration of the future went into forming a body comprising hardworking farmers, labourers, working-class Dalits, Adivasis, Shudras, and other non-oppressive castes.

With 39 different offshoot organisations trying to dismantle the social structure through education and agitation, the BAMCEF has shown what it takes to humble the arrogance of casteist supremacists. Kanshi Ram was the most feared man in Indian politics and the BAMCEF was his surety, providing an arsenal of trained and devoted cadres, working to uproot Brahminism and Hindutva.

The BAMCEF claims to have a presence in over 600 districts across India. Its organisational structure is tight-knit and difficult to penetrate, as they remain suspicious of the enemy trying to snoop or infiltrate. That is why very little is known about them or written about in the media. Yet, from organising protests to state- and national-level seminars, it remains a force.

It is important to note that the BSP’s ascent and expansion are primarily due to the backbone provided by the BAMCEF. The mother of political organising that does not indulge in politicking, it rather offers intellectual support to the party.

Will the liberal, progressive centrists, Leftists, unionists and LGBTIQ+ trust in a social organisation that can rival the RSS? Even in the times of the Buddha, caste ego could not be shattered completely; that is why the Sakya Republic was decimated. The world needs ideas of love and compassion. Politics needs action. People need to embrace the delicacy of both.

Suraj Yengde, the writer of Caste Matters, curates the fortnightly Dalitality column

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