Thursday, 6 September 2018

Essay on India The Rise of the Underdog

Essay on India The Rise of the Underdog

Essay on India The Rise of the Underdog
After centuries of servitude and enslavement India achieved freedom on August 15, 1947. It was a new down on the horizon a beginning of a new phase of history, the inception of an era of hope and opportunities to be realized. But basically the freedom achieved was only political, social and economic freedom was yet to come. A major chunk of India’s population had led sub-human existence over centuries. They had been denied all opportunities for growth and development. The scheduled castes and to a somewhat lesser degree the backward classes had suffered unspeakable pangs of penury, indigence and social exploitation. They were just hewers of wood and drawers of water’. The independent India swore to extricate these masses from the morass of ill-development and exploitation. Provisions were made in the constitution itself for the amelioration of their condition. Reservation of seats for schedules casts/ tribes in the Assemblies and the Lok-Sabha and also in services threw good many opportunities to the members of these castes to grow and develop.

The eighties of the present century gave a new spurt to the political and hence social advancement of this unfortunate section of our society. On the political horizon emerged the Bahujan Samaj Party, under the leadership of Kanshi Ram and Mayawati which espoused cause of the down-trodden and the underdog. Close on the heels came the political bandwagon, assuming different names at different times and predominantly espousing the cause of the backwards. These new phenomena on the political horizon games a fresh thrust to the hopes and aspirations of the scheduled castes/tribes and the backwards. Systematically they built up a good political clout and were successful in 1993 to form a government in Uttar Pradesh. In later elections they gave a good showing of themselves and became a force to reckon with so much that even national parties like the Congress and the BJP had to form alliances in elections and in the formation of government in Uttar Pradesh. The installation of Mayawati, the Harijan leader, as the Chief Minister is a development of momentous importance. Of even greater importance is the installation of K.R. Narayanan a harijan leader as the President of India.

The astounding success of these parties and individuals epitomizes the rise of the underdog to claim its proper place in the citadels of power, society and the country’s economics. The phenomenon deserves welcome since the occurrence of it now makes the way for an honorable place for those who have suffered centuries of social tyranny, economic hardship and political nothingness. In the last half century the winds of democracy swept over and across the entire globe, exterminating the totalitarian forces for all time to come but it brought no relief to the underdog. Democracy was meant for the upper strata of society for those living in elegance and decency and for those who still held the economic reins in their hands. Democracy was a government of the people for the people and by the people. He was important on the election day only. The influential politicians went to victory stalls by hoodwinking the underdog who constituted a good chunk of the population. In other matters the underdog was still a hewer of wood and drawer of water?

Even communism failed to deliver the goods. In essence communism meant the dictatorship of the communist party. The dictatorship of the proletariat concept was a device to throw dust into the eyes of the proletariat and then to overpower him and force him to cede power to the communist bosses at various levels of the organization. The rout of communism in the wake of the disintegration of communist Soviet Union again made the field clear for capitalist forces. At no stage and nowhere was there the weal of the underdog in the calculation or planning of the rulers. The underdog still led the same life as it had been leading through centuries with no social recognition, no economic independence, no cultural uplift and no moral or spiritual personality.

The successive victories of the backwards, the dalits and the scheduled castes/tribes combines in the election to U.P. Assembly in particular and to a lesser extent in other parts of India in general and their leaders having formed the government is certainly an epoch-making event. As said elsewhere it symbolizes the rise of the underdog. It raises hopes for a similar success in other states as and when the elections take place. The success of the depressed sections may be due to certain factors, particularly historical, but the immediate factor has been the charismatic leadership of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Kanshi Ram. Both these stalwarts put into the elections their indefatigable energy and stamina with a combined will to win while other parties were driven with internal squabbles or by a sense of complacency propped up by alluring promises which have practically lost all their relevance. The Election Commission must also take its due credit since it mobilized all its resources to ensure free and fair elections. It is for the first time that the depressed classes voted for themselves and their number being large their success was a foregone conclusion. The appeal of pseudo-slogans did not sway them but the promise of the establishment of their own rule got the better of every other appeal or slogan. The indifference and inactivity of the so-called higher groups made things easier for the depressed ones to emerge victorious.


While the phenomenon of the rise of the rise of the depressed deserves to be welcomed it also makes us wary of certain consequences which should be held in control. It should not lead to class war or class antagonism. Decisions at the government level should be taken impartially. The caste factor should be subordinated to the rule of law and the principles of justice for all. If the victory of the so-called backwards and the depressed leads to aggressive caste politics inclined in their own favor, the possibility of polarization of materializes any day, this will certainly be the saddest day for Indian democracy and for all that it stands for. The phenomenon of assertion of rights of the depressed should not lead to the suppression of excellence. It should lead to true development of the depressed. The seize of political power unaccompanied by social and cultural development may lead to a worst sort of tyranny never heard of before. The powers that be must, therefore concentrate their attention on the completion of these unfinished tasks if the rise of the underdog is to be made a permanent reality. The higher castes and their leaders need to adopt a tolerant attitude to the new phenomenon and extend their sympathetic support to those members of scheduled castes/ tribes who are coming to hold reins of power and stand on the helm of affairs in the political and social setup. Let them grow to their full heights even if they have to make certain sacrifices. This will lead to the emergence of an equitable order of society an order free f tyranny exploitation and enslavement and ensure harmonious and peaceful co-existence of all sections of the society. 

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