Monday, April 29, 2013

‘Bahujan’ concept took root in Bidar in 1950

The BSP won the Bidar seat, its first in South India, in 1994

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati will address an election rally in Humnabad on April 27, just after her campaign in Jewargi in Gulbarga. The only other stop in Karnataka is Chikkodi in Belgaum.

There is a historical reason why the political leader chooses Bidar as an important destination for her campaign. After all, the first-ever BSP victory in south India was from Bidar in 1994.

Bidar, Bahujan link

Bidar has the distinction of being one of the few places where there has been an alliance between voters of Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes, backward classes and minorities (collectively referred to as “Bahujan” by the party) not seen in other districts.

This is attributed to the legacy of thinkers like B. Shamsundar who spoke of a “Bahujan” alliance way back in the 1950s. “Long before BSP founder Kanshi Ram came up with the strategy of political unity of SC/ST, Other Backward Castes and minorities, Mr. Shamsundar applied it successfully in the erstwhile Nizam State,’’ said Vaijanath Suryavanshi, BSP State general secretary.

Back in 1957, Mr. Shamsundar became one of the two members to be elected from the dual-member Assembly constituency in the second general election. The Independent member got 22.04 per cent votes and won with a margin of 2,274 votes.

“Mr. Shamsundar postulated that 85 per cent of the Indian population was deprived and attaining political power was the only route to emancipation. This, he said, had to be obtained only by forging unity of these groups. He left a lasting influence on the erstwhile Nizam State that got divided into Maharashtra, Andhra and Karnataka,’’ Mr. Suryavanshi said.

Mr. Shamsundar served as a member of the legislative Assemblies in Hyderabad and Mysore States.

He founded institutions like Bhim Sena and All India Federal Association of Minorities.

He was elected the chairperson of the minorities and backward classes convention in Lucknow in 1968. He gave a call for “action against Hindu right-wing oppression” of the untouchables and minorities. His book They Burn is considered among the earliest works on Dalit political ideology.

Later, Syed Zulfikar Hashmi of the BSP won the Bidar seat in 1994, making him the first BSP MLA in South India. “Mr. Kanshi Ram arrived from Delhi to campaign for me,” recalls Mr. Hashmi. He won in 1994, 1999 and 2004, but lost in 2008.

Bidar has a high density of SC, ST and minority community population, 22 per cent as per the 2001 census. Bidar and Gulbarga are among the 90 districts with high minority population.

Union government’s multi-sectoral development plan estimates the minority population in Bidar district at 20 per cent, higher than the State average of 12 per cent.


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