If someone, who stood by the oppressed, is ignored, even in death, the oppressed will treat that as their own humiliation.
On November 27, I was back home at around 3 pm. Prof Bhagya Naik, who once was a student leader in the Mandal movement, called me and said, �There isbad news amidst worse news of terrorism. VP Singh has died and an occasional scroll (news ticker) on NDTV is informing us of that.�
All TVs were hooked on to the Taj, Oberoi and Nariman House. I tried to catch up with the news of the death of India�s former Prime Minister. I went on looking for at least flash news, on any one of the English channels, which are considered to be �national channels�. No ticker could be seen. After quite a long time one channel put out the news, �VP Singh dead�. No details. No channel was showing his dead body, no discussion was being organised around his role as Prime Minister.
The next day I looked up several news papers. In almost all the publications, a small news item in a cornerof the front page with a regular photo (not of his dead body) was published.
The electronic media has treated his death as inconsequential, at a time when they were protecting the nation, while broadcasting about what was happening minute to minute around the Taj and Oberoi. In fact, the police and military officials were saying that the round the clock TV cameras around those hotels had obstructed the operation of flushing out the terrorists. On those three days TV channels were competing to get top spot to make more advertising revenue. No one would pay to view that �Mandal ghost�s� dead body. The upper caste media had taken its revenge against a man who initiated a mini civil war in order to establish anegalitarian India.
VP Singh was the one who deployed a serious discourse of social justice and and worked out a method to make India caste free from the position of Prime Minister. In one sense he was comparable to Abraham Lincoln who initiated a major civil war to abolish slavery in America, in late nineteenth century. He was a white man who stood for the rights of the black people. VP Singh initiated a similar battle of social justice in a country of castes and brazen inequality in 20th century India while holding the position of Prime Minister.
He was a Kshatriya who stood by the lower castes who had been suffering inequality for centuries. Abraham Lincoln was killed by the whites. The upper caste anti-reservationists saw to it that VP Singh lost his power within just eleven months. His political life with any meaningful visibility had been murdered since then. Abraham Lincoln became a hero of the blacks and became a villain among racist whites.
Similarly VP Singh became a hero among Dalit-Bahujans (particularly OBCs) and a villain among the upper castes who claimed themselves to be anti-quota. These anti-reservation upper casteforces claimed that they wanted to save the nation from terrorists. But the forces that are working in the mediamust remember that a nation that promotes equality alone can checkmate terrorism that was working in full force on the day when VP Singh died.
The media and the UPA leaders, by treating him like dirt, even in his death, forgot a basic fact of human life. If someone, who stood by the oppressed, is ignored and humiliated, even in death, the oppressed will treat that as their own humiliation. If this is the attitude of the elite towards a man who sacrificed his Chief Ministership (Uttar Pradesh) on moral grounds, his Defence Ministerial position on the grounds of opposing corruption (Bofors case) and became Prime Minister of the nation on his own political movement�s strength (transforming Jan Morcha into Janatha Dal) people know how to read the signs. Therefore such media cannot protect the nation from even the terrorists, as the oppressed majority do not believe in it at all.
VP Singh was a philosopher in his own right, a poet and painter. The media behaved as if he was nobody to this nation. He implemented the Mandal Commission Report, to which suicide attempts by upper caste youth were made. This was subsequently followed with a Kamadal Yatra of Advani, who then became a hero of the upper castes.
If Advani had died amidst the trauma of the Bombay terror attacks, would they have ignored his death as they did in the case of VP Singh? Certainly not, because there is big business in talking about him. Most of the people in the press claimto be secular but when it comes to business and caste communalism, they give it major coverage as it means big money. The media plays a major role in every thing, including arresting terrorism. But it must remember that if people come to disbelieve what they churn out, then even the terrorists would have be placed in safe havens in our civil society.
More than any other prime minister, VP Singh made Indian democracy transformative. But for his intervention from the position of Prime Minister even the survival of politicians like Mulayam Singh, Lalu Prasad, Kanshiram, Ram Vilas Paswan and Mayawati would have been difficult. Ironically, these leaders from backward communities also did not bother about him. But he was an icon who had a dream for social equality. Ever since he implemented 27 per cent reservation forCentral government jobs he never compromised on the philosophy of social justice and equality.
The media must have ignored him today but a man of his calibre, will be resurrected soon.
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