We have always seen Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh, etc repeatedly pandering on the insecurities of the innocent Dalits. Now, there is a new entrant in this list of Dalit oppressors: Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan. With the dead and decaying leadership of the Mayawatis and the Yadavs, Ravan noticed a vacuum and decided to jump in the bandwagon of further alienating the Dalits from our society. Mind you, he shouldn’t be shunned because of his old tactics of preferential appeasement, he has much better resources from undisclosed funding and that is something to be scared of.

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Ravan’s organisation calls himself The Bhim Army for being crusaders of the Dalits just like Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar. But this cannot be farther away from the truth. He drove many a violent protest, including the torching of buses during the Saharanpur caste violence. Lest we forget, he sells hope to the poor Dalits who are desperately looking for people to support them financially. So, the Bhim Army takes the responsibility of filling fuel tanks of 200 bikes and thus you see a rally full of people showing their love and adulation for Ravan. This gives the so-called “Liberal” media more fire to fill pages in admiration for Ravan. However, not one has criticised his rallies destroying everything that comes their way, including poor vendors. Moreover, not one of them questions the sources of the Bhim Army’s funds. Is Ravan an enigma or has blatant ignorance created a Dalit star?

In case the Dalits are lacking a star, our present President is from the Dalit community. He has fought his own battles to reach the position he is today. No, he didn’t need to burn Manusmriti or criticise every inch of the Hindu society for it. He has been elected when the BJP and RSS are at the Centre. You need not be anti-Hindu to be a Dalit leader. Bhim Army particularly has used bots to spread their hate-Hindu agenda all over Facebook. Moreover, on multiple occasions we have seen them share and comment with obscene memes about Hindu Gods and Goddesses. I have been a first-hand victim of their anti-Hindu agenda where they comment and create fights among my followers on my Facebook Page with their obscene and provocative messages and memes. If we let them continue, the other Hindus will end up hating the Dalits just because of Bhim Army. So, we should not fall for all the falsehood being preached. Moreover, I feel even the Dalits are seeing through this. In the last elections, we have seen the Yadavs, the non-Yadavs, the Dalits and the Upper castes all voting unanimously for the BJP. Of course, empty narratives do come with an expiry date.

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All of these crusaders share the same formula for garnering attention: target the Brahmins. Now, these Brahmins may have almost negligible land or may have to just rely on “Puja-Path” for there survival. So what? You need a target to be a hero, so chose the one that has the least chance of biting back. They have been historically “advantaged” by being the upper castes. So, what are they now? What if they are no longer economically powerful? What if there are no historical shreds of evidence of any targeted violence by the Brahmins towards the Dalits? They have to be framed as a villain so that you appear as the messiah! 

Yes, I do acknowledge that our Dalits indeed are in pathetic conditions and continue to face various forms of discrimination. This discrimination has not just been meted out to them by the upper castes, but by the British and before them the Mughals as well. But, before they repose their faith on these leaders, I would urge them to take a step back and see how have these leaders behaved after they won? Haven’t these leaders, who mutter curses at Brahmins every second, given Brahmin candidates tickets to win Brahmin votes? Have they done anything for the actual welfare of the Dalits through social reform to take them out of their vicious circle of poverty and discrimination? We need to understand these leaders - the Ravans and the likes - taste sweet success in politics, but they are not going to stick to mandate on which they won this successfully. They will go beyond ideologies, identities,and enmities to form alliances to win more power and popularity. 

Selling hopes and empty promises are the easiest things as that doesn’t require concrete databases to prove a point. More so, hope appears particularly lucrative to those in despair as it appears to be their only ray of light in pitch darkness. The Dalits have seen, generation after generation, leaders doing the same, yet they end up believing the same shenanigans as they consider these leaders as one of them. But these leaders often have no idea about poverty or discrimination, or even if they do, they have cut themselves off from their roots post the first taste of success. I hope people see through these leaders and realise the banality of their narratives and elect those who truly work for their welfare.

About Abhinav Khare

Abhinav Khare is the CEO of Asianet News Network and also the host of a daily show named Deep Dive with AK. He has a lifetime collection of books and gadgets and has already pinged more than hundred cities around the globe. 

He is a tech entrepreneur, who is passionate about policy, technology, economy and philosophy from ancient India. He earned an MS Engineering from the ETH Zurich and an MBA Finance from the London Business School.