Hierarchy, Hegemony, and Dominance: Politics of Ethnicity in U.P, 1995, by Ravindra K Jain
Here we will study how Weber’s theory of ethnicity and Gramsci’s theory of hegemony contributed or showed its effect in UP politics i.e. particularly the rise of BSP.
The term Ethnic group evolved during the time of 1978-95. Uttar Pradesh population followed this pattern where there were 10 percent Brahmins, 6.5 percent Thakurs, 50 percent other backward classes, and 20 percent schedules castes. By the estimated figure, it can be easily concluded that BSP was a by-product which emerged due to the backlash or aggression against upper caste domination in the politics. There is a slogan “ Tilak, Tarazu aur Talwar, inko maro jute chaar” is held against Brahmins, Thakurs, and Banias. The BSP was fully evolved on 14th April 1984 from Kanshi Ram’s Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti which was made for the uplifting all backward community of India. From the name, itself Bahujan stands for majoritarianism of all Dalit and backward classes. The sense of majority worked as a base for the alliance between Mulayam Singh Yadav Samajwadi Party and BSP. Although this alliance broke after some time and the latter one focused on making the government on its own. For making the best usage of upper caste people and lowering their feelings of detachment, Mayawati used the term Sarva Samaj instead of Bahujan Samaj. The study of the term Samaj was done by an anthropologist Michael Carrithers in 1991. He studied the differentiation and co-existence between and among the groups. When we study this term, it gives the idea of a majority of any community. The community itself comprises the self and the other. The Digambar Jain leader also used Samaj in a distinguished manner. He called every community a Samaj of India. It is also evident that BSP and SP used the term Samaj instead of class or Jati making it obvious that they are still embarrassed by this term. In 1995 there was a journalist who wrote that UP is a melting pot of various castes and sub-castes. Weber put his point on ethnicity as the power and rights in the society and politics as well. According to Weber, the last term of BSP stands for a sphere of power. The attribute of this association is a clear goal and not the ideology. He also stated that the structure of party will be determined by the context of status rather than class.
CASTE, ETHNICITY, AND COMMUNITY; NOTION OF SOCIAL HEREDITY
The function or characteristics of ethnicity is always used for Indians instead of Hindus, for it is believed that the division or kind is not only seen across the jati, but also the communities. And this division is written in many ways in earlier day’s viz. purity of bloody, serious endogamy etc. Thus the heredity is often confused with the spontaneous following things across generations. For example, the famous actor Sanjay Dutt took the matter of accusations held against his son. He stated that no matter what my son can’t be treated as someone who is anti-national. It is seen that not only according to religion, inheriting some quality or demerit is linguistic or regional too.
SOCIAL HEREDITY AND HOLISM: TRIPARTITE CASTE DIVISION
Gupta in 1992 put up a point about caste that from the different point of views and observations, caste hierarchy does not exist for any value consensus jati in India. There were many contradictions on this perspective. He was held against dismantling the Dumontian scheme on caste and its implication. The second objection was that he sidetracked the emphasis of Holism, although it was an important aspect as stated by many authors. The heredity part was again covered by a saying that the fragment of the sun is also the sun. This showed the social heredity and holism in Indian society. Now when we cover more portion of caste division in UP, it is seen that there were 7 crores dwija, 17 crores Shudra and 5 crores Harijan. Lohia showed two major characteristics based on this figure representation. He showed how Shudra was in majority and what steps were needed intensively for their betterment. The second point was that Harijan and Shudra condition was lifeless and personality-less because they were extensively exploited by Dwija. Gupta also gave an analogy that in a political context, these two were not the leading group because of their personal rivalry.
HIERARCHY AND HEGEMONY
Here we will see the contradiction or fit between ideology and values in the Indian system of hierarchy. Dumont in 1970 studied the implications of the hierarchical value system. Here we are not challenging or disrespecting his intense work, instead, we are modifying some of the research works. But before that, we will look for some other views of Indian scholars. N. K Bose classified caste system on three factors purity, valor, and darkness. Bose thought was perceived as the humans who were having these three qualities were highest in class than others. Bose stated that apart from class exploitation, Indian productive system has also become a victim of inertia. He said that the dark intensity which is present in the caste system is being destroyed by a combination of the forces of darkness and valor. In simple words, one poison can kill another poison. His theory of Guna somehow comprised the Gandhian and Marxist element. It depicted how a scholar like Bose accepted this fact that the caste system is a natural condition in Indian society. Dumont’s also studied inevitability and acceptance about the theory of hierarchy in India. It showed two vitals point, viz. the contemporary development in castes and politics of India. And Shudras and Harijans were using hierarchy as an instrument. It was clear that in India hierarchy was used to a point where there were instability and inequality between every caste. And no matter any amount of success cannot guarantee the gradation of society as a whole. Moffatt added that the term hierarchy is being used to expose the matters related to the dispute, instead of hiding it. The rivalry and conflict have just turned opposite, for example, other backward classes in UP and Bihar.
GRAMSCI ON HEGEMONY AND WEBER ON ETHNICITY
We have seen guna theory of Bose and its evidence by Dumont in most of the cases. We further noticed that the hierarchy theory was the natural process for Dwija castes. In 1979 Moffatt came up with conclusions regarding the internal structure of caste analysis. And he should be credited enough for the cause that he concluded while keeping and comparing other works comprising South and North of Hindi heartland. His model compared and contrasted the analytical model of caste with Dumontian terms. He also explained how the social forces should be beyond the control of South Indian untouchables. Gramsci point of upper caste was that it was due to their domination and intellectual and moral leadership, that they acquired this position in the society. It was also said that hegemony was the result of consent instead of domination of one class over another class. Gramsci theory of hegemony and domination was constructing a theory of superstructure. Moffatt statement was that just because some of the untouchables of South India were willingly into the oppression. And they never tried anything to make their condition better, does not mean that they should be in that position for the lifetime.
CONTEMPORARY POLITICS IN UTTAR PRADESH
We will not dig further into the history of UP, we will see the outcome i.e. Sanskritization as a result of heredity. And just like heredity, mandalitisation and dalitisation are also considered as the mainspring of a counter-hegemony based model of socio-political mobility in the social order. Also, there was another concept of Dominant class by Srinivas. There was not necessarily Brahmins being placed in the dominant position. It could be Rajput, jat who can be also called as Dwija at that time. There were some villages in UP where shudras being the highest in number acquired the dominant position. And this is a possible reason for the formation of BSP and the upcoming alliance. When talking about the present situation, there was news when V P Singh and Kanshi Ram asked Mayawati to either leave the seat or the huge support base of Dalits. By reading each and every aspect of hierarchy based politics in UP, it can be observed that BSP has now become the 3rd most influential party in Indian politics. And for this, the neighboring state Bihar has always supported UP. It can be proved from the fact that Janta Dal party of Laloo Yadav has come in power for two times. And seeing the figure of progress and development, the party has contributed only in down gradation of this already backward state of India. Certainly, Bihar, UP, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are called as Bimaru states of India, due to the manifestation of Dalit politics on a large scale. The BBC has recently put up a point that BJP-Shiv Sena got successfully achieved success in Maharashtra and Gujarat due to liberalization and structural adjustment in Indian economy. By reading every aspect, we come to a conclusion that UP success rate is lying uneasily between neo-hegemony and counter-hegemony.