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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 36, New Delhi, August 22, 2020

Kamala Harris and India | Faraz Ahmad

Friday 21 August 2020, by Faraz Ahmad


The nomination of Kamala Harris, a half Jamaican, half Indian American, as the running mate of Democrats’ Presidential nominee Joe Biden, for vice presidency of the United States of America (USA), is a decisive moment not just in the history of the United States but also for the White Europe.

The people of the United States with a history of enslaving the Africans and trading in humans, made significant progress in 2009 when they elected Barrack Husain Obama as their President notwithstanding a significant and assertive section of White racists who reacted to the 10 year rule of Obama, by electing a corrupt, boorish, sexist, uncouth, obnoxious Donald Trump. Trump is everything that the people of the US voted against when they chose a half white African American Obama as their President who even attempted pretty successfully to put some checks and balances on the privileges enjoyed by the big corporate fat cats, thriving on loans and munificence of private banks and Government largesse while the ordinary people reeled under a crumbling economy.

But all this did not matter as much for the Anglo Saxon white racist supremacist who hated Obama for his colour who enjoyed this Trump’s ugly, sexist and uncouth comments against a graceful Michelle Obama. They were determined to put a White man in the White House and the worse and more obnoxious the better.

But these four years of Trump rule, under cloud for his numerous business dealings in and even more out of the country, to the extent of endangering the security of the US, an issue of great concern to the white racist supporters of Trump, coupled with his consistent and persistent attacks on not just Blacks but all coloured citizens of the USA as well as Mexican migrants, has brought to the forefront a vast majority of indignant white youth as well, standing shoulder to shoulder with the African Americans, the Asians and Mexicans, all victims of Trump’s unabashed racist policies, (add to that his refusal to acknowledge, leave alone act, to tackle the corona virus and instead instigating the White racists to defy the social distancing regulations of the respective states), have welded together into one solid phalanx all those determined to get rid of Trump in the coming elections, barely three months away.

More than two months after the Police murder in public of George Floyd, the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement is still raging in most parts of the US and has influenced similar protests in several European nations where the Africans often face similar discrimination and police violence notwithstanding the civil laws prohibiting any discrimination on account of colour or other similar distinctions.

The likely victory of Joe Biden in the November Presidential polls of the US, accompanied by Kamala Harris by his side, may surely send a message of liberation for the people of African and Asian origins settled in Europe, America and Canada. Kamala is the daughter of an Indian mother and though her father was from Jamaica, she and her younger both were brought up by her mother Shyamala single handed. Therefore, her ascendance to the Vice President’s office in the USA will be of immense significance to India and Indians as well.

It is ironical that while the nomination of Kamala, a part Indian woman as the Democrats’ Vice Presidential candidate signifies the Americans’ resolve to usher in a new era of equality and accommodation for all the citizens of the US, irrespective of their colour and origin of birth of either parent, in India we are faced with a diametrically opposite situation. We have a Government which now flaunts its communal, unconstitutional discriminatory laws and brazens it out and thanks to this, the other three pillars of Democracy, the media, the bureaucracy and the judiciary, are all getting slowly but visibly corroded likewise.

Thirty years ago, the then Prime Minister V P Singh caused a huge upheaval in the placid waters of India by awarding reservation to the Other Backward Castes (OBCs). It suddenly caused huge upsurge among the backwards all over the country as also among the Dalits, who were already entitled to reservation since independence thanks to the first stirrings by Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, but were hardly getting their due in government services. Since 1990 the Indian state has slowly and steadily started shrinking the space for government employment to the extent that the successive orders of the Supreme Court have further squeezed the opportunity of Dalits and OBCs in universities and institutions of higher education. Now with Modi government out to sell even the Railways, Air-India and such other government bodies, the scope of Dalits and OBCs entry is further diminished. The Government decision to bypass the central services examinations and recruit directly their favourites in the higher bureaucracy too is going to adversely affect the entry of meritorious candidates, including Dalits, OBCs and minorities.

V P Singh gave such hope to the Dalits and OBCs that even before they could avail of reservation, the political firmament above the Hindi heartland turned Green and Blue, colours largely identified in public perception with the OBCs and Dalits. Thus from 1991 till 2017 UP remained the impregnable citadel of OBCs and Dalits and Bihar in fact is still governed by an OBC leader Nitish Kumar, though only for name sake. It is also difficult to say how long he will last. Even if the BJP-JD-U combine wins the next elections, scheduled for later this year, which is quite likely given the disarray and despair in the Opposition ranks and Lalu Yadav’s family, Nitish may not last long because that victory will be entirely BJP victory and Nitish Kumar is fast losing his utility in the eyes of the Brahmin-Bhumihar-Lala vote bank of the BJP which has propped up Nitish for its own political survival in the face of OBC-Dalit assertion under 15 years of Lalu-Rabri rule.

The foundation stone laying ceremony of the Ram Janambhoomi Mandir in Ayodhya on August 5 was a remarkable spectacle. It was laid by Narendra Modi, claiming to be an OBC. But what about Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar, all OBCs whose presence as front-line leaders of Ram Mandir movement enabled the OBCs to join the Ram Mandir movement notwithstanding the surge of Mandal movement? No, none of them had any place there because they had outlived their utility. Not even L K Advani who was once hailed by the same set of enthusiasts as the reincarnation of Bhagwan Ramchandraji himself.

There are myriad achievements of Narendra Modi and his six years rule over entire India and before that 12 years of governance of Gujarat for his alma mater the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). First and foremost is putting the insolent Musalman in his place and showing him that his vote doesn’t count to come to power in India. Second, through continuous communalistion in the garb of Hindu reassertion, he has won over large sections of Dalits and OBCs to his side who till the other day looked at the BJP as a Manuwadi party and lastly he has completely demoralised and crushed the OBC and Dalit leadership in UP and Bihar. In effect his counter revolution has succeeded in emaciating the entire Opposition from one to the other end of the political spectrum.

In the 2016 elections, total number of votes polled by Hillary Clinton were more than those by Donald Trump. But the counter-revolutionary assertion of White supremacists ensured Trump’s victory whose victory earlier against his Republican rivals in the primaries looked uncertain. The decision of Joe Biden to have Kamala Harris a woman of coloured origin symbolises a revolutionary assertion of the marginalised and despised sections among the US citizens and its all thanks to the street display of Black Lives Matter movement.

Political logic says that counter revolution is an outcome of crisis in the establishment when it feels so threatened by the rise of the suppressed and oppressed classes. But counter revolution also leads to further strengthening and coming together of the marginalised and suppressed. India at the moment is in the throes of a successful counter revolution. But as Shelley said, “If Winter comes can spring be far behind.” Sure, the present first-generation leaders of the OBCs and Dalits have capitulated. But the obtaining situation in India is merely awaiting a leader, a selfless and assertive leader, an Ambedkar in new incarnation. And he can’t be far behind.

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