In last few Days, the ghost of Caste wars in Bihar came back in news. Cobrapost, a web based news portal, brought a Documentary on Ranveer Sena. Cobrapost unveiled this poisonous agenda just before the election and to benefit a certain poll alliance purposefully. Here is my take why as a person who had gone through this, personally view this revelation. BTW it wasn’t unexpected considering the history of people behind Cobra Post. Aniruddha Bahal, Kavita Krishnan, Prashant Bhushan, all of these people have shown their sympathy for Naxals, Terrorists & other Anti-National Elements continuously.
As expected, we saw a twitter war with #RanveerSena hash tag on twitter between moral supporters & haters of Ranveer Sena. It forced me to think again about Ranveer Sena and what it did. No way I am endorcing those killings but the question is What actually forced people of Bihar to form any Militia (Yes this is what THEY call it)? Considering the background of people behind Ranveer Sena, who were entirely Farmers, it is very unique that people chose to flex arms instead of harvesting corps. What actually triggered?
I will try to explain it, but before that let me remind you about Bihar. Caste Army or Caste war was not a new thing in Bihar. Almost every caste (involved in agriculture) had some kind of Fighter group in different periods at different locations. If you just google it, you will get more that thousand results. I am putting here a list of Caste Armies in Bihar.
Year of Formation
Area of Operation
Kisan Suraksha Samiti
Patna, Jehanabad, Gaya
Patna, Nawada, Nalanda, Jehanabad
Patna, Jehanabad, Nalanda
Bhojpur, Aurangabad, Jehanabad
Kisan Sewak Samaj
Palamu, Garhwa, Aurangabad, Gaya
Sawarna Liberation Front
Bhojpur, Patna, Jehanabad, Rohtas, Aurangabad, Gaya
Gram Suraksha Parishad
Mazdoor Kisan Sangh
So, if you see the list, you will find Militia of so called Upper castes like Bhumihar, Rajputs as well as so called backward castes like Yadav, Kurmi too. But yes there was a clear lack of any militia specially for Dalits & other lower castes. But that lacking too didn’t stay for long. It was the period of late 70s when Naxal movement had already started from Naxalwadi and was gaining foothold in different parts of country. Unfortunately Bihar was no exception. They got good support in land-less agrarian laborers due to their promise of Revolution & change in life. But until 1983, there was no big faceoff by Naxals (MCC) with anyone. They were just fueling the anger in agrarian laborers on lesser payments and other issues.
Since the farmers had started facing the heat, at some places they used some amount of power which resulted in killing of some laborers (Schedule Caste). It helped MCC & PWG to gain the stronghold & brain wash the schedule caste people who were generally landless agrarian laborers. Till then, approx 27 incidents were reported of Caste/ Class wars from 1976 to mid 1987. But it all were very small incidents. No where the fatality graphs went more than 6-7. That’s the highest except 2-3 Police actions where the fatality was reported in double digit. In 1986, The Darmia Village of The Aurangabad District felt the heat of MCC. 11 Rajputs were killed brutally. These Rajputs were not any Landlord or anything. The average land holding was merely 3 Bigha per family. Still they were killed calling it a Revolt against Landlords. Really?? Having 3 Bigha land makes anybody Landlord? Wow!! See these Dead bodies. They were small farmers struggling to feed their family. And that’s why MCC chosen them to make their own presence.
It was said loudly that this attack was on Landlords who were crushing the lower class people. Ok. See this picture and tell me, which house do you think has any landlord?
Does this village looks like prosperous & Landlord's property?
Let me tell you, This picture is of Bhagaura Village of Aurangabad. It is one of the 2 villages which was attacked by Naxalite.Was this a aimed to give Schedule cast a good life?
This was the first incident when Women & children (less than 2 years) were killed. Is that the Revolution MCC was talking about? They killed every single Rajput available in that night. Houses were burnt & dead bodies were thrown into that. You talk about brutality, then see it http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/massacre-of-42-rajputs-in-bihar-villages-marks-a-new-level-of-brutality/1/337227.html
Post this incident, Naxalists in form of MCC which later changed into PWG (People’s War Group) had the upper hand. Police & state Administration was almost non-effective. There were little retaliation from Upper caste people but it was all individual & sudden rather than joint action or planned. And with this edge in hand what MCC started was the worst part of it.
BTW neither it was a Caste war nor a class war. But I would like to call it as Naxal & Anti-Naxal fight. Although few people try to make it Caste war by using Schedule Caste tag but you can find it same in Chhattisgarh or Jharkhand where same lot of people twist it. If CRPF Personnel are dying then Naxals take credit but when Police kills Naxals, Human Right Keepers cry as brutality against Adiwasis. See this report –
It is here that the landlords have their numerous caste-based senas: Bhumi Sena (Kurmis), Brahmarshi Sena(Bhumihars), Kuar Sena (Rajputs) and Lorik Sena (Yadavs). Ultra-left organisations active in Bihar also flourish almost entirely in this area, the most prominent being the Vinod Mishra faction of the CPI(M-L), the Maoist Communist Centre (MCX) and the Party Unity Group, which works through the Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (MKSS) led by the charismatic Dr Vinayan.
Not all the clashes in the region take place between the senas and the various Naxalite groups, but certainly much of the tension in the area can be directly traced to the juxtaposition of these two violently-opposed forces. (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/root-cause-of-almost-all-rural-conflicts-in-bihar-attributed-to-land/1/349141.html)
And then it came in Bara of Gaya in 1992. 34 Farmers belonging to Bhumihar Community were brutally massacred. At midnight on 12–13 February 1992, the Maoist Communist Centre of India (now the Communist Party of India (Maoist)) brutally killed 35 members of the Bhumihar Brahmin caste at Bara Village near Gaya District of Bihar, India. The MCC's armed group brought the 35 men of Bara village to the bank of a nearby canal, tied their hands and slit their throats.
And what was the impact of these Massacres? That’s was the actual trigger point from Which Ranveer Sena born in 1994 almost 2 years later the Bara Massacre.
A report by Gaurang Sahay, Associate Professor – TISS, explains it as - In Naxalite-influenced areas, one occasionally comes across a red flag determinedly planted in the middle of a field. This means that the land is contested and that the Naxalites have staked a claim to it. Usually, the landowner contests the claim, and a drawn-out battle begins. If the issue cannot be resolved through peaceful means, it often results in violent clashes. If the Naxalites win, the land is subsequently distributed to the poor for agriculture or housing. Referring to the monthly publications of various Naxalite organizations, B. N. Prasad reports that in 1992/93 the Naxalites seized 1000 acres of land in Patna District, 616 acres in Palamau, 4500 acres in Gaya and 1000 acres in Nawada. (http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/mai/files/2012/07/gaurangsahay.pdf)
So, now tell me what you would have done if you were there? Naxals were imposing Economical blocked on Upper cast people (even if they were small farmer). Farmers were not able to plough their farm due to life threats from Naxals. They couldn’t hire agrarian laborers due to sanctions imposed by MCC. And even if some farmer could dare to saw the seeds, there was no security that He will be able to harvest his own corp. Generally Naxal supporters used to cut it forcefully or put it on fire. Farmers were starving. Where was their future? And above all, there was no Government support, Thanks to deep rooted Caste Politics of Bihar. Political Parties took it as a vote bank rather than law & order deficit.
When will you snatch way they farm land from a farmer, what will his family eat? People were running away from their native leaving their home, farms everything abandoned. At least they could save their lives if not the livelihood. Even selling of the land was no option because who the hell would be interested in buying those lands where MCC/ PWG had put their Draconian Red Flags? It was the peak of Jungle Raj.
There was only two options left – Fight back or Die.
And people chose to Fight Back. From there, Ranveer Sena emerged in to the picture which fought with Naxals for farmers. And above all, Ranveer Sena was in no way representing only Bhumihars. Farmers, off all community, whose lands were grabbed by Naxals, came together & supported Ranveer Sena. They regained the authority on land and forced Naxals to go back by blowing up their local support. And rest is the history………
Now think over it. We have seen almost same situation in Kashmir too during almost same 90s. What happened there? Kashmiri Pundits were totally depending on Govt which resulted in their exile from valley. Still after 25+ years, they are not able to go back to their place. Farmers in Central Bihar chose to fight back. They not only saved their own property but also saved the humanity from Brutal attacks from Naxals. Was it a crime?
And above all, Ranveer Sena was not a militia to gain control over Govt or anyone. But actually they helped Govt in neutralizing Naxal outfits.
Yes you can say that taking guns in hand was a bad choice but before that think about the circumstances.nAnd the day, Naxals were down, Ranveer Sena commanders surrendered to the court of law. Whether they were punished or not, is an issue of Court. I will not comment on that. But I am surprised that People who support & hailed Phoolan Devi, a dreaded Criminal, are opposing the Right To Self Defense to poor farmers in Bihar. Is it just because of Caste?
When somebody threatens your right to survival, what will you do? Think over it. It had been good if there were No Naxalite & no Ranveer Sena or any other Sena. But don't term it as a Caste war. Whenever there will be any threat to people's survival, they will retaliate. If you are really interested in stopping all these things, then please work upon the root causes - Livelihood & welfare of people. Doing politics on these dead bodies will not serve any purpose.
COURTESY - http://samitlive.blogspot.in/