Reality Check India

Yogendra Yadav mixes it up

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 11, 2009

This article is about the “6 myths about Indian elections” by Mr Yogendra  Yadav. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7973477.stm

Here is a quick list for those who are too lazy to read the whole thing.

  1. Women vote as per husbands wishes
  2. Muslims vote heavily and as a bloc
  3. The young vote distinctly and independently
  4. High turnout means defeat for the ruling party
  5. There is widespread apathy towards politics
  6. Indians dont caste their vote they vote their caste

Actually, I dont think people really consider items 1-5 as true any more. So, shattering myths 1-5 is like shattering the myth that the sun revolves around the earth. Passe.

Let us consider the all important point number 6 (of caste). Item 2 (muslims) is a special case of 6.

Yogendra Yadav says :

But the fact remains that most voters in most constituencies in India do not have a simple option of voting along caste lines.

Either they have more than one candidate from their own caste or they have none.

They simply cannot vote according to their caste. There has to be a consideration other than caste for almost three-quarters of the voters.

Source : BBC (emphasis added)

Lets break it down, because his claim that 75% of Indians are not, or rather cannot, be impacted by the caste factor is astonishing.

What he is really saying is that the caste factor can be neutralized in two ways :

  • if two candidates from the same caste are in the running in a given constituency
  • if no candidate from a particular caste is in the running then the caste factor is neutralized ( at least for the population of that caste )

On Reality Check there have been plenty of posts on this subject. People do not vote for candidates of their caste, they vote for benefits attached to being members of that caste.  Since the benefits are not subject to examination, they are under the sole custody of a particular formation.

So lets test Mr Yadavs hypothesis :

Can the Congress undermine the SP by simply fielding Yadav candidates in all constituencies where the SP has also fielded Yadav candidates ? The presence of two Yadav candidates would instantly neutralize the Yadav voters affinity and make them vote for a larger issue (such as a sewage system or drinking water).

Repeat the same : Is it so easy to neutralize the PMK simply by fielding Vanniyar candidates ? RJD, NCP, BJP in KA.

 

The Muslims present a unique picture, which deserves a separate post. On the surface, Muslims as a group could be considered as just another caste like Yadavs, Kurmis, Thevars, Lingayaths. 

On deeper examination, you find stark differences.

  • unlike the others, they have to TRANSFER their vote to a non muslim formation (quick tell me a muslim congress leader or a muslim DMK leader)
  • unlike the others, the muslims (at least in the north) do not have concrete quota benefits to be protected from examination
  • the oft quoted muslim benefits like the Haj subsidy and the Wakf board benefits are not significant
  • the muslims in large parts of India vote on fear rather than benefit protection  (M J Akbar has pointed this out in many of his articles)

 

We have no choice but to turn to western intellectuals for a no holds barred analysis of Indian society and politics. Check out the free chapter from Lauda Dudley Jenkins book ‘Identity and Identification in India’. Can we never have an Indian scholar produce a work like this ?

Here is an short interview of Lloyd and Suzanne Rudolph (who have been studying India for over 50 years),

You have been observing Indian elections since the 1950s. What have been some of the major changes in the election process over the years?

We have noticed four changes. First, a decline in the politics of charisma and darshan and a rise in the politics of vote banks and benefits. Second, the emergence of two Indias, the one-third of the voting public that views television and whose vote is shaped by personalities and persuasion, and the two-thirds of the voting public whose vote is shaped by identity politics.

Third, an effort to break the hold of vote bank and regional determination of voter choice by appealing to an aam aadmi, a hypothetical all-India, average or median voter. Fourth, the appearance of an incipient women’s vote based on a growing consciousness that there are women’s values and interests independent of family and community.
Source : TOI
The grand anomaly of not subjecting compromises to equality to rational examination cannot be ignored. We just start using phrases like votebanks, muslim appeasement, vote-their-caste, without even attempting to understand what these phrases might really mean.
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10 Responses

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  1. Chakresh Mishra said, on April 12, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    The main point to note in caste based voting is that people vote for candidate, which is going to benefit their caste overall. Like whether BSP candidate is SC or not, his winning will benefit Maya madam, hence SCs, so SC will vote for him, not for SC candidate from any other party

  2. rc said, on April 13, 2009 at 2:28 am

    Take it to the next level.

    >> going to benefit their caste overall

    What kind of benefits ?

    1) Benefits they already have : These benefits need to be consolidated and moved away from rational examination esp by rival groups.

    2) Benefits they do not have yet : These benefits need to be secured fresh.

    In any case, people vote for benefits exclusive to their group not for caste.

    Once you have an evidence based allocation of benefits, social justice is on autopilot. Politicians and caste leaders have no further role to play. No group can oversubscribe and setup a perimeter against examination any longer.

    Such a system will turn the political and social scenario on its head.

  3. Sachin Dev Yadav said, on April 26, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    You have dissected Yogendra Yadav incongruously,
    Here is what he himself say on point 6 – “The evidence on caste voting suggests that caste tends to be a major determinant, specially among the large, visible and powerful caste groups.” What you try to disprove of him is already agreed by him. Think also of the smaller(having less population) castes and his point will make more sense. Also, for point 1-5, just because you don’t consider something as a myth doesn’t mean it’s no longer a myth.

  4. xyz said, on April 27, 2009 at 5:54 am

    The difficulty in the indian scene:until recently,in our varna dominated society-degrees and govt jobs meant prestige and economic security.

    The savarnas who have had economic security and status had little incentive to broadbase education and political power.This was paricularly true in AryaVarta.In other parts,this world view was shared by the dominant castes.

    Only a complete reorienting of indian society will change the mindset.But in every society,including,post-modern ones there are powerful entrenched groups.

    In any society where primary economic activity(agriculture or mining) based on land is important,issues of land ownership is critical.What is the incentive for land owners to give up their special rights.

    The European colonial powers fought to the bitter end to retain their possessions.Look at the limey hatred for hindoos.The christists dispossessed the natives in Americas.

    In most of South India(except coastal Karnataka),Dravidians are the major land owners.In North India,the situation is different.The situation is complex in Adivasi areas.

    Even in North India,the thakurs(VP Singh,Arjun Singh,Chandrashekhar) resent/resented the rise of Vaishya capitalists,mostly from North India.

    These feelings against North Indian capitalists are more pronounced(and vary in intensity) in other parts.

    The leaders of dominant castes are paid tributes by Vaishya capitalists.This helps in the growth of indian capital.

    Men like Karunanidhi have to bribed to preserve the unified Indian market.Karu/Ramadoss bribe their constituencies with reservation.

    Politicians like Pawar/yeddyurappa/Gowda are moderate because the maratha/vokkaliga are dominant castes.

    Karu is tamil nationalist/chauvinist,while the numerically large vanniar are not ‘dominant’,but they are catching up.This is the root of DMK-PMK conflict.To manage this fratricide,Karu delects this issue by bringing in reservation/chauvinism/blackmail to make the rest of india pay the costs of appeasing TN.

    In UP,Rajasthan,MP,Haryana the savarnas are not going to give up their ancient rights without a fight.Mayavati is at best a diversion.Bengali Bhadraloks are a wash out.Gujarat with its mercantile traditions is a standout.

    The BJP is most suited for most of india.But then it has to contend with a consumerist society and the ecology of a fragile land with a huge poulation.Already our water resources are strained.Does it have the intelligence/guts/strength to go for a full fledged market capitalism tempered by modern notions of a welfare state and ancient ideals of Sanatana Dharma,against the vested interests of many powerful and hostile groups.

    Let us not forget that initial support in the cow belt came primarily from the petty burgeoise.The Hindu upper class was dismissive of it.Particularly the intellectual and the sophisticate had little use for Jan Sangh.In the post Mandal scenario,the hindu upper class roots for BJP.But is that enough.

    Can it win over the likes of Sachin Dev?Can a via media be found between Mishra and Yadav.I think the the future of India is predicated on this discourse.

    The Amar Singh/Mulayam ‘concubianage’ should make way for meaningful alliance.In ancient Iran,the King and peasant pledged trust in each other.

    Will SriKrishna’s call for Varna based on Guna and Karma be heeded?Unless there is a Dharmic Will,there will be no progress on many issues.

  5. Gaurav said, on April 28, 2009 at 7:41 am

    xyz,

    Coveting govt job has a more recent history, that of British colonialism. If I am correct the govt servants were paid handsomely by east india company. At first only english were recruited but later on Indians were also recruited thus attaching an aura of prestige.

    Anyway I think you have got your reasoning backwards, the reason caste persists to this day is it is natural human instinct to covet power, prestige and wealth, and to avoid hard labour.

  6. xyz said, on April 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Gaurav,

    I recycle stale thoughts.Human beings will always fight for privilege.They will give fancy reasons for the real thing.

    But it is about time we leave the puerile yadav-mishra stuff to something more sophisticated.It was ofcourse from a ‘mishra’ viewpoint.

  7. rc said, on April 29, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Gaurav,

    Is your blog infected by a virus ? It opens new windows endlessly. This is the third time it has happened. I use Explorer and WIndows Vista.

  8. Gaurav said, on April 29, 2009 at 6:36 am

    RC,

    Not to my knowledge. But I never use explorer. Can you give some detail about what kind of windows it is opening.

  9. rc said, on April 29, 2009 at 8:27 am

    It opens your own blog. Within seconds there are dozens. I then use Task Explorer to kill IE.

    I am unable to reproduce it from another Vista machine. Maybe I have a virus !

  10. Gaurav said, on April 29, 2009 at 8:38 am

    All right I had no problem with explorer + XP except for the fact that it was very slow. Since I have not made any changes recently I am not sure what is the problem.


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