Writing is a passion for this Dalit author who did not study beyond Class 8. He has penned a dozen books, a majority of them on the life and political journey of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder the late Kanshi Ram.
Meet Anant Rao Akela, 55, a native of Aligarh. A school dropout, Akela joined the BSP in 1985.
“The call made by ‘Saheb’ (the name by which Kanshi Ram is fondly called by his followers) for awakening and unity among the suppressed communities motivated me to join the Dalit brigade.
I was inducted into ‘Jagriti Jatha’ and asked to visit the Dalit dominated villages and urge the schedule castes to resist exploitation by the upper castes and join the BSP to win political power,” he says.
He wrote Bhim Gyan Geetanjali, Buddha Gyan Geetanjali, Angulimal Katil Kyon Bana, Baba Saheb Ney Kaha Tha and Interview of Kanshi Ram in 1985-86.
To stir up Dalit emotions, Akela started writing poems that were recited at the public meetings addressed by Kanshi Ram and other senior BSP leaders.
His song – ‘Sunlo mutthi bhar insaan, dil mein lijo hamney than, laal kiley par Kanshi Ram, rashtra dhwaj fahrangey’ — became an instant hit. Soon, Akela became a mascot of the Dalit movement led by Kanshi Ram.
Be it meetings in the rural heartland or the cities, he shared a platform with Kanshi Ram. He also participated in an anti-liquor stir and a march by Kanshi Ram in west UP in 1986.
“When we were in jail, Saheb tasked with me organising a cultural programme for the BSP cadre who were lodged in the barracks,” he says.
In 1987, the BSP tested the electoral waters by fielding its candidates in the Lok Sabha and assembly by-elections in Haridwar (LS), Kashipur, Rath and Patti assembly seats.
“We lost all the seats, but made our presence felt by polling a large chunk of votes,” Akela recalls.
Kanshi Ram rewarded me for my hard work by appointing me in-charge of the Kol assembly constituency in Aligarh district in 1989.
“The malpractice of offering ticket for money seeped into the BSP during the 1993 assembly election when the party contested the poll in alliance with SP. Mayawati distributed 125 tickets and none of the candidates fielded by her won the election,” Akela claims.
“An internal inquiry indicated corruption in (distribution of) tickets but no action was taken against her,” he added.
“When Mayawati became chief minister in 1995, she started sidelining the ardent supporters of Kanshi Ram from the organisation. Her loyalists were given important posts in the organisation as well as government after the death of Saheb in 2006.
When BSP formed full majority government 2007-12, the purging of Kanshi Ram loyalists was complete. I was not permitted to sing in the public meetings,” he said.
Akela has joined the front formed by Kanshi Ram loyalists Daddu Prasad, Darabara Singh and Tej Singh to fight for the legacy of the late BSP founder. “Mayawati takes Kanshi Ram’s name to bag Dalit votes. My fight is for the return of Kanshi Ram loyalists to BSP,” he said.
These days, Akela is busy compiling the speeches of Kanshi Ram.
“I am planning to bring out 10 volumes of speeches and politics of Kanshi Ram. Three volumes have already hit the stands and remaining will be published soon,” he says.