BJP president Amit Shah unveils the statue of Dalit king Raja Suheldev on February 24 this year.(Amit Shah’s official website)
BJP president Amit Shah unveils the statue of Dalit king Raja Suheldev on February 24 this year.(Amit Shah’s official website)

New Dalit icons emerging in Uttar Pradesh as BJP tightens its reins

The saffron party is trying to strengthen its hold over backward communities and is planning statues of its icons in memorials built during the BSP regime. This has, however, drawn the ire of the blue brigade.
By Rajesh Kumar Singh | Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UPDATED ON JUN 13, 2017 01:21 PM IST

Change is the only constant and politics is no exception. With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ) taking over the reins in Uttar Pradesh, new icons of Dalit and backward castes have gained prominence.

Raja Suheldev, Rani Jhalkari Bai, and Lakhan Pasi have replaced Dr BR Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram, Ramabai, Jyotiba Phule and Shahuji Maharaj – the icons appropriated by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The idols of the Samajwadi Party (SP) – Ram Manohar Lohia and Janeshwar Mishra – have also relegated to the background.

The BJP government has not only decided to install the statues of new icons at public places but will also include chapters on them in school textbooks under the new education policy.

Recently, chief minister Yogi Adityanath said, “The role of Suheldev and Jhalkari Bai has been deliberately ignored by historians who have distorted history. The BJP government will include chapters on these icons in school syllabus so that students draw inspiration from them.”

He also announced the construction of a Surya Temple at Balaar in Bahraich that was razed by Muslim invader Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud.

The announcement by backward class welfare minister Om Prakash Rajbhar that the statues of Raja Suheldev would be installed at the memorials constructed in Lucknow during the BSP rule has put the BJP at loggerheads with the blue brigade.

The BSP has decided to oppose the installation of statues at Dalit memorials.

A delegation of BSP leaders, led by national general secretary SC Mishra, met the CM on Wednesday to register protest over the installation of statues of the backward caste icons at the memorials of Dr BR Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram. “Instead of encroaching on Dalit memorials, the BJP should construct separate memorials for backward class icons whom they are promoting,” he said.

Senior BSP leader Lalji Verma said, “BSP respects Raja Suheldev and Rani Jhalkari Bai but will oppose encroachment on its memorials. Even the Supreme Court has, in its order, banned construction activities at memorials.”

Talking to HT, national president of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) Om Prakash Rajbhar said no one could overlook the contribution of Raja Suheldev or Rani Jhalkari Bai.

“They worked for the unity and welfare of the Hindus. A section of historians deliberately tried to erase their names from the annals of history. The BJP government has decided to restore their dignity and place in history,” he said.

“Backward caste icons like Suheldev and Jhalkari Bai and Muslim faces like Ashfaqullah Khan, Abdul Hameed and APJ Abdul Kalam are respected by one and all. It is up to us if we want to associate ourselves with them or Alauddin Khilji, Mahmud Ghazni, Mohammed Ghauri, Salar Masud, Babur and Aurangzeb,” said Yogi Adityanath.

Why is BJP promoting new Backward and Dalit icons?

Prof CB Gupta, a faculty at the department of medieval and modern history, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya University, Gorakhpur, said the BJP was trying to make inroads into the backward and Dalit communities.

“To win the support of deprived communities, the BJP will have to give a dignified place to their icons. Dalits and backward communities played a crucial role in the landslide victory of the BJP in the assembly election,” he pointed out.

“Along with upper caste icons like Maharana Pratap and Shivaji, the saffron brigade has been promoting its ideologues. In changing political equations where there is an upsurge in the marginalised community for share in political power, the BJP is promoting their icons to strengthen its hold over these communities,” Prof Gupta said.

He said there was no documentation of the role of Raja Suheldev, Rani Jhalkari Bai or Lakhan Pasi in historical records. “We get evidence of their heroic acts from folklores. To get the support of backward castes, the BJP will have to promote their icons,” he said.

Former head of sociology department at Lucknow University Rajesh Kumar Mishra said Indian politics revolved around charismatic personalities. “Icons are embedded as per the perception and belief of the communities. All political parties try to woo communities by highlighting the role of their icons,” he said.

“After coming to power, the BJP has slowed down on Hindutva and is working on the agenda of nationalism. It suits their politics of dividing the Dalit and backward communities which were considered to be the support base of the BSP and the SP. The new strategy of the saffron brigade has nothing to do with religion as Dalits and backward communities are being united on the agenda of nationalism,” Mishra said.

He added the BJP was increasing its influence among the communities that were not its traditional support base.

Sanjay Singh, a political observer said under the Kalyan Singh government (1997-99) new backward and Dalit icons like Raja Bijli Pasi, Uda Devi and Avanti Bai were promoted to win the support of Dalits and backwards.

“The statues of these leaders were installed at various crossings in Lucknow and other cities. It helped the BJP in making inroads into the Pasi community settled in central UP,” he said.

After its victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP started working on new icons. The picture of 11th century king Raja Suheldev was installed at the party’s newly-renovated state unit office in Lucknow.

Before the assembly elections, BJP national president Amit Shah unveiled a statue of Raja Suheldev and launched a book at a programme organised in Bahraich. Terming Suheldev a national hero, he said people who did not remember their brave ancestors could not make history.

Other marginalised communities like Musahars, Tharus and Vantongiyas are also on the priority list of the chief minister. After launching an immunisation drive at a Musahar dominated village in Kushinagar on May 25, the CM visited a Tharu village in Balrampur district on Sunday.

Earlier, he launched welfare schemes in Vantongiyas village in Maharajganj.

“The urban communities and upper castes settled in rural areas constitute the traditional support base of the BJP. Yogi Adityanath is trying to broaden the support by bringing those communities into the mainstream that were considered to be untouchable,” Singh said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
ISRO also confirmed that the launch rehearsal of PSLV-C51 was completed today.(PTI file photo)
ISRO also confirmed that the launch rehearsal of PSLV-C51 was completed today.(PTI file photo)

ISRO to launch Amazonia-1, 18 co-passenger satellites onboard PSLV-C51 on Feb 28

ANI, Nellore
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:07 PM IST
Amazonia-1 is the optical earth observation satellite of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
Close
A view of the Vistadome coach.(Image via Twitter)
A view of the Vistadome coach.(Image via Twitter)

What are Railways' new Vistadome coaches? All you need to know

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Mallika Soni
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:04 PM IST
Vistadome coaches are European-style coaches equipped with advanced features such as large glass windows, glass roofs, observation lounges and rotatable seats which can rotate up to 180 degrees for passengers.
Close
**EDS: BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE, HANDOUT IMAGE MADE AVAILABLE FROM ITBP** Chamoli: Damaged dam of the Rishi Ganga Power Project, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand�s Chamoli district causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. More than 150 labourers working at the Rishi Ganga power project may have been directly affected. (PTI Photo)(PTI02_07_2021_000055B)(PTI)
**EDS: BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE, HANDOUT IMAGE MADE AVAILABLE FROM ITBP** Chamoli: Damaged dam of the Rishi Ganga Power Project, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand�s Chamoli district causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. More than 150 labourers working at the Rishi Ganga power project may have been directly affected. (PTI Photo)(PTI02_07_2021_000055B)(PTI)

News updates from HT: Months before Chamoli flood, satellite images showed crack

By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:01 PM IST
Here are today’s top news, analysis, and opinion. Know all about the latest news and other news updates from Hindustan Times.
Close
Representational image. (PTI)
Representational image. (PTI)

Kashmir: National Conference, PDP welcome ceasefire along LoC

By Mir Ehsan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:46 PM IST
A joint statement issued by the armies of both countries said the move followed a discussion between India’s DGMO Lt Gen Paramjit Singh Sangha and his Pakistani counterpart, Maj Gen Nauman Zakaria
Close
A UK judge cleared Nirav Modi's extradition to India on Thursday(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint Archives)
A UK judge cleared Nirav Modi's extradition to India on Thursday(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint Archives)

'Money laundering charge established': UK judge clears Nirav Modi's extradition

Reported by Neeraj Chauhan | Written by Prashasti Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:32 PM IST
Prima facie CBI case has been established, a UK court said, adding that Nirav Modi and his brother conspired to defraud the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
Close
Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav addresses a press conference.(ANI)
Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav addresses a press conference.(ANI)

'When will smart cities be built, rivers cleaned': Akhilesh Yadav asks BJP

ANI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:12 PM IST
"BJP should give an answer to the people when will smart cities be built. They took the oath of 'Maa Ganga' to clean the river, but why is it still not clean. They had taken the 'Sankalp' of cleaning all the rivers in the country, but it is not happening," Yadav said.
Close
People wait in queue outside an airport. (HT FILE)
People wait in queue outside an airport. (HT FILE)

Indian expats in UAE seek exemption from self-paid Covid tests on arrival

PTI, Dubai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:05 PM IST
India has since February 23 made it mandatory for passengers to produce the negative report of the RT-PCR tests.
Close
Images using Landsat data from the US Geological Survey and topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). (Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory)
Images using Landsat data from the US Geological Survey and topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). (Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

Months before Chamoli tragedy, satellite images showed crack in mountain ice

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:00 PM IST
Scientists from Dehradun’s Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, who visited the disaster scene, have come up with similar findings, minus the crack being visible months before
Close
In just 9 days, the doubling rate of coronavirus cases in Mumbai has reduced to 294 days..(PTI)
In just 9 days, the doubling rate of coronavirus cases in Mumbai has reduced to 294 days..(PTI)

Covid-19 spike in Mumbai: Here's how the hotspots changed in 9 days

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:55 PM IST
Here is the list of Covid hotspots in Mumbai, as of February 23.
Close
In written response to a question in Lok Sabha earlier this month, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said a total of 10,752 cases of ceasefire violations have taken place along India's border with Pakistan in the last three years, in which 72 security personnel and 70 civilians were killed.(AP)
In written response to a question in Lok Sabha earlier this month, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said a total of 10,752 cases of ceasefire violations have taken place along India's border with Pakistan in the last three years, in which 72 security personnel and 70 civilians were killed.(AP)

India, Pakistan agree to follow all ceasefire pacts

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:29 PM IST
The decision on ceasefire, effective since Wednesday midnight, was taken at a meeting between the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan.
Close
India for decades has been subject to such proxy cross-border and relentless state-supported terrorist attacks from its neighbourhood.(PTI)
India for decades has been subject to such proxy cross-border and relentless state-supported terrorist attacks from its neighbourhood.(PTI)

Would be compelled to take pre-emptive strike against imminent attack: India

PTI, United Nations
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:24 PM IST
Naidu told the meeting that exercising self-defence is a primary right of States to be exercised when the situation is imminent.
Close
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami made the important announcement in the state assembly on Thursday.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami made the important announcement in the state assembly on Thursday.

‘All pass’: Tamil Nadu CM says no final exams for classes 9,10, 11

By Divya Chandrababu | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Chennai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:02 PM IST
  • The state board exams are usually held in March, but had been postponed to April this year, due to the pandemic.
Close
At Ficci’s International Conference on Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Sector, Piyush Goyal also said that developed countries are under pressure. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse(REUTERS)
At Ficci’s International Conference on Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Sector, Piyush Goyal also said that developed countries are under pressure. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse(REUTERS)

57 countries back India's demand for IPR waiver on Covid-19 vaccine: Goyal

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Ayshee Bhaduri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 02:49 PM IST
  • In October of last year, India and South Africa proposed a TRIPS waiver for all WTO members to allow greater access to affordable Covid-19 healthcare facilities
Close
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announcing the social media guidelines on Thursday,(ANI Photo)
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announcing the social media guidelines on Thursday,(ANI Photo)

Self-regulating body, monthly compliance reports: Govt's social media guidelines

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:57 PM IST
So far, online news media has not been unregulated, with the information & broadcasting ministry brining it under its ambit last year, but not yet formalising rules for it.
Close
NSA Ajit Doval led the back-channel negotiations with his Pakistani counterpart that led to joint statement by the Indian defence ministry and the Pak military (PTI)
NSA Ajit Doval led the back-channel negotiations with his Pakistani counterpart that led to joint statement by the Indian defence ministry and the Pak military (PTI)

NSA Doval led secret back-channels talks with Pak for months before DGMO pact

By Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:26 PM IST
  • The first sign that India-Pakistan back-channel conversations were on track came this month when Pak army chief Gen Bajwa said it was time to extend a hand of peace in all directions
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP