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Mainstream, Vol XLV No 25

Social Realities Cannot be Ignored

Saturday 9 June 2007, by Syed Shahabuddin

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I am surprised by Shri Chaturanan Mishra’s article entitled “The Caste Factor” (Mainstream, July 2, 2005). None of us supports casteism or communalism. At the same time we should be realistic enough to appreciate that both caste and religion are factors today in every sphere of life which affects distribution of power in the society.

I dare say that even the Left parties are not above taking caste or religion in consideration while choosing their candidates in elections. The test of casteism or communalism will lie in their political approach and programme, and distribution of services and facilities in States where these are in power. But in the present situation to get into the legislature, all political parties have to consider the social demography of the constituency down to the village/mohalla. On the other hand it is also a felt aspiration of every social group to enter the legislature and elected bodies and generally the power structure. So this aspiration has to be respected by the parties.

In my view, a national secular party has to see that no group is deprived or gets less then its due; at the same time it should not give to any social group any more than its due.

It is through such a balance that it can promote social justice.
I also do not see why the Left should boycott caste, communal, linguistic, or tribal organisations. They exist and they represent their social group. The Left should not share their rhetoric but guide them to acquire a proper national perspective, learn to struggle for their legitimate rights and shed excessive and exaggerated demands which are, in any case, impracticable.

Social realities are not changed by ignoring them but by interacting with them ideologically and judiciously.

New Delhi Syed Shahabuddin

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