Of what use is your revolution if you have never been in Love?

Saala jo pyaar nahi karega woh kranti kya karega?

Independent Gujarat MLA and Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani had an interesting proposition to make to his audience  – “Fall in love.  When people talk to me about Love Jihad I say let’s have inter-caste and inter-religious marriages, because saala jo pyaar nahi karega woh kranti kya karega? Inter-caste marriages alone would truly be the annihilation of caste”. He was delivering the inaugural Fr. Ambrose Pinto Memorial Lecture last Friday at St. Aloysius College, Bangalore.

Jignesh Mevani at St. Aloysius College, Bangalore Picture Credits: Ancel Blaise
Jignesh Mevani at St. Aloysius College, Bangalore            Picture Credits: Ancel Blaise

He began what would be a bilingual speech (‘I’m more comfortable in Hindi’, he admitted) with the words “Jai Bhim, Inquilab Zindabad. He manoeuvred through it from being unsure of the temperature of the audience to an ardent interaction which left many pondering on the issues raised.  

His theme, ‘The Power of Youth in Indian Politics’, seemed to appeal to his young audience. Even if they did not take anything else away from the lecture, they should keep two things in mind – “Read Bhagat Singh and always remember that each and every commodity produced is blood and sweat of a worker”.

He said he believed that the youth are one of the few communities which truly want change – with creativity, innovation and sacrifice in case of a revolution. He appealed for them to understand the contributions of the working classes and to empathise  with them. The central theme of all the writings of Bhagat Singh, B.R. Ambedkar, Kalburgi, Periyar and others was the working class. He went on to say that the society has to work towards the upliftment of working class and make that the priority and only then will the real and true power lie in the hands of the people.

Mevani then launched a barrage against the party at the Centre. He said BJP was killing dissent in the country with constant abuse and suppression. It offered only two things – “Communal hatred and just rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric. That’s it”.  He then turned his attention to their leader – “Nobody has fooled the Indian youth in the last 6-7 decades like Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi”. He particularly attacked the promise of rozgar (job creation) made by Modi and said that there should be a movie entitled ‘Fool In India’ to commemorate this.

 

In conclusion, Mevani had this to say. “As a nation, we the people have seen everything. All the mainstream political parties have fooled us. But the difference is that the BJP is fascist and has little faith in the Indian Constitution. Our primary duty is to ensure a secular, socialist democracy. One that is pro poor, pro farmers, pro working class and pro constitution”.

What did they say?

Mevani then played the few googlies from the audience with a straight bat.

“I oppose every radical religious movement be it Hindu or Muslim. Just because I have not spoken about it during my talk does not mean I am in favour of it”, said Mevani to a question about not attacking other parties and religions alike.

“We have to start now even if we do not have an alternative to Modi in order to find one”, was his response to “If not Modi who?”

Just as the session was coming to a close, the oldest member in the audience got up and asked if an amalgamation of 3 schools of thoughts – The Gandhian, the Ambedkarite and the Marxist was possible.

Mevani said “If we uplift the women in the deepest of the margins of the society then we could work towards such as society”.

(From L to R) Fr. Vinoo Fabian Sudhakar, Jignesh Mevani, Mangaluru Vijay and Sister Philomina. Picture Credits: Ancel Blaise
(From L to R) Fr. Vinoo Fabian Sudhakar, Jignesh Mevani, Mangaluru Vijay and Sister Philomina.                                                        Picture Credits: Ancel Blaise

The lecture was organised in association with Vimochana and Indian Social Institute. The event was hosted by Robert Frank – a faculty at St. Aloysius. On the dais were Fr. Vinoo Fabian Sudhakar – the manager of the college, activist Mangaluru Vijay and Sister Philomina – the principal.

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Bhargav BS

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