ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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SCHEDULED CASTES AND TRIBES-Narrow Politics

struggle the liberation of the illiterate and poor peoples from domination by an elitist minority and the establishment of institutions and organisations which are truly democratic. Not that Laloo Prasad Yadav or Kanshi Ram or the organisers of dalit demonstrations and bandhs of one kind or another are all inspired by democratic ideals or are full of concern for uplifting the living standards of the deprived classes. But they have started a process which is bound to cause profound changes in the political and economic structures of the country. The hitherto 'backward sections' are learning last and have begun to appreciate their capacity to change the ordering of things in society. They have realised that it is not inevitable that they remain poor and powerless, that they continue to be exploited in every which way. They see no reason why the nation's natural and human resources cannot be used to their advantage. If others do not do so, what is more natural than to take charge of things yourself? It is this enormous change in society and political attitudes that marks the 50th anniversary of Indian Independence. The apparent instability of the union government and the jockeying for position of different political parties and political 'leaders' is only the first signs of this flux. The transition to a new order will of course not be smooth or to the liking of those who have benefited so far, or even of those who have initiated the process. What we are witnessing today is more like the beginning of a groundswell and its immediate consequences may be to uproot existing structures and clear the ground for new construction. Perhaps the next 50 years will witness the culmination of this process and rapidly reach a situation in which the basic democratic values of liberty, justice, equality and individual dignity are secured for every man, woman and child in India.

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