India Politics
The importance of Satish Misra for Mayawati
May 14, 2007 - 1:38:15 PM

Lucknow, May 14 - Thirty months back, when he first got the offer to join the Bahujan Samaj Party -, Satish Misra was quite apprehensive as he could hardly foresee a future for someone coming from a totally apolitical high class Brahmin family in a party of Dalits.

From a political nobody, Misra has now emerged as a potent Brahmin force in the BSP that was currently trying to re-live a Congress that thrived for four decades in India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh largely on the strength of its Brahmin-Dalit-Muslim axis.

'The Brahmin-Dalit combine disintegrated in the Congress for the simple reason that the Congress party used Dalits as a vote bank', points out Misra.

'Unlike the Congress, we in BSP chose to establish a complete social integration between the two communities' he claims. Though it is an open secret that this 55-year lawyer son of a high court chief justice, who turned into a politician, was the key architect of this social engineering, the low profile Misra attributes the success story entirely to party supremo Mayawati.

Evidently guided by the past success of the Congress, Mayawati surely took advantage of the vacuum created on account of the Congress party's virtual political abdication in the state.

And once the task was entrusted to Misra, he has left no stone unturned to carry it out with a missionary zeal, sacrificing his practice at the bar that had made him the highest income-tax paying lawyer in Lucknow.

And if he was being envied today for being the only star campaigner for the party besides Mayawati herself, it was sure enough on account of his sheer dint of merit and perseverance. 'It was no surprise that Behenji - has given him an independent helicopter to go about campaigning in the Brahmin dominated areas of the state; after all he has proved his mettle by mobilizing Brahmins in a big way for the BSP', remarked a senior Muslim leader of the BSP.

By Misra's own account, he had addressed as many as 98 Brahmin sammelans - in different parts of the state. 'Within eight months of my induction into the party as its national general secretary in October 2004 , I organized the first Brahman sammelan at Allahabad in February, 2005. It was there that the party's new slogan - 'haathi nahin Ganesh hai, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh hai' -

'I addressed 21 such meets in different places and concluded the first round of this series with a 'maha-sammelan' - in Lucknow on June 9, 2005', Misra said.

His next move was to travel to each of UP's 70 districts where he constituted 'Brahmin-Dalit Bhaichara Banao Samiti' -. 'Each of these committees comprises 300 Brahmins and 100 dalits , who met on a periodical basis to discuss mutual social problems and also thrash out solutions'.

At the end of one year in June 2006, Misra organized a state level meet of this goodwill committees in Lucknow; and that was promptly followed by a series of 77 rallies in different parts of the state between July and September.

He traveled about 21000 km within the state over these three months , busy breaking the caste barrier in a highly hierarchical UP society.

Misra took pains to make his audience realize and understand that the Brahmin was never the exploiter of the have-not dalit. 'In the traditional Hindu society ,the Brahmin survived only on 'bhiksha' - while the Thakur and Yadav remained the powerful landowner who exploited the poor dalit at will', was the oft repeated plain reminder that apparently made Misra gel with the socially downtrodden .

As far as possible , he would make it a point to have Brahmins to traverse the distance to the nearest dalit pocket for the goodwill rally. 'And that really worked to repose confidence among dalits that this bond was here to stay', asserts Misra, who strongly believes, 'the success of the UP experiment would go a long way in eventually re-writing the political destiny of the nation.'

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