Return of Jungle Raj? An expression emanating from caste prejudice
When Nitsh-Lalu duo won the Bihar Assembly elections, skeptics started ringing the alarm bell. They said after an interval Bihar is going to back to time of ‘Jungle Raj,’- a derisive term used by the detractors of LaLu Prasad Yadav to define his rule. These skeptics, masquerading as apolitical observers were mainly from either upper caste groups or soft hindutvadi’s who were apprehensive of the ascension of the backward castes.
Despite Nitish’s overpowering image as grand alliance leader Lalu’s party was the single largest in the Assembly. So these skeptics were trying to make a political point also, that though Nitish may be chief minister, Lalu would do all the back seat driving. But Nitish and Lalu, perhaps realising the enormous political responsibility have managed relatively well.
But recent incidents of violence has once again given rise to the question-Is Bihar really falling back to the ‘jungle raj’ days?
In a matter of three days, two persons were killed in the state.
A 19 year old was allegedly shot dead by the son of JDU MLA three days. A senior journalist was killed by unknown assailants yesterday.
The first killing happened after the victim Aditya Sachdeva overtook the car of Rakesh Ranjan Yadav, son of the JDU MLA Manorama Devi.
Rakesh Yadav in a fit of rage shot Sachdev. Rakesh Yadav was later arrested and sent to judicial custody.
Rajdeo Ranjan, senior journalist with the Hindi dalily Hindustan was shot dead in Siwan. This district is notorious for its high crime rate.
The political opponents seemed to have been waiting for this. They lost no time in terming these instances as evidence of the ‘Jungle Raj’?
But are the political social class so eager to paint Bihar as a state where only the power of the mighty prevails?
While there is no denying the fact that the frequent occurrence of violence in Bihar points towards the deteriorating law and order situation, but is these incidence qualifies the state to be called as where ‘jungle raj’ prevails? Is the Indian political elite over concerned with OBC rule in Bihar?
If not so, why are the English television news channels and the retired bureaucrats who acts like the good samaritans are not worried when Dalits are killed when they marry girls from upper castes? Why no one ever termed the utter lawlessness that prevailed in Haryana during the Jat reservation stir as the manifestation of jungle raj?
When rationalists and writers were killed in Karnataka and Maharashtra no questions were asked by these self righteous persons?
Before the ‘notorious’ jungle raj of Lalu Yadav (read OBC rule) began, when the upper caste militant force Ranvirsena massacred Dalits at their will, there was no moral indignation from the elites. No one coined the term ‘jungle raj’ to explain the lawlessness.
So the sound and fury now raised about Bihar killings have more to do with caste prejudices than with objective understanding of situation.
More, it is part of the continuing efforts of stereotyping Bihar as the land inhabited and ruled by the ‘uncultured’. Surely the present concern on law and order is an expression through caste prism, especially when terming the recent incidences as coming from a state of ‘jungle raj.’