It’s not likely that people have forgotten the era of what we call bahubali politicians, especially in the regions of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and many other states in Gangetic plains. That’s because that era still exists in a lot of these places. Moreover, bahubalis are not restricted to these regions alone and there might be other terms used to refer to them in other parts of the country, but due to the unfortunate Delhi-centric narrative in Bharat, this is the word mainstream media and their audience is more familiar with.
Let’s have a look at a few names that we’re familiar with. There’s Raja Bhaiya, Mukhtar Ansari, Azam Khan to name a few in Uttar Pradesh; Pappu Yadav, Shahbuddin, Taslimuddin would be from Bihar; Reddy brothers from Karnataka/Andhra Pradesh, and the list goes on.
For those who are wondering what we are talking about here, a bahubali is someone with muscle power or with money to buy muscle power that they use to rally a crowd behind them that can be translated into electoral success. This ability makes bahubalis useful for the political class who offer them favors in return. A perfect trade for both. With this idea in mind, we come to how a bahubali is created.
Making Of A Bahubali
As we have discussed, such independent extra-constitutional powers serve an important purpose for many politicians. So it’s very natural that some of these elements are nurtured by the politicians and political parties to begin with. They use them to do their dirty work, like it has been a norm in many places, especially villages, and in the days of ballot paper voting. Capturing a booth, kidnapping a potential opponent or sometimes eliminating them, are some of the useful functions they perform for their master.
Another situation could be when an ambitious person fighting for space in business creates enough trouble for locals and is able to put them under his influence. If that person is able to make an impression, he gets to become the hand that some of the political powers may need so they can keep theirs clean. Now, as mentioned above, it’s a win-win game for the political parties and those who possess the muscle. But does everyone win?
What It Leads To
It’s not that big of a puzzle. When such a self-serving arrangement is in place where only the interests of two parties are considered, everyone else suffers. If muscle facilitates political success, politics provides a safe environment for the criminal class to flourish. It’s not an easy job, mind you. A compromise at every level of governance, administration and system is what it takes to make this happen. Administration is probably the first to fall prey to this design. Police follows. With these two in your pocket, judiciary can be handled because police & admin are the ones who’ll put up a case after all.
With the politicization of police, criminalization of police follows. Transfer/posting becomes a gold mine of a business; prioritization of which case to pursue, which to ignore; whom to go after, whom to go soft on, and whom to let go altogether. Police becomes a stick with the bahubali to exercise their power freely, with not only no hindrance, but protection instead. In no time, these elements grow large enough in prominence that they are a political brand in themselves and thus, criminalization of politics follows as a natural progression.
One more thing to keep in mind is that it’s not a two tier politics-muscle level arrangement, there’s a whole developed hierarchy below the bahubali which gives them power. So, it’s not just the high-level crimes, but petty crimes, heinous crimes, and crimes and criminals of all levels and nature that flourish. By this time, the readers must have realized that we are discussing political patronage to the criminal class in Bharat. This has been the reality of Bharat for decades. It has been a reality that has been acknowledged, accepted, internalized and surrendered to by the common populace who silently suffer. So why discuss some thing so natural, it would seem.
What Has Changed?
Something changed less than a year back in Uttar Pradesh, that has brought our focus back on this issue. This time for a good reason.
That’s correct, Yogi Adityanath, the Mahant of the ancient Gorakhnath Peeth and 5 times Member Of Parliament from Gorakhpur, was sworn in as Chief Minister on 18 March 2017. It left a lot of turmoil in stomachs of many people, but Yogi was a man with a mission from the word go.
And to the criminals’ misfortune, he meant every word of what he declared, as we shall see. And we’ll do it in steps, one crime at a time.
Law And Order
Very early in the term, CM Yogi had made his intentions very clear as far as crime and criminals are concerned. And he did so in very strong words.
These words might not be new to many of the rogue elements, and they must have believed this too will pass. But they never suspected what was about to hit them.
Even after NHRC notices, and lots of hue and cry from the bleeding heart liberals and other usual suspects, Mahant Ji is firm on his conviction to put an end to unhindered crime. “Criminals have to be dealt in the way they understand”, he says. And it has been working like a charm, as criminals queue up to police stations to surrender themselves.
And as a follow up, UP Government managed to pass Uttar Pradesh Control Of Organised Crime Act (UPCOCA) on the line of Maharashtra’s MCOCA to make the job of law enforcement easier.
CM Yogi earned blessing of many mothers and sisters by taking up their safety with all seriousness and by setting up what are called as “anti-romeo” police squads. Sexual predators & perverts (referred to by the misleadingly mild term ‘eve-teasers’ in media) had a free run in UP. They set their stalls at bus-stands, college and school gates, and life in public places was hell for women. And so the anti-romeo squad came as a big relief, irrespective of the derision heaped by left-liberals..
If you’re wondering what this has got to do with political patronage, do keep in mind the “ladke hain, galti ho jaati hai” statement of Mulayam Singh Yadav, the then President of UP’s ruling Samajwadi Party, while speaking about rape. It’s not just a statement, but a reality of the state of affairs back then. But it was all to change.
Land grabbing by big mafias to small-time miscreants has been commonplace in Uttar Pradesh. This can be affirmed if we look at the number of such cases with which people approached Mahant Ji in the Janta Darbar he held for grievance redressal.
But this sad state of affairs was unlikely to continue, with Mahant Ji at helm of affairs. And sure enough, he sprung into action in no time. These news reports are a testimony to, not just his intent, but also his understanding vis-a-vis the problems and the solutions that’ll work.
And the task force wasn’t a paper tiger as people might expect given the expected efficiency of our system.
“We are also planning to launch a systematic drive which will help government retrieve 1000 hectares of land which have been in the grip of land mafia since years.”, he says in the report below.
“It was a priority to rid UP of jungle raj.”, he re-assures.
If you don’t remember the I.A.S. Durga Shakti Nagpal case, let me refresh your memory to put things into perspective.
An upright, honest, hard-working officer who tried to put a stop to illegal sand mining mafia with effective, focused actions. What did she get in return? She was suspended for an absurd charge of bringing down a mosque wall, which should not have warranted more than a warning if there was some wrongdoing at all.
This should give an idea as to how deeply entrenched the nexus was. But not in Yogi’s UP, as the CM pledges to act upon them.
A lot needs to be done in this area, but the government is off to a good start.
Illegal Arms Manufacturing
When crime is flourishing, arms will always be in demand. Other than the difficulty in obtaining a gun license, the price and the fact that it’ll be licensed in your name so you can be traced, gives a lot of space for illegal arms manufacturing to boom. Until now, it went unchecked. But if crime has to be stopped, these are core areas that need to be curbed. And so they are.
Illegal Cattle Slaughter
Illegal Cattle slaughter is not only a legal menace but also an environmental hazard where a mockery is made of every regulation that law puts. One of the first things that the Yogi government did after swearing-in was to order close down of all such establishments, which were functioning with no fear of law and system until now.
This OpIndia article beautifully covers all the hazards of Illegal cattle slaughter including environment hazard, revenue loss, and how it’s the market for smuggled cattle.
All these activities that have been commonplace in Uttar Pradesh for decades are having a hard time under the rule of the Gorakhnath Mahant. His commitment to purge organized crime out of society, his efforts to turn a diseased Policing system into a high efficiency, effective system of crime control, and his actions at policy and legislation levels have made the impossible look possible. And that too in less than a year.
In the light of all this information that we’ve compiled here, feel the weight of this statement.
“Earlier we were protected by Politicians, but now there is no mercy” – UP Gangster Furqan.
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