Insight into South Asia

Tribute to Mr. V.P. Singh : “I am defeated, but..”

It is better to be disclosed first – I do not respect or believe in electoral politics. But does that mean rare flowers do not bloom there? Such a one is V.P Singh.

Mr Viswanath Prathap Singh

Mr Vishwanath Pratap Singh - 10th Prime Minister of India

  • V.P.Singh was born in 1931
  • He became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh State in 1980
  • He became Cabinet Finance Minister in 1984
  • He later became Defense Minister
  • He was dismissed by “Bofors” Gandhi
  • He became the Prime Minister (of India) in 1989
  • He lost his government in 1990
  • He died in 2008

Is his life so minuscule that it can be buried into the above statistics alone?

In 1991, I got down at the New Delhi railway station. A casual look at the train standing in the front caused a big shock. Graffiti in big white letters written all over the train read:

“Let us kill V.P.Singh.”

“Reward for the killer – Rupees 1 Lackh.”

More than the insanity of the folks who wrote them, the perversion of the bureaucrats, who have left those scribbling un-touched for more than 6 months is what enraged me the most.

Even though Tamil Nadu’s political parties engage in cat-fights quite often, a graffiti degrading the leader of a ruling party or that of an opposition party will be removed overnight by the police. I am wondering what could be the reason for this degrading graffiti being left untouched for 6 months after Mr. V.P. Singh lost power.

There is only one reason. That is: Mandal Commission. (North is slower than us in everything, Huh)

The attitude (irritation) of people who feel – “The power and fame that we enjoyed exclusively all these years, is now being granted to everybody – because of this rotten Mandal commission….”

The attitude of anger that – “for those of whom education was refused in the name of Manu Dharma, the doors are being opened in the name of Mandal Dharma.”

These must have been the reasons that made those people write the graffiti.

I can still hear those statement made by V.P.Singh.

Angered that those who put forward the Mosque issue, have been toppled by the Mandal issue, Mr Atal Bihari walks out after withdrawing his support to the government. Next, the microphones of the journalists stretch towards Mr. V.P.Singh.

“How come you have faced such a worst defeat?” query the journalists and media.

“Yes. I am defeated, but Mandal is in agenda.” – says V.P.Singh very politely stepping down and walking away.

Juliet Raynolds, an art critic made a 45 minute documentary on Mr V.P Singh.The film is titled,  The Art of the Impossible

Juliet Raynolds, an art critic made a 45 minute documentary on Mr V.P Singh.The film is titled "The Art of the Impossible"

Yes. That is the practical truth. The recommendations of the Mandal Commission that were ignored during our Indira Gandhi’s period, the recommendations of the Mandal Commission that were trashed during our Rajiv Gandhi’s period, if our Narasimha Rao’s government was forced to implement the same, – it was because of V.P.Singh. Why go far – the compulsion to include a representation for the backward class in the BJP leadership was created only by Mr. V.P.Singh.

Even though V.P.Singh entered politics during the Nehru era, he did what the Nehru family failed or feared to do.

However, I would not agree that V.P.Singh was a person who can be credited just for the Mandal commission alone. Like how some people take pleasure in projecting Periyar (of the Self Respect movement in South India) as just an atheist, the life led by V.P.Singh does not allow us to see him as just that.

After stepping down as Prime Minister, fighting with cancer and having to do dialysis three days a week, he still fought largely for the benefit of the slum dwellers and the rickshaw pullers of Delhi. Coping with his uncooperative body, in parallel he fought for the Dalits, landless workers, those who lost their livelihood because of the so called welfare schemes and served numerous people who were on the edge of their life.

These events did not appear as a news item even on the 16th pages of the North Indian news magazines. The northern media might have even thanked the tragic Mumbai shootings and bombings that happened on the same day V.P.Singh left us as they overshadowed the news. Won’t they have anger against the person who stopped the Kamandal (a pious utensil used by priests) with the Mandal?.

Above all, In spite of having born in a royal family and having occupied the Prime Minister post, his frustration due to the deception and dissatisfaction caused by the Indian political system were to the extent that he proclaimed “I wish to become a Maoist.”

Yes, to say it in his own words –

“In the name of high tech cities and special economic zones, every Chief Minister is throwing promises of 10’s of thousands of new job opportunities. Every manufacturer is dictating his own price be set for his product by the government. But the government is dictating its own price for the produce of the farmers. If you do not heed and listen to their (farmers) voice, you will not be able to prevent them from taking up arms. Truly, I wish to become a Maoist. My health is the only hindrance to that.”

True indeed!. India is seated in a volcano of economic turmoil.

Imbalance due to caste differences, insanity due to religious sentiments, social differences due to the economy – can only make the volcano more ferocious and not subdue it.

That simple man’s dream was a life for our people without the volcano. The fulfillment of that dream – that got cut in between, is in our hands.

Good Bye now, friend.

Written by Pamaran.

Pamaran is a Tamil writer and popular blogger. This is a English translation of his original writing in Tamil which can be read and commented here.

Filed under: Asia, Politics, , , , , , , , , ,

5 Responses

  1. Ronin says:

    Very well written, passionate article. Kudos..

    Lot of unknown/vilified/hated men have to fall before truth crowns the last one..Sadly, VP singh was a pioneer who had to be sacrificed for the cause to succeed.

  2. Excellent article! I’m shocked (but not surprised) by the bit about the Delhi railway station.

    V. P. Singh was one of a kind! It’s unfortunate that his health prevented him from contributing more to the country.

  3. Kandhan says:

    Very nice article about former PM of India – V.P Singh. He was truly a Rebel / Maoist who has beaten the mighty Rajiv Gandhi/Congress in the Parliamentary Elections and become P.M. Another important and good decision he made was pulling Indian troops out of Sri Lanka.

  4. Dibyojyoti says:

    Excellent!! well written.I don’t understand why BJP withdrawn support from such a honest fighter of Congress?Post 1960 biggest Non congress fighters are Moraji Desai,VP Singh.It was clear that after pulling their(BJP) support from VP Singh govt., Congress is going to form the Govt. and again going to subside all the corruption which Rajiv Gandhi had opened up.

  5. Myilvannan Periyasamy says:

    Thank you for this beautiful translation of Comrade Pamaran’s article.. I am his friend. We would be glad to talk to you. My number is 9443536779, please call..

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