Prakash Velip, working president of Gomantak Bahujan Samaj Mahasangh feels that various backward class communities would succeed in their endeavour for better results in their joint fight for development and protection of their rights, which have eluded them because the fight was being fought by individual organisations so far. In an interview with Abdul Rauf Beig, Velip said that development of all would help the nation achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of making India a superpower by 2021.
q: Why was the need felt for forming a grand alliance by different communities?
The need for a common platform for the downtrodden classes or communities was felt soon after Goa was liberated. The first chief minister of Goa Dayanand (Bhausaheb) Bandodkar brought up the Bahujan Samaj politically as well as in other fields and the samaj is indebted to him. But everything could not be achieved during his lifetime. The end result that the backward classes of the state were aiming for could not be achieved over the 55 years since Liberation and may be the result could come with the formation of the grand alliance. A labourious process has gone into the issue and we expect good results in our endeavour to see progress of our communities.
q: Are the Scheduled Tribes satisfied with whatever they have got?
The three communities that form the part of the Scheduled Tribes in the state were part of Other Backward Classes till 2003, when they got recognition as STs under the Bharatiya Janata Party rule in the state as well as at the Centre. We are thankful for the same but our struggle for development and rights continued ever since. We came under the banner of UTAA and waged a battle for our rights, in which two of our youth died. We have taken our struggle and sacrifices in stride for the betterment of the STs as well as other downtrodden.
q: Don’t you feel that it would be difficult to retain unity in an organisation that has people with diverse views and political backgrounds?
The best thing is that every leader of different community has worked hard to ensure progress and development of their respective community. We are an apolitical organisation at the moment and would prefer to remain that way so that we could unitedly fight for our rights. We have come together forgetting our political differences as our only goal is to fight for our rights and fight against injustice that was being done to us. A tall Bhandari Samaj leader, late Murari Chopdekar, always wanted the Bahujan Samaj to be united. We will strive to take all downtrodden together to ensure that all communities develop as well consider that development of all would lead to total development of the country in all fields including education, culture, social and economic. Here I would like to recall the words of Babasaheb Ambedkar who wanted the backward classes to get educated, be united and fight for rights. Till recently the communities were fighting for their rights individually, but we have come together to fight unitedly for better and faster results. We have chosen to go by the advice given to us by Ambedkar and have decided to work unitedly.
q: Will the unity help achieve the results you are looking for?
Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been telling us that we have to take our nation forward. If we have to take the nation forward it is necessary that every Indian makes progress. To achieve this goal every farmer and villager has to make progress and be self sufficient. To make progress, it is necessary that there is no injustice done to farmers or anybody. We in the grand alliance believe that many of our constituents have been lagging behind and as such there was need to fight for their rights to ensure their development. In case these backward classes that are lagging behind make progress then there is every possibility that nation too would make progress and India would become a superpower by 2021 as envisaged by Modi.
q: Have you drawn a plan for progress?
Each one of the leaders in the Mahasangh has worked for the welfare of their respective communities over the years. We have accordingly drawn plans for the next 5 years, 10 years, and so on so as to decide what should be our development. Our immediate plan is to fight for the rights of the tenants and mundkars who would be affected by the recently changed laws. We would also want to get better reservation in education, social and cultural fields which in turn would help us achieve better economic status. We will surely fight for the same. Here I would like to state that we have made a beginning and hope to see the end results in near future. We will soon start taluka-level awareness programmes followed by state-level inauguration of the Mahasangh on May 23. It is necessary that we all make concerted efforts jointly for the progress of all. We have formed the Mahasangh to fight for our rights and not to deprive anyone of their rights.