Caste calculus: How the BJP is expanding its footprint in Bihar

In a village between Badlapura Chirandgaon and villages near Chhapra, Bihar, a small temple was filled with about 40 women. Disadvantages of the heat of the summer afternoon, which are absorbed by the worship of the Hindu god Shiva.

It is a Charcha Shiv, Ajay Pandey, the priest of a nearby temple says. The women live in five villages around the temple and meet for three or four hours of prayer each afternoon. Fundamentally, they belong to different jaatis or sub-caste.

Shiv Charchas is a recent addition to religious life in the Saran district. “It started in our region for three or four years,” said Arun Kumar Das, a Dalit activist from a nearby village, Baniyapur. What sets them apart from other religious practices, Das said, is the focus on Dalit women.

Shiv Charchas seem to have introduced into Bihar about five years ago Harendra Bhai. He was born in the Bhumihar caste in Bihar Siwan, according to Pandey, Neelam and he and his wife have installed Shiv Charchas in Jharkhand before returning to Bihar.

So what is the Shiv Charchas deal? Well, first of all, they are a key element of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s strategy to seize power in Bihar.

For decades after independence, the BJP did not have much of an impression on Bihar, largely because the upper castes, who are the party’s main supporters in much of India, went to Congress. On the other hand, as pointed out by Arshad Ajmal, director of the Al-Khair Patna charitable foundation, working for communal harmony, he emphasized that the population was syncrehed enough to support the Hindutva majority political party.

The BJP has begun to penetrate with the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi movement in the late 1980s which, among other things, precipitated the carnage against Muslims Bhagalpur. But his growth was stopped by Lalu Prasad Yadav when he became prime minister in 1990.

Under him, the government responded to Sangh Parivar – Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliates – which is the organizational machine of the BJP, said Shaibal Gupta of Asia Development Center Development, Patna.

Party prospects began to run after allied with Janata Dal (States) Nitish Kumar early 2000. In the mid-1990s, he was partner in power. Then the party began to use the state mechanism to develop, according to Sanjay Paswan, a BJP leader in Patna.

Not only were party workers appointed to local governing committees in blocks and districts, the sisters’ team in Sangh Parivar began to spread throughout the state, each centered on clearly defined electoral segments.

Shiv Charcha, meanwhile, is the measure for Dalit women, as noted Das. It is not excessively ritualistic; The prayers are to Bhojpuri; The deity is worshiped Shiva, it attracts to follow more syncretic other gods in the Hindu pantheon. “There is no model of prayer,” Pandey said.

“Sometimes it is bhajan-kirtan.There is katha prasang.It can take place as planned in the temple.Or may ask the women who keep.To say that someone is a sick child, you could say that if it improves, I will organize A Shiv Charcha “.

Traditional Hinduism, according to Sanjay Paswan, is unique because of its emphasis on rituals. However, the simplicity of Shiv Charcha attracts people. “They feel shawl shave Raha Hai Hamare,” he said. “This is exactly what we want.”

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