Monday, December 12, 2016

OBC Literary movement...Why?

In our country, the literature too seems clearly has been divided in the four categories. That is the literature of the so-called upper castes, dalits, tribal and OBC. The upper caste and Dalit literature is dominant though they are conflicting with each other and stands opposite in socio-cultural views. However, the OBC literature, though a recent concept, has very few takers even among the OBC authors and thinkers. There have been attempts to combine the both Dalit and OBC literature, but they have not been successful. The thinkers those are trying to promote the concept of the OBC literature also are confined to what the ideological base should this literary movement carry. 

Mahatma Phule and Dr. Ambedkar are the obvious idols to the thinkers those are in this attempt, but practically it is experienced that combining the both to create an ideology for the OBC hasn't worked out well. The reasons may be probed, however, let us first decide what the OBC literature means? For that let us ask few questions to ourselves.

1.    Can literature only written by OBC be OBC literature?
2.    Can the literature in which OBC characters and their strife is depicted and penned by the OBC be the OBC literature?
3.    Can the literature authored by anybody but depicting OBC characters and their life be the OBC literature?
4.    What is meant by the term literature?

Let us discuss the above questions.

-         Technically, any literature written by any OBC writer can become OBC literature. There is no dearth of OBC writers now in the country. There are many poets, playwrights, novelists and story writers of fame that belong to the OBC category. 

However, when we come to the second and third question, we can see clearly that the literature written by the OBC cannot become OBC literature because their characters, the ideologies and the social relationships depicted in their works are almost devoid of any OBC aspiration or their strife for the better tomorrow through their complexities of the life.

Then how it can become OBC literature?

The literature in which the OBC protagonists are portrayed on the backdrop of their social conditions, their aspirations, their strife, their sentiments, their driving forces and their achievements or failures are portrayed can be treated as the OBC literature. 

But what if the writer is not OBC? Can still it be called OBC literature? 

Technically it should because the literature in question will be all about OBCs and their social relationship with rest of the society.

What is literature? Literature is any form of the written or vocal expression in which human life is depicted in creative artistic manner. I exclude autobiographies from this term because it doesn’t fulfill the definition of the literature though it may embrace the some of the essential ingredients of the literature. Autobiographies do expose and explore the social conditions of certain groups those were unknown to the rest of the world. Dalit autobiographies are the fine example of this. However, this is not the case with the OBC though there are ample of autobiographies, but the expression limited to their own life without relating it to the vision as OBC and any contribution to the ideology, no matter what it is.  

The literature is almost devoid of the OBC protagonists and their life. Uddhav Shelke’s “Dhag” is an exception that I have come across. There could be other exceptions as well. In rest of the literature, there are OBC characters here and there but their role is subordinate and seems to be picked up randomly to suit the plot. 

Why this could have happened? 

The first thing comes to my mind is OBC community is still overburdened with the inferiority complex that makes him reluctant to choose protagonists from his own caste or from OBC community. They do not think the life of the OBC could be or is exciting enough that can provide charming plots to write novels or plays. Moreover, they try to look for so-called glorious plots where mighty people provide attractive characters those can be easily popularized or already popular. They also might be feeling that the readers may not welcome the book if it is on the backdrop of their community as no one would be interested for lack of appealing characters. However, an artist should be able to sense the appeal even in the simplest characters.

I know many OBC authors and poets but they hesitate to present themselves as OBC. Rather they desire upward mobility in the literary circles by adjusting their ideologies accordingly. Having own ideaology is quite rare among all the authors belonging to any camp. In lack of that, they mostly enter the Hindutva camp for they provide stage and fame through their numerous tentacle organizations/groups. Dalit literary movement, though that too has been slowed down recently, is more aggressive, full of Amebedkarite ideology,  cope up some OBC writers who are rebellious and are prone to the social change. In a way, OBC writers have no option to belong to this or that camp because they do not have their own. The OBC thus seldom can voice their own thoughts those are independent of the influence of both the camps. This is why the ideological construction of the OBC movement could not progress at all!

It may be asked whether there really is a need of an independent literary movement of OBC? Why divide literature on basis of the castes? I would like to ask, are the problems, aspirations, social conditions and the sufferings of OBC are as same as of the writers belonging to the other camps? There won't be any necessity of separate camps if the life of the OBC was portrayed enough with the unprejudiced psyche and human sympathy. This is not the case. 

It is said that the OBC community is a group of so many castes that it is impossible to incorporate them in a single voice. This is not true. The common link between every OBC caste is that they were all creators since Indus times, makers of the utilitarian innovative commodities those they had invented in the remote past and became the pillar of the economy since then by their immense contribution. Many castes are included in OBC category and some are excluded. However, the fact remains that all the Creator Communities belong to the OBC category, though legally they might be excluded or thrown in some other category for the constitutional criterion.

Hence Mandal Commissions or later categorization cannot limit the scope of OBC in a social sense.  It has to be broadened to some extent when we speak of OBC literature.

Most importantly OBC has not been cautious or even curious about searching their own roots. They either are dependent on the Vedic sources, foreign sources or on the Dalit sources. They do not have their own vision because they never tried to know their past better! They are unaware of their cultural history, rather they are least interested in it. They do not know even they were one who were the creators of the culture as well. 

Hence there is no independent research that can throw proper light on their existence and help to understand what they are! Rather they want to connect some or other way with either Kshatriya Race or Brahmin varna and eventually become subordinate to both the communities. OBC are religious but they are unaware of the fact that their deities and philosophies have been hijacked long ago. The rebellion OBC takes the opposite stance and joins the camp that trusts vehemently that those were the Brahmins who forced caste system on them. Both the claims are illogical, unhistorical and hence no independent ideology of the OBC ever could develop. Knowing the roots is the first step towards building an independent ideology. In absence of this the lack of the OBC literature was a natural outcome. The OBC literary meets have started from past decade but I do not find they have been addressing the root cause. 


OBC or creator community is the largest in the country, no matter what religion they belong to today. The common factor is they all are a class of the innovative creators and builders of the economy and culture till the advent of the British Raj.  I call this class as the “Nirmankarta samaj”. Caste meant profession or occupation. There is no question of anybody forcing it to enslave them. The OBCs have seen glorious days right from Indus days till 11th century AD. There has been a drastic decline in their socio-economical conditions since then. Before that, they enjoyed all the privileges from the Royal courts and honor in the society as they had built powerful guilds of every manufacturing profession. But is there any novel that depicts, for example, invention of the iron, blacksmiths guild, their life and the challenges they overcame to excel? Is there no romance enough to portray for a good historical novel? 

Is history only belongs to the kings, the nobles and priests?

 With wake of the industrial revolution, gradually he lost his businesses and turned to the factories or farms as a labor for survival, forcibly abandoning his ancestral occupations. They were never provided with the viable alternatives for the survival. Isn’t there a chance to portray a socio-economic upheaval that drastically affected his life that not only changed his surroundings and the social relationships with his usual way of life in such a manner that he lost his honor and remained only struggler and sufferer? There are so many seeds that can become independent plots for the classic literature if we allow to sprout them. 

The need has arisen because there is no proper depiction of the OBC communities in the literature. As if they do not exist as a human being. Hence there is no reflection of their aspirations, their strife, dreams and philosophy in the literature. Even, there is no as yet proper research in their history and the changes they underwent through the ages. The cultural roots of the OBC are almost forgotten. The inferiority complex has forced them to build fictitious stories about the origin to counter Vedic explanation or he is forced to trust whatever is told to him without an opportunity to check the reality. So, OBC is the community that is totally confused and hence  OBC writer too does not dare much to portray OBC protagonists and their life.

In the modern era, only Mahatma Phule could dare the closed walls of the ignorance and the social oppression.  There has been no attempt to create any ideology out of Mahatma Phule’s works that could attract the writers to make it a part of their literary expressions. In fact, the identity crisis seems to be affecting the Nirmankartas and hence no firm and concrete vision is being developed. 

The tragedy is the creator community utterly have failed in creating literature out of their life.The OBC literature is needed to give new philosophy, the vision and the goal for OBCs life. The literature should be a mirror where any OBC can find his reflection and aspire for new heights. His present condition is terrifically bad as compared with other communities in India. He is almost voiceless, powerless and whatever achievements he embraces are out of his mountainous hard work. Most OBCs are a failure or enjoy the camps where they do not belong.  No matter whether it is literary, education, economic or political world.

And unless this class is empowered in all he will be left neglected forever. Literature, where one can relate and identify….feel his self is a base of the motivations.  Unfortunately, OBC has nothing to relate with in the literature.

OBC literary movement is to inspire OBC writers to change their stance and find material from their own community to do the creative work. The researchers should find time to search for the roots of the OBCs with the unbiased mind and find answers to the present predicament OBCs are facing. There could be many views but those can be debated over for the betterment of the society. 

One thing is clear, unless OBC stands strong and erect India never can become a true Superpower ever!

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