Why BJP's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind is an "exceptional" Dalit

Why BJP's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind is an "exceptional" Dalit

Ram Nath Kovind with PM Modi and BJP party president Amit Shah Photograph: (DNA)

Delhi, India Jun 20, 2017, 03.00 PM (IST) Chandra Bhan Prasad

Harold J Laski, a political theorist London School of Economics, taught minds that won seats in the London School of Economics.

So big a thinker Laski was that even Winston Churchill couldn’t afford to ignore.

The political theorist of his times, Harold Laski was impressed by KR Narayanan's mind reflexes and wrote a letter of recommendation to Pt Jawaharlal Nehru. How could the then Indian Prime Minister ignore Laski’s words-- Narayanan was inducted into the Indian Foreign Service. 

Narayanan who topped the English Language in the University of Travancoretopper in 1943 didn’t prove Harold Laski wrong; he didn’t disappoint India’s foreign office either.

KR Narayanan’s nomination to the presidency was in recognition of his iconic stature, a role model citizen for the entire country, arguably, the most illustrious Dalit of his time
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After China-India war in 1962, diplomatic relations were disrupted between both the nations. However, normalcy was set to return by 1976. The country needed the best diplomatic mind to deal with China, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi chose Narayanan to represent India in Beijing. After an illustrious service, Narayanan retired in 1984.

After India’s first nuclear test in 1974, relations between the US and India were strained. Indira Gandhi wanted to bring normalcy in the Indo-US relationship, once again, the country needed a genius to represent India in Washington DC. Narayanan was recalled from retirement, and assigned an ambassadorial seat in the Washington DC in the year 1980. He served a four-year term, bringing both the countries closer.

A scholar and author, KR Narayanan spoke his mind on Dalit issues, took an active part in conferences and discussions that dealt with Dalit issues. He even wrote articles advocating the Dalit cause.

Impressed by his genius and commitment to the community, the Congress party offered him a Lok Sabha seat in 1984 and Narayanan went on to win three elections in a row. Then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi inducted Narayanan into his ministry. 

Before becoming the country’s first vice president in the year 1992, Narayanan was already an iconic Dalit personality. He went on to become the President of India in the year 1997- the first Dalit president. As the President, Narayanan served the nation well, arguably, nation’s best president ever.

KR Narayanan’s nomination to the presidency was in recognition of his iconic stature, a role model citizen for the entire country, arguably, the most illustrious Dalit of his time.

While Ram Nath Kovind deserves to be congratulated for his presidential feat, the future history would ask some questions incessantly, and BJP will have to answer these. Some of these questions are: 

Was Mr Ram Nath Kovind an all India name before his candidature was announced yesterday

Was Kovind an all-India Dalit name till yesterday

 Is Kovind at all known for promoting a Dalit Agenda

Ram Nath Kovind is an exceptional Dalit, is close to RSS, and at that, a designed poster boy of Hindutva
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What all is slowly emerging is the fact that Ram Nath Kovind is an exceptional Dalit, is close to RSS, and at that, a designed poster boy of Hindutva. Kovind is a practising Hindu, celebrates Hindu rituals, prefers silence over atrocities on Dalits, has no known history of questioning gau rakshaks, none knows what his views are on Rohit Vemula, Una, Shaharnpur.

We are yet to know what kind of economy Kovind has in his mind, certainly, he is not for a communist manifesto, he is not socialist either. Does he endorse a capitalistic order for India, and is deeply entrenched with Ram Rajya, Hindu Rashtra fatalisms?

In all likelihood, it appears to be a well thought of design to market Hindutva in the Dalit bazar that has so far kept the Hindutva hawkers at a bay. 

Chandra Bhan Prasad

Chandra Bhan Prasad is founder of www.dalitfoods.com. He is a political commentator and advisor to the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Story Highlights

  • Was Mr Ram Nath Kovind an all India name before his candidature was announced yesterday?
  • Was Kovind an all-India Dalit name till yesterday?
  • Is Kovind at all known for promoting a Dalit Agenda?
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