Rag Darbari: A political text of UP

Radhakanta Barik

For understanding the society of Western and central UP, after independence one can read the novel Raag Darbari. The book is written in early 1960s. Shirlal Shukla, Raag Darbari translated by Gillian Wright Penguin Books, New Delhi 1991.

This book talks of politics and society of that period. Premchand's novels and stories speak of the colonial period. Shrilal Shukla's novel deals the characters like Fakir Mohan Senapati' s Chha Mana Atha Guntha, or Six Acres and a Third where each chapter deals with a single character. But that is a novel regarding colonial period. Here this novel discusses the issues confronting Indian administration at the Tahsil level which is the nodal agency of development. There is another novel by Rahi Massom Raza's Adha Gaun which explains the social and political structure of Eastern UP. We are going to examine the novel by Shukla in detail to explain the backwardness of UP.

Social Structure of Shivpalganj
It is more than a village but less than a town. There is a railway station which gives an importance to village.  It is a multi-caste village but the local landlords being Brahmins they dominate the village. The majority of people of the village are from backwards and Dalits but they do not remain in the centre of the village. In the centre people from high castes such Brahmins, Rajputs and Banias are there and in periphery of the village Dalits and backwards live in. Demarcation of social space clearly explains the social and economic position of these people. Let us examine the social precariousness of Dalits of the village. . Shivpalganj has two parts. The backward part where poor live gets ignored by the administration. The richer part draws attention of administration. Be police or health they take interest in maintenance of the richer part. The district Board has appointed a Sanitary inspector for last twenty years but he works only in the developed part.  He does not go to the locality of dalits and backwards. The police investigate the cases of robbery or thefts committed in this part. The bus stand where pigs move and take bath in a dirty pond and people are going for an open defecation. The locality where Dalits live in is having full of dirt.   ”if any Brahmin or Thakur passed by, the people there would hastily put their hookahs on the ground or throw down their pipes stand in their doorways. The men would join their hands and raise the slogan, ‘We touch your feet, Maharaja! Women would pull their children’s hands away from their necks and sometimes in their confusion begin to rain punches on to their babies’ backs.” 265 In such a multi caste village landlord being a Brahmin who has a perception of these modern institutions provided by the State administration.  They are worried of the state of affairs related to sanitation in the village.

 He is so powerful and his capacity to work with modern administrative institutions tell us: “Shivpalganj proper was in Vaidyaji’s sitting room.” p25 Structure of power explains those who come to his sitting room and discuss the matter. All those powerful in the town such as police officer, Principal, cooperative society secretary, Sanitation inspector, Tahsildar and BDO sit here and enjoy their bhanga mixed with ganja. This hall symbolizes the power elite of a local society. “According to the Brahmin that any jobs required a lot running around for the feet were essential – for instance the post of chaprasi should be definitely given to the sudras but it would be against the Vedas for them to become Pradhana.”p207

Power politics
Politics in Shivpalganj is an extension of social structure here. Political elite has no autonomy. The local rich and high caste people look politics of making money without getting elected. They are aware of modern state and government but their interest lies in sharing the loot from these political institutions. Those are in government needs to help these people when they experience any difficulty.  When Vaidyaji the local landlord faced problems because of his involvement in corrupt practices he went to the politicians at the state level of the government. For instance, he faced charges of corruption as the Secretary of Cooperative Society but he convinced the politician in power that he had misappropriated the public money for propagating the importance of the cooperative society among masses. He was able to convince the political leader that his son getting inter caste marriage for which he wanted to invite him.  He was of opinion that the lawmakers must take care of them by removing obstructions on their path. For instance, he was involved in the business of ganja for which he felt that the government must enact a law which make it legal.

A local landlord wants to gain from modern institutions making him more powerful in terms of politics and commerce. He wants to keep in touch with these officials for keeping him more powerful by terrorise the commoner. He wants their help for enlarging his business in terms illegal or legal.  He does not show any magnanimity as a feudal lord but as a commercial landlord he calculates how to gain materially in his step by moving on the chess board of politics. Here the picture of a commercial landlord has been portrayed in the book. He does not invest in production sector but wants to make money out of administrative ventures.

 The village pradhaan is an important person as police officer, Tahsildar and BDO all look for him. But Vaidhyaji is not taking interest as the post has no money. But the speech of the prime minister shows that some big projects are coming to the village where pradhan is going to be custodian of the fund. Vaidyaji his son and his nephew all are taking interest in the post of pradhaan. They want their candidate should replace the old pradhaan. Politics and money both go hand in hand. In Shivpalganj besides the landlord Vaidyaji there is another important person a trader cum money lender. He is holding as many posts with Vaidyaji as the vice chairperson of the college. He doesn't take any decision in the absence of Vaidyaji. He is a person to act in a cautious manner. He compares himself with the vice president of India who has no power. He avoids taking decisions even the principal involves in misappropriation of public money. He says that public money is supposed to be wasted. There are college and school teachers living in the village. They all put pressure on the trader to take action against the principal but he feels uncomfortable. The principal spends college money for conducting the marriage of Vaidyaji's daughter. He feels very much powerless. The local MLA living in the village gets attracted towards his daughter. Once entered into his house they feel scared to report the matter. Police closes the case as these people are non-cooperative. In the village substantive section of people belongs to Dalit but they are powerless.  Power is concentrated in the hands of one family and his close supporters. All these modern institutions are supplementing him to have an additional power.

Officers from State to district level come to the village they stay in the Dak bunglow which is an isolated place carrying scenic beauty of it. Officers of both colonial administration and post independent administration do not want to see the dusty roads, pigs swimming in the ponds and lanes of Dalits where pigs and other animals interact with people. Their location has got a good description by the author: In the days when white men ruled India, dak bungalows were built on river bank or in valleys, in forests and mango groves- that is wherever the poetry of Wordsworth, Tagore or Sumitranandan Pant came naturally to mind. Such things as dust and bustle, cholera, small pox and plague, starvation and poverty, ugliness, bad manners and unpleasantness found it very difficult them. Sahibs of both races – white and brown –would stay there when on tour.” P329 The present administrative elite do not have an interest in understanding the complexities of social reality.

Landlords always need the help of wrestlers as they are local toughs who can give a fight against their enemies. He doesn't like any rival against him. Shivpalganj is being managed by Badri wrestler who assists his father Vaidyaji.  Although wrestling is practiced by some more families. Badri's anger against those families is intense. Once Badri calls the young wrestler and gives him a beating. Warning him not to encroach Badri's space. The new family is ridden with conflict between father and son. They had a fight which results in separation of father and son. Rivalry and violence are values of the village. Shivpalganj is ridden with factions. According to Valdyaji factions are part Vedantic thinking this gets interpreted in terms of us vs them. . According to the law the main person Vaidyaji is charged with cases of misappropriation of public money, physical violence against his opponents. Vaidyaji is trying to do politics at higher level to save his neck. In the Cooperative society he has been charged of misappropriation of public money. He does high politics to save him by going and meeting the high officials and political leaders. Then it is proved that embezzlement is right for spreading the message of cooperative society among people. The politician has saved him without any blot in his clean image.

 The second case that he won the election to the college by stopping his opponents at the gate with violence but the main factional leader has got manipulated in such a way that his life is at risk if he stays in the Shivpalganj. His sons are involved in politics. Vaidyaji has convinced the political leader that his son is going for intercaste marriage which needs his blessings. Vaidyaji has gone to house of Bela's father to persuade him to give in marriage of his daughter with his son. The caste leader can change their stand for making political capital.

Justice System
Shivpalganj has developed a system of justice which is indigenous and an original and it is patented in its name. Any opponent who opposes your interest then you give them a good shoe beating and that is justice and no law or court or police is going to work. This has happened here when the inquiry officer, the deputy director of education is supposed to come to inquire into the matter related to the college the Dak Banglow is ready to receive him with loud Hindi music and flowers. Both the factions are under the shamiana but in two places. But before the main person has come the matter has got settled by forcing two of the teachers of the college to resign from the college. This is called shoe beating justice as there is no opponent no inquiry. Local landlord has kept his control over the college complete and the panchayat and cooperative union and the liquor shop by enforcing the shoe beating justice over the opponents. All those opponents belong to some faction who oppose his interest.

Shivpalganj is confronting the arms of laws by allowing the investigating authority has entered into the campus of the college for investigating the rigged election. The Principal and Vaidyaji had conspired that the group who want to give evidences against the Principal and need to be ousted from the college campus through violence. The investigating officer needs to be treated well by which he has no complaints against the college authority Shivpalganj is facing the challenge from the law.

Shivpalganj is more powerful than the modern institutions such as police station, Tehsil, Block development office. It is represented by Vaidyaji the Brahmin landlord whose representatives are in every place be the college principal, village pradhan or the person in charge of ganja business. They openly say that each is his man without inhibition and they work for him. The police sub inspector has got transferred because he arrested a person belonging to Vaidyaji’s ganja business. After he got transferred, he came to see Vaidyaji and he taught him a lesson that they cannot be independent but work with their dictates. The police officer has paid him Rs 2000 for cancellation of his transfer. The village council went on celebrating over bhanga at the cost of community. There is a liquor shop now which is managed by Vaidyaji man. Who sits the whole day and collects money? After the departure of police sub inspector there has been a celebration over consuming liquor. It is a shift from ganja to liquor by the village elite. Shivpalganj has a powerful political and social elite headed by Vaidyaji belonging to Brahmin caste supported by a group of four: the college Principal, Cooperative Secretary, Village Pradhan and Sarpanch. One of his sons is a wrestler and another is a school dropout but has the interest in the same woman but does not express it. " There was an unhappy lad in the village and his name was Ruppan Babu. A few days previously his influence had spread far and wide and on top of that he had made a name for himself too. He had been studying in the tenth class for several years and was a student leader. The Tehsildar was his companion the sub inspector of the police his courtier and the Principal his subordinate. ...It seemed certain that he would learn the art of grazing the political pastures like other capable progeny ...p256 This explains the shaping of a political apprentice.

The local landlord Vaidyaji who controls the college, village pradhan and cooperative union have two sons who are wrestlers in the locality. Because of his father's position they use their muscle power to terrorize the ordinary citizens of the locality. All two are interested in a woman belonging to a trader's family. One of them openly speaks out his love for this girl. Their father filed the case against the trader and his daughter in the court.

 What happens to judicial system in Shivpalganj remains to be seen. There is a permanent witness who give evidences to any case can be murder, rape or trespassing. Judge wants to know how he knows and then he gives cock and bull stories regarding any case. Police investigation is being shoddily done to prove the point of view of the powerful. Persecution accepts the report by the police investigation. Investigation, persecution both join hands and the lawyers on both sides work in tandem. The judge wants to show the world that he is a judicious person by supporting these reports and pleadings by the lawyers without questioning their points of view. This is the system of judicial administration in Gujarat. After the 2002 riots the cases got filed in the lower courts where the judges found that there have been no evidences against the rioters. The case went up to high court but they supported the lower court. Fortunately there were some independent minded judges in the Supreme Court and NHRC which proved the point that in the case of Gujarat that natural justice system had failed for which the cases needed to be probed once more and the cases got transferred to Bombay where punishment to these criminals happened who got involved in the riots. This is happening to Sanjiv Bhatt case where he was punished in the lower court without any substantive proofs for 30years.” Thugs do not only come under the law they also run the courts. The magistrates announce bail after a bit of hesitation and then hand over the paperwork to the clerks.” Then the dealing is fixed by negotiation with the clerk and the client.

Shivpalganj is the place controlled by Vaidya Maharaja. A college teacher appeals that he is not a Vaidya but Maharaja. It is his decision which prevails in the college, in the election of Pradhan and cooperative society president. All these organisations which give money Vaidyaji is there. Pradhan is not paying much but he hears there will be planning by the government where Pradhan will be able to disburse a lot of money. He nominated his candidate Sanichar who got elected. The day Sanichar got elected he made an announcement that liquor would be available freely as a form of celebration. People stared enjoying liquor but it is actually water. But people were happy having liquor freely without knowing the quality of liquor. What happens to judicial system in Shivpalganj remains to be seen. A case of trespassing happened to a powerful person's house but he is not a part of powerful faction but the case went to the court. There is a permanent witness who can give evidences to any case be murder, rape or trespassing. He gives evidences against this family where he says the women of this family is of a loose character. Judge wants to know how he knows and then he gives cock and bull stories regarding the woman. Police investigation finds that there was no theft as the ornaments are intact in bundles. Persecution charge the person regarding not giving in marriage to his sister for which this case gets committed. Investigation, persecution both join hands and the lawyers on both sides work in tandem.

Election politics in the Village
The election to the post of Pradhan shows factionalism of Shivapalganj where the Rajputs and the Brahmins fight each other for the post of critical positions in the village. There are three ways to win an election: The Ramnagar method, Nevada method and the Mahipalpur method. The Ramnagar method teaches us that once both the candidates belonging to the Rajput caste. That each candidate moves with gun men to show his strength and the best way to defeat the opponent by putting his gunmen of the opponent confined to the police station. In Nevada method there are candidates belonging to different castes make the election an interesting one. But there were two main contestants. The Brahmin caste tells the harijans that they are the sudras who are foot of the body whereas the Brahmin is the head of the body. According to the Brahmin candidate both are essential for showing the strength of the body. With the use of Ganja, the brahmin candidate succeeds to win the election. The third method is Mahipalpur method which defeats the Nevada method as their opponents use ganja and alcohol so much, they lied flat which resulted in wining. This is more sophisticated by bribing the voters with cheap watches and some for the election officer which resulted winning Vaidyaji's candidate Sanichar for the post of pradhan.

Rangnath a researcher and relative of Vaidyaji has come to Shivpalganj to conduct research and finds truth that those four people who are powerful they can do any harm against anybody who is affecting their interest including Rangnath. His MA degree is not valued by people. For them Law is a much superior to MA as he earns at every stage of law practice. They need a lawyer when they committee crimes for getting bail. Rangnath gets second lesson from the Principal that to be powerful one need the support of a more powerful person located in power politics of a society that's Vaidyaji. Holding position does not explain power. There has been a big noise in the village Shivpalganj that a Vaidyaji's man carrying ganja business had been arrested by the police. He talked to the police officer and realised that there is another rival group doing ganja business. On his persuasion, Vaidyaji's man has been arrested and, in his home, a handmade gun was found. They are involved in pistol business managed by his son. Illegal gun business combined with ganja is being handled by the group. Police has arrested him on the ground of theft and robbery. It is a friendly gesture of police in arresting a small man but not their leaders. Shivpalganj politics related to election has similarities with 2019 general election. You can read chapter 19 of the novel Ragdarbari. Only four people are involved in conducting the election to post of Manager. The college principal, Vaidyaji, Badri wrestler and vice president of the college. All four agree that the election to be held. They used firing against their opponents. In absence of opposition, Vaidya ji won a thumping victory.

Use of religion in Politics
The opposition sent a complaint against the college Principal. The director of education came to inquire the matter. He is a bhakta of Hanumanji. Vaidyaji made special arrangements for the puja in the temple. He was given bribe and special food to hush up the matter.  Vaidyaji who applies all tricks including violence money against the opposition to win the election. The BJP uses religion for political gains as he uses Bajrangwal to appease higher authority. Shivpalganj has a close a link with the judges, police and Tahsildar and the college Principal. A person known to Vaidyaji faced criminal charges of rape and murder, he went to pay money for getting bail which got granted on payment. According Vaidyaji everybody is a thug. A thug needs to be protected. It is a nation of grumblers. Criminals have a bigger say in administration which resulted in killing of a woman lawyer who was the president of the bar association of Agra of UP. Politics of Shivpalganj has the similarities with UP politics. The election to position of college manager has been done by showing guns at their opponents. The opposition filed the complaint against the principal to the education department. The department sent the director to investigate the matter. The director is a bhakta of Hanuman. Vaidyaji has taken care of the temple where the director has done puja. The principal has made arrangements for receiving the Director with flowers, money and food. The principal used violence against the leader of opposition leader khanna with the help of local police. Khanna cannot file the FIR against the principal. In the end Vaidyaji, principal, director all speaks against the present education system. The Principal drinks the left over from the glass of bhang by Vaidyaji. It explains the power relation between them.

Shivpalganj has a structured elite. Local landlord, rich shopkeeper, wrestler, sarpanch all are interested in holding election but without any change in personnel. The election turned into a farce. The election to the post of manager in the local college gets held but those who are in power see that no change is allowed to happen. The college is not managed by a trust but being owned by Vaidyaji supported by local landlord a Thakur coming on horse to the college. Students of college takes care of feeding the horse. Horse symbolises power without any change. Shivpalganj is the village from where no case goes up. Once the Chote wrestler gives a beating to an ordinary person who files the case. The Sarapanch and other powerful people go with the accused Chote wrestler whereas the ordinary person is left alone. In the lower court the case is being laughed by the judge and other powerful people. The provisions of the Indian Penal Code changes with the argument given by the defendant. It turns into the caricature of the legal process. Over ganja there is a heated debate among the local leaders and the priest. According to Chote Wrestler said “I do not want any darshan-varshan. I am the slave only of Hanuman, the god of a loincloth and as far as I am concerned all other gods and goddesses are son much straw.”p117

Trouble over ganja brings the police men to the village. Police have a beating an innocent person hoping that others would give statements. But nobody is ready to give in. There is a young girl with whom the elite takes interest on payment Temple in Shivpalganj draws people for different reasons. The local MLA comes to the temple for seeing his girlfriend. The research scholar comes for doing research. The priest does puja but involves in ganja business. The priest abuses the researcher in caste terms. The college management suffers from factionalism both at the level of management and among teachers. Principal supports the dominant faction. The principal calls Khanna a teacher aspiring to be vice principal gives him a beating. Violence is a part of factionalism. The village head Vaidyaji and his son Badri wrestler beats their opponent to make them silenced. Shivpalganj knows the way corruption happens in the state sector and in the Civil society. Cooperative society is headed by the village head. The clerk plunders the society. Senior officer comes to investigate the matter. He with the village head Vaidyaji and Director of the cooperatives go to find the clerk and they find the clerk is getting oil massage by a boy. They don't call the police to arrest him. But the director decides to take the remaining rice bags from the cooperative. In the end the resolution gets passed that the government should reinvest more money into cooperative. The village has a crook who goes to court as witness to all sorts of cases and the judge does not question him. The village Shivpalganj is next to the local town. The officials like the village for having food, ganja provided by local landlord. There's provision of water with the help of hand pumps. In 1960s India has reached the village through advertisements. One talks of a well-dressed farmer whom villagers think of Badri wrestler. The other talking of eradication of malaria where India is being mentioned. India or Bharat a concept has entered into political imagination of the elite. Police sub inspector reaches the village after hearing a notice to a villager for ransom otherwise there is going to be a Dacoity. Police reaches the spot and finds a jackal. By looking at the handwriting police thinks some body known to them.

Corrupt practices used in PS, Tahsil and Court
Near the railway station there is an arrangement for ticket less travelling without being caught by the TCC. Durbin Singh the dacoit does according to advice from above. To whose house to be ransacked and whose house theft would be conducted. He has violated the every clause of the Indian penal code. He pays the lawyer Rs 50 for appearing on behalf of him in the court. There is a house of a dacoit Durbin Singh who knows the difference between theft and dacoity. Stealing is just some money without harming the house owner but dacoity is committed by him with his gang by ransacking the house. The moment he is caught he pays Rs50 to his lawyer who knows how to bring him out of the court. In those days only the absence of a gun was there in the town. it was being done with his muscular body. He does steal to the poor milk women to unknown Rangnathan who is a Student in a University is a relative of Vaidyaji. He has to pay one and a half rupee to the Durbin Singh. The basic structure of the power structure of the town moves parallel with the local administrative structure: police station, Tahsil, BDO and College. All these modern institutions and traditional power structure have an interface with each other. Illegality and legality are intermixed at various moments. Local landlord going by rickshaw wants to talk with him but he refuses to converse as he has a fear that those who talk nicely may not pay the dues. According to the Raag Darbari it happens so that landlord forces him to talk, in the end he does not pay his dues. The rickshaw puller feels to address him 'Thakur Sahib' then the local landlord feels furious as he is a Brahmin. "The rickshaw-wallah swallowed this insult with good grace." p39. The landlord persuades him helping in business of ganja which pays money. But he is not convinced of it. He argues that ganja should be legal. The landlord got a message from someone for ransom of Rs 5000 otherwise his house will face the dacoity. This is an interesting event in the locality as the town has a network of landlords, dacoits and officials who exchange their gifts among themselves. In public administration one thing is very much clear that those who work in government offices from clerks to officers collect rent from an ordinary citizen. Without rent they do not do their works assigned to them. This happens according to novel Raag Darbari. There is some work in Tahsil office with the copy clerk who is supposed to give a copy of a court case. He demands money when arguments start from Rs 2 to five. The ordinary person is not ordinary as he is religious person does some reciting the Bhajans in the name of Kabir. "Two or three lawyers were standing around. First of all they told the copy clerk, Brother, agree to two rupees, the poor man's lame. He will take the copy and sing your praises." But the clerk refused to budge an inch. Suddenly he became a man of honour and said, "A man of honour sticks to his word. I will take exactly what I asked for." As the clerk went to the Tahsildar and told the whole story. "The tahsildar laughed and congratulated him on the doing the right thing."p34 This is because of there is channel of payment in office from the clerk to the Tahsildar. The Raag Darbari, the novel looks at the main characters at the Tahsil level. The writer Shukla himself was a civil servant and he could have looked at the officials working at that level such as Tahsildar, Police Sub Inspector, College Principal,. But in the administrative web there are two more important actors such as local landlord who is heading the local level rural cooperatives. There is another character unique to UP that is muscleman who plays an important role. There is another important character who commits robbery and dacoit who is an important person of the locality. Interaction among them plays an important role in the lowest level of public administration of UP. Public administration at the local level needs to be looked by us beyond the government officials which is the critical contribution of the novel.

 From the college Principal, clerk, Vaidyaji all drink ganja and Vaidyaji talks of praising the nutritious value of this by creating more semen. This is the meeting point at the 'inner sitting room and offered the same bhang to the Principal."p31 Most of the important public institutions owned by the government are controlled by one family in Shivapalganja in Raag Darbari. Vaidyaji the local landlord controls these institutions. For instance he is the secretary of the college. The police officer gets off from the chair only Vaidyaji and his relatives come to the police station. This explains the power relation between the local landlord vs the police officer.  His house has a sitting room which welcomes these people. Some years back we took officers to Shirohi district of Rajasthan where the Collector was telling us that the local king had twelve guns and the collector used to go every year for inspection to his palace. The king refused to come here. District The same situation prevails in most of the private schools. In the Chapter 11 there is a discussion the nature of crime investigation done by the local police station. Somebody gets caught in the gambling, who runs to the local police station for seven months to request the Sub Inspector for either charging him or leave him. He pleads that the moment I make charge sheet against you and then the case goes to the court and he has to run to provide evidences. The second case comes up by the student leader of the local college that some dacoits are demanding five thousand rupees otherwise they will commit the dacoit. He charges the Police Sub Inspector that a constable has written this letter. While the police station gets variety of cases but they take it as slow as possible. After hearing the charges made by the student leader he feels worried as the leader is the son of the local landlord. "a dacoit sitting in the lock up was loudly reciting prayers to the Monkey God Lord Hanuman. Just outside the gate the constable on duty -----was asleep."P9The constable is busy in making bhang for police sub Inspector while somebody gets caught in selling illegal ganja. This is a commentary that criminals are ready to use Lord Hanuman for doing politics today. 'The Sub Inspector in the police station and the thief in the lock up were one." p12 This is a caricature of crime investigation by the local police.

The colleges are being controlled by the power elite of Shivapalganja of the novel Raag Darvari. The principal is from the same place and a landlord. The contractor is a part of the school management. He takes work from the college and does shoddy works. Most of teachers are doing business. A teacher who does not have capacity of teaching, the principal accompanied by the clerk decides to make him the Vice Principal. It is only students suffer as they do not get the quality teaching. Once the principal is moving with a clerk and hears a student is crying loudly. His cries for learning but no teaching goes in the college. The principal cannot take any decision without the consent of Vaidyaji. He controls the Shivapalganja. The principal cannot take decision without consulting Vaidyaji "These are matters of high politics." The Principal going with his clerk meets a Public Health officer who is an old student. He does not recognise the principal being his student, "whoever gets an officer tag on his tail begins to think he is Plato." 24) Despite no teaching goes there he manages to be an officer and ignores the principal. The Principal and Vaidyaji collects half of money from each lecturer and forces them to sign the full salary.

The college education in UP has declined at faster pace. Prof Kothari commission tried to integrate our schooling system with the college education. The better quality of schools will provide the catchment area for college education. But in UP specifically it does not work. The state of affairs in an intermediate college is a pitiable as there is no building but no teachers. The best example is this that two classes have been given to one teacher. When he says that two classes cannot be managed by himself. The best explanation has come from the clerk who is always with the Principal. He advises the teacher to learn from the buswala who manages when another bus breaks down and takes all passengers into his bus. It is better to adjust and accommodate them. The teacher runs his business while classes are going on. The science teacher does not know the difference between science and English literature. The college is running because of the government's funding, the Principal's quality is this that he manages the fudging the account which cannot be found by the auditor this helps him to make a lot of money. " when he falsified accounts not even the greatest auditor could find fault with them." p20 It is a money-making business like most of the NGOs that there is a joke about NGO is this that it is one and a half person. One the founder cum director and his clerk who help him or her the fudging of accounts. Vaidyaji understands the language of modern administration.” He mentioned ‘the inertia of administration’ ‘the welfare of the people’ ‘responsibility’ etc. time and time again.” p71

 Politics as business
Max Weber defines politics as a form of business where certain modern rules must be allowed to function. But in Shivpalganj, politics is a business but without any rules or ethics and values. Badri Wrestler said to his father,” Politics is your business. I have had my say. The Inspector should be beaten with a shoe ten times – no more no less.” P291 this is an advice to his father Vaidyaji. This is not understood by Rangnath an urbane person who is being called by the Principal of the college to join the job as there is vacancy in History. He uses apa to tum to tu and telling that you are really an idiot. Complexities of rural society is ridden with caste, land and power for making money from modern institutions without allowing them to perform as Indian genius for manipulation and maneuvering existed in an unrefined form in the village.

Shivpalganj is a syndrome in Indian Administration that administrative laws underlying philosophy of administrative institutions do not have meaning in the case of UP. There is no ethics and moral values upheld by the administrators. They follow their own rules and they establish nexus with the local elite whose desires and wishes are their laws. They just go for enforcement of those designs. Shivaplganj a syndrome threatens Indian public administration which based on ethics and values in support of administrative decisions. Objectivity and rationality are two critical factors for taking decision. Here decision-making process has got vitiated with the influences from the local elite. Constitutional basis of Indian administration has not enforced yet. Where somebody is anybody and anybody is somebody. Right to equality as basis of public administration does not work here.  

This book brings out to a living administrative tradition when the upper castes rule the province with a ruthless manner without following laws or any respect for constitution. With the changing of caste and class politics with the rise of Dalits and Backwards situation has changed to some extent but it gets reversed when the upper castes come back to power.

The book Rag Darbari or it is a poetry of upper caste politics of rural UP and the book is a political text and forcibly has entered into political science curricula of Oxford and Cambridge on Indian politics.

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Jul 30, 2019

Prof. Radhakanta Barik

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