Few hours with a Karyakarta


Karyakarta means a party worker here. If you remember I had put up posts about Bilal the carpenter, The Banana man and the flower vendor? This post is on the similar lines. Although I met some interesting common men since I wrote ‘Banana Man‘ long back, I never wrote any thing. But I met this guy in the train yesterday on my way to Mumbai. I thought I must write some thing about him.

I was waiting for ‘Udyog Nagari’ express at the Bhopal railway station yesterday afternoon. The heat was getting a little unbearable and was making me all the more restless. All I wanted to do was to get on the train and sleep. The train comes from Kanpur and has only about 7 stops in the entire 24 hour journey from there to Kurla. So normally the train is less crowded. But yesterday was probably not that ‘normal’ day. As the train approached, I heard lot of sounds as if some one was agitating and shouting slogans. The compartment was already full and some people were preventing others to enter. We some how managed to get in. The scene inside was not very good. The train bogey was full of the ‘Bahujan Samaj Party’ (BSP) party workers returning from the recently concluded Mayawati rally. ‘Not good’ I said to myself. Shit!

I some how muscled myself to the seat. Two of the slogan shouting wide mouths were already occupying my seat. There was no point in arguing with them. I waited patiently till the time their slogans died down. Then I politely requested one of them who was leading a small group of party workers to allow me to at least sit on my reserved seat. They reluctantly obliged. Some time passed. I understood that being upset and annoyed with what was happening around was not going to help. So I followed the old adage ‘If you cant beat them, befriend them’ and opened a conversation with one of the ‘leaders’. His name was Sunil.

When you say BSP workers, you expect a hoard of dalits belonging to the most interior parts of Uttar Pradesh speaking a Hindi dialect which most of us wouldn’t understand. But to my surprise, these guys were ‘Maharashtrians’ (I made out from the way they spoke Hindi). Sunil hails from a village near Satara district (I couldn’t gather the name of his village as well as his second name). I assumed he was a dalit, since he went for a BSP rally in Kanpur. But I was wrong again. He was actually a ‘Maratha’ and was a farmer. He told me that he had about 5 acres of land and he grew sugar cane and wheat. Then he started telling me about his farms, about his friends, their get togethers and how he liked his life in the village. It made me wonder why he went to the rally at all. On asking, he said the ‘Adhyaksha’ (president) of BSP’s Satara wing was his father’s friend. So he persuaded his father to send him to the rally. Lot of the other people had accompanied in the similar manner. My curiosity further forced me to ask him if they really were party workers. I thought he would say no. But he took it with a pinch of salt. He said most of them came because they had respect for the ‘Adhyaksha’ and that what he spoke of the party made sense to them. Most of them were from a lower cast and they really believed the party could do some thing for them. Interesting, was my only reply.

I was going to ask him if the party really did any thing good for his poor dalit friends. Or if they really helped, then why the dalits were still underdeveloped and under privileged. But I decided to keep mum for two points, wisely so. One, an unnecessary argument was uncalled for and two, there was no point demotivating and upsetting him on his return journey. So I let some more time pass. In the mean time, he reluctantly bought 5 oranges for Rs. 10 from a vendor. His reluctance made me to ask him if he paid for his trip to Kanpur himself. He said his ‘Adhyaksha’ paid for their lunch and dinner. Rest of the expenses were to be managed by themselves. When I asked about the journey ticket, he said the party had paid the money to the railways so that they could travel in any train during the rally. I’m sure Mayawati Behen didn’t pay any money to the railways. I told him that, to which he looked very surprised and worried for being ‘without ticket’. But later he satisfied himself, more than me by saying that the ‘Adhyaksha’ had told them about it and that he will take care of it if some thing goes wrong. I wasn’t surprised.

Some or the other light conversations kept following before he readily vacated my seat to allow me to sleep. All of the others did it too. I gathered that they were good guys, most of them farmers. They were not even paid to attend the rally. Yet they cooperated their ‘Adhyaksha’ in all the agitations all the way to Kanpur and back, without dwelling in decent living conditions and deprived of sleep for more than 72 hours. They respected they President… and they were so gullible.

Talk about simple, common Indian men, talk about playing with minds, talk about relationships and talk about Dirty Indian Politics.

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6 thoughts on “Few hours with a Karyakarta

  1. Awesome post! I ventured here after ages and haven’t been disappointed 🙂
    Politics has become truly dirty at all levels and you’ve shown it beautifully!

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