Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav is celebrating his 75th birthday today. Mulayam claims to be a student of the great freedom fighter and committed socialist Ram Manohar Lohia. Mulayam, the chieftain of a party formed in Lohia's name, is the super chieftain of India's most important state. He has been in active politics for nearly five decades. Lohia gave the slogan of Saptkranti or Seven Revolutions and there are seven things that differentiate him from his student Mulayam.
1. Ram Manohar Lohia was a great advocate of Swadeshi. Opposing the use of English, he said that this was the language of colonial rulers and maintained that India can progress only by using its own language. But Mulayam's son Akhilesh went to Australia to study engineering. We can safely assume that there was no Hindi school over there.
2. Lohia spoke of equality at every level. He believed that in order to ensure equal opportunity for all in the field of education, everyone must send their children to government schools. If the details provided in Wikipedia are to be believed, the only time Mulayam's family members have visited government schools is to cut ribbons. Not one of the second and third generation members of his family have studied in a government school at the primary level.
3. Lohia remained in the opposition throughout his life. Anti-Congressism remained the cornerstone of his politics. Even when the country's polity couldn't see anything beyond Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress, Lohia created a opposition on his own might, causing the Congress's defeat in many states. Mulayam might have invoked anti-Congressism
4. For Lohia, any form of equality was meaningless without economic equality. One gets to know a lot about the kind of life Lohia led by the fact that left behind no property when he died. In sharp contrast, Mulayam is facing allegations of having disproportionate assets.
5. Lohia opposed any kind of discrimination between men and women, throughout his life. He stood for equal rights and respect for women. But when there was broad consensus in the country regarding tough punishment for rapists, Mulayam opposed it and said that just because boys commit a mistake doesn't mean they should be hanged.
6. Taking on India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Lohia had pointed out that while the vast majority of Indians earned just 3 annas every day, Nehru's total expenditure was Rs 25,000. When it came to opposing unnecessary expenditure, Lohia didn't even spare the Prime Minister of the country. Will Mulayam remember Lohia while spending lakhs on his birthday?
7. To break the vicious cycle of casteism, Lohia gave the principle of 'Roti aur Beti'. He believed that in order to end casteism, people should eat with each other and promote inter-caste marriages. But Mulayam's political empire has been built on the foundations of the Muslim-Yadav arithmetic.