When the Senas raged
Barmeshwar Singh's killing snaps the last link to an era that has mercifully been eclipsed in Bihar
Barmeshwar Singh, the "Mukhiya", was possibly the last diabolic figure associated with the lumpen social construct known as the Ranbir Sena. Under his tutelage, the Sena was not only involved with several massacres and mass killings, but was possibly also the principal organisation that attempted to stall social democratisation and social tranquility in the state. He was killed early Friday morning in the Bhumihar-dominated Katira Mohalla in Ara, the headquarters of Bhojpur, which is one of the most prosperous districts in Bihar.
The Ranbir Sena was essentially an unwarranted extension of Sahajanand Saraswati's movement. Saraswati led a peasant movement to dismantle "permanent settlements" in Bihar. Bhumihar tenants, who formed the bedrock of the peasant movement, not only eclipsed traditional landlords within their ranks politically, but also led the green revolution (which remains incomplete in Bihar) to garner some economic power. But later, while many former tenants became landlords in the post-Independence era, the forces of democratisation spearheaded by socialist, communist and radical organisations eroded their political space substantially. Further, they were also economically disadvantaged in the absence of state patronage for the development of agriculture. The Ranbir Sena was the product of the political marginalisation of the landlords and the falling rates of return from agriculture. While the landlords had no control over burgeoning input costs, they could only deal with the declining rates of return from agriculture by reducing the legitimate share of agricultural labourers in the revenues generated. This could be operationalised by forming militia from amongst former Bhumihar tenants, by employing extreme right-wing and racist rhetoric. The Ranbir Sena was established in September, 1994 in Belaur village, Udwantnagar block in the Bhojpur district, and was named after Ranbir Baba, a retired military man who protected the rights of the Bhumihars against the Rajputs about a century ago.
- Destitute, orphan students outclass rest in Andhra Class 10 exams
- To re-energise ties, PM wants to visit US, waits for confirmation
- NIA court says no terror link, frees 'Hizbul militant' Liyaqat on bail
- CBI arrests its coal allotments investigator on bribery charge
- ‘Cricketer-bookie Amit may have used Jiju to reach Sree’
- BCCI chief N Srinivasan says police must prove spot-fixing allegations