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1 Behenji: A Political Biography of Mayawati

Ajoy Bose

Penguin/Viking, New Delhi, India, 2008, 0670082015 / 9780670082018, First Edition, Hard Cover, New, New, 
Mayawati has changed the face of politics in India, turning old assumptions upside down and restructuring power equations entrenched for centuries, if not millennia. The path she has blazed through the Byzantine political system of Uttar Pradesh has been a unique tour de force. Not only has she been the chief minister four times, but she has done so by overturning the established electoral traditions of a state that virtually invented modern Indian politics. With her in-your-face political style, unabashed display of accumulated wealth and mercurial nature, she is, perhaps, the most enigmatic Indian politician for decades. How did Mayawati, a studious, diffident Dalit schoolteacher, the summit of whose ambitions was to be an IAS officer, become the iconoclastic, combative politician, universally known as ‘Behenji?today? Her trajectory is all the more impressive not just because her modest background has no previous connection to politics, she has also had to bear the burden of being a Dalit and a woman. Possibly her greatest achievement has been to forge, with the help of her mentor, Kanshi Ram, a completely new context for Dalit politics. Bypassing both the slogans of victimhood, as well as those of street-level activism, she has negotiated from within the system to create new alliances with lower backward castes, Muslims and now, surprisingly, upper-caste Brahmins as well. Eminent journalist Ajoy Bose brings his in-depth experience of covering Indian politics for over three decades to this pioneering political biography of Mayawati. He explores the background of her meteoric rise and examines the growing national clout of this unique woman who could, quite possibly, determine the shape of the next Indian government, and even be the country’s prime minister one day. 'Those who tend to rubbish Indian democracy and get impatient with its indubitable flaws should ponder whether there is a historic parallel anywhere else where a woman belonging to the most crushed community known to mankind has risen through the heat and dust of elections to rule two hundred million people and may well reach further to guide the destiny of a billion more in the not too distant future. Printed Pages: 228 with 8 colour photos. 023198

Price: 11.75 USD
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