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Mayawati and Dimple Yadav Shared a Socially Transformative Moment on Stage

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For that brief moment during the joint rally of the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh, on April 25, the nation glimpsed the possibility of political alliances influencing social transformation.

The moment had the spontaneity of the unexpected – BSP leader Mayawati placed her hand on the head of Dimple Yadav, the mahagathbandhan candidate in Kannauj, to bless her. Dimple, who is the wife of SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, promptly bent down and touched Mayawati’s feet.

In her subsequent speech in Kannauj, Mayawati said she treated Dimple as her daughter-in-law. She explained, “It is all because Akhilesh Yadav gives me so much respect, just like the elder in the family. I, too, have a very special bonding with his wife…”

The two women’s reciprocal gestures symbolise the flattening of caste hierarchy and the sweeping aside of traditional norms determining social relations. For once, age and seniority were understood to be the principles that determine hierarchy.

It might be said that the young always touch elders’ feet. Mayawati is 17 years older than Akhilesh and 16 years older than Dimple. Yet Dimple touching Mayawati’s feet is iconoclastic. This is because caste, not age, is the determinant of India’s........

© The Wire