Meet Manoranjan Byapari: Rickshawallah, Writer & TMC Candidate

In a star-studded 2021 West Bengal Elections, TMC’s Manoranjan Byapari stands out.

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Manoranjan Byapari isn’t your average politician or character for that matter. He’s one who has donned a thousand hats. From pulling a rickshaw to earn his daily bread to becoming one of the finest voices in Dalit literature, Byapari has experienced it all. He has even been to jail.

And it is this vast experience that he plans to use to help the people as he contests the elections as the Trinamool Congress’ Balagarh (Hooghly) candidate. So what has his 60 years of experience taught him? “Kindness and love,” he says.

If you have kindness and love towards people, only then will you understand their problems.
Manoranjan Byapari, TMC Candidate and Dalit Writer

A vocal advocate for caste rights, he says that the main problem that Dalits and other backward classes are facing in this country and in Bengal is the lack of proper leadership.

There’s no leader to steer them in the right direction. Cruel leaders are just pushing them in the wrong direction. That’s why they are now chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’.
Manoranjan Byapari, TMC Candidate and Dalit Writer

So, how does he plan to change it? The first thing he wants to do is form a committee consisting of people from different walks of life (teachers, vegetable sellers etc) and ask them about the problems that they are facing in their areas, and subsequently brainstorm solutions with them.

But why did he decide to join politics?

The people who I write about, I just write about them. But I have failed to alleviate the problems that they face. Just writing couldn’t solve their problems, so I entered politics.
Manoranjan Byapari, TMC Candidate and Dalit Writer

Politics aside, his life itself is a story to be told. Byapari has spent most of his life doing odd jobs like pulling rickshaws, rearing cattle, and cooking.

“Was the money that you earnt enough?”

“No rickshaw wallah ever earns enough for a full day’s meal,” he replies.

We spent most of our days with a half-full stomach.
Manoranjan Byapari, TMC Candidate and Dalit Writer

It was only a stroke of luck that made him into the writer that he is, having now published over 30 novels in 40 years.

Once Mahashweta Devi had taken a ride in my rickshaw. I used to read a lot of books. I couldn’t find the meaning of the word ‘jijibisha’. She was surprised when I asked her. She asked me if I want to write for her journal (Bartika). I had never written before that. She requested me to try. So I wrote and it was published in the journal. People appreciated it and then more people from different publications asked me to write for them.
Manoranjan Byapari, TMC Candidate and Dalit Writer

Byapari doesn’t mince his words and sticks to crisp answers as he speaks in fluent Bengali, talking about his different experiences, his books, and his outlook on life.

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