Con­tem­po­rary Dalit Pol­i­tics And Ambed­kar’s Goal Of Caste An­ni­hi­la­tion

The Global Digest (English) - - Contents - Spe­cial Con­tri­bu­tion By Ram Pu­niyani

On 28th Feb (2014) Ramvi­las Paswan of Lok­tan­ta­ntrik Jan Party joined the NDA al­liance. Same Paswan had left the NDA twelve years ago with the be­gin­ning of Gu­jarat car­nage, say­ing that with the vi­o­lence in Gu­jarat he can­not be part of NDA. This time his son for­mu­lated the face saver when he said that Modi has re­ceived clean chit in the Gu­jarat car­nage. Few days ago an­other dalit leader Udit Raj di­rectly joined BJP, with the as­sur­ance of be­ing given a ticket for forth­com­ing elec­tions. In Ma­ha­rash­tra, Ram­das Ath­wa­ley of Repub­li­can Party of In­dia had be­come part of NDA, and suc­ceeded in be­ing nom­i­nated for Ra­jya Sabha, Up­per house of Par­lia­ment. There are many oth­ers dal­its in the fold of BJP di­rectly or in al­liance with BJP to be in NDA, for pre poll al­liance. Most of th­ese lead­ers claim to be work­ing on the path shown by Dr. B.R. Ambed­kar. Ambed­kar was com­mit­ted to an­ni­hi­la­tion of caste and was to­tally op­posed to the con­cept of Hindu na­tion­al­ism, as pro­pounded by RSS-BJP.

Dur­ing free­dom strug­gle when three types of na­tion­alisms were in vogue, In­dian Na­tion­al­ism, Mus­lim Na­tion­al­ism and Hindu na­tion­al­ism, ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple of In­dia sup­ported and fol­lowed the path of In­dian na­tion­al­ism.

Ma­jor­ity Hin­dus were for In­dian na­tion­al­ism, ma­jor­ity of Mus­lims were also for In­dian na­tion­al­ism. It was the elite, the land­lord, Kings who be­gan com­mu­nal streams and were later joined in by a sec­tion of af­flu­ent up­per castes of those re­li­gions. The Bri­tish ma­nip­u­la­tion kept fu­elling the fire of reli­gious na­tion­al­ism. Mus­lim na­tion­al­ism turned in sep­a­ratist di­rec­tion and their de­mand for Pak­istan came to the fore­front. Hindu na­tion­al­ists ac­cepted the re­li­gion based na­tion­al­ism but de­nied the de­mand of Pak­istan on the ground that this had been a Hindu na­tion from times im­memo­rial. This whole for­mu­la­tion of Hindu na­tion from an­cient times is an in­valid con­cept, as the very con­cept of na­tion, Na­tion state is a mod­ern con­cepts. So in the re­vised edi­tion of his book, ‘Par­ti­tion of In­dia’, Dr. Ambed­kar op­posed the for­ma­tion of Pak­istan on the fol­low­ing ground that for­ma­tion of Pak­istan may pave the way for Hindu Raj and “If Hindu Raj be­comes a re­al­ity then it would be great­est menace to this coun­try. What­ever may Hin­dus say, ac­tu­ally it does not make a dif­fer­ence that Hin­duism is

a dan­ger to In­de­pen­dence, Equal­ity and Brother­hood. Thus it is an en­emy of democ­racy. We should make all out ef­forts to stop Hindu Raj from be­com­ing a re­al­ity.” (Pak­istan or Par­ti­tion of In­dia, Page 358). Here what Ambed­kar is re­fer­ring to Hin­duism is Brah­man­i­cal Hin­duism, the ide­o­log­i­cal ground of Hin­dutva, the agenda of RSS com­bine. Ambed­kar did lay the foun­da­tions of dalit move­ment, and went on to form Sched­uled Caste Fed­er­a­tion (SCF) in due course; be­fore con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing the Repub­li­can Party of In­dia. This SCF in 1951, on the eve of First Gen­eral elec­tions in 1952; which was to be­gin the process of adult suf­frage, forged an al­liance with Praja So­cial­ist Party (PSP) led by Jaya Prakash Narayan. The man­i­festo of SCF ruled out “al­liance with any re­ac­tionary party such as Hindu Ma­hasabha and Jan Sangh (Pre­vi­ous avatar of BJP) (quoted from Gopal Guru EPW Feb 16, 1991, cit­ing Ambed­kar Let­ters to Gaik­wad, page 280-296). He was the one who could see the long term agenda of Jan SanghHindu Ma­hasabha of Hindu Rash­tra, the con­cept to­tally op­posed to sec­u­lar demo­cratic In­dia. His ba­sic motto was ‘ed­u­cate, or­ga­nize and strug­gle’, for caste an­ni­hi­la­tion and for the val­ues of sub­stan­tive Lib­erty, Equal­ity and Fra­ter­nity. He was aware that this process; ed­u­cate and or­ga­nize to strug­gle; is pos­si­ble only in a demo­cratic set up, so al­liance with Hin­dutva po­lit­i­cal out­fits was ruled out of hand. To­day what is hap­pen­ing? From last sev­eral years a new dalit lead­er­ship has emerged, which on one hand rep­re­sents a fac­tion of this group and on the other has also per­sonal-fam­ily elec­toral am­bi­tions. So in short term they, for their per­sonal ben­e­fits have been sit­ting in the laps of com­mu­nal par­ties. Namdeo Dhasal, the great poet went with Shiv Sena, which had cre­ated hell with the pub­li­ca­tion of Amdekar’s ‘Rid­dles of Hin­duism’. Ram­das Ath­wa­ley is again with the com­mu­nal forces who have given him the Ra­jya Sabha seat. Udit Raj has also em­braced the party of Hindu raj and Ramvi­las Paswan, guided more by per­sonal po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions, rather than the long term ben­e­fit of the down­trod­den, has shame­lessly al­lied with BJP. In Writer, ac­tivist, Ram Pu­niyani is as­so­ci­ated with var­i­ous sec­u­lar ini­tia­tives and also has been part of dif­fer­ent in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­ports on5 vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights of mi­nori­ties and of peo­ple’s tri­bunal which in­ves­ti­gated the vi­o­la­tion of rights of mi­nori­ties in Orissa and ex­am­ined the ar­rest of in­no­cent Mus­lim youth af­ter the blasts. Books: Sec­ond As­sas­si­na­tion of Gandhi, Com­mu­nal Pol­i­tics: Facts Ver­sus Myths, Ter­ror­ism: Myth and Re­al­ity, So­cial Jus­tice: Il­lus­trated Primer and Fas­cism of SanghPari­var etc. Is re­cip­i­ent of Indira Gandhi Na­tional In­te­gra­tion Award 2006 and Na­tional Com­mu­nal har­mony Award 2007. the short term th­ese dalit politi­cians may ben­e­fit but at the same time they will strengthen the pol­i­tics of Hin­dut­vaHindu raj, the sys­tem of in­her­ent hi­er­ar­chy of caste and gen­der. A sin­gle ex­am­ple will tell us about the ap­proach of BJP to­wards the dalit ques­tion. Re­cently a book penned by BJP Prime Min­is­te­rial can­di­date Naren­dra Modi has been with­drawn, Karma Yoga. Modi in his book wrote “I do not be­lieve that they (Valmiki’s) have been do­ing this job just to sus­tain their liveli­hood. Had this been so, they would not have con­tin­ued with this type of job gen­er­a­tion af­ter gen­er­a­tion…At some point of time, some­body must have got the en­light­en­ment that it is their (Valmikis’) duty to work for the hap­pi­ness of the en­tire so­ci­ety and the Gods; that they have to do this job be­stowed upon them by Gods; and that this job of clean­ing up should con­tinue as an in­ter­nal spir­i­tual ac­tiv­ity for cen­turies. This should have con­tin­ued gen­er­a­tion af­ter gen­er­a­tion. It is im­pos­si­ble to be­lieve that their an­ces­tors did not have the choice of adopt­ing any other work or busi­ness.” On the same is­sue of scav­eng­ing, Dr. Ambed­kar makes scathing cri­tique of the so­cial or­der where a sec­tion of peo­ple have to do such de­mean­ing and hu­mil­i­at­ing jobs. While claims are made about the de­vel­op­ment and ‘con­cern for all com­mu­ni­ties’ the con­di­tions of dal­its in Gu­jarat are abysmal, tem­ple en­try is op­posed at places, there is low rate of con­vic­tion for anti dalit atroc­i­ties, there is preva­lence of man­ual scav­eng­ing still preva­lent and this re­ceives glo­ri­fi­ca­tion from Modi. There is de­nial of ac­cess for wa­ter to the main sump at places. Cases of in­tim­i­da­tion of dal­its want­ing to con­vert to Bud­dhism have been re­ported from Gu­jarat. Th­ese are few of the phe­nom­e­non preva­lent in the Lab­o­ra­tory of Hindu rash­tra, Gu­jarat. What should one say of lead­er­ship of dal­its who com­pro­mise the val­ues of Dr. Ambed­kar, the val­ues of long term goals of so­cial jus­tice and an­ni­hi­la­tion of caste for their short term greed for elec­toral power for their own self? There is a need for in­tro­spec­tion by th­ese lead­ers and their fol­low­ers about the op­por­tunism and lack of prin­ci­ples of such peo­ple in the po­si­tions of lead­er­ship of the com­mu­ni­ties.

Statue of Dr. B.R. Ambed­kar

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