Modi and Ambedkar


Rohit Vemula was forced to commit suicide. Kanhaiya Kumar was ruthlessly persecuted. Davolkar, Pansare and Kulbergi were killed for being rationalists. Swami Asimananda, who reportedly had earlier gave a confessionary statement before a magistrate about his role in the explosion in the Samjhota Express, has now been acquited. Alongside these activities, meant for the ‘protection’ of Hindusim, there goes on the fantastic propaganda about the rise in Muslim population and its potential threats to the country, although, as per the Census Report of 2011, the rate of growth of Muslim population has shown a perceptible decline.

Communal polarisation, as is now evident, is a handy weapon in the hands of the present ruling party. Now there is a farcical sight; the present Prime Minister’s decision to observe the birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar. The purpose is clear; it is to impress upon dalits that the Prime Minister and his party are sincere about their welfare. While paying tribute to Ambedkar, who chaired the committee constituted to draft the Constitution of the Republic of India, one must, if one is to remain honest, not forget to mention three things. First of all, Ambedkar publicly burnt the Manusmriti.  That was in the year 1930. But he still considered himself a Sanatan Hindu  who did not accept the authority of the Vedas, but was ready to pay respect to the Bhagwat Gita.  Secondly, he firmly held the opinion that the so-called Ram Rajya was only a system based on social inequality. As a columnist, in a well-circulated English daily, has rightly commented,The RSS’s vision of a Hindu rashtra  may for the moment be tagreting the minorities, but its larger goal of reviving the ‘ancient glories’ of Bharatvarsha can only fill Ambedkar’s true followers with a sense of dread and horror— particularly if they read his writings on Shudras under the mythical Ram rajya.”( Manini Chatterjee,The Telegraph, 17 April) It may be safely assumed that Narendra Modi and his acolytes are not willing to make the people familiar with the writings of Ambedkar in this regard. The third aspect of Ambedkar’s thoguhts and activities that must be taken note of is that he became convinced about the futility of trying, within the hold of Hinduism, to remove graded social inequality. But he was not an atheist or non-believer or  agnostic or a communist, and so he adopted Buddhism, which he considered nearer to his notion of equality. All these things taken together,acceptance of Ambedkar is in essence denunciation of Hinduism. To a party that very much relies on Hindu-Muslim polarisation for vote-catching, it is hence well-nigh impossible to revere Ambedkar in a sincere manner. But Ambedkar is a hallowed name among dalits; so it is better to canonise him and turn him into a harmless icon in order to dupe those whose voice Ambedkar tried to raise.

Vol. 49, No.44, May 7 - 13, 2017