It’s Hypocrisy

The frenzied drive of Naren-dra Modi to parade his and his party's reverence to B R Ambedkar is extremely sickening in its hypocrisy and cunning. It is clear that since Ambedkar is still an iconic figure among dalits, it is necessary for Modi and his party to formally revere him, particularly in view of the fact that dalits are getting increasingly alienated from them, thus reducing their chances of wining at the hustings. A cruder attempt to reconcile Ambedkar's name with their own brand of Hindutva is the suggestion that since Ambedkar signed his name as Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar while drafting the constitution, he was a Hindu in spirit.

An appraisement of Ambedkar's career cannot be made without taking into account his religious inclinations. He did not think, like Karl Marx, that 'religion is the opium of the people'. But he was gradually led into the belief that Hinduism as a religion was socially iniquitous. His aversion to Hinduism was expressed in 1935 when he said that he would not die a Hindu. His study of Buddhism later led him to think that it was the best religion to embrace. Thus, shortly before his death, he formally converted to Buddhism. These hypocritical Ambedkar worshippers obviously want to conceal this fact about his life, and they do not want their followers to know of it. This commentator does not know much about the real attitude of the Jana Sangh or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) towards Ambedkar during his lifetime, but conceivably it was not a favourable one.

More importantly, Ambedkar wrote the most devastating critique of Ram, the hero of the epic Ramayana, in his Riddles in Hinduism. The way he dealt with Ram's role in the battle between Vali and Sugriv, his treatment of his wife after her release from captivity and his killing of the shudra named Shambuka leaves no one in doubt that far from being a Rambhakt, Ambedkar was a hater of the hero of the Ramayana, and for good reasons. Building memorials in Ambedkar's! name by the Modi-Shah combine is hence only a cunning ploy to get closer to dalits. Fortunately for Modi and Shah, the vile character of Ram, as far as treatment of women and dalits was concerned, is not yet exposed enough to dalits. This speaks of the upper-caste cultural hegemony over subalterns for millennia. Modi and Shah cannot afford to abandon the Ram cult because it is their principal cultural prop; a proper dissemination of Ambedkar's ideas can demolish their frantic attempt to get back dalits into their fold by showing formal reverence to the dalit icon. This task cannot be undertaken by the Congress; frequent visits to Hindu temples by Rahul Gandhi during the Gujarat poll campaign furnish enough proof of this inability.

Of course, dissemination of Ambedkar's ideas is not enough for the liberation of the broad masses of the people from bondage. It has to be combined with other struggles for economic and social equality. But dissemination of his ideas is necessary for fighting outrageous Hindutva.

Vol. 50, No.43, Apr 29 - May 05, 2018