What Ambedkar Means To Us Today?

“…turn in any direction you like, Caste is the monster that crosses your path. You cannot have political reform, economic reform until you kill the monster.”

Slogans as “Jai Bhim” came into prominence more than ever in the last year or so. Like Ambedkar necessitating fraternity barging “Liberty and equality will be no longer deeper than coats of paint”.

Ambedkar was severely critical of historical monopolies of political power suppressing human dignity. He indicated that they were tired of being governed and were impatient for self-governance. He predicted denying self-actualization shall become the breeding ground for class struggle.

He enabled the re-reading of several Brahmin mythologies from the Dalit perspective. He imparted that as long as there is no Dalit intellectual force in the country, their plights wouldn’t get recognition in the country’s cognizance.

AmbedkarIn the present scenario, as the phase of probable fascism re-appears- his “annihilation” theory becomes all the more relevant. Especially, to eradicate fake sentiments for piling vote banks.

Whose Ambedkar is it?

Ambedkar was the Father of the Constitution, but the document is a product of the Constituent Assembly.

Ex-ABVP General Secretary stated, “Ambedkar’s constitutional role is a myth” and had just seen the grammar and wanted to burn the constitution.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recognized Mahatma Gandhi, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and Ram Manohar Lohiya as the greatest thinkers of the country excluding Ambedkar at a National Council meeting in Kozhikode, Kerela. Since then ahead of Uttar Pradesh polls the brigade has been making floundering attempts to include Babasaheb in their pantheon.

History too narrates the drafting of the constitution and the Hindu Code Bill was seen as destroying the Sanathana Dharma.

Ambedkar’s intellectual, academic and professional achievements were hard-earned. None in his family or the recorded history people had access to. His was a social battle against entrenched oppression that was seen as dynamic and crucial by Congress.  However, like the Hindu nationalists, Congress too was skeptical of separate electorates fragmenting Hindus and reducing the majority relative to the Muslims.

About the Marxists. He felt the social scenario wouldn’t change by re-structuring the economic base. A repudiation of religion with ideals of those as Buddhism shall serve the purpose.

About Untouchability, Hinduism and Beef:

IN “The Untouchables: Who Were They And Why They Became Untouchables?” Ambedkar explores the evolution of untouchability in India and the Hindutva nausea against beef-eating.

His theory of “Broken Men” deserves special attention:

“In a tribal war it often happened that a tribe instead of being completely annihilated was defeated and routed. In many cases a defeated tribe became broken into bits. As a consequence of this, there always existed in Primitive times a floating population consisting of groups of Broken tribes men roaming in all directions.”

The broken men were ousted in quarters outside the village and were followers of Buddhism.

Extending his concept, Ambedkar draws links between the untouchables and the broken men. Brahmins were hostile towards Buddhism and demeaned them by imposing untouchability. Beef formed an integral part of their dietary habit, and was primarily the basis of their discrimination. For the cow venerated in agrarian Indo-Aryan community for its utility, which was now being slaughtered for food. Contradictory to this act was Madhuparka, a custom that involved receiving important guests preferably, with the flesh of a cow. He establishes that cow worship by the Brahmans was the operandi of establishing legitimate supremacy over Buddhism. To assimilate dignified status in the social formation, Buddhists too gave up beef-eating.

He was critical of Hindu Mahasabha’s agenda of rule according to Hindu dharmashastras. For he believed Hinduism was a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity is incompatible with democratic ideals.

Ambedkar over the years has emerged as the face of representative politics and the struggle for egalitarianism.  Embracing his republican ideals, are now seen as progressive and democratic, is the only way to gain ground with a huge section of the Indian society. Let’s offer him the respect he deserves than testing patience with unnecessary worship. Burdening his legacy with discipleship makes no sense. Being firm to take up his unfinished tasks and the new challenges that have emerged shall make more sense.

– Saptaparno Ghosh
Co-Authored by Sukriti Kapoor


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