Transcript and translation of lecture by Prof. K.SATYANARAYANA, speaking at the launch of book, Ambedkar Can Neither Be Adopted Nor Appropriated by The Hindutva Elements. The book, authored by Bojja Tharakkam, K. Satyanarayana, K. Laxminarayana and K. Y. Ratnam. It was launched in Hyderabad in July last year and is a reply to RSS’ Organiser special edition on Ambedkar. The text and video of the original Telugu lecture received by us via DALIT CAMERA.
All the friends who gave me this opportunity, to the many Ambedkarites present in this hall and to the very senior members, activists and intellectuals, I thank you all. After Anand Teltumbde has spoken, there isn’t much left to speak because he covered all the information in this book and also described completely about a lot of aspects about Maharashtra, about Ambedkar’s like and his work. Therefore there might not be much new information in my speech, but while writing this book, the distortions they made, or the attempts of RSS in relation to Ambedkar, as there is a need for historical context, I will speak about some of those issues. Firstly what Respected Mr. Tarakam has said is, to read some of the names of essays in the Organiser as the book is not available to everybody. When this book Organiser came out, generally RSS-BJP, when they talk about Ambedkar or about Babri-masjid, what we think is that they speak lies, false words, and mistruths and therefore there isn’t any danger as nobody will believe in their load of rubbish and lies. We think that way and if people understand the lies and if they don’t follow those words, there is no danger, but with this same type of propaganda, they completely changed the normal common-sense of the people and today Modi, as a K.D (drawn from an old colonial police/ legal category, it has become a Telugu expression that suggests a person with undesirable traits), as our brother has sung, is sitting in power.
So for BJP coming to power, there is this systematic propaganda, in a planned manner they are doing this propaganda. Even what I have thought about this book is that, if any academician studies this, there are completely no sources or quotations. They weren’t depending on Ambedkar’s writings, they never mentioned that Ambedkar said so and so in a book. Also the incidents in Ambedkar’s life. Because about Ambedkar, especially after the 90’s, there are widespread discussions, hundreds of seminars, many books, and even biographies, about 3 or 4 biographies, all these have happened. You are all very much aware of this. Many Ambedkarites from even before the 60’s, through small booklets, through various memorial trusts, they have been spreading and saving his words and ideas. And by the time of 90’s they have spread widely throughout the nation. Regarding this, you know that Ambedkar has said that without Hindu religion being destroyed, caste system will not be annihilated. If you want to annihilate caste, you have to annihilate Hindu religion. This is a fundamental issue. All his life time, how Hindu religion created inequality and how to fight inequalities, is about what he had fought. And also The Annihilation of Caste book, even if nothing else is known, even the communists or the democratic activists know about Ambedkar’s, The Annihilation of Caste book and what he said in the book. Therefore this is not a new issue. If you ask any common person about Ambedkar, anyone with a bit of awareness, they will say that, he was against caste, he said that unless Hindu religion is destroyed, caste cannot be annihilated, he said that there should be democracy in this country, he said that there is no culture of democracy in this country, he said that democracy and Hindu religion can’t coexist. This is very clearly known and all this is part of our common-sense. But they will try to completely distort this same common-sense and awareness. They have been trying again and again since the 70’s. Now what Anand has said, in this whole book they have only made 3 points: Ambedkar is a Hindu, he is a Hindu reformer. He was born a Hindu and died as a Hindu, he worked for equality within the Hindu community, he worked for unity among the Hindus, and he is a real Hindu nationalist. This is what they try to say in different ways in different essays and we were irritated to read and write a reply to this book. Same thing in every essay. Same thing they keep repeating again and again in every essay, that it irritates you. And also that Ambedkar is against communists, they try to say this in different ways and I will tell you what those ways are. Again and again and again, the same thing. From 70’s they have been continuously repeating that Ambedkar is against communists and that’s why communists aren’t supporting Ambedkar and therefore he is a Hindu. After that, that Ambedkar is anti-Muslim. He is a Hindu and is anti-Muslim and different examples about that. All these three issues and what they have newly joined to this is that Ambedkar is a neoliberal, he approved of market economy. So what I have felt after reading this book is that, this isn’t about Ambedkar but Narendera Modi’s ideology and how they wish the Indian society to be is what you can see in this book. This is a Hindu nation and in this Hindu nation, all Muslims are second class citizens and all Dalits have to stay untouchables and all the communists should not belong here, as it is a foreign ideology and there should be a market economy, there should be a corporate economy. Because if you see this book, in every page there is sponsorship by a corporation. If you see any magazine, it is difficult to find if anybody has given money to them, but here below every page there is a company’s name. All these companies are sponsoring RSS to publish these books, therefore Ambedkar should also be made a neoliberal. So what they actually think, they have made an attempt to project and show them as Ambedkar’s words and ideas. This attempt is very dangerous and is a very serious issue. Anand might perhaps be thinking that they are all trash and idiots, but I am not thinking that way. They are doing this very smartly, in a calculated manner and have achieved a lot of success. Anand has said this also, that they have tried very much to appropriate Ambedkar. Why this is happening is because, these attempts by RSS-BJP powers, there hasn’t been the required opposition. The anger generated if a chappal garland is thrown on Ambedkar or the anger generated if Arundhati Roy compares Ambedkar to Gandhi or when an Ambedkar cartoon was published in NCERT text book, it became a big issue, there have been serious discussions on the internet, but why are we not angry about this? Why are Dalit sections silent about this? Also an intellectual like Narendra Jadhav, who was born as a Mahar, who experienced untouchability, after writing his father’s biography, after being in Congress and today after BJP has come to power, he not only wrote an essay in Organiser but is appointed as chairman of the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Ambedkar, by Modi. Also the three Rams as Anand has written, 3 Rams. Udit Raj, Ram Vilas Paswan and Ramdas Athawaleall the three have gone and sat in the lap of BJP today. So this seems very surprising to me and also very scary. Why this silence from the Dalit sections and the intellectuals? For this propaganda being spread by Hindutva BJP, why this silence? May be if I try to understand this in a forgiving manner, are you thinking that all this by RSS-BJP is rubbish and nothing is going to happen? Or are you thinking that if one or two leave us, nothing is going to happen as Ambedkarites are very strong? Whatever it is, we have to understand that this is a serious and dangerous issue. Why because, today’s happening, when we thought of writing this book, this is Mr. Tarakam’s initiative. No Ambedkarite, including myself didn’t think of writing anything about this. He took it very seriously. He has taken it so seriously that, even in the sweltering heat, with is unsupportive health and age, he said that we have to reply to this. And this reply should be line to line and should first be sent to RSS. First we have to test them on their ground. We’ll write a line to line reply and see if they will publish that. You have to come and do this. We were trying to escape from doing this, but Mr.Tarakam was relentless. We have to do this and if they don’t publish the reply we have to organize meetings in a few cities in this country. In those discussions, we mentioned to him that may be the Modi government is doing this for Dalits’ votes and to attract Dalit sections. He said no. Congress did that for votes and everybody else did that for votes. But this is much deeper than that and they are doing a very evil attack and this is very dangerous, is what he said. If you really think, the attack happening today, the democratic base that Ambedkar built and how based on some original values he tried to give the rights to Dalits, they are attempting to break that very base. They are attempting to distort, confuse Ambedkar’s ideological base and to destroy it. And when that happens we can’t live in dignity. And if they do that, even if they murder us mercilessly like in Gujarat, we will not be able to do anything. This the type of attempt going on and this should be taken very seriously. They can buy Ambedkar’s house in London or build a big Research institute for Ambedkar in Delhi or lie they said that they will give Savitribai Phule and Jotiba Phule a Bharat Ratna award. All these are a part of the same attempt and there is a need for us to recognize this danger. Because they have been attempting this from the 1970’s and by the 90’s, they made a big attempt in Maharashtra for the first time. When RSS in Maharashtra attempted to write, Gopal Guru wrote a big reply to that. Hinduising Ambedkar and this is not right. What they wrote in that, they organised a big program, Phule Ambedkar Sandeshyatra, from Pune to Nagpur. And these same three points in that Sandeshyatra, that Ambedkar is Hindu, Ambedkar is anti-communist and Ambedkar anti-Muslim. It was also the time when they started the Samajik Samarasata Manch in 83, 84. Not samatha, but we need Samarasata, not garshana, but we need unity between the Hindus. That’s when they started attacking Ambedkar. One of the main things they did then was to say that Buddhism is also a part of Hinduism and Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism is his way of saying that he is a Hindu because he didn’t convert to Islam or Christianity. This was the only argument and there was no attempt to look at his writings or arguments and spread the false propaganda. Also comparing Ambedkar and Hedgewar or comparing Ambedkar and Savarkar, they have been continuously writing these in their magazines. They have been writing these and as a slow poison, they were trying to inject their ideology into all our nerves. Also, in all this propaganda that they are doing, they have a lot of conflict, because as they aren’t wholeheartedly liking or appreciating Ambedkar or to follow Ambedkar’s ideology we can see a lot of conflicts in their attempts. Arun Shourie, who belongs to them wrote that Ambedkar is a false god in Worshipping False Gods. In that, he doesn’t say that Ambedkar is a great thinker and a genius but leaves all that aside and says that Ambedkar didn’t even write the constitution and that he didn’t have any part in the constitution. Arun Shourie started this poisonous propaganda in 97. By 2000, NDA government, the government with Vajpayee as PM, said that the constitution is not useful to us and we have to modify this constitution and they started a commission to review the constitution for possible amendments, headed by Justice Venkatachalliah. That means that on one side they spread different kinds of propaganda about Ambedkar and at the same time they could not digest the constitution by Ambedkar or the values in it and therefore were against it. By 2002 they got a clue. After the genocide in Gujarat, they clearly understood. What did they understand after the Gujarat Genocide? That they can at least use some of the Adivasis and Dalits against Muslims. These are the dangerous ideas that Respected Mr.Tarakam mentioned about. In an evil way, they want to create conflicts between people. Dalits against minorities, Adivasis against Dalits, they understood how to create this in the laboratory. By 2002 Modi understood this. This idea was generated from Modi’s laboratory. After this idea, they tried to widely spread it. As a part of this propaganda, in 2002 in UP, when they had a conflict with BSP, VinayKatiar and all used these arguments, mainly that Ambedkar was anti-Muslim, Ambedkar was a Hindu and that Ambedkar was anti-communist. There was a widespread propaganda and as a part of this they publicised his book on Pakistan. As a reply to that, Anand had written the book, “Ambedkar on Muslims,” in 2003. Similarly in their Karanjaya magazine, in 2002 they started a propaganda that Ambedkar was anti-Muslim and there are many proofs in his own writings. That Ambedkar is anti-communist. They understood that if they separate all the dalits from among the backward citizens and pitch them against communists and Muslim sections, their work would get easier. For the same reason, today this Organiser has come out and we have to be wary of this. They are doing this propaganda in a highly planned manner. Not because they aren’t aware or because they are innocent or because they are uneducated. Even Anand has said that Ambedkar evolved continuously and his opinions were changing as he was evolving and they were catching some half-truths and therefore there is some truth and half-truth in what they say. Even that is not correct. If you read the RSS magazine, they aren’t even about half-truth. There are complete lies. Because the other words of Anand are important. That they are propagating huge lies. It is nothing but a bogus propaganda. Including texts like The Annihilation of Caste, they distort the last quotations in it. Even the books that we know, they completely distorted and have written lies. I don’t think it is right to say that there is even some truth in what such people say, because there isn’t even some truth in this whole thing. That he is a Hindu reformer, that there should be fraternity among Hindus and that he fought for unity among Hindus and many such things. To go into the details, you can read the available book. I will give you only one quotation to explain how they do this. In the last paragraph in Annihilation of Caste, Ambedkar says, in which he is speaking to Hindu reformers in Punjab, who have invited him and he was supposed to speak in their meeting. But he didn’t go and speak and he published that unspoken text later. In that he says, that you are having a goal greater than freedom, therefore you have to be very careful. And then he goes on to say more. But they stop and quote only until here, and distort that Ambedkar said the goal of Hindus is greater than freedom. And therefore the goal of Hindus is the unity of all Hindus. They lie that this what Ambedkar said. But what did Ambedkar also say in the same paragraph? “In the fight for swaraj, fight with the whole nation on your side. But in this, you have to fight against the whole nation and that too your own.” He said that for freedom you have to fight the enemy, but in this struggle you have to fight with your own people. You have to fight with Hindus. You have to fight with Brahmins. “In my opinion, it is only when Hindu society becomes a casteless society that it can hope to have strength enough to defend it.” Only when the society is ridden of caste, you can defend yourselves. When caste is not caste free society, Hindu society cannot survive is what he says. These quotations will not be there. Even from this very popular text, from a big paragraph, they remove these words that a caste free society is needed and as Hindus, you have to fight with dominant caste Hindus. These words are ignored and only the words, and say that he only said they should fight for unity among Hindus and that their fight is greater than the fight for freedom. Many distortions of these kind. If all these half-quotes and half-truth are on one side, in another essay, this is an even more important strategy that they follow. That Ambedkar has a lot of amicable relationship with RSS leaders, and they all used to visit Ambedkar. And that Ambedkar used to speak of a lot of things to them and they wrote about those in books. And there are essays quoting from those written works. There is this essay, Travellers of the Same Path. That people who walk the same path. Who are they? Hegdewar, Golwalkar and all these RSS thinkers and Ambedkar walked the same path. What kind of lies they write about this is that, they create some intellectuals and if you see the quotation, it says “Ambedkar biography, written by RSS pracharak.” And what is there in that? It seems when they went to Ambedkar, he told them that he would never let the Dalits in this country become communists. That just as Golwalker stopped Hindus from becoming Muslims, I have stopped Dalits from becoming communists. Many lies like this. If today you look at Ambedkar, 20 volumes of his written works, lectures and speeches are available. All these are available online and everything is verifiable. We can confirm and verify everything and understand its spirit. One more thing that Anand has mentioned, after all these lies, they made up false stories that their intellectuals, they have been quoting what they themselves have written. “What did Golwalkar say?” That Ambedkar awakened the divine spirit in the backward Dalit masses. That Ambedkar looked upon the poor as gods. It is not Ambedkarite idea. Ambedkar never said that the poor are gods and that they have a divine spirit. He awakened the self-respect, struggle for resistance and he awakened a revolutionary zeal in them, but never said that they have a divine spirit or that he worked for saving Hindu religion. They incorporated all this false things into his words. Similarly, it seems that Devaras has written that Ambedkar wished for unity of Hindu society and social harmony among them. You cannot find any proof of this. In all of Ambedkar’s writings, you will not find the phrase “social harmony” in relation to Hindus. He is a bitter critic of Hinduism. What they are trying to convey is that Ambedkar is very close to RSS, he used to meet every day with RSS intellectuals, he used to visit their RSS sakha, and he used to praise them every day, all these kinds of blatant lies. In fact, in a big national seminar on Dalit literature conducted by Mr.Tarakam. In that, Ambedkar’s writings were taken together and edited as an essay by Vasant Moon. In that essay he has written that by the time Ambedkar’s writings were widely published and distributed, they weren’t published for a very long time and were published only after a lot of struggle. During that time, the reasons for not publishing were because some obstacles were created by some, including the Hindutva forces. In fact, there was a big fight against publishing Riddles of Hinduism. Only after a big andolan by the Dalit intellectuals, they published that book. Even in that book, you can see the words, “These views are not views of the government.” That means that all the 21 volumes of Ambedkar are the views of Maharashtra government, but only the Riddles of Hinduism is not. The Hindutvavadis are responsible for this too. So what Vasant Moon say about those published volumes is that, they mixed some books in to that, saying that these were Ambedkar’s writings. Even that day, attempts were made to change and distort all Ambedkar’s writings. To fight these attempts, since he is close to Ambedkar and worked with him, he read each and every written word and compared them all and he removed all the distortions and published the original Ambedkar thoughts. He said this while publishing that there is this danger of distorting Ambedkar’s thoughts. To make Ambedkar’s thoughts disappear. Therefore Vasant Moon saved us from such danger by publishing those volumes. All these plans and schemes are being done in an illegitimate way by them. So what do they say about Ambedkar being anti-Muslim? Since he converted to Buddhism and as Buddhism is a sect of Hinduism, therefore he is anti-Muslim.
And two more new things they say in this. As I have said, what is there in Modi’s mind, they are trying to convey that through Ambedkar. As part of that, they say that Ambedkar is against Article-370 and that Ambedkar is against Kashmir. “He asked for Kashmir to be divided into three parts on basis of religion. One part for Hindus, one part for Muslims and one for Pundits.” And when Sheik Abdullah went to Ambedkar with regard to Article-370, they say that Ambedkar said, “For the unity of this nation, I will not allow this to happen.” There is no proof anywhere for this. There is no evidence of Ambedkar saying this about Article-370. They didn’t even show that Ambedkar spoke to the RSS, but just wrote that Ambedkar spoke those words. We searched a lot for that, to check if it is present in any writings. Based on this they say that Ambedkar is anti-Muslim. As Kashmir is a Muslim state and since he opposed Article-370 there, he is anti-Muslim. And since he asked for it to be divided into three parts, he is anti-Muslim. Even when India, Pakistan struggle was happening, he said that Pakistan should be partitioned. But he had his reasons for saying that. They are all valued based, principle based reasons. “When the people are willing and when they can’t live together, the right thing to do is to partition.” Similarly when the Kashmir issue came, after 10 years of independent rule, in the letter that he wrote while resigning as the law minister, said that Nehru completely ignored SC-STs, ignored the backward classes and that worked a bit for Muslims, but he didn’t care for us. They show this and distort this as Ambedkar saying that Nehru appeased to Muslims and didn’t do anything for Dalits. Also he said that instead of resolving the Kashmir issue, you are creating a war like atmosphere and if there is a war between India and Pakistan, it will be a huge loss. He says that Nehru didn’t do anything to dissolve this war like atmosphere and left Kashmir as a burning issue. They distort this as Ambedkar agreeing with RSS opinion. So there isn’t just one lie that they say. Also this Narendra Jadhav. The way people are changing. First he gave an essay. What essay did he give? He wrote a prologue to Ambedkar’s speeches. They took a small part from that prologue and printed it here for legitimacy. There is no relation to this book and to what Narendra Jadhav has written. In his prologue, he writes that Ambedkar gave many speeches and such and such things are in present those speeches. He gave that and waited for Modi’s motion. And now Modi has appointed him as Chairman. Now he says that he is okay with either Congress or BJP as long as he gets to serve Ambedkar. Is this what service to Ambedkar means? Is this the kind of service our Dalit Intellectuals and our people are willing to do? We have to think about this issue. The main thing is that this is an ideological net designed by the Hindutvavadis and many people are already caught in this net and there is a danger of more people getting caught in it. And that is why the very senior and experienced Mr.Tarakam has understood the seriousness of this and brought out this book. Therefore I request that all of you should read this book and spread the word. Thank you.