Tag Archives: Ambedkar

Lessons from Ambedkar and Gandhi to take forward

They represented two foundational but antagonistic visions of “what we as a society, what we as a state should embody”

( Review of ‘Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi, and The Risk of Democracy’ By Aishwary Kumar Navayana, Rs 599)

The book, Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi, and the Risk of Democracy by Aishwary Kumar, takes forward the conversation around the two “most formidable non-Western thinkers of the twentieth century, whose visions of moral and political life have left the deepest imprints”.

In the early 1990s D.R. Nagaraj published The Flaming Feet, a compilation of his essays in which he admired both Gandhi and Ambedkar. Coming close on the heels of the phenomenon of Dalit assertion, it argued that “there is a compelling necessity to achieve a synthesis of the two”. But that has not been the only attempt to examine how the ideas of these two leaders interacted, challenged each other, and how they extended or revisited the meanings of different concepts.

The book, Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi, and the Risk of Democracy by Aishwary Kumar, takes forward the conversation around the two “most formidable non-Western thinkers of the twentieth century, whose visions of moral and political life have left the deepest imprints”. For the author they “exemplified two incommensurable ways of forging a relationship between sovereignty and justice, force and disobedience”, or represented two foundational but antagonistic visions of “what we as a society, what we as a state should embody”.

Focusing mainly on Hind Swaraj — a monograph written by Gandhi on a ship to South Africa from London (1909) — and Annihilation of Caste, which happens to be the undelivered speech by Dr Ambedkar when he was invited by the Jat Pat Todak Mandal, Lahore (1936) — the organization rescinded the invite when it came across the ‘radical’ proposals he had put forward in the draft — this around 400-page book discerns “an insurrectionary element at the limit of politics” in the works of these two stalwarts. It is “an insurrection that sought to extract the political itself — and the social question — from the doctrinal prescriptions and certitude of its European past”

( Read the full text here : https://www.telegraphindia.com/culture/books/lessons-from-ambedkar-and-gandhi-to-take-forward/cid/1747042?ref=books_culture-books-page)

Gandhi and the Hindutva Right

From Nehru to Patel and Ambedkar, the saffron party has appropriated freedom-fighters or tarnished legacies. Gandhi, however, poses a different problem.

Why BJP’s Subjugation of Gandhi

Death ends all enmity’ (Marnanti Vairani) goes a maxim in Hinduism.

The story also goes that when Ravana was on death bed, Ram had even asked Laxman to go to him and learn something which no other person except a great scholar like him could teach him, declaring that though he has been forced to punish him for his terrible crime, ‘you are no more my enemy’.

It is a different matter that Hindutva supremacists — who are keen ‘to transform Hinduism from a variety of religious practices into a consolidated ethnic identity’ — are believers in the exact opposite.

For them, once the enemy is dead, the enmity flares up without any limits. They have no qualms that their adversary is no more to defend himself/ herself.

It has been more than five and half years that they are in power at the Centre and we have been witness to complete vilification, demonisation and obfuscation of many of their adversaries, all great leaders of the anti-colonial struggle. Of course, few were found to be ‘lucky’ enough that were promptly co-opted/appropriated by them, of course, in a sanitised form.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/BJP-Subjugation-Gandhi-Legacy-Roadblock-Shaheen-Bagh

A Crime of ‘Pure’Indifference

The ethic that dehumanises dalits continues 72 years after the country’s Independence.

A Crime of ‘Pure’

What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless… There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

These fiery lines from a speech delivered on July 4, 1852 in New York by Frederick Douglass, a former slave who had become a national leader of the abolitionists, rattled a predominantly White audience. The speech was delivered 10 years before slavery in the Southern states was abolished.

More than 80 years later, on August 14, 1931, Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, a Columbia University and London School of Economics graduate, who was then leading a movement of the oppressed and exploited in India, met Mahatma Gandhi for the first time. “Gandhiji, I have no homeland,” Ambedkar told Gandhi, according to a transcript of that meeting. “No untouchable worth the name will be proud of this land.” As expected, the Varna (caste) mindset that dominated India then did not take kindly to Ambedkar’s charge.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/A-Crime-Pure-Indifference-Dehumanises-Dalits)

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s Role: Official Myths on J&K Busted

Dear Prime Minister, nothing about Jammu & Kashmir is as your party sees it

Syama Prasad

Economist and activist Jean Dreze, who has co-authored books with Nobel laureates, such as Amartya Sen and Angus Deaton, was in the headlines for a placard he carried to a protest rally in Delhi earlier this week. His placard challenged the government’s most critical justification for its controversial move to scrap Article 35A and read down Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The placard displayed statistics that compare J&K with Gujarat, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah’s home state. Dreze clearly showed how Gujarat lags behind J&K on a raft of development indices.

Although Dreze’s data beautifully punctures the government’s claim that J&K’s special status was a hindrance to its progress, Modi in his address to the nation on Wednesday night repeated the same argument, based on dubious claims. For instance, his claim that J&K lags behind other Indian states in matters of health services, education and so on, is patently incorrect.

Figures recorded in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) has extended the debate further and shown that J&K already excels many other Indian states on several human development counts. Once again, this underlines that all talk about how “development” will reach J&K after Article 370 is made redundant is sheer humbug.

The propagation of false information brings home the fact that the government has gone very far to generate legitimacy for its decisions in J&K. In his address to the nation, Modi also said that his government had “fulfilled the dreams of [BR] Ambedkar as well as [the then Home Minister Vallabhbahi] Patel”.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/index.php/shyama-prasad-mukherjees-role-official-myths-jk-busted)

Towards a ‘Suitable’ Ambedkar

Is tweaking of Babasaheb’s iconic slogan — Educate, Organise, Agitate — by the Gujarat government part of a pan-India phenomenon in the saffron camp?

Towards a ‘Suitable’ Ambedkar

Does anyone still remember the ‘re-editing’ of Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi during National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-I period when demands were raised that it should to be scrapped and the original collected works should to be reinstated so that readers/scholars are made available the ‘most authentic version of writings and utterances of Gandhi’. Noted Gandhians had underlined then how the revised Collected Works and adjoining CDs (compact discs) issued during 2001 had ‘five hundred entries missing’ from the original one.

Thanks to the exit of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government in 2004, the original Collected Works could be restored and even published online so that henceforth no government — deliberately or inadvertently — is able to make any changes in the works.

Well, while the project to ‘re-edit’ Gandhi was undertaken in a big way, which could be exposed in time, what one observes that surreptitiously or not so surreptitiously, the project to edit other icons of the anti-colonial or social emancipation movement is on in very many ways. It has been quite a long time since both Gandhi as well as Ambedkar — who were once anathema to the Hindutva project — have been included as ‘Pratahsmaraniya‘ (worth remembering in the morning) in the RSS shakhas. The emphasis seems to be on to present a more sanitised image of them which is more acceptable to the ruling dispensation.

A recent example of this has come from Gujarat.

(Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/index.php/Towards-Suitable-Ambedkar)

Return of Hindutva: A Challenge for Secularism

Guest Post by Gargi Chakravartty

BOOK REVIEW

Hindutva’s Second Coming by Subhash Gatade; published by Media House, Delhi; 2019; pages: 272; Rs 395 (US $ 18).

The return of Modi to power with a huge margin in this 2019 election is a clear verdict for the Hindutva plank. Why and how it happened leave us, the secular billions, to ponder about the reality and its aftermath. And at that juncture Subhas Gatade’s 272-page analysis titled ‘Hindutva’s Second Coming’ gives us something concrete to think over once again. This in-depth study with rich academic perception is a commendable work, bereft of jargons and convoluted expressions, often found in books written from a high pedestal which goes beyond the mental reach of lay readers. Precisely for this reason the author needs to be specially acclaimed for bringing out facts at one place based on notes and references which are so far scattered in divergent historical materials. It serves as a Reader for millions who are combating communalism and distortion of history at the grassroot level.

( Read the full text here : http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article8847.html)

Cyclone Fani: Prejudice in Times of Natural Disasters

Caste discrimination, even while faced with a calamity, is a clear outcome of the brahminical ideology of purity and pollution that has permeated deep into Indian society.

Cyclone Fani: Prejudice in Times of Natural Disasters

Image Courtesy: Al Jazeera

“[U]ntouchability, is a kind of disease of the Hindus…it is a mental twist…. I do not know how my friend is going to untwist the twist which the Hindus have got for thousands of years unless they are all sent to some kind of hospital.’ Dr B.R.Ambedkar , 1954

Cyclone Fani is over.

Despite being one of the strongest cyclones to hit India in last two decades the manner in which the state most affected by it — Odisha — was successful in keeping loss of life and numbers of affected people to a minimum has earned it kudos even from its critics.

People are slowly trying to pick up threads to restart their lives

It is rather difficult to say whether it will be easy for dalit villagers of Baripada village — part of Patali panchayat — to do so, who had to endure callous and inhuman behaviour from their own village brethren, during the stormy winds. Around 85 of them from 25 families were denied entry to three shelters located within a radius of approximately four km by ‘upper caste’ people. Nandini (name changed) belonging to the Dom caste narrated how they had to ultimately take shelter beside an uprooted banyan tree, while it was raining heavily.

( Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/cyclone-fani-prejudice-times-natural-disasters)