[यह लेख पहले जनवादी लेखक संघ की पत्रिका नया पथ के जनवरी-मार्च २०२१ अंक में प्रकाशित हुआ था.आगामी 11-12 सितम्बर को अमेरिका में होने जा रहे Dismantling Global Hindutva सम्मलेन से उद्वेलित हिंदुत्व के प्रचारक अब इस सम्मलेन को रद्द कराने की मुहीम में उतर चुके हैं. उनका चालाकी भरा तर्क यह है कि यह सम्मलेन हिन्दू-विरोधी है. इस सन्दर्भ में यह दोहराना बेहद ज़रूरी है कि हिंदुत्व विस्तारवादी फौजी तसव्वुर से लैस एक राजनीतिक विचारतंत्र जो हिन्दुओं के नाम पर हिंसात्मक राजनीती करता है मगर इसका हिन्दू धर्म या जीवन शैली से कोई सम्बन्ध नहीं है. इस वजह से इस लेख को यहाँ साझा किया जा रहा है.]
“समस्त राजनीति का हिन्दूकरण करो और हिन्दूतंत्र का सैन्यीकरण करो – तब हमारे हिन्दू राष्ट्र (नेशन) का पुनरुत्थान होना तय है, उसी तरह जैसे अंधेरी रात के बाद सुबह का आना अनिवार्य होता है”। – विनायक दामोदर सावरकर, 25 मई 1941 को अपने 59 वें जन्मदिन पर हिंदुतन्त्र (हिन्दूडम) के नाम संदेश।
“हमारी भुजायें एक ओर अमेरिका तक फैली थीं – कोलंबस के अमेरिका ‘आविष्कार’ से बहुत पहले – तो दूसरी ओर चीन, जापान, कम्बोडिया, मलय, श्याम, इंडोनेशिया और समस्त दक्षिण-पूर्व एशिया तक फैली हुई थीं, और उत्तर में मंगोलिया और साइबेरिया तक। हमारा शक्तिशाली राजनीतिक साम्राज्य इन दक्षिण-पूर्व एशियाई क्षेत्रों तक फैला था और 1400 वर्षों तक जारी रहा, अकेले शैलेन्द्र साम्राज्य 700 वर्षों तक फलता फूलता रहा – और चीन के विस्तार के खिलाफ़ चट्टान की तरह खड़ा रहा”। – माधव सदाशिव गोलवालकर, राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के दूसरे सरसंघचालक, बँच ऑफ थॉट्स, विक्रम प्रकाशन, बंगलोर, 1968, पृ 9
हिन्दुत्व-विचारतंत्र के इन दो महारथियों की ये उक्तियाँ पढ़ने के बाद आइए अब एक उद्धरण उस शख़्स का देखें जिसे हिंदुत्ववादी हड़पने की पुरज़ोर कोशिश किया करते हैं। ये शख़्स और कोई नहीं स्वामी विवेकानंद हैं। मुलाहिज़ा फरमाएं :
[‘Parapolitics’ began on 16 January 2020 as a weekly column at the height of the anti-CAA movement. After eight weeks, it was made into a fortnightly column and now, eighteen months and 44 posts later, as I get involved with a study of Marxisms in the ‘Global South’, beginning with this post, this column will now appear once a month, on the second Saturday of every month.]
What happened at Jantar Mantar on 9 August – the anniversary of the Quit India movement – was not just violently anti-Muslim in the slogans raised; it was also symptomatic of the larger counter-revolutionary shift that has taken place in our politics. That Quit India or the ‘August revolution’ day was sought to be taken over as a final gesture of that grand victory that the Sangh Combine believes it has already won, is telling. It is telling also because it is a formation that studiously stayed away from the mainstream of the anticolonial struggle but now wants to take over that legacy and saffronize it. How the rally was organized and continued to be held despite the police claiming it had no permission to do so, does not remain so much of a mystery once you realize that the key organizers are Sangh/BJP leaders or parts of the larger network of terror associated with them. But that is another matter. It is important to recognize that incidents like these are but signs of a new stage in the ongoing counter-revolution where the Hindu Right is no longer content with claiming its own distinctiveness in opposing mainstream (Congress-led) nationalism but is out to make a determined bid to appropriate the entire legacy of that nationalism. The insistence, in recent times, on the national tricolour as a sign of its aggressive nationalism, is entirely of a piece with this attempt to occupy the mainstream.
The Constitution of India should be seen as a work-in-progress – not because it has been amended ever so often by different governments but because it has been taken over by ‘we, the people’, repeatedly, especially since the 1990s. The ‘authorized’ interpreters of the Constitution and Law are no longer its sole interpreters. The continuous battles over its interpretation in the courts of law are only one way in which meaning is contested. But from the dalits reclaiming it as “Babasaheb’s Constitution” to the pathalgadi movement of the Jharkhand adivasis and finally as the banner of citizenship movement today, its meaning has been contested time and again in the streets and in villages.
It is customary, in most secular-nationalist and left-wing circles, to invoke the “great values of the national movement”, which is seen as synonymous with the “freedom struggle”, which in turn is reduced to the “anticolonial struggle”. On 15 August 1947, India attained Independence from colonial rule and on 26 January 1950, “we, the people of India” gave to ourselves the Constitution of India. The anticolonial struggle came to an end in August 1947 but that did not mean that all the currents that comprised the larger “freedom struggle” – the jang-e-azadi – got their freedom. We perhaps need to make a distinction today between the “freedom struggle” (that is still ongoing) and the “anticolonial nationalist” movement.
We need to state emphatically that the “freedom struggle” of different social groups is not – and never was – reducible to the “anticolonial struggle”. There were many different strands and currents that either functioned at a distance from mainstream nationalism , or even worked in opposition to it.
The sheer misery, the excruciating embarrassment, of watching the Prime Minister of a sovereign (but not secular or socialist) nation desperately, inappropriately, capering about to show off his imagined intimacy with an American President who steadfastly kept his distance and his dignity, is now passing. Time does heal all wounds. (And hopefully, as Groucho Marx put it, Time will also wound all heels) 
But the burning question remains – is Modi more shameless than he is ignorant? Much has been said about Modi’s suit that exceeds the worst excesses of the late unlamented Marie Antoinette. Vrinda Gopinath points out:
While the last world leader to don such a suit (it costs around 15,000 sterling pounds or Rs 15 lakhs today) was deposed Egyptian tyrant Hosni Mubarak, it certainly out-dazzled Obama’s working dark grey suit (to cut down on non-vital decisions, the US Prez only wears grey and blue ). However, if Modi was thinking hip-hop bling and ice accessories (his fave diamond Movado watch), it certainly got Obama to make a mention at the President’s banquet when he foxily pointed out how a newspaper back home wrote, “Move aside, Michelle Obama. The world has a new fashion icon.” It must have not passed Obama’s notice that Modi had changed his attire thrice that day.
The immediate motivation for writing this piece has been the passionate and often partisan debate that surrounded the publication of the new, annotated critical edition of B. R. Ambedkar’s work, Annihilation of Caste (AoC) by Navayana Publishing. Sufficient water has flowed under the bridge to soften the various sharp edged stones and so it is perhaps time for some dispassionate perspective on the matter.
There are two kinds of debate that got triggered off by the publication of AoC. One of course relates to the 124 page provocative introduction to AoC written by Arundhati Roy titled ‘The Doctor and the Saint’ – The “Doctor” being Ambedkar and the “Saint” referring to Gandhi. The other relates to questions of ownership of archival material and questions of its fair dissemination. While the former has been hotly, and often intractably, debated by experts, scholars, followers and fans of Gandhi and Ambedkar, it is the latter that has received less attention than it deserves.
The question is important: It does not merely relate to the question of who owns Ambedkar, but in general relates to a wider question of authorship and representation of intellectual heritage. And as I have argued in my earlier posts on Kafila , for me the legal question is preceded by a normative concern and a political question, which is this: Should the answer to the question of who speaks for and about Ambedkar be selective? And relatedly, should ideas, works and publications of our thinkers and philosophers be policed and guarded by caretakers and/or representatives deemed to be “authentic” and/or “legal”? But before I come to these questions let me briefly contextualize the publication of AoC, as only a specific instance of his large body of work. Continue reading Un-owning – Archives in General, Ambedkar in Particular: Rajshree Chandra→