Tag Archives: Mahatma Gandhi

Caste and other demons

Can Dalits rightfully claim that they have a ‘homeland’?

Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar

( Review of The Doctor and the Saint: The Ambedkar-Gandhi Debate — Caste, Race, and Annihilation of Caste; By Arundhati Roy, Penguin, Rs 299)

“Gandhiji, I have no homeland.” The first meeting between Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar, who later became chairman of the drafting committee of independent India’s Constitution and its first law minister, is memorialized in this sentence. It expresses the centuries-old plight of those most oppressed in the varna hierarchy under the “institutionalised social injustice at the heart of the country”.

Has there been a qualitative change in the situation of the ‘ex-untouchables’ since this meeting some 90 years back? Can Dalits rightfully claim that they have a ‘homeland’? Figures collated by National Crime Records Bureau show that “a crime is committed against a Dalit by a non-Dalit every sixteen minutes”, including four rapes a day and murders of 13 Dalits every week. And these figures do not include “the stripping and parading naked, the forced shit eating, the seizing of land and the social boycotts…” This is the backdrop of the book, The Doctor and The Saint: The Ambedkar-Gandhi Debate — Caste, Race, and Annihilation of Caste by Arundhati Roy. It earlier formed part of an introduction to an annotated 2014 edition of Annihilation of Caste — the historic pamphlet Ambedkar wrote when invited by the ‘Jat Paat Todak Mandal’ in Lahore. The invitation was withdrawn after the hosts read the lecture draft. Continue reading Caste and other demons

First Terrorist of Independent India

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…Government have, however, noticed with regret that in practice members of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh have not adhered to their professed ideals.

“Undesirable and even dangerous activities have been carried on by the members of the Sangh. It has been found that in several parts of the country individual members of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh have indulged in acts of violence involving arson, robbery, dacoity and murder and have collected illicit arms and ammunitions. They have been found circulating leaflets, exhorting people to resort to terrorist methods, to collect firearms, to create disaffection against the government and suborn the police and military.”

(The government communique of February 4, 1948, announcing the ban on RSS after Gandhi’s assassination)

 

On Nathuram Godse, (19 th May 1910 – 15 th Nov 1949) Advani asserts that Godse had “severed links with RSS in 1933… had begun to bitterly criticise the RSS”. This was flatly contradicted by none other than Godse’s brother Gopal, who was also an accused at the trial for conspiracy to murder. He published his book Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in December 1993. Speaking in New Delhi on the occasion of the release of his book, Gopal Godse revealed what many had suspected—they had both been active members of the RSS (The Statesman; December 24, 1993).

(Ref : Whitewashing Godse is part of the Sangh Parivar’s sordid game, From: Frontline, January 26, 2013)

 

What could be said to be the first act of terrorism in independent India?

Everybody would agree that killing of Mahatma Gandhi by a Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse constitutes the first terrorist act in independent India. Godse, a Maharashtrian Brahmin, hailing from Pune was associated with Hindu Mahasabha at the time of Mahatma’s assassination and had his initial forays in the world of politics with the RSS. During his tour of the area Hedgewar, the first supremo of RSS, use to be accompanied by Nathuram , the future assassin of Gandhi. Godse had in fact joined the RSS in 1930, winning prominence as a speaker and organiser.

Continue reading First Terrorist of Independent India

An Idiot for PM ? : (Non)Sense of History in NaMo

‘Though this be madness yet there is method in it’ 

– ‘Hamlett’, Shakespeare

 

The 2014 elections aren’t merely about changing the government. The rhetoric ahead of the polls makes one believe that it’s an attempt at once to change historical narratives handed down to successive generation of Indians. And the man in the forefront of it all is the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

 –  11/11/2013 Blogs-Hindustan Times

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Wordsmiths of the world need to put in their heads or pull in their socks (you may say) to coin a new word which can rather resonate with what goes on in this part of South Asia in the name of political speeches. Should one call it ‘polifiction’ or ‘politainment’ or some similar word.

Perhaps a word exists and this poor pen pusher is ignorant about it.

Anyway, the matter has become bit urgent with the feverish preparations which are going on here for the battle royale which would take place in the year 2014 and the not so silent emergence of NaMo on the national scene and the daily dose of half truths, fiction and complete distortion which goes under the name of oratory. Continue reading An Idiot for PM ? : (Non)Sense of History in NaMo