GANDHI: FATHER OF WHICH NATION ?

06/11/2011

DR. AMBEDKAR MEMORIAL LECTURE

India suffered by making Gandhi “father of the nation”

V.T. RAJSHEKAR SHETTY

[Speech delivered at the IT Seva Federation National Conference of the All-India Income Tax SC/ST Employees and Officers, on April 22, 2010 at the Birla Matushri Bhawan, New Marine Lines, Bombay, as part of the Dr. Ambedkar birth anniversary celebration.]

Jai Bhim,

I have made it clear to the organisers that I am not a political leader or film star. Nor do I belong to any VIP category. As the Editor of Dalit Voice for the past 30 years, I am essentially a journalist and writer and as such my assessment of Babasaheb will be like that of a surgeon who has to do merciless cutting with his knife to save the life of his patient.

So, as a writer specialised in the life and mission of Babasaheb — the only such person produced in this country after the so-called independence of India in 1947 — we have to examine the history — past and present — and mercilessly use the knife like the surgeon.

In the course of my speech I will have to pass some harsh judgements and make some critical remarks which traditional enemies of Babasaheb may not relish. But as a socio-cultural surgeon I cannot help it.

DR. AMBEDKAR AS “FATHER OF INDIA”

However, as the children of Babasaheb, I am sure you will appreciate my critical remarks on this historic occasion.

History is the best judge of men, matters and events. And history has already given its verdict. The verdict is Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is the “Father of India”. Highest position.

Somebody asked us: “What about Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi?” What is often repeated in the “national” toilet papers, speeches of politicians and Brahminical history books is Gandhi is the “Father of the Nation”. To this our reply is like this: Did not Dr. Ambedkar famously say that “India is not a nation” but a subcontinent of several nations?

But the Hindus, our oppressors, go on calling Gandhi as the “Father of the Nation”. Fine. We have no objection. That is their opinion.

GANDHI: FATHER OF WHICH NATION ?

But we have a question. Gandhi is the Father of which nation?

Not our nation. Our nation, called the Moolnivasi Bahujan Samaj, comprises six sections.

Please take down the population figures of these sections.

SC 20% Muslim 15%
ST 10% Christians 2.5%
BCs 35% Sikhs 2.5%
Total 65% Total 20%
Total 85%.

This 85%, the overwhelming majority people of India, have said Gandhi is not the father of their nation. They say only Babasaheb fought and died for their liberation.

BRAHMINS HATED GANDHI

Gandhi helped only our oppressors — the 15% upper castes — and made them the rulers of India.

Brahmins constitute less than 3% of the country’s population. They form the cream of this ruthless Indian ruling class. But the wonder of all wonders is the Brahmins always hated Gandhi because he was not a Brahmin but a Bania born out of papa yoni.

Besides it is the Brahmin, Nathuram Godse, who killed Gandhi and RSS Brahmins distributed sweets all over the country and celebrated the death of Gandhi.

If these are the facts of history, which none can challenge, Gandhi is the father of which nation? None.

Yet the Brahminical national toilet papers go on calling him the “Father of the nation” — day in day out.

CHINA BECOMES SUPER POWER

Look at China. I led two delegations to China where Mao Tse-tung is called the Father of their nation. Yes. He was truly the father of its 1,500 million people.

He made China a super power. Today, China is next only to USA. Japan which was No.2 is demoted and China has taken its place.

The World Bank has said that in a couple of years China will become the No.1 power in the world.

Where does India stand? Of the 187 countries in the world, India is somewhere at 134. See the world of difference. China is No.2 in the world whereas India is 134. Year after year India is going down.

Mao gets the credit for taking China to the top of the world and Gandhi also gets the credit for taking India to the bottom of the world — because the ruling upper castes call him the “Father of the Nation”.

WHY “ABUSE” GANDHI ?

Some critics asked me:

“If you want to praise Dr. Ambedkar, do it. Why do you want to abuse Gandhi?”

Our reply is: History is like a weighing machine. If you put a weighty stuff on one scale the other scale must go up. Dr. Ambedkar is a weighty personality. Gandhi was a bogus fellow.

When the two are put on the weighting machine, called history, this is the judgement. Gandhi has proved to be bogus. This is the verdict of history.

This country ruled by the Brahmins and Banias— the two together do not form even 3% of the population— has become the “Sick man of the world”. And we see no chance of this Brahmin-Bania Dalal Street-ruled India ever recovering from this incurable disease.

Babasaheb had predicted all this. He had given us the clear road map but the Brahmin-Bania cut-throat gang rejected Babasaheb’s road map and converted India into a failed state. I don’t think India will recover. The children of Gandhi are doing their duty of killing India. Because they don’t love India.

VERDICT OF HISTORY

That is why the history has pronounced its verdict saying that Babasaheb is the “Father of India”. Not one nation inside India is ready to accept the Gujarat Bania as its “father”. Not even the Brahmins. They anyway hate him.

Yet the hypocritical Brahmin-Bania rulers with their Manuwadi monopoly media go on calling Gandhi the “Father of the nation”.

Let them get the pleasure by twisting the verdict of history.

Let this mere 3% micro-minority Brahmin-Bania rulers go on keeping this “Father of the Nation”. But our Father is different.

What is going on today in India is a violent clash between the “Father of India” and the “Father of the nation”. This clash is becoming more and more violent as days pass.

The verdict of history accepted by over 85% of India’s oppressed nationalities is Babasaheb is the “Father of India”.

I will now tell you how this verdict of history has proved correct.

Gandhi’s birthday comes on Oct.2 — called “Gandhi Jayanti” which is a national holiday. But the birthday of such a great man is dismissed with a one-hour celebration by holding bhajan. The singers of the song, Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram, have to be paid to sing the song. Not more than 100 to 200 gather at such a ceremony attended by the so-called VIPs. Common people don’t attend Gandhi Jayanti official function. It is a purely upper caste tamasha.

DELHI’S MOST FAMOUS MONUMENT

But look at Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti. It begins on April 14 and the celebrations go on and on for 5-6 months in every corner of the country, every village of the country.

Even a small man like me will attend at least a dozen “Ambedkar Jayanti” functions. I have already attended three functions in Bangalore.

Kanshi Ram once told me after touring the Saurashtra region of Gujarat that he found more statues of Babasaheb than that of Gandhi. In Rajkot itself, the birth place of Gandhi, he did not see a single statue of Gandhi but plenty of Babasahebs. That means Gandhi is rejected by his own birth place.

“Gandhi Jayanti” is the one and the only event that the “Father of the nation” has.

But the “Father of India”, Babasaheb Ambedkar, is remembered by the poor, oppressed people of India on three occasions every year.

(1) Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14, (2) Babasaheb’s conversion to Budhism (3) His death anniversary.

A fourth event is getting ready when the bungalow on the No.26- Alipore Road, in Old Delhi, is turned into Delhi’s most famous monument. This is the place where Babasaheb died — killed by his own Brahmin wife, according to his biographers. When this gets ready it will be the capital city’s most important national monument, dwarfing the Raj Ghat.

RAJ GHAT TAMASHA

Once I was coming from Delhi to Bombay and the taximan said Cadell Rd., which touches the Shivaji Park Chowpatty, was blocked by the police as lakhs of people were squatting on the road. I asked him the reason. He said it was the day on which Babasaheb was cremated on the Chowpatty. At least 5 to 10 lakh would come to Bombay every year to pay homage.

I will tell you another interesting incident. Babasaheb is remembered on three occasions by millions of people but Gandhi is remembered by only a few as a ritual. That also once a year.

Once I went to Delhi’s Raj Ghat where Gandhi was cremated. This place is called a national monument and every VIP visiting India is compulsorily taken there. When I went there was a steady stream of visitors. But when I asked the gatekeeper of the Raj Ghat, why so many people came, he said:

“Sir, the govt. by an order has compelled all the tourist buses coming to Delhi to stop at the Raj Ghat. If the tourist buses stop coming there would be no visitors”.

Look at the difference between our “Father of India” and their “Father of the nation”. The millions who pour into the Deeksha Bhoomi at Nagpur and the Dadar Chowpatty every year do it voluntarily. They are all poor, unlettered people carrying their own chapatis. They come out of devotion, affection, respect.

Why? Because Babasaheb brought light into the dark dungeon of their heart. They consider him their liberator. They see in Babasaheb their own Father.

That is why history, has rightly called him the “Father of India”.

The Gujarati Bania is only the “Father of the nation” but nobody knows which is this nation.

This is the verdict of history.

Yet another important difference between Gandhi and Babasaheb.

Do you know that Gandhi wrote only one book, My Experiments with Truth, which is his own autobiography? Even this bok is collection of articles. That means Gandhi did not write a single book.

BRITISH LIBRARY INCIDENT

But Babasaheb had no time to write his autobiography. He wrote books after books, may be about 50 solid books, all world famous. The Maharashtra Govt. has published 21 volumes of his Writings and Speeches so far.

I will tell you one interesting experience I had at the world famous British Library in London, 3 years ago.

At the very entrance to the Library I found a portrait of Babasaheb and his two books on display. On seeing it, I went straight to the Chief Librarian. I introduced my self and asked him the rationale of keeping the picture and the books of Dr. Ambedkar at the very entrance. “Why you did not give the same honour to M.K. Gandhi?” I asked. The Librarian was taken aback by my question. He said:

“You must know that this is a library where we display the books of great writers and scholars. Dr. Ambedkar was a great scholar. Give me the name of one book written by Gandhi?”

Babasaheb is held in very high esteem even in Pakistan.

INDIAN RULERS HATE BABASAHEB

I am leading a delegation of Dalit writers and poets to Pakistan in May for the celebration by the govt. itself.

But in this Hindu India, Babasaheb is not given his proper place. The ruling class hates him because he was an Untouchable.

What is the reason for that?

This less than 15% ruling class of India is suppressing all of us and riding roughshod over us guided by their fake Gandhian doctrine that “India is a nation”.

No. This is a big lie. India is not a nation. And was never a nation.

Babasaheb was the first person to say that India is not a nation but a vast subcontinent of many warring nations — divided by numerous castes, subcastes, languages, customs, territories, religions, traditions, races etc.

Gandhi and his grand children are killing us by not admitting this historical fact and sociological truth which Dr. Ambedkar has propounded.

INDIA SINKING & STINKING

By ignoring — if not rejecting —Babasaheb’s concept that India is not a nation, the Brahmin rulers have created a serious situation in which different contradictory forces are constantly at war with each other — killing each other.

So much so, the governance of the country itself has come to a standstill.

The mere 15% upper caste rulers, who have looted all our wealth by sucking our blood, may go on shouting that India is a nation.

All other persecuted nationalities — children of Babasaheb — are shouting back saying that India is not a nation but a country at war with itself.

In this process India is sinking. Not only sinking. But stinking.

Even 3,000 years after entering India as nomads and barbarians these Aryan Brahmins are refusing to merge and mix with us — advancing their obnoxious theory of “merit”.

BRAHMIN MERIT

What is this “Brahmin merit” that has converted India into a beggar nation?

To hell with this Brahmin merit. I have written a book called, “Merit, My Foot”. All our books are kept outside for sale.

Now I will come to another “controversial” point.

The words that you so far heard from me must have made you proud and cheerful.

But what I am going to speak now may not be palatable to you.

GANDHI STABBED US IN THE BACK

Babasaheb is hailed as “one among the 7 best brains of the world”. India has not produced a person of his calibre after the Budha. He is our second Budha. We are his children. Over 85% of this country’s 1,300 million people — called the Moolnivasi Bahujan Samaj — are his children. A very big family.

Babasaheb never hated even the 15% upper caste rulers. Not even the Brahmins. His second wife was a Brahmin. In spite of the fact the Brahmins made his life miserable and he died a sad man, he hated none. It is the upper castes who hated him. Gandhi cheated him by going on his fake “fast unto death” on the issue of “separate electorate”.

Gandhi brought living death to our people, and the country as whole became a “sick nation”. This sickman is becoming more and more serious as days pass.

In the place of “separate electorate”, which would have automatically made Babasaheb our first Prime Minister, the Brahmin-Bania conspirators made the Gujarati Bania to go on his fake fast and blackmailed him to agree to his mischievous formula of “reservations” which killed us permanently and made us permanent beggars outside the doors of Brahmins and Banias.

POONA PACT MUST BE BURNT

The “Poona Pact”, which Gandhi forced Babasaheb to sign, not only killed the Dalits but killed the country itself.

The “Poona Pact” must be publicly burnt— on Ambedkar Jayanti. Next year if you invite I will burn it.

Only when you behave like a tiger, roar like a lion, the vegetarian Brahmins and Banias will be scared to touch you.

What sort of animals are sacrificed at yagnas and yagas? Only tame animals like the sheep, goat, buffalo etc. Have you heard of people killing ferocious animals like lion, tiger? No. Why? Because if anybody goes near, these ferocious animals will kill them.

In other words, our Brahmin, Bania upper caste oppressors will persecute us only if we behave like the tame animals. The moment they know we are like tigers and lions they dare not come near us. Look at me. To this day no Brahmin had the courage to touch me. He will not go alive.

You people sitting here are the products of this “Poona Pact” that brought reservations — the Hindu charity or the discarded, thrown out crumbs of bread.

By eating this discarded crumbs of bread, you have achieved this position.

Daily you are insulted, kicked, punished by the Brahminical officers. But you silently swallow all the insults and suffer as second, if not third-grade, citizens. Am I right?

Why you are silently suffering?

DALIT CHIEF JUSTICE BEATEN UP

A Dalit Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court was beaten up in his Court Hall No.1 itself by the Brahmin and other upper caste lawyers in Bangalore.

An unprecedented, shocking event in the history of India.

But the Dalits of Bangalore did not get angry. The upper caste charge is that Chief Justice Dinakaran is corrupt. Which Supreme Court or High Court judge is above corruption? Only when a Dalit is elevated to Supreme Court they find corruption.

EDUCATED DALITS FORGET BABASAHEB

Why are you silently suffering this step-motherly treatment? Why do you lack the courage and the strength to protest even to demand your legitimate constitutional rights?

The reason is simple: Because you the children of Babasaheb have forgotten your father.

It is because of our Father, all of you are here — drawing thousands of rupees salary every month but completely forgetting your own unfortunate blood brothers outside.

Not only you forgot your Father but you also violated every ground rule he set for us. Many of our highly paid Dalit employees have become Hindu — though our Father has told us that “Dalits are not Hindu and were never Hindu”. Our people worship Hindu gods, visit Hindu temples and become obedient slaves of Hindus. This is the beginning of your downfall.

Not only that. Quite a number of our people have married Brahmin girls —deceived by their fair skin. Those who got converted to Budhism have been trapped by the Marwari Goenka’s Vipassana fraud.

The SC/ST reservations are not implemented even to the extent of 10%.

That means over 90% of SC/ST, the children of Babasaheb, have not been touched by the reservations.

They are still uneducated, living in villages and urban slums and daily kicked, killed, burnt, raped, made beggars and prostitutes. About 50% of the prostitutes in the Bombay’s Red Light Area are Dalits and Tribals. Not a single Brahmin women is found there.

DALIT MOVEMENT IS DEAD

But you the educated and employed SC/STs, having been benefitted by Babasaheb’s sweat and blood, have forgotten your unfortunate blood brothers and sisters.

How can they forget and forgive your sins? Will the “Father of India” and our Father forget and forgive your sins?

Dalit movement is dead all over India. I am telling this as the Editor of Dalit Voice with circulation all over India and having travelled every part of India many times. In Maharashtra, Bombay in particular, where the Dalit Panthers was born everything is dead. The Maharashtra Govt. has stopped publishing Babasaheb’s books. Dalit political leaders are busy fighting with each other. They have all become corrupt. Many of them have married Brahmin girls.

Our Dalit professors, teachers are a big disappointment. We have no media of our own except Dalit Voice.

The Brahmin-Bania rulers hate the reservations. They have violated the constitution itself. The Supreme Court, packed with upper caste judges, is against the reservation.

Our MPs have no guts. Their powers have been drastically curtailed.

The power to rule has passed into the hands of the Brahminical bureaucracy, judiciary, media, Hindu religious crooks.

A mere, less than 15% of the population comprising the Brahmins, Banias and upper shudra castes are ruling India.

But the cream of the Scheduled Castes like those of you who are sitting here are not getting angry — though you are all silently suffering.

Our IAS, IPs officers are so scared of the Big Cat that they don’t like to associate with Dalit Voice. But when they are in trouble they rush to Dalit Voice with their complaint.

We have no pity on these cowards who have betrayed their own father and the Father of India.

All these betrayers will have to face the wrath of the 95% of the SC/ST people outside this charmed circle of beggars.

DALITS HAVE NO MEDIA

We don’t have a single media in the country to support the human rights need of SC/STs sanctioned by the constitution.

Only the Dalit Voice makes all the noise — for which we were badly punished. I was arrested half-dozen times, once put in jail in Punjab. Passport impounded, two attempts on life.

There are thousands of Dalit officers who have not even heard of Dalit Voice which is 30 years old and having India-wide circulation. Your president assured me that he will enroll lots of subscribers.

The Brahmin-Bania media has ruled that my name and that of my paper should not appear in any media. We don’t care. That is why you have not heard of the name of Dalit Voice or my name. We don’t care.

But what brings us so much sorrow is that our own blood brothers, the educated, employed Dalits, holding important positions, have forgotten their own Father.

For having committed this unpardonable sin, you are suffering today.

But you can certainly recover and make up for the lost time.

You are the architect of yourself.

But if you want to remain as the slaves of Brahmin, who love loyal servants, we have no objection. But remember even a loyal servant of Brahmins like Jagjivan Ram was finally kicked.

Please remember the fate of Jagjivan Ram.

Thank you for your patient hearing.

Advertisements

Interpretation-of-history-or-insulting-of-beliefs

28/10/2011

http://www.andhraheadlines.com/special/interpretation-of-history-or-insulting-of-beliefs-13-73901.html


King Narakasura is Dalit hero for Diwali

28/10/2011

After terming Mahishasura a hero during Dasara festivities, Dalit scholars of Osmania University have now outraged orthodox Hindus by lionising Narakasura, whose killing by Lord Krishna is celebrated as Diwali.

These scholars contend that Narakasura, the son of the earth goddess Bhudevi, was no demon but a king who was defeated in battle by Lord Krishna and Satyabhama in a deceitful manner.

As people celebrated Naraka Chaturdasi on Thursday, a group of Dalits in the Osmania University observed it as vardhanti (death anniversary).

They also offered floral tributes to a picture of Narakasura in the Arts College Campus raising hackles among conservative Hindus.

The scholars asked people not to celebrate Diwali and claimed that Dalits belonged to the lineage of Narakasura and other so called “demon” kings who they say have been portrayed as evil by upper castes.

OU SC, ST, BC and minorities students also organised a seminar ‘Narakasurudu — Raakshasuda (demon) or Rakshasuda (protector)?” wherein participants claimed that history has been distorted to project all those who lost wars as demons.

“We are observing Narakachardashi as vardhanti (death anniversary),” said Mr Visarvardhan, a research scholar. “It is not an occasion to celebrate. We are trying to set right the facts. Narakasura is amaraveerdu (martyr) and not a womaniser.”

“Nowhere in the world does anyone celebrate a death,” said the Dalit scholar, Prof. Kancha Ilaiah. “Nowhere in the world have Gods killed people except in India.”

However, the BJP spokesperson, Mr N.V.S.S. Prabhakar, disagreed with Dalit views and said Diwali symbolised the victory of good over evil and was not related to the death of any individual

http://www.andhrayouth.com/viewnews.php?id=12044


Dalits observe ‘Mahishasura day’ in JNU

28/10/2011

New Delhi: A group of Dalit students came together at JNU on Monday to honour Mahishasura, the demon killed by Goddess Durga, even as the varsity sent a showcause notice to a student on his role in circulating an “offensive” poster that caused a row on the issue earlier this month.

Members of the All India Backward Students Forum (AIBSF) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had clashed two weeks back over posters that were found “hurtful” by a section of students.

Dalits observe `Mahishasura day` in JNU

The posters were circulated by students of the AIBSF, based on an article on ‘Dalit viewpoint of Durga-Mahishasura’.

The students under the banner of AIBSF said today they were honouring the “martyrdom” of Mahishasura, who belonged to the backward caste and was a “just and a powerful king”.

The University, which was conducting an internal inquiry into the incident of the clash, has meanwhile issued a showcause notice to Jitendra Yadav, a PhD student of Center of Indian Languages and president of AIBSF.

Dalits observe `Mahishasura day` in JNUThe notice said Yadav had been found guilty of releasing an “offensive” poster depicting a deity “in a derogatory manner which created considerable unhappiness and resentment among a section of students” that led to violent incidents.

The notice asks him to explain his act of “serious misconduct and indiscipline” and asks him to submit his reply by October 27.

Yadav said the University was playing into the hands of right wing groups and said the article their poster referred to had not insulted any deity but had asked Dalit and OBC youth to know who their heroes were.

The students also organised a seminar on ‘Mahishasur & Macaulay: The Limits of Post-Modernity’ on the eve of the birth anniversary of Lord Macaulay, the 19th century British historian and politician who was instrumental in introducing the English language as a medium of education in India.

A new painting of ‘Mahishasura’ by artist Lal Ratnakar was also displayed on the occasion.


Whither Parliamentary Democracy In India?

03/07/2011

P R Dubhashi

Fasts of Anna Hazare regarding the passing of the Lokpal Bill and Baba Ramdev against corruption and events that followed have raised fundamental questions regarding the functioning of parliamentary democracy in India. The 97-hour fast by Anna Hazare at Jantar Mantar which evoked huge response of people in Delhi and all over the country, compelled the government to concede his demand to constitute a joint committee of ‘Ministers and members of Civil Society’ to formulate a draft by the end of June 30 on the basis of the draft formulated by the government and the one by the civil society. After some initial smooth sailing, serious differences have arisen, as could only be expected, regarding different issues such as the inclusion of the Prime Minister and judiciary within the ambit of the Lokpal. While this was going on, Baba Ramdev began his fast at Ramlila Ground (after permission was denied to hold it at Jantar Mantar) regarding the wider issue of elimination of corruption and black money. To dissuade the Baba from embarking on the fast, four Ministers of the Union Government, headed by no less than Pranab Mukherji, went to the airport to meet him but the Baba was adamant on his fast. Thousands of his followers, young and old, women and children, assembled in the huge pandal specially erected for the purpose at Ramlila Ground to fast in sympathy. The exchanges between the two parties nevertheless continued. When Kapil Sibal, the Minister negotiating with the Baba, publicly announced that the Baba had agreed to give up ‘tapa’ after three days, the Baba felt he was compromised and exposed, while his followers were still coming from all over the country to join the fast. The Baba immediately hardened his stand and announced that he would continue his fast till the government issued an ordinance to declare as ‘public asset’ the black money stashed abroad in the overseas banks. The government accused the Baba of betrayal. Past midnight on June 4, 2011, the police of the Rapid Action Force of the State Government, armed with teargas and lathi, swooped on the sleeping congregation while trying to arrest the Baba. A drama followed, the Baba escaped from the Pandal but to the relief of the government was apprehend by the Delhi Police while running away surrounded by his female followers himself disguised in female dress. More important, sleeping men were rudely woken up by police who burst teargas shells and resorted to lathi charge even on women and children. As many as 70 injured persons were admitted to hospitals and some to intensive care units. A particularly bad case was Rajbala who was paralysed. The nocturnal crackdown was condemned not only by the Baba’s followers but people all over the country. L.K. Advani, the leader of the BJP, said that the crackdown reminded of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre by General Dyer during the coloneal days. Anna Hazare and ‘Civil Society’ activists condemned the crack-down as ‘kalank’, a blot on humanity and democracy. Shanti Bhushan, the senior lawyer, demanded that the Union Government should resign. Government representatives tried to defend the action. First Sibal claimed that none was injured. But when seventy injured persons were admitted in hospitals his claim was found to be not correct. After waiting for a day following the crackdown, the Prime Minister said that the incident was ‘unfortunate’ but in the situation that developed, it was ‘unavoidable’. The Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, took a press conference even to declare that the crackdown was necessary for the maintenance of ‘Law and Order’. None was convinced. When the crackdown was described as a panicky action of a weak vacillating government, it was asserted that the plan for removing the Baba, if necessary by force, was already decided upon. This was proof enough that the crackdown was not a reaction to a situation but a premeditated coldblooded assault on defence-less people. Then there was an attempt to malign the Baba’s fast as instigated by the RSS which Rahul Gandhi, in a contro-versial statement, had equated with SIMI! Chidambaram cited an intelligence report to support the allegation. The presence of the ‘notorious’ Sadhvi Rithambhara on the dais with Ramdev Baba was a further proof of the ‘communal’ nature of the Baba’s fast. The govern-ment was not prepared to accept that the fight against corruption and blackmarket cannot be curbed by such allegations. Actually only a few days earlier the Ministers had gone to the airport to receive the Baba despite the knowledge of the intelligence report. The Congress party spokesman first tried to distance itself from the government and objected to the senior Ministers going to the airport to receive the Baba giving the impression that the party and government were working at cross-purposes. Why were the government Ministers trying to placate Baba? They had found Anna a hard nut to crack. They felt that the egotist Baba would be more manageable and vulnerable. When this did not happen within the time limit contemplated by the government they suddenly reversed the gear and took aggressive action in the form of the nocturnal crackdown. Ramdev Baba continued his fast even after he was shifted by the government from Ramlila Ground to Patanjali Ashram in Haridwar. After days of fasting his health seriously deteriorated and he had to be shifted by the BJP State Government to Dehradun Hospital (the Union Government had washed off its hands once he was shifted to Patanjali Ashram). Even in hospital, Baba continued his fast. It was left to Shri Shri Ravi Shankar to persuade him to give up his fast after nine days. It was stated on behalf of the Baba that his fight against black money would continue. In the meanwhile Digvijay Singh, the General Secretary of the Congress party, publicly accused the Baba of money-laundering and demanded that the vast accumulation of wealth exceeding Rs 1000 crores should be investigated. Even while he was fasting, the Baba publicly announced details of his wealth. Anna was also subjected to maligning by Digvijay who alleged of his association with the RSS in view of the fact that the picture of Hindmata displayed in course of his fast was similar to that of the RSS. Touched to the quick, Anna angrily stated that Digvijay should be sent to a lunatic asylum. He wrote to Sonia Gandhi complaining about the smear campaign against him and demanded evidence to prove his association with the RSS. The public discourse is obviously getting shriller and shriller. After surrendering to Anna’s demand of a joint committee and placating the Baba by four Ministers going to the airport, the Congress leaders and UPA Government have taken a hard line. In an interview at Kolkata, Pranab Mukherjee stated that the civil society movement is undermining democracy and the elected government at the Centre. Parliament is supreme to pass the law and a handful ‘civil society’ activists cannot dictate terms to a government which has the confidence of Parliament. (The Times of India, June 13, 2011) The emerging political scenario is worrisome. When the country is facing major challenges like terrorism, violent Maoist movement, resistance to land acquisition by people, deteriorating law and order situation, hostile Chinese action on the northern Himalayan border and major corruption scandals, leading to loss of confidence of foreign investors, instead of taking a united national stand in firmly dealing with these problems, the nation is engulfed in intensive conflicts. The future of the joint committee on Lokpal seems to be dismal. No consensus is likely to emerge. The government may even decide to wind up the work of the committee. And even if a ‘final’ draft would be ready by June and introduced in Parliament, the passing of the Bill is likely to be no smooth sailing and may not be passed by August 15, the date by which Anna insists it should be passed or else he would again go on fast. The government would not allow the kind of response Anna’s fast had at Jantar Mantar. The government’s attempt to communalise the Baba’s movement against corruption was an attempt to drive a wedge between the communal Baba and the ‘Gandhian’ Anna. The civil society activists were earlier not enthusiastic about the Baba but once the nocturnal crackdown on the defenceless men, women and children took place, the two sides forgot the differences and came closer to each other. The civil society activists used strongest words to condemn the crackdown. The BJP declared that the government was bringing back the Emergency days and the party would organise nationwide protests against corruption, blackmarketing and suppression of fundamental rights of the citizens to express opinion through peaceful demonstrations. The Congress party in reply decided to organise a national movement against fundamentalism and communalism embodied in the BJP, RSS and allied organisations. But for the government more serious than the challenges of the BJP, Leftist parties and regional parties like the SP which spoke against the noctural crackdown on a peaceful assembly of people, was the 15 days notice issued by the Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court to the Union Home Secretary, Delhi State Government and the Delhi Commissioner of Police to explain the crackdown. Chidambaram has blithely stated that the Delhi Police will file the affidavit forgetting that the Supreme Court is not likely to be satisfied with the explanation of the State Government and will also hold the Union Home Ministry, if not the Union Home Minister and the Prime Minister themselves, accountable. Law and Order POLITICIANS in power are often inclined to pass on the buck on ‘law and order’ matters to the police forgetting that the issues behind any serious law and order situation have to be handled well on time by the politicians in power and the civil servants who work under them. In the present case the issues of corruption and black economy and the passing of the Lokpal Bill have been long neglected and not tackled with any sense of urgency and sincerity. The most glaring instance of this was the fact that the Lokpal Bill has been pending since 1968, that is, over the last fortytwo years. The mega scams relating to the 2G spectrum, Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Society apartment in Mumbai, were attributed to politicians in power like Union Ministers and Chief Ministers. Even after the spectrum scam was exposed by the CAG, Kapil Sibal, in additional charge of the Telecommuni-cation Ministry, brazenly stated that there was no loss to the public exchequer and attacked the CAG for giving a wrong report alleging a presumptive loss of Rs 1,76,000 crores to the public exchequer. The Prime Minister defended Minister Raja responsible for the 2G scam for a period of over two years. Suresh Kalmadi was allowed to run the show of the Commonwealth Games despite the fact that he was accused in corrupt deals six months before the Games. The media gave wide publicity to these scams and the nation was outraged at the studied inability to prevent and control corruption. The Finance Minister doggedly refused to disclose the names of those whose funds were stashed abroad citing the secrecy clause of the taxation evasion agreements with foreign govern-ments. People started losing confidence in the government, and their pent-up anger was articulated by Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev through their fasts which evoked nationwide response. Even after the fast started and people gathered, politicians of the ruling party did not care to meet the people and convince them about the sincerity of the government. The government must actively communicate with the people to prevent a popular agitation going out of hand instead of letting loose the police. If serious consequences follow in the shape of injury and loss of lives, the police are exposed to judicial enquiries. The politicians and administrators mostly remain aloof, when they should squarely be blamed for allowing the law and order situation to drift and assume serious proportions. When we became independent we declared that the ‘police state’ of the British Raj will be replaced by the ‘welfare state’ of the people’s government. But in free India police raj seems to have come back with a vengeance. Legitimacy of Elected Government AFTER some initial hesitation, the Congress has decided to go on the offensive. They are asserting that the Congress and its allies have been voted to power by the people and the Opposition parties and ‘civil society’ activists have no business to destabilise them through their agitations and by people like Hazare and Ramdev Baba going on fast to coerce thew government. How far is the argument valid? It is true that the government has every right to decide on legislation, policies and programmes. All the same it is also the duty of the Opposition to oppose actions by the government through constitutional means. The government should recognise the legitimacy of the Opposition to oppose as much as the Opposition should concede the right of the government to govern. But if the government treats the Opposition with contempt and gives short shrift to the reasonable demands of the Opposition, the Opposition gets frustrated and resorts to action which immobilises the functioning of Parliament. This was what happened to Parliament in the last winter session. The whole session was washed out. Eventually the demand of the Opposition was conceded before the Budget session could go on smoothly. If this had been done at the beginning of the winter session, the nation would not have had to suffer a non-functioning Parliament. For this the government and the Opposition are equally responsible. What about the people? Should they helplessly suffer an inept or corrupt gtovernment? Have they not the right to call the government to question in between the elections? Do the duties of the citizens end once they have voted? Surely that is not so. Even in between elections, the government is accountable to the people and the people should be able to express their dissatisfaction through all means allowed by the Constitution. The active groups of citizens can take the lead in mobilising public opinion through all means allowed by the Constitution. This does not amount to ‘backmailing’ of an elected government as is alleged by some Congress spokesmen like Digvijay Singh. Hazare’s reply was that if fast and dharna amount to blackmail then he will ‘blackmail’ the government. In this context it is necessary to recall what Dr Ambedkar, the principal architect of the Constitution, said in his address to the Constituent Assembly—“We must hold fast to the constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic goals. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It also means we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and Satyagraha. When constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for unconstitutional methods. Sooner these methods are abandoned, the better for us.” Dr Ambedkar’s warning was prophetic. He feared that the Gandhian legacy will be continued even after the government starts functioning as per the Constitution of the Indian Republic. But the government also holds the responsibility of running the government in a transparent, open manner without making an ugly display of arrogance of power. As Hazare reminded, the government. Ministers and legislators are servants of the people; the people are not their servants. Unfortunately our politicians have became so arrogant and self-serving that they have forgotten the basic premise of democracy that it is the bounden duty of politicians in power to serve the people with sincerity, honesty and dedication. If the current agitation teaches this lesson to the government and politicians, its purpose would be served. But if the government resorts to repression and intolerance of any Opposition, makes all kinds of defamatory statements against those who oppose them, if public opinion is stifled and evils like rampant corruption are allowed free play, the future of the Indian parliamentary democracy may be very dismal Formerly Secretary to the Government of India and Vice-Chancellor of Goa University, Dr Dubhashi is currently the Chairman, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Pune Kendra. His e-mail is: dubhashi@giaspn01. vsnl.net.in

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article2868.html


Ambedkar & USA

02/06/2011

June 03, 2011   3:48:12 AM

Chandrabhan Prasad

A professor recounts Ambedkar’s foray with Columbia University

Dr Ambedkar was one of the first (and one of the few) Indian leaders to be educated in the United States. I am not sure what influence his years at Columbia University in New York City had on his life, but I know we can be proud to claim some part of this remarkable man’s early development. Two of the qualities which mark his life and career — optimism and pragmatism — may have been enhanced by his contact with this country, which prides itself on its charactersitics of hope and practicality.

The three years Ambedkar spent at Columbia, 1913-1916, awakened, in his own words, his potential. Columbia was in its golden age, and a list of Ambedkar’s professors reads like a catalog of early 20th-century American educators. The transcript of Ambedkar’s work at Columbia reveals that he audited many classes, more than he could have taken for grades, including such subjects as “railroad economics.” Later, Ambedkar wrote, “The best friends I have had in my life were some of my classmates at Columbia and my great professors, John Dewey, James Shotwell, Edwin Seligman and James Harvey Robinson. II (Columbia Alumni News, December 19, 1930).”

Although it was Edwin Seligman, Professor of Economics, with whom Ambedkar kept in touch after he left Columbia and to whom he sent students when he taught at Sydenham college in Bombay, John Dewey seems to have had the greatest influence on him. Dewey’s pragmatic philosophy, his theories associated with optimistic, pragmatic American democracy, which preached (although it did not always practice) equality, no barriers to upward mobility, the use of machinery to produce leisure, and an attitude of respect for every individual.

Ambedkar’s first political party, the Independent Labour Party founded in 1936, took its name from British politics. But two things lessened the importance of Britain for Ambedkar: the colonial presence of the British in India, and the preference of British liberals for Gandhi and his non-violent direct action campaigns for independence over Ambedkar and the slow parliamentary path. And it also seems likely that American optimism, and the lack of an obvious class system in America, met a natural response in Ambedkar.

Ambedkar’s American contacts did not end when he left Columbia University in June, 1916, although one must admit they became minimal. He continued to correspond with Edwin Seligman, his mentor in Economics at Columbia, and occasionally recommended Indian students to Seligman. In 1930, Ambedkar wrote an article for the Columbia alumni magazine which reveals quite a sentimental attachment: “The best friends I have had in my life were some of my classmates at Columbia and my great professors, John Dewey, James Shotwell, Edwin Seligman and James Harvey Robinson.” In 1952, Ambedkar went back to Columbia to receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws and it is clear that this recognition of his work meant much to him. It was in this period of the early 1950’s that Ambedkar was publicly critical of India’s foreign policy of non-alignment, which seemed to him to cut India off from American contacts.

I shall end this introduction with two stories, since this is not so much a scholarly tract as an essay which attempts to explore an American-Indian cultural interaction in a personal way. Mrs Savita Ambedkar tells a touching story of Ambedkar happily imitating John Dewey’s distinctive classroom mannerisms — 30 years after Ambedkar sat in Dewey’s classes. It is impossible to find in Ambedkar’s life story any hint of a guru or a personality which dominated him, but here at least is a suggestion that he was fond of both Dewey the philosopher and Dewey the man.

The other story concerns a letter of recommendation written about Ambedkar by Edward Cannon, Professor of Political Economy in the University of London, to the head of Sydenham College, where Ambedkar applied for a teaching position in 1918. Professor Cannon wrote: “I don’t know anything about Ambedkar except that he came to do a thesis and attacked it and me in a way which showed he had quite extraordinary practical ability…. I rather wonder if he is a pure Indian; his character is rather Scotch-American.” There is absolutely no doubt that Ambedkar was pure Indian, and no one who knew his background and the history of his caste would assign any other nationality to him. But this depiction of his character as “Scotch-American” rather delights me.

(Excerpts from a lecture by Prof Eleanor Zelliot delivered in 1991 in the University of Columbia)

http://www.c250.columbia.edu/c250_celebrates/remarkable_columbians/bhimrao_ambedkar.html

 

http://www.dailypioneer.com/296221/Ambedkar–US.html


The Untouchable Case for Indian Capitalism -Wall Street Journal

30/05/2011
 The Wall Street Journal, New York

The Indian left’s caste-related justifications for

 state intervention are dying.

The plight of the Dalits, those whom the Hindu caste system considers outcastes and hence Untouchables, was a rallying cry of Hindu reformers and Indian leftists for half a century. But today these victims of the caste system are finding that free markets and development bring advancement faster than government programs.

Historically, Dalits were left to do the most undignified work in society, and were denied education or job opportunities. After independence, not only was legal recognition of caste abolished, but Delhi also created affirmative action and welfare programs. Intellectuals who fought for the betterment of Dalits worked together with leftists to pass laws righting historical wrongs.

That alliance is now breaking down. India’s economic reforms have unleashed enormous opportunities to elevate Dalits—materially and socially. In research published last year, Devesh Kapur at the University of Pennsylvania and others show this transformation occurring in Uttar Pradesh state in the north, a region notorious for clinging to caste traditions.

Mr. Kapur found that Dalits now buy TVs, mobile phones and other goods very easily—at rates similar to any other caste; they have also been spending more money on family weddings. These factors and others point to practical benefits Untouchables receive from growth, the same benefits accruing to other Indians. There are more such cases in the south and west of the country.

More economic choices are changing Dalits’ own expectations and, in turn, changing social structures for the better. Dalits may have seats reserved for them in public schools, but parents now prefer to send their children to private schools. Urbanization is one trend hugely in favor of those thought to be Untouchables in the village economy. Commerce in cities doesn’t discriminate.

Dalits have also launched campaigns promoting the use of English, which has both helped them earn higher incomes and more dignity in society. One Dalit intellectual, Chandrabhan Prasad, thinks his community should worship “English” as a goddess.

This has the left, with its belief that only the modern state can repair social ills, in a quandary. One refrain common among Indian leftists is that 20 years of economic reform have benefited upper castes and left those at the bottom of this hierarchy worse off. But Dalits clearly don’t agree.

CHANDRASEKARAN
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Dalits pay tribute to a portrait of their leader, B.R. Ambedkar.

The only remaining argument for the Dalit cause to stay intertwined with statism is the fact that the Untouchables’ most respected leader, B.R. Ambedkar, supported affirmative-action laws. Because of this, he was long believed to have leftist leanings.

However, 50 years later, my research shows that Ambedkar was, in fact, one of the biggest proponents of classical liberalism in India’s 20th century history—not some proto-Marxist, as some have made him out to be. Last month’s 120th anniversary of his birth is a chance to reflect on how liberalization has helped and can further help Dalits.

It’s true that the Dalit leader often spoke in favor of affirmative-action measures for Dalits and, as the architect of India’s constitution, put some of these measures into the law. For instance, he feared that without a reservation provision for education, Dalits would not achieve social equality and freedom.

Seeing their leader support state intervention, Dalit intellectuals embraced Marxism. Mr. Prasad, a Marxist-turned-free-marketeer, notes, “The idea of Communism . . . seeped into the Dalit consciousness. Many claiming to be ardent Ambedkarites, including myself for a decade, spoke the Marxist language. A great amount of Dalits’ intellectual energy, time and resources was invested in Marxism.” That boosted India’s broader left movement.

But this whitewashes Ambedkar’s true legacy. Some economists and historians have pointed out that Ambedkar was no Marxist. My own research indicates that this man, born an Untouchable in 1891, anticipated a lot of what classical liberals like F.A. Hayek later said.

In the 1920s, Ambedkar was an early advocate of property rights. He also opposed central planning, writing as early as 1917 that it “must lead to inefficiency.” Under the 1950 constitution that he drafted, not only was there little hint of Soviet-style planning, but the right to property was enshrined as a “fundamental right”—the highest and most easily enforceable of civil rights in India’s legal framework. Politicians later amended the constitution to enable economic engineering.

Ambedkar was also one of few Indians to think seriously about monetary matters. He has left behind writings from the 1920s supporting the gold standard. Like the Austrian School of Economics after him, he defended private banks’ ability to issue competing currencies and decried the state’s monopoly over legal tender.

Ambedkar may have supported reserving seats for Dalits in public education, but he actually favored a review of the provision after a decade, so as to not make it permanent. All this was forgotten after his death in 1956.

It’s important to tell the real story about Ambedkar. For one thing, it could further invigorate the Dalit community in favor of free-market ideas. His influence among Dalits remains unparalleled to this day. That, in turn, will undermine the linkage of the caste system to leftist ideas. Policy makers often invoke freedom fighters and founding fathers for their cause. Ambedkar should no longer be a pretext for statist policies.

Reform-minded policy makers can press Ambedkar’s insights into service, though. In contrast to leaders who reckoned the English language was imperialist, Ambedkar once called English the “milk of lionesses.” Unlike Mohandas Gandhi, who saw the village as the basis for economic activity, Ambedkar considered the “individual” to be the ultimate economic unit.

Ambedkar isn’t the only classical liberal in modern India’s history; nor is caste the only pretext for leftism. But if someone as influential as Ambedkar believed that classical liberal ideas could help India’s most downtrodden, and if these ideas are starting to help in practice, then the political case for them only becomes stronger.

—Mr. Chandrasekaran works in public policy in New Delhi.

The Wall Street Journal American English- international daily newspaper