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


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If I fail to do away…..I will put an end to my life with a bullet: Ambedkar

01/11/2010

Dr. Ambedkar and Dalit Human Rights,  Dr. Ambedkar’s Kala Nasik Mandir & Mahad Talab Morcha, Dr. S. L. Virdi Advocate.

The emergence of Ambedkar on the national political scene almost coincided with the emergence of Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi as the numero no leaders in the Congress Party, which was the forefront of the struggle for independence from the British. While Gandhi was more focused on the political freedom from the British, Ambedkar was keener on the “social freedom” of the Dalits and other lower caste from the clutches of Brahmanism as a precursor to the Britishers granting political freedom to the Indians. While Gandhi’s argument was that first to get freedom from the Britishers then the problem of caste will be solved.

Having returned from London Dr. Ambedkar was given a high post in Baroda. When he reached Baroda no one came to welcome him. Worse still, even the servants in the office would not hand over the files to him. No one in the office would give him water to drink. He could not get a house to live in. On account of his low caste, he was refused a place on rent. He asked the Maharaja and also the chief Minister but all in vain. Then Dr. Ambedkar adopted a Parsi name and rented a room in Parsi Guest House. When the Parsi learned about his caste they came armed with batons and attacked on Dr. Ambedkar. He tried his best to get a room, but could find no shelter. He had to resign the post and returned to Bombay.

The fire of wrath against the Brahminical system blazed in Ambedkar mind. He sit under a tree and pledged as under: “If I fail to do away with the abominable thralldom and inhuman injustice under which the Class, into which I was born, has been groaning, I will put an end to my life with a bullet.”

Dr. Ambedkar started his revolt against the Brahmanism by founded a bahiskrit Hitakarini Sabha in 1924 for the upliftment of Dalits (Shudra and Ati Shudra.) He started Marathi fortnightly the “Mook Nayak” which means the leader of the dumb. Through this paper he awakened the Dalit to fight for their rights. He burnt a copy of the Manu Simriti in 1927, the sacred code of the Hindus. He has done it to arise a feeling of self respect and self confidence among the dalits and to caution the Hindus that they must be prepared for equal civil rights to the dalits.

Dr. Ambedkar started direct action and launched marches to enter the Kala Ram Mandir in Nasik and drank water from the public tank at Mahad in Maharashtra. By this acts of the agitation, Dr. Ambedkar wanted to remove the mental dormancy of his people on an all India level. Dr. Ambedkar asked dalits to resist boldly all the acts of social tyranny. “Goats! Lions are not sacrificed. Strengthen the organisation of the depressed classes all over the country as it is the only way for salvation.” The Problem of Indian Dalit servile class was the lack of human personality, self respect, clothing, shelter and bread. At the time of Mahad agitation Dr. Ambedkar declared that they launched the Mahad Talab agitation not for mere water. We reached there to prove that they were also the human beings. They wanted to have a decent life.

Dr. Ambedkar exposed the congress and its ill designs. Gandhi’s argument was that once they get the freedom, the Indian can rectify their own social structure. But on the other hand Dr. Ambedkar had a first hand experience of the Brahminical mind set. He very well knew that once the upper caste Hindus laid their hands on the political power they would usurp all the powers and enslave the dalits. That is the reason Dr. Ambedkar opposed the demand of Swarajya from the British. Gandhi was more focused for the political freedom but Ambedkar was keener for the social freedom for the dalits. When the Simon Commission visited India in 1928 Dr. Ambedkar demanded separate electorate representation for the depressed classes. In the Round Table Conferences held in 1930, 31, 32. Dr. Ambedkar played a historical role both for the Independence of India and for the political rights for the Dalits.

Addressing the Round Table Conference under the chairmanship of British Premier Mac Donald in London on 12th November, 1930 Dr. Ambedkar said: “My poor Untouchable brothers live in a condition worse than slaves. Slaves were at least touched by their lords, but our very touch has been deemed a sin. Not even the British government has been able to do anything for us. Formerly, we could not take water from the village well; we cannot use it even today. Formerly, we could not enter the temples; even today we cannot do so. Formerly, we were not recruited into the police and military, even today we are not, one hundred and fifty year of British rule has done nothing to change our condition.” Dr. Ambedkar’s demand raised a hue and cry throughout the Country. Gandhi-Ambedkar controversy ensued. It was against the wishes of the Congress and Gandhi that Dr. Ambedkar was invited to the First Round Table Conference in London along with R. B. R. Srinivasan to represent the depressed classes, where in Congress liberals, the other Indian parties and the princes of the states had also participated. It was during the Round Table Conference, that the British and the world, had for the first time a chance to hear the horrible inhuman treatment being meted out to the people belonging to the Backward Class communities by their Hindu counterparts and the depth of the evils described by Ambedkar. No decision could be taken on the issue of right of the depressed classes in the sub-committee of the Round Table Conference. The matter was therefore, left to the Britishers to decide the issue and the Congress along with Gandhi promised to abide by such decision.

Dr. Ambedkar condemned Gandhi’s approach and attitude towards the Dalit problem and exhorted that the problem of the dalits, is a political problem and demanded reservation of seats in the legislature and the election for them should be through separate electorate. Dr. Ambedkar’s speech and his role in the 2nd Round Table Conference created tremendous effect and impact on the British Prime Minister and his colleagues. The result of his efforts and service there was the announcement of Communal Award, which provided the reservation of seats and separate electorate for dalits, Scheduled Castes in the future legislature. By this announcement of communal Award, upset and frustrated Gandhi undertook fast to death. His fast was resented by Dr. Ambedkar and the Scheduled Castes in India Dr. Ambedkar denounced Gandhi’s fast as opposed to the rights and interests of the dalits, Scheduled Castes. Dr. Ambedkar condemned Gandhi’s fast as malicious, misconceived and disastrous to the rights of the Depressed Classes. He, therefore, asked Gandhi, “Why did he not undertake such fast for the abolition of the untouchability? And against the practice of it by the caste Hindus? He questioned the propriety of his fast at this juncture when the dalits, Scheduled Castes were given the separate electorate by the British Government, while he had no grievance for separate electorate in favour of the Muslim and Sikhs? The depressed classes of India arose in one voice, supporting Dr. Ambedkar and condemning Gandhi’s stand against the separate electorate for dalits.1

The leaders of Congress and the leaders of Hindu Society like Pandit Madan Mohan Malvya who attended 1 Justice Dr. Kottapalli Punnayya, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Memorial Lecture, Page 9 The 2nd Round Table Conferece along with Gandhi held a conference under his Presidentship on 19th September 1932. They invited Dr. Ambedkar to speak. Dr. Ambedkar asked them to give alternative proposal, if they were interested to save Gandhi. He made it very clear that in the absence of alternative proposal from Gandhi I would not be party to any proposal that would be against the interest of my people.

The war waged by Dr. Ambedkar with Gandhi for separate Electro rare ended with Poona Pact was really a historical fight for securing constitutional rights to Scheduled castes. Through this fight, Dr. Ambedkar secured Constitutional recognition and an honorable place for the Scheduled Caste in the ensuring government of India Act of 1935 and in the country.



Dr. B.R.Ambedkar’s Contribution To Buddhist Education In India

31/10/2010

Dr. B.R.Ambedkar’s Contribution
To Buddhist Education In India

By Nishikant Waghmare

16 February, 2007
Countercurrents.org


“Noble is your aim and sublime and glorious is your mission. Blessed are those who are awakened to their duty to those among whom they are born. Glory to those who devote their time, talents and their all to the amelioration of slavery. Glory to those who would reap their struggle for the liberation of the enslaved in spite of heavy odds, carpine humiliation, storms and dangers till the downtrodden secure their Human Rights.”– Bharat Ratna Babasaheb Dr.B.R.Ambedkar.

Today’s Ambedkarites may have reduced their mentor to a symbol to center their electoral campaign on, but history will view Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar differently—as a man whose genius extended over a diverse arrange of human affairs. Born to Mahar parents, Babasaheb would have been one of the many Untouchable of his times condemned to a life of suffering and misery, had he not doggedly overcome the oppressive circumstances of his birth to rise to pre-eminence in India’s public life. Ambedkar was, of course, a towering leader of the Untouchables, but he was also much more- patriot, scholar, thinker and Founding Father of the Indian Constitution.

Ambedkar started the Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha and the Samaj Samanta Sangh for the uplift of untouchables. He led processions and dharnas for his community, demanded separate electorates for them, parted ways with Gandhi, violently differing with Gandhi’s approach toward the Untouchables, and finally, left the Hindu fold, embracing with thousands of his followers the more egalitarian faith of Buddhism.

India got Independence 55 years ago, till today Dalit has to suffer for basic needs for their day to day living i.e. Drinking water, food, shelter and Right to live as human being in society. The Untouchables “Dalit” were denied even Human Rights, which are essential for a bare existence of human life. They were not allowed to drink water from public well; and even their shadow was supposed to pollute the so- called upper Castes. The Hindu social order made the life of the Dalit miserable in every sense of the term. The Hindu Dharmashastra gave sanction to this evil Caste system and the practice of Untochability. This continued for the Centuries.

Then arose on the horizon Dr. BabaSaheb Ambedkar, the liberator of the Millions of downtrodden in India. He made abolition of the Caste system and Untouchability a mission of His life. Perhaps it would take a rebirth by the Mahatma Gandhi to end the abominable evil of Caste. As he he had said: “If I do not want to attain moksha, I do not want to be reborn. But if I were to be reborn, I should be born an Untouchable… not as a Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya or Shudra But as an Atishudra, a Bhangi.”


Babasaheb Ambedkar raised the banner of Buddhism and brought back to his motherland the Buddha who suffered an exile for over twelve hundred years. Ambedkar, a man of provocative learning, challenged opponents of Buddhism to hold discussions with him, and was confident that he would defeat all Pandits. He propagated Buddhism in India. He made the provision for the study of Pali in the Indian constitution. The Government of India had declared Buddha Jayanti a holiday mainly through his efforts. Dr. Ambedkar was the greatest Pioneer of Buddhist revival in India.

India, no doubt, continues to be proud of its Buddhist heritage. Since regaining independence, Buddhist symbols like the Wheel of Dhamma and the Asoka Capital, have become national symbols and the Mathura Buddha adorns the house of Parliament and inspires Indian lawmakers.

The Buddha established a classless society by opening the gates of the Sangha to all deserving individuals, making no distinction between caste and class. The fundamental principle of Buddhism is equality… Buddhism was called the religion of the Shudra’s… ” There was only one man who raised his voice against separatism and Untouchability and that was Lord Buddha… Buddhism is the only religion, which does not recognize caste and affords full scope for progress.

Dr. Ambedkar’s speech on the Eve of the great conversion at Nagpur on October14, 1956, Dr. Ambedkar said Buddhism can serve not only this country, India, but the whole World at this juncture in the world affairs; Buddhism is indispensable for world peace you must pledge today that you, the followers of Buddha, will not only work to liberate yourself, but will try to elevate your country and the world in general.

Dr. Ambedkar declared: “By discarding my ancient religion which stood for inequality and oppression today I am reborn. I have no faith in the philosophy of incarnation; and it is wrong and mischievous to say that Buddha was an incarnation of Vishnu. I am no more a devotee of any Hindu god or goddess. I will not perform shradha. I will strictly follow the eightfold path of Buddha. Buddhism is a true religion and I will lead a life guided by the tree principles of knowledge, right path and compassion. Dr. Ambedkar denounced Hinduism, its customs and traditions and declared that from that moment onwards he would strive for the spread of equality among human beings.

Emancipation and empowerment of Dalits is possible only through education. The present Dalit leadership, unlike Spartacus or Ambedkar, is suffering from intellectual bankruptcy. It fails to criticize the ruling classes or follow Ambedkar’s philosophical and ideological roots. Nearly 60 to 70 per cent of India’s wealth belongs to Dalits. It is their blood and sweat. But they are the principle victims of the system.

Dr. Ambedkar explained to his people that “a great responsibility had fallen on their shoulders in connection with the upholding of Buddhism; and if they would not follow rigidly and nobly the principles of Buddhism, it would mean that the Mahars reduced it to a miserable state, no other person under that the sum was burdened with such unparalleled responsibility as he was, he concluded.

Dr. Ambedkar set the wheel of Dhamma in motion once again, spreading the message of his Master to all the corners of the world. The Buddhists said the “the Dhamma Chakra was set revolution by Dr.Ambedkar and it was the greatest religious revolution which India had witnessed in modern times.”

Dr. Ambedkar dedicated himself to the propagation of the Buddhist faith in India. He wrote a book on Buddhism titled “Buddha and His Dhamma” explaining its tenets in simple language to the common man. His two other books “Revolution and Counter Revolution in India’ and “Buddha and Karl Marx”

The malafide intentions of including the Buddha in the Avatara pantheon are also clear from the fact that the Brahmins never worshiped the Buddha and no temples were built in his honour. Logically, the theory that Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu is dubious one. Therefore, Dr. Ambedkar exhorted Buddhists not to believe that the Buddha was an incarnation of Vishnu. Now even a Brahmin Priest agrees that the Buddha was not an incarnation of Vishnu. Principal Vipassana Teacher, Shri S.N.Goenka and Sankaracharya of Kanchikam Kote Peetham Sri Jayendra Saraswati made a joint declaration on 11.11.1999 at Sarnath that Gotama the Buddha was not an incarnation of Vishnu.

“I am reported to be against peace. This is not correct. I am for peace. But, the peace, which is, based on justice not the peace of a graveyard. So long as justice is not respected in the world there cannot be any peace. Buddhism and Buddhism alone can save the World.”

Dr. B.R.Ambedkar a great scholar, Lawyer and freedom fighter along with hundreds of thousands of Mahar’s an untouchable caste, converted to Buddhism and changed the face of Buddhism in India. Dr. Ambedkar’s conversion was a symbolic protest to the oppressions of caste inequality. His conversion was an intellectual decision that would meet with the least opposition from the Hindu majority.

India, have no leader of the kind Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Indian Crusader for Social Justice and Champion of Human Rights. One of the greatest contributions of Dr. Ambedkar was in respect of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Indian Constitution. The fundamental Rights provide for freedom, equality, abolition of Untouchability and remedies to ensure the enforcement of rights.

Fifty-five years after independence, Caste prejudices in India have not erased very much. And now there is a deliberate attempt to revive these prejudices to their former position.

Grundtvig’s conception about Nordic mythology and Christian “Anskuelese” may be compared with Ambedkar’s views on the original tradition of Buddhism as a source of inspiration. In describing the work of on Buddhism he said” we have started this movement to develop and educate our minds” Explaining the need for religion among the poor as a need arising for hope, Ambedkar referred to a German professor of his, Professor Wintermitz.


“The Watergang Rabelan Depth was the book which he recommended and by which I was much inspired. It is only the poor, he said who need religion.” Hope is the spring of action in life. Religion affords hope. Therefore, mankind finds solace in the religion, and that is why the poor cling to religion.”

Those who are turned to Buddhism, but remained within Hinduism but wanted Hinduism to change, Ambedkar made the following suggestion:

“You must give a new doctrinal basis to your religion-a-basis that will be in consonance with Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, in short, with Democracy.”

Dr. BabaSaheb Ambedkar once commented, “Dalit representatives elected from reserved seats open their mouth in the Indian parliament only when they have to yawn.”

It was the Buddha who, for the first time in the known history of mankind, attempted to abolish slavery and “invented the higher morality and the idea of the brotherhood of the entire human race, and in striking terms condemned” the degrading caste-system which in Indian society at that time was firmly rooted. The Buddha declared: “By birth is not one an outcast, By birth is not one a Brahmin, By deeds is one an outcast, By deeds is one a Brahmin.”

Dr. Ambedkar in His book “Annihilation of Caste” reproduces his major difference with the Mahatma Gandhi. While he was for abolition of the caste system, prescribed by Hindu sage Manu, Gandhi was for giving up caste prejudice, and for reform of the system, so that the stigma of Untouchability may be removed, but function of various castes remains.

As Dr. Ambedkar could not abolish the caste system, when Mahatma Gandhi asked for dedication on the shared cause of struggle for freedom, he asked for separate electorates for the so-called “outcastes” whom the Mahatma called “Harijan”- sons of the ‘God’

Dr. Ambedkar turned on Gandhi too: The Dalits leaders converted to Buddhism perhaps the least dogmatic or hierarchic of world religions. Dr. Ambedkar’s response to Gandhi was that he wanted to treat the symptom, not the cause of the disease- you can’t abolish Untouchability without addressing the Caste and the Dharma system, which is at the root of it.

“ Gandhiji, felt that the high castes should change their hearts: Dr. Ambedkar said that we’ ve been suffering for over 2000 years, many Hindu saints have come and gone; but nothing has changed, so he legally empowered to challenge it.” Article 17, of the Constitution that abolished “Untouchability” The problem is if you implement it half of India would be in Jail.”


There have been many Mahatmas in India whose sole object was to remove Untouchability and to elevate and absorb the depressed Classes, but every one of them has failed in his mission. Mahatmas have come, Mahatmas have gone. But the Untouchables have remained as Untouchables.

Buddhists of India need the friendship, understanding and cooperation for uplifting themselves and for strengthening the hands of those who are striving for peace, equality and justice. Let the scent of the Dhamma spread in all directions and illumine the minds of those who put much faith in steel and fire but ignore the value of peace, loving kindness and compassion.

Venerable Anagarika Dharampal, great son of Sri Lanka, came to India and was distressed to find even the great Bodhi Gaya Temple in a dilapidated condition under the control of Brahmin Mahant. He struggled to take possession of Boudh -Viharas of the Buddhist but failed owing to the hostile attitude of the British Government and the Upper Caste Hindus. He founded Maha-Boudhi Society to propagate the Dhamma and to continue the struggle for reviving Buddhism.

Dr. S. Radhakrishna, Late -President of India and Philosopher said; Buddhism brought about a profound change in the lives of the Indian people. “For us in this country the Buddha is an outstanding representative of our religious tradition.”

Dr. G.P.Malalasekera said: Let us not forget that some of the leaders of religion have themselves been revolutionaries. The Buddha, for instance, was one of the greatest rebels in human history. He denied the assumptions on which religion in His day was based and gave the religious quest an entirely new orientation. He refused to accept the sincerity of the Vedas or the power of the Priesthood. He refuted the illusion that human problems could be solved with sacred rituals and incarnations. He was a sworn enemy of the Caste –System on which the World structure of Indian Society rested. He was ridiculed and persecuted and several attempts were made on his life.

Dr. Ambedkar said, my final words of advice to you is “Educate, Agitate, Organize” have faith in yourself. With justice on our side, I do not see how we can lose our battle. The battle to me is a matter of joy. The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual. There is nothing material or social in it. For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for reclamations of the human personality.

Amedkar was Bharat Ratna in the refuge of Tri- Ratna Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Therefore all Ambedkarites must call themselves as Buddhist and nothing else. Thus Ambedkar’s whole life and mission was a practical contribution to humanistic Buddhist education in India and not just intellectual and philosophical which is common these days. Though he was not a Buddhist by birth but by practice and at heart he was a Buddhist.

BabaSaheb Ambedkar had said Tuesday July 31, 1956, at his official residence 26 Alipur Road, New Dehli at 17-50 to his Honorary Personal secretary Mr. Nanak Chand Rattu… Tell my people Nanak Chand: “Whatever I have done, I have been able to do after passing through crushing miseries and endless troubles all my life fighting with my opponents. With great difficulty, I have brought this caravan where it is seen today. Let the caravan march on and further on despite the hurdles, pitfalls and difficulties that may come in its way. If my people, my lieutenants are not able to take the caravan ahead, they should leave it where it is seen today, but in no circumstances should they allow the caravan to go back?”

The most significant development in the resurgence of Buddhism in modern India was the movement inaugurated by BabaSaheb Ambedkar, as a result of which mass conversions of Buddhism have been taking place in many parts of the country. The Neo-Buddhist is progressively gaining self-sufficiency as regards temples and shrines, monastic leadership and guidance, educational institutions and religious literature. In India, too, Buddhism is numerically the fastest growing religion.

I, for one, truly believe that individuals can make a difference in society. Since periods of great change such as the present one come so rarely in human history, it is up to the each one of us to make the best use of our time to help create a happier world for new generation to live with peace, freedom and love for mankind on planet earth. This century is the most important century of humankind said: His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

BabaSaheb Ambedkar said: The first point, which makes off Buddha from the rest, is his self-abnegation. JESUS insists that he is the Son of God. MOHAMMED went a step further. He claimed that he was the messenger of God on earth and insisted that he was the last messenger. Lord KRISHNA went a step beyond both Jesus and Mohammed. He claimed that he was “Parameshwar” – the God of Gods. BUDDHA never arrogated to himself a status. He was born a son of man and was content to remain common man and Krishna claimed for them selves a role of MOKSHADATA, Buddha was satisfied with playing the role of MARGADATA.

Buddha’s Teachings are based on wisdom, morals and concentration, which are applicable not only for Buddhist nations but are of Universal application. He is the giver of path of sublime promotions and reliever from painful demotions. Hence let us all practice His teachings without hesitations walking on the path of noble truth realization and making “Nibbana” as our final destination.

The socio-cultural movement, which gradually transformed the original teaching of Buddha to popular Buddhism as practiced by millions of people, needs to be given due consideration in a study of Buddhism as religion.

“The Hindus wanted the Vedas and they sent for Vyasa, who was not a caste Hindu. The Hindus wanted an Epic and they sent for Valmiki, who was an Untouchable. The Hindus wanted a Constitution, and they sent for me.”-Dr. B.R.Ambedkare.

“Law is secular, which any body may break while fraternity or religion is sacred which everybody must respect. My philosophy has a mission. I have to do the work of conversion: for I have to make the followers of Triguna theory to give it up and accept mine. Indians today governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set out in the preamble to the Indian Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion, denies them.” Dr. B.R.Ambedkar
(All-India Radio broadcast of speech on October 03, 1954)

Buddhism makes enlightenment the sole aim of life. This was the philosophy that Ambedkar accepted and tried to revive. Besides this there was another reason. Buddha, whose life and movement Ambedkar had studied, was a believer of the educatability and the creativity of the people. Under the influence of those teachings, the most rejected peoples of India has once risen and uplifted their life as well as that of the whole society. If that was once possible in India, it must be possible again. He had a solid historical basis to trust India’s ordinary folk as India’s future democrats.

This is what Jawaharlal Nehru wrote of the commitment of Ambedkar to the untouchables: “Dr.B.R.Ambedkar would be remembered mostly as the symbol of revolt against all the oppressing features of Hindu society. In a way he symbolized the hopes and aspiration of the oppressed and the Untouchables.”

Buddha was the first religious leader of the world, who expounded peace and equality in the history of man. Five precepts (Panchsheeel) of Buddha’s life are principles of building world peace the precepts Panchsheel based on Buddha’s life would help to build world peace and harmony among the Nations.

Our Humanity is cultivated through our emotions. Each day we should look not only to be moved by others, But also to move them through kindness, patience and caring. Said Venerable Master Hsing Yun.

It is my hope and prayer that we will always live a happy, joyful, peaceful life based on non-violence, truth, equality, love and compassion, this great message of Buddha is relevant today.

Nishikant Waghmare, Peace Representative, The World Peace Prayer Society, USA. Director- Asia & Pacific, Airline Ambassadors International UN NGO USA.

NOTES

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar – -“Buddha and His Dhamma” Siddhartha Publication Mumbai, 1957.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar – – “Annihilation of Caste”

Dr.B.R. Ambedkar – – “Writing and Speeches” The Education Department, Government of Maharashtra, Mumbai 1987.

Mr.Bhagwan Das- “Buddhism in India” Dalit Liberation Today, June 1997, New Delhi.

H.H. Dalai Lama – – “A Human Approach to World Peace.”

H.H. Dalai Lama — “Compassion and the Individual”

Dhananjay Keer – -“Dr. Ambedkar’s Life and Mission” Popular Prakashan, Mumbai, 1971, “Revival of Buddhism”

Dr. Prof. Ananda W.P. Guruge – – “What In Brief Is Buddhism” Published by Mitram Books, A Subsidiary of, Dhamma Healing Way. Inc. Monterey Park, CA. USA, 1999.

W.J. Basil Fernando – – “ Demoralization and Hope” A Comparative study of the Ideas of N.E.S. Grungtvig of Denmark and B.R. Ambedkar of India, A Publication of Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong, 2000.

Venerable Narada Mahathera – – “The Buddha and His Teachings” Buddhist Missionary society, Kuala Lumpur, 1988, “Is Buddhism A Religion”

Venerable Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda – – Ven. Narada Mahathera, Dr. G.P. Maklalasekera “Gems of Buddhist Wisdom” The Buddhist Missionary society, Kuala Lumpur.

S. Krishna (Anand) –“The Buddha the Essence of Dhamma and its Practice” Publication By, Samrudh Bharat Publication, Mumbai, August 2002

The Times of India — “100 Indians who made a difference this Century” Monday, December 6, 1999. Mumbai.

Venerable Bhikkhu Vinayarakkhita, Dharmayatana, Maharagama, Sri Lanka.

Dr. BabaSaheb Ambedkar… “The Man who made all the difference.”


dhammaindia@hotmail.com,
nishi_dhamma@excite.com
nishinirvana@yahoo.com

 


ಪೂನಾ ಒಪ್ಪಂದ- ಸತ್ಯ ಎಲ್ಲೆಡೆಗೆ

22/09/2010
ರಾಮ ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಬುದ್ಧ ಹುಟ್ಟಿದಂತ ದೇಶವೇಂದು ಸಂತೋಷದಿ ಹೇಳುವೆ_ಇದು ಜನಪ್ರಿಯ ಚಿತ್ರವೊಂದರ ಜನಪ್ರಿಯ ಹಾಡು.  ರಾಮಕೃಷ್ಣ ಪುರಾಣದ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳಾದ್ದರಿಂದ ಅವರ ಅಗತ್ಯತೆಯನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಸ್ತಾಪಿಸಲು ಹೋಗುತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ. ಅದೇ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಬುದ್ಧ? ಎಲ್ಲಿಯ ಗಾಂಧಿ? ಎಲ್ಲಿಯ ಬುದ್ಧ?  ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಬಹುಜನ ಹಿತಾಯ, ಬಹುಜನ ಸುಖಾಯಎಂದ ಬುದ್ಧ ಎಲ್ಲಿ? ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರಾಣವನ್ನೇ ಪಣವಾಗಿಟ್ಟು ವಿರೋಧಿಸಿದ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಎಲ್ಲಿ?
1932 ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್ 24ರ ಪೂನಾ ಒಪ್ಪಂದ, ಮತ್ತದರ ಸಂಬಧಿತ ಘಟನಾವಳಿಗಳು  ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರನ್ನು ಅಕ್ಷರಶಃ ಬೆತ್ತಲುಗೊಳಿಸುತ್ತವೆ! ತಮ್ಮ ಹೀನ ತಂತ್ರಗಳ ಮೂಲಕ ಶೋಷಿತ ಜನಸಮುದಾಯದ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳಿಗೆ ಬೆಂಕಿಯಿಡಲು ಯತ್ನಿಸಿದ ಆವರ ನಯವಂಚಕತನವನ್ನು ಬಟಾಬಯಲುಗೊಳಿಸುತ್ತವೆ.
ನಿಜ, ಇಡೀ ದೇಶವೆ ಮಹಾತ್ಮರೆಂದು ಕರೆಯುವ ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರಪಿತ ಎಂದು ಗೌರವಿಸುವ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಕೇವಲವಾಗಿ ಬರೆಯುವುದು ಅಷ್ಟು ಸುಲಭದ ಮಾತಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ಸತ್ಯ ಎಲ್ಲೆಡೆಗೆ ಹಂಚಬೇಕೆಂದಾಗ , ಆ ಸತ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಸೂಕ್ತ ಸಾಕ್ಷಿ ಇರುವಾಗ ಭಯವೇಕೆ? ಅಂಜಿಕೆಏಕೆ? ಅಳುಕೇಕೆ? ಅದರಲ್ಲೂ ಸಕರ್ಾರಿ ಮುದ್ರಿತ ಸಾಕ್ಷಿ ಇರುವಾಗ? ಕನರ್ಾಟಕ ಸಕರ್ಾರದ ಕನ್ನಡ ಮತ್ತು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿ ಇಲಾಖೆ ಪ್ರಕಟಿಸಿರುವ ಬಾಬಾಸಾಹೇಬ್ ಡಾ.ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಬರಹಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ಭಾಷಣಗಳು  ಕೃತಿ ಸರಣಿಯ  9ನೇ ಸಂಪುಟದ  ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ ಮತ್ತು ಗಾಂಧಿ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗಾಗಿ ಮಾಡಿರುವುದೇನು? ಕೃತಿ ಅಂತಹ ಗಟ್ಟಿಸಾಕ್ಷಿಯಾಗಿ ಮಹಾತ್ಮಗಾಂಧಿಯವರ ಇಬ್ಬಗೆಯ ನೀತಿಯನ್ನು ಅಕ್ಷರಶಃ ಬಯಲಿಗೆಳೆಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಮಹಾತ್ಮ ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರನ್ನು ಹೀಗೆ ಬಯಲಿಗೆಳೆಯುವುದರ ಹಿಂದೆ  ಪೂವರ್ಾಗ್ರಹ ಪೀಡಿತ ಮನಸ್ಸಾಗಲೀ   ಯಾವುದೋ ದುರುದ್ದೇಶವಾಗಲೀ ಇಲ್ಲ. ಬದಲಿಗೆ ಸತ್ಯವನ್ನು ತಿಳಿಸುವ ಆ ಮೂಲಕ  ಶೋಷಿತರ ಏಳಿಗೆಗ ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕವಾಗಿ ಅಡ್ಡಿಯಾದ ಕಹಿ ಘಟನೆಯನ್ನು ದಾಖಲಿಸುವುದಷ್ಟೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿಯ ಉದ್ದೇಶ.
ಇರಲಿ, ಪೂನಾ ಒಪ್ಪಂದ ಹಾಗೆಂದರೇನು ಎಂದು ತಿಳಿಯುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಮೊದಲು  ಆ ಒಪ್ಪಂದಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾರಣವಾದ ಕೆಲವು ಘಟನೆಗಳತ್ತ  ಕಣ್ಣಾಯಿಸುವುದು ಸೂಕ್ತ. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ  ಅಂತಹ ಘಟನೆಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ಆ ಘಟನೆಗಳ ಉಪಕ್ರಮವಾಗಿ ರೂಪುಗೊಂಡದ್ದೆ ಈ ಒಪ್ಪಂದ.
1930 ರ ನವೆಂಬರ್ ತಿಂಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷ್ ಭಾರತದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಾಂವಿಧಾನಿಕ ಬೆಳವಣಿಗೆಗಳನ್ನು ಪರಿಷ್ಕರಿಸಲು ಲಂಡನ್ನಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಧಾನಿ ರ್ಯಾಮ್ಸೆ ಮ್ಯಾಕ್ ದೊನಾಲ್ಡ್ರ ಅಧ್ಯಕ್ಷತೆಯಲ್ಲಿ  ಮೊದಲನೆಯ ದುಂಡುಮೇಜಿನ ಸಭೆ ನಡೆಯಿತು. ಸಭೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಪ್ರತಿನಿಧಿಗಳಾಗಿದ್ದ ಡಾ. ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ರವರು ಸಮಾನ ಪೌರತ್ವ, ಸಮಾನತೆಯ ಹಕ್ಕು, ಶಾಸಕಾಂಗಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಾತಿನಿಧ್ಯ, ಉದ್ಯೋಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೀಸಲಾತಿ ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ ಬೇಡಿಕೆಗಳನ್ನೊಳಗೊಂಡ ಜ್ಞಾಪನ ಪತ್ರವೊಂದನ್ನು ದುಂಡುಮೇಜಿನ ಸಭೆಯ ಬಹುಮುಖ್ಯ ಸಮಿತಿಯಾದ ಅಲ್ಪಸಂಖ್ಯಾತರ ಸಮಿತಿಗೆ  ಸಲ್ಲಿಸಿದರು. ಸಭೆಯು ಮುಕ್ತಾಯವಾಗುವ ಮುನ್ನ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರರ ಬೇಡಿಕೆಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ  ಸಹಮತ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಪಡಿಸಿತು. ಒಂದರ್ಥದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಥಮ ದುಂಡುಮೇಜಿನ ಸಭೆ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ  ಒಂದು ರೀತಿಯ ನೈತಿಕ ಜಯವನ್ನು ತಂದುಕೊಟ್ಟತು. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಈ ಸಭೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಪ್ರಥಮವಾಗಿ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರು ಬೇರೆ ಅಲ್ಪಸಂಖ್ಯಾತರ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ  ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಮತ್ತು ಸಾಂವಿಧಾನಿಕ ಹಕ್ಕು ಪಡೆಯಲು ಅರ್ಹರಾಗಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಎಂಬ ತೀಮರ್ಾನ ವ್ಯಕ್ತವಾಯಿತು. ಹಾಗೆಯೇ ಇದು ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರರಿಗೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕ ಪ್ರಥಮ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಯಶಸ್ಸು ಕೂಡ ಆಗಿತ್ತು.
ದುರಂತವೆಂದರೆ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರರ ಈ ಯಶಸ್ಸು ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ಸಿಗರ ಕೆಂಗಣ್ಣಿಗೆ ಗುರಿಯಾಯಿತು. ಹೀಗಾಗಿ ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರರ ಬೇಡಿಕೆಗಳು ಕಾನೂನಾಗಿ ರೂಪಿತವಾಗುತ್ತದೋ ಎಂದು ಆತಂಕಗೊಂಡ, ಮೊದಲ ದುಂಡು ಮೇಜಿನ ಸಭೆಗೆ ಕಾರಣಾಂತರಗಳಿಂದ ಗೈರಾಗಿದ್ದ ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ಸಿಗರು ಎರಡನೇ ದುಂಡುಮೇಜಿನ ಸಭೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾಲ್ಗೊಳ್ಳಲು ನಿರ್ಧರಿಸಿ ಮಹಾತ್ಮಗಾಂದಿಯವರನ್ನು ತನ್ನ ಪ್ರತಿನಿಧಿಯಾಗಿ ಕಳುಹಿಸಿತು.
ಅಚ್ಚರಿಯೆಂದರೆ ಯಾವ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರನ್ನು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಪರ ಎಂದು ಬಿಂಬಿಸಲಾಗಿತ್ತೊ ಅದೇ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರು ಎರಡನೇ ದುಂಡುಮೇಜಿನ  ಸಭೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅದೇ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ನಿಂತರು! ಇದು ಯಾವ ಪರಿ ಎಂದರೆ ಸ್ವತಃ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ರವರೇ ಇದು ಶ್ರೀ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ಸು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಸಾರಿದ  ಸಮರವಾಗಿತ್ತು ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ! ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಯೇನೆಂದರೆ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ಸಿಗರು  ಹಾಗೇಕೆ ಮಾಡಿದರು?  ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಸಮರ ಸಾರುವ ಅಗತ್ಯವಾದರೂ ಏನಿತ್ತು? ಇದು ಸವಣರ್ೀಯ ಹಿಂದುಗಳು ಒಟ್ಟಾಗಿ  ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳನ್ನು ತುಳಿಯುವ ಹೀನ ಕೃತ್ಯವಾಗಿತ್ತೇ? ಮತ್ತು ಅಂತಹ ಕೃತ್ಯದ ನೇತೃತ್ವವನ್ನು ಸ್ವತಃ ಮಹಾತ್ಮಗಾಂಧಿಯವರೇ  ವಹಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದರೆ? ಮುಂದಿನ ಮಾತುಗಳು ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಸಾಕ್ಷಿ ಒದಗಿಸುತ್ತವೆ. ನವೆಂಬರ್ 13 1931 ರಂದು ದುಂಡುಮೇಜಿನ ಸಭೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಿದ ಮಹಾತ್ಮಗಾಂಧಿಯವರ  ಆ ಮಾತುಗಳು ಒಂದರ್ಥದಲಿ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಹೆಣದ ಮೇಲೆ ಹೊಡೆದ ಕೊನೆಯ ಮೊಳೆಗಳಂತೆ  ಕಂಡರೂ ಅಚ್ಚರಿ ಇಲ್ಲ! ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರ ಅಂದಿನ ಮನಸ್ಥಿತಿಯನ್ನು ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರರ ಮಾತುಗಳಲ್ಲೇ ಹೇಳುವುದಾದರೆ ಶ್ರೀ ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರು ಆವೇಶ ಭರಿತರಾಗಿದ್ದರು. ಈ ಅಲ್ಪಸಂಖ್ಯಾತರ (ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರು, ಮುಸಲ್ಮಾನರು, ಕ್ರೈಸ್ತರು, ಸಿಖ್ಖರು, ಆಂಗ್ಲೋಇಂಡಿಯನ್ನರು) ಒಡಂಬಡಿಕೆಯನ್ನು  ಸಿದ್ದ ಪಡಿಸುವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾಗವಹಿಸಿದ ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರ ಮೇಲೂ ಅವರು ಹರಿ ಹಾಯ್ದರು. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ಅವರು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಹಕ್ಕನ್ನು  ನೀಡುವುದನ್ನು ಉಗ್ರವಾಗಿ ಪ್ರತಿಭಟಿಸಿದರು! ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ.
ಅಂದಹಾಗೆ ಸಭೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಆಕ್ರೋಶಗೊಂಡ  ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರು ಮಾತನಾಡುತ್ತಾ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಪರವಾಗಿ ಮುಂದಿಡಲಾದ  ಈ ಬೇಡಿಕೆ (ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಹಕ್ಕು) ನನ್ನನ್ನು ನಿರ್ದಯವಾಗಿ ಇರಿದಂತಿದೆ!  ಬೇಕಾದರೆ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರು ಇಸ್ಲಾಂ ಧರ್ಮಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗಲಿ, ಕ್ರೈಸ್ತ ಧರ್ಮವನ್ನಾದರೂ ಸೇರಲಿ, ನನ್ನದೇನು ಅಭ್ಯಂತರವಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ಅವರಿಗೆ  ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ಮತದಾನ ಪದ್ಧತಿ ನೀಡುವುದನ್ನು ಖಂಡತುಂಡವಾಗಿ ವಿರೋಧಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇದು ಯಾವ ಪರಿ ಎಂದರೆ ಭಾರತಕ್ಕೆ ಸ್ವಾತಂತ್ರ್ಯ ಕೊಡದಿದ್ದರೂ ಪರವಾಗಿಲ್ಲ  ಅಸ್ಫೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ಮತದಾನ ಪದ್ಧತಿ ಕೊಡುವುದು ಮಾತ್ರ ಬೇಡ. ಹಾಗೇನಾದರೂ  ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ಮತದಾನ ಪದ್ಧತಿ ಮತು ಮೀಸಲಾತಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟಿದ್ದೇ ಆದರೆ ಅದನ್ನು ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಾಣವನ್ನೇ ಪಣವಾಗಿಟ್ಟು ವಿರೋಧಿಸುವೆ ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ. ತಮ್ಮ ಈ ವಿರೋಧಕ್ಕೆ  ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರು  ಕೊಡುವ ಕಾರಣವಾದರೂ ಎನು? ಇದರಿಂದ ಹಿಂದೂ ಧರ್ಮದ ವಿಭಜನೆ ಯಾಗುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂದು!
ಯಾರನ್ನು ಮಹಾತ್ಮ ಎನ್ನಲಾಗುತ್ತಿತ್ತೋ, ಯಾರನ್ನು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಉದ್ಧಾರಕ ಎನ್ನಲಾಗುತ್ತಿತ್ತೋ ಅಂತಹವರಿಂದ ಹೊರಟ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯೋದ್ಧಾರದ ಮಾತುಗಳಿವು! ಹಾಗೇನಾದರೂ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರ ಮಾತೇ ಅಂತಿಮ ತೀಪರ್ು ಎನ್ನುವ ಹಾಗಿದ್ದರೆ ಆವತ್ತೆ  ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಹಣೆಬರಹ ಏನೆಂದು ತೀಮರ್ಾನವಾಗಿರುತ್ತಿತ್ತು! ಆದರೆ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರ ಆ ರೋಷದ  ಮಾತುಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅಷ್ಟಾಗಿ ತಲೆಕೆಡಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳದ ಸಭೆ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಅವರ ನ್ಯಾಯಬದ್ಧ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳನ್ನು ನೀಡುವುದರ ಪರ ಇದ್ದಂತ್ತಿತು.್ತ ಅಲ್ಲದೇ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಮೊದಲನೇ ಶತೃ ಸಾಕ್ಷಾತ್ ಗಾಂಧಿಜಿಯವರೇ ಎಂದು ಇಡೀ ಸಭೆಗೆ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿತಿಳಿದು ಹೋಯಿತು. ತಾನು ನೀಡುವ  ತೀಪರ್ಿಗೆ ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಬದ್ಧ ರಾಗಿರಬೇಕೆಂದು ಒಪ್ಪಿಗೆ ಪಡೆದು ಎಲ್ಲರಿಂದಲೂ ಸಹಿ ಹಾಕಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷ್ ಪ್ರಧಾನಿಯವರು ಎಲ್ಲರನ್ನು ಭಾರತಕ್ಕೆ ವಾಪಸ್ ಕಳುಹಿಸಿದರು.
ಇತ್ತ ಭಾರತಕ್ಕೆ ವಾಪಸ್ ಬಂದ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರು ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ಕೂರಲಿಲ್ಲ್ಲ. ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಬೇಡಿಕೆಗಳ ಪರ ನಿಂತಿದ್ದ ಮುಸಲ್ಮಾನರನ್ನು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಎತ್ತಿಕಟ್ಟಲು ಯತ್ನಿಸಿದರು. ಆದರೆ ಪ್ರತಿಫಲ ಶೂನ್ಯವಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಇದನ್ನು ಸ್ವತಃ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ರವರೇ ಮುಸಲ್ಮಾನರು ಈ ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಪಿತೂರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾಗಿಗಳಾಗಲು ನಿರಾಕರಸಿದ್ದರಿಂದ  ಈ ಯೋಜನೆ ವಿಫಲಗೊಂಡಿತು ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ.
ಒಟ್ಟಾರೆ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರಿಂದ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಯಾದ ಈ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಗೊಂದಲಗಳ ನಡುವೆ ಆಗಸ್ಟ್ 17 1932 ರಂದು ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷ್ ಪ್ರಧಾನಿ ರ್ಯಾಮ್ಸೆ ಮ್ಯಾಕ್  ಡೊನಾಲ್ಡ್ ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಕೋಮುವಾರು ತೀಪರ್ು ಪ್ರಕಟಿಸಿದರು. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ರವರು ಕೇಳಿದ್ದ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ನ್ಯಾಯಬದ್ಧ ಬೇಡಿಕೆಗಳನ್ನು( ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ಮತದಾನ ಪದ್ಧತಿ, ಉದ್ಯೋಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೀಸಲಾತಿ, ಸಮಾನ ನಾಗರೀಕ ಹಕ್ಕು ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ ) ಈಡೇರಿಸಲಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಹಾಗೇಯೇ ಹಿಂದೂ ಧರ್ಮ  ವಿಭಜನೆಯಾಗುತ್ತದೆಎಂಬ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರ ಆತಂಕವನ್ನು ದೂರಗೊಳಿಸಲು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಎರಡು ಓಟು ಹಾಕುವ ಹಕ್ಕು ನೀಡಲಾಯಿತು! ಒಂದು ಓಟನ್ನು ತಮ್ಮವರು ಮಾತ್ರ ಸ್ಪಧರ್ಿಸುವ ಹಾಗೇ ತಾವೊಬ್ಬರೇ ಮಾತ್ರ ಮತ ಚಲಾಯಿಸುವ ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ಮತಕ್ಷೇತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಚಲಾಯಿಸಲು, ಮತ್ತೊಂದನ್ನು ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರದ ಅಭ್ಯಥರ್ಿಗಳ ಪರ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯ ಮತ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಚಲಾಯಿಸಲು ಅವಕಾಶ ನೀಡಲಾಯಿತು.  ಒಂದರ್ಥದಲಿ ಅಸ್ಪೃ ಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ನೀಡಲಾದ  ಈ ಎರಡು ಓಟು ಹಾಕುವ ಹಕ್ಕು ಶತಮಾನಗಳಿಂದ ನೊಂದವರಿಗೆ ಅಮೃತ ಸಿಕ್ಕ ಹಾಗೆ ಆಗಿತ್ತು.
ಒಟ್ಟಿನಲಿ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರರ ನ್ಯಾಯಬದ್ಧವಾದ, ತರ್ಕಬದ್ಧವಾದ ಬೇಡಿಕೆ ಮತ್ತು ಆ ಬೇಡಿಕೆಗೆ ಪೂರಕವಾಗಿ ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷ್ ಪ್ರಧಾನಿಯವರ ಬುದ್ಧಿವಂತಿಕೆಯ ತೀಮರ್ಾನ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯತೆಯ ಸಮಸ್ಯೆಯನ್ನು ಒಮ್ಮೆಲೆ ಕೊನೆಗಾಣಿಸುವ ಸದಾಶಯವನ್ನು ಇಡೀ ಭಾರತದಾದ್ಯಂತ ಬಿತ್ತಿತು.
ಆದರೆ? ಯಾವ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರನ್ನು ತಾವು  ಶತಮಾನಗಳಿಂದ ಶೋಷಿಸಿದ್ದೇವೆಯೋ ಅಂತಹ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಒಮ್ಮೆಲೇ ಅಮೃತ ಸಿಗುವುದನ್ನು ಯಾರು ತಾನೆ ಸಹಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾರೆ? ಅದೂ ಸಾಕ್ಷಾತ್ ಮಹಾತ್ಮ ಗಾಂಧೀಜೀಯವರೆ ಆ ಗುಂಪಿನ ನಾಯಕರಾಗಿರುವಾಗ? ಅಲ್ಲದೆ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ನೀಡಲಾಗುವ ಅಂತಹ ಯಾವುದೇ ಸೌಲಭ್ಯವನ್ನು ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಾಣವನ್ನೇ ಪಣವಾಗಿಟ್ಟು ವಿರೋಧಿಸುವೆ ಎಂದು ಅವರು ಮೊದಲೇ ತಿಳಿಸಿರುವಾಗ? ಅಕ್ಷರಶಃ ನಿಜ. ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯುವರು  ತಮ್ಮ ಆ ತೀಮರ್ಾನಕ್ಕ ಬದ್ಧ ರಾದರು. ಅಂತಹ ಬದ್ಧತೆಯ (ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರನ್ನು ತುಳಿಯುವ)  ಕಾರಣದಿಂದಲೇ ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್ 20 1932 ರಂದು  ಪೂನಾದ ಯರವಾಡ ಜೈಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಅಮರಣಾಂತ ಉಪವಾಸ  ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹ ಕುಳಿತರು. ಇದುವರೆಗೂ ತಾವು ಕೈಗೊಂಡಿದ್ದ 21 ಉಪವಾಸಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಒಮ್ಮೆಯೂ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಪರ ಉಪವಾಸ ಕೈಗೊಳ್ಳದ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರು ಪ್ರಪ್ರಥಮವಾಗಿ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ವಿರುದ್ಧವೇ ಉಪವಾಸ ಪ್ರಾರಂಭಿಸಿದ್ದರು!
ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರ ಈ ಹೇಯ ಉಪವಾಸವನ್ನು ಅವರ ಶಿಷ್ಯನೊಬ್ಬ ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಮಹಾನ್ ಉಪವಾಸ ವೆಂದು ಬಣ್ಣಿಸಿದ! ಇಂತಹ ಈ ಬಣ್ಣನೆಗೆ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ರವರ ಪ್ರತಿಕ್ರಿಯೆ ಹೀಗಿತ್ತು ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಮಹತ್ತು ಏನಿದೆಯೋ ನಾನರಿಯೆ. ಈ ಕ್ರಿಯೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಶೌರ್ಯವೇನು ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ನಿಜವಾದ ಅರ್ಥದಲ್ಲಿ ಅದು ಹೇಡಿಯ ಕೃತ್ಯವಾಗಿತ್ತು,. ಅದು ಕೇವಲ ದುಸ್ಸಾಹಸವೇ ಆಗಿತ್ತು. ತನ್ನ ಅಮರಣಾಂತ ಉಪವಾಸಕ್ಕೆ  ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷ್ ಸರಕಾರವೂ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರೂ ಗಢಗಢ ನಡುಗಿ ನೆಲಕಚ್ಚುವರೆಂದೂ, ತಮಗೆ ಅವರೆಲ್ಲ ಶರಣಾಗಿ ಬರುವರೆಂದೂ ಶ್ರೀಮಾನ್ ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರು ನಂಬಿದ್ದರು. ಆದರೆ ಅವರು (ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರು ಮತ್ತು ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷರು) ಧೃಡವಾಗಿಯೇ ಉಳಿದು  ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರನ್ನು ಪರೀಕ್ಷಿಸಬಯಸಿದರು. ಒಂದರ್ಥದಲಿ ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರ ಪರೀಕ್ಷೆಯೂ ಆಯಿತು!  ತಾನು ಹೊಂಚಿದ ಉಪಾಯ ಅತಿಯಾಯಿತೆಂದು ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರಿಗೆ ಮನವರಿಕೆಯಾದಾಗ  ಅವರ ಶೂರತನವು ಸೋರಿಹೋಗಿತ್ತು. ಅಸ್ಪಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ನೀಡಿರುವ  ಸೌಲಭ್ಯವನ್ನು ಹಿಂತೆಗೆಸಿ  ಅವರನ್ನು ಯಾವುದೇ ಸಹಾಯವಿಲ್ಲದ, ಯಾವುದೇ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳಿಲ್ಲದ ನಿಕೃಷ್ಟರನ್ನಾಗಿ ಮಾಡುವವರೆಗೂ ನನ್ನ ಉಪವಾಸ ಮುಂದುವರೆಯುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂದು  ಪ್ರಾರಂಭವಾದ ಅವರ ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹ  ಕಡೆಗೆ ನನ್ನ ಜೀವ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಕೈಯಲ್ಲಿದೆ. ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಬದುಕಿಸಿ ಎಂದು ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಬೇಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವವರೆಗೆ ತಲುಪಿತು!  ಒಪ್ಪಂದಕ್ಕೆ ಸಹಿಹಾಕಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಅವರು ತುಂಬಾ ಹಪಹಪಿಸತೊಡಗಿದರು.  ಪೂನಾ ಒಪ್ಪಂದಕ್ಕೆ ಸಹಿಯಾಗದೆ ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷ್ ಪ್ರಧಾನಿಯವರ ಕೋಮುವಾರು ತೀಪರ್ು ರದ್ಧಾಗುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ.  ಪ್ರಾರಂಭದಲ್ಲಿ  ಶ್ರೀಮಾನ್ ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರು ಒತ್ತಾಯಿಸಿದ್ದು ಇದನ್ನೆ. ಹಾಗೆಯೇ ಕೋಮುವಾರು ತೀಪರ್ಿಗೆ ಪರ್ಯಾಯವಾಗಿ ಒಪ್ಪಂದದಲ್ಲಿ ಸೂಕ್ತ ಸಾಂವಿಧಾನಿಕ ರಕ್ಷಣೆಯನ್ನು ಸೇರಿಸಲಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಹೀಗಿದ್ದರೂ ಒಪ್ಪಂದಕ್ಕೆ ಸಹಿಮಾಡಲು ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರು ತೋರಿಸಿದ ಅವಸರ ಒಬ್ಬ ಧೈರ್ಯಗುಂದಿದ  ನಾಯಕ ತಮ್ಮ ಮಯರ್ಾದೆಯನ್ನು ಎಲ್ಲಕಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಪ್ರಾಣವನ್ನು ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಪರದಾಡಿದ ರೀತಿಯಂತಿತ್ತು!
ಅಂದಹಾಗೆ ಶ್ರೀಮಾನ್ ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರ ಉಪವಾಸ ಕ್ರಿಯೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಶ್ರೇಷ್ಟವಾದುದು ಏನೂ ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಅದೊಂದು ಕೀಳು ಹೊಲಸು ಕ್ರಿಯೆಯಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಅದು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಒಳಿತಾಗಿರದೆ ಅವರ ಅವನತಿಯ ಉದ್ದೇಶ ಹೊಂದಿತ್ತು.  ಅಸಾಹಯಕ ಜನರ ಮೇಲೆ ನಡೆಸಿದ ಅಧಮ್ಯ ದೌರ್ಜನ್ಯ ಅದಾಗಿತ್ತು.   ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷ್ ಪ್ರಧಾನಮಂತ್ರಿ ಅಸ್ಪಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ  ನೀಡಲು ಉದ್ದೇಶಿಸಿದ್ದ ಸಾಂವಿಧಾನಿಕ ಸೌಲಭ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಕಿತ್ತುಕೊಂಡು, ಸವಣರ್ೀಯರ ಆಳ್ವಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ  ಅಸ್ಪಶ್ಯರನ್ನು ಗುಲಾಮರನ್ನಾಗಿಸುವ ಉದ್ದೇಶಹೊಂದಿದ್ದ ಅಮರಣಾಂತ ಉಪವಾಸ ಅದಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಅದು ನೀಚ ಹಾಗು ದುಷ್ಟ ಕ್ರಿಯೆಯಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಇಂತಹ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರಾಮಾಣಿಕರೆಂದೂ, ನಂಬಲರ್ಹ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಗಳೆಂದೂ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರು ಹೇಗೆ ಹೇಳಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯ?
ಒಟ್ಟಿನಲಿ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರು ನಬಂಬಲನರ್ಹ ಎಂಬುದು ಇಡೀ ಜಗತ್ತಿಗೇ ಗೊತ್ತಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಅವರ ಡಬಲ್ ಗೇಮ್ನ ಹಿಂದಿರುವ ಸತ್ಯ ಇಡೀ ಜಗತ್ತಿಗೇ ಪರಿಚಯವಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಅಂದಹಾಗೆ ಹೇಗಾದರೂ ಮಾಡಿ ಜೀವ ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳ ಬೇಕೆಂಬ ಧಾವಂತದಲ್ಲಿ ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರಿದ್ದರೆ ಈ ಸಂಧರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ರವರ ಮನಸ್ಥಿತಿ ಹೇಗಿತ್ತು? ಅವರ ಮಾತುಗಳಲ್ಲೇ ಹೇಳುವುದಾದರೆ ನನ್ನ ಮಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಹೇಳುವುದಾದರೆ ಅಂದು ನಾನು ಎದುರಿಸಿದ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಗಂಭೀರ ಮತ್ತು ಅತೀವ ಉಭಯಸಂಕಟವನ್ನು ಬಹುಶಃ ಯಾರೂ ಎದುರಿಸಿರಲಿಕ್ಕಿಲ್ಲ. ಅದು ದಿಗ್ಭ್ರಮೆಗೊಳಿಸುವಂತಹ ಪ್ರಸಂಗವಾಗಿತ್ತು. ನನಗೆ ಎರಡು ಪರ್ಯಾಯ ಮಾರ್ಗಗಳಿದ್ದು ಅವುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನು ಒಂದನ್ನು ಅನುಸರಿಸಬೇಕಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಮಾನವೀಯತೆಯ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಯಿಂದ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರನ್ನು ಸಾವಿನ ದವಡೆಯಿಂದ ಪಾರುಮಾಡಬೇಕಾದ ಕರ್ತವ್ಯ ನನ್ನೆದುರಿಗಿತ್ತು, ಅಲ್ಲದೆ ಬ್ರಿಟಿಷ್ ಪ್ರಧಾನಿಯವರು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಕೊಡಮಾಡಿದ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳನ್ನು ರಕ್ಷಿಸುವ ಹೊಣೆಯೂ ನನ್ನ ಮೇಲಿತ್ತು. ಕಡೆಗೆ ನಾನು ಮಾನವೀಯತೆಯ ಕರೆಗೆ ಓಗೊಟ್ಟೆ! ಶ್ರೀಮಾನ್ ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರಿಗೆ ಒಪ್ಪಿಗೆಯಾಗುವಂತೆ ಕೋಮುವಾರು ತೀಪರ್ಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾಪರ್ಾಡುಮಾಡಲು ಒಪ್ಪಿಕೊಂಡೆ. ಈ ಒಪ್ಪಂದವನ್ನೆ ಪೂನಾ ಒಪ್ಪಂದ ಎಂದು ಕರೆಯಲಾಗಿದೆ.
ಹೀಗೆ ಗಾಂಧಿಜಿಯವರ ಪ್ರಾಣವನ್ನು ಉಳಿಸಲು ತನ್ನ ಜನರ ಹಿತವನ್ನೇ ಬಲಿಕೊಟ್ಟು  ಡಾ. ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ರವರು 1932 ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್  24 ರಂದು ಪೂನಾ ಒಪ್ಪಂದಕ್ಕೆ  ಸಹಿಹಾಕಿದರು.
ನೆನಪಿರಲಿ, ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿ ಮತ್ತು ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ರವರ ನಡುವೆ ನಡೆದ  ಈ ಒಪ್ಪಂದ ಕೂಡ ಅಂತರಾಷ್ಟೀಯ ಒಪ್ಪಂದವಾಗಿತ್ತು! ಖ್ಯಾತ ಚಿಂತಕ ವಿ.ಟಿ. ರಾಜಶೇಖರ್ ಜಾತಿಯನ್ನು ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರದೊಳಗಿನ ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರ ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ ಈ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರು ಸವರ್ಣ ಹಿಂದೂ ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರದ ಪ್ರತಿನಿಧಿಯಾದರೆ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ರವರು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯ ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರದ ಪ್ರತಿನಿಧಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದರು!
ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರೇನೋ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಹೋರಾಟದ ಕಾರಣಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಅದಾಗಲೇ ಮಹಾತ್ಮ ಎನಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದರು. ಆದರೆ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್? ನಿಸ್ಸಂಶಯವಾಗಿ ಈ ಒಪ್ಪಂದದ ನಂತರ ಅವರು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ಪ್ರಶ್ನಾತೀತ ನಾಯಕನಾಗಿ ಹೊರಹೊಮ್ಮಿದರು.  ಮಹಾತ್ಮ ಗಾಧಿಜಿಯವರೇ ತಮ್ಮ ನೈಜ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿತ್ವವನ್ನು ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನಕಿಟ್ಟು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರ ವಿರುದ್ಧವೇ ಉಪವಾಸ ಕೂರಬೇಕಾದ ಸಂಧಿಗ್ಧ ಸಂಧರ್ಭ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಸಿದ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರರ ತಂತ್ರ ಜಗತ್ತಿನಾದ್ತದ್ಯಂತ ಪ್ರಸಂಶೆಗೆ ಒಳಗಾಯಿತು.
ಇರಲಿ, ಈ ಒಪ್ಪಂದದಿಂದ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ದಕ್ಕಿದ್ದಾದ್ದರೂ ಎನು? ಕೋಮುವಾರು ತೀಪರ್ಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಸ್ತಾಪಿಸಿದ್ದ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಸಮಾನ ನಾಗರೀಕ  ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳನ್ನು ನೀಡುವ , ಸಕರ್ಾರಿ ಉದ್ಯೋಗಗಳಲ್ಲಿ  ಮೀಸಲಾತಿ ನೀಡುವ ತೀಮರ್ಾನಗಳನ್ನು  ಈ ಒಪ್ಪಂದ ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿತ್ತು. ಹಾಗೆಯೇ  ಮೀಸಲು ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರಗಳು ಕೂಡ ದೊರಕಿತ್ತು. ಕೊರತೆ ಏನೆಂದರೆ ಅಸ್ಫೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ನೀಡಲಾಗಿದ್ದ ಆ ಪವಿತ್ರ ಎರಡು ಓಟು ಹಾಕುವ ಹಾಗು ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ಮತದಾನ ಪದ್ಧತಿಯನ್ನು ಕಿತ್ತುಕೊಳ್ಳಲಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಅಮೃತ ಸಮಾನವಾಗಿದ್ದ ಇವು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಧಕ್ಕದಂತೆ ತಡೆಯುವಲ್ಲಿ ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರು ನಡೆಸಿದ ಆ ಉಪವಾಸ ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹ ಯಶಸ್ವಿಯಾಗಿತ್ತು.
ಒಂದಂತು ನಿಜ, ಬಾಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯೋದ್ಧಾರದ ಮಂತ್ರ, ಬಗಲಲ್ಲಿ ಅವರನ್ನು ಸದೆಬಡಿಯಲು ದೊಣ್ಣೆ ಹಿಡಿಯುವ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರ ತಂತ್ರ ಪೂನಾ ಒಪ್ಪಂದದ ಮೂಲಕ ಬೀದಿಗೆ ಬಂದಿತ್ತು. ಅವರ ಈ ತಂತ್ರವನ್ನು ನೋಡಿಯೇ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ರವರು ಅವರನ್ನು ಯಶಸ್ವಿ ನಯವಂಚಕ ಎಂದಿರುವುದು. ಹೀಗಿರುವಾಗ ಅವರು ಅಂದರೆ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿಯವರು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಮಹಾತ್ಮ ಹೇಗಾಗುತ್ತಾರೆ? ಬೇಕಿದ್ದರೆ ಅವರು ಸವರ್ಣ ಹಿಂದೂಗಳ ಲೋಕದ ಮಹಾತ್ಮರಾಗಬಹುದು . ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯ ಲೋಕಕ್ಕಂತೂ ಖಂಡಿತ ಅಲ್ಲ!
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Remembering Dr. Ambedkar

09/09/2010
For some years now all the political parties have been celebrating 14 April -Dr. Ambedkar’s birthday – in a big way; for most of them it is a ritual. This year too they performed the ritual.
Some of the major parties indulge in unalloyed hypocrisy in that they do two things simultaneously. One, their think tanks attack Dr. Ambedkar mercilessly; they are very angry that there are more statues of Dr. Ambedkar than that of Gandhiji, and that, too, of a larger size; angry because Dr. Ambedkar is called the father/architect of the Indian Constitution. They are dismissive of the perpetual suffering and unequal status of the depressed section of our population and Dr. Ambedkar’s fight for their right to be human. Two, on 14 April the leaders garland Dr. Ambedkar’ s “over-sized” statues, hail him as the architect of the Constitution and as one who sowed the seeds of social democracy and social equality.
The think tank – the ‘ideologues’ of ‘patriotic’ political formations – shed crocodile tears over Ambedkar’s disagreement with Gandhiji on a number of issues. They, however, conveniently forget what Gandhiji thought of Ambedkar: “If Ambedkar does not break our heads, it is an act of self-restraint on his part. Dr. Ambedkar has had to suffer humiliations and insults which should make any one of us bitter and resentful. Had I been in his place, I would have been as angry. We shall be unfit to gain swaraj so long as we keep in bondage a fifth of the population. In the history of world religions there is perhaps nothing like our treatment of the suppressed classes. Caste Hindu well-wishers of untouchables have no right to speak for them.”
Dr. Ambedkar was a revolutionary, rationalist-humanist, human rights intellectual-activist, a man who looked ahead of his time. He wondered “why the Hindus having traditions of charity and humanity – their regard for animal life -should behave so heartlessly towards their fellow human beings and in such unreasonable ways. The Hindu community is set in the steel frame of the caste system, in which one caste is lower than another in social gradation involving particular privileges, rights, inhibition and disabilities with regard to each caste. This system has created vested interests which depend upon maintaining the inequalities resulting from the system”. He, therefore, “unfurled the banner of equality”. He was not satisfied with the abolition of untouchability only, leaving the caste system along with “the inequalities inherent in the system”. Dr. Ambedkar embraced Buddhism because the Buddhist dharma is based on scientific reasoning, it seeks to achieve human freedom, equality, liberty and fraternity. According to him Buddhism is the only religion which does not sanctify poverty and inequality: nirvana is the way “to remove injustice and inhumanity that man does to man.” Buddha taught “social freedom, intellectual freedom, and political freedom. He taught equality, equality not between man and man only but between man and woman. His concern was to give salvation to man in his life on earth, and not to promise it to him in heaven after he is dead”.
Many progressives whisper that Dr. Ambedkar accepted a cabinet post in Pandit Nehru’s government because he wanted, political, power. Like all political leaders he too wanted power, but unlike most of them he accepted a cabinet post to empower those who have remained depressed and deprived for centuries. But for him the progressive provisions in the Constitution might not have been incorporated. He devoted his whole life to the cause of human rights of the depressed; his mission in life was. to restore human dignity to those who have been victims of an ugly and unjust hierarchical social order which gave rise to injustice and ,inequality. “My hear breaks”, he said, “to see the pitiable sight of your faces and hear your sad voices”. To the Hindus he said. “If you say that Hindu religion is our religion, then your right and ours must be equal. But is this the case?” Dr. Ambedkar fought a relentless battle against this social order and was one of the very few Indian leaders who was forthright, and called a spade a spade: “I hate all injustice, tyranny, pompousness and humbug”. Dr. Ambedkar believed that if he succeeded in his struggle – struggle for a just social order – it will prove a blessing for all Indians, not merely any group or community. He wanted the dominating section of our people to adopt a strong position against the hierarchical social order. Regrettably, not many have taken a position.
Dr. Ambedkar will be remembered for all time to come as the architect of the Indian Constitution, specially for the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles Chapters which, aim at eradicating “all injustice and tyranny” and ushering in social democracy and social equality. He was however, disappointed that the dominating section of our society did not rise to the occasion and did not water the plants that he had planted. Our political rulers have failed Ambedkar and his vision. It is now for human rights groups and grassroots activists to make social democracy and equality a way of life in the absence of which political democracy will always stand on a shaky foundation. (21 April, 2000).
By R. M. Pal



Proud to be a Dalit: A quiet revolution is underway in the Dalit world[Telegraph News Calcutta]

09/09/2010
A quiet revolution is underway in the Dalit world — assertiveness is replacing defensiveness. Many Dalits, buoyed by prosperity, are flaunting their caste on their sleeves and celebrating it in rap and pop albums. Seetha and V. Kumara Swamy look at how Dalits are changing the way the world looks at them
STANDING TALL: Cars with a defiant chamar or chamar da munda scrawled on windshields are common in Jalandhar; (below) P. Nagrare started an engineering college along with other Dalits; (bottom) H. Bhaskar, who set up Kota Tutorials, says he is proud to be a Jatav

Sons of chamars are six feet tall
Riding bikes at the speed of bullets
And making headlines everywhere

Upcoming Punjabi singer Lovely Bhatia’s Chadadh Chamaran Di (Rising Chamars) is a big hit in parts of Punjab. That’s not surprising, for the song is the anthem of the young Dalit.

You can be imprisoned, under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, for using the word chamar — a term for a scheduled caste community that traditionally worked with leather — as an abuse.

In parts of Punjab, though, rap and pop albums celebrating the chamar identity are the new rage. Cars and scooters sporting a defiant chamar or Chamaran da Munda (son of a chamar) stickers are a common sight in Jalandhar.

“When I was young, I feared saying that I was a chamar, thinking that my colleagues would look down upon me. But now I say that I am proud to be a chamar,” says Sriram Prakash who, after retirement from the Punjab police, has been working with a Dalit religious group, the Ravidasias.

It isn’t just in Punjab. Agra’s Harsh Bhaskar, 32, who set up the multi-city Kota Tutorials and the Edify Institute of Management and Technology, outside Agra, declares he is “proud” to be a Jatav. J.S. Phulia, who runs a Delhi-based shipping and logisitics firm, says: “We don’t want to be servile.”

Alongside atrocities by upper castes in villages and discrimination in the work place, another chapter is being written in the Dalit story — assertion is replacing defensiveness. In Punjab, the assertion is in your face; in other parts of the country, it is quieter, but palpable.

“Dalits are sick of taunts about their poverty, their so-called unclean habits and their dependence on reservations for education and jobs,” says Dalit writer and activist Chandrabhan Prasad. “They want to change these impressions.”

What is more, Dalit entrepreneurs are expanding, and even have their own apex body — the Pune-based Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Dicci), which has over 400 members.

Dalits are also setting up schools and colleges — often as an avenue for helping the community. Pradeep Nagrare, secretary of the Nagpur-based Nagarjuna Institute of Engineering Technology and Management , says the idea for the institute, where 60 per cent of students are Dalits, came from the Babasaheb Ambedkar National Association of Engineers, a group of scheduled caste engineers. “If we have to take Babasaheb Ambedkar’s mission forward, it can only be through education,” he says.

Dalit movements seeking to change lives have taken various forms, says S.S. Jodhka, professor of sociology at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Political mobilisation saw the rise of the Bahujan Samaj Party, human right struggles focused on atrocities and discrimination while socio-economic development dealt with education and business. Religious movements have ranged from Dalits embracing Buddhism to the recent Ravidasia assertion in Punjab, spearheaded by followers of Ravidas, a 15th century saint who belonged to the chamar community.

The hub of the Ravidasia movement is Dera Sachkhand, near Jalandhar. A huge Ravidas temple is being built in Jalandhar, young men sport T-shirts and headbands with the Hari symbol of the Ravidasia community. Dalits in Punjab — Sikhs and non-Sikhs — are being encouraged to list Ravidasia as their religion in the 2011 census.

The movement grew as a reaction to years of discrimination. Dalits, who tilled the fields of Jat Sikhs, were not allowed inside the latter’s gurdwaras. So small gurdwaras mainly for Dalits cropped up. “The Jats of Punjab have been asserting their identity for long; it’s our turn now,” says Manohar Lal Mehey, an industrialist who proudly displays the Ravidasia symbol on his Mitsubishi Lancer. The movement got a fillip after the killing of a sect leader by upper caste Sikhs in Vienna, Austria, last year led to widespread violence.

The trigger wasn’t so specific in the case of Dalit entrepreneurship, which is mainly a post-1990s phenomenon. The shrinking government sector, after liberalisation was launched, reduced regular job opportunities. Simultaneously, as companies began outsourcing activities to become more competitive, avenues opened up for non-business communities.

Phulia, for instance, started as a typist at a logistics firm in Delhi but now runs a Rs 4-crore company. The son of a foreman in the Haryana state electricity board started Signet Freight Express Pvt. Ltd in 2004 with Rs 900 from his savings and Rs 12 lakh borrowed from friends and relatives.

He remembers how a colleague in an office where he once worked asked him his caste. “When I said I was a chamar, he thought I was joking. Why should I joke, I asked? Why can’t I be a chamar?”

The earlier generation, he says, felt “inferior” because it didn’t know its history. “Now people are aware that a scholar such as Sant Ravidas was from our community, that our tradition is also rich. So there is pride in our caste,” says Phulia, whose three children study at a public school in Gurgaon.

Many young Dalits see business as a way of proving to themselves and the world that they are capable of earning a living with dignity as well as generating employment for others.

In a March 2010 study, Dalits in Business: Self-employed Scheduled Castes in North-West India, Jodhka found 80 per cent of the people he surveyed were in the 20-40 age group and most were first generation entrepreneurs.

Reservation in education and jobs has given a leg up to the community. But there is a reluctance to continue depending on quotas. “Reservations created a neo-middle class,” says Jodhka. “The children of those sections, who have grown up proud in middle class localities, are uncomfortable with parents wanting benefits based on quotas.”

Devanand Londhe, the son of a retired soldier who worked as a farm labourer and a watchman, studied civil engineering in Kolhapur University as a quota student. After graduating, he refused to register himself with the employment exchange. He worked as a consultant at various international organisations and then set up an export-oriented unit once he had enough money. “Yes, reservations are still important for many, but a lot of young people want to make it on their own,” he says.

Help has also come from the prosperous Dalit non resident Indians (NRIs). The Ravidasias were among the first communities to migrate to the West, points out Ronki Ram, reader, political science department, Panjab University. The deras, the sect’s sprawling complexes, have largely been funded by NRI Dalits. The diaspora has also helped spread the message of Dalit capitalism. “Dalit entrepreneurs say they want connections, not concessions,” says Prasad.

Dicci, says founder-chairman Milind Kamble, was set up in 2005 because mainstream business chambers couldn’t understand the problems Dalits faced. Dalits, he stresses, need communication and marketing skills as well as networking opportunities. So, in early June, Kamble and Prasad arranged for 10 Dalit entrepreneurs to make presentations to Tata Motors on how they could be part of the automobile major’s supply chain.

There is a frank acknowledgment that Dalits will have to look out for their own — 42 per cent of the respondents in Jodhka’s study admitted that they faced discrimination in business (63 per cent said they faced it in their personal lives). “We feel discriminated as Dalits even today,” says Nagrare.

But Bhaskar has a different take. “Failures always look for excuses. If I have not succeeded in something, I will look within myself for weaknesses. I will not blame my caste.”

Sushil Kumar, a school dropout who is now the managing director of Ghaziabad-based Simlex Engineers Pvt. Ltd, agrees. “We as a community are victims of discrimination even today, but I don’t believe in looking back. I know that I can make a difference and I am trying it here.”

Could the multiple strands of Dalit movements come together and help the community realise its potential? And give rise to more Bhaskars who refuse to be burdened by their caste? “I don’t want to prove anything to anyone,” he says. “I just want to look at myself with respect when I see myself in the mirror.”

Crtsy: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100905/jsp/7days/story_12898243.jsp


My Association with Dr.Ambedkar: Venerable Dr .H. Saddhatissa

06/09/2010

Venerable Dr .H. Saddhatissa

I have always been proud of the small contribution that I have made to the revival of Buddhism in India pioneered by great leader like Anagarika Dharmapala and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. I first met Dr. Ambedkar the   great Buddhist leader, the greatest emancipator of Untouchables eminent Indian leader

who rendered historic service to his motherland as an educator, as a scholar and as statesman, liberator of then down – trodden millions of Indians and reformers of Indian society. In 1940 when i was staying in New Delhi as head of the Buddha vihara.  He called on me primarily to discuss the administration of sangha according to the vinayapitaka his intention was to draft the new Indian constitution along the lines set out in this discipline for the Buddhist monks. Out of this encounter, Dr. Ambedkar gradually displayed a deeper appreciation of the Buddha and his teaching. During out talks he revealed to me his desire to change his religion, and to encourage his followers to do likewise, in order to become free form the restrictions of the Hindu caste system.  Dr. Ambedkar had, so he admitted, considered becoming a Muslim or Buddhism in view of its universal appeal. In the course of our discussion encouraged him in this last move pointing out to him the fact that not only was Buddhism native to India but that the so-called ‘untouchables’ were originally Buddhists who had been ostracized by later, ascendant Hindu rulers and Brahmin teachers.  Years later, in 1950, with the assistance of the mahabodhi society of India, i organized a Buddhist procession on the full moon day of the month of Vesak (May) in New Delhi. Thousands, including the followers of Dr. Ambedkar, participated in what was the first such demonstration of popular religious fervour since the eclipse of Buddhism in India. This procession peacefully terminated at the Ambedkar bhavan premises where a packed gathering then took place in the presence of numerous admires of Buddhism and foreign ambassadors. Therefore, on the following day, a significant and historic meeting was held in New Delhi’s Buddha vihara at which no less than 101 Indian graduates formally embraced Buddhism by talking of the five precepts from me in the presence of Dr.Ambedkar. It was these pioneers who organized the famous mass conversion (diksa) at Nagpur on the 14th October 1956 where Dr. Ambedkar himself, together with half million of his followers, became Buddhist. At the instance of Dr. Ambedkar i then gave my historic speech to the vast assembly (vide the mahabodhi journal, Calcutta, November 1956, under the heading: a new chapter begins in the history of modern India). In 1950 the world fellowship of Buddhist was inaugurated in Colombo and i acted as a representative from India. Dr. Ambedkar also attended as an observer and expressed deep interest in seeing Buddhist practises in the island at first hand. To this end i arranged a tour which included a visit to Anuradhapura, an ancient city of Ceylon. Having said that he would like to hear a traditional sermon from a Buddhist monk, i asked the late venerable M siri silakkandha, head of abhayasinharama vihara, Colombo, to oblige. Dr. Ambedkar was highly pleased with sermon given at isurumuni vihara, Anuradhapura. We then visited most of the historical sites in Ceylon at the end of his Stay he became convinced of the wisdom of formally accepting the Buddha Dhamma as his guide for life Dr. Ambedkar ‘s determined crusade to transform his followers in to Buddhism was crowned with success.
Dr. Ambedkar will surely be most remembered for his untiring struggle to liberate his socially depressed community. He was  a man who refused to succumb to the temptation of leading an easy life in high position .By his unceasing effort,courage and noble example. Dr Ambedkar has carved for himself  a permanent place in the history of modem India. May his noble actions and shining examples long inspire the progressive development of Bharat!!

Crtsy: bhimpatrika