Anna Hazare fasting Lokpal bill

11/04/2011

Of a few, By a few, For the few

April 9, 2011

By admin

Bobby Kunhu

I am distinctly uncomfortable with predictions – using either scientific or unscientific tools. For me it smacks of charlatanry – from astrology to psephology to stock market speculation. But with the charade that was unleashed for the past few days on news television by the mainstream media and of course at Jantar Mantar and a few other town squares across the “mainstream” Indian political landscape by Anna Hazare’s fast – I did dare to make an attempt – both at prediction and more comfortably with dissent. I foretold the outcome of the fast tableau at an emergency meeting that was convened by some co-travellers at the Salem Citizen’s Forum to debate on whether and how to show solidarity to Anna Hazare.

For a cricket obsessed national psyche reeling in the inebriation of the recent world cup victory – Anna Hazare was pitted to win this match comfortably – I was willing to place my bet on my prediction. And here I am trying to reckon the how and why of this prediction for me and the numerous friends and acquaintances who have been trying to rope me into joining facebook groups and sign electronic petitions in support of Anna Hazare’s crusade (or is it revolution?). And others who were indignant at my facebook post of Manu Joseph’s irreverent article or at Sudeep’s post in his diary.

Win-win

Well, it is not just Anna Hazare and his team who won this match comfortably. All actors who joined the show have won the match. Everyone – the “civil society” that sat on fast at Jantar Mantar and other places, the Corporate media, the glamour world, the Government, political establishment of all hues and shades – everyone who bothered to join the game. It was like bathing in the Ganges during the Maha Kumbh – everyone’s sins were washed away. And of course nobody in their right minds regardless of political affiliations or ideologies could take a position “for corruption”!!! A veritable Bush-ian position — either you are with Anna Hazare or you are with corruption. And yes, India Incorporated has won the match and it is time for celebrations!

The timing of course was impeccable. The drama was enacted exactly for five days in the interregnum between the cricket World Cup finals and the first Indian Premier League match leaving no scope for other infotainment distractions!

The timing also seems to be impeccable for reasons apart from TRP. India Inc. was facing a credibility crisis and the crisis had managed to drag the office of the most iconic representative of the lot – Dr. Manmohan Singh into every dreadful business. And then every representative of India Inc. seemed to be at the receiving end of the crisis – corporate houses to media icons. From Kashmir to Tamil Nadu – Manipur to Chattisgarh – people in the margins seemed to be mobilizing themselves trying to take their fights into their own hands. Mere cricket was not enough. A more serious national diversion was required – a diversion that would also help in subverting the multiple simmering discourses on democracy.

So what happened?

Anna Hazare announced a fast-unto-death – hold your horses – demanding that “the government agrees to form a joint committee comprising 50 per cent officials and the remaining citizens and intellectuals to draft the Jan Lokpal Bill,” – nothing less, nothing more. In other words Anna Hazare announced a fast unto death till people he thinks are qualified for the job are included in the group that is responsible for a legislation that is within the incumbent Government’s agenda. And going by the tenor of his letter to the Prime Minister dated 6th April 2011 is anything to go by, he would also like to have a say in the composition of the committee/Group of Ministers that has oversight over the process of this particular legislation.

So, what Mr. Hazare is praying for is a corruption free India and he hopes to get there through his version of an Ombudsman Legislation and he is on a hunger strike to ensure the composition of the team in charge of setting this legislation in place. Well, this throws up more disturbing concerns. Physically he conducted this prayer in the backdrop of a buxom picture of Bharat Mata bejeweled to the hilt including the proverbial crown standing on a white flex board Indian map!

So, Mr. Hazare and his friends went on hunger strike to realize this prayer with the blessings of the likes of Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravishankar. This was one particular dais that was truly homogenous in its caste-community-class composition. I was reminded of the historian Bipin Chandra’s analysis attributing the onus of thrusting the Hindutva Right on the Indian political mainstream on Jayaprakash Narayan and his anti-emergency coalition.

What was the response?

Obviously the Prime Minister expressed his dissatisfaction over Anna Hazare’s decision to go on a fast without forgetting to assert his profound respect for the man. Others soon joined the bandwagon. From the ruling United Progressive Alliance allies to the opposition National Democratic Alliance all of them joined the Anna Hazare choir and aptly expressed disgust over the prevailing state of (corruption) affairs. Left parties — mainstream as well as others, could not resist it either. Team Anna Hazare got its first wicket when Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar quietly resigned from the Lokpal bill related group of ministers (there has to be at least one resignation in the recipe for revolution). And once everyone had their fair bit of airtime at the crease – the Government threw in the towel. It accepted almost every demand that team Anna Hazare made and celebrations are afoot with India Inc. on that glorious road to that exhilarating freedom from corruption. At the end of five days of high drama everyone is happy with this victory to democracy and ready to live happily ever after.

So, what am I cribbing about in this hunky dory script of universal happiness?

What qualifies as corruption?

Firstly, the notion of corruption itself in the imaginations of both Anna Hazare’s version of the Lok Pal Bill and that of the Government’s seems to be in tandem – very simplistic and all that it would require to set things in correctional mode would be a school”master”ish cane – oops legislation. In other words, given the quantum of punishment and stringency of the legislation, the Lok Pal will ensure that from the Union Telecom Minister to the lowly Train Ticket Examiner will desist from taking bribes and more importantly everyone from the greedy telecom companies to the eager railway passenger will forthwith stop trying to bribe them regardless of their greed or need. This imagination of corruption somehow seemed to suit everyone who joined the Anna Hazare bandwagon from Lalit Modi to Barkha Dutt to Rahul Bajaj. Because this imagination would effectively prosecute Madhu Koda & Raja, while Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram would remain the knights in shining armour. Somehow the forces or agencies that facilitate structural spaces in which corruption thrives represented for me by the present composition of the Union Cabinet seems to be outside the ambit of these collective imaginations of corruption.

The freedom fighters

Next, the question of agency. Anna Hazare himself dubbed his hunger strike as the second freedom struggle – and of course – his corporate media promoters sold the idea to all like-minded wannabe freedom fighters. Though I am not sure of the numbers, a few hundred or even thousand people expressing solidarity was projected as the entire nation on the road to revolution and this was repeated over and over again reminding one of the adage that a lie repeated often enough becomes truth.

In what can only be described as complete lack of imagination and an insult to both the peoples of Egypt and India – the hunger strike was dubbed as India’s Tahrir Square! The joke is that one of the Anna Hazare acolytes who turned up for the Salem Citizen’s Forum meeting wanted the forum to take up the cause because the local Tamil media had totally ignored the hunger strike!! So much for the national character of the strike.

But Barkha Dutt did one better. She did a special show of The Buck Stops Here on Anna Hazare at Chennai and her voiced reason for the choice of location being 2G scam having become the buzzword for corruption. To add insult to injury – she declared her profound love to the Tamil people! If only she had done a little bit of homework or watched her own channel, she would have realized that the 2G scam hardly plays any role in the Tamil Nadu voters’ choice. Though, corruption does figure in the priority list of the Tamil Nadu voter – but a corruption that neither she nor her colleagues in Corporate Television media would acknowledge and rather would gloss over.

The fences that feed on the crops

Now, at the culmination of the hunger strike drama – a committee has been notified to draft the Lokpal bill. The composition of the committee itself reveals the seriousness of the drama. The government representatives include P. Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal – lawyers who have represented the interests of Corporate India as individuals (board members) and lawyers in and out of power. The lesser said about the process in which the civil society representatives were arrived the better – for there was hardly a process and all of them are all active participants in the Anna Hazare drama.

In 2003, as the editorial coordinator of the Citizen’s Report on Govrnance and Development (a full-time civil society position), we celebrated the marked shift in the social composition of the Parliament which many of us saw as deepening of democracy. In 2011, a motley bunch of homogenous people claim to be the sole representatives civil society and the Government of the day conveniently recognizes them – it smacks of a shift towards an oligarchic dispensation swinging between a Prime Minister who prefers not to face direct electoral challenges and a self-appointed civil society messiah.

What is even more bizarre and insulting is the repeated argument that there is no one else in the country more eligible to take on corruption than Anna Hazare. The argument insults the multitudes that have been carrying on their struggles in various parts of India.

Overriding the Constitution

More than that the drama insults Constitutional mechanisms and processes thereunder – thereby insulting the very notion of “We, the People”. The need for a Constitutional process is to ensure institutional transparency and accountability. Whatever might be the pitfalls of political culture of transparency in India – the only institutional mechanism of making day to day governance accountable are the Constitutional processes. For instance the Right to Information Act is applicable only to State actors – so regardless of the Government notification and the bona fides of the actors concerned – how do Citizens ensure accountability from the self-appointed civil society guardians – or are they so sacred as to remain outside the scope and need for accountability.

In what can be termed an ironic twist – the draft Jan Lokpal Bill brings in newer categories of eligibility to the selection committee for appointment of Lokpal – Magsaysay Award winners and Nobel laureates of Indian origin. I keep wondering why these awards and why the insistence on “Indian” origin (I hope Sonia Gandhi reads this). Maybe it is mere coincidence that many of the faces that have appeared in this drama have a Magsaysay award tucked under their belt (and a sacred thread over their shoulder).

Meanwhile in its enthusiasm for a corruption free India and prescriptions for stringent punishment and easier prosecution– Anna Hazare and team seem to have no qualms in sacrificing precious civil liberty provisions inbuilt into the criminal justice system and prescribed by the Indian Constitution. While Baba Ramdev, one of the mentors of Anna Hazare’s crusade advocates capital punishment for the corrupt, the draft bill itself blurs the line between investigation and adjudication. It makes the Lokpal a super cop with adjudicatory and delegated legislative powers.

If the Jan Lokpal bill is accepted – it would achieve what the Malimath Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System could not – subversion of the Criminal Justice system. At the risk of repetition, I would point out that the bulldozing by Malimath Committee could be stopped because that committee and the implementation of its recommendations were subject to Constitutional procedures. What would emerge would be another draconian legislation which would be used to hound and prosecute political dissent – this time “corruption” would replace “terrorism” and “Maoism”. And this time the law would be presumed to have the sanction of a purported civil society.

Of a lesser concern is the fact that Republic India’s record at social reforms through criminal legislations has been abysmal – if in doubt – look at the implementation of the Dowry Prohibition Act or the SC/ST Atrocities Act. Dowry is as prevalent as ever while India Inc. continues to lynch Dalits and dispossess Adivasi

Who Loses?

The major casualty in this whole drama was democracy itself. Through short cuts and “royal avenues”, the power goes back into the hands of a select few, undoing a process of over sixty years of democratization of the country. Those few decide what is in the best interest of the country, and what is not. No prizes for guessing the class and caste composition of this select few.

Tailpiece

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is in for stiff competition for the next Bharat Ratna from Kisan Bapat Baburao Hazare – a very difficult choice indeed between before the nation. Or are we looking at two awardees next season? That could be a fitting “double climax” for the viewers of live Indian English Television!

cross posted @ kafila

http://www.countermedia.in/?p=663

 

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How D.R. Nagaraj reconciled Gandhi with Ambedkar : Ramachandra Guha

02/01/2011
CONTENDING VISIONS

– How D.R. Nagaraj reconciled Gandhi with Ambedkar

Politics and Play – Ramachandra Guha

Books do not change lives, but books can change the way we look at the world. As a student of economics, I was a high modernist who believed in transforming rural communities through industrialization. Concern for the poor came with a heavy dose of condescension. Those who lived outside cities had to be improved and uplifted through an infusion of modern technology and what used to be known as the ‘scientific temper’. Then I read Verrier Elwin’s Leaves from the Jungle, a charming evocation of the life of the Gond tribals of central India. This, and his other works, showed me that despite their apparent illiteracy and lack of material wealth, the tribals had a rich tradition of poetry, folklore and art, a deep identification with nature, and a strong sense of community solidarity. In the latter respects they had, in fact, something to teach a modern world that dismissed them as primitive and uncivilized.

A little later, I became a Marxist, persuaded into the faith by the scholars who taught me in Calcutta. I was young and impatient; the incremental idealism of my parents’ hero, Jawaharlal Nehru, did not seem sufficient to make a dent in the poverty and inequality that was so manifest a feature of social life in India. Then, on a visit to Dehradun, I picked up from the pavement of the town’s main street a copy of George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. I took the book home and read it through the night. Orwell had seen, at first-hand, how the democratic aspirations of the Spanish people had been undermined by the takeover of their movement by a band of cynical and amoral communists, acting under the instructions of Josef Stalin. He communicated his experiences in prose of an uncommon clarity. By the morning, I had abandoned Marxism, and was a social democrat once more.

Another book that changed the way I looked at the world was Truth Called Them Differently, published by the Navajivan Trust in Ahmedabad. This reproduced the debates between Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi. They argued about many things — India’s place in the world, the role of the English language, whether an hour a day at the spinning wheel was mandatory for the patriot. The exchanges reveal the intellectual and moral qualities of the two men, each of whom had the ability (and courage) to change his views when circumstance or reason so demanded.

Elwin was once a well-known writer in India. Tagore, Gandhi and Orwell enjoy global reputations. All had a considerable and varied oeuvre in English. Their books were published by the most prestigious publishing houses. A fourth book whose reading radically altered my understanding of the world was, in contrast, written by an author unknown outside his native Karnataka. And it was published by a totally obscure press. Browsing through Bangalore’s Premier Book Shop in the early 1990s, I came across a slim book called The Flaming Feet. The title was intriguing, as were its contents — a series of essays on and around the figure of B.R. Ambedkar.

Published by a local NGO called the Institute of Cultural Research and Action,The Flaming Feet was the first work in English by D.R. Nagaraj, a professor of Kannada in Bangalore University. The politics of the 1930s and 1940s had placed Gandhi and Ambedkar as antagonists — as, more recently, had the politics of the 1980s and 1990s. The Bahujan Samaj Party had launched a series of stinging attacks on the Mahatma, accusing him of patronizing the Dalits and impeding rather than aiding their emancipation. From the other side, the Hindutva ideologue, Arun Shourie, had written a 600-page screed depicting Ambedkar as a toady of the British.

D.R. Nagaraj was unusual and — at that time, at least — unique in admiringboth Gandhi and Ambedkar. To be sure, in their lifetime their respective social locations made it hard for these men not to be political adversaries. By the time Ambedkar returned from his studies in the US, Gandhi was the acknowledged leader of the national movement. For a brilliant and ambitious young man from a Dalit background, to join the Congress was to relegate oneself to a secondary role in politics. Thus, as Nagaraj pointed out, “there was very little scope for a Congress Harijan leader to develop interesting and useful models of praxis from within”. So, Ambedkar chose to form his own political party and fight for his people under a banner separate from, and opposed to, Gandhi’s Indian National Congress.

In The Flaming Feet, Nagaraj demonstrated how, through their debates and arguments, Gandhi and Ambedkar transformed each other. The Mahatma became more sensitive to the structural roots of caste discrimination, while Ambedkar came to recognize that moral renewal was as critical to Dalit emancipation as economic opportunity. In seeking to honour both men, Nagaraj was, as he put it, fighting both “deep-rooted prejudices” (which urged Indians to follow only one or the other) as well as “wishful thinking” (which made one believe that one or other thinker provided all the answers to the Dalit predicament). Nagaraj insisted that “from the viewpoint of the present, there is a compelling necessity to achieve a synthesis of the two”. “The greatest paradox of modern Indian history,” wrote Nagaraj, was that “both Gandhian and Ambedkarite perceptions of the issue are partially true, and the contending visions are yet to comprehend each other fully”.

Reading Nagaraj, like reading Tagore, Gandhi, Orwell and Elwin, was an epiphanic experience. He taught me to recognize that while Gandhi and Ambedkar were rivals in their lifetime, from the point of view of India today the two men should rather be viewed as partners and collaborators. The legacy ofboth was required to complete the unfinished task of Dalit emancipation. After the publication of The Flaming Feet, Nagaraj began writing more often in English. These later essays, like the book, were marked by an unusual ability to bring disparate worlds into conversation: the past and the present, the elite and the subaltern, the vernacular and the cosmopolitan.

In 1998, just as he was maturing as a scholar and political analyst, Nagaraj died of a heart attack. Now, 12 years later, his published and unpublished essays on Dalit questions have been brought together in an expanded edition of The Flaming Feet, edited and sensitively introduced by his former student, Prithvi Datta Chandra Sobhi, and appearing this time under the imprint of a more mainstream publisher. Here Nagaraj writes with elegance and insight about a wide range of subjects — on the “lack of a living tradition of militant Gandhianism”; on the self-invention of a Dalit identity (as he points out, in searching for a history outside Hinduism, “the modern Dalit has to seek his rebirth in a state of fearful loneliness. S/he has nothing to rely upon in his/her immediate Hindu surroundings”); on the need to build a united front of ecological, Dalit and tribal movements.

Nagaraj was a social scientist as well as littérateur whose mode of writing was sometimes empirical, at other times metaphorical. Here is a representative excerpt: “Babasaheb [Ambedkar] had no option but to reject the Gandhian model. He had realized that this model had successfully transformed Harijans as objects in a ritual of self-purification, with the ritual being performed by those who had larger heroic notions of their individual selves. In the theatre of history, in a play with such a script, the untouchables would never become heroes in their own right, they were just mirrors for a hero to look at his own existentialist anger and despair, or maybe even glory.”

This new edition of The Flaming Feet may be the most important work of non-fiction published in this country in 2010. At any rate, it is indispensable for anyone with any serious interest in society and politics in modern India.

ramachandraguha@yahoo.in

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110101/jsp/opinion/story_13360497.jsp


THE MYTH OF THE MAHATMA: M.K. GANDHI IN SOUTH AFRICA-VELU ANNAMALAI

17/10/2010

THE GLOBAL AFRICAN COMMUNITY

H I S T O R Y   N O T E S

dravidian.jpg (10142 bytes)
Modern Dravidan girl, India

THE AFRICAN PRESENCE IN INDIAN ANTIQUITY

By RUNOKO RASHIDI

DEDICATED TO DR. VELU ANNAMALAI

Exceptionally valuable writings reflecting close relationships between Africa and early India have existed for more than two thousand years. In the first century B.C.E., for example, the famous Greek historian Diodorus Siculus penned that, “From Ethiopia he (Osiris) passed through Arabia, bordering upon the Red Sea as far as India…. He built many cities in India, one of which he called Nysa, willing to have remembrance of that (Nysa) in Egypt, where he was brought up.”

Another important writer from antiquity, Apollonius of Tyana, who is said to have visited India near the end of the first century C.E., was convinced that “The Ethiopians are colonists sent from India, who follow their forefathers in matters of wisdom.” The literary work of the early Christian writer Eusebius preserves the tradition that, “In the reign of Amenophis III [the mighty Dynasty XVIII Egyptian king] a body of Ethiopians migrated from the country about the Indus, and settled in the valley of the Nile.” And still another document from ancient times, the Itinerarium Alexandri, says that “India, taken as a whole, beginning from the north and embracing what of it is subject to Persia, is a continuation of Egypt and the Ethiopians.”

It is safe to say that when we speak of the Dravidians as a people we are speaking of the living descendants of the Harappan people of the ancient Indus Valley who were pushed into South India as the result of the Aryan invasions. This is certainly consistent with Dravidian traditions which recall flourishing cities that were either lost or destroyed in antiquity. The term “Dravidian,” however, encompasses both an ethnic group and a linguistic group. The ethnic group is characterized by straight to wavy hair textures, combined with Africoid physical features. In reference to this Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop stated that:

“There are two well-defined Black races: one has a black skin and woolly hair; the other also has black skin, often exceptionally black, with straight hair, aquiline nose, thin lips, an acute cheekbone angle. We find a prototype of this race in India: the Dravidian. It is also known that certain Nubians likewise belong to the same Negro type…Thus, it is inexact, anti-scientific, to do anthropological research, encounter a Dravidian type, and then conclude that the Negro type is absent.”

Dravidian, in addition to its ethnic component, however, is an important family of languages spoken by more than a hundred million people, primarily in South India. These languages include Tamil (the largest element), Kannada, Malayalam (from which the name of the Asian country Malaya is derived), Telegu and Tulu. The term “Dravidian” itself is apparently an Aryan corruption of Tamil.

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Ancient Africoid statue of Hindu diety Vishnu

From at least the third century C.E. three major Dravidian kingdoms existed in South India: the kingdoms of Pandya, Chera and Chola. Pandya was the southernmost Dravidian kingdom. The major city of Pandya was Madurai, the location of the famous chapel of the Tamil Sangam (Academy). The Sangam, of which there were three, was initiated by a body of forty-eight exceptionally learned scholars who established standards over all literary productions. The Pandyan rulers received these intellectuals with lavish honors.

It is also important to note that in the kingdom of the Pandyas women seem to have enjoyed a high status. This is the exact opposite of the regions of India where the Aryans ruled. In these lands of Aryan domination it is said that a woman was never independent. “When she is a child she belongs to her father. As an adult when she marries she belongs to her husband. If she outlives her husband she belongs to her sons.” An early queen of the Pandyas, on the other hand, for example, is credited with controlling an army of 500 elephants, 4,000 cavalry and 13,000 infantry.

In 1288 and again in 1293 the Venetian traveler Marco Polo visited the Pandyan kingdom and left a vivid description of the land and its people. Polo exclaimed that:

“The darkest man is here the most highly esteemed and considered better than the others who are not so dark. Let me add that in very truth these people portray and depict their gods and their idols black and their devils white as snow. For they say that God and all the saints are black and the devils are all white. That is why they portray them as I have described.”

To the northwest of Pandya was the kingdom of Chera (present-day Kerala). Northwest of Pandya lay the kingdom of Chola, said to be the place where Saint Thomas the Apostle was buried. The same Marco Polo who visited Pandya referred to Chola as “the best province and the most refined in all India.”

The Dravidians were an unsually advanced seafaring people, with the Cholas, in particular, distinguishing themselves amongst the dominant maritime powers of their era. Through its ports, the great kings of Chola traded with Ethiopia and Somalia, Iran and Arabia, Combodia and China, Sumatra and Sri Lanka, exporting spices and camphor, ebony and ivory, quality textiles and precious jewels.

It seems readily apparent that the Dravidian kingdoms and the Dravidian people were quite well known internationally. When Augustus became head of the Roman world, for example, the Dravidian kingdoms sent him a congratulatory embassy. Dravidian poets describe Roman ships, which carried bodyguards of archers to ward off pirates, while the Dravidian kings themselves employed bodyguards of Roman soldiers. In respect to the ancient East, at least one author has identified a Dravidian presence in the Philippines, noting that: “From India came civilized Indians, the Dravidians from whom the savage Aryans learned. They began at least 500 BC and soon controlled the coast.”

 


Why do India’s Dalits hate MK Gandhi?

17/10/2010

In India, supposedly the world’s largest democracy, the leadership of the rapidly growing Dalit movement have nothing good to say about Mohandas K. Gandhi. To be honest, Gandhi is actually one of the most hated Indian leaders in the hierarchy of those considered enemies of India’s Dalits or “untouchables” by the leadership of India’s Dalits.

Many have questioned how could I dare say such a thing? In reply I urge people outside of India to try and keep in mind my role as the messenger in this matter. I am the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal, founded in 1996, which was the first publication on the Internet to address the Dalit question from the Dalits’ viewpoint. My co-editor is M. Gopinath, who includes in his c.v. being managing editor of the Dalit Voice newspaper and then going on to found Times of Bahujan, national newspaper of the Bahujan Samaj Party, India’s Dalit party and India’s youngest and third largest national. The founding president of the Ambedkar Journal was Dr. Velu Annamalai, the first Dalit in history to achieve a Ph.d in Engineering. My work with the Dalit movement in India started in 1991 and I have been serving as one of the messengers to those outside of India from the Dalit leaders who are in the very rapid process of organizing India’s Dalits into a national movement. The Dalit leadership I work with received many tens of millions of votes in the last national election in India.

With that out of the way, lets get back to the 850 million-person question, why do Dalits hate M.K. Gandhi?

To start, Gandhi was a so-called “high caste”. High castes represent at small minority in India, some 10-15 percent of the population, yet dominate Indian society in much the same way whites ruled South Africa during the official period of Apartheid. Dalits often use the phrase Apartheid in India when speaking about their problems.

The Indian Constitution was authored by Gandhi’s main critic and political opponent, Dr. Ambedkar, for whom our journal is named and the first Dalit in history to receive an education (if you have never heard of Dr. Ambedkar I would urge you to try and keep an open mind about what I am saying for it is a bit like me talking to you about the founding of the USA when you have never heard of Thomas Jefferson).

Most readers are familiar with Gandhi’s great hunger strike against the so called Poona Pact in 1933. The matter which Gandhi was protesting, nearly unto death at that, was the inclusion in the draft Indian Constitution, proposed by the British, that reserved the right of Dalits to elect their own leaders. Dr. Ambedkar, with his  multiple PhD degrees in Political Sciences and Law from Columbia University and London University, had been chosen by the British to write the new constitution for India. Having spent his life overcoming caste-based discrimination, Dr. Ambedkar had come to the conclusion that the only way Dalits could improve their lives is if they had the exclusive right to vote for their leaders, that a portion or reserved section of all elected positions were only for Dalits and only Dalits could vote for these reserved positions.

Gandhi was determined to prevent this and went on hunger strike to change this article in the draft constitution. After many communal riots, where tens of thousands of Dalits were slaughtered, and with a leap in such violence predicted if Gandhi died, Dr. Ambedkar agreed, with Gandhi on his death bed, to give up the Dalits right to exclusively elect their own leaders and Gandhi ended his hunger strike.

Later, on his own death bed, Dr. Ambedkar would say this was the biggest mistake in his life, that if he had to do it all over again, he would refuse to give up Dalit only representation, even if it meant Gandhi’s death.

As history has shown, life for the overwhelming majority of Dalits in India has changed little since the arrival of Indian independence over 50 years ago. The laws written into the Indian Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar, many patterned after the laws introduced into the former Confederate or slave states in the USA during reconstruction after the Civil War to protect the freed black Americans, have never been enforced by the high caste dominated Indian court system and legislatures. A tiny fraction of the “quotas” or reservations for Dalits in education and government jobs have been filled. Dalits are still discriminated against in all aspect of life in India’s 650,000 villages, despite laws specifically outlawing such acts. Dalits are the victims of economic embargos, denial of basic human rights such as access to drinking water, use of public facilities and education and even entry to Hindu temples.

To this day, most Indians still believe, and this includes a majority of Dalits, that Dalits are being punished by God for sins in a previous life. Under the religious codes of Hinduism, a Dalit’s only hope is to be a good servant of the high castes and upon death and rebirth they will be reincarnated in a high caste. This is called varna in Sanskrit, the language of the original Aryans who imposed Hinduism on India beginning some 3,500 years ago. Interestingly, the word “varna” translates literally into the word “color” from Sanskrit.

This is one of the golden rules of Dalit liberation, that varna means color, and that Hinduism is a form of racially based oppression and as such is the equivalent of Apartheid in India. Dalits feel that if they had the right to elect their own leaders they would have been able to start challenging the domination of the high castes in Indian society and would have begun the long walk to freedom so to speak. They blame Gandhi and his hunger strike for preventing this.

So there it is, in as few words as possible, why in today’s India the leaders of India’s Dalits hate M.K. Gandhi.

This is, of course, an oversimplification. India’s social problems remain the most pressing in the world and a few paragraphs are not going to really explain matters to anyone’s satisfaction. The word Dalit and the movement of a crushed and broken people, the “untouchables” of India, are just beginning to become known to most of the people concerned about human rights in the world. As Dalits organize themselves and begin to challenge caste-based rule in India, it behooves all people of good conscience to start to find out what the Dalits and their leadership are fighting for. A good place to start is with M.K. Gandhi and why he is so hated by Dalits in India.

Thomas C. Mountain is the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal on India’s Dalits, founded in 1996. His writing has been featured in Dalit publications across India, including the Dalit Voice and the Times of Bahujan as well as on the front pages of the mainstream, high caste owned, Indian press. He would recommend viewing of the film “Bandit Queen” as the best example of life for women and Dalits in India’s villages, which is the story of the life of the late, brutally murdered, Phoolan Devi, of whose international defense committee Thomas C. Mountain was a founding member.

He can be reached at tmountain@hawaii.rr.com. Online Journal, Email Online Journal Editor.

Why do India’s Dalits hate Gandhi? By Thomas C. Mountain, Online Journal Contributing Writer,

Mar 17, 2006, 12:49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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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Why do India’s Dalits hate Gandhi?

09/09/2010
By Thomas C. Mountain
Online Journal Contributing Writer


In India, supposedly the world’s largest democracy, the leadership of the rapidly growing Dalit movement have nothing good to say about Mohandas K. Gandhi. To be honest, Gandhi is actually one of the most hated Indian leaders in the hierarchy of those considered enemies of India’s Dalits or “untouchables” by the leadership of India’s Dalits.

Many have questioned how could I dare say such a thing? In reply I urge people outside of India to try and keep in mind my role as the messenger in this matter. I am the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal, founded in 1996, which was the first publication on the Internet to address the Dalit question from the Dalits’ viewpoint. My co-editor is M. Gopinath, who includes in his c.v. being managing editor of the Dalit Voice newspaper and then going on to found Times of Bahujan, national newspaper of the Bahujan Samaj Party, India’s Dalit party and India’s youngest and third largest national. The founding president of the Ambedkar Journal was Dr. Velu Annamalai, the first Dalit in history to achieve a Ph.d in Engineering. My work with the Dalit movement in India started in 1991 and I have been serving as one of the messengers to those outside of India from the Dalit leaders who are in the very rapid process of organizing India’s Dalits into a national movement. The Dalit leadership I work with received many tens of millions of votes in the last national election in India.

With that out of the way, lets get back to the 850 million-person question, why do Dalits hate M.K. Gandhi?

To start, Gandhi was a so-called “high caste”. High castes represent at small minority in India, some 10-15 percent of the population, yet dominate Indian society in much the same way whites ruled South Africa during the official period of Apartheid. Dalits often use the phrase Apartheid in India when speaking about their problems.

The Indian Constitution was authored by Gandhi’s main critic and political opponent, Dr. Ambedkar, for whom our journal is named and the first Dalit in history to receive an education (if you have never heard of Dr. Ambedkar I would urge you to try and keep an open mind about what I am saying for it is a bit like me talking to you about the founding of the USA when you have never heard of Thomas Jefferson).

Most readers are familiar with Gandhi’s great hunger strike against the so called Poona Pact in 1933. The matter which Gandhi was protesting, nearly unto death at that, was the inclusion in the draft Indian Constitution, proposed by the British, that reserved the right of Dalits to elect their own leaders. Dr. Ambedkar, with his multiple PhDs in  Politics and Economics  from Columbia University, New York and London School of Economics, had been chosen by the British to write the new constitution for India. Having spent his life overcoming caste-based discrimination, Dr. Ambedkar had come to the conclusion that the only way Dalits could improve their lives is if they had the exclusive right to vote for their leaders, that a portion or reserved section of all elected positions were only for Dalits and only Dalits could vote for these reserved positions.

Gandhi was determined to prevent this and went on hunger strike to change this article in the draft constitution. After many communal riots, where tens of thousands of Dalits were slaughtered, and with a leap in such violence predicted if Gandhi died, Dr. Ambedkar agreed, with Gandhi on his death bed, to give up the Dalits right to exclusively elect their own leaders and Gandhi ended his hunger strike.

Later, on his own death bed, Dr. Ambedkar would say this was the biggest mistake in his life, that if he had to do it all over again, he would refuse to give up Dalit only representation, even if it meant Gandhi’s death.

As history has shown, life for the overwhelming majority of Dalits in India has changed little since the arrival of Indian independence over 50 years ago. The laws written into the Indian Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar, many patterned after the laws introduced into the former Confederate or slave states in the USA during reconstruction after the Civil War to protect the freed black Americans, have never been enforced by the high caste dominated Indian court system and legislatures. A tiny fraction of the “quotas” or reservations for Dalits in education and government jobs have been filled. Dalits are still discriminated against in all aspect of life in India’s 650,000 villages, despite laws specifically outlawing such acts. Dalits are the victims of economic embargos, denial of basic human rights such as access to drinking water, use of public facilities and education and even entry to Hindu temples.

To this day, most Indians still believe, and this includes a majority of Dalits, that Dalits are being punished by God for sins in a previous life. Under the religious codes of Hinduism, a Dalit’s only hope is to be a good servant of the high castes and upon death and rebirth they will be reincarnated in a high caste. This is called varna in Sanskrit, the language of the original Aryans who imposed Hinduism on India beginning some 3,500 years ago. Interestingly, the word “varna” translates literally into the word “color” from Sanskrit.

This is one of the golden rules of Dalit liberation, that varna means color, and that Hinduism is a form of racially based oppression and as such is the equivalent of Apartheid in India. Dalits feel that if they had the right to elect their own leaders they would have been able to start challenging the domination of the high castes in Indian society and would have begun the long walk to freedom so to speak. They blame Gandhi and his hunger strike for preventing this.

So there it is, in as few words as possible, why in today’s India the leaders of India’s Dalits hate M.K. Gandhi.

This is, of course, an oversimplification. India’s social problems remain the most pressing in the world and a few paragraphs are not going to really explain matters to anyone’s satisfaction. The word Dalit and the movement of a crushed and broken people, the “untouchables” of India, are just beginning to become known to most of the people concerned about human rights in the world. As Dalits organize themselves and begin to challenge caste-based rule in India, it behooves all people of good conscience to start to find out what the Dalits and their leadership are fighting for. A good place to start is with M.K. Gandhi and why he is so hated by Dalits in India.

Thomas C. Mountain is the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal on India’s Dalits, founded in 1996. His writing has been featured in Dalit publications across India, including the Dalit Voice and the Times of Bahujan as well as on the front pages of the mainstream, high caste owned, Indian press. He would recommend viewing of the film “Bandit Queen” as the best example of life for women and Dalits in India’s villages, which is the story of the life of the late, brutally murdered, Phoolan Devi, of whose international defense committee Thomas C. Mountain was a founding member. He can be reached at ——————————-

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Ban Gandhi statue at the University of Michigan-flint and in Sacramento

06/09/2010

There is a hush up by hindus and current ruling govt to put up gandhi statue everywhere in US and in other places, it is a shame on the part of Indian govt to clandestinely manufacture and spread..!

Dear All at University of Michigan-Flint!,

There is an effort to put up a Statue of gandhi at the university campus.
I am not sure as to how many of you are aware about this initiative?. This is un American in nature, please read and understand why students should not accept a free gandhi statue and ban the installation of it at your campus.

The initiative stems from a hindu faculty (from local news:” This year, The Statue of MahatmaGandhi will be installed andunveiled at the Wilson Park,University of Michigan-Flint.This 8-foot tall Statue was specially made in India, Sponsoredby Dr. and Mrs. M. Nagaraju,the founders of our Peace Committeeand donated to the Universityof Michigan-Flint, whogenerously provided a beautiful site at the Wilson Park”). , but why there is an hush up to put gandhi’s statues everywhere?, what does he represent in real sense and who are this hindu faculty to manipulate the UM officials?.

There are lots of unanswered questions in this initiative:

1. Who is gandhi and why gandhi at an American University campus?.
2.What did gandhi do to America or Americans?
3. What does gandhi represent to America? and what is the relevance?
4. gandhi is not a representative of Peace, the whole of idea of peace and non-violence is Sakya Muni Buddha’s teachings.
5. gandhi is a racist and further more a casteist, he believed in caste system, he wrote that caste system has meaning, which is far worst than the racism discrimination, in India, about 300 million people suffer from discrimination because of this caste system to which gandhi wrote there is scientific meaning.
6. He is against human rights, and against woman rights, who slept with teenage girls betraying his own wife, advocated to the world of Celebecy
there are more to this dangerous man you all must understand!. Do not believe those hindus stories, they have been manipulating these truths for decades and centuries.

7.He is not an American, nor he lived here or studied in American University?.
8.He is not Abraham Lincoln or George Washington?

9.He is not John Dewey, one of the greatest icon of human rights, woman’s rights and philosopher who was from Columbia University, traveled around the world and made America proud in other nations?.

Prof. John Dewey

http://dewey.pragmatism.org/

So why gandhi?, he did not go to Columbia or Yale. On the contrary, Professor John Dewey’s graduate student Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, who later headed a committee and fathered the “constitution of India” and the first law Minister of Independent India has done enormous to the poverty ridden India to alleviate poverty, to humanize hindus and make all men are equal in that casteistic and racist India, but what gandhi did to India he promoted segregation and caste system?. Leaving Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, the greatest reformer of 21st century behind and putting up gandhi’s statue at an university campus is callous and Shame, it is a betrayal of our American Values.

You must further investigate this matter and learn more about this statue issue, you must also learn why there are real great men who’s American values will be immensely useful to students.

“”At Columbia, Ambedkar studied under John Dewey, who inspired many of his ideas about equality and social justice. Ambedkar later recounted that at Columbia he experienced social equality for the first time. “The best friends I have had in my life,” he told the New York Times in 1930, “were some of my classmates at Columbia and my great professors, John Dewey, James Shotwell, Edwin Seligman, and James Harvey Robinson.””

JOIN at http://www.causes.com/causes/523100/about?m=4d189f48