Thursday, 13 March 2008

Ad-Dharma in Dr.Ambedkar’s Writings

Ad-Dharma in Dr.Ambedkar’s Writings
Intention to leave a religious sect born of disgust with current practices or injustice does not server one’s connection with the religion which he is nominally believe to profess.
“Surely, not all the present day Christians are true Christians. What about the Sunday parades in Europe where people who do not believe in Christianity or are indifferent or are rationalists demonstrate in front of Churches on Sunday morning? They, too, are nevertheless Christians in the eyes of the state.”
“You may call me a statutory Hindu if you like,” said Dr.Ambedkar humorously, “but I will insist on my political rights irrespective of the depth of my religious fervor.”
To support his contention Dr.Ambedkar cites two instances from the Punjab, where two sections of depressed classes have been classified as “Schedule Castes” in spite of the proved fact that they are not Hindus. The instances mentioned are those of Ad Dharmis and Ramdasis. The first of these have gone out of their way formally to intimate to Government that they are not Hindus, and yet they have been classed under “Scheduled Castes” in the general constituency.
“The Punjab Census Report of 1931 says:
“The most notable feature of the present census from the stand-point of return of religion has been the adoption of the term ‘Ad-Dharmi’ by numerous Chamars and Chuhras and other untouchables. A new instruction to the religion was given this year, namely, ‘Persons returning themselves as Ad-Dharmis should be recorded as such.
“The Punjab Ad Dharm Mandal had-petitioned the Punjab Government before census operations started in 1930, representing that the Depressed Classes should be permitted to return in Ad Dharm as their religion at the time of the census, as they were the aborigines of India and while the Hindus kept them at a respectable distance, they did not believe in the Hindu religion. The president of Punjab Ad Dharm Mandal was informed that a clause was being provided in the census code requiring that persons returning to their religion as Ad Dharm would be recorded as such. Ad Dharm literally means original or ancient religion.
According to Dr.Ambedkar, the dispute over the Ad Dharmi agitation became so serious that several murders were committed. However that may be, the Ad Dharmis have been classified as “Scheduled Castes” in the general constituency, not withstanding their unequivocal declaration that they are not Hindus.
In the case of himself and his followers, Dr.Ambedkar points out; the attitude is negative in respect of Hinduism and not yet positive adherence to any other faith.
Similarly, the Ramdasis are Sikhs by religion, but they have been classified under “Schedule Castes” in the general constituency, all of which, according to Dr.Ambedkar, goes to show that religion has nothing to do with electoral classifications have gone exactly contrary to the religious grouping.
Thus, while Dr.Ambedkar does not recognize the Hindus’ right to complain or challenge the Depressed the Classes’ privileges by virtue of the Poona Pact, he affirms that his community’s political right are unaffected by intended or even impending renunciation of Hinduism.

(Source Material on Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar and the Movement of untouchable’s vol. 1 Page 145-146) Courtesy: Souvenir, 1985 Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia 99th Birth Anniversary by Mr. C. L. Chumber.

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