Saturday, 31 December 2011

Caste And Politics In Regard To Anna Hazare By Gail Omvedt

Caste And Politics In Regard To Anna Hazare By Gail Omvedt

Sunday, 18 December 2011

INDIA: Police an impediment to security - srdarapuri@gmail.com

Gmail - INDIA: Police an impediment to security - srdarapuri@gmail.com

Bhagwan Das: A Profile

Bhagwan Das: A Profile
S.R.Darapuri
Mr. Bhagwan Das was born in an Untouchable family at Jutogh Cantonment, Simla (Himachel Pradesh) India on 23 April 1927. He served in the Royal Indian Air Force during World War II and after demobilisation served in different capacities in various departments of Government of India at Saharanpur, Simla and Delhi. He did M.A. in History (Punjab University) and LL.B from Delhi University. He did research on the ‘Indianisation of the Audit Department from 1840-1915. He had been contributing articles and short stories to various papers and journals published in India.
His father Mr. Ram Ditta was fond of reading newspapers and a great admirer of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Inspired and encouraged by his father, Mr. Das worked with Mr. T. R. Baidwan of Simla who was the most prominent leader of the Untouchables in Simla Hills, and joined the Scheduled Castes Federation at the tender age of 16. Since then he had been actively associated with the Ambedkarin movement and had done a great deal to promote the ideas of Babasaheb Ambedkar and to unite and uplift the downtrodden not only of India but also of other countries of Asia. Mr. Das was associated with many organisations of lawyers, Buddhists, Scheduled Castes and Minorities in India. General Secretary, United Lawyers Association, Supreme Court, New Delhi; General Secretary. Bouddh Upasak Sangh, New Delhi; Founder Chairman, Ambedkar Mission Society, which has branches in many parts of the world; Revived Samata Sainik Dal (Vounteers for Equality) founded by Dr. Ambedkar in 1926-27; Regional Secretary (North). Indian Buddhist Council; Founder, Society for the Protection of Non-Smokers. Founder President of Society for Promoting Buddhist Knowledge; Edited Samata Sainik Sandesh (English) 1980-1990.
Mr. Das had been associated with the ‘Peace Movement’ since the end of World War II, in which he served on the Eastern Front with the R.A.F. under South East Asia Command. He was one of the founder members of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (India) and had participated in the Conferences held in Kyoto, Japan, 1970; Princeton USA (1979), Seoul, Korea (1986); Nairobi. Kenya (1984); Melbourne Australia (1989). He was appointed Director, Asian Centre for Human Rights (Asian Conference on Religion and Peace) in 1980 and continued to serve in this capacity till 2004 monitoring the news of violation of human rights in Asian countries and organising camps for training of human ‘ rights workers, speaking and writing for the cause.

Mr. Das was invited to deliver a lecture on ‘Discrimination by the Peace University, Tokyo (1980) and also addressed several meetings organised by the Burakumins
of Japan. Gave testimon before the United Nations in regard to the plight o Untouchables in South Asia, in the meeting of sub-committee on Human Rights held at Geneva, Switzerland in August 1983. He visited England in 1975. 1983, 1988, 1990 and 1991 in connection with lectures and seminars. He participated in the seminar held in ‘Hull University in 1990 as a representative of the Ambedkar Centenary Celebration Committee UK and also held a seminar on Human Rights in India at London University, School of Asian and Oriental Studies in February 1991.
He was invited to deliver Ambedkar Memorial Lectures in Milind Mahavidyalya, Aurangahad (1970), Marathwada University (1983); Nagpur University, PWS College, Nagpur; Ambedkar College, Chanderpur, Amrraoti University 1990.
Mr. Das also visited Nepal (1980 and 1990), Pakistan (1989), Thailand (1988), Singapore (1989) and Canada (1979) to study the problems f deprived and disadvantaged members of society, women and children. Delivered lectures in Wisconsin University (USA) 1979 and North- field College (USA) on Castes in contemporary India. He was invited to give lectures on Dr Ambedkar at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Moscow in June, 1990.

Mr. Das practiced law in the Supreme Court of India. With a view to improving the professional competence of and helping upcoming advocates belonging to Untouchable and indigenous groups he founded Ambedkar Mission Lawyers Association and Legal Aid Society in 1989. He was General Secretary of ‘Professions for People’, an organisation founded in Delhi to elevate professional standards.

Mr. Das was invited to preside at the Dalit and Buddhist Writers Conference held at Akola in 1989 and was closely associated with various organisations of Dalit Writers.
Mr. Das had written more than five hundred articles, papers for seminars, short stories for various newspapers and journals. His papers on ‘Revival of Buddhism’, ‘Some problems of minorities in India’, ‘Reservation in Public Services’ have been published in Social Action brought out by Indian Social Institute, New Delhi and Delhi University Buddhist Department. He wrote many papers on Reservation and Representative Bureaucracy, Discrimination against the Dalits in Public Services, Minorities, etc.
He was a member for the ‘Committee for evolving new strategies for the development of Scheduled Castes and Tribes - VIII Plan’ set up by the Government of India and also a member of Ambedkar Centenary Committee of the Government of India. Mr. Das had written many books in Urdu, English and Hindi on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Untouchables, Scavengers and Sweepers, Human Rights, Discrimination, etc. Prominent among them are Thus Spoke Ambedkar (Vol I to V, Ed); Ambedkar on Gandhi and Gandhism (Ed); Ambedkar Ek Parichey Ek Sandesh (Hindi); Main Bhangi hoon, the story of an Indian sweeper told in the first- person (this book has been translated into Punjabi, Kannada and Marathi and German), Valmiki aur Bhangi Jatian (Hindi); Valmiki (Hindi); Dhobi (Hindi). He translated into Urdu former President of the USA Lyndon Johnson’s ‘My. Hope for America’, Dr Ambedkar’s ‘Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah’in to Urdu besides editing Bhadant Anand Kaushalyayan’s Gita ki Buddhivadi Samiksha.
Other books in print were Reservation and Representative Bureaucracy in India; Untouchables in the Indian Army (Mahar, Mazhbi, Chuhra, Pariahs, Mangs, Dhanuks, Dusadhs, Chamars, Kolis, Bheels); Mandal Commission and the Future of Backward Classes; Twenty-Two Oaths of Buddhism and Conversion; Ravidassis and Balmikis of Northern India; Buddhism and Marxism; Ambedkar as a Religious Leader.

Mr. Das had toured almost the whole of India to study the problems of Hindu-Muslim riots, religious conflicts, atrocities committed on the Untouchables and tribal people, with the group ‘Threat to Diversity’, ‘Swaraj Mukti Morcha and as Chairman, Samata Sainik Dal.
We were expecting much more from Mr. Bhagwan Das but he suddenly departed from us on 8.11.2010. It was a great loss to the followers of Baba Saheb.I think to work on his guidelines for carrying forward the Ambedkarite movement will be a true tribute to him.

UN body favours inclusion of caste-based discrimination as rights violation « C O U N T E R V I E W

UN body favours inclusion of caste-based discrimination as rights violation « C O U N T E R V I E W

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Ambedkar, Ambedkarites, and Caste Cauldron by Mahesh Chandra Dewedy

Ambedkar, Ambedkarites, and Caste Cauldron by Mahesh Chandra Dewedy

BABU MANGOO RAM AND EMANCIPATION OF THE DALITS

SPECIAL ARTICLE ON 27TH DEATH ANNIVERSARY
BABU MANGOO RAM AND EMANCIPATION
OF THE DALITS
Ronki Ram

Babu Mangoo Ram, a renouned revolutionary and founder of the Ad Dharm movement in Punjab was born at Mugowal, a village in the district of Hoshiarpur, on 14th January 1886. His forefathers were practising the occupation of tanning raw hides. However, his father, Harnam Dass, had abandoned the traditional caste-based occupation of tanning and preparing hides, and taken up the profession of selling the tanned leather on commercial basis. Since the leather trade required the knowledge of English language to read the sale orders, he was eager to have Mangoo Ram receive education to free him from the begar (forced labour), which he had to do in lieu of English orders read for him by the upper caste literates. Initially, Mangoo Ram was taught by a village Sadhu (Saint), then after studying at different schools he joined a high school at Bajwara, a town few miles away from his home. Being a chamar, he had to sit separately from the other upper caste students. In fact, he used to take a gunny bag from his home for sitting in a segregated place outside the classroom. In 1905 Mangoo Ram left the high school to help his father in leather trade. For three years he helped his father develop leather trade into a thriving business. However, in 1909 he left for America to follow into the footsteps of his peer group in the Doaba region.

Interestingly enough even in America Mangoo Ram had to work on the farms of a Punjabi Zamindar who had settled in California. In other words, even in America he had to experience the same relations of production as back home in India. How a shudra immigrant worker, who works on the land of an Indian upper caste landlord settled abroad, feels and experiences work conditions and its resultant relations of production is an altogether a separate question. However, while in California, Mangoo Ram came in close contact with the Ghadar Movement - a radical organisation aimed at liberating India from the British rule through armed insurrection. In fact, he participated in the weapon smuggling mission of the organisation. He was arrested and given the capital punishment but was saved from the death sentence by a chance as someone else in his name was executed. The news of his supposed death reached his village. According to the tradition of his community, his widow, named Piari married his elder brother. Mangoo Ram, on reaching India, remarried and had four sons from his second wife named Bishno.

After his return from abroad where he spent as many as sixteen years, Mangoo Ram did not find any change in Indian society that was still infested with the disease of untouchability. He said

While living abroad, said Mangoo Ram, I had forgotten about the hierarchy of high and low, and untouchability; and under this very wrong impression returned home in December 1925. The same misery of high and low, and untouchability, which I had left behind to go abroad, started afflicting again. I wrote about all this to my leader Lala Hardyal Ji that until and unless this disease is cured Hindustan could not be liberated. In accordance with his orders, a program was formulated in 1926 for the awakening and upliftment of Achhut qaum (untouchable community) of India.

Having settled in his native village, he opened up a school for the lower caste children in the village. Initially, the school was opened up, temporarily in the garden of Risaldar Dhanpat Rai, a landlord of his village. Later on, Lamberdar Beeru Ram Sangha, another landlord of the same village, donated half-acre land for the purpose of formally opening up the school. The school had five teachers including Mangoo Ram. One of the teachers of the school was a Muslim, Walhi Mohammad and one was Brahmin, who was later on converted into a Shudra. The conversion ceremony comprised of an earthen pot (Douri), which contained water mingled with sugar balls (Patasha) and stirred with leather cutting tool (Rambi). Thus the prepared sweet water considered as holy was given to Brahmins to baptize them into Shudras (Interview with Chatter Sain, 27 April 2001). Now a days, the school land has been declared as Shamlat (common land), and no remnants of the building exist except the old dilapidated structure of the well meant for drinking water in the school. It was in that school that the first official meeting of the Ad Dharm movement was held on June 11-12, 1926. There is another version about the school that traced its origin to the support provided by the Arya Samaj. However, given his close association with the Ghadar movement in California, Mangoo Ram’s relationships with the Arya Samaj was not as close as that of Vasant Rai, Thakur Chand and Swami Shudranand. Moreover, his personal experience of being treated as an equal in America, particularly by his fellow Ghadarites, inculcated in him an intense desire and inspiration for equality and social justice. This led him to lay the foundation of the Ad Dharm movement to streamline the struggle against untouchability. Soon he emerged as a folk-hero of the dalits who started rallying around him, particularly in the dalit concentrated areas of the Doaba region. However, after a while the Ad Dharm organisation got factionalised resulting in a split in 1929 into two groups: one headed by Vasant Rai and the other by Mangoo Ram. There emerged two independent organisations: the Ad Dharm Mandal with its office in Jalandhar was headed by Mangoo Ram and the All Indian Ad Dharm Mandal with its headquarters in Lyalpur was headed by Vasant Rai. The All India Ad Dharm Mandal got disbanded and merged with the organisation led by Dr Ambedkar in 1933 and after some years the same fate fell on Ad Dharm of Mangoo Ram, who closed the office of the Ad Dharm Mandal and changed its name to Ravidass Mandal. However, close associates of the Ad Dharm movement contested this observation. They said that Ad Dharm Mandal was not changed into Ravidass Mandal. In fact, later on, Ravidass School was opened up in the premises of the Ad Dharm Mandal building. So it was Ravidass School, which merely came to occupy the space of the Ad Dharm Mandal building rather than its being taken over by Ravidass Mandal. (Interviews with: late Chanan Lal Manak, Jalandhar, May 29, 2001; K.C. Shenmar I.G. (P) Pb. (retd.) Chandigarh, April 28, 2001).

The Vasant Rai group of the Ad Dharm Mandal was thoroughly soaked into the ideology of the Arya Samaj. In fact this group was lured back by the Arya Samaj. Although the Arya Samaj dominated section of Ad Dharm Mandal withdrew itself from the Mangoo Ram’s group in 1929, the latter played an active part in the politics of Punjab for a period of two decades from 1926 to 1952.

Mangoo Ram set a clear agenda for the emancipation of the Dalits and their upliftment. The agenda was: restore their lost indigenous religion and provide them with a sense of self-respect and dignity. The method to achieve this agenda was: cultural transformation and spiritual regeneration. Mangoo Ram was not in favour of embracing any other existing religion. He was in favour of strengthening the Adi (the original) religion of the indigenous people of this country. His views on Hindu religion were very clear. He was of the opinion that since Dalits were not born Hindu where is the need to leave that religion and to embrace some other one. Mangoo Ram thought it appropriate to empower Dalits by carving out a separate Dalit identity on the basis of their indigenous religious strength (Ad Dharm).

In the poster announcing the first annual meeting of Ad Dharm Movement, Mangoo Ram devoted the entire space to the hardships faced by the untouchables at the hands of the caste Hindus. He also made an appeal to the Achhuts to come together to chalk out a program for their liberation and upliftment while addressing the Chamars, Chuhras, Sansis, Bhanjhras, Bhils etc. as brothers, he said,

We are the real inhabitants of this country and our religion is Ad Dharm. Hindu Qaum came from outside to deprive us of our country and enslave us. At one time we reigned over ‘Hind’. We are the progeny of kings; Hindus came down from Iran to Hind and destroyed our qaum. They deprived us of our property and rendered us nomadic. They razed down our forts and houses, and destroyed our history. We are seven Crores in numbers and are registered as Hindus in this country. Liberate the Adi race by separating these seven crores. They (Hindus) became lord and call us ‘others’. Our seven crore number enjoy no share at all. We reposed faith in Hindus and thus suffered a lot. Hindus turned out to be callous. Centuries ago Hindus suppressed us sever all ties with them. What justice we expect from those who are the butchers of Adi race. Time has come, be cautious, now the Government listens to appeals. With the support of sympathetic Government, come together to save the race. Send members to the Councils so that our qaum is strengthened again. British rule should remain forever. Make prayer before God. Except for this Government, no one is sympathetic towards us. Never consider us Hindus at all, remember that our religion is Ad Dharm.

The way, the leaders of Ad Dharm chose to restore dignity and freedom to the untouchables was to completely detach them from Hinduism and to consolidate them into their own ancient religion - Ad Dharm - of which they had become oblivious during the age-old domination by the ‘alien Hindus’. In fact, the task of the revival of their ancient religion was not an easy one by virtue of the fact that during a long period of persecution at the hands of the Savarnas, the untouchables had forgotten their Gurus and other religious symbols. In fact they were never allowed to nurture an aspiration to have their own independent religion. They were condemned as profane and were declared unfit to have their own theology. Thus to revive Ad Dharm was tantamount to developing an altogether a new religion for the Achhuts. Mangoo Ram’s appeal that the Dalits were the real inhabitants of this land made an enormous psychological impact on the untouchables who were treated as, even inferior to animals in Indian society. The appeal inspired them to come out of their slumber and fight for their freedom and liberty. The Ad Dharm provided a theological podium to sustain and reinforce the new Dalit identity. For centuries, they were bereft of any identity and remained in the appendage of the hierarchically graded Hindu society.

Before 1920’s, especially before the rise of Ad Dharm movement, the untouchables in Punjab hardly envisaged the idea of seeking a separate identity. The growing communal politics and resultant unrest within Punjab in the 1920’s coupled with the emergence of Dalit organisations in different parts of the country, offered them a good opportunity to carve out such an identity. In the pre-partition Punjab, untouchables constituted one-fourth of the total population. Since scheduled castes did not have their separate religion, they were being counted as Hindus. In a system of communal representation, Muslim leaders were thinking that the Achhuts, who were never considered as equal by the caste Hindus, should be separated from them and equally divided between the Hindus and Muslims.

It was not only Muslims who alone had such an approach, even the Sikhs, Christians, and Hindus also wanted to absorb them into their respective religion for political benefits. In the absence of any other alternative open to them, a large number of the Achhuts of Punjab converted into Christianity (especially the chuhras of Sialkot and Gurdaspur), Sikhism (in Sialkot and Gurdaspur), and Islam (Rawalpindi, Multan and Lahore division).

Consequently, the Hindus in the province had been reduced from 43.8% in 1881 to 30.2% in 1931 while the Sikhs increased from 8.2% to 14.3% and the Muslims from 40.6% to about 52% and in the British territory the population of the Hindus, the Sikhs and the Muslims in 1931 was 26.80%, 12.99% and 56.4% respectively (Census of India, 1931, Vol. xvii, Punjab Part i, p. 291).

Obviously, it alarmed the Arya Samaj to put an end to the conversions of Achhuts lest it turned out as a political suicide for Hindus. Lala Lajpat Rai’s “Achhut Udhar Mandal” at Lahore, Swami Ganesh Dutt’s “Antyaj Udhar Mandal” at Lahore and Lala Devi Chand’s “Dayanad Dalit Udhar Mandal” at Hoshiarpur came up in response to these conversions. As a matter of fact, the Arya Samaj started Shuddhi campaign to bring the converted Achhuts back into the Hindu-fold. This also brought the Arya Samaj into confrontation with the Sikhs and the Muslims. “In a famous incident in 1900, Sikhs rebelled at the Arya Samaj’s practice of publicly shaving lower caste Sikhs and offering them Shuddhi”.

It was at this stage that Ad Dharm entered into the volatile territories of communal politics in Punjab.

The emancipatory project launched by Mangoo Ram inspired the lower castes to make efforts for their upliftment. Ad Dharm posited emphasis on the social equality of the Dalits and stressed on creating social and cultural awakening amog them. Ad Dharm movement aimed at securing a distinct identity for the dalits, independent both of the Hindu and Sikh religions. Sikhs and Hindus treated the dalits discriminately. But at times of counting their strategic strength they project the dalits as if they belonged to them. The central motif of the Ad Dharm movement was to highlight that untouchables constitute a qaum (Community), a distinct religious community similar to those of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, and that the qaum had existed from time immemorial On this account the Ad Dharm movement resembles the other Adi movements, which consider the low castes as the original inhabitants of India who had been subjugated by the Aryans. The Aryans, they allege came from outside and established their rule and made them subservient to them. The Ad Dharm movement aimed at making the dalits realise that they have three powers: Communal pride (Qaumiat), Religion (Mazhab) and Organisation (Majlis). All these three powers of the untouchables were lying buried under the burden of untouchability. Mangoo Ram, the founder of Ad Dharm movement exhorted the untouchables to come forward to assert for their rights through building on these three main sources of their power.

During the 1931 census, Ad Dharm movement succeeded in registering a large number of low castes in Punjab as Ad Dharmis separate from Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. In the 1931 Punjab census, a total of 418,789 persons reported themselves as Ad Dharmis almost equal to that of the Christian population of the region. Since the center of the Ad Dharm movement was in Doaba region, nearly eighty percent of the lower castes of Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur districts reported themselves as Ad Dharmis (ibid.:77). It was for the first time in the history of lower castes that they had come forward to officially declare themselves as separate and independent of the Hindu, Sikh and Muslim religions. This was, perhaps, the beginning of the dalit assertion in North India. It got further impetus in the first election that took place in 1937 after the promulgation of the Government of India Act of 1935. Ad Dharm Mandal contested election in all the eight reserved seats and won all except one. In the 1945-46, Punjab Legislative Assembly elections on the eve of independence Ad Dharm also registered its presence by contesting in alliance with the Unionist Party. Mangoo Ram, the founder of Ad Dharm was one of the elected candidates.

Ad Dharm movement was instrumental not only in helping the lower castes to get registered as a distinct religion in the 1931 census and providing them the platform to enter into the State Legislature, it also went a long way in bringing a cultural transformation in their life. In fact, Ad Dharm movement, as has been mentioned above, aimed at facilitating a cultural transformation in the life of lower castes that, under the impact of the centuries old system of degradation, had actually internalised a sense of being low and polluted. Mangoo Ram wanted to liberate them from such a state of mind and also to inculcate in them the feeling of dignity and self respect whereby they could start thinking about them as equal to the so-called twice-born people. Report of the Ad Dharm Mandal, 1926-1931 lists a number of moral principles and duties, which the followers of the Ad Dharm are required to adhere to for creating spiritual regeneration and cultural transformation in their lives. Among the most important moral principles and the duties mentioned in the report are:

The basic principles listed in the Report are: (1) The essential teachings of the Ad Dharm will always be the same: no one can change them. They can stay alive and persist only through the help of a guru. (2) Every man and woman belongs to the faith, but they may not know it. To live without a guru is a sin. (3) A guru should be someone who truly and rightly knows the teachings of the previous masters. He should be able to distinguish between falsehood and truth. He should be able to bring peace and love within the community. (4) Everyone should be instructed by the lives of previous masters; progress comes from following the masters’ examples. The practices of previous masters should not be abandoned. This leads to progress. (5) There should not be any discrimination in regard to eating with other castes. (6) Ad Dharmis should abstain from theft, fraud, lies, dishonesty, looking at someone else’s wife with bad intentions, using anything which brings intoxication, gambling, and usurping other persons’ property or belongings. All of these things are against the law of nature and therefore the law of Ad Dharm. (7) Every Ad Dharmi has the duty to teach his children current knowledge and also to teach them to be obedient to the present king. (8) Every Ad Dharmi should read the Ad Prakash and act upon it. This is a foremost duty. (9) Ad Dharm does not believe in the caste system or any inferiority or superiority of this sort. (10) To learn and seek knowledge, and to learn and seek progress is compulsory for every man and woman.

The twelve duties mentioned in the Report are as follows: (1) to publicize and propagate Ad Dharm. (2) To take pride in Ad Dharm. (3) To promote the use of name of the community and to use the red mark, this is its sign. (4) Ad Dharmis should try to retrieve any property of fellow Ad Dharmi that has been usurped. (5) We should distinguish among Hindus, Ad Dharmis, and other communities of India. (6)Those books, which have created the problem of untouchability and led to discrimination - books such as the Laws of Manu and other Shastras – should be completely boycotted and abandoned. (7) We should celebrate the festivals of our gurus and follow our faith to the utmost. (8) Abandon idolatry. (9) Receive education for ourselves and others in the brotherhood. (10) Boycott those who curse us as “untouchables” or discriminate against us. (11) Bring all demands of Ad Dharmis before the government. (12) Abandon expensive marriage and practice of child marriage.

The fifty-six commandments included in the Report are: (1) Each Ad Dharmi should know everything about the faith. (2) For the betterment and salvation of one’s body – physical and spiritual – one should recite the word soham. (3) Each Ad Dharmi should remember Guru Dev for half an hour each morning or evening. (4) When Ad Dharmis meet, their greeting should be “jai Guru Dev.” (5) We should be true followers of the founders, Rishi Valmiki, Guru Ravi Das, Maharaj Kabir, and Bhagwan Sat Guru Nam Dev. (6) a guru is necessary, one who knows about previous gurus and has all the capabilities of being a guru. (7) The wife of a guru should be regarded as one’s mother, the guru’s daughter as one’s sister. (8) Devotion to one’s wife should be a part of one’s faith, for therein lies salvation. (9) Every Ad Dharmi should abstain from theft, fraud, lies, dishonesty, and usurping the property of others. (11) One should not cause someone else heartache. There is no worse sin than this. (12) Every Ad Dharmi should enthusiastically participate in Ad Dharmi festivals and rituals. (13) There should be equally great happiness at the birth of both boys and girls. (14) After the age of five, every boy and girl should be given proper religious teaching. (15) Extravagant expenses at weddings are useless. Every marriage should be conducted according to rituals of our tradition. (16) Ad Dharmis should marry only Ad Dharmis. To marry someone outside Ad Dharm is not legal, but if someone does marry an outsider, he or she should be brought into the faith. (17) All Ad Dharmis, both men and women, should be obedient to their parents. (18) After the death of both parents it is the duty of each Ad Dharmi to cook food and distribute it among the poor. (19) The dead should be cremated, except for those under the age of five, who should be buried. (20) Ad Dharmis do not follow any other law except their own. (21) In the Ad Dharm faith only one marriage is allowed, but a husband may marry after the death of his wife. Also, if the first wife does not bear children, the husband may take another wife, provided he has the consent of the first wife. If this happens, the first wife remains a legal wife, with all the rights she had before. (22) Ad Dharmis should marry their children to the Ad Dharmis of the surrounding areas. (23) A girl should be more than twelve years old at the time of the marriage. The boy should be four years older than the girl. (24) It is illegal to receive money for a bride; on the other hand, there should not be a dowry. Those who sell their daughters commit a very great sin. (25) Offerings and sacrifices for prayers should be given only to those holy men who are Ad Dharmi and who have shown themselves to follow Ad Dharmi principles religiously. (26) It is necessary for each Ad Dharmi to provide primary education to both boys and girls. (27) The girls should be educated especially in household work such as sewing and needlework. (28) Young girls and boys should not be sent out to cut grass and gather wood. (29) It is the duty of parents not to allow young widowed daughters to remain in their household, because a young widowed daughter is a cause of disgrace. (30) If an Ad Dharmi widow with children wants to hold a commemoration of her deceased husband, but cannot afford it, then the Ad Dharm Mandal of Jullundur and its members will help her. (31) It is not good to cry and beat oneself at a death or funeral. To do so is to anger Guru Dev. (32) Among the Ad Dharmis sons and daughters should receive an equal inheritance. (33) To eat the meat of a dead animal or bird is against the law of Ad Dharm. (34) To use wine or any other intoxicants is a sin, except in the case of sickness. (35) It is legal to eat food offered at noon – Ad Dharm marriages, but the food should be decent, and not leftovers. (36) Cleanliness is important. It guaranteed good health. (37) It is forbidden to practice idolatry and worship statues, and one should not believe in magic, ghosts, or anything of the sort. (38) All Ad Dharmis should forget notions of caste and untouchability and work toward the unity of all people in the world. (39) Each Ad Dharmi should help a fellow Ad Dharmi in need. (40) One Ad Dharmi must not work at a place where another Ad Dharmi works until the first Ad Dharmi has been paid his wages. (41) If Ad Dharmis enter into a dispute with one another, they should attempt to come to some agreement by themselves or within the community. If no agreement is accomplished, they should refer the case to the Ad Dharm Mandal, Jullundur, and the Executive Committee will take action. (42) Ad Dharmis should open shops and business in every village. (43) Every Ad Dharmi should be a missionary for the faith. (44) Ad Dharmis should call themselves such and register in the census as “Ad Dharmi”. (45) A Red turban on the head is mandatory, for it is the color of our ancestors. (46) Every Ad Dharmi should work hard for the progress and peace of the community. (47) Ad Dharmis hould organize themselves into cadres called martyrdom cells. They should work hard on the Ad Dharm’s projects. (48) Each Ad Dharmis hould separate himself form Hindus, Sikhs, and members of other religions. (49) Each Ad Dharmi should be a good citizen, a patriot loyal to the present government, and should follow the law of the land. (50) Ad Dharmis have the obligation to consider the Ad Dharm Mandal of Punjab, city of Jullundur, as their rightful representative, and to recognize that the programs of the AD Dharm are for their benefit. (51) It is the duty of every Ad Dharmi to trust the Ad Dharm Mandal of Jullundur, and to share its work. (52) All local branches of the Ad Dharm should be certified by the Ad Dharm Mandal of Jullundur, and those, which are not certified, should not be considered genuine. (53) All Ad Dharmis should save their fellow Ad Dharmis from fraud and selfishness on the part of other communities. If such a situation arises, the Mandal should be informed. (54) Each Ad Dharmi should report any difficulty concerning the community to the Mandal in Jullundur. (55) Ad Dharmis should subscribe to the qaum’s newspaper, Adi Danka. They should receive it regularly, read it regularly, a nd help support it regularly. (56) Anyone violating the laws of the Ad Dharm or of the guru, or who insults these laws in one way or another, will be liable to punishment, even the greatest punishment – being banished from the community.

The main emphasis of these commandments, principles and duties, in the opinion of Babu Mangoo Ram, was to strengthen the social, cultural and religious life of the Dalits so that it could help them build Dalit Solidarity and empowerment.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Dr. Ambedkar’s concept of a Political Party and Political Power:
While describing the role of a Political Party in the constitution of the Scheduled Castes Federation, Dr. Ambedkar said “A Political Party does not exist for winning elections but for Educating, Agitating and Organizing the People.” But Mayawati’s Party has learnt the art of winning election only and totally rejected the real role of a political party as described by Dr. Ambedkar. The result of this strategy is before us. Her very constituency is the victim of underdevelopment and her personal corruption.
Dr. Ambedkar while detailing the qualities of a leader said,” Your leaders must have the courage and caliber to match the topmost leaders of any political party. The party without efficient leaders comes to nil.” Now it is the high time that we assess our leaders including Mayawati on these parameters.
. Dr. Ambedkar’s often repeated slogan that” Political Power is the key to all Social Progress” has failed at Mayawati’s hands. It is because she has no Dalit agenda for the socio-economic empowerment of Dalits. In fact she lacks a vision whish is the essential qualification of any leader. Dr. Ambedkar while discussing the role of Politics said,” Politics is not the be-all and end-all of the nation’s life. We must study the Indian Problem in all its aspects, political, social, religious, and economic and fight with own accords for the solution of the down trodden.” But unfortunately for Mayawati achieving the political power is the be-all and end-all of her politics..
Her personal corruption has taken away the benefits of various welfare schemes. She is likely to be charge sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation for possession of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rest. 30 crores and she has further added Rest. 60 crores to her income during 2007 without having any known source of income.
While defining the role of administration Dr. Ambedkar remarked,” Purity of Administration is necessary for the Welfare of the people… It may be difficult to provide food and clothing to the people but why should it be difficult to give the people a pure Government”. But unfortunately Mayawti has failed to give pure government. Her personal corruption and unprincipled politics has infected all the branches of the Government At present 60% of her ministers are having criminal records. She herself has proved the dictum that Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. She has also earned for U.P. the dubious distinction of being the Most Corrupt State of India.
Dr. Ambedkar once remarked that his opponents did levy all sorts of allegations against him but none could dare to raise a finger at his character and integrity but can Mayawati dare to make even an iota of this claim. The answer is big NO. During a meeting of the Independent Labour Party Dr. Ambedkar remarked that Dalit Labourers have two enemies: one is Brahmanism and the other is Capitalism. But now Mayawati has embraced both these enemies. Brahmanism in the shape of Sarvjan (high caste Hindus) and Capitalism in the shape of liberalization, privatization and corporatization.
Dr. Ambedkar gave topmost importance to struggle and grass-root level social and political movements. Actually these movements formed the basis of his politics. But Mayawati’s Party is totally bereft of it. It is true that in the absence of grass- root level movements and public pressure the political power is likely to be misused for self aggrandizement as has happened in the case of Mayawati. Apart from amassing wealth through questionable means she is misusing public money to make parks and install statues including her own in an effort to immortalize her.
According to Dr. Ambedkar,” These ideas if hero-worship will bring ruin on you if you do not nip them in the bud. By deifying an individual, you repose faith for your safety and salvation in one single individual with the result that you get into habit of dependence and indifferent to your duty. If you fall a victim to these ideas, your fate will be worse than logs of wood in the national stream of life. Your struggle will come to naught.” But in the case of Mayawati this warning of Dr. Ambedkar is totally being ignored by her blind followers.
What should be done? Now the question arises that when Mayawati has failed to use political power as a key to social progress then what should be done. In this case we have to revert to the earlier quoted slogan of Dr. Ambedkar which says,” A Political Party does not exist for winning elections but for Educating, Agitating and Organizing the People.’ It requires the adoption of a path of struggle and grass-root level movements by taking up public issues. A definite Dalit Agenda has to be worked out and the political parties have to be forced to adopt it. Land reforms have to be first item on the Dalit Agenda because only lands possession only can empower them economically and free them from the bondage. Therefore Dalits must launch a vigorous movement for allotment of surplus and waste land available in the State. Fast track courts could be instituted to expedite the disposal of more than 5,000 land ceiling cases pending in the courts since many years. These cases involve millions of hectares of land. Unless the Dalits launch a similar land movement as was launched by Republican Party of India during 1964-65.
Without a vision and definite Dalit liberation agenda the attaining of political power is not going to solve the problems of the Dalits as well as that of the State. Structural changes and improvement in the delivery system only can remove the poverty syndrome prevailing amongst the Dalits. Grass-root level movements are the key to keep the political leaders under control and make them answerable to the people. Bureaucracy also responds properly under public pressure only. It is the high time that Mayawati’s role in the under development of the Dalits and the State is assessed critically and dispassionately and remedial measures taken as early as possible. Otherwise it will prove to be a missed opportunity.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Prabuddha Bharat: fulfilling the Great Vow of Babasaheb Ambedkar
By Mangesh Dahiwale
Modern India consists of 28 states and 7 union territories. The entire landmass enclosed by river Indus and Himalayas in the north and Indian Ocean in the south was called Jambudvipa in the ancient time. Though Jambudvipa was ruled by a single ruler, it still was considered as the continent in the ancient times. Politically the region is divided into several nation states. It is one of the most diverse regions in the world in terms of religions, languages, cultures and last but not the least the castes. After 1947, the British India was divided into two nations and later on this division led to three nations; India, Pakistan and Bagla Desh. Till 1935, Burma was part of the British administration. There is a continuity of administration and geographical unity amongst these present day nation states.
This region gave birth to a universal religion that is Buddhism, which crossed the boundaries of the Jambudvipa and reached the Island of Sri Lanka, China, Japan and Korea. The other national religions remained confined to this geographical setting.
The region has a complex history. However the culture is influenced by some strong social practices that are still very strong. One of the very strong social practices is influenced by the system of caste and untouchability. It is prevalent in this region.
The British India saw a fight against this atrocious system of caste system and practice of untouchability. This fight was led by very enlightened people and leaders in the modern India. It was led by Iyothee Thass in the South India, whose movement influenced the non Bramhanical movement of Periyar. It was led in North by people like Bhikkhu Bodhanand. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is the culmination of such movements which created opportunities for New India. However all these great leaders rejected Bramhanised Hinduism, in fact, people like Periyar and Ambedkar rejected Hinduism. As they rejected Hinduism due to its heinous caste system and superstitious ideas which could not stand the scientific inquiry, they were finding solution to problems of majority of Indian people. And they discovered that solution in Buddhism.
Buddhism was lost from India. In fact, it was killed in India by the anti-Buddhist forces which could not tolerate the success of Buddhism. Buddhism not only influenced Indian social life, but also created unparalleled arts and architectures. It developed the forms of the democratic institutions. It developed the system of welfare economics. It developed not only material culture, but sophisticated way of thinking which is reflected in the thoughts of great Buddhists teachers and thinkers like Nagarjuna, Dignag and Asanga.
One of the Buddhists who stand higher in the modern world is Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. He was born into so called untouchable caste and through his relentless efforts achieved the best of the education in the world. At the height of his successful career, he left every thing and devoted his entire life and energy to the liberation of Indians, mostly focused on the liberation of so called untouchables and now called Dalits who constitute 5 percent of the world’s population.
He wrote the constitution of India and gave India a solid start. India is still a vibrant democracy thanks to his great efforts to convince his fellow Indians of his importance since he started his public career. India is a democratic republic. There is shift in power in India. The power is shifting in favour of Dalits and Other Backward Classes (the Shudras according to Hindu scriptures).
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar who has emerged as a pan India leader after transfer of power to Indians worked all his life to find suitable solution for bringing equality in India. He rejected dominant thoughts like Marxism and Capitalism. However he completely put his faith in Buddhism. This is not a small event in the history of the world. The most oppressed community chose Buddhism as the means of transformation and liberation under the leadership of Dr. Ambedkar. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar studied wide ranging subjects from currency to law and politics to anthropology. He was also active as a public leader for nearly 4 decades. His choice was however Buddhism.
This is a great enigma. The fact that Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar chose Buddhism should make traditional countries understand the modern significance of Buddhism. For Buddhism, it is a great boost. And for the Indians, it is a great opportunity to celebrate that the solution to India’s biggest problems can be found in its own son of soil, the Buddha. It is also important for the oppressed communities of the world to study the pattern of the movement that Dr. Ambedkar developed and culminated into Buddhism. This movement as now has found some very strong followers amongst the Gypsies of Hungary and some Black Americans.
Prabuddha Bharat is the vision of Babasaheb Ambedkar. The Buddha also dreamt of a new society. In fact the Buddha dreamt of the casteless society. The Buddha worked all his life to create a casteless and equal society. There are many Buddhist texts (both Pali and Mahayana) that refute the caste system and advocate the equal and free society.
In order to fulfill the vision of Prabuddha Bharat, it is important to understand importance of it. Prabuddha Bharat is not a utopia or the fundamentalist demand that India should become Buddhist as token. Prabuddha means enlightened. Though the enlightenment of the Buddha is different from that of Enlightenment in Europe, there are important elements that are already part of Buddhism: like the values of liberty, equality and fraternity. The Buddha stressed on rationality, and systematic enquiry. His Dhamma is the systematic enquiry into the nature of our experience and conditionality.
The first turning of great wheel in the modern times in India took place at Nagpur in 1956. Since then millions have become Buddhists. The fact that Dhamma is spreading in India like a wild fire is enough to attract attention of serious and sincere Buddhists abroad. However barring a few, there is not much response. Those responses will however not be enough if one looks at the way Buddhism is growing India. India is a vast country. Some of the states are compared to many bigger countries in the world. For example, Uttar Pradesh is as big Brazil in terms of population and Maharashtra is as big as Mexico. Like Europe, which is divided into nation states basically based on languages, India too is divided into different states based on the languages. India is therefore a very vast country even for Buddhism itself.
In this situation, it is very important to create a national network to create solidarity and fellowship amongst the Indian Buddhists. It is also important to make efficient use of the limited resources both human and physical for the propagation of the Dhamma. One of the important challenge before the creation of the Prabuddha Bharat is the lack of trained Dhamma Sevaks, and there is a need of millions of Dhamma Sevaks. Training and networking of such people who wants to commit to devote their life for Prabuddha Bharat is an important task.
To discuss all these important questions, Prabuddha Bharat conference is organized in Nagaloka, Nagpur which is devoted to the vision of Babasaheb Ambedkar. This conference is bringing together over 200 Buddhists and Ambedkarites from all over India. In order to link up Buddhist individuals and organizations, we are developing the Prabuddha Bharat website which will create important resources for people all over India. The Prabuddha Bharat conference will be a regular event where changes in Buddhist circles of India will be constantly studied for leading to our common vision of Prabuddha Bharat, which is the vision backed by Indian Constitution, which is based on the principles of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Justice for all.
Jai Bhim! Jai Buddha!! Jai Bharat!!!

The Political and Social in Dalit Movement Today

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Dr. Ambedkar on Education


1. “Educate, Agitate and Organise”
2. “Education is something which ought to be brought within the reach of every one..the policy therefore ought to be to make higher education as cheap to the lower classes as it can possibly be made. If all these communities are to be brought to the level of equality, then the only remedy is to adopt the principle of equality and to give favoured treatment to those who are below level.”
3. “I am very fond of teaching profession. I am also very fond of students. I have dealt with them. I have lectured them in my life. I am very glad to talk to the students. A great lot of the future of this country must necessarily depend on the students of this country. Students are an intelligent part of the community and they can shape the public opinion.”

4. To deny them that right (i.e. Education) is to create a situation full of injustice. To keep people illiterate and then to make their literacy the ground of their enfranchisement is to add insult to the injury. But the situation indeed involves more than this. It involves an aggravation of the injury for to keep illiterate and then to deny them franchise which is the only means where by they could effectively provide for the removal of illiteracy is to perpetuate illiteracy and postpone indefinitely the days of their enfranchisement.
Purpose of EducationEducation,
Purpose of Education is to moralize and socialize the people.
W. & S. Vol. 2-p-39

Aim and functions of University Education
The aim and functions of University Education should be to see that the teaching carried on there is suited to adults; that it is scientific, detached and impartial in character; that it aims not so much at filling the mind of the student with facts or theories as at calling forth his own individuality, and stimulating him to mental effort; that it accustoms him to the critical study of the leading authorities, with perhaps, occasional reference to first hand sources of information, and that it implants in his mind a standard of toughness, and gives him a sense of the difficulty as well as the value of reaching at truth.”
W. & S. Vol. 2-p-296

Students should learn
The student so trained should learn to distinguish between what may fairly be called matter of fact and what is certainly mere matter of opinion. He should be accustomed to distinguish issues, and to look at separate questions each on its own merits and without an eye to their bearings on some cherished theory. He should learn to state fairly, and even sympathetically the position of those to whose practical conclusions he is most stoutly opposed. He should become able to examine a suggested idea, and see what comes of it, before accepting it or rejecting it. Without necessarily becoming an original student he should gain an insight into the conditions under which original research is carried on. He should be able to weigh evidence, to follow and criticize argument and put his own value on authorities.” W. & S. Vol. 2-p-296 297

Character is more important than education
That education was a sword and being a double edged weapon, was dangerous to wield. An educated man without character and humility was more dangerous than a beast. If his education was detrimental to the welfare of the poor, the educated man was a curse to society. Fie upon such an educated man. Character is more important than education.” L.&M.— P-305

Medium of instruction
“Spread of education should be a proper function of the University. But this cannot be achieved unless the University adopts vernacular as the medium of instruction, which in the present circumstances is a far cry...
I hold a very strong affirmative view on the use of vernacular as a medium of instruction. But I feel that the problem cannot be solved unless Indian public opinion decides which vernacular it selects for common intercourse.”
* W. & S. Vol. 2-p-312

Proposal for study of law immediately after the matriculation
“I see three distinct advantages in my proposal of allowing a student to commence the study of law immediately after the matriculation.
1.) The first advantage to which I attach the greatest value is this. At present, a student who joins the law course has not the fixed objective of studying law for the purpose of qualifying himself for the profession. He comes there merely for the purpose of adding one more string to his bow. It is his last refuge to which he may or may not go for shelter. Probably, he comes to the Law College because he is unemployed and does not know for the moment what to do. Due to this unsteadiness in purpose, there is no seriousness in the law student and that is why his study of law is so haphazard. It is, therefore, necessary to compel him to stick to it. A boy, who is a B.A., cannot have this fixity of purpose, because as a BA. he has other opportunities in life open to him. My scheme has the advantage of compelling the boy to make his choice at the earliest stage at which every one in this country is required to make a choice of his career.

2.) The second advantage of my proposal lies in its combination of economy and efficiency. A boy will be able to complete his legal education within 4 years. This is a saving of two years over the present system. The alternative suggestion also requires six years. From the standpoint of poorer students, it has no advantage over the present system. From the standpoint of training, I venture to say that the existing systems as well as the alternative suggested by the committee suffer in comparison with mine. The existing system allows only two years for the study, which is undoubtedly very inadequate. The alternative scheme allots three years. But my scheme provides four full years. From the standpoint of efficiency, it is, therefore, superior to both.

3.) The third advantage is that it will introduce a process of selection. Those who have not the definite object of entering the profession will be weeded out. Only those with the definite object will join. It will, thus, help to prevent the overcrowding of the profession.”
*W. & S. Vol. 17(lI)-p-12-13
Higher education the panacea of our social troubles
“Coming as I do form the lowest order of the Hindu Society, I know what is the value of education. The problem of raising the lower order is deemed to be economic. This is a great mistake. The problem of raising the lower order in India is not to feed them, to cloth them and to make them serve the higher classes as the ancient ideal of this country. The problem of the lower order is to remove from them that inferiority complex which has stunted their growth and made them slaves to others, to create in them the consciousness of the significance of their lives for themselves and for the country, of which they have been cruelly robbed by the existing social order. Nothing can achieve this purpose except this spread of higher education this in my opinion the penacea of our social troubles.
*L.F.Y. - P-69

Though education is being given on a larger scale, it is not given to the right strata of Indian Society. If you give education to that stratum of Indian Society which has a vested interest in maintaining the Caste System for the advantages it gives them, then the Caste System will be strengthened. On the other hand, if you give education to the lowest strata of Indian Society, which is interested, in blowing up the Caste System, the Caste System will be blown up. At the moment the indiscriminate help given to education by the Indian Government and American Foundation is going to strengthen the Caste System. To make rich richer and poor poorer is not the way to abolish poverty. The same is true of using education as a means to end the Caste System. To give education to those who want to
keep up the Caste System is not to improve the prospect of Democracy in India but to put our Democracy in India in greater jeopardy.”
W. & S. Vol. 17(lll)-p-522-523
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Commandments : Educate, Agitate, Organize
Introduction:
Educate agitate and organize concept of Dr. Ambedkar has given meaningful massage to the people in the mode of development. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was born in a class considered low and outcast. Dr. Ambedkar fought untiringly for the downtrodden. The man who suffered bitter humiliation became the first Minister for Law in free India, and shaped the country’s Constitution. He was strong-minded fighter, a deep scholar, human to the tips of his fingers. Educate, Agitate, Organize are three final words of our savior Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Being a Buddhist Babasaheb gave these slogans based on Buddhist philosophy. These commandments must be kept in this order. We are not trying to find responsibility in others who may have used different order by changing second commandment (Agitate) as third and changed this order to Educate, Organize and Agitate. It is highly suggested to all Ambedkarites across the world to use these final words in the same order as our savior gave us. They should not only be use in this order but also experienced in this order: Educate, Agitate, Organize.
One may question as to why we must follow a particular order of these final words of Dr. Ambedkar. It is Dr. Ambedkar’ well thought that strategic order of action to make the movement successful. One must get educated first before he can have agitated thoughts for the movement so that people can organize with his support. A changed order of these final words of Babasaheb may not only wait the group to reach its purpose; it may also divert the direction of the group, which can be harmful for the movement.
History of society
The status of communities as Dealits in the Hindu caste system was the most serious impediment to their education. While stringent social taboos conscribed their behavior, severe strictures were laid down to prevent their access to knowledge. It was treatment for some communities that they were taboo from walking on the road in daylight because even their shadow was considered polluting. On the pathetic condition of untouchables, Ambedkar had given lot of facts. He writes that , “Under the rule of the Peshwas in the Maratha country the untouchables was not allowed to use the public street if a Hindu was coming along lest he should pollute the Hindu by his shadow. The untouchable was required to have a black thread either on his wrist or on in his neck as a sign or a mark to prevent the Hindus from getting them polluted by his touch through mistake. In Poona, the capital of the Peshwa, the untouchables was required to carry, strung from his waist, a broom to sweep away from behind the dust he treaded on lest a Hindu walking on the same should be polluted. In Pune, the untouchable was required to carry an earthen pot, hung in his neck wherever he went, for holding his spit falling on earth should pollute a Hindu who might unknowingly happen to tread on it. The children of untouchables were not allowed to study in public school. Untouchables were not allowed to use public wells, to wear apparel or ornaments they like and to eat any food they like. The list of atrocities is even longer than this. In post-independent India, this list is lessen but not completely exhausted.
The singular role that Ambedkar played in the upliftmant of the untouchables in the early 20th century and the importance that he give to modern education for their betterment deserves special emphasis. In conferences, lecture and meetings, Ambedkar encouraged untouchable youth to acquire education in order to raise their social status and image. As early as 1924, he established the Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha, which had among its objectives the opening of hostels, libraries, social centers and classrooms where the untouchable youth could study. Ambedkar ideas for the untouchables was ‘to raise their educational standards so that they may know their own conditions, have aspirations raise to the level of highest Hindu and be in position to use political power as a means to that end’( Zelliot 1972.77) . This is best reflected in Ambedkar’s famous slogan Educate, Agitate and Organize.’
Educate:
Education has an immense impact on the human society. One can safely assume that a person is not in the proper sense until he is educated. It trains the human mind to think and take the right decision. In other words, man becomes a rational animal when he is educated.
It is through education that knowledge and information received and spread throughout the world. An uneducated person cannot read and write and hence he closed to all the knowledge and wisdom he can gain through books and other mediums. In other words, he shut off from the outside world. In contrast, an educated man lives in a room with all its windows open towards outside world.
The quality of human resource of a nation is easily judge by the number of literate population living in it. This is to say that education is necessary if a nation aspires to achieve growth and development and more importantly sustain it. This may well explain the fact that rich and developed nations of the world have very high literacy rate and productive human resource. In fact, these nations have started imparting selective training and education programs to meet the new technical and business demands of the 21st century.
Getting educated does not mean only to acquire academic designations. One must get educated about Babasaheb’s mission and his thoughts. We must read and learn about Dr. Ambedkars ideology and strategy to strengthen our people. We have people running organizations under Dr. Ambedkars name for years and years but one can tell from the way they think and how they work that they have no hint about Dr. Ambedkars mission. The knowledge they posses about Dr. Ambedkar is their borrowed knowledge of telephone conversations with others and they make us believe that they are the most committed followers of Dr. Ambedkar. It could be fine if they only keep this borrowed knowledge to themselves but they should not start preaching to others while they hold positions in their organizations, which actually hurt the movement instead of helping it.
Agitate:
The second step ‘agitate’ does not mean to agitate physically; it is a mental revolution in its place. It does not mean to go out and start protesting violently on the streets without getting educated first, which most probably our enemy wants us to do. After getting educated about Babasaheb’s thoughts and strategy: we should start agitating mentally. We need an agitation of thoughts in our mind in order to move to the next stage: organize.
Organize:
Educated and agitated minds will easily organize for a common mission. We must get ourselves educated and let our thoughts agitate so that we can collectively organize. Agitated minds for a common mission will help them to unite and struggle for their common goal as one force.
When it comes to organize, one must be honest with his intentions and mission. A simple agenda never produces any results and people stay ununited. My personal experience taught me that being honestly sensible about resolving any issue contributes completely. I have known people making announcements individually and in large gatherings to unite and work together. But in practice, their hidden agendas don’t let them or others unite. Their personal interests interfere in their way to make right decision and they not only remain ununited with others but they also create obstacles for others to unite. Since they cannot walk their own talk, they do not produce any effective results.
In Caste system, an individual is confined only to his or her traditional occupation. Therefore, there is a little scope to grow. But in Class, as it is open, an individual can grow as per his or her capability. Only education can bring this change. Ambedkar had also given lot of emphasis on getting education. He said that, “Educate, Organize and Agitate”. Here he had given prime importance to education. He further added that, “The backward classes have come to realize that after all education is the greatest material benefit for which they can fight. We may forego material benefits of civilization but we cannot forego our rights and opportunities to reap the benefits of the highest education fully. That the importance of this question from the point of view of the backward classes who have just realized that without education their existence is not safe.” He suffered a lot due to this caste system. Still in that system of discrimination, he succeeded to well educate himself.
In my field experience, I have taken various Social Work Colleges students views on the Ambedkars idea on educate agitate and organize. Students are thinking reason behind this Ambedkars idea for giving education and equal opportunity to the people, for removing Indian Hindu religious caste system and development of backward caste as well as all marginalized communities. According to the social work students educate agitate and organize means create power in people for achieve basic rights in the society for life, Achieve success in the life, and struggle for social justice. In the social work field Ambedkars idea about educate agitate and organize is very much relevant in the current context because in the Indian society people are illiterate and they are not aware about education as well as their basic rights of the life, still people are facing caste discrimination in society, and lack of support and motivation. Social worker should work on these issues while doing social work. In the social work field this statement can be operationalized through awareness of education and basic rights of life, through motivation and opportunity, through social movement and work against caste system.
Educate, Agitate, and organize: this order must be maintained to see the effective results of the movement for the upliftment of our people. Babasaheb had a strategically thought and well-defined process for his mission to be successful. Following this order, can positively result in achieving more outcomes that are beneficial not only for our community but for the society as a whole.
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.
References:
1. Ambedkar and Buddhism, by, Sangharakshita (Bhikshu) Motilal Banarsidass Published, 2006.
2. Dr. Baba Sahib Ambedkar Writings and speeches Bombay 1979, Vol.14, part 2.
3. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar – - “Annihilation of Caste”
4. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches, Vol. 1, p. 15, Bombay: The Education Department, Government of Maharashtra, (1979)

Dalit situation Today

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