“It may be in your interest to be our master, but how can it be ours to be your slaves?”
Experiences of human existence serve as unequivocal proliferations of expressive tenements. The idea of being born into a social nomenclature, living by the adhered rules, policies and the stigmas have made men and women sensitized to the greater social inequalities. What serves freedom in a democratic nation is the idea to not be gagged while protesting the usurpation of the Fundamental Right and the inability to live as promised in the welfare state according to the Directive Principles. The greatest statesman who fueled the cause of mitigating inequalities, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was a force to be reckoned with. A man ahead of his times, a stringent defender of Human Rights and a dissenting voice against uber- Hindutva and the iconoclastic hyper religious sentiments of putting patriots on the pedestal and celebrating- Dr. Ambedkar had done it all.
On being asked whether he believed in the preaching of the Mahatmas, he strongly condemned the worship of such Godmen who apparently aimed at alleviating the country with heightened philosophical discourses of Ahimsa and non-violence. He said that the reason for hating them is because, “they try to perpetuate blind fate in the pace of intelligence and reason”, the two moral forces with a humane touch that drove the social, economic and political principles with which he drafted and narrated every such event in his lifetime.
It is sad however that his ideas of freedom and democracy have been skillfully hijacked by fanatic nationalists and used in the process of forcefully implementing the Hindutva policies that he abhorred, that which stands antagonistic to liberty, fraternity, and equality. The human defenders of the rights of the man have thus been extremely agitated at the way in which Babasaheb’s narratives have been usurped in the hyper-national political scenario of the country where the Dalits still face a crisis of socio-political isolation and alienation.
A SUBSTANTIATIVE ADVOCATE FOR CASTE-BASED DISCRIMINATION:
The essence of his cosmopolitan inclusive philosophy that sought to uphold the rights of the individuals have made him one of the leading figures and protectors of human rights. The means by which the Dalits have been treated as the “other” for centuries made Babasaheb believe that the Human capital and Index will never be up to the mark and the utilization of the man force can never be optimum where human beings are not treated equally and with kindness. Thus, he was a strong advocate for caste-based discrimination throughout his life, systematically vouching for social, economic, civic, and political liberties as has been seen in the preamble to the Indian Constitution, showing the sheer discrepancies in the various rights guaranteed to the citizens.
AN EXPONENT OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS:
The women form an epicenter to any social and political movement and Babasaheb’s strong advocacy for women’s rights that saw in his speeches for reiterated declarations of the freedom to choose for them, showed how well he was ahead of his times. The Hindu Code Bills (1955-56 )is a very important tool to be taken cognizance of in this regard. The roots of gender equality thus lay strong in his works and commitments. He declared that the bill would aim-
“to leave inequality between class and class, between sex and sex, which is the soul of Hindu Society untouched and to go on passing legislation relating to economic problems is to make a farce of our constitution and to build a palace on a dung heap. This is the significance I attached to the Hindu Code”
However, there were issues attached to the very essence of decentralizing and decodifying the orthodox Hindu policies that looked upon women as the weaker sex since time immemorial and thus the individual rights guaranteed to them based on their own choice of marriage, decriminalizing inter-caste marriage, a codified inheritance rules for them among others in the Hindu Bill only empowered women in a society that didn’t treat them equal. Evidently it was rejected and was opposed by the pro-Hindutva forces like the Hindu Mahasabha and Bharatiya Jan Sanghwho saw some hidden agenda in this progressive law to unweave the mellifluous fabric of an intricately woven Hindu society. It is strange as to how the descendants of the same party celebrate and manipulate the words of the Babasaheb as pro-Hindutva and lay unharnessed emphasis on the elements of religion in it, things which Babasaheb himself rejected while he lived.
SAVIOUR OF THE UNDER-REPRESENTED POPULATION OF THE COUNTRY:
The valuable policies laid down in the concept of the one man, one vote, the rejection of the existing social and political democratic discrepancies and the establishment of uniform labour reforms are some of the most valuable gifts that he has left behind. At a time, when the country was recuperating from the clutches of the imperialism, he strived to make industries nationalized including the banks and the insurance sectors as well as the basic industries, providing agricultural raw materials to the farmers, sought to remove any form of discrimination between owners, tenants and others, thereby upholding the essence of a just society and at the same time strongly advocated laissez faire and free economy that would ensure a greater visibility of the country’s potential in a state of developing globalization. All these majorly boosted the confidence between different sections of the population and ensured a stabler economy over time, which ensured greater protections of the rights of the underrepresented and those that were situated at the lowest rung of the Indian society back then. The concept of the maternity leave, the Employees State Insurance (ESI) scheme that was implemented in Kanpur on 24th February 1953 according to the conventions of ILO for providing medical and health benefits to the labourers and daily wagers, while recognizing their right to protest in cases where they are not guaranteed their due, all were the instruments of the great statesman’s mind and as a right the provision under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, ensuring the right to organize and protest in case of violation of their rights have gained importance and it is strange how the government today has become retrogressive in realizing such rights of the underrepresented population, as in the case of the protests against Farm Bills, 2020 or the protests against NRC and CAA where women read the Preamble to the Constitution and sang songs of freedom and were met with violent charges of the draconian detention laws like Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and the other sedition laws were effortlessly slapped on them.
Therefore, Babasaheb stands important in today’s India, India that has forgotten the roots from which it had learnt to protest what is wrong without turning back from the established point. Perhaps it is imperative to note that like the Gandhian exclusion of the minority voice in case of attaining freedom, this government is aiming at a narrative of religious supremacy in order to gain control. At the end of the day, it is important to note how the synonymous pairing of Dalit and Hinduism is a mere farce because 89 percent of the Dalits who have to face the social ostracisations every single day even today are from the rural population and thus are at the mercy of the pigmented narrative that the urban Dalits dilute by their friendly connection with the Hindu forces, while they suffer discrimination in the hands of the same upper caste Hindus. The legitimacy of such a statement from the author’s end can be questioned, but rejection of the ideas that disturb the general tendencies are nothing but a guarded truth. The similarity can be understood when Ambedkar while leaving the Central cabinet says that the aim of the controlled process of democratic brainwashing is “to make a farce of the Constitution and to build a palace on a dung heap”. The social depravity shall remain, so will the human corruption and so will Bhim’s words in the graphic novel ‘Bhimayana’ by Subhash Vyam, S. Anand, Srividya Natarajan, Durga Bai Vyom:
The truth of the collision of human aspiration with infarction of socio- democratic mobility, several decades after the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, shows how this society that was once based on equal enterprise has failed to live upto the standards. There has been a long transformation from the days of state socialism which was also called Nehruvianism to the present state of “technical recession” that Ambedkar did not aim for. The years have passed, and the social mobility has been incorporated for a greater cause in an equal society where crime against a Dalit happens every 16 minutes and more than 1500 rapes against Dalit women happen every year in India. The promises look good on paper during the Budgets, and it is only imperative for such happenings in a democratic machinery with faulty developmental mechanism and administrative loopholes at every yard, that such apathy is bound to be implanted and germinated.
“Indeed, the ideal Hindu must be like a rat living in his own hole refusing to have any contact with others.”
 B. R. (BHIMRAO RAMJI) AMBEDKAR, ANNIHILATION OF CASTE:AN UNDELIVERED SPEECH 19-20 (Arnold Publishers 1990).