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 Crisis of ideology or war for fear from freedom

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

‘You mother f….r, how dare you write about implementing ceiling laws in the Tarai region of Uttarakhand. We will take enough care if you dare to come here’, came a response to my article on my blog written after the completion of the padyatra  related to land issues in Uttarakhand.

Such responses are not new to me as they keep coming. ‘ I have not read an idiotic article like this’, was a response to my review article on Telengana in yesterday. Another one wrote, ‘ how much money are you getting in to divide Hindu society’.. you are fortunate enough that you are not born in China and Pakistan, he wrote, otherwise you would have seen what could have done to you..

Just a few years back during the anti Mandal agitation initiated by the caste Hindus in the AIIMS, Delhi, I got a number of hate mail at the CNN-IBN blogs as perhaps I was among very few to question their ‘meritocracy’. ‘You beggar quotawallah, go beg at Connaught place first, then seek a reserve job’, wrote some one. Times of India mentioned it as ‘apartheid’ against ‘poor’ upper caste. It is a discrimination against the upper caste, it intended to say.

Is there a problem in our thinking process ? Are we not ready to accept diversent view point ? And whose divergent view point as at the end of the day, there are ideologies and perceptions which force us to act violently against those we disagree. Hence, a Taslima is unwelcome as she is threat to Islam, M.F. Hussein, at the age of 90, has become a ‘threat’ to our omnipotent-omnipresent gods. Children are killed when they dare to marry against their parental desires. Dalits are killed if their raise their head and claim to be equal national of the country.

Therefore it is important to understand as what is the attitudinal or ideological problem with Indians? Are they afraid of ideologies? Do they take shelter in fake ideological constructs and live in their own world. The biggest problem with them is that they live in double standard. They speak two languages, one for their children and different for outsider. So a majority of the high profile ‘ideologues’ could not sale Marxism and Maoism to their children, then why they are selling the same to the tribal, I debated. ‘Oh no, our children are separate. We can not decide about them. They have their freedom, why do you want them to be controlled’, they say. ‘But then why you want to control others’. ‘You give everything to your children’s growth’, look for Its, finding space for them in US and UK, why, I said. ‘Oh, that is not to be debated. How can we do that? Mulayam Singh, the great disciple of Lohia wanted English to be boycotted so he sent his son Akhilesh to Doon school and then to Australia. Late Charan Singh condemned computer education and modern sciences as threat to agriculture, hence Ajit Singh went to United States to study computer sciences when computer was unheard thing in India. Clear enough, in this double standard, we sale Marxism, socialism, Hinduism, Christianity and Maoism to tribal and capitalism to our children. You see most of the Hindutva ideologues actually came from the best college of Delhi called St Stephens College. 

Who were two biggest dissenters in Indian social system. The first was Buddha and thousands of years later it was Ambedkar. And since accepting dissent is not a part of any of these traditions which claims to revolutionary or uniting Hindus or political ideology of the day, we find attack against them in each and every form. Buddha Viharas were attacked and Buddhists were annihilated. Ambedkar was scorned at for ‘dividing’ Hindus and termed as a very ‘ordinary’ scholar.

‘ No, neither Buddha, nor Ambedkar can help the Dalits, only Marx can help them, wrote Rang Nayakamma, an old upper caste romantic of communism in Andhra Pradesh in her book ‘For the solution of caste question’. How many of these revolutionaries staged a battle against social evils in India. If that is not important for them, then why they expect the Dalits to join them. Rang Nayakamma wrote passionately like Arun Shourie, against Ambedkar.

She blamed Ambedkar as why it took him so long for converting to Buddhism. Why Ambedkar attacks Marx and glorify Buddha. In the entire book, Rangnaykamma’s brahmanical past is visible even when she can claim to be a Marxist and that has been the problem with most of the upper caste Marxists who remain arrogant to their brahmanical roots. For them, a shudra does not have the intellect. Even when the Hindutva’s saffron brigade is busy in social engineering, the brahmanical Marxist have not been able to provide Dalits a space in their scheme of things.  Writes Nayakamma in her chapter ‘ Caste Question : Ambedkar has changed religion ( page 407), ‘ The moment he start writing, there began a baseless confidence in Ambedkar that is a great intellectual. There emerged a kind of false logic namely, ‘whatever, I wrote is logic’.  This is the true story of brahmanical Marxists whose problem with Ambedkar is that he gave Dalits an understanding to assert themselves. Who knows Nayakammas and all those who have great appreciation for her ‘radical’ views can understand that her writings are pure brahmanical frustration because of growing Dalit assertion. That assertion is not really visible among the tribal and that is the reason the brahmanical revolutionaries are leading them. She goes on to condemn those who admire ambedkar saying that ‘ Biographers of Ambedkar glorified every aspect of his research, however inconsistent and haphazard it may have been. There is not a single instance where they raised the question namely, ; what is this argument’? what kind of research is this? 

She further writes in Vartha, a Telugu daily (quoted in her book): Since Ambedkar was favorable to the exploitation of labour, all his Dalit disciples too took the same path and ‘turned their faces away’ from Marxism. It is such a stupid path that makes them incapable of knowing whether they are doing good or harm to themselves’.( page 421)

Many of us know how veteran Sharad Patil has been writing for long the theory of Buddha, Phule, Ambedkar Marx philosophy as a remedy to current situation in India. How do you do it with the current short of Marxists in India who do not want to share, who remain ‘consistent’ in their condemnation of Ambedkar. Why Arun Shourie and Rangnayakmma hate Ambedkar. Is it because, Ambedkar’s Dalits have charted their path on their own and not through the farcical brahmanical revolution? And yes, it does not mean condemning Marx but they will simply not make a God of Marx like the Marxists have done. Ofcourse, Ambedkarite Dalits can not accept Gandhism and its so-called virtues as way to their salvation. Actually right from left, right, centre, Hindutva or missionary variety, in their action they did not have time to speak up against the exploitation of labour in the villages and caste dimension of it. Instead, Hindutva ideologue people like Shourie calls him a British supporter while so called Marxist like Rangnakamma blame him for supporting the exploiter. Can there be any truth in such vicious campaign and propaganda?  Yes Ambedkar condemned three classes which he says British, Brahmin and Bania and the real meanings of these should be understood. By British he meant imperialist forces, Brahmin symbolizing brahmanical Hinduism and Bania, he meant capitalism. How can any one suggest that Ambedkar did not speak against capitalism. Those who have read him know that he wanted to nationalized land. Now was that a capitalist agenda? He formed Indian Labour party, Depressed Classes, Republic party of India.. where did he put caste identity in focus in these. Did he deny any class or caste entry in his movement ?

Marx has been a great revolutionary and his vision still stand for an equitable society. But why Marxist hate Buddha and then Ambedkar is beyond understanding. If Buddha waged relentless war against superstition and caste system, why should not Indian follow him? After all, Buddha was born much before Marx. How did the caste Hindus kill both Buddha and Marx together in their pursuit for power? One has to understand the tribal question deeply as why the tribal leadership is unable to emerge and in the name of tribal liberation it is the brahmanical forces which are dominant in the region. ‘They can not fight their own battle, said a friend, so these revolutionaries are there. Why can not tribal fight their own battle when they had a Birsa Munda who revolted against the British.

The other day, an ideologue from Andhra said on Times Now,’ the Maoists are like Bhagat Singh, fighting against state repression’. It is tragic to do such a comparison that easily. Bhagat singh had never justified violence and in fact wrote about the issue of untouchability as the biggest challenge to our society.  Secondly, Bhagat Singh never lived in double standard. At the age of 23, he went to gallows and scolded his parents who wanted to get pardon from the British. Who had the courage to openly claim himself as an atheist and demolish all the religious symbolism from his body? In fact, that is the problem with our modern day Gandhian historians that they never considered anybody else for contributing to our freedom struggle, other than Gandhi and his followers. Bhagat Singh was just branded as gun trotting revolutionary and not an ideologue who defended freedom and secular values. They do not feel that Bhagat Singh while fighting against British imperialism concentrated on our own weaknesses of caste system, untouchability and communalism.

The other day, some human rights activists claimed that state is killings hundreds of people and we must speak against them. But who stops human rights activists to not to speak against those who are killing the innocent. ‘No, in the war these things are justified, they say. Fine, in the war, the state will also use its might and that too is justified despite human rights activists like us asking the police and military to follow norms, but practically where have these norms followed in war? Redcross, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, all know it well that human rights are violated heavily in arms conflict. Their pressure makes a lot of things during no war period but during war, only the gun speaks.

Problem is that brahminism in India has various roots to survive. It is monster and has different forms. Some where it survives through pure Manuwaad, we all know, the gangs of Hindutva and their cousins elsewhere. It comes through socialism, it come through communism, it come through all shorts of ism including the Dalits themselves. How is that every perception in India failed because of this. Reason is that India needed social revolution and we opted for political one. I do not say that only caste matter (Ofcourse it is the most important aspect) and class too matters. Why can not our friend take both as Ambedkar visualized in his famous work ‘ thought on Pakistan’ when he said that ‘Hindu Rastra would be a calamity’.

Problem is that in the human rights discourse, we are conveniently using ideological slants for our purposes. Hence those who are not with left leanings become a right wing. If you are not with RSS then you are seculars, communists and what not. I am proud to be a secular whether they want to use it in negative term or something else. The problem is that none of them appreciate freedom. Some keep conspicuous silence when Taslima speaks, while others want to raise the issue of MF Hussein and his paintings. The issue of Satanic verses would be raised by one set of freedom fighters while others would demand a ban on riddles of Hinduism written by Ambedkar. So, whenever the opportunity comes closed mind will not allow this freedom. That is why, Ambedkar is a problem for all the closed mind. Ambedkar was essentially a modern man, a liberal democrat who could not close his eyes to global changes. He was a free thinker who challenged the supremacy of the religious text books. He knew that Indian society has no respect for individual and he believed in it and perhaps these are things which were not liked by those people who lionize a particular ideology, do not believe in individual freedom and have nothing to offer to demolish the age old prejudices and our very indigenous capitalist order entirely based on your identities.

This article is not against a particular short of ideology. It is basically on issues that in the name of ideologies, we are justifying everything, human pain and agony. How can it be in a modern democracy where each life should be considered precious? For those in authorities, it is prudent that the ideology need a counter ideology. If development fail to reach to the people, if social justice is not there in our villages, if India still remain caged to feudal mindset, if our village resources, our rivers, our mountains are on sale on throw away prices then Mr Chidambaram and his team will have to do a lot of soul searching.

Step out side Raipur and you will see the big companies lining up in Chhatishgarh. Jindal tops the list with thousands of hectares of land being granted to them for mining. Hundreds others are there to ‘develop’ Chhatishgarh. Tribals remain sandwiched between the two. They have lost their land. Chhatishgarh is being colonized now by the non Chhatishgarhis,  big companies and Babas and sadhus. And where are the poor? Mr Chidambaram would do well to take a round in the city of Raipur’s famous Rajkumar college in the morning hours and watch the irony of large cue of people waiting to defecate in open even when there is a Sulabh Shauchalaya. It means that people can buy rice at one rupee kilogram but no money to defecate as the charges in the public toilet are higher then the price of rice in the state.

Where ever the political set up failed non democratic forces took up. The tribal who have been exploited for years gets new hope in those who give them ‘instant’ justice. There is a Vth schedule of constitution where you need permission of the village panchayat for starting any new private ventures? But how many times have the government cared to speak to them. So, the result is growing disenchantment among them. They have lost their habitat and without addressing the basic issue of land, forest and water, the government would not be able to tackle whole issue. Those who have isolated the tribal population must be made answerable to them. In the meanwhile, each one of the revolutionaries from Hindutva’s saffron gangs to Christian Missionaries to Naxals, will sandwich tribal except from the tribal themselves. Each one of them consider themselves as ‘protecting’ tribal from ‘outside’ influence but at the end of day none of them actually belong to tribal themselves. It is time when we address the issues of the people’s exploitation without being indulged in the ‘greatness’ of ideologies. Greatness of ideologies lies in the emancipation of human being and not on controlling their minds. Let us defend the human rights of all but let not human rights become instrument for those who spread hatred and violence.

On the other side which is equally darker, let not the ‘threat’ of terrorism become an instruments to violate human rights of the people. Let not every padyatra, slogan, publication which question the motives of the government become a target of security agencies in the name of ‘fight against terror’. It is a very delicate battle and the responsibility on the state is higher as on the human rights activists too. The more you oppress the common man, the bigger will be the fascination for ‘revolution’.

It is time we speak against oppression and for human rights. Let us condemn violence in unequivocal term. It is time we rise up against social injustice. The seeds of social democracy should reach each part of the civilization. Let ideologies not become bigger than the human liberty. Let human right discourse does not become good or bad because of a personal perception based on basic political principals and conditioning of our mind, after all, the movement for social justice, the principals of human rights too came from hard core struggles of the masses. It is time we accept criticism with open heart. Speak against the perception and not on individual. Those who believe that only ideology can counter ideology must come up with ideological arguments to spread their ideology. With a gun in hand to promote their ‘democratic’ ideas would not work and will definitely not do justice to millions of those whose name this entire battle is being fought.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat
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