Riddles in Moditva: Publishing Ambedkar without AoC & Riddles in Hinduism

 

Dilip Mandal

dilip mandal india today 1So, for you, what are the most seminal texts of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the constitution maker of India? What names come to your mind or your imagination?

Is it Annihilation of Caste (AoC), or is it Riddles in Hinduism (RiH) or is it something to do with the Roundtable Conference or his works related to Poona Pact, or his debates with Gandhi or all of these?

Now imagine a set of books, with the branding of Collected Works of Bhimrao Ambedkar (CWBA) having none of these texts, but someone is still calling them as the CWBA. And that 'someone', in this instance, is nobody other than the Modi Government.

This is exactly the farce that is being played out now. Ambedkar Foundation, a Government of India body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the sole publisher of Babasaheb's writings and speeches in Hindi, is selling CWBA without 11 books from the set.The missing books include AoC and RiH.

Apparently, Ambedkar Foundation is in the process of publishing a new set and in the intervening period, this is what they have to offer to the readers. But at the foundation, nobody knows when the new books will be published. This is for the Hindi edition of the CWBA. For the English originals, the situation is more complicated. As the foundation has not received the No Objection Certificate or the NOC from the Maharashtra Government, the copyright holder of these works, the foundation can not publish the English versions of the CWBA. It's intriguing that the Maharashtra government holds the publishing rights for the writings and speeches of Babasaheb and it's holding them so tight that a body of the central government finds itself handicapped to publish that work.

Meanwhile the citizens of the country have no other option but to buy the truncated set of CWBA.

This blatant act of truncating the works of Babasaheb is happening, when the Nation is celebrating the 125th year of his birth. Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi himself has taken the lead in these celebrations. The Indian Parliament has held a two day special session to mark this occasion, and a special commemorative coin has been issued and so on and so forth.

But that's the front stage for the Modi Government. At the front stage, a Goffmanian act of impression management is being enacted. Here the BJP and RSS is saying nice words about Babasaheb. Dr. Ambedkar, who while delivering his concluding speech in the constituent assembly, had warned us about the problematics of hero worship. But Modi Government is doing exactly the same and at the same time it is trying to suppress the writings of Babasaheb. In a way, the government is trying to rob the revolutionary essence of the writings of Babasaheb. That is the backstage of Modi Sarkar.

BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) want to appropriate Babasaheb, but his writings are too hot for them to handle. They want to use Dr. Ambedkar as a symbol to garner votes, but their so-called affiliation to Ambedkar ends at that point.

Ambedkar and the Ambedkarite movement have always been an enigma for RSS and it always fumbles while dealing with the issue of caste. The centrality of caste in the democratic discourse of the Ambedkarite stream is a stumbling block for the RSS in establishing upper caste brahminic hegemony in the country. As Ambedkar suggests the demolition and destruction of the Hindu religious texts to make the Hindus a free people (AoC); his writings are very problematic for the upper caste Sangh.

RSS and the BJP have a real problem in dealing with the legacy of Dr. Ambedkar. They need his name, as they think that by using this trick, they can get votes. But at the same time, by taking his name, they are generating interest for Ambedkar's writings amongst the people. This is a catch 22 situation.

BJP and RSS have to synchronise the acts at the front stage and at the back stage. At this point they look very clumsy.

~~~

 

Dilip Mandal is former Managing Editor, India Today group. He is currently doing research in JNU, on the correlation between caste and news media.

Other Related Articles

Archiving the Complex Genealogies of Caste and Sexuality: An Interview with Dr. Anjali Arondekar
Saturday, 10 June 2017
  Anjali Arondekar This interview emerged as a series of email exchanges between Rohan Arthur and Dr. Anjali Arondekar who works on the Gomantak Maratha Samaj archives, following Rohan's... Read More...
Now on Smashwords – What Babasaheb Ambedkar Means To Me
Thursday, 01 June 2017
  The Shared Mirror Publishing House Our new book What Babasaheb Ambedkar Means To Me is now available on Smashwords – Ebooks from independent authors and publishers The ebook... Read More...
Ravidas, Thakur arrogance, and the Double Game
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
  Mangesh Dahiwale Judging by the influence and popularity of Ravidas, he was perhaps India's most influential saint-revolutionary. He stood for the annihilation of caste and his impact reached... Read More...
दलितों बहुजनों का बौद्ध धर्म स्वीकार और हिन्दू शुभचिंतकों की षड्यंत्रकारी सलाह
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
  संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe) सभी दलितों ओबीसी और आदिवासियों द्वारा बौद्ध धर्म अपनाने... Read More...
Release of 'What Babasaheb Ambedkar Means to Me' eBook: Get your free copy!
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
  The Shared Mirror Publishing House We are happy to share news of the release of our second book. 'What Babasaheb Means to Me' is an edited volume that compiles articles by authors on Round... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Archiving the Complex Genealogies of Caste and Sexuality: An Interview with Dr. Anjali Arondekar
Saturday, 10 June 2017
  Anjali Arondekar This interview emerged as a series of email exchanges between Rohan Arthur and Dr. Anjali Arondekar who works on the Gomantak Maratha Samaj archives, following Rohan's... Read More...
जे.एन.यू. में ब्राह्मणवाद की खेती: जितेन्द्र सुना
Monday, 27 March 2017
  जितेन्द्र सुना मुथुकृष्ण्न की संस्थानिक हत्या के विरोध में 16 मार्च,... Read More...
Caste discrimination in daily life: Is it a thing of the past?
Monday, 16 January 2017
  Chanchal Kumar This essay shows with examples that incidents of caste discrimination have only proliferated instead of stopping in any way in modern towns and even in the national capital... Read More...
The Betrayal of Ambedkar and Dalits
Friday, 14 April 2017
  Raju Chalwadi There has been a race among the ruling class and especially among the ruling political class to project itself as true Ambedkarites or Ambedkar Bhakts, but will it dare to follow... Read More...
हम बाबासाहब को तो मानते है पर बाबासाहब की नहीं मानते
Friday, 14 April 2017
  डाॅ मनीषा बांगरडॉ. जे डी चन्द्रपाल  जब तक साँस चलती रहती है तब तक जीवन... Read More...