Dissent and the Oppressed

 

Raju Chalwadi

raju chalwadiOur plural society is going through one of its most fragile phases; the very notion of its multi-identity is under threat. The irony is that the threat is not from outsiders but from its own citizens who are trying to impose their version of history, culture and nationalism on "others."

Since the coming of the new Hindutva government at the centre, the self-proclaimed nationalists have awakened. Hero worship has increased, which if not controlled, will ultimately lead to dictatorship. This is followed by the rise of orthodox individuals/groups that have direct/indirect backing from the current regime's ideology. The issues of national importance have been sidelined, those who dare to dissent with the current regime are termed as anti-BJP or pro-Congress if not anti-nationals. A party has been represented as a group of soldiers that is fighting for the well-being of the masses. State policies are being termed as 'nation building policy' hence critiques are not welcomed, even though they are based on solid theoretical and practical grounds. A party instead of being a channel to fulfil the promise to the nationals, itself claims to be the nation.

The victims of the current regime are largely those who had faced discriminations since ages. Now we are so obsessed with the question of national and anti-nationals that we seldom talk about social inequality in general and gender, caste, religious, ethnic and economic inequality in particular. The ideas of growth, development, investment, employment generation has proved to be mere rhetoric. And the ground reality, especially of the countryside (for instance Maharashtra has recorded highest farmer suicides in the last 16 years), has been overshadowed by discussions on the lofty rhetoric of changing India.

All the leaders/members of opposition parties have been reduced to a mere bunch of people who have self-interested political goals, whereas the ruling political elites are the only ones who are toiling day and night for building a Ram Rajya. Had Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh, Rabindranath Tagore and Phule been alive they too would have been termed as those who are conspiring against the government as their ideas did not match with the current regime. For Ambedkar Caste is anti-national and Hindu Raj is dangerous; for Bhagat Singh God is an imagination of the human being and we must fight the narrow conception of religion; for Tagore humanity is greater than patriotism and freedom of mind is essential; for Phule Hinduism is not a legitimate religion but a superstition, a bag of tricks and a weapon of domination.

The prevailing ideology has created blind soldiers who are ready to fight to safeguard the national (religious) interest at any cost. The same soldiers fought in 1992 to demolish Babri Masjid and the same soldiers fought in Gujarat in 2004. We are reminded of the 2001 parliament attack, but we seldom remember the 1966 attack on parliament which was led by people of the same ideology, who are seen today no less than an avatar of God. The same ideology which until yesterday used to cherish the writings of Manu, has now taken solace in Ambedkar.

Now it seems clear as to who are responsible for dividing this country and destroying the social fabric of this country. It is better to remind ourselves of the great leaders who fought for uniting the country based on a single identity of humanity, for whom religion, caste, ethnicity, god have no role to play in individual's life, for instance, Buddha.

We are living with contradictions. The constitution of this country has demanded certain fundamental duties from its citizens, the most important among it - is promoting scientific temper. How can this duty be fulfilled, if the government promotes myth and unscientific views? For instance, Prime Minister's view on the presence of Plastic surgery and Genetic Science in ancient India, citing the creation of Lord Ganesha and giving an example of Karna's birth as an instance of presence of genetic science.

Institutional murder of a bright UoH's Scholar Rohith Vemula, killings of Dalits and Muslims in the name of protection of gau mata, the student Najeeb missing after clash with student group members, the murder of Akhlaq, Ghar wapsi camps and harassment of couples and family in the name of love jihad and other such instances have fuelled the dissent among the oppressed against the present ideology because of inaction or due to defending of such acts. There is a real danger in promoting myth and defending such acts by undermining the welfare of masses, as this will force the particular section of society into disbelief if not to rebel against the state in the long term.

Democracy is not just a political system, it is a system of sharing values, pain in the time of distress and protecting each individual when necessary. The chief architect of India's constitution chose Buddha over Marx; because he found two faults in Marx's way, first it demanded bloody revolution and second, dictatorship. It is a common experience that if the masses especially the oppressed ones are not treated equally, if they are not provided with equal opportunity they find solace in bloody revolution and start believing in overthrowing of the oppressed regime. What we are doing today is suppressing the aspiration of minorities and oppressed sections of society which will be forced to rebel if not given a share in resources and equal security.

We need to remind ourselves the fear which Ambedkar raised in his last speech in the constituent assembly, he said, "Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country? I do not know. But this much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost forever". Further, he said "Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship". There is no doubt that today the present regime is or has already placed creed above the country and Hero-worship of a political leader is no doubt at its peak.

We have what Granville Austin called a social document in the form of our constitution which if followed in letter and spirit which would definitely lead our country towards what Buddha called "Bahujana Hitaya Bahujana Sukhaya"

 ~~~

 

Raju Chalwadi is a PhD Candidate in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department of IIT-Madras. He also holds a Master's degree in Development Studies from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Most recently, he was associated with the Humsafar Trust Mumbai and Samhita Development Network, Bhopal. His area of interests includes understanding caste as an institution, its practices and contemporary development issues.

Other Related Articles

Teri Zameen Tera Aasman - World Premiere of Documentary Film on Women
Thursday, 27 April 2017
  Round Table India  World Premiere Film Screening of TERI ZAMEEN TERA AASMAAN: Bhartiya Nari! Tu Aazaad Kahaan?(Your Earth Your Sky: O Indian Woman! Where thou art free?) ~   This... Read More...
The Homicidal Republic - India i.e. भारत
Thursday, 27 April 2017
  Anshul Kumar  Victor Hugo once said, "There is in every village, a torch-the teacher, an extinguisher-the priest." Village becomes homicidal if teachers are priests in disguise and vice... Read More...
Solidarity Statement by Dalit Penkoottam
Wednesday, 26 April 2017
  Dalit Penkoottam We strongly protest the verbal attacks directed at Pembilai Orumai* by the Minister of Electricity of the Pinarayi Vijayan government of Kerala and member of the Communist... Read More...
Hindu nationalism and Muslim nationalism co-produce each other: Khalid Anis Ansari
Monday, 24 April 2017
  Round Table India In this episode of the Ambedkar Age series, Round Table India talks to Prof. Khalid Anis Ansari, Director, Dr. Ambedkar Centre for Exclusion Studies & Transformative... Read More...
UP: Sangh Parivar's Caste Engineering & the disappearance of liberal Hindutva block
Monday, 24 April 2017
KK Baburaj  "Democracy is a process of becoming. It's a promise. It's in the name of that promise that we are able to question and criticize the existing form of democracy."~ Derrida... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Presenting Angela Davis, the Savarna Style
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
  Sukanya Shantha On Friday, a friend and I walked into a movie hall to watch an American romantic musical, La La Land. Enticed by the cinematic beauty and the dreamy two hours spent in the... Read More...
In the name of the Nation: Historicizing Caste in Indian Universities
Thursday, 01 December 2016
  Nidhin Shobhana In the name of the Nation: Historicizing Caste in Indian Universities (with special reference to Jawaharlal Nehru University) Setting up the Stage The 'idea' of a... Read More...
The Death of a Historian in Centre for Historical Studies, JNU
Sunday, 19 March 2017
  Jitendra Suna Speech made at the protest by BAPSA on 16th March, 2017 against the Institutional Murder of Muthukrishnan (Rajini Krish) I am Jitendra Suna, and I am from a remote village named... Read More...
Babasaheb for Me Is Like an Inner Voice
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
  Essay series on 'What Babasaheb Ambedkar Means to me' Madhura Raut It was neither my family nor my school that introduced Ambedkar to me. It was because of my friends, either classmates... Read More...
The cashlessness of the Bahujan
Thursday, 15 December 2016
  Kuffir How are you going to break up Caste, if people are not free to consider whether it accords with morality? ~ Babasaheb Ambedkar The saddest joke is Modi's promotion of a cash-less... Read More...

Recent Articles in Hindi

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

  संजय जोठे  इस देश में भेदभाव और शोषण से भरी परम्पराओं का विरोध करने वाले अनेक विचारक और क्रांतिकारी हुए हैं जिनके बारे में हमें बार-बार पढ़ना और समझना चाहिए. दुर्भाग्य से इस देश के शोषक वर्गों के षड्यंत्र के कारण इन क्रांतिकारियों का जीवन परिचय और समग्र कर्तृत्व छुपाकर रखा जाता है. हमारी अनेकों पीढियां इसी षड्यंत्र में जीती आयीं हैं. किसी देश के उद्भट विचारकों और क्रान्तिकारियों को इस...

Read more

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

(कृष्ण की लोक लुभावन छवि का पुनर्पाठ!)मानुषी आखिर ये मिथकीय कहानियां किस तरह की परवरिश और शिक्षा देती हैं, जहां पुरुषों को सारे अधिकार हैं, चाहे वह स्त्री को अपमानित करे या दंडित, उसे स्त्री पलट कर कुछ नहीं कहती। फिर आज हम रोना रोते हैं कि हमारे बच्चे इतने हिंसक और कुंठित क्यों हो रहे हैं। सारा दोष हम इंटरनेट और टेलीविजन को देकर मुक्त होना चाहते हैं। जबकि स्त्री...

Read more

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

संजय जोठे धर्म जो काम शास्त्र लिखकर करता है वही काम राष्ट्र अब फ़िल्में और विडिओ गेम्स बनाकर बनाकर करते हैं. इसी के साथ सुविधाभोगी पीढ़ी को मौत से बचाने के लिए टेक्नालाजी पर भयानक खर्च भी करना पड़ता है ताकि दूर बैठकर ही देशों का सफाया किया जा सके, और यही असल में उस तथाकथित “स्पेस रिसर्च” और “अक्षय ऊर्जा की खोज” की मूल प्रेरणा है, यूं तो सबको...

Read more