(The following is the text of a speech on Babasaheb Ambedkar delivered by the former President K.R. Narayanan at the Babasaheb Ambedkar Institute of Research and Training, Bombay in 1979)
I am happy and honoured to be here on the auspicious occasion of the birthday of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. Babasaheb Ambedkar was one of the great Sons of India, a giant among the great men produced by the Indian nationalist movement if I may use the term in its broadest sense.
If Mahatma Gandhi gave to the nationalist movement a mass dimension and a moral purpose and Jawahar Lal Nehru an economic and socialist dimension, Dr B.R. Ambedkar gave it a profound social content and a challenging social-democratic goal. His whole life was a ceaseless struggle for the attainment of this social objective, the scope of which was not confined to the Scheduled Castes but encompassed the urges and aspirations of the vast millions of the underprivileged in our country. Future generations in India, which, I hope, will be free from the curse of the caste system and the refined as well as crude remnants of untouchability, will be grateful to Dr Ambedkar for having launched a movement of social revolution, the success of which is indispensable for cleansing Indian society, for unifying the Indian nation and for building a genuine and enduring democratic system in our country.
[This article was first published in two parts, 'A paradigm shift called Kanshi Ram' and 'Dalits and the horizontal ladder', in 2003; we have combined the two parts into one single piece of writing. We, along with our readers, celebrate the memory of Manyawar Kanshi Ram on his birth anniversary- Round Table India]
Kanshi Ram suffered a brain stroke on September 15 when he was travelling from Rajahmundry to Hyderabad. Since then he has remained immobile. For a few days he lost his speech but gradually regained his speech. Now both for the reasons of stroke and also for reasons of advanced age he may remain inactive in politics in his future life. In anticipation of that situation Mayavati took over as the president of the Bahuajan Samaj Party (BSP). That is an indication that he may not play an active role in Indian political sphere in the future.
by Kanshi Ram
Continued from here.
Prelude to Poona Pact
The Initial Efforts
From the very beginning of the 20th century, India witnessed great changes. In this changing India, the oppressed Indians were not to lag behind. The High Caste Hindus were fighting for Swarajya. The Oppressed Indians were struggling for self-respect. The slaves were shouting for freedom and self-rule, whereas the slaves of the slaves were creating counter-noise for relief from the age old bondage, serfdom and humiliations unknown to the rest of the world. The High Caste Hindus were building their organisation and developing techniques to coax the rulers, the British, for an early transfer of power into their hands. The depressed classes were getting frightened by the very thought of such a thing happening without relief for them and adequate safeguards for their honourable living in the future where their age old oppressors were to be the rulers of India.
by Kanshi Ram
(Released on 24th September, 1982, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Poona Pact)
Dedicated to Mahatma Jotirao Phule
Whose initiation of cultural revolt in colonial India, later taken up by Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy and many other rebellious spirits brought us to this level, where we are thinking, planning and struggling to put an end to the Chamcha Age and usher in a Bright Age for the Shudras and Ati-Shudras.
P Kesava Kumar
(First published in February 2010)
The cultural sphere has its own advantage over politics in terms of pulling people into its fold. Through his songs and cultural performances, Gummadi Vittal Rao, popularly known as "Gaddar", the Telugu poet singer, maintains the historical continuity of people's lives and their struggles. He brings politics into everyday life situations and translates terms like "working class", "new democracy", "revolution", "classless society", "bourgeoisies state", "capitalist class", etc, into concrete life experiences of people. He explains the political economy of Marx or Mao's philosophy in simple songs or words without borrowing any textual language of Marxism. This paper is an attempt to explore the emergence of the Gaddar phenomenon and its significance by focusing on the performance of people's culture.
No death for the song of people's war – A slogan condemning the attack on Gaddar.
Gummadi Vittal Rao, popularly known as "Gaddar" is a revolutionary poet singer and has emerged as a powerful and popular cultural icon in India. He has established himself as an institution and a household name in Telugu society and other parts of India. Gaddar has captured the public sphere by bringing out the activities of the masses that were considered to be the domain of the private sphere. Through his cultural performances lakhs of people have got influenced and attracted towards the radical democratic struggles of India.
Gaddar and his Jana Natya Mandali (JNM) are a unique cultural phenomenon representing the revolutionary cultural struggles of the contemporary world. His work seems to be a culminating point of people's culture and revolutionary politics. This paper is an attempt to explore the emergence of the Gaddar phenomenon and its significance by focusing on the use of people's culture for inculcating revolutionary consciousness among the masses.