The Colonization of Ambedkar: Caste Politics behind Roy-Navayana's Appropriation of AoC ~ A Discussion
Date: 21st December, 2014
Time: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Venue: J. P. Naik Bhavan, University of Mumbai, Vidyanagari Campus, Kalina, Santacruz (East), Mumbai 400 098
Organised by ~ SC, ST, OBC Students and Teachers Association, University of Mumbai (special thanks to Sanjay Vairal, senate member, Univ. of Mumbai) &
Round Table India
~ The wall built around Caste is impregnable and the material, of which it is built, contains none of the combustible stuff of reason and morality. Add to this the fact that inside this wall stands the army of Brahmins, who form the intellectual class, Brahmins who are the natural leaders of the Hindus, Brahmins who are there not as mere mercenary soldiers but as an army fighting for its homeland and you will get an idea why I think that breaking-up of Caste amongst the Hindus is well-nigh impossible.~ Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, ‘Annihilation of Caste’
~ The mischief done by the Brahmin scholars to historical research is obvious. The Brahmin scholar has a two-fold interest in the maintenance of the sanctity of this literature. In the first place being the production of his forefathers his filial duty leads him to defend it even at the cost of truth. In the second place as it supports the privileges of the Brahmins, he is careful not to do anything which would undermine its authority. The necessity of upholding the system by which he knows he stands to profit, as well as of upholding the prestige of his forefathers as the founders of the system, acts as a silent immaculate premise which is ever present in the mind of the Brahmin scholar and prevents him from reaching or preaching the truth. That is why one finds so little that is original in the field of historical research by Brahmin scholars unless it be a matter of fixing dates or tracing genealogies. ~ Dr. Ambedkar: 'Who were the Shudras'
Over the last half a century, Babasaheb and his words have provided constant inspiration to the oppressed communities who continue the fight to attain basic dignity in the horribly unequal country that is India. His writings, translated in many languages have been the backbone of many movements. Ambedkarites have kept his legacy alive in the many statues, songs, poetry, literature etc., a corpus of resistance that is inarguably unparalleled in the recent history of India.
But brahminism thrives on exploiting not just people but also their hopes, their culture and anything that can give shape to the voice of the oppressed. Throughout history one can see the brutal and forcible appropriation of the culture and words of the great revolutionaries - from Buddha, Kabir and Phule to Babasaheb now.