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The promise of Mook Nayak

 

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

From the pages of Bahishkrit Bharat (Untouchable India)

[The following is from an editorial (translated from Marathi) written by Babasaheb Ambedkar for one of the issues of the newspaper Bahishkrit Bharat published on April 3, 1927! Translated by Dr. B.R. Kamble.]

bahishkrit bharat 1

We Are On the Scene Again

This writer had started a fortnightly newspaper called "Mook-Nayak" (leader of the dumb) on 31st January, 1920. There he had stated in the first issue itself that there is no more effective means than the newspaper to voice against the injustice done to the untouchables by the Caste Hindus and also to suggest the ways and means for their progress and total liberation from their slavery imposed on them by the high Caste Hindus from ages past. But when we throw our glance to the newspapers that are brought out in Bombay Presidency we are constrained to say that they do no other work than safeguarding the interest of their respective caste men only. They do not bother for the interests of other castes; not only this but even at times they go against the interests of others in their view points.

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Need for Political Power for Depressed Classes: Babasaheb Ambedkar


(Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's speech at the Plenary Session, Fifth Sitting of the Round Table Conference on 20th November 1930)

ambedkar speaking

"Mr. Chairman, my purpose in rising to address this conference is principally to place before it the point of view of the depressed classes, whom I and my colleague, Rao Bahadur Srinivasan, have the honour to represent, regarding the question of constitutional reform. It is a point of view of 43,000,000 people, or one-fifth of the total population of British India. The depressed classes from a group by themselves, which is distinct and separate from the Mohammedans, and, although they are included among the Hindus, they in no sense form an integral part of that community. Not only have they a separate existence, but they have also assigned to them a status which is invidiously distinct from the status occupied by any other community in India. There are communities in India, which occupy a lower and subordinate position; but the position assigned to the Depressed classes is totally different. It is one which is midway between that of the serf and the slave, and which may, for convenience, be called servile with this difference, that the serf and the slave were permitted to have physical contact, from which the Depressed Classes are debarred. What is worse that this enforced servility and bar to human intercourse, duo to their untouchability, involves, not merely the denial of those most elementary of civic rights on which all human existence depends. I am sure that the point of view of such a community, as large as the population of England or of France, and so heavily handicapped in the struggle for existence, cannot but have some bearing on the right sort of solution of the political problem, and I am anxious that this Conference should be placed in possession of that point of view at the very start.

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Remembering Ambedkar

 

Dr. K. R. Narayanan

Dr. Ambedkar was one of the giants of our time, one of the great personalities of the Indian national movement and of the Indian renaissance. He was a many- splendored personality, a great scholar, an original thinker, writer, orator, debater, a great jurist and constitutionalist, and above all a restless agitator and revolutionary working for social changes in our country.

kr narayanan

I recall the brief meeting I had with Ambedkar in New Delhi in 1943 when he was a member of the Viceroy's Executive Council. After taking my first degree from Travancore, I had gone to the north in search of a job. I had a letter of introduction to Ambedkar from one who had known him in Travancore. I took a room in a cheap hotel in Delhi, put my luggage there and then went to Ambedkar's residence at Prithvi Road with the introduction letter. He read the letter and asked me "Where are your 'Samaans', your luggage?" Obviously, he was thinking of putting me up at his residence. That was the kind of a human being he was. Though I was a stranger coming from a remote corner of Kerala, he wanted to put me up in his house.

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Remembering Rajabhau Khobragade, a revolutionary leader

 

Dipankar Kamble

On the 34th Death Anniversary of Barrister Rajabhau Khobragade, an intellectual heir of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, here is a short writeup about him.

bhaurao khobragade

Bhaurao Khobragade, affectionately called Rajabhau, was born on 25.09.1925 in Chandrapur, Maharashtra to Shri Dewaji and Smt. Indira Bai. His father was a forest contractor and a social worker.

Rajabhau Khobragade had his early education at Jubilee High School, Chandrapur. He then went on to clear the Inter Science exam from Nagpur Science College in 1943 and B.A. exam from Morris College, Nagpur in 1945. On the advice of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, he went to London to study Law at the Lincoln College in 1950.

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Maulana Ali Hussain 'Aasim Bihari': Father of the first Pasmanda Movement and Freedom Fighter

 

Faiyaz Ahmad Fyzie

Maulana Ali Hussain "Aasim Bihari" was born on April 15, 1890, in Mohalla Khas Ganj, Bihar Sharif, Nalanda district, Bihar, in a devout but poor Pasmanda weaver family. In 1906, at the young age of 16, he started his career in the Usha organization in Kolkata. While working, he pursued interests in studies and reading. He was active in many types of movements. He quit his job as it was getting restrictive, and for his livelihood he started the work of making beedisHe prepared a team of his beedi worker colleagues who would discuss issues that concerned nation and society. There would also be sharing of writings.

asim bihari

In 1908-09, Maulana Haji Abdul Jabbar of Sheikhpur tried to create a Pasmanda organization which wasn't successful. He felt a deep sense of grief about this. In 1911, after reading "Tarikh-e-Minwal wa Alahu" (History of Weavers), he was prepared completely for the movement. At the age of 22, he started a five year shceme (1912-1917) for educating adults. During this time, whenever he went to his native Bihar Sharif, he would keep make people aware by organising small gatherings.

In 1914 , at the young age of 24 years old, he started a Society called "Bazm-E-Adab"(Chamber of Literature) that started a library under its aegis, in his native location of Khasganj, Bihar Sharif in Nalanda district. In 1918, a study centre called "Darul Muzakra"(House of Conversation) was established in Kolkata, where labourers and others used to gather in the evening to discuss writings and contemporary issues - these meetings would sometimes go on all through the night.

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Critical Analysis of Indian Historians' Writings on Buddhism - Part 2

 

Ratnesh Katulkar

Continued from here.

ratneshIt was during the Mauryan period, particularly at the time of Asoka, that India reached its zenith. There was an advanced stage of development in the field of architecture (which is visible in the remains of the Asokan inscriptions), science and technology, literature, administration and above all the emergence of the welfare state which is still  absent in many part of the world in the modern times. Still none of the historians finds this period as the golden era of India; rather most of them even do not hesitate in declaring the Gupta period (300 AD) as a golden age. The reason they give for this declaration is the growth and development in the fields of arts, science and literature. The argument, however, has little truth, as there had already been much development in these sectors during the Mauryan regime. Moreover, how one can ignore that in the light of these developments in Gupta period there was emergence and establishment of the downfall of society? The evil customs like caste, untouchability, patriarchy in its worst form, like enforced widowhood, sati system and the rise of feudalism were the striking characteristics of this period.1 As rightly marked by Kosambi, 'During Gupta period, the civilising and socialising work of the Buddha and of Asoka was never continued. The tightening of caste boundary begins.'2

In the history of ancient India and of Buddhism, the decline of Buddhism is of remarkable importance. This issue should be a striking subject of study, for when Buddhism continued to survive in other parts of world why was it extinguished from the land of its birth? The reasons for the decline of Buddhism mentioned by historians are weird. R.C. Majumdar, who tried to present Asoka's Dhamma as non-Buddhist old tradition strangely blamed his appointment of Dhamma Mahamatra and policy of non-violence as the factors responsible for the decline of Buddhism.3 So there is a chunk of historians who think that the large donations to Sangha led to economic decline of the Mauryan Empire. But none of them tried to accept the Buddhist sources as evidence. Dr Ambedkar dealt with this issue seriously. Using the reference of Haraprasad Shastri, he says:

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Critical Analysis of Indian Historians' Writings on Buddhism - Part 1

 

Ratnesh Katulkar

ratneshBuddhism is one of the most prominent topics in the study of ancient Indian history. The reason for its presence and visibility in Indian history owes to its existence to a wide time scale traversed during the 6th century BC to 11th century AD. There is no doubt that many special and unique features of Buddhism not only reshaped Indian culture and society, but it also played an eminent role in spreading its teachings across the world, where it is still shining as one of the prominent religions. However, in its own birth land, Buddhism was not able to sustain its existence.

Indian historians shared their diverse opinions on this subject. But the strange and the weird commonality in their writings is that they all seem to be biased against Buddhism and on some occasions they have committed factual errors in dealing with this important subject. There have also been many instances when the same allegation or beliefs were repeated by a number of prominent Indian Historians but without referring to each other. Thus, there was repetition of same allegations again and again in the manner of putting old wine in new bottles.

This paper1 is an attempt to critically evaluate the writings of these eminent Indian historians.

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