By Adv. Ram Khobragade
Avijit Ghosh of Times of India while reporting ‘Man Ki Baat’ of US President Barack Obama on 27/01/2015 (TOI) wrote that “when Barack Obama paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, he become the first US president in office to visit the memorial a second time; but that is hardly a surprise. No US president has quoted the global lodestar for peace and non-violence as frequently as Obama. On occasions as varied as speaking at the UN General Assembly, interacting with ninth-grade students in Virginia and receiving the Noble Peace Price, he has found regular reason to cite Gandhi. In the past, many world leaders from Julius Nyerere to Kenneth Kaunda, from Lech Walesa to Aung San Suu Kyi, have acknowledged the Mahatma’s influence on their life. Back in 1906, Gandhi launched the idea of non-violent public protest in South Africa bringing words like truth and moral force to the lexicon of politics. But Obama’s respect for Gandhi was perhaps spurred by his own hero and idol Martin Luther King.”
Obama’s respectful tribute to Mahatma Gandhi all the time and his glorifying of Gandhi as his inspiration could be possible not being aware of reality of another one of the greatest apostils of peace and non-violence- Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution (which Obama referred to as one Dalit can write constitution), who was also the greatest crusader of equality and self-respect for millions and millions of the oppressed and exploited people of India.
Dr. Ambedkar was great symbol of inspiration and encouragement to his people- the millions and millions of downtrodden. He aroused them “you must abolish your slavery yourselves. It is disgraceful to live at the cost of one’s self-respect. Self-respect is a most vital factor in life. Without it a man is a mere cipher. To live worthily with self-respect one has to overcome difficulties. It is out of hard and ceaseless struggle alone that one derives strength, confidence, and recognition. We are not slaves, lost rights are never regained by begging and appeals to the conscience of the usurpers but by relentless struggle. Goats are used for sacrificial offering and not lions”.
The Indian experiment- the struggle for self-respect by millions of deprived and depressed people under the leadership of Dr. Ambedkar can become the inspiring example for all those, who are still fighting or struggling for just and respectful social life world over. Dr. Martin Luther King in U.S.A. lost his life for the sake of human rights and dignified life for the Negroes. Dr. Nelson Mandela of South Africa led the successful struggle against the apartheid and inhuman social and political treatment meted out to them by the Britishers. There are still many groups, communities and people throughout the world, struggling for just and human social status, for them the life and mission of Dr. Ambedkar could be a great inspiration!
Unfortunately for many years Dr. Ambedkar was unknown to the world communities. Under the full-proof conspiracy, Dr. Ambedkar was kept in dark by the ruling Brahminical social and political forces so that he did not cross the boundry of India. Though the Govt. of India and other State Governments spent crores of rupees to popularise Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru beyond the borders of India, till a few years back, Dr. Ambedkar was a non-entity for those people. It is in a very big way propagated by Indian Press that Mahatma Gandhi has greatly influenced and inspired the life of Dr. Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Dr. Martin Luther King of U.S.A. Given the opportunity to both of them or their followers to read and study the life and mission of Dr. Ambedkar, they would have never opted for Mahatma Gandhi but for Dr. Ambedkar. Mahatma Gandhi lived himself naked throughout his Political life but made the Banias of India the richest people. Seeking their financial investment during the freedom struggle, the dividend they reaped after independence is beyond counting. That is the contribution of Mahatma to his caste people.
On the other hand to the untouchables or in the large context the millions and millions of the oppressed and exploited people, he was one was the greatest enemies, who by his deeds and words not only caused irreparable damage to the cause of the depressed people, but initiated every move to sabotage the Independent Self-Respect Movement led by Dr. Ambedkar and made all efforts to create political stooges through Poona Pact by his treacherous move.
All most all the agitations, satyagrahas and the movement conceived, planned and organised under the leadership of Dr. Ambedkar, right from Chawdar Tank in Mahad, his was the peaceful and non-violent move. He never supported the bloody revolution and always stood for peaceful change. One of the critics of Dr. Ambedkar, therefore, observed that, ‘He was champion of a revolution to be brought about by the dynamics of public opinion, through a change in the laws of land. He was not a utopian, but realist’. Thus Dr. Ambedkar was one of the greatest social revolutionaries of the world. However, unfortunately his social-political philosophy, his struggle, his movement for social revolution and his firm commitment to peaceful change through non-violence could not cross the borders of the country initially for many years. The power-mongers, who held the reigns of social-political power did their best ill-efforts to hide and keep Dr. Ambedkar’s great movement in dark with the intention that reality of Hindu Social Order would be exposed. It was during recent years when the followers of Dr. Ambedkar reached abroad in different parts of the world for education or jobs, that they carried with them the teachings and philosophy of Dr. Ambedkar which inspired some of the foreign authors to visit India and study the struggle and movement led by Dr. Ambedkar. Dr. Eleanor Zelliot, Gail Omvedt and Dr. Barbara Joshi of USA carried the message and mission of Dr. Ambedkar to USA and other Western Countries. Thereafter many more researchers and authors worked on the life and mission of Dr. Ambedkar.
President Obama, though very much inspired by Gandhiji and appeared to be influenced to the core by his leadership, he did not loose the sight of inpending danger to the unity and integrity of India by increasing communal divide. He, thus, very rightly and timely warned Indians that, ‘India would succeed so long as it is not splintered on sectarian lines.’ This he could express despite our Prime Minister’s hugging him nos. of time to project his style of loyalty and intimacy. The warning of the visiting president perhaps would not be digested easily by the Orthodox Hindutwavadis who have initiated sectarian move for ‘Ghar Wapsi’ all over India to make India ‘Hindu Rashtra’.
As I observe from the reports appearing in the print and electronic media about increasing high-handedness by the RSS followers and organisations to project India as ‘the country of Hindus only’ are doing greatest harm to the unity and integrity of the country consequently promoting organisations like MIM and its leaders to call the birth of every Indian as Muslim. The strategy, being adopted by the Sangh Pariwar and its off-shoot organisations, after their capturing power at the Centre with absolute majority, could take this country to one more division – if not geographically, sentimentaly and emotionally for which founding fathers of this great nation fought against the invaders. Once they did it by demolishing Babari Masjid and pushing the country in the girth of communal terrorism.
For the past many years and even during freedom struggle, the media of this country played the partisan role in projecting the parallel freedom struggle for equality and self-respect initiated and led by Dr. Ambedkar and did all to blackout it. Even today the attitude and approach of Indian media, managed by Hindutwawadi intelligentsia and controlled and financed by the capitalists of the country, is very much the same. Beware Bahujans!
(Paragraph 3 to 7 extract from ‘Dr. Ambedkar : A Symbol of Global Socio-Political Revolution’ written by the same author Adv Ram Khobragade and publish by Sajag Prahari Publication, New Delhi)
Edited by Anandita Malhotra