By Guru Prakash
The 123rd birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar was widely discussed in the mainstream media. A considerable amount of tabloid space was compromised for unwarranted debates on the legacy and inheritance of the principal architect of the Indian constitution. At the infancy of any constitutional democracy, iconization of great leaders is not unnatural. The massive scale and rather unassuming proportions on which we map the legacy of leaders displays poverty of imagination and parochial interests for political advantages. Leaders represent the sentiments and aspirations of the masses. One of the most cherished colonial presents to our nation is the Westminster model of democracy. The suffrage does not discriminate on any basis. You stand in the cue as a citizen of this great nation. Thanks to the immaculate vision of our constitution makers, equality in its strictest form is observed in this right. Ambedkar envisioned an ideal society with political and economical equality that eventually achieves the equilibrium of Social justice.
Times have changed and so has the aspirations of the socially disadvantaged fringed section of our society for whom Ambedkar dedicated his life. The youths from this section is venturing beyond the ideological contours. They are searching for better educational and employment opportunities and a reasonable living standard. The idea of affirmative action has sufficiently lifted two generations from abject poverty. With the advent of technology and mushrooming of urban infrastructure, nobody is willing to inquire about the caste of the individual with whom they share a floor in the apartment or a compartment in the train. The dimension of sociology has acquired modern dynamics. Social evolution is a gradual process. The complete eradication of caste based prejudices may take another decade or a century. There are still some deplorable instances of violent atrocities on the grounds of caste; we have developed a fair amount of legal edge to fight them through legislation and hence enforce our assertiveness and equality.
The heirs to Babasaheb have done more harm to his legacy than the detractors. The Bahujan movement has damaged any remote prospect of empowerment of the dispossessed. The embarrassing episode of the narcissism at the cost of public exchequer has caused resentment among the people from every section of the society. The movement in Maharashtra has disintegrated beyond imagination. The movement for emancipation in different quarters have left the Dalits with many contradictions to live with. The opportunism in our leaders is at its best. As a Dalit youth and a dreamer for equal society, I strongly urge our leaders to not treat us as a political commodity that would come to your rescue at the end of every five years. We have become enlightened to our rights and entitlements that emanates from Constitution. We are more interested in the ‘Constitution of India’ than the ‘Annihilation of Caste’. Quotes from the ‘Directive principles of state policy’ raise our passions and not some misinterpreted verse of Veda or a Manusmriti. We want debate and discussion on ‘Social sector initiatives’ than on ‘Social division’. Therefore I conclude by presenting a sincere request to the leaders of the nation that we are ready to dream and look beyond the vicious circles of caste based politics; we aspire for an Ambedkar in a non-political, culture sphere as well.