Dr. Sanjay Kumar Bhasin
Indian history is a witness to the fact that there was sharp conflict between self proclaimed upper caste (the oppressors) and forcibly labelled low caste (the oppressed) in Indian society. From time immemorial there had been tremendous efforts from social reformers, saints and so on for the upliftment of these oppressed people. The exercise remained futile every time. Single handed struggle by the intellectual Giant Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar tilted the wave in favour of oppressed. Unhealthy looking people who were unaccepted & unwanted in the society and fearful, living the life of Animals in pre-independence India started getting selective accepted in the society, fear is allying slowly & steadily. All this happened due to wonderful constitutional principles laid down in the constitution of India. So to make constitutional principles work and make Indian society an Egalitarian one, every endeavour must be directed towards making 21st as Century of Ambedkarism for attainment of real human values. Dr. Ambedkar was a multi dimensional personality and his thoughts have become more relevant in the 21st century
His social philosophy had roots in Buddhist principles as he said, “Every man should have a philosophy of life, for everyone have a standard by which to measure his conduct. Negatively I reject the Hindu social philosophy propounded in the Bhagwat Geeta based as it is on, on the triguna of the Sankhya philosophy which is in my judgment a cruel perversion of the philosophy of Kapila, and which had made the caste system and the system of graded inequality the law of Hindu social life. Positively my social philosophy may be said to have been enshrined in three words-Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Let no one; however, say that I have borrowed my philosophy from the French Revolution. I have not…….I have derived them from the teachings of my master, the Buddha……. He gave the highest place to fraternity as the only real safeguard against the denial of the liberty or equality or fraternity which was another name for brotherhood or humanity, which was again another name for religion.”
Babasaheb revolved his social philosophy in three words and said, “My final words of advice to you is Educate, Agitate and Organize; have faith in yourself. With justice on our side, I do not see how we can lose the battle. The battle to me is a matter of joy.” He further added, “For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for reclamation of human personality.” While addressing the women he said, “I measure the progress of the community by the degree of progress which women have made. I am happy and convinced that you have made progress. Learn to be clean. Keep from vice. Give education to your children. Instil ambition into them. Inculcate in their mind that they are destined to be great. Remove from them all the inferiority complex. Do not be in a hurry to marry. ………………”
While speaking in Untouchables Youth Conference at Dadar, Bombay on 30-31st May 1936, Dr. Ambedkar said, “The Hindus Religion does not appeal to my conscience. It does not appeals to my self-respect…………I tell you religion is for man and not man for religion.” He once said, “Religion is not a means to earn wealth and fame. It is a precious possession of an individual’s mind and to be used only for achieving mental peace and alleviating the sufferings of society.” While deliberating on Hinduism his thoughts were- If I am disgusted with Hindus and Hinduism, it is because I am convinced that they cherish wrong ideals and live a wrong social life. My quarrel with Hindus and Hinduism is not over the imperfection of their social conduct. It is much more fundamental. It is over their ideals. He rightly justified his thoughts while saying, “The religion that does not recognize you as human being or give you water to drink, or allow you to enter the temple is not worthy to be called a religion.
The religion that forbid you to receive education and come in the way of your material advance is not worthy of appellation religion.
The religion that does not teach its followers to show humanity in dealing with its co-religionists is nothing but display of force. The religion that asks its adherents to suffer the touch of human beings is not religion but mockery. The religion which precludes some classes from education, forbids them to accumulate wealth and bear no arms is not religion but a mockery. The religion that compels the ignorant to be ignorant and poor to be poor is not religion but visitation.”
He wanted that Hindu religion must be reformed and made the religion of humanity deleting the concept of graded inequality, it could not happened. He declared in frustration on 13th October 1935 at Yeol, “Unfortunately I was born a Hindu. It was beyond my powers to prevent that, but I solemnly assure you that I will not die as a Hindu.” and ultimately he took solace in Buddhism the religion based on humanist principles of Liberty! Equality!!Fraternity!!!.
Dr. Ambedkar was advocate of Democratic norm to run the country and he wanted that due representation must be given to the majority community i.e. Depressed classes. He was of the firm belief that Democracy on the earth is the best governing principle of human relationship. He wanted his people to strive along with other communities/countries to maintain the basis of democratic civilization. He opined-“if Democracy dies it will be their Doom.” Ultimately he gave political message to his people-Political power is the key to all social progress and the Scheduled castes can achieve their salvation if they capture this power by organizing themselves into a third party and holding the balance of power between the rival political parties congress and socialists. But before political power for his people he wanted a social unity and said, “History bears out the proposition that political revolution have always been preceded by social revolution. Social reforms in India have successful revolution it is not enough that there is discontent. What is required is profound and thorough conviction of the justice, necessity and importance of political and social rights.”
Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Warning
While debating in the Constituent Assembly on 25-11-1949, he said, “Would India, becoming an independent country on the 25th January 1950, be able to retain its independence, having been adept in the art of losing its independence and that too by the infidelity and treachery of some of its own people? Will history repeat itself? It is this thought that fills me with anxiety.” He went on adding, “Would India, becoming a democratic country on the 26th January 1950, be able to maintain its democratic Constitution or will she lose it again, as India has the democratic system in its ancient republics and its Buddhist Bikshu Sanghas and of loosing that democratic system. This democratic system India lost. Will she lose it second times?” He cautioned, “It is quite possible in a country like India that there is a danger of democracy giving place to dictatorship. It is quite possible for this new born democracy to retain its form but give place to dictatorship in fact.”
So he warned in Constituent Assembly itself, “On the 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into the life of contradictions. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote & one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall by reasons of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live the life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we shall be putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up.”
In the backdrop of Naxalites movements, Kashmir problem and other unrest that is increasing each passing day in India, we can well imagine the relevance of the above remarks of this great intellectual Giant, one of the six best brains in the world history. Ambedkarite thoughts needs to be applied to present day conditions for saving the democratic values for achievement of LIBERTY!EQUALITY!!FRATERNITY!!!
Dr. Sanjay Kumar Bhasin