Bouquets and Brickbats
As a career diplomat for more than 35 years, I learnt to accept bouquets with humility and brickbats with dignity and fortitude. I also generally try to follow another diplomatic norm “Diplomats think twice before saying nothing”. But, of late, it seems, I failed
miserably on both the counts both in my writings (I write a regularblog) and my occasional public speeches on various occasions. I tried to establish a reasonable level of dialogue both of my supporters and detractors. The supporters were too generous and kind to me. The detractors were too harsh and unreasonable. I said and wrote freely on matters of concern and interest as a naïve thinker but without malice or self-righteousness.
miserably on both the counts both in my writings (I write a regular
Without going into details, let me touch on a couple of recent instances:-
· Ambedkar Jayanti and RSS: - Perhaps my over enthusiastic but ill-informed dalit brethren may not like my writing the name of Ambedkar with RSS in the same line. Things have reached such a pass. On April 14, Jalandhar RSS invited me to join them in celebrating Babaseheb Ambedkar on his Jayanti. In all fairness andopen mind, I accepted the invitation and joined them on this solemn occasion. The all knowledgeable worthies may have not even noticed this genuine but low key event. The print media carried it the next day in a routine manner. I myself circulated the news clipping among the interested circles. Lo and behold, a hellish fury of abuse was unleashed on me by the self-proclaimed followers of Ambedkar and Thekedars of the community. I could not follow the reason and logic behind this uncalled for and mindless diatribe against me. Some of them even decreed and threatened my social boycott and segregation by issuing ‘Fatwas’. I don’t know how I should name these Fatwas – Tuglaki or Talibani or Ambedkari (if there is one in the name of Babasaheb Ambedkar, one of the most sagacious and democratic personalities of contemporary India). I tried to counter them with logic and solid arguments. I joined friends and fellow citizens at the RSS’s Peeli Kothi to pronounce and register the often repeated assertion that ‘Ambedkar does not belong to dalits only but to the entire society and the world at large’. Did I commit any wrong? I asked my detractors, the so called Ambedkarites and self-appointed leaders, whether they had read and considered the content and spirit of my speech at the RSS function which was duly published in the print media and subsequently, with view to further explain and put it into its right perspective, posted it in my blog http://diplomatictitbits.blogspot.in/2018/04/ambedkar-jayanti-april-14-2018.html. But nobody was willing to listen. They continued crying from the roof-top. I think their behavior and reaction is most undemocratic and ill-mannered which Babasaheb would not have approved and pocketed. Do we want conflict or harmony in the society? We need to answer this. RSS, till yesterday, did not recognize one of the greatest sons of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar due to their own philosophy and agenda. But now, with changing social and political scenario, have started to claim and own the legacy of India. What is the objection and confusion? If RSS is coming around by their dalit oriented agenda, let it be. On our part, we should be alert and keep our powder dry to use it as and when needed. No party, Congress, Jan Sangh/BJP, Communists, Socialists, Akalis among others, supported and recognized Babasaheb. Now all of them are falling on each other to own him and his legacy. Should we shun them all as my friends intend to do with RSS/BJP? I don’t understand this logic. Let all of them come along and appropriate Babasaheb Ambedkar. We should not have any problem on that account. The more the merrier.
· Ambedkar Jayanti at the UN: - Ambedkar Jayanti was celebrated at the UN in New York on April 13, 2016 for the first time. I started working on this in April/May, 2015, subsequent to GOI‘s decision to celebrate 125th birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar by writing to EAM Sushma Swaraj and PM Narendra Modi. Later, on my approach, Forum of SC&ST MPs and MLAs under the stewardshipof Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal and individual initiatives of people like dalit business tycoon Kalpana Saroj and other activists also came along who interacted with PMO and PR of India at UN in this regard. There was no official function in April, 2017 except some private event by the so called Ambedkarites and social activists in liaison with local NGOs. This proved to be, as reported, a gathering of anti-Indian establishment which sent a wrong message to the GOI and genuine Ambedkarites back home in India and abroad. I came to know sometime in February/March, 2018 that UN has refused permissions to private initiatives to host a function in April, 2018 on the formal or informal advice in this regard. This news got viral on social media in India and obviously the concerned and interested Ambedkarites were boiling over this. I took the initiative again and wrote to EAM Sushma Swaraj and PM Narendra Modi in one of my e-mails “Currently, a story is getting viral in the social media that the government of PM Narendra Modi has instructed the Indian PR at the UN not to celebrate the birth anniversary at the UN this year that is April 14, 2018. The vested interests tend to exploit this.” The matter ended with a good solemn function to pay tributes to one of the greatest sons of India organized by the PR of India to UN on April 13. I posted the Speech of Indian PR to the UN Syed Akbaruddin, who happens to be my diplomatic colleague, on my Facebook timeline. Many of my well intentioned friends appreciated it and even congratulated me, but on the other side, some of the self-righteous and jealous lot refused to stomach this. Many of them criticized the GOI and the Indian PR to UN for not inviting the reported anti-national and anti establishment individuals and outfits to the function. It was even reported that on the High-Table of the function “only Brahmins were seated”. It is the height of blissful ignorance and willful joining of hands with the vested interests. This misguided lot even supported and appreciated the demonstration and forced barging-in by some Sikhs to protest against the GOI’s suppression and injustice meted out to the dalits and Sikhs. It is ridiculous on the part of dalits. Will the Sikhs disturb and create disorder at a function in which a Sikh icon would have been celebrated? Will they allow others to create nuisance at their functions? If they are so concerned and agitated about the injustice and ill-treatment to dalits, why did they not join hands and support the Bharat Bandh of April 2 in India. Most of the high caste Sikhs are Manuwadis themselves. Ambedkar should be celebrated and recognized at the UN in a befitting manner as and when an opportunity arises. We all should endeavor for that rather than claiming credits.
· International Day of Equality: - I have written about my proposal on “International Day of Equality in my blog many a times and shared it on my Facebook Timeline. I have also been writing to some of my friends and opinion maker on e-mails in this regard. The latest consolidated position may be seen on my blog http://diplomatictitbits.blogspot.in/2018/03/re-visitedinternational-day-of-equality.html. Subsequent to March 6, 2018, I followed it up with EAM Sushma Swaraj and PM Narendra Modi under information to BJP President Amit Shah and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat through emails. The matter is resting at that. I have been appealing to all my fellow Ambedkarites and soliciting their concerted support in pursuing the matter in whatever way they can. Only a few of them have responded and took some action. Othersare sitting tight on the fence and looking for some opportunity to come by to find faults, criticize and issue certificates as to who is a good Ambedkarite or a bad one? Who is a good/bad Buddhist or a good/bad Ravidassia? Who should go to Peeli Kothi or Neeli Kothi? These worthies have no time and mind to write a line about the proposed International Days of Equality. They are busy in bad-mouthing on one pretext or the other those who are engaged in some good and positive work
All said and done, it was my feeble attempt to save and defend my integrity as a humble Ambedkarite in the face of ‘Bouquets and Brickbats’ from my friends and the society at large.
यह कहाँ की दोस्ती है के बने हैं दोस्त नासेह;
कोई गमगुसार होता कोई चारासाज होता !