Thursday, April 22, 2021

Ambedkar Jayanti, 2021– Salute to a Potent Legacy

 

Ambedkar Jayanti, 2021– Salute to a Potent Legacy

I am stationed in Jalandhar, an important town of the Doaba region of Punjab. As usual, Ambedkar Jayanti was celebrated and observed with fervor and enthusiasm to remember and pay tributes to the greatest son of India in the contemporary times in spite of Covid constraints and restrictions. Each and every locality involving the cross sections of the society, hosted events and functions to observe the day with all solemnity and reverence. It was a matter of


satisfaction to note that acceptance and recognition of Babasaheb Ambedkar was growing at a pace which surprised many particularly those who consciously or otherwise tried to undermine Ambedkar and his legacy because of traditional caste-ridden considerations and resultant mindset. The tragedy of the matter is that Ambedkar never got his due in the media, school curriculum, academia and other socio-political activities of the society willingly or voluntarily. He remained a crusader throughout his life for the causes concerning the weaker sections of the society and also women folk. Babasaheb Ambedkar fought with Mahatma Gandhi, Congress party and its leadership, Manuwad and Manuwadis single handedly as a most qualified and competent person of his times for equality and justice to the marginalized sections of the society.  Due recognition and support was hard to come by only because of his low position in the caste hierarchy. With great reluctance, he was allowed to enter the Constituent Assembly and later made Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Assembly as he had already proved himself in the early sittings of the Constituent Assembly which compelled the leadership including his opponents and critics to take him on board and he fully justified the choice by delivering one of finest constitutions in the world. Even then he could not get due space in the polity and society of India. It was unfortunate and regrettable. Babasaheb resigned in 1951 from the Cabinet of PM Jawaharlal Nehru on issues like Hindu Code bill meant to reform the society, economic policies for socio-economic development and foreign policy to ward off danger to our security and get a dignified position for India in the comity of nations among others. Against the caste ridden social order, he embraced Buddhism in October, 1956, a couple of months before his death in December, 1956. Even after his death, Ambedkar still remained a pariah both in the polity and society of the country for which he did a lot. It was the height of hypocrisy. But as Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘You can criticize Ambedkar but you cannot ignore him’, Ambedkar could not be suppressed for long. His legacy is so potent and his work and mission so relevant he came out on his own strength not only in India but in the world at large. Babu Kanshi Ram brought his political legacy to the fore beginning 1970s. PM VP Singh and the likes of Ram Vilas Paswan were instrumental in conferring the Bharat Rattan on Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in early 1980s. The statues and other memorial sites of Ambedkar became the norm not only in India but abroad too to relate to the weaker sections of the society. The visionary stipulation of ‘One Vote – One Value’ in the democratic edifice of India so aptly introduced by Ambedkar himself made all political forces to fall on each other to claim the legacy of Ambedkar
At Vidya Dham Jalandhar

. Even social organizations like RSS etc. are keen to own Ambedkar. They need to shed inherent inconsistencies in their agenda and reconcile with Ambedkar and his mission, if they really intend to make a dent in the social structures to bring about their much publicized idea of ‘Samrasta’. There is no other way. Ambedkar will remain a force to reckon with in the years to come. Ambedkar’s fragrance would spread as Allma Iqbal said in some other context:

Uthaye Kuch Waraq Lale Ne, Kuch Nargis Ne, Kuch Gul Ne
Chaman Mein Har Taraf Bikhri Huwi Hai Dastan Meri

Some leaves were picked up by the tulip, some by the narcissus, some by the rose
My story is scattered around everywhere in the garden

 

Urha Li Qumriyon Ne, Tootiyon Ne, Andleebon Ne
Chaman Walon Ne Mil Kar Loot Li Tarz-e-Faghan Meri

The turtle‐doves, parrots, and nightingales pilfered away
The garden’s denizens jointly robbed away my plaintive way

 

The month of April this year started with a befitting tribute to Ambedkar on his birth anniversary on April 14. In pursuance of our proposal to get declared April 14 as International Day of Equality under the aegis of the UN which is lying in the Ministry of External Affairs of GOI, the Province of British Columbia of Canada proclaimed to observe April 14 as “Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Day of Equality” taking the cue from the City of Burnaby of Canada which made a similar proclamation last year, 2020. In this regard, it will not be out of place to mention and appreciate the role and efforts of Chetna Association of Canada. Similarly Federation of Ambedkarite

Sardar Charanjit Singh Atwal addressing the function at UN

and Buddhist Organisations (FABO), Global Ambedkarite Convention of the UK, inter alia, are fully engaged in the proposal. Hopefully, some of entities in the UK would soon come on board and honour Dr. Ambedkar as the Province of British Columbia did. We are confident that the day is not too far when countries would take due note of it and the proposal will be firmly routed to the UN by the stake holders worldwide. We hope GOI would understand and wake up in time to get the iconic personality of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar recognized internationally to add to the ‘soft power’ of India diplomatically and rightly so.

It is a matter of satisfaction that the legacy the legacy of Ambedkar is gaining further roots and strength in the Doaba region of Punjab with every successive year. I myself attended various events and function this year in Jalandhar, 130th birth anniversary of the leader on April

At RPO Jalandhar

14 viz.  i) Chetna March on April 13 at the eve of the anniversary. In spite of the Covid restrictions and constraints, it was a spontaneous show by the followers of Babasaheb  ii) Sardhanjali function at Vidya Dham arranged by the Samrasta Chapter of the North Zone of RSS . As I said earlier that RSS needs to understand and reconcile with Ambedkar and his thought for the larger good of the society rather than selectively quoting Ambedkar to justify their position iii) Function as the ‘Service Day’ to pay tributes to Babasaheb at the Jalandhar Regional Passport office and iv) Participated in the Webinar on Dr. B.R. Ambedkar hosted by Global Ambedkarites Convention of the UK. Salute to Bbasaheb Ambedkar and his legacy which is bound to get further currency and strength in the years to come. It is my firm belief. I conclude this as my humble tributes to the greatest son of India, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

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