If the BJP was in the position of the Congress in 1946-47, Dr Ambedkar would not have become the chairman of the Constitution drafting committee. That is for sure. To assign him that role required not only positive understanding of his legal and juridical abilities, but required a liberal global vision of the leadership. Gandhi and Nehru had that vision.
Not a single leader of radical Hinduism working around Hindu Mahasabha and RSS had that kind of a vision. They were looking backwards to Manudharma. The Congress also left him there, after his death. Many Congressmen did not like his Neo-Buddhist movement. Nehru must have been happy within himself, but never spoke out. He was a pro-Buddhist. He was squeezed between Ambedkar and anti-Buddhist Rajendra Prasad (President) and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Vice-President), who were conservative Hindus.
The Dalit urge for greater liberation and also to become modern citizens using constitutional rights went on producing new leadership from among themselves. Post-independence education and job reservation helped them. With the emergence of Kanshi Ram as a political leader, a new stage was set. Kanshi Ram has transformed the consciousness of Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, that has got their ‘vote right’ tied up to number game. The slogan ‘Vote Hamara, Raj Tumhara’ really changed the lower castes understanding of numbers. The more conscious they became, the more atrocities they faced. Ambedkar has become more a protective cover in the socio-political fight of the lower castes.
From within the BJP fold itself, these forces are trying to review the reservation laws. They are unable to see the SC/ST/OBCs advancing even to the present position. They want every job and every power position for themselves. This thinking and intolerance of the idea of social and economic equality is, in fact anti-national.
In the run-up to the 2019 elections, his 127th birthday is going to have far more competitive celebrational events by all political parties. Particularly after the April 2 Dalit uprising, Ambedkar is going to become more iconic. The biggest shift is that of communist parties. They once thought Ambedkar’s bourgeoisie Constitution should be overthrown. They have become main fighters on the streets for its protection now. Ambedkar can be seen on their party banners along with Karl Marx. In Telangana, the CPI(M) in alliance with all Ambedkarites formed a Bahujan Left Front and they have given a slogan ‘Lal-Neel Unity Zindabad’.
This is a great ideological step forward for his iconism. The Congress and BJP are also competing for his legacy. The Congress has structural vote nexus with Dalits from the days of Indira Gandhi’s ‘Garibi Hatao’ slogan. But they went away from it, mainly in Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP’s ownership is quite recent and artificial. As a radical Hindu party, controlled by a fundamentalist organisation like the RSS, it cannot really own Ambedkarism as a philosophical and social ideology. His mode of Buddhism can never be reconciled with radical Hinduism of RSS type.
Narendra Modi in a way forced his iconism on his party. That helped him to become the PM. Otherwise a man who claimed that he is an OBC would not have become the PM. OBC and Dalit votes made him PM. But he has not taken a single concrete step to expand Ambedkarism and advance the position of Dalits/STs/OBCs.
From the position of PM, he will not be able overtake VP Singh standing by Ambedkarism and social justice. VP Singh risked his position. Radical Hinduism and Brahminism have not a single kind word for him even today.
From within the BJP fold itself, these forces are trying to review the reservation laws. They are unable to see the SC/ST/OBCs advancing even to the present position. They want every job and every power position for themselves. This thinking and intolerance of the idea of social and economic equality is, in fact anti-national. It is not the Muslims or the Christians, who are anti-national. The anti-reservationists, who do not want to share the fruits of democracy and capitalism with the historical productive castes are the real anti-nationals. They need to be exposed at every level.
These are the forces that operate to weaken the reservation system, not fill up the reserved vacancies and now are planning to dilute SC/ST Act.
Now Ambedkarites understand every step of Manuvadis, unlike in the times of Manu. That is the greatest service that Ambedkar rendered to this nation. He made the wretched of the Indian earth stand up and fight as they did on April 2, 2018. Nobody can set the clock back now.
The author is a well-known writer, Dalit Bahujan Human Rights Activist and chairman of T-MASS, a broad based organisation that works for social justice
The first part of the article can be read here: Ambedkar has become an icon in the last 27 years-Part I