Archive for April, 2016

14th April: Usurping Ambedkar, Conflating with Savarkar.

16 April 2016
A dear family friend, a product of ज्ञानप्रबोधिनी school in Pune, which avowedly builds character of it’s students based on RSS philosophy, shared yesterday, the birth anniversary of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, some messages that are obviously widely circulated through the social media such as +WhatsApp. I can vouch for my friend’s civil nature and his commitment to be useful to society through RSS initiatives such as वनवासी कल्याण अाश्रम [tribal welfare refuge]. He would never, I can vouch, resort to any abusive or violent behaviour to force his ideas on others or to counter opposing viewpoint. I can discuss pretty much any topic with him in a civil and cogent fashion. Yet, the messages he forwarded were disturbing. He did so quite unwittingly I am sure by trusting the sources which shared with him to “Tell Unalloyed Truth” [This a common pitfall most or even all suffer from wherein “information” agreeable to our own world view is unquestioningly accepted]. He is an engineer and is well regarded in his professional life, and I should say with above average general knowledge and interests. The fact he shared these messages though shows, unfortunately, that he explicitly believed their content. This is a fairly widespread problem even among our educated people. Our knowledge of history doesn’t go beyond what we “learnt” in the school textbooks, which is really sparse and often distorted; not necessarily through Design or Motive but often due to sheer laziness and callous disregard for verifying historical facts from Original Sources. That is the reason why most people lack a healthy dose of skepticism and are ready to believe in any narrative,  in the absence of ability to discriminate or laziness to verify, if it comes from a source that they trust. What were the messages that I received? One thing of Note here is that none of them contained any references to original source materials to verify the “Claims” made in it. Often a sure sign of fakery!
Mirage of Ambedkar Savarkar Meeting of Minds?.
See this “glowing Tribute paid” on 14 April 1942 by V D Savarkar to Dr. Ambedkar.
This Tribute in Marathi is “Replicated” elsewhere on the web in English, but it’s translation is atrocious. The first sentence of the tribute below should have read, “Just on his Personality, Learning, Organisational skills and leadership quality, Ambedkar would be heralded Great Soul of the Nation, but in addition he eradicated untouchability…….thereby rendering immeasurable service to Bharat [not -भारत माता- Mother India, an imagery Savarkar would likely have used].

On 14th April, 1942 on the occasion of 50th birthday of BabasahabAmbedkar following massage Veer Savarkar sent to him: 

“With his personality, learning, skill in organization and capability of giving leadership Ambedkar would have become a great mainstay of the country today, but the success he achieved in eradicating untouchability and infusing self-confidence and spirit among untouchables by that he did valuable service to India. His work is of eternal nature, humanitarian and that of imbued with pride in one’s own country. The feeling that a great man like Ambedkar is born in so-called untouchable-caste will eliminate despair prevailed in the hearts of untouchables, and from the life of Ambedkar they will get energy to face the dominance of so-called touchables. Having full respect to the personality and works of Ambedkar I wish for his long and healthy life.” 

Savarkar or be it Ambedkar both had one goal of removing the distinction of high and low based upon caste from the society.

It could be possible that the original message was addressed by Savarkar to Ambedkar, a Fellow Marathi Speaker, in the vernacular. And the English translation is a “modern day product” of a less adept translator.
I have read a few works of Ambedkar such as “Annihilation of Caste”; and almost none whatsoever of Savarkar, who I know only through HISTORY TEXTBOOKS, which to say the least hardly counts as history. Then off late I have read a few articles on him that were based on original sources with proper citations. But these inputs though meagre were enough to raise suspicions about the authenticity of the “flattering” Birthday Greeting from an “Unlikely” source. But, could it have been a deliberate “Strategic” posturing by Savarkar, who had given undertaking to be Loyal to the British rule?, for release from Andaman incarceration.

”…if the government in their manifold beneficence and mercy release me, I for one cannot but be the staunchest advocate of constitutional progress and loyalty to the English government which is the foremost condition of that progress. As long as we are in jails, there cannot be real happiness and joy in hundreds and thousands of homes of His Majesty’s subjects in India, for blood is thicker than water; but if we are released, the people will raise a shout of joy and gratitude to the government, who knows how to forgive and correct, more than how to chastise and avenge.”
Savarkar went on to add, ”Moreover, my conversion to the constitutional line would bring back all those misled young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide. I am ready to serve the government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be. By keeping me in jail, nothing can be got in comparison to what would be otherwise. The Mighty alone can afford to be merciful and, therefore, where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the government.” :- 
Penal Settlement In Andamans, published by the Gazetteers Unit of Union ministry of education. [Savarkarites of course claim it was a “strategic deception” to secure his release so that he could once again pursue his “revolutionary opposition” to the British. But his subsequent thinking, speeches, and actions don’t square up to that claim. He became a witting or an unwitting tool to the British policy of divide and fragment the ruled people on the basis of religion or community]. 

Remember the year  is 1942, when “Dr. Ambedkar was inducted into the Viceroy’s Executive Council as Labour Member, a position which he held until his resignation in June 1946. [His thoughtful comments in that forum cover various topics (see #6). (K.N. Kadam, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and the Significance of his Movement: A Chronology, Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1991, p. 115.)]“.  It is also the year when M K Gandhi had given a “Clarion” call for Quit India [भारत छोडो] that had led to widespread unrest in the middle of World War – II. Moreover, Ambedkar had been critical of Gandhi and had described latter’s call as:

“both irresponsible and insane, a bankruptcy of statesmanship and a measure to retrieve the Congress prestige that had gone down since the war started. It would be madness, he said, to weaken law and order at a time when the barbarians were at the gates.” (–slightly edited from Dhananjay Keer, Dr. Ambedkar: Life and Mission, Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1971 [1954], p. 354.)

All these factors together conspire in my mind to negate out of hand the possibility of “Strategic Birthday Greetings”, but something which I am in a position to neither Corroborate nor Refute and hope someone more well versed with both the personalities sheds some light. However, approaches of Ambedkar and Savarkar to interpretation of Ancient Indian History, Nature of Caste System, Character of India’s Independence Struggle, and so and on; are so widely divergent as to resemble Chalk and Cheese. For more on this, see the following paper by Devendra Ingle:
Then there are this shoddily assembled NUGGETS.
Would Dr. Ambedkar be Hard-pressed to Recognise parts of his “Free-Wheeling Resume” [in Marathi] below?.

   The Facts about Bharat Ratna Baba Saheb Dr. B.R.Ambedkar which every INDIAN should be proud of….

1. Most talented person in the world which has mastery over 64 subjects ,highest in the world ,according to Cambridge university, England 2011. [no trustworthy citation]
2. Prof. Amartya sen, 6th Indian to get prestigious Nobel prize winning economist, claims, “Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is my father in Economics.” [citation– A point of Note here is: “The conspicuous absence of Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar’s economic thought in celebrated works of eminent Indian economic historians begs a question. Ambedkar’s identity as an economist might have escaped their notice because of his fame as the chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution and as a leader of the backward and downtrodden sections of Indian society. This may be true in case of ordinary citizens of India, but surely not an acceptable alibi from any serious researcher in the area of Indian economic thought.]
3. He was the First Law Minister of India who resigned only when his noble “Hindu code bill ” a women Right for indian women was opposed by the parliament. The same law took years to passed by the same parliament. But none of women organisation talks about it [?]. For three years, he fought to get the bill passed. It spoke of giving back dignity to indian women and giving equal rights to boys and girls. Because of this all the woman of any cast enjoying the liberty n power.
4.The Reserve bank of India (RBI), formed in 1935,was based on the ideas that Dr. Babasaheb presented to the Hilton Young commission. [This gives impression that Idea of establishing a Central Bank for India, RBI, was mooted by Ambedkar. This is quite obviously false. It was an Imperial idea and plan necessitated by her interests. But, Ambedkar undoubtedly contributed to the deliberations by presenting his views with  great acuity, authority and clarity on the issue of Gold Currency, Gold Exchange-Standard Currency {paper currency linked to redemption in gold to the holder}, and Convertibility to Foreign Currency based on gold or gold standard at a fixed rate; and their impact on internal inflation and exchange rates. The Q&A of the HYC shows that both the Commission members and Ambedkar were well adept in matters Economics and Public Policy]
He also asked for the Insurance to every Indian. [Insurance was never the subject matter of RBI, so don’t know how to verify this claim]
5. Dr. Ambedkar was the creator of Damodar valley project, Hirakud project, The son [sic, Sone] river valley project. In 1945, under the chairmanship of Dr. Ambedkar, it was decided to invest in the potential benefits of controlling the Mahanadi for multi- purpose use. This was the first project to be completed in time and money [Again a highly misconstrued claim, though his contribution to the development of India’s water policy was substantial. Use of flood control as an aspect of River Basin Management to restrict damage and store excess water that would otherwise flow off to the sea had his imprint.]. 
6. Dr. Ambedkar emphasised on the significance and need for the “Grid System ” which is still working successfully even today. If today power engineers are going abroad for training, the credit goes to Dr. Ambedkar .
7.He who as a leader of labour Department formulated the policy to trained best engineers overseas. Saviour of labours, brought 8 hours of duty for labours in India. Dr. Ambedkar changed the working time from 12 hours to 8 hours in 1942 which became a light for workers in India.
8. Dr. Ambedkar established “Central Technical Power Board ” (CTPB) for power system development., hydro power station sites, hydro electric shurveys, analysing problem of electricity generation and thermal power station investigation.
9. Dr. Ambedkar set up the Central Water Irrigation and Navigation Commission (CWINC) in March 1944. IF our house’s are illuminated today and if our field are green , its because of Dr.N Ambedkar ’s stellar role in the planning projects on which rest a major part of India’s economy today.
10. Dr Ambedkar was one who advocates NADI JODO abhiyan which is implimenting now but other aspect of agriculture where he advocates nationalisation of agriculture by mass agriculture which is still to happen.
11.If it was not Dr. Ambedkar ’s vision one can imagine the situation of electric supply, irrigation and development of India.
12. When second world war was ended, there were many challenges for India, such as re-establishing the economy, including improvement in agriculture, development of industries, rehabilitation and redeployment of defence services etc. For this reconstruction committee council (RCC ) was established. Dr. Ambedkar was a member of RCC and was assigned the role of President of “Policy committee for ” Irrigation and Power. “
13. Dr. Ambedkar had suggested division of Madhya Pradesh into northern and southern state’s. He had also suggested division of Bihar split into two, with Patna and Ranchi as the capitals way back in 1955 for better development of these state’s. After almost 45 years both states were divided and Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were formed in the year 2000.
14. Dr. Ambedkar is ” Champion of women’s Rights in India “. He strived hard for liberation and empowerment of Indian women and framed many laws for labours and also for women’s in India like 

*Women labour welfare fund 
*Dearness allowances
*ESI
*Provident fund act
*Women and child labour protection act
*Maternity benefit for women labour bill
*Divorce act
*Right to Property
*Leave benefit to piece workers
*Revision of scale of pay for Employees
* Restoration of ban on women
working underground in mines etc. 
15. Dr. Ambedkar was instrumental in bringing about several labour reforms, including establishment of the ” EMPLOYMENT EXCHANGE IN INDIA “.
16. The man who started the provision for a finance commission every five year in the constitution was none other than Dr. Ambedkar
17. The original source of references for all the 13 finance commission reports of India are based on Dr. Ambedkar’a PhD. Thesis, “The Evolution of Provincial Finance of British in India “.
18. Dr. Ambedkar is 1st PhD. in Economics and 1st Double Doctorate in Economics in South Asia
19. Dr Ambedkar faught for the rights of the deprived section i.e. OBC, SC-ST for whole life and give them justice by giving them RESERVATION to OBC, SC-ST in the constitution  in article 340 and 341. 

[I have not verified claims 6 to 19, but in places they seem to follow the same pattern of exaggeration]

20 . Dr. Ambedkar 
* India’s first Law Minister
*Only an Indian whose photo in London museum along with Karl Marx .
* Chief Architect of Indian constitution
*India’s greatest brilliant lawyer
*1st Man who against directly about ’ Cunning ’ and ’ Seasonal Politician’ of Religious right wings and congress.
*1st Man who fired the inhuman stupid mythology of Hindu Code Book so up called ’ MANUSMRUTI’ in publicly.
*Revolutionary and a Revivalist for Our Indian origin BUDDHISM in India again.
* Father of millions suffering and deprived.
*Dr.Ambedkar incorporated The wheel of Dhamma also known as Asoka Chakra in the Indian national flag and the Lions from an Asoka pillar at Sarnath was adopted as National Emblem. 
*1st Indian who graduated DSc in Economics
*Dr. Ambedkar is declared as ’ THE GREATEST INDIAN EVER’ by CNN IBN & HISTORY TV 18 CHANNEL. .
Dr. B. R. AMBEDKAR’S EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS:::
* 1st person who passed 10th Matriculation from Depressed Class in India .
* B. A. POLITICS & ECONOMICS Bombay University in 1912
*M. A . ECONOMICS for his thesis on ’ANCIENT INDIAN COMMERCE ’, AMERICA IN 1915
*PhD ( Economics – The Evolution of provincial finance in British India ) in Columbia University, America in 1917 
*DSc – ( Thesis – PROBLEM OF RUPEE’ ) London school of Economics in 1920
* Bar at Law from Gray’s Inn in London 1924
*LLD – ( Honours) Columbia University, New york for his achievements, Leadership And authoring ’ The CONSTITUTION OF INDIA’
*D.Litt – Honoured by Osmania university also 
* MSc- London * 
Political Economics-Germany
* 1st PhD in Economics & 1st double Doctorate in Economics in south Asia.
Dr. Ambedkar, GREATEST
* Constitutionalist
* Revolutionary
* Bodhisattva
* A Parliamentarian
* Economist
* Sociologist
* Great Politician
* Indian Jurist
* Buddhist Activist
* Philosopher
* Thinker
* Anthropologist
* Historian
* Orator
* Prolific Writer
* Social Reformer

Visionary, Great Thinker and Social Revolutionary that Ambedkar was, his ideas and thoughts face the same dangers as the other Great men. Reactionaries: Attack to vilify such disruptive body of work outright. Ignorers: Act as if the person and his body of work doesn’t exist to engender a collective memory-lapse. Devotees: Turn him/her into a Deity or Icon to be worshipped unquestioningly without applying themselves to the onerous task of following up on his act of scholarship and building upon the foundation to make it contemporary to changing circumstances and latest understanding.  Pretenders: are those who having failed in direct attacks, masquerade as Devotees to Own and then to Corrupt the body of work into grotesque distortion. Reactionaries are the least dangerous as they are easy to recognise and hence less efficacious in polluting, and at least keep the “memory” alive [e.g., Jan Sangh, Hindu Maha Sabha, Communists, …]. Ignorers are a shade more dangerous because if they succeed it would simply imply loss of knowledge [Congress…]. Devotees may play initially a positive role to keep his memory alive, but in the process turn the person and his thoughts into a unidimensional caricature distorting his legacy beyond recognition [Dalit Parties…]. They pose greater danger. All these three have been active with lesser or greater vigour at different times throughout since Ambedkar was alive. But ever since coming to power of the NDA government led by Narendra Modi, the Pretenders have emerged as a major force and greatest danger to Ambedkar’s legacy. Pretenders are always most potent because their’s is a Stealth Attack disguised as Devotees. Savarkar’s “Birthday Tribute” is solely the creation of Pretenders if it was falsified and if true,  its “propagation“,  still serves the same purpose of stealth attack, when provided without the context of the large body of differences in thoughts and aims of Savarkar and Ambedkar. On the other hand, the Circulation of “Resume” falls into a different category because the credit for it’s creation and wide circulation goes to Devotees. But by owning it as their “own message” serves well the Pretender’s objective of usurping Ambedkar’s “deity” like  stature to subserve their agenda of gaining acceptance in Dalit constituency to meet electoral arithmetic while simultaneously debasing his legacy beyond recognition. Ambedkar has found place in the RSS Pantheon just as another great revolutionary thinker, Gautama Buddha, was coopted into the Hindu pantheon of दशावतार  [10 Godly forms that Vishnu  assumed or shall assume].
Ambedkar was well aware of the danger from devotees when he chided them:

“there was nothing wrong in being grateful to great men” who had served society all their lives, but gratitude cannot be replaced with hero-worship”.  “In India, bhakti, or what may be called the path of devotion or hero-worship, plays a part in its politics unequalled in magnitude by the part it plays in the politics of any other country in the world. Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.”

What R Jagganathan, First Post, says in following lines is absolutely true, It is best to look at Ambedkar as a non-doctrinaire intellectual rather than someone committed to this ideology or that. This is the true hallmark of a great leader. The reason why one should consider Ambedkar as the best PM India never had is simple: like Nehru, he was modern in his thinking; but unlike Nehru, his ideas flowed from rational and unblinkered thought. Ambedkar is unlikely to have sent India down the path of state socialism.  Like Gandhi, he wanted to think about the poorest of the poor, not least because of his own depressed class origins; but unlike Gandhi, he had no illusions about an idyllic rural world that never existed“.
However, what follows immediately by STEALTH wouldn’t pass the fact-check. “He saw urbanism as the way out of slavery for Dalits – and in this he was prescient. Today, not just Dalits, but all small farmers and the landless will see migration to cities as the way out of acute poverty. It should be obvious to everyone that India’s future lies in rapid urbanisation. Ambedkar would probably have backed the land acquisition bill of Narendra Modi, since the challenge is to create jobs and release agriculturists from the tyranny of small and underproductive land holdings“.
First, Ambedkar saw establishment of SECULAR DEMOCRATIC MODERN STATE as the most likely form to guarantee Dalit protection and Rights. The paramount ingredient of Dalit emancipation he recognised was EDUCATION, which is why it is the first word in his most popular exhortation: Educate, Agitate, Organise. To see his own words:

“The backward classes have come to realize that after all education is the greatest material benefit for which they can fight.  We may forego material benefits, we may forego material benefits of civilization, but we cannot forego our right and opportunities to reap the benefit of the highest education to the fullest extent.  That the importance of this question from the point of view of the backward classes who have just realized that without education their existence is not safe. [Government of Maharashtra (1982), Babasaheb Ambedkar : Writings and Speeches, Vol. 2, p. 62]

See the dire warning, “without education their existence is not safe” – an existential threat, not merely not gaining emancipation. Modi’s land acquisition bill does away with the CONSENT CLAUSE that UPA had included in the face of rising resistance to forcible land acquisition carried out in the same manner and pursuing the same law as the British Raj did.  A rather disingenuous suggestion that a champion Democrat, Ambedkar, would approve of the removal of democratic Consent Clause. Moreover, as Jagannathan reckons Ambedkar to be  a non-doctrinaire thinker, which he was, he would have willingly changed his position and formed new pragmatic views in the face of mounting evidence and new body of knowledge about the gain-loss analysis of things such as Large Dams and Huge Infrastructure projects [which have without exception demanded and forced the sacrifices of poorer sections of society without little share to them in the gains], Green Revolution,  Demographic distribution, Disruptive technologies, Regime Changes, or even the existential Crisis that Capitalism is now facing just as Communism faced earlier. Even if the Dalits leave villages to flock to the urban centres, were they be able to leave their “outcaste” behind? “Urbanism” may loosen the shackles of Caste System, but it hardly destroys those shackles. Dr Mungekar posits Ambedkar’s views thus:
Thus, caste played an ascriptive role inasmuch as it allocated economic activities to different individuals.  It is true that division of labour  has been a characteristic feature of every human society even in its very crude, let alone in its complex form.  However, the unique feature of caste system was that it assigned an occupation not to an individual, but to a group of individuals.  A particular individual was ordained to undertake a particular occupation just because he belonged to a particular group by birth.  In reality, this spelt disaster for the low-caste people in general and untouchables in particular. This laid Dr. Ambedkar to argue that caste system did not result merely in division of labour, but it resulted into the division of labourersThe former is the result of preference, choice, liking and aptitude of an individual, while the later is independent of the individual being. The former is voluntary, the later is not only obligatory but coercive. Thus, like in ever other social sphere, in economic sphere too the caste system amounted to the travesty of individual freedom. [Government of Maharashtra (1978), Babasaheb Ambedkar : Writings and Speeches, Vol. 1]
What Jagannathan’s article does is to eulogise Ambedkar sky high -the best PM India never had- so as to Co-opt his legacy to serve the goals of Modi government. See the subtle message of the first part of the telltale heading to his article,”Rescuing Ambedkar from pure Dalitism” [That is rescuing “Dalits {not Ambedkar, he has no vote} from Dalitism. Draw your own conclusions as to of what it means. ]. How come there is not even a mention of “Rescuing say Brahmins or Jats or Yadavs from Brahmanism or Jatism or Yadavism“. The monumental, unrelenting and concerted action we see today to put at the forefront of anything and everything, Dr. Ambedkar, is a massive act to swallow him into the RSS pantheon. Unless Devotees wake up to the dire warning of Ambedkar –blind devotion is a sure path to loss of freedom and dictatorship, they would become unwitting Helpers to Pretenders.
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