Friday, December 01, 2006

After Gandhi-giri , is this Baba-giri ? . .

A statue of Dr. B R Ambedkar is destroyed in Kanpur . Within a few hours , Maharashtra burns. A 23 year old youth loses his life in the riots in Nashik. One more is killed in Osmanabad district.A curfew is imposed in Pimpri and Pune .Sporadic rioting is seen all over Mumbai with public transport virtually shutting down. People stranded at work , schools shut; roads closed. Chaos all over. But the worst is yet to come , 2 boggies of the Deccan Queen are burnt in Ulhasnagar.
All of this happened as a result the anger and rage amongst the people who wanted to protest against the desecration of Dr. Ambedkar's statue.Is the anger justified ? Yes. But are the means justified ? No way.
After Sanjubaba showed the nation what Gandhigiri was , are we now seeing Babagiri ? Most definitely not , if at all anything , its only dadagiri !
Dr. Ambedkar's vision of a discrimination free India was and is noble and exemplary. A man who was truly way ahead of his times. And at a time when dalits were discriminated against , he stood up for them and championed their causes, made consitutional arrangements to ensure equitable distribution of opportunities and resources . The old Hindu society ,supposedly had a religiously sanctioned racism that had maimed, dehumanized and destroyed hundreds of millions of people through the ages .
But now 56 years after Ambedkar took the first step in the social unification of India ,one doesn't see the kind of inhuman and degenerated practices of caste based discrimination often, especially in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai.Ofcourse , my thoughts here , obviously , are those of an urban observer. The whole concept of 'untouchability' has been universally abolished . His vision , 'not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially' , has been achieved. But there is a lot of work left to be done.
I see no reason why burning trains , stoning shops , stopping traffic and disrupting normal life can do any good. I am not against the protests , I am against the way they protestors protest. Not only are the way they protested a massive waste of time , energy , human resources ; but more importantly this is a step back in time , in terms of our thoughts and idealogies. If someone's thoughts , ideas or actions hurt someone else's sentiments , there is surely a more civilised way to register one's protest.
The saddest part of this whole affair is that Dr. Ambedkar was a Gandhian , and would never have approved of this. He was someone who personified the idiom "the pen is mightier than the sword" . The country has come a long way in trying to achieve social uniformity , and this is not because of the politicians , but inspite of them.
However , when such unnecessary acts of violence take place , it only ensures further alienation of the so called oppressed section of society. They drift more and more away mainstream society , of which they themselves ,unknowingly , are such an integral part of. This 'Rang De Basanti and Lage Rahe Munnabhai ' generation should realise that only when this vision of a unified people is achieved ,will the country go ahead.
This vision will never be achieved overnight or in a matter weeks or months. It has to be a gradual, radical, sustained and united effort by an entire generation. It will be oppressed, suppressed and questioned; it may not be practical at first .Call it overtly Utopian , bhashanbaaji or impractical but a beginning has to be made somewhere. What we need is not a secular rethink, but a secular movement or perhaps even a secular revolution. It must change our thoughts, words, ideas and eventually reflect in our actions. And as citizens for peace, we know deep down inside that this is not only the path to peace but also to progress. The Power to help ourselves in within, we just need to find the strength to use it responsibly.
Jai Hind.
Jai Maharashtra.
© 2006 .No part of this article may be reproduced or quoted without the expressed permission of Akshay Gopinathan Nair .


Anonymous said...

When i was working in a city Hospital in Dhule i was surprised to her some Buddhists saying that Buddhism has no relation to Hinduism,rather they're very different; It would've been OK to hear just this, but what followed was shocking- the two Buddhists claimed,ahem,that Buddhism is just as different from Hinduism as Islam is!
I tried explaining them that the Hindu scriptures clearly mention Buddha to be the 9th Incarnation of Vishnu; so the roots of both these religions are really the same; but then the Muslim Doctor who was sitting next to us claimed that Muslims have 'done' more for Buddhists than Hindus!!
The point is, such brainwashing is done at the grassroot levels, by thankless elements of Indian society. These people work very discreetly,the methods look v simple,but effective. Dalit leaders and divisive forces have more emotional hold over the masses than any intellectual person.
Sadly, now the condition is such that rather than people 'not knowing', is more like "people just dont want to know" the truth.
Dear Akshay, I'd tried explaining one of my SC batchmates the real Ambedkar, and in return i got a lifetime of enmity,apart fron being accused of being anti-dalit.
What he didn't know,was that even I belong to a backward caste.
Just try telling these people,even Doctors,what you've mentioned in your blog-and judge the response you get- we all understand,re..but the people who need the enlightenment-have firmly shut their minds over the last 60 years.

Akshay G N I said...


Harry nee harini... said...

and if u've noticed in teh papers... there is a picture of a buddhist monk walking past a rioting mob

buddham saranam gachhami!

Siddharth said...

well i agree with most of each word. but i think we can't do much cos even if we try to we would get stuck in a situation similar to the 1 mentioned in the first comment posted anonymously. the situation of 60 yrs of brain washing can't be fixed in a decade it will take another 60 yrs till when the flaws are identified by the concerned