Ambedkar's Vision Stands In Agonising Contrast to the Babri Masjid Demolition
S N Sahu
Just two days back on
December 6, two very contrasting events for entirely contrasting reasons
engaged public attention and reflection. It was on December 6, 1956, that Dr. B
R Ambedkar breathed his last and that solemn event is observed every year by
his followers as the Parinirvan Divas.
The sombre and
sublime nature of Parinirvan associated with Dr. Ambedkar's sad demise and
evocative of legacy associated with Lord Buddha stands in agonising contrast to
the demolition of Babri Mosque described by the Supreme Court of India as
"egregious violation of law" and celebrated by forces and formations representing
Hindutva as Shaurya Divas, Day of Victory.
renouncing Hinduism because of its foundational principles anchored on graded
social inequality and his historic decision to embrace Buddhism on the ground
that it is based on Pragyan (Enlightenment), Karuna (Compassion) and Samata
(Equality) heralded a new era in India to revive Buddhism and ideals of Buddha.
According to Swami Vivekananda, Buddha gave for the first time in the humann
history "the gospel of social raising up". Therefore the usage of the
term Parinirvan for describing the passing away of Ambedkar is associated
with the "gospel of social raising up" which became the central
concern of his life and work.
OF BABRI MOSQUE AN AFFRONT TO AMBEDKAR'S LEGACY
proclaimed law as the greatest disinfectant against inequality, dubbed castes
as anti-national, celebrated liberty, equality and fraternity, and stressed on
reclamation of human personality held in bondage by caste system described by
him as an ascending order of reverence and descending order of contempt.
Juxtapose it with the
Supreme Court's observation in its Ayodhya judgement that, "The law is ...
a legislative instrument designed to protect the secular features of the Indian
polity, which is one of the basic features of the Constitution," even as
it strangely allowed construction of temple where the Babri Mosque stood
demolished. Ambedkar's understanding of law and Supreme Court's interpretation
of it in the context of secularism stand in exact opposition to the Shourya
Divas which celebrates assault and violence on a Mosque, and therefore,
constitutes an affront to the legacy of Dr. Ambedkar.
The destruction of
Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992, heralded an ominous trend representing all
out attack on secularism, and particularly on Muslims of India who are now at
the receiving end because of many regressive and draconian legislations aimed
The most recent one
is the stringent ordinance of the UP Government to deal with Love Jihad. It
targets interfaith couples belonging to Hindu and Muslim communities with
severe penal offences and takes away their fundamental right and liberty to
exercise their choices for forging matrimonial alliances. Such egregious violation
of law and liberty is part of the calculated attack on Muslims, manifested in a
sinister manner in lynching of many of them in the name of beef, their faith,
dress and life style.
On December 17, 1946
while participating in the discussion on the Objectives Resolution in the
Constituent Assembly, Ambedkar had flagged with anxiety that some leaders made
belligerent statements that amounted to waging war against Muslims and warned
that “…if there is anybody who has in his mind the project of solving the Hindu-Muslim
problem by force, which is another name of solving it by war… in order that the
Muslims may be subjugated ...[t]his country would be involved in perpetually
Shaurya Divas on December 6 is a celebration of violence and hatred associated
with the destruction of Babri Mosque and, therefore, such a celebration amounts
to celebration of war as was apprehended by Dr. Ambedkar during pre-Partition
The Special CBI Court
while acquitting all 22 accused in the Babri Moque demolition case had observed
that anti-social elements had destroyed it. Therefore, all those who are
celebrating its demolition as Shauriya Divas are celebrating the work of
the anti-social elements.
Dr. Ambedkar had
cautioned in his last speech in the Constituent Assembly that adoption of the
methods contrary to the constitutional method in pursuit of the objectives
enshrined in the Constitution would result in grammar of anarchy. The
demolition of Babri Mosque represented the brutal manifestation of the
employment of unconstitutional method and, therefore, the "grammar of
anarchy" that India witnessed in its aftermath constituted. in the words
of late Shri K R Narayanan, then Vice President of India and Chairman, Rajya
Sabha, a tragedy similar to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
On the occasion of
the Mahaparinirvan Divas of Dr. Ambedkar, one recalls his electrifying slogan
"Educate, Organise and Agitate". The protagonists of Shaurya Divas
and the leaders who swear by it are now at the helm of affairs of India and
they while selectively quoting Ambedkar go against the very grain of his
worldview. It is best manifested in the manner in which the agitation of lakhs
of farmers against Farm laws has been handled, in a coercive manner for
preventing their entry to Delhi to protest. The method of tear gassing them,
blocking the road they travelled by barricades covered with barbed wire,
digging trenches on their way and deployment of para military forces to deal
with protest and agitation smacks of an approach disapproving of dissent by
applying disproportionate force.
Such a muscular
approach to deal with farmers' agitation combined with criminalisation of
dissent and protest is inconsistent with Dr. Ambedkar's vision anchored on
constitutional method and cultivation of constitutional morality for defending
the idea and unity of India.
The protagonists of
Shaurya Divas who attempted to suppress farmers and foil their agitation are
relying on embedded media to transmit news and views which would be in variance
with the cause of farmers who have specifically kept at bay such media channels
describing them as Godi Media. It is in this context one is reminded the words
of Dr. Ambedkar who indicted media in 1943 in his piece "Gandhi, Ranade
and Jinha" and wrote, "Journalism in India was once a profession.
It has now become a trade. It has no more moral function than the manufacture
of soap. It does not regard itself as the responsible adviser of the
Adding further he
stated, "To give the news uncoloured by any motive, to present a certain
view of public policy which it believes to be for the good of the community, to
correct and chastise without fear all those, no matter how high, who have
chosen a wrong or a barren path, is not regarded by journalism in India its
first or foremost duty. To accept a hero and worship him has become its
principal duty". His words, "Under it, news gives place to sensation,
reasoned opinion to unreasoning passion, appeal to the minds of responsible
people to appeal to the emotions of the irresponsible" sounds so true in
the context of post truth age of twenty first century.
journalism", stated Ambedkar, "...is written by drum-boys
to glorify their heroes". "Never has the interest of country been
sacrificed so senselessly for the propagation of hero-worship",
wrote Ambedkar, and added with anguish, "Never has hero-worship
become so blind as we see it in India today. There are, I am glad to say,
honourable exceptions. But they are too few and their voice is never
insightful remarks of Dr. Ambedkar on his Parinirvan Divas. we underline their
contemporary significance to address and defeat the forces celebrating the
so-called Shaurya Divas
The writer served as
Officer on Special Duty and Press Secretary to Former President of India, late
K R Narayanan. The views are personal.