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Dalit leaders involved in cut-throat competition?

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Nowadays, the battle for supremacy between Dalit leaders and organisations has increased. Dalit has become a political tool, be it Presidential elections or new generation revolution. Dalit politicians never worked in the interest of their community but on the contrary, they joined hands with Brahmanical parties to remain in power. For them, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar always remained a ladder to get elevated and Dalit a subject to play politics. These so called Dalit custodians damaged the beliefs of Buddhism and Dr. Ambedkar.

Let us peep in earlier controversy of Ambedkar Bhavan in Mumbai. There was a rift between Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and former IAS officer and State Information Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad and Madhukar Kamble, authorities of the People’s Improvement Trust, in connection with the demolition of the historic Ambedkar Bhavan. This incident exposes these leaders’ intention towards the community. Anandraj Ambedkar alleged that Mr. Gaikwad was behind the demolition. Ambedkar Bhavan is where Dr. Ambedkar founded the Buddhist Society of India, and all its records were inside. There was a big debate and media headlines, but at this moment no one knows what happened to the fight? What are the developments and what these leaders are up to, or they just garnered headlines and are waiting for another topic?

The printing press which Dr. Babasaheb set up in 1947 and where several of his books were printed has also been destroyed. Several handwritten manuscripts were inside, but other Dalit leaders did not bother to protect them. It’s not a matter of Ambedkar, the juniors or others, but Dalits all over India are divided over the issue. They have lots of internal disputes also. Hardly anyone of them is bothered for their community or its welfare. They are working like election gunny pigs.

Ambedkar Bhavan has been demolished as it had become dilapidated and BMC had given notice to the Trust under section 354. Construction of a new, grand building of 17 floors will start soon. This will be the central headquarters for weaker sections as desired by Dr. Babasaheb. The Chief Minister performed the bhoomipujan on April 14 and called upon the Trust to complete the construction within two years. Anyway, the new building is coming up or not is debatable but the big issue is that things which are written by Dr. Babasaheb or old intellectual properties needs to be preserved. However, these leaders are materialistic and crave for other incentives instead of caring for their patrons.

Even after 65 years of independence, you will find that Dalits’ fate has not changed much. The term “Dalit” has different meanings for different people. The most common use of the term is to define people who were once known as “untouchables”, separated from the rest of the society by the caste system. Nevertheless Babasaheb strongly believed that, Dalit is the one who believes in equality, practices equality in his or her life and protests inequality wherever he or she sees it. This redefinition challenges Dalits to be more democratic in their own lives, both in terms of inter sub-caste discrimination and sexism; allows for the inclusion of Dalits from different religious backgrounds (Dalits who have converted to a different religion, but still suffer discrimination); and allows for the inclusion of people who are not from the “untouchable” castes, but still believe in values of equality.

Today, the word Dalit, across Indian languages means poor and oppressed people. As it refers to those who have been broken, ground down by those above them in a deliberate way. There is also clearly an inherent denial of pollution, karma and justified caste hierarchy to the word itself. This constitutional identity, however, is exclusive and fails to capture the true picture. Dalits who have converted from Hinduism to another religion are longer qualifying as SCs, although their status in the society often remains the same. Moreover, Dalit movements in contemporary India are not uniform and each articulates a particular identity, be they Christian Dalits, Neo-Buddhists or Muslim Dalits. Hence, Dalits should not be seen as a term just to describe a caste community, rather it should be viewed as a symbol of change and liberation, as a progressive ideology, helping the Dalit movement to achieve its end results. Increasingly used as a suffix, Dalit is a part of the identity of a person that holds certain values—those pertaining to equality and humanism. However, these Dalit leaders are locking horns around the country leaving all the practices and preaching aside.

Every political party has Dalit leaders to save their face by pulling Dalit votes. These Dalit leaders mortgage their integrity and compromised the entire community for power gluttony. That’s the reason; you will find two entirely opposite class in Dalits, one very rich and the other very poor and underprivileged. Let it be Mayawati, Jitan Ram Manjhi, Ram Vilas Paswan or Ramdas Athawale, none of them actually ever exclusively stood for the rights of their community. However, to gain a political mileage, they are exploiting their own people and community. Presently, I see Dalit’s condition are more worrisome than ever before because the war lords of Dalits are more interested in cutting one another’s throat than serving the community.

 (Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for past 16 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs. Besides journalism, she is also an Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author.
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