ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ambedkarites against Ambedkar

It is one thing to revere one's hero but quite another to consider him to be god. Following Ambedkar means being inspired by his vision of "liberty, equality and fraternity" and acting in accordance with his advice to "educate, agitate, organise" so as to realise his goals of annihilation of castes and achievement of socialism.

This is an abridged version of a speech delivered on the 122nd birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar at the Open University, Mysore on 15 April 2013.

A controversy was created by a Mumbai-based Marathi dalit daily by using some of my statements sans the context relating to Babasaheb Ambedkar at a conference on “Marxism and the Caste Question” and manipulating the sentiments of dalits. The motive of the canard against me notwithstanding, the unfounded story has nevertheless helped foreground a crucial question as to what Ambedkar is and what it means to be his follower. The manner in which Ambedkar is invoked in justification of each reactionary acrobatic by the political class and even referred to by dalit intellectuals either out of sheer ignorance or as a part of their consciously carved out strategy to curry favour of the ruling classes, has served to reduce him to an inert “godhead” to be merely worshipped or worse, a reactionary identity icon blocking any further enlightenment. The near decimation of dalit movement, the persistent misery of the dalit masses and the growth of a reactionary stratum of self-seeking dalit elites engendered by this bhakti cult over the last four decades have set in motion a vicious cycle of hopelessness among the masses further reinforcing the saviour syndrome among them. It is time we see through this insidious process to extricate the real Ambedkar from the growing morass of reaction.

The Real Ambedkar

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