Whose Ambedkar?

Today we are celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar. A person who was not only the most prominent fighter in the struggle against oppression but also one of the greatest visionary that this country had. The contribution of Dr. Ambedkar to this country is unparalleled and doesn’t need an introduction. Still his legacy and his contributions did not get the recognition and respect from the society, with the exception of Ambedkarites and the downtrodden community for whom Ambedkar is a messiah. But this year his birthday is being commemorated on a large scale and he’s being celebrated. Being an Ambedkarite myself, this is pleasant to see but behind this celebration there seems to be a not-so-hidden agenda to claim the legacy of Ambedkar and to take advantage of his name. While political parties are indulging in this competition of claiming the legacy of Ambedkar, it doesn’t seem that these political parties are actually aware of this legacy. Because the ideology of Ambedkar and ideologies of parties who are claiming themselves to be his followers are quite contradictory.
In their gross attempt to gain political milage, these political parties are trying to distort the ideology of Ambedkar just to suit their own. To understand the farce that is being played on Ambedkar’s name, we have to first understand Ambedkar and his ideologies. You got to remember that we are talking about a man who singlehandedly took on the social and political establishments of this country in order to secure justice and a better life for the downtrodden. In his quest, he had to face the opposition from the same organizations who are now so desperate to endorse or get endorsed by him. Ambedkar was the most prominent opposition that Congress has faced ever and that too at the time when INC was bigger than any political establishment in India. He was the one who had the ability and gut to be the biggest critique that MK Gandhi ever had. When the whole country was worshipping Gandhi as a Mahatma, it was Ambedkar who had the guts to address him as a politician. So now today when the political party, who had Ambedkar as their biggest critique and opposition, claims his legacy, it sounds funny. Another new contender to claim Ambedkar’s legacy is the ruling party BJP, a party which originated from the right wing organizations like RSS and Hindu Mahasabha. The organizations which were “reactionary” in the views of Ambedkar. And the same organizations were in the staunch opposition of Ambedkar’s fight against oppression. They are the same groups who refused to recognize the Constitution given by Ambedkar and did all they could to stop the Hindu Code bill which gave equal rights to Hindu women. When organizations with such ideological heritage which totally contradicts Ambekar’s views tries to hijack his legacy it seems really outrageous and a total farce.
If you really wish to know about Ambedkar then you must not believe the different political narratives that is going on these days. If they have their way, they would reduce Ambedkar merely to a name and a picture and will bury the principles for which Ambedkar stood. Know Ambedkar through his books, his speeches, his struggles. Then decide whether you like him or dislike him. And to sum up with his quote,
” I want followers of my principles and not devotees.”

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