The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government acted upon the suggestion of its governor Ram Naik and added "Ramji" as BR Ambedkar’s middle name by passing a resolution in the state Assembly.
So, from now on, the UP government records and textbooks will refer to him as Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. The BJP has even coined a new slogan for Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations in Uttar Pradesh, that is, "Baba Ji Ka Mission Adhura, BJP Kar Rahi Hai Pura (Ambedkar’s mission is incomplete, BJP is completing it)".
The BJP has also planned a 22-day celebration from April 14, "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" to propagate Ambedkar’s message of village development, welfare of the poor and social justice.
It seems the party is making every attempt to usurp the legacy of Dr BR Ambedkar - the latest being a statue of his which was vandalised recently, rebuilt and painted saffron in colour.
Badaun: A BR Ambedkar statue which was vandalized recently has been rebuilt and painted saffron in colour pic.twitter.com/saW7U9BBUi— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 10, 2018
But does the party endorse what all this Dalit icon had said about Hindutva or Hindutva icon Vinayak Damodar Savarkar? Let’s take a look at 10 of Amebedkar's statements which may make the saffron party uncomfortable:
1) When Mahatma Gandhi requested Ambedkar to lend his support to the Temple Entry Bill, but the latter declined. Ambedkar wrote to Gandhi, "I would like to assure the Mahatma that it is not the mere failure of Hindus and Hinduism which has produced in me the feelings of disgust and contempt. I am disgusted with Hindus and Hinduism because I am convinced that they cherish wrong ideals and lead a wrong social life. My quarrel with Hindus and Hinduism is not over the imperfections of their social conduct. It is much more fundamental. It is over their ideals."
2) In response to Mahatma Gandhi's efforts to reclaim Dalits back into the Hindu fold, Ambedkar said, “A bitter thing cannot be made sweet. The taste of anything can be changed. But poison cannot be changed into nectar.”
3) In 1935, he publicly proclaimed, "I was born a Hindu because I had no control over this, but I shall not die a Hindu."
4) On October 14, 1956, while he converted to Buddhism in a grand ceremony in Nagpur, Ambedkar said: "By discarding my ancient religion which stood for inequality and oppression, today I am reborn."
And one of the 22 oaths that he took on that day, and even asked those who converted like him to take, was: "I thereby reject my old religion, Hinduism, which is detrimental to the prosperity of human kind and which discriminates between man and man and which treats me as inferior."
5) Of the 22 vows of Dr Ambedkar the top three were:
a) "I shall have no faith in Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh nor shall I worship them."
b) "I shall have no faith in Rama and Krishna who are believed to be incarnation of God nor shall I worship them."
c) "I shall have no faith in 'Gauri', Ganapati and other gods and goddesses of Hindus nor shall I worship them."
6) While comparing upper caste Hindus with Muslim communalists, he said, “Charged with this selfish idea of class domination, they take every move to exclude the lower classes of Hindus from wealth, education and power... This attitude of keeping education, wealth and power as a close preserve for themselves and refusing to share it, which the high caste Hindus have developed in their relation with the lower classes of Hindus, is sought to be extended by them to the Muslims. They want to exclude the Muslims from place and power, as they have done to the lower class Hindus. This trait of the high caste Hindus is the key to the understanding of their politics.”
7) Ambedkar did not differentiate between the flag-bearers of Hindutva and the Muslim League. He treated them as two faces of the same coin bent upon destroying India. He wrote: "Strange as it may appear, Mr Savarkar and Mr Jinnah instead of being opposed to each other on the one nation versus two nations issue are in complete agreement about it. Both agree, not only agree, but insist that there are two nations in India - one the Muslim nation and the other Hindu nation."
8) Hitting hard Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who has acquired elevated status in saffron ecosphere, Dr Ambekdar did not mince any words. He wrote, “It must be said that Mr Savarkar's attitude is illogical, if not queer. Mr Savarkar admits that the Muslims are a separate nation. He concedes that they have a right to cultural autonomy. He allows them to have a national flag. Yet he opposes the demand of the Muslim nation for a separate national home. If he claims a national home for the Hindu nation, how can he refuse the claim of the Muslim nation for a national home?”
9) In Volume 7 of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings & Speeches, he raised the following questions. “What is the cause of the nausea which the Hindus have against beef-eating? Were the Hindus always opposed to beef-eating? If not, why did they develop such nausea against it? Were the Untouchables given to beef-eating from the very start? Why did they not give up beef-eating when it was abandoned by the Hindus? Were the untouchables always untouchables? Why should beef-eating give rise to untouchability at a later stage? If the Hindus were eating beef, when did they give it up?”
Subsequently, he answered those questions in great detail.
10) Taking head on the right-wing forces, in his book, Pakistan or The Partition of India, Ambedkar wrote, “If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country. No matter what the Hindus say. Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.”
(With inputs from Bijay Kumar.)