Ambedkar's views were closer to RSS' than what Left-liberals think

Babasaheb was more severe on the Muslims than Savarkar.

 |  10-minute read |   03-05-2016
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There is a race going on between the Left and non-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologues and historians to prove that BR Ambedkar was an antithesis of the RSS and vice versa. One of them, Ramchandra Guha, has pulled out a whole list of articles published in the RSS mouthpiece Organiser to prove how the RSS opposed Ambedkar’s role on the Hindu Code Bill as well as his other liberal moves while alleging that the RSS was now trying to appropriate Ambedkar - the Dalit icon. But there is a flipside to this campaign that exposes the Left-liberal lobby’s attempt to divorce Ambedkar from the RSS using selective and convenient evidence.

Three things have to be borne in mind while analysing the relations between Ambedkar and the RSS. In the first place, the RSS has never said that it never disagreed with Ambedkar. Two, Ambedkar became a hero for the Sangh Parivar only after 1956 when he rejected the overtures of the followers of Semitic religions and embraced Buddhism, a religion of the Hindu pantheon, according to the definition of Hindutva as given by Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar in his book titled Hindutva. It is significant to mention this here because all the articles of the Organiser quoted by Guha and others to depict how RSS opposed Ambedkar are of the pre-1956 period, which is before his conversion to Buddhism.

And three, the Left-liberals, while defining the relationship between Ambedkar and the RSS, have always ignored the glaring fact that Ambedkar had very strong views about the Muslim community in general and the pro-Pakistan attitude of the Muslims in particular at that time. He gave vent to these feelings in his two famous works Thoughts on Pakistan (1941) and Pakistan or Partition of India (1945). The first one was published within almost one year of the Muslim League passing the Pakistan resolution in 1940.

In his second book, Ambedkar claims that almost 90 per cent of the Indian Muslims were for Pakistan on the eve of Partition. He was proved correct soon afterwards when over 86 per cent of the total Muslims votes cast in the 1945-'46 elections to the central assembly in undivided British India went to the Muslim League and less then three per cent to the Congress.

His perception of the Muslim as expressed in these two books almost matched with that of Savarkar on whose book Hindutva the RSS philosophy is largely based. In fact, Ambedkar was more severe on the Muslims than Savarkar or the present RSS could ever have been.

So not quoting Ambedkar's views on Muslims in a Ambedkar versus RSS debate is perhaps the greatest evidence of the intellectual dishonesty of the Left-liberals because that would puncture the grand plan of the pseudo-secular lobby to raise a coalition of backwards, Dalits and Muslims against the saffron forces and help depict them as brahmanical entities.

RSS and Ambedkar had same stand on many issues

The flipside of the picture depicted by the Left-liberals to describe the Ambedkar-RSS story is quite pronounced and in many places not just surprising but shocking. For example, Ambedkar himself attended an RSS programme in Pune in 1949 and was surprised to find that asking each other’s caste in the RSS was taboo.

Ambedkar was only expressing what Mahatma Gandhi had told RSS founder KB Hedgewar after his visit to an RSS shakha at Wardha in 1932. Gandhiji too was struck by this unique culture of not asking each other’s caste in a Hindu organisation.

Then as Union law minister, Ambedkar favoured a uniform civil code and was opposed to the imposition of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir just as the RSS was. According to Bhartiya Jana Sangh leader Balraj Madhok, Ambedkar told Sheikh Abdullah: “You wish India should protect your borders, she should build roads in your area, she should supply you foodgrains, and Kashmir should get equal status as India, but government of India should have only limited powers and Indian people should have no rights in Kashmir. To give consent to this proposal would be a treacherous thing against the interests of India and I, as the law minister of India, will never do it."

Moreover, there were many in India who at the time of independence opposed elections at the gram panchayat level saying these will divide the society along caste and other lines forever though the elections were being introduced in the name of true democracy. One of these individuals was Ambedkar and the other RSS sarsanghchalak MS Golwalkar. But the Left-liberals are silent on it.

Ambedkar’s view on Muslims in ‘Thoughts on Pakistan' and ‘Pakistan or Partition of India‘ are stronger than that of today’s RSS

In Pakistan or Partition of India Ambedkar writes: “The methods adopted by the Muslim invaders have left behind them their aftermath. One aftermath is the bitterness between the Hindus and the Muslims which they have caused. This bitterness between the two is so deep-seated that a century of political life has neither succeeded in assuaging it, nor in making people forget it. As the invasions were accompanied with destruction of temples and forced conversions, with spoliation of property, with slaughter, enslavement and abasement of men, women and children, what wonder if the memory of these invasions has ever remained green, as a source of pride to the Muslims and as a source of shame to the Hindus? But these things apart, this north-west corner of India has been a theatre in which a stern drama has been played. Muslim hordes, in wave after wave, have surged down into this area and from thence scattered themselves in spray over the rest of India. These reached the rest of India in thin currents. In time, they also receded from their farthest limits; while they lasted, they left a deep deposit of Islamic culture over the original Aryan culture in this north-west corner of India which has given it a totally different colour, both in religious and political outlook. The Muslim invaders, no doubt, came to India singing a hymn of hate against the Hindus”.

In Thoughts on Pakistan he writes: "The Islamic injunction to Muslims not to take the side of non-Muslims in any strife is the basis of pan-Islamism. It is this which leads Muslims in India to say that he is Muslim first and an Indian afterwards. It is this sentiment that explains why the Indian Muslim has taken so small a part in the advancement of India but has exhausted himself by taking up the cause of Muslim countries. And why Muslim countries occupy the first place and India the second place in their minds. Savarkar’s principle of one man one vote would mean a democratic, Hindu majority state. It would not be a Muslim state and hence Islam prohibits the Muslims from living in it. Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland. That is probably the reason why Maulana Mohammed Ali (once the president of Congress and Khilafat movement leader in 1920s), a great Indian but a true Muslim, preferred to be buried in Jeruslem rather than India.” Clearly, the language used by Ambedkar is sharper than that of the RSS of today can ever use.

The defective theories of die-hard, anti-Manuwad/brahmanwad

The entire argument of the Left against the RSS revolves around condemning Manuwad and brahmanwad. This is precisely the strategy of the Muslim and Christian religious strategists while taking on the RSS. Manu must be one of the most reviled lawgivers on earth despite the soundness and logic of his definition of things to do with Hindu religious systems. Significantly, Manu can’t be compared with other lawgivers because he is the lawgiver of a religion that believes in karma (deeds) and karma-based birth and rebirth.

So in Hinduism, a king can be a sweeper in the next birth and the sweeper the king. A brahman deviating from his pious path is often called "Brahma Rakshash” (demon). Manu says the wife is a "Gruh Lakshmi" and if a husband ill-treats his wife, he will be turning his face away from prosperity. I am no expert on Hindu laws but believe that the RSS' opposition to certain provisions in the Hindu Code Bill must have been driven by the fear that it might break the joint family structure of India, which even today is a unique feature of India to honest observers from the West where there is no such family structure.

But we need to have a deeper view of the so-called negatives of the Hindu system as depicted by the Left-liberals. First of all there is enough evidence to prove that perversions like untouchability crept into the Hindu system just as perversions have afflicted every society and religious system from time to time across the world. But on the other hand, nature has produced corrective measures to tackle these perversions.

The Hindu caste system isn’t as inflexible as one would think on the basis of the evidences we have. In ancient times there have been many instances of kshatriya kings giving their daughters to learned brahmans/rishis in marriage. There were women scholars like Pandita Gargi in ancient times if one talks of women’s emancipation. In medieval times Maharashtra produced quite a few Dalit saints including Chokhamela. In Gujarat the Vaishnav Bhajans of three Dalit saints of later medieval period - Bhansaheb, Trikamsaheb and Daasi Jeevan - are most popular in Pushtimargi Vaishnav temples of the Pushtimargi Bania community.

In recent times the great revolutionary Vasudev Balwant Phadke (one who inspired Savarkar and indeed many of the founding members of the RSS), who died in Aden in 1883 after leading an unsuccessful revolution against the British in Maharashtra, was trained in wrestling and gymnastics by Lahuji Vastad, who belonged to the Mang caste of the Dalits. Vastad was almost like a guru to Phadke. Lahuji is a household name in the Pune region and a road is also named after him in Pune city.

Much of the perversions in Hindu caste system came after Muslim invasions

Lastly, as one honestly sifts through the pages of ancient history and medieval and later medieval history written after the Muslim invasion, one can’t deny the fact that much of the perversions of the Indian caste system entered the Hindu system as a result of the atrocities committed on the entire Hindu population by the Muslim invaders, particularly between 1193 and 1526. These atrocities have been well-described by the great historian RC Majumdar in his works.

For example, he quotes the Moorish traveller Ibn Battuta, who was the Kazi of Delhi for eight years during the reign of Muhammad bin Tughlaq. Battuta gives a graphic account of these atrocities in his memoirs, particularly about the dishonour of Hindu women.

Describing a picture of a darbar of Tughlaq on the day of Eid, Battuta writes: “As we were sitting in the darbar, Hindu girls of all hues, from daughters of kings and brahmins and from lower classes, were brought in groups in the darbar, made to dance and then distributed amongst the nobles in slavery and concubinage. I was presented with three such girls but I already had four. So I distributed some of of these amongst my slaves." Historian VD Mahajan too has given a chilling account of Muslim atrocities on Hindus during this period in his book The Delhi Sultanat.

So the Muslim invasions did the job of stopping the water of a healthy river called Hinduism from flowing further, thus leading to dirt and wild growth in it. Slowly the upper castes including the Rajputs, Banias and Kayasthas started adjusting with the Muslim rulers who needed them for administrative purposes and thus were spared the atrocities which were reserved for common Hindu population.

In a way (leaving aside exceptions) their compromise with the invaders was a compromise of the impotent with the aggressor. So when this upper caste Hindu section got adjusted with the Muslim elite it started treating the lower Hindu castes with perversion. And that’s how perversions crept into the Hindu caste system which was originally a system of division of labour at the time of birth itself but minus these new perversions. Noted writer VS Naipul too has described this negative impact of Muslim invasions on the Hindu community.

Clearly, the flipside of this Ambedkar versus RSS debate is much stronger than the other side if one were to go by unimpeachable evidence.


Uday Mahurkar Uday Mahurkar @udaymahurkar

The writer is a Central Information Commissioner with the Central Information Commission. He is former senior journalist with India Today.

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