In Times Like Saharanpur Riots, Dr Ambedkar Wanted us to Fight Back in Self Defense


In the times when oppressors are killing so-called lower castes in India, what shall they do? We present excerpts from Dr B. R. Ambedkar’s speech in the All India Samata Sainik Dal Conference on July 20, 1942, at Nagpur, India. Thank you, Vinay Shende for pointing this out.

“There are people who object to such volunteer organisations. They are believers in Ahimsa and they object to these organisations and exhibitions of strength. I am myself a firm believer in Ahimsa. But I make a distinction between Ahimsa and weakness. Meekness is a weakness, and weakness which is voluntarily imposed upon itself is not a virtue. Everyone has threatened to devour us. I am quite convinced that meekness in the sense of self-imposed weakness is not a virtue. I am a believer in ahimsa, but in the sense defined by your great saint Tukaram.

Tukaram said that Ahimsa consisted of two things:

(1) Love and Kindness towards all creatures

(2) Destruction of all evil-doers

The second part of this definition of Ahimsa if often lost sight of and it is because it is lost sight of that the doctrine of Ahimsa becomes so ridiculous. To destroy all evil-doers is the principal element in the doctrine of Ahimsa. Without that, Ahimsa is an empty shell, only beatitude. It ceases to be a positive duty. So long as we have no evil intention to do harm to anybody and so long as we have confined ourselves to the destruction of all evil doers, nobody can cavil at the acquisition and building up of strength.

Shakti controlled by Sheel is our ideal. You need not be afraid of any criticism. Avoid wanton injury to anybody, exert to help everyone who needs your help and you will be rendering great service to our people. Hitherto your activities have been mainly concerned with sustaining our political life. There are other fields which you should extend your activities. In towns, one often hears women being kidnapped by some rascals. In villages, one often hears our people being tyrannised by the caste Hindus. These are cases in which you should exert yourselves. These are serious cases in which organisations like yours can only help. “

Read -  Caste System and the Cycle of Corruption

Read and listen also – The Ballot or Bullet speech by Saheb Kanshi Ram.

Image credit – Dalit History Month Collective

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