Any movement that seeks liberation needs allies. The alliances are build up not only to raise resources, but also to gain much-needed support to fight the issues on the ground in terms of publicity, engagements with national governments, and common front in the international frameworks. The Ambedkarite movement is set to go global not only due to the migration of Ambedkarites (and Dalits) throughout the world, but also increasing awareness about Babasaheb Ambedkar and his struggle.
The 125th anniversary year saw the celebration of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life in all the missions and consulates of India in abroad. The RSS/BJP Government is trying to appropriate Babasaheb Ambedkar and so is the Congress party. Babasaheb Ambedkar is adorning the posters of all the political parties all over India. This is due to rise of the Dalits throughout India and an intellectual class, though disorganised, is beginning to appear which questions the established norms and the policies of the Government.
In order to make Ambedkarism an effective force, it must engage in dialogue with political parties, social movements, academic disciplines, and every human communication that seeks liberty, equality, and fraternity. This is beginning to happen, but the radical Ambedkarism must be separated from tainted and appropriated Ambedkarism. This will emerge when the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar will advocate the core teachings of Babasaheb Ambedkar.
The core teachings of Babasaheb Ambedkar are not fixed in the time and space, but they have to evolve addressing the current issues and the problems, but a certain strategy has been emerging in terms of Ambedkarism to intervene in the global politics and there are three major areas that can become planks to engage internationally. They are: Democracy, Buddhism, and movements for fighting discrimination
In the real historical sense, Babasaheb Ambedkar is the founding father of Indian democracy. He advocated democracy since he returned from the Columbia University as the ideal form of Governance for India. In all his memorandums and pleas to the British Government, he rallied for democracy and suggested methods that will make India a democratic republic. His fight started in 1919 culminated in his key role in drafting the constitution of India which constituted India as a democratic republic.
Democracy is often reduced to sloganeering even by the dictators and they have used, in some case, the narratives of democracy to come to power. We see that happening all over the places. For Babasaheb Ambedkar, the democracy is “deep” democracy in which the equality is the key value. In the conception of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s views on democracy, he saw democracy as an attitude of respect and reverence for fellow human beings. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s philosophy of democracy is useful for many countries, but at the same, the way he strategised democracy in India as to bring in social changes is also important. For example, the reservation policy is a democratic means of creating an equal society through the participation of all the sections of citizens.
How we frame Babasaheb’s philosophy for the contemporary societies is a challenge before we use this plank to further alliances on the basis of this important aspect of Babasaheb’s mission. The institutional democracies in the west are here to stay and they are also grappling with the problems their democratic governments are facing. This communication will be an interesting way to bring people to the table of discussion.
Buddhism is emerging in China and it is seeing growing revival in the traditional Buddhist countries. Also, a significant number of people from the west is also finding solace in the teachings of the Buddha. Babasaheb Ambedkar has so much to offer to the contemporary Buddhist world. His approach was analytical and fresh. He made Buddhism communicate with modern ideologies like democracy and communism. In the past, the Buddhist world did not pay attention to the revival of Buddhism in India, but it has changed over the last couple of years.
The Buddhist leaders are beginning to see the merit and advantage in Babasaheb Ambedkar’s fresh take on Buddhism. In fact, Buddhism, in order to survive in the modern world, must undergo change or else it will get stuck in the time and space and will not be serviceable to the people. If it becomes not serviceable to the people at large, it will eventually die. The approach of Babasaheb Ambedkar will gather tremendous appeal if his thoughts on Buddhism are communicated clearly.
Ambedkarite Movements for Fighting Discrimination:
The Roma Gypsies in Hungary run a school named after Babasaheb Ambedkar and their network is called “Jai Bhim Network”. It happened because Ambedkarite people reached there and Ambedkarite people support them in various ways. The African Americans have started taking a keen interest in the Dalit movement in India. The ties with Burakumins in Japan are already established. Slowly, the Africa will wake up to the teachings of Babasaheb Ambedkar. There are discriminated groups all over the world and they are thrilled when they hear the story of India’s Dalit movement. One can engage leaders of the movements with the Dalit movement and its story.
There can be many prongs to work in the international politics, but the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the Dalit diaspora. It is remarkably distributed throughout the world and it has got passion and fire to engage in discussion and dialogues with people. The individual efforts are useful, but the collective ones are even better. In a remarkable way, the Tibetans have launched their “informal” embassies all over the places which became the basis for their struggle. We need to create the international basis for the struggle.
The battle is complex and it has many fronts. We must fight the battle on all the fronts depending on our capacity, talent, and commitment. But the quest to engage the larger humanity will pay rich dividends in the movement of liberation in India and hence serious thoughts should be given to it and resources should be mobilised for the same.
Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist
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