Last week, we came across an instance where people registered outrage over a Swachh Bharat hoarding at New Delhi railway station that portrayed Baba Saheb Ambedkar picking up something from the ground and throwing it into the dustbin. The poster said, “apne andar ke Baba Saheb ko aap jagrat karen aur gandagi ke khilaaf is mahan abhiyan me apna yogdan de. (Wake up the Baba Saheb inside you and contribute to this great movement against the mess)”.
The issue of the hoarding was taken with two different and opposite perspectives. For one section, it was a casteist presentation by naming Baba Saheb Ambedkar into this kind of campaign and for the others, it was not. Well, both had the points in support of their claim and I don’t intend here to talk about them. I have a totally different view. For me, it may or may not be the presentation of casteist mindset but it definitely is a symbol of stupidity at multiple levels. If you wonder how? Let me explain.
Just imagine, you are leading an army which is heading towards a war. When the army of the enemy becomes visible from your side of the battle ground, as a part of war ritual, you need to prepare your men for charge by an inspiring speech.
You start the speech to fill you soldiers with rage and enthusiasm, you say things in a loud voice, things like, “Today is the day when we fight and we show the world what metal we are made of.” Hearing your fabulous speech, your people become almost restless to attack. But then speech reaches its end and there, you conclude it with a sentence like, “अपने अंदर के गांधी को जगाओ, तथागत बुद्ध को जगाओ और दुश्मनों को मारने चल पड़ो” (Wake up the Gandhi and Buddha inside you and kill the enemies with your weapons).
This would be a complete shock to them. What do you expect your men to do after hearing the concluding lines? To charge? No, they won’t, especially if your speech was effective.
If the Gandhi or the Buddha inside their soul gets awakened, they won’t go and murder the people which you are expecting them to do. It is something that Gandhi and Buddha had never supported; they taught people the exact opposite of it.
Hence, the soldiers will offer themselves to save other people’s lives instead of fighting with the arms.
Your purpose of war will be defeated just because on one hand you were efficient with your speech and on the other; you were a fool to select the kind of examples to put in.
Let’s come to the point of hoarding at New Delhi Railway station. The hoarding showed that Baba Saheb Ambedkar was picking up some trash by himself and throwing it into the dustbin. Did the fellow who proposed this idea knew anything at all what Baba Saheb Ambedkar means? Or what he stood for? Or he simply portrayed him because Baba Saheb Ambedkar is a big name? Baba Saheb Ambedkar belonged to the section of the people who used to clean the mess of the whole society not only their mess alone. Baba Saheb Ambedkar wanted them to rise above this level and participate in the management and administration. He fought for it; he fought for these people to delink their lives from cleaning the garbage of the society. He never wanted them to stay in those pits and keep cleaning the mess of others.
And, here you are, posting a picture of him, trying to inspire others to pick garbage, exactly the opposite of the things he fought for.
How stupid can a person be?
This idea was initiated at one of the top institutions of India, TISS, it got clearance from their administration.
It got clearance from the ministry.
And it got approval from the management of Indian Railways.
That’s how it becomes stupid at multiple levels.
None of the levels really tried to think that they are trying to win an immediate battle of weapons with Buddha’s teachings. They agreed to put something without making any sense just because it looked fancy. It looked fancy to bring Baba Saheb’s name where it should not have been brought and they thought it would inspire people.
Author – Vikas Verma
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