Deekshabhoomi must remain a symbol of resistance against inhuman practices: Guru Nirmaldas must refrain from attending RSS program
In Nagpur, Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism. The reason he cited for embracing Buddhism in Nagpur was not to irk RSS, but because Nagpur was the city of Nagas, the upholder of Buddhism. In the vicinity of Nagpur, the great Nagarjuna lived. The Buddha was known as the Great Naga: Mahanaga. The Nags protected Buddhism and the historical trail of the Nagas can be found in the Bhima Koregaon when the Mahars are called as Sidnak and so on. RSS was not the reason for Babasaheb Ambedkar to chose Nagpur for the site of conversion in 1956. The Deekshabhoomi is seeing growing number of people arriving at Deekshabhoomi from all over India. They will come in millions.
As Babasaheb Ambedkar chose this day as the day when Ashoka himself converted to Buddhism, the day falls according to the lunar calendar and coincides with Vijaya Dashami. According to the Buddhist tradition, it is the Ashoka Vijaya Dashmi. The Hindus celebrate it as Dasshera, according to Brahminical Hindu mythology, the Great Ravana was killed on this day. For the contemporary period, the day has acquired a great significance, because the RSS uses this day for the worship of “weapons” and publicising its policies and the day has seen the leaders from various communities attending this annual program when the RSS displays its might to the world.
This year, the RSS invited a very special guest and the name of the special is a guest is Guru Nirmaldas. For those who do not know Guru Nirmaldas, a few words of introduction will not be out of place. He is a Dalit seer/guru from Punjab with a huge following and he represents Sant Guru Ravidas organization. This will explain why it is significant to know the importance of his attending the RSS annual program.
Guru Ravidas was a rebel and he was not a Hindu guru. If one tracks his philosophical track, he was against Brahminism and his quest was to found a classless and casteless society which is exemplified in his vision of Begampura: the land of no sorrow. His quest was that of a great founder of a new society which accords with Babasaheb’s quest for a new society based on liberty, equality, and fraternity.
The RSS was founded to oppose such a society as the RSS stands for caste-based social order with Brahmins at the top. It has been the open agenda of the RSS and therefore conversions are against the Brahminical social order. This is the reason why the RSS has been inviting religious leaders, particularly from Dalit and Buddhist folds to showcase that the RSS is out to co-opt. In the past, the Buddhist leaders like Samdong Rimpoche have been invited and now they have invited Guru of Chamars in Punjab.
The united Punjab has been the second most important centre of Ambedkarite revolution at the time of Babasaheb Ambedkar after the Central Province and Bombay Presidency. The people in United Punjab stood up with Babasaheb Ambedkar and Babasaheb Ambedkar toured this part of our country extensively. But somehow, the Dalits in Punjab though revolutionary have fallen into the trap of Hindu systems of worship and Bhakti. It is not that there is no awakening in Punjab, it is there and it is growing, but the conscious break up from Hinduism is not strong. If the Dalits in Punjab start converting to Buddhism, then there will be an earthquake in Punjab that will shake the entire politics in the country.
The Dalits constitute over 30 percent of the total population in Punjab and Guru Ravidas, as shown by different studies, was the great Bodhisattva. Babasaheb Ambedkar who wrote the book titled “Who were the untouchables” has dedicated this book to three saints: Guru Ravidas, Chokamela and Nandnar and the basic finding of this book is simple: the untouchability is the product of the conflict, the untouchables were the Buddhists in the past and they came to this state because they adhered to Buddhism. Plain and simple.
RSS is trying to co-opt the Ravidasi movement and this must be stopped by the people in Punjab themselves. In an interesting twist, the Jats, the backward classes in the North, are declaring that they will not follow Brahminical Hinduism, it might be perhaps an opportunity for the Dalits in Punjab to find the anti-Brahminical movements in the North India.
Author – Mangesh Dahiwale