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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Policy of ‘Divide and rule’ India – Past and Present

,Introduction

India, earlier known as ‘Sone ki Chiriya’, (a Golden bird) has always been a centre of great attraction for the outsiders. It is amazing to see during the last phase of Mughal rule, how British East India Company with its a small number of British troops achieved the conquest and domination of India.

For British rulers, India symbolized Imperial grandeur. India had always been, ‘A Jewel in the Crown’. They believed that Britain’s superpower status for most of the nineteenth century and some of the twentieth depended on their control over India. Viceroy Lord Curzon had expressed it clearly in 1901, “As long as we rule India, we are the greatest power in the world. If we lose it, we shall drop straightway to a third rate power”.

Therefore, Imperial rulers had purposely created rift between different sections of Indian society  just to prolong their domination over India.  So much and so, that just before leaving the country, British civil servants had hatched a conspiracy with the Muslim League and let go the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), now known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, slip away from the grip of India. Two elections were held there, in 1937 and 1946. Despite the Province being Muslim dominated area, Congress party won a large number of seats. With the support of British rulers, “The League started gaining strength and the Congress started losing support in just a couple of months – between February, when elections were held and August.” (India lost Frontier by Raghvendra Singh. This book is based on an in-depth study. Being the Director General of the National Archives of India and working on crucial posts in the Ministries of Home, External Affairs, Finance and agriculture, the writer has access to historical documents, declassified documents, including exchanges between the British administration and Indian political leaders of various hues.) 

The seeds sown of ‘divide and rule’ sown by British Imperial Rulers, blossomed in  full in India after its Independence in 1947. Most of the political leaders, political parties and pressure groups have followed the footsteps of Imperial rulers.   they have also divided different sections of Indian society just to win elections and grab political power. Many Indian political leaders have learnt well how to play their cards shrewdly by taking advantage of the diversities of Indian society, and to polarise the mandate. They have given preference to sectional interests over national interests. They make false promises to start some paternalistic policies to pacify the sentiments of ignorant mobs. Till now it has helped them to enlarge their vote-banks,  and win the elections. Census operations gives them ideas and help them to plan their strategy. Different political parties have already created their own separate empires by capturing Dalit votes, OBCs votes or Muslim votes. Such an attitude of politicians to create a rift purposely has pushed the nation on the verge of disintegration.

Historical background of the policy of Divide and rule – India had been a great centre of attraction for British Empire. Britain attained superpower status for most of the nineteenth century and some of the twentieth depended. They virtually had control over India from 1800 onwards till 1947, when India got its Independence.

  • For British rulers, India symbolized Imperial grandeur.  Britain interest in India began around 1600, when its merchants entered into the territory of India for shipping Asian goods to Europe. Initially it was purely a commercial venture without using any force. Soon for safety purposes, they sought permission of the Mughal Emperor to build Forts and keep some soldiers in ports of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras for safety purposes. Later., they engaged those very small number of armed personnel in acts of conquests.
  • It is really amazing to see, how a few British merchants along with soldiers and gunners to protect them built such a big Empire and led to  the downfall of powerful Mughal Empire. They achieved conquests, one after another and then spread all-over the territory of India. Britain became a major political force not only from Himalayas to the sea in India, but also from Iran to Thailand as well.
  • British rulers were clear and firm about their aims and objectives. Quite early, British realized that as long as they adroitly exploited the religious, linguistic and historical divisions that marked Indian society their rule would be relatively safe. They enflamed the differences, that were already existent in the society and established their Empire in India by playing off one part against the other.
  • Initially in order to justify their domination over dark races of the globe and imperial rule in India, British propagated theories of racial the superiority of ‘White-race’. Afterwards, their administrators, missionaries, philosophers, writers and Historians like Mill, Wilson or Ward  had denounced vehemently the culture, character and social structure of the native people. For them Indian society was ‘highly stratified’ ‘disintegrated’ and ‘discriminatory’ society. The mental doze had affected minds of many educated Indians so densely that they considered their traditional values, practices and systems indefensible.
  • The British launched an ideological attack on Brahmins in their effort to secure a reasonable combination of various races and castes in administration and other modern callings. On one hand, to counter Brahmins hold in education and other areas, they slighted the role of Brahmins as Indian intelligentsia and reformers and on the other, portrayed them as oppressors and exploiters of others, especially the poor and minorities. The rulers created venom in the hearts of Muslims and non-Brahmin castes and encouraged them to resist vociferously the dominance of Brahmins in modern callings.
  • While laying down the foundation of some democratic institutions and policies, the Imperial rulers set an  example of how these policies of great scope i. e. Electoral policy, Census operations, or preferential treatment to certain sections of society in jobs through quota system, could be used to “Balance the power’ and ‘divide and rule’ different sections of society to serve their own vested interests.

Stages of British rule

British rulers knew well that they had established their Empire firmly in India by taking advantage of the diversities of Indian people and by playing them against one another – princes against people; Hindu against Muslims; caste against castes; and provinces against provinces.

  • Period of 1756-1858 was the period of conquest, annexation and consolidation.
  • From 1858 to1905, was the time of apparent association under British Government in India.
  • From 1905 to 1940, British rulers adopted the policy of “Divide and rule”.
  • After 1940, they decided to quit India.

Period of annexation (1756-1858)

Period of 1756-1858 – With the start of British rule over India, the old relation of conqueror and conquered prevalent in India since 10th century, came to an end. It was the period of conquest, annexation and consolidation for British. Initially, the East India Company of Britain conquered and established British Empire in India by taking advantage of the diversities of Indian people. The Government adopted “Laissez-faire” as the principle of governance. Hence, it did not indulge itself into any welfare or social service activity. The only objective was to rule the country to its own advantage.

Period of “Apparent Association” (Between 1858 and 1905)

Between 1858 and 1905, the British adopted a policy of “Apparent Association”. In their heart, the rulers knew well that they had established their power by playing off one part against the other and intended to continue it in order to maintain it as long as possible. The purpose was to keep Indians busy with their internal problems and let them rule the country without any distraction. They were sure “…We must continue to do so. Do what you can, therefore, to prevent all having a common feeling”.

Period of divide and rule (From 1905 to 1940) –

By 1858, when British Empirical rule was established firmly in India, the rulers adopted the policy of “Divide and rule”. They played Indian people against one another – princes against people; Hindu against Muslims; caste against castes; and provinces against provinces.

After 1940 – During Second World War period, they decided to quit India. Even then, British rulers played their game and divided the country into two – India and Pakistan. Their exploitative policies had already drained much of India’s wealth. Now they left India bleeding. Partition of the country had made millions of Indians either dead or impoverished and homeless.

Three stages taken for creating split in Indian society

The British Government did the job of disintegrating the Indian society in 3 stages: –

Ø First they appeased the Hindus,

Ø Then was the turn of Muslims,

Ø Lastly they devoted their attention to backward castes.

First stage

Appeasement of Hindus

Initially, the British, who annexed authority from the Muslim rulers, looked favourably towards Hindu community. They encouraged Hindus/Brahmins to opt for modern education. Reasons being –

  • It became difficult for them to import enough Englishmen to man large and increasing number of subordinate or lower posts in administration.
  • British, who annexed authority from the Muslim rulers, looked favorably towards Hindu community.
  • Being natural learners and pursuers of knowledge, they were quick and far ahead of other communities in modern callings.
  • The appalling poverty of Brahmins, because of the gradual displacement from their source of income after the decline in the financial status of their patrons – Princes and Zamindars – compelled them to opt for modern education and make use of new type of employment opportunities.

Very soon they secured an important place in the modern society.

Brahmins real threat to British rule

The long tradition and undisputed role in the field of knowledge and learning, their intelligence, sincerity and hard work helped Brahmins to secure an important place in the modern society. In 1900, Sir William Lee, an important official in the Government of Bombay and Government of India, noted Brahmins dominance in the Civil Service during 1869 to 1899. The rulers also noticed preponderance of Brahmins in other areas, too, and their growing influence and hold over Hindu Community. It appeared to British rulers as if this small community was governing the country.

British rulers noticed Brahmins preponderance everywhere including freedom movement. Preponderance of Brahmins at all levels of freedom movement alarmed the rulers.

Sir William Lee, an important official in the Government of Bombay and Government of India, noticed in 1900 that during 1869 to 1899, Brahmins had secured almost all the places in education and administration. In 1879, the Collector of Tanjore wrote to James Courd, a Member of the Famine Commission, There was no class except Brahmins, which was so hostile to English. In the words of an observer, If any community could claim the British out of the country, it was the Brahmin community 70% of those, who were felled by British bullets, were Brahmins.

Sir Richard Temple, the governor of Bombay said that ever since 1818, when British finally defeated the Peshwa in the third Anglo Maratha war, Brahmins were, “Inspired with a national sentiment and with an ambition bounded only with the Bonds of India itself.” Innumerable C.I.D. Reports of that period confirmed the active role played by Brahmins in National movement.

In 1879, the Collector of Tanjore wrote to James Courd, a Member of the Famine Commission, There was no class except Brahmins, which was so hostile to English. In the words of an observer, If any community could claim the British out of the country, it was the Brahmin community 70% of those, who were felled by British bullets, were Brahmins.

Rowlett Report (1880) also confirmed that the British regarded Brahmins as the main force behind all terrorist movements and agitation leading to violence in almost all the provinces. Overwhelming support of Brahmin lawyers to Congress Party and Mrs. Anne Besant’s Home Rule made the British to believe that Brahmin Community was a threat to imperial rule.

In Brahmin’s growing influence and their hold on the Hindu Community, the rulers saw a potential threat to their rule in India. They considered it necessary to counter the hold of Brahmins by raising a strong force against them.

Steps taken to counter Brahmin’s influence – British administrators including Temple thought it necessary to counter Brahmins influence. They advised the Government to stop dominance of one or few groups in administration and begin to rely on other groups or castes, in order to keep the balance of power. In 1881 the Government decided to raise a strong force – a reasonable combination of various races and castes – and counter Brahmins hold in education and administration.

Muslims and non-Brahmin castes were already resisting vociferously the dominance of Brahmins in these areas. They very carefully and effectively sidetracked the socially transformative movements of great scope, initiated by the intelligentsia of Indian Society.  On one hand, the British slighted the role of Brahmins as Indian intelligentsia and reformers, and on the other, portrayed them as oppressors and tyrants.

The British encouraged the formation of many caste groups to resist vociferously the dominance of Brahmins in modern callings. In whom they saw a potential threat to their rule in India. They allowed non-Brahmin castes and other communities to form political groups on the basis of caste and community. The movement against Brahmins forged ahead with ferocity in the Southern and Western parts of India. It remained mild in North India, where communalism had already disrupted the peace of the land.

In order to restrict Brahmin’s entry in Government jobs and make it available to non-Brahmins communities, British rulers started practice of “Preferences”. In the name of equality before law, rulers gave certain sections of society on the basis of caste and community financial assistance and preferences in education and Government employment at local and provincial level.

They made provision for giving financial help to the non-brahmins, Muslims and Anglo-Indians and fixed up a quota for them in government services. Thus they opened up the doors of new opportunities of advancement to other castes and communities. It served double purpose – one, for them, getting credit for amelioration and protection of downtrodden and two, keeping natives busy in their in-fights.

Second stage

Appeasement of Muslims – First, the rulers drifted Muslims from Hindus in a very shrewd and planned manner. Muslims always had a grudge over the loss of their dominant position. They found themselves handicapped in competing with Hindus, especially Brahmins, in modern callings and opportunities. Also they developed a fear of being dominated by majority Hindu Community, if at any point of time India became Independent.

During 1850s, Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College was established at Aligarh. English Principals like Archibold, Theodore Beck or Morrison of this institution played an important role in keeping Muslims away from mainstream and inculcating in them a feeling of separation.

Seeds of communalism – Sir W.H. Gregory, while appreciating the Resolution of Government of India on Muslim education wrote to Dufferin in Feb. 1886, “I am confident, that it will bear good fruits, indeed, it seems to have done so already by the complete abstention of the Mohammedan from Brahmins and Baboo agitation. It will be a great matter to sweeten our relations with this portion of the Indian population, the bravest and at one time, the most dangerous.”

The seeds of communalism were sown during Lord Lytton’s Vice-royalty (1876-80). A deputation of Muslims led by His Highness Sir Agha Khan demanded on Oct. 1, 1896 separate electorate. . On Dec. 30, 1906 a separate party – Muslim League – was launched to pursue and safeguard Muslim interests.

Their demands of communal representation in the Imperial Legislative Council and District Boards, adequate share in the public service and local bodies, adequate safeguards for the protection and promotion of Muslim culture and weight to the Muslims to protect their legitimate interests were accepted through Minto-Morley Reforms known as Government of India Act of 1909. This Act devised a novel method to distribute and balance the power. It came as the first effective dose of communalization of Indian politics.

Third stage

Attention to backward castes

After gaining the loyalty of Muslims, during the second half of the nineteenth century, the British turned their attention to uplift non-Brahmin castes and to secure their confidence. On September 2, 1897, George Francis Hamilton, the then Secretary of State for India, wrote to Viceroy Curzon, “I think the real danger to our rule in India, not now but say 50 years hence, is the gradual adoption and extension of Western ideas of agitation and organization. If we could break the educated Hindu into two sections, holding widely different views, we should by such division, strengthen our position against the subtle and continuous attack, which the spread of education must make upon our system of Government.” The rulers succeeded in dividing educated Hindus of these two sections –Brahmins and Non Brahmins, holding widely different views. Such a division had strengthened immensely the position of rulers.

Even educated Hindus amongst non-Brahmins castes found it difficult to compete with Brahmins on equal footings. Rulers encouraged Non -Brahmins leaders to form their political pressure groups on the basis of castes and raise their voice against Brahmins.

In 1885 itself, Eutice J Kitts, a British ambassador in Azamgarh listed, for the first time, backward castes and tribes, from 1881 Census. The objective was to give them financial assistance and preferences in education and Government employment at local and provincial level. For the first, the government officially recognized caste as a base for the purposes of governance.

Initially special schools were opened for them. Special scholarship, loan, hostel facilities and concessions in school fees were provided to non Brahmins castes along with Muslims. In 1885, the education department proposed to reserve 50% of free scholarships for backwards and Muslims, as scholarships purely on merit grounds would perpetuate Brahmin’s monopoly. From this base, Reservation entered into education field, so that more non-Brahmins could qualify for the jobs.

Morley Minto Reform of 1909 gave the non-Brahmins a boost. They demanded with assertiveness Reservations for themselves in education and Government employment. In 1919, the British Government transferred to provincial Governments power over subjects like education, agriculture, veterinary service, roads and, buildings, social welfare etc. With all these powers, the British Government also passed on to the provinces, the responsibility to satisfy the conflicting claims for the Government jobs and other interests of major pressure groups, which had emerged in the Indian political scene.

Methods, British used to create split

The British Government in India very cleverly created a split in the society. The policies, which they adopted for fulfilling the objectives, were following:-

  • Introduction of Modern Education system,
  • Reservations in educational institutions and government jobs and
  • Census Operations

All these measures served a double purpose – they got the credit for the amelioration and protection of the lowly. Also the distribution of power on communal basis kept balance of power and prolonged their rule in India by keeping the natives busy in their in-fights. Thus British Government very cleverly, created a split in Indian society.

Introduction of Modern Education sytem

The process of creating split started with the introduction of modern education system. Initially the British rulers excluded Indians from every honor, dignity or office, which lowest of Englishman could be given. But gradually it became difficult for the rulers to import enough Englishmen to man large and increasing number of subordinate or lower posts in administration. It compelled them to introduce modern education in India. However, they used even the education system shrewdly to meet their objectives effectively. It paved a way for imperial designs.

Intention of introducing modern education – The intention of introducing modern education was, as Lord Macaulay said, To form a class, who may be interpreters between us and millions of whom, we govern, a class of persons, Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinion, in morals and in intellect”. It was mainly to get Indians, “Anglicized in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainment”.

Brahmins long tradition and undisputed role in the field of knowledge and learning, their intelligence, sincerity and hard work helped them not only to occupy almost all the lower levels posts in administration available to Indians, as desired by the rulers.

But it also offered to Indian intelligentsia, the key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thought of Modern West. It opened up the doors of knowledge and widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia. In due course of time, it produced many National Leaders and Reformers.

Imperial designs for creating rift – In 1835 introduction of modern education and in 1844, announcement of making knowledge of English as compulsory for government employment paved way for imperial designs and created rift in the Indian society.

In the near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, the educated Indians depended entirely on Government jobs. This led to a keen competition between different sections of Indian society. British rulers took advantage of the diversities that already existed in India for centuries.

Welcomed by national leaders and intellectuals – The national leaders and intellectuals welcomed the introduction of modern education. They thought that understanding of Western literature and liberal, scientific, democratic and humanitarian thoughts of modern Western World would help to remedy many social, political and economic evils prevalent in the nation at that point of time. It would give some insight to the fragmented, poverty stricken, superstitious, weak, indifferent, backward and inward looking society of India. They took upon themselves the responsibility to build a modern, open, plural, culturally rich, prosperous and powerful India.

An Alarm bell for British rulers – Modern education not only produced persons to fill the lower levels of administration, as desired by the rulers. Along with them emerged, by second half of nineteenth century, many national leaders, intellectuals and reformers like Dadabhai Naoroji, Ferozeshah Mehta, Gokhale, Gandhi, Jinnah, Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Moti Lal Nehru, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Patel and many more. The rulers never wanted it.

Preponderance of Brahmins everywhere including freedom movement alarmed the British rulers.

Policy of Reservation

Another tool British used was the Policy of Reservation. In 1918, Mysore Government appointed Miller Committee to look into the question.i On its recommendation All communities, other than Brahmins, who were not adequately represented in the public Service were declared backwards. In 1921 preferential recruitment for backward communities was instituted formally for the first time in its colleges and state services.

In 1925, Government of Bombay provided Reservations to backward communities in its services. It included all except Brahmins, Marwaris, Prabhus, Banias and Christians.ii Madras started quota based communal representation in its Government services and educational institution in 1921.

The United Province had a practice of reserving, out of every four seats, 1 to Brahmin, 1 to Kayastha, 1 to Muslim and the last one to any section other than these three sections.

The concessions bestowed on the backward communities made them loyal to British rule. An excerpt from the Times Archives (Aug 1925) shows the upsurge of Non-Brahmins in Madras. Presiding over the fifth non-Brahmin Conference in Tanjore, Rao Bahadur O Thanikachalam Chetty of Madras, Warned the non-Brahmin public of the dangers ahead” and how in the name of Swaraj, deception was being practiced, lies were decimated with a view to creating prejudice against the Justice party-men and to secure transfer of power to Brahmins under the guise of supporting the Swarajis.

The speaker emphasized the need to counter-act Swarajis activity in view of the coming elections to Legislative Council. He said that their province had, hitherto, successfully resisted the seditious blandishments of the Swarajis and had earned the good name of having successfully worked for the transitional Constitution vouched safe to them by the “Government of India Act.

Census operations and Untouchability

Census operations were also used for the purpose of further splitting the Hindu community. It created political identities in India. Census operation, introduction of electoral politics and suggestion of the Census Commission for 1911 Census, to exclude untouchables, (comprising about 24% of Hindu population and 16% of the total population in 1908) from Hinduism, had made position of untouchables prominent in Indian political scene.

Around 1909, the lower strata of Hindu community were conceptualized under the name of “untouchables”. So far, untouchables had clubbed their political activities with backward classes led by the Justice Party and South Indian Liberation Federation, which were already agitating against Brahmin’s dominance in modern callings. The emergence of Dr. Ambedkar on the political scene provided with the required leadership and needed stimulus to untouchable movement during late twenties and early thirties. There is a section of people, which considers that Ambedkar was planted into Indian politics purposely by British rulers only.

Dr. Ambedkar, while representing untouchables in Simon Commission proceedings, demanded separate electorate, reserved seats for untouchables in legislative bodies, special educational concessions, and recruitment to Government posts on preferential basis, laws against discrimination and a special department to look after the welfare of untouchables. These demands were readily accepted through Communal Award of 1932.

Gandhiji along with other National leaders regarded it as the Unkindest cut of all, which would create a permanent split in Hindu Society, perpetuate casteism and make impossible the assimilation of untouchables in mainstream. Dr. Rajendra Prasad said, The principle of dividing population into communal groups, which had been adopted in the Minto Morely Reforms, had been considerably extended, even beyond what had been done by Montagu Chelmsford Reforms…. “The electorate in 1919 was broken up into ten parts, now it is fragmented into seventeen unequal bits… Giving separate representations to Schedule Castes further weakened Hindu community. Division on the basis of religion, occupation and service were made. The British introduced every possible cross-division.iii Lal Bahadur Shastri denounced the whole happenings As a shameless episode of the National History of the Country.

After Independence

The Constitution of India, through Articles 14, 15 and 16, guaranteed equality of opportunity to all citizens relating to advancement and employment or appointment to any office under the State. However it also allowed the Government to make special provisions in favour of any backward class of citizens.

Seeds sown by British flourished in full in Independent India

The present day politicians have followed their steps and created such an atmosphere that seeds sown by British may blossom in full. The Indian politicians have inherited from British rulers three powerful democratic weapons i.e. Electoral policy, Census operations, and Reservation Policy.

Earlier British rulers used them for economic exploitation and perpetuation of their rule as long as possible. Now Indian politicians are using it in similar way for their own advantage. Present trend of giving continued importance to diversities especially of caste, community, region, language by most of the political parties and shrewd politicians for electoral purposes is at its peak. Instead of the feeling of fraternity amongst Indians, “feeling of ‘others” or “we” and “them” has become more prominent than.

Whether amongst youth or grown ups, the casteist, religious and ideological intolerance has generated communal violence and caste animosities everywhere in the country.

Political instability

The public mandate got fractured on caste and communal lines. At present, it has become almost impossible to ensure a stable Government. Political insecurity has engulfed the whole nation into caste politics. It has given birth to worst form of caste and communal divide. Caste frenzy overtook country’s two most populous provinces of UP and Bihar.

The result is hung parliaments, insecure politicians, scant respect for democratic norms and conduct. Unholy pre or post poll alliances are made. There are manipulations to get hold on power. All political parties try to extract political mileage out of Paternalistic policies.

Politicians are adopting gimmicks of secularism, socialism, equity and social justice. They evade real issues and shirk responsibility. Political party in power finds itself handicapped and lack courage to take hard decisions. The sole aim of politicians, especially of newly emerging groups, have no other program except the one to capture political power by hook or crook and retain it as long as possible.

Criminalization of politics and corruption

Along with caste politics prospered criminalization of politics and corruption ridden leadership scenario in the country with large number of scams and scandals. Power-centric politicians do not care for any principle or ideology; neither do they care for honesty or welfare of people. For power, they do not even mind using foul means or hesitate in taking help of criminals. Many history-sheetors are, at present, in politics.

There is a blatant use of money and muscle power in elections. Politicians try various permutations and combinations to increase their vote Banks. Poor public is a silent spectator, while political atmosphere is surcharged with manipulation, casteism, nepotism and criminalisation.

Paternalistic policies

Paternalistic policies and social justice has elated the backwards and Dalits. The nation is now divided into numerous political camps – pro-Hindu camp, anti-Hindu camp, secular camp, and caste camps into forward, backward and Dalit camp. There are regional camps too, playing up federal card to woe the electorate. The situation is leading to fundamentalist and separatist attitudes, conflict, instability, in-decisiveness, and rigid and irrational attitude.

Inter and Intra-Caste rivalries

For political advantages, different caste, sub-castes and sub-sub-castes have come together, bearing the same caste tag. But they do not forget their separate identities. The political tags/identities as caste Hindus, backwards, SCs, STs and minorities for Reservations and other preferential measures has increased the in-fights between these categories and created social disorder, making the task of governance difficult.

The unity of various castes under the label of Dalits”, “Scheduled castes”, or OBC is an illusion created by vested interests. It does not make them a homogenous class. In the opinion of MSS Pandian, an academic with Madras Institute of Development Studies, the current inter caste rivalries are part of a series of periodic revolt, whose prime object is self assertion.

Dalit militancy is increasing with the rise of new militant outfits like BSP, Devendrakula Vellalar Federation, Thyagi Immanual Paravai, Dalit Panthers of India etc. The striking feature of New Dalit militancy is their utter disregard for the present set up and their attempt to capture political power. Dalit leaders are pursuing Dalit empowerment with vengeance.

Winding up

Way back on December 9, 1946, Mr. V.N. Narayan had said, At best of times, India is ungovernable country of diversities, conflicts and problems.v Mr. Nani Palkiwala expressed the same feeling after 50 years of self-rule, which gave to India empty coffers, unfulfilled promises, political instability, fractured society and perpetual divide among different groups along caste and community lines. He said, Our legal systems have made life too easy for criminals and too difficult for law abiding citizens.vi A touch here, a push there may adversely affect the unity of India. Governance of a pluralistic society, like India, is a sensitive and challenging exercise. And now, the present day political leaders learning well, how to divide the mandate and perpetuate their rule as long as possible have pushed India to a stage, when “In Indian criminal justice system, major crimes are likely to remain unreported; if reported, frequently not registered; if registered, the true perpetrator not found; if found, not prosecuted; if prosecuted, not charged; if charged, usually not convicted; if convicted, frequently not adequately punished. At each crucial stage, the system has enough loopholes and inefficiencies to allow the guilty to walk away with impunity.”

Way out

  • There has been a fast decline in the observance of morality. In the absence of ideology, pursuit of material success has made the so-called representatives of the people selfish and intolerant. They have drifted almost rudderless without sense of direction. The recent political developments have given a rise to mutual strife within the society.
  • Lust for political power and wealth should be replaced by sense of service. Instead of concentrating on populist measures, political leaders should give priority to real issues. The administration would become more sensitive and responsive to the needs of the disadvantaged people. Basic ameneties like drinking water, house, food etc. should be proveded effectively and efficiently.
  • In electoral reforms should be made in such a way that instead of power seekers, talented, professional and specialized persons could find place in the system. Men of character, learning and scholarship should be elected as representatives of the people and be given the respect, they deserve from society. Entrusting power in weak or greedy hands without making them strong enough to hold it judiciously could not empower them.
  • Liberalization and globalization has opened up a new vista for everybody. To channelise creativity and energies of modern youth and to keep them happy and satisfied, a sound system of education and training is required urgently.
  • To prevent unhealthy competition in the society discriminatory statutes, policies and practices should be stopped. Instead of for promoting sectional interests, stringent punishment should be given to exploiters, oppressors and those persons who are indulged in corrupt practices.

 

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Social and political values and systems | , , | Leave a comment

Reversed gender bias

“Woman has various dimensions to her personality – that of a daughter, sister, wife, a mother, a grand-mother – each one adds to the happiness in life.”

‘When I was born, A Woman was there to hold me…… My Mother; As I grew up as a child, a woman was there to care & play with me…..My Sister; I went to school, a woman was there to help me learn….. My teacher; I needed compatibility, company and love, a woman was there….. My wife; I became tough, a woman will be there to melt me… My daughter; When I will die, a woman will be there to absorb me…. Motherland. If you are a man, value every woman…If you are a woman. Feel proud to be one. (Quoted from Facebook)

Introduction –  On the basis of day-today observations it can be said empowerment of women without enlightenment, their disoriented psyche and ruthless competition with men have created a situation, where in a modern society gender bias gets reversed. There are diverse views on the issue – whether it is good for the society or not. Munshi Premchand, a famous Hindi novelist commented that when a man acquires the qualities of woman, he becomes a ‘Devta’ (just like God). On the contrary if a woman apes man, she can very easily destroy the peace of a family.

Overlooks her familial responsibilities – Some people say that in her hurry to win the race and further her career, a modern woman prefers to think, act or behave like men and be away from home as long as possible. She feels more comfortable outside her home, and. She craves for the freedom, liberty and carefree life-style -till now men were enjoying – so much that many a times, she overlooks her social/familial responsibilities.  And to compensate her absence at home, her male counterpart is taking up the responsibilities of household chores, in addition to earning and financially supporting the families.

Role reversal – There has been a role reversal within the family. Mama has become a tiger and Papa a lamb. Yester year’s hero ‘He Man’, the protector and provider as head of a family, today, willingly performs the role of ‘diaper-changing’ Dad. And yesterday’s loving and caring ‘lady of the house’ scares all family members. She can make or mar the peace of the whole family within no time – it depends on her mood.

Why women lagged behind men? – Many times the confidence gap in females prevents them from facing the challenges, for which men do not hesitate. That is one of the reason that they lag behind males in job-market.

Developing strong and smooth relationship – Man as a husband and woman as a wife are the two strong pillars of family. Developing smooth relationship between them depends, when –

  • There is constructive communication between the two,
  • They have mutual respect for and patience to listen each-other’s views attentively, emphatically and actively without any bias or preconceived notions,
  • There is mutual support and encouragement to fulfil their dreams,
  • The role is based on aptitude of each one with independent  decision-making
  • Understanding for each other’s likes and dislikes is there.
  • They agree or disagree after having constructive dialogue.
  • Relationship between them is reciprocal based on the feeling of ‘give and take’.
  • Relationship based on thinking about hypothetical situations creates complications.

Women superior to men – Dr. Konner, a professor in anthropology at Emory University, says in his book, “Women After All” that “Women are, in every way that matters, superior to men and moreover, that this superiority is finally becoming evident in our societies.” In making this argument, he ranges from evolutionary biology, through ethology, neurobiology, embryology, anthropology and history, with digressions into economics and politics.” …. “They live longer, have lower mortality at all ages, are more resistant to most categories of disease and are less likely to suffer from brain disorders that lead to disruptive and even destructive behavior. And of course most fundamentally they are capable of producing new life from their own bodies, a stressful, and costly burden in biological terms, to which men literally add only the tiniest biological contribution – and one that in the not-too-distant future could probably be done without.” In addition, women’s superiority in judgement, their trustworthiness, reliability, fairness working and playing well with others relative freedom from distracting sexual impulses and lower levels of prejudice, bigotry and violence make them biologically superior. (The wall street journal, March 28-29, 2015)

If so, then where is the problem? – Actually the problem lies in the silence of women. They keep on tolerating all kinds of atrocities without uttering a word mainly to save the ‘family honour’. As Dr. Konner tells, nature has itself empowered the women. Through introspection, they have to realize it. No outsider can make them empowered.

Already broken glass ceilings – Modern woman has already broken all glass-ceilings, moved forward and joined ‘man’ in nation-building activities. She works shoulder-to-shoulder with man. She has proved her worth and is second to none in  any sphere of work, be it industry, politics, social works and social reforms, managers, civil services, armed forces etc. which are far away from her traditional role of a home-maker.

Women’s issues of earlier times – Earlier in twentieth century, main issues of women were of physical strain, constant psychological pressures to conform to socially induced images of femininity – to be a good wife, perfect mother, efficient home-maker. Their concerns revolved around issues like dowry, domestic violence, rape, equal opportunities and equal pay etc.

Immediately after independence, in 1950′s, free young India embodied a liberal and inclusive vision of India. People understood and interpreted liberally the problems of caste, gender, community, rural-urban areas, meaning of social-economic-legal justice and attempted to resolve the issues rationally.

1950′s and 60′s was the time, when society was in general conservative, attitude hardly rebellion against social norms, talks being all about sacrifice. 1970′s and 80′s was the period of transition, when though people were still family and society-oriented, rebellion attitude started. Those were the years of social and political turmoil. Women gradually achieved success in various fields. Gender bias started vanishing.

 Now, women have acquired more education, economic and social power on their own without craving for any concession unlike other so-called weaker sections of society like SCs, STs or OBCs. A new wave swept across the woman’s world – many young women joined the workforce becoming students, teachers, administrators or activists in different social movements. Modernity, technological advancements, info-tech revolution have changed the role of women, her equations with others, her perspective and ambitions. Economic independence has made them stronger, confident and more vociferous.

However, along with it , since 1990′s, rebellion attitude started in gender relationships and norms have undergone a sea-change because of changed socio-economic atmosphere and a change in expectations. It has ironically increased conflicts. Now is the time to maintain balance between femininity and ambitions of women for better future. came dominant. Family and society were considered major obstacles on the way to progress. In matter of employment, it is not so difficult for women to ` get jobs as it was earlier. Women were placed more or less on equal footing with men. Now many liberated females focus their attention on teaching males a lesson, prove their worth/superiority in those areas as well, which were earlier regarded as man’s domain and be ahead of them everywhere.

Movement of  ‘Women-lib’ – As movement of women’s lib along with the ideas like “I will do what I want”, “I do not care for anybody” is gaining momentum, the workload on men is increasing – in rearing up infants and toddlers and doing other household chores. A drastic transition is taking place in the roles of both males and females within family. Man now shoulders more domestic responsibilities than his counterpart. Also his say in family matters is diminishing. Usually voice of the lady of the house prevails, men finds himself helpless.

“Who wears the pants in the family”? – Now a days, women plays a major role within the family, assumed almost all the rights to take all major decisions and to dictate her own terms. She does whatever she wants to do and enjoys life in her own way. There is no denial to the fact that full freedom should be given to women to make her own decisions and to lead her life the way she wants. But it should be done in a  decent and civilized manner by exercising some amount of self-control and self-discipline, so that her actions does not adversely affect the feelings or living of other family-members, especially her in-laws.

Too much attention on ‘Self’ – For a liberated modern young women nothing, but ‘self’ matters in life. She pays more attention to grab as much attention, power and money as she can within the family, further their career. In many cases, she desires to set herself free from all familial bondages. Some women prefer to settle down in foreign lands, far away from their native places to enjoy more freedom. They do not like to have any kind of social pressure and desires to lead their life, the way they want, get total control over activities of their spouses and enforce on everybody else in the family their own dictates/rules.

Sheen of the institution, called ‘family’, gone – Such an attitude has taken away sheen from the centuries old social institution known as ‘family’. Till now, ‘family’ has been giving refuge toddlers under the loving care of mother and emotional support to all – young as well as old members of the family. The toddlers are now sent to nursery, pre-school, children to schools and hobby-classes. Older generation has to take shelter in old-age homes. It has developed insecurity in minds of children, adolescents and old people.

Keeping balance in femininity and ambitions – Modern way of thinking, technological advancements, info-tech revolution has changed the role of women. Along with it changed her perspective, ambitions and equations with others. Economic independence has made them stronger, more confident and more vocal. Now they are aware and well-informed about their needs, problems and solutions. But even for a modern woman, both family and career are equally important in life. At every stage of life, she has to face many challenges.  To face them courageously, she has to maintain a balance between femininity and her ambitions. Balancing career with familial responsibilities is a tough job, a very crucial one in modern woman’s life.

She needs to set priorities rationally after analyzing what is more important ‘right now’. She has to make many compromises. Most of women have made compromise on the home front.

“Men from Mars, women from Venus?” – Thinking, working style, personal qualifications and abilities and sense of responsibility differ from person to person. Seeing the attitude and aptitude of various individuals, the theory of division of labour gains importance. Assignment of responsibility does not necessarily depend on one’s ‘gender’. It is unfair to generalize attributes of men-women on gender ground. Still it is difficult to ignore gender gap, that nature has created in their physique, mindset, style of working and attitudes.

It is difficult for a woman, how-so-ever hard she tries to bring to an end those inherent dissimilarities bestowed by nature itself. Mostly men are by nature more rational/sensible, more focused, faster in taking decisions or actions, less reactive and considerate. They have more physical strength, energy and authority. It is difficult for a woman ignore the charm of his physical strength and his ability to provide her and her family security – as a husband, father or son. As far as women are concerned, they are more loving, more caring and more social and maintain harmonious relationship with people around them. They have understanding and capacity to think practically. They are more attractive. However, sometimes the confidence gap in females tend them to look up to their male counter-parts to boost up their morale.

Roles of men and women in family are complementary, not competitive – Healthy relationship between husband and wife makes the world more colourful, comfortable and give each other purpose of life. It gives them incentive to work hard, move forward and make everybody happy within the family.  But when they work on impulses and emotions, life becomes difficult for the whole family, as it is practically impossible for an impulsive mind to think rationally.

 Conclusion

“Michelle Obama”, a classic example of the positive role

Michelle, (America’s first African-American First Lady) has been the more professionally successful of the two Obamas, studying in Harvard Law School, working as a lawyer, as an associate dean at the University of Chicago and eventually as a highly paid executive at the university hospital. As her husband’s career took off, she became a steading force behind her husband. Instead of becoming an intensely political first lady, she championed mostly non-political causes. When she makes the case of healthier school lunches, she sounds like a parent, not a politician. Obama seems to have made a point of keeping family routine intact despite the pressures if life in the White House. She has instructed her staff to avoid events after 5 p.m. so that she could have dinner with her daughters, just as she did with her own parents on South Euclid Avenue. (Quoted from The Wall Street Journal, 8.4.2015, P. A 11)

Within a family, neither husband nor wife should try to impose one’s superiority over other. Both should accept life as it comes, discipline their mind-sets to meet together the challenges in life. Both husband and wife, the main pillars of the family life, are supposed to supplement each others weaknesses and become a stronger unit to give required support to other dependent members of the family. Harmonious relationship between man and woman makes life interesting, enjoyable and worthwhile for themselves as well as for everybody else in the family and society.

Seeing the strengths and weaknesses of both the sexes, it can be said that roles of men and women within a family and society are complimentary and not competitive. A women should not try to ape, act or behave like a man. There is much more grace in femininity.  

April 6, 2015 Posted by | General, Women's issues | , , | 1 Comment

Ambedkar – A national leader or leader of Dalits only?

I

Ambedkar’s role in national politics

Introduction

Ambedkar was not the undisputed leader of Dalits only, he was the leader of the whole nation. The whole nation honours him and remembers him as ‘the Father of the Constitution of India’. After Independence in 1947, when the Constitution of Independent India was being framed, Bhimrao Ambedkar, because of his hard work, expertise in legal matters and intelligence, was nominated as the chairman of the drafting committee of Constituent Assemble. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India was the chairman of the Constituent Assembly. The joint efforts of Dr. Ambedkar and other national leaders  like Nehru, Patel, Rajaji, Rajendra Prasad etc. have given to independent India a wonderful Constitution.

Babasaheb Ambedkar was misunderstood more by Dalit leaders of the day, who use his name frequently to justify their claims. He desired for not just political empowerment of Dalits, but also for social democracy in India. He did not approve the idea of revolution, which his followers advocate today. He advised to adopt constitutional methods to bring about change in independent India. He thought that methods of revolution and violence “are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.”

Doyen of Contemporary Dalit Politics

He sincerely wished for upliftment of Dalit people, but never wanted a glorified status for himself. But his followers of Ambedkar have given a glorified status to Dr. Ambedkar. Many powerful leaders – Paswans, Manjhis and Mayawatis have emerged in present day political world, who have created their own power elite and centres. They have benefitted from their caste identity in elections. Their caste status has helped them in consolidating Dalit vote-banks. But their politics revolves around self-aggrandizement. They have hardly succeeded in bringing any change in the social or political status of submerged people or bring in social equality. Their focus is on imprisoning the poor masses forever in the trap of reservations/quota politics, which can not produce many Dalit leaders or intellectuals.

Educational background of Dr. Ambedkar

Ambedkar had received best possible education throughout his student career in India as well as abroad, at Columbia University in New York, which was available to any other person belonging to any higher caste’s student at that time. Belonging to Mahar community (listed in Scheduled Castes community) had never put any hurdle throughout his student life in getting admission in school or college whether in India or abroad or in furthering his social status (he was married to a lady belonging to Brahmin community) or political career, or attaining positions of power.

Ambedkar’s school’s education

His father and grandfather being the employees of the British Army ensured a good education for Bhimrao Ambedkar. He continued his studies and passed his Matriculation examination from Bombay University. Bhim joined the Elphinstone High School and later on the Elphinstone College for further education – one of the best schools in all of India.

College education

With the help of a monthly scholarship given by Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda, Bhimrao (‘Rao’ is added to names in Maharashtra as a sign of respect) passed his B.A. in 1912.In 1912, he graduated in Political Science and Economics from Bombay University and got a job in Baroda.

Education abroad

In 1913, Maharaja of Baroda awarded scholarship to Bhim Rao Ambedkar for further studies at the world-famous Columbia University, New York. It was with a condition that he would serve Baroda state for ten years on finishing his studies. The freedom and equality he experienced in America made a very strong impression on Bhimrao. There he attained a degree in Master of Arts and a Doctorate in Philosophy from Columbia University in 1916 for his thesis “National Dividend for India: A Historical and Analytical Study.” The Maharaja of Baroda appointed Dr. Ambedkar as his political secretary.

Start of Dr. Ambedkar’s political career

In 1917 Bhimrao Ambedkar returned to Bombay. In 1918, he became a lecturer at Sydenham College in Bombay. There, he got the reputation as a brilliant teacher and scholar. With the help of Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur, he started a fortnightly newspaper, the “Mooknayak” (Dumb Hero) on January 31, 1920. That was the start of his political career.

Studying in London School of Economics

In 1920, after accumulating sufficient funds, Ambedkar went back to London to complete his studies in Economics at London School of Economics. He also enrolled to study as a Barrister at Gray’s Inn and became a barrister-at- law. In 1923, Bhimrao returned to India with a Doctorate in Economics from the LSE – he was perhaps the first Indian to have a Doctorate from this world-famous institution.

Ambedkar’s journey in political arena

Founded ‘Bahishkrit Hitkaraini Sabha’
After coming back to India, in July 1924, he founded the Bahishkrit Hitkaraini Sabha (Outcastes Welfare Association). The aim of the Sabha was to uplift the downtrodden socially and politically and bring them to the level of the others in the Indian society. Now he was well equipped as a leader of the Dalit community.

Babasaheb represented the leader of ‘untouchables’

In 1930, when a Round Table Conference was held by the British Government in London to decide the future of India, Babasaheb represented the ‘untouchables’. He said there: -The Depressed Classes of India also join in the demand for replacing the British Government by a Government of the people and by the people… Our wrongs have remained as open sores and have not been righted although 150 years of British rule have rolled away. Of what good is such a Government to anybody?” Gandhiji appreciated that.

Co-operating with Simon Commission

Later on, he made the controversial decision to co-operate with the all-British Simon Commission. The Congress decided to boycott the Commission and drafted its own version of a constitution for free India. Ambedkar attended all the three Round Table Conferences in London and forcefully argued for the welfare of “untouchables”.

‘Communal Award’ in Poona Pact raised controversy

A separate electorate was announced for the depressed classes under Ramsay McDonald ‘Communal Award’. The famous Poona Pact replaced the separate electorate demand with special concessions like reserved seats in the regional legislative assemblies and Central Council of States.

Birth of “Independent Labor Party”

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar set up the “Independent Labor Party” in August 1936 to contest the elections in the Bombay province. He and many candidates of his party were elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly.

Strongly opposed the title ‘Harijans’ for untouchables

In 1937, a Bill was introduced to abolish the “khoti” system of land tenure in the Konkan region, the serfdom of agricultural tenants and the Mahar “watan” system of working for the Government as slaves. A clause of an agrarian bill referred to the depressed classes as “Harijans,” or people of God. Bhimrao was strongly opposed to this title for the untouchables. But the Indian National Congress succeeded in introducing the term Harijan. During the Second World War, Babasaheb was appointed Labour Minister by the Viceroy.

All-India Scheduled Castes Federation

The All-India Scheduled Castes Federation was formed in 1942 to unite all ‘untouchables’ into one united political party.

First Law Minister of Independent India

In 1947, when India became independent, Babasaheb Ambedkar became First Law Minister of Independent India in Nehru’s cabinet. He was elected as a Member of the Constituent Assembly from Bengal. The Constituent Assembly made him chairman of the committee appointed to draft the constitution for the world’s largest democracy.

Relinquished position of Law Minister

In October 1948, Dr. Ambedkar submitted the Hindu Code Bill to the Constituent Assembly in an attempt to codify the Hindu law. The Bill caused great divisions even in the Congress party. Consideration for the bill was postponed to September 1951. When the Bill was taken up it was truncated. A dejected Ambedkar relinquished his position as Law Minister.

Ambedkar and his beliefs

Anathema against Hinduism

Babasahib propagated vehemently against Hinduism. He regarded Hinduism and caste system as “great obstacles to Hindu Unity”. … “My self-respect can not assimilate Hinduism…The religion that does not recognize you as human beings…is not worthy to be called a religion.” He used to say – “Hinduism has given us (untouchables) only insults, misery, and humiliation.” … “We have not been able to secure the barest of human rights… I am born a Hindu. I couldn’t help it, but I solemnly assure you that I will not die a Hindu.”

In favour of ‘conversions’

Therefore in 1935 at Yeola, Babasaheb for the first time that Babasaheb suggested to his people – for they were only known as ‘untouchables’ within the fold of Hinduism. opt for conversions for his people – for they were only known as ‘untouchables’ within the fold of Hinduism. He stressed the importance of conversion from Hinduism About a month before his death (December 6, 1956), on 0ctober 14, 1956 he embraced Buddhism along with many of his followers.

Views on Reservation

According to Ambedkar, “Where a majority of population is denied its share in actual power, there exists no democracy.” … “Reservation is not aimed at economic uplift or alleviation of poverty. But it is a provision made for the entry of certain castes, which have so far been outside the administration. Hence the need for their adequate representation in State Services. Adequacy should be judged not by their presence in the lower rung of the services, but their entry into the higher echelons, the corridor of power.”

On loyalty

He was clear from the very beginning of his political career that “Attempt to uplift my community rather than to win Swaraj for the nation is my goal.” …… “I will leave no doubt in the minds of the people of this country that I have another loyalty, to which I am bound and which I can never for-sake. The loyalty is to the community of the untouchables; in which I am born, to which I belong and which I hope, I shall never desert. And I say this…. as strongly as I possibly can that whenever there is any conflict of interests between the country and the untouchables, so far as I am concerned, the untouchable interests will take precedence over the interests of the country. I am not going to support a tyranny of the majority, simply because it happens to speak in the name of the country…. As between the country and myself, the country will have precedence, as between the country and the depressed classes, the depressed classes will have precedence.”

On democratic values

“Democracy is not merely a form of Government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men.” … “In an ideal society, there should be many interests consciously communicated and shared.”

Ambedkar and Reservation Policy

During Constituent Assembly Debates, Ambedkar advocated the policy of Reservation. But later on, as a socialist and humanist, who had the long-range interests of untouchables at heart, had developed doubts about advisability and efficacy of Reservation Policy. Chowdhary Charan Singh said, “Ambedkar himself declared in a speech sometime before his death that the provision of Reservation in service should not extend beyond 1960/61.”

Ambedkar’s realization of worthlessness of ‘Reservations’

Pr. Balraj Madhok had also pointed out that later in life, Ambedkar realized that SC and ST would not be able to stand on their own feet, so long as they depended on the crutches of Reservation. “Reservation,” Dr. Ambedkar said, “Encouraged backwardness, inefficiency and lack of competitive merit among them barring a few stray cases.” Therefore, when he launched the Republican Party of India, he incorporated this view in the Manifesto, according to which the party was committed itself to abolish all kinds of Reservations based on caste and birth.

Depressed Ambedkar

During his last days, Ambedkar said, “I have not been able to fulfil my mission. I wanted to do more for the SC people and to see them as governing class in my life. I could have succeeded, but my own people have deceived me. Whatever I have been able to do, is being enjoyed by the educated people and they are the worst fools. I now want to divert my attention to the uneducated masses, but life seems short. The second worry to my mind is that I wanted that somebody from the SC should come forward and take the responsibilities from me. There, however, seems none to shoulder such a heavy responsibility. All are selfish and quarrel themselves on petty matters.”

Wave of Ambedkarization

1990’s witnessed a wave of Ambedkarisation. Many politicians started describing Ambedkar as the “The maker” of Indian Constitution. Experts on Constitutional law have some reservation to such expressions, because both the constituent Assembly and its Drafting Committee headed by Dr. Ambedkar were the formal centers of work. The real place of work was the Congress Working Committee, which took all the important decisions and there, the prominent role was played by leaders like Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad or Constitutional jurists like Alladi Krishna Swami Ayyar, K.M. Munshi and others. It was frankly admitted by Mahavir Tyagi, one of the members of Drafting Committee, and Dr. Ambedkar himself that their hands were tied and they were only carrying out the wishes of the majority.

Ambedkar’s contributions

After an examination of the situation, Pr. K.V. Rao said, “No doubt, Ambedkar, a man of legal acumen, untiring industry, consummate skill and firmness, tempered with modernization, made substantial contribution to the framing of the Constitution” He had been recognized at that time as an intellectual having his own philosophy and interpretations, but he lacked leadership qualities and mass appeal.

Ambedkar and the wrath of intelligentsia

Ambedkar earned the wrath of intelligentsia during pre-Independence period
– he, himself, was a beneficiary of social reform movement in Maharashtra, which was led by nationalist leaders and reformers mostly belonging to caste Hindus. But in his speeches, he always considered caste Hindus as his enemy.
– Some people feel that it is inappropriate to call Dr. Ambedkar, the maker of the Constitution. The sources of all the ideas of the Constitution were Nehru and Patel and many other reputed leaders and lawyers. The credit of framing the constitution goes jointly to all of them as well as all the members of the Drafting Committee. Many people do not like to single out Dr. Ambedkar for this honour.
– The intelligentsia regarded his move for separate electorates for untouchable as an act to split Hindu society permanently. It is alleged that he could not rise beyond his caste identity.
– He was criticized for his association with Simon Commission proceedings, First Round Table Conference and Viceroy’s Executive Committee as member, with an intention to cooperate with British rulers, at the time, when national leaders were fighting British rulers for Independence;
– His anguish against Hinduism and caste system and his act of burning Hindu-script, which he regarded as great obstacles to the Indian unity, annoyed many.
– Many people did not like his confrontation with Gandhi. Ambedkar, like Jinnah was against Hindu majority rule, Congress Party and Gandhi. Both of them reacted against the above three in similar manner most of the times and preferred continuance of British rule.

Ambedkar as a role model

The present day followers of Ambedkar do not seem to have understood Ambedkar in right perspective. He wanted to annihilate caste system not by revenge, hatred and violence, but by rethinking, reason and reformation. He, therefore, taught untouchables “To organize, educate and agitate” with an aim to finishing caste prejudices, the arrogance, and the “Holier than thou’ attitude of Brahmins. He wanted his people to improve their condition by education, enlightenment and enterprise not by animosity, anger and abuse. It is quite understandable that he did not hate Brahmins as he was happily married to a Brahmin lady. He respected Justice Ranade.

His followers appear not to have done justice with Ambedkar. In order to overcome their insecurity and keep united various split groups,they used Ambedkar’s name ruthlessly. It served only their selfish motives and political ends for some time. They idolized Ambedkar as “Rescuer of Dalits”. The trend in 90‘s of idolization of Ambedkar or attempts of Ambedkarisation of the nation exposed the intentions of his followers, especially when he himself considered idolization as an act leading to destruction. Today agitated the Dalit leaders are, but their agitation is far away from being a positive or constructive one. It has turned into a negative militancy against caste Hindu.

Winding up

Dr. Ambedkar gave a required boost to move forward to Dalit movement at right time. He played a significant role in national politics and as the Chairman of drafting Committee of Indian Constitution.

Ambedkar is a role model for Dalit leaders. It is unfortunate that that some leaders of present day misunderstood Ambedkar. They have not learnt much from the life-long experiences of Dr. Ambedkar. Critics say that these Ambedarites have been proved shallow in understanding his real aim for social transformation. The ground realities of untouchables in India were quite different in the beginning of Nineteenth century than what it is at present. It was at that time that Ambedkar had made untouchables (SC’s) as the base.

After Independence, a massive shift has already been taken place in favor of Dalits allover India. But present day Dalit leaders are still living in old world. Modern followers of Ambedkar have forgotten that he rose to the status of a political icon, because he always took up bravely the challenges in life against all odds. His life is a classic and most inspiring example of what a man can achieve by hard work, knowledge, and clear-cut priorities. He had struggled and worked very hard to succeed in life.

Latasinha's Weblog

No doubt, Ambedkar has been the undisputed leader of untouchables and Doyen of Contemporary Dalit Politics. But it is also true and can not be altered that he had received an elite education at Columbia University in New York. Belonging to Mahar community had never put any hurdle in his life to get the best education in the world throughout his student career, one could get, or in furthering his social status or political career, or attaining positions of power.

Ambedkar’s career as a Student

His father and grandfather being the employees of the British Army ensured a good education for Bhimrao Ambedkar. He continued his studies and passed his Matriculation examination from Bombay University. Bhim joined the Elphinstone High School and later on the Elphinstone College for further education – one of the best schools in all of India.. With the help of a monthly scholarship given by Maharaja Gaekwad…

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April 21, 2014 Posted by | Social and political values and systems | , , | Leave a comment

Role -reversal in modern families

Introduction – Disoriented psyche and ruthless competition between a men and women has led to their role reversal within the family. Super modern woman of 21st century has joined the race to compete with man in nation building activities. She works shoulder-to-shoulder with man and is second to none in  any sphere of work, be it industry, politics, social works and social reforms, managers, civil servants, armed forces etc. which are far away from her traditional role of a home-maker.

 Issue – But in her hurry to win the race and further her career, sometimes a modern young woman overlooks her social/familial responsibilities. She desires for freedom, liberty and carefree life-style, as usually men used to enjoy in the past. She feels more comfortable outside her home and prefers to think, act or behave like men. And to compensate her absence at home, men are expected to take-up the responsibilities of household chores, in addition to financially supporting their families. 

Sheen of the institution, called ‘family’ overshadowed – Such an attitude has taken away sheen from the centuries old social institution known as ‘family’. Till now, ‘family’ has been giving refuge toddlers under the loving care of mother and emotional support to all – young as well as old members of the family. The toddlers are now sent to nursery, pre-school, children to schools and hobby-classes. Older generation has to take shelter in old-age homes. It has developed insecurity in minds of children, adolscents and old people. 

Movement of ‘Women -lib’ – As movement of women’s lib along with the ideas like “I will do what I want”, “I do not care for anybody” is gaining momentum, a drastic transition is taking place in the attitude of both the sexes. Role of man in performing household chores and responsibilities in rearing up infants and toddlers is increasing. His say in family matters is diminishing. Usually voice of woman in a house prevails, men finds himself helpless.

“Who wears the pants in the family”? – Now a days, women plays a major role within the family, assumed almost all the rights to take all major decisions and to dictate her own terms. She does whatever she wants to do and enjoys life in her own way. There is no denial to the fact that women also should have full freedom to make her own decisions and to lead her life the way she wants. But it should be done in a  decent and civilized manner by exercising some amount of self-control and self-discipline, so that her actions does not adversely affect the feelings or living of other family-members.

Mindset of Modern women – For many modern young women nothing, but ‘self’ matters in life. They pay more attention to grab as much power as they can, further their career, and on self-glorification. Usually they desire to set themselves free from all bondage of kinship. Some of them prefer to go far away from their homes and settle down in unknown places or in foreign lands, where she live in anonymity, enjoy their life, the way they want, get total control over activities of their spouses and enforce on everybody their own dictats/rules.

“Men from Mars, women from Venus?” – Thinking, working style, personal qualifications and abilities and sense of responsibility differ from person to person. It does not necessarily depend on one’s ‘gender’. It is unfair to generalize attributes of men-women on gender ground. Still it is difficult to ignore gender gap, that nature has created in their physique,  mindset, style of working and attitudes. It is difficult for a woman, how-so-ever hard she tries to bring to an end those inherent dissimilarities bestowed by nature itself. Mostly men are by nature more rational/sensible, more focused, faster in taking decisions or actions, less reactive and considerate. They have more physical strength, energy and authority. It is difficult for a woman ignore the charm of his physical strength and his ability to provide her and her family security – as a husband, father or son. As far as women are concerned, they are more loving, more caring and more social and maintain harmonious relationship with people around then. They have understanding and capacity to think practically. They are more attractive.

Roles of men and women in family are complementary, not competitive –  Healthy relationship between husband and wife makes the world more colourful, comfortable and give each other purpose of life. It gives them incentive to work hard, move forward and make everybody happy within the family.  But when they work on impulses and emotions, life becomes difficult for the whole family, as it is practically impossible for an impulsive mind to think rationally.

 Conclusion

Togetherness’ be the principle

Seeing the strengths and weaknesses of both the sexes, it can be said that roles of men and women within a family and society are complimentary and not competitive. A women should not try to ape, act or behave like a man. There is much more grace in femininity.

No one should try to impose one’s superiority on the other. Both should accept life as it comes, disciple their mind-sets to meet together the challenges in life. Both husband and wife, the main pillars of the family life, are supposed to supplement each others weaknesses and become a stronger unit to give required support to other dependent members of the family. Harmonious relationship between man and woman makes life interesting, enjoyable and worthwhile for themselves as well as for everybody else in the family and society.

 

October 4, 2008 Posted by | Women's issues | , , | 1 Comment

   

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