Senior JD(U) leader Shyam Rajak Thursday took strong exception to the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh introducing B R Ambedkar’s middle name “Ramji” in all official references to him, saying the exercise smacked of “mischief”.
Rajak, who is the ruling party’s deputy leader in the state Assembly, alleged that circular issued by the UP government to this effect was an attempt to “impose the agenda of Manuvad” and “divert the attention of the Dalits from the infringement of their rights which is taking place in a number of ways”.
The Adityanath government has decided to introduce ‘Ramji’ as the middle name of the principal architect of the Constitution B R Ambedkar in all official correspondence and records. A government order to this effect was issued last night. Rajak is a prominent Dalit leader of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) which is a constituent of the NDA and is running a coalition government with the BJP in Bihar.
“It is true that the name of Babasaheb’s father was Ramji and as per the tradition in Maharashtra, he included the same while putting his signature. But then, it is also a fact that Ambedkar was not his family name and it was given to him by his teacher. His family name was Sakpal,” he told PTI.
“The exercise undertaken by the UP government smacks of mischief,” Rajak said.
“It looks like another attempt to impose the agenda of Manuvad. Those interested in maintaining upper caste hegemony have been known to be very fond of conducting ‘shuddhikaran’ (purification), whereby they actually humiliate Dalits while claiming to be charitable,” he said, adding the way Ambedkar’s name will now he written, is very much on the same lines.
“The development comes at a time when the Dalits, who have begun to claim their rights as guaranteed to them by the Constitution, are being attacked in all sorts of ways,” Rajak said.
There are instances of physical violence, attempts to deprive them of reservation benefits and the recent Supreme Court order whereby the SC/ST Act has been diluted, he added.
Rajak, a former state minister, had yesterday also come out in support of an adjournment motion brought by the opposition RJD in the state Assembly on the issue of the apex court judgement on the Act. He was later joined by some other Dalit MLAs of his party in a dharna staged outside the Assembly where a demand that the Centre should challenge the order by filing a review petition was made.
“We urge that the UP government and all others having a similar agenda in mind, should give up the idea as the Dalits are very angry and overlooking their sentiments may have serious political consequences,” he added.