Quoting B.R. Ambedkar, the Organiser editorial says that untouchability has ruined the so-called untouchables, Hindus and ultimately the nation. The editorial takes exception to the Bihar incident in which a group of RJD student activists allegedly cleansed the statue of Ram Manohar Lohia after former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi garlanded it. Criticising the media for not covering the incident and the Maharashtra government’s “tripartite historic pact” for an Ambedkar memorial, it says: “Both these cases and the formation of [the] Janata Parivar against [the] BJP emerge from the same mindset of practising new untouchability in the name of ‘social justice’ and ‘secularism’… it propagates injustice-untouchability towards Dalits in states like UP and Bihar and… practises antagonism-untouchability towards the Modi government at the Centre.”
The editorial criticises Janata Parivar leaders for not treating people from the Scheduled Castes with dignity. It claims they have introduced a new untouchability in Indian politics: “It was Lalu who connected the bogey of secularism to social justice when Atal Bihari Vajapayee formed the government in 1996. Nitish, who for his personal ambitions, allied with the BJP for 15 years in Bihar broke the alliance on the issue of Modi being the prime ministerial candidate, by raising the flag of ‘secularism’. Mulayam Singh Yadav, who cannot see Mayawati eye-to-eye, conveniently hobnobs with the Congress, communists and old socialist friends… with the regrouping of the Janata Parivar, they are reviving this untouchability against the Modi government… the legacy of Lohia has been reduced to opportunism, ambition and casteism.” But, the editorial says, the political untouchables in 1990 have gained centrestage in Indian politics.
The debate over Julio Ribeiro’s article in The Indian Express “I feel I am on a hitlist’, continues in the Organiser. The writer, Ganesh Radhakrishnan, alleges that some fringe elements are relentlessly working to create panic among Christian minorities, but he raises questions about Ribeiro’s article: “…in his article, he is dubious about his being Indian. The article, at times, is amusingly self-contradicting as the author begins it with a seemingly secular perspective and ends up revealing his ambivalence.” Referring to Ribeiro’s remarks on Christians in crucial posts in the armed forces, he says: “Being a former IPS officer, his tendentious views on such sensitive issues will certainly dismantle his credibility. Such follies will not only dent communal harmony but also affect the morale of our armed forces.”
“Throughout his article, Mr Ribeiro eloquently evokes religious and caste identities to implicate his hideous views. In this view, it is generally perceived as a departure from his old secular image,” the article says. “It is already identified that some… states like Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya have turned out to be 90 per cent Christians. All the non-Hindu majority states of India are becoming a graveyard of minorities, where no leftists or secularists dare to speak out or extend their support to the suffering Hindu tribals,” it adds.
The Panchjanya editorial talks about Ambedkar’s contribution to society. It begins with a comment from K.B. Hedgewar, the RSS founder, saying that facilities have never been a hindrance to social work but the absence of volunteers. People who stand up for society and work selflessly are not easily found, the editorial says: “But accomplishing difficult tasks and making society and the nation top priority can only come from the Sangh’s inspiration…” The Sangh, it says, is an organisation of those who sacrificed self-interest for the sake of society. Ambedkar also worked with limited facilities and faced humiliation at every stage.
Compiled by Liz Mathew