It is heartening to see Ram Madhav, a seasoned RSS/ BJP leader committed to Hindutva politics, praising Indian democracy, begotten by the “architect of our Constitution”, Bhimrao Ambedkar (‘What Dalits want’, The Indian Express, April 14). Madhav also demands that today’s caste system “go lock, stock and barrel” because it is a “stumbling block in achieving fraternity in society”. It’s indeed very pious, coming from an important functionary of the present government led by RSS pracharaks.
The only problem is that Madhav’s wisdom does not match the internal ideological discourse of the RSS. The most prominent RSS ideologue, M.S. Golwalkar declared: “The Hindu People is the virat purusha, the almighty manifesting himself. Though they did not use the word ‘Hindu’, it is clear from the following description of the almighty in Purusha Sukta wherein it is stated that sun and moon are his eyes, the stars and the skies are created from his nabhi (navel) and Brahmin is the head, Kshatriya the hands, Vaishya the thighs and Shudra the feet. This means that the people who have this fourfold arrangement, that is, the Hindu people, is our god. This supreme vision of godhead is the very core of our concept of ‘nation’ and has permeated our thinking and given rise to various unique concepts of our cultural heritage.” (From Bunch of Thoughts). Golwalkar must have been familiar with the fact that the Manusmriti, in Chapter One, Verse 91, decreed that the only job for Shudras was to serve “meekly” the other three high castes.
Madhav needs to be reminded about what the Organiser wrote about the democratic-secular Constitution framed under the guidance of Ambedkar. When the
Constituent Assembly had finalised the Constitution (November 26, 1949), the RSS was not happy. It demanded the Manusmriti as the constitution of India. The Organiser, in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained: “But in our constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. Manu’s laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day, his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits, that means nothing”.
Madhav, as an apologist for casteism, tries to confuse the issue by writing that “the present-day caste system defies its own great scriptural wisdom and knowledge”. According to him, casteism in the past was fine, but not today. But Golwalkar made no such difference. In Bunch of Thoughts, he was forthright in his belief — “look at the times of Mahabharata, of Harshwardhan, of Pulakeshi, all the so-called evils of caste etc were there no less marked than today and yet we were a victorious glorious nation then.” Golwalkar always believed that casteism “served a great purpose in critical times”. (From Spotlight).
How much the RSS/ BJP loves Dalits
can be known from the announcement of the Haryana government, led by a senior RSS pracharak, about the change in the name of Gurgaon. Gurgaon will be “Gurugram” because this area was the abode of Guru Dronacharya. This decision was taken two days prior to the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar, a Dalit icon. Dronacharya was the guru who deceitfully deprived a lower caste fine archer, Ekalavya, of his thumb by asking for it as “gurudakshina” so that he could not compete with the guru’s high-caste Kaurava and Pandava students. It shows the brazen insensitivity of Madhav’s Hindutva clan — the RSS/ BJP — towards Dalit sentiments and their persecution in the past.
The writer taught political science at the University of Delhi