If alive today Dr Ambedkar would have been speaking for the rights of the people in Kashmir

Baba Saheb Ambedkar The biggest hero of the social revolution in India

Quote and
misquote related to Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar have become part of political
discourse particularly since the abrogation of article 370 (which is technically not correct as the
article is not yet abrogated, special status is abrogated using the same
article).

Many people
are quoting Baba Saheb in Kashmir as if he and Shayama Prasad Mukherjee, the
leader of the Jan Sangh were on the same ideological wavelength.

Baba Saheb
Ambedkar wrote extensively on issues concerning us and his two work: Thought
on Pakistan
and Pakistan or partition of India, show him a
great statesman, rising above the narrow confine of nationality and religion
while dealing the issue of Hindu and Muslim in a very balanced way. These two
books are often used by ‘experts’ for selective quoting of Baba Saheb. The
Sangh Parivar quotes him copiously on his views on Muslims and Islam while the
others quote him when he speaks about Hindutva or Hinduism.

In this
note, I wish to clarify that I don’t want to quote him here again but certain
facts about Dr Ambedkar must be kept in mind. The first and foremost of that
was the interest and welfare of the Dalit community and ensuring its fair
representation everywhere.

In fact, we
always discuss the subcontinental history from the binary of Hindu and Muslims,
basically, Hindu upper castes and Muslim upper castes or landed peasantry. Why
shouldn’t the others issues be discussed?

 So, Dr Ambedkar’s concern those times were
about the Dalit and ensuring their human rights and he articulated them at
every opportunity. That made him put for the case of strong center because he
felt that If the laws have to implemented, it is essential that center has to
play the lead and guiding force as states might have their prejudices.

I am not
going to quote what Dr Ambedkar said about Kashmir because the portion being
quoted from two important work, has his own concern. We may agree with them or
disagree but my point is not with what he said but what he would have said
today.

Now, I want
people to think for a moment. Leave aside, all ideological prejudices and think
about Dr Ambedkar. Who he was and at least people like me would always say, the
greatest dissenter of independent India, the leader and statesman, a human
rights icon for all of us?

So, what
would have Dr Ambedkar said today on Kashmir?

Would he
support suspension of people’s political rights?

Would he
support arrest of political leaders?

Would he
support curtailment of dissenting voices which are nothing compare to what he
has written and spoken which can still send shivers in the heart of the Brahmanical
elite and yet they are forced to chant his bhajans though they may not like his
ideological dissent.

It is sad
that many people are suggesting today that Dr. Ambedkar did not want 370 or autonomy of Kashmir. The question is not what
happened in the Constitution Assembly debate.

Dr Ambedkar
worry was all about the conditions of untouchables in Pakistan particularly in
the East Pakistan or what now is Bangladesh where Muslim fundamentalists and
Pakistani army that time tortured non-Muslims and forcibly converted Hindus,
Christians and Dalits in embracing Islam.

There was
lot of pressure on the government and Ambedkar wanted the central government to
look into that affair.

I am not
exaggerating these factors but they are the reason for which Jogendra Nath
Mandal, first law minister of Pakistan, Chairman of the Constituent Assembly of
Pakistan, had to relinquish his post and leave his Pakistani citizenship and
came back to India. Kashmir question is a valid assurance by Government of
India to people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Article 370 is a strong pillar of that. My simple point is that whether Dr Ambedkar today would have endorsed the way things were done. I can say never. Talking about Kashmir, he always talked that it has three parts. Kashmir valley where the dominance of Muslims exists while in Jammu, it is the Hindus and in Ladakh, it is the Buddhist. He was pragmatic enough about these things that end of the day, no domain wants to work under any one. He never wanted a war hence wanted to resolve it. Obviously, Nehru hailing from Kashmir, wanted it as his personal conviction towards secularism.

Dr Ambedkar
wrote that democracy does not mean rule of the majority alone the minorities
have to be included in decision making. Life long, he was fighting for the
rights of the depressed classes under minorities. Even in Kashmir, his concern
would have been that of the Dalits there but if he were standing today, I can
say with full conviction, he would have chosen to stand with the people of the
state who have been denied right to speak, communicate and assemble to voice
political dissent. There was no question of his standing with those who claim
everything is normal after full communication blockade.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

September 3rd, 2019

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