"Ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for the reclamation of human personality." - Dr BR Ambedkar
Consider why so many - sometimes up to a million - human beings come to observe his death anniversary each year at a function not organised by any political party or forum. For them, undertaking this journey means both hardship and hunger. And yet they make the trip driven by their emotions and drawn by the hope of a noble vision as yet unfulfilled - a casteless world!
No other national leader commands this respect 50 years after his death, let alone when alive. Consider why are there more statues of Babasaheb Ambedkar in India's villages than those of any other leader. His statues are not government installed (like those of many others); the poor put them up at their own expense. Whether in Tamil Nadu or Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra or Orissa, his portraits can be found in the humblest of huts.
Bhimrao Raoji Ambedkar with a Ph.D from Columbia University returned to lead what is today the greatest battle for human dignity on planet earth. He could have launched a violent struggle for freedom. Instead he asked his people to find dignity, strength and prosperity by converting to Buddhism and its tenets of rationalism and humanism. 50 years after his death, Ambedkars vision of a radical, non-violent revolution for reclaiming the human personality remains far from being accomplished. And the reasons lie with the rest of us. We speak about equality yet we do not practice it.
One of Goas most dynamic Dalit personalities is Dadu Mandrekar a man of many talents like poetry, science enthusiast, photographer, environment, adventure, trekking, etc. He once went to lunch on being invited a friend, only to realise that he was being asked to fulfill a role laid in the scriptures that a low caste had to be fed. This has not been an isolated incident for Dadu and Dadu is not an isolated case for Dalits. Self proclaimed progressive persons see proactive Dalits as only representatives of their communities, not as part of society. The talk is alright, the walk is all wrong.
So what if you talk about equality and humanism on my face?
speak through action to be part of a casteless human race!
11 December 2006, Goa.
A life coach with a passion to connect people to their potential, Pravin Sabnis has conducted over 500 workshops for leading corporate and other groups through his firm unlearning unlimited, based in Goa, India.
The Monday Muse series, started on the first Monday of 2004, is dedicated to the theme of the National President of JCI-India. 2004 - Touch to Transform, 2005 - We are the Future and 2006 Speak Through Action .
The archives of Monday Muse are available on www.monday-muse.blogspot.com
Life Coach, Unlearning Unlimited
104, Rizvi Sadan, Panaji, Goa-403001
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