CASTE ABOLITION IS THE ONLY REMEDY
I feel that Justice has been vindicated when parties united to celebrate 125th Birthday anniversary (on 14th April, 2016) of Dr. Amedkar. But the question that needs to be asked: is “whether that is genuine sentiment of these parties who reviled him in his life time”. Dr. Ambedkar how ever was made of sterner stuff and carried on vehemently his campaign against Caste System. He specifically said “I have never been Anti Brahmin but I have always been anti Caste. To stop taking about Caste is to shut ones eyes to the most important single reality of Indian situation”. Fortunately, in all fairness and deference Dr. Rammanohar Lohia Socialist Party leader (though much younger to him) openly recognized the greatness of Dr. Ambedkar when he said pubically in 1955, “Dr Ambedkar to me was a great man in Indian politics and apart from Gandhiji as the greatest of the Caste Hindus this fact has given me a solace and confidence that the caste system of Hinduism could one day be destroyed. I have always been trying to communicate to the Harijans an idea which is basic with me.”
It was in pursuance of this basic philosophy that Dr. Lohia corresponded with Dr. Ambedkar the need for both the Socialist party and Dr. Ambedkars party and jointly contesting the forthcoming Parliaments elections. Dr. Ambedkar and Dr. Lohia had agreed on a date to discuss this mutually. Unfortunately Dr Ambedkar died before the meeting could take place. But Dr. Lohia’s regard for the view expressed by Dr. Ambedkar in his book on “Annihilation of Castes” expressed by Dr. Ambedkar, was on the same wave length that enable Dr. Lohia to continue his fight against the Caste system which he expressed so vehemently thus; “Caste is the most overwhelming factor in Indian life. Those who deny it in principle also accept it in practice. Life moves within the frontiers of caste and cultured men speak in soft tones against the system of caste, while its rejection in action just does not occur to them.”
Dr. Ambedkar was for giving special opportunity to those who had been deprived for Centuries in all walks of life: But the false friends of the deprived castes take cover by suggesting that solution lies in raising everybody economically, give every body an equal opportunity. But these so called false advocates of destruction of caste, wrongly presume as though rising standards and opportunities would be restricted to the low-caste only. When everybody has an equal opportunity, castes with the five thousand year old traditions of liberal education would be on top. Only the exceptionally gifted from the lower-castes would be able to break through this tradition.
Some of the so called secular parties how ever seek to maintain reservation in a cast-moulded measure while they are themselves viciously caste-ridden, perhaps unknowingly. They denounce caste by birth, but in enthroning the principle of merit, they keep secured their privileged positions. It is to the credit of Dr. Ambedkar philosophy and vision that this perverted view of history is now being viewed differently.
Notwithstanding the universal acclaim for Dr. Ambedkar (obviously for taking political advantage) no government has yet tried to take effective steps to increase the participation of Dalits in the field of economic development – without which the chain of stratified caste system can not be destroyed.
In the matter of alleviation of any misery a country with limited resources has necessarily to evolve priorities in each sector. Our social system has, it must be remembered to live down the centuries of caste exploitation and sub-human existence to which this large chunk of our population, i.e., Dalits were condemned. It is for this purpose that many of us maintain that to see fruition of Dr. Ambedkar philosophy completely, it is now necessary to go beyond mere provision of reservation in education and service sector. To do further leveling Dalits need to be assured by law of a proportionate share of public works and government.
The same would be justified on the ground of reasonable classification inasmuch as it was to give benefits to a class or society which have been deprived of opportunity for hundreds of years and which can only be redeemed by providing them special provisions.
A similar situation arose before the United States Supreme Court. There was a “minority business enterprises” clause in the Public Works Employment Act of 1977 which contained a provisions that 10% of the federal funds granted for local public works projects must be used by state and local grantees to procure services or supplies from businesses owned and controlled by “minority group members”, amongst being defined in the Act as United States citizens i.e. who are “from Negroes”. The Court upheld the validity of the legislation as it contained provisions designed to uplift those socially and economically disadvantaged persons to a level where they may effectively participate in the business mainstream of the U.S. economy.
The Court said that it was necessary to ensure that the minorities were not denied equal opportunity to participate in federal grants to state and local governments, which is one aspect of the equal protection of the laws.
Thus it is fallacious to say that if a similar law was made in India, non-Dalits will thereby be thus discriminated because as the US Court said “it is not a constitutional defect in this program that it may disappoint the expectations of non-minority firms. When effectuating a limited and properly tailored remedy to cure the effects of prior discrimination, such “a sharing of the burden” by innocent parties is not impermissible.”
The Court ended with ringing words “if we are ever to become a fully integrated society, one in which the colour of a person’s skin will not determine the opportunities available to him or her, we must be willing to take steps to open those doors.”
These like steps need to be follow immediately if we wish to avoid the grim warning given by Dr. Ambedkar at the conclusion of the finalization of the constitution when he said; “We are going to enter a life of contradictions. In politics, we will have equality and in social and economic life, we will have inequality….We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this assembly has so laboriously constructed.”
I humbly submit that the above warning continues to have the same relevance and urgency today.Rajindar Sachar