By – A. JAISON
“Noble is your aim and sublime and glorious is your mission. Blessed are those who are awakened to their duty to those among whom they are born. Glory to those who devote their time, talents and all to the amelioration of slavery. Glory to those who would keep their struggle for the liberation of the enslaved in spite of heavy odds, harping humiliation, storms and dangers till the downtrodden secure their human rights.” – Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar.
NDA’s Presidential candidate
In the selection of Mrs. Draupadi Murmu for the Indian Presidency, there has been a systematic plan and plot from the RSS-BJP to deceive the STs as they have deceived SCs by offering Presidency to Mr. Ram Nath Kovind. It is a sheer political calculation and machination to pick and choose some known figures from these communities only to garner the vote-bank of these people with the mesmerizing and empty speeches of Modi and Co. As far as the SCs and STs are concerned, they don’t consider Ram Nath Kovind as their representative because he has not only miserably failed to save his own honour when he was ill-treated and dishonoured in the Puri Jagannath Temple by disallowing his entry on account of his ‘birth’ but also never raised his voice against the ongoing violent atrocities unabatedly perpetrated against the SCs and STs and their women. Likewise, they don’t consider Draupadi Murmu as the sole representative of the STs because as is obviously known, she , as the Governor of Jharkhand, unethically, unconstitutionally and unconscientiously signed the order snatching away around 2000 acres of land from her own tribal people and merrily gifted to the greedy Gujarati Adani through the Jharkhand BJP government’s amendment in native tenancy Acts, viz., Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Pargana Act. Isn’t the Presidency, therefore, a reward for her act of betraying her own people? What prevented her to reject the Bill? She knew pretty well that if she had rejected the Bill, the BJP would have rejected her through the pleasure of the President Ram Nath Kovind. Well, the RSS-BJP is well known for resorting to this kind of treachery – “Piercing their eyes with their own fingers’.
Exceptional and Exemplary K R Narayanan & Birsa Munda
Going by the above two incidents, why should the SCs and STs rejoice over the Presidency of Ram Nath Kovind and the certainly would-be-Presidency of Draupadi Murmu. Neither of them can under any stretch of imagination be equated with the most sagacious and wisest President K R Narayanan. First, he is the Pride of India as none of the Presidents we have had so far can match him nor is any successor going to match him. Secondly, the SCs and STs can celebrate to claim that he was their true representative, of course, given the limitations of the post. He had never suppressed his agony over the atrocities against the downtrodden and minorities and he was the one who lived up to the Constitutional principles, values, goal and morality! He functioned like the people’s President! Birsa Munda was the selfless Tribal leader and Freedom fighter who sacrificed his life for the sake of the tribal people in the Bengal Presidency, presently Jharkhand. And Draupadi Murmu or any Tribal leader of the day cannot match Birsa Munda!
Namesake or Symbolic Representatives
Every political party cunningly calculates to nominate an SC or ST candidate to the Presidency, not with love for them but for the lust for usurping power and more power. Why not for the Prime Minister’s office? Has any party thought of this aspect? BJP, a party well known for upholding Sanatan Dharma and Brahminism and menacingly aggressive for establishing Hindu Rashtra by hook or crook, is keen that a more pliable President is their need of the hour. There is nothing for the SCs and STs to feel proud of. After all, the RSS-BJP combine is villainous enough to hit and crush the SCs and STs by offering some sops to some chosen servile men from their communities who will tirelessly work to pawn the interest of their own communities for the sake of some crumbs for selves and their kith and kin and who will never be the genuine representatives as guaranteed under the British Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald’s Communal Award through the Separate Electorate which was snatched away by Gandhiji through his unholy and treacherous fast unto death in Yerwada prison and which culminated in the signing of Poona Pact on 24.9.1932 by the unholy spirit of which the Joint Electorate system has been producing the selfish Legislators whom Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar called as ‘dumb-driven cattle’.
Freedom of mind is the real freedom by which one needs to be judged:
In the aftermath of the dreaded Gujarat riots in 2002, the BJP fielded A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to the Presidency and he, being the Sanskritised-Muslim or Brahminised-Muslim, did nothing for the Muslims and after touring the graveyard-like Gujarat, he simply said or whispered, “I feel sad” with no guts even to condemn the dastardly massacre. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was better than Abdul Kalam in the sense, the former has sermonized the Chief Minister Narendra Modi to follow the Raj Dharma! Had it been non-BJP Government in Gujarat he would have dismissed the Government and imposed President’s rule. What for the Muslims to feel proud of A P J Abdul Kalam? What for the SCs to hail the Presidency of Ram Nath Kovind? And what for the STs to celebrate the choice of Draupadi Murmu? – when none of them raised their voice against their own flocks? Almost all the birds in Indian caste system, with a miniscule exception, flock together except the SC and ST birds. There is no use of anyone claiming to be free because as said by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, “Freedom of mind is the real freedom. A person whose mind is not free, though he may not be in chains, is a slave, not a free man.” Hence, none of these three Presidents fits into the prophetic quote of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar as mentioned in the beginning of this article.
Betrayal of the Educated and Elites:
Education and employment guaranteed under the Constitution have certainly, to some extent, elevated the lifestyle of the SCs, STs and Backward Classes (OBCs) and before the next generation has to gain something, the Government and Judiciary are in tandem to play havoc in their life with so many negative ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. BJP Govt is administering the slow-poison to kill Reservation to these categories. In the fag end of his life, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar lamented realizing that his life was short and he could not do much to the suffering masses. Said he, “There is some progress on education in our society. By acquiring education, some people have reached to the higher positions; but these educated people have deceived me. I was hoping from them that after acquiring higher education they will serve the society; but what I am seeing is that a crowd of small and big clerks has gathered around, who are busy feeding themselves and their families.” This applies to most of the Parliamentarians, Legislators, Bureaucrats and other executives who have occupied high positions in Government and PSUs but are disinterested and disinclined to look back the society in which they were born and from which they have risen.
Appropriating Ambedkar leading to appropriating SC/ST Leaders:
Every political party is trying to appropriate Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and undoubtedly BJP is fanatic to do all its best for the worst because the RSS-BJP combine first struggled to annihilate Dr. Ambedkar’s glory. Having failed, it has been maliciously aggressive to appropriate him. Appointing Ram Nath Kovind as President was also an act of appropriation aiming at SC Vote-bank. Now fielding Draupadi Murmu as the NDA’s Presidential candidate is another act of appropriation of ST vote-bank and to keep some of the opposition parties in an embarrassing position to pin-point them as anti-STs, if they don’t openly support.
SCs and STs have lieutenants only to push back the caravan:
“Whatever I have done, I have been able to do after passing through crushing miseries and endless struggle all my life and fighting with my opponents. With great difficulty I have brought this caravan where it is seen today. Let the caravan march on despite the hurdles that may come in its way. If my lieutenants are not able to take the caravan ahead, they should leave it there, but in no circumstances should they allow the caravan to go back.” This is one of the last messages of Dr. Babasaheb. True to his fear, most of the elites in the SCs and STs have not only betrayed, not only not taken the caravan ahead but have unconscientiously pushed back the caravan which Dr. Ambedkar has brought forward with so much of struggle and sufferings.
Danger to the Democracy and Constitution:
India has already been passing through the dangerous path since last 8 years. In 2019, the people have failed as well as the Institutions vested with the Constitutional duties and obligations to reject the fascist BJP to which Hitler is the hero. Most of the leading intellectuals in the Government establishment have become perverted intellectuals. We have lost the name and fame which were meticulously built-up and preserved till mid-2014. Doubts are looming large about the future of Indian Democracy. By enthroning Droupadi Murmu as the President, the agenda of BJP will smoothly get accomplished. We are sure for inviting danger with both the Head of State and Head of the Government wedded to the RSS ideology. RSS is a menace, which everyone, at least the SCs, STS, BCs (OBCs) and Minorities, should know. Being majority in number is of no use unless this number is capable of checking the menacingly advancing minority of Brahminism. Hindu Rashtra will bring disaster to India unless it is checked and curbed by the majority Indians. It is worth quoting Dr. Ambedkar, “If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country. No matter what the Hindus say, Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.” (Pakistan or Partition of India p-358- BAWS Vol.8 of 1990). With this in mind, we should be in favour of Mr. Yashwant Sinha, the Opposition candidate who has been championing for saving Democracy and Constitution. It is now the time to forget ‘blood is thicker than water’ as it invites only danger. But the ground reality is he may not win given the number-game.
Obviously and surely, with the weak and disunited opposition and the ongoing-dissident-Maharashtra-MLAs-horse-trading and with some pliant, nervous and embarrassed non-NDA regional parties having pledged their support to NDA, and with some remaining cats on the wall, Mrs. Draupadi Murmu is all set to comfortably enter the Rashtrapati Bhawan. But the question is how far it is safe for Democracy and the Constitution. She has already proved her allegiance to the RSS-BJP combine. Are the Tribal people going to preserve their rights? Will she be a party to the proposed Acts to do more injustice to the STs, as was done in Jharkhand, when she was Governor? Will she keep the interest of the country above party’s dangerous ideology? We will have to wait and see. Advance congratulations to the President Draupadi Murmu, not to Mrs. Draupadi Murmu!
A. Jaison is a Member of the Social Justice Monitoring Committee, Government of Tamil Nadu, Writer, Ambedkarite and Social Activist. He is also the General Secretary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Rationalist Youth Movement (ARMY), Ambedkar World Federation of Employee Associations (AMBU) & Buddha Dhamma Sangam. He can be contacted on Mob:94430 99600. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org