We must remove inequality, Ambedkar said, or our political structure will be in peril

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We must remove inequality, Ambedkar said, or our political structure will be in peril.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may hope to make Babasaheb Ambedkar’s India a reality, but he must realise that mere pronouncements will remain meaningless if there is no sincere effort on the part of the government and society at large to annihilate the Brahmanical caste system which is solely responsible for keeping Dalits and Adivasis apart, yet a part of the socio-economic and political set up that we have in India.
The recent Supreme Court verdict on the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which diluted some of its provisions, has led to an unprecedented protest across several states. It took more than ten days for the government to file a review petition in the Supreme Court. The verdict, as well as the delay on the government’s part, created a sense of distrust among a large section of Dalits and Adivasis, which led to an outpouring of anger onto the streets.

 

This protest was unprecedented because it was largely led by ordinary Dalits and Adivasis, while political parties and their leaders played a secondary role. Nobody had expected such a huge turnout – one which has the potential to throw any political combination out of power in future.

This anger must be handled with a great amount of care and sensitivity, or else the situation may go out of control. It would be instructive to quote Babasaheb Dr B. R. Ambedkar, when he spoke on November 25, 1949, in the Constituent Assembly of India, “From January 26, 1950, onwards we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics, we will have equality, one man, one vote, one vote and one value. In society and economy, we will still have inequality. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man-one value.”

We must remove inequality, Ambedkar said, or our political structure will be in peril.

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