Dr Manisha Bangar
This article was first published here in Round Table India.
In India, and wherever in the world Caste exists, Ambedkar and Marx will remain Irreconcilable.
Starting from the incidents in Hyderabad Central University in August 2015 when the students of ASA were ostracized, and more so after the Institutional murder of Rohith Vemula in January 2016, after the Una atrocity in July 2016, and in the ongoing victimization and institutional and non-institutional atrocities on Muslims and Scheduled Castes, the Communists of India have, through their network of political parties (CPI, CPM etc.) and Students’ Organizations (SFI, AISA, DSF etc.), been at the forefront of protests inside and outside University campuses. Or, rather, they are shown, often more than required, as those at the forefront of the struggles of the oppressed.
They have had the exclusive privilege of being highlighted by a thin stream of mainstream media as being the only resisting force against the ‘Fascist’ (a word communists use for BJP-RSS combine, while at the same time consciously avoiding the usage of the words Brahmins, Brahmanvaad and Brahminism) Government.
However, this deliberate, sudden projections in favour of the Communists has in many ways worked to the detriment of the Mulniwasi Bahujan movement and may continue to harm the process of social polarization of the SC, ST, OBC, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians if the Bahujans remain ignorant of the ways in which the predominantly Brahmin leadership in Communist Organizations is executing its agenda to stall the unity of Bahujans and prevent it from becoming a force to reckon with, a force that can break down the shackles of Brahmanism and Casteism.
Whereas on the one hand, with these deft efforts, the Communists’ utterly failing movement has gained currency to march on, on the other hand, a bigger harm will be done to the Bahujan movement if they do not realize that the very same issues which have always been created by Brahminism’s ideology of hate (caste atrocities as in Una, caste based rape as with Delta Meghwal, caste based discrimination against ASA students and Rohith’s institutional murder, Bijnore attacks on Muslims, Mewat gang rape of Muslim girls) were the ones that were used to pump a fresh lease of life into the Communist movement that lay on its deathbed.
Secondly, even though it was the SC, ST, OBC, and Muslim communities that rose in rage all over the country in the wake of the above incidents and staged long spontaneous protests in numbers crossing millions, it was the Communists who, either by direct miniscule participation or strategic positioning on ready-made stages, tried to hog the attention and project themselves as saviours and future leaders of the masses, especially the Scheduled Castes and Muslims.
Thirdly, by this very act they tried to sabotage the upsurge of anger, resistances, protests, awareness and emerging young leadership from among the Bahujan masses and students.
This diversionary tactic to turn the attention away from the “Bahujan resistance and unity” towards “Left resistance” was best exemplified when a scene of sedition was purposely created in JNU at the peak of the resistance movement (of Bahujans demanding justice for Rohith Vemula) with help of right wing media like Zee News, Times Now, Aaj Tak and few other channels as well as social media.
In the same flow, they immediately went on to the next stage of propping up and popularising spurious leadership like that of Kanhaiya Kumar, member of an oppressor, militant caste (Bhumihar Brahmans) from Bihar responsible for massacres of Scheduled Castes in the last 20 years through their many caste supremacist organizations.
They also engaged in their favourite pastime activities of creating pacts with prominent members/leaders of SCs who have openly acted as stooges of the Communists at the behest of their narrow visions and personal ambitions.
This strange combination of oppressors with the oppressed holding hands on podiums, platforms, rallies and mass protests will bring about a revolution in this country, we are told.
This was done quite systematically. When at the time of actual demonstrations on the Rohith issue at Jantar Mantar, the Left had no slogans except “Halla Bol”, and were equally baffled by the revolutionary slogans of Bahujan Organizations, Mulniwasi Sangh, BAPSA etc like “Rohith hum sharminda hai, Dronacharya aaj zinda hai”, ” Mulniwasi Jayega Brahmanvaad bhagega” and “Mulniwasi naara hai Bharat desh hamara hai” which cut through the very core of the country’s Brahminical cultural and social order and made it imperative for the the largely Brahman Communist leadership to arrest the influence of Bahujan’s vibrant struggle and protect their organizational leadership and their cadre base, majority of whom are still the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled tribes (Muslims in Communist Organizations are few and mostly from upper caste/elite Muslim groups and they generally share the leadership posts with Brahmins and act on Brahminical agenda).
In the JNU elections 2016, where Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association (BAPSA) contested without aligning with the Communist students’ organizations like AISA and SFI etc., its stand and approach towards the Left was crystal clear from the slogans like “Laal Bhagwa ek hai , saare Comrade fake hai”. Bahujans now wanted to play their politics and social engineering independent of the Left and they were drawing good support as is seen from BAPSA’s emergence as single largest grabber of support and votes from JNU students.
This formed the immediate background for the coinage of slogans of Lal Salaam-Neela Salaam and a recent spike in the articles by academics and activists with Communist background in news dailies and social media portals to impart credibility to this incredulous proposition.
Even as the Bahujan masses and their intellectuals are not readily buying the arguments put forth in favour of this unholy pact, the tenacity of the proponents compels academics and organizational leadership among the Bahujans to thwart such wild proposals and educate themselves along with their masses to the contrary.
And therefore, propelled by such strong a force and necessity, I take a quick look at a few pages in the literature of great men like Dr B.R Ambedkar, Periyar, Babu Jagdev Prasad etc., who were waging their own independent struggles against Brahminism at a time when Communism with its predominantly Brahmin leadership was exerting a magnetizing force on the same oppressed class that these Shudra, Ati-Shudra leaders were wanting to emancipate.
And as I do review their times taking a leaf from the warnings of these great men to the struggling Shudras and Ati-Shudras and Religious Minorities, I am forced to warn those who seem to be enamoured by the hollow concept of unity of Ambedkarism and Marxism for the socio-political and economic liberation of the Bahujans.
THE ‘RIGHT WING’ AND THE ‘LEFT WING ‘ BELONG TO THE SAME BIRD.
MARX has been Brahmanized in India. His Marxism has become mere one chapter in the Canon of Brahminism.
THE INDIAN LEFT, INDIAN MARXISM AND PHULEY-SHAHU PERIYAR- AMBEDKARISM IS JUST IRRECONCILABLE.
In India, for the Mulniwasi Bahujans the problem is that they never saw Marxism of Marx (despite all its limitations) but only the counterfeit Marxism of Brahmins. The Left wing are worse than the Right wing Brahmins for they sabotaged and stalled a real revolution from taking place.
The Mulniwasi Bahujan samaj and its Icons including Babu Jagdev Prasad, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Periyar have always had grave concerns and deep aversion to any attempt of Indian left to play the “revolution” card.
Dr Ambedkar had said, “they (Indian left) are just a bunch of Brahmin boys, drummer boys”. He goes on to say either Marx did not understand the Indian society or they didn’t want a revolution (Marxist) to take place in India.
We very well know and understand the devious strategy of “Lal Salaam Neela Salaam” being played out through the likes of Mr Prakash Ambedkar etc. and through student organizations in Universities is an utter sham. How about Leftists CPI, CPM, (ML) and their students forget Atrocities on SCs and Muslims just for one year and start a National Campaign in favour of
- Census of OBC and Caste based census;
- Representation of Muslims, SC, ST, OBC and all Minorities in proportion to their population;
- Declaring the more than 90 % representation of Brahmins and upper castes null and void, asking them to give up their positions/posts, to be filled up by SC, ST, OBC and Converted Religious Minorities;
- Struggling for Representation in promotion and the stalled recruitment of Bahujans in all States;
- Agitating on Indian roads for implementing the Representation policy and demanding all backlogs to be filled in all Public Sector undertakings;
- Agitating for Representation of Bahujans including Minorities in the Judicial System of the country in proportion to their population; and
- Review and re- assessment of Hindu Temple wealth, Temple economy and making it public.
So far we have starved ourselves to see a Communist engagement on these fronts. We have seen Mr Yechury speaking against the Representation of OBC in higher educational institutions and we have seen the Communists in Andhra Pradesh struggling for temple entry right of SC but never seen them agitating or bringing the Parliament to a halt on the Mandal issue or the Creamy Layer conspiracy and the disinvestment of Health and Education in the wake of economic reforms.
We are very much sure that the fake revolutionary spirit of the COUNTERFEIT COMRADES OF INDIA will come to the forefront if they are challenged with these aspects of struggle which have formed the most natural, nay, integral part of the Bahujans’ struggle for not less than past 40 years.
Indian Communism is full of humbug and chicanery. The Bahujans in West Bengal have neither forgotten nor forgiven the tyranny of the Communists against the masses struggling for land, an issue which the Communists boast of being at the very base of their “Marxist Leninist Struggle”.
Ambedkarism detests humbug and Dr Ambedkar’s “Buddha and Karl Marx” elucidates in detail as to what actually is needed in Indian soil, which has at the core of its Capitalist economy a brutal Brahmanvaad, is something more than Marxism.
Though many Bahujans harbour the naive idea that real Marxism and its liberating effects can become a reality in India if Marxism could be freed from the grip of its Brahman leadership and if the dialectics were to bring Caste at the centre stage, we see two very formidable, nay, insurmountable roadblocks to this utopian dream. One is practical and the other Ideological.
On both accounts, the Bahujan sympathizers of Marxism will have a lot of questions to answer:
The practical hurdle is how will the Marxists incorporate Caste as a core vantage point from where each and every aspect of Economics would be deliberated upon and analyzed when Marx’s theory and all that follows up to his Manifesto talk about Class and not Caste? So will the Communists make the necessary changes in their pedagogy? How much time will they take? If they haven’t done it in the last 70 years what is the assurance that they will now? There have been many instances, especially in the Maoist struggles, when the second rung leadership was from Bahujans so what were the reasons that they could not get their Brahman leadership to see the light ??
Even more difficult are the Ideological hurdles which make it almost improbable to believe that Marxism will make necessary changes in its pedagogy so as to be of relevance to the Bahujan Struggle and its dreams of Casteless society and annihilation of Brahminism.
The questions pertain to the means to be used to bring about the revolution. Will it still adhere to militant means to bring about the revolution?? If yes, then what answer do they have for Dr Ambedkar’s explanation (quoting men of worth like Sir Edmund Burke , Prof John Dewey) that Revolution bought about by use of violence as “the means” is short lived and the use of force which is an absolute principle for the Communists makes room for the more and more perpetual use of force to maintain the revolution?
They have none.
In any case, not only because the Bahujans do not have the wherewithal to engage in militant activity, but also because it will mean self-extermination at the hands of the State as happened with the Naxalite movements that the Bahujans should not take such a self-destructive path. Not to mention the blot that such an engagement will invite on itself all over the world. A blot that will be difficult to erase for generations and will make Bahujans lose their friends in common struggle the world over.
There are a few more difficult questions that still remain unanswered even if Bahujan sympathizers of Marxism were to imagine a Marxism freed from the appropriation of the Brahmins. One is, does it still believe in the theory of State as a permanent dictatorship or State as a Parliamentary democracy?? If it believes in the former, then how will they wash away the truth of my statement that Ambedkar and Marx are irreconcilable because under no circumstances was Dr Ambedkar a proponent of Dictatorship, not even temporary. And if Parliamentary democracy is the concept of State that today’s Communists believe in, then where is the need for Marxism??
In addition to the above, the Communists have still not answered Dr Ambedkar when he asks how will the State as permanent dictatorship wither away? And what will take its place if it withers away on its own? Do the Communists want it to be replaced by Anarchy and if yes, why undertake the exercise of a Marxist revolution?? If the Communists want to use Electoral processes, then why talk of Communism at all?? Is it just to have a Third front ever ready to divert masses to another Brahminical group when they get disenchanted with right wing BJP and pseudo-secularist Congress?
If the Communists have not taken the trouble to address these very important questions posed by Dr Ambedkar and others for their Bahujans sympathizers in last 70 years, then what is the basis of proposing the idea of unity of Ambedkar and Marx or Ambedkarism and Marxism???
These enthusiasts have neither taken Marx nor Ambedkar seriously, and that is where the thing ends.
The only solution to the deadlock of a stalled revolution in India lies in the “Milan” formed from the organic unity of SC, ST, OBC, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists on the basis of Phuley-Ambedkar Ideology under a unifying socio- cultural identity. This would be a crucial and natural step to cut and counter the Brahminical Left. In India and wherever in the world Brahminism and Casteism exist, Ambedkarism and Marxism are Irreconcilable. And what is needed is a “Halla Bol” on counterfeit Indian Communism rather than the mere rhetorical sloganeering of Lal Salaam-Neela Salaam or the pseudo intellectual pleadings of unity of Ambedkarism and Marxism in India.
Jai Bhim Jai Mulniwasi!
Dr Manisha Bangar is a leading organizer of Mulniwasi Bahujans of India (the Indigenous majority population). Currently serving as National Vice President of BAMCEF (Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation), she is former National Vice President of Mulniwasi Sangh and National President of Mulniwasi Mahila Sangh the mass based offshoot wings of BAMCEF.
A good orator, freelance writer and poetess she has continued to speak for more than a decade at Universities, Civil/Human Rights and Phule Ambedkarite Organizations, both Nationally and Internationally (USA, UK, Europe and Middle East) including the United Nations on issues of Caste, Gender Equality, Health and Education rights, Comparative Religious thought and Phuley Periyaar Ambedkar Ideology.
She is also a super-specialised, practising Hepatologist and serves as Associate Professor in Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division of Deccan Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana, India.