It is the 61st year of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s Dhamma revolution and Nagpur has always attracted me. For the past few years, I have been a regular to this place at Nagaloka during the Dhammchakra Pravartan Day. Nagaloka and related institutions were established by Lokmitra ji who was a Buddhist monk in those years but settled in India. In his own words, he had no understanding of Dr Ambedkar but when he came to Nagpur and saw the sea of humanity at Deekshabhumi nearly 40 years back, his whole idea changed. He decided to the work for enlightening the community. Today, Nagaloka has become a landmark in Nagpur and people from all walks of life visit here. Hundreds of students have passed out from here learning a few new techniques of life and further their education. Lokmitra is an example of dedication and well planned ideas for future to not merely spread Buddhism but in Dr Ambedkar’s mission to enlighten entire country and socio-culturally democratize it.
At the Deeksha Bhumi you can today see thousands and thousands of people coming. They come at their own. It is not a politically purchased crowed, neither is it a crowd where some babas or swamis are preaching or misguiding them. It is a crowd who want to pay tribute to Dr Ambedkar. It is their message to the world that despite your million attempts to deny Ambedkar his rightful place in history, he will always remain the biggest icon in the heart of people. They don’t care what you write in your text books as they know that his life mission was to make them better, liberate them from the cycles of slavery and democratize the entire society.
What impressed me at the Deeksha bhumi is the passion with which people come. It is not a government sponsored programme as happens for any other Jayanti including October 2, Gandhi Jayanti’s sarkari programmes when government impose their instructions on people.
Here, the flow of people is spontaneous and with devotion. Yes, Dr Ambedkar today is an icon of icons but this has not come to him because politicians or government wanted that. In fact, since independence governments, political parties and above all, India’s dishonest intellectuals have tried everything to sideline Dr Ambedkar and his literature though they have been compelled to read him now. Definitely, his writings give new ideas and extraordinarily modern viewpoints for liberation for everyone including so called OBCs and Sawarnas too in case they wish to liberate themselves. Nothing stops them to understand both Buddha and Dr Ambedkar as their path is the path of liberation and wisdom which is different than having ‘knowledge’ which makes people proud and exploit others on the power of their knowledge. Buddha never exploited people and that is why there is a huge difference.
Dr Ambedkar was an iconoclast, a man who demolished the biggest icon of our time as he never believed that just because somebody is older, or bigger or famous or great could always be right and it made him challenge Gandhi, the Pope of Hindus.
It is not that Ambedkar just challenged Gandhi, he also challenged all forms of orthodoxy and did not have time to listen to Pope who had just informed him that it will take several hundred years to liberate the people from caste system. Dr Ambedkar just walked out of Pope’s meeting and this is the story on Dr Ambedkar in Time magazine in the year 1936.
Nagpur is the den of the Sangh Parivar also. The Chitpawan Brahmins of Nagpur that dominated the Sangh Parivar found different ways and means to justify the caste order. Even today they are forced to say Jai Bhim. I was at the Resham Bagh today but it was kind of closed door programme. I and my friend Vivek just roamed around the ground when the speech was being delivered because we did not have courage to go in because we felt a strange secrecy there. We know most of the lathi wielding Sanghis never wanted any óutsider’ in their meeting and that is why the huge police presence along with these so called Swayamsevaks. The only change I saw that the Sanghi cadres were now wearing a full pant. This speech of the Sangh’s chief is broadcasted live by many channels including Doordarshan. The speech is more for the consumption of media than for the people at local level. The lathi wielding Bhakts have got support from the administration and the political leadership of the day. I wonder why they continue to keep these lathis with them, whether to intimidate and harass people or not ?
Nagpur’s two events symbolize the fight that we have in India. Between the two ideas. One idea which is brahmanical, which has all support from the status quoist media and power elite despite losing ground and the other is the huge mass at Deeksha bhumi yet no live from the channels and newspaper and other is at the Deekshabhmi. One is protected by the police and secrecy though broadcast live on TV while other is spontaneous and democratic where any one can come any time, pay their tribute, organise an event and speak to the people. One is purely a brahmanical agenda with full encouragement and protection of the Indian state while other is sea of humanity without any protection of the state but at their own. This is the real India.
This India wants betterment in life and a democratisation of society. This India does not want a hereditary control over knowledge or power but an honoured sharing of resources. This India does not want to pick up guns at those who suppressed and humiliated the Bahujan masses. This India simply want its own way of life, it want to enjoy democracy, it want to enjoy the cultural revolution that has happened. It is purely an ideological battle and it will continue. Those who worship arms will never be able to win it from those who have ideas and democracy in heart.
We know these will never be part of narratives of our media. The report will barely merit one small column in the inside pages of newspapers or a little passing reference in the TV news. That was one reason why I tried my first hand in livestreaming these events from Nagpur. The aim was just to show friends that a silent revolution has already taken place in India without hatred and without bombing others in retaliation and it can witnessed in Nagpur.
The Dhammachakra Pravartan Diwas event overshadows any other event that the Sanghis might do here including their main Dushera which is much small event compare to what we see at Deekshabhumi, even Nagloka too attract thousands of people coming there, paying tribute to Dr Ambedkar and wandering around the Iconic walking Buddha. That is what I say, is the biggest cultural revolution, and it is big and remain unreported most of the time. I want to part of this cultural revolution and feel attached to it and that is the reason that despite all my schedule, Nagpur during this period remain on annual chart. It has become part of my life and I thoroughly enjoy it.