தமிழ்நாட்டில் அம்பேத்கர் – I

On February 28, 1932, Ambedkar was accorded a colourful reception at Madras by a huge gathering of 10,000 men belonging to the Depressed Classes. Muslims, Christians and non-Brahmins also participated in the reception. The chairman of the Depressed Class Army Service presided. Almost all De-pressed Class Institutions in the Southern India such as the Depressed Class Army Services Institution, Madras Provincial Depressed Classes Federation, the Presidents of Adi-dravida Malayalain Sabha, Adi-Andhra Mahasabha, Arundhateya Maha-sabha, Kerala Depressed Classes Association, and the Labour Union unanimously presented Ambedkar with an address. At the meeting Ambedkar revealed Rajah, somersault from separate electorates to, joint electorates with reserved seats . He said that Rajah should not have made any commitment before the Kamtee session of the All-India Depressed Classes Congress was held. He, therefore, exhorted the Untouchables to capture political power, to be on their guard against any verbal and rosy promises, and urged them to believe only those leaders who had experienced their woes. In the end he asked them to keep before their eyes the fate of the touchable leaders like Gautama Buddha and Ramnuja who had struggled to better their condition and to remove the stain of untouchability .When the news of the Rajah-Moonje pact was out, the Bengal and Assam Depressed Class leaders denounced Rajah for his swing to the system of joint electorates with reserved seats, and supported the demands put forth by Ambedkar. M. B. Malik M.L.A., President, Bengal Depressed Class Association; the President, U.P. Adi-Hindu Association ; the President , All-Assam Depressed Class Association ; the President, Adi-Dharma Mandal, Punjab; the President, Depressed Class Aid Society, Delhi; all denounced Rajah and endorsed the demands put forth by Ambedkar. Ambedkar was congratulated by the Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha on his brilliant advocacy of the claims of the Untouchables.

ambedkar_RamaswamyAmbedkar then proceeded to Madras(Sep 1944). On his arrival in Madras, he received a Memorandum from the Tamil Nadu Depressed Class Christian Association. It stated that since they were drawn from the  depressed Classes, their social and economic position was the same as that of their brethren from the Hindu fold. It further observed that the caste Christians continued to retain their castes even after conversion and ill treated the Depressed Class Christians. The Missionaries did not in any way try to curb the attitude of the caste Christians. The Memorandum, therefore, appealed to Ambedkar to redeem them from the slavery at the hands of caste Christians and other communities.

On September 22, 1944, Ambedkar was presented with an address by the Madras Municipal Corporation at the Rippon Building. Members of the Congress Municipal Party were conspicuous by their absence.

Replying to the address, Ambedkar said that he was not opposed to a National Government or Swaraj or Independence. He, however, added that history did not warrant the assumption that once a Parliamentary Government was established on adult suffrage, it would end all human suferings.

If the National Government fell in the hands of the governing class which believed in one community and one class being entitled to education and prosperity and that the people of other communities were born to live and die in servility, then a National Government in the hands of that class would not be better than the existing one.

In the evening Ambedkar was presented with an address by the Andhra Chamber of Commerce. The address was glad to note that Ambedkar had given a new orientation to the attitude of the Government towards labour and added that its main feature was the development of mutual understanding of the viewpoints of the employees and the workers and the Government. Immediately after this function, the Labour Member,Dr. Ambedkar, was entertained at a tea-party by Kumararaja Sir Muthiah Chettiar on the lawns of ” Chettinad House Next evening the M. & S. M. Railway employees, belonging to both the Scheduled Castes and non-Scheduled Castes, presented the Labour Member with addresses. In reply Ambedkar said that he was happy to see that in Madras for the first time workers of both the sections had joined together in a meeting and told them that they must stand together to put an end to their poverty. He further observed that the capture of political power was far more important than organizing trade unions.

On the morning of September 24, he addressed a public meeting held under the auspices of the Madras Rational Society at the Prabhat Talkies. In the course of his speech he said that no country in the ancient past had such a tremendous and dynamic political life as the ancient Indians. India had been a land of revolutions in comparison to which the French Revolution would be only a , Bagatelle’ and nothing more. The fundamental fact, observed Ambedkar, was that there had been in ancient India a great struggle between Buddhism, which had ushered in a revolution, and Brahminism, which had launched a counter-revolution. The quarrel was on one issue and that was ” What is truth? ” Buddha said that truth was something to which any one of the  Dasha Indriyas, could bear witness. The Brahmins said that it was something which was dedared by the Vedas. And analysing some aspects of the Vedas, Ambedkar further said that certain portions of the Vedas were a forgery introduced at a later stage. He was surprised, he added, that so clever a people as the ancient Brahmins should have insisted upon fastening such tremendous sanctity and authority on such books as contained nothing but tomfoolery.

“Today we are in the grip of counter-revolutionaries, and unless we do something very quickly, ” he concluded, ,’ we may bring greater disaster to this country. “

In the afternoon Ambedkar spoke at a luncheon party given in his honour by P. Balasubramanya Mudaliar at Hotel Connemara. Analysing the causes of the downfall of the non-Brahmin Party, he said that many of them tried to become second class Brahmins and it occurred to him that they had not abandoned Brahminism which they were slavishly aping, and holding to its ideal. He stressed the need for a good leader, good organization and a clear-cut ideology for the non-Brahmin Party.

In the evening Ambedkar was presented with addresses at the Memorial Hall, Park Town, by different Scheduled Castes Federations and the South Indian Buddhists, Association. Replying to the addresses, lie strongly defended the Viceroy’s declaration on the Communities’ position in the national life of India. He then turned to certain remarks made by Srinivas Sastri that Ambedkar’s presence at the international peace gathering would be inimical to the general interests of the country. Ambedkar frankly said that there was nothing dis-graceful in the record of his own public life that would make it a shame for him to be seated at any international gathering on India’s behalf. He added that Sastri was the lap dog of the British Government; and if he had achieved anything great or international popularity, it was particularly due to the tact that the British Government was pleased to make him a show-boy.

And recalling some events from the proceedings of the R.T. Conferences, he declared that if India had been let down at the R.T.C., it was not by him or the Scheduled Castes but by Gandhi, Sastri and others. Although the Depressed Classes had, he proceeded, a thousand excuses to adopt the attitude that Sir Edward Carson had adopted saying ” Damn your sateguards “, they were large-hearted enough to support the demand for Home Rule with a small condition attached to it, namely reasonable safeguards. In spite of the Brahminical rule under which the Depressed Classes sufered for the past two thousand years, they were patriotic enough to ask for only just demands. He, therefore, appealed to the Hindu brethren to reverse their mentality and said: “Let us come to terms, and settle the Question”

During his stay in Madras, he had a long discussion with E. V. Ramaswami, leader of the Justice Party, on the political problems in Madras.

From Dhananjay Keer’s Dr. Ambedkar Life And Mission  Pages 196-197,364-367

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