What After Ambedkar? – II 31 May, 2015
The leadership of oppressed sections in society must understand that they are dealing with systems and structures and their responses have to be systemic and structural. Otherwise the dialectic value will be lost and there will not be any synthesis. Caste system is region specific. The same cannot be said of Capitalistic and socialistic systems.
The region specific caste system is very crude and is often catastrophic for Adijans and Adivasis in given regions. Periyar and Ambedkar have failed these people, as they did not give enough effort on developing systemic responses. Ambedkar did make a feeble effort at a counter-thesis in his demand for separate electorate but caved in meekly when confronted by the power of Gandhi. Periyar was exemplary in the public display of empty rhetoric.
The consequences are pathetic and have been counterproductive till now. A romantic following of these icons has only led to regression, as there was no antithesis with which the people could take on oppressive systems and structures. Their greatest flaw is their heavy focus on the enemy and not adequate attention to the latent internal strengths of their own communities.
There are latent theses within the Adijan/Adivasi communities. They often lay buried in the history, culture, and internal governance systems of these communities. Unearthing such thesis is more arduous and time consuming and often least rewarding. Rhetoric comes in handy and brings in cheap popularity.
Public recognition of latent thesis beneath the existing systems and structures of internal governance within these communities will go a long way in their liberation path. They need to make strenuous effort to formalize such internal systems so that their thesis comes into the public realm. The dominant systems will make an all out effort not to recognize the existence of such a thesis. They would like to govern these communities with their thesis and their systems. The leadership then will have to develop enormous discourses and writings to bring such thesis into public recognition.
There are two good examples in recent history on this line. Both the examples cry loudly for public recognition. One is the campaign for Proportional Representation system. In order to make the antithesis to FPTP more effective, the campaign has developed an India specific PR system. What is encouraging is that this antithesis to FPTP is gaining more and more momentum in the public sphere.
The other is the Adijan Panchayat Movement that was initiated in Tumkur District and is now slowly spreading to other parts of India. However, the recognition of the existence of an internal governance system within the Adijan community is itself problematic. It is problematic mainly because Adijan leadership has recognized only the Indian systems and structures of governance as legitimate.
Unfortunately they want to produce an illusion of legitimacy within the dominant structures. They are missing a great leverage for negotiations and progress by ignoring the existence of internally governing systems within these communities. The Adijan Panchayat Movement is an effort at formalizing the latent systems and structures of internal governance.
It is possible to negotiate with dominant power structures based on the strength of such internally governing systems and structures. When such dialectic movement succeeds there will be the possibility of the emergence of a common political system that will govern both. That this Adijan Panchayat Movement has succeeded to regain 11,399.24 acres of land to the poor is a monumental evidence of the dialectic trajectory and its consequent success.
Garnering support for the issues of human rights to the untouchable people needs to be based on the solid ground of thesis, which will become the foundation for negotiations with the UN and other international bodies. In the absence of a thesis, the support that is drawn will fizzle out quickly, as people tend to become tired after some level of support.
A structure like the UN will definitely need a substantial structural foundation to lend validity to the human rights struggles. In the absence of such thesis or antithesis the governments of dominant nations can easily escape from their responsibilities by citing the legal provisions in their respective countries. Absence of a meaningful dialectic movement within a given country will not lend legitimacy either to the UN or to other international bodies.
The context of the dialectic movement is of paramount importance in its progression. Dialectic movement based on the context of a nation or a people will also obliterate the need for ‘messiah’ from outside. Support from outside is a must for the success of any struggle but it should be confined only to a support for a well-established thesis or antithesis.
Pulling forward the chariot of Adijan liberation will necessarily imply refurbishing the chariot itself, as it can be quite out-dated in a progressive/regressive society. This will require a shift to the realm of rationality from the present focus on emotive following of Ambedkar. Where Ambedkar failed, the Adijan intellectuals should step in with development of systemic and structural thesis/antithesis.
Adijan/Adivasi people have their customary practices bordering on systems and structures of internal governance. Such practices should be brought into the formal frameworks of modern and postmodern dialectics. The Adijan/Adivasi leadership has a serious task on hand.
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