THE DALIT temple here awaits the ashes of BSP founder and patriarch of Dalit movement Kanshi Ram. His mortal remains would not be immersed in Ganga or Yamuna as per Hindu traditions but would be placed at two places in Delhi and Lucknow to motivate the Bahujan Samaj.
Deadly opposed to ‘Manuvadi tradition’, Kanshi Ram had willed on August 10, 2003 that his ashes should be kept at Bahujan Samaj Prerna Kendra (popularly known as Dalit temple) in Delhi and Lucknow. He also wanted that Mayawati’s ashes should also kept along side his ashes.
In his will Kanshi Ram wrote: “I wish that Mayawati should have a long life devoted to the mission she is committed to, but every person has to die one day. I further wish that after the death of Mayawati her bones should not be immersed in the Ganga and the Yamuna but be laid beside my bones in the memorials Bahujan Samaj Prerna Kendra. This wish of mine will go against the Manuvadi system of society and inspire the people of the Bahujan Samaj for devotion and respect towards this memorial”.
Mayawati too had signed the document, which was released on June 3, 2005 at the time of inauguration of the memorial here.
The ‘Dalit temple’, which has been centre of attraction for the BSP cadre in the State, is all set to hog limelight once the urns containing Kanshi Ram’s ashes are brought there.
In fact it is a temple with a difference. The presiding deity is not from traditional Hindu or Dalit pantheon. Mayawati had brought living legends to the portals of the temple. The ‘deities’ are Dr BR Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and Mayawati. With Mayawati and Kanshi Ram statutes side by side, Dr Ambedkar’s statue has been put behind them on a little raised platform. It gives impression as if ‘Baba Saheb’ has been giving blessings to Mayawati.
Brahmin-baiter EV Periyar Ramaswami Naicker has found a place along with Narain Guru, Jyotiba Phule and Shahuji Maharaj. Even though Mayawati has of late been trying to woo Brahmins in the State in the run up to the next assembly election, she always thrived among Dalits for bashing Brahmins. She draws inspiration from the 18 century South Indian reformist EV Periyar. Periyar had always been a controversial figure for North Indian caste Hindus. The BSP’s Dalit brigade also enjoyed the controversial Periyar’s version of the epic, entitled The Ramayana: A True Reading, which believes that no alternative political culture could grow in the country until Brahmanism is rooted out. For Periyar, Ravana was the hero in the altered version of the legendary work.