The RSS may be all set to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, but it seems the Dalit icon himself did not share the same enthusiasm for the Sangh.
The political manifesto of the Scheduled Castes Federation — a political outfit set up by Ambedkar in 1942 — rejected the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha as “reactionary” organisations.
“The Scheduled Castes Federation will not have any alliance with any reactionary party such as the Hindu Mahasabha or the RSS,” the document, reproduced in Vol 10 of Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar Charitragranth, a Marathi book by Changdev Bhavanrao Khairmode, reads.
However, the RSS is making a major bid to appropriate Ambedkar’s legacy this year with its general secretary, Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi, set to take part in a grand function on Tuesday.
Organiser and Panchjanya — seen as RSS mouthpieces — are bringing out a special edition on Ambedkar’s views and social justice minister Thawar Chand Gehlot will attend the function.
“We are neither appropriating Ambedkar nor forwarding a Dalit agenda. We are saying he was profound and multi-dimensional and both votaries and critics see him in a fragmented way,” Organiser editor Prafulla Ketkar told HT.
On Monday, home minister Rajnath Singh set the tone for Dalit outreach by attending a function where Dalits shared meals with Brahmins from Varanasi. At another function in the capital, an organisation called Vraj Vahini Parivar held a conclave on ‘Samajik Samrasta aur Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’ (social complementarity and RSS) in which Panchjanya editor Hitesh Shankar underlined that RSS had never opposed Ambedkar or Dalits.
Ambedkar was not just wary of the RSS and Mahasabha but deeply critical of Hinduism itseslf.