– Dr Rahul Kumar, Senior Correspondent
On 9th Feb, 2020, Dalits across India celebrated Sant Guru Ravidass birthday with pomp and show. I had the opportunity to see a huge gathering of people on the streets of Jalandhar (Punjab). People across all Dalit communities marched together happily. It was good to see a wonderful spectacle on the streets. Shops were set up alongside the main road from Bootan Mandi to Ambedkar chowk in Jalandhar (Punjab). There are two prominent Sant Guru Ravidass temples in the area. These temples are controlled by different Dalit political groups. Politically and socially they are highly divided among themselves.
It is significant to note that Jalandhar area is politically active. Partly because of Ambedkar movement under the leadership of a staunch Ambedkarite and Buddhist LR Balley. Politically, Dalits are divided between Congress and BSP. The different fractions of Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) has divided the vote base of Mayawati in Punjab. In future, there are fewer chances for the BSP to win state assembly elections. Mayawati except once never visited Punjab. The Dalits now feels that Mayawati has sold herself to the Manuwadi politics. The Dalits now also feels that Mayawati is highly corrupt. She has no moral ground on which she can recover the confidence of the Dalits. Some educated Dalits while discussing politics with me informed that, “Kanshi was an RSS agent”.
According to 2011 census, Punjab has the highest population of Dalits. It is important to understand why Dalits having a huge majority in the state of Punjab are unable to elect their own brother or sister as Chief Minister of Punjab. The answer to this question is their political and social division. Except elderly, a very few Dalits have left among the Dalit communities who understand what Sant Guru Ravidass Ji and Dr B. R. Ambedkar had left a message for them. Youths from the Dalit communities hardly read the books written by Baba Saheb Ambedkar who liberated them from the Brahminical slavery. Youth from the Dalit community hardly reads the revolutionary poems written by Sant Guru Ravidass Ji. In the Sant Guru Ravidass temples, there are hardly any intellectuals who can teach and guide them. In this situation, the Dalits in Punjab particularly are losing the battle against Brahminism.
The Modi government is snatching reservation meant for the Dalits. Baba Saheb Ambedkar achieved Reservation for the Dalits with struggle but the Modi government in connivance with the Supreme Court of India is making it redundant. The end result will be further marginalized of the Dalits. RSS has fully succeeded in dividing the community on caste lines. Let the Dalits of Punjab should know that the BJP is playing a football game between the courts and Dalits over the demolition of Sant Guru Ravidass temple in Delhi. There is an urgent need to pose united opposition to the BJP dirty politics.
There is no use of celebrating the birth of Sant Guru Ravidass Ji unless or until the Dalits follows his revolutionary teachings. There is no use of celebrating the birth of Sant Guru Ravidass Ji unless or until the Dalits remains united and follow the legacy of Baba Sahib Dr B.R. Ambedkar. There is no use of celebrating once in a year the birth of Sant Guru Ravidass Ji unless or until the youths from the Dalit community read and understand the philosophy of Sant Guru Ravidass Ji and Baba Saheb Dr B. R. Ambedkar. Let all the Dalits keep in Mind that their social and economic salvation lies only in the teachings of Sant Guru Ravidass Ji and Baba Saheb Dr BR Ambedkar. Let the Dalit youths must understand that politics is a temporary game. One can become an MP, MLA for a short time but if they remain socially and culturally united no Hindutva force can destroy them.