Essay on Vision and Direction
Where are we since 1956?
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar died in the year 1956. During his lifetime, he singlehandedly led the movement of the untouchables and won important landmark victories in their favour, such as access to education, representations in institutions and rise in political consciousness. What Babasaheb Ambedkar achieved in a short span of 34 years of his active public career is unique in the history of the world. He stands tall in the galaxy of the luminaries who sacrificed their lives to liberate their fellow human beings. Though he addressed his followers who were mostly from the untouchable castes, his vision of social change, or reclamation of human personality, was universal. This vision often comes clear and shining in his innumerable speeches and debates of the constituent assembly of India. This vision also crystallized in the Constitution of India, which Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar drafted. The story of Ambedkar era will inspire generations to come and his name will remain forever so long humanity lives is beyond doubt.
During his lifetime, Babasaheb used various methods and strategies to create a society based on the values of liberty, equality, fraternity and manuski (Manuski is the Marathi word often used by Babasaheb, and it has connotations of humanity, humanness and respect for human life) through education, agitation and organization. He gave to his people self respect, dignity and most importantly moral courage to fight any odds. He started political parties, fought for the transfer of power to the untouchables, liberated Hindu women from heinous Hindu laws tainted by male chauvinism, gave representation to the untouchables and made passionate plea to include OBCs (Shudras) in the process of democratization of the Indian masses, created political and legal structure to make it possible for social democracy to take its shape in heterogeneous country like India. His achievements are innumerable.
The focus of the succeeding paragraphs is to look at what happened after 1956, in other words, where do the followers of Babasaheb stand as of today. I am going to describe the situation in general. The broader areas that I am going to look at are: education, institutions, politics, religions, and other areas which include; academics, science and research, sports, media and entertainment.
Considerable progress is made in this area. After 1956, there are thousands of doctors, engineers and lawyers amongst the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar and many of these professional are living well to do life. The recent trends in globalization have exposed a lot of followers of Babasaheb to the outside world. This was not possible without Babasaheb’s efforts. Despite of that majority of the Dalit population is illiterate and have no access to education. There is certainly quite an advancement, but still a long way to go in this area. However there is a considerable mass of the educated lot who can lead the movement inaugurated by Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Due to representation, one will find a good representation of Dalits in governmental or semi-governmental institutes. Though many seats go vacant, still there is a representation in these institution, which includes Executives and at the moment, the Chief Justice of India is from the untouchable background.
BSP set up a new convention and broke the myth that Dalits cant come to power. Now the BSP is the third largest party in India, with party structure established in the all the states of India.
Conversions to Buddhism are happening all over India, and followers of Babasaheb have taken Buddhist practices seriously and at the least a new culture on Buddhist values is emerging in Maharashtra which will soon spread all India.
In other areas like academics, Science and research, sports, media and entertainment, the participation is meager and far less compared to extent and opportunities in these areas. There is much stride to make in these areas so that these areas are effectively influenced to make contribution in the social change in India.