‘Bhima-Koregaon case is manifestation of state becoming immoral’
Iconisation of Ambedkar is doing much harm to Dalit movement, says Anand Teltumbde
Dalit intellectual Anand Teltumbde, whose Goa residence was raided in the last week of August by the Pune police in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon case, on Saturday said he fears he could be arrested any time.
“I was not sure if I would be able to make it to Bengaluru,” he said. The next hearing in his case is on November 1.
He was in conversation with sociology professor Chandan Gowda in the session, ‘Questioning the Foundations of the Republic’ at the Bangalore Literature Festival.
“Whatever is happening to us could happen to any of you tomorrow. They [the police] have developed this fiction around Bhima-Koregaon, something completely unrelated to Maoism. It is a deliberate strategy where they are making a statement that they can do anything to anyone even when there are absolutely no grounds,” he said, and added that recent events were a manifestation of the state becoming immoral.
He expressed deep concern over the rise of “religious right fascist forces” in the country. “People don’t seem to understand the intensity of the menace. They seem to normalise it. We need to learn our lessons from the rise of fascism from Europe. For now, the only means available to us is the elections. But the ruling dispensation seems to have created an illusion of ‘there is no alternative’,” he said.
In a nuanced critique of the Dalit movement, Mr. Teltumbde said it lost its way after the death of B.R. Ambedkar. The iconisation of Ambedkar was only doing it much harm, he said.
“Most of Ambedkar’s struggles were over representation and identity, and so were Dalit movements that have followed him. However, even Ambedkarite Dalits couldn’t develop a cultural identity in real terms. Dalits are yet to touch real-life issues. That is why they won’t touch the Left with a bargepole,” he said.
Later, speaking to The Hindu, he said there were documents revealing that Ambedkar in his last years often wept like a child as he felt he could not do much for the rural Dalits. He asked his followers to take up the land struggle.
“We need to move towards that. I envisage caste struggle as part of a class struggle. Caste cannot be the identity to build a radical struggle. We need to bring people together sans caste identity,” he said.
Talking about whether Dalits are increasingly being wooed into the Hindutva fold, he said, “Yes, many of the established Dalit leaders are with the saffron fold. But the hope is in the young and emerging young leaders like Jignesh Mevani and Chandrashekhar Ravan.”
Courtesy: The Hindu