“There is no spoon” happens to be one of my favourite quotes from a movie. The Matrix, a movie released in 1999, based on a future world of technology and its implication on human lives. One should also read ‘1984’ along with ‘Animal Farm’. Such literature has shown the world, and also come true, what a future can possibly be.
Most Ambedkarites on the other hand tend to live in a world before 1956. For them, the Geeta, the Bible, the Quran, the Torah is what Ambedkar has written. A totally stagnated argument. Literature is about evolution, evolution is based on change, and change is foundation of Buddhism. If someone is static, non-evolving, not changing how can they be a Buddhist ?
The Matrix, is defined as a situation or a set of conditions which develops or forms, it is also defined as an electroformed impression of a phonograph record used for mass-producing duplicates of the original. Which of the two would an Ambedkarite choose? Will they follow what is easy to duplicate, something used by the right wing propagandist to advance their argument or focus on the evolution of arguments towards an ideological solution.
Recently I had a chance to visit the Ganges, in Haridwar – Rishikesh – Tehri- Uttarkashi – Gangotri and above it. Further the Gangotri I trekked 18 kms towards the Gaumukh. Due to unfavourable climatic conditions, we had to abort the trek midway and return to a safe base. I discovered the Ganga as an ‘Indian girl’. Born pure n pious at the Gaumukh, celebrating birth at Gangotri, named at Dev Prayaag and ‘tamed’ to be a girl, in Indian classical sense, at Rishikesh- Haridwar. The Ganga uphill is full of fun and frolic, challenging the terrain, embracing the tributaries, indulging in a wild life encounter with the flora n fauna. The Ganga in the plains, is plain, flat, unrustic and just moving ahead, pushing herself to the end. No matter what you do, worship, dip and wash sins or clothes, dump your factory produce or human faeces or corpse, she does not bother just carries it to the end.
The learning I had was Ambedkarites never looked beyond what was presented to them by the forces they challenge. How should I interpret the Ganga, I questioned myself. For me, she is a river, irrigating lives of a billion people and should be rightly worshiped. When in Gangotri, the local guide asked me to come to the temple for the evening ‘aarti’ of the Ganga, I denied telling him “ I have trekked 18 kms of Ganga up and down hill, how much more should I worship”. For me the Ganga was not the idol in the temple, but the Ganga that really irrigated lives of people. I care for her, I would stand for her environmental, cultural, geographical well-being, you stand for her ritualistic well-being and propaganda.
Like the Ganga, the other river that fascinates me is Rewa, the Narmada. Born in Gondwana (tribal belt), Amarkantak and challenges most of the rivers. She is the biggest west flowing river in India, when most rivers flow east into the Bay of Bengal, Narmada prefers to look at the West, challenging the convention. She is the only river whose parikrama is undertaken in India.
How many Ambedkarites worship rivers/nature at large. Are they stuck in an era of time only to rightly oppose a ritual but not offer a solution, interpretation or alternative to the same. Nature worship is a part of civilisation. But uttering the word ‘worship’ itself will ostracize me. How can an Ambedkarite worship? Who can and they worship, and why? What do they do when they garland the statute or photo, why do they come on streets when an idol is vandalised? While in public forums they talk of ideology, in practice they do the same of what they oppose.
The Matrix is to be realised and evolved. You can be ‘The One’. The Neo. There is a ‘Buddha’ in everyone of you. It’s time we realise it. We stagnated Ambedkar at Bodhisatva, wonder why. I would prefer to term him a Buddha, an enlightened person. We also stagnated our thoughts at 1956. For every problem, we look for solutions in text before 1956, which is not an evolution. Constantly referring to text published in an era of no internet, no tinder, no social media, no globalised terms would be totally anti-Buddhist. It’s like finding a cure for cataract (which usually happens after 60) in the books of nursery rhymes.
The Matrix is about you. Is there an Ambedkar or a Buddha in you? Can you be the Einstein, Marx, Edison, Van Gogh, Picasso, Shakespeare, Che Guevara, Mandela of this era? If not, are you enabling someone to be, or supporting someone who is on the path. ‘The Neo’ is in you. The machines and systems are taking control of the people, as a person, realise your strength. Isn’t exactly this what Ambedkar did, Buddha did, to realise their own potential, take control, strive for the welfare of people. They didn’t complain, they suggested solutions. They experimented with ideas and its implementations. Chose the best of what was suitable in the era. What stops you?
Grow beyond 1932, beyond 1956, live in today. To attain Buddhahood is to live in this moment. Not a moment before or after. Not to think of past or worry for future. Evolve the Matrix to 2021 in the era of social media, of globalised economies and sanctions, of internet and speedy delivery of information and knowledge. Connect with all marginalised sections. Stand for them, voice them. Break the barriers of political, religious, cultural and social mapping. Stand for ‘people’. Voice for them. The marginalised could be your next door priest, a distant farmer, an unpaid government teacher, an unemployed youth, a domestic violence affected female, a retired employee or just a person documenting nationality. The preamble is about ‘People’ not ‘Citizens’ or ‘Voters’.
Again I say, there is no spoon, but because you see the spoon, use the spoon to feed and to eat. The Matrix of Ambedkar is the ideology, a social condition, not an idol. Expand the horizons, include the maximum, exclude none. It wont matter if there is a spoon or no spoon, the Neo in you should be able to discern truth from falsely perceived view, openly pursue truth. Let’s stop being completely submissive to the anti-people idea/thought/philosophy/ideology, both consciously and subconsciously.
There is no spoon, there is no Buddha, there is no Ambedkar. Now it’s just you and the people. Act.
Vivek Sakpal is a publisher from Mumbai firstname.lastname@example.org