Rajendra Pal Gautaum, a social welfare minister in the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) cabinet, was forced to resign by the BJP leaders on 10.10.2022. His fault was that he dared to organise a huge gathering at Ambedakr Bhawan, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, India on 5 October, 222 and motivated Dalits to take oath and embrace Buddhism. It is alarming that AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal who professes to admire Baba Saheb Dr B.R. Ambedakr did not endorse the Minister’s conversion feat. It also demonstrates that Arvind Kejriwal is a hypocritical politician who seeks the votes of the so –called dalits while keeping them in the thralldom of Hinduism that has been persecuting the Dalits for generations. By accepting Gautam`s resignation , Arvind Kejriwal demonstrates that his only connection to Dalits is through their voting power. Not only that, but Arvind Kejriwal also demonstrates his Hinduism heritage and his refusal to allow his minister to engage in social reforms.
Under pressure from the ruling BJP, Arvind Kejriwal made the wrong decision. If he truly admired Dr. B.R Ambedkar and followed his social, economic and political philosophy he would have staunchly supported his minister. He did not do it. Very sorry. Now it is clear that Arvind Kejriwal and his Hindu leaders are a ‘B” team of the BJP who does not want any kind of social reforms in India. In other words, Arvind Kejriwal is giving indications that he does not want to see the country should be governed in accordance with the Indian Constitution which was drafted by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar .
On 14 October, 1956 Dr Ambedakr organised a formal public event in Nagpur for himself and his followers. He embraced Buddhism. Why Dr Ambedkar embraced Buddhism was because he wanted Dalits to get rid of Hinduism that does not offer them respect and dignity. Dr Ambedkar repudiated the caste system, a societal ill that has persisted in Hinduism for centuries. Hinduism is built on rejecting democratic ideals since Chatuvarnya`s unequal social stratification stunted untouchables’ total development of the people for thousands of years. Hindu customs that are undemocratic and inhumane have not been completely altered, not even by the socio-religious reformation movement in contemporary India. Untouchability, Devdasi, Dowry , female infanticide etc. occurrences are still often reported within the Hindu community. Dr. Ambedkar completed his own conversion, along with his wife. He then proceeded to convert some 500,000 of his supporters who were gathered around him. He prescribed the 22 Vows for these converts, after the Three Jewels and Five Precepts. He then travelled to Kathmandu, Nepal to attend the Fourth World Buddhist Conference. The Buddhist society of India, which is regarded as one of the key organizations in the social reform movement and bolstering democratic values in India was created as a result of Dr Ambedkar civil rights movement struggle for the realization of social democracy in India. Buddhism is a scientific religion. Buddhism rejects the concepts of the social and incarnation. Buddhism is the world’s fourth-largest religion.
Rajendra Pal Gautam was forced to resign. What is to be done? Gautam should build up his own political party minus Raj Rattan Ambedkar. Gautam must connect with the Dalits and work for social transformation in India. On the other hand, the Dalits who proudly converted to Buddhism on that day ought to vote against the BJP and APP in Himachal Pradesh , Gujarat and future. If they do not succeed in doing this, Dr Ambedkar`s aim of making India a Buddhist nation will be dashed. Dalits must realize that Buddhism is the only religion where they can find social respect and dignity.
Dr. Rahul Kumar, Ph.D. in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi (India), is an independent researcher. His area of interest encompasses social & political issues, diplomacy, foreign policy and international relations. The views expressed in this article are personal.