Migration has played a crucial vital role in the development and evolution of humankind. Exchange of idea’s, knowledge, cultures, food, medicines, economics….. religion, philosophy, and ideologies etc together contribute to this process. Conquest and War, Trade and Commerce and Ecology and Environment were principal reasons for people to migrate in earlier history. Today, it has been replaced with opportunities of education, employment and a better quality of life, all these are wilful migration. Migration to escape atrocities of all types, slavery, denial of rights, refugees of war etc is forced by external forces.
Indigenous communities (Adivasi/Tribals) seldom migrate. They love their land, and community and are localised in their region. They have evolved and are happily content in their own small nation. Today, they do have interaction and migration outside their land. Mainstream educational schools are set up, their youth migrates to towns for higher studies, employment and some even marry outside the community. Yet, India rarely discusses about them, their science, history, festivals, foods, cultures.. etc. They are showcased at special events with their traditional attire combined with song and dance. They welcome outsiders to their land, and exchange idea’s, while being protected by the Indian Constitution in terms of sale of their land.
Dalits, present in most Indian villages, are landless and face atrocities. The major migration of Dalits happened during colonial rule and post that. The British educated them to the extent as useful for colonial work, and employed them in Railways, Ports, Posts etc as labours. They were also in the infantry services. Post-independence, this nation needed huge human resources to work in factories, the Dalits migrated in search of employment and to escape the village day to day atrocities. Many have quit the farm labour work, free labour for village oppressor community etc. are educated and employed in white collar job.
Jains and Sikhs, a trading community are widely migrated in India. Thanks to their risk-taking ability combined with a community support system, they have reached almost all towns in India. The have set up shops, retail wholesale and distributorship, selling various merchandise. One is not surprised to find their place of worship in most towns or within a vicinity of the town. They also carried their ethics, cultures, food habits across the nation. Although a minority in terms of population, almost everyone knows their food preferences and religious beliefs.
Christianity and Islam reached India way beyond before the arrival of Mughals and British. Their food, language, history, culture etc was known but not widely spread until their arrival. As the power shifted, the masses became more aware of the socio-cultural attributes associated with them. Power and economics played a crucial role in people accepting and some adopting these beliefs.
The core idea I want to express is migration in any form helps to promote and exchange ideas.
Ambedkarties, as a community is a very blossoming community. I would not like to limit them by birth as it would be a casteist idea, and for which Ambedkar himself would come to scold me 😊. Today, Ambedkarites are from various castes across India. Mostly they come from historically depressed castes and communities. With more readings of Ambedkar, worldly doctrines and globalisation of ideologies, few from the historically oppressor castes are also converting to Ambedkarism.
Its not even 70 yrs, yet the growth of Ambedkarites is phenomenal in terms of reach of thoughts, economics and power centres. But, this is no time for celebration. The appropriation has begun and will be at a massive scale. To halt this appropriation and help the rightmost Ambedkarism reach the global audience it is the duty of the first-generation Ambedkarite to be a global citizen.
There are Ambedkar Associations’ in most countries where Indians usually migrate. Members of these international bodies primarily have a get-together event around important dates (14th April etc), they fund education of the poor back in India, they also act as host (initial days) to many Ambedkarites who travel to those countries for education or work. Members of these organisations also motivate other Ambedkarite students to educate themselves in other countries, give guidance for entrance tests, visa formalities etc.
This Ambedkarite diaspora is vibrant in those countries, but their breed must increase along with their activities. And this has been happening too. Recently few states in America have passed bills to end caste-based discrimination, a very significant step. Provinces in Canada have declared 14th April as Equality Day, a big milestone achieved. They have helped Ambedkar reach a new audience, make libraries catalogue books by and on Ambedkar. Activists in those countries now quote Ambedkar along with other global philosophers and leaders.
While these acts of spread of Ambedkarism are ongoing, the momentum needs to be fast-tracked. So long, this diaspora has supported their ideological siblings back home. Now it’s time to fast-track and assist them. Meritorious students must follow the path of Ambedkar and try enrol themselves in universities beyond India. The working youth should attempt job prospects in these nations.
Once they reach foreign shores, their responsibility manifolds. They not only need to remit money back home, but also outwardly remit Ambedkarite thoughts, philosophy, and ideology to a global audience. For this they need to equip themselves strongly on Ambedkarite thoughts, mere glorification won’t work on a foreign soil. They also get a chance to learn history, culture, and philosophies not present in India. If they can, they must remit these back to the people in India.
Its time to globalise Ambedkarism. While internet has made information accessible, the foreigners don’t know which information to access, you need to help them access the right and accurate information. This needs a personal touch, a debate over coffee, lending a physical copy of a book and much more which is possible only in physical world.
Vivek Sakpal is an Ambedkarite publisher