Tuesday, April 26, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Ambedkar’s ideology


Ambedkar's ideology
Uploaded by admin Baba Saheb Ambedkar, feature, Social 11:47:00 PM

India should have a Capitalistic approach that suits it the best

by Chandrabhan Prasad

(April 25, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) In the I950s, people lived
in a world that was divided. Torn ideologically, the Communist world
was led by the former Soviet Union. The US was the leader of the
Capitalist world. It was also the time when anti-colonial struggle was
at its peak. Once free, they chose a new identity for themselves —
they called themselves the Third World country.

The Soviet Union claimed leadership of the Third World countries. With
Communist Party of China taking over country, a major part of the
world had turned Red. Many leaders believed that the days of
Capitalism were numbered. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's book Imperialism is
the highest stage of Capitalism was extremely popular during that
time. The Lenin's thesis argued a logical fall of Capitalism. It was
based on a simple arithmetical calculation — once the Third World was
free from Imperialism, the contradictions between the Proletariats and
Capitalism will sharpen to a point of a breakdown. To Lenin,
Proletariats in the Capitalist world were not revolting because they
wanted to benefit from the loot brought from the colonies.

In India, as elsewhere, Lenin's slogan Road to London and Washington
goes via Calcutta and Peking had millions of takers. That meant, after
triumph of Communism in China in 1949, India was next in line to turn
Red. Even Jawaharlal Nehru was all in praise of Marxism. No wonder
then many Brahmins would turn Communist which would mean triumph of
Communism in the country. What was Dr Ambedkar's stand and ideology
during this time? The Dalits need to debate over this. Through this
column, some insight can be gathered.

Ahead of the first Parliamentary Elections in 1952, Dr Ambedkar
decided to write a manifesto of his party — All India Scheduled Caste
Federation. On October 6, 1951, a meeting was held at his residence.
The manifesto outlined following policies to be implemented — for
agriculture in case federation won elections:

* Agriculture must be mechanised. India can never become
prosperous so long as the method of cultivation remains primitive

* To make mechanised farming possible, cultivation on small
holdings must be replaced by large farms

* To increase the yield, there must be provision of for adequate
manuring and supply of healthy seeds

This was penned by Dr Ambedkar 60 years ago. What was the ideological
position of Communism in India then? Wasn't land to the tiller the
main slogan of the Communist party? Is land to the tiller slogan
possible on large farms? To whom does the idea of large farms belong?
Doesn't it belong to Communists?

In 1951, Dr Ambedkar wanted mechanisation of agriculture. Have the
Communist parties in India ever supported mechanisation of
agriculture? In fact, Communists along with Socialists were the first
to oppose introduction of tractors on the ground that machines will
create more unemployment.

Today, adequate manuring and healthy seeds mean the use of chemical
fertilizers and hybrid seeds.

Dr Ambedkar's manifesto lay emphasis on tackling poverty. "Looking at
the intense poverty of the people of this country, no other
consideration except that of greater production can be the primary and
paramount condition," wrote Dr Ambedkar in his manifesto.

But under what kind of system would the production will increase? The
manifesto has an answer for this. "For the purpose of increasing
production, the Scheduled Caste Federation (SCF) will not be bound by
any dogma or any pattern," says the manifesto (pg 39). What did Dr
Ambedkar mean when he wrote this?

Was he against the private sector? "The pattern of industrial
enterprise will be a matter regulated by the needs of the time and
circumstances. Where national undertaking of an industry is possible
and essential, the SCF will support national undertaking. Where
private enterprise is possible and national undertaking not essential,
private enterprise will be allowed," manifesto reads.

Dr Ambedkar strongly opposed Marxism. By the time he wrote the
manifesto, the idea of State Socialism lost its appeal. Did Dr
Ambedkar then stand for a Capitalistic social order? Nowhere does he
praise Capitalism. In his life time, horrifying results of Communism
had not been revealed. For many enlightened scholars belonging to the
Third World and upholding Capitalism was blasphemous.

Yet, Dr Ambedkar's manifesto virtually endorses Capitalism, with a
difference though. Today, we know that Capitalism can have many
shades. Capitalism in Scandinavia countries — Denmark, Norway and
Sweden is not the same as Capitalism in the UK and the US.

In other words, Dr Ambedkar's ideology was Ambedkarism — a Capitalism
that best suited India.


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