Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar enjoys cult status as the father of the Indian Constitution. In Dalit consciousness, he is a demigod. One of the greatest Indians that ever lived, Ambedkar, deserves to be venerated, but when that sentiment is used to hurt those of others, things can get problematic.
Birendra Ram from Bihar’s Kishanganj found himself at the wrong end of a fanatical Dalit group’s devotion for Ambedkar. Birendra belongs to a scheduled caste, but worships Hindu deities. Birendra used to hobnob with members of the Bhim Army. His beliefs, however, were not in sync with some of them.
One day, the two sides entered into a violence scuffle. As per a written complaint given by Birendra and his brothers to the police, Bhim Army president Deepchand Ravidas ordered him to stop worshipping Hindu deities. The party members asked him to destroy a Shiva Linga to prove his loyalty to the party and allegiance to the Dalit cause. Birendra refused to comply. His beliefs were strong. His Dalit group, however, brooked no dissent. A scuffle broke out and Birendra and his brothers Guddu were thrashed.
This entire drama played out on the occasion of Ambedkar’s birthday.
You can read a detailed report on the incident here.
All three sustained injuries, but Guddu was worst-affected. His jaw was broken. For the poverty-stricken family, this injury and the medical expenses that came in its wake, were downright disastrous. People from both sides were arrested following the scuffle.
When our founders learnt about the condition of Guddu through media reports, they reached out to help. Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation provided Guddu with an immediate fund transfer for medical treatment.
A few months later, Birendra Ram reached out to us again. While he thanked us profusely for the timely help, he shared that the brothers had not been able to go out and work, and their savings had almost run out. We helped the family again. Over time, we also helped Birendra Ram open a sweets shop.
What Amedkar has done for the emancipation of the marginalised sections of society is commendable, but when his name is used by vested interests to spew venom, the social fabric that Ambedkar himself had envisaged starts to rot.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation has always stood steadfastly behind people fighting for their rights, no matter how strong their opponents may be.