The Chamcha Age
"The Chamcha Age (An Era of Stooges)" was written by Kanshi Ram, and published by him on 24th Sept. 1982 on the occasion of 50th anniversary of Poona Pact. It is dedicated to Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, "whose initiation of cultural revolt in colonial India, later taken up by Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Periyar E.V.Ramaswamy and many other rebellious spirits brought us to this level where we are thinking, planning and struggling to put an end to the 'Chamcha Age' and usher in 'Bright Age' for the Shudras and the Ati-Shudras."
In preface he says Chamcha Age started from the Poona Pact giving Joint Electorates instead of Separate Electorates. The purpose of book is to make Dalit Soshit Samaj of the existence of Chamchas or stooges, and to awaken masses how to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit leadership.
The book is divided into 4 parts and 17 chapters. The first two parts give information about past struggles, part III depicts present situation and part IV suggests ways and means of future struggle.
A Chamcha is an indigenous word for a stooge, or a tool, or an agent, who is operated by others for their own benefit. Gandhiji felt necessity of Chamchas from 1939-32 onwards. A Chamcha is created to oppose the real fighter, the genuine leader. While Dr. Ambedkar was taking the untouchables of India from Dark Age to Bright Age, they slipped aside into Chamcha Age. Gandhiji preferred two Chamchas through joint electorate against one real representative through separate electorate.
Part IV of the Book is titled "The Way Out", has 6 Chapters: It mostly outlines the struggle that is necessary to fight Brahmanism. It has not only historical importance to understand Kanshiram's struggle, but also can enlighten us what is to be done in future. It describes Dr. Ambedkar's concept of Educate, Agitate, Organise. Separate Settlements, Denunciation of Poona pact, and also his three attempts to make the movement broad based, giving the excerpts from Baba Saheb's famous speech at S.C.Conference at Lucknow on 25.4.1948. Below reproduced is the entire Part IV, which is the main Part, for future guidance. Hope it serves some useful purpose for those who are rather nonconversant with Kanshiram's philosophy.
Ambedkar could anticipate
The joint electorate is from the point of the Hindus to use a familiar phrase a "rotten borough" in which the Hindus get the right to nominate an untouchable to set nominally as a representative of the untouchable but really as a tool of the Hindu." [Dr.B.R.Ambedkar.]
From the above two quotations, it is abundantly clear that Baba Saheb Ambedkar could clearly anticipate the outcome of the Poona Pact. Being a constitutional expert and a democrat, he could well imagine the fact of the disfranchised people in a democracy based on adult franchise. He could also anticipate4e the fate of the people whose representatives were not real representatives, but mere tools in the hand of their age-old enemies. It was the helplessness of his people at that time that forced him to sign the Poona-Pact under the coercive effects of Gandhiji's fast. At that time, he must have thought of the times when the depressed classes would be less helpless to take up the challenge and fight for their due. At any rate, he was there with us for 24 years to fight the evil efforts of the Chamcha age.
Educate ! Agitate !! Organise !!!
To meet the challenge of the chamcha age, he could develop various ways and means. The best of all such ways and means way to prepare his people through the well-planned concept of Educate, Agitate, Organise. He thought that his people could kept slaves for long time because of their ignorance. He, therefore, sought to eliminate ignorance through education. The various types of efforts made by him to educate and enlighten his people are there for all of us to see. The outcome of all those efforts is also so glaringly visible. The various types of struggles launched by him to meet the challenge of chamcha age have become a legend by now. The organizations developed by him to meet the challenge in an organized manner are also so familiar to all of us.
Keeping in mind the helplessness of his people that forced the Poona Pact on them he developed another concept to remove their helplessness. It was manifested in the idea of Separate Settlements for his people. He thought of eliminating their minority status in the villages by way of creating separate settlements for them, where they would be in majority. Thus, being in majority in such separate settlements, they could have elected their real representatives to the legislatures. Besides, these separate settlements were designed to improve their economy. But unfortunately when the British decided to quit India after the IInd World War, this idea of separate settlements could not be taken up with the new rulers.
Denunciation of the Poona-Pact
When the idea of separate Settlement could not materialize Dr. Ambedkar again thought of Separate Electorates to meet the challenge of the chamacha age. For this, he not only denounced Poona Pact, but also launched a massive agitation against it in 1946. During the year of 1946, the submitted and elaborate memorandum to the Constituent Assembly pleading for separate electorates.
Not only this, he kept up propaganda against the chamcha age. He availed each and every opportunity to do that. Even today we are guided by that propaganda, available to us, especially through the following 3 books :-
(i) Mr. Gandhi and the Emancipation of the Untouchables.
Making of Movement broad based.
(1) At the Scheduled Castes Conference at Lucknow on 25th April, 1948, Baba saheb Ambedkar made the first serious effort in this direction. The following quote from his Lucknow speech will prove the point.
"... I then turned to the question of unity between the Scheduled Castes and the so-called Backward Classes. This I did at the request of the leaders of the backward Classes who were present at the conference. I said it was a pity that the two classes whose needs were common did not join together. The reason was that the Backward Classes did not like to associate themselves with the Scheduled Caste because they were afraid that such an association will bring themselves down to the level of the Scheduled Castes.
"I said that I was not anxious to establish inter-dining and inter-marriage between the Scheduled Castes and the Backward Classes. They may well remain separate social entities. There is no reason why they should not join hands to form a political party to remove their backward condition. I pointed out how the Scheduled Castes have improved their condition by playing their part in the politics of the country and there is no reason why the Backward Classes should not do the same.
"I said that I Scheduled Castes and the Backward Classed form majority of the population of the country. There is no reason why they should not rule this county. All that is necessary is to organize for the purpose of capturing political power which is your own because of adult suffrage. People do not seem to buck up courage because they are overwhelmed by the belief that the Congress Government is there for ever. I said this is a wrong impression. In a popular democracy no Government is permanent and not even the Government established by the two of the tallest Congressmen, Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel. If you organize you can even capture that Government."
(2) The second serious effort was made in 1951, when Baba Saheb Ambedkar visited Patna on the invitation of the Backward Class leaders to form a single party for S.C. & O.B.C. But the move was defeated by Pandit Nehru by offering one chair to the O.B.C. leader and by using "Paper Bullets" to attract the greedy amongst them.
(3) The third and the last most serious effort was made by him to bring not only the S.C. & O.B.C. under one banner but also all the oppressed and exploited Indians whom we to-day call Dalit Soshit Samaj under the umbrella of a single political party. But unfortunately, he left us on Dec. 6, 1956, before translating the ideal into action.
During the last days of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, while pushing ahead his plans and programmes, he was very much worried about future without him. He was not sure about the capacity, sincerity and devotion of his lieutenants to carry the Caravan ahead, after him. We get a glimpse of such doubts from his last message, " ... If my lieutenants are not able to take the Caravan ahead they should leave it there, but under no circumstances should they allow the Caravan to go back. This is the message to my people."
The inevitable happened. After the sad demise of Baba Saheb Ambedkar on 6th Dec. 1956, his lieutenants made feeble efforts almost on all the fronts. Their failures on all the fronts are there for all of us to see.
The set-back to the Ambedkarite movements, reduced many of his selfish, greedy and insincere lieutenants to the worst variety of Chamchas, They divided themselves into two halves, Half of them took to stooging directly by entering congress and other parties. Another half thought it more profitable to stooge indirectly, by forming small groups out of the organizations created by Baba Saheb Ambedkar.
This, in nut-shell, is the story of the Post-Ambedkar period.
GENUINE & CAPABLE LEADERSHIP
To-day, whether to meet the challenge of the chamcha age or to put an end to the chamcha age and usher in bright age for the Dalit-Shoshit Samaj, the most pressing need is of genuine and capable leadership.
All of us know that Baba Saheb Ambedkar while himself leading us towards the bright age, managed to create for us the opportunities for higher education. His strong belief was that only highly educated leaders can meet the challenge of the chamcha age. The following extract from the Kaka Saheb Kalelkar report will prove the point :
"Q.1 :-What according to you, constitutes backwardness as it applies to the situation India ?
Dr.Ambedkar :- Supposing I am left in the situation to do something for the betterment and advancement of India, I would look at the social status of the community. Here in India people have got different status - some are in the highest position, some are in middle, some are still less and some are at the bottom. Our problem is not so much to distribute wealth in order to make everybody happy; our problem is that different status should disappear. It can disappear only by advancement of education, when all the communities are brought to the same level in the matter of education, not everybody but the community as such. If there are 10 barristers, 20 doctors, 30 engineers etc. in a community, I regard that community as rich, although every one of them is not educated. Take for instance, chamars, you look upon this community with hatred, but if there are some lawyers, doctors, engineers and educated persons among them, you cannot put your hand upon them....
Q.5:- What remedy would you suggest for the speedy removal of the backwardness of so many communities in India that are suffering from age-old social backwardness and educational apathy?
Dr.Ambedkar:- I have suggested that if you produce big people from amongst them, the backwardness would go. The backwardness is only a sort of inferiority complex".
In a lengthy reply to question 4, his answer was that for removing backwardness it was essential to produce highly qualified and educated persons amongst them and then put them in key posts. They could control any wrong being done.
At late in his life as 1954, Baba Saheb had been having such views. But within 2 years, our dear Doctor was to detect the worst disease, then, instead of praise, he was to condemn these highly educated men of status, occupying key posts. His condemnation of these highly qualified men of status, occupying key post was open and public, during a very well attended public meeting on 18th March, 1965 at Agra. After this detection of the disease, during the comming 8 months left for him, he could neither diagnose nor find remedial measures.
In 1954, Dr.Ambedkar was thinking of 10 lawyers, 20 doctor and 30 engineers, But during the coming years the number of such highly qualified persons swelled to lakhs. Because of the opportunities created by Dr. Ambedkar, they got key posts and acquired status. Very unfortunately, along with this increase, the disease spread and became an epidemic. This epidemic killed the very thought of Baba Saheb Ambedkar which he had been entertaining and nourishing over the years, The product of his dream and efforts, the highly educated persons of status, occupying key posts, instead of becoming a boon, became, a curse for their oppressed and exploited communities, in fact, for the entire Dalit Soshit Samaj. Instead of controlling the wrongs being done to their communities, they became the cause for many additional wrongs.
In the absence of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, his lieutenants were helpless. They simply ignored the epidemic. Much worse, most of them became a part and parcel of it. Around 1973, some highly educated employees could themselves diagnose the diseases and later named it "Alienation of the elite." The disease and its evil effects had been dealt with in a separate chapter. As a cure BAMCEF was developed. The basic objective of BAMCEF is "Pay back to the oppressed and exploited society."
BAMCEF has partly cured the disease, by way of securing a partial check over the alienation of the elite, In future, it is likely to become a perfect and permanent cure by becoming a perennial source of Genuine & Capable leadership.
After making arrangements for the genuine & capable leadership which could take care of even the worst disease like the alienation of the elite, we come to the problem. To solve the problem of the chamcha age successfully, we should split it in 3 parts as under.:
(i) To meet the challenge of the chamcha age.
Now after splitting the problem systematically and suitably, we can solve the problems one by one. To my mind by tackling the problems one by one, we can complete the task within 10 years. The solutions for these three parts can be termed as (i) Short- term, (ii) Long-term, and (iii) Durable. These solution are briefly discussed in 3 separate chapters.
The Dalit Shoshit Samaj is lying low and reconciled to its lowly status. It is a huge section of our society. Thus, the lowly and backward status of this huge section of our society is keeping the country low and backward. This huge section must be awakened, aroused and put in action. Such action this huge section of society, after its awakening and arousal may be termed as Social Action.
Preparation for Social Action
(i) Creating Awakening to induce arousal
To awaken this huge section of our society many thoughtful measures are required to be taken. Such thoughtful measures may be of 2 type :-(a) general (b) specific, based on issues.
(a) General measures may be on social, economic, political, religious and cultural aspects. Why such wide ranging measures are required? It is because the Dalit Shoshit Samaj is in the dark on all such fronts. To enlighten them, awakening on all these front is a must. Until and unless, they are awakened, they cannot be aroused, unless they are aroused, they can not be involved, So to involve them such wide-range awakening is a must.
It is for this large scale need of awakening on all the fronts that we are attaching so much importance to our awakening squads. Our awakening squads in almost all the major languages of India, cater to this need of awakening. Our awakening squads are trained to enlighten the suppressed society on all such fronts. Keeping in mind the long standing laziness of the Dalit-Shoshit Samaj, the method used by our awakening squads is enlightening and awakening while entertaining.
(b) Specific measures to create awakening are based on issues. For example, to spread Ambedkarite thought, Ambedkar Mela on Wheels was conducted; to throw light on the chamcha age, Poona Pact was denounced; to form habit of using our own little resources in a big way, the 4200 kms. long Bicycle Prachar Yatra is to be undertaken. Specific measures are required to throw light on the atrocities committed on the S.C./ S.T. the non implementation of the rules, regulations, plans, projects, programmes and laws meant for S.C./S.T. cannot be secured without resorting to specific measures for awakening, enlightening and arousing the concerned masses. The poor response for securing the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report is for lack of specific measures being taken for arousing the concerned masses.
(ii) Keeping the Dalit-Shoshit Samaj in Action
The problems of the Dalit-Shosit Samaj are many and on all the fronts. To tackle those problems with the help of the concerned masses, they must be awakened, aroused and put into action. By putting them in action occasionally will not solve all those problems. They, therefore, must always be kept in action.
(iii) Mild to Wild Action By and large social action should be mild, but continuous without any break. It may be in one form or another, may be for one cause or another. To make it meaningful and effective. occasionally it will have to be wild, but non-violent. It will all depend upon the types of struggles.
Examples of the planned Social Action
To understand Social Action fully and for the benefit of those activists who will be required to make the social action effective and successful in future, it is essential to give a few examples. The following 5 examples of the planned social action of the past, the present and the future will be useful, both for making the general public understand social action and preparing the activists to conduct social action effectively and successfully.
(i) Ambedkar Mela on Wheels
(ii) Denunciation of the Poona Pact
(iii) People Parliament
(iv) Miracle of two feet and two wheels
(v) Efforts for equality
While addressing the Constituent Assembly on 25th Nov.1949 Baba Saheb Ambedkar spoke thus:
"On 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality....How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions ? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life ? ..."
As all of us know that all along over the last 32 years, we had been living this life of contradictions. If anything, the gap of inequality has further widened. It has caused almost irreparable loss to the Dalit Shoshit Samaj. To put an end to this inequality, an extensive and a massive social action is a must. This social action will unfold itself after the 6th Dec.1983 when it is planned to be launched.
D-S4--An organization for Social Action
In our mission, we believe in doing things in an organized manner. D-S4 is our organization for social action. All future social actions will be planned, designed and conducted by D-S4.
As Social Action was found necessary to meet the challenge of the chamcha age, Political Action is our solution for putting an end to the chamcha age, But on the other hand, we understand that the chamcha age is the product of present day political activity. The exit of the British on 15th August, 1947 resulted in the transfer of power to the High Caste Hindus. But before the transfer of power, the seed for adult franchise were already sown. The seed sprouted and by the time India became a Republic, with a constitution of its own, it resulted in the build-up of a huge Vote-Bank of the Dalit Shoshit Samaj.
All this created a very peculiar situation. In a democratic set up, adopted by us, the High Caste Hindus could not rule India without the consent of the Dalit Shoshit Samaj. Thus, to have access to this Vote-Bank, the ruling Castes required the help of the chamcha. All this has been elaborated in a separate chapter. But our problem here is that we need a Political Action to uproot the product of the present day political activity. Such a political action, therefore, will have to be altogether different from the present day political activity available to us.
Present political activity & outcome
To build-up required political activity of our own, we must know and understand the present day political activity and its outcome. After the exit of the British, the high caste Hindus started sharing power amongst them. The political and the bureaucratic power fell into the hands of the Brahmins. The S.C. / S.T. got 22.5 % reservation; even though their representatives remained chamchas in the hands of the ruling Castes. In the bureaucratic machine, they got opening at various levels. For the last 20 years, the are getting their full quota in the top administrative services of the Center.
O.B.C.-- The worst sufferers
But the worst sufferers are the Other Backward Castes (O.B.C.) After the exit of the British, they got alround setback. Their share, in both the political and administrative power, had been almost entirely eaten by the higher castes, especially the Brahmins. As per Mandal Commission Report O.B.C. population is 52% of the total population of India. On the other hand, the population of the Brahmins and Kshatriyas is about 8 to 9% of the total. But in present parliament, these 8 to 9% people are represented by 52% of M.Ps., whereas 52% of people are represented by 8 to 9% of M.P.s. In a parliamentary democracy such representation makes all the difference. As a result of this imbalance, the entire power structure is grossly tilted against the O.B.C. To illustrate such a gross tilt at all the important level 2 charts are presented in this very chapter. The outcome of the entire present day political activity can be well understood from these charts.
Tamil Nadu & U.P.- A study in contrast
Regarding the position of O.B.C. to-day Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh present a study of contrast. In Tamil Nadu the O.B.C. get its full quota in both political and administrative spheres. It keeps increasing with the passage of time. Whereas in U.P. the O.B.C. are worst-placed. As per the latest election of May- June 1980, politically one Brahmin was equivalent to 23 backward persons. As per U.P. Govt., the percentage of gazetted officers of O.B.C. in 1946, 1955 and 1960 stood at 0.80, 0.47, 0.70 respectively. From this contrast, we can learn a lot for building our own political activity.
Political Party of our own
To-day in India we have 7 National level political parties, All these 7 parties are led by the High Caste Hindus. They control the affairs of their parties on a manner to perpetuate high caste rule. Dalit-Shosht Samaj is helpless in spite of 85% votes at their disposal. It is widely felt that we must have our own political party. In the past some efforts were made, but without success.
Recently we have conducted some experiments towards building such a party. Such experimentations known as Limited Political Action will be further conducted till we feel sure of forming a political party of National level on our own. Through such a political party of the Dalit Shoshit Samaj Political Action for putting an end to the chamcha age will be launched.
[Two charts are given here. One is about Political and Bureaucratic grip of Brahmins over India, and Percentage of Brahmins in parliament. The figures being old these charts are not reproduced.]
In the last 2 chapters we have concluded that (i) to meet the challenge of the chamcha age, we need Social Action and (ii) to put an end to the chamcha age, we need Political Action. But to usher in Bright Age, will be the toughest task before us, before this generation or even before the coming generations. It will need a complete cultural change and altogether different control. Only such change can bring about durable solution.
The real and basic problem
In India, our real and basic problem is social, religious and cultural. Everything else is outcome of this basic problem. The chamcha age is just a minor outcome of this major basic problem.
In India, we have a religion of the Shastras, having peculiar religious notions. The religious notions, not only dominate, but also make the culture. The domination of these religious notions has resulted in creating a peculiar culture which can be termed as the Culture of the Castes, In other countries, they say religion is personal but culture is common. Thus, they can be separate. But in India, both are one and the same thing.
Caste-Crux of the problem
Dr. Ambedkar had written 2 major essays on the Caste, namely
Leaving aside his crusade against caste and his other writings on it, even on the basis of these two essays, he can be considered the greatest authority on caste. As per his thought Caste System is a Social System which embodies the arrogance and selfishness of a perverse section of the Hindus who were superior enough in social status to set it in fashion and who had authority to force it on their inferiors. To enforce such a degrading social system very harsh penal sanctions were required which were provided by the Manu Smriti.
Caste system made the Hindus sick men of India and their sickness affected the health and happiness of other Indians. This became a major problem for all the Indians. Much has been said against this evil system by many, much more can be said, but here, we should conclude by saying that the caste had been the problem of the Indians in the past, it still remains a crux of the problem to-day.
In the past caste was paraded openly and caste restrictions observed very strictly. For long time, the high status of a caste was a paying proposition. During the middle of the 19th century, revolt against this evil system was initiated. It spread in the 1st half of the 20th century, so much so that by 1950, it started becoming a double edged sword cutting both ways, The High caste Hindus sensed the danger, so much so they got the caste column removed from the census records. So, today for any authentic and recorded information regarding caste, we are required to look back to them 1931 census.
To-day caste is very much there. But it is in the disguised form. The ruling Castes, being in minority, do not speak much about it, but are in a position to parctise it secretly and favorably to their own castes. Not only that, it has become fashion with the ruling castes to speak against it openly and practise it secretly, especially to retain the levers of the power in their hand, Look at the performance of Nehru, he got 47% Brahmins elected to the Lok Sabha during the height of his regime during the 1957 Parliamentary polls. Along with the 22.5% reserved quota of the S.C./ S.T. in Lok Sabha of the parliament, Nehruji kept ruling India and Indians majestically. But by 1980 the caste equation changed, especially when a Scheduled Caste candidate Babu Jagjivan Ram aspired to be the Prime Minister of India, So in 1980 Indiraji was required to get some 15% Kshatriyas elected to secure majority along with 36% Brahmin M.Ps.
In the last chapter, 2 charts have been added to show the grab of the political and administrative power by the Brahmins, Here, we are interested only pointing to the fact how power is grabbed and retained by the change of caste equations. Surely you can not have caste equations without cast considerations. And at the same time these experts in caste equations from Nehru to Indira keep on speaking against caste and keep on dubbing others as castists.
Beneficiaries of the system 10 to 15%
Victims of the System 85 to 90%
Other Backward Castes
This sketch of the Social System stands like a structure,. In this structure the castes are the building bricks. A mere look at the structure will convince us, that it is an epitome of inequality.
How the system stands
In this very chapter a sketch has been added to indicate how the caste system or the social system stands, In this structure, castes are the building bricks, The sketch is self explanatory, The beneficiaries of the system have cornered all the 5 major powers and sources of the powers, namely: (1)Political (2)Bureaucratic (3)Feudal (4)Economic and (5)Cultural. In the sketch, the castes shown as the intermediary castes which are not a part of the O.B.C. have also benefited and advanced even though they happen to be the Shudra Castes, religiously speaking. Whereas the victims of the system are loser all around and on every front.
Revolt in Past
In the recent past, many rebellious spirits all over India revolted against this culture of the castes, The revolt of Mahatma Jotiba Phule, Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy, Narayanaguru and Baba Saheb Ambedkar is outstanding. A plethora of literature is available about their revolt and the success they met. Here, we wish to take note of the means adopted by them to change this culture of the castes. Satya Shodhak Samaj by Mahatma Phule, Rationalism and Atheism by Periyar E V R and Buddhism by Baba Saheb Ambedkar were the means applied by them for affecting change. To-day while looking at the fate of these means, we feel disappointed. It appears that this culture of the castes has the strength and the strong backing to recover the lost ground. But nevertheless the efforts of our crusaders, have resulted in the emancipation of the mind. It will be greatly useful for further expansion of our activity.
Task for the future
In the light of the past experience it can be concluded that the task for the future is tremendous, especially when we know the hidden and open backing this culture of the castes is getting from the beneficiaries of the system. But to change this culture of Perfect Inequality into the one of Absolute Equality must remain our cherished goal. The present culture is controlled by beneficiaries of the system. But the changed culture of absolute equality must ever remain in the hands of the victims of the present system. It is a must to avoid sabotage and subversion. This the lesson to be learnt from the fall of the Maurya Empire.