Fading from memory
This piece on Ambedkar’s absence from mainstream media is bang on (“On Ambedkar’s 60th death anniversary, media proved that he was Untouchable in death as in life”). I am glad S Anand raised this issue.
This lack of coverage is also to blame for the fact that Ambedkar is known largely as a Dalit icon but not so much as an accomplished economist, eminent jurist, labour rights pioneer and an unmatched scholar of sociology and religion. The absence of any major government sponsored events in Mumbai on his death anniversary proves that the government is appropriating Ambedkar only for votes.
Citizens would appropriate him willingly if he was identified and projected as the man who enabled equal rights for women (including inheritance) and all strata of men. Also, his contribution toward the mechanics of the rupee and the central banking system now established in the form of the Reserve Bank of India is unmatched. For this contribution, Ambedkar too should have found a place in our currency.
In their Hindutva project, if the present government projects these realities of Ambedkar, instead of only using him opportunistically, they will endear themselves a little to his massive support base. – Rajratna Jadhav
Thank you for highlighting the casteist attitude of the media. Every year, lakhs of people visit Chaitya Bhoomi to pay homage to BR Ambedkar. But besides DD Sahyadri, hardly any news channel covers this prominently. I hope to see a change in this era of technology. – Swapnil Dani
Our media is driven by TRP and numbers, as this article rightly points out. Politicians also talk about Ambedkar only at election time. Ambedkar fought for the rights of down trodden people and writing about him is purportedly not glamorous, according to the media. – Srinivas G
It is shocking that the 60 death anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar was not covered prominently by most leading Indian newspapers. Unfortunately, this is the sad reality of India. The higher-castes don’t want to acknowledge the so-called Untouchables except when it helps them win votes. – Shashikant Galande
I feel sorry about the state of affairs. But one should realise that most people are caught up with making a livelihood and other pressing matters and therefore may not stop to spare a thought to Ambedkar’s birth or death anniversary. It is the authorities concerned who should make him an essential part of Indian history and education, through debates, discussions, quizzes and awareness exercises.
We the forgetful people of India should be constantly reminded about our history and culture. lest we forget even our national anthem. – Jayanthi Jaisimha
Mamata Banerjee is setting a bad precedent with her hysterical behaviour (“I am vocal against demonetisation and thus this ‘military coup’, says Mamata Banerjee”). She has called a routine exercise the army a coup and has staged a dharna over it. She nurtures the ambition of leading the country as prime minister, but her antics are puzzling. – Somayajulu Cherukuri
Mamata Banerjee seems to have spent many sleepless nights over her hoards of unaccounted-for currency. Her allegation that the army is collecting toll money at booths seems to give message that she wanted to convert her unused money from toll booth collections. Banerjee is gradually paving the way for her political end. – DJ Shokai
This piece truly depicts the dilemma of the masses post demonetisation (“Demonetisation is a sacrifice that cleanses. It is the real swachch abhiyan of the republic”). One cannot really quantify the affects of the exercise but just feel the rumbling of the change, like a whale slowly turning in your direction.
The common man is ready to make sacrifices and adjustments. Perhaps it feels like the Emergency era but also like euthanasia – hope for a painless afterlife. The real question though is: how many times will the common man have to die to achieve it? – Darshan Kaarki
This is an interesting analysis and explains why all statements by the public on demonetisation start with “I think the idea is good and was required, but...” The “but” and the subsequent pause is very meaningful, but not read into much. – Kollegala Sharma
House in disorder
This article depicts the mentality of parties in power and their tendency to bypass legislative checks for their convenience (“No debate, please: The devaluation of Parliament is an alarming sign for Indian democracy”). The flip side of this trend is that parties are at times forced to take this route when even well-intentioned legislation do not see light, just because Opposition hinders it.
With regard to defection, this article right says that the anti-defection law curbs the expression of elected representatives. However, in a first-past-the-post system, it is inevitable that like-minded groups seek to speak the same language on important political issues. If there are no restrictions on legislators, nothing will stop them in defecting for their self interests, increasing the role of money and muscle power in politics.
Political and ethical integrity, concern for all, inclusiveness, citizens’ participation and the end of societal divisions are principles of a democracy and implementing them will take country closer to its goal of becoming an equitable, rational and liberal society. A democracy pursuing all these bound to progress. – Somnath Wagh
Taking a stand
This article on why our national anthem is not played much in Tamil Nadu is out of place and makes false claims (“Southern secret: Why the national anthem is rarely played at public functions in Tamil Nadu”). Yes, the invocation song Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu is always sung at the beginning of every function, but the event always concludes with the national anthem. Kindly try to publish things after verification as it reduces the respect accorded to Scroll.in is considered. We are proud to sing the two songs instead one. – Bhuvana
Where did the author get the information that the national anthem is rarely played in Tamil Nadu? I live here and I have never heard such a statement. We have all been taught the national anthem in school. It is regularly played at educational institutes and public events. Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu is an invocation song for public functions but the national anthem is played regularly at the end of the event. – Sakthivel Ponnusamy
I am appalled to read about Indian travellers facing difficulties in withdrawing money abroad after demonetisation (“Indians travelling abroad face demonetisation wall: Debit card use overseas seems to have cap too”). The case of the traveller in Bangladesh doesn’t even begin to make sense as there is no cap on transactions by card – only on cash withdrawal. You would not even face such a problem in India. Something is very fishy about it.
The example of the traveller to London is also strange. I spent a month in London about 10 years ago and found that even back then, I barely had to rely on cash as unlike our country, every shop accepted cards even for £2 transaction in 2006. Unless you are hell bent on using cash or take pride in it, you can buy anything and go around anywhere using cards in beautiful city like London.
Both cases just seem like a lame attempt on shamming and discrediting demonitisation for the sake of it. – Vigyan Anand
This farm to plate activity reminds me of experiences in my school in Delhi, in the 1960s, where we were encouraged to help tend to a garden at the school and take home ideas to start an urban farm movement (“From Lodhi Garden to your dining table: Foraging for food in New Delhi”).
Very few of us were inspired to take this up, even for a short while. The idea didn’t work because in India, physical labour is considered the preserve of only a few. So I will be interested to see whether this is merely another flash in Delhi’s pan – or whether attitudes towards work and caste in our country have indeed changed. – Prabhu Guptara
Prakash Ambedkar claims that BR Ambedkar advocated demonetisation in his book The Problem of the Rupee way back in 1923 (“‘Demonetisation was Ambedkar’s idea’: Crowds at Dalit icon’s anniversary event debate Modi’s move”). This claim is misleading, to say the least. The book is concerned with the merits of paper currency versus metallic currency, and not with demonetisation. In it, Ambedkar wrote, “Nothing will stabilise the rupee unless we stabilise its general purchasing power.” Sadly, the poor lost their purchasing power as a result of demonetisation. – Nagesh Havanur