The biggest challenge India faces is the “concerted attempt” by ruling right-wing political parties to convert the secular nation into a religious one based on partisanship and irrational beliefs, said Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) president Prakash Ambedkar. Right-wing parties are pushing Hindutva in the name of good governance, said Ambedkar.
Prakash, the grandson of Dr BR Ambedkar, told The Indian Express on the eve of the Republic Day that he was anguished by how ‘Hindutva’ was being redefined to propagate a new vision of ‘nationalism’.
“There have been two streams in existence since the creation of the nation. One which pursues the Vedic religion. The other pursues saint tradition. Now, Vedic rituals have always been associated with the upper castes. Whereas, reforms ushered by saints have seen a large following amongst Dalits, tribals and a section within the OBCs. Now, the conflict between these two streams to gain supremacy (is going on),” Ambedkar said.
“In the name of good governance, the Centre is pushing its own Hindutva which is neither inclusive nor based on equality. Now, these are traits that are gradually threatening the basic socio-political structure. The BJP government is endangering the secular and spiritual ethos of the country under the pretext of a newly defined nationalism,” Ambedkar said.
The society, already fragmented based on caste and class, would further be divided, Ambedkar fears. “This is detrimental to the secular fabric of the nation. It also threatens the Indian Constitution, both in letter and spirit,” he said.
“In the past, there may have been weak governments at the helm. But nobody tinkered with secularism. Nobody enforced any religious practices,” he added.
The VBA leader said India’s strength was its plurality and diversity. The BJP and the Centre seem to be dangerously imposing their agenda on people and that is detrimental for the society and the nation, he said.