Two Symbolic Icons On Yamuna River Bank
Written by: Eurasia Review
October 25, 2011
By Madhu Chandra
Socio-cultural religious revolution versus socio-economic educational
revolution is what the nation is witnessing now in Uttar Pradesh.
Mayawati – the Dalit Chief Minister has brought socio-cultural and
religious revolution within her state in last five years. State
capital city Lucknow looks like an ancient Buddhist monastery city
today. This socio-cultural and religious revolution has moved toward
National Capital Region (NCR) as well, where she has inaugurated
National Dalit Prena (Inspiration) Sthal (Place) – a park worth of Rs
685 crores (US$ 150 million) on October 14, 2011, marking the 55th
Anniversary of Bhim Rao Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism.
With this, two symbolic icons stand on Yamuna river bank right in
National Capital Region. Akshardham temple begun building in 2000 and
completed in 2005 is a symbolic of Brahmanism – a dominion sect of
religious society while National Dalit Prena Sthal a neo symbolic of
Dalits – oppressed people, formally known as untouchable. Both iconic
symbols lay on same side of Yamuna river bank on east, hardly 5 KM
away from each other.
Akshardham temple built during Bharatiya Janta Party regime and
National Dalit Prena Sthal during Bahujan Samajwadi Party. Earlier is
headed by Brahmin political party while the latter by Dalits.
Akshardham means the eternal, divine abode of the supreme god, the
abode of eternal values and virtues of Akshar as defined in the Vedas
and Upanishads where divine bhakti, purity and peace forever pervades
accordingly Brahminical philosophies. It has become a tourist spot and
promotes the socio-cultural religion of Brahmanism.
National Dalit Prena Sthal though inaugurated is yet to open for
public. Hopefully it will become another tourist spot soon and
millions of unanswered question will be arise by seeing least known
iconic statues erected within the park. The statue of Bhim Rao
Ambedkar, the architecture of Indian Constitution, a Dalit icon, who
fought against untouchability and left Hinduism by embracing Buddhism
on October 14, 1956 at Nagpur along with over 50,000 followers from
same communities. It was a symbolic exodus from Hinduism to Buddhism
to get rid of casteism. Ever since then, the day is observed.
Must also be noted the spot chosen for India's first Grand Prix
Formula One race scheduled on October 30 at Greater Noida.
Interestingly, Mayawati named it "Buddha International Circuit."
Wonder why "Buddha" while most of the spots, events and awards are
chosen in Aryan names.
The park also has many other statues like Mahatma Jyothi Rao Phule,
Kanshi Ram, who brought resurgence of Dalit politic, the mentor of
Mayawati and her own. Perhaps, these symbolic statues will tell to the
world about caste system, caste taboo and apartheid faced by 250
million Dalits in India.
Dalit-Bahujan activist Kancha Ilaiah debates in book "Post Hindu
India" that caste is like a cancer that will kill the religion itself.
He predicts that socio-cultural and religious revolution will arise
against dominion caste and a neo India will emerge which will be of
Post Hindu. The question is, "Will it really happen?" It will be worth
to do an analysis on resurgences taking place in Uttar Pradesh.
It took 3000 years for Brahmanism to make whole India into a Hindu
land but Mayawati reverted Lucknow into a city that looks like an
ancient Buddhist monastery city just in last five years and now with a
symbolic setup of National Dalit Prena Sthal at Noida within National
Capital Region.. Such reversion might able to do away with the man
make system to oppress another human being.
Mayawati faces the challenges between the socio-cultural, religious
and political revolution versus socio-economic, educational and
development revolution! She has been criticised for investing Rs 685
crores in Noida Park by neglecting socio-economic, educational and
health care challenges within her state. She defended that it was just
1% of her government budget.
What should prioritise, whether on Socio-cultural religious changes or
socio-economic and educational development, is the question debated in
national forums. Kancha Ilaiah defends in NDTV channel that it is
important to deal historically. "Historically, India has been
Brahmanised through socio-cultural and religious establishment and it
should in responded in same manner," says Kancha Ilaiah.
However, both are important equally. One without another, the
emancipation of Dalits and the dream of caste free society will remain
next to impossible. I do not agree with those who realise the
importance of socio-economic and educational development yet deny the
importance of socio-cultural, religious and political resurgence.
Madhu Chandra is a research scholar and social activist based in New
Delhi. He works as Regional Secretary of All India Christian Council
(www.indianchristians.in) and Spokesperson of North East Support
Centre & Helpline (www.nehelpline.net).
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