Politics is still going on in North India on a statement by Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and Minister of Youth Welfare and Sports in the Government of Tamil Nadu. On September 2, Udhayanidhi Stalin, while expressing his views on Sanatan Dharma in a conference, had said, “Sanatan Dharma is based on social injustice. It is like dengue and malaria. It is not enough to oppose it but it should be completely eliminated from the society.”
‘Hinduism is in great danger’ with right-wing power in power! The government supporters immediately swung into action to ‘protect God and religion’. All the spokespersons and ministers of the BJP government are desperate to teach Udhayanidhi a lesson. A saint had even announced a reward of Rs 10 crore for the person who beheaded Udayagiri. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is attacking the opposition. He alleges that the opposition alliance wants to eliminate Sanatan. Godi Media is organizing stimulating debates daily on Udhayanidhi’s statement. However, this statement was not given any special importance in South India and especially in Tamil Nadu.
In fact, Brahminism has already waned in the land of Periyar. In Tamil Nadu, Udayagiri’s statement was taken as a general criticism of the caste system of Sanatana Dharma based on inequality and injustice. But since Brahminism is present in North India with its full aggression. Rather, it is also true that after the temple movement of BJP and establishment of power, Brahminism has emerged with a new attitude.
However, a cultural movement inspired by the struggle and ideology of Periyar and Ambedkar had begun in North India in the 1950s. Mahamana Ramswaroop Verma was the leader of this movement. It is important to remember the revolutionary Ramswaroop Verma during the bulldozer period of Hindutva power. This year is his birth centenary. Born in a farmer family on 22 August 1923 in Gaurikaran village of Kanpur Dehat in Uttar Pradesh, Ramswaroop Verma was the youngest and fourth child of father Vanshgopal and mother Sakhiya. He did MA in Hindi Literature from Allahabad University in 1949. After this he obtained LLB degree from Agra University.
The early life of Ramswaroop Verma, who was close to Acharya Narendradev and Ram Manohar Lohia, was influenced by socialist ideas. By joining the socialist movement and politics, he reached the assembly. For the first time, at the age of just 34, Ramswaroop Verma was elected MLA from Bhoganipur Assembly on the Socialist Party ticket in 1957. After this, he reached the Assembly in 1967 from the United Socialist Party, in 1969 as an independent, in 1980, 1989 and 1999 from the Shoshit Samaj Dal. In 1967, he became the Finance Minister in the Uttar Pradesh government of Chaudhary Charan Singh. Based on his intelligence and experience, he presented a profitable budget of Rs 20 crore for the first time in UP. How did he do all this? In response to this question, he had said that the farmer is the greatest economist. Politics arising from socialist values and consciousness of common people remained his identity throughout his life.
Ramswaroop Verma was as great a political reformer as he was a great social reformer. In this respect, he is included in the list of Periyar and Ambedkar. He is also called Ambedkar of North India.
Dr. Ambedkar’s thoughts had a great influence on Ramswaroop Verma. Like Ambedkar’s third guru Jotiba Phule’s Satya Shodhak Samaj (1873), he founded Arjak Sangh on 1 June 1968 to liberate people from the cultural slavery of Hinduism. As is clear from the name of Arjak Sangh itself, in contrast to the Brahmanical system, emphasis was laid on the respect and importance of the laboring society. Actually, Brahminism survives on varnaism. Casteism is based on inequality and exploitation. This system made the hard worker lowly and weak. Arjak Sangh rejected Brahministic rituals and developed a humanist culture.
Lalai Singh Yadav, Maharaj Singh Bharti and Jagdev Prasad played an important role in the expansion of Arjak Sangh. Ramswaroop Verma started Bahujanist politics along with Babu Jagdev Prasad, known as Lenin of Bihar. Ramswaroop Verma founded Shoshit Samaj Dal on 7 August 1972 by merging his Samaj Dal and Babu Jagdev Prasad’s Shoshit Party.
Ramswaroop Verma was not only a social reformer and politician with scientific consciousness but also a revolutionary writer. He wrote dozens of books against conservatism, hypocrisy, casteism and patriarchy which gave edge to social change. These include ‘Why and how Brahmin glory?’ , ‘Manusmriti is the stigma of the nation’, ‘Why and how is the revolution?’ ‘Problem and solution of untouchables’, ‘How to eradicate humiliation?’ ‘Respected Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Seizure and Restoration of Literature’, ‘Soul, Reincarnation Myth: What, Why and How of Human Equality?’ etc. are included. In the preface of another important book ‘Humanist Quiz’, he wrote, “Through question and answer, the fog from the minds of people stuck in Brahminism will be removed and they will clearly see the broad path of humanism, it would not be unreasonable to hope that from this humanist quiz. If the destitute poor people of India adopt the path of humanism by abandoning the Brahminism prevalent in social, economic, cultural and political spheres, then they will definitely get rid of humiliation and poverty, and I will consider this hard work worthwhile.
Like Ambedkar, Ramswaroop Verma’s writings contain sharp criticism of theology and casteism. He insists that there is no scope for reform in Brahmanism. He used to say that awareness is necessary for social change. Political change cannot be permanent without social change. He wrote, “Social awareness can bring about social change and social change drives political change. Therefore, if political change occurs without social change, it will not be long-term.”
Exploitation of Dalits, backward people and women has been going on for centuries in the name of religion in Indian society. The majority section of this country has been looted and crushed for centuries by showing fear of God and fate. Temples and monasteries remain the bases of priestly business. Deprived of education and mired in hypocrisy and superstition, Dalits and Shudras are forced to bear the burden of cultural slavery for centuries. That is why Ramswaroop Verma was against allotting the land for the temple shrine. He believed that schools and colleges should be opened on public land. For this he also introduced a private bill in the Assembly. He also stressed on bringing all the existing religious places under the control of the government. In the Assembly, he said, “The government should take control of all the places of worship and the offerings made at each place of worship will be given to the government. Whatever is left after appointing a priest should be spent in religious activities.”
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Ramswaroop Verma, who struggled with hypocrisy, casteism and religious authority throughout his life, had shown a path to the Dalit backward society. He never compromised with his principles. He wanted to build a society based on equality, justice and scientific consciousness. He died on 19 August 1998 in Lucknow. But he is still alive in his thoughts. His thoughts and consciousness in religious terror and the current fascist power; There is a great need for both.