Part – III
The Chamcha Age
(AN ERA OF THE STOOGES)
“The Joint Electorates 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 untouchables but really as a tool of the Hindus.”
Dr. BR. Ambedkar
What is Chamcha ?
Tool of the Hindus is the word Dr. Ambedkar has used in this quotation. Dealing with the political rights of the Scheduled Castes which he secured for them, he had been very often using this word “tool”. Besides the tool, he had been using other words like agent of the Hindus or stooge of the Hindus. It has been his lot throughout his life to deal with these tools, agents and stooges, while pushing ahead with the political claims of the Scheduled Castes.
These tools, agents and stooges of the High caste Hindus have been increasing in numbers and varieties with the passage of time. The political exigencies of the post independence period gave a big boost to these tools, agents and stooges. After the sad demise of Baba Saheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in 1956, this process accelerated so much that today these tools, agents and stooges of the High Caste Hindus are found in abundance, not only in political field but also in every field of human activity and relationship. Initially these tools, agents and stooges were visible only to Dr. Ambedkar and the discerning eyes. Later, they were to be detected by the intelligentsia. But today, these tools, agents and stooges are so much a common factor of daily life, that they can be easily detected by the common man in the public. The common man has his own terminology. In his terminology a tool, and agent, or a stooge is termed as Chamcha. And in this book, I have decided to use the common man’s terminology. To my mind, it will be fruitful to use common man’s terminology when we fight for his cause.
Chamcha is an indigenous word used for a person who cannot operate on his own, but requires to be operated by someone else. and that someone else always uses the Chamcha for his personal use and good or for the good of his creed, Which is always detrimental to the creed of the Chamcha. In this book more than the tool, the agent and the stooge we shall be using the word — Chamcha. In the Indian context and for the common man, this word will be more effective because besides the meaning, it conveys the spirit with the optimum effect. All these four words (i) Chamcha (ii) Stooge, (iii) Agent, (iv) Tool carry the same meaning but slightly different spirit. Their use will, therefore depend upon on their effectiveness in carrying the meaning and the spirit.
A Missionary must not be mistaken as a Chamcha
Some people are likely to mistake missionaries as Chamchas. It can be a great blunder. The missionaries and chamchas are poles apart. A missionary is most obedient where as a Chamcha is most subservient. Those who cannot distinguish between obedience and subservience are likely to mistake a missionary also as a chamcha. A Chamcha is used against his own creed whereas a missionary is used for the good of his creed. Further, a chamcha is used to weaken the real and genuine leader of his own creed, whereas a missionary is used to help and strengthen the hands of the real and genuine leader of his own creed. Many more points can be cited to differentiate a chamcha from a missionary worker. But here, we are interested only in stressing upon the point that a missionary must not be mistaken as a Chamcha.
Necessity of Creating Chamchas
A tool, an agent, a stooge or a chamcha is created to oppose the real, the genuine fighter. Only when there are genuine and real fighters the chamchas are in demand. When there is no fight, no struggle and no danger from any fighter the chamchas are not required, they are not in demand. As we have seen that from the beginning of the 20th century, the depressed classes had been up in arms against untouchability and unjust social order, almost all over India. Initially, they were ignored. But later, when the real leadership of the depressed classes became powerful and formidable, they could not be ignored. At this stage, the High Caste Hindus, felt the necessity of setting chamchas against the real leaders of the depressed classes.
During the Round Table Conference, Dr. Ambedkar fought for the depressed classes most convincingly. Up to that time, Gandhiji and his Congress were under the impression that the depressed classes were not having any real leader who could fight for them. During the Round Table Conferences, around 1930-3′ Gandhiji and his Congress opposed, inch by inch up to the very last moment every one of the demands of the depressed classes for political safeguards. But the calibre of Dr.Ambedkar’s leadership could secure the just demands of the depressed classes. Inspite of all the opposition from Gandhiji and Congress, the Prime Minister’s Award announced on 17th august, 1932, gave separate Electorate to the depressed classes. During this period of 1930 to 1932 Gandhiji and the Congress felt the necessity of chamchas for the first time.
Dark Age to Bright Age
The untouchables of India had undergone such sufferings in their own land for centuries, which no other people had suffered in the entire world, even in the alien lands. The sufferings and humiliations of the slaves, the Negroes and the Jews are nothing as compared to the untouchables of India. When we think of the man’s inhumanity to man, the Sanatanism of the Hindus against the Untouchables has no parallel in the world. The untouchables of India remained world’s worst slaves for centuries. Brahmanism had such poisonous germs in it, that it effectively killed the desire to revolt against the worst form of injustice. Thus the Untouchables of India suffered for centuries which can be termed as the Dark Age for them.
During the British rule these untouchables were exposed to the western education and the western civilisation for quite a long time. This exposure kindled a spirit of revolt in them. Thus we find that in the beginning of the 20th century, the untouchables were up in arms almost all over India against untouchability and the in just social order. By 1920, Dr. Ambedkar emerged as a leader and savior for them. Within 10 years he took their cause to the Round Table Conferences held in England during 1931,32. During these 2 Round Table Conferences, he fought for the untouchables successfully and secured all sorts of safeguards for them, especially the political safeguards in the form of separate electorates. Looking back, now in retrospect, we can safely say that Dr. Ambedkar was taking the untouchables of India from the Dark Age to the Bright Age. But alas, this was not to happen, before reaching Bright Age, they slipped aside into the Chamcha Age.
Side Slip to the Chamcha Age
Around this period of 1931, 32, Dr. Ambedkar’s efforts were partly sabotaged by Gandhiji and his Congress. Dr. Ambedkar was struggling to take the untouchables of India from Dark Age to Bright Age. But Gandhiji and his Congress were having different designs. Gandhiji wanted to run the affairs of this country as per his Dharma based on Chaturvarnya. By doing so he was sure to keep the untouchables in the Dark Age, just as Chaturvarnya could keep them for centuries.
Guided by such designs, Gandhiji fought tooth and nail against any safeguards for them. During the Round Table Conference, he fought inch by inch till the last. He even conceded all the demands of the Muslims for their hostility to the untouchables, which luckily for them, Muslim leaders did not agree. Inspite of all this, Dr. Ambedkar succeeded in getting the safe-guards for them, especially the political safeguards in the form of separate electorate.
It was too much for Gandhiji. When arguments failed him, he took to coercion and threatened fast till death. The British Prime Minister wrote very convincing letter to Gandhiji. But Gandhiji went on fast on 20th September, 1932. The coercive effect of Gandhiji fast can be best explained by the following extract from Dr. Ambedkar’s statement issued on 19th September, 1932 :- “It is still more important to note that the Mahatma is releasing reactionary and uncontrollable forces, and is fostering the spirit of hatred between the Hindu Community and the Depressed Classes by resorting to this method and thereby widening the existing gulf between the two. When I opposed Mr. Gandhi at Round Table Conference, there was a hue and cry against me in the country and there was conspiracy in the so-called nationalist press to suppress correspondence coming from my side and to boost the propaganda against my party by publishing exaggerated reports of meetings and conferences, many of which were never held. “Silver Bullets were freely used for creating division in the ranks of the depressed classes. There have been also a few clashes ending in violence.
If the Mahatma does not want all this to be repeated on a large scale, let him, for God’s sake, reconsider his decision and avert the disastrous consequences. I believe the Mahatma does not want this. But if he does not desist, in spite of his wishes these consequences are sure to follow as night follows the day.”
The above cited portion of Dr. Ambedkar’s statement fives a glimpse of the dilemma in which Dr. Ambedkar was at that time. “My life is in your hands, will you save me?” was Gandhiji’s plea to Dr. Ambedkar. This shows the over impatience of Gandhiji to get out of the situation created by his fast. Such being the dilemma of Dr. Ambedkar and Gandhiji at that time, both were eager to get out of the situation. Thus, “disliked by the Hindus and disfavoued by the Untouchables, the Poona Pact was given recognition by both parties and was embodied in the Govt, of India Act.”
The Poona Pact took away the separate electorates from the untouchables and imposed the joint electorates on them. Its effect has been wonderfully explained by Baba Saheb Dr. Ambedkar himself :
“Things will be much worse under the system of joint electorates and reserved seats which will hereafter become operative under the terms of the Poona Pact. This is no mere speculation. The last election (1946) has conclusively proved that the Scheduled Castes can be completely disfranchised in a joint electorate.” The inevitable happened, the Poona Pact completely disfranchised! the Scheduled Castes and thereby pushed them into the Chamcha Age.”
How Old is this Chamcha Age ?
On 24th September, 1932, Poona Pact was forced on the depressed classes. With this started the Chamcha Age. When Hindus were forced to concede a little bit of power, they took to second line of defence. They saw to it that they must not lose control over it. This was secured by joint electorates. Through the joint electorates, the representatives of the untouchables became only nominal representatives and not real representatives, for no untouchable who did not agree to a nominee of the Hindu and be a Chamcha in their hands could be elected in a joint electorate in which the untouchable voter was out numbered in ratio of 1 to 5 or in some cases 1 to 10.
That is why Gandhiji agreed to concede two Chamchas through joint electorates against one real representative through separate electorate. But any number of chamchas cannot be a substitute even for one real representative. Whether the depressed classes liked it or not, but they were pushed into the Chamcha Age by the Poona Pact, on 24th September, 1932. This Chamcha Age will be 50 years old on September 24, 1982 when D-S4 denounces Poona Pact at Poona itself.
How long the Chamcha Age will last ?
This is another painful question before us not only for answer but also to grapple with. First of all, we will have to understand that how the chamchas of various varieties developed over the last 50 years. The High Caste Hindus who are ruling India today had felt the necessity of creating the Chamchas only when there was danger to term of the real and genuine leadership of the depressed classes. Today, when there is no genuine and real leadership of the oppressed & exploited communities, the chamchas are lying low and not much in demand. At any rate there is no pampering of the chamchas as in the past. But with the emergence of real and genuine leadership through BAMCEF & D-S4 the chamchas may again assume importance. Such a situation will last, as long as the struggle between the oppressor and the oppressed lasts. In the light of my judgement, it may not take more than 10 years to put an absolute and complete end to the Chamcha Age.