This article had been originally published in the Mooknayak on 14th of February,1920. This is written by Dr.B.R.Ambedkar in Marathi. It is also there in Vol 19, Chapter 7 in Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches(BAWS).
The article has been translated to English by Vinay Shende, who is an Ambedkarite working in the Corporate Sector. Any mistakes in translation are attributed to the translator.
In the city of Mirat on 20.01.1920, there was a felicitation of Ali Borthers, who had recently been released from prison. The felicitation was organized by a Muslim Community. The brothers were made to sit on a lavish throne, and the Khilafat committee presented to them with honour certificates. After this, a huge Hindu-Muslim general meeting was held on Barafkhana ground under the chairmanship of Lo. Raisaheb Pundit Sitaram. In the meeting, Lo. Lala Jyotiprasad read the honour letter, which was bestowed by the Hindus.
These means of Hindu-Muslim unity are still not sufficient. But that time nobody could have expected the transformation of this unity into having a dinner together. However, the Impossible has become possible.
While reporting, the special correspondent of the Chronicle News said that in the Felicitation program of Ali Brothers, people from the Hindu Muslim communities ate together with plates within touching distance of each other, at the residence of a Hindu person named Lo. Lala Buddhaprakash in Mirat.
According to the Hindu religion, it is mandatory to be of the same caste if you are having dinner/ meal together and the plates are within touching distance of each other. To uphold/maintain the “wonderful” Caste solidarity and to keep it intact, ‘have Hindus become Muslims or Muslims become Hindu?’ is a question.
When the Muslims have dinner with anyone, there is no issue in the Muslims’ religion. But looking at the way it is mandatory in the Hindu religion and that they have an issue with something similar in their religion, here it can be assumed that Muslims became Hindus. And how did this happen is a big puzzle. Because to be a Hindu, you must have to be born from a Hindu.
Perhaps, Muslims must have been considered as Hindus because a resolution stating “we will not kill cow or eat beef on Bakri-Ed” was passed in the latest meeting of the Muslim League. But still, this is not clear enough to conclude or assume that Muslims become Hindus. Only being in the umbrella of Hindu religion does not open the doors of co-dining. Co-dining requires Caste-parity (being from the same Caste). The exact caste of those converted Muslims can be found by the Caste people dining with them. Albeit the Caste of Hindu people was not mentioned by the reporter, it would not be wrong to assume that those were upper caste Hindus. And even if one were to disagree with this assumption, nobody will take any objection for saying that Muslims became Brahmins. Because any person of any Caste would want to eat with the Brahmins, with great interest.
We are not religious lunatics to feel bad or to become furious if Muslims eat with Brahmins. But we feel bad for humanity if this happens. It is not fair that you are hugging or become close to the people of another religion instead of our people.
Boycotting from having food with 6 crore people from the Depressed Classes, these Brahmins are eating with the people of another religion openly and without any hesitation. How depressing and insulting is this!
How can this happen? If we search for the root cause we can find out the motive behind this. It is not a question of special friendship, because on the one hand the Caste Hindus are now treating Muslims as their close friends, but on the other hand, they refuse to accord the same status to the people of the Depressed Classes. This, even though the Caste Hindus are forbidding the people of the Depressed Classes from identifying themselves as Religious Outsiders.
At the time of the Census in 1910, as per notification of Muslim brethren (and this was not an incorrect information), it was suggested that these downtrodden boycotted Caste Hindu people should not be considered as Hindu as they are not having any common rights of Hindus. At that time, these Brahmins proudly proclaimed that these boycotted people are Hindus only.
And these same Brahmins got outraged when they ate food with the famous cricketer Balu Bawaji Palwankar in the annual function of Iron Brotherhood in Mumbai and stated that he contaminated their religion. The echo of that vigorous outrage is yet to come down.
Unlike that occasion, this time these possessive/wretched Brahmins didn’t utter “बीजी बात नहीं ज्ञातने व्हार“, which means, “only do good for your own Caste”.
The Caste Hindus who come under the umbrella of the same religion, to whom the religion is equally applicable, those who are the native citizens of Hindustan since ages, Brahmins boycotted them and never had food together with them.
“न नीचो यावनात्परम“, “न वदेत् यावनीं भाषां प्राणै: कंठ गतैरपि“- “Na Neecho yaavnaatparam“, “Na Vadet Yaavnin Bhasan Praanay Kanthha Gatairapi” Loosely translated, this means, “The Muslims (yavan) are very mean people and their tongue is meaner than they are”. Having said this and after hating Mohammedans like this, these loyal religious Brahmins forgot all the hate against Muslims and ate with them. It’s not like that their closeness with Muslims doesn’t contaminate their religion. Fact is, they do not have any other option.
“Eat together, contaminate our religion but unite and ask for “Swarajya(own Rule/freedom)”- nowadays, these Brahmins are requesting this of the Muslims. The reason is – they are fearing that if Muslims don’t accept this idea of Swarajya that makes it a Hindu State, they will lose the Swarajya forever.
It is our firm opinion that it is good to sacrifice evil practices under the guise of co-dining for its sake. But the Hindus who are dying to unite with Muslims no matter whether their religion gets spoiled, for them the very same religion is preventing them from uniting with people who have been boycotted/discriminated by their own religion. The essence of this behavior lies in the phrase “नाक दाबल्याखेरीज तोंड उघडत नाही” – ‘Naak dabalya kherij tond ughadat nahi‘. Loosely translated, it means, “Unless you instill fear, a person won’t do something”. Literally translated it means “unless you press the nose, a person won’t open their mouth”.
It is impossible to get Swarajya without aligning with the Muslims. But if one doesn’t need the cooperation of the Outcastes to attain Swarajya, then why should the Upper Castes care about aligning with them? Unless they are forced to drink the poison of cooperation, they won’t drink it. But for the Outcastes to be able to exert any influence, needn’t they organise themselves collectively? Without collective group power, Outcastes cannot become Brahmins.