Sunday, October 21, 2012

Struggles for Freedom Against Hegemonic State: Ambedkar’s Perspective

Dr. P. Kesava Kumar

In the political arena of contemporary societies, both State and freedom have not only got its exclusive importance but also stand against each other. The politics of democracy is mediating force for both state and freedom. To understand the freedom as an ideal or value, we have to understand the struggles of the individuals and oppressed social groups in realizing the freedom against the hegemonic society and dominance of the state. To evaluate the nature and function of the state, we have to understand the historical formation of state and the social agency involved. The Indian state has its own trajectory and had inherited the character of both colonial legacy and caste dominance though it had declared itself democratic state. With the struggles of the oppressed the domain of freedom has enlarged and at the same time compelling the state to abide by its own democratic principles rather carried with hegemonic social rule of caste.  In other words, dalit struggles are strengthening the Indian democracy. Infact, it is a painful transition. With the assertion of dalits for dignity, self reliance, economic independence and social freedom, the dominant social groups become violently responding. State and its machinery are become casteiest. In this situation, dalits are demanding the state to be responsive and stick to the law, and in certain occasions dalits lost faith in state in assuring their freedom. In the wake of globalization and a monopoly of global capital, it is argued that state lost its sovereignty and acquired a character of neo-liberal and neo-colonial. State has no more to be a welfare state and keeps away in performing the role of interventionist in minimizing the inequalities and maximizing the freedom of the oppressed. State too has responding violently and authoritatively without understanding the social aspirations of the oppressed masses. State is viewing the struggles of the oppressed as a problem of law and order. At this historical juncture, dalits have ambivalent relation towards state. They are struggling with a hope that by acquiring the political power, they can make Indian state much more democratic and automatically it will have implication for social transformation and social freedom. The social experience often makes them disillusioned with the function of state in relation to dalits and lost faith in state and democracy. There are struggles of oppressed by looking at other options outside the legal framework for a real democracy.  Ambedkar is a mediating point to explain potential and limitations both state and freedom in the context of Indian democracy. He is a source material to explain the Indian democracy in relation to oppressed communities. It is evident that Ambedkar has a vision of democratic state of India and also knows its limitations. As a leader of the depressed classes/untouchables/scheduled castes/labour he led struggles for freedom against caste oppressive society and demanding the state to safeguard the interests of oppressed communities. Apart from this, we may find philosophical explanation of freedom as explained by the Ambedkar. He connects social, economical, political and spiritual freedom as a principle of governance. He ensures normative practices of state and society in all his deliberations. He views both Brahminism and Capitalism are equally responsible for denial of freedom for dalits. Though the law guarantees certain rights to  dalits as par with other citizens, the hindu society does not allow them to exercise those rights. Here the law does not make any sense. Ambedkar holds a position that which is permitted by the society to be exercised can alone be called a right. The right which is guaranteed by law but opposed by the society is of no use at all. The untouchables are in more need of social liberty than that which is guaranteed by law.He further argues that physical freedom is not enough but one should have mental freedom. We should not forget that both brahminism and capitalism have invariable relation with state. 

No comments: