“It is your claim to equality which hurts them. They want to maintain the status quo. If you continue to accept your lowly status ungrudgingly, continue to remain dirty, filthy, backward, ignorant, poor and disunited, they will allow you to live in peace. The moment you start to raise your level, the conflict starts “. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
“Who are you? Why did you come here? How dare you take a Parsi name? You scoundrel! You have polluted the Parsi inn!” A dozen angry-looking, tall, sturdy Parsis, each armed with a stick, lined up in front of his room and fired a volley of questions.
His five years of staying in Europe and America had completely wiped out of his mind any consciousness that he was an untouchable, and that an untouchable wherever he went in India was a problem to himself and to others. With great difficulty he managed to find accommodation in a Parsi Inn at Baroda. The whole hall was enveloped in complete darkness. There were no electric lights, nor even oil lamps to relieve the darkness. The idea of returning to the inn to spend the night therein was most terrifying to him, and he used to return to the inn only because he had no other place under the sky to go for rest. But the chirping and flying about of the bats, which had made the hall their home, often distracted his mind and sent cold shivers through him, reminding him of what he was endeavouring to forget, that he was in a strange place under strange conditions. He subdued his grief and anger through the feeling that though it was a dungeon, it was a shelter, and that some shelter was better than no shelter.
Young Bhimrao had gone to Baroda with high hopes. He gave up many offers. He felt that it was his duty was to offer his services first to the Maharaja of Baroda, who had financed his education. And here he was driven to leave Baroda and return to Bombay, after a stay of only eleven days.
In Dr. Ambedkar’s own words, ‘This scene of a dozen Parsis armed with sticks lined up before me in a menacing mood, and myself standing before them with a terrified look imploring for mercy, is a scene which so long a period as eighteen years has not succeeded in fading away. I can even now vividly recall it and never recall it without tears in my eyes. It was then for the first time that I learnt that a person who is an untouchable to a Hindu is also an untouchable to a Parsi’.
Nothing has changed much after 100 years of this incident in the life of Young Bhimrao Ambedkar, who returned to India after studying Barrister at Law at Gray’s Inn, and enrolling at the London School of Economics where he started work on a doctoral thesis.
100 years later, Rohith Vemula, a bright young Scholar and follower of Dr. Ambedkar, Phule, Shahu and Periyar was thrown out of the hostel from Hyderabad Central University along with four other Ph.D. Scholars. Their crime was- following the constitution in letter and spirit. They simply expressed their right to freedom of expression, religion and other fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India. Rohith was labelled as Anti-national, Casteist and Extremist.
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