The Prevail of Caste-ism Even in Modern Times

Ambedkar FABO UK

Lastly and most serious of all, the Global Buddhist Congregation has ignored the contribution of Dr. Ambedkar in bringing back Buddhism to India and the attempts of so many of his followers to change their lives through peaceful Buddhist means. Why is this? Is it because they are still to acknowledge the extremely ugly reality of Indian social life which led him to convert to Buddhism, and which still today is the reality of Indian social life, causing suffering on a scale that is much worse than apartheid, and quite unimaginable for the rest of the world? Is it yet another, not-too-subtle manifestation of caste attitudes? Is it part of the old pro-Gandhi, anti-Ambedkar tradition of the Congress Party.

So the Congregation may be global, but has little to do with Buddhism in modern India. It is true there are some of the Indian middle classes who benefit from the teachings of the Dalai Lama and others. But their numbers are minuscule compared to the millions of Buddhists from the Dalit communities. Despite the attempts of the government of India over the years to play down the significance of Dr. Ambedkar abroad, foreign Buddhists are beginning to appreciate his enormous contribution. We hope that those who attended were not beguiled by the Government-sponsored hospitality and will ask questions about a Global Buddhist Congregation in India that does not acknowledge modern Indian Buddhism, and would seem to be promoting apartheid in the Buddhist world.

The seriousness of Government of India will be acknowledged if the Mahabodhi Temple is given to Buddhists and freed from the Hindu domination. The wisdom and compassion of the organisers and so-called representatives of Indian Buddhism will be shown if they speak out against untouchability, which still curses the lives of millions and millions of their countrymen, if they begin to appreciate the enormous debt India owes Dr. Ambedkar in converting to Buddhism, and if they are ready to leave the glamour of the global stage and dirty their hands in the untouchable slums which exist in Delhi and Buddha Gaya, and every single village in India.

The seriousness of Government of India will be acknowledged if the Mahabodhi Temple is given to Buddhists and freed from the Hindu domination. The wisdom and compassion of the organizers and so-called representatives of Indian Buddhism will be shown if they speak out against untouchability, which still curses the lives of millions and millions of their countrymen, if they begin to appreciate the enormous debt India owes Dr. Ambedkar in converting to Buddhism, and if they are ready to leave the glamour of the global stage and dirty their hands in the untouchable slums which exist in Delhi and Buddha Gaya, and every single village in India.