In the Indian Political discourse, many ‘Politicians’ had their unique path-hold. Usually, such politicians were able to establish their path during their lifetime, for successful electoral discourse on behalf of a political party. After passing away of any such politician his/her legacy may erase or may be projected by the political party to which he/she represented for further perpetual political memory and gains.
Contrary to the above dimension – Ambedkar’s legacy is claimed by various political parties after his death in an increasing manner. This trend basically started since 1990’s and has been successfully continuing. Another interesting dimension is also note-worthy here; though Ambedkar himself launched a few political parties, they were/are not able to represent prolonged positive electoral impact. But, Ambedkar’s ideological contribution has given a beacon torch to many sections, especially to the disadvantaged groups. Mainstream political parties were not able to fully co-opt the ideological and assertive dimensions of the disadvantaged sections, which are represented based on Ambedkar’s ideological legacy. But, mainstream political parties are able to ‘represent’ Ambedkar’s ideological legacy in various shades. One such predominant strategy is the projection of ‘pictorial’ identity on occasional occasions, like on the eve of birth and death anniversaries, etc.
At the University of Hyderabad the ‘independent dalit movement’ in the shade of various dalit / dalit-bahujan student organisations is seen as an increasing political threat by the mainstream politically affiliated student organisations like, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), Students’ Federation of India (SFI), etc, which are affiliated to the mainstream political parties – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC), and Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI – M), respectively. The vote share of the dalits / dalit-bahujan sections at the University of Hyderabad is crucial for these politically affiliated student organisations to win the annual students’ union elections. As a result, Ambedkar and Ambedkar’s legacy is increasingly claimed and exalted by these student organisations.
Recently, during May 31, 2016 to June 05, 2016 the Entrance Examinations to various courses like Post Graduation, M.Phil/M.Tech, Ph.D., etc were held across various designated centres in India by the University of Hyderabad. One such Centre was also located at the University of Hyderabad. In fact, every year at the University of Hyderabad one Centre will be opened for the benefit of Hyderabad opted aspirants. During this time, every year various student organisations display their welcome banners to the visiting entrance aspirants. During this 2016 also such banners were displayed. One of the interesting features of this year’s banners display is the projection of ‘Ambedkar’ by the mainstream student organisations like the ABVP, NSUI, SFI. Please see the below banners carefully in this respect, which were caught at the University main gate, during the above said duration.
Please observe carefully the banners displayed by ABVP, NSUI and SFI with Ambedkar’s image carefully along with their respective other icons like Swami Vivekananda, Jawaharlal Nehru, Baghat Singh!! In certain sense, these political outfits are bringing new discourse to their respective political ideologies by co-opting or by attempting to co-opt in a symbolical manner the other ideological figures like the Ambedkar in addition to their existing icons, for their basic electoral gains!!