" Democracy was
also a great narrative and not merely a monolithic kind of democratic participation."
 
 
 
 

Bauddhacharya S. Sajivan Nath

Bauddhacharya S. Sajivan Nath was born on November 19, 1941 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. His father served the British Army as a fourth-class employee. He graduated from the University of Allahabad, Allahabad. He was fortunate not only in obtaining college level education but also gaining sufficient exposure in the area of sports, especially football. His penchant for playing football enabled him to represent his team at school, college, district and state levels. Thus, the British rule provided him with the required impetus, necessary for boosting his overall personality.

After completing his studies, he got a job as a storekeeper in the Military Engineering Services in Allahabad. During his service, he underwent ruthless caste-based discriminations. Every moment he was made to realize that he was a Dalit and was treated as an outcaste. For instance, whenever he or the other people of his community went to market to buy anything, the upper caste baniya or the shopkeeper either threw things at them or wrapped the articles in some old newspaper before handing over to them in order to avoid physical touch. Humiliated, the people of his community paid money by placing it on some shelf or plank, from where the baniya picked it up. In his office, he often entered into heated argument or debate with the upper caste co-workers regarding the ascribed lifestyle and status of Dalits in the Indian society. Exclusivity, so obvious and so sacrosanct in the eyes of the upper castes, was tormenting to him. He came to think, “If humiliation be the governing principle in an organization, then why serve it; why not to protest against it”? Humiliation to him could be minimized, if not overcome, by abandoning the job. “But what about the others in the society who are living perpetually under this horrendous neglect and insult”? These thoughts tormented Bauddhacharya for many months, culminating in his resignation from the job. It was his first major protest against a society that reduces man to the level of slavery. It was a step which few of his status could have dared to take.

The traumatic effects of such experiences and others pushed him to take up the cause of Dalits and their sufferings. He wanted emancipation of Dalits from the hegemony of Brahmanism. He knew that it was a Herculean task, but then acquiescence would lead to moral inertia. A missionary zeal enthused him to draw the attention of the society to the ill treatment meted out to the downtrodden and to express their urge for uplift and empowerment.

During this period, he undertook an intensive study of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s autobiography and works. While reading, about the silent suffering, torture, and discrimination, he was emotionally absorbed and burst out in tears. He vowed to use his learning for the liberation of Dalit communities. He initially began writing for ‘Allahabad Kesari’. However, he failed to get the expected response from the readers. With his limited resources but indefatigable courage, he set-up a publication unit ‘Milan Prakashan’, in 1969 at Allahabad. Since then, he has been in publishing a fortnightly newspaper ‘Dalit Kesari’, which has come to be recognized as the most widely read all over India.

Being an ardent follower of Ambedkar, he extensively popularized his ideals for the Dalit awakening. He presents Ambedkar as a role model for the Dalit masses. He expresses their protests, yearnings and dreams through his poems, songs and essays. He portrays the atrocities that Dalits undergo in their day-to-day life, attacking vehemently Brahman vayavastha (Brahman system) for imposition of thevarna system at the cost of shraman tradition. According to him, the latter system accords equal value to all who put in labour (i.e. lower castes) and consume with ethical dignity as opposed to those who are parasitic on the fruits of the labour of others (upper castes).

Last 36 years have witnessed his assiduous attempt to undertake various kinds of writings which include articles, poems, and small booklets like ‘Bhangi Ki Jivan Gatha’; ‘Bodhisatva-Babasaheb Ambedkar; ‘Manavta Ki Azadi Ka Mahaparva: Ambedkar Jayanti’; Mahaparva: Ambedkar Jayanti; Nagvanshi Hela Ki Khani Hela Ki Jabani; 1875 Ki Kranti Ka Janak- Nagvanshi Bhangi Matadeen Hela’. His advancing age has failed to reduce his dedication to the world of writing and social activism. Some of his booklets are under publication and there are many themes which he thinks of explore in his writings. The Ambedkar in him has not made him overlook the social critique of Brahmanism by such non-Dalit scholars as Rahul Sankrityayan.

He has been honoured by various academic institutions, notably like, Bhartiya Boddhaya Mahasabha, Allahabad; Mrigdawan Mahavihaar, Sarnath (Varanasi); Maharastra Dalit Sahitya Academy; Bhartiya Dalit Sahitya Academy, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh Dalit Sahitya Academy. His writings continue to ignite the consciousness of Dalits to assert for their identity and dignity. The printing press established by him has effectively served the purpose for which it was bought. This is a great solace to a man dedicated to the cause of Dalits.

 

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