Kings used to touch the feet of those who had realized themselves, because even their blessing can transform you. Politics is functional; it is utilitarian. But it has no way of transforming man into higher consciousness. And, particularly in reference to India, it has been such an ugly situation. It hurts.
Mahatma Gandhi used to say, before freedom, that the first president of India would be a woman – and not only a woman, but she would be a sudra, from the lowest untouchables.
But as freedom came, he forgot all the promises that he had been talking about and the power game started again in the old style. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was a brahmin; he was not a woman and he was not a sudra. Again, the brahmin becomes the power, and for forty years, one family of brahmins have been dominating India. They have made it almost their personal dynasty. It is no longer a democracy.
Just look at the facts: What was the hold of Mahatma Gandhi over the Indian people? He was pretending to be religious – he was not a religious man – pretending to be a Hindu saint, because Hindus were in the majority and they were going to rule the country. That’s why he was insistent that India should remain undivided, because in an undivided India, Hindus will be in power; nobody can take the power from the hands of the Hindus because everybody else is in a minority. Nobody looks at Gandhi’s politics: he was using even religion for ugly ends.
Doctor Ambedkar wanted a separate vote for the untouchables, and I am in absolute agreement with him for the simple reason that for five thousand years these people have been oppressed, exploited; their whole dignity as human beings had been destroyed – and they are one-fourth of the Hindu population. And they do the ugliest jobs; they should be respected, they should be honored for that. But on the contrary, even their shadow is untouchable. If the shadow of an untouchable falls on you, you have to take a bath immediately to purify yourself.
Ambedkar was absolutely right to ask for a separate vote for the untouchables so that they could be certain of having one-fourth of the members in parliament. Otherwise, they will never be able to be in the parliament; they will never be able to change the five-thousand-year-old, ugly laws created by Manu.
There are great criminals, but Manu seems to top them all. Adolf Hitler was very respectful of Manu; Friedrich Nietzsche was very respectful of Manu – not of Gautam Buddha – and Manu has been a curse to this country. He has taken all humanity from millions of people; they are living like animals.
Ambedkar was absolutely logical and right in saying that they should be given a separate vote, but Gandhi started a fast unto death for Ambedkar to take back his movement; otherwise, Gandhi will not eat until he dies. Now this is absolutely illogical. Because you convince people by fasting, it does not mean that you are right. It is blackmail, it is threatening: “I will commit suicide if you don’t agree with me.”