The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) under the control of Modi government has demolished a 15th century Sant Ravi Das temple or ashram, severely hurting the sentiments of tens of millions of dalits and progressive people, alleging that it is situated in the forest area, and whose removal was ordered by the Supreme Court. Everyone knows that all over Delhi there are tens of thousands of temples of savarna gods which are not removed even when they cause difficulties to traffic and people. So, if the SC ordered the removal of the Ravidas temple, it is because the savarna bureaucracy and prosecution failed to present the importance of this shrine to the SC . Besides, has the DDA demolished the structures of the elites in Delhi ordered by the SC?. So, if the savarna officers of DDA dared to demolish such an old ashram of a revered guru of the oppressed in the country, it shows their brahmanical arrogance towards the oppressed and their gurus. To understand this arrogance, one should know who was Sant Ravidas: He was a poet-sant of the Bhakti movement during the 15th to 16th century, venerated as a guru (teacher) in the vast regions of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. His devotional songs had a lasting impact upon the renaissance movement. Ravidas taught removal of social divisions of caste, and promoted unity based on caste annihilation and gender equality. As the Bhakthi movement emerged and developed challenging the brahmanical manuvadi system, the latter opposed it from the beginning. Presently, as RSS is in a hurry to build Ram temple, establish Hindurashtra and make Jai Sriram its battle cry, as part of its majoritarian Hindutva offensive, it is intolerant to the gurus and deities of Adivasis and oppressed peoples, the vanvasis, sudras and ati-sudras under manuvad, who had struggled against it. The demolition of the Ravidas temple is an example of this intolerance.
We strongly condemn the demolition of the Guru Ravidas temple of 15th century by the DDA under Modi government. Already dalits have launched a massive movement in Punjab against it. A call is issued for all India protest day on 21st August also. But the corporate, savarna media is closing its eyes and suppressing the news of people’s protests. Guru Ravidas was one of the driving lights of the Bhakthi movement which inspired the oppressed masses towards the renaissance movement and people’s liberation from all forms of exploitation based on caste system, patriarchy etc. Among Ravidas’s moral and intellectual achievements were the conception of “Begampura”, a city that knows no sorrow; and a society where caste and class have ceased to matter. He was clearly ahead of his times. As a result, in his own lifetime, his egalitarian views found resonance with masses of people across castes. So, naturally the ruling system and the manuvadis are angry towards him, even though they will try to bury his revolutionary ideas and to own him also as they are trying to do with all leaders of the renaissance movement and independence struggle..
We appeal to all progressive forces to condemn the demolition of the 15th century ashram of Guru Ravidas by the Manuvadi Modi government and demand its appropriate re-construction taking the opinion of all those who uphold his teachings.
CPI(ML) Red Star.