Chennai— In the pursuit of consolidating Baba Saheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's profound ideologies and policies into a seminal work, Tamil Nadu has taken the lead. The forthcoming publication, aptly titled 'Ambedkar Manifesto', represents a groundbreaking endeavor to present Baba Saheb's transformative teachings in a regional language. While the majority of his works have primarily existed in Marathi, Hindi, or English, Tamil Nadu stands at the forefront, spearheading the translation and dissemination of his intellectual legacy to the Tamil-speaking populace. Gautham Ambedkar, the 70-year-old Chennai based author and a staunch believer in Ambedkarism, stands at the helm of the book's creation.
The Mooknayak reached out to Gautham, the 70-year-old ardent believer in the Ambedkar ideology, who has dedicated 45 years-a significant portion of his life in reproducing Baba Saheb's works. Gautham took intense efforts to compiling the material and preparing the manuscript for the groundbreaking Ambedkar Manifesto. While his previous works on Baba Saheb's teachings were produced on a smaller scale, this latest endeavor represents a substantial leap, with an initial print run of 1,000 copies. Gautham, was previously a signboard artist who presently devotes full time to rigorous research and engaging with Ambedkarites and academicians to gather the necessary details and material for his book. With nine volumes already authored, he is currently immersed in the creation of the Ambedkar Manifesto, drawing inspiration from the style of the Communist Manifesto.
Speaking with The Mooknayak, Gautham says, "It all began during my association with the publication magazine 'Blue Flag' from 1977 to 1987, where I first immersed myself in the profound teachings of Baba Saheb. Building upon that foundation, I went on to publish my own magazine, Jai Bhim, for the next decade. During this time, I also undertook the arduous task of translating numerous books into Tamil, with the intention of making Baba Saheb's insights accessible to those who couldn't read or understand English."
He further said, " As I delved deeper into Baba Saheb's philosophy, I couldn't help but raise a thought-provoking question: Just as Christianity emerged with the birth of Christ, Islam with the birth of Nabi, and Buddhism with the teachings of Gautam Buddha, has Ambedkarism truly come into existence following Baba Saheb's birth? I noticed that contemporary interpretations of Baba Saheb's ideology often varied, influenced by personal biases and preferences. This realization fueled my determination to disseminate Baba Saheb's policies and shed light on his vision of caste annihilation, social equality, and justice."
Remarkably, Gautham's altruistic efforts to publish his books have never been driven by seeking charity or donations. He affirms that he never requests monetary assistance, rather, once the books are published, he approaches interested individuals and explains the significance of his writing. Despite his remarkable contributions, Gautham remains grounded and largely unaware of the magnitude of his work, demonstrating humility and a lack of desire for personal recognition. Speaking to The Mooknayak, he states his aversion to publicity, expressing a profound wish that Baba Saheb's works reach the masses, enabling them to grasp the true essence of the visionary leader's writings and speeches. Graduating from being a signboard artist, Gautham gradually transitioned into writing, driven by an unwavering dedication to the cause. He emphasizes the laborious nature of his work, meticulously citing Baba Saheb's quotes, page numbers, and volumes, leaving no room for ambiguity.
The Mooknayak spoke to Rajashekhar, another unwavering Ambedkarite,based in Atlanta, who has played a pivotal role in fostering a collaborative alliance between the dedicated team in Tamil Nadu and the passionate collective, Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle and Jai Bhim group to ensure the realization of the Ambedkar Manifesto.
Recognizing the significance of this momentous undertaking, Rajashekhar shared with The Mooknayak that while Gautham's previous works had been on a smaller scale, aimed at spreading Baba Saheb's profound teachings, the Ambedkar Manifesto marks a groundbreaking leap as it will be published in a significantly larger quantity. The eagerly anticipated book release is scheduled for July 21, commencing with an initial print run of 1000 copies, with plans to expand based on the response received.
Rajasekhar further conveyed that, beyond the conventional book format, efforts have been made to utilize the vast outreach potential of digital platforms. In this regard, a YouTube channel, "Mr. Blue," has been established to impart the contents of the Ambedkar Manifesto through visually engaging presentations, ensuring a wider reach and deeper impact among diverse audiences. Through his unwavering dedication and transcontinental collaboration, Rajashekhar exemplifies the spirit of Ambedkarism, bridging continents to bring Baba Saheb's transformative vision to the forefront.
He also added that Neelam Cultural Center, a prominent institution, has also undertaken remarkable efforts to disseminate the teachings of Baba Saheb through the powerful medium of theater. Recognizing the profound impact of art and culture in inspiring social change, Neelam Cultural Center has embraced the transformative power of plays to educate and enlighten audiences about Baba Saheb's ideologies.
Through captivating theatrical performances, the center breathes life into Baba Saheb's teachings, presenting them in a visually engaging and thought-provoking manner. These plays serve as a catalyst for dialogue and introspection, promoting a deeper understanding of Baba Saheb's vision of social equality, justice, and the annihilation of caste.
The Mooknayak spoke to Kumar, another steadfast Ambedkarite based in Chennai, who emphasizes the significance of platforms like BAWS (Bhimrao Ambedkar Writings and Speeches) as the largest online repository offering access to Baba Saheb's books, writings, essays, and speeches for a global audience. He said , " Considering that Baba Saheb's works have primarily been in English and Marathi, efforts are being made to translate his major works into regional languages to broaden their reach and the ' Ambedkar Manifesto' is a significant step towards the goal " he says.
Kumar, closely aligned with Gautham throughout the book's creation, emphasizes Gautham's remarkable humility, exemplified by his aversion to seeking the limelight, as he eschews platforms such as WhatsApp or social media handles. Kumar, instrumental in crowdfunding efforts, stresses the expansive influence of regional languages. Consequently, Baba Saheb's books are being translated into various languages, aiming to reach not only the SC/ST community but also individuals from all sections and castes. Kumar emphasizes that Baba Saheb's ideology is all-inclusive and transcends boundaries, making it essential to disseminate his teachings to the widest possible audience.