The first real critique of the RSS emerged from the Ambedkarite tradition in Maharashtra: Professor Y.S. Alone
The publication of Raosaheb Kasbe’s ‘Jyot’ caused unrest in Maharashtra: Professor Y.S. Alone
“This critique was always present orally, in the political and social culture of the Ambedkarite movement as Ambedkar’s trenchant critiques of Hindutva in Anhilation of Caste, Riddles in Hinduism and Philosophy of Hinduism made this possible.
“Around 1977-78, Raosaheb Kasbe with ‘Jyot’ a very important work encapsulated this critique in writing. What was crucial about this work was that it analysed the RSS from its own writings which is unique since the RSS is secretive and not very forthcoming about sharing its fundamental documents.
“Before and after the publication of ‘Jyot’ it has always been the Ambedkarite tradition that has really challenged Hindutva ideologically. In fact it is only the Phule-Ambekarite tradition and consciousness that can actually challenge Hindutva because it is a Shramana tradition based on reason and rationality. The Brahmanic (Hindutva) tradition is a Vedic one that is based on perennial ignorance as it accepts a body of myths as reality.
“I have developed a conceptual tool of Protected Ignorance. This is based on the understanding that unless and until education and learning is enabling and empowering, it is protected ignorance. The belief system (Vedic) that a set of beliefs or their belief system is ‘sacred’ is also protected ignorance. The Phule-Ambedkarite tradition, unlike the Left or Congress consciousness is the only one that can truly and really challenge this protected ignorance.
“The Death of the MS University, Baroda happened under the chief minister Narendra Modi who simply allowed it to die a slow death. The Faculty of Fine Arts and it’s Department of Art History and Aesthetics was not only superlative but truly cosmopolitan. This was systematically destroyed.
“Caste is integral to Hindutva. Caste is a hierarchy, an othering. There can be no fraternity with caste. And without fraternity there is no Nation. A Nation is based on shared notions of fraternity and empathy.
“Only when the intellectual class is open to ideas and willing to change in everyday life can a true nation, a healthy nation emerge.
“The present (central) regime, and the UGC Notification (which has led to the protests at JNU) affects the entire foundation of higher education based on Articles 16(1) and 16(4) of the Indian Constitution. The brazen attempt is -through an illegal notification- actually disempower Dalit and Adivasi Students, their entry/admission and further studies. It is the epitome of discrimination and hierarchy perpetuated by the Modi regime.