Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of BR Ambedkar and two-term Member of Parliament from Akola in Maharastra, is the president of the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM), a faction of the Republican Party of India. In July 2016, the BBM worked towards organising a mass rally to protest the demolition of the old Ambedkar Bhawan in central Mumbai in June. On 26 August, Ambedkar—who was then visiting Delhi—and a few other Dalit rights activists addressed a press conference that was held at the Delhi Press Club. There, they announced that under the banner of the Dalit Swabhiman Sangharsh (DSS), various Dalit organisations and workers’ associations would walk to Parliament House on 16 September to protest the atrocities against Dalits in India. DSS, Ambedkar said, would also set a socio-cultural agenda to help create a common platform for Dalit expression.
Later that day, Sagar, a web reporter at The Caravan, visited Maharastra Sadan to interview Ambedkar. They discussed, among other things, the rise of Dalit nationalism, reservations, double-member constituencies, and the caste politics of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
S: Do you see a rise of Dalit nationalism after Una? How do you look at the entire incident?
PA: The third or fourth generation [of Dalits], if I can say so, is a more liberated generation. Society has also changed, they can assert themselves. They have started expressing themselves in various sectors.
S: How is this generation of Dalits different from previous ones?