April 14 marks the birth anniversary of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, a Dalit activist, social reformer, politician, economist and jurist, who is renowned for his role in the fight against discrimination of Dalits, and in the drafting of the Indian Constitution.
His birth anniversary is celebrated across India as Ambedkar Jayanti every year. This year, we saw several hashtags trending on Twitter - some of them celebrated Ambedkar's legacy, while some others viewed the occasion negatively, while denouncing affirmative actions like caste-based reservation.
#AmbedkarJayanti And #AntiSanatanDay
The hashtag #AmbedkarJayanti first appeared on January 30, 2021 at 7.40 PM. It was tweeted out by user @MoviesBuzz9, and used to promote a Telugu-language legal drama film called Vakeel Saab.
After being tweeted out nearly 5000 times, the hashtag started picking up on the day of Ambedkar Jayanti - April 14. Between midnight and 11.32 PM on this day, the hashtag was tweeted out more than 34,000 times. At least 1706 tweets were made by verified accounts.
People tweeting out this hashtag were frequently seen using two other hashtags - #AntiSanatanDay and #JaiBhim.
While most of the tweets simply celebrated Ambedkar's birth anniversary, we also saw a number of people use these hashtags to speak about caste discrimination and the struggle to end it.
All the three hashtags were pushed assertively by many users - with some of them posting tweets hundreds of times in a matter of hours by users @Ghanshy79315455, @JaypalMohit, @iamBundel among many others.
#मूर्ख_दिवस -From April's Fool To Anti-Reservation Trend
The hashtag #मुर्ख_दिवस was first used on March 31, 2014, at 3.22 PM by user @drpandeyanil, on the occasion of April Fool's Day.
Since then, the hashtag has been used every year on April 1, to mark April Fool's Day.
On April 14, 2021, this hashtag picked up again, simultaneously with the trend #AmbedkarJayanti. Between midnight and noon, it was tweeted out over 4300 times.
Most of the tweets spoke against caste-based reservation, and denounced Ambedkar's role in fighting caste oppression. A large number of tweets attempted to reinforce the view that upper-caste people, especially Brahmins, are at a disadvantage due to such affirmative actions.
Some others also used the hashtag to promote casteism more explicitly.
We found nearly 400 tweets that were similarly worded, tweeted by users @CB_Choubey, @viveknmishr, @Brand_K_K, @AkshaysinhV, @AkshaysinhVagh5, among others.
With additional inputs from Sujith A.