Sunday, 31 May 2020

A well-researched, erudite work on Dr Ambedkar

Updated: July 31, 2010 12:49 pm

This book is a well-researched, comprehensive biography of Dr BR Ambedkar. The book, written from a personal and passionate standpoint, covers almost all hitherto known and unknown aspects pertaining to Dr Ambedkar’s life. Dr Ambedkar had dedicated his entire life for the uplift of the deprived section of the society. Hence many Indians and even people from other countries revere him as a great social reformer.

            According to the writer, a reform movement is a kind of social movement that aims to make gradual change, or change in certain aspects of society rather than rapid or fundamental changes. A reform movement is distinguished from more radical social movements such as revolutionary movements. Reformists’ ideas are often grounded in liberalism, although they may be rooted in utopian, socialist or religious concepts. Some rely on personal transformation, others rely on small collectives. But Dr Ambedkar, who experienced caste discrimination right from the childhood, relied upon liberalism. He was the first who toiled for eradication of the curse of caste considerations and reduced the bridge between tribal and non-tribal. God made all human beings equal, but narrow minds and orthodox traditions gave rise to untouchability and inequality. In this backdrop, the book depicts how the heart-rending sufferings that Dr Ambedkar had to endure in his childhood proved to be a boon for the whole of India in the end. He became the architect of the Indian Constitution and the messiah of the untouchables and the downtrodden.

            Exposing the Congress’ duplicity on caste eradication, the book quotes Dr Ambedkar as saying that the Congress started talking about the need for the welfare of untouchables…But the truth is apart from doing lip service, the party has not really done anything practical for them. The Congress concern for the untouchables smacks of hypocrisy, Dr Ambedkar added. In fact, he could see that Gandhi did not want to do anything that might offend the caste Hindus. If the Harijan Sevak Sangh or Gandhi himself did anything which was not to the liking of the caste-Hindus, they would leave the Congress, contingency which Gandhi never wanted to happen for the sake of his own ambition to be the undisputed leader of the country.

            Therefore, addressing the meetings of the untouchables, Ambedkar would say: “The sooner you remove the foolish belief that your miseries were pre-ordained, the better. The thought that your poverty is an inevitability, and is inborn and inseparable is entirely erroneous. Abandon the line of thought that you are slaves…I appeal to you to act and utilise what little political power is coming into your hands. If you are indifferent and do not try to use it properly, your worries will have no end…The surest way for your salvation lies in higher education, higher employment and better ways of earning a living. Once you become well-placed in the scale of social life, you would become respectable and the religious outlook of the orthodox towards you is sure to undergo a change, and even if this does not happen, it can do no injury to your interest.”

            In a nutshell, the book presents what went into the making of Dr Ambedkar and how in his lifetime he went on conquering peaks of excellence despite hurdles, roadblocks, apathy of caste leaders. And undoubtedly, the writer’s attention to detail and prodigious research skills is quite evident.

Kalpaz Publications, C-30, Satyawati Nagar, Delhi-110052

By Ashok Kumar

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