Thursday, December, 02,2021

BR Ambedkar A man of high intellect

The four greatest Indians of the 20th century were Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru and BR Ambedkar. Bhim Rao Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891 in Mhow, cantonment area near Indore.

After several years I am re-reading Narendra Jadhav’s monumental biography of Dr. Ambedkar. On the other side of the title page, appears in red ink a quotation of Dr. Ambedkar. I shall quote it later in the article.

He vigorously opposed Mahatma Gandhi in particular and the Congress in general. He also became a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council.

How then did he become an important member of Nehru’s Cabinet? Before his name was included in the ministerial panel, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel drove to Bhangi colony to get Gandhiji’s approval.

The Mahatma has no objection. Not only that, he suggested that Ambedkar should be made Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee.

BR Ambedkar had a razor sharp intellect. With due respect, neither Nehru nor Patel can be included in the same intellectual league.

The quotation I referred to reads: “On January 26, 1950 we are going to enter into a life of contradiction. In politics we will have quality and in social and economic life we shall have inequality.

In politics we will be recognizing one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value.

How long shall we continue to live this life of contradiction? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we shall do so only putting our political democracy in peril.

We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up this structure which this Assembly has so laboriously built up.”

On his fiftieth birthday- April 14, 1942 celebrations were held in many places. The Marathi and English newspapers offered him warm facilitations for all that had for the Depressed classes.

VD Savarkar was fulsome in praising Ambedkar, “Ambedkar’s personality, erudition capacity to lead and organise would have by themselves marked him out as an outstanding asset to our nation.

But in addition to the inestimable services he has rendered to our Motherland in trying to stamp out untouchability and the results he has achieved in instilling a manly spirit of self-confidence in millions of the Depressed Classes, constitute an abiding, patriotic as well as humanitarian achievement.

The very fact of the birth of such a towering personality among the so-called untouchable castes could not but liberate their souls from self-depression and animate them to challenge the supererogatory claim of the so-called untouchables”. This from a Chitpavan Brahmin!

A few weeks before his death he issued a press note announcing his conversion to Buddhism. The date and time were mentioned. The event would be observed at Nagpur on Dussehra, October 14, 1956, between 9 and 11. Am. Dr. Ambedkar passed away in Delhi on 6 December 1956 in Delhi. He was sixty five years of age.

For me the final of the IPL on Friday was a let down. The Kolkata Knight Riders should have won the game. Their bowlers let them down. Lockie Ferguson, who bowls at over 145 miles an hour, averaged 14 runs per over, without taking a wicket.

MS Dhoni, forty years of age won the fourth IPL for Chennai Super Kings. This was his 300th T-20 match. He is a master of tactics and strategy. Even under intense pressure he remains unruffled. He inspires. Undoubtedly the best cricket captain India has produced. Congratulations on your victory.

Dr Manmohan Singh and I have known each other since the 1970s. He is three years younger than me. He is endowed with exceptional qualities of head and heart.

I am more than distressed by the indisposition of my former boss. I have not the slightest doubt that he will be back home at the earliest and resume his daily walks in his garden.

The views expressed by the author are personaL

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