Arundathi Roy on Bhimrao Ambedkar, Mohandas Gandhi and Caste
March 2, 2014 10:53 PM Subscribe
"Each represented very separate interest groups, and their battle unfolded in the heart of India’s national movement. What they said and did continues to have an immense bearing on contemporary politics. Their differences were (and remain) irreconcilable. Both are deeply loved and often deified by their followers. It pleases neither constituency to have the other’s story told, though the two are inextricably linked. Ambedkar was Gandhi’s most formidable adversary. He challenged him not just politically or intellectually, but also morally. To have excised Ambedkar from Gandhi’s story, which is the story we all grew up on, is a travesty. Equally, to ignore Gandhi while writing about Ambedkar is to do Ambedkar a disservice, because Gandhi loomed over Ambedkar’s world in myriad and un-wonderful ways."The Annihilation of Caste
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is the nearly eighty-year-old text of a speech that Ambedkar was supposed to deliver in Lahore, in 1936, to an audience of privileged-caste Hindus, but it was never delivered.
"When the text of 'Annihilation of Caste' was published, the man who is often called the “greatest of Hindus”—Mahatma Gandhi—responded to Ambedkar’s provocation. Their debate was not a new one. Both men were their generation’s emissaries of a profound social, political and philosophical conflict that had begun long ago and has still by no means ended."
Bhimrao Ambedkar previously
Arundhati Roy previously