Biographer and historian Rajmohan Gandhi on Sunday released here his response to annotated edition of B.R. Ambedkar’s “Annihilation of Caste” which was introduced earlier this year by writer and activist Arundhati Roy as “The Doctor and the Saint”, saying the edition by Ms. Roy was mainly a fierce indictment of Mahatma Gandhi and there were indications here and there that its true aim was the demolition of Gandhi.
The response of Mr. Gandhi was contained in a 54-page booklet “Independence and Social Justice: Understanding the Ambedkar – Gandhi debate” which was released as part of the third memorial lecture of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. It was published by a Hyderabad-based publisher Emesco Books.
Mr. Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma, said many Dalits had censured “The Doctor and the Saint” not for its disagreements with Ambedkar but because three-fourths of its 153-page text was about Gandhi and only one-fourth about Ambedkar. She had only used Ambedkar to attack Gandhi.
There was nothing necessarily illegitimate with that – except that she would have been frank about her intention.
“My response is being offered because of Ms. Roy’s fan following, which is the result not only of her well earned reputation as a writer; it has to do also with her willingness to take out-of-favour positions. Not everyone agrees with all the unpopular stands Ms. Roy has taken, but many (including this writer) may agree with one or two of them”.
Since what Arundhati Roy said carried weight with several good people, Mr. Gandhi wrote that he thought it necessary to point out some of the flaws in her attacks on Gandhi.
Roy’s attacks may have been the result of a lack of knowledge. She had not been a Gandhi scholar for any length of time.
He added that a discussion of the thesis of “Annihilation of Caste” was not the focus of Ms. Roy. It was not Gandhi – Ambedkar relationship nor Ambedkar – Gandhi debate nor an evocation of the times in which the debate took place.
The narration in the “The Doctor and the Saint” of the Gandhi – Ambedkar relationship, which saw both conflict and partnership, was seriously flawed.
On common ideology between Gandhi and Ambedkar, Mr. Gandhi said both agreed that struggle had to be peaceful – resolute, fearless and passionate – but not violent. Both realised that the culmination of a struggle for justice was usually negotiation and settlement.
Dalit solidarity, Dalit education and Dalit vote were weapons far superior to the lathi or gun for both of them.
– N. RAHUL
Source The Hindu HYDERABAD, December 29, 2014