BJP And Ambedkar

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Come election time and imperatives of vote bank politics compel political parties to turn overnight heroes into villains and villains into heroes. Narendra Modi has recently criticised 'the Gandhi family' for 'insulting' BR Ambedkar and accused it of stopping the implementation of the rights given by Ambedkar to the dalits.

Modi must be totally ignorant of the fact that one of his party's stalwarts and a minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet, Arun Shourie, has dubbed Ambedkar as a tool in the hands of the British rulers.

His book, Worshipping False Gods: Ambedkar and the Facts Which Have Been Erased, published in 1997, is a no-holds-barred diatribe against Ambedkar, in which Shourie has used the choicest epithets against the principal architect of free India's Constitution.

Here is a typical excerpt from Shourie's book: "In a word, a quarter century of Ambedkar's public career overlapped with this struggle of the country to free itself from British rule. There is not one instance, not one single, solitary instance where Ambedkar participated in any activity connected with that struggle to free the country. Quite the contrary, at every possible turn he opposed the campaigns of the National Movement, at every setback to the Movement he was among those cheering the failure. Thus, while the years culminated in the country's Independence, in Ambedkar's case they culminated in his becoming a member of the Viceroy's Council, that is -- to use the current terms -- a Minister in the British Cabinet in India".

The BJP has never disowned what Shourie has written about Ambedkar nor disapproved of the contents of the book. Now for Modi to shed tears for a man accused of being among those who 'cheered' at every failure of the struggle for independence by one of his own party colleagues, for being insulted by the Gandhi family, does sound a little unconvincing - to put it very, very mildly. Fortunately for Modi, the vast masses of the dalits are still illiterate and ignorant and very few of them know either about Shourie or what he has written about their leader, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. Modi is taking full advantage of their ignorance.

His hypocrisy is exposed by the fact that in his Gujarat, which he flaunts to be the model of development for the whole of India, the dalits are entitled to get water supplied by the panchayats last of all. According to the notice pasted on the walls of the water supply centres, Brahmins are to get water first, then other castes and finally the dalits. The Congress has failed to highlight this fact.


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