Monday, Oct 03, 2022
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A Case For Bhim Rajya

So, finally, Ambedkar comes into his own in the national consciousness. Now perhaps it’s time to embrace a legacy sidelined by the dominant discourse.

A Case For Bhim Rajya Artwork: Durgabai Vyam and Subhash Vyam/Bhimayana

“I told my father that I did not like any of the figures in (the) Mahabharata. I said, ‘I do not like Bhishma and Drona, nor Krishna. Bhishma and Drona were hypocrites. They said one thing and did quite the opposite. Krishna believed in fraud. His life is nothing but a series of frauds. Equal dislike I have for Rama. Examine his conduct in the Surpanakha episode, in the Vali-Sugriva episode, and his beastly behaviour towards Sita.’ My father was silent, and made no reply. He knew that there was a revolt.”

—Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
in the unpublished Preface dated April 6, 1956, to
The Buddha and His Dhamma

End 1999, in a millennium special issue, Outlook had asked four intellectuals to pick 20 Indians who shaped India in the 20th century. Each member of the panel—Khushwant Singh, Mrinal Pande, P.V. Indiresan and Mushirul Hasan—picked their Top 5. Mohandas Gandhi figured in each of their lists; Jawaharlal Nehru in three; Lata Mangeshkar (who should have stopped singing decades ago as Yesudas had suggested) in two; B.R. Ambedkar in none. In fact, Indiresan, former director of IIT Madras, even said he “had reservations about Ambedkar’s divisive legacy”.

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