IN Arun Shourie's Worshipping False Gods, the Dalit apostle, B.R. Ambedkar, is portrayed as a self-centred, unpatriotic, power-hungry anti-national, a stooge of the British. Can there be a more false picture of Ambedkar? The book may be well-researched, but it is biased. The gravamen of Shourie's charge against Ambedkar is four-fold: (1) he opposed the freedom struggle; (2) he collaborated with the British for material gains; (3) he only piloted the draft constitution and that he can in no way be called the Father of the Constitution; and (4) his conversion to Buddhism was mere opportunism. On the very first page, Shourie states: "There is not one instance, not one single, solitary instance in which Ambedkar participated in any activity connected with the struggle to free the country." If Shourie had done the right kind of research, he would have found that during the Quit India Movement, when Ambedkar was a member of the viceroy's executive council, he had the courage to shelter underground Congress leaders like Achyut Patwardhan at his residence.
Shourie ignores Ambedkar's attack on the British at the Round Table Conference where he said: "When we compare our present position with the one which it was our lot to bear in Indian society of pre-British days, we find that, instead of marching on, we are marking time. Before the British we were in a loathsome position because of our untouchability. Has the British government done anything to remove it? Before the British, we could not draw water from the village well. Before the British we could not enter the temple. Can we enter now?.... To none of these questions can we give an affirmative answer. Our wrongs have remained as open sores and they were not righted although 150 years of British rule have rolled away.... Of what good is such a government to anybody?..." Is this the language of a British stooge?