Gandhi In the eyes of Ambedkar


Gandhi an essential ingredient in the making of India’s image across the world, needs to be seen through Dr Ambedkar’s eyes .

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the eminent figure both within country and in the world wide . but , for most people , what they know of him is what is pieced together by the heavy hand of the indian state and congress – through ceremonial remembrances, currency notes, street names , statues and school textbooks.

Apart from these , a host of gushing praise the deceit of his sainthood and the cleverly inventiveness of his protest are all too common.

He is praised highly as the pioneer of Satyagraha, the founder of non-violence and , of course as the father of the nation.

Hence we can say it has been crucial for India to took forward a mahatma for their identity in world.

  What did Ambedkar , the man whom we trusted with the custodian of our constitution , have to say about Gandhi , the mahatma ? In a 1955 BBC interview , Ambedkar said , “ Gandhi was never a mahatma ; I refuse to call him a mahatma.”

In an audio file of interview uploaded to youtube , Ambedkar can be heard saying that Gandhi was no reformer. “He was just an episode in the history of India, not an epoch maker,” Ambedkar said .

Some Gandhian scholars have refused to admit Ambedkar’s views on Gandhi as mere ‘polemic’, I would argue that his critical analysis from logic , facts and philosophy disagreement rather than hatred for Gandhi as a political opponent.

After personally  studying the social and economic foundation of Gandhian philosophy , Ambedkar stated gandhism as dangerous doctrine.

The gandhian prescription for an ideal society was to establish a perfect caste system. Till 1922, Gandhi was an fierce proponent of the caste system. He saw great value in caste and openly advocated its continuance.

Gandhi glorify caste as responsible for the durability of Hindu society; as a seed of swaraj(freedom);as a unique power of organisation , as a mean of providing primary education and raising a defence force; as a means of self-restraint ; as the natural order of society; and most important of all, as the eternal principle of heredity occupation for  maintaining societal order.

Explaining all these merits of caste, Gandhi declares,“These being my views I am opposed to all those who are out to destroy the caste system.”

Later, Gandhi divert his philosophy from caste to varna.

Around 1925, Gandhi declared that varna rather than caste was his social ideal. He suggested the smaller castes fuse and ‘reproduce the old system of four varnas.’ The old varna system prevalent in ancient India had society divided into four vertically hierarchical orders: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras whose socially legislated occupations were learning, warfare, trade and service to the above three varnas respectively. Ambedkar saw no real change in Gandhi’s position as Gandhi’s varna ideal carried forward the hereditary occupation from the caste model intact.

 In Gandhian utopia, the shudra were to remain as serving class and ati shudra(present day dalits) are integrated in it.  

The economic ideal of the Gandhian model was equally revolting for Ambedkar’s modernist sensibilities.

Firstly, Gandhi was against machinery and modern civilisation. In contrary, Ambedkar was in favour of modernisation, He argues that modern machinery enables  humans to have leisure. It florish culture and civilisation , which make human life worthy of its existence.

Secondly, the Gandhian idea of ‘trusteeship’ is seemingly towards the elimination of class struggle in the relationship between employers and employees and between landlords and tenants. Ambedkar, being a economist, was highly doubtful of the rich protecting the interests of the poor.

Ambedkar alert about Gandhism as ‘conservatism in excelsis’ that ‘helps those who have, to keep what they have and to prevent those who have not from getting what they have a right to get’.

Ambedkar stated that gandhism is only benefitial for previleged leisure class, which is clearly seen by present day torch bearer of gandhism.

Ambedkar analysis and concluded as gandhism as incompetent desire of democratic society.

Ambedkar stance as being an untouchable and a philosopher, present highly  Brahminised status-quoist formulations of Gandhi. The conflict between Ambedkar and Gandhi is not mere personal but its due to fabrics of caste which is rooted in the Indian society.

Today, we need both Ambedkar and Gandhi. 

We need Gandhi to learn how a Brahminised consciousness works regardless of its best intentions. On the other hand, we need Ambedkar for moulding tools to analyse and repurpose the tactics of neo-Brahminical forces in the fight against the hydra-headed monster that is caste.

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