Saturday, 26 November 2016

Gandhi on Ambedkar

July 10, 1934

Dr. Ambedkar is such an intelligent and clever lawyer that he puts to shame many others. He is able to touch the hearts of many people by his sharp intelligence. The magnitude of his sacrifice is great. He is absorbed in his own work. He leads a simple life. He is capable of earning one to two thousand rupees every month. He is also in a position to settle down in Europe if he so desires. But he doesn’t want to stay there. He is only concerned about the welfare of the Harijans. But what is the condition of even a man like him in our society today?

He says: “If I go to Poona to attend the Assembly session, I have to stay in a hotel and spend the entire amount of the daily allowance of Rs. 10, whereas the others can stay with their friends and save that money. There is no Hindu family in Poona which would accept me as a colleague or a friend.”

Whose shame is this? How can one who has been put to such treatment be won over? At the same time we have to touch the heart of Shankaracharya. Those two are poles apart. How can they be brought together? We stand between these two. Would we be able to impress them by our learning?

What would I do if Ambedkar says, ‘You are traitors; I shall follow the path of violence’? I would have to bend my head and say: ‘Here is my neck for your sword. I must expiate for the sins of my ancestors.’

Again, should I go before Shankaracharya and recite the Vedas? He would say: ‘You have no right to recite the Vedas.’ But, surely, he cannot say that I am not entitled to make any sacrifice, or be humble? Hence, we have to win over both of them with our sacrifice and tolerance.


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