Harsimran Kaur ON Dec 26, 2022, IN BOOK REVIEW, AMBEDKAR: A LIFE BY SHASHI THAROOR-NON FICTION
The proclivity of the mind to sharpen the raw edges of life is not a perfidy of a loyal breeding but a cataclysm of the inner conscious to assemble a foliage of tolerance and equality; fighting off the inequities that devalue the essence of being human. ‘Tolerance and Equality’—both are often used in the political and social context—Hindu-Muslim incendiary conflicts, religious insinuations, equal pay allowance and the ubiquitous man-woman warfare.
Isn’t all this a part of a mentality? Have we ever tried to talk about the eclipsed secession of our mentality that inconspicuously hardens the broth benignly swimming inside, the delinquency of which would free us from the bondage of over-stirred recipes of incendiary troubles.
Mentality—an invisible terminology but with visible spheres of actions that transcend from the de rigueur to the anomaly. The peculiar state of mind has the ability to revise its own conclusions to create a framed ideology that forms roots in our society, to grow further as a nodule of proper and improper functions.
Babasaheb Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was a pungent rhizome that purged forward as a rhododendron reinvigorating branches of ratiocination and hard-crusted polemics. The maker of the constitution of India, Ambedkar was not the usual tape binded political manifesto but a socially and economically driven man who abhorred the rattle-trap of Hindu caste system. He worked relentlessly to be a touch-aid to the ‘untouchables’ and their dilapidated incongruity of life. The book ‘Ambedkar: A life’ is not just a story of a staunch man but awakening of a ‘mentality’ that led him to cross the bursty storms of oceanic waves causing to flutter the very idea of ‘equality’ and ‘tolerance’.
Shashi Tharoor, an enigmatic writer, has been candid about the pugnacious mind of Ambedkar –a cumbersome journey of losing the precious and gaining what many prominent men have not been able to achieve. His deep-rooted ruminative action plan formed a crucial part of the tenants of democracy and secularism; he established the constitution defining the panjandrum of ‘rights’ and ‘freedom’ placing distinctive features of what is acceptable to the human mind for survival. His inclination to fight the repugnant caste system was met with a lot of recriminations from the congress party and the Hindutva ideological pantheons.
The reader might be interested in Ambedkar’s constitutional framework but what blushes the cheek is his indomitable fight to undo the hierarchal caste penetration—the ultimate case of creating a ravine flowing the effluents of untouchability. A clarion call by Ambedkar to give the ‘undeserved classes a reaffirmation of their nationalism was met by a coup de grace by the wits and wails of chaperoned ideologies.
Freedom meant to him a self-realization and self-representation of rights and thereby being righteous in carrying out what one deserves—an introspective light that the oppressed classes should consume within. He was cut off the edge by his opponents for being the voice of change and often termed as recalcitrant and corrosive to the social structure of the country.
Majoritism infuriated him, religion—a senseless bandwagon—and political panjandrum creating a despicable blot to the economic, social and political upliftment of the country. Tharoor is both an agreeable friend to his path for equality but nudges a retroussé where the ‘constitutional master’ may have limped a leg.
Ambedkar’s contrary pot-boilers roasting ‘Gandhi’ are evident in the book. Sometimes, there seems to be quite a similarity between ‘Ambedkar’ and ‘Subash Chander Bose’ who also rowed a different ideological crusade against Gandhi. But, there was a difference. Ambedkar was a bit ruthless as his forced impoverishment never left his formidable mind. Bose too was obstinate but his privileged background made him a bit damp squib among the congress fellows.
‘Harijans’, ‘untouchables’, ‘Dalits’, and ‘scheduled castes’—parts of the same reflective denunciation are prevalent as an unwanted nucleus harbouring the prejudices of the Hindu Caste system. Maybe, if Ambedkar would have been alive, these muted cells may have ceased to exist. The controversial ‘Poona act’ and the ‘Hindu Code Bill’ was his effort to amputate the political aberration of creating a ‘Ram Rajya’. But, all hell broke loose at him by the rabble-rousers. He was born a Hindu but died a Buddhist—showing that it’s the mentality that governs our survival in life that we wish to make to break.
Absorbing and inspirational….