ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Deconstructing 'Ambedkar'

Ambedkar's samata is not samrasata and his world view is not the neo-liberal, social Darwinism that it is being made out to be.

If the number of statues, memorabilia, pictures and posters, songs and ballads, books and pamphlets, or the size of congregations in memory of him were the parameters to measure greatness, there may not be any other historical figure that can rival Babasaheb Ambedkar. Newer and newer places are getting added to the list of his memorials wherever congregations take place every year. He has been such a phenomenon that after a while it would be difficult for people to believe that such a person—who had to struggle to drink water from a public water source, open for cats and dogs—ever walked on this planet. Even the gods in heaven, if they exist, would be jealous of him. What might be behind this miracle? There is no doubt that he has been a messiah for Dalits, initially only a section of them and now most of them. It is natural for them to be beholden for what he did for them, single-handedly and single-mindedly. True though, it would be pure naïveté to believe this to be the lone and only cause. The catalytic role played by the ruling classes in constructing and promoting Ambedkar as an icon has been a major one, and mutually reinforcing too. The recent overtures of the Sangh Parivar to claim Ambedkar are blatant enough to make Dalits understand the underlying dynamics.

Making of the Icon

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