RSS raises Ambedkar vs Mother Teresa row

Articles in the special issue argue that Ambedkar was close to RSS ideology

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: April 15, 2015 11:48 am
RSS, B R Ambedkar, Mother Teresa, Bhaiyyaji Joshi,  B R Ambedkar birth anniversary,  Ambedkar birth anniversary, india news, nation news RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat (left) with general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi (right). (file/photo)

The RSS’s efforts to claim B R Ambedkar’s legacy took a controversial turn Tuesday when the outfit’s general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi said it was worrisome that Ambedkar received the Bharat Ratna ten years after Mother Teresa.

READ: Ambedkar will be remembered as a Congressman: P C Chacko

“Bharat Ratna had been awarded to someone like Mother Teresa ten years before B R Ambedkar. Its cause for worry,” Joshi said at the release of special issues of RSS mouthpieces Organiser and Panchajanya on Ambedkar, whose birth anniversary was observed Tuesday.

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The statement comes after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statement that Mother Teresa served the poor with an intention to convert them had triggered a row.

Speakers at the event tried to bring out “unexplored dimensions” of the Dalit icon.

Comparing RSS founder K B Hegdewar and Ambedkar, Joshi said Hegdewar tried to address questions raised by Ambedkar over untouchability and caste divisions in Hindu society. “Ambedkar envisaged a country where everyone is under one umbrella i.e a Hindu,” Joshi said.

Opinion: How we failed Ambedkar

Social scientist and former Planning Commission member Narendra Jadhav said he was attending the RSS function as he considered himself fortunate to be present at an event to honour Ambedkar who, he said, had pioneered several economic initiatives in the country and his Evolution of Provincial Finances in British India had been the basis for all Finance Commissions.

Panchajanya editor Hitesh Shankar, while countering the criticism that RSS and BJP are staking a claim to Ambedkar’s legacy with an eye on elections, said: “Both Panchajanya and Organiser have always carried special articles on Ambedkar’s views… Baba is for everyone. If he is a big tree, everyone gets its shadow”.

A short film on Ambedkar’s life, shown during the function, had messages from Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Thawar Chand Gehlot who reiterated that Ambedkar’s legacy cannot be claimed by one party or group.

Articles in the special issue argue that Ambedkar was close to RSS ideology. An article by B R Idate reads: “He had great regard and curiosity about RSS… He visited the RSS camp and felt very happy observing the total absence of caste feeling and affiliation.” Another article by senior RSS leader Krishna Gopal quotes Ambedkar as saying: “The Prime Minister’s (Nehru) whole time and attention is devoted for the protection of the Muslims. I yield to none, not even the PM in my desire to give Muslims of India utmost protection…But what I want to know know is are the Muslims the only people who need protection?.”

The article further says that when Sheikh Abudllah tried to persuade Ambedkar on the issue of Article 370 in J&K, he said: “You want that India should defend Kashmir, India should develop Kashmir and Kashmiris should have equal rights as the citizens of India, but you don’t want India and any citizen of India to have any rights in Kashmir. I am the Law minister of India. I cannot betray the interests of the country”.

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  1. K
    Kit Walker
    May 8, 2015 at 10:25 am
    Mother Teresa has done good to many and in that there is no doubt. But her zeal to serve was second to her zeal to convert people to Christianity, a faith it turns out she herself had stopped believing in. I don't know what to make of that. What is particular saddening is thAT she lost her faith in the land of Dharma and it didn't occur to her to reach out to wisdom of the Vedas and Upanishads, peacefulness of Buddhism or Jainism. In that rests her failing, she remained fanatical in find meaning in her own dried up well and worse pulled others into it as well. Her legacy is CHEQUERED in other DIMENSIONS as well . Is that what makes her a saint?
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    1. S
      Shelke
      Apr 16, 2015 at 1:24 am
      Mr. Joshi should read the declaration of Ambedkar at Yeola. Besides, he should do also read the annihilation of caste. Divarkar Shelke,
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      1. H
        Haradhan Mandal
        Apr 15, 2015 at 2:10 pm
        It is amusing that someone (or some organization) always trying to be smart and clever (over all others). Here the 'clever ones' are trying to pit two great icons of HUMANITY of the WORLD against each other. Can someone may please ask these smart folks - why No BHARAT RATNA for their OWN icons- their founding-fathers - why ALWAYS this beg, borrow or steal icons from others ?
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        1. H
          Haradhan Mandal
          Apr 15, 2015 at 8:37 am
          What is anti-Indian here?
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          1. M
            manohar sharma
            Apr 15, 2015 at 7:53 am
            Dr Ambedkar called the article 370 as the betrayal of interest of the country. How prophetic have been his words But the Congress whose true colours are coming out more and more(spying on Neta ji's family and the destruction of the concerned files) are proving to be the main reason for India's social discord
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            1. C
              confusedAAPian
              Apr 15, 2015 at 9:36 pm
              Those who did not vote for BJP also carry fascist ideas of Islam, Vatican and nexalisum and also pseudo secular opportunist
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              1. N
                nishit sahay
                Apr 15, 2015 at 6:59 pm
                Nehru was busy giving the first bharat ratna to himself.. this award had no meaning under congress regime.. I wouldn't compare with mother Teresa.. but Ambedkar getting this award so late is definitely worrisome
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                1. A
                  Amit Bhattacharjie
                  Apr 15, 2015 at 3:26 pm
                  PLEASE DO NOT DRAG THIS GREAT MAN INTO TODAY'S POLITICS FOR A FEW EXTRA SEATS. PEOPLE HERE IN MUMBAI ARE ALSO EQUATING HIM WITH GAUTAM BUDDHA AND CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ. THIS IS RIDICULOUS. THE GREAT MAN HIMSELF WOULD NEVER HAVE APPROVED OF THIS.
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                  1. A
                    Anup
                    Apr 15, 2015 at 10:05 am
                    RSS shouldn't compare the work of these great persons. Their works are like the two faces of the coins. However they both did it for poor and needy. RSS is disrespecting their works by comparing it. If you can not do good, please don't comment wrong about those who did good for the society.
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