Stating that there was no basic antagonism between Mahatma Gandhi and Dr B R Ambedkar, Gopal Guru, a professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Saturday said that “Gandhi took Ambedkar much more seriously than other thinkers and leaders” who were their contemporary. For instance, Guru said, Rabindranath Tagore who wrote extensively on caste system didn’t even mention Ambedkar in any of his writings. Guru was speaking on “Ambedkar’s Gandhi: A step Forward,” the first Sabarmati Ashram Lecture started by Sabarmati Ashram and Preservation and Memorial Trust.
In his lecture, Guru drew a picture on relationship between Gandhi and Ambedkar maintaining that both the leaders maintained constructive criticism of one another. While introducing the talk Guru said that the title is “unusual” as it seeks to “escape certain degree of acrimony that is built around the approach to study” these two leaders together. “In my considered opinion, infusion of acrimony into the cordiality between the two leader has to be attributed to some of the Dalits and their enthusiastic friends.”
Guru said, “Babasaheb was critical of Gandhi but he never adopted such an attitude that would result in inflicting cognitive injustice at Bapu. In fact, Babasaheb not only treated Gandhi as his genuine interlocutor, but he found in Bapu a rare moral quality of truthfulness which is considered politically virtuous.”
Guru said that unlike leaders who were not ready to accept the fact that they were also part of caste and untouchability, Gandhi readily acknowledged it. He said that Gandhi was part of the caste system but morally he also wanted to become “Harijan at transcendental level. Ambedkar wanted Gandhi to become the part of Buddhist.”
According to Guru, “Ambe-dkar in his speech at Nagpur had sought to go closer to Gandhi although Nehru as closer to him in terms of common preposition and vision. But Gandhi was closer to Ambe-dkar in terms of criterion of being truthful to the question of untouchability.”