Worshipping False Gods  

by: Arun Shourie

Publisher: Harper Collins , Price: Rs.720

Reviewed by: Natarajan Vijayasankaran )- (nattu@mailexcite.com)

Worshipping false gods attempts to de glorify the aura and legend that is usually associated with Dr.B.R.Ambedkar. Statues of Ambedkar in his suit with a copy of the constitution in one hand and with his other hand raised as if to proclaim and order something are so common that it would be fair estimation to say that they far outnumber the statues of Gandhi & Nehru put together. Yet this same man who currently enjoys a DEMIGOD status in India was in fact a non-entity in Nehru's Idealistic India.

Shourie's allegations against Ambedkar are as follows:

  • that he staunchly opposed Congress till as late as 1946
  • that he was willing stooge of British Government
  • that he was not the Father of the Constitution as it is commonly claimed though nevertheless his contribution is substantial

Shourie emphatically proves everyone of these allegation and relies on published records on Ambedkar's and the Viceroy's speeches , correspondences etc. and the events per se.

That he staunchly opposed the Congress requires no more proof than the fact that Ambedkar was Ambedkar...his vitriolic statements against Gandhi and Nehru in fact serve as the License for Kanshi Ram and Mayawati to do the same. His statements are sometimes too vitriolic for a man of his perceived stature... things like " The Soceity is ruled by the Brahmin and the Bania..." ostensibly referring to Nehru and Gandhi and goes on to proclaim that The Bania is like a blood sucking creature on the society.

Today Ambedkar is seen as a messiah of the Dalits but then he was nothing more than a stooge of the British... an instrument of the British Policy of divide and rule. All this so amply clear when Lithglow talks of 'Strengthening the hands of A so that it may be to our advantage'. Can you believe that this messiah was never an elected representative of the Dalits. He could win only one of the reserved seats(Leave alone the General Seats) in the Provincial elections when the Congress was repeatedly sweeping the polls before and after Independence. Ambedkar was appointed by only the British as a representative of the Dalits so that he could proclaim in the round table conferences that Gandhi and Nehru did not speak for the Dalits when Jinnah was proclaiming that Gandhi and Nehru did not speak for the Muslims. In fact Ambedkar joined Jinnah in his 'Deliverance Day' Celebrations when the Congress ministries resigned in 1939.

He was also a member of the Viceroy's Cabinet right through the forties and the Quit India movement when the Leaders of the National movement were languishing in jail. Viceroy was the representative of the Crown and had Absolute Powers the Viceroy's cabinet was nothing more than a sinecure body of complaisant Indians. In theory all decisions of the Viceroy were taken after consulting the Cabinet. This cabinet was packed with Indians just to give the Impression that after all the British had the people's backing.

Shourie also takes a lot of pains to prove that Ambedkar was not the sole author of the constitution and that after all a magnificent document like the constitution could not have had a single author. He proves this by thoroughly describing how the constitution was framed. Ambedkar was the chairman of the Drafting committee whose purpose was to put into words whatever the constituent assembly thought. The ideas were mainly that of the Congress leadership. Shourie also demonstrated how the final constitution was so very different from what Ambedkar had all along advocated.

Nevertheless one gets the feeling that this part of the book is a bit too long and unnecessary when Ambedkar himself had never proclaimed that he was the sole author of the constitution and he had infact issued many disclaimers to the contrary.

Shourie himself does a fairly objective job though it has to be said that at times he gets carried away...especially when he accuses Ambedkar as a job seeker based on a subjective assessment by an English man.

On the whole, this is a well researched scholarly work.