|Politicians & Literature|
PL Punia | 67 | Uttar Pradesh
I COME FROM a rural background. It was an achievement for a person like me from the Dalit community to even reach university level. Because of my interest, and as part of my syllabus, I read extensively about the freedom struggle, including books by Gandhi and Nehru. I was so fond of Hans Joachim Morgenthau’s book on international relations that I memorised almost 500 pages. Gandhi has impressed me from very early in my life. His simplicity and ability to identify with the plight of untouchables and fight to bring them into the social mainstream were exemplary.
But of the hundreds of books that I have read, I would like to single out one, Worshipping False Gods by Arun Shourie. Although the book denigrates BR Ambedkar, it does contain a lot of material and interesting references. Particularly fascinating is the events leading to the Poona Pact that was signed between Ambedkar and Gandhi.
It also details the constitution that Ambedkar had drafted before he became chairman of the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly. He had advocated the nationalisation of all agricultural land, requiring it to be distributed among farmers and landless agricultural labourers. This did not happen. He had warned that we were entering into an era of contradictions, where we might have political equality, but due to the concentration of land in a few hands, we would continue to suffer social and economic inequality. This, he had said, would be a challenge for future governments. This warning is still pertinent.