New Delhi, Apr 9 (PTI) A new biography by scholar Ashok Gopal takes the story of Bhimrao Ambedkar beyond his role as the ‘Father of the Constitution’ who challenged the centuries old class and caste structure by delivering a legal instrument to protect Dalit rights.
“A Part Apart: The Life and Thought of BR Ambedkar”, published by Navayana, claims to chart “the evolution of Ambedkar’s thought, its core vision, and its relation to his life and work” by exploring works and speeches by and on him in both English and Marathi.
It traces Ambedkar’s life from his birth to an Army man in a Mahar family to his religious upbringing and experiences with caste early on, from his education in Mumbai, New York and London to working as a lawyer to contribute to the cause of the Untouchables.
According to publisher S Anand, the biographical information on Ambedkar has been intertwined with a reading of his writings and speeches “done against the background of conceptual frames, contextual information and scholarly analyses”.
“Underlying the effort is the premise that Ambedkar’s oeuvre was shaped by certain core concerns and principles, which need to be understood before one analyses and evaluates any one aspect of his thought, such as his views on democracy, minority rights, religion or Buddhism,” said S Anand, publisher at Navayana, in a statement.
Anand added that the book provides substantial information on Ambedkar that so far has not been published in either English or Marathi.
“This may spur research into the less-explored aspects of Ambedkar’s life and work. Hopefully, ‘A Part Apart’ will also dent some of the India academic establishment’s disregard towards his work as an original thinker and scholar,” he said.
Apart from exploring Ambedkar’s growth as a political thinker and one of the foremost proponents of the Dalit cause, and an ideological opponent of Mahatma Gandhi, “A Part Apart” also looks at his reinterpreting religious texts and history, and his last work, “The Buddha and His Dhamma”.
“Ambedkar challenged almost every one of my preconceived notions about Indian society, culture, history and its well-known leaders. He opened my eyes to caste within and around me. He taught me how democracy was to be understood,” Gopal writes in the book.
The 750-page tome contains three maps, 70 photographs, letters and documents collected from a number of sources including 70-year-old Ambedkarite archivist Vijay Surwade.
The book will be formally released on April 14 on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti. PTI MAH MG RDS RDS
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