Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi has said that the British, with an intent to weaken the collective conscience emerging in India, tried to patronise Dr BR Ambedkar, as they did Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in order to mobilise the masses to create a separate electorate for the “depressed classes” or the Scheduled Castes.
Speaking after unveiling the statue of Dr BR Ambedkar at Raj Bhavan on the occasion of his death anniversary on Tuesday, 6 December, Governor Ravi added that the Dalit icon saw through the British design and resisted the attempts to create a separate electorate, thereby playing a significant role in uniting the country.
“The British had already created a separate electorate for the Muslims. They began patronising Jinnah. They began looking for more Jinnahs elsewhere. And then they spotted Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar. That he would be a person will be able to mobilise. He knew how atrocious the society was, how downtrodden the depressed people were-deprived of their basic human rights,” the Governor said.
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He added: “So having created a separate electorate for Muslims and patronising Jinnah, they (British) started fuelling a separate electorate for the depressed and downtrodden. Imagine, had the British succeeded, where this country would have been? When Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Ambedkar met in the Pune jail, they had a long meeting…And there, Dr Ambedkar saw the British design and he said no, we don’t agree to that (separate electorate).”
Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s statue was unveiled at Raj Bhavan on his #MahaparinirvanDiwas. On this occasion Governor Ravi, Hon’ble MoS Dr.L.Murugan and other dignitaries paid floral tributes. #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav @PMOIndia @MinOfCultureGoI @Murugan_MoS pic.twitter.com/w3pLgibH7r
— RAJ BHAVAN, TAMIL NADU (@rajbhavan_tn) December 6, 2022
Governor Ravi went on to say that the country is yet to fully appreciate what Dr Ambedkar did for its unity because, according to him, if the British were successful in creating a separate electorate for the downtrodden communities, it would have “wreaked havoc” in post-Independence India.
Speaking about the partition, Governor Ravi opined that Ambedkar was a “realist” who wanted to confront the issue as opposed to other leaders “who were living in utopia” with the hope till the last moment that it wouldn’t happen.
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“Had his (Ambedkar’s) advice been taken, the partition could have been avoided or made less gruesome,” the Governor stated.
Referring to him as an “intellectual giant”, the Governor further said that many leaders of the time felt “uncomfortable” in Ambedkar’s presence as they felt “smaller” in front of his “sheer brightness”.
‘Ambedkar an ardent nationalist’
“He (Ambedkar) was an ardent nationalist. He never did anything that could hurt the interests of India at any time to come. We know that he was a great social reformer, he dedicated his life fighting for the rights of the depressed and the downtrodden. The depressed and the downtrodden were not just only the Scheduled Caste people. Even the women of India were among the depressed and the deprived. He fought for all. He took on the discrimination at every level,” Governor Ravi added, while paying his tributes to the architect of the Indian Constitution.
Apart from the Governor, the statue unveiling event at Raj Bhavan was attended by Union Minister of State L Murugan, Tamil Nadu Minister for Adi Dravidar Welfare N Kayalvizhi Selvaraj, Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu and Principal Secretary to the Governor Anandrao V Patil.
It may be noted that in November, MPs belonging to the Secular Progressive Alliance-led by DMK submitted a memorandum to the President Droupadi Murmu demanding that RN Ravi be recalled as the Governor of Tamil Nadu over certain controversial remarks he made about secularism, Sanathana Dharma, Dravidians, Aryans, Scheduled Castes and the Thirukkural, apart from accusing him of interfering in the administration of the state and indulging in unconstitutional acts.