Dr. Ambedkar’s writings are not patented to any one caste, community or individual. Every thinker and scholar has every right to write about Dr. Ambedkar and interpret his ideas and express their own views. When the Brahmanical society suppressed Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s thoughts for several decades, it is the Ambedkarite intellectual and activist community that kept the memory of Dr. Ambedkar alive and made Dr. Ambedkar’s thoughts available to Indian society.
Recently, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste has been published by Navayana Publications with an introduction of Ms. Arundhati Roy and annotations by S. Anand of Navayana. The media has reported the discussions on this issue in various electronic and print media.
The Committee Against Appropriation of Dr. Ambedkar Writings (CAAAW) had taken an initiative to have a democratized debate on the issue of publication of Annihilations of Caste in a manner that undermined its historical significance. CAAAW wants to ask the publisher and Ms. Arundhati Roy whether they are genuine supporters of the Dalit cause or its only agenda is to be in limelight?. If Arundhati Roy is genuine supporter of Dr. Ambedkar, then will they consider detaching the introduction “The Doctor and The Saint” from Annihilation of Caste and publish it as a separate book?” and “Will you stop distribution of the book in the present form”
Democratic Debate on Appropriation of Ambedkar Writings was held on 10th April 2014, in Hyderabad, addressed by Dalit Bahujan Intellectuals, Bojja Tharakam, Professor Kancha Ilaiah, U Sambashivarao, Joopaka Subhadra, Gogu Shyamala and other participants who have thoroughly discussed the intentions of the publisher and author, and the content of the critical edition of Dr. B R Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste published by Navayana.
At the end of the debate, the participants and speakers together have resolved the following to direct the Author of “The Doctor and The Saint” and the Publisher:
- The introduction to Annihilation of Caste written by Arundhati Roy titled as “The Doctor and The Saint” should be detached and may republished as separate book as the introduction is not about Annihilation of caste.
- The annotations and footnotes should be removed from the Annihilation of Caste, it is an attempt to establish savarna scholarship as the only relevant scholarship on anti caste and dalit literature, as most of the referenced books and article were written savarnas.
- The image of Dr. BR Ambedkar on the cover page of this book should be removed.
- The publisher shall withdraw this book and may republish incorporating the above-mentioned resolutions.
About 100 participants including, Dr G V Ratnakar, Battula Ramprasad, Ganumala Gnaneshwar, Madhavarao, Prem Kumar, Kuffir Nalagundwar, Karthik Navayan, Kasukurty Ramalingam, and other scholars, activists and thinkers expressed this opinion.
Two participants, Surepally Sujatha and Babu Gogineni, expressed no objections on the book in its current form.
- http://karthiknavayan.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/democratic -debate -on-appropriation-of-ambedkar-writings-on-10th-april-2014/
Published in Issue V, April 2014