Chapter 9: Freedom from the Past
Amaran anashan? Amaran anashan has not happened even once, because orange juice is offered before the person’s death comes close - that is always arranged beforehand. And the doctors were continuously making check-ups, and there was a commotion all over the country lest Mahatma Gandhi really died.
This changed the very focus; the actual issue of the harijans just evaporated. Ambedkar’s own life fell under threat. People started pressurizing him to ask for forgiveness from Mahatma Gandhi and to say to him, “We are not going to demand a separate country or a separation of any kind.” And Ambedkar’s demand was legitimate, but who cares about legitimate and illegitimate when this is happening? Ambedkar also felt that if Gandhi died “My being killed will be no big deal, but the harijans will be burnt to ashes from one corner of this country to the other. Their huts will be burnt, their women will be raped, Gandhi’s death will be revenged.” The very issue of whether what he was saying was right or wrong, was put aside. The very focus had shifted.
The issue became whether or not it would be right to put the harijans into such a catastrophic position. Already the poor fellows had been in enough trouble - now this would be one more tragedy. So Ambedkar presented himself in front of Gandhi with a glass of orange juice, and asked for his forgiveness, knowing full well that this man was deceiving the harijans, this man was deceiving the country.
Harijans neither won the right to separation nor the right of a separate ballot. They had such a small demand: “Either give us a separate country or a right to a separate ballot,” so that their voice could also reach the parliament and explain what they were enduring - which doesn’t get reported in any news, even the news of it doesn’t reach you.
And Gandhi had assured them, “Don’t worry. Our first president will be a harijan, and not only a harijan but a woman, because women have been tortured much and the harijans have also been tortured much. All this will not be allowed to continue after our independence has come.”
Freedom came - but neither did any harijan become the president nor any woman. Freedom came and millions died, were robbed. Who knows how many children lost their lives, how many women were raped? Who knows how many people were burnt alive? Amazing freedom!
The whole business of partition could have been managed with love. But Mahatma Gandhi and his disciples did not let that happen and brought the situation to such a point that enmity reached its climax. So when partition took place violence was inevitable. This is what is happening in the Punjab, this is what is happening in Assam, this is what is happening in Kashmir. This will happen in every part of the country, and these dwarf politicians are trying to take the country into the twenty-first century!