Beware of Great Men

16 07 2007

I admit that we ought to be more cautious in our worship of great men. For in this country we have perhaps arrived at such a stage when alongside the notice boards saying ” beware of pickpockets ” we need to have notice boards saying ” beware of great men “.

SECTION IX, Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches





Journalism in India in 1943

16 07 2007

Journalism in India was once a profession. It has now become a trade. It has no more moral function than the manufacture of soap. It does not regard itself as the responsible adviser of the Public. To give the news uncoloured by any motive, to present a certain view of public policy which it believes to be for the good of the community, to correct and chastise without fear all those, no matter how high, who have chosen a wrong or a barren path, is not regarded by journalism in India its first or foremost duty. To accept a hero and worship him has become its principal duty. Under it, news gives place to sensation, reasoned opinion to unreasoning passion, appeal to the minds of responsible people to appeal to the emotions of the irresponsible. Lord Salisbury spoke of the Northcliffe journalism as written by office-boys for office-boys. Indian journalism is all that plus something more. It is written by drum-boys to glorify their heroes. Never has the interest of country been sacrificed so senselessly for the propagation of hero-worship. Never has hero-worship become so blind as we see it in India today. There are, I am glad to say, honourable exceptions. But they are too few and their voice is never heard.

SECTION VIII, Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches





On Gandhi and Jinnah

16 07 2007

I can give only my impressions of them, for what they are worth. The first thing that strikes me is that it would be difficult to find two persons who would rival them for their colossal egotism, to whom personal ascendancy is everything and the cause of the country a mere counter on the table. They have made Indian politics a matter of personal feud. Consequences have no terror for them ; indeed they do not occur to them until they happen. When they do happen they either forget the cause, or if they remember it, they overlook it with a complacency which saves them from any remorse. They choose to stand on a pedestal of splendid isolation. They wall themselves off from their equals. They prefer to open themselves to their inferiors. They are very unhappy at and impatient of criticism, but are very happy to be fawned upon by flunkeys. Both have developed a wonderful stagecraft and arrange things in such a way that they are always in the limelight wherever they go. Each of course claims to be supreme. If supremacy was their only claim, it would be a small wonder. In addition to supremacy each claims infallibility for himself. Pius IX during whose sacred regime as Pope the issue of infallibility was raging said— ” Before I was Pope I believed in Papal infallibility, now I feel it.” This is exactly the attitude of the two leaders whom Providence—may I say in his unguarded moments—has appointed to lead us.

SECTION VIII, Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches





A politician..

16 07 2007

A politician does not merely trade in politics but he also represents particular faith covering both—the method as well as the metaphysics of politics.

SECTION VIII, Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches





You cannot be liberal by halves

16 07 2007

Ranade was not only wise but he was also logical. He told his opponents against playing the part of Political Radicals and Social Tones. In clear and unmistakable terms he warned them saying :

” You cannot be liberal by halves. You cannot be liberal in politics and conservative in religion. The heart and the head must go together. You cannot cultivate your intellect, enrich your mind, enlarge the sphere of your political rights and privileges, and at the same time keep your hearts closed and cramped. It is an idle dream to expect men to remain enchained and enshackled in their own superstition and social evils, while they are struggling hard to win rights and privileges from their rulers. Before long these vain dreamers will find their dreams lost.”

SECTION VI, Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches





The Social Reformer

16 07 2007

Who has greater courage—the social reformer who challenges society and invites upon himself excommunication or the political prisoner who challenges Government and incurs sentence of a few months or a few years imprisonment ?

SECTION IV Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches





Who Can be Called A Great Man ?

16 07 2007

Sincerity and intellect are enough to mark out an individual as being eminent as compared to his fellows. But they are not enough to raise him to the dignity of a great man. A great man must have something more than what a merely eminent individual has. What must be that thing? Here comes the importance of the philosophers definition of a great man. A great man must be motivated by the dynamics of a. social purpose and must act as the scourge and the scavenger of society. These are the elements which distinguish an eminent individual from a great man and constitute his title deeds to respect and reverence.

N.B:- In defining these three criteria for great men, Dr. Ambedkar has used ” Carlyle’s test for Sincerity”, “Lord Rosebery’s test of Intellect for Napoleon” and ” a test of divine guidance suggested by philosophers”. It is discussed in more detailed in accompaning paragraphs.

SECTION III, Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah. Vol-I, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writing and Speeches