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Arundhati Roy vs Megha Patkar on Gandhiji row

Mumbai, Aug 6 (): Arundhati Roy’s comments and interpretation of Gandhiji’s outlook towards Dalits and clash with B R Ambedkar has come in for criticism from Medha Patkar.

Speaking to a TV channel, noted environmentalist Medha Patkar said that Gandhiji was never against Dalits and was always working for their upliftment and advocated the caste system abolition.

Arundhati Roy at a lecture in Kerala University Mahatma Ayyappan Kali bench said that Gandhiji was wrongly projected as a saviour of dalits while people like Ayyankali was the true fighter for lower class and organized peasants even before the Russian revolution.

She said that in ‘Experiments with Truth’, he termed dalits as bonded labourers from Hindu and Muslim castes and without any education would not hesitate to tell a lie. Arundhathi Roy’s thrust was that a person like Ayyankali was hardly known outside Kerala and the real Mahatma was him.

Arundhati Roy made remarks like Narendra Modi speaks on the same casteist lines of Gandhiji and termed salt satyagraha an act of greed. Yet another contention was Dr BR Ambedkar the man who is an icon to Dalits and Gandhiji were not on the same page as far as upliftment of the low castes.

As the speech created a furore in Kerala, police are investigating it after Mahatma Gandhi foundation launched a campaign. Congress in Kerala condemned the speech but no case should be initiated, said MLA V D Satheesan.

Arundhati Roy is likely to face a legal suit as she wrote an introduction to a book published by a publishing company on Dr Ambedkar. As per law, only the committee constituted by Maharashtra government can publish material on Dr Ambedkar’s letters made public and not anyone else.

Arundhati Roy quoted from a speech that was not delivered to show that the conflict between Dr Ambedkar and Gandhiji showing that the differences still continue today in different forms. The committee has sought permission from government to sue Arundhati Roy. Dr Ambedkar’s grandson is on the committee.